Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 30 May 1968

Vol. 235 No. 3

Industrial Grants (Amendment) Bill, 1968: Second Stage.

I move that the Bill be now ready a Second Time.

This Bill is a further interim amendment of the existing legislation on industrial grants pending the introduction shortly of more comprehensive legislation concerning incentives for industrial development. In the meantime, it is necessary to raise the ceiling of £30 million for grant expenditure which the existing legislation provides, so that grants can continue to be paid in accordance with approvals given by An Foras Tionscal under the present Acts.

The total amount which can be issued to An Foras Tionscal under the Industrial Grants Acts and the Undeveloped Areas Acts is £30 million. At 31st March, 1968 payment of grants amounted to £27,319,179 and expenditure on the provision of the industrial estates at Waterford and Galway came to £1,133,812. This makes a total of £28,452,991 expended at 31st March, 1968.

The raising of the ceiling of £30 million has, therefore, become a matter of urgency, and it is proposed in the present Bill to increase it to £40 million. This global provision of money for industrial grant purposes will, of course, come up for review when the general legislation on industrial incentives is brought before the Dáil.

The Bill mentions this proposed maximum of £40 million twice. In the first subsection, the maximum figure applies to the total of grants that may actually be paid by An Foras Tionscal or the Industrial Development Authority which at one stage was a grant-giving body.

In the second subsection the maximum of £40 million relates to the total amount which may be issued by the Minister to An Foras Tionscal to enable this body to fulfil its grant-giving functions and the building of industrial estates.

I recommend the Bill for the approval of the Dáil.

We on this side of the House have every intention of supporting this Bill because, of course, it was this Party and the Labour Party as members of the inter-Party Government who in 1956 introduced the first Industrial Grants Act and at the same time, the Finance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act. The structure of the giving of grants remains largely unchanged since. Our Party have been extremely critical of this situation in that surely from the expenditure of £30 million experience would have been gained which would have led to improvements. Nobody would expect the whole case resolved in one day, but one would have expected that there would have been something to encourage industry, but it is now quite clear that there is not. The fact that the stolidity was caused by the Government themselves has meant a lost opportunity, loss of employment in industry.

No doubt the growth centre policy which has been in a tiny way implemented in Waterford and Galway is of paramount necessity for various areas of the country. These growth centres would probably mean a loss of votes, and the people who are so concerned with vote material have not established more growth centres for the reason that they fear that if they gave a growth centre to Sligo, they would lose votes in Leitrim. We in the Fine Gael Party have made it clear that we have the guts, for want of a more explanatory word, to see that growth centres are created where it is felt they are needed in the country. The Minister has told us that over the past two years he has had a firm of consultants looking at this. It is quite clear that in various areas of the country the reports of consultants will retain specific places for growth centres, places where large populations have been built up, and will say that the growth centres should be in those places.

This type of delay is delaying the work of local authorities as well. Surely if we are to have heavy industry, we need all our communications stepped up: we need better roads, power and all the necessaries for building up industry. It is a pecular thing that if we go into the EEC, we will not be allowed to operate the Finance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1956, or the changed-over name which Fianna Fáil gave it. It strikes me that we will not be in a position to give freedom from income tax for our new exports, but at the same time, we would be in a position so long as we indicate growth centres, to provide grants for industry. We have been stolid and unchanging in our operation of these grants.

There have been spectacular failures, but when they are mentioned, the Government take either of two lines: they say we are opposing the creation of new jobs in new industry or they say that the number of failures is extremely small in relation to the successes and that in fact compared with other countries, we have done extremely well. I do not accept that at all. I think the percentage of failures has been extremely high. I do not believe there would have been such spectacular failures if there had been prior investigation on the part of the Government. When the grant becomes high enough, it becomes vital, and it must be accepted that the attention to detail and the safety of the money given were not entirely what they should have been.

I do not want to go into the story of these industries. I could instance one which is still operating and for that reason I am not giving its name. There was a subscribed capital of £40,000 and this resulted in an investment one way or the other of Government funds of almost £600,000. Profit has not yet been made. My responsibility is not to mention it. My responsibility is in no way to affect the 150 people employed there, but at the same time, one must, as an Opposition speaker on a particular facet of our growth, advert to these spectacular failures. The fact is that one hears of a Government speaker who told every other public representative in a constituency to go away but the factory was not opened. The Frenchman who provided this machinery still has it in a packing case on the factory floor and was informed that he might get 5/- in the £. Those things, if they were small enough in volume, would be regarded as a natural risk, but we must realise the lack of attention to change by the Government since 1956 in the giving of these moneys.

There is a sequence of events in relation to industrial grants which should be again adverted to, that is, the fact that in Clerys Restaurant in 1956 Deputy Lemass, who was then out of office, addressed a representative meeting of the Fianna Fáil Party and he circulated then a statement—I have it at home on my files—to the Irish Press indicating the principle whereby in industry, from public and private sources, there would be spent in the succeeding seven years some £100 million, with the creation of 100,000 new jobs. I had perhaps political mischief in mind when I went to my files the other day and found that the present Taoiseach has indicated that since the start of the industrial grants system, which incidentally was rejected by the Fianna Fáil Party in 1956 when they spoke so viciously against it, there has been an expenditure in industry here of £97 million, of which grants from State funds were something less than £30 million. During that time the Taoiseach claimed 35,000 new jobs but what he did not say was that there were 170,000 fewer people employed and that our effort has been a failure. The fact that we are now awaiting the report of a firm of international consultants means that we are probably about eight years too late.

I want to refer to two departures which I thought might have been referred to by the Minister in his opening speech. One is the change from adaptation grants, if I am using the right term, to re-equipment grants, which appears to be a development arising at long last from prodding from this side of the House over a long period of time. The scope of the adaptation grants has been enlarged, and is now approaching somewhat nearer the Northern Ireland and English situation, where, if you buy a piece of machinery for your industry, all you have to do is to send the receipted account to the relevant Department of State and you get the grant almost automatically. Apparently we have stepped a little nearer them as a result of prodding from this side of the House and the fact that we have lost quite a few industries to Northern Ireland—which is a somewhat happier situation than losing them to England. Anybody who has been trying to promote industry and getting people to come to one's constituency knows that what I say is true. I welcome this change but I criticise it, and point to the difference between Fine Gael policy and Fianna Fáil policy in this regard.

The position is that the maximum re-equipment grant for an existing industry which the Minister is prepared to give, even on his changed system, is 25 per cent of the cost, whereas this Party announced as their policy two years ago— which they enunciated at every possible opportunity—the giving to every existing industry—and I emphasise it—the same grants as are given to new industries. The people employed, Irishmen working here in good conditions over the years, dealing with trade unions as they always have, not like other people who come in, are entitled to this if the money is spent on adaptation and re-equipment. In the battle we have to face, we have to defend the jobs we have and they should get as high a level of grants as new industries. Experience has shown that the new industry always gets a higher grant even though the phraseology "up to the maximum limit" was included in the regulations in relation to these grants.

Sometimes industries coming in are industries which employ largely female labour and our production of new industrial jobs has shown this as a feature of many of the new jobs produced and boasted about in this House, very often ad nauseam, from the Government benches. In fact, the new jobs were for girls. In a town in my constituency, I had the experience, before the present Minister became Minister for Industry and Commerce, at a chamber of commerce dinner, of hearing great praise of an industry that had arrived which was employing a large number of girls and which was doing the same sort of work as an industry in which a neighbour of mine was involved. When this was going on, my neighbour, who was not a great supporter of our Party, nearly swallowed his glass when he heard that over £100,000 was being spent on employing girls when he could not get anything.

This is a feature that must be looked at. There is more to be said in favour of a situation in which a man leaves his work on Friday, goes down the street and has a few drinks, goes back to his wife and gives her two-thirds of his pay than there is to be said for girls leaving work, dropping down to the drapers to buy a pair of nylons and giving their mothers enough for their keep for that week and then proceeding to the pictures with the boy-friend. We have not succeeded in creating male jobs. We have not been fluid enough in our approach. A change to suit changing conditions has not been looked at and there have been spectacular failures in a great number of cases.

I hope that this firm of international consultants who will soon produce their report will give the Minister a lead towards considering the question of other incentives. Is the Minister aware that if you buy capital goods in England at present, you get two to five years payment on them from moneys from the British Government as long as the goods are for export? This is something which might be considered wasteful of capital here which we need for housing and other things but it is something that could be looked at. Whether it will be a valid incentive within the EEC I do not know, but it seems to me that to leave the measure as it has been since 1956 is a mistake. It appears to me that we should have changed and that we have too many spectacular failures.

I should like to refer to the small industries grants, and if I might criticise the Minister on this, the reported change to adaptation grants was not according to the publicity he should have sought and got. He made a hash of it of course by announcing one change at a Fianna Fáil meeting and we had to wait three weeks or a month before we got the draft circular from the Industrial Development Authority. In relation to small industrial grants, most people who are in areas where they are operating still do not know about them. I had experience of a small industrialist in Donegal who wanted to expand and I happened to come in contact with him. We had a chat about it and I put stuff on paper and sent it in, only to find that while Donegal had not been mentioned, there was, in fact, a development team working in Lifford County Council offices. I found it out by accident from a man in Donegal who had not thought of expanding but who when his son decided to stay at home with him, decided to expand. Where small industries are available and are not expanding, the Minister should avail of every opportunity to discuss outside this House, and particularly inside it, the re-equipment of such industries.

Perhaps I might reiterate the policy of Fine Gael in this matter. First of all, there has not been enough change. Changes have been too slow from the time we instituted these grants in 1956. We are not saying that we should go around as if it were a headstone over a grave. We say it should be looked at and we should take every opportunity we have to re-employ our people. There are 127,000 fewer employed now than there were in 1957. Therefore, this system has not succeeded in doing what we wanted it to do, that is, to keep employment up.

The Lemass plan of 1956 is now proved by the Taoiseach not to have succeeded. They are within £3 million of an expenditure of £100 million and there is a figure of 100,000 jobs less than Lemass decided he was going to produce in seven years. The policy of Fine Gael on industry is to give, within the EEC, to old jobs of the same type as much as is given to the institution of new ones. There is political advantage in the creation of a new job and a new factory and expounding it at the crossroads. We are all aware of that.

A possibility is, first of all, to expand the jobs in industry that are there and then establish new industries alongside those. It is Fine Gael policy to back existing industry, to give as good a grant and opportunity of Government assistance as is given to new industry and, at the same time, to bring in new industries. The approach to change should have been an approach of advance and we should get this thing moving instead of sitting down.

I support this Bill in the belief that it is the function of any Government to do all in their power to stimulate and co-ordinate the efforts of Irish industrialists for the development of our industrial potential with a view to the creation of new jobs. It is on the basis of the creation of new industries that new jobs will be found for the very extensive army of unemployed in this country. We appreciate that a substantial amount of money is provided here for the acceleration of the creation of industrial estates, particularly at Waterford and Galway. An industrial estate must be of tremendous advantage to an area such as Waterford, part of which is in my constituency. I have witnessed in Waterford the great work being carried out in the development of sites, the building of factories and of houses for the workers. This has been a great boon to the people in Waterford and in the vast hinterland around the city. We hope that much-needed employment will be provided for a big number of people in this area.

While lauding the creation of industrial estates, I should like to urge the Minister not to forget the very many towns and villages which need industrial development. We know that in the long term these areas will be called upon to supply labour for the industrial estates being created, but in the mind of many industrial development associations in towns remote from these industrial estates there is a growing fear that it will be difficult in future to attract industry to these towns, that all the attraction will lie in the industrial estates. The small town or village does not have the same attraction for an industrialist as it may have had in the past. This is understandable, having regard to the amount of money being poured into these estates for the provision of grandiose factories, housing schemes, and so on. Industrialists are bound to be attracted to these estates and it will be more difficult for small towns to secure industries.

I understand that the Minister has some pilot schemes in mind, if not already in operation. He must take steps to ensure that small towns are not forgotten, that they will get the same State aid and the same stimulants as are available for industrial development in other areas. Rural villages and small towns are fast disappearing. They are becoming denuded of population. We do not want the situation created that there will be a vast concentration of people in Dublin, Limerick, Galway and Cork. We want the rural population and the population of villages and towns maintained. Many small towns are fast becoming ghost towns because of the inability of local development associations, despite their best endeavours, to attract industry. There is little comfort to be secured by the representatives of local industrial associations when they come to Dublin to plead with An Foras Tionscal or the Industrial Development Authority for aid in the establishment of industries. I have been on such deputations on many occasions and have found it to be a most frustrating and futile exercise. All we got was a pep talk as to what the Minister's Department and the agencies under his control require and an indication that we would have to have a blue print in our hands and evidence that the proposed industry would be a viable proposition, likely to be permanent, that the labour content was reasonable and, most desirably, that it would have export potential. One got that information and was sent home.

There is a marked absence of tangible, positive support and help from An Foras Tionscal or the Industrial Development Authority for local development associations. There is an inference of prejudice against the mere Irishman or group of Irishmen who put forward a proposition for the establishment of an industry to the Minister's Department or An Foras Tionscal or the Industrial Development Authority. The feeling is growing that preferential treatment is given to the foreigner and that the mere Irish will get short shrift.

The Labour Party contend that native sponsors of industry are entitled to at least the courtesy, help and cooperation as are available to outsiders. It would have been well for the Minister's Department to have relied on Irish sponsors in the past rather than on so many foreigners with whom they became enamoured. We know that many people on whom so much reliance was placed defaulted. Grandiose schemes for industrialisation and for the employment of large numbers of workers did not materialise. Many of these foreigners were, in fact, fly-by-night speculators who, having availed of the lavish State aid afforded them here, quickly closed their factories and left the workers in idle bewilderment.

Therefore, the Minister should consider the desirability of getting some officials in the various bodies under his control, especially An Foras Tionscal and the Industrial Development Authority, to get out of their easy chairs, to go down the country and to make it their business and their duty to consult with the chambers of commerce, the trades councils and local development associations in small towns, to get down to work with them and to show positive proof that they are sincere in their desire to help these development associations to win for themselves and their communities much-needed industries.

We naturally support this Bill in its intention to create new industry. We would also like to see to it that generous State aid is provided for the extension of our present industries so that they may proceed with their plans for development and for the absorption of a greater number of people. I want to put to the Minister very seriously and sincerely that he owes a debt of gratitude—we all do—to our well-established industries. Whenever they come to him for assistance, he ought to respond generously and quickly. Many of us know of well-established industries who have got into difficulties, trading and financial. We know that many of these industries found it extremely difficult to keep going and there was real possibility of closure. We have seen evidence of a wonderful local civic response from our chambers of commerce in coming to the rescue of these old-established industries, in rehabilitating them, putting them back on their feet and injecting much-needed capital into them. We also know to our sorrow that where this situation was brought to the notice of the Minister and his Department and to the notice of An Foras Tionscal and the IDA, where the strongest possible representations were made to the Minister that he should come speedily to the rescue of these companies which were fast going to the wall and where all that was needed was an injection of capital, there was a marked reluctance on the part of the Minister to come to the rescue. This marked absence of support for these old-established industries is to be greatly deplored. Even where new companies are formed for the continuation of these old industries to which I refer, we again have this dilatory and hesitant approach of the Minister and his Department and agencies.

Would the Deputy like to be more specific?

I will. The Minister is surely aware of an industry I discussed with him personally?

Yes, I know the one to which the Deputy is referring. That is why I asked him to be more specific. There is no justification whatever for what he is saying, but if he is not specific, it is difficult for me to refute it.

In reference to the industry concerned, I am aware that representations have been made to the Minister and his Department and agencies for some months to come to the aid of this firm. Up to this moment I am not aware of any positive steps which they have taken to aid this firm in its difficulty. If the Minister wants to comment on that, he is welcome to. This is why I am appealing for fair treatment for these old-established industries. Many of them are the mainstays of their local communities. If they should go to the wall, naturally large numbers of people will be unemployed and the economy of these small towns seriously disrupted. Since the Minister has intervened, I would be very grateful to him if he would say precisely what assistance is available from his various agencies towards the rehabilitation of firms of the kind to which I have referred. If the Minister wants me to be more specific in this matter, which I am loath to be at present, I will have no hesitation in putting down a question in respect of the industry with which I am particularly concerned.

I agree with Deputy Donegan when he infers that the Republic is losing ground to the Stormont Government in respect of our ability to attract new industry. I believe the Northern Government are more generous in respect of their grants and aids to potential industrialists. The Minister would want to take cognisance of that fact. There is already evidence in respect of particular industries that we are losing them in the South and they are being established in the North. Anyone who makes a comparison of the help available in the North vis-à-vis the South must come to the conclusion that the North would seem to have the edge on us in this regard. I would ask the Minister to have a look at that and see to it that we do not lose ground in this regard.

While I appreciate the amount of money being spent on the creation of new industries by the State, it is fair to point out that the endeavours of the State in aiding private enterprise in establishing new industries have not been successful. Despite all the generous assistance which our various Departments and agencies have made available, we have not made the progress one would desire in respect of the establishment of new industries. We have not been able to put to work this very large army of unemployed. It is tragic to realise that we have a standing army of some 16,000 people, basically well-trained and educated, certainly adaptable people, who could be put to productive work if the State intervened more directly in the creation of new industries. I would be failing in my duty as a Labour representative if I did not emphasise again the fundamental difference between our policy and our philosophy and that of the Minister, in that he is relying, and his Government have relied for far too long, on the initiative of private enterprise to establish industries and put Irish men and women to work. It has been a failure and this is evidenced by the sort of history we have had of unemployment and emigration.

It behoves the Minister to consider the desirability of intervening directly in the creation of industrial enterprises. In that regard we are not unmindful of, or ungrateful for, the very many State and semi-State boards and bodies which have been established. We are proud of their achievements. We believe that more such bodies should be established. We also feel that where large amounts of public money are expended in new industries for the manipulation of private enterprise, the Government have a bounden duty to see to it that that industrial enterprise works properly, that the promises made in respect of production targets, export potentials and employment content are fulfilled, that it has the badge of permanency and that it does not capitulate or fold up quickly and show a complete disregard for the promises made earlier.

Where sizable amounts of State money are expended, we believe the Government should appoint a Government representative, a representative of the people, to see to it that the affairs of these new companies are properly carried out and that the investment which the Irish people make is adequately cared for. In the absence of a State representative of that kind, we will continue to have industrial casualties of the type we have had to contend with over the years. It may well be that this would have a dissuading influence on some potential industries and if they are not prepared to have a watchdog for the people on their boards where lavish State aid is provided, we must suspect their motives in the initial stages.

These are some of the sentiments I wanted to express on this measure. We hope the good work of expanding our industries will continue and that the Minister will have results to show for the ideas which I know he has in mind and is formulating in respect of the creation of industries for small communities. I am fearful that the small towns and villages may be forgotten and may be put at a very decided disadvantage by over-emphasis on the creation of industrial estates. While I do not wish to denigrate in any way the wonderful idea of the centralisation of industries of this kind, I think it fair also to point out the needs of our smaller towns so that we may retain our population in the rural areas.

I should like to congratulate the Minister and the Department on their work so far as these industries are concerned. When we hear comments made here in connection with the North getting the upper hand on us, we must remember that the North was looked on as the industrial arm of the country for a long number of years. I am very much afraid that the bad name we are getting in regard to unofficial strikes is having a bad effect on industrialists who would come in here in the ordinary course.

We are not as bad as France.

It is time to straighten up. You are either in charge of the trade unions or else get out. You cannot shout and keep dumb at the same time. You cannot be crying out for more industrialists and more employment for our people, and at the same time, be responsible for acts of sabotage of which we had an exhibition in regard to the Verolme Dockyard. Either you want the people to have employment or you do not. If you want them to have employment, let the Government who are looking after those industries go ahead and let the industries go ahead. Do not carry out acts of sabotage or, what is worse, exhibitions such as we had in regard to the Verolme Dockyard. At present that dockyard is giving employment to between 800 and 1,000 men every day at decent wages. Those are 1,000 men our friends cannot say are unemployed.

I know the difficulties the Government have—no one knows them better —in regard to those industries. I saw the Irish Steel Industry started, and I saw it go bankrupt twice. On each occasion I saw the State put up the cash to set it going again, with the result that 600 men are now working there, getting constant employment and decent wages. At times it is hard to get industries off the ground, to get them going. There are a number of wildcat schemes that come along. I have gone on a dozen trips trying to get money but when you arrive there, you find that they have not got a shilling and that they think they can come here and get whatever money they want to start an industry.

A few of them got away with it but not in my constituency.

The Government have a responsibility because it is the Irish people's money they are lending. I have seen things that worked out in my own constituency. I remember when General Costello came down first. He had this new idea about the vegetables. When he had travelled over portion of my constituency, he said we had a kitchen garden for that kind of business. He said: "You collect the money and we will get going." I went around amongst the farmers and I got £30,000. The Sugar Company put up another £30,000 and on that we started.

We started the first year with 280 acres of vegetables. We were assisted generously on each occasion we went to the Minister's Department in regard to grants for that industry. We went on to 12,050 acres last year. We have 3,000 acres under vegetables this year. Please God, we shall be on the 5,000-acre mark next year—all practically for the export trade and giving permanent employment. On the 5,000-acre mark, we shall be giving permanent employment to 700 boys and girls in that industry. That is what is required in this country. It is the only thing that is required in this country as far as getting employment for our own people here is concerned. I only hope, now, that the Minister will consider areas that have not got those benefits and endeavour to get smaller industries if necessary in there—and I am alluding principally to the West.

There are opportunities in the West. In my opinion, there is room there and there are plenty of workers there to start further industries and to give employment to those people. It is rather a shame when you go down to those areas and travel around there to see four, five and six men in one home and to know that hardly one of them will remain there—only the door closed. I think that anything that could be done in regard to getting industries into those areas would be a godsend, a great help. After all, that is why we looked for our freedom. We looked for our freedom so that we would no longer be hewers of wood and drawers of water for John Bull. We looked for our freedom so that we should not have to send our boys and girls out into the wilds—just rearing them for the emigrant ship—but could keep them here. Deputy Seán Lemass showed us the road and the way to keep them here. Let nothing stop us from doing that.

If, as Deputy Treacy says, Northern Ireland is getting into a more favoured position in regard to the attraction of industries, let us put our finger on the reason and stop it. I suggest to the Minister, on that, that the sooner we come to the point of seeing things in their proper perspective and calling them by their right names, the better. A Labour Court with no power to enforce its decisions or which comes to decisions and cannot enforce them is not worth a hang to anyone. I have said that before. I do not care if you put five trade union men there as judges—I do not care who is put there —but, in God's name, let it be a court that will sit, that will come to a decision and that will be able to enforce that decision.

There is too much of this tally-ho strike business going on. I suggest that that is very largely the cause of any falling-off here in the attraction of industries. You will start a very small industry now with a quarter of a million pounds. If a fellow has a quarter of a million pounds, he sees that, the moment an industry is started here, after 12 months there is a strike and then there is another strike and that condition of affairs carries on. I had bitter experience of it in my younger days when I saw, inside in the Verolme Dockyard that is there now, men going on strike for wages and because they would not do this, that or the other thing. The ship that was there under repair had to leave and go over to England to get the repairs carried out. I saw those very men travel over to England in that ship and work for lower wages over there. I saw those. I do not want to see that again. I want to see this country built up. I want to see achieved what our people suffered for, namely, our country built up and able to give employment here to our own people.

Any man I see who can get a dozen boys and girls and put them to work has my blessing and will get any help I can give him. However, for heaven's sake, let me repeat, particularly to the Labour men here, that they should look at this and see if there cannot be some way of settling disputes besides calling men out on strike.

You do not call men out on strike. The men themselves decide to go on strike. It is a different thing.

Look; I have seen a couple of them. I had to father one, two or three years ago, with the Sugar Company. I do not want to see it again. If I am forced to do so, I shall do it again. However, I shall endeavour, in any way I can, to reach a peaceful solution. Nobody should be allowed to go on strike until the lapse of a maximum of a two months period after the matter has been given to the Labour Court for a decision on the demand— but I should have the Labour Court in such a position that their decision could be enforced. That would avoid all this waste of time, waste of energy and waste of money that is going on.

It is no pleasure to me to see the men going down to Verolme Dockyard to work in the morning and to see the dockyard having to close for the afternoon and the men having to go home because the ESB are on strike—and the same in Irish Steel and the same in Fords. That is no pleasure, assistance, lead or inducement to any industrialist who wants to come into this country with his money to give employment to our people. That kind of thing is no use. Some means must be found to deal with the problem. Surely there are steady enough heads and sensible enough people in the trade union movement and among the Government representatives, who can come together with employers and settle these things peacefully without having those disasters and tragedies forced on us every day? They are no pleasure to anyone.

We want to see industries going ahead. We want to see new industries started. We want to see them built up and employment being given in them. The surest way of doing that is the way I have suggested here to Deputy Tully, in particular, and to the Minister for Industry and Commerce. They are two good, tough, sensible men. Let them put their heads together and find a way out of the problem. There is nothing you cannot find a way out of. Find a way out of those things without the tragedies of the strikes and the harm and the injury done to thousands of homes by these strikes.

I fear I must consider this Bill somewhat disappointing. Everybody will accept that our drive for industrial expansion, although it has increased considerably, has not met the demands of the country. The proof of that is that we still carry a large number of unemployed and still have a good deal of emigration. As I know the position, the control of the setting up of industries largely rests with An Foras Tionscal in that they can site industries and decide whether a particular industry shall be permitted to start in an area or not. I have had considerable experience of this in my own constituency in dealing with local industrial development associations that are endeavouring to get facilities and set up industries. They have always found interminable delays and a tendency on the part of this body, possibly as a result of Government instructions, to site industries as far as possible in undeveloped areas.

I want to make two suggestions. One is that, in regard to these grants that are being ladled out pretty freely to foreigners coming here to set up industries—very often they only come to fulfil a contract in their own country and clear out afterwards—where an industry is set up based on Irish raw materials, the grants should be more generous. If we had based our industrial drive from the foundation of the State on Irish raw materials, we would not now find ourselves with so many of our industries in the parlous condition in which they are.

My other suggestion—and I think this plea was already made and cited as part of the Fine Gael policy—is that existing industries should be in a position to secure support. As I know the position, an existing industry can get in the way of State grants or assistance only a certain amount of money for research. I forget the actual term of the grant. They cannot get a big grant to build up an industry or extend or modernise premises. All over the world, and particularly in countries far stronger industrially and far wealthier than we are, there is a combining of big industries, placing them on a productive capacity scale far in excess of what you find in small industries in countries such as this. I can speak of my own area where we have had an agricultural machinery industry for a great many years. It was well established and well conducted in the past and we find it is now in competition with other industries that are bigger and have units in other countries. They are able to produce more economically. It is entirely wrong that existing established industries should not have freely available to them grants to enable them to expand, modernise and generally to increase production.

I cite the case of Nítrigin Éireann which is a State-owned company. It has available for the purpose of expansion the full support of State funds. That may be all right and I am very glad to see Nítrigin Éireann flourish because it gives a certain amount of employment in my area, but as against that, why should State industry have available to it for the purpose of expansion and modernisation all the State can command while private enterprise industry which has perhaps existed for years and proved itself worthy of development and capable of exporting has no such facilities? I am disappointed in the Bill, although I welcome the fact that for global expansion of industry, the increase is from £30 million to £40 million. I see no change in the overall policy of the industrial drive and I submit that unless the Government are prepared to take that decisive step, we shall stay in our present quandary, having the highest percentage of unemployment practically in the free world and a situation where our young people have to emigrate.

The Minister should take the initiative in co-ordinating industrial development associations which are gradually coming into existence throughout the country. They get no particular benefits. They represent an attempt on the part of private enterprise and local business people to invest local capital in Irish industry. It is one of the tragedies of today that while we are a comparatively poor State, we have considerable sums of money at our disposal. We have large sums on deposit in the banks and we are told that our financial situation is so happy because those deposits are all the time rising. These deposits should be invested at local level where we want to site industries if we are to save the country and the population. I would even go further and say, as I have already said, that if the Minister is prepared to give particular subsidisation for the use of Irish raw materials, we would have established small industries not only in the towns, which is absolutely essential, but also in the smaller towns, which in other countries would probably be known as small villages. I am thinking of a community of about 500 people. They have emigration and unemployment problems of their own and the only thing that will save them is industrial expansion.

Let us get away from the idea of starting enormous industries involving a tremendous amount of capital, inviting European industrialists to come here and set up such industries. We know that in many cases where such industrialists have been taken to the West by An Foras Tionscal, they only fulfil a contract for which they did not have the manpower in their own country. When their contracts are fulfilled, there is nothing to prevent them turning the key in the door and going away again. The Industrial Development Authority, which I think has overall responsibility for handing out funds, takes over the building concerned. But what is it worth? I know of one place in the west of Ireland where two industries were started and eventually the keys were turned in the doors by the European industrialists who came there and they cleared out. The only thing the State can recover in such cases is the price of the building.

I am disappointed in the Bill and disappointed in the Minister that he has not changed the situation that he found existing because it is this procedure and the existing legislation we have that has placed us in the unhappy situation in which we are today. I therefore ask the Minister to take another look at the position and perhaps to accept or initiate an amendment on Committee Stage that will attempt to encourage the basing of Irish industries on Irish raw materials. That is the key to success in the future. In addition, it will help agricultural expansion in that we can process agricultural raw materials. We can expand our pulping factories and give up importing things from Canada and other places that we can produce ourselves. We are able to grow the raw material faster than Scandinavia and other countries. Let the Minister take another look at this and perhaps the employment situation will be happier than it is today.

First of all, I am sick and tired of listening to people who know nothing about the situation lecturing the trade union and labour movement on how to remedy the position which appears to have arisen in this country. Let me repeat something I said last week: as far as the trade union and labour movement is concerned, we who are trade union officials spend a lot more time stopping strikes than we spend doing anything else. We do not start strikes; they are started at the demand of the workers concerned. We try our best to delay them as long as we can, because as long as there is a hope of the situation being improved and the dispute being settled while the men and women are working, then it is in the interests of everybody concerned that this should happen.

Strikes happen for two reasons: first, because we have still a great number of unreasonable employers, and that includes some semi-State bodies; and secondly, because we have unreasonable workers, many of whom have very little interest in the jobs they are in and whose only aim is to have a bit of fun or, alternatively, to cause trouble. They believe in some peculiar way that by causing a strike, they are striking a blow, as I pointed out here on one occasion, for the Fianna Fáil Party. They think they are doing a good turn if they can dissipate union funds, that they should get some of these medals that are handed out for exceptional service. This is the sort of nonsense which is carried on.

However, some strikes have to take place. If workers find that employers are unreasonable and cannot be dealt with in any other way, then the strike is the only answer to it. Deputy Corry, who was prepared to condemn roundly the trade union movement for having strikes, finished up by saying he had started a strike of beet growers and that he proposed to start another one if the occasion arose. He is perfectly entitled to do it, but he cannot have it both ways.

We do not want strikes if there is any other way of settling a dispute, but let me make this clear: we believe that the day the strike weapon is taken out of the hands of the workers, they are slaves, because there is no other way they can enforce their demands. We have unreasonable disputes from time to time and we have people who are selfish enough to hold the whole community to ransom. We have this thing which I described last week as an abomination, the unofficial strike, the strikers who believe and know they can get something for their own small group by having a strike, by pulling a fast one and getting away with it. We are as much opposed to them as Deputy Corry or the Government—in fact we are more opposed to them— and we are doing everything we can to stop them. This must be the concern of everybody. There must be a certain amount of consideration given to this sort of thing by everybody. We cannot settle it overnight. From time to time a strike which has been started supposedly for the purpose of improving the lot of employees turns out to have been started for a very different reason.

There is no use in people saying there should be compulsory arbitration, as Deputy Corry suggested, that the Labour Court should have the right to say that men or women must accept something and go back to work. You cannot make workers work if they do not want to, and the sooner we realise that the better. We had a recent example of this in the ESB dispute. Despite the ESB Bill which was introduced in this House, the Government found they could do nothing about the situation. Therefore, the people who were in gaol because they contravened the law passed by this House had to be taken out and sent home in taxis in the middle of the night. That should be answer enough to anyone who says you can make workers work.

We have the joint industrial councils which to a certain extent have the authority to make mandatory rates, and this arrangement has been honoured because the employers and employees, the union and employer representatives, are able to discuss the matter and reach a settlement. That is how these things can be settled, but to appoint three or five people and say they are the people who will decide on these matters and that there will be no appeal against the decision, will never work in this country.

We hear a great deal of talk of all the strikes and of all the industrialists who have been kept out of this country because of this threat of strikes. That is a lot of nonsense, because the number of man-days lost due to strikes compared with the number in the countries from which some of these gentlemen come is relatively small. I cannot point this out often enough, that the number of man-days lost through unemployment is much greater than the man-days lost through strikes, and we do not seem to be worried about that end of it at all.

I should like to suggest to the Minister for Industry and Commerce that if he is really serious about trying to do something effective with this short Bill—there are only two sections in it and four subsections and it covers a sum of £10 million—he must set out to do other things. He must, to start off, ensure that the discrimination which we have between counties is eased, if not removed altogether. The Minister, I am sure, will agree with me that it is rather ridiculous that somebody coming into County Meath, where very little industry has been started, cannot get the same amount of grant as he would get if he went across the border a couple of miles into Cavan or Monaghan. There is very little difference between North Meath and Cavan or Monaghan. Still, there is a very big difference in the amount of money which goes to the industrialist who starts an industry in either of these counties instead of in County Meath.

I believe County Meath is an ideal industrial centre for these reasons: it is near a seaport and it is near Dublin Airport, and the roads in Meath are very good. This is one of the counties where the population has been growing, and would grow very much faster but for the fact that emigration from it is pretty heavy. There are still people there who cannot find a job, and the result is that in the village in which I live, 20 or 30 people go on a bus at 6 o'clock in the morning to Dublin to their employment and come back at 7.30 in the evening. We talk about working conditions and social conditions, and that is the situation there. Another 100 or 150 will, between that hour and 9 o'clock, take a bus out of the district. That happens right across the county, workers travelling over 30 miles to Dublin and elsewhere because they cannot find employment in their own area.

I would suggest to the Minister that more encouragement should be given to site factories where it would suit the manufacturer to site them and where it would suit the workers to work in them rather than spend half their working life travelling. If, as has been the fact up to now, private enterprise has not been able to provide full employment, the State has got to face up to it that it is their job to ensure that employment is provided. This morning we heard a reference to Deputy Lemass's £100 million and his 100,000 new jobs. I did not think the same comment was made by him on the same occasion but perhaps Deputy Donegan's files are clearer than mine.

I will bring them up to you.

I am clear on one thing, that is, that the 100,000 new jobs have not materialised and in fact the 100,000 jobs which were there at that time seem to be disappearing rapidly. If the State could get to the position wherein they would have suitable industries started here, they would be doing a good job and it would prevent the situation of industrialists coming here and telling the Department that their employment potential is 500. If we ask a question in the House, we are told that the potential is 500 or 600, but two years later we find that 25 people are working in the industry and the potential is never realised and, in my opinion, it never was intended to be realised.

The State only is in a position to find out what employment an industry will give and could then make the necessary provision. If the State did that they would save money because every man who is unemployed, who is receiving unemployment benefit is, as we know, a severe loss to the State. Apart from the loss of what he would be creating if he were working, apart from the injection into the economy and his district when he spends his money, the State is paying some £9 to £10 a week for every man receiving unemployment benefit. In addition, there is the loss from income tax in many cases and the loss of social welfare insurance stamps in every case. If the State went to the trouble of checking that figure for 100 men in an area, it would find out what it was costing to keep them unemployed and would realise that it would pay better to have an investment here by having industries which would give employment.

I agree with Deputy Treacy that we have reached the stage where if the State is to have a big investment in industry, they must put in a director in each industry to see that the money is properly spent. We cannot afford another Potez. Of course the Minister will probably tell me that Potez have expanded and that now they have increased from ten last year to 25. If we live long enough, we will see the entire 650 employed.

There are about 150 employed now.

Of course the Minister knows that some were dismissed recently.

About ten.

And they are to be progressively reduced because orders have disappeared again.

The potential was 1,700. That was the figure when they got the £1,319,000.

We must be thankful for small mercies. If the State had somebody on the inside, they would know what was going on. I am not blaming anybody for making a mistake. It has been said that the person who never made a mistake never made anything. Since mistakes can be avoided and since we could prevent a recurrence of these things by making sure that those who are getting large State grants or loans would know that there was a watchdog there to see that the money was spent in the way in which it was intended to spend it, we should do this. Deputy Esmonde referred to industries which were started just to fill an order. While this is something that it is said does not happen, it has happened and it has been known for foreign industries to come here in order to fill an order which might take five or ten years to fill and then they slide out, having made substantial sums of money.

We are very much in favour of this Bill but we feel that the money could be spent in a better way. The responsibility must eventually lie with the Government to ensure that employment is provided and as it seems to be fairly definite, now that private enterprise is not providing the employment, that the Government have to see that the State does it. We hear people from the Government side talking about good labour relations, talking about stays of two months before strike action is taken, but would such people remember that the worst employer is the State itself? Not in two months but in two years we still have not got a decision on the ordinary labourer's wages and conditions from various Government Departments who employ these people. If they want to lecture anybody, they should lecture the senior officials. Let the Ministers face up to the fact that they are letting themselves and the Government down through their actions.

I suppose it is in the nature of most people to aim at the spectacular, and this applies to all of us here and I suppose to people in State Departments as well. A good deal of this has taken place in the past when efforts were directed to attracting larger industries to the country, or fostering them within the country, and mistakes have been made. It is worth while making mistakes and learning lessons from them. One lesson we should have learned by now is that we should have another look at industrial development. While it is not in the nature of modern trends to deal with smaller concerns, we have in various towns throughout the country small private industries capable of development but which have not got the money to develop. Any money given to existing industries which would cause an increase in their production would be money well spent.

Due to our new educational system, we have increased numbers of our boys and girls attending schools and there will be an increase in the number of skilled young people leaving the technical schools every year. These are scattered throughout the country and the Minister would be very wise to direct a good part of the money which will be available for grants to towns which have privately-owned small industries which could be economically expanded. Not sufficient emphasis has been placed on this in the past. This applies in my own county, and to the Border counties generally, where there are small industries which in a small way are exporting to Northern Ireland and Britain but which do not appear to attract the attention of the grant givers.

Perhaps it is because of this spectacular element to which I referred and that it is felt necessary to convince people that something worth while is being done with the grants which are given. If we got away from this for a while and did the unspectacular thing of adding 25 per cent to the employment in a small industry and, by adding that 25 per cent, perhaps increase the production by 50 per cent, that would be really worth while and the amount of money required to do it would not be much, especially in the case of the small industries I have mentioned—some of them not that small— which are exporting to Britain.

What is to stop them getting a grant?

There is, in fact, a special programme directed at them.

Yes. I know some of them have applied for grants but they find it difficult to convince the powers-that-be that grants should be given. I have this feeling, rightly or wrongly, that these small industries are not getting the consideration they should and that they deserve. I would urge that further consideration and larger grants should be given to these. The situation is very difficult for a small industrialist. First of all, he has to employ an accountant and someone who will make application. It is a very lengthy procedure for a man running a one-man show to get down to the business of making a case for a grant and producing accounts for a number of years back. This is an aspect that seems to me to be neglected and I would urge the Minister to give that situation consideration under this measure.

Like my colleague, Deputy Esmonde, I too must confess I am disappointed with this Bill. Over the past 12 months, the Minister has on numerous occasions here indicated that the Government were reviewing the whole approach to industrial incentives. We expected that this review would have been completed by now and it was reasonable to expect the Minister to have availed himself of this opportunity presented by this Bill to give us some indication as to when the Government propose to implement the new incentives and new ideas in regard to industrial development.

We, in the Fine Gael Party, support any move towards the generation of greater industrial development. I fear I must take a parochial attitude to this Bill because, while it is proposed to raise the ceiling of £30 million to £40 million, I remember that I represent a constituency which, since 1965, has not secured even one new industry. In fact, the constituency has fared very badly from the point of view of securing its fair share of new industries. There are various reasons for this. The situation is pretty well known or, if it was not known up to a month ago, certainly every Deputy is well aware of it now.

The industrial grants have worked out most unfairly where my constituency is concerned. We have not been able to secure any new industries. We have been unfortunate also in that a number of old-established industries in Limerick have been forced to close down. One or two speakers suggested that the Government might perhaps do more for old-established industries family industries, or small industries. The most notable closures in Limerick were Messrs. Mattersons bacon factory, which was forced to close last year, and a city tannery. Very little effort seemed to be made to keep these two particular concerns in production.

This Bill is a grave disappointment to me. It will be a bigger disappointment still to the people I represent. Hopes were held out in recent months that a new deal was on the way in the matter of industrial grants and incentives, a new deal which would be of benefit to the Limerick area. As I said, we have not got our fair share of new industries. We have not got our fair share of industrial grants. The reason is pretty obvious. We, in Limerick, have to compete with new industries in other more favoured areas. The Shannon Industrial Estate is quite near us. Now we have an industrial estate at Galway and another at Waterford.

I have been informed—I have reason to believe the information is true—that industrialists coming in here, who make inquiries from the Industrial Development Authority about suitable locations, are told about the industrial estate at Shannon, the industrial estate at Waterford and the proposed industrial estate in Galway. In most cases they never hear about Limerick or other areas. That is most unfair because, when one considers the matter carefully, one realises that Limerick, the third city in the State, has outstanding natural advantages for industrial development. It has, indeed, all the facilities necessary. It has a port and an airport adjacent to it at Shannon. It has a large pool of labour. There are technical training facilities. The transport and communications network is excellent. Despite all these natural advantages, we have not been able to secure any new industries and it is my belief that industrialists have been encouraged to go to areas other than Limerick, directly encouraged by the Industrial Development Authority, or someone else. The fact is they would naturally tend to go to more favoured areas because the grants and incentives are greater in such areas.

The Minister should give some indication as to when this review will be completed and when he expects to be in a position to introduce legislation. In the meantime, we will just have to go on living in hope in Limerick while our unemployment situation gets more serious, with no hope of any immediate solution of the problem. One Deputy referred to more generous incentives being given to industrialists who use native raw materials.

Debate adjourned.