Committee on Finance. - Resolution No.7—General (Resumed).

Debate resumed on the following motion:—
That it is expedient to amend the law relating to customs and inland revenue (including excise) and to make further provision in connection with finance.—(Minister for Finance.)

When I moved to report progress on Thursday evening last, I was dealing with the claims from the Labour Party Benches that productivity had kept pace with the recent eighth round increase. I mentioned that they were taking all of the gain without making allowances for other normally justifiable claims. Net increases in productivity do not necessarily mean that progress has been made. Part of the net productivity is made up of capital goods and management. If we examine the claim from the Labour Benches we find, allowing for that state of affairs, that the increase they claim is not a real figure.

We are all aware that productivity on the farm has been rising while the numbers employed there have been decreasing. We are all aware that the increased productivity is attributable to better husbandry, to greater mechanisation and, generally, to good management. Conversely, I am sure the Labour Party would also argue that output per man on the farm has risen. I would ask them to make allowances for all of the machinery now being used on the farm and which has been displacing a lot of uneconomic labour heretofore employed.

The same is true of industry. Many operations are done by manual labour in factories and other places of employment but we know that, if we are to keep our place in the modern world, we shall have to mechanise to some degree. That mechanisation will, naturally, displace labour to some extent. This, again, I am sure, in later years will be brought forward as an increase in the productivity of labour.

I want to acknowledge that the Irish worker is playing his part and continues to play his part. By and large, he is making a good effort. I want to state also that management will have to do more. It will have to become more efficient and more conscious of good methods. It will have to modernise its plants and bring to the floor better planning so that the goodwill and initiative of the workers will be fully utilised. It is a joint operation and if it is tackled in an intelligent manner and on the basis of mutual confidence, I have no doubt that the increases in productivity which we have had over the past few years will continue into the future.

We are not by any means claiming that productivity is anything like what it is in other more advanced countries. If we fail in some respects, we fail to a fair degree in management on the factory floor and in regard to more up-to-date methods and in applying more modern thinking to those problems. However, I mention this matter of a claim so that the country may be aware and take cognisance of the fact that we are not, and cannot be, satisfied with the efforts at present being made by labour and that more will be expected. If it is not so aware this increased and ever-increasing standard of living will be demanded and people will be looking for increases. If they look for these increases, they must back up their demand by increased productivity so that all our people will enjoy the standard of living which this nation expects, that is at least the highest standard available in any other country in Europe.

I listened to the speeches made by Deputy O'Donnell and Deputy Sweetman. I also listened to the argument across the floor of the House the other day between the Minister for Industry and Commerce and Deputy Sweetman. Frankly, I was quite amused at the efforts made by Deputy Sweetman at whitewashing and to present a fair case for his calamitous handling of the financial affairs of this country. I heard him quite blatantly and without any remorse criticise the Minister for Finance for his lack of greater capital provision. My mind went back to those disastrous years when they started and to his capital programmes and how well he provided for them. I compared those with the enlightened statistics brought forth the other day and then thought of the allegations that Deputies on this side of the House and the Minister for Industry and Commerce were irresponsible people; that Deputy Noel Lemass was a brash inexperienced youngster; that Deputy Briscoe was a trouble maker, and that the Minister for Industry and Commerce was telling untruths.

Capital programmes are easy to conceive sitting in your office. Capital programmes at public expense are so easy but it takes an experienced, practical man to provide the finances and to see the money is there for these programmes. Like Deputy Noel Lemass and Deputy Briscoe, I have memories of visiting, in relation to borrowings under the Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Act, the Small Dwellings Section of Dublin Corporation to find out if there was any money to meet a loan which the Corporation had approved. I have very clear memories, too, of visiting the Minister for Local Government and being told the money was there and being asked why was it not given to us? I have very clear memories of trekking back to the, Corporation to be told: "They are not telling you the truth; we have not got the money."

We were told on another occasion that when they went to the bank to get the money, they were refused, even though they had with them the Minister's signature to underwrite it. If that were not sufficient, subsequent events proved that when they floated a public loan, it was under-subscribed. The effects on the unfortunate people engaged in the house building industry were disastrous. That loan drew off any money that might be forthcoming from the banking institutions. By virtue of the fact that it was not subscribed, it had to be underwritten. That drew off any money that ought to have been there. That position continued until the latter end of 1955 or 1956 when the capital development programme was under way but the money was not there to meet it.

Then they come back in 1962 to criticise the Government that had put the finances of this country right. They now talk about how well they did. When the new Government who had a practical and experienced approach that the nation must pay its way, came back, they had, first of all, to pay the debts incurred and gradually bring this country forward to the proud and happy position in which it is today. Now we can resume the building programme in the knowledge that we have a Government who, when they say they will provide money, will have the money available to finance these schemes. It will not be a myth.

I was surprised also to hear Deputy Costello, who was at that time Taoiseach of that Government, take umbrage at some statements made by the Taoiseach here that of all the errors the Coalition made, the one he was most worried about was the destruction of the national confidence of the people. Deputy Costello, who is an old and experienced man, both in politics and life and who led a Government composed as it was, ought to have exercised more stringent control over their activities.

Whilst I am loath to criticise Deputy Costello, I think that the Taoiseach's criticism was fair and that the Government led by Deputy Costello did more damage to the national confidence and our national institutions than any Government here before. I repeat and emphasise that. The Taoiseach would be lacking in his public duties if he did not indicate to the people that we must have confidence that, when the Government provide money for certain functions and operations in this country, they will, in fact, carry out those undertakings.

What calamitous years 1956 and 1957 were. Dublin and the rest of Ireland faced them with a wellequipped labour force but we had to stand back and see that force trickle away, take the boats each evening and go to England or wherever else they could find jobs. Thinking of that, one must reflect on the theme song of the first Coalition Government: "Come back to Ireland". We know how they let down those who came back. After their first period, they were returned to office in 1954 and again, the country not having the capacity to face their grand schemes of expensive planning, the people had to go again. They left in their thousands daily. It was this mishandling of the economic affairs of the country, this economic heresy to which Deputy Costello is so found of referring, which produced this unfortunate lack of confidence in our institutions.

By and large, the progress made since 1957 has been consistent. From the moment Fianna Fáil resumed office, the people have found that wise and able leadership and a progressive approach to financial matters have restored their confidence and their response has been great. This progress has continued right into 1962 and is still continuing. This is no accident. It is simply a matter of the people of this nation being wisely and well led, and this leadership has given them confidence in their nation. All they needed was the encouragement.

The Common Market and all that it implies is now very topical throughout the world. We know that over the years nations have built up tariff walls to protect their own industries and it is a peculiar twist of fate that despite all the work and the energy put into the defence of those tariffs throughout the years, man has now come to dislike them. This concept of freedom and international democracy is becoming widespread. Wise people in Europe four or five years ago came together and signed the Treaty of Rome. We in this country have not been unaware of the European Economic Community and its implications. We have heard about it and have been interested in it for quite some time. So have the Government, but until the full facts and implications of membership are made known to us, all we can do to meet the challenge is to hold ourselves in readiness to take whatever steps will be necessary.

Deputy Norton spoke at some length of our chances of survival in the Comon Market and he criticised the Government for not going cap in hand to attain membership for this country. Deputy Norton should be aware that it is a very wrong policy to put all one's eggs in one basket. Neither is it wise policy to take for granted a lack of confidence by the workers and people of this country in our ability to meet the challenge of the new Europe. At this time it is wrong to try to discourage the nation in this matter. I have no doubt that all sections in this country, from the shopkeeper and the industrialist to the farmer, will be fully capable of meeting this challenge, but its implications must be explained clearly and concisely to them. Matters on which there must be some enlightenment are whether or not subsidies are to be abolished and, if so, whether they will be abolished 100 per cent. There is hardly a section of our people who at the moment do not enjoy some form of Government aid.

These are the questions to which our people require answers. We must be told to what extent, either directly or indirectly, Governments of the future will be able to help farmers and industrialists. I am, however, quite confident that our people will meet the challenge of the Common Market when they have been told clearly what their responsibilities are. In that respect there are aspects of our economy which need some improvement, particularly the matter of marketing. I am quite satisfied that production would automatically improve in factories and on the farms, were the problem of marketing our produce solved. I am not satisfied that the best methods are being adopted at present. I feel it is a question of creating an overall marketing body——

Is the Deputy proceeding to discuss administration rather than methods of collecting taxation?

He is telling the Minister that he spent only £23,000 out of £250,000.

I shall desist from that line. In this Budget, £100,000 is provided for the relief of industries. Industrialists generally are satisfied that that is a step in the right direction, but the Minister will have to look to his book-keeping to see what more can be given along those lines. To meet the challenge of the Common Market there is need for a re-tuning of industry, and that will take a considerable amount of money. The taxations relief in the form of a net allowance of 20 per cent. and 40 per cent. instead of the present 20 per cent. and 10 per cent. is quite good. The industrialist has a right to ask that his product be brought up to parity with other countries.

I was indeed surprised when the Fine Gael Party and the Labour Party voted against these reliefs for firms, especially having listened to Deputies opposite, and Deputy Donegan in particular, crowing loudly about how they had forced these concessions from the Minister. I am unable to understand the type of mentality of the people opposite who take credit for some concession and a few moments afterwards vote against the provisions to meet it. I could understand them just sitting in those benches and not going into the lobby to vote against it. That shows their sincerity and interest, and the sincerity with which the recent campaign was carried out.

We are heading into times that call for sincerity and not political expediency: not selling wares to get back into office just for the sake of being the Government. It is high time all Deputies showed a greater sense of responsibility, and that this criticism of the Government for criticism's sake, and these demands for a larger share from the public purse at the expense of some other section, were ended and that all these matters were based on reality.

Since 1922 we have had 40 years of self-government. Members elected to this House should show greater political maturity instead of making a shuttlecock of the public with vague and false promises wrapped up like sugar candy. That does not serve the nation in the manner and style in which its elected representatives should serve it, and are expected to serve it. One can understand Deputies demanding that more should be done generally for their own areas, but they should also bring to the House a sense of responsibility as to the capacity of the nation to pay. Those who earn money have a right to spend that money in their own way. The Government have a duty to see that a fair balance is maintained between all sections of the community.

We hear a case made here for high rates of pension for those who have reached 70 years of age or high rates of unemployment benefit for those who are not working. We are told that they cannot live adequately on what they get. First of all, we should turn our attention to the farm worker who is paid £6 15s. or £7 and has to support a wife and five or six children, and possibly some of his in-laws. We can compare him with the old age pensioner who gets 32/6d. a week and lives with his in-laws and thus gains some benefit if he has only himself to keep. If he has a wife she will receive another 32/6d. a week so that their combined income is £3 5s. a week. Again, he may get some support from his family, if he has reared his family as families are raised in Ireland knowing they have a Christian responsibility to look after old people.

Are we to legislate in this House for every extreme case? I was surprised to hear Deputies on the other side of the House talking about people who live on bread and water. One would probably have to make a search to find people living on bread and water. I would ask Deputies to exercise a little discretion in their statements as to the dire conditions that exist. One need only travel through the country——

And the city.

——and the suburbs of the city to see the progress that has been made. Outside country churches or in any market town on a Saturday evening one sees motor cars and tractors. There are no assess and carts, or horses, and very few bicycles, yet people come in here and paint a depressing scene of poverty and heardship. The facts and figures indicate the confidence the people have in the Government and in our financial institutions, and the confidence employers of all descriptions have in the Government. Any time the Government ask the people for a loan it is quickly subscribed. That has been the position from the moment this Government assumed office. I shall conclude by thanking the Minister for bringing in a very reasonable Budget; it is reasonable to all and involves just sufficient taxation to draw off a little of that extra money that is hovering around. It may retard somewhat the present trend towards inflation.

Deputy Gallagher has treated us to a lecture on how Deputies is Opposition should conduct themselves in the course of this debate. As a new Deputy, he can be excused any participation in the type of conduct which his Party perpetrated when sitting on these benches, when any measure, no matter how good, which was introduced by the Government sitting over there was not alone met with unreasonable opposition but with the most scandalous approach possible. I am sure the Deputy is not unaware of the type of conduct which his Party pursued in their effort to resume office and the solemn assurances they gavemen who should have been responsible as they had been in office for many years previously, and who indulged in solemn assurances that if given authority again, they would fulfil certain undertaking made to the electorate. Having secured that support on that basis they scandalously repudiated their undertakings and in fact did the very opposite to what they had undertaken to perform.

We on these benches decided to oppose this Budget for a number of reasons. We have been twitted by some Deputies who spoke in support of the Government that because we opposed certain items in it, we opposed everything in the Budget. In fact all that this has done is to relieve the Government temporarily of the embarrassment due to the clamour which existed from particular sections of the community and influenced recent occurrences which should not have been necessary, to satisfy certain public demonstrations that seemingly had some effect on the political conscience of the Government. This situation was repeatedly emphasised by members of the Fine Gael Party: the impact of the growing burden of rates on the farming community at a time when their incomes had been substantially reduced. It took united and organised demonstrations in every rates centre throughout the country to bring home to the Government that one result of their policy was to impose on that section of the community burdens which it had become impossible for them to bear any longer. Therefore, they have provided in this Budget certain reliefs, reliefs which, in the main, will go to those sections of the farming community who are better off.

Let that be understood, because it is generally implied by those Deputies who speak in support of the Government that substantial reliefs are being afforded to all classes of farmers. That is not so. Farmers on limited valuations, particularly affected by the increase in the cost of living, far from getting their incomes increased, have suffered a major reduction in income compared with their better-off neighbours. It is the better-off neighbour who gets the big advantage from the remission afforded in the impact of rates on these people's incomes. The indications are that in respect of very many small holders, who are the people most seriously affected of all classes of people in the country, far from having any glimmer of hope of increased incomes, the Government intend to pursure a system of levying on these people, having worked harder and produced more, to pay for the subsidies that were at one time borne by the community at large on the exportable surpluses available to the country.

Deputy Gallagher also referred to his dissatisfaction with the efforts made to secure better markets for our produce abroad. It was with quite a fanfare to trumpets that the Minister in an earlier Budget announced that he was setting aside £250,000 for this purpose. In answer to a Parliamentary Question, it was revealed that far from that money having been expended, only a miserable proportion, some £23,000, had actually been expended on that laudable undertaking. That certainly will take some explaning because there is no doubt that among the people who are working hard in the community there is considerable concern at the fact that having worked hard, they find a levy imposed on them for having achieved this increased output. It is one of the greatest impediments that exist to-day to achieving the break-through in increased productivity which all of us wish to see.

Deputy Gallagher seems to be under a misapprehension in regard to farming productivity. He expressed views which were quite complacent in relation to it but if he had been in the House at 3 o'clock, he would have heard the Taoiseach replying to Question No. 2, a reply which revealed that agricultural output had fallen as between 1957 and 1961, When Deputies express opinions which are completely contrary to the investigation returns provided by the Taoiseach and Ministers, then it is time to refer them to replies given by their Ministers in relation to these matters.

Deputy Gallagher also referred at some length to the handling of the country's economic affairs by the inter-Party Government which preceded Fianna Fáil's return to office. He referred more than once to the lack of confidence and support for national loans. I may say that there is one thing that can never be charged against this Party, that is, that whenever the Party now in office sought support from the community to finance their capital programme by way of national loans the utmost cooperation was not forthcoming from the Fine Gael Party. But at a time when this county was in difficulty and when the inter-Party Government sought to float a national loan, the opportunity was availed of by the Taoiseach to plaster the dead walls of this city with posters bearing the pawnbroker's sign.

Only in relation to Marshall Aid.

He plastered all the walls of this city with posters at a time when a national loan was launched to finance the capital programme of the Government and then——

We paid all your bills.

The Deputy may seek to get out of this embarrassing allegation but mark you, the Taoiseach never denied it because he never could, and each time he was here when it was mentioned he hung his head in shame.

It is not true.

It is quite true.

And when we left £20,000,000 behind you spent it.

Yes, when we left £20,000,000, the then Taoiseach spent it and in six months, it was said there was none of it left.

What the Deputy says is not true.

The attitude of Deputies to this reminds me of a member of their Party, a genuine supporter whom I happened to meet over a meal in the city of Cork a few days ago. He said: "Do you know, the best thing Fianna Fáil ever did was to bring in the Prize Bond scheme and the worst thing your Party ever did was to bring in the Health Act." When they have got it over to some of their own supporters that it was Fianna Fáil who introduced the Prize Bond scheme-and mark you, when Deputy Sweetman introduced the Prize Bond scheme, there was quite a lot of criticism of it by the Party now in office——

Was there?

It is pretty useful now.

Was there criticism?

It was called "the national raffle".

Nonsense.

The £18 million the Minister has in hands now is quite a substantial little raffle and he would not like to have it described in such demeaning terms.

He said that when people were down and out in the country they ran a raffle.

Deputy O'Sullivan.

I do not mind; it is good humoured, anyway. It is surprising, if all these benefits are flowing from Government policy and administration over the past five years, that when they submitted themselves to the electorate, they got such a pretty hefty rebuff. It is surprising, if all this manna is falling by reason of the enactment of their policy, that it was not recognised by the electorate. That was not so long ago.

In relation to the benefits that have been extended by way of a negligible increase in old age pensions in this Budget, they do not measure up to the expectations engendered by a Ministerial examination of the country's prosperity over the past 12 months. There is no need to refer to the reducttion in the value of money or the impact on these people of cost of living, increases. It was said by Deputy Meaney from my own constituency and other Deputies that to vote against this was to vote against these increases. When we in the Fine Gael Party voted against increased taxation, there was no question whatever of voting against increased social welfare benefits. It would be possible to afford these benefits without increasing taxation. As an example, the House will recall that, in 1947, the then Opposition, the Fine Gael Party, tabled a Private Member's Motion seeking an increase in the old age pension. The Government opposed it and outvoted it with the overall majority they enjoyed at that time, on the basis that the country could not afford it.

The present Minister for Finance said that.

He was their spokesman. But within six months, when the people got an opportunity, they changed the Government and the incoming Government remitted the special taxation that had been imposed in the Supplementary Budget of that Fall and gave the social welfare benefits at the same time as taxation was reduced. If we were asked today how any of these increases in social welfare benefits could be effected without increasing taxation, I would say that surely within a record Budget of £160,000,000 it would have been possible to have found at least the amount necessary this year to meet the increases in social welfare by effecting some economies.

We have said and continue to say— and everything that has been published bears out our words—that the Ministry of Transport and Power is superfluous. As far as the need for that Minister exists, we have had nothing but a succession of troubles in relation to both transport and power in the country. We feel the Minister for Industry and Commerce, as the Minister before him did, could adequately administer the work which was administered at that time by one man, instead of creating two Ministries. It is not alone the expense involved in the payment of the Minister, but it is the structure that builds up behind an individual Minister in a Government that entails expenditure. We say that at least that Ministry should go. In fact, there is a junior member of the Government who was quite emphatic when he was in opposition that for fewer Ministries were necessary, fewer than we have called for in our speeches. He is now a Parliamentary Secretary. He held the view that even the Ministry of Defence was unnecessary and that one Minister could handle the Ministries of Defence and Justice. I offer this to the House merely as an example of ways and means in which economies could be effected which would make it possible to increase social welfare benefits without increasing taxation.

The Government, however, have increased taxation. If the House want any examples of how the Government themselves have reacted to that increased taxation, they can look at their proposals to increase greatly the hours of drinking. Seemingly, the Government are perturbed at the possible loss of revenue because of the taxation on alcohol and as a consequence of the increased prices. Therefore, they intend to counter that possibility by granting these greatly extended drinking hours. At any rate, this extra taxation has again been imposed on the drinking and smoking community. We feel it would have been possible to have effected the increase in social welfare benefits without it.

When the Minister was dealing with the social welfare situation in his Budget Statement, he glossed over very rapidly the question of the increased charges to be borne by the three participating parties: the employers, the employees and the local authorities. In his reply to the Budget debate, I should be grateful if he would indicate what the charges will be on the three groups concerned. There is some question as to what the effect will be. In relation to social welfare, an easement in the means test should have been effected. With the drastic reduction in the value of money, in many instances, the means test assessment is now out of date. That should have been considered when the Minister was examining the social welfare situation.

In regard to the reliefs that have been given to some classes of ratepayers, I feel a relief of general application would have been preferable and that a transfer of the impact on the rates of Health Act charges would have meant that some relief would have been given to the town and village dwellers, as well as to the large farmers. That would have assisted the small farmer better than the way in which the Government have done it in the Bill. There is no doubt that the people in small businesses and even in middle-sized businesses in our provincial towns are very badly hit at present. Many factors enter into it. You have the development of the cattle marts which, in the main, have resulted in the disappearance of monthly fairs and markets. There is a considerably reduced flow of money into the towns as a result. Anybody who resides within 20 miles of our major cities knows the effect of cut-price shops on business in the towns and villages and rural shops within that radius. This is creating considerable difficulty for the small family-run shops in the cities and towns, but is also attracting business away from the country towns and villages within that radius where cut-price shops exist.

There is one inclusion in the Budget that I welcome. It would be hypocritical of me not to refer to it, because I referred to it at least half a dozen times before the change was made. It is the change being made in relation to employment allowances. The reduction in the age at which people are obliged to pay insurance contribution is a welcome one. I regret, however, that the Minister did not go a little further, because it is fantastic to exclude from the recommendation an employee whose poor law valuation is £5 or over. That should be increased to £10. I know of at least three instances where unfortunate men with valuations of £5, £6 and £7, who could take up employment with farmers in the vicinity, were not taken up by the farmers, if they could get anybody else, because the farmers would not get the £17 abatement in the rates because these men happened to have these few mountainy acres with a valuation so pitiably low as that. I regret the Minister did not increase the ceiling in respect of that limit. I hope it will be looked at again by some Government in the future.

In the coming year, in any provisions towards assistance in the establishment of new industries or the extension of existing industries, I hope emphasis will be placed on the encouragement of industries that will engage adult labour. Any of us who have visited industries established in recent years approve of those giving employment to heads of families or even to single men who, in the near future, may be expected to establish homes in that vicinity. However, we have the experience both in County Cork and elsewhere of very young girls being drafted in from long distances and being paid miserable wages. They have been drawn away from domestic employment to which some of them have been very glad to return. It is regrettable that that type of industry is dependent on that standard of wages and on those conditions.

I am glad to see the Government have adopted the inter-Party policy of continuing the system of tax-free incentive which is growing in its attractiveness and which should be sufficient to encourage many of these people to start industries.

It is a matter of grave concern in the country that some of those people coming from abroad are buying much of our land which should be available to Irish nationals. That will create an ever-growing problem, unless something is done to retard it. There is resentment, for instance, in my own constituency towards one industrialist who, going in heavily in the purchase of land and having amassed so much profit from industrial undertakings, was in a position to make the offer so attractive that he succeeded in the elimination of five families from agricultural holdings in one parish. This kind of thing is bitterly resented by the rural population. It is a matter to which we have referred previously and on which we hope the Government will take action.

It is these circumstances that the country expected a better Budget than that which the House is discussing. It is for these reasons we express our disapproval of the extra taxation, of the manner in which the Government are dealing with the tremendous problems which have been underlined by Deputies on both sides of the House, and of the fact that there is nowhere in this Budget any serious provision which will assist to any considerable extent the agricultural community or the industrial community in facing up to the very serious challenge which will confront this country.

Mr. Donnellan

Looking over this Budget, I must throw my mind back over 30 years to the time when Fianna Fáil were on the crest of the wave. I remember the time they came around to the West of Ireland when they were trying to get into office. The great cry of that time by the then Leader of Fianna Fáil was the state of the country under the then Government. They referred to the small holders in the West of Ireland, saying, that the land should be tilled and all this sort of dope was being given out. After 30 years, most of it under a Fianna Fáil Government, what is the position of the small farmer of the West of Ireland? Bad as it may have been in those days, it is much worse today. As regards this Budget which is claimed to be such a great advantage to the tenant farmer, it is my duty as a farmer and as a representative of that class of farmer to point out that it is of no advantage whatever to them.

We have been told that £2,500,000 is to be given to the farmers this year. It is as well we should see what type of farmer will gain an advantage from it. It must be remembered that 25 per cent. of the rates on all valuations over £20 is being taken away. The vast majority of those who are gaining by this Budget are the people whom Fianna Fáil in their heyday used to despise or at least pretended to despise. We often heard about the graziers, the ranchers, and the grabbers. It was on despising those three categories and rightly so, that Fianna Fáil built their organisation. It was the tenant farmer to a large extent who put Fianna Fáil into Dáil Éireann as a Government in 1932-33.

What consideration is in this Budget given to the tenant farmer? The £2,500,000 was given to the farmers under pressure and the only people whom we can thank for that relief are the NFA. However, Fiaanna Fáil gave it in such a way as to encourage a split in the NFA by giving £2,500,000 in one direction only. Let me quote from the Statistical Abstract, 1961. Take my county of Galway, where there are 2,945 people whose valuation does not exceed £2. That type of farmer will gain from 5/-to 10/-per year on his rates. If such farmers buy a few packets of cigarettes with the extra 2d. on them, if they write a few extra letters to their sons and daughters in Birmingham, London or Manchester, with the extra 1d. on the postage rate, or, if they take a pint or two, before one week is out, the extra 5/- or 10/-they gain from this £2,500,000 will be gone.

Again, in my county, there are 4,404 farmers whose valuation does not exceed £4. What advantage is this £2,500,000 to them? There are 4,096 farmers whose valuation does not exceed £7; 3,543 farmers whose valuation does not exceed £10; 4,933 whose valuation does not exceed £15; and 3,579 whose valuation is under £20. What advantage is this £2,500,000 to those farmers, who are the very salt of the earth? Absolutely none. As I have said, if these people write an extra letter to their children working abroad, if they buy an extra packet or two of cigarettes, or have an extra pint of stout, all this is gone.

Rates will mount up also. Up to £20 valuation they have got a 10 per cent. extra remission. These are the people for whom Fianna Fáil were supposed to be legislating, but these people have not got the advantage given to the others with the 25 per cent. reduction over 20 years. These people do not gain from the subsidy on fertilisers because they are not able to buy them. They have not got the land on which to use them. These people cannot gain from the subsidy given on wheat. The larger farmers can. As far as I know, the 53 farmers whose valuations are over £100 are the ones who will gain. But they are not the people who elected Fianna Fáil in Fianna Fáil's heyday. They are the people who stood out against them. Nevertheless, they are now the very people for whose benefit Fianna Fáil are legislating.

I read last week in the Connacht Tribune and the Tuam Herald an account of a meeting of the Galway County Council. A poor individual was put up to propose a vote of thanks to the Government for what they have done for the farmers. Incidentally, what have they done for the farmers of County Galway? The facts are there; they have done absolutely nothing. Apparently, at this meeting, another member of the council wanted to discuss the matter, but the chairman, Deputy Carty, would not allow any discussion; they adopted the resolution as being unanimous.

Even if farmers under £20 valuation were able to employ labour, there is no allowance because the valuation must be over £20 before any allowance is made for labour. Some 20 years ago Deputy MacEntee — he was Minister for Finance at the time — toured the west of Ireland in the 1943 general election. He was a great student of a particular book. I suppose many people here have heard of it. Its title was Mein Kampf. That was the first election contested by the Clann na Talmhan Party. Deputy MacEntee visited Ballinasloe, Loughrea, and other places. He quoted from Mein Kampf one particular passage relative to Hitler's policy that all the small farms should be wiped out and only huge farms should be allowed to survive. He read that from every platform on which he stood. Presumably he was attacking me. I have never had a chance to thank Deputy MacEntee publicly until now. I do so now. I never got as big a vote as I got in that election, and Fianna Fáil never let him loose again in the west.

Fianna Fáil, in order to save face, are now on another tack: see what we have done for the old age pensioners. They have faces of brass. In their 21 years in office the total increase given by them was 10/-. What is the record of the inter-Party Government in the six years in which they were in office? In 1948 they made permanent the 2/6, which was given by Fianna Fáil as a so-called supplement, and which Fianna Fáil intended to take back at some stage. That was made a permanent addition to the old age pension in 1948 by the inter-Party Government. In the 1948 Budget the Minister for Finance, Deputy McGilligan, increased the pension by 5/-. In 1951 he increased it by 2/6. In the 1955 Budget there was a further increase of 2/6 under the inter-Party Government. In less than six years the inter-Party Government increased the old age pension by 10/-, as well as making permanent the supplementary 2/6 granted by Fianna Fáil, and which had to be obtained from the relieving officer, making a total permanent increase of 12/6.

What did Fianna Fáil do during their 21 years? In 1948, when the inter-Party Government came in, the old age pension was the same as it had been in 1928. In 1952, they increased it by 1/6; in 1957, they increased it by 1/-; in 1959 they increased it by 2/6; in 1960, they increased it by 1/6; they are promising to give an increase of 2/6 under this year's Budget in August next. With all their pseudo-sympathy for the old age pensioners, what have Fianna Fáil done for them? In 5½ years, the inter-Party Government did more for them than Fianna Fáil did in 21 years. Perhaps they think the old age pensioner today is as innocent as the tenant farmer was 20 years ago when he fell for their antics and their carry-on.

I think it was Deputy Meaney, my good friend from Cork, who said he was surprised that the Clann na Talmhan Party should vote against this Budget. I admit that, where rates are concerned, there is a move, but it is not in the right direction. We advocated 20 years ago a sliding scale of derating. We made the case here in this House that there should be complete derating of all farms under £20 valuation. I think we were backed up by the then Labour Party on that. As far as Clann na Talmhan are concerned, we agree with Labour on many points. There is not much difference between the labouring man and the tenant farmer in this country.

I remember the time the present Tánaiste came to Galway with Mein Kampf under his arm. He was quoting from it and one of his quotations was about Hitler, Donnellan and Stalin. That is the kind of stuff the Minister was carrying on with at that time but he is getting a little old for it now. We believe there should be complete derating of farms of up to £20 valuation and for farms up to £40 and £60 valuation, there should be a certain sliding scale.

Mr. Donnellan

If the Parliamentary Secretary looks up the Dáil Debates of 1943, he will see that we did.

What did you do about it when you were in power?

Mr. Donnellan

A lot more than you did. Where you did the damage was in taking away the food subsidies. That wiped out the tenant farmer.

Did you advocate it when you were in power?

Mr. Donnellan

I sure did.

But nothing happened.

Mr. Donnellan

A lot more happened than happened since. Now it is the graziers, the grabbers, the ranchers, the descendants of Lord Lucan and the Cromwellians that you are legislating for. Those are the people Fianna Fáil are legislating for today. Why did Clann na Talmhan vote against the reduction in the rates? As far as the people we represent are concerned they have no interest in the graziers, the grabbers and the ranchers. These are the people that the Tánaiste used to refer to 20 years ago when he was reading from Mein Kampf. He was a good student of Mein Kampf. Today all the legislation is in that direction. We voted against the taxation in this Budget because whatever is being given in it to the type of farmer we represent, the farmer who will get relief of 5/-, 10/-, or 15/- a year, will be taken off them ten times over by the increase in the price of cigarettes, the price of the pint of stout and the price of bread. The price of bread, also, is being increased by Fianna Fáil.

When the inter-Party Government were in office, the then Taoiseach, Deputy John A. Costello, asked the present Taoiseach for his suggestions and advice. His answer was: "No; you are the Government — it is your responsibility." Now the Tánaiste is asking us what alternatives we have to offer. As far as the rates are concerned, I want to point out to the Government that this is a rushed business that they were forced into by the marching farmers. It does not give to that special section of the community that deserves and needs it anything of any advantage whatever. It gives the advantage to the big farmer, to the man who used to be hounded down years ago when the black cloak used to be put on and the Tánaiste used to travel to the west of Ireland.

The tenant farmer will not benefit by this relief but the expense of it will be put on him. It will benefit the big farmer who also gets the benefit of the subsidies on fertilisers and wheat, which the small farmer does not get. However, the small farmer has to pay for the cost of this provision in increased taxation on cigarettes and the pint and in the increased price of postage stamps. These are the people that need assistance because these are the people who are going out of existence.

I put the suggestion to the Government that they should completely derate the first £20 in valuation and then have a sliding scale up to a maximum of £80 or £100. After a certain valuation, there should be no derating of any kind. I put it to the Government that they should seriously consider that matter. If they do not do so, the time will soon come when there will be no farmers of £20 or £40 valuation. They will have gone where their sons and daughters have gone. Many of them have gone already. Others are preparing to go. I appeal to the Government that when they are next farming a Budget they should make sure that this money will go to the people who need it most, the tenant farmers.

What loss to this country would be the man with a valuation of over £100? To my mind, he is more of an injury than anything else. That is the view of Clann na Talmhan and it always was. When the present Tánaiste was travelling over Galway 20 years ago with Mein Kampf under his arm and quoting the views of Hitler——

The Deputy has quoted this more than once.

Mr. Donnellan

It is well worth doing it.

The Deputy is out of order in doing it.

Mr. Donnellan

I hope that when the Budget comes next year, I shall be able to vote for it, that the relief will be given to the working farmers who comprise the most needy section of the community. What about the small shopkeepers in the small towns throughout the county of Galway? They are all small, so to speak. What about the small shopkeepers in that little town of Dunmore, in Williamstown, in Mountbellew, in Ballygar and in other towns? They have to pay full rates. I am sure the Minister realises that business has gone down. Something should also be done to relieve small business people of the burden of rates. In some urban council areas, they have to pay two types of rates. When framing next year's Budget, I would ask the Government to give due consideration to the lower valuations and to the agricultural community. Wipe out rates up to a valuation of £20 and have a sliding scale after that. In addition, give due consideration to the business people in the small towns.

When the statement was made on this side of the House that preoccupation with Party politics was a Fine Gael characteristic, it led to a certain amount of protest. Nevertheless, we have had the usual Fine Gael approach in this debate. It is to the effect that the benefits given in the Budget are not sufficient, while the taxation raised to pay them should not have been raised.

Deputy Ryan availed of the opportunity to attack the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Deputy Briscoe. Every Deputy knows that Deputy Briscoe's work in America on behalf of this country deserves the highest praise. The work he did on his first trip was, to my mind, more effective than the work done by successive paid people — and Deputy Briscoe did that work at his own expense. We should be very grateful to him.

Deputy O'Sullivan tried to point out that Fianna Fáil criticism of the attitude of the first Coalition Government to Marshall Aid was unjustifiable and we were accused that as a result of our attitude in this matter we interfered with the efforts to raised a national loan. In all of these matters, only one thing is evident, namely, the Fine Gael preoccupation with Party politics. However, what was described by Deputy Ryan as a "well-kept Party secret" was disclosed in this House. Fine Gael disclosed it in the course of the past month. They decided they would increase the non-contributory old age pension by 5/-. He said Fine Gael decided not to let anybody know about that during the election. We must accept what he says, as he said it in this House. We know why it was not said to anybody during the election. If Fine Gael had any part in trying to implement it, they knew quite well the difficulties that would confront them.

The amount of increase given to non-contributory old age pensioners was criticised and comparative figures over the years have been brought forth by both sides. There are more social services than the non-contributory old age pension. It can be argued that the non-contributory old age pensioner might be the person in the greatest need. There are provisions such as home assistance, and so on, for some of these people. Nevertheless, we cannot lose sight of other people who must have social benefits. In addition, new schemes have come forward and new people have been made eligible for social services over the years.

Fianna Fáil can safely say that their record in regard to social services is good. We have nothing to be ashamed of in that matter. Deputy Tully complained that the date for the coming into operation of the increases is 1st August. When Deputy Corish was Minister for Social Welfare, the date was 1st September, if I remember rightly. We are prepared to enter into debate at any time on social welfare and social benefits. I think we shall come off the better.

We can be very pleased that, despite extra commitments, the Government have succeeded, in accordance with their policy, in distributing the capital moneys needed and the reliefs needed in fair proportion without placing taxation in such a way as to discourage the continuity of expansion in the country. The only way to get lasting increased standards for our people is by increased productivity — more production and more output. I read recently a statement by a speaker in the American Parliament. He said that the day a man does more than he has to do, the day he does more than it is absolutely necessary for him to do, by his own free choice, that day he stops being a slave. That point should always be remembered. It should not be the employer or the Government who will say: "You must work harder", and so on. The people themselves, of their own free choice, should be prepared to co-operate in the national effort.

Fianna Fáil believe we should pay our way. We have always followed that policy and we shall continue to do so. The balanced Budgets, characteristic of Fianna Fáil, have done more than anything else to contribute to the national prosperity. With increased production and output, and with reasonable wage adjustments and social welfare adjustments, reducing taxation can be brought about in the future.

Fine Gael exploited the emigration problem in this debate. We know Deputy Dillon's record. We can go back to his ancestors' emigrant shop in Ballaghaderreen where the advice given to anybody who was a customer was that anybody who went to the United States was a coward while men were needed in Flanders. When one examines the disastrous state of this country under both Coalition Governments, I think it is safe to say that the policy of the Governments of which Deputy Dillon was a member was to put Irishmen to work in England, whereas Fianna Fáil policy is to put them to work here at home.

Fine Gael coalesced with Labour in 1948. They had always and means of dealing with the emigration problem. They set up a commission, but, before it reported, the Coalition Government went out of office. Fianna Fáil then took office for about three years. Then Fine Gael coalesced with Labour once more. Shortly afterwards, the Commission on Emigration made their report. So far as I know, it has never been referred to in this House by Fine Gael Deputies: certainly it has never been dealt with in any serious way. It was before the second Coalition Government for well over two years but nothing was done to implement its recommendations.

The first time any effort was made to implement the recommendations of the Commission on Emigration, set up by the first Coalition Government, was when Fianna Fáil took office after the second Coalition Government, when certain sections were given effect to. One would imagine that having regard to the speedy enthusiasm with which the Fine Gael-led Coalition set up this Commission, they would have done something with their report when they got back, but they did nothing. In view of that record, they should be very slow to try to exploit the emigration problem for purely political purposes. Their record in that field is not one to boast about.

We are satisfied that bit by bit the emigration problem is becoming less serious but it is still a serious problem. We still believe that with good budgetary proposals in relation to paying our way, in showing proper restraint when needs be and with a continuation of the expansion that started as a result of Deputy Dr. Ryan's first Budget in this House, the emigration problem will not be a worry to us in the future.

In the year ended March, 1961, the general level of wage increases was approximately six per cent. I understand that the eighth round of increases will lead to an increase in incomes of approximately 12½ per cent. These increases far outstrip the rise in the cost of living. Fianna Fáil, therefore, can proudly say that the people have a better standard of living than they had before. In spite of the fact that incomes have outstripped the increase in the cost of living, we hear over and over again references to the abolition of the food subsidies. What happened is that the Coalition at that time rather than take an unpopular decision left office. Fianna Fáil got back and they were not afraid to take that unpopular decision. Fianna Fáil willingness to take an unpopular decision in the country's good contributed to the increasing confidence which led to the increase in national output.

When Fianna Fáil took over the reins of office on 20th March, 1957, Deputy John A. Costello, the then Leader of the Opposition, referred to what he termed budgetary proposals of great difficulty and pledged on behalf of Fine Gael that they would do their part to help us solve the difficult problems and offer only constructive opposition. I think it is apparent from this debate that Fine Gael have absolved themselves from that pledge.

In his Budget Statement on 8th May, 1957, the Minister for Finance, at columns 934 and 935 of Volume 161 of the Official Report, referred to the problems that confronted him. He said:

It is evident that direct public support in the form of savings has not been sufficient to enable national development to be continued on its recent scale. In these circumstances there can be no justification for allowing a deficit in the Current Budget to swallow up resources which are sorely needed for capital purposes, resources which, even if fully reserved for these purposes, would still be inadequate in relation to our development needs.

The deficiency in public savings last year was made up in two ways. Approximately £9.3 million was obtained from the banks and over £10,000,000 from departmental funds, partly from investment income but mainly from sales of securities.

The Minister went on to bring in a balanced Budget, although some of the provisions may have proved to be unpopular. Deputy Sweetman's concluding remark, when he heard the debate on the Minister's 1957 Budget, was, as reported at column 968 of the Official Report, "the economics of a madhouse." Deputy Sweetman's concluding remark on this Budget has already committed us in the following words. I quote from column 302 of volume 195, No.2:

That is not the way to build up a healthy, thriving community. Certainly, we shall not build it up by pretending that our problems have been cured, by trying to hide our heads in the sand and by neglecting to do anything about our problems until it is much too late to do it efficiently and efficaciously, as the Government did in relation to the Common Market.

We had "the economics of a madhouse" in 1957 and we have already done now something similar in our dealings with the Economic Community. If we are as successful in our dealings with the Economic Community as we have been in balancing our Budget and handling our financial problems since that time, I think we can all look forward to much better days ahead. To-day we have increasing employment, a rising standard of living, a balanced Budget. Our external trade account is in balance. We have rising imports and our exports are rising equitably. All these will help to maintain public confidence. All we have to do to show the wisdom of the Minister's economics is to compare to-day's position with the situation that existed in 1956 and 1957.

I was accused very strongly by Deputy Dillon. Unfortunately, in the last instance, it happened on the Fifth Stage of a Bill when I was not in the House and I had not the opportunity of replying until now. However, it is relative to the constant references by Deputies opposite to the amount of money provided towards the housing programme in the years prior to 1957 and subsequently.

I cannot give the exact reference just now and if it is denied, I shall accept the denial. Deputy Dillon pointed out in this House—as far as I can remember, it was on the Estimate for the Department of Local Government in 1959— that when you want to build houses, you just do not say:"Build them". He pointed out that certain development was required. Roads had to be built; plumbing had to be installed; drains put down; and that from the time the local authority decides it needs more houses and the time the houses are actually occupied—let us say, 100 houses or more—a period of two years can elapse. Deputy Dillon made that case in relation to another matter some time ago. I am in full agreement with that; I support that case entirely. I also admit that when there was a Labour Minister for Local Government, we had the highest rate of house building in Dublin. I accept that, but there is something I do not accept. Housebuilding in Dublin has not been held up in any way through failure to provide money. The reduction in house building came about, in the first instance, through the Government's inability to provide the money in time. It was provided eventually, but not in time. As I said, it was provided eventually by the selling of Government securities.

At column 947, Volume 192, of the Official Report, Deputy Dillon said:

I hope we have seen the last for my time in Dáil Éireann of the shameless, unscrupulous and heartless fraud perpetrated by Deputy Noel Lemass and Deputy Briscoe in the Dublin Corporation when they refused the people of this city the money to build their homes, not because there was any scarcity wherewith to supply them, but because they wanted to purchase votes by falsehood from a deceived and frustrated electorate.

At column 955 of the same debate, I pointed out:

...not so long ago in this House I read copies of the letters that passed between the then Government and the City Manager. What the letters prove conclusively is that the then Government had to make funds available to Dublin Corporation from the Local Loans Fund because the Bank of Ireland refused to accept their guarantee as sound collateral. That is the situation that existed in 1956-57.

I had already shown where the Local Loans Fund could not provide anything. Deputy Dillon, not satisfied with that, even though he had the references for my statement, came in on March 5th with the following remarks, which I quote from Column 968 of Volume 192:

The other matter I want to mention is this, and it is typical of the reckless irresponsibility of an individual like Deputy Noel Lemass. Can you conceive of a Fianna Fáil Deputy who was Chairman of the Finance Committee of the Dublin Corporation, getting up in Dáil Éireann and saying that in 1957 the Government bankers, the Bank of Ireland, refused to accept the guarantee of the Irish Government for a loan for the Dublin Corporation? The statement, of course, is without a shadow of foundation; there is not a scintilla of truth in it but it shows the reckless lengths to which political Party ambition can carry an irresponsible person. If that were given credence outside this House, or if the Deputy bearing the name he does were regarded outside this House as a responsible person, serious damage would be done. We know what he is. We know his utter irresponsibility and folly, so we discount what he says but it may be necessary, for the record, to mention that there is not a scintilla of truth in the statement made by Deputy Noel Lemass in that regard.

I hope the Leader of the Fine Gael Party will have the manliness to come in here and apologise for that unwarranted and unfounded attack.

I should like to quote a document, which I have already quoted here, which goes to show why the money was not made available. It is reported at Volume 183, Column 959, and contains a report of the minutes of the Municipal Council for the City of Dublin, 1956. It is a letter from the City Manager to the Lord Mayor, Aldermen and Councillors, and is dated June 11th, 1956:

On April 16th the City Council were informed of a letter from An Taoiseach regarding the financing of the Corporation capital works for 1956/57 which indicated that if the Corporation were unable to raise the full £3,000,000 required, the Government would make good the deficiency by advances from public funds. In the light of An Taoiseach's letter, An Coiste Airegeadais authorised me to communicate with the Bank of Ireland with a view to securing overdraft accommodation from the bank for capital purposes pending the availability of money guaranteed by the Government. The bank, on the 7th instant, stated that they were not in a position to assist the Corporation in financing its capital requirements.

We got the money eventually by the sale of Government securities but the Bank of Ireland were not prepared to accept the Government guarantee as sufficient collateral and forced the Government to sell their securities to meet the housing of the working class needs, and when the money was not forthcoming in time the whole building programme collapsed and has not recovered since.

I shall now quote from Circular No. H.12/56, H.263/1/1, dated June 29th, 1956, from the Department of Local Government to the Dublin Corporation. It is headed "Guarantee Schemes in relation to advances by building societies for private housing" and says:

I am directed by the Minister for Local Government to refer to the Department's Circular Letter H. 10/56, of 9th June, 1956, and to state that the following arrangements have been agreed with the principal building societies as the basis of schemes for guarantees in relation to advances for private housing.

This has not been discussed.

It has already been discussed.

The circular goes on to say:

The guarantee will operate only in relation to advances for the erection or purchase of new dwelling houses for owner-occupation.

On a point of order, this matter has not been raised in the Budget debate. It is perfectly clear from what Deputy Noel Lemass has said that he is referring to the Fifth Stage of some Bill.

Might I point out that the matter has been discussed by Deputies on both sides of the House during the course of the debate on the Budget and that this is the first time that anyone has objected to it?

Perhaps the statement of Deputy Dillon has been discussed but this matter which Deputy Noel Lemass is now discussing has not been raised.

If the Deputy will wait, I shall relate the matter——

What I am raising is a matter of order.

A matter of disorder.

The Deputy is quoting from a Fifth Stage debate on a Housing Bill. It has not been discussed on the Budget.

It has been discussed on the Budget during a debate on housing in relation to Dublin Corporation.

That is not what Deputy Noel Lemass is now discussing. He is replying to a charge he feels was made against him during a previous debate in this House. As I understand it, he is replying to a charge made by the Leader of the Fine Gael Party during a debate on the Fifth Stage of a Housing Bill.

I have already pointed out the position of the Chair. It has been discussed at length and Deputies on both sides have contributed to it.

The Chair is entirely wrong. The facts are contrary to what the Chair has said.

I have given the quotation from the Dáil Debates at Column 959, Volume 183.

It has not been mentioned before in this debate.

The Chair has ruled——

I know the way the Chair rules.

At Column 285 of Volume 195, Deputy Sweetman is reported as saying:

I shall tell the Deputy what the circumstances were. The circumstances were that Deputy Noel Lemass and Deputy Briscoe were clamouring all over the country that there was no money to be got. The facts were that in those years they were getting over £1,500,000 more money than they were given by Deputy Dr. Ryan. Deputy Noel Lemass and Deputy Briscoe deliberately went out on a campaign to prevent people erecting their own houses under the Small Dwellings Acts.

I intend to substantiate the fact, though I have already done it, that there was no confidence in the Government at that time and that was the situation that brought about the reduction in the amount of money for housing and brought about the sale of Government securities to the extent of £10,000,000 in a last desperate effort before going to the country to save the building of houses under the Housing of the Working Class Acts from being brought to a standstill. At that time, we had heard Deputies from Silgo, Cork and elsewhere complaining about the housing situation. That was at the time before it was possible to sell the securities.

Not only did the Bank of Ireland refuse to sanction money on the Taoiseach's collateral and on the guarantee by the Government, signed by the Taoiseach, but the Minister for Local Government had said in the circular I have quoted that if money were not available under the Small Dwellings Acts, the building societies would provide it. The financial position of the country had been brought to such a position that money could not be made available under those Acts and the Minister for Local Government told us that he had made an agreement with all the principal building societies under which they would lend money under a Government guarantee that they would be paid in the event of the people concerned becoming bad payers. In the light of that, the Housing Committee of the Corporation sat down many times and brought out a scheme, but there was no money available for S.D.A. houses. No money was paid by the Corporation and no applications were accepted.

I have letters here which I shall pass over to the Deputy, as I promised to do on the last occasion. It shows that not one of the building societies would give a loan under that guarantee. In other words, private business did not consider the Government collateral was good enough. It preferred to take the collateral of a labouring man with £10 a week.

How did they manage to build so many houses?

If the Deputy wants to know what I have been saying, I suggest that he can check back on the Dáil Debates.

I would not be enlightened on housing by the Deputy.

I would be entirely out of order if I were to go back over the ground I have already covered, for the Deputy's benefit.

I would not want the Deputy to do that.

I think that point has been adequately dealt with. I could give a lot more information about it, but it has all been gone into before. I expect that there was less money spent subsequent to the base year selected by Fine Gael. I have clearly indicated how the entire housing programme collapsed at that time.

It must be remembered that while this great shortage of money was interfering with the building programme, there was another social problem confronting the city administration. Over 1,000 houses per year were being handed back to the Corporation and whole families were emigrating to England. I am glad to say that that number is now down to 300 and I am sure that some of those 300 are people who get transfers, or die, or cannot keep on their tenancies for one reason or another, other than emigration.

I have dealt with the main point with which I wanted to deal. There are one or two other matters to which I should like to refer. I shall ask the Leas-Cheann Comhairle if I am in order in referring——

He will rule that the Deputy is.

I am on a new subject now. I want to refer to a charge on a motorist who wishes to retain his own registration number. I raised this matter on the Road Traffic Bill and, if I remember correctly, I was advised that it was a matter for the Budget debate. Perhaps there could be a charge of, say, £25 on someone who wished to retain his registration number from car to car. I hope the Minister will consider that point in his next year's Budget proposals. I understand that a number of firms would be prepared to pay a reasonable amount of money to retain a particular registration number.

Can it not be done at the present time?

I read recently of some elderly man in Donegal who has the registration number IH 1.

The numbers IK 1 and IK 2 were transferred for a few years until some zealous official discovered that it was not right to transfer the numbers.

I think the car would have to be destroyed.

The Minister should give serious consideration in future proposals to allowing money spent on specialist services to be deductible charges for income tax purposes. I am aware that only about 15 per cent. of the population do not qualify for the specialist services under the Health Act, but there can be a case of serious sickness in which the specialist fees can become very considerable.

I know of a case—and if the Minister wishes, I can give the name; the Minister knows the gentleman—of a man who in order to save his life had to have extensive specialist services and they came to a charge of £6,000. That was 10 years ago and the man is still paying instalments of that £6,000. At the same time, his full income is assessed at the full income tax rate. He gets no relief whatsoever.

The basis of the Health Act is a good one. I know the whole matter is under examination at the moment and I know that only 15 per cent. of the population are outside the normal scope of our health legislation, but the Minister should seriously consider including specialist services—I would not include hospital charges at this stage—and allowing them to be treated in future as deductible income.

One thing is very evident in this debate, that is, that the Government Party are extremely touchy, and any reference which is made to any matter seems to arouse them to fury. I do not know what they expect us to do. Are we to echo their statements that the economy is expanding, that employment is rising, that emigration has stopped, that houses are being built and that everything in the village is lovely? Our function as an Opposition is to criticise the Government. Members of the Fianna Fáil Party know that what is being said up and down the country by their senior and junior Ministers and their Parliamentary Secretaries is untrue, and they are sensitive to any criticism whatsoever.

Not a bit.

We hear it said every day that our economy is expanding and our finances are stable and sound. Everyone was expecting that the Government would give reliefs, and give the 5/- to the old age pensioners for which Deputy Sherwin asked. Everyone expected that there would be no new taxation, in spite of what the Taoiseach and the senior Ministers were saying two or three months ago. They said the situation was serious. When we are approaching a Budget, the situation is always serious, the financial situation is drastic, and then, hey presto, at the last moment, everything is all right.

The truth is that this Budget is a damp squib and the Fianna Fáil Party know it is a damp squib. The truth is that the country is not prosperous. The truth is that the farmers are in a bad way. They have not got money in their pockets. The shopkeepers have not got money in their pockets. Fianna Fáil Deputies may sit there and smile and try to pretend that everything is all right but they know perfectly well that if they went to the country, they would get their answer.

The truth is that the country is not prosperous. The truth is that people are still emigrating. The truth is that young people coming out of school or college looking for a job cannot get one. Every Fianna Fáil Deputy knows that is the truth. If they had wanted to, the Government could have given limited reliefs without any extra taxation whatsoever. The eighth round of wage increases which has been referred to has given more purchasing power to the country. More goods are being imported and the Government are getting more from customs and excise duties than ever before. They are collecting money by the PAYE system and they have an extra £5,000,000 at least available to them. If they were capable of proper administration, they would have been able to give limited benefits with no extra taxation.

It has been argued in the Dáil and up and down the country that we voted as we did because we did not want the old age pensioners to get extra money. Was ever a more puerile argument produced by any Government at any period in history? They know perfectly well that if we were in government, we would be bound to give an increase to the old age pensioners. That is one of the first charges on any community on account of the high rise in the cost of living.

The Government if they had sought extra markets and economised, instead of increasing the national expenditure all the time, would have been in a position to help those who should have been helped. When you come to think of it, the total national income is somewhere over £500,000,000 at present. The Government are taking, in central taxation and local taxation, more than one-third of that, somewhere between one third and one-half of the national income. I do not think that is a successful record for any Government. They talk about economic expansion. in every country. The Taoiseach has referred to the ratio of economic expansion in this country and in other countries of the OEEC and he has tried to make out that the expansion in Ireland is third highest within this community of nations.

From a percentage point of view, it may be, but you have to consider the fact that in countries with full industrial expansion, with an enormous national income, the percentage increase would have to be terrific to reach anything like the proportions of our percentage increase. Percentage increases such as that produced to try to justify a claim for an expansion in our national economy, are totally at variance with the facts. The Taoiseach, in his speech, which was a defensive speech, as every Fianna Fáil speech has been and will be to the end of this debate, also referred to the agricultural reliefs and grants as compared with the United Kingdom. He chose again an industrial nation. The minor portion of the United Kingdom's economy is concerned with agriculture, whereas the major portion of our economy here is concerned with agriculture — even the Fianna Fáil Party realise that after some 30 years — and the amount of reliefs given as a percentage, in Ireland as against the United Kingdom, bears no relation to the facts. In the Federal Republic of Germany, another large industrial nation, the tax borne by the farming community constitutes one per cent. of the total taxation. I have not got the figures with me but there is an enormous amount of taxation in a big industrial country such as that. Therefore, the Taoiseach's statistics do not impress me in any way, nor are they any indication whatever of the economic or financial position of the country.

With regard to the impositions which the Government have seen fit to impose on the taxpayers by indirect or direct taxation and with reference to the whiskey tax, whiskey is one of the things in which we have been gradually building up an export market. It is an exceedingly useful type of industry as it employs a number of people and, in addition, all the raw materials come from within the country. No doubt, the Fianna Fáil Party will realise that it is necessary to have a fundamental and sound economy at home in order to be able to build up and increase export, which they are endeavouring to do at present.

The Taoiseach said he was putting on the tax for two reasons: first of all, that he was able to do it because whiskey consumption is increasing; and secondly, on the moral ground that he does not think it is good for people to drink too much of it. However, the Vintners Association do not think the consumption is increasing. According to the Vintners Journal, which I presume represents the opinion of the licensed trade, consumption has been going down ever since Fianna Fáil imposed a tax on whiskey in 1952. Surely for a struggling industry which is striving to keep its head above water, to have this extra imposition placed on it will mean that it will not be able to carry on successfully or provide the money from the industry itself to secure the markets and exports for that purpose abroad.

The Government thought fit to assist these exports in that they provided extra money for that purpose some years ago. By this Budget, they are nullifying those efforts and harming a very useful industry which could be expanded enormously, not only in the United States of America, where there is the greatest potential market at the moment, but in many other spheres. Scotch whisky has a very big market in all these newly emerging countries in Africa and there is no reason why Irish whiskey, given the requisite economy at home, might not be able to be the same. If the Government feel they taxed something which is easy to tax and that no material harm will come from it, they should take another look at the position.

Many people were pleased that no additional tax was put on petrol. I am getting rather sceptical about Budgets when Fianna Fáil are in power because you have certain taxes introduced here which are supposed to be the revenue charged for the ensuing 12 months, added to the supplemental Budgets which they introduce from time to time—last year I think, it was to the tune of some £20 million. Petrol has now risen by one penny. Whether this is some sort of concealed tax produced from somewhere or other I do not know. It is something the same as the penny on postage, which was introduced by order. Of course, we on the Fine Gael benches are supposed to say nothing about that—it would be destructive criticism. When Fianna Fáil put on a secret or any other sort of tax, we are supposed to agree with them. They did not do that with us, nor did they give us any assistance when we were in Government.

Despite all the nonsense which Deputy Noel Lemass uttered, when we were facing outside difficulties, the troubles of the Korean war, which had a very serious impact on every country, we did not get any assistance, help or consideration from the then Opposition, the Fianna Fail Party. We got nothing but criticism and abuse. Deputies of the Fianna Fáil Party now say that we Fine Gael Deputies should not say things which would lessen public confidence; we should agree that everything they are doing is for the good of the country. What did they do for us except criticise us and say that the country was bankrupt? They have not stopped saying it yet and any time we have a general debate on which they know they will not be ruled out of order, that they are pretty safe, they refer to it.

The Deputy should not reflect on the Chair in that way.

By saying that the Chair will rule nothing out of order.

And sneered at it.

I said that in general debates like this where they are not likely to be ruled out of order and——

The Deputy sneered.

If I have said anything insulting to the Chair, I withdraw it.

I accept the Deputy's explanation.

Are the Government at the moment not receiving many extra taxes from imports? When Deputy Sweetman was Minister for Finance and it was necessary, due to the external circumstances to which I have just referred—the Korean war—when things were not as stable as they might have been, he was forced to impose certain taxes. He imposed them on the definite understanding that they were to be temporary taxes. There was criticism of them from these benches by the then Opposition. The Front Bench of Fianna Fáil nearly cried out loud with indignation. But what did the Minister for Finance do when he became Minister? He imposed those taxes as permanent duties and the Fianna Fáil Party are collecting them as revenue to-day. They have taken more money out of the unfortunate Irish taxpayer than any Government ever before.

It is a continuing process. The cry is that we have this economic expansion and that, therefore, we can go on piling on taxation. Is it any wonder there is instability in the country today, that practically every shopkeeper in rural Ireland—and I am sure in Dublin as well—is feeling the pinch at present? The same applies to local taxation. It is piling up all the time. As has been said by other speakers, although the Government have given some relief, why did they do it? Perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary knows why they did it? When he gets up to speak, he may tell us there is some particular reason the Government gave to the farmers such relief as they did.

A good many speeches have been made in reference to housing. I noted very carefully what the Taoiseach and the Minister for Finance said in reference to it. They said that there should be no stoppage or shortage or stay in the building of houses because of want of money. I found it very hard to understand that. I am not a member of a local authority, but there are only four towns in my constituency of Wexford and houses are needed in all four of them. We cannot get houses because we are told by the local authorities that they cannot build houses economically. I have been 11 years in public life and over all those years, up to the last two years, I have been told houses could be built economically. When senior Ministers make the statement that we are not to be held up in housing and that we can have all the money we want, I find it hard to understand why we are short of houses in Wexford.

Probably the reason we are short of houses is that the subsidy given by the Government is not sufficient to cover the amount. If the Government genuinely want to see houses built— and it is essential that they should be built—if what they say is true that there is a big demand for houses in Dublin because people are not emigrating they should provide more money for that purpose. There has been no specific statement in regard to the amount of money that is to be provided. I would suggest to the Minister that if he wants to get housing schemes going—I am speaking subject to correction because I am not a member of a local authority— he should consider increasing the subsidy to offset overhead charges. If he does that, he will get the houses built.

One thing strikes me very forcibly about this country. Many people, economists and others, who have studied our situation here say that what Ireland really needs is unlimited capital. We are still at the stage of development. That is no fault of our own. We had to start more or less by building up from the foundation. One way to ensure an influx of capital here would be for the Minister for Finance to take a serious look at death duties. There is no question about it—all over the world in all wealthy countries people are endeavouring in every way they can to evade death duties.

Death duties are one of these unfortunate things which are really capital levies. Naturally, the dead person has no further financial interest, but he leaves behind him a situation which often becomes very critical. One sees that in the breaking up of big establishments, commercial or agricultural. There is scope for the Minister to do something on that line which would be of considerable help to this country and would give us an edge over and above the other countries who have imposed this same taxation.

I would suggest to the Minister for his consideration that it should be possible to give considerable relief, if not total relief, from death duties on money invested in Ireland and investments by people living in this country and that he should also give considerable relief in relation to our nationals in other countries, despite any financial agreements we may have. We can make new agreements. We should give considerable financial relief to anyone who is prepared to come and live here. Naturally, those reliefs would apply to other nationals resident here as well. The old arguments will be produced from the extremely conservative outlook of the Department of Finance. I do not blame the Department of Finance—they have to be conservative. It is their job to try to keep the financial status quo as much as possible.

If that were seriously considered by any Government here, there would be a tremendous inflow of capital and our prosperity would increase immeasurably. I do not think any Deputy will disagree with me when I say that in regard to every section of our economy, both industrial and agricultural, to provide employment and to help to allay emigration, what we want here is money—and that is the way we shall get it. We are expending huge sums of money, taken out of the tax-payers' pockets by means of the flotation of loans and so on, for the purpose of including people to come in and start new industries. I am not decrying that. It is a policy which was adumbrated first by this side of the House when we were in government. I do not think anybody disputes that the first to introduce that scheme was Deputy Sweetman. We are spending these huge sums to encourage people to come here and bring in capital, and admittedly, there is quite a flow of capital here as a result.

As against that, however, there is this risk. Some of these big Continental, British and American firms may get a big order. Sometimes they may be able to produce only two-thirds or three-quarters of that order in their home factory because space may be difficult to come by. As a result, they may be left with somethings like half a million pounds and they may want to come here and start a factory. We have got to guard against the possibility that when we have built a factory and given them all facilities, when they have filled the order they are unable to fill in their own country because sufficient space or manpower is not available, they will up tools and leave us with the factory. That has happened in one or two cases already.

The greatest safeguard against that is to introduce death duties legislation. If you do that, you will bring capital into this country that will remain fixed here. Our economic future depends on that. We have to overcome the inherent conservatism of those who control our finances. There is no doubt about it, death duties as a capital levy have done untold harm in many countries, particularly in the very big combines. It always means more unemployment and leads to increased overheads on staff and so on. The Minister for Finance might seriously consider that.

There is one other point to which I should like to draw his attention. There are in this country quite a number of people disabled by various forms of paralysis and, as a result, unable to lead the lives of ordinary people. The vast majority of these people naturally never marry and never have a settled home of their own. Very often, however, they have to employ people to look after them and to pay housekeepers. The Minister should consider giving them relief by way of remission of income tax; I presume this could be done under the Central Fund Bill. They are not numerically strong; probably there are about one thousand of them in the whole country.

I do not think the country will be enthralled by this Budget. Nobody knows that as well as the Fianna Fáil Party and the tenor of their speeches points to that. They are not the speeches of an aggressive Party who feel themselves on the upgrade. They are the speeches of a Party with their backs to the wall and knowing that when the country gets a chance, they will put them out of office.

Before you call on the Parliamentary Secretary, I wish to make a personal explanation in connection with a matter which I raised here a while ago. I have since seen the report of the speech made by Deputy Sweetman in which in fact he did refer to the matter raised by Deputy Lemass. I should like to apologise to the Chair.

Thank you very much.

We have just listened to a display of mock heroics by Deputy Esmonde and indeed displays of mock heroics have been a feature of many contributions from the Fine Gael side of the House during this debate. It is significant that these heroics became evident only after they had been decisively defeated on the main Budget vote some weeks ago. The particular form these heroics take now is that we in Fianna Fáil fear an election at the moment, that we in Fianna Fáil are on the defensive, with our backs to the wall, as Deputy Esmonde just stated. This is accompanied by a similar mock display on the part of Fine Gael speakers of wishing a general election upon themselves and upon the public, based on the expressed hope by many of them that in such a general election in the near future, the Fianna Fáil Government will be beaten.

All this has developed a certain amount of speculation and last week that speculation found expression in one of our national newspapers as to the possibility of an early election. The plain fact is that the people, by their choice in the general election last Autumn, clearly expressed the view that Fianna Fáil should govern the country. That expression of view was endorsed by the majority vote of this Parliament. Fianna Fáil have been entrusted with that mandate to govern the country and we shall continue to govern the country unless disturbed by some irresponsible action——

Such as the decision of the people? Would that be irresponsible, if they put Fianna Fáil out?

Certainly we shall not be disturbed by any mock heroics on the part of Fine Gael spokesmen. Fine Gael spokesmen know well that if there were an election in the morning, they would be defeated.

Why not risk it?

Take the plunge. It is a free country. The Taoiseach can go to the Park.

We received a mandate which we are interpreting in a responsible way.

You received a mandate Deputy Sherwin gave you.

We shall continue to govern the country until some irresponsible action——

If Deputy Sherwin got a cold, you would be out.

Fine Gael Deputies know well that the people, by and large, in all strata of society, do not want an election, that they are quite satisfied with the conduct of their affairs——

Why not look for greater strength?

The important thing to bear in mind is that out attitude is responsible, not irresponsible and destructive. The constructive and responsible thing to do is to carry on the administration and to govern in accordance with our mandate given to us by the people last October.

I suppose you were constructive in blowing up bridges?

It is not very constructive for Deputy O'Higgins in 1962 to come in with that sort of balderdash.

It is not balderdash. The Deputy is attributing to the Fianna Fáil Party a halo which they have not got.

Despite some of the remarks made by the speakers on the other side, it is pertinent in this debate to go through the welter of nonsense we have heard from Fine Gael spokesmen and get down to realities in regard to the economic affairs of our country. When we do that, we, first of all, seek to establish what are the well-accepted criteria of economic progress in this or any other community, what are the criteria accepted by sensible people who examine the economy of any country, what are the criteria they follow when seeking to establish whether or not that economy is in a healthy state.

I would say the first criterion is the balance of payments. Since the formation of this State, we have been bedevilled over the years by the cycle from inflation to deflation, from a deficit in our balance of payments to a made scramble to rectify the matter resulting in massive unemployment. That was the pattern in our economic affairs over a number of years. The classical example of that pattern, of course, was the period from 1954-55 to 1957-58. There you had the economy reaching its nadir during a period of incompetent administration, a period in which we fluctuated from a deficit in our balance of payments in 1955 in the region of £35,000,000 to a situation where, while the balance of payments may have been rectified, in the two years following, we had massive unemployment. There was the switch from an inflationary situation which may have given temporary employment—and the figure in regard to employment in that inflationary year 1955 is very fondly used by Fine Gael spokesmen—to a deflationary situation brought on by a panic-stricken Government.

You deflated that by emigration.

That problem was met not by a graph of progress, not by a graph of expansion; it was met by the cold, hard hand of deflation; it was met by a consciously-operated policy of deflation to curb the excessive inflation which had been created by an incompetent administration; then that excessive inflation led to a balance of payments deficit of £35,000,000. The dampening hand of the deflationary policy was imposed by a Coalition Minister for Finance in the year 1956. The net result of that was the massive unemployment which we had here in late 1956 and early 1957, resulting in the early months of 1957 in a figure in the region of 90,000 people unemployed in our State. That massive unemployment gave rise to the cynicism, the lack of confidence and the scepticism of the people here which led to emigration in the following year.

There were more people employed in that year than there are now.

We do not intend to let such an inflationary situation develop. The chickens came home to roost in 1956 and 1957. They came home to roost in the form of 90,000 people unemployed, and massive emigration, as a direct result of a policy of deflation.

Nonsense! Emigrants have not come home to roost in this country. They are still out.

The people on the Fine Gael Front Bench will have to agree, in all honesty, that the conscious policy pursued by the Minister for Finance in 1955 and 1956 was designed to apply a brake to our economy and designed to apply a policy of deflation to our economy. I mention this criterion of the balance of payments because, on that criterion, this Government over the past five years can stand and, not alone stand, but can hold their heads high. This Government cannot be indicted on that criterion because, year in and year out, over the past five years, our external payments position has practically balanced. That is the first time that has happened since the formation of this State.

And that has been accompanied by a rising level of economic activity.

Good heavens! The Parliamentary Secretary has a very distorted view of history.

I will not come in here and defend a situation in which there may be equilibrium in our balance of payments and, at the same time, no rising level of economic activity. This Government over the past five years, along with balancing our external account, have achieved a rise in internal economic activity at all levels. I need mention only one figure to illustrate that: since 1957 imports have increased from £184.2 millions to £261.3 millions. Imports, in other words, have gone up by 50 per cent. If imports had gone up to anything like the same extent during the years 1955-1957 we would have had a complete breakdown in our national economy. That rising level of imports in the last five years has not caused any upset in our balance of payments position. It has been accompanied by a rising level of exports during the same period. That, and that alone, has enabled the growth of economic activity to be maintained simultaneously with equilibrium in our balance of payments.

Surely it is the rise in emigrants' remittances which has advantageously affected the balance of payments position?

We will come to that now. A very large part of the percentage increase in imports is due to imports of goods for further manufac turing, or processing here, or equipment for industry, which will, in turn, act as an accelerator to further economic progress. During the same period exports increased from £131 millions to £180 millions, an increase of £50 millions in the five-year period in the value of our exports. Therefore, while you have a rising level of imports, you have at the same time a rising level of exports. That rising level of exports prevents a balance of payments crisis. That pattern has been set for the first time in our economic history. It has been set because the Fianna Fáil Government in 1958 set about intelligent economic planning, which found expression in the Government White Paper published in 1958 which set, for the first time, definite targets, definite aims, definite objectives within a preconceived plan for economic progress.

In 1958, for the first time, we had the formation of conscious planning. The results of that planning can be seen quite plainly today. The economy, which went into reverse after the deflationary policies of 1956, and continued in reverse right up to 1958, was checked in its backward motion, turned into forward gear in 1958, and in the last three years some unprecedented successes have been achieved in the economic sphere.

So the people "never had it so good"?

That may be a handy Fine Gael slogan.

Actually, some of them "have had it".

That slogan is already having a boomerang effect in another country. We do not need to use it because, while the achievements in the past three years to which I have referred, have been brought about, it is quite true to say that there are many problems still facing the country, many challenges to be met, many difficulties to be surmounted.

In 1959 our economy went into forward gear. At that stage we had finally got the patient, knocked on the ground by incompetent Government, back on its feet. From 1959 onwards the figures are very illuminating. The rise in the volume of national production has been in the region of 15 per cent, one of the highest increases in Europe. That has been continuing at a fairly even tempo, running at about five per cent. per year. The result of that increase has been an increase in capital formation. The result of that increase in capital formation, reflected in increased industrialisation, has been another very favourable emergent pattern, a pattern of an increase in non-agricultural employment of the order of 10,000 per year. That, again, appears to be a steadily continuing pattern. It is not just a temporary phase because of some inflationary investment. It is a steady pattern of 10,000 more employed in industry every year for the past three years.

For the past how many years?

Over the past two years.

Two years at most, and it is not even 10,000.

The figure is 10,000 per year. We have not got the latest figures, but the indications are that, on the very latest figures, that steady tempo will be maintained if not improved.

There are 62,000 fewer people in employment now.

He is talking about industry only, and it is not 10,000 a year there.

Will Deputies please allow the Parliamentary Secretary to speak without interruption? Everybody who wants to can speak afterwards.

I am very interested in yet another figure which is indicative of our economic progress. Another endemic weakness in the economy in those years in which there was a chronically recurrent balance of payments crisis was that, even though we were grappling with the problem of increasing the number employed in industry, and improving in that respect, year in and year out, we still had the endemic sickness of a decreasing population on the land and less employment in the agricultural sector. It now appears, and for the first time again, as if that feature of our economy is also improving because last year we had a situation in which the actual working population, including both the agricultural and the industrial spheres, increased by 6,000. In other words, for the first time, industrial employment caught up on a decreasing agricultural employment. We have had that change in the pattern for the first time. We have a new situation now. Last year net employment rose by 6,000. That is a very welcome change coming, as it does, at a time when, in my view, the main challenge facing this country in the years ahead will be the preservation of an economic way of life on the small farms of this country. The problem that faced us in the past now appears to be one that can be met, and met successfully, because there are now fewer people leaving the land. The decrease in agricultural employment has been outstripped by the increase in industrial employment so that the net employment position has improved by 6,000.

Another figure indicative of progress, and one about which there has been much dishonest argument, is the figure for emigration. During the election campaign Fine Gael made great play of a figure of 67,000 published by the British Ministry. In actual fact that figure had nothing whatever to do with the assessment of the emigration position but it was adopted by the Fine Gael Party for purposes of political propaganda. The figure related to registration by Irish nationals at employment exchanges in Britain. Obviously a number of factors must be taken into consideration, factors which reduce that distorted figure, and which prevent it being used in the context of intelligent debate as a true picture of the net emigration position. It is a question of migratory labourers, who leave the country for temporary employment in Britain, and return home at the end of the period. It is a question of Irish men and women going from one part of Britain to another. In many cases, they frequently change their names. These are among a number of factors which cannot be assessed but which should be taken into account and the figure of 67,000 cannot be taken as an accurate figure in regard to the emigration problem.

The Irish Independent, in an editorial about two weeks ago, came out in through agreement with the point of view I am now expressing. They stated that the most accurate way of assessing emigration was the net passenger traffic between the two countries.

The Taoiseach does not agree with that.

The net passenger figure for the traffic between the two countries was 22,000 in the year ending February of this year in regard to people going to Britain. That can be taken by all reasonable people as the emigration figure. All those who will accept the criterion of decreased emigration figures, who will accept the criterion of the increase in the national production of 5 per cent. each year over the past three years, who will accept the criterion of an annual rate of increase of 10,000 people in industrial employment, who will accept the criterion of an increase in national employment of 6,000 a year, and the criterion of emigration being down to the lowest level for a number of years—accepting all those criteria—must be driven to the conclusion that this Government are doing a solid job and that that fact is accepted by the people at large. I know that if there were an election at any time within the next four years the verdict of the people would be that this Government have done a good solid job and that Fianna Fáil would get a mandate to carry on that work.

Even though there are those solid grounds to give us hope for the future, that is not to deny that there are undoubtedly still many serious problems to be solved, problems which will probably have to be met in the context of involvement with other European countries. The Government are approaching these problems in the same way as they approached other problems, by intelligent economic planning, such as was introduced for the first time in 1958. The Government are making preparations for the second five year plan which will be introduced in 1963 and which will be carried through by a Fianna Fáil Government as the first five year plan was carried through.

The present Government have shown themselves to be alive to the problems, the large number of problems, which remain to be solved, the greatest of which is to provide an economic way of life for our community of small farmers. That is the concern not only of this Government but of all governments in Europe to-day. It is concerning the members of the European Economic Community and His Holiness the Pope. The question of making the small farm a healthy economic unit is agitating the minds of intelligent men in many parts of Europe to-day. It is a falsehood to allege that this is a particular problem which is peculiar to Irish farmers or a problem which has been caused by the failure of any Irish Government.

This is a universal problem where people are tending to leave rural areas and are tending to come together in the urban centres. It is a problem which is common to America, Canada, Western Germany, France and ourselves. Nobody accepts that it is a desirable thing, especially from the social point of view. It is undesirable that the foundation stock of any people, which is the people who labour on the land, should be depleted. That is not a desirable situation or development particularly from the social point of view. It is wrong for some publicists to get up and say that it is the fault of any Irish Government, either this Government or the Governments that went before it. It is a universal problem which is agitating the mind of His Holiness the Pope, and of the European Economic Commission and it is the essential feature in the plans the Commission are making for a common agricultural policy.

The members of the European Economic Commission recognise that they cannot leave agriculture to the winds of free trade as you can leave industry because of the social necessity of maintaining the foundation stock of any nation on the land. They have seen to it that in any future planning for agriculture within the Common Market the small farmer unit will be preserved. That is the essence of the agricultural policy of the Common Market. We fully subscribe to that policy and to that point of view and I look forward to Irish Governments participating with European countries in their efforts to ensure an intelligent policy for the preservation of the small farmers of Europe and of the small farmers of Ireland.

The Government have shown the urgency which they attach to this problem. They have shown their appreciation of the importance of this task by ensuring that the report of the committee which has been considering this matter would be published. That report was published last week and so were the recommendations and the suggestions of the committee. The Government ensured that all these things would be published so that there would be a full appreciation of the views expressed. That report contained some very good advice. There are a number of suggestions which could be followed up, particularly the suggestion that young farmers should be enabled to purchase land at a reasonable interest rate. That suggestion could easily be followed up.

It is suggested that the Land Commission should now actively go into the business of purchasing land so as to ensure that the young farmer of ability will be enabled to make financial arrangements to purchase his land. That is a constructive approach to the matter by this Fianna Fáil Government. On the contrary, we get no evidence from Fine Gael of any constructive thought whatever about this matter. We have had some evidence of constructive thought from the Labour Party. I am quite sure that that Party would be quite willing to support now, as they have supported in the past, our constructive policy for the improve ment of the conditions of our small farmers. That policy will continue with the publication of a second five year plan in 1963. We have shown that we believe that intelligent planning is the only way in which a democratic country can progress. We can no longer leave ourselves, willy nilly, at the mercy of all the vagaries of a completely unbridled private enterprise economy. That situation has gone and it is a Victorian notion.

For to-day and for the future, we believe it is important to plan ahead intelligently. We shall get some sympathy from the Labour Party for that point of view; it is their proclaimed policy. Fine Gael have shown no conscious belief in a private enterprise economy, in a State-controlled economy or in any kind of economy. We have had no constructive contribution from them as to where we are going, as to how to get there or as to what way we should develop.

We believe that for the future we must have intelligent planning at Government level which will take into account the fact that we have a mixed economy in which both State and private enterprise play an important part. We await with interest and shall be very glad to receive some intelligent contribution and constructive advice from the Fine Gael Party in our desire to move towards this economic goal of progress.

Does the Parliamentary Secretary believe that emigration and the flight of the small farmers have eased?

I have quoted the figures.

The Parliamentary Secretary did not.

The Deputy must not have been listening.

The Parliamentary Secretary said that one of the useful suggestions in the report of the inter-Departmental Committee on the problems of small western farms is that a young man should be encouraged to purchase a holding. If this suggestion is implemented, what will the young man do with the farm, in view of the fact that his kind have fled from their holdings as a result of Fianna Fáil policy?

That is constructive.

A young fellow who was born on a holding and who would think of purchasing a small holding and of getting married and raising a family on it should see a psychiatrist.

The Deputy should see one.

If that is the best Fianna Fáil can do, it is a poor look out since the Minister for Finance made his famous statement 13 years ago that there are too many on the land of this country. It is high time people took notice of statements by Fianna Fáil speakers and examined their implications. The Parliamentary Secretary and Deputy Lemass did not mention the Budget in their speeches today. They dwelt on something that happened in 1954 or 1955 in relation to housing in Dublin. There was a great deal of abuse by Fianna Fáil of Fine Gael, a small sprinkling of praise for the Labour Party and, of course, a great deal of praise for Fianna Fáil for what they have done. Let us see what it is.

In 1957, Fianna Fáil received a very fine majority at the general election. Then they proceeded to double the price of bread and butter. They attacked drink, tobacco, telephones, electricity, bus fares—I could keep mentioning things for a very long time. Everything they touched or had control over was increased in price by 50 per cent. There was nothing but an air of gloom. Fianna Fáil alleged that the inter-Party Government left some horrible financial mess and that it took them five years to clear it up. Then, after five years of what Fianna Fáil described as "wonderful progress", they lost seven seats and 100,000 votes. That is how the people thanked them for the so-called wonderful progress they made in five years.

What have this Fianna Fáil Government achieved since they got back into office with the aid of three Independents? We are now promised that something will be done for what Fianna Fáil designate "the western type farmer", in much the same way as present-day Americans refer to the Indians in reservations in the United States. I want to register a strong protest against that phrase "western type farmer", as if he were some kind of a rare jungle animal. That type of attitude might exist in South Africa at the moment, but now this Government have introduced it here.

The report of the inter-Departmental Committee has been published. The Committee was deliberately manacled. They could produce only suggestions. Similar committees made recommendations. There is a subtle difference between the two things. It seems that this Committee was allowed only to talk about the problem and to put forward suggestions.

The reason for the flight from the land and for the fact that the small type of holding is not paying is that the cost of living has gone up, while the income of the farmer, big or small, has gone down. The income of the small farmer with a valuation under £30, has dwindled to such an extent that he is being forced off the land— and it seems to be Fianna Fáil policy to force him off the land.

Great play was made in the Budget with the relief of rates. Certain Fianna Fáil Deputies criticised Opposition Deputies for voting against this wonderful benefit which the farmers are supposed to get. Let us examine it. The agricultural abatement has been increased from 60 to 70 per cent. On land valuations under £20 and valuations over £20 have received an abatement of £25. How does this work out? Taking the Mayo rate, which was struck a few weeks ago for the coming year, let us see how it affects the farmers in that county. There are 3,698 farmers who will benefit by approximately 7/-; a total of 6,498 farmers will benefit by between 11/-and 12/-; and 7,238 farmers will benefit by £1 each. Then, 68 farmers will benefit by £92 10s—that is, the £100 valuation man and over—and 24 farmers will benefit by £128 10s.

Deputy Meaney, the Fianna Fáil Deputy for mid-Cork, could not understand why the Clann na Talmhan Deputies voted against this wonderful increase. In Deputy Meaney's constituency, there are 20,000 farmers under £20 valuation who will benefit from 7/- each up to about £4 each but there are 2,000 farmers in Cork—of whom I suspect Deputy Meaney is one —who will benefit by between £100 and £200 each under this Budget. In other words, the 2,000 farmers in Cork will get exactly the same amount of money, between them, as the 20,000 farmers in Cork under £30 valuation. That is why we voted against the provision.

When the inter-Departmental Committee was set up to inquire into the position of the so-called western type farmer—that strange type of animal in the West of Ireland, according to Fianna Fáil—we took it that the Government were genuinely anxious to give that type of farmer some help. The fact of the matter is that the average farmer in County Mayo with a £10 valuation will benefit this year to the tune of £2 17s. The 68 farmers over £100 valuation will benefit by £92 10s. That points very clearly to the fact that Fianna Fáil do not want the small farmer any more than they did at the time the Minister for Finance made the statement that there were too many people on the land of this country. They have succeeded.

I was going through some figures published in the report of the inter-Departmental Committee. I suppose these are figures which were extracted from the census. Between 1936 and 1961—and Fianna Fáil were in power during most of that time—the population of Galway dropped by 18,398. The population of Leitrim fell by 17,440 and the population of Mayo fell by 38,169 people. It dropped from 161,349 to 123,180.

Fianna Fáil are definitely getting results from their policy. People who should be kept at home on the land have been forced to go to England. Yet the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Lands tells us everything is very well in this country. Everything is not very well while in addition to our ordinary exports we export 30,000 youngsters every year. Since Fianna Fáil took office in 1957, they have succeeded in giving the pick of our population to the extent of a quarter of a million as a free gift to England and then the Parliamentary Secretary tells us that everything is very well.

I resent what the Taoiseach said on the Vote on Account. He suggested there was more or less jealousy or greed on the part of the farmers because the people in the urban areas had got eight rounds of increases. I resent that statement very much because it would give the impression to those who do not understand the position that it is pure greed that induced the farmers to ask for a reduction in their rates or to seek some relief rather than be forced off the land. I suppose I should not complain because that is typical of the Fianna Fáil attitude towards the small farmers. They have made it clear all along that they want a country composed of ranchers. The small farmers appears to be a nuisance. They cannot understand why the remnants are clinging so tenaciously to their small holdings in this country.

I thought they were all gone.

There are very few of them left. The Parliamentary Secretary boasted that emigration was easing. It is easing for the very simple reason that there are fewer people to go and there will be still fewer. Let me give one example in regard to an arable upland area in my constituency. In 1943 there were 17 families in a particular townland. Today there are only three. That is a fairly common thing. I do not know if that is happening in Deputy Meaney's constituency in Cork. I hope it is not but it is happening all over the West.

They appreciate that they are getting £2½ million in relief of rates.

Does Deputy Meaney realise that if the people I am talking about had stayed on, they would have benefited in the Budget to the tune of from 7/- to 10/- in the relief of rates?

The sum of £2½ million was provided by way of relief in rates.

Does Deputy Meaney, the Minister for Finance or any sane Deputy on the Government side of the House think that the insult of adding from 7/- to 10/- by way of a gift from the Government will induce the small farmers to stay in this country? Do they think that the small farmers can be purchased so cheaply? Is that the ideal of the Minister for Finance? We have asked from time to time in this House that land under £20 valuation should be derated completely. I am afraid that that would not stop the flight from the land at the present time. We are going to revert to the situation which existed in the early days of Grattan's Parliament or 40 to 50 years prior to that when one man farmed a whole townland and when the population was only 1,700,000. We are going back fast to that situation. Apparently that is the aim of Fianna Fáil for they have brought conditions about which are producing that effect. They have largely succeeded.

For the past three years particularly every old age pensioner was harassed with pensions officers doing their best to cut down their old age pensions.

We cannot discuss administration.

I submit it is not administration. I hold that it is Government policy.

What a citizen is entitled to in the matter of old age pension is administration.

It is not easy to disentangle policy from administration. It is with policy I want to deal.

If the Deputy wishes to say that the Government were niggardly in their policy——

I will use that expression but it would be a hopeless understatement. I can assure the Ceann Comhairle that I do not want to discuss administration. One of the latest developments is that we are to have rural electrification in areas which proved uneconomic before. We are to have longer drinking hours. Have not the Government become very benevolent since they got the knock on the head and lost seven seats and 100,000 votes in October last? The Parliamentary Secretary told us that they have not the slightest intention of going to the country. Whilst he was saying that, there was something going through my mind. It would be very like Fianna Fáil to make a shower of promises and then go to the country in the hope of getting an over-all majority which would give them the power to throw their promises overboard and do what they did in 1957 when they promised 100,000 new jobs. The people got them but they had to go to England for them and 100,000 more along with them. That is the way Fianna Fáil fulfilled their promises.

The old age pensioners got 2/6. Of course, there was a great song and dance made about that but during the few years we were in power we gave them 12/6 of an increase. We did not copy the Fianna Fáil policy when they gave the 2/6 in 1947. I think Deputy Meaney was a member of the Cork County Council at the time. A rate had to be levied to pay part of the old age pension which the Fianna Fáil Government granted in 1946 or 1947. That did not last long because, when we came in, we swept that away and gave them a decent liberal increase.

The Deputy voted against the 2/6 increase for them.

If we want to come to the rescue of the small farmer, we have got to make it worth his while to stay on the land and increase his income. The reason for the flight of those working on small holdings is that they are not paid for their labour. Whether the man is a wage earner or is self-employed on his own piece of land, he is not getting paid for it. That is why he is going. If we are to keep our people on the land we must pay them, we must provide them with an income to induce them to stay at home.

In the Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee on the Problems of Small Western Farms—a very excellent report—the members say that the main reason for the flight from the land was the poverty. The first paragraph of the report states:

Apart from the poverty of the area's natural resources the decline in population and the lack of economic progress in the North West of Ireland in recent years may be attributed to four main causes:—

(1) The disinclination of young people to remain at work on holdings which do not provide what they regard as worthwhile cash incomes, coupled with the availability in Britain of jobs paying comparatively high wages. This movement to higher incomes and higher living standards is prevalent in many countries but it is probably accelerated here by the ease with which people can emigrate.

(2) The fact that the general run of farmers in those areas are not in a position to benefit from fixed price crops and commodities such as wheat, barley, beet and milk.

(3) The loss, for reasons referred to later, of "farmyard" income from pigs, poultry and eggs and increased dependence on stock raising which is extensive in its use of land, uncertain financially as a system of farming and not well suited to smallholders.

The pigs, poultry and eggs have been very effectively banished by Fianna Fáil.

Tell us about the poultry.

Long before Deputy Meaney came into this House we spent fourteen months haggling over a Fianna Fáil Bill introduced purely and simply for the purpose of taking the vote from the people, and while we were wrangling over it the Danes came in behind our backs, made a trade agreement with Britian and stole the British bacon market from us. That is what we got for Fianna Fáil fooling with the so-called referendum which was defeated by the people. Unfortunately it was not defeated the first day it was introduced into this House.

We have the proof of Fianna Fáil bungling in the report of this committee, the members of which know exactly what they are talking about. One other class about which very few people seem to trouble themselves are the small business people in towns throughout the country. They are in as desperate a plight as the small farmers. They are hit by the increased cost of living and by higher rates. Not alone have they to pay the county rate but they must pay the urban rate as well. They, too, are hit by the higher prices for flour, bread and butter. They, too, have to raise families.

The policy of Fianna Fáil seems to be to denude the countryside of its best producers. They are adept at devising policy and legislation aimed at driving the people from the land as quickly as they can to such an extent that eventually we will have a few thriving cities like Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Sligo and Waterford, and deserted farms and the grass growing on the streets of our country towns. Fianna Fáil have been driving the people off the land, and the towns cannot thrive in the centre of a depopulated countryside. While the plight of the farmers is pretty desperate, the plight of the small business people in the towns is equally desperate and something should be done for them.

Listening to and at times reading the various speeches that have been made, the only conclusion I have been able to come to is that this is the most disappointing Budget ever introduced.

For the Opposition.

I say that, having particular regard to the fact that before the Budget there was a tremendous amount of speculation, and indeed threats, about what should be done and what should not be done. Speaking as a representative of a Dublin constituency, I know there was a great deal of speculation as to what new taxes would be introduced and as to what from reliefs would take. Accordingly there was great disappointment when it was found that the Budget leant towards the big farmers at the expense of the ordinary people. It was disappointing particularly to people who were living in anticipation of getting some assistance to find that out of £10,000,000 in reliefs this Budget gave only £1,000,000 towards helping to solve the problems of windows, orphans, the blind and the sick.

It was also most disappointing that, side by side with this display of neglect of the needy, £2,250,000 in extra reliefs was given to the farmers. Worse still was the fact that most of that £2,250,000 will go to the big farmers. It seems the Government have yielded to the threats of farmers marching in Dublin and elsewhere. Unfortunately the old age pensioners, the unemployed, are not organised in that fashion. They cannot wield the big stick which the big farmers are able to wield. The policy of this Budget seems to be "have and you will get".

This is particularly ironical when we hear so much talk at the present moment about our preparing for entry into the Common Market. We have Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries going around the country paying lip service to the need for a solid front to face the challenge of the European Economic Community and the problems that will arise in that respect. At the same time, factory workers throughout the country are naturally anxious about the possible effects of Common Market membership. We have heard suggestions that thousands of our workers will be out of employment as a result of the advent of the Common Market.

In answer to these questions what does this Budget indicate as a remedy? There is nothing in this Budget to show how the working man should prepare himself for the position which will arise when Ireland becomes a member of the European Economic Community. I am most surprised to find, in view of all that has been said about gearing ourselves to meet these new problems, the Minister has done nothing to have the amount of money spent on vocational education increased. We all know that vocational education is one of the most important methods of disseminating information on these problems to our people. At the moment the Dublin Corporation have reached the maximum amount they are legally allowed to spend on this type of education. Unless there is more money forthcoming under the heading of vocational education I cannot see how we will meet the threat of the new competition from the countries who make up the EEC. There is no denying the fact that we need more technical education and until we get it there is no point in the Government closing their eyes to the responsibility I have just referred to or passing on the responsibility to the local authorities.

It is also somewhat ironical to hear so much comment and, indeed ridicule, about the effect of the eighth round of wage increases. It is well known that that eighth round was initiated to improve the standard of living of the workers. What has been its effect? As a result of this Budget a goodly portion will be taken back in taxes. It has been assessed that the amount of extra taxes that will be derived from the effect of the eighth round of wage increases will almost equate with the cost of the Civil Service increase. The working man expected that if there was to be any extra taxation on him, direct or indirect, it would go to providing better social welfare benefits for his brother or sister or, indeed, his father or mother.

We must not lose sight of the fact that out of the eighth round of wage increases come the extra rents and extra payments by way of increased bus fares and increased prices that have to be faced. It is the duty of the Government to take a serious interest in trying to control prices—and to control prices by controlling profits. Perhaps now that we are preparing ourselves for entry into the Common Market it is not too late to introduce some type of measure which would make it imperative on the employers to prove the need for increased prices for the commodities they or their workers produce.

I notice in the Minister's Budget Statement that he has promised improvements in the industrial relations machinery. Indeed, that is very long overdue and recent happenings point to the need in that regard. I sincerely hope that if and when these improvements are made in the industrial relations machinery, the Minister will also make arrangements to have some sort of control over CIE and companies of that kind. We should not be placed in the position that when we ask questions in this House about CIE and its modus operandi, we are told it is not a matter for the Minister.

With regard to the removal of the entertainments tax, an effort should be made to ensure that while the cinema industry gets some relief the people, in turn, will get better entertainment, and that there will not be more money for the people who control the cinema industry and taken out of the country instead of being invested here.

Listening to Deputy Gallagher this afternoon, I was intrigued by his reference to the proud and happy position this country is in today. It made me realise how high up in the clouds are a good number of Fianna Fáil Deputies. He adverted to a song which he said was used during the life of the inter-Party Government—"Come Back to Ireland"—but he seems to have forgotten the slogan used by Fianna Fáil during the election when they talked about putting out the inter-Party Government and advocated: "Wives, put your husbands back to work." They have done that. The husbands have been put back to work—but outside Ireland.

There was another slogan: "Let us get cracking." I think about cracking a whip. It seems to me that a big whip is being used in regard to benefits. There are people who are most deserving of them, and there are people who do not want them. A few weeks ago, Deputies who saw fit to vote for this Budget indicated that 1d. buys very few sweets now, but they seem to have forgotten that 4d. does not buy very much for an old age pensioner.

Deputy Gallagher referred to Deputy Norton's contribution to the debate and said that Deputy Norton more or less gave the impression of a lack of confidence on his part in the workers' ability to meet the various problems facing them. I think that was most unfair, and I believe that Deputy Gallagher was guilty of taking liberties with what Deputy Norton said.

Deputy Gallagher went on to say that the people here are fairly well off now. He challenged anyone to prove that there were people living in this country on bread and water, and he talked about facts and figures. I should like the Minister for Finance, the Minister for Social Welfare, Deputy Gallagher or anyone else to work out a budget based on the benefits extended to any recipient of social welfare. Having done so he will know how well off they are, and whether they can afford anything more than bread and water, or whether they can afford to have meat many times in the day. We must also remember that they have to pay rent. I was intrigued and most interested when I noticed recently that it costs the State 60/- a week to keep a police dog, and we still continue to give hand-outs to the recipients of social welfare.

If we are to carry out our commitments with regard to the Common Market we must instil confidence in our people. We must start off by making them feel that they are not simply being taken advantage of day after day. They must be encouraged to realise that an opportunity is being presented to them not only to keep on building up profits for their employers and working themselves out of a job—as has been happening up to now—but also for a closer relationship between employer and employee. To my mind the only way that can be done is by giving the workers an opportunity to learn more about techniques. I have already referred to technical education but there might also be a necessity for refresher courses for workers in the various types of work they do.

We must not take the worker for granted as has been happening. Furthermore, it is vitally necessary for the worker to see that if he continues to produce he will get better value for his money and not be placed in a position that a round of increases works out in the end by giving no improvement in his standard of living. We cannot continue much longer to say that the people appear satisfied while, at the same time, the Government are neglecting to face up to the responsibility of ensuring that the people are given value for the money they earn.

I have one hope arising from this debate, that is, that the speech we have just listened to from the Parliamentary Secretary will be published at length and in as many papers as possible. I can think of nothing more likely to infuriate the people to some appreciation of the realities of the situation than the gloss which the Parliamentary Secretary found it possible to put upon a very bad situation which has not been helped by a dull and unimaginative Budget. Deputy Blowick at one time advised him that, if he persisted in certain views, he should see a psychiatrist. It was good advice. I understand that among the various complexes with which the psychiatrists have to deal and one they are very well aware of, is the penetrating intensity of complete illusion, and I can think of no better description of the speech the Parliamentary Secretary delivered than that.

His whole theme was that this was, as Deputy Gallagher said earlier, a happy State because of what he called intelligent planning leading to prosperity. He forgets that when the intelligent planning was first discussed about 1950 the Taoiseach came into this House to fulminate against the plan and to say that this was not the way in which Irish industrial development should be arranged. He promised that if he got control of things again these various plans would be scrapped as well as the various methods we had adopted to raise finances for their development.

There is one young person who has worn out many rose-coloured lenses trying to get a cheerful picture of the economic situation in this country. He writes for the Irish Times and in mid-February of this year, apparently having dropped the rose-coloured lenses, writing on the topic of whether we should seek membership of the Common Market, he said it should be remembered that those who opposed membership on political grounds had a callous disregard for the interests of the working community who—and this was his comment on things in February of this year—at present have to keep up with the lowest living standards in Northern Europe and even today the highest rates of unemployment and emigration. As I say, that came from a person who spent much time and wrote over many pages trying to disclose prosperity here. However, the truth broke out in that particular phrase. It had broken out when, on an earlier occasion, he said that things were in good shape. He was taken up at once by a person who wrote on behalf of agricultural interests, an economic adviser to an agricultural body, who pointed out how agricultural incomes had diminished and how rural depopulation was proceeding apace and asked how could it be said that there was so much prosperity with any approach to veracity when the farmers were in the condition he described. In reply, there was no controversy with regard to the facts the agricultural economist had disclosed.

However, we are told that the country is prosperous and that the Government are due a word of congratulation for the confidence that has been brought to the community and particularly for the confidence the community has with regard to Fianna Fáil themselves. It is all based on prosperity. How did the Government prepare for the election which took place last year? Deputy Blowick referred to one point. So insecure did they feel that their programme was working out or that it was going to beget confidence in them, and so little did they believe in that, that their first effort was, as Deputy Blowick pointed out, to spend 14 months in this House deciding whether or not the system of voting in the country should be changed. The people beat that. The next effort made to secure a good election result was a very dishonest piece of gerrymandering which the courts eventually beat.

The last was a more talented piece of gerrymandering with which they went to election. In the election, as Deputy Blowick pointed out, the Party lost almost 100,000 votes. If they call that a vote of confidence in themselves, we were right to challenge the Parliamentary Secretary to risk an election at this time, if he thinks the tide is no longer ebbing but has possibly reached a flood for them again. Even though a majority was theirs before the last election—a majority of 14 which, I think, was the largest the Party ever had—there were certain straws in the wind which showed how things were moving.

Deputies who were members of the previous Parliament will remember the trouble with CIE which ended in a compromise; the trouble that arose with employees of the ESB and which led to this House being summoned on September 1st last year to pass legislation which amounted to compulsory arbitration. It was said to be putting teeth into the Industrial Relations Act. After the debate swayed about this House, it was discovered they did not want these teeth any longer. One editorial the next day said that it was almost pathetic to hear the Taoiseach at 8 o'clock passionately disclaiming any thought of compulsory arbitration nine hours after sponsoring a Bill providing for precisely that.

We remember when this Parliament met for the first time, when the majority had disappeared, and when one new Minister, the Minister for Justice, apparently had forgotten that real power had slipped out of his hands. We remember how, in relation to the civic guards, the situation, with a certain amount of face-saving phrases, could not be met in the stern way which the Minister proposed at the beginning. These, as I say, were indications of what would have happened if the confidence reposed in Fianna Fáil in 1957 had been renewed. There would have been the policy of the hobnailed boots which certainly characterised the approach, in the first instance, to both the CIE employees and the employees of the ESB.

I ask myself the question: suppose this Budget were produced by the Minister for Finance and he had his old majority of 14 behind him and was not dependent on the waywardness of two or three Independents, what benefits would have been given in the Budget we are discussing? Would there have been anything for farmers? Would there have been anything for the pensioners, either the Service pensioners or the social pensioners? I doubt it. We are told, and it is said with some air of criticism, that workers in the eighth round of wage increases, have got something more than an increase corresponding to the increased cost of living; they have got what is called a status life. As I say, there is an element of criticism every time that phrase is used, as if the status lift were appropriate only to judges or people highly placed already, that when it comes to people living on salaries and emoluments of that type, if they get beyond something measured by a cost of living index, then we are supposed to have done them a great benefit, far beyond anything that was deserved.

I wonder would employers opt for the type of wage control Fianna Fáil seem to be so fond of? Their progress has been, over the years, to close down on any increase in wages. If increases were wrung out of them, then, by exactions on certain things people buy, such as tobacco, spirits and beer, they try to get the good taken back from what has been achieved from increases based on the cost of living figure.

Intervening in this debate, the Taoiseach said that, except in war, the Fianna Fáil Government do not try to exercise power in salary and wage control. How he could say that in this House puzzles me. In 1947, when we went into government and discovered the draft order for new wages control legislation, we exposed that. It was first denied there was any such draft in existence. It was then said it was something that had been put up to the Taoiseach when he was Minister for Industry and Commerce, that he discarded it, tore it up and left it in the waste paper basket, where we found it. Finally, it was agreed that, because accommodation could not be got with one of the two big labour unions, it was decided the best thing to do would be to coerce them. The Minister had a minute in his Department concerning the new wage control order and the last phrase in it was: "Make the penalties severe."

I still think the effort was made with regard to the electricity legislation last September and the earlier approach to the CIE workers. Those are indications of what Fianna Fáil would do, if they still had power. It is not news in this House to quote the old advertisements as to what Fianna Fail really wanted to prevent and which were published in the papers in January, 1949. A photographic reproduction put in one of the papers of an extract from the Irish Press reported a speech made by a man who was then a Minister of the Fianna Fail Government. His comments were these, and they are worth repeating:

The increase in Civil Service salaries is to cost about £700,000 in a full year, according to the Minister. The Army, the Gardaí and teachers are also entitled to the increases, but the total cost is not yet disclosed. Local Government officials will naturally expect increases also, as well as workers all over the country.

There was the forecast. People were looking for increase in their wages and, an increase having been granted to the Civil Service, the rest would automatically follow. The Minister's comment after that was:

This was the situation which Fianna Fáil was determined to prevent and would have prevented if three of the lost Dublin seats had been held. That would have given Mr. de Valera a majority on February 18th last.

I take it that what Fianna Fáil wanted to prevent in 1949, they would still have desired to prevent in 1962 if only they had held their first preference votes and had not to rely upon the wayward support of two or three Independents?

But we are in prosperity now. The Minister said he thought pensioners ought to share in the prosperity now in the country. The result of this benevolence of the Minister is that the Service pensioners are to get a quarter of what they deserve immediately and they have a promise of a second quarter some time later. If they live long enough—and the pensioners are a dying class—they may at some stage arrive at getting half the pension increase the Minister thinks they are entitled to.

That, of course, is what they are entitled to on the measurement of the cost of living index figure. We might as well face this problem with regard to Service pensioners and social pensioners. For many years there was agitation in this House and outside to have arbitration for the State personnel. That was denied for years. But the agitation went on and public opinion clearly became favourable to it. If there were Labour Court arrangements, as a contrast to industrial strife, in order to increase the wages, salaries and emoluments of industrial workers, it was not unreasonable to have a special arbitration tribunal to rule with regard to the emoluments of those who were paid by the State.

Eventually, in the period of the first inter-Party Government, arbitration was introduced. The civil servants were the first for whom the scheme was made, but it was agreed that such other people as teachers, Gardaí and members of the Army would have their emoluments correlated to what the Civil Service personnel got. Arbitration, long fought for, became an established fact in this country, and nobody now complains of it. The only person who made any real complaint about it was the present Minister for Finance who, at an early stage, indicated that when an arbitration board was satisfied, he did not feel himself bound to favour an award. He made no promise that he would fully carry out any award that came from the arbitration board. He was beaten in that eventually and had to give in to it.

As arbitration was fought for and eventually secured and now runs smoothly, Ministers for Finance just have to find the money when arbitration boards have given State personnel what industrial workers by other means can secure. It seems to me it has been spoken of long enough and there must be recognition in regard to pensions. They must be paid in good money, not in depreciated coinage. We are approaching this with fumbling sort of steps. It is something the Minister for Finance will have to face. If people get pensions and, more particularly, as a result of Government action, the money in which they get their pensions depreciates, then the Minister will have to find the money to pay them in good money instead of bad and depreciating coinage.

The measuring rod all the time for this is the cost of living index figure. It must be remembered that that is a very meagre standard. There was a time when the index figure in this country was built up on a much bigger number of commodities than at present. It included such things as tobacco and beer. It included quite a number of extra items to what are now included. But at the time in 1947 when the Fianna Fáil Government were facing a Supplemental Budget and decided to impose taxes on beer, spirits, tobacco and entertainments, they realised that, if their cost of living figure was allowed to be built up on the old system of commodities, there was bound to be an increase in the figure, leading of course to another demand for increased moneys for the State personnel. Therefore, there was a new cost of living index figure prepared. It was then related to essential commodities only. These things that were semi-luxuries, but which also could be regarded as practical necessaries, were cut out of the calculation. The cost of living index figure is now based entirely upon what are called essential commodities.

If it can be said at any time that those whose wages are related to the cost of living steer a little above that, we are told, as a note of criticism, that it is no longer a cost of living lift but a status lift. Then the old machinery is put into operation to see, by taxing beer, spirits, tobacco and other things, how the good that has been obtained possibly above the meagre cost of living figure can be taken away from those who have secured that enjoyment.

While the election was looming up, we were told by the Minister for Industry and Commerce on one occasion that there were rumours going around the country that he wanted to quell. There was a story or a belief that wages would be pegged when the Common Market materialised, and the Minister for Industry and Commerce at the Insurance Institute of Ireland annual dinner at the Shelbourne Hotel on the 3rd December last year is reported as saying:

He wanted to say emphatically that any belief which is abroad that wages will be pegged under Common Market conditions was false and erroneous.

He wanted to negative that. There never was any belief that came to my ears that entry into the European Community meant any pegging of wages. There was considerable expression of the view, as we were drawing towards an election, that the Fianna Fáil Government intended to peg wages, that Fianna Fáil would be back to their old habits. Workers, people in the Civil Service who had just wrung arbitration from another Government, were all afraid that in the position in which Fianna Fáil found themselves there might be another effort to peg wages. There is no Party in this country that has any tradition with regard to pegging wages or to bringing wages down other than the Fianna Fáil Party.

I do not agree with that.

Maybe the Minister does not agree with it but I state it as a fact. If it is not a fact, I should like to see how it can be contradicted.

Did you not peg wages on the Shannon scheme?

I did not peg wages on the Shannon scheme.

Twenty-seven shillings a week.

No. I did not. We gave an amount of wages to people whether they worked or not.

It was 27/- a week.

It was a specially arranged plan with regard to them. It was, first of all, very hard work. It required men in good physical condition.

That is right.

The idea of the German firm working the operation was to give a good rate of wages to people who worked certain hours.

It was 27/-.

Not at all. If men sat in their huts during wet weather they were paid 30/-, not 27/-.

I thought no man was worth more than £1,000 a year.

As Deputy O'Higgins reminds me, the real wages for any person in this country according to the present President, was £400 and nobody in the country was to get more than £1,000.

That was a long way above 27/-.

It never was 27/-.

I am telling the Deputy he fixed the wage at 27/-.

No. Whether they worked or not they were paid. The wages that were earned were very much above not merely agricultural wages but industrial wages.

They were above agricultural wages all right.

There was a threat of a strike but the strike fell through because it was based on a complete illusion, a complete untruth which the Minister is now trying to resurrect. There is no Party that ever had any policy of pegging wages other than the Fianna Fáil Party. They did that during the War. We found it in the Minister's office. In 1947 he was trying it and eventually when they could not get away with that they got away with something else in the 1952 Budget: "Let wages soar. We will take it from the workers another way, by taxing the things they use their money to buy."

In regard to all this talk about the Common Market the person who writes the economic comment in the Irish Times summed up in February of last year by saying that not to enter the Common Market would be to act in callous disregard of the interests of our working community, and he expressed their condition this way:

They at present have to put up with the lowest living standards in Northern Europe and even today the highest rates of unemployment and emigration.

Before the election came along the Taoiseach was very interested in an Encyclical that had been issued by the Pope. In August, speaking at Muintir na Tíre rural week, the Taoiseach praised the Encyclical. He underlined the Pontiff's advice on rural problems. He made quite a long eulogy about the contents of the Papal Encyclical. He said that they accepted in this country the directives the Papal Encyclical had given in regard to rural workers. He said that we find little evidence to show that we would not completely confirm to what the Encylical had set out. The Encyclical set out two things which I am paraphrasing in my own way: first of all, that the interests of consumers who would be interested in cheap food should not be allowed to operate to the detriment of the farming community; and secondly, that the gap between the industrial workers' situation and that of the rural workers should be lessened as far as possible. One of the Taoiseach's remarks was that those who studied the analysis of rural problems could be excused for feeling that the Pope must have had Ireland and Irish conditions especially in his mind. He went on to say that the Encyclical had marked both what the last Fianna Fáil Government had done and what they intended to do for the rural population.

What they intend to do for the rural population is now disclosed. This money has been given by way of relief in rates. This subject has been dealt with by others more competent to speak on this matter than I am. It has now been disclosed that the best part of the £2,500,000 devoted to this purpose will go to the big farmers who are least in need of any aid. The men with larger families who are working in conditions that are leading to vast rural depopulation are not getting anything in accordance with the Encyclical or in accordance with what the Taoiseach said were our Irish lines on the Encyclical.

The Parliamentary Secretary spoke of certain matters in connection with unemployment and emigration. He repeated what has been said on many platforms since the census returns of last year disclosed the terrible condition of our population. He said that emigration is declining and that the flight from the land, which is asserted as not being a particularly Irish condition but one common all over the world, is easing. With regard to the general condition I have a different point of view. This is not a matter on which points of view should count. It is one on which figures should count.

I asked a Question of the Minister for Health towards the end of March this year. I was particularly anxious to know when we would have publication of the December volume of the Registrar General's return. I was told that these returns came out quarterly; I was told that they are published in respect of the quarters ending March, June, September, and December. That is the important one. Each report for the December quarter gives a summary of the important vital statistics in respect of the year. I was told that it was in the hands of the printers on 28th March and "it is expected that it will be published within the next couple of weeks". We can leave over the figures until that report appears, but all the evidence I have been able to collect indicates a still further decline in the population.

On the verge of the election last year, the Fianna Fáil Government were, I think, badly set back, and people were gravely disturbed, when they realised the extent of the emigration over the previous five years. It was then revealed that our population figures had hit the lowest point in all our recorded history, 2,810,000 odd. My calculation is that we have certainly lost those 10,000 in the meantime and I believe that the Registrar General's report, when published, will indicate that, for the first time in our recorded history, we have slipped below the figure of 2,800,000; we shall be in the 2,700,000 area. It is also a fact that 251,000 people emigrated in the past five years. It is a further fact that more people emigrated in the five years up to the last census than in the 30 years previously.

When I am told that our rural depopulation is not as big as it used to be, I wonder is there any reality in the minds of those who make these statements. Deputy Blowick put it very succinctly; he said that so many had gone it was hard to think of a great outflow still continuing. I am reminded of the phrase used by Lady Macbeth when she and Macbeth were discussing their murder of Duncan:

"Who would have thought the old man had so much blood in him?" Does anybody think our rural population could continue to decline at the rate at which it was moving? How futile is the boast that it is not quite as bad as it used to be.

As far as employment is concerned, the figures the Government have promulgated to the public in this book called Economic Statistics are supposed to supply the proper answer. I am told there is an upward movement in industrial employment. I do not see any great signs of it, but I shall await the extra year's figures that have to be added. All I do know is that, taking the last figures up to April, 1961, and comparing them with those published in 1955 and 1956, there is a drop of between 60,000, as compared with 1955, and 40,000 as compared with 1956.

I have here the old plan—the Fianna Fáil plan to put an end to emigration:

In contrast to the inaction of the present Coalition, Fianna Fáil has been preparing its plans for the day when it will again take up the reins of Government.

The full employment proposals recently announced by Fianna Fáil show how the Party intends to deal with the problem of emigration by providing work for our own people at home.

THE FIANNA FÁIL PLAN PROPOSES AN INCREASE OVER FIVE YEARS IN THE NUMBER OF NEW JOBS BY 100,000.

This would result in full employment and the end of abnormal emigration. There was the deceit. There never was, of course, a plan to put 100,000 people into jobs. That is accepted now. There never was such a plan, but there was always the pretence that there was. There was always, too, the hope that certain people would be gulled by a pamphlet such as this, stating these were the plans and proposals to bring an end to emigration and unemployment.

We have, according to the Irish Times columnist again, on 27th February, not merely the lowest living standard in Northern Europe but the highest rates of unemployment and emigration. That is where we stand, without any confusion or complexity arising from this critical year when the Economic Community faces us.

We got then this pamphlet, the report of the Committee on Industrial Organisation. It is too late in this debate, but there will be many opportunities later, to go through the details of this report. I would describe it as somewhat of a panic report. It stresses urgency right through. It says on several occasions that it is doubtful if there is enough time left to bring in some of the reforms suggested. There is an important paragraph on page 7; it is paragraph 10:

Is additional aid needed? If by this question is meant: could the necessary changes be effected without additional aid, then the answer may well be “yes”. A more important question is: would the necessary changes be undertaken by a large enough proportion of Irish industry and in good time without additional aid, and the answer to this question is, in the committee's view, “no”. There appears to be a general reluctance on the part of the majority of firms to act in the matter of adaptation, coupled with an expectation (though that may be too strong a word) that aid will be forth-coming.

Their conclusion is "that additional aid will be necessary if valuable time is not to be lost in preparing Irish industry for freer trade". Their opening paragraph states:

Irish firms and industries will survive under free trade only if their products are competitive in design, style, quality, delivery dates and a whole lot of other things. It would be unwise to assume that local patriotism, consumer ignorance, market frictions, permissible restrictive practices or any other consideration will modify this conclusion significantly.

The next two lines sum up Irish industry in their view:

In their present state, many Irish firms and industries could not survive freer competition from imports.

I read speeches in the papers from time to time. It seems to me that every time a Minister puts on a dinner jacket and a black tie, and gets a Civil Service brief into his hand, he then suffers from what I describe as a penetrating intensity of complete delusion. I wonder do Ministers read in the papers next day the reports of what they have brought themselves to say with regard to prosperity? I understand that on one occasion—I suppose the Civil Service briefs were swopped—a Minister found himself talking about fish, which was obviously the theme for the parliamentary Secretary, while the Parliamentary Secretary addressed to a group of secretaries an allocution which should have been delivered by the Minister for Industry and Commerce.

There was a great deal of boasting throughout the country before this report of the Committee on Industrial Organisation was issued. We hear now that there are about 6,000 extra people in industrial employment in the last year; that is the year for which the figures are not given. I was looking through the figures with regard to employment and the way in which people are divided into industrial occupations. There are certain occupations called assembly industries; those are industries that depend upon getting a whole lot of parts of motor cars, prams, or other things, sent in here in cases in order to be put together again by people here. There is not much likelihood that the component parts are completely knocked down.

Industrial tanks, for instance.

Industrial tanks? I never heard of them.

The Deputy was described as one once.

There are 12,000 people, on my calculation, who get their employment in these assembly plants. I cannot see how even one of those will survive free competition from the Continent. At one stroke, you will lose all the hard effort and much of the finance that has gone in the way of extra employment in this country in six years. There may be other industries which hit the eye which look too thin to compete with the conditions which operate outside.

I turn now to the side of the Rome Treaty which deals with agriculture. The general phrase is used with regard to it that the whole objective of the European community is bona fide honest free trade, not free trade complicated by tariffs. There was a question asked here the other day by a Labour Deputy calling attention to the speech made by Dr. Erhard in Germany where he objected to what he called export subsidies and other devices to make up for the difficulties caused by the destruction of tariffs. The Taoiseach was asked if he thought any of our export subsidies would fall for criticism in that regard and his answer was the proper one that until these things were better investigated and analysed one could not say which of our tariffs would survive these tests. They are all to be subjected to severe tests.

The outlook on the agricultural side is that crops should be grown in the areas most suitable for their production. Does that mean that wheat will fall as a crop in this country? How will that affect barley? What other of the things that agriculturalists in this country produce will be beaten by competition if the European community operates the situation laid down in the Rome Treaty? I see no indication, except the publication of the reports of these two committees, the committee of investigation of the western farms and the Committee on Industrial Organisation, of any scheme whatever to encourage our agriculturalists or our industrialists by means that will not fall foul of the European Community.

At any event we are facing the future with a considerable amount of anxiety. There should not have been any doubt about our getting into the European Economic Community if we wanted to but there is plenty of doubt. That doubt arises for two reasons. One is that when the other free trade area was being discussed the present Taoiseach, as Minister for Industry and Commerce, showed himself to be a firm attachment to the British Minister who was regarded as being against the European Free Trade Association, Mr. Maudling. Mr. Maudling was described to me recently by a British Parliamentarian as the man who completely dragged his feet as far as the European Community were concerned. The present Taoiseach was a very effective ball and chain on Mr. Maudling on any occasion on which he may have wanted to speed up his progress.

We played in with the British so much at that time that the Continental groups were completely suspicious of our attitude even before that grouping broke up but when the present Taoiseach was quite confident that it was going to work out. We became the spokesmen of the under-developed countries. We put ourselves on the level of Greece and Turkey and other countries which were regarded as under-developed. We made all the running for them. When that plan failed and when a new Rome Treaty was signed and a new European community started our first application for membership was put in a conditional form. We wanted aids and special relaxations. It was only when attention was drawn to this that we put in a straightforward application. We have certainly not proved ourselves to be good European neighbours by our previous conduct in Europe.

It is doubtful if the policy which we have pursued since 1932 was one that would lead anybody to have confidence in the capacity of our industrial devices to withstand the competition of freer trade. In addition there was what has been called our independent attitude in international affairs. That has consisted of annoying all the people who are really our friends. We have certainly trodden on the toes of the big nations in the European Community. We have not earned any respect or gratitude from them. It will be a day of national humiliation if, having applied for full membership, we do not achieve it. We should not have had any doubt about that. With proper handling of our affairs we should have been well on our way to full membership of the community.

The battle only begins if we get into the community. It will be humiliation if we do not get in, but how far we are prepared to face the stress of competition is anybody's guess. If our application is successful we will be full of anxiety as to whether, having achieved entry, we will be able to keep up the pace.

We should have handled it the way you handled the Republic of Ireland Act.

We saved you from a lot of trouble. I am not sure of the period of his political viewpoint the Deputy is speaking of, whether he admired Cumann na nGaedheal at that time or not.

I never did.

You did. You formed clubs in University College, Dublin.

You are daft.

You must have been daft in those days, having regard to your present views. The Minister has been a member of two political Parties in his career.

That is a lie.

The word "lie" must be withdrawn.

It is not correct.

The fact remains.

It is not a fact.

The records can be produced.

On a point of order, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle. Deputy McGilligan has stated that I was a member of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party. That is not consistent with the facts and I would be glad if he would withdraw the statement.

I restate it. It is a fact.

Is Deputy McGilligan not prepared to accept my word that I was never a member of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party or of any Party, except the Fianna Fáil Party?

It has been the usual practice that when a Deputy denies such an allegation, his denial is accepted.

No, Sir; it is not.

I have been a victim of that.

If people are wrong about quoting certain things, the quotation must be produced or the denial accepted. I state what I know to be a fact.

I challenge that. I state categorically that it is not a fact and I challenge Deputy McGilligan to produce evidence in this House of that allegation.

I shall take that chance.

The Minister was a member of Fianna Fáil at that period.

What period?

When he was at the University.

He may have been there at several periods. There was a period when he was a founder of a club.

The Minister has denied the allegation by Deputy McGilligan. It is usual in this House to accept the denial.

What is the denial?

The allegation has been made by Deputy McGilligan that I was at one time a member of the Fine Gael Party and organised Fine Gael clubs when I was in University College, Dublin.

Was a founder of a club, was in a club-yes, that is a fact.

I assure this House, on my word of honour, that that is not correct.

I feel that the assurance is not correct. I shall accept it until I get other people, who have told me on their word of honour that he was——

Deputy McGilligan should get his affidavits in order.

I hope Deputy McGilligan will have the good grace to come back into the house——

I do not look for leadership in good grace from the Minister for Justice. Knowing his attitude, I am glad I am not a Civic Guard. May I go on with the question of membership of EEC? We are going on to that in a weakened condition. For years, we have been feather-bedding people, not bringing them up against the impact of the new competition that is bound to arise out of Common Market conditions. All that is happening is speeches at dinners at which Ministers express confidence in industrialists. I have not heard so much about industrialists expressing confidence in Ministers. The Ministers put on their rosecoloured glasses. When they get intoxicated with a dinner jacket and a bow tie, they can go out and apparently believe anything a civil servant puts into their hands by way of a brief.

They are far from facts. They are completely away from reality. The speech by the Parliamentary Secretary to-day has proved that. He believes this country is prosperous. He believes Fianna Fáil have the confidence of the country. I wish they would test that.

Judging by his appearance, Deputy McGilligan did not get too many of these dinners.

The Budget under discussion is one which could have been introduced only during a period of normal steady progress. There is no economic crisis, no dangerous situation calling for drastic remedial measures on the part of the Government. It is a Budget which, in its provisions, reflects the rational approach to the country's problems which is characteristic of a Fianna Fáil administration and such a normal Budget was made possible by the success of the programme for economic expansion. It contains no panic or emergency measures because none were needed. The only measures needed were those which would ensure that the progress which has been made, and is being made, would continue. This, I submit, the Minister has done. His decision to implement the recommendations of the Committee on Industrial Organisation and the provision of loans at special terms for industrial re-equipment are further welcome incentives to our new industries and must surely bear fruit in the years ahead.

In connection with our new and established industries, it is surely time that the Opposition openly recognised the success which has characterised the Government's efforts and that every Budget introduced since 1958 has had the effect of stimulating the industrial drive. Too little attention has been paid by Opposition speakers to this aspect of the present Budget. Listening to speakers from the Opposition, and the Labour Party in particular, it would appear that they came into the House with the intention of adversely criticising the Budget proposals in the realm of social welfare—irrespective of what increases were given.

Judging by the speeches which we have heard from the Labour Benches on this Budget and from the actions of Labour Ministers in two Coalitions one can only conclude that our Labour Party has failed to live up to a great promise. This Party, which has as its main preoccupation the betterment of the working-classes—the wage earners —failed lamentably to grasp the greatest opportunity in its history. We had Labour Ministers for Social Welfare and Industry and Commerce, we had a Labour Tánaiste, yet not one single major scheme of social welfare could they manage to squeeze out of their Cabinet colleagues.

Did you not vote against it in 1951?

One could, perhaps, forgive them for their failure in this respect. Maybe they did what they could within the limits imposed on them. Perhaps they found it impossible to induce belief in any great economic concept in an unenthusiastic Cabinet. It is difficult to understand, however, Labour criticisms of a Government who have done everything which Labour should have done if they had been true to their expressed ideals during two terms as members of a Coalition.

The old age pensioners were forgotten in four Coalition Budgets. In six and a half years of office, Coalition Governments increased these pensions by 5/-. Since 1957, Fianna Fáil have increased them by 8/6d. In addition, two increases, totalling 4/-, were given by Fianna Fáil between the two disastrous periods of inter-Party Government.

It is difficult therefore to understand criticisms which imply that this Government are not facing up to their responsibilities in the realm of social welfare. Almost every measure designed to help the under-privileged has been introduced by a Fianna Fáil administration—children's allowances, unemployment assistance, and so on. Furthermore, those allowances and pensions have progressively been increased by a Fianna Fáil Government.

This Government have never failed to recognise their duty to the people in the sphere of social welfare. They demonstrated that recognition last October when they became one of the signatories to the European Social Charter signed in Turin, Italy. In signing this Charter, the Government have merely given expression to the anxiety they have always felt for the necessitous and under-privileged.

Strange as it may seem to Deputies opposite, we on this side of the House take the realistic view that increases in social welfare, to have any real significance, must be part of an overall increase in the nation's wealth. The more prosperous our people become as a whole, the higher will become the allowances available for the social welfare classes.

Deputy Corish, Deputy Norton and some other Opposition Deputies take the very easy and specious line of comparing the increases given to old age pensioners with the recent increases granted to the judiciary. To my mind, that is a very mean and narrow approach to one of the great questions of our time. All these Deputies know that if the increases which were given to a small number of men who comprise the judiciary were to be taken from them and distributed among the old age pensioners, it would mean no more than a fraction of a penny for each of them.

Deputy Norton wishes to have this Budget subjected to certain tests. I submit that the tests which he suggests are not, at this precise moment in our history, valid ones. He asks what the Budget has done in a striking or spectacular way. The Deputy, conveniently ignoring our economic progress for the past five years, cannot see that nothing striking or spectacular was called for. Everything which any sane Government could do to meet the country's economic difficulties and provide for the future and its changing circumstances has certainly been done. It was only necessary to introduce a Budget that would ensure that steady progress.

Deputy Norton's reference to poverty, misery and squalor is a piece of oratorical nonsense—a throw-back to years ago when there was some justification for a resounding castigation of private enterprise democracy. If there is misery, poverty and squalor, then either they are visible only to the Deputy or they are being caused by forces outside the competence of this or any other Government to control. Something striking or spectacular in a Budget is necessary only when the country is experiencing some social or economic crisis. I do not believe that such a crisis exists, unless it exists in Deputy Norton's fertile imagination.

Deputy Ryan prefaced his speech with the statement that he found it extremely difficult to speak with enthusiasm either for or against the Budget. It was his duty, however, to exercise his talents as a speaker to condemn it. Then, finding it difficult, he devoted his speech to the timehonoured Fine Gael practice of condemning Fianna Fáil administration, root and branch. He says that apparently the Government have done nothing since taking over in 1957. Deputy Ryan sees no attempt made to increase employment and thereby stem emigration. He accuses the Government of deliberately, and for no specific reason, slowing up the building programme of Dublin Corporation and suggests that the Government are no longer concerned with the social welfare classes.

It is a strange commentary on the mentality of Opposition speakers that they refuse to accept the views of competent and experienced judges of the Irish economic and social scene. All these men have testified to the correctness of the Government's approach to our economic problems. They are still daily testifying to the success which has attended the programme set in motion to combat these problems. These views have been quoted here time and time again, but apparently Deputies opposite still refuse to accept these views, for the simple reason no doubt that they consider it would be politically bad form to attribute success to any plan put in motion by Fianna Fáil.

Let me remind Deputy Ryan that in condemning the Government's effort, he is belittling the Irish workers, Irish industrialists and foreign investors who have responded to the Government's incentives. Deputy Faulkner has effectively refuted the oft-expressed allegation that Fianna Fáil have not substantially increased employment and employment opportunities. The figures quoted by Deputy Ryan and others only serve as an indictment of the Coalition to which they were all at one time so very much devoted. The figures for housing development given by Opposition Deputies do no more than serve the same purpose.

Do the Deputies who boast about the amount spent by the Coalition on housing realise how much of it was made possible by their own efforts? They know very well that they could not have prepared the blue-prints, decided on an area to be developed, made compulsory purchase orders and had them confirmed and implemented at a moment's notice. The fact is that the housing programme to which the Coalition found themselves committed on assuming office was made possible by years of preparation on the part of the Fianna Fáil administration which preceded the Coalition. They decided to rest upon their borrowed laurels and finding themselves without any plans for the future, they left office and handed the crisis, which they themselves had created, to Fianna Fáil. It has taken from then until now for the present administration to put the country's finances in order and this Budget is an indication of the order which has come out of chaos. But there again the Taoiseach and other members of the Government have stressed the need for constant vigilance on the part of all concerned with our economic advancement.

When referring to the Common Market, it would be well for Deputies to remind themselves that the European Economic Community is not a group of nations banded together to pursue their own selfish ends, regardless of the damage such a closely-knit federation might cause to other nations on the Continent. It is a community which is anxious that every nation should benefit by the advantages which will accrue from this great experiment. We have no reason to fear that the EEC will make unduly harsh demands on us. They will undoubtedly ask that we display a willingness and an ability to honour our commitments as a member, and who is there to doubt that Irishmen will show that willingness and ability to see that Ireland takes her place in the new Europe? It is a peculiar commentary on Irish life that it is only in this House that doubts have been cast in this respect. No experienced economist or judge of international affairs outside the House has done so. This Budget, therefore, reflects the steady progress we have been making and it should commend itself to the House.

I did not intend to intervene in this debate but there are some points which should be emphasised. I do not intend to comment on the Parliamentary Secretary's speech this afternoon but I should like to say to the House that when the Minister for Finance and the Taoiseach last December shouted "wolf", it did not surprise me in the least because they were only repeating what they said in 1947 before the introduction of the second Budget in that one year. They were putting up the justification then for additional taxation of £10 million; they were warning the people that things would be extremely difficult, that we must go through a difficult period.

We told them then that their proposed new taxation was not necessary and we said to them and to the people that if Fine Gael formed a Government, or if a Government were formed of which Fine Gael were part, they would remove that penal taxation. We did, and Fianna Fáil will never forgive us for it. Accordingly, we get such phrases as we had from the Parliamentary Secretary to-day about inflationary cycles and what not.

The Taoiseach went around the country, as Deputy McGilligan pointed out, with the Papal Encyclical in his hand. I would mention here that I am glad the Minister for Transport and Power approves of the Papal Encyclical. The Pope will be glad to know it meets with his approval. The Taoiseach declared that the Irish people, meaning the Irish Government then in office, of which he was head, subscribed to the views and the directives in that Encyclical. But when it comes to putting it into practice, he gives 2/6d. a week to an old age pensioner, provided he lives to next August to get the first payment.

I shall not here criticise the salaries of judges or anybody else because I presume the Government were satisfied the recent increase there was the right thing to do, but while the pensioners must wait till August, those who are already fairly cushy get their increases retrospectively. If that is the Taoiseach's idea of social justice and equity, and if that is the Taoiseach's interpretation of the Encyclical, it is not mine. I suggest to the Taoiseach that he reexamine the whole matter.

When, in 1947, Fianna Fáil declared we would have a difficult period, they were preparing the people, as far as they were able, for a harsh Budget, knowing full well that the technique of shocking the people first and then getting them to realise that the ultimate position was not as bad as was expected, is a great device at which Fianna Fáil are past masters. We are told now by the Minister for Transport and Power and by the Parliamentary Secretary, that the flight from the land is general all over Europe and in America. The Minister for Transport and Power was more positive about this than was the Parliamentary Secretary.

He said that even in Denmark, the flight from the land was greater this year than in any year before—60,000 left the land in Denmark this year. He did not, however, tell us where they went to. They did not emigrate out of Denmark. They moved from one part of the country to another and therefore were not a loss to the Danish economy since they were still working in Denmark and producing there. Here, unfortunately, since 1939, the flight from the land has been at a very high rate and in 1940, 60,000 people left here to go to work in England and 120,000 Irishmen joined the British Army, Navy and Air Force at a time when we were neutral. That situation continued throughout the years until we took over in 1948. At that time, I would remind the House, a calf was valued at 10/-. That was the only method by which the farmer could earn a livelihood. You were a grazier if you talked about cattle or anything relating to cattle: you were the man with the dog, the farmer with the dog.

I want to point out that, in 1946, the number engaged in transportable goods industries, including building and public works, was 169,000; in 1947, 185,500; in 1948, 200,000; in 1949, 208,500; in 1950, 221,900; and in 1951 226,700—an increase of 57,000. Those figures are taken from official statistics and are part of the then industrial development, but listening to speakers one would think that from the time the inter-Party Government were formed in 1948, disaster overtook the country.

We relieved taxation to the tune of £10,000,000 per annum and we increased old age pensions by 7/6d. in reality. They had been static from the time of the previous Cumann na nGaedheal Government until then. Nevertheless, we hear shouts about what Fianna Fáil did for the old age pensioners.

I want to emphasise that when we were leaving office and handing over to the new Fianna Fáil Government in 1951—at that time, the Fianna Fáil technique was to say that we had left debts of an unlimited nature behind us—the truth of the matter was that we left £27,000,000 in hard cash on their table from the American Loan Counterpart Fund. It was two years after that the then Taoiseach, now the President, admitted that fact. When I upbraided him about talking about that £27,000,000 as if it were tailor's clippings, he was highly indignant. He did not say it was tailor's clippings but that we left nothing behind but debts.

Fianna Fáil have never forgiven us for showing up their princely scale of expenditure. When they came back in 1951, we know what happened. They removed the food subsidies and started the spiral of the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh round of wage increases and there has been general unsettlement from that time until now.

It is true that the balance of payments went against us in 1956. We put on corrective tariffs, the produce of which was to be used for capital purposes and capital purposes only. Is it not strange that Fianna Fáil were to take them off when they got into office, but have now retained a substantial amount of them as ordinary revenue going into the day to day housekeeping? Listening to the Parliamentary Secretary saying that the balance of payment problem was now corrected, I was reminded of the situation which arose in 1850 and 1851 in this country. That was after the Famine and emigration was at its highest. Strange as it may seem, in 1850, the total amount of money sent here by emigrants was approximately 25,000,000 dollars. That sum of 25,000,000 dollars was to maintain some people at home and pay the fares to America of others.

Our emigrants' remittances have steadily increased since Fianna Fáil took office in 1954, thereby proving that there has been an increase in emigration. Remittances are now being sent home to a greater extent than ever before. Our emigrants are helping us in maintaining a correct balance of payments. Last year, £14,000,000 was sent here by emigrants. I take it that that sum represents money sent by those who have gone to Britain and not those who have gone to America. It would appear from the arguments put forward here as if there is no emigration to any country except Britain, but everyone knows that our people are emigrating not only to Britain but to America, Australia, even the Argentine and elsewhere. The full picture is not given in speeches, here at any rate, and I doubt if we shall have any fair picture as to the population trend and the exact number of people who emigrate until the census of population is published.

Every year taxation is going up and what I mean by "taxation is going up" is that the Government are taking more from the workers and from the people. We are arriving at the stage at which many of our industrialists would not increase production, were it not for the fact that they get an incentive of a tax remission on their export trade. The only incentive today to industrialists is on the export side where they have a tax remission for all the increased production they can get.

There is no incentive whatever for production of goods for sale at home. There is the vicious circle that factories, firms and industries operating for home consumption are taxed higher than ever. There is no incentive to them to increase production or bring about greater efficiency. I assert that one of the greatest incentives I know of to mankind to produce more and work harder is more money of their own to spend. But if they are to be taxed, if the increased wealth they produce is to be taken from them in taxation, and if the mentality "there is no use working any harder because if we do, we will be working for the Government" is allowed to develop, we shall not have increased production, nor shall we make the headway we should make.

There are many things I should like to say on this Budget but it is best to let the people realise just how futile the Budget is. Deputy Blowick did point out what benefit it will be to the small farmer. It will not give him a packet of cigarettes in a week. It does give substantial benefits to the larger farmer. That is very worthy, but they are a very small number compared with the large number who will get little from it. On the question of the increase of £250,000 for the various classes of pensioners, the Minister admitted that they were entitled to £1,000,000 but that he could not afford to give them more than £250,000 now and so much in the full year. That is not an equitable way to approach the matter. If they are entitled to the sum he mentioned, they should get it. There is no reason why they should be put off with a cut price.

The Budget contains no incentive and it will not help our people to increase production. There is no hope for the small farmer. I am gratified to know that General Costello and the Sugar Company are making valiant efforts to increase production of a certain kind and I hope they will be successful because there I see something that could be of very great benefit to the small farmer. General Costello and the Sugar Company should be encouraged and every incentive given to them to increase production and to make their sales a success.

I subscribe to the view that the Budget is a disappointment. To me, it was a relief because a great number of people did believe the cry: "Wolf" which the Minister and the Taoiseach announced and a large number of people have expressed the view: "Well, I suppose it could be worse." That is about the best they can say for it—it could be worse, but, in my opinion, not much worse.

I have listened to many ex-Ministers speaking, and I am sorry to say that I have yet to hear a constructive idea from any of them. I listened to Deputy McGilligan wailing about the poor, but it is not so many years since Deputy McGilligan, then Minister for Industry and Commerce, stated that it was not the duty of the Government to provide work for the unemployed. It is good to see that Deputy McGilligan has changed. One thing we can be proud of is our education of former Fine Gael Ministers. It is good to see that now they have sympathy with the workers, for the old age pensioners, for the unemployed, for the people who are ill, both physically and mentally, and it is good that they have sympathy for the widows and orphans.

In 1932, the total amount of money paid out in social services amounted to about £3,500,000; the widows and orphans did not get any of that; the poor unemployed man did not get any of it—he had to go to the home assistance officer who met him with a scowl. To be hungry was nothing, but to be insulted by any of these gentlemen as the poor women or men often were, was beyond human endurance. That day has gone because Fianna Fáil have come to the rescue of the poor. We have come to the rescue of the unemployed with unemployment assistance and in this Budget, we have given them another increase. The prosperity of the nation can afford it and it has always been the aim of the Fianna Fáil Government to give to the needy what was justly theirs and certainly they were the first people Fianna Fáil always thought of.

People on the opposite side of the House say we did not give them enough. That is quite true. Nobody would like more than the Ministers in the Fianna Fáil Government to give them more and were it not for the fact that we had increased production, that the people answered that call, we would not have been able to give more to old age pensioners, more to the widows, more to the orphan, more to the unemployed, more to the sick man and more to the Old IRA. The Old IRA deserve from this House a lot more than they are getting because, were it not for their efforts, the British would still be here and we would still be an occupied territory of an outside power and our standard of living would not be as high as it is. It is not as high as we would like, but I suggest that during that period of occupation, our standard of living was probably the lowest of the white peoples of the world.

That day has gone and although Deputies and others will sneer today at the idea of the Old IRA men getting special allowances and so on, they should, if the nation is grateful, and it should be forever grateful to the men who got us independence through such hardship and sacrifice, get these allowances. Now we hear this wailing going on from Fine Gael, this "banshee-ism". "Banshee-ism" is a very dangerous disease because if there is one thing that will tend towards less production and more discontent, it is this constant wailing and telling the people, and trying to make them believe, that this country is not reasonably prosperous.

Let us be honest and throw our minds back over the past 40 years and we will find that the backbone of our housing problem was broken by Fianna Fáil. It was a difficult task. The slums in this country were practically unequalled by those of any other white peoples. We can all feel proud that we broke the back of the terrible housing needs and that today our people are housed in a reasonably good way. In another few years, we can safely say, we shall have eradicated the terrible canker of bad housing from our midst. We had the old dens—the small houses with no ventilation, no sewerage and no sanitation. All that is gone. If there is one thing to uplift our people, it is to bring them from those hovels into houses worthy of them. We cannot make young people look their own height, if they are reared in hovels. The conquering of the housing problem is all important, and Fianna Fáil can claim the major credit for it. There was not a house built in rural Ireland during the ten years of Cumann na nGaedheal Government, and those built in the towns and cities were let at rents so exorbitant that they were beyond the reach of the ordinary working man. Nobody, except those with a decent income, could meet the weekly rent.

I know that housing has slowed down to some extent, following that great conquest. In South Tipperary alone, we find it almost impossible to get contractors. The grants for new houses and for reconstruction work are so tempting that many farmers and business people are carrying out this work, and most of the tradesmen are engaged in it. Therefore, it is difficult to get contractors to build the remaining number of cottages required by the workers. If we continue to fail to get sufficient contractors, there is only one thing left to be done: they must be built by direct labour, even though it may cost more and the grant will, perhaps, have to be increased.

The former Ministers opposite are doing a bad day's work for the country by continuing this wailing and this foolish attempt to make the people believe we are in a poverty-stricken state. Statements of that kind will not help and they should not emanate from people who had the responsibility of Ministerial office. They ought to realise the difficulties that confront every Minister. Having had the honour of high office, they ought to be sympathetic. They should be more helpful in making certain that this country takes its rightful place among the nations of the earth, as the late Commandant General Pearse wished.

We feel that, whatever political kudos they may get out of it, whatever votes they may get at the next or any other election, the prosperity of this country must come before political Party. Former Ministers have come in and wailed because the old age pensioners did not get more. Deputy O'Donnell was wailing because they did not get more. Down in the town of Cahir, they would need to get more because Deputy O'Donnell, by refusing to sanction a housing scheme in the town of Cahir, sent them up a hill and they had to get a taxi to draw their old age pensions.

I feel the Deputy is widening the scope of the debate.

It has been stated that the £2½ million extra for the relief of agricultural rates will not find its way into the pockets of the small farmers. Deputy MacEoin was adamant about that. But who has proved to be the friend of the small farmer? Fianna Fáil. The small farmer is the dairy farmer—the man with a few cows and more or less depending on them—and the man with the small amount of tillage, a couple of acres of the wheat that Fine Gael told us could not be grown here. Of course, there is the never-to-be-forgotten attempt by Deputy Dillon, when Minister for Agriculture, to try to make the dairy farmers mendicants by offering them a shilling a gallon for milk. When you investigate it more closely, you find that 11½d. Would be the price the dairy farmers would have got if Deputy Dillon, acting on behalf of the Coalition, had been allowed to continue as Minister. That would have been disastrous.

While nobody would wish for a moment to have an adverse balance of trade, it was a blessing in disguise, because it was the adverse balance of trade and the failure of the Coalition Government to meet unemployment and the country's financial position in a worthy manner that was responsible for their going out of office. If they try to deny they did not leave this country in a mess after them, then perhaps they would tell us why they went out of office with over two years of Government in their hands with a sound majority. It was because they were not able to govern and because they were unable to manage the affairs of State as statesmen should. It was because they had not the courage to do it. Statesmen must, of necessity, have the courage to do the unpopular thing, if it is in the interests of the nation. They cannot always say they are going to do the popular thing. We, on these benches, had to vote for many unpopular things when they were essential for the nation's economy. It might be said we threw popularity to the winds, perhaps, because we knew perfectly well what was in the offing, but that was a headline for any other Government.

We hear a lot about emigration, despite the assurances of the Taoiseach and other Ministers of State that emigration has decreased very substantially. We all know that from our own personal experience. We all know in our own towns that very few have gone to England or any other place in the past few years. There was an exodus from here in the years subsequent to 1939. I would say most of them went because of the pay packet. Many people like adventure and travel. However, there is one thing we must have for the young people, that is, the amenities of modern life. One of the few amenities we have here is the little dance in the village hall or the town hall. These dances are preferable at all times to commercialised dances. The principal reason why the tax on dances was remitted was that it was too costly to collect. The men doing this work had to be paid for working at night and the transport they used had also to be paid for. This tax, as we all know, helped to destroy one of the few amenities in the country that our young people want. If we want to keep the young people here we must remember they are not as easily pleased as an older generation who would be satisfied with two or three dances in the year.

Another thing that will help in this connection is the remission of tax on cinemas. With the advent of television, many of our cinemas will go. Some of them have closed down already. That is only to be expected, as happened in other countries when television became the centre of social activity, instead of the cinema. However, many a poor person who could not afford a coal fire or a turf fire can go to the cinema for 4d. and enjoy himself on a night or two in the week. I am not a great picture goer. In fact I think many cinema shows are an insult to our intelligence and I am afraid many of them are not as Irish as we would like to have them. Nevertheless there are many people who can get enjoyment out of going to the cinema and we should not deny them that little pleasure. It would be a pity if through unfair taxes cinemas had to close down.

This is a good Budget, as good as most people in the country thought it would be. The greatest praise should be given to our Minister for Finance for safely guiding the finances of the State despite the many demands that were made on him. Many demands are made upon the Minister for Finance and his Department and, when it comes to extra taxation, instead of the Minister and his Department being loyally supported, they are criticised strongly. I suppose that is as it should be in a democratic country but the greatest credit is due to the Minister for Finance because, notwithstanding the great benefits this Budget confers on many of our people, taxation is still low.

A Deputy referred to 1947. Our sinking fund at that time was very small and so was our national debt. The national debt is piling up and every Member of this House should pledge himself to ensure that our national debt does not go beyond our capacity to pay. In that connection, the Labour Party are very critical of us. It must be remembered, we have given 17/6 extra per week to the old age pensioners as against the 5/- given to them by the Coalition Ministers. We have given to the sick, especially, a measure of help that even the most optimistic Deputies sitting in any benches here did not think could be given. The credit for that is due to the Minister for Finance in respect of the time when he was Minister for Social Welfare some years ago.

We all remember the bad times when the sick person, regardless of how many children he had, received only 15/- per week for the first six months of his illness. No matter how badly off he was after 26 weeks' illness, when his physical and financial condition had worsened to a great extent, he had to accept 7/6d. a week. The Minister for Finance, Deputy Dr. Ryan, gave to the sick person a measure of help that will never be forgotten. One thing that will bring a blessing to this country is consideration at all times for the people that are ill. They must be our first consideration. Where the bread winner is ill it is a very serious matter for his wife and children. Today instead of that miserable pittance of 12/6d. supplemented by the few shillings exported—I use the word deliberately—from home assistance officers with the aid of good members of local authorities, men with large families get as much as £5 12s. 6d.

When Deputies on the opposite side criticise they should always bear in mind that it was a Fianna Fáil Government who gave the sick man and his family that measure of help never to be forgotten and always to be appreciated.

The real shock content in the recent Budget was the very mean treatment of the old age pensioners considering the boastful type of Budget speech which the Minister for Finance made. Deputy Davern made one misstatement. Perhaps I misheard him. He mentioned an increase of 17/6d. a week to old age pensioners —I presume he meant 7/6d. I have examined the figures and, in the past 14 years, Fianna Fáil have been in Government for eight and the inter-Party Government for six years. During the six years of office of the inter-Party Government, the increase to old age pensioners amounted to 10/- per week. There was an increase of 5/- per week in 1948, of 2/6d. per week in 1951, and a further increase of 2/6d. in 1955.

The 1951 increase was given by us, of course.

That was the time the Minister voted against an increase of 2/6d. per week.

But it was given by us.

Not at all. I shall be able to correct that view straight away.

It was given by us.

I have here the Official Report of 2nd March, 1951. Deputy Norton was piloting the Social Welfare Bill through this House. At column 1086, he said:

I am happy to avail of the opportunity to announce that the Government has decided to increase old age and blind pensions by 2/6 per week when the necessary legislation is passed.

Deputy Dr. Ryan voted against that increase of 2/6 a week on 11th April, 1951.

But the Bill was not passed.

The Bill was not passed.

And, therefore, these people did not get the 2/6.

Because Deputy Dr. Ryan voted against it. Legislation was framed to provide an extra 2/6 a week. After the general election in that year, Deputy Dr. Ryan allowed the increase.

That is right—we gave it.

On 11th April, 1951, Deputy Dr. Ryan voted against giving these people an increase of 2/6 per week. That was not the first time. In 1947, when Deputy J.A. Costello and the late Deputy Dr. T.F. O'Higgins had a motion here asking for an extra 2/6 for old age pensioners, the Minister for Social Welfare at the time, Deputy Dr. Ryan, said the country could not afford to give them 2/6 a week. That was in November, 1947.

We gave them 5/instead.

A couple of months later, when the inter-Party Government had ousted Fianna Fáil from office, the old age pensioners got an increase of 5/- a week.

We gave them that.

The Minister had said only three months earlier that the country could not afford an increase of 2/6 a week.

But we gave them 5/-.

The Minister will not beat me on these figures. I have the figures and the dates.

I shall quote them again, and I shall quote them correctly.

The Minister may. In six years, the inter-Party Government gave a total increase of 10/- a week to old age pensioners.

They did not.

I have mentioned the years and the dates. Let us examine now the Fianna Fáil record. First of all, in 1947, they could not afford an increase of 2/6 a week. In 1952, when they removed the food subsidies and imposed an additional £9,000,000 on the consumers of bread, butter, tea and sugar, they gave an increase of 1/6 to the old age pensioners. In 1957, they gave them a further 1/- per week. In 1959 they gave them a further 2/6 a week. All the time the cost of living was literally hitting the roof. In 1960, they gave a further 1/-; in 1961, 1/6. All those great efforts—five in number— amounted to 7/6 a week altogether. That is all the money the old age pensioners got by way of increase in the past 14 years from Fianna Fáil: five little increases—1/-, 1/6, 2/6— amounting in all to 7/6. In the six years of inter-Party Government, the old age pensioners got 10/-, and that in a period when the Fianna Fáil Party were endeavouring to make out that the country was not being properly run. If the old age pensioners live until next August, they will get a further 2/6. Next August, then, the Fianna Fáil Party will have given an increase of 10/- a week after eight years as compared with an increase of 10/- a week in six years of inter-Party Government. I think the position is quite clear.

It is, but it is not true. That is the only thing.

I should like to remind the Minister that the record of the Fianna Fáil Party, where old age pensioners are concerned, has been one of meanness. In 1928, the old age pensioners were receiving 10/- a week. Fianna Fáil came into office in 1932. They remained in office for 16 years. When they were put out of office, the old age pensioners were still getting 10/- a week. Those who were hungry and destitute were catered for through the boards of assistance in the urban and rural areas. They got a grant of 2/6 a week. The inter-Party Government made that grant part of the permanent pension. They incorporated it in the pension itself. That applied to all old age pensioners.

The point is that, despite the rise in the cost of living, despite the steep increase in prices during the War years and in the years after the War, from the time Fianna Fáil first took office, they kept the old age pension pegged at 10/- a week. The first effort made to bring that 10/- higher was made by the inter-Party Government in 1948.

This latest effort by Fianna Fáil is an insult to old age pensioners when it is compared with the increase of £12 10s. a week to judges. The £12 10s. is retrospective to 1st of last November. That is the increase for people in receipt of salaries in the region of £4,000 or £5,000 a year. The increase of 2/6d. a week to the old age pensioners will be paid as from August next, if the old age pensioners survive to draw it. Consider the inhumanity and injustice. Judges are compensated for the increase in the cost of living by £12 10s. a week; old age pensioners are compensated by 2/6d. per week. That is the attitude of the Minister and his colleagues.

Government Deputies speaking in this debate were at pains to forget that the cost of living has been deliberately and positively increased beyond the capacity of the ordinary consumer. The ordinary consumer can no longer make ends meet. Consumers are paying up to £11,000,000 more now for their tea, bread, butter, and sugar, and the other basic essentials, than they were paying when the inter-Party Government were in office. But there is not a word about that. Remember, too, that it is only some of the old age pensioners, those at destitution level, who will get this increase of 2/6d. a week. It is only those in receipt of 28/6d. a week who will get the increase. The others— there are many of them—will get no increase. Because they were in insurable employment and had stamps during the specified period, they will not get one penny. They are not even to get this one shilling per week which the Minister said would be sufficient to meet the rise in the cost of living. Those old age pensioners will not get any increase and the same applies to the other classes who are receiving contributory pensions.

This increase is payable only to those who are on the destitution level. The Minister knows that it must be a miracle for any old age pensioner to make ends meet on £1 8s. 6d. a week at the present time. The loaf of bread has increased in price from 9d. to 1/3d. and the 1b. of butter from 2/10d. to 4/5d. and these are the increases which had hit the people on destitution level. No attempt has been made by the Minister in this Budget to meet his responsibilities in this respect. But they are not the only pensioners who were insulted by the attitude of the Minister in this Budget. I refer to the Service pensioners, the Guards, the Army, the retired civil servants, teachers and officials of local authorities.

In the course of his speech the Minister said that if he were to bring up the pensions of these people to the level to which they ought to be brought having regard to the increase in the cost of living over the last few years, if he were to treat them honestly and fairly, it would cost him £1,300,000 in a full year. He said that the country cannot afford that and that the Exchequer position precludes, acceptance of a commitment of this order for Service pension increases. He will not give them the £1,300,000 to which they are entitled. Instead, he throws half of that amount to them and gives them £675,000. He is also saving by deferring the payment of these decreases until next August but the judges were able to be paid their increases as from last November. The Minister will get out of it as cheaply as he can with the result that the Service pensioners will get only £450,000 between now and March.

The Minister also decided to distribute £2½ million and on this occasion he decided that the people who should get the largest cut of that were the largest farmers in the country and that the smaller the farmer the less he would get. He was able to find only £1,000,000 for the people on destitution level but he was able to provide £2½ million and to tell us that he had a system of distribution whereby the largest farmers would get the largest part of that. It amounts to about tenpence a week to some of the smaller farmers but it will amount to over £10 a week for some of the larger ones. He was able to give the largest increase to the largest farmers just as he was able to give a 12½ per cent. increase to the judges as from November. That has been the attitude of this Government in recent years.

I was glad to see that the Minister, in this Budget, recognised the importance of making industrial concessions. It is a welcome feature of the Budget that he has arranged to make facilities available for industrialists who desire to replace their machinery by modern equipment. I regard his decision as somewhat late having regard to the possible effects of the Common Market and to the possibility of a decision being reached very soon in relation to that body. There will probably be a stampede for that money on the part of two types of industrialists. The first are those who will be able to meet and beat the challenge of the Common Market. They will at once get into top gear and take advantage of the new situation. The second are those who, if they are to survive at all, must immediately discard their existing equipment and undertake the expense of replacing it in the hope that they will survive.

In relation to our industrial position I feel that I ought to quote a remark made by the Taoiseach in relation to the dangers that may come from the Common Market. He said: "In their present state many Irish firms and industries could not survive free competition from imports". It is almost the death knell for all the boasting of the Fianna Fáil Party in relation to industry when the Taoiseach makes a remark to the effect that, in their present state, many Irish firms and industries could not survive free competition with imports.

These people also will have to seek facilities, through the financial arrangements proposed in this Budget, to get machinery and equipment quickly to see if they can survive the competition that will arise in the Common Market. It certainly will have very serious effects for this country.

We had better examine all the implications. Unfortunately, the full implications of this Common Market arrangement are not properly appreciated or known to the public in general. Consider the acquisition of land and property in this country. If hard currency comes in here and starts to buy up property and land, the Irish will certainly be bought out of Ireland. The ordinary value of an acre of land in Germany, I believe, is about £450 to £500 compared with the £100 or £150 an acre for which land is available for sterling. Therefore, we may find a situation here that, when we are in the Common Market, a German will have every right to come over here and bid at an auction and buy our land. There will be plenty of hard currency available from Germany to buy up this kind of real estate. The same, but not to such a dangerous extent, may apply to the purchase of house property.

There is a definite value on the total amount of land and property in this country, it does not matter what it is. Supposing we say this country can be bought, lock, stock and barrel, for £50,000 million. It may look a lot of money but it is not, when we consider the budgets of America or England, for anything between £5,000 million and £20,000 million. This country can be purchased, lock, stock and barrel, by ordinary bidding at auctions, if steps are not taken to ensure that property will not pass out of the hands of Irish nationals into the hands of those who compete against them at free auctions. That is just one of the many implications which may come from the Common Market and which we should be ready to face.

Great credit is due to many public officials and to many people who have specialised in a study of the Common Market issues and the dangers that are there so that the public in general can be warned. This being an agricultural country, it is reasonable to expect that in the Common Market, there will be very great opportunities and advantages for the produce of our land, provided we can specialise in the marketing of that produce. That is why people are looking forward optimistically to the possibility of our joining the Common Market.

Naturally enough, we must wait and see whether Great Britain will join and the conditions under which she will join the Common Market, before we can make a final decision ourselves. However, if they do decide on favourable terms to join the Common Market, this country can look forward to great opportunities and benefits for our agricultural economy. We must face the fact that the industrial side of our economy will suffer to some extent, though many industries will get advantage and will prosper in the new economy.

Generally speaking, the policy of Fianna Fáil for this country has been a drastic failure. Their speakers have been boasting about the employment situation and the economy in general. They fail to admit that there are 50,000 fewer people earning wages here than five years ago; yet they boast about the employment situation. They use the labour exchange figures — the number of persons registered as unemployed—to support their argument. If a man cannot get a day's work in this country, he cannot survive and he must emigrate. There have been shocking figures for emigration from this country during the past five years.

This time last year, or slightly later, the census figures became known. We found that the number of people in this country was at the lowest level since the Famine. So much for the policy of Fianna Fáil. They have been in office for approximately 24 years. In their 23rd year of office, a census showed that our population is the lowest since the Famine. The measure of any national policy should be the vigour of the population and its constancy. We have seen a fantastic drop. If we examine the emigration figures, we find that during the Fianna Fáil 24 years of administration, over 1,000,000 people have emigrated from this country, 250,000 in the past five years. Those figures certainly do not give the Fianna Fáil Party any reason to boast.

On the other hand, if we examine the previous census figures—I think, the 1951 census figures—we find that the number of people had come up to the highest level for, I think, a couple of decades previously. It was certainly the first time the population figure showed an upward trend. I have heard the Taoiseach and some other Fianna Fáil speakers boast in recent times that our population is on the increase, that emigration is down, that employment is up, and so on. I have given the facts. I have shown that there are 50,000 fewer people earning wages in this country than five years ago. Last year, the census showed that we have the lowest number of people in our country in recorded history. These are just pointers. They are the things that show the results of policy and the bad results of the Fianna Fáil Party.

Some previous speakers could not think badly enough about the two inter-Party Governments—the two occasions during the past 14 years, or, indeed, during the past 28 years, when Fianna Fáil were removed from office by a majority of the people, by a majority of the votes. But during those two terms of office a great headline was set.

First of all, in 1948, when the inter-Party Government came into office we found the people of Dublin city crying out for housing accommodation. We found them sleeping in stairways, landings and corridors. We found them making an attack on a building in O'Connell Street in 1948 because while cement could be got to improve that building, no cement could be got to build houses for women and children. The inter-Party Government were able to embark upon a vigorous housing programme with the result that during their two terms of office there were over 50,000 houses built. Fianna Fáil can have the balance for themselves. I think it is 25,000.

In addition to that, the two inter-Party Governments were responsible for the reclamation of 1,000,000 acres of land. There is an extra 1,000,000 acres of fertile land in this country now. Since Deputy Dillon became Minister for Agriculture that land is in production. If there is any prosperity and if there are opportunities coming to us from the Common Market those 1,000,000 acres will certainly mean a lot for the country.

When we hear about the 1956 balance of payments, the need for imposing levies and for remedying our financial position, if we examine the figures we will find that there were more houses built in 1956 than in any year since. The levies caused considerable hardships. Many people did not agree with them. They were imposed in September. Deputy Lemass at that time said it was a poor effort and that it was not just good enough to remedy the financial situation we found at that time.

We had to make this adjustment because the terms of trade had turned against us. We were getting less for the goods we exported, agricultural goods, livestock and industrial products. We were getting less than we had been getting in previous years. At the same time, the price of everything we had to import in 1956 had gone up. There was a steep increase in the cost of imported goods and we were getting less for the goods we had to export. The result was that in September, 1956, it was necessary to bring in what appeared to be a drastic arrangement —a levy on a number of less essential commodities. Certainly, it was not like the levy on the loaf of bread, increasing its price from 9d. to 1/3. That was not the kind of levy. It was a levy on lawnmowers and umbrellas — items that were non-essential although they were associated with the ordinary running of domestic life.

If we examine the figures we find that from September the position continued to get worse. Unemployment continued to increase until it reached a very high figure. When we come to the June figure and particularly to the September figure of 1957—only 12 months after it was necessary to bring in these corrective measures—we find the graph of our financial position had, as a result of this correction, begun to improve. That is where Deputy Sweetman proved to be right in spite of the hardships that came upon us. It may have been bad politics on the part of Deputy Sweetman but it certainly was good economics. That was proved because, in fact, changes came about in our economy. Less than 12 months after Deputy Sweetman embarked upon that policy and decided to take these corrective measures, the curve in relation to our financial situation went in the right direction and has so remained.

It has been traditional with the Fianna Fáil Party, and it continues to be so, never to show much interest in the farming community or in the improvement of our agricultural economy. If we examine the figures we will see that, in fact, nearly 300,000 people left the land since Fianna Fáil came into office first. Only last year 7,000 people left the land. This year it is almost certain to be 10,000. I refer to farm labourers. It is almost certain that 10,000 people will leave the land during the present financial year.

This is described as an agricultural country but if the people who work the land and get the wealth from it which can be exported leave the land, who is going to get the wealth out of the land to continue the most important part of our economic strength, that is, our agricultural exports?

If we examine the Book of Estimates we see that taxation has been increased by about £50,000,000 since 1957. We well remember that at that time, when the total bill was somewhere in the neighbourhood of £100,000,000, the Fianna Fáil Party said it was just dreadful and if they got an opportunity they would cut down expenditure and would not have this three figure Budget of £100,000,000 but now they have jacked it up to £162,000,000 themselves.

It is a very high amount of taxation for such a small population. In fact, the taxation on every man, woman and child in this country is approximately £7 per head, which is a dreadful tax. Apparently, no effort is being made on the part of the Government to bring incomes up to the level which would enable the population to pay such a heavy tax.

The cost of living has gone up 20 points approximately since 1956. A rough calculation, which I think would be right, is that one point represents approximately £1,000,000, so that every time the cost of living goes up by one point the consumers, that is, the persons who must buy the items contained in that list for the purpose of calculating the cost of living, have to pay an extra £1,000,000 for the commodities within the list.

Rates have gone up about £4,000,000 in the past four years—to such an extent, in fact, that there was an agitation which spread like wildfire throughout the country among the farming community. They felt the rates burden imposed on them by the Government by the various Government schemes was beyond their capacity to pay.

The result was that over 100,000 farmers gathered in the various towns —3,000 in one, 6,000 in another and 10,000 in another—to protest against the rising rates and the added tax burden. They agitated particularly against the rise in the health charges. The rate in the £ being charged in order to meet the cost of the health services in most counties now is the biggest proportion of the rates bill. In many cases, the health charge on the rates now is higher than the charge for construction work and maintenance of public roads which was always the highest charge on the rates. The farming community found they could not bear this any longer and they crowded into the towns and cities to protest. As a result, the Minister decided in this Budget to relieve them to the extent of £2,500,000. As I have already stated, the biggest farmers get the largest share of that sum.

In the course of his Budget Statement, the Minister mentioned that he intends to increase the cost of the Social Welfare stamp as from January, At the moment the cost of the stamp is very high, both for employers and workers. As from January next, the Minister proposes to get from these two groups another £1,500,000 in extra payments. Each group will be asked to contribute an extra £800,000 and of course the State will contribute a further £800,000, making an added total sum of just under £2,500,000. The extra £1,500,000 which employers and workers will thus pay will bring their contribution up to £12,000,000, a very steep increase.

In addition to that burden which the Minister proposes to impose next January, we had the announcement from the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs a few weeks ago of the increase in the postage rate of 33? per cent. Many people affected only in a small way by that increase, do not realise what it has meant to business people. There are plenty of small business concerns throughout the country whose weekly letter postage bill is not less than £12. You can take it at 80 stamps to the £ and 150 to 180 letters a day in the case of most of these firms. This new increase will mean that their bill will be increased to £16 a week. That is a very serious tax but it is far worse in the case of firms whose annual bill for letter postage is in the region of £2,000. There are many in that class of business in this city. This new increase will bring their postage bill up by over £600 a year. Of course it does not affect the ordinary person who buys only the odd stamp but it affects the business community very seriously. Many of them employ large staffs in that connection.

Re-examining the figures we find that since 1956 there has been a drop of approximately 30,000 in the number of farm labourers employed. That shows the trend, and if my forecast of a further drop of 10,000 this year is correct, it means that since 1956, 40,000 farm workers will have left the land. Of course, it will be said that we have brought in machinery to take the place of farm labourers. It will do certain types of work but the farm labourer is still necessary. It is he who does the thinking, who plans the work, who gets it done in the time necessary. Accordingly, we cannot be satisfied that machines will get from the land the wealth that is there, unless we have a sufficient number of workers to direct operations.

I noticed from the Minister's statement that the value of our agricultural exports has reached a very high level. That is to be welcomed. It follows the pattern set by Deputy Dillon when he took over as Minister for Agriculture. It is worth while to study the figures again in that respect. We find that, in 1947, just before Deputy Dillon became Minister for Agriculture, the total value of our agricultural exports was £39,000,000. When Deputy Dillon was leaving office, the value had reached £131,000,000. He was associated, of course, with the 1948 Trade Agreement with Britain which brought considerable trade and increased prices, with consequent greater income, to this country from its agricultural exports. As I have mentioned, the 1947 figure of £39 million was raised by the inter-Party Government to £131,000,000, so it can be said that the agricultural policy pursued by the inter-Party Government brought considerable prosperity to the farming community during those years. It was certainly its mainstay and is still.

Let us look at the industrial side. What has actually brought to this country the growth and the industrial expansion which we have witnessed today? It is, of course, the 1956 Finance Act brought in by Deputy Sweetman. It was the first Act of its kind and it encouraged people engaged in industry to expand their industry and seek markets for their products. They were told that if they would manufacture goods, market them and export them, the manufacturer and the industrialist would get a special concession in relation to the profits they would make from the goods exported.

I mention the 1956 Act because it has set a headline. In the years since, some further Acts have been brought in, of course, the Shannon Development Act in particular which extends the facilities available to manufacturers and industrialists. All credit to the Government for introducing those Acts but we must not overlook the fact that the headline was set by Deputy Sweetman, and it is as a result of his Act that we now have a considerable industrial expansion and prosperity from industrial exports.

A peculiar thing we notice in the statistics, too, is the very small average earnings of our farmers. There are something like 350,000 agricultural holdings and when we divide the number of farms into the actual total income from agricultural exports, and home consumption of course, we find the earnings of the farmers are on average very low. In fact, they are less than the minimum wage of an agricultural labourer. It is very difficult to understand how they can subsist on their earnings, taking the average.

At the moment the terms of trade are very favourable and we are benefiting from that situation. One of the Deputies across the floor of the House mentioned the fact that the national debt has increased considerably, but it is obvious that that increase is no harm to the nation, provided we get something in return. We have got 100,000 houses for it; we have many other facilities such as water and sewerage; we have transport, planes, airport and other developments. I agree with the speaker who said that we must be careful to ensure that the national debt does not reach a level at which the taxpayers will not be able to pay the interest on it.

At the moment the taxpayers are paying something around £23 million or £25 million in interest on the national debt. Naturally enough, when the debt is being increased, we must take steps to ensure that it is not increased to such a figure that our taxpayers will find it absolutely impossible to pay the interest charge. It is hard to decide just how much they can comfortably pay in the form of interest. I think it should be measured by whatever amenities are provided from it and whatever profit they can get from those amenities.

We consider the Budget this year a very poor effort. It gives no guidance. There is no pointer in it, nothing which will expand our economy in respect of either industry or agriculture in any dramatic way. There is no indication of any type of new national development; there is no indication of any kind of economic plan or any new approach in relation to the possible effects of the Common Market. The Minister has announced no scheme in his Budget which would give us an opportunity of debating its merits. In fact, there is nothing in the Budget but the insult to the old age pensioners, the mean 2/6 a week which is emphasised by the fact that only a few weeks ago the judges got retrospective allowances of £12 10s. a week.

I want, by way of preface, to quote from the last paragraphs of Deputy Dillon's speech on this Resolution. At column 1782, volume 194, No. 11 of the Official Report, he said:

There is one other matter to which I wish to refer. I doubt if it really required reference and yet I find that lies often enough repeated sometimes get credence from people who have a right to deliverance from fraud and deception. It is an old conviction of certain unscrupulous elements in public life that a good lie told often enough and loudly enough will get someone to believe it.

I used to believe that Deputy Moher was an honest man, which shows you how the most sophisticated man can be misled. It was he who started the hare that I, as Minister for Agriculture, had sought to reduce the price of creamery milk to a shilling per gallon. He knew that was not true, but he read out carefully chosen extracts in this House and though he did not assert it himself, let us not forget he was reared under a very experienced teacher who must be nameless here. We all remember the famous speech made in Belmullet: "They tell you we will do all sorts of awful things, that we will increase the price of bread and flour but we never do the awful things they say we will do, do we? Deputy Moher took a leaf out of that book.

If the Deputy will excuse my intervening, I hope he does not propose to quote Deputy Dillon's speech in extenso.

God forbid—none of us wants that.

I am quoting a reference to me——

May I point out that long quotations are not in order? The Deputy can paraphrase the speech, if he wishes.

There are just a few lines more. He said:

I scorn to waste the time of the House traversing Fianna Fáil false-hoods, but I fix them all with notice now that, though the rules of order will never permit me to say they deliberately lie, if they repeat that story in Dáil Éireann hereafter, it is only the rules of order will protect them from the description they deserve.

That unprovoked assault was made by Deputy Dillon on me when he was concluding his speech on the Budget.

Lest Deputies may not know what provoked that assault, or with what the assault is concerned, I shall go into the facts. Deputy Dillon was provoked by my quoting a letter he addressed to the chairman of every co-operative society in the country. This was a sequel to a speech which he made in Dungarvan and which I have here, to the county committee of agriculture on 18th March, 1950. Some time during the lifetime of the last Dáil, the Fine Gael Party put down a motion on the price of milk. I had not the slightest intention of speaking on that motion but the night the motion was taken, the Minister for Agriculture and Deputy Dillon were not in the House. The Minister's place was taken by the Minister for Finance and no sooner had he entered the House than there was a barrage from the Fine Gael Party. We had the slaughter of the calves and for a full hour we were in the long shadow of the short shirt.

The long black shadow.

The long shadow of the short shirt. I happened to have in my case the letter addressed to the chairmen of the co-operative societies and I came into this House and I quoted this letter and got it into the Official Report. Hence the assault in the last paragraph of Deputy Dillon's speech on the Budget.

I have here also a copy of the speech he made at Dungarvan and I propose to quote it and let the House judge what exactly Deputy Dillon meant. I am quoting from the speech delivered to the Waterford County Committee of Agriculture on 18th March, 1950:

But if we have the courage to look ahead and act appropriately now, then in my considered judgement we stand upon the threshold of the greatest period of expansion and prosperity that the agricultural industry of this country has ever known.

The right course to pursue now is to fix a price of 290/-

—per cwt.—

for butter by informing all co-operative creameries that if they are not in a position to dispose of their output on a more profitable basis anywhere else, the Government will accept whatever butter is offered at 290/-, accepting the responsibility of marketing it subsequently, the Exchequer to bear the loss or gain resulting; and this for a period of five years from the 1st April, 1950. This would ensure for every creamery in Ireland that while it might be able to pay its suppliers more than 1/- a gallon for milk, if by superior management or diversity of manufacture, they earned more, in no possible circumstances would any competently run creamery in Ireland be unable to pay 1/- a gallon for milk for the next five years.

That was the era of prosperity promised by Deputy Dillon to the dairying industry. Of course, wrapped up in the 290/- per cwt. is the story which Deputy Dillon wants to hide. I claim that if I asked in this House how many gallons of milk are required to produce one cwt. of butter, not more than one or two people could give me the answer. That is how Deputy Dillon wrapped up what this 1/- a gallon meant. Anybody who knows anything about creamery costings will know how many gallons are required and I propose to deal with the costings structure of milk vis-à-vis butter.

It takes 256 gallons of milk to make one cwt. of butter. Now on 290/-, the price offered by Deputy Dillon, to the creamery, it would leave 34/- for manufacturing costs and other incidentals. The figures were based on the 1949 costings because Deputy Dillon was speaking in March, 1950, and in 1949, out of 156 creameries, on that costing, 54 could pay 1/- a gallon and 102 would be paying between 9d. and 11d. and a fraction. Now that is clear enough for anybody to understand and Deputy Dillon can threaten as much as he likes, but unfortunately—and I do not know why—he singled me out as I sat silently there and invited this by way of reply. Deputy Dillon threw down the challenge: "If you dare, or anybody dares, to repeat this falsehood, I am warning you what I will do." I am repeating this and I invite Deputy Dillon or any other Deputy in Fine Gael to repudiate the facts or extract a different meaning from what I have said, if it is possible.

Deputy Dillon promised a golden era of prosperity for five years but the dairy farmers accepted it not as a golden era but as a golden fleece. They were to be fleeced to the tune of 2d. or 3d. a gallon and like any other section of the community, they reacted violently. Emergency meetings of all the creameries were called; regional meetings were called, as well as a meeting of the IAOS, the national executive of the dairying industry. I can well remember attending a meeting of the Federation of Creameries in Limerick and I remember the representatives of the Limerick creameries at that meeting. I also remember attending a meeting, sitting in the body of the Engineers Hall in Dawson Street and seeing Deputy Dillon face the irate members of the IAOS at their annual general meeting.

The farmers reacted violently. They understood exactly what 290/- a cwt. meant in terms of pence per gallon. I can remember Deputy Dillon's summary of his speech there—I can even quote from memory what he said. He said: "You are breaking behind me." That is what he told the representatives at that annual general meeting, and he went on to say: "If you trample me under, I will go back behind the counter and earn the £1,200 a year you give me to preside as your Minister for Agriculture." The farmers were adamant. That was the last we heard of the 290/- and 1/- a gallon for milk. How can Deputy Dillon get up and assail me here? I did not invite the attack. He never forgave me for putting this letter on the records of this House. That was the reason why. I do not as a rule in this House make political speeches—any speeches I have made here have been far removed from the political climate. But you cannot get anything but political speeches from the opposite benches. Nobody can get up and make a sensible speech; everything is politics and political sniping.

I have listened to many speeches about milk and milk prices from the Opposition but let Deputy Dillon interpret what he meant by his Dungarvan speech and his high-powered circular issued through the co-ops to dairy farmers. I listened to the efforts being made by the Fine Gael speakers to depreciate the benefits conferred on the various sections of the community in this Budget. I listened to Deputy Donegan from Louth proclaiming he was proud of having marched with the NFA. But a few days afterwards, when concessions of £2½ million had been given to that section of the community, Deputy Donegan cheerfully walked into the lobby and voted against it. I wonder what would the Executive of the NFA in Louth think of that? Would they have commended Deputy Donegan for having voted against the £2½ million of concessions they were getting?

In my constituency of North-East Cork, the figures are very interesting. If you take Cork county as a whole, 36 per cent. of all the agricultural holdings there are over £20 valuation. But if you take the constituency I represent, close on 50 per cent. of the holdings there are over £20 valuation. Let us see what the Budget concessions meant to the people of varying valuations over £20. In the greater portion of the constituency I represent, the rate in the health area is 48/- in the £. A farmer, with a 16-year-old son, with only one worker, will first get a rebate of £17 employment allowance. If he has an agricultural rate on his land of £20 or over, he will get a Budget concession of £4 16s. If he owns a tractor, he will get a further concession, although not many in that valuation group own tractors. At £30 valuation, with a 16-year-old son, he will get the £17 for one worker, plus a concession of £10 16s. On £35 valuation, he will get the £17 plus a concession of £13 16s. On £40 valuation, he will get the £17, plus a concession of £16 16s. On £45 valuation, he will get the £17 for the one worker—and if there are others, there will be appropriate reductions— as well as the Budget concession of £19 16s. On a £50 valuation, there is a Budget concession of £22 16s.

In the area in which I live, there are a considerable number of farms with a valuation of £50 or over. By any yardstick, the owners of such farms can only be described as small farmers. These people are now getting Budget concessions of £22 16s.; yet the non-agricultural executive of Fine Gael marched the rural Deputies into the Division Lobbies to vote against those concessions. I could imagine what would happen if Fianna Fáil were on that side of the House and we were marched in. They would be working at full pressure pouring out the propaganda. I know what the backroom boys of the Fine Gael organisation in their own constituencies would be saying. I can tell you we would get it. All the facts would be brought home.

That is why I have mentioned what it means to the ordinary farmer down the country particularly. Fine Gael will say the greatest concession goes to the big farmers. At one time, Fine Gael were the big farmers' Party, but now there are not so many big farmers —like the judges, they are not a political factor—and they can kick them in the mouth and throw them overboard. As far as the big farmer is concerned, good luck to him. For too long have the big farmers been fleeced and bled. With their high valuations, the biggest single item they have to meet is the rates demand. They dread it because it is the biggest single demand that will be made on them in one year. They are deprived of the employment benefit. It is all one-way traffic. They have been continually paying and getting very few concessions. If they now get a break, it is long overdue. That is my attitude to the large farmers. Let us not forget also that, if you go into the statistics of production, you will find that on the larger farms, the percentage increase in production has been greater than on the smaller farms. Therefore, they are a big factor in increasing national production. If they get a concession, it is their due reward. That is my approach, not the approach of Fine Gael.

Deputy Dillon said that if you repeat a lie often enough, it will ultimately get credence. It is very interesting to see where that quotation comes from. It is a quotation from Mein Kampf, Hitler's political testament. That was one of the precepts advocated by Adolf Hitler, but there are other precepts as well. Fine Gael have a belief that, if you throw enough dirt, a certain amount of it will stick. They have been throwing it across the House. Placed in the Front Bench of Fine Gael are three or four litter-bugs who do nothing but throw insults across the House. I do not talk much in this House, but I sit down and listen a lot. Coming back to Mein Kampf, may I say that Hitler in his heyday divided the world into two classes? The pro-Nazis he called the virtuous——

I am afraid we are getting away from the Budget.

I shall come back to it in a moment. Anti-Nazis he called the non-virtuous. Fine Gael all down through the years have tried to divide the Irish people into two classes. The virtuous are all those on the Fine Gael side of the House and the non-virtuous, the people with all the vices, are on the Fianna Fáil side. Deputy P. O'Donnell speaking in the Budget debate from the Front Bench concluded his speech by saying "Deo gratias”. He was making a comparison between Tammany Hall and Fianna Fáil. One of the things Deputy O'Donnell forgot was that everything that was rotten and corrupt in Tammany Hall emanated from the lawyers in that organisation.

I hope I have cleared the position in relation to the 290/- a cwt. for butter. Fifty-two creameries out of 156 could pay 1/- a gallon; 104 could pay only from 9d. to 11d., and Deputy Dillon dared me to come in here and "repeat that falsehood".

We have just heard Deputy Moher who announced with rather a blowing of bugles that he is one decent man in this House. He proceeded to say that he never makes a political speech in Dáil Éireann. If he never makes a political speech in Dáil Éireann I suggest he thinks of what he has now done. This debate has gone on for the past three weeks and I have never listened to a more irate politician than Deputy Moher. This Simon Pure, who is now about to flee the House for fear something might be said which will offend him, who is the one man who is not a politician, has come in here and has vapoured for the past 20 minutes because he was hit hard by the Leader of the Opposition. He will be hit hard again and the next time he is hit hard, I hope we shall not have to listen to his souealing and mewing here as we have had to do just now.

The Budget debate is intended to be a critical approach to an important decision of the Government each year, that is, of the manner in which they organise, in relation to a 12 months' period, the finances of the nation and lay down a policy, so far as the economy is concerned. It is usual in budgetary statements and in budgetary debates for the Minister for Finance, having indicated whatever concessions he feels he is in a position to make, to recognise that the means available do not permit him to go as far as he might like. It is usual also for the Minister for Finance to wish it to have been possible for him to give greater reliefs and to adjust in a more striking manner particular pieces of social injustice.

These phrases that are frequently used in Budget debates are supposed to indicate a feeling which all of us should share that when it is possible, within the resources of the State, to right a wrong, it should be done in full measure. Righting a wrong in that sense is possible only when there is available to a Government an increase in the tax revenue coming from the people. When such an increase of sufficient size becomes available, there is naturally an expectation that it will be used to improve the lot of the poor rather than that of the richer person.

In the Budget this year, such a striking opportunity was afforded to the Minister. He had available the proceeds of a very substantial increase in tax revenue and he had available certain objects for his bounty, the sick and the poor, those unorganised sections of our community who are not able to band together and march through the different capital towns of the country. There were other more organised groups who were able to make their demands felt because, through organisation, they were vocal and politically influential. There were also other smaller sections who through the years had been demanding tax concessions of one kind or another, groups such as those who own and operate ballrooms and cinemas throughout the country, groups such as the ballroom proprietors who some years ago entered the electoral lists on behalf of the Fianna Fáil Party. These were the people with their hands out to the Minister for Finance asking him, in effect, to right their wrongs out of the excess money available to him.

It is interesting to examine what the Minister did. He had the expansion of tax revenue of over £20 million in respect of the past two to three years. One need only go back to the financial year 1960-61. In that year, the tax revenue yielded close on £150 million and in that year, 22.8 per cent.—call it 23 per cent.—was made available for social welfare purposes, to the needy sections of our community.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 9th May, 1962.