Committee on Finance. - Vote 44—Industry and Commerce (Resumed).

Debate resumed on the following motion:
"That the Estimate be referred back for reconsideration."—(Deputy Cosgrave.)

Before reporting progress last night, I expressed the view that the Estimate for the Department of Industry and Commerce this year should involve a very special effort because of the many difficulties likely to be encountered and because of the changes and adjustments which will need to be brought about before we reach the stage of meeting direct European competition.

I am sorry to say I fail to see in this Estimate any such unusual provision. To me, it resembles very closely the Estimate for the previous year. There is a net increase of £433,120 as compared with the sum granted last year, but when we consider that £76,000 of this increase is needed to meet increases in salaries and that last year redundancy in one industry alone cost the State £73,000, we see the small margin left to meet any unusual redundancies that may occur. There is no indication of any all-out, eleventh hour effort to make provision for the redundancy which must inevitably occur and there is no indication that the Minister sees any necessity for a reorganisation of the existing machinery for the encouragement and establishment of new industries.

Apart altogether from those people who must lose their employment through certain industries being unable to meet free trade conditions, there is still a serious emigration problem and there is still a large number of unemployed people to cater for. This indicates to me that certain changes are needed which would be calculated to expedite the setting up of new industries and the creation of new employment opportunities. This calls for one central agency and at the moment there is no such agency.

There are a large number of bodies in this country concerned with the establishment of new industries. When people come in here from other countries with the intention of establishing industries, they meet with very many difficulties and frustrations. We have some people working outside this country and they have done a very creditable job in interesting would-be industrialists in coming here and establishing industries. Having got that far, it is all-important that we should do everything possible to impress these people and to meet their reasonable requirements. These people come here on the information they have been given, and because of the inducements that have been held out to them; and I think they feel, rather innocently, perhaps, that they have nothing to do except make contact with this Industrial Development Authority, and the going will be easy after that.

Now, as Deputies know, there are certain conditions. There are certain grants available for people who are prepared to establish industries in what are described as development areas. Prospective industrialists in these areas may get up to 100 per cent of the cost of the site and factory and 50 per cent of the cost of machinery and equipment. Outside of the development areas the grants are more limited. Prospective industrialists can get up to two-thirds of the cost of the site and the factory and one-third of the cost of equipment.

I should like to ask the Minister whether any industrialist has ever got the full grant written into the brochure. Perhaps he will tell us when he comes to reply. If any industrialists have got the full grant, would he tell us how many, and if the industrialists in question were those interested in setting up industries outside the development areas?

I must find fault with this brochure, prepared in order to induce people to come here, making them aware of the facilities available, and so forth. I should like to read just one short paragraph:

Outside of the Development Areas grants may be given for the establishment or the development of an industrial undertaking of exceptional national importance.

I should like to know from the Minister what is an "industrial undertaking of exceptional national importance". I know of an industry, prepared to employ 500 people, which was turned down by the Industrial Development Authority. In my view, it is an industry of exceptional national importance. "Up to a maximum of two-thirds of the cost of the site and buildings plus one-third of the cost of the equipment, where there are sound reasons"—that is another thing I should like to have explained—"why it should not be established or developed in the Development Areas and where financial assistance by way of grant is necessary". I suggest no industrialist will admit that he does not need a grant. But how will he prove it? I think that condition should be removed. There should be a set of definite conditions for the development areas and another set of conditions for areas outside the development areas.

The important thing is to remove all obstacles to the establishment of worthwhile industry. In that regard I believe there is great need for one central agency to which would-be industrialists could go and be told: "If you are prepared to set up your industry in this particular area there are sites available here, and here, and here." It should be possible to show a map of every county indicating the areas in which the industry could be established, the areas in which the various services required, such as sewerage, water, ESB current, etc., are available.

The first thing the prospective industrialist does is to make contact with the Industrial Development Authority. He may also have to make contact with the Department of Industry and Commerce. If he is interested in grants, he will definitely have to make contact with An Foras Tionscal. After that, he must make contact with the local authority when he goes to look for a site. In the local authority there are the planning departments and the building by-laws. He may be held up for two months in the local authority; then the plans may be returned for some silly reason—elevation and detail unsatisfactory, surface water disposal not sufficiently indicated, or something like that. The plans are held up and must go back again for some small, frivolous reasons.

There has been one exception, of course. The decision in regard to the aeroplane factory was given without consulting the local authority at all. But it was a good thing somebody gave the decision. That is the sort of quick decision people expect. I think they are entitled to get it because what we need most of all is industry and opportunities for employment. The Government, labour and management, but especially labour, should concern themselves much more, in my view, with the establishment of new industry and new employment opportunities rather than with improving conditions for people already in employment.

If we had the central agency I suggest, an application for grants, the building of the industry, the equipping of it, and everything else should be cleared up and inside one month. At the moment it can go on for anything from four to six months. The Industrial Development Authority and An Foras Tionscal can waste two months in deciding to refuse an application. I think that is very serious. Both An Foras Tionscal and the Industrial Development Authority should be reorganised. We should have one central authority, broadened and widened. It should not be manned by civil servants. You have six civil servants involved now and, because of that, there is what I regard as excessive caution.

That is not true. I do not want to interrupt the Deputy, but that is not correct.

Am I wrong then in saying that there are only civil servants on the board of An Foras Tionscal?

I am sorry; I thought they were all civil servants. I was not aware that they were not.

But up to recently they were?

Up to recently only, as regards An Foras Tionscal but always in regard to the Industrial Development Authority.

And An Foras Tionscal only in the last six months?

Roughly, yes.

I think it would be a good policy to adopt the French pattern and have on this agency not only civil servants but the leaders of industry and labour as well. We would probably get more practical decisions. We would probably get quicker decisions. Above all, we would get people who would not be afraid to make a decision. Civil servants generally are inclined to be over-cautious. I should be the same were I a civil servant. I do not blame them for being over-cautious.

I made a note of a couple of items that disturbed me somewhat while the Minister was making his speech. One is in relation to the Avoca Copper Mines. Coming events seem to cast their shadows before them, and the Minister threw a rather dark shadow here yesterday evening when he said the Avoca mines had run into further difficulties and he was afraid he might have to come to the House with further proposals. This industry employs 500 people in return for an enormous investment. The position seems to be rather serious because each calculation made by these people seems, at first, to be a very sound one and one which will take them out of difficulties, but almost immediately they are into fresh difficulties. I sincerely hope that unsatisfactory position will be resolved in the very near future.

With regard to Córas Tráchtála, that body is doing an excellent job and I personally see no reason why it should be debarred from trying to market agricultural produce. Why it was necessary to set up An Bord Bainne beats me. I think they were well capable of dealing with it and would probably have made much more progress in that field.

I was glad Deputy Byrne referred to the container traffic. Such traffic is normal in countries with which we compete and in countries to which we export. It is bad that the facilities for container traffic should have been delayed for so long and that even now the position is not 100 per cent happy. Every effort should be made to avoid all unnecessary difficulties in our export drive. If anything, labour should be more anxious about this than anybody else.

It has been said that one industrialist normally brings another and that is very true. If an industrialist comes here and feels he is badly treated he can very easily influence others not to come. It is important that people who come here should be satisfied. The more opportunities we provide for the employment of our people in this country, the better.

I shall conclude by repeating that I attach much importance to the reorganisation of the existing machinery for the establishment of new industry. We could and should establish many more new industries. It is immaterial where they are established so long as it is within the State. In that way our people will be employed in their own country. Many industries will not be driven to a remote part of the country.

It frequently happens that people in sufficient numbers are not available for employment in a factory in a remote district. Very often, also, the top management will not live in a remote part of the country. That means that we are driving people away from this country whom we badly need. We should have another look at the conditions in this brochure and make it easier for people to see what they will get under certain conditions and certain circumstances. A lot of people are disappointed when they come here after having been told about all the bright prospects that await them here.

This Estimate is of particular interest to the people of my constituency where so much industry is located and where so many are employed in it. In a relatively short space of time, industry has developed very rapidly in County Louth, so much so that the population in the towns of Dundalk and Drogheda has increased by 50 per cent in the past 30 years. A very desirable development has been the expansion of industry into the rural areas in the county. As an example of that, I could instance an industry situated in my parish, a rural parish, employing 700 people. Thirty years ago, the place in which the industry started was a derelict flax mill. Nobody in those days could visualise a time when that building—which seemed so large to us then—would comprise only a tiny portion of the industry there today.

Although it is a highly industrialised area, we have our own particular difficulties and problems. Perhaps, some of them arise from the fact that we are highly industrialised. These problems are as big and as difficult to solve as problems in other areas where there is much less industry. Looking at the picture through the eyes of those who saw it begin in 1932, the development of Irish industry has been stupendous. I doubt if those responsible for the development of industry in those early days visualised the advance we would make in the short space of 30 years or could foresee the importance of the development of industry to the economy of our country, particularly in this year when we have made application for membership of the Common Market, a development through which our people have acquired managerial and working skills.

It is rather strange that some people still find it difficult to face facts and still condemn the development of Irish industry. Perhaps, they do not do this outright now, as they did a few years ago when they were saying that Irish industry was producing poorly-made goods or that it was simply increasing the price of certain articles to the Irish people. These people have now changed their method of attack. They now say that Irish industry has grown up under tariff walls and will disintegrate with the coming of the Common Market. These people do not realise that managerial techniques, skills and technical know-how have been acquired and developed by our people, both management and workers, because they had the protection of these tariff walls. These skills and techniques are now enabling our industries—I have many industries in my constituency in mind—to compete successfully in foreign markets. If we had not had tariff protection down through the years there would be no industrial problem for us today in relation to entry into the Common Market because we would not have any industry at all.

It might be said that it is not necessary to refute the statements made by these people over the past number of years. I feel it is necessary to do so, perhaps, even from this one viewpoint that such criticism, unanswered, tends to dull the efforts of our industrialists who are endeavouring to meet the challenge of the Common Market. Our application for membership of the Common Market presents industry with a new and a great challenge.

Members of the Opposition have said that we have had our heads in the clouds in regard to this matter, that we have been too optimistic with regard to the future of our industry in the Common Market. I cannot understand why such statements are made by the Opposition in the light of the statement by the Taoiseach when making application for membership of the Common Market, a statement which was regarded as a classic of its kind. He put forward to the heads of the six countries of the Common Market exactly what our position was likely to bevis-á-vis the Common Market. He pointed out, particularly in regard to industry, that we would need certain safeguards.

At no time did we pretend that it would be easy for industry, should we be successful in our application for membership of the Common Market. When we consider the strength and the power of our potential rivals in the new alignment, we cannot but realise it is essential to strain every effort to reach the highest stage of preparedness for possible entry into the Common Market. Over the past few years, the Government have been constantly encouraging our industrial concerns to increase efficiency and get into the export market. Getting into the export market means very much more to us than simply helping to keep our external payments in balance which is a very desirable objective it itself. It means in each individual case that here we have an industry which is producing a quality article, selling it at the right price, marketing it efficiently and competing successfully with industries turning out the same article in the country to which our products are being exported. It is proving that this particular industry will not only be able to compete in the Common Market but it is, to a considerable extent, already competing.

It is of the utmost importance that we should endeavour to get our industries export-minded and it should be the aim of every industry to export. It is pretty obvious that the industry, which has failed to make the effort to improve and to prepare itself for the Common Market and which is satisfied to continue under the shelter of protective tariffs, has no hope of survival. Any idea that it should benefit by the exceptions to the rule asked for by the Taoiseach in his negotiations with EEC should be abandoned. We can have very little sympathy with this type of industrialist who is not making the proper effort to prepare himself for the Common Market, but we must be concerned about the workers in that industry. For their sake, it is up to us to do our utmost to jerk such industrialists out of their present attitude.

The Government in this Estimate and in the Budget have given every assistance to industry to prepare for the competition it must face. When the survey being made by Irish industry in co-operation with the Government is completed, it will be easier for the Government to see how it can best help. Meantime, Córas Tráchtála is making a survey in the Common Market countries and in Britain to see as far as this is possible, how entry into the Common Market will affect our industries and industrial exports?

The importance of these surveys cannot be exaggerated. They should tell us what products are likely to be successful, what products would be successful if certain changes were made, perhaps, in management, design and so on and they should also tell us what products are unlikely to succeed and what best could be done in the case of those particular products. The bulk of our exports go to Britain and our exporters, who have been successful in the British market, know generally the best methods of selling and the type of goods which sell best in that market but what they need to be told now is how the free entry of Common Market countries into the British market will be likely to affect the particular products they have for sale.

Obviously, when the countries of the Common Market have free access to the British market the whole position will change and it is there that our exporters should have, as far as possible, some foreknowledge of what is likely to happen. The fact that they have already a good foothold in the British market will be a help to them in the early period, should Britain enter the Common Market.

I should like to be associated with the speakers who congratulated Córas Tráchtála on the work they are doing. I am glad to note that there is an increase in the amount of money being allocated to them. The surveys they are making in Britain and the Common Market countries are of exceptional importance and should give us a good idea, when completed, of the effect entry into the Common Market will have on our exports.

There is one aspect of these surveys that I should like to mention. Generally speaking, when we are talking about the effect the Common Market will have on industry we fear, to a certain extent anyway, for the industries which are not exporting at all but it would be a good thing if we also directed our attention to some industries which are exporting under present conditions and which may be adversely affected under the new trading conditions which will evolve through the Common Market. Obviously, if a particular industry is exporting it is giving considerable employment and for that reason we must be exceptionally careful about it and if we find that in a case such as this the exports of the particular industry will be adversely affected we should bend all our energies now to try to get alternative markets for that industry's products in countries outside the Common Market countries.

On a number of occasions on this Estimate I have mentioned that we should do our utmost to develop our trade in the newly-free countries of Africa. I heard a number of African leaders speak on television when they came here and no doubt there is a vast potential there. There is goodwill towards this country built up mainly by our missionaries and we should explore all possibilities in regard to these markets. I agree that the vast majority of the industries we have and which are exporting have not a greet deal to fear provided they make use of all the information that will be made available to them by the Government as to the future prospects of our exports in Britain and in the EEC countries should we become members of the Common Market. In regard to the African countries, while I urge the Minister, the Department, and industrialists themselves to do all they can to get a foothold in these markets, I do not for a moment try to minimise the difficulties.

Since the publication of the expert opinion of a group of Scandinavians in regard to design, there has been a considerable amount of comment and even controversy. While I do not agree with everything that was said by these experts, the fact that the book has aroused comment and has focussed attention on a matter about which, generally speaking, there is not sufficient discussion, is a good thing. It is recognised that, with the exception of some very noteworthy instances, the standard of design in this country could be vastly improved. In these days of television design very often sells the article. When our standard of design generally is compared with that of other countries, I am afraid we do not appear in too good a light. However, while I do not agree with all the experts' comments in this matter, the fact that so much discussion has arisen with regard to a matter which most of us hardly even thought about will be helpful in further development of our industry.

I am very glad to note the increase proposed in the Estimate for An Foras Tionscal. Money spent on the activities of that body is, in my opinion, money well spent. Each year sees us providing more and more employment for our people and the latest year for which figures are available shows a very considerable increase in employment in industry. If we can continue on the lines on which we have been working over the past few years a stage will eventually be reached where work will be available for all our people at home.

The money utilised by An Foras Tionscal is in the main earmarked for the undeveloped areas. All Governments have recognised the great social problem that has to be dealt with in those areas and the object of the legislation establishing An Foras Tionscal was to overcome that problem. Of course, as a Deputy from the East coast, I have pointed out here on a number of occasions that I am not too happy with the present position. I know that the Minister has under consideration the whole question of availability of grants in the various parts of the country and until that matter has been fully considered I do not anticipate that we will get further information with regard to what the future may hold in that regard.

Under the present system, it is difficult to get an industry established outside Dublin city and the undeveloped areas. It is easy for Deputies from rural areas to say that so far as the area I represent is concerned it has plenty of industries but, as I said at the beginning, this in itself raises a problem. Because of the fact that the industrial revival began such a comparatively short time ago, the majority of those employed at the commencement of industries are still in employment. They now have grown up families and it is difficult to get employment for them, particularly for the teen age boys. In countries which have an industrial tradition or a long period of industrial progress, there is a natural fall-off and intake in industries every year. That is not the case to any great extent in regard to industries in this country. Within another decade or so we will have that natural wastage at the top and intake at the bottom. In the meantime we have got to provide more employment in industrial areas to absorb increasing population.

I do not wish to take a narrow view with regard to the question of grants for undeveloped areas but I should like to put certain aspects before the Minister as to the possible future effects of the system. If we become a member of the European Economic Community, both agriculture and industry must increase production and reduce costs. Transport costs immediately come to mind. If we are to remain in existence we must export and we must import raw materials. Ports such as Dundalk and Drogheda have great facilities to offer and are the nearest Irish ports to certain British and European markets. Industries sited in those towns could reduce transport costs to a minimum. For that reason it would be worthwhile reexamining carefully the whole position in relation to the Common Market so that heavy industries especially could be sited in such areas. If that were done, it would help these industries to cut transport costs to the minimum, they would be more likely to survive the Common Market conditions.

There is another matter which gives me a certain amount of concern. In towns like Dundalk and Drogheda, which are highly industrialised, it is possible that there is some industry which will not be able to withstand Common Market competition. In that event we would have a considerable unemployment problem on our hands. If it were possible to establish an industry now which would be capable of expansion, it could absorb personnel who would be disemployed because of the advent of the Common Market.

The Minister for Finance has stated on the Budget and the Minister for Industry and Commerce has stated since then that industrialists who want to go ahead with plans to modernise their factories so as to be in a position to compete in the Common Market will get all the help they require. The industrialists in the constituency which I have the honour to represent very much appreciate that. A number of applications have been made and I have no doubt that they will get favourable consideration.

With regard to the establishment of new industries, more local capital ought to be available, especially in big towns. Undoubtedly, the capital is there but, unfortunately, it is not being made available to the extent possible.

Tá lucht tionscail ag cur níos mó suime in oideachas anois agus go mór mhór i gceárd oideachas ná mar ba ghnáthach leo, agus ní fada go bhfeicfear an tairbhe a thiochfaidh as obair an Cheárd Chomhairle. Sílim go mba cheart go gcuirfeadh níos mó tuismitheoirí suim ins an cheárd oideachas agus fosta go mba cheart dóibh a gcuid páistí a spreagadh le ceárd a fhoghluim. Tá ceárdaithe íontach gann sa tir seo fé láthair agus tá sin le feiceáil i ngach ceárd, beagnach, agus faid atá an sceál mar sin ní bheidh an dul chun chinn ann atámuid ag dúil leis. I láthair na h-uaire in áiteacha in a bhfuil an déantús ag dul chun chinn is féidir le daoine óga obair a fháil ins na monarcain in dhiaidh dóibh an scoil náisiúnta a fhágáil agus cionnas go bhfuil an págh go maith is minic nach gcuireann siad a thuille suime ins an oideachas, gidh go dtiocfaidh leo freastal a dhéanamh ar ranganna oiche san cheárd scoil. Má thárlaíonn sé go gcailleann siad a bpostanna sa mhonarcain in dhiaidh roint blianta ní bhíonn rud ar bith ar lámha acu.

Molaim an-Aire as ucht na h-oibre a rinne sé i rith na bliana ins an Roinn Tionscail agus Tráchtála, agus gabhaim mo bhuíochas leis as ucht an chuirdiú a thug sé dom am ar bith a bhí sé a iarraidh.

Every Deputy who has spoken so far in connection with this Estimate has referred to the Common Market. That indicates that not only Deputies, but the people throughout the country, are interested in the advent of the Common Market. That being so, I must say that I was amazed to observe the slight reference to the Common Market made by the Minister in his statement. I do not believe it is good enough to treat the people of the country in that fashion. Every day now we read in the newspapers that we are on the verge of entry to the Common Market, but we still require detailed information as to what we are likely to have to face up to, and the various difficulties we are likely to encounter. We hear quite a lot of speculation and there is quite a lot of concern in that connection. We have read that thousands of workers will lose their employment, if we become members of the Common Market.

It is the Labour people who are saying that.

It is not only the Labour people who are saying it. It is the Minister's task to offer to the people a suggested solution for the problems that will have to be faced, if a large number of people lose their employment because of our entry to the Common Market. For example, it is being said that the British motor car industry will be hit. There are thousands of Irish people working in that industry. They will have to come home here, and what will they come home to? Is it the policy to denude the country of its population and have Spud Murphy working on the Rhine and Fritz working in Dublin or Killarney?

Those are the things we must know, but the Minister devoted only a few lines of his speech on the Common Market to them. He talked about teachnical assistance and said he deplored the fact that some industrialists were not availing of the offers of technical assistance. I should like to know how long the Minister intends to tolerate that situation. We all know that technical assistance is an essential requirement and, in that connection, I would urge the Minister to have a word with the Minister for Finance with a view to loosening the purse strings in relation to technical education, and, in particular, to schools of vocational education.

I am sure the Minister saw Garret FitzGerald's remarks in last Monday'sIrish Times. He is not a member of the Labour Party but this is what he said:

... there were firms and even industries with their heads still firmly stuck in the sand. One major industry had so far refused to cooperate with the Government in the process of substituting tariffs for quotas, and unless prompt action was taken to break the deadlock, chaos would face the industry in 13 months' time.

I should like to hear the Minister's observations on that and I should like to know are there are many other industries like that.

There have been two distinct phases in the industrial policy of Fianna Fáil. One was the self-sufficiency phase under which every Irishman who wanted to start an industry could do so behind tariff protection. The second phase is the welcoming of the foreigner. It seems that every foreigner who wants to start an industry here can get a tax remission. That is a complete change, but let us be careful, for Ireland's sake, of the foreigners who invest in this country, because they do not invest for Ireland's sake but for their own sake. We have representatives in foreign lands urging foreigners to come here and invest in this country. I am a bit worried about them because there have been repeated references to the cheap labour they will find in Ireland.

Surely the Minister should take steps to ensure that foreigners are not brought here under that wrong impression? Surely the Minister should urge that the foreign industrialist should, when he comes here, make immediate contact with the trade union movement with a view to ensuring——

Of course that is done.

It is not done. What happened in some industries which set themselves up against the trade union movement and wanted to pay cheap rates?

The Minister referred to industrial production. He also referred to industrial employment and gave figures. He also gave figures for unemployment. His calculation of the unemployment figure shows that there has been a reduction of 3,000 in one year. His calculation also shows an increase in industrial employment of 5,800. I presume that increase was brought about as a result of people leaving the land and going into industrial employment. I should like the Minister to give a clearer explanation of the reduction of 3,000 in the unemployment figure. I think it is safe to say that a considerable number have become emigrants.

Furthermore, the Minister is not taking into consideration the fact that when boys and girls leave school at the age of 14 years, there is absolutely no record of them. I asked the Taoiseach would he not make it his business to have a record kept and his answer was that the task would be too great. Yet, at the same time, under the Minister's control, we have a juvenile advisory committee which advises juveniles on employment. The greatest difficulty experienced by that committee is that they do not know how many they have on hands, and there is no one to whom they can go for that information. They go to the local employment exchanges but they have only the figures of the young people who reported to the exchanges for work. That is a potential labour force. If we go into the Common Market, we must take care of the children who are the future men and women of Ireland.

The Minister also expressed concern about the eighth round of wage increases. Although he takes notice now and then of what the trade union movement says, he seems to have lost sight of the fact that the eighth round of wage increases was brought about to improve the workers' standard of living. The Minister has said that he is concerned about the cost of production. Can I take it he is warning us prices may go up again? In this statement is he giving the green light for prices to go up? It is the Minister's duty to control prices and the best way he can control them is to control profits. Just as the worker has to go to the Labour Court or somewhere else to make a case for increased wages, there is no reason why the employer should not have to do the same thing. The Minister has failed to control profits and it has brought about the condition where workers have to look for the eighth round to improve their standard of living. One does not need much intelligence to realise that if there is a further increase in prices the cycle will go round again.

I was pleased to notice in the Minister's statement that he is going to tighten up hire purchase and credit sales and the terms of sale, the exact price and the total hire purchase price will be displayed. I should also like to see him make regulations to ensure that articles given to these unfortunate poor people on hire purchase are articles of value and also that there will be some restrictions placed on hire purchase firms from giving hundreds of pounds worth of goods to unfortunate people who have not got a hope of paying for them and thereby being put further into debt. I should like the Minister to give us some assurance that our State and semi-S ate concerns will become more subordinate to this Parliament.

I doubt if that arises on the Estimate.

Very well, Sir. The Minister referred to industrial relations machinery. He has done that before. The Minister for Finance also referred to the need for improving the industrial relations machinery but how long more must we wait for the improvement to be effected? Let us examine the structure of the Labour Court. Surely there is a case there for immediate overhaul? I am sure the Minister is aware that there are not nearly sufficient conciliation officers in the Labour Court. I am sure he is also aware of the absence of training for conciliation officers for the Labour Court and just as soon as a conciliation officer has acquainted himself with the job very often he is transferred. The Minister should not confine recruitment to the position of conciliation officer to the Civil Service. He should make some effort to speed up intervention by the Labour Court in disputes that are imminent and also urge the Court to speed up the issue of their recommendations. These are matters which require attention.

I should like to deal also with the Joint Labour Committees. There is no doubt that a Chairman of a Joint Labour Committee requires a very sound knowledge of industrial affairs and it is not a position where political influence should play its part. I should like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Deputy Colley, a former chairman of a Joint Labour Committee. He undoubtedly did tremendous work because he knew his job and I would urge the Minister to consult Deputy Colley and ask him for all the relevant information about the Labour Court and industrial relations and he will find it will be well worth his time. One of the difficulties is in regard to the workers having to wait 30 days for the order to be made good. This has caused a lot of discontent throughout the trade union movement. I submit it should be done away with or reduced to ten days. I am not satisfied that our Joint Labour Committees' rates of pay and conditions are implemented. I submit they are not. Furthermore, the registered agreements are only partly implemented in a number of cases. To what is that due? It is due to a shortage of inspectors. The Minister will have to improve the inspector system. The Minister has a duty to stimulate the Factory Advisory Council and the Office Premises Advisory Committee to greater activity in publicity, propaganda and the preparation in particular of explanatory methods and details concerning their functions.

The situation in relation to factory inspectors is that there is one chief factory inspector, five senior inspectors, 19 industrial inspectors, one temporary officer, two inspectors of mines and quarries, making a total of 28 to look after 10,000 registered premises. That is a ridiculous position when we are preparing to enter the Common Market. We talk about techniques and know-how. Factory inspectors can play a great part in ensuring that the know-how is operated but you cannot have that situation if you are going to murder 28 men with that sort of work. Statistics show that there are 195,000 people in manufacturing industry; 66,000 in construction; 152,000 in commerce, insurance and finance—and there are two men to look after the 12,000 people employed in quarrying, mining and turf and then we talk about preparing ourselves for the Common Market. The functions and duties of a factory inspector are rather interesting. To name but a few, he is responsible for the regulations brought about under the Joint Labour Committee; he is responsible for the implementation of the Factories Act, the Shops (Conditions of Employment) Act, the Holidays (Employees) Act and the Office Premises Act. Surely that is a farcical situation?

I was very disappointed to observe that in the Minister's statement no mention was made of an improvement in the Shops (Conditions of Employment) Act, particularly in regard to its effect on catering workers. We know that as far as catering workers are concerned, this Act applies only to catering workers in the county borough of Dublin. We also know that Ministers have repeatedly spoken about the value of tourism. That surely indicates the need for experienced workers and workers who are well treated in regard to wages and conditions? The Shops (Conditions of Employment) Act should extend to the rest of the country, or are we to let the rest of the country continue in the state in which it is at present so far as conditions and wages of catering workers are concerned? I am sure the Minister, if he inquired in his own constituency, would find that there is discontent among catering workers regarding wages and conditions.

I also feel with regard to the general policy of the Minister's Department that he would not be remiss if he had an understanding with the Minister for Finance with regard to his recent statement when he indicated that he intended to put shares of State enterprises on the market. Does the Minister for Industry and Commerce not think that it would be proper to go to the trade union movement before such a statement was made to get their observations on this serious change which obviously will interfere with the conditions of employment of thousands of workers? That surely is not the way to win the support of the trade union movement.

We have more of it than the Labour Party have.

I do not think you have. I think you are definitely out of touch and I think you are the wrong man in that place. It is rather ironical to find the Minister and other Ministers of State telling the trade union movement that we should have prior consultation. The Minister himself has praised the idea of the F.U.E. and the Congress of Irish Unions coming together but what sort of treatment did we get from the Minister for Finance with regard to prior consultation? That was a very bad action on the part of the Minister and there was also a very bad situation created when the Congress of Irish Unions wished to send an extra member to the I.L.O. conference and he would not allow it. And we talk about meeting the new techniques and about learning about what the foreigner is up to! There are a great many people paying lip service to these matters.

I did not stop them from sending more delegates.

They approached you and you refused. There was money involved in this thing.

Two of them were paid for by the Government.

You were asked for one more and you would not agree.

I would agree, if they wanted to pay for them themselves.

I would like to know when does the Minister intend to give effect to the equal pay for equal work Convention of the I.L.O. to which, I understand, he has subscribed, and particularly in regard to women? Speaking here last night, Deputy Clinton suggested that the trade union movement should concern itself with the opening up of new industries rather than with looking after the wages and conditions of workers in established industries. What a suggestion to make! Does Deputy Clinton think that the trade union movement can say to the workers: "Take it easy now; we will do nothing until we get more foreigners into the country, people like the man who caused the trouble in Shannon." And there has been trouble down in Shannon.

Deputy Faulkner made reference to the Taoiseach's statement with regard to our application to join the Common Market. I think he should stay away from that. If you are going to talk about the Taoiseach's statement, you will have to find out which statement. Deputy Faulkner talked about the Taoiseach's statement that we would need certain safeguards but, subsequent to that, the Taoiseach said that we were ready to become full members of the Common Market. The ironical thing about the whole business is that the people have yet to be told the full details. They have yet to learn what the Government intend to offer them, if they are going to be put out of employment.

There is no use in people saying that we must not say these things, that we will only damage the country by saying them. You cannot hide under a bushel. This is a serious matter and it involves the livelihood of thousands. If we had a definite statement about the Common Market and its conditions, it might tend to stop some of our people from emigrating. Many of our people have gone abroad because they cannot get any answer to the very serious questions they have been putting up about the Common Market. This is a matter that affects the whole country in a very serious way.

Even if we do not get into the Common Market surely we should prepare ourselves for that eventuality, in case England gets into it? We should take advantage of the fact that a common market has been in existence to our benefit between England and ourselves for a number of years now. It would not be a bad thing if we had a permanent exhibition of Irish goods in English centres.

Have we not got that?

We have not got enough of it.

You seem to suggest that we have nothing.

We have not got enough of it.

I want to say that I realise as well as anybody else that the Common Market, if we are accepted as members, is definitely going to present a challenge to the industrialists of this country. I think we are talking too much in terms of the unemployment that may be caused through the Common Market. Industrialists in this country over a number of years have been protected by tariffs and I am sure that they have spent these years in planning ahead. We believe that we have nothing to fear from competition. After all, there were industries started in this country before there were ever any tariffs and these industries have stood the test of time and are prospering today, I am proud to say. It is a great tribute to these people who had the courage and foresight to go ahead in those difficult years when they thought they were to be faced with awful competition, such as that with which we are faced today.

We can produce goods second to none. I do not think that we are going to do a lot of good by talking of being afraid of competition. I do not believe that our industrialists are afraid of competition. Anyone will tell you that we have the workers. They are able to produce the article and it is well known that Irish people who may be in the unfortunate position of having to emigrate are looked on in England as being a fine type of worker and a credit to this country.

I am glad to see that the Minister has been advising our industrialists to gear themselves for the Common Market. I hope the Minister's Department will give industrialists all the assistance they can whenever they have to alter their plans or adapt their machinery to meet Common Market conditions. Industrialists coming to this country are attracted not only by the State grants and exemption of tax in respect of exports but by the capabilities of our workers. That is not lip service because I have heard it said over and over again.

Possibly, I cannot complain too much about unemployment, because, in the Carlow end of my constituency at least, we have a number of industries, including the Sugar Company. The sugar beet factory gives very good employment throughout the year and extra employment during the period of the campaign. At the moment there is an extension under course of construction in the form of a new cannery. The Sugar Company gives further proof of the fact that industries here established on the right lines have nothing to fear. I am told that the Sugar Company could find a market for ten times the amount of their present exports, if they had the produce available.

No matter how well we produce our goods, unless we advertise them properly on the export markets and back them up with proper salesmanship, we shall be working at a loss. Are the Minister and his Department satisfied they are doing enough to boost the sales of Irish goods abroad? Any money spent in that direction is money very well spent.

Reference has been made to Córas Tráchtála and the officials of the Department. Since I came into this House, I have not had much contact with Córas Tráchtála but I have been with them on one or two occasions. I certainly would like to compliment them on the manner in which they received not only myself but those with me interested in establishing industry here.

Apart altogether from the question of the Common Market, there may be industries here not geared to stand up to competition. I do not mean to be contradictory in saying that, because I have already said I believe industrialists here have nothing to fear, but there may be the odd industry that may be affected. Perhaps the Minister would tell us that if the worst should come to the worst, and there is a certain amount of unemployment, what arrangements his Department or the Department of Finance intend to make in respect of the workers concerned in factories which cannot stand up to competition? I should like to feel that the Minister was safeguarding both the industrialists and the workers.

Discussion of industry invariably brings us back to the questions of employment and emigration. In those towns where factories are established and there is work on the surrounding farms there is real prosperity. Anything that can be done, therefore, to help these industrialists provide extra employment and compete in the open market should be carefully considered and every help should be given to those providing employment here.

I want to intervene in this debate to make a couple of observations. Since I am a Government supporter, it is reasonable to assume that the comments I am likely to make will be by way of complimenting the Minister on the industrial progress that has been made over the past five years, but it should be sufficient for me to say that the fact I am on this side of the House means I am quite satisfied with the progress that has been made.

My purpose in rising is to draw the Minister's attention to a couple of matters with which I am not in complete agreement. One such matter is the Undeveloped Areas Act. I have on a number of occasions protested to the Minister's Department in regard to grants and the seeking of assistance in connection with the setting up of industries. The Laois-Offaly constituency which I represent is rather peculiar in that it is divided in two. We have two distinct counties. The most amazing thing about that constituency is that while I believe no county has benefited so much under the Fianna Fáil administration as Offaly, on the other hand, I believe no county has benefited as little as Laois. It is remarkable also that about 20 or 30 years ago Offaly was a county of bog and, as such, was considered a rather poor county, but as a result of the enterprise of the Fianna Fáil Government and the former Minister for Industry and Commerce, that situation has been completely changed. From the recent census, it has been found that Offaly is one of the few counties that has suffered very little by emigration, but not so with the other half of the constituency, Laois.

Before I became a Deputy, over a year ago, I was a member of a deputation from the Laois County Council which called on the Minister for Industry and Commerce to make representations to him to have Laois included in the Undeveloped Areas Act at that time and even since that on occasions it has been made quite clear by the Department of Industry and Commerce that unless we could make representations from the point of view of having some section of our county included as being on the fringe of the area at present described as undeveloped, new legislation would need to be introduced, and that was accepted. However, it is very difficult for any one county to hold that it should get special consideration and I agree with the Minister in that regard.

The people in my part of the country subsequently saw that Longford, Cavan and Monaghan had been included in the undeveloped areas thus bringing them within the scope of the Act. I was subjected to numerous approaches in that regard and I would appeal to the Minister to consider the second half of my constituency when he is making a review of the position.

Deputy Clinton said that it was all the same where an industry was set up so long as it was of benefit to the nation. I sympathise with his sentiments but at the same time he represents the Dublin constituency, an area which has made unique progress as a result of the Government's dynamic drive to increase the number of industries in this country. It is quite understandable that Deputy Clinton would say it is all the same where the industry goes but if he represented a constituency where no industry has been set up for donkeys' years he might take a different approach. Laois has got no benefit under the Undeveloped Areas Act and of all counties has benefited least under the Industrial Development Act. If there is any question of review in that respect I would appeal to the Minister to consider Laois most favourably.

The second matter which I should like to discuss and to which, as far as I know, no reference has yet been made in the course of the debate, is the chaotic condition in which the retail grocery distributive trade finds itself at the moment. The most recent census figures, those for 1956, show that there were 41,000 shops selling the normal run of grocery commodities. I think that figure has increased since 1956. The population figure, a little over 2,800,000, indicates that there is one shop to supply 69 people. Any reasonable man would say that is a most unsatisfactory position and I am rather doubtful if that situation exists in any other country. I believe no other country has such a high proportion of retail outlets.

The main grievance of those people, represented by their organisation, the Retail Grocers' and Allied Traders' Association, is that too little thought is given to the requirements of the distributive trade. Industry generally and agriculture have benefited a great deal by way of grants, loans and other State-sponsored assistance but all along the line it would appear that the distributive trade has been inadequately attended to. As a matter of fact, legislation designed to aid other sections of the business community, from the industrialist down, seems specifically to discriminate against the distributor.

There is a crying need from all points of view for proceeding as speedily as possible with the improvement in business premises. If the small country businessman cannot get a sufficient amount of encouragement to do that, the situation will become quite serious. The normal retail grocery trade is a business which is open. It does not need big capital to start it and, as a result, the trade is becoming overloaded. Representations have been made on numerous occasions for the setting up of some type of registration. It is quite obvious that legislation to control that would be so difficult to introduce that it seems to have been shelved. However, I do believe the active and enterprising Minister we have at the moment should be able to evolve some system or think up some way by which thead lib opening of retail distributive outlets could be curtailed.

Modernisation poses serious problems for the owners of many small and medium-sized stores. Unless they can match the high standard of shop construction, design and layout of the bigger stores, the small person has not a hope of survival. It is very much in the national interest that the modernisation of premises should be encouraged. There has been a great deal of discussion in regard to entry into the Common Market but enough thought has not been given to the distribution of the products of our factories. We are most anxious to make provision for selling abroad. This is not the concern of the Ministry for Industry and Commerce, but we are criticised for not making adequate provision for the marketing of our agricultural produce abroad.

In that regard, I think we should consider the situation nearer home. Are we encouraging people to look after the distribution of produce within the State? That is something that should be done as a basis upon which to build later. If we have an organisation geared to distribute the goods satisfactorily at home, then we would have a certain pool to draw from. We would have people with experience of how to handle things at home. They would be in a position, because of their initial training, to spread their wings from the salesman's point of view and carry that particular type of business organisation further afield.

Development of business premises could be encouraged in two ways. In both, there is great promise. First of all, there could be encouragement by means of a rebate in valuation following on an improvement in premises. In the case of farm buildings improvement there is a remission in rates for a period of 20 years. If a local businessman improves his premises, the remission is cut down to a period of seven years. I doubt if policy in that regard is sufficiently progressive from the point of view of encouragement and also, indeed, from the point of view of the tourist industry. We want to improve the appearance of our towns and cities. If we are serious in that, then we ought to give a greater incentive.

The second heading under which we could help the middle-man is by tax allowances. Under the Finance Acts of 1956 and 1959, an industrialist who incurred capital expenditure in developing of his industry found himself in the happy position of being able to claim an allowance on that capital expenditure. Not so the individual who does up his premises. That is another aspect which the Minister should examine.

One of the most serious difficulties the retail distributive trade has to meet is this new development of a cut-price war. The Department of Industry and Commerce set up the Fair Trade Commission to inquire into complaints from various sections in relation to the distributive trade, but the Commission has not looked after the people about whom I am speaking now. I have here a copy of the Eighth Annual Report of the Fair Trade Commission, dealing with price maintenance. It is dated 31st December, 1960. The report says:

The information available to the Commission suggests that price competition has tended to become less severe...

That is an extraordinary comment to make in view of the fact that up to that time, and more particularly since that time, a situation has arisen in which the big stores are in a position to buy goods from the manufacturer in such large quantities that they can buy more cheaply than others and are thereby enabled to sell certain commodities—soap, soap powders, and almost everything—at less than the price at which the ordinary grocer can buy them. Yet, the Fair Trade Commission's comment on that particular situation is:

The information available to the Commission suggests that price competition has tended to become less severe...

I think that comment is absolutely wrong. They further say:

and that the margins being taken by retailers generally are not unreasonably low. The Orders provide safeguards to a supplier against extreme price competition in that he may, if he so desires, withhold supplies from traders who sell his branded products at or below the wholesale price...

That situation exists, but unfortunately it does not suit the manufacturer to make use of that particular permissive provision. The manufacturer is selling the goods, and that is all he wants. It should, however, be quite obvious to anybody that bulk buying on the part of the larger shops does enable them to undersell the average family grocer. I appeal to the Minister to look into this aspect of the matter with a view to instructing the Fair Trade Commission to do something about it.

The position has deteriorated to such an extent that R.G.D.A.T.A.—a group I have been in close contact with and have always found most reasonable in their demands—passed a vote of no confidence in the ability of the Fair Trade Commission to protect the interests of the private independent grocer against unfair trading practices and called on the Government to introduce legislation which would make it a legal offence for a retailer to indulge in dual pricing or to sell any products below the normal wholesale prices for minimum quantities. That is a most fair request, in my opinion. They ask that the Minister should instruct the Fair Trade Commission to take steps to prevent goods from being sold at a price less than the price at which the average grocer can buy. That is a very reasonable request. If the present situation is allowed to continue, we shall eventually find ourselves in the position in which a great number of retail grocers will have to pack up and go.

So many Deputies have spoken on this Estimate and have referred to the imminence of the Common Market that I feel constrained, also, to say some few words on it. I was interested by a recent speech by the Taoiseach at Killarney. He emphasised that there is a five year period ahead during which considerable adjustment will have to be effected and he pointed out that the matter is very serious for the whole future of our economy. We do not disagree with the Taoiseach's assessment of the situation. We are critical inasmuch as we think he should have been referring to the past five years which should have been utilised, for the purpose for which he was talking, as a headline for the next half decade.

Any grievance we have in regard to our entry into EEC is that the Taoiseach and the Government resisted pressure put upon them quite a considerable time ago to energise themselves in preparing our people for the impact of such entry. That was resisted until Britain made application for membership when we then had the hasty decision by the Government to become active. But, since then, there have been repeated swings of the pendulum. We have had the Taoiseach rather loath to give the information which many of us would like to have and we have had back benchers, if not Ministers, speaking with different voices on various prognostications of the results should we attain membership of that community.

We have people who have applied an amount of research and an amount of thought to the probable impact upon us, both industrial and agricultural, following entry into the Common Market. They seem to vary in their assessments of the situation also. We should not be twitted by Government Deputies if Deputies outside the Government Party express concern at possible difficulties that may arise from entry into that group of countries. It is apparent that even in highlyorganised countries there are difficulties occasioned by take-over bids, by freer competition which has made it very difficult for smaller concerns to operate in competition with the large cartel and, with the imminence of freer trade, those difficulties may be aggravated.

Surely it is not unreasonable to emphasise the need to embark at every opportunity to bring home to those in industry and in agriculture the need for a re-appraisal of the conditions under which they produce their various commodities and the necessity to gear themselves to face this competition should it eventuate? There was a report in today's paper to the effect that Deputy Corry is most optimistic —he may well be described as the Chief Barker for the Government—in regard to the benefits that would flow from membership of the community. There is full realisation in the minds of important and serious-minded members of the Government and of those supporting it regarding many of these benefits which no doubt are available if the proper approach is made and if action is taken now to prepare our people so that they may be in a position to avail of these benefits that are accruing to those countries that have secured admission to date of that economic and political group.

One wonders whether the Government are serious regarding their assumption of the need for an immediate re-appraisal of Irish industry when one notes the negligible contribution in the Budget of this year to come to the assistance of Irish industrialists to meet this challenge. I was rather shocked to hear Deputy Faulkner say there would be no industry in the country were it not for tariff walls. If he thinks over that again he will realise that there are old-established industries which have prospered in this country without the assistance which others have received and which no doubt are now in the most favourable position to avail of the fresh opportunities presented by entry into the Common Market.

I was interested, too, to hear Deputy Faulkner pay a tribute to the foothold of Irish industrialists in Britain. He must also realise that that foothold was gained by a previous Minister for Industry and Commerce, the then Deputy Daniel Morrissey, in the 1948 Trade Agreement. He won for the country the opportunities of disposing of our industrial surpluses in that country for the first time.

Is the Deputy serious? Has he read the 1938 Trade Agreement?

The figures will prove that it was from 1948 onwards that there was a real flow of industrial products into Britain. The Minister will appreciate that he and his Party held the view for a very long time that we should have absolutely no trading arrangements whatever with that country. The present Minister for External Affairs is on record as saying that it would be well for this country if all the ships were at the bottom of the sea.

The Deputy should read the 1938 Trade Agreement. I do not believe Mr. Morrissey believes what the Deputy is saying.

If this Government is to be praised it is for the way in which they have taken the opportunity to press the idea of tax remission incentives. That idea did not emanate originally from the members of the present Government. However, despite earlier criticisms, they have recognised the advantage and the incentive it represents to outside industrialists. It is entirely contrary to the policy enshrined in the Control of Manufactures Act and to the policy perpetuated here for so many years. At least, the idea has been adopted and pursued and is bringing certain benefits to the country.

There are times when question marks are posed in relation to the way in which facilities are provided to such people and there is a certain amount of criticism because the same facilities are not available to Irish nationals. I do not believe that it is true but, nevertheless, the allegation is frequently made. It is also a fact that the utmost scrutiny should be made into the background of industrialists entering this country from abroad to ensure that, when they avail of the facilities we made available to them, they will give a type of employment more suitable to our people and, above all, that the industries they establish will be of a permanent character.

I would emphasise, too, that such industries should, as much as possible, be sited in or near rural towns that have been seriously affected by the outflow of emigration. These towns have the facilities and amenities which industry requires. They can provide those amenities immediately and are quite prepared and anxious to do so. It is a matter of some frustration to active people who know no barrier of politics or creed and who have come together in an effort to secure for their communities the industries so desirable in order to give employment to the population fleeing from the vicinity of some of these towns when they cannot succeed in doing so.

In my constituency there are the three towns of Kinsale, Bandon and Millstreet. The decision to include Kinsale in the undeveloped areas in order to avail of the advantages offered in other parts and to secure industry for that town has been successful. In the other two towns we have not had anything like that success. Despite being in a favourable position by way of availability of labour, suitable location to ports, Cork Airport, and so on, we have not made the progress we would desire. It is strange that at a time when the West Cork railways were under discussion here, the Taoiseach adverted to the fact that much industrial development took place in places where railways were removed, but even the removal of the railway does not seem to have given us that industrial advancement we hoped for in this region.

When we are given figures of an increase in employment of some 5,800 workers in industry and manufacture over last year I think it would be well if we knew how many workers of the total number employed, and of new workers employed are in the adult class and those that may be described as child labour. I do not use the term in a derogatory sense but we are aware that there are many employed in new industries who have left domestic employment and who would have a long time to wait before they could be classified as adults. There is a very definite limit to the number of persons in that category that may be absorbed in industry but if the industry had a potential for adult employment then, not alone would the adult labour unemployed at present be absorbed, but it would also be an incentive for heads of families to return to this country and be united with their families.

With the very attractive incentives we are placing before industrialists coming here I think we should, as far as is humanly possible, insist on the type of industries that would give adult employment. It may be considered more attractive at the moment to refer to so many "persons employed" but it would be much more helpful, in assessing the improvement in future years, if we knew how many now employed are adult. We would know then whether the proportion of adult labour was increasing or decreasing. That is a very important question. It is certainly a matter of concern to see the poor wages paid to boys and girls in some industries. We can understand that while they are trainees they will have to make do with that. Some of these industries have no proper canteen arrangements and some of the workers are of such a tender age that their parents are up at all hours of the morning preparing them to be transported to their employment. Many of these workers have taken up this type of employment having left domestic employment and jobs as shop assistants and many would be glad to go back.

I hope the employment opportunities referred to in the Minister's speech will offer a higher proportion of opportunities for heads of families to get work. Very many of these large industrial undertakings that secure such high grants and are so appreciative of the concessions they get by way of tax remission and relief on exports and so on should be able to provide housing facilities for workers. We know they look to the local authorities to do it and the local authorities are more than willing to do it if it means the housing of more families in that region. Nevertheless, these people, if they were in their countries of origin, would be only too glad to erect the necessary housing for their workers.

There are complaints in cases where they have to engage transport at present; we know they are seeking further assistance to help them meet the costs involved. The Minister would do well to consult with his colleague, the Minister for Transport and Power, in so far as that Minister has any influence with C.I.E., regarding the quotations that company have given for the transport of workers essential to an industry in Kinsale from Cork City. It appears the quotations given were so outrageous that it would pay the industry better if they were to engage their own transport. I believe the type of industry where the head of the family is employed would be more beneficial both to those engaged in it and to the country as a whole.

It is remarkable that in the Minister's statement we had no reference this time to an aspect of our life for which he is responsible and which has the greatest impact on the more feeble. That is in regard to exercising any control over the rising cost of living. When members of the present Government were on these benches they devoted most of their attention on this Vote to a recital of any increases they could discover in costs. Nowadays it is impossible to give any figures that would be of real import because only days would have passed before those figures would be outdated by further increases.

I was interested to hear Deputy Lalor refer to difficulties that exist in small towns throughout the country in the case of traders. Those difficulties have been aggravated by increased motoring charges, by difficulties involved in keeping P.A.Y.E. records, and by the increased rates the traders must bear. They got no assistance in the recent Budget but instead we have increased postal and telephone charges. These have the effect of making it more difficult for traders to pay wages, give employment and carry on their business.

The Deputy who spoke previously referred to this and it is quite true that multiple stores and cut-price shops, while they may ease the rapidly rising cost of living in particular cases, have also had the effect of making it very difficult for the small trader in the city and town to compete with them. It is unfortunate that there does not appear to be any concern for the family business. There is also the impact of the travelling shops extending into rural areas and no doubt providing a service which is of benefit as regards the cost of living in the locality but they also have the effect of drastically reducing the volume of business hitherto carried on by the local shopkeepers.

The continuing fall in the value of money is something which no doubt will bring more difficulties as time goes on. Even in this Estimate there is £76,000 for increased salaries in consequence of having allowed or of having, in fact, driven the cost of living to the height it has now reached. Not alone has that occurred but already there are rumblings from sections which secured increases regarding the fall in the value of earnings because of the increased cost of living. The Minister and the Government seem to have lost interest in taking effective action in any way to give even a promise of stability at the present extraordinarily high level of the cost of living.

We read or hear lectures frequently from responsible people about the need for gearing ourselves for the freer trade but we still continue practices which may have had something to commend them 20 or 25 years ago but which continue to have the effect of increasing the burdens on producers today. These are producers of lines which are of great importance to the country. If I may mention one in particular it is the control that exists over the components of vehicles used in agriculture. People with these special licences are in a position to demand their pound of flesh from those engaged in the assembly business in many towns and manufacturing these vehicles which are for use solely by agriculturalists. This adds to the cost of production at a time when the Government are levying on the farming community for the purpose of paying the cost of exporting their produce.

The Minister has given a figure of 5,800 additional persons in gainful employment over the figure for 1960. While that is commendable, it is still short of the figure for those in gainful employment in 1955 and, when weighed against the cost involved, one wonders if we are getting proper value for the amount voted each year towards the incentives which we hoped would give more employment than has proved to be the case.

There is also the question of the return by way of exports. Despite all the assistance that is given to industry and the glowing pictures painted by Ministers from time to time, the real increase in the value of exports last year was provided by agriculture. We only hope that in the year that lies ahead the results will be somewhat better than would appear from the picture the Minister painted for us on this occasion.

Like other Deputies who have spoken, I feel that the House expected and the country very definitely expected more information from the Minister relative to the impact on industry and commerce generally in the event of our securing full membership of the European Economic Community. It is not good enough to leave the people too long in suspense. They do expect that the Government would give them at the earliest opportunity any information which they have relative to the possible effects on their lives of this great change in the trading position of the country.

I should like to draw the Minister's attention to the difficulty encountered by many people who are anxious to investigate the possibility of starting industries in this country. I would urge the Minister to consider seriously the best means of remedying the matter as speedily as possible.

The Industrial Development Authority issue very attractive literature which frequently favourably impresses people and they come here to investigate the possibility of establishing an industry. They find after a while that they are up against very great difficulties due mainly to what I consider to be the complete lack of co-operation between the Departments or sections concerned. For instance, the question of deciding the location of an industry seems to be completely unorganised. I have known many cases where people made investigations, went to estate agents and got a list of available lands in the locality which they thought would be most suited to their project. Having inspected the lands and having decided that they would suit their purpose, when they approached the officials of the local authority in many cases, they found complete indifference and no effort whatever was made to encourage them to establish the industry or to help them in any way. I believe that as a result we have lost quite a number of important industries.

When a site is selected, there are unnecessary obstacles put in the way of the industrialist. I have known of cases where a curt refusal was received, which would be sufficient so to discourage the person as to make him abandon the idea of establishing an industry. It has been found that this official refusal was given on some slight technical point which eventually was cleared up without any difficulty.

The point I am making is that unless these people are fortunate enough to meet a councillor or public representative who is able to guide and help them to get over difficulties they are very frequently up against apparently insurmountable problems.

The time has come when the Minister should appoint somebody who would be responsible for liaison between the various Departments. In the Town Planning offices each section would appear to be a sealed compartment concerned only about their own individual problem and when the matter goes to the next Department concerned there seems to be no co-operation whatsoever.

It is absolutely essential that this matter should be remedied as soon as possible. We have come to the stage where we are receiving numerous inquiries. Officials, particularly local authority officials, should be instructed to give encouragement to persons who are making genuine inquiries rather than put obstacles in their way, and to show that we are anxious to develop industries as quickly as possible.

I appreciate very much what the Minister has done personally in this matter. Personally, I have found him most courteous and helpful in every way and but for his help in many cases we would not have made progress in the establishment of industries. I do hope the Minister will take note of my remarks and devise some means of securing better co-operation when people come here to inquire about the possibility of establishing industries.

There are just a few very brief remarks I want to make on this Estimate and I want to confine myself to just a few topics. The Minister, when introducing the Estimate, mentioned the question of the Saint Patrick's Copper Mines Ltd. of Avoca and referred to the fact that the position of the copper mines was discussed in the House earlier in the year. It was certainly disappointing to learn from the Minister that, apparently, further difficulties have been encountered. He indicated that when he has completed his inquiries, he may have to come back to the House again. Perhaps because he is not in a position to do so at this stage, the Minister did not give very much information. He did, however, indicate that the further difficulties which have been encountered were production difficulties. I merely want to say at this stage that I hope the Minister will be in a position, when he is replying, to give some kind of re-assurance to the workers in the Avoca mines that his statement, introducing the Estimate, is not to be taken as indicating any disaster for the workers or for the mines there.

The Minister will be aware, as other Deputies are, that the Avoca mines have given good employment over the past number of years, employment of a type which was appreciated in the area and which has made a very big difference to the area. It seems to me that there is, at the moment, a feeling of insecurity so far as the workers are concerned. I am just a little bit afraid that the Minister's reference in introducing the Estimate, may add to that feeling of insecurity. I am quite sure that was not his intention, and I refer to it to invite him, when he is concluding, to take the opportunity to dispel any such impression which may have been given.

The Minister also referred to the question of the nitrogenous fertiliser factory which it is proposed to build in Arklow. All of us are aware that the decision to build a factory in that area near Arklow is based on the material—the waste, if you like—coming from the mines. It seemed to me to be implicit in what the Minister said that the factory will go ahead. I should imagine that I am correct in that assumption. It was not only an implication but it was made quite clear by the Minister. I should also imagine the Minister and the Government foresee a future for the working of the mines and the employment given in the working of the mines in Avoca.

The Minister, in referring to the proposed factory, mentioned a company which had been incorporated to negotiate binding tenders for the fertiliser factory. He said the Government were satisfied that the economics of using all possible raw materials at alternative locations in the country had been fully examined and considered and that after that examination it had been decided to locate the factory at Arklow. I want to say to the Minister that the decision to erect the factory at Arklow was universally welcomed by all shades of opinion in Arklow and the surrounding districts. Certainly, no one in that area would like to see anything happening which would in any way interfere with, or delay, the establishment of the factory.

There has been a certain amount of controversy with regard to the site which has been chosen. While it is difficult not to sympathise with those who want to preserve the countryside, I think it is only fair to the Minister and his officials that I should say quite clearly that, having made inquiries in the town of Arklow, I am quite satisfied that the body of opinion there, the bulk of opinion in and around the district, is that the site which has been chosen is a good one, that it is convenient to the town and convenient to the mines and that it is so located as to give ease of transportation both for the import and export of materials. It is sufficiently near the town for the workers and it is sufficiently far from the town not to interfere with the tourist attractions and the tourist development of the town.

As I say, it is only fair to the Minister that I should say that, so far as I read it, that is the opinion of the people in the locality. I would urge on him—because I know it is the view of the people of Arklow and the surrounding districts—that nothing should be allowed to delay or interfere in any way with the establishment of the factory there. The employment potential is welcome, and the quicker the Minister and his officials can go ahead with the job, the better the people will be pleased.

The only other topic to which I want to refer is another matter which was mentioned by the Minister, that is, the question of the mineral exploration in Tynagh in County Galway. All of us are aware that in recent weeks there have been developments there showing a difference of opinion between those who have permits or licences—or whatever they are called—to explore the mineral content in the area, and the owners of the land. I do not want to say anything which might in any way make more difficult a situation which is already difficult, but I think I would be reflecting a fairly general view if I said that those who are in possession of the lands and own the lands—many of whose families have been there for a very long time—should be treated as generously as possible in the matter of compensation.

It seems to me to be quite unrealistic that the owners of the lands—whether they hold them from the Land Commission, or in fee simple, or otherwise —should be regarded as being properly compensated if they are offered what might be described as the agricultural value of the lands. I do not think that is good enough, and I do not think there is any reason why they should be treated ungenerously, if the mineral wealth which the Minister seemed to indicate is there. I am dependent for forming my view on that matter on the information given by the Minister, and given in the newspapers.

I understand from the Minister's remarks that he takes a very optimistic view of the results of the explorations which have been carried out and, sharing that view, it would seem to me that the Minister and his Department should make every effort to see that the people principally concerned—the people who own and live on the lands—are treated generously in the matter of compensation for disturbance or acquisition of the lands.

It is an inspiration to all those who have the interests of the country at heart to realise that the Minister himself has displayed wonderful industry and energy in the work of his Department at what may be called this vital transitional period in our economy. It has been said that the Government have not given sufficient advice to the people but I think for the past three years the Ministers of the Government have, not only from these benches but throughout the country generally, given the people the advice they need at this particular time. The business people themselves have not been idle. Anybody who is in close touch with them knows that they have sent their trade representatives abroad. They have sent their representatives to shows and exhibitions and to places where they would get information as to the trade requirements of the Economic Community should we enter that organisation.

The results of their inquiries in that regard are, of course, being made effective in our own industries. Whilst it may be said that some small industries will have difficulty in meeting the challenge, there is no doubt that by a certain amount of co-operation and specialisation among people in the same type of industry, they will be able to put on the market the variety and quality of products which will give this country an advantage not only on the home market but in the wider community and the means of disposing of their products. Anybody with any doubts as to our ability to meet the challenge should realise that those other nations, well equipped in the techniques of the industries they are bringing here, well aware of the markets they are facing —and most of their products are for export—have every confidence that things will go well in the situation confronting us.

Judging from the speeches of one or two of the Independents—they call themselves Independent but there is not much independence in their attitude towards things Irish—if the people outside were to take much notice of what they say here, it would lead the country to despair. However, that is not the attitude of the country. There is a feeling generally of confidence throughout the nation. Those who made sacrifices in the past for its freedom, for the right of free enterprise and for free trade and commerce abroad, are satisfied that in recent years great progress has been made and that the prospects are bright. Undoubtedly, the situation here is, as Deputy Governey from the opposite benches said, that many industries survived before there were quotas and tariffs in world competition and have flourished in every circumstance that they had to meet. I am sure that those in charge of them have the same knowledge and the same enterprise to go ahead and keep those industries in their present flourishing position.

Of course, the home market is available all the time for our own people if they wish to use it. Sometimes when they have alternatives they may for a time be attracted by the glamour of something from abroad but the plain fact is that what is turned out by our own people can rival the product of any land, as is shown by all the information we can get from those who have studied all the implications of our economy. Undoubtedly, there is much to be done. Very important enterprises from abroad, like the aircraft manufacturing factory which is to be established near this city, and another major enterprise on the northern side, should give confidence to our own people.

There has been criticism of what has been done at the Shannon Free Airport. One Deputy went so far as to criticise the members who went there to see for themselves the product that was being made. If such people had gone and had seen what is being done there they would be able to give a much better account to this House of what was being made on that important international site. The equipment that is being brought in, the skill thaat is being imparted to our own people and the cargoes being provided for our aircraft and other sources of transport are all a benefit to our people. The training our people are getting as apprentices is amazingly good and they show themselves very adaptable to the many technical tasks they are set.

The manufacture of pianos at Shannon was also mentioned. Anybody who went there and saw the raw material, so to speak—the timber untouched at one end, the various portions that were being put together by the workers and the finished tested article prepared for export to Washington, D.C., and other places all over the world—would be amazed at the product that was being made in a short time. People who came from America and elsewhere and set up factories have such confidence that already they are extending their buildings on the site and catering, as some people said here today, for the needs of their employees at mealtime and so on.

From every aspect it is a wonderful development and those members who said it was all national money that was being expended would, if they had gone to the trouble of visiting that site, have got the facts and figures regarding the amount of foreign and Irish capital that was being used in these industries to the advantage of our people and our economy. It is a great thing that instead of our people having to emigrate to do that work abroad, it is now being made available to them at home and that their future is secure, in so far as they have the technical knowledge to enable them to work as technicians in industry and help our agricultural economy in that way.

There is a lot to be done with regard to marketing and matters of that kind and the marketing of our agricultural produce abroad will also require further attention. We have heard suggestions about displays and exhibitions of our foodstuffs abroad from speakers on the other benches. Now that we have transport by air making entry to foreign markets for the products of our land a speedy matter, I think we should set up permanent stores in some of the principal cities abroad and not be satisfied with exhibitions or displays which last only a week or a fortnight. It would make our produce available to these communities all the year round and I think the Dutch are already doing something of that nature. Some complain that our goods are not marketed to the best advantage and something of that kind would be very useful in that regard.

As well as the produce of the land, we have the mineral resources and it is only in recent times that we have had a revival of some of those industries which were worked in former times and which declined during the years of our national struggle, or shortly before it, by reason of the concern of our people with other things at that time. Now, with modern testing equipment and machinery, it will be possible to find out the resources that lie under the soil and to use them in any way that will best serve our needs at home in providing raw material for our industries and exporting their products.

When one reads Lewis's survey, one finds that in various parts of this country before the Famine years, many people were working on minerals. Whether these workings declined at the time of the Famine or for want of interest by foreign rulers in the resources of our land, it is only in recent years that people have awakened to the value of such exploration. The results up to the present have been encouraging and there are other resources which, on investigation, may lead to good results also.

I think that, generally speaking, the prospects are good. Apart from the Common Market and the opportunity it offers, there are millions of people living in sub-standard conditions. Even in the European Community itself, that is the case. Anybody who travels abroad and goes into the remote areas will see that the people there are living in conditions which the Irish people would not tolerate for themselves for very long. It is the duty of the people of the world to see that there is a distribution of trade, commerce and industry that will remedy that state of affairs and improve matters for these people.

In our own land, there is still the problem of coping with emigration and also the problem of dealing with the movement from the country districts to the cities. I saw in a pamphlet, distributed to the members of the House during the past few days, that, in Italy, they are trying to cope with that problem by providing work of some kind near the homes of the people, so that they will not have to change residence in order to go to it. They are trying to provide the work near the present homes of the people so that they can travel in and out to it easily and so that the homes will not be abandoned and that the people will be employed near enough to maintain them and at the same time have reasonable comfort and a hope of a future life for their own and coming generations.

Education has helped our industries. The vocational education schemes have been so good in this country that the students have been of wonderful advantage to those who have set up new industries here. These people have taken some of the best of the students of the vocational schools and they are full of praise for the progress these students have made in those industries. There have been complaints that in the apprenticeship period, the wages were not very high but these industries must be given a chance to get on their feet. Once they get fair conditions of employment and good prospects, there is every reason to be satisfied with the work that is being done.

I think the prospects for this country are good. The people are confident of their own capabilities and, with wise leadership, there is no doubt that our future should be bright, despite all the criticisms that may be made. We cannot all praise everything that happens all the time. There are criticisms that are helpful and criticisms that are damaging but if one criticises in the national interest, only good can come from such criticism. If this House acts in the spirit of those who made sacrifices to maintain our freedom, if it lives up to the attitude that we have a present to maintain and a future to work for, the country will make progress, if wisely led by those who are elected to make the laws for the good of the country.

This Estimate can be counted as one of the important Estimates that have to be considered by the House. It is the Estimate for the Department which is sometimes known as the Department of Development. It is one in which a considerable amount of hope is reposed. The last speaker spoke about the progress we all hope is before the country. The best comment made upon the whole debate so far was made by Deputy Lalor who, having thanked Providence for the blessings of a Fianna Fáil Government, went on to make a very sincere plea that his constituency be ranked as an underdeveloped area. I cannot understand Deputies who speak in terms of praise for the progress made and then swing over and accept what Deputy MacCarthy would call the pessimism and criticism and ask to have their areas classed as underdeveloped areas. Of course, we did classify the whole country as an underdeveloped area at the time we were attempting to get into the Free Trade Area, which some people hoped would be established by 1958. By the chairmanship of various committees, we led in initiating the debate in respect of the requirements of the underdeveloped countries and we classified ourselves as one of those requiring aid.

In so far as the Minister's speech is concerned, I looked for only two items of information. I have got one; I am still waiting for the other. The first item was whether any indications could be given as to the increase in employment in industrial occupations. The second thing I required was a statement as to what is the strength of the population at the moment.

As regards the second, I asked a question here towards the end of March inquiring as to the Registrar General's reports. I was told that these came out at quarterly periods. This would be more than a mere statistician's report because it would give some indication of how the population was going and its distribution. I was told that the report which would deal with the quarter to the end of December last was in the hands of the printers and was expected to be circulated inside a couple of weeks. That was on 28th March and it has not been circulated yet. Its publication is certainly much delayed beyond the date upon which that December quarter publication appeared in other years. Until that figure is revealed, we cannot get a true picture of how the country is faring.

The Minister, with regard to the other figures, gave us a statement in regard to people in employment. He said the number increased from 149,000 to 155,000. It is a great pity these figures cannot be kept on a proper footing. The figures given to us inEconomic Statistics published prior to the Budget deal with the number of people at work in agriculture and then, in Table 16, the estimated number of people at work in the main branches of non-agricultural economic activity. The only figure comparable with the figures of 149,000 to 155,000 given by the Minister is the figure here of 195,000 in respect of manufacturing activity. I know there is another table dealing with those who find occupation in the production of transporable goods, as they are called. Even there the figure is misleading.

It is not possible to get any figure really like the one the Minister gave. However, I am taking his figure to mean he claims an increase in non-agricultural industry of 6,000 and I add that to the figure given here in Table 16 for the year 1961. If we take the 6,000, and allowing that there has been no further deficiency in those employed in agriculture—and that is a very big assumption—it means that there are between agricultural and non-agricultural occupations, 1,125,000 people engaged. That means that, with the present policy of the Government, there is a deficiency of 56,000 in respect of those in both occupations compared with the year 1955 and a deficiency of 38,000 compared with the year 1956.

I have said I am assuming there has been no further drift away from the land, but that is a very large assumption indeed. These figures are not often referred to, and I think it is worth while putting them on record. In 1926, the number of those engaged in farm work or estimated to work in agriculture, forestry and fishing was placed at 652,000. I am taking this in periods of ten years. In 1936, that number had dropped to 613,000. In other words, the number of those engaged in agriculture went down by almost 40,000 people. In 1946, the number occupied in agriculture was 567,000. That shows a further drop. In 1956, the number recorded in this booklet as engaged in agriculture was down as low as 445,000. That is to say, as between 1926 and 1956, 207,000 people had left the land or left agricultural employment. Whether that drift is still going on, I have not been able to discover, because of the fact that the Registrar General's return has been concealed from the public and from this House to date. I have myself very little doubt that our population figures will show a further decline.

The census taken last year showed our population at the lowest point ever, 2,810,000. The rate at which emigration was going on in the months after that return was published clearly indicated that in the next return the figure would be shown to be below that figure of 2,800,000, that we would have gone over the brink and that the figure would be somewhere in the region of 2,700,000, with whatever additions there might be.

That drift from the land is amazing. It has been said in this House over and over again that what we are experiencing is common to all countries, that there has been all over the world a great drift away from agricultural occupations to industrial occupations and that we cannot consider ourselves anything but people affected by the same type of conditions as drive people off the land elsewhere. But we are unique in this respect: whereas in other countries, the rural areas may be becoming depopulated, the national populations in these countries are not going down. People may be drifting away from the land, but, if that is so, they are finding occupation in greater numbers in industry. We must be one of the few countries—there may be one or two others—who are finding the rural areas depopulated and the country as a whole showing a further depopulation. It is almost a matter of shame for us when we speak of the Six County area as being lacking in industry and hard hit by unemployment, because their last census returns showed that their population had gone up by 52,000 people. We cannot even have the consolation of feeling that this is something common to Ireland—rural depopulation and the reduction in the population of the country as a whole.

Today's papers indicate that we are in for a still further heavy drain from the land. There is a comment in one of today's papers on the inter-Departmental report on small farms here. The calculation is there made—and, as far as I have been able to check, it is an accurate calculation — that on a particular basis:

...holdings in Connacht and the three counties of Ulster have at present more than twice the number of workers actually required, and on holdings of 1-15 acres (which we are told represented a quarter of all holdings in this area!), the numbers engaged are between three and four times the optimum number!

The Minister who faces me spoke recently in terms which were certainly taken up by the papers as indicating that he foresaw a further drift from the land and not so much a drift from the land as that people would have to be put off the land.

In any event, the outcome was going to be a further decline in the agricultural population. I do not know whether it would be as serious as this newspaper makes it out to be but if the three Ulster counties and the whole of Connacht have at least twice as many people employed as what is called the optimum number, then this drift which is already marked by 207,000 people in 30 years will be very seriously increased.

I do not know what it is intended to do in regard to the people who are on the land and how occupations are to be found for them otherwise. Industry was, of course, the way in which these people were to be occupied. We had the famous plan for the 100,000 workers set out in great detail by the Taoiseach when he was Minister for Industry and Commerce and a couple of speeches ought to be quoted at this time. Speaking at Graiguecullen, County Carlow, in November, 1956, he said:

The policy was designed to secure that in five years capital investment would be extended until jobs were available for every boy and girl leaving school as well as absorbing those who are employed at present. These proposals still stand and represent Fianna Fáil's idea of how national affairs should be conducted.

Earlier than that, in April, 1956, he said that his proposals for a full employment policy still stood and that nobody had attempted to show any serious defect in those plans. The plans were there to put 100,000 people into employment. The result, as appeared from the Minister's speech, if I have not to offset any part of this figure because of a further decline in agriculture, is that there are 56,000 fewer people in employment than there were in 1955 and 38,000 fewer than there were in 1956.

One has to consider these figures in relation to the immediate future and particularly in relation to our application to become partners in the European Economic Community. There are two difficulties there: one is whether we shall gain admission to the group known as The Six. There should have been no doubt about that. If policies in this country, both in the international sphere and at home, had been conducted on rational lines, it should have been quite easy to gain admission. At the moment, we are facing the position in which, at the end of the football season, some teams find themselves relegated to the second division. It looks to me as if that is possible. I note that in speeches made now by Ministers in this respect, they do not say "when we join" but "if we join" the Community. There is a certain note of doubt creeping into the voices that were once so shrill in praise and hope for the future. The possibility is there that we shall be playing in some minor league competition next year and not be allowed into this Community we aspired so keenly to join.

If we are admitted to the European Economic Community, what are the prospects? There were plans for having 100,000 new employees. This Government started to put the plans into effect, I presume, in 1957. Before that, we had, when in Government, set up the Industrial Development Authority and inaugurated on good lines the idea of capital development plans. In two Acts, the Finance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act of 1956 and a later Act, we had inaugurated this programme of benefits and incentives to those who came into this country to provide industrial employment and to manufacture goods for export.

As I say, the plans were there. We had given the authority; we had produced the legislation and made the thing easy enough. A very strong team of civil servants was recruited to tell the Government in a pamphlet calledEconomic Development what these plans actually meant. They certainly had the best provision any Government ever had in the way of authority, in the way of literature in the matter and in regard to getting the finance necessary to put these plans into operation. The result is that over a number of years, production may have been going up but certainly employment has been lagging very seriously behind.

Supposing we are in the European Economic Community, the big change will be that the two great marketing areas where we had privileges will no longer be privileged for us: the home market which has been kept for manufacturers here by tariffs, quotas and other protective measures, and which will be thrown open to very strict competition; and the other market in which we had great preferences, the British market, the market which we were never able fully to supply even with preferential treatment, will be open to great competition and we will find ourselves struggling against the other members of the Six who will have no tariffs on the goods they manufacture crossing the national border into England. Those two considerations in themselves are sufficiently frightening.

Let us see how industrialists are facing up to these matters. One Labour Deputy referred to a statement made and reported in one of our papers of the 14th of this month to the effect that Irish industrialists had abused their privileges and that there were firms and even industries with their heads still firmly stuck in the sand. Although that gentleman has often been writing very optimistic articles as regards the future, he certainly, as far as this article was concerned, came off that perch. There is another gentleman who is also a signatory of the Report of the Committee on Industrial Organisation. The comments made there are certainly not the most inspiring from the point of view of anyone who wants to have an optimistic outlook on this country. There is apparently one person, however, who knows what ought to be done in industry, and who has said so. A letter was written to theIrish Times on 14th May by an individual who signs himself “Joint Managing Director, Navan Carpets Ltd.” He writes, first of all, to complain against the suggestion that was made in Galway by an economics professor there to the effect that

the best way to prepare Irish industry to take its place within EEC is to make immediate and drastic reduction in the present tariff protection, and wait to see how much damage it will do.

Of course, that was not the purpose of the suggestion at all. It was to stiffen people up, get them out of the flabby way of depending entirely on complete protection, to enable them to meet some little competition before they had to meet the blast of full competition later on.

This letter continues:

This is an amazing suggestion, and would surely produce the comment from future historians that "the operation was successful but the patient, unfortunately, died."

I take that to mean that this industrialist had the view that, if any competition were allowed here, the industrial group here would die; that would be the patient who would have the successful operation performed, but it would mean the patient's own death. The letter continues:

Every responsible industrialist in this country knows very well that the time is surely coming when our home industries will have to compete on equal terms with any in Europe. This should not, however, cause the deep gloom which both Dr. Ó Nuallain and Mr. Raymond Crotty have infused into their lectures. Surely—the letter says— the technician, the accountant, and the industrialist can find some measure of their problem, without having to turn to the economists to prescribe suicidal experiments of the kind suggested.

The next paragraph startled me:

Whether or not an industry or an individual firm can compete is not as much a matter of opinion as many people think; in most cases the competitive ability of a manufacturer can be reduced to mathematical terms, and very often into terms of simple arithmetic.

I wish we could get that formula given to the Minister and, by him, given publicity through this House so that the public as a whole might be made aware of the fact that we have some measure, apparently, of testing competitive ability that can be expressed simply in terms of arithmetic.

Having said all that, the letter goes on:

Many industrialists have measured their problems in this way, and are taking active steps to put themselves in a position to meet the challenge when it comes.

The time left at our disposal for "readaptation of our industries," to quote Dr. Ó Nuallain, is being used by all far-sighted industrialists for this purpose; and this, surely, is a case for continuing protection for as long as reasonably possible, so that the fearful injury our economists visualise might be avoided altogether.

A strangely unbalanced letter because it indicates, first of all, that industrialists are alert, have measured up their competitive ability, are not much disturbed by that, and, yet, the claim in the end is to continue protection for as long as possible to enable these industries to struggle along for the number of years before 1970. I take that letter as typical of a great deal that has been said, and is being said, in the country since the Common Market became a topic for discussion at functional dinners. I have never found any Minister who hinted there was any possibility that our industries were not going to survive. I have heard Minister's expressing their confidence, whatever that may be worth, in the future of Irish industry.

I notice that the nearer one gets, so to speak, to the roots of the matter, the nearer one gets to those who are interested in employment, to those who are in trade unions or associated with trade unions, and who are very much concerned with how trade unionists may fare in the coming years, the nearer one gets to those, the greater one finds the sense of responsibility, and the greater the realism. I have noted comments from labour leaders, one to the effect—and the phrase has been repeated; it is not a phrase thrown off casually at a dinner —that many Irish firms in most industries and all firms in some industries will go to the wall.

I have seen another comment from an economic adviser to labour that there is a bleak future ahead for Irish industry and there is likely to be great redundancy. Another trade union representative said that many of the people who had established themselves here in industry could pack up their bags and leave very easily, without leaving much in the way of losses behind them because they had been so favoured by Government grants, and everything else, they could have recouped themselves any expenses that might have been on them in the early stages for bringing plant and machinery into this country.

Recently, there has been this booklet, the report of the Committee on Industrial Re-organisation. Before I deal with it, I go back to the letter writer to theIrish Times:

Many industrialists have measured their problems in this way, and are taking active steps to put themselves in a position to meet the challenge when it comes.

Irish industrialists, we are to gather, are flexing their muscles and looking for a chance to show their form, talking in terms of the challenge they are going to meet, and quite confident that they are going to meet it, and the Minister is helping them in that particular viewpoint.

I take this booklet now. There is an air of urgency, almost of panic, about it. In one paragraph, they pose themselves certain questions. They ask whether further Government aid is required. In paragraph 10, page 7, the question is put:

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 forthcoming. We conclude that additional aid will be necessary if valuable time is not to be lost in preparing Irish industry for freer trade.

The opening paragraph struck a note of gloom, of course:

Irish firms and industries will survive under free trade only if their products are competitive in design, style, quality, delivery dates, marketing techniques and price with those available from other countries within the EEC. 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 opening sentence of the second paragraph is:

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

I put that on a footing with the opinion of the trade union leader who said that some firms in all industries and all firms in some industries will go to the wall.

At a later stage, at page 8 of the booklet, it is stated:

It would appear, however, that relatively few firms and industries are at present taking decisions designed to prepare them for freer trade.

Having opened on that note, they end that paragraph by saying:

The period within which it may be possible to give preventive assistance might well be very short.

Paragraph 12 faces reality:

When the tariff reductions reach the point where the remaining tariffs no longer afford effective protection, Irish industry would be very vulnerable if still in the throes of re-equipment or of any other important form of adjustment. When that stage is reached, it is essential that re-equipment, etc., should be fully effected—perhaps, indeed, that the firms should have plant and equipment which has been substantially written down.

These two paragraphs must be read together because the second paragraph is to the effect that if the firms are caught, so to speak, in the process of re-adaptation, then they will suffer. But the warning is given earlier that "relatively few firms and industries are at present taking decisions designed to prepare them for free trade". At the end of page 11 and over on the top of page 12, it is stated:

The answers to the C.I.O. questionnaires will give some indication of how the tax free export profits have been used by firms—that the behaviour of the level of industrial investment up to the end of 1960 does not suggest that much re-equipment has been taking place.

A pamphlet was got out with a certain amount of urgency and almost a note of panic. It says that firms are not preparing; that firms could adapt themselves without Government aid but will not; that few firms can stand the free competition they will meet under EEC conditions, unless they bestir themselves and get into a better condition. Then it says it does not appear as if much re-equipment has been taking place. That is the situation in which we drift into the Common Market, if we are allowed in.

I cannot feel optimistic about the future when I get that comment by a group set up in order to consider what our industries are doing. I think it is a terrible situation that, even if we are left alone—without Britain or ourselves joining the Common Market —we look forward to another 100,000 people being swept off the land and that industry, which has not done very much recently, is to provide for these.

Looking at these figures with regard to rural depopulation, it seems we shall have to re-write our history books in regard to more than one matter. We have been urged to do that with regard to the old time situation. It has been urged that the old slogan about Britain and our enemies should disappear and that a more rational type of history book should be written. We shall have to do more than that. A good deal of our history is a condemnation of many of our landlords. It seems we owe a lot of these people an apology. I do not think they were as effective in depopulating the countryside as what has happened since 1926.

Those 6,000 persons said to have gone into industrial occupation in the last year depend, to some extent, I suppose, upon the Shannon Industrial Estate. I gather from newspaper comments after the recent excursion down there that the numbers occupied there have at last struggled up to the height of 1,200 people. There was a time when the Shannon Industrial Estate was stated to be likely to erect a new town of 50,000 inhabitants. It was said at one time that we would have a second Limerick on the outskirts of the airport. Our ambitions are more modest nowadays. We have been chastened by our experiences. I think 1,200 is the highest number I have seen quoted as employed in manufacturing industry. I am not talking of those employed on the building of factories. Subtract that figure of 1,200 from the 6,000 for the whole country. It means that about 4,800 people have found employment in industry other than industry associated with Shannon Free Airport.

A tremendous number of incentives are offered to industrialists to come here and manufacture for export. I think sites of land are given free. There are grants for plant and machinery and there is a remission on profits if the profits are derived from export. These are all incentives of the type that one German Minister has described as export subsidies.

I have questioned several times and a Labour Deputy has questioned in a Parliamentary way the future with regard to these subsidies. There are escape clauses in the Rome Treaty. It seems to me that if we are always looking for the escape clause it shows our weakness. However, if it has to be that way, it has to be. But, while there are escape clauses, the principle of the European Economic Community is quite clear. They want free trade andbona fide free trade. That means that devices such as tariffs, quotas and keeping goods out will have to be abandoned after a certain number of years. Furthermore, the free trade contemplated by the Rome Treaty does not allow for subsidies for export. That is not free trade.

Take even the 5,000 persons or so who may have got into industrial occupation in the past year. I wonder how much of that employment depends upon anything in the nature of an export subsidy. I can think of only three types of firms in this country, when I am thinking in terms of export. There are some, a few, very big firms who have been here for a long time. I think they have found it possible to produce goods for export in competition with the firms in the areas to which they send their goods. These are people who are not protected at home and, as far as I know, they are not getting any incentive towards subsidy. The number of firms that rank in that group can be counted on the fingers of one hand; maybe the number goes into double figures though I doubt it.

Next we have a group of industrialists here which, having a whole protected market for themselves, are able to put surplus production into export. They can achieve the same measure of success in that way. One asks how will those firms adapt themselves to new conditions when the home market is no longer protected for them. If the home market protection goes, and the main basis at the moment for their chief production weakens, I wonder if there is any estimate of how those people are likely to fare.

Then there is the group of people who were induced to come in here by certain incentives, who came in here to manufacture goods for nothing except for export. I wonder what is the likelihood of these surviving if, as is possible—I do not say probable—these things are counted as subsidies and therefore are condemned under the terms of the Rome Treaty.

We have figures. I hope the Minister will explain the difference between those 149,000 and 155,000 which I cannot relate either to the figures in the economic pamphlet dealing with transportable goods or to Table 16 which refers to people in the branches of non-agricultural economic activity. Let us take that figure. Let us take the figure relating to those employed in the manufacture of transportable goods or those employed generally in industry. Have we any estimate of how many people are employed by firms who have no protection at home and who do not require and who do not get subsidies for export? Some fraction of this group has its employment through those firms. It would be very small, I would say.

Take the second group. What proportion of our whole activity occupies people in industries which depend on home production which is likely to go and which most certainly will go if we get into the community? What is the remedy?

How many people are employed in industries which are entirely dependent on incentives given to them because they are entirely or almost entirely manufacturing for export? It is only when we see the figures for this type of industry that we shall be able to understand what the future is for industry in this country.

I notice that the Minister said recently—maybe in this debate—that the Government accepted the recommendations of the Committee on Industrial Organisation. I do not think these recommendations carry one very far. However, whatever they are, it is good to find that the Government are alert enough to the situation to promise this committee, rather late and hurriedly set up and late and hurriedly and almost panicky reporting, to accept whatever is contained in the recommendations.

Listening to Deputy McGilligan, it would appear that there was nothing to do but sell out and abandon ship. The farmers cannot produce or compete and so there is no hope there. Industries cannot manufacture or compete—no hope there, either. Briefly, that is the picture Deputy McGilligan painted. If that were the only view held by our people, it would indicate a very dismal future for Ireland.

It is true that rural areas are being depopulated and that this will continue. It is true that this is brought about by the use of machinery on farms. It is also true that other jobs must be found for those people. By and large, the Department is facing up to this task with great courage and tenacity. But the problem facing the nation is also great. Generally, we are not an industrially-minded people. We are very slow to get down to basic practical thinking on our day-to-day problems. As a nation, we are rather inclined to dream about tomorrow's ice-cream and forget about today's bread. This romantic believing and thinking must be brought down to reality. From the highest to the lowest, we must tackle this job with vigour and conviction. If we apply ourselves to it as a nation and as a people, we can do it.

There is far too much looking to the Government for aid, too much waiting for next year rather than doing something today, too much hoping we might get more next year. We must be brought back to our senses quickly and look to the task facing us. The country is making very remarkable progress in its industrial development and I should like to see it move even further ahead. Our people, all over the country, must get together and invite and encourage to their own areas particular types of industry that may suit them. Alternatively, the Government might initiate a programme of industrial zoning whereby certain categories of industry can be zoned. Progress already made is quite good and in my own county of Sligo, it deserves certain mention. It is nothing like what I should like to see: I should like it to be ten times as good. Even now Sligo could do with 4,000 jobs. We must get the middle group of our people to work. These are the producers and we must get our people to work from the sixteens to the sixties.

Generally, the quality of workers here is good, but in certain areas there is a tendency to get young workers or advanced workers and in many cases the middle group is missing. That section must be sought and kept at home by every possible means because they are the real producers and getting them into employment will give us the acceleration that is so vital, together with fresh thinking and in many cases experienced thinking.

An Foras Tionscal, by and large, are doing a magnificent job. They deal with various projects for the production of goods for home consumption or for export markets, and, because of the grave danger of criticism here of any wrong move, I have no doubt, the time for approval of schemes is sometimes unnecessarily prolonged. Any Government endeavouring to accelerate progress must, of necessity, be careful in the normal way, but I sometimes feel too much time is lost in processing applications in attempting to ensure against any possibility of a failure. Judging our progress by failures and collapses indicates nothing. I should far rather meet a man who attempted something, even if it failed, rather than a man who sits on the fence and does nothing. One can always find the man who does nothing but who knows what will succeed and what will fail. He never moves but he knows all the answers. We must ignore that wise old owl who can do, and does, a lot of harm.

The industries that have achieved some progress in the export field are doing so against severe competition. They have only recently started and it is too soon to criticise their efforts and say that because they limited their trade originally to fulfilling the demands of the domestic market, now that they have extended operations overseas, some doubt should be cast on their ability to meet that market and on their integrity prior to going into the export market. The competition that is so feared as a result of our entering the Common Market can easily be met but it will require tiptop management to make decisions, to classify the goods they manufacture and the markets they will try to meet. It will demand a re-equipment, in many cases the dropping of some lines that are now found uneconomic, in addition to the best marketing facilities that can be provided. Good design is imperative. Quality is an absolute essential, and excellent finish. The goods should be wrapped in an attractive package. These are the things people will buy.

We have in this country Córas Tráchtála and I should like to add my word of praise to the director and staff for the job they are doing. A magnificent public relations service has been built up abroad and wherever one meets the staff of Córas Tráchtála, they are always urging young and inexperienced firms to make even one commodity they can offer abroad.

The general policy on marketing and the individual efforts of certain firms would require re-examination. Our industrial pattern is one of small units. To send a representative abroad costs a lot of money. It may be necessary through the Department of Industry and Commerce, Córas Tráchtála and other industrial organisations to examine the question of building up an agency which would handle the goods of all exporters, which would act as a selling agency, co-ordinating industries and various sections. To develop and plan along those lines would take some time but the House will get the idea that it is something that can be seriously considered. The agency, through its representatives abroad, could bring back recommendations and information as to the markets available and new lines for which a market might be available and some industrialist or manufacturer in this country could be encouraged to produce the suggested commodities at the price at which it was indicated they could be sold abroad. This is no new planning; it has been done by people in other places.

With the re-equipment of industry, there has followed in many areas a shortage of skilled personnel. While we have an Apprenticeship Board who are doing very excellent work, the Minister ought to examine the question of having accelerated training schemes either in association with certain firms or in certain areas where industries could become concentrated, where apprentices could make all the mistakes, as it were, during the training period and then enter the main works reasonably qualified to turn out a good article. I shall not dwell at great length on that subject but I would recommend most strongly to the Minister that, whatever is being done, more must be done to meet the need for technical training of our young boys and girls.

I was pleased to hear the Minister's general report on the progress being made. Indeed, it was very encouraging in regard to the industrial field and in connection with mining and the surveys carried out in regard to coal, oil, and so forth. The interest shown by people from overseas in the mineral potential of this country is, to say the least, gratifying and I hope that the confidence these people have shown and the encouragement the Minister and his Department have given will shortly bear fruit. It is too soon yet to say "Eureka". I would strongly advise the Minister to ensure that production, in the event of there being anything to produce, will be carefully controlled and that employment in the areas concerned will not be a case of a feast and a famine. There is potential wealth in the soil in certain areas but it should be extracted in such a way as to leave in the area a permanent pattern of employment; that, as the minerals are exhausted, other industries will be built up, which will maintain employment.

Agricultural output generally is improving. Employment in agriculture is going down. The quality of our farm produce, of course, is improving each year. I know the Minister is doing everything possible but I would ask him to leave no stone unturned in his efforts to encourage the development of industries for the processing of farm produce—cattle, sheep, pigs, vegetables, horticultural produce and anything else we can produce. This is a form of industry which would be complementary to our small farms. Farmers could produce to meet the demand. If the farm income can be increased in this way, the farmer will be encouraged to stay at home. That effect can only be limited because there is a natural flight from the land.

I was very pleased, and want to congratulate all concerned, at the development of the new process for preserving food—accelerated freeze drying. I shall be watching the development of the process and wishing it well. If we can obtain markets, and I know we can if the problem is tackled vigorously, and fill those markets with the products of that industry, it will consume a sizeable portion of our agricultural output. We must inevitably present our goods abroad in an attractive manner. I have felt for a long time that much of our farm produce—in particular, bacon and butter—in addition to being sent in bulk, should be graded and attractively packaged.

I feel that would be the responsibility of another Minister.

He is young.

It is very hard to know the dividing line. That completes my remarks on this Estimate.

(South Tipperary): From the general trend of the discussion, it seems to me that the chief difficulties facing us in the future, particularly as regards industry and the effect which the Common Market will have upon our economy, will be the loss of a protected home market, and the loss of our privileged position in the British market. Added to that, there will be other difficulties, purely physical difficulties, probably of less importance but not to be lost sight of, such as loss of income from customs duties with the abolition of the tariff walls and customs, a damping down of direct taxation and a veering towards indirect taxation which seems to be the policy of the Common Market countries, and a loss thereby to our revenue of money from direct taxation.

The Minister is facing a very difficult situation, a situation the difficulty of which has been in a measure of our own making—not necessarily of his own making but of those who have gone before him. He is inheriting the uncomfortable legacy of a foolish policy of economic self-sufficiency which we have been pursuing here up to recently. However, I dealt with that aspect already in the Budget debate. In consequence we have been left with a large number of small, relatively incompetent, protected industries, some of them non-indigenous, and some of them calculated to put up a very poor resistance to the highly integrated combines which will have access to our markets when the protective tariff walls are removed.

Any Minister for Industry and Commerce, no matter how senior and experienced he might be—and the present Minister is a relatively young man—would be facing an extremely difficult task. I wish him every good luck in the difficulties that lie ahead because they will be extreme and they will affect every citizen of the country. If I have any criticism to make, I think the first criticism I should make is that we have been rather dilatory in this matter. No one can put back the clock. No one can undo what was initiated in 1932 and 1933, but at least we could have foreseen the trends and we could have taken more appropriate steps at an earlier stage to meet the present conditions had we sufficient awareness and an anticipatory sense in Government circles.

The report of the Committee on Industrial Organisation and similar reports and economic surveys have been quoted. These things should have been in operation two, three or four years ago. Now, at the eleventh hour, we are taking steps to do what we should long before now have completed. We are proceeding, willy-nilly, on the basis that, "It will be all right on the night." For that I blame particularly the leadership of the Government. I cannot blame the industrialists. I cannot blame the Civil Service. The leadership and responsibility lie primarily on the shoulders of the Government because they have adopted a dilatory attitude. I know it is easy to have hindsight; I know it is easy to be wise after the event. It is easy for me to criticise but, in all fairness, I think I am not being hypercritical when I stand here and censure the Government for being too easy, too careless, and too slow in this matter.

One speaker from the opposite side of the House, with the usual lack of logic which characterises many of the speakers from that side of the House, talked about the 30 years' effort for industrialisation here. He spoke about it as if almost it had been a 30 years' war, but he forgot to cast his mind back a little further to the industrialisation which was started here more than 30 years ago, before Sinn State was founded and before Sinn Féin was heard of. There was a fair measure of State industrialisation carried out here before Fianna Fáil came into power. The Shannon scheme and the sugar industry were started before 1932.

He praised protection as if it were some wonderful device. Protection is quite all right for a period, but I think the mistake that was made was that the protection was wholesale and given in too unselective a fashion, particularly since 1932. It was also carried on too long. While there may be something to be said for giving protection to an industry which you are satisfied has possibilities, there is nothing to be said for giving it a degree of protection for so long and so completely that it becomes a disincentive. That, I believe, happened here in a number of concerns.

I was quite amused by the same speaker when he was concluding. After telling us about all the wonderful things that had happened, and the wonderful future that lay ahead of us, he then suggested we should start a new industry immediately to deal with the redundancy that would occur when we entered the Common Market. If that is logic it is a new brand to me. Deputy McGilligan dealt with the Shannon Development Company. I do not know what the future holds for the Shannon Development Company or the Shannon Airport, but it strikes me that the future for the Development Company, like all export companies, would have been more assured, if we did not have the imminence of the Common Market. With that in front of us, the position is more doubtful.

It looks to me like an attempt to wed a fairly good Fine Gael idea—in other words, tax incentive for export firms starting here—to a rather doubtful Fianna Fáil airport idea, on the premises that the freightage from that estate would help to make Shannon Airport as such less insolvent. We would all like to see Shannon Airport become less insolvent but it looks as if a good idea, or what potentially is a good idea, is being used to bolster up another idea about which we are beginning to have doubts. There could be a risk here that one was throwing good money after bad and while we are told that the firms there have invested £2,500,000 of their own money in the concern we must also realise that most of them could quite easily remove a large amount of their investment by virtue of the fact that most installations there are small, detached units.

I would ask the Minister to consider the question of extending the undeveloped areas to a larger part of the country. I think it is true to say that the whole country is undeveloped. Other parts of rural Ireland should have equal claim to these special concessions which seem to be entirely devoted to the region west of the Shannon. I have nothing against the people west of the Shannon, and I do not want the Deputies from west of the Shannon to jump down my neck afterwards, but those of us who happen to live east of the Shannon also require some consideration. In my constituency we are badly in need of industrial development, particularly in my own town. It is rather galling for me to find that if I live west of the Shannon I would get all these concessions but as I happen to live east of the Shannon, by accident of birth, I am deprived of these things. When one thinks of our various industries one says to one's self "such an industry might survive; such an industry would have a good opportunity," and then one thinks of the large, oldestablished industries which probably have a better chance. Some of them are protected home industries and probably a few will be able to weather the storm. More doubtful are the industries established largely or entirely for export. As far as an ordinary layman's interpretation of these things is concerned it appears that the form of aid given to these firms would not seem to be compatible with the principles of the Rome Treaty.

I do not know whether or not the Minister can give us any guidance on that. Can he assure us that this type of industry is established under conditions that are compatible with the Common Market? Have we an assurance that we can still establish industries on this basis? A second point is: what purpose will they have in coming here if they can secure free entry into the British market direct from their own countries? The only attraction they would have here would be the few pounds they would be able to put into their pockets.

I was very interested in Deputy McGilligan's newspaper clipping regarding the Navan carpet manufacturers' arithmetical formula to estimate the competitive ability of industrial concerns. I am sure the Minister would be delighted if he could get some mathematical formula like that. I am sure he would almost do a course in higher mathematics if he could get such a formula to use for industrial concerns. The Minister has received advice from his Committee on Industrial Organisation and I would ask him to consider doing two or three things. First, in so far as he is able, and in the absence of a mathematical formula to help him, would he try and form some assessment—and the matter is one of urgency—of the worthiness of our major industries? This is a very difficult task and very difficult to do at short notice but it is essential. He would have to make up his mind what types of industries are really worthwhile. Furthermore, I would ask him to consider forthwith the dismantling of our protective machinery. It is better that we should do that now and try and stave off as much as possible than wait until next year or the year after and simply be told to do it. It is something which appears inevitable and it would be better to do it now rather than join the Common Market at a later stage in some capacity and be told immediately that these are the conditions.

As regards the financial aids that it has been suggested should be given to industry here to rehabilitate them for the task that lies before them, I think the Minister should use his discretion. I do not think that he should be prepared to go forward and give financial aid to any and every industry in this country. He will have to face the difficult task and the unpleasant fact that there are some concerns that cannot survive and that it is puposeless to pump money into them. The discretion as to what particular firms come into that category will be the Minister's onerous and unpleasant responsibility. There is an old German proverb which means, when translated, "There are people for whom one may do nothing". There are many industrial concerns which have grown up under protective featherbedding and for which, when the protection is removed, we will be able to do nothing.

I do not wish to detain the House and what I have to say will be very brief indeed. The Minister for Industry and Commerce has spoken about the eighth round of wage increases. No matter what I say, I do not want to appear to misrepresent or misinterpret what he said. The Minister said:

The eighth round developed in a rather haphazard fashion and the question arises whether this development was in the best interests of the country as a whole or even in the best interest of the workers themselves. It can be said with truth that another development of this kind could be very serious and that has underlined the need for the most serious examination of the whole position and for an attempt to deal with it which will be in the general interest.

I do not think anyone could take any great exception to what the Minister has said, but there may be other people who would interpret the Minister as having some objection to the eighth round of wage increases, as some of his supporters have objected by inference. The Minister poses a question in this speech which he does not answer when he says:

And the question arises whether this development was in the best interests of the country as a whole or even in the best interests of the workers themselves.

There may be an impression among some people that the eighth round of wage increases was not really earned by the workers and, therefore, I would like to comment on that aspect of this particular wage increase. I think it should be stressed that the percentage increase in wages and salaries was less than the rise in national income. I think it is important to say that because the Taoiseach has said that workers are entitled to a share of the nation's wealth. One of the methods by which the nation's wealth is produced is by the contribution of the workers.

While the Minister spoke about wage increases and asked whether they were in the best interests of the workers, he might also have referred to profits. There does not seem to be anyone to talk about profits but profits rose just as steeply as wages over the past 12 or 18 months. Receipts from corporation profits tax rose by 12 per cent. in 1961. I do not think the general level of wage increases was anything like 12 per cent. It should also be noted that bank profits as published rose by 13 per cent. Yet we did not hear any comment from anybody on the Government benches about the steep increase in profits of the banks or of those engaged in general industry and commerce.

We are inclined, also, when we talk about wage increases, to relate them to last year or the year before or within a period of five years. It is well to stress this, in defence if needs be, of the workers of the country, that since 1948 and up to 1961 the output per worker in industry rose by over 50 per cent. I think I should repeat that. Since 1948 up to 1961 the output per worker in industry rose by over 50 per cent. His real earnings rose by only 33 per cent. and that 33 per cent. includes the eighth round of wage increases.

Again, the Minister may like to think that increased wages have not been matched by increased productivity. I referred to that matter either on the Vote on Account or during the Budget discussion but I do not have to give figures to show that the industrial workers of this country earned the recent eighth round increase. As a matter of fact, a tribute was paid to them by the Minister for Finance when he spoke on the Vote on Account on March 14th in column 1630 when he said:

The industrial worker has earned his increase by increased productivity.

Let the Minister not think that I am taking this paragraph in his speech as a sort of attack on the workers. I am not but I am expressing certain thoughts to him to demonstrate that the workers of this country, and the industrial workers especially, have got nothing more than what is their due when one has regard to the increase in output. It must be remembered that the receipts from corporation profits tax increased by 12 per cent. and that the profits as published by the banks rose by 13 per cent, in 1961.

The Minister also appeared to be anxious, and rightly so, about our competitive position in Europe and he appeared to think that some damage may have been done by the wage increases in recent years. He believes that we may put ourselves in a bad way when we come to compete with the European countries if our application for membership of the European Economic Community is successful. Wages in the Netherlands increased in the past two years by 14 per cent.; in West Germany, they increased by 21 per cent. in the past two years; in Sweden, they increased by 25 per cent. in the past two years; and, even in Britain, where we were told there was a wage pause, in the year just gone out, wages increased by eight per cent.

These things should be mentioned lest people get the impression, not necessarily from the Minister for Industry and Commerce, that the workers have done something to disrupt the economy. We in the Labour Party welcome the meeting that is to take place towards the end of this month between the trade unions and the employers so that they may come to a common understanding about wages, conditions of employment and so on.

I am always somewhat bewildered when I hear speeches from Ministers for Industry and Commerce in regard to the number of new industries established here. For the past three or four years, the Minister for Industry and Commerce has proudly told us of the number of brand new industries established. In replies to recent Parliamentary Questions we were told that in 1958 we had 33 new industries; in 1959, 33 new industries; in 1960, 47 new industries; in 1961, 41 new industries. I forget the exact figure for the present year, but I think it was something like 35 or 40 new industries. From these figures we see that from 1958 to 1961 we have had a total of 156 brand new industries.

To give the Minister his due, not only did he give us that information but he gave us the locations of all these industries. Even though 156 new industries have been established since 1958, and including 1958, the results do not seem to have been tremendous. We do not seem to have made a very big impression on the unemployment problem. I also have figures which show me the number of persons in employment. In the year 1957, that is, the year immediately prior to 1958 when there were 33 new industries established, we had a total of 1,136,000 persons in employment. In 1961, despite the fact we have had 156 brand new industries established, we have 17,000 fewer people in employment.

I know a lot of that can be explained away by the fact that we have had such a flight from the land, ranging from 10,000 in some years down to about 2,500 this year. I suppose one can boast about the additional numbers who have obtained employment in manufacturing industry. Between the years 1957 and 1961 we have had an increase of 13,000 in manufacturing industry. I suppose that is a figure of which one should be proud. The Minister for Industry and Commerce, as far as he has responsibility, has direct responsibility for the employment of people in manufacturing industry. The Minister for Local Government, the Minister for Agriculture and other Ministers may have a certain amount of responsibility for employment in rural areas. But they all have a responsibility for the general employment situation.

Whether we like it or not, that situation has certainly deteriorated. We need only consider the fact that in 1953 we had 1,182,000 in employment and in 1961 that had fallen to 1,119,000. It seems clear, therefore, that, despite all the good intentions of the Government and despite what they themselves described as their best efforts, we do not seem to be making the impression that should be made on the problem of finding employment for our people. It is true that generous financial inducements are given for the establishment of industry. Many foreigners have availed of these facilities for the establishment of industry both East and West of the Shannon. Yet, despite all that help, encouragement and financial assistance, we do not seem to be solving the problem as quickly as we should. That is the reason why the Labour Party have advocated, and will continue to advocate, that the State, through the Government, and particularly through the Minister for Industry and Commerce, should take more initiative in the actual establishment of industry. If private enterprise are doing the job, we say "Well and good, let them do it". But private enterprise have not done the job. Whether it has been Irish, Belgian, German or American private enterprise, they have not established the industries to provide employment for Irish people in their own country.

The Fianna Fáil Government have not a black record as far as the establishment of industry by the State is concerned. They have been eminently successful in the establishment of something like 53 State or semi-State companies. Despite what people may say about semi-State companies, the vast majority of them can be described as self-supporting and not needing assistance from the State. I believe about 35 of them are trading bodies and the majority of them have been successful. In the year 1961, if my information is correct, there were only about five of them which needed State assistance. It is important to mention that, because those against intervention by the Government in the establishment of and assistance to industry are prone to believe that practically all State or semi-State bodies are dependent on hand-outs from the tax-payers. Such is not the case and that should be brought home to these critics whenever the opportunity arises.

The Government provided employment for some hundreds of people in Dundalk five years ago. They may not have done it directly—they tried to give the impression that it was not a State-established body—but, nevertheless, they did it. It seems as if they are taking the initiative in the establishment of a fertiliser factory in Arklow. They should be applauded for that. What they did in Dundalk and what they are about to do in Arklow could be done in many parts of the country and should be done if private enterprise either fails or refuses to do it. No matter what anybody thinks, the most important commodity we have is our flesh and blood, our men and women. If private enterprise is not capable of ensuring there will be employment in our own country, this Government need have no hesitation in providing it themselves. If they do so, they can be assured of the support of the Labour Party.

I was particularly pleased by a statement made by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. I am glad to see he and his colleagues show some signs of conversion. I am not quite certain whether or not this is the first case in which they have done it but the Minister yesterday said in reply to a Parliamentary Question I tabled to him that he was considering the appointment of a director to the board of St. Patrick's Copper Mines in Avoca, that concern which has been under discussion in Dáil Éireann for the past few months and which, according to the Minister, will be discussed here in the very near future.

This is a concern in which the tax-payers have a great stake. Whether the moneys were grants or loans they are moneys that have been provided by the people. Whether they will be paid back or not is a risk that somebody has to take, and whether it is the Industrial Credit Company or the Department of Industry and Commerce does not make any difference. What everybody must see is that hundreds of thousands of pounds have been put into St. Patrick's Copper Mines to produce copper and to keep Wicklowmen, Wexfordmen and Carlowmen in employment. If it does that, I am all for it, but I do not believe we should give hand-outs by way of loan or grant to people who have no connection with the Government or with the State, without having some direct representative of the State and of the people on that controlling body.

I do not know much about the Avoca mines or about their day-to-day administration. I must confess I do not know much about the business of producing copper or the general policy of the board running these mines. However, what I am concerned with mainly is that, as long as the people have a stake in it to the extent of perhaps £500,000, they should have some control in the running of the mines and the general policy.

We in the Labour Party have advocated not that there should be a Government-appointed director on this board but on the board of every industry in respect of which substantial sums of money have been advanced by the State by way of grant or loan. It is the only way in which the money of the people can, even to a small extent, be safeguarded. Maybe it is premature to compliment the Minister because he has not committed himself to any decision, but I would urge upon him in this case to do as he suggested he might do yesterday, that is, have a director appointed to this board and also to the board of any other concern that gets a substantial amount of money from the State.

I know of a very small example of a concern that was established by a foreigner and into which this State, through the Government, invested something like 80 per cent. of the capital of about £200,000. I was shocked and the people also should be shocked to know that within 24 hours, the manager decided that this place would fold up. The Minister for Finance did not know why it folded up, notwithstanding the fact that he was a Deputy for the constituency. He had no idea, as he said in the public press, I think, why it folded up.

I am not blaming the Minister for Finance and I am not holding it against him that this happened in his constituency, but it is significant that he, as a member of the Government and as Minister for Finance, had no idea that this concern, which was employing some 40 or 50 people, was about to close up. Let me say to their credit that the Government stepped in and the factory was taken over. For how long it will be taken over and controlled by a Government agency, I do not know, but it all goes to demonstrate that if we merely hand out money to people, whether they be Irish or foreigners, we run the risk of losing the industry, unless we have a man on the spot, the Minister's or the Government's representative, to safeguard the interests of the nation.

The Minister mentioned that in preparation for our entry to the Common Market, industrial surveys are being carried out. I am sure there is no necessity for me to stress the urgency of this matter. Many people are content to make this one comment about the Common Market, that as long as Britain makes her application for membership, we must do likewise, and there there is a full stop. They are not prepared to find out what the responsibilities will be or to discover what they will have to do, if we become members of the European Economic Community. There are many people who criticise severely and nearly go so far as to call traitors to the country those who by way of speech appear to be realistic or objective about this problem. I know Ministers of the Government will have to face grave difficulties in the next 12 months or two years, whether or not we become members of the EEC.

Some of the Ministers—not all of them—have been quite cheery about this whole business and have forecast a virtual Utopia for the farmers and have said that the keener competition will do Irish industry an amount of good. It is our sincere hope that it will. There is the possibility that after seven, eight or ten years, agriculture may reap the advantages of membership and that industry may progress more after seven, eight or nine years. Although other Parties may be concerned, we in the Labour Party are vitally concerned about what will happen during the transitional period, during the seven or eight years.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce said on one occasion there was the possibility—these are not his exact words—that many thousands would lose their employment. If ten men lose their employment, it will be bad. If ten men are to lose their employment, it is now we should be preparing to ensure they will not. However, it will be very serious for this country if even 1,000 people lose employment because we must become members of the EEC. It may go up to 5,000 to 10,000 or 20,000 because it seems to all of us we cannot compete in the world market, in the European market or the British market unless we have protection. If we are stripped of that protection, if there is to be a free-for-all, is it not natural to assume this country will face grave difficulties and that there is the possibility of mass unemployment?

The Labour Party will not gloat if that situation should arise. We shall not say to the people: "That is what you get for having a Fianna Fáil Government." There are many Deputies on the Fianna Fáil benches who believe we will gloat over any difficulties that will arise in respect of our membership of the EEC. Because we are vitally concerned about the people, because we are particularly concerned about what will happen to the workers, we attempt to be realistic and objective and to forecast what might happen in order to steer the Government into doing what we believe is the proper thing to do in order to safeguard industry and agriculture and in doing that, to safeguard the employment and the standard of living of the Irish people.

And that is?

I shall tell the Minister in a moment, in respect of industry, in any case. The Minister said that the Committee on Industrial Organisation had made a survey of particular branches of industry, and the report is not very pleasant reading. I shall not say it is untruthful; it seems to be pretty factual and truthful. The Minister in his speech, and, I think, the Minister for Finance in his Budget speech, said there would be special forms of State aid to assist and encourage industry and to help it to re-equip and to re-adapt itself. I should like to know from the Minister—I do not think it is too early to have the information from either the Minister or the Government—what sort of State aid they visualise? Is it, as I assume it is, financial assistance? Will that financial assistance take the form of either a loan or a grant? Or will it take the form of assistance towards the provision of better techniques, and better and newer methods?

Here is another question I want to pose to the Minister. What if private enterprise refuses to meet what is described as the challenge of the Common Market? What if many of these industrialists, what if many of these concerns owned by individuals, or by a group of individuals, say: "We will throw in the towel. We will throw up the sponge. We will not meet the challenge of the Common Market. We will not re-equip. We will not seek newer methods and techniques. We prefer to close down." That will be a decision taken by one man, or by five or ten people controlling certain concerns. Our interests are, and the Minister's interest should be, and surely is, in those who are employed in these particular industries. In a case like that what do the Government propose to do?

Mr. Garret Fitzgerald, who is regarded as one of the leading economists in the country, said over the weekend that many industries were resisting preparations for EEC. He is accepted as one who has made a particular study of the implications of the Treaty of Rome and who has tried to analyse what may happen, should Ireland become a full member. He also said, speaking in Galway last weekend, that one major industry refuses to have tariffs instead of quotas on imports. We all know that quotas must go immediately. Tariffs will be stripped from us over a certain period. If that industry to which Mr. Garret Fitzgerald referred is one that employs any sizeable number of people, what is to happen to them?

I do not think private enterprise is so sacred in this country that, when they refuse to do the job for which they have responsibility, the Government should not step in and try to maintain these industries if, as Deputy Hogan said, they believe they are worthwhile industries which could, if re-equipped and reorganised, meet the challenge of the Common Market. The Government will find that there will be many industries that will prefer to close up, mainly because they have become too lazy behind protective tariff walls, which they have enjoyed, in some cases, for 20 and 30 years. In a situation like that, no matter how one cares to describe it, it is the bounden duty and moral responsibility of the Government to ensure that, for the sake of those who get their employment in the country, these industries, if they are worthwhile, will continue to operate.

Let me repeat that I freely admit— and this is something that Government members must themselves appreciate— that great problems will be faced within the next two years particularly and, if we become a member of EEC, within the next seven or eight years, and possibly longer. But I think the Government should have an appreciation of what the Labour Party—I do not pretend to speak for anyone else— are trying to do, and of what Deputy Norton certainly did in the speech he made on the Budget when he referred to the possibility of our becoming members of the European Economic Community. He approached the problem in a realistic and objective way, but the only thanks he got for that from certain of his critics was that he was being a traitor to the country. We do not want to exaggerate or overemphasise the problems that we may have to face. I want to assure the Minister—I talk for the trade unions as well—that in these difficulties he will certainly have the co-operation of the Labour Party in trying to resolve them. I know he will have the co-operation of the trade unions. He should, of course, have the co-operation of every single section of the community.

We recognise that this is not a Fianna Fáil problem alone. It is a national problem. The nation will have to face it. If Fianna Fáil want to take a stand which is purely a Fianna Fáil stand on the Fianna Fáil point of view then they cannot expect the co-operation of the whole country. If they approach the matter in an objective and realistic way, telling the truth as they know it and preparing for the difficulties we will have to encounter, then I am certain they will have the co-operation not alone of the Parties in this House but of every section of the community.

I am glad to hear that the Labour Party are willing to help the Government. I am glad the other Opposition Parties will do the same. Such co-operation is not usual. In the recent Budget, when the Government decided to increase taxation, they were opposed by certain Parties here. We will hope for the best now that the country's future is at stake. We will hope for co-operation from everybody.

With regard to what the Government should or should not do, there is an impressive Napoleonic maxim that if one wants to know one's strength or one's weakness one must make contact and see. That is what the Government are doing. They are making contact. They are in a position to see. We are removed from the problem. While we mean well, we really do not know what we are talking about. The Government know best; they are making contact and they are seeing.

We are told a number of workers may be unemployed. There is that danger. But that danger may be overcome in another way. If there is unemployment in industry the possibility is that there will be increased employment in agriculture. If that is the pattern, the position will not be so bad at all. We must, of course, consider the other side of the picture. What will happen if we do not join? If we join and get a few clouts, o-kay. If we do not join, where will we stand? I think everybody is agreed that we will not stand at all. The fact is that we must go in and take our chance. I am sure that if the Government get the necessary co-operation in this national effort, when so much is at stake, we will come out all right. Whether we like it or not, we have got to make contact and see. We have got to go in. We have been associated with the markets of Britain. Whether we like it or not, we must tail after Britain. That is no disgrace. That is plain necessity. It is needs must. Let us hope for the best. I am sure the Government are aware of all the dangers. I am sure they will be watchful for the country's interests and not just their own Party interests. If they succeed they are entitled to the kudos. It is up to the rest of us to help out. Let us help when the effort is being made. We can deliver the kicks afterwards.

Deputy Corish spoke of the increase in wages. He justified the increase by pointing to the rosy economic position of the country. If the economic position is rosy, then someone must be responsible for that. I have no objections, and I am sure the Government have no objections, to the increases in wages. But the Government have other matters to which they must give attention also. There is the country as a whole. There are all the unfortunate people on service or social welfare pensions. They are hit when there is an increase in wages. Their purchasing power goes down. If one section goes up, the other section goes down. The Government are then faced with a problem which means taxation, and so on. Therefore, there is an overall problem. I have nothing to say about the workers getting their increase. I suggest, however, that if there is not productivity to match the increase the country will suffer. However, whether there has or has not been an increase, I am no authority. We shall soon find that out.

I want to talk about hire purchase. I am alarmed at the number of people who get into trouble over purchasing goods for which they are not able to pay. Many people come to me to save them from going to Mountjoy. Sometimes they are asked to pay money for goods which are worn out or which have been seized but on which, nevertheless, they owe money or which they sold for half the price and in respect of which they must continue to pay the full price. I have had a lot of that type of experience and so have other Dublin representatives. People come to us because they are in danger of eviction as a result of getting goods on the hire purchase system and of having to pay those firms rather than their rent.

The Minister ought to examine the whole question of hire purchase. I understand that a wife can purchase what she likes without consulting her husband. If that is so, the Minister ought to do something about it. There ought to be limits on what the wife can purchase without, at least, the husband's counter-signature. In the end, it is the husband who will suffer.

Too many women are talked into buying goods. Then, before they are half paid for, they go off and buy something else and then something else again. Then they are tied up in a knot. The husband does not know anything about it until some Sheriff's Order is served or until some Garda knocks at the door. I think there should be a limit to what a wife can buy on hire purchase without the husband's counter-signature. Something should be done about it because those people ought to be saved from themselves.

I understand that hire purchase is a great business. I understand that it keeps business going, that it keeps people in employment, that it keeps money in circulation. It creates a lot of hardship, too. The Minister should consider that aspect of the matter also, namely, the question of people overpurchasing and destroying their homes.

First, I want to refer to some statements by the last Fine Gael speaker, Deputy P. Hogan of South Tipperary. He was very critical of the Fianna Fáil industrial effort in the 1930s. He said that our problems now, on the eve of entry into the Common Market, were created by ourselves in the policy of industrial production adopted by the Government at that time.

I was a very young boy in 1932. At the same time, I am satisfied that the Fianna Fáil Government which came into office at that time had a huge problem on their plate in regard to unemployment. One of these industries was established in the town of Arklow, a pottery industry. It got protection from the State in the years following its establishment.

The pottery established in Arklow in the 1930s has made that town which is now one of the most prosperous in the country. Because of the existence of that factory, other smaller factories were established in Arklow. I do not say that that happened as a direct result of the establishment of the pottery there. It was because it was a more prosperous town and because more money was readily available to be pushed back into the other forms of industry.

I am satisfied that the directors of that company know what they are doing and where they are going. Quite recently they announced a further extension of that industry. They have now decided to spend something like £250,000 on a further extension in a different line—in sanitary ware. That is an indication that they are quite competent that they will be able to take their part in the future should we enter the Common Market.

They are exporting.

I should like some clarification from the Minister in regard to industrial grants in undeveloped areas as against the rest of the country. Quite recently I met a gentleman who had been in touch with the Industrial Development Authority and with An Foras Tionscal. He left these people under the impression that he had to go to an undeveloped area but he wanted to establish his industry in County Wicklow. When he came to me I got in touch with the Minister who assured me that the Industrial Development Authority and An Foras Tionscal were not entitled to influence any industrialist to go to any particular part of the country.

Since then, there was a meeting of the General Council of County Councils at which this matter was raised. I was inclined to accept the Undeveloped Areas Act as a necessary step by the Government to deal with the social problem in western parts of the country. However, if it should prove to be detrimental to the remainder of the country I would be inclined to think the same facilities should be made available in the east as in the west.

A speaker at the General Council of County Councils informed us that he had no doubt but that a grant would not be made available to an industrialist who wanted to set up in the eastern part of the country if he could not establish that his industry could not be set up in the western part of the country. If that is the position, I am afraid that we in the east will find it very difficult to get industries established in our counties.

A number of industrialists aproached An Foras Tionscal with a view to establishing industries in County Wicklow and they sought grants. Very few, if any, have succeeded. A number of towns in my county, through local initiative by way of the Local Development Association or the Chamber of Commerce, or so on, have tried to attract industrialists. However, when we had them here and when it looked like a concrete proposal, they sought an industrial grant but were not successful and then it was found that it was not worthwhile to go ahead. How do we in the east stand in regard to this matter?

St. Patrick's Copper Mines in Avoca have been mentioned. The Minister informed us he is likely to come back in the near future with some other proposals for that concern. Naturally, I am glad he is coming to its assistance if assistance is now needed. Since the last sum of money was made available to Avoca, things have not been quite as good as we might have hoped. Worse still is the fact that there are grave rumours in South Wicklow about St. Patrick's Copper Mines. While I can find no foundation for them, these things are being said, and I do not think it is good. It is not in the interests of the industry and I am inclined to agree with Deputy Corish when he asked that the Government should consider appointing a director to the board. That is the only way I know in which one can satisfy the people that the Government's interest is being looked after on the spot by a Government nomineee. The Government would be well advised to appoint a director now.

An amount of publicity is being given to the new fertiliser factory in Arklow and I see there are people endeavouring to sabotage that industry. I am satisfied, as I think the Arklow people and those in the remainder of County Wicklow are satisfied, that the board set up by the Minister composed of high-ranking civil servants—all but one—know exactly what they want. If they are satisfied that the site they have procured is the only one available, I am equally satisfied that the Minister for Lands has satisfied himself that the establishment of this factory will not be detrimental to forestry in the district. Neither the Minister nor the board need worry about the publicity because the view of the people of Arklow is that this factory should be built and got into production as soon as possible, and the sooner the better they will like it.

I must confess that this information in regard to grants for industry is something of which I was not aware. Listening to Deputy Corry last night, I thought he was doing a good piece of propaganda for himself and that in the ordinary way, people who examined the situation in regard to the location of an industry in that constituency would know very well that there was a Haulbowline there all through the years and that the steel industry that is now there is, indeed, the result of the injection of capital by the Irish people into an industry at Haulbowline to make up for its disuse in other ways. Equally, anybody would appreciate that the textile industry in Cork and its expansion to East Cork and into Youghal was the logical growth of private enterprise. Therefore, when he mentioned the fact that any constituency without industries had only its Deputies to blame, I thought it was very much an overstatement. But, having read it now I can see there is some fact in it and I should like the Minister to comment on the fact that there must be evidence put before An Foras Tionscal to show that such industries as persons may be seeking could not be located within the undeveloped areas in order to obtain these grants. I take it that is what is meant by:

Outside the Development Areas grants may be given for the establishment or development of an industrial undertaking of exceptional national importance up to a maximum of two-thirds of the cost of the site and buildings plus one-third of the cost of machinery and equipment, where there are sound reasons why it could not be established or developed in the Development Areas, and where financial assistance by way of grant is necessary.

Up to this, I was blissfully unaware that this was so or that it might weight against the location of an industry in any particular place.

As regards the Estimate itself, I am glad to see the extra provision under subheads J. 1 and J. 2, whereby extra funds are being made available for the encouragement of industry. I am not going to bewail the fact that in my own constituency we have two industries, and they are the result of private enterprise, but I was very much interested in a point made by Deputy Byrne last night when he said that where management and labour can work in harmony in industry, either by way of production incentives or profit sharing, it seems to result in great benefit to the industry concerned. In the challenge of the times we seem to be approaching, it is more than ever necessary to have that kind of relationship between those who plan and those who execute in industry.

I was sorry to see that grants for technical assistance have not been as widely availed of as they might be. I think this is the keystone of our effort, particularly since our industries have grown up in a rather sheltered position, protected from the cold breeze of the competition faced by countries with freer markets. Consequently, when Irish industry has expanded, it has done so in sheltered conditions and we may now be facing a time when there will be more intense competition. Both the Taoiseach and the Minister have referred to that and economists who have been thinking of the matter have referred to it. It is, therefore, more necessary than ever that technical skill, in addition to improvement of working conditions, improvement of products and improved design, should be utilised in our efforts to keep this country's industrial arm as strong as possible.

Doubts have been voiced as regards what may happen. Everybody in the country has been giving some thought to what we are likely to face in the coming years. Our industrial expansion up to the present has been gratifying. Everybody must be pleased that extra persons find their way into industries because in other sectors, particularly in the agricultural sector of our economy, there has been a decline in the number employed. From figures quoted, I notice there has been a net increase of approximately 9,000 in the number employed in transportable goods industries while at the same time there has been a bigger decrease in the number employed on the land. We must, therefore, think in terms of the re-equipment of a large number of our people who will be forced off the land, particularly if we are to follow up the latest report in respect of the survey made of the problem of the small farms in the west. The small farms are no longer regarded as economic units and the alternative to fusion of small farms and the creation of large beef rearing farms, is the creation of industries in rural areas in order to maintain the population.

That problem is not peculiar to the west. When we speak of the west, we think in terms of that part of the country immediately north-west of the Shannon, but the problem extends southward through my constituency, into Kerry and West Cork. That is generally recognised.

It is suggested that large-scale units of production will be necessary for our economy. That applies in the case of industrialised countries. In this country, the major industry is agriculture and we have to think in terms of a scattered population and the concentration of population in the smaller towns and villages. The location of even small industries in these centres would be very beneficial, economically and socially. The salvation of the country depends, not on the development of vast industrial complexes in a few areas, but on the diversification of industries.

The Minister referred to the increase in costs of production and the danger that production costs will increase to such an extent as to prevent us from maintaining our export trade or securing the increase in exports on which future prosperity will depend. Cost per unit is affected by proper use of the grants being made available for technical assistance. While in some cases the grants have been used to great advantage, the State provision has not been used in full. That shows the need for proper realisation of the importance of technical skill and technical training.

Many problems arise in connection with the Common Market, a subject on which people have pontificated from time to time. Contradictory opinions are expressed in regard to it. Whatever may be our views, our fears or our hopes, everything will depend on what the Community decides to do and that, in turn, depends on the case our Ministers and their advisers make before the Commission. It is not possible at this stage to predict whether we shall be admitted; under what conditions; the effects on industry and agriculture or what the prospects may be.

My own view of the matter has been reinforced by the views expressed by a great many others speakers in this House. The point I make is: what is the alternative to our admission to the Common Market? There may be dangers and there are challenges involved in our membership, but is there a real alternative to our joining the Europeanbloc, if we are admitted? For too long it has been thought wise by some people to regard the nearest market to us as being vitally necessary for our economy. Our economy is based on agriculture. It is by exporting agricultural produce, and to the nearest market, that we find the necessary capital to finance our requirements. I am glad to admit that our industrial arm is developing. The raw materials for industry are provided by the agricultural industry which, perhaps, as yet, may not be as dynamic as it ought to be and as it will have to be if we do gain admission to the European Economic Community.

There are great prospects for industries based on the natural resources of the country. I should be very happy if the progress which has been made by the Department of Industry and Commerce in the development of industries could be attained in the agricultural industry. There is tremendous scope for industries of the processed food type, based on agricultural products. There are great prospects for industry of that type in the context of the Common Market. The dairying industry of the southern counties, including my constituency, is all important. There is concern in my constituency as to the outlook. The industry is dealt with by the Department of Agriculture. With the developments in milk processing and industries ancillary to the meat trade, it would seem that there is a prospect of greater use being made of the primary industry on which so many families depend. The problems in that respect arise from the fact that we have not any large-scale industry. There are the two I have mentioned, but they are the result of private enterprise.

For the future, the prosperity of the farming community will certainly depend on how well we can handle the products which they produce, and how well we can gear them up to face the Common Market. Agricultural exports represent the major natural advantage of the economy. I believe that the development of a bigger meat trade would provide opportunities for expanding industries based on food processing and would give employment which is so much needed.

The Committee on Industrial Organisation speak in their conclusions of a crash programme of re-equipment and re-organisation. That advice, coming from a body of experts who examined the position, should be brought home to the people. As has been mentioned by the Minister, the Taoiseach and his Deputies, it is a national need. It is not a need for any particular side of the House, any more than the problems which will face the country will be the problems of one side of the House more than the other. They are common problems, and what we need to realise, and what the people need to realise, is the fact that there will have to be this type of re-organisation and this development of a community effort to enable us to deal with the problems which are accelerated by the movement that is taking place on the Continent of Europe in relation to the Common Market.

The latest reports of achievements there are available to anyone. They are ahead of their programme. They have outstripped their own time limit in regard to the various stages of their progress towards integration of the community, in an industrial sense, a social sense or a labour sense. The fact is they have been stepping up their programme, running ahead of time and working faster, and it behoves us to think in terms of what the next couple of years may bring for us. There is not much use in waiting until such time as we are admitted to adjust ourselves to this problem.

To my mind, there is no reasonable alternative to joining the Common Market, if we are admitted to membership. There is no reasonable alternative even to our being associated with the Common Market, if we have to face such an eventuality. Otherwise our economy, which has been attempting to change from a completely agricultural type of economy to a mixed economy, will be standing alone on the fringe of the third great bloc which is being created in the world, between the "isms" as represented in the United States by capitalism, the "ism" of Communism east of the Curtain, and the "ism" of Europeanism.

I cannot conceive that it would be in any way in the interests of this country to remain outside that community, to which in the past we did belong. We are portion of a trading unit with a country which now seeks to join that Market and is, indeed, making every effort to get in on its own terms. How could we contemplate facing the competition of a free Europe, if Britain were a member of the Community, with its markets then open to our now opponents, the Dutch and the Danes? How could we survive that challenge alone?

Since we achieved our freedom, we have spent much time and effort in trying to develop these markets and, indeed, at times we have deprecated our own efforts in that respect, but were we to cut ourselves away from those logical markets, I wonder what answer could anyone give to the alternative? People speak in terms of fear of the political implications of the Treaty of Rome but we cannot of our own volition, minimise the dangers to the country by mere wishful thinking. Indeed the very fact that we would wish to remain outside the scope of any conflicts that might ensue in the future between the various world blocs would not in any sense save us from the dangers that lie therein. Our neutrality, as such, would be of the same fashion as a young boy who might think, on finding himself in danger between two opposing factions, that by raising his hand on either side, he could stave off the forces moving in to chastise him. I think that is what would happen to us in the process.

Our survival economically is bound up with the fact that we have always, by tradition, by choice and by necessity, been trading with Britain, in the main. Indeed, for the others, our trade with the countries of the western democracies has been where there was any outlet for our economy. It is more than ever necessary that the people should appreciate that fact and that if we try to raise this fear of neutrality and military alliances and so on, it does not do any service to the people at present because it is an attempt to divert attention from the problems of the realities which face this country.

I hope the efforts made by the Department of Industry and Commerce over the years, to prepare this country and guide it along towards the industrial expansion which has been taking place, will continue. I should like to see it associated with the problems of the Department of Agriculture, because, as I said already, our greatest sheet-anchor is the healthy well-being of the agricultural community. I genuinely regret to see the departure from the Vote of the tourist industry, but we shall have another opportunity to deal with it on the Estimate for the Department of Transport and Power.

I hope this year that the increased grants made available will be fully taken up and that there will be that expansion of industry, and particularly that the grants which the Minister is making available for technical assistance will be fully availed of by the people and by industry in our attempt to prepare ourselves for what is indeed a challenge, and whatsoever that challenge may bring.

I fully appreciate the views expressed by Deputy Jones in connection with our entry, or possible entry, into the Common Market. At this stage, I do not wish to dwell for very long on it. The proper time to discuss it will be when we know whether we are being accepted at all, accepted as a member or an associate member. I still maintain that at this stage there is very little we can go on, but the view I express, which may differ from the views expressed by other speakers, including Deputy Jones, is this: while we do appreciate our difficulties, and while we understand the danger of, as it were, being left on the shelf should Britain enter, nevertheless we are entitled to have every aspect of the position, in so far as it affects our working people, considered.

I am not satisfied with ministerial statements over recent months. It is a healthy and a good sign to paint, as far as one can, a rosy picture but there may be the danger, and perhaps it is noticeable in the Department of Industry and Commerce as well as in other Departments, that the picture is being painted in such a rosy fashion that genuine consideration of the case cannot be undertaken, unless one is taken as being opposed to our entry to it on different grounds. I know that the Minister is only indirectly connected with agriculture and the Common Market but we cannot separate one from the other. As it affects the 26 Counties, the Department of Industry and Commerce will have to stand or fall on whether or not employment will be affected, should we be accepted as members or as associate members of the Common Market.

It is essential that the workers should know whether or not industry will suffer. Perhaps if we consider it very closely, we may see the number of industrial firms who could face the competition of the Common Market. In regard to the others some people may say that they had a good innings, that they were protected by tariffs. That may be so. If we wish to criticise individuals or firms, or directors of firms, that is one aspect of the case, but unfortunately in this instance two sides are combined—the employers and the workers. It is what may happen the workers that we in the Labour Party are worried about. As I say, I shall not dwell on it at this time because the correct time to deal with all its aspects will be when we are told whether we are being accepted, and on what terms we are being accepted.

Of course in the meantime, some people are expressing the view, outside this Chamber, that because Britain goes in, we must go in, solely because we were depending on Britain. If we consider closely the returns of trade, we will know where we stand. We know that Britain has been a good market but let not forget that Britain was no better than Britain had to be towards us. Britain never gave us any wonderful concessions. It may be said that, while we are not members of the Commonwealth, we enjoy certain trade concessions, but again it is to the benefit of Britain. It just happens that this country appeared as an outside farm to Britain and because it suited them, they offered these concessions because they were sure that at least a certain amount of their necessaries would be supplied. Therefore, it is neither fair nor correct that we should let the view go abroad that we must hang on to Britain's coattails and that whatever Britain does, we must do the same because we are the pauper depending on the rich neighbour.

That is all I shall say on the Common Market. Like my colleague, Deputy Treacy, I wish to draw attention to the arrival of some of these foreign industrialists. We never opposed the giving of money to encourage industrialists, to help us where Irish industrialists had problably fallen down on the job, as many of them did. We were anxious to see Irish men and girls getting employment at home, getting what we always thought they should get, and still insist that they should get, a fair wage packet at the end of the week. Some of the industrialists who have come here are very good, to give them credit, but I cannot forget that three or four years ago, in this Chamber, I had occasion to draw attention to the scandalous wage being paid by one particular firm. By a mere coincidence, we read in the newspapers the following morning that the workers of that firm in America had gone on strike because they were afraid of goods being dumped from this country on the American market. The result of that strike was that as well as the firm having to provide a fund from their own finances for part-time unemployment, they also had to introduce a levy from their own profits on the materials being sent from here, in order that that money would go into the fund to protect the American workers.

We do not object, but surely it is our duty to see that industrialists, whether they be from America, Britain, Germany or from anywhere else, when they come in here must understand that when they get financial assistance from the State they are not getting it with a free hand to do what they like with the workers. I am not suggesting that the Minister, or the Ministers of other Governments who went before them, ever looked at it in that light. I know of some of these industrialists who, after getting their grants and erecting their factories, then insisted on houses being built for their workers. That is all right but when we get foreign industrialists threatening us that if we do not give then what they demand they will pack up and leave us it is a serious reflection on us and on our future in the Common Market, if we go into it. In all these cases a tight rein should be kept on these people. If some of them decide that, having got their grants, they will pack up and go we should not allow the workers to suffer because of their action.

I must say I am not satisfied with the Minister's actions regarding the insurance companies and the way they are treating the people of this country, motorists, lorry drivers and so on. Is there any end to the abuse by these people in the way they have increased the insurance premiums? The Minister made very little effort to place before the members of this House any information which at any time justified the increases imposed on the people by the insurance companies. Perhaps, they may have been entitled to the increases but, if they were, why were they afraid to go before a tribunal and put their case as others have done?

I know the insurance companies probably informed the Minister of the heavy overhead costs. Is the Minister prepared now to say whether or not he knows that the costs prepared and presented to him by the insurance companies are correct? Is he in a position to say that he knows whether or not some of the overhead costs from other branches of their business were transferred to the motor insurance cost?

Perhaps the directors and advisers of the companies may have thought that the old system of bargaining was a good one. Perhaps, they were like the man going to the fair who asked for £50 when he knew that he could not get that much but was hoping at the same time to get a fair price. I believe this is downright robbery by these insurance companies and I believe that the Minister has not been strict enough in his examination of the figures presented to him but not presented to this House. Some people may say that we should have regard to the awards in compensation cases but that is no answer where the careful driver is concerned. In these actions the unfortunate victim is always the careful man. The insurance companies can say that if they are paying the few the money is coming from the many, thanks to the increases given to them by the Minister.

I have no more to say on this Estimate except to emphasise that outside the question of the Common Market and that of the foreign industrialists, the Minister should at this late stage be prepared to say that he is prepared now to reconsider the situation of the unjust and unlawful increases imposed on the general public by the motor insurance companies.

My contribution to this debate is going to open with an inquiry to the Minister as to his complete failure in relation to price control. The Minister is completely and entirely responsible for the administration of what is probably the most important Department outside the Department of Agriculture. Here we find that the Minister for Industry and Commerce, responsible for steering the Government's policy in relation to that Department, has not alone turned the blind eye but has also given the deaf ear to the many complaints that have come from all sections of the community in relation to the cost of living.

The Minister has the responsibility as far as the cost of living is concerned. I would like to ask the Minister what he has done in the past 12 months and what he proposes to do in the next 12 months in relation to price control. Is he going to stand idly and blindly by and permit the price of commodities to be put completely out of the range of the people who have to purchase these commodities? I want to protest against his failure, his lack of interest and his culpable blindness in relation to the price of flour and bread. I have not heard from the Minister or from any member of the Fianna Fáil Party why they have gone completely away from the procedure that prevailed effectively and efficiently some years ago, whereby we had the Prices Advisory Body and whereby no manufacturer or producer of anything of value would be allowed to increase the price of that commodity without a public inquiry to show cause to the public as to why he proposed to ask the community for a higher price, particularly in relation to the essentials of life.

I want to accuse the Minister of being responsible for the high prices, particularly food prices, we have had for the past 12 years. I have not heard any explanation from him why, in the shelter of his Department, he stood idly by and allowed the cost of living to rise, thus inflicting untold suffering on the poorer sections of the community, particularly the low wage earners, the old age pensioners and those in receipt of social welfare benefits. The poorer sections of the community have been hit, right, left and centre, because of the carelessness of the Minister in not saving them from being fleeced in food prices. It is the Minister's duty to stand on the side of the public he represents and to ensure that no small group or vested interest is allowed to impose severe hardship on them. I now challenge the Minister to alter his policy in regard to prices and the increased cost of living.

The Department should ensure that there will be a public inquiry, whenever it is sought to increase the price of any item. Whether it is clothing, food or anything else, if it is going to affect the cost of living, an inquiry should be held in order that the housewife be given an opportunity of expressing her views in relation to savage attacks, such as those made by vested interests and monopolies out to get rich quick at the expense of the poor while the Government stand idly by.

I want to ask the Minister a simple question. Why has he allowed the millers to charge what they like for flour? Everybody knows that flour and bread are an essential of life. Bread is eaten in every home and flour is purchased in every household. Yet the millers have been allowed to fleece the community and charge what they like, without any consideration for the capacity of the poor man to pay. It is high time the Department showed their hand in regard to the price of flour. In the interests of the people, they should act with speed and efficiency in regard to the flour milling industry.

The Minister may inquire what the public want in this regard. I presume he would like me to say that I advocate the State taking over the milling industry. I am not advocating any such thing. I am asking the Minister to see that the millers are not allowed to fleece the public. If the millers fail to meet the wishes of the Government and do not act in accordance with Government policy, then I would threaten them with serious Government action, if they fail to respond to the demand in relation to prices. There is no connection whatever between the bakery trade and the milling industry. We have competition in the bakery trade. I hope we shall never see the day when we shall have any State interference in the bakery trade. Private enterprise should be encouraged and helped. We have a number of bakeries all working effectively and efficiently, but all the bakeries depend on the millers for their flour. The millers can hold the bakery industry in the hollow of their hands.

The bakeries are doing their best, but, because of the dead hand of the millers in regard to flour prices, they cannot afford to produce bread in any quantity at any cheaper rate than it is being produced at present. I hope that during the year the Minister will take his courage in his hands. He will have the sympathy and support of all fair-minded Deputies and of the public in any steps he takes to prevent the millers from making it impossible to carry on the bakery trade properly, as those in the bakery industry have experienced. Consultations should be held in the Department with the millers and the Minister should let them know that their conduct will no longer be tolerated.

That is a matter in which the Minister should give a lead. He should send for the millers, put the position clearly to them and let them know that, so far as the low wage earners are concerned, the millers will not be permitted to continue to carry on in the way they have carried on. It is the duty of the Minister's Department to provide him with a suitable scheme. It is not the duty of the Opposition to provide the Government with remedies for any of their present problems. It is the duty of the Opposition to give sound and constructive criticism, but the Government of the day are responsible for providing the remedies. We are asking for a quick remedy to see that those enjoying the wealth of the country—and nobody is enjoying it in quite the same degree as those engaged in the milling industry—are not allowed to hold the public up to ransom as they have done in the high costs of bread and flour.

I have referred only to those two items. Other necessaries of life have been dealt with during this debate. But, so far as the cost of living is concerned, there can be no more urgent or important problem to tackle. No matter what the Minister does during his term of office—even if he only sits idly by in Kildare Street gazing out the windows—if he tackles the flour millers, he will be doing a good day's work for the nation.

I hope that, in the interests of the working class people, in the interests of the middle-class people, in the interests of those who are on pensions, on fixed incomes or who have no trade union to whom to appeal for various increases, the Minister will prevent their being fleeced as they have been fleeced. I venture to say that if there is a change of Government in the immediate future, steps will be taken to safeguard the public from the savage raids that have been made upon them and the savage attacks that have been made on their livelihood by those well-to-do, idle rich who sit behind a desk and make tens of thousands with a stroke of the pen at the expense of the ordinary man and woman in the street.

The cost of living is of the greatest possible importance and this is the one opportunity we have, through a debate in this House, of dealing with it. The price of practically everything that has to be purchased for consumption to-day has gone out of the reach of the people. It is not a solution of the problem to allow prices to rise to-day, wages tomorrow, prices the next day and wages the next day again. This "Derby" between wages and prices must end. The only way in which it can effectively be brought to an end is by seeing to it that people like the millers will be thumbed down. They are one section of the community who have done well. The high prices they charge and fix for flour are never queried. I am sure it is common knowledge among all the members of this House that last year was one of the most profitable years in history for the flour millers and when the returns are furnished by the various milling directors, they will reveal profits beyond the imagination of any businessman because the millers have been allowed to rob the farmers and to charge the consuming public what they like for flour.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce has not on one single occasion in the past 12 months made a reference to the price of flour, bread or to the profits of the millers. What is the Minister there for? Is it not his function to prevent the public being fleeced, to protect the public against the actions of such a monopoly? Even at this late stage, it is not too late to tackle this problem. It is a problem which, if it is not tackled by this Government, will be tackled determinedly and courageously by the next Government.

May I ask the Minister what serious defects he found in the Prices Advisory Body? I have not heard either from the Taoiseach or from the Minister any sound reason as to why there cannot be public inquiries in relation to the prices of important foodstuffs and particularly in relation to all prices that have a serious effect on the cost of living. I appeal to the Minister even at this late stage to protect the interests of the angry housewife, the semistarved old age pensioners, the worried, working class sections of our community, by setting up some such body. I hope these remarks will give the Minister food for thought and make him realise that he has a definite responsibility in relation to the cost of living about which he has done nothing in the past 12 months. That is a duty which the public expects him to carry out and which up to now, he has failed to perform, to the disgust and hardship of the great majority of the people.

A great deal has been said about agriculture from time to time. If we are to speak about agriculture, the proper Estimate on which to address ourselves to that subject is the Estimate for the Department of Agriculture. Industry gives substantial employment and we can never hope to have the same volume of employment given in our provincial towns in agriculture as in industry; neither can we expect to have the same return in the form of a pay packet each week.

May I ask the Minister to tell us when he is replying how many extra he has put into employment in recent years, particularly in rural Ireland? There are in this country large numbers of unemployed. There are unemployed fathers, unemployed sons and also a large number of unemployed girls. The Minister ought to concentrate on the provision of employment for girls in many rural areas from which they are forced to emigrate, without the prospect of a job abroad. Many of them are forced to emigrate at an age at which they are not really responsible; and many of them are forced to emigrate to parts of Britain where they have neither advice nor guidance available to them.

Particular emphasis should be placed on the provision of employment for young girls in provincial towns. The daughters of low wage earners are unable to seek admittance to the nursing profession. The financial demands on the household prohibit the possibility of paying a fee. Many are unable to find employment in other spheres. It is regrettable that young girls between the ages of 15 and 21 cannot find employment in their own country. Are we going to stand idly by and see them being compelled to leave the country because there is no employment for them at home? The Government should consider ways and means of providing employment for these young girls. The only alternative for them is to emigrate to unknown surroundings, faced with unknown dangers, deprived of the advice of even a single friend to keep them on the right road.

The Common Market seems to arise in every debate in this House. It is used as an excuse by the Government for pretty nearly everything. Idle wheels and cobwebs, because of Government policy, are explained away by saying that we are awaiting a decision on the Common Market. Someone remarked that the Government's theme song is: "Don't hit me now with the Common Market baby in my arms". I am not the least bit worried about the challenge so far as Irish industrialists and Irish workers are concerned. Our Irish workers are as good, if not better than workers anywhere. Boys and girls who have gone to Frankfurt and to parts of Britain to learn different trades have been commended; the experts' opinion is that the Irish trained worker is as good as any worker in any part of the world. They are quick on the up-take. They are apt in learning. They are efficient. I am not the least bit worried that the Irish worker and the Irish industrialist will not play their part as well as, if not better than, the worker and the industrialist in any part of the world. All that is lacking in relation to our workers is that there is not sufficient encouragement and praise. We do not want wailing and moaning about inefficiency, and all the rest of it.

Some people seem to take any and every opportunity to run down Irish industries. I should be dishonest if I did not say what I believed to be true and describe what I have seen with my own eyes. I see industries providing work and paying wages. That is a sufficient certificate for me. We have our factory inspectors to safeguard the workers. We have certain conditions laid down. In most cases working conditions are not bad. In some cases there may be room for improvement. I believe State assistance should be given to industrialists to provide recreation halls, diningrooms, toilet facilities and other amenities. A good deal has been done.

The Irish industrialist and the Irish worker are not behind the times. The industrialists are hard-headed businessmen. Every businessman is out to make money, not to lose it. If he were to lose, he would not be a businessman. Every worker is out for a reasonably good pay packet on which to support his wife and family. I am certain that, if we are admitted to the Common Market, our industrialists and our workers will realise that it is up to them to produce the best for this most critical market, to produce with speed, and care, and efficiency. If the challenge comes our workers will not be slow in meeting it.

Recently, Deputies received an invitation from the Shannon Development Company to go on a tour of inspection of that area. I always had grave doubts about the reports of the industrial expansion in the area. I must admit I was astonished at the extent and value of the work being done there. Those responsible deserve congratulation, praise and encouragement. I saw factories. I saw workers. I saw production. Is it not better to see workers working at home rather than have such workers emigrating to Birmingham, Coventry, London, or some other English city? The Shannon Development Company is doing an excellent job.

The manner, in which industrialists have been attracted there, is something that we should view with favour. It is something we should welcome. Of course, we are all told that the success of the new city that is springing up depends on the future of Shannon as an airport. I cannot convince myself, from the growth of Shannon, from the success of Shannon, that Shannon will ever be by-passed. I do not think it will: it is only an expression of opinion. I do not know what the Minister's views may be on that.

No matter what Party we may belong to in this House, there are national matters which are of grave concern to us all. We shall all have to pull our weight and use every resource to make it known to world airlines, no matter from what country they may come or go, that Shannon is and is likely to remain one of the best, the most up-to-date, the most modern in efficiency and equipment with courtesy and satisfaction all round.

I know very well that some members of the Fianna Fáil Party who are now smiling would like to hear me bitterly criticise Shannon. I have no reason to criticise excellent work. If I see good work, if I see workers at work, if I see new factories springing up, if I see the wheels of industry turning and production for export increasing, I welcome it. I am all for it.

I think the industries being set up in Shannon today should be publicised. There is a feeling among the public that industries are being set up in Shannon today with State money. That is not so. That is where I hope the press, provincial and national, will enlighten the Irish taxpayer that for every 3/4d. of State investment in the Shannon industries there is £1 of private investment. I am sure that that is correct. If I can remember a report which I read in connection with the Shannon Development Company I am convinced that they are the correct figures. If the Irish taxpayer, who thinks that millions of the Irish taxpayer's money is being wildly spent at Shannon, wants to find out the facts and if he is a conscientious taxpayer who wants to see where his money is going, I am sure the Shannon Development Company will always welcome him.

Is it not to the credit of this country that we can see foreign industrialists coming over here and that for every 3/4d. that we put down to provide employment for Irish boys and girls they put down £1? Is that not something we should encourage? Is it not something that we should welcome and is it not something in regard to which we should endeavour as far as possible to make it known throughout the length and breadth of the world that Shannon has possibilities and that Shannon's possibilities can be looked upon as Ireland's possibilities?

It is good to know that the rabbits will not be there, anyhow.

I can make my own speech. I am sure that if any Deputy desires to criticise my speech in relation to Shannon, he will have an opportunity to do so. I know it comes as a keen disappointment to Government Deputies to hear the Shannon projects being praised. I for one will not condemn progress. I have never done so in this House in the 20 years during which I have had the honour to be a member. I ought to be a judge of progress and of good work. I say that the work of spending 3/4d. of taxpayers' money in order to get £1 put with it of foreign investment is good work for this country in the provision of employment and particularly in producing for the export market.

I welcome the development at Shannon. I hope Shannon will go from strength to strength and continue to progress. Anybody who goes down there and who is sufficiently interested to see the fine modern buildings that have been put up and, more particularly, notes the skill of the Irish worker must be impressed. The Irish worker can be compared for speed and efficiency, for care and attention with the best by experts who have been engaged in the business in many parts of the world. These experts can openly declare that the Irish worker is as good a worker as can be met in any part of the world. That reflects credit on Irish industry and on the Irish worker. It is a stage and a development which should be welcomed and which we should be very glad to see and encourage. Why not? Rather than criticise, let us give encouragement. The word of encouragement is welcome to any group of people who are doing good work.

The State, in coming to assist and to equip, financially or otherwise, a group of people in this instance, is wise. It may be said that some of those people are not coming for the love of Ireland. That may be so. There are no Irish workers going to England today for the love of England. Probably those people are concerned with only one thing and that is to make money—in the same way as our Irish industrial worker is engaged in industrial work in England to make money. Goodness knows, that is what we are all after and that is what we all want.

It should go out from this House that any foreigner who wants to come over here to start an industry, no matter from what part of the world he may come will be welcome, if he gives work to the Irish at home. It is better to see them working here for the foreigner than to have them working for the foreigner in foreign lands. That is why I say that if there is 3/4d. of an Irish investment as against £1 of private investment or other investment, it is money well spent and expenditure which we should be very slow to criticise. I should be very glad to hear from the Minister, now that we are probably at an advanced stage of the jet age, what is the latest information available to his Department as far as the future of Shannon is concerned.

That would be a matter for another Minister.

I am glad you reminded me of that, Sir. It is a matter for another Minister but I am sure there is sufficient liaison between the Minister for Industry and Commerce and the Minister for Transport and Power to enable them to have frequent conferences in regard to this vitally important matter which cannot be described as just a local concern of Limerick, Shannon or Clare. It is a matter of national importance. We want to see our airport retained as a world airport of note and to ensure that kindliness and courtesy will be shown to all who have the honour of visiting our country through that airport. I trust that 12 months hence we shall be able to compliment the Shannon Development Company on further successes because, in my view, their successes have been phenomenal and they deserve the support and co-operation of all for giving a splendid return for the amount of public money invested.

At some stage, I should like the Minister to concentrate on further development of coal and mineral resources. Particularly in Leinster, there are valuable veins of coal that have not yet been developed. Surveys have been made in various parts of the country. I do not know whether it is the lack of sufficient public-spirited people or lack of State finance that is responsible for not having a greater amount of coal-mining undertaken in South Laois and North Kilkenny. Valuable work is being done in coal mining in these areas. Many of the old miners who have been engaged in that work and whose fathers worked there before them know from tradition where undeveloped veins of good coal lie. Despite the tests the experts undertake, those who know cannot be convinced but that there is a vast amount of valuable deposits undeveloped in those areas.

If there were a war in the morning, assuming America and Russia decided to "have a go" at each other and we were involved in it, forthwith there would be millions of pounds available for the destruction of mankind and what man has produced, for the destruction of gifts God gave man, and yet, in peacetime, we are never able to find the finances to develop to the extent we would wish. There is an urgent need for more money for development which should be undertaken with care and yet with speed and wisdom.

I know the Minister, like every Minister for Industry and Commerce, has done his share in regard to various campaigns urging the public to buy Irish goods. We are all with him in that and in trying to increase our exports to world markets, but I do not know what machinery we have in the United States for the promotion of Irish products. I am told it is the worst in the world. I do not know who is responsible, whether it is the Consul General's office or whether Córas Tráchtála have fixed agents in the U.S. for this purpose, but businessmen in New York, in Boston and Philadelphia can tell us that there is an unlimited market for Irish whiskey in the U.S., for Irish frozen fish and for Irish cheese products.

I am told by one businessman in Jackson's Heights, New York, that he can get a very limited supply of frozen fish from Killybegs, a limited supply of tinned meat from Clover Meats and a limited supply of Galtee cheese. He puts them into his store windows and they are no sooner there than there is a queue of customers for them. He says: "I have to say that they are all gone, and I am very sorry and that I cannot get any more." I am told that in the leading hotels, public houses and drinking houses in England, it is impossible to get Irish whiskey. I am not a connoisseur of whiskey but those who are——

A Deputy

Locke's Distillery.

Many the good drop they tried to export from that. Our Irish whiskey should be superior to the Scotch whisky. Yet in every public house in Britain, every second one in London, it is impossible to get Irish whiskey. I wonder why? Is it that distillers cannot cope with demand or that the export organisation is ineffective? A leading businessman connected with a distillery in my constituency visited the United States some time ago. I cannot yet say with what result but I believe a certain amount of valuable work was done. When we can produce whiskey that can be compared with the best in the world and produce the best frozen fish at Killybegs that can be obtained at Jackson's Heights in New York City and the best cheese, what is to stop us increasing our exports?

The Deputy must give me the address of the place he has mentioned.

Tomorrow morning.

I shall be glad to get it.

That is why I am telling the Minister about it. It is interesting to note that this gentleman has been told time and again in America that he cannot bring in all he likes, that there are certain channels through which it must come in the United States and that imports from Ireland to the U.S., and particularly to the New York area, are smothered in United States red tape tied on by Irishmen.

Those responsible for promoting the sale of Irish products abroad are not doing their job in the matter of the sale of Irish bacon and ham. Only within the past week, I received a communication from a gentleman in London who says he fails to understand why Danish bacon can be displayed in every second shop in London, why it is on the counters and why it goes into the shopping bags of every housewife who goes in. We are only a stone's throw from the greatest consuming market in the world and there are tens of thousands of Irish people in Britain who cannot get a wedge of Irish cheese, an Irish rasher or a glass of Irish whiskey. On the other hand, we are trying to increase exports. We have the whiskey, the bacon and the cheese. Therefore, our marketing organisation must be ineffective and bad. The public in the United States of America and in Britain cannot locate or obtain Irish products. The Minister for Industry and Commerce would bbe very well advised to lose a night's sleep in thinking about that matter, which is of vital importance to the country, Increased exports would help to create employment at home and would help to redress the balance of payments. There is a crying demand in Britain and the United States of America for Irish goods. There must be something radically wrong when the public who are looking for Irish goods in the United States of America are unable to obtain them in any shop. I hope steps will be taken to rectify that matter.

I have often wondered as to the nature of our publicity abroad for Irish goods. The Americans believe in spending money on advertising. They are right. On the Continent advertising is used to a very great extent as a sales medium. I am told that there is little or no advertising of Irish goods. It pays to advertise. The more money we spend to advertise in a big way the value and quality of Irish goods, the better. We have fallen down completely in regard to advertising. I would advise the Minister either to provide enough money for advertising or to cut it out altogether because mean, miserable advertising could do more harm than not to advertise at all. The Minister should advertise on a big scale or cut out the advertising altogether.

I want to refer to an industry located in my constituency which is regarded as of great national importance, that is, briquette manufacture. In Offaly we are proud of all our industrial projects —weaving, boot and shoe manufacture, jute manufacture, and the power stations—but the thing in which we take greatest pride is our briquette factories. I would ask the Minister for Industry and Commerce if the services of his Department have been sought and obtained in regard to that industry. The briquette has come to stay. It is a cheap, clean fuel and good value for money. The home market for briquettes is wide open and efforts are being made to extend it. There is an unlimited market for briquettes in Britain. The Department of Industry and Commerce should get the briquette factories into full production and if the existing factories cannot cope with the unlimited demand for briquettes, proceed with the erection of further factories.

The technical skill and ability of those engaged in this industry both in Derrinlough and Croghan are admirable. Their work is of national importance. The product is of a high standard. The Minister ought to emphasise the importance of briquettes as a cheap, clean fuel.

I do not know whether the Labour Court is a satisfactory set-up, or not. They are slow. I shall not describe them as being lazy. I described another well-to-do section of the community as lazy some time ago.

And you were contradicted the following day.

The Deputy has said it for me. I assume that if I describe the Labour Court in the same fashion, it may not meet with general approval but, in my opinion, the Labour Court is not a satisfactory body. The Labour Court are slow and tedious in disposing of cases. They would be very well advised to recast their programmes. They should be able to dispose of cases in Cork, Galway, Dublin and Athlone simultaneously by dividing responsibility, under the direction of the chairman. There are cases on the list for hearing for a considerable time and those at the bottom of the list concern the poorest and lowest paid workers who, because their numerical strength is small, have not sufficient influence to have the cases brought up for early hearing and decision.

Talks between the employers and the trade unions should be arranged, and the trade unions and employers should jointly condemn unofficial strikes. We are all agreed that the greatest weapon of the worker is his trade union, but the man who is outside the ranks of his trade union should never be described as a worker because he is not true to the cause, and he is unworthy to be associated with the workers, if he will not stand behind his union. I have no respect for a worker who is outside the ranks of his union. If he is a member of a union, he should live as a trade unionist and abide by the decisions and rulings of his union.

Unofficial strikes are bad, but trade union strikes are good, because strike action is taken on the instructions of members of a union when there is a genuine grievance to be investigated and a remedy to be applied. When a trade union resorts to the strike weapon——

The bosses take lightning action, too.

I agree that the bosses do, at times. It would be a sad day for the Irish worker if the trade unions had not the strength they have to-day. It would be a good thing if the farmers had the same strength in their sphere of activity.

If we are going into the Common Market some type of scheme must be hammered out, to ensure a degree of long-term, permanent co-operation, not week-end co-operation, between the workers and the employers. Whatever councils or commissions are set up to hear the case of the employers must also be representative of the trade union movement which is the backbone of the Irish worker to-day. The sooner the employers realise that it took many years to build up the trade union movement to its present strength, the better. The employers must realise that they cannot get on without the goodwill and co-operation of the workers. Therefore, there must be a certain amount of common understanding and give and take between the workers and the employers.

There is no evidence that the Labour Court as at present constituted is satisfactory. The time has come when the Government would be well advised to examine the Labour Court, with a view to ensuring that conferences between the employers and the trade unions are better, speedier and more effective. I say "more effective" because in many cases the recommendations of the Labour Court are ineffective. They are more or less expressions of opinion only.

If industries are to thrive and progress, and if industrialists are to make profits, the employers and the trade union movement must work together. I venture to say that there is no section of the Irish community more willing to do that than the Irish trade union movement in general, but what is needed is a little more understanding and co-operation. The employer must not crack the whip and say he is the big boy because the strength of trade unionism can show the biggest industrialist that he can wind up a very small boy, if he does not use common sense and reason.

I have never been more in agreement with Deputy Desmond than I was to-night in relation to the manner in which the Minister has sealed his mouth and tied his tongue on the question of the insurance companies, and particularly the manner in which the insurance companies were allowed to raise the cost of motoring in this country. Motoring has now become essential in modern times, even to the bog worker and the forestry worker whose work takes them to the tops of mountains and to the slopes of hills and valleys, six or eight miles from home. Yet motoring in Ireland must be dearer than anywhere in the world to-day. The insurance companies have been allowed to rob the motorist left, right and centre, without any public inquiry or disclosure of facts and figures.

I submit that the insurance companies are afraid of a public inquiry, or is it that they have influence with the Government? Is it that in a closed room in Government Buildings there is a spokesman in the Government for the insurance companies? Is it that the insurance companies can speak louder and in a more determined fashion than all our Irish Ministers put together? Is it that the financial resources of the insurance companies are so strong and weighty that they can silence 13 Ministers and turn 13 loud mouths on other topics into silenced mouths?

It would be a long time before they would be as loud as the Deputy's.

Seemingly, it annoys the Minister. I would be long sorry for deliberately annoying the Minister, but he has allowed the insurance companies to rob the Irish motoring public, of which I am one. It is my right in Parliament to say that the insurance companies have fleeced the motorists unjustly behind closed doors, secretly and privately, with Government consent and approval. They have been allowed to rook the Irish public.

It is difficult to know whether the insurance companies or the flour millers have the greatest influence with Fianna Fáil. It seems to me that the flour millers have always got away with it under Fianna Fáil, but there are new friends now sleeping in the same bed, the millers on one side and the insurance companies on the other. No Minister has the courage to say "boo" to the flour millers or the insurance companies. The only inference is that both the flour millers and the insurance companies must be buying their way. Of course it is impossible to understand why there is not a revolt by a single member of the Government. If there is a change of Government, I hope and trust that the insurance companies will be told who the masters are and that, if necessary, appropriate Government action will be taken to protect the public.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on Thursday, 17th May, 1962.