Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Seanad Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 19 Mar 1942

Vol. 26 No. 9

Central Fund Bill, 1942—Second Stage (Resumed).

I want to add, if possible, to the collective wisdom of the House, as expressed in the speeches that have preceded mine, and to do so in a spirit, I hope, of constructive criticism and with not more than the necessary minimum of recrimination—in fact, with no recrimination at all, because I think the present situation is one which calls for constructive action and suggestion on the part of everybody in the House and criticism should be, as far as possible, devoid of recrimination. This Bill seems to give scope for any amount of discussion on general financial and economic policy, and it seems to be almost impossible to go out of order in discussing any of these questions. But I do feel, with Senator Foran and other speakers, that, in a time of real emergency like this, we should put what I might call the financial point of view in the very subordinate position where it really belongs, try to approach our problems from the point of view of economic and human realities and treat financial methods simply as a handmaid for the realisation of the most desirable economic and social policies. In my opinion, countries can be ruined by a combination of sound financial policies and unsound economic policies. In fact, if I had to choose, I should prefer that sound Ministers should apply unsound financial methods in a time of national emergency rather than that unsound Ministers should use, perhaps with inadequate judgment, sound financial methods in a time of national emergency. The worst situation of any would be one in which unsound Ministers would apply unsound financial methods. I am not specifying whether the Minister falls into any one of these three categories or whether there is a fourth category in which he himself would like to regard himself. I am saying this by way of emphasising that I regard financial policies and methods essentially as a means and as something which, in a time of revolutionary emergency such as the present, should be treated not with a kind of breathtaking respect and reverence, but entirely as something which is amenable to human policy and human control.

If the Minister is open to any criticism at all in the department of pure finance in the past couple of years, it seems to me that he is open to the criticism that he has relied too much on taxation and on borrowing from the capital market and not enough on the inflationary financial method of borrowing from the banking system. Inflationary finance is, of course, a deadly poison but so are opium, cocaine and strychnine, and all these deadly poisons, in the right hands and administered in doses appropriate to the occasion, may tide an individual over a difficult emergency. In the same way, in a time of national emergency, some small dose of inflationary finance is a desirable method of swinging the national economy into the new orientation needed by completely unforeseen circumstances. Inflationary finance is, of course, if carried to excess, disastrous but if Government resorts to borrowing from the banking system in circumstances in which the banking system finds a diminished outlet in other directions for banking funds, I doubt whether that kind of borrowing from the banking system is inflationary at all. Even if Government borrows from the banking system in circumstances in which the banking system still finds a normal outlet for banking finance, if the effect of that is to increase, or prevent from diminishing, the money income of the community and if that increase in the money income of the community is, at the same time, accompanied by a tendency for unemployed factors of production to be brought into production, for economic processes to be brought back into employment, such inflationary methods of finance, up to that point, so far from being dangerous, are positively advantageous. Until the moment has arrived when inflationary finance tends to increase the real income of the community, that method can be used without serious danger.

I do not think that our economy has yet reached the stage at which all available factors of production are absorbed into productive employment, and I think that some measure of inflation would have been a helpful means of bringing that about. Of course, I am aware that inflationary finance tends to cause an increase in prices, tends to create dangerous bottlenecks in production, but these are dangers which wise Government policy would take proper measures to safeguard. They would prevent the persons concerned in the bottlenecks of production from exploiting that situation to hold their fellow-countrymen up to ransom, would rigidly control all prices, especially the prices of the elementary necessaries of life, and ration all supplies so that there would be little possibility of prices getting out of hand. In that case, then, with a little does of graduated inflation, you would have a situation in which taxpayers would have, in the aggregate, larger incomes than they were able to find an outlet for in the purchase of real goods. Consequently, they would afford a suitable market for the Minister's tax-gathering and loan-gathering activities at a later stage. Until our economy has reached the stage where all available factors of production are fully occupied and the stage where real income has risen to whatever is the maximum possible limit under emergency conditions, I think it is not good public policy to be too active and too progressive in raising the level of taxation.

In a situation such as we have had for the past two years, it is necessary for many individuals, both as private individuals and as business men, to incur capital expense in adjusting their lives to new conditions—by procuring A.R.P. equipment, by buying bicycles where, perhaps, they owned an old motor car, by obtaining producer-gas plant for their motors where they formerly used petrol. All these things involve a drain on the capital and credit of the private individual. Consequently, it is not sound policy to diminish that capital and credit of the private individual too much by excessive Government action in this transitional stage of the national emergency. In fact, excessive taxation at that stage, so far from supporting or maintaining the credit of the State, to my mind, might undermine that credit if it had the effect of preventing the economy from adjusting itself to the new conditions and preventing that increase of the national wealth, under those new conditions, which would otherwise be possible if private credit was left unimpaired.

It seems to be agreed—at all events the statement is made by a Cambridge professor—that at present, and for the last two years, Great Britain has been acquiring, by the method of issuing new money—in other words, by downright inflation—as much as one-twentieth of the real income of the nation for Government purposes, and that the effect of that moderate degree of inflation was to raise the money income of the community only by some 20 per cent., after two years of war. Now, one-twentieth of the real income of the United Kingdom at present is a sum of the order of magnitude of £400,000,000 or £500,000,000, and one-twentieth of our real income, if we take our national income to be £160,000,000, would work out at £8,000,000. I would not go so far, however, as to suggest that we should acquire as much as £8,000,000 of the money necessary for Government purposes by a downright inflationary method, but I would go so far, however, as to suggest that we might perhaps acquire something of the order of £2,000,000 or £3,000,000, or even £4,000,000, for a year or two, of that necessary finance, by downright inflationary borrowing from the banking system until we have reached that stage where all available factors of production are fully occupied and pulling their weight.

Would the Senator repeat his figures of the British gross national income? I may have misheard him, but I think he left out a nought.

The figure, according to Professor Pigou, is one-twentieth of the national income of the United Kingdom, which is being acquired by inflationary method.

What is the national figure?

Well, multiply 20 by £400,000,000. But of course, in that connection, we must bear in mind that the national income in Great Britain, even if three-fifths is takes for Government purposes in time of war, still leaves a national income available for civilian consumption, per head of the population, which is not so very different from ours, because in their country it was more than £100 per person before the war, and in our country it was £50 per person. There are also certain reservations and qualifications that ought to be applied before one takes too literally even my suggestion that we might risk acquiring £3,000,000 or £4,000,000 of the necessary Government finance by direct borrowing from the banking system.

I come now to make some remarks about the attitude which a State should have towards the agricultural adjustment necessary in the present emergency, and in that connection I should like to correct a certain figure which I mentioned on the last occasion that I spoke in this House, when I said that after making allowance at the rate of 5 per cent., for the interest on the capital values associated with Irish agriculture, the amount available per head as labour income among the 600,000 persons employed in agricultural production only amounted to £50 per head. Now, I should have borne in mind, in making that statement, that some £120,000,000 of the capital values concerned was the amount I estimated as the value of the dwelling accommodation which occurs on farms, and consequently I should only have taken the interest on the difference between £120,000,000 and, say, £480,000,000, which would have yielded at 5 per cent., not £24,000,000 but £18,000,000, and subtracting £18,000,000 from £54,000,000 would have left £36,000,000, to divide among 600,000 people as labour income, instead of only £30,000,000. In other words, the labour income should have been £60 per head, and not £50. However, let that serve as a warning to me and to other Senators not to do arithmetic in one's head here, especially when one has a cold in one's head, as I had on that last occasion.

Now, in the last two years it has been necessary for our farmers greatly to expand the area under tillage, and, in doing so, I estimate that in the season 1940-41, for example, as compared with the season two years before that, £6,000,000 more had to be invested in the processes of cultivating the land. In other words, to finance the additional tillage necessary, somebody somewhere had to find £6,000,000 more. I should like to know who put up the money. Did the farmers themselves put it up? Were the farmers concerned well enough off to finance that extra production out of their own capital resources, or did some considerable share of it come from borrowing from the banks, or, in some mysterious way, did the State make that money available, or any considerable share of it? My own impression is that not much of that £6,000,000 came by way of productive loans from the banking system, although there I speak subject to correction and, if I am wrong, I am sure Senator Sir John Keane will enlighten me.

Another factor would probably be that the people were working harder.

Well, it is a question of additional finance in one form or another, but what I am really coming to is this: In many cases, the persons owning land, which had to be tilled under the Compulsory Tillage Order, let that land for tillage, on the so-called conacre system, to various speculators and contractors, who have been tilling that land, generally, for corn crops, and taking all they can get out of it. Now, the reasons why farmers let their land for tillage or other purposes are various, and I do not know to what extent that land has been let in that way, because the farmers owning it did not have the necessary capital and credit to cultivate it themselves, but I do know that that was the case in some significant proportion of the persons concerned, and I do know that year after year land is being let in conacre for tillage purposes. What is the most sinister aspect of the whole thing is that the same land is actually being let for cultivation of the same corn crops year after year. You see in the local papers advertisements for the letting of so many acres of second-sod stubble for corn crops, and so on.

Now, I suggest that the same land is being let for cultivation of the same crops year after year. But that reminds me of the story of a tramp who called at a big house at Christmas and asked for a gift of clothing or bread. The lady of the house said to him: "Are you not the same man that I gave some Christmas pudding to last Christmas?" He replied: "It is true, ma'am, that you gave me some Christmas pudding, but I will never be the same man again after eating it." It is equally true that a lot of this land, now growing corn crops on the conacre system, will never be the same again, and, in fact, is being devastated, by the present method of cultivation by persons other than the owners of that land, more completely than if that land were being trampled upon and destroyed by a hostile army. It is really a problem that affects the fertility of the soil in the case of tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of acres of land now being put under cultivation under the worst possible conditions, not by the owners of the land, but by people whose sole interest in the land is to get all they can out of its permanent fertility and cash in on that permanent fertility, leaving the land derelict when finished with it. That, to my mind, is one of the indirect and perhaps unforeseen consequences of the way in which the 25 per cent. Compulsory Tillage Order has actually worked out in practice.

That Order had no compulsory effect whatever on those parts of the country where tillage was most appropriate to their local conditions and where the habit of tillage was most widespread. In other words, in Wexford and Louth, and perhaps Carlow, where anyhow they always cultivated 25 per cent. of their arable land, the Compulsory Tillage Order had no compulsory effect whatever by increasing the area under the plough. If they did increase the area under the plough in those counties, as doubtless some have, it was due to sheer public spirit or the prospect of making additional profit and was not due to anything in the Compulsory Tillage Order.

On the other hand, the flat rate compulsion to till 25 per cent. enabled persons owning grass land, who wanted to comply with the letter of the law, to comply with it by saying: "There is 25 per cent. of my farm. I let it in conacre and I made up my mind to sacrifice it for all future time, and when it is finished I do not care a hang, the Land Commission can have it." By doing that they are complying with the letter of the compulsory law, but they are not complying with the spirit of the law and they are not complying with the principles of sound cultivation. In so far as the owners of grass land were driven to adopt that policy of letting the land in conacre because they had not the capital or the credit available for its proper cultivation and putting it through a proper rotation, then I think to that extent the Government policy has failed to provide for one of the most pressing necessities of the agricultural situation.

I think the English system by which people were paid £2 an acre by the State for ploughing up old pasture is a much better one and one which we might have adopted here with considerable advantage. I think we might even have improved on that system, and instead of saying to the farmers: "We will pay you £2 an acre for every acre of old pasture land that you plough up," the Government should have said: "We will give you vouchers for artificial manures to the value of £2 an acre for every acre of land you plough up, but those vouchers will not be transferable into artificial manures until after the emergency when manures are available at a reasonable price again." In that case, a farmer who had care for the future fertility of his land would know that, if he took a risk and cultivated it without manure for a year or two, he would be able to look forward to getting from the Government artificial manures which he presumably would apply to the land that he had temporarily allowed to run down. This problem of maintaining and preserving the fertility of land that has to be cultivated without any proper rotation is one of the most serious problems we are confronted with, and I think the Government should not spare what looks like expenditure in trying to face this problem and should consider every reasonable means of bringing that land back again to fertility and permanent productiveness as soon as the emergency is over. In the meanwhile I am afraid we will have to resign ourselves to the probability of a declining yield per acre in wheat cultivation and that is why we have to cultivate so many acres of wheat.

I should like to see a policy for the permanent improvement of our agricultural economy as a whole seriously considered, and not only in Government circles. In my view, perhaps the best test of the efficiency of agriculture is the number of people that each person occupied in our agriculture somehow manages to feed. There are some 500,000 or 600,000 persons occupied in agriculture and, according to the most recent figure, we export some 37 per cent. of our agricultural output, which means that 63 per cent. of our agricultural output is consumed at home. If we assume that we are now at the stage in which we do provide at all events nearly 100 per cent. of the food requirements of our own people by the produce of our own agriculture, then I think it follows from those figures that the activities of our 500,000 agricultural producers manage to feed 3,000,000 people at home here and some 2,000,000 people outside our shores, in other words, about 5,000,000 people altogether. If 500,000 producers are feeding 5,000,000, that looks like each agricultural producer feeding ten persons. In British agriculture about 1,000,000 persons are occupied, and, before the war, it was calculated that they provided the food requirements of one-third of the population, which is roughly 45,000,000. So that it looks as if one person in British agriculture, in spite of many deficiencies, was feeding 15 persons, and it should be our aim to develop our agricultural production in such a way that we reach the British standard by which one person feeds 15 persons. If we did that, I think we would greatly increase the productiveness of our agriculture.

By increasing the employment of labour on the larger and better-equipped farms, I think we would make a substantial contribution to the output of agricultural wealth in the present time of emergency. The difficulty there is that agricultural labour is becoming extremely scarce throughout the country and something will have to be done by way of organising and even controlling all the available man power of the nation if we are to ensure the safety of the State and the maintenance of necessary activities of any kind on large farms employing agricultural wage-paid labour.

In fact, I am not sure whether we will not have to go several steps in the direction of a kind of communist economy and conscript labour as well as wealth if we are to take the steps appropriate to the present very serious emergency in which we find ourselves. I am not in favour of excessive State control of things in the ordinary way, but at a time of emergency such as we are in at present, unless a State will firmly take control and do the things which the realities of the situation require, then that nation is liable to drift about like a rudderless ship in a stormy sea.

On the other hand, the State that takes control should not go out of its way to discourage the efforts of private enterprise, especially private enterprise of the public-spirited kind which we associate with The Guild of Goodwill, Ltd. In that connection, I should like to ask the Minister why, in the name of fair play, he forbade The Guild of Goodwill, Ltd., arranging to cut turf with local labour on bogs on which The Guild of Goodwill, Ltd., had already incurred the expenditure of preparing and draining. The reason given, according to my information, was that one of the Minister's Departments proposed to cut turf in somewhat the same area of country and was under the necessity of importing labour from outside and housing it locally, a thing which was entirely proper for the Government to do and which can only be done by an institution such as a Government. The proposition put up to The Guild of Goodwill, Ltd., was that they might only cut turf if they were prepared to import labour from a distance and that they may not in any way use the local available labour.

To my mind, equity and common sense suggest that The Guild of Goodwill, Limited, should be allowed and encouraged to go ahead and organise the use of local labour for their turf-cutting enterprise, whereas the Government, who alone have the facilities for importing labour from a distance and housing them on the spot, should confine themselves to labour imported from a distance. There seems to be ample room for both forms of activity in the cutting of turf, and to allow a body of that type, which is a private enterprise of the best kind in which not a single individual will make a profit on the capital invested, to incur expense in preparing a bog for development and turf-cutting and then to say "you cannot cut turf in that bog" seems to me to be downright confiscation.

I think that if we want to get through the food crisis of the next few months, we will have to rely a good deal more on potatoes and diminish the pressure on wheat and flour. One of the reasons why we are so much a wheat-eating people now is because we have become so much more urbanised in the last 20 years than before. The urban population notoriously consume far less potatoes per head than the rural population. I think that the problem really amounts to this, how we are to ensure the maximum human consumption of the available potatoes in the country, which will not last for ever and which will go bad if not used before May or June? To bring all the potatoes to the cities and have them cooked would involve a difficult problem of fuel and transport. It would be much better if the Government would arrange for a partial evacuation of our large population centres. There are about 100,000 more people in Dublin now than there were 20 years ago and I think there are, with reference to the existing food and fuel situation, about 100,000 people too many in Dublin at the present time. If people who have no real necessity for living in Dublin could be persuaded or compelled to take rooms in the Parknasilla Hotel or some other place appropriate to their means, and if sections of the unemployed who would probably be healthier and better off in a country environment could be evacuated with their families to a country environment, then it would be quite feasible to feed them to a greater extent on potatoes which country people already eat to a large extent, and the demand for bread would be greatly diminished.

With regard to those who still remain in Dublin and who are likely to continue to remain there, a great deal of pressure would be taken off the acuteness of the fuel problem if the Government would go ahead with arrangements for the communal feeding of school children and others. The action of the Government in preventing this desirable method of feeding large numbers of the people from being carried out by other agencies is incomprehensible. Communal feeding would not only make possible the consumption of large quantities of potatoes and vegetables by people who have no means of cooking, but it would also diminish the intensity of the fuel problem because it would mean a much less consumption of fuel per cwt. of food cooked. From that point of view the Government should develop a really active policy of promoting the communal feeding of large sections of Dublin's population. Communal feeding and evacuation seem to be two practical methods of getting over the difficulties of the next two or three months.

The larger issues of Government policy, such as defence, economics, agriculture and education, have been so energetically discussed by my predecessors in this debate that my short contribution to it will come, perhaps, as a not unwelcome interlude and it will concern itself with the less spectacular and perhaps more prosaic items of the Estimates. I should like to draw the Minister's attention to a few things that have been brought to my notice in connection with some of the Votes. One concerns milk and there are at least three items that deal with the supply of free milk. Vote 41, sub-head J (2) refers to grants for the supply of milk to necessitous children and the amount for the year 1942-43 is £90,000, representing an increase of £9,000. Vote 74 also provides milk for the dependents of the unemployed and for widows and orphans. I have good reason to believe that there has been considerable overlapping in supplies and certain houses have got more than they can conveniently use. In the present state of supplies I think that is a thing that should be looked into. I do not want to deprive these needy people of anything, but it is possible that many who might not be expecting milk are being given too much and that surplus milk might well be diverted elsewhere. If my information is correct, that is the position in some cases.

My own experience is that boots are the greatest need of the children of the poor. Children are often kept from school because they have not boots. The children of needy parents cannot go to school for want of boots. When boots have to be repaired the children have to stay at home. Some may say that boots are not a necessity, but I say they are. Perhaps when the Minister is framing his Budget it might be considered whether it would not be possible to assist people who cannot provide boots for their children to make some provision in that connection under some of the Votes, possibly through a saving of money in the case of overlapping services.

Another thing to which I would like to draw attention is the decrease of £28,000 in connection with sub-head D of Vote 74. This sub-head refers to allowances in kind to certain recipients of disablement benefit under the National Health Insurance Acts. The grant was £50,000 last year, and this year it is only £22,000. I am particularly concerned with this because I think that many of the recipients of unemployment benefit are women who are really very pitiable objects. Very often women of 48 or 50 are not able to get a situation. From that age onwards until they reach 70 years they have very few resources. Frequently through mal-nutrition, which is the cause of disease, a poor woman comes on the unemployment fund, and I think that when these women are cut off from this benefit they suffer very considerably.

Another matter upon which I would like to have some information arises out of Vote 41, sub-head Q. This sub-head relates to grants in respect of the training of native Irish speakers in hospital nursing. I am very glad to find that the Vote of £120 last year has been increased to £560 this year. I hope it will mean that more girls from the Gaeltacht are to be given an opportunity of training as nurses and that whatever difficulties have been experienced in placing them in hospitals have been overcome. The Gaeltacht also comes under Vote 56, sub-head A. That provides £300 in respect of the Galway-Aran steamer services. It will help to maintain the service between Galway and the Aran Islands. It is really a necessity for the Aran people. Owing to the coal shortage, the steamer service is very much restricted at the present time. There is, however, one thing that could have been avoided, and that is, the undue raising of freights. There have been increases of 50 per cent. and nearly 100 per cent. in the cattle and passenger rates, and that bears very hard on the Aran people at a time when they need all the assistance they can get.

The curious feature of the early stages of this debate, until Senator Douglas spoke, was that only two constructive suggestions appeared to emerge from all the speeches. One was Senator Fitzgerald's implicit suggestion that there should be a special Department of cacophony instituted with a special Vote of its own, and the other was Senator Goulding's suggestion that, as a means of intensifying the national spirit, we should have professors of patriotism. Neither of these two suggestions struck me as being of any great utility in present circumstances. I felt all the more admiration for the contribution made by Senator Douglas. My reason for speaking now is largely that I want to associate myself with what Senator Foran and Senator Douglas suggested. It is a proposition that has been made to the Government on this Bill in this House ever since the war began, the suggestion that in the difficult times through which we are going, there is only one real hope for the survival of the country, and that is the institution of a national Government; the institution of a united Government in which the whole strength of the people, intellectual and moral, will find expression and some common means of action. It is easy to make speeches criticising Government expenditure. All one has to do is to take the Book of Estimates for this year and compare the Estimates with those of 1930 or 1927, when it will be seen that there is obviously an enormous growth in the national expenditure. I think even the Government and their supporters are beginning honestly to admit that the growth in national expenditure has, in many ways, gone too far, and that something sooner or later will have to be done about it.

It is easy to take one Vote after another, and to show that in every single Department the cost has steadily mounted up, and that a large part of the cost is due to the continual growth in the staffing of Government Departments. It is one of these things like the growth of population in cities and towns, to which Senator Johnston referred, which seems to be almost inevitable. We seem to be committed to an almost endless process under which the Civil Service will keep on growing and growing automatically, until everybody in Ireland is a civil servant, or until the whole scheme collapses, whichever happens first.

Probably the system generally will collapse long before we find ourselves in that enviable position of being all salaried civil servants. There is no doubt that sooner or later these processes will have to stop, both the growth in the administrative machinery of the State, and the tendency for the population to congregate more and more in towns and cities. My reason for interventing is that a time of crisis like this is a time to take stock of these tendencies and to consider how they may be dealt with. It is quite clear that you cannot do a great deal in one year, or even in ten years, but what you can do if you give a little thought to the matter is to cease to be mechanical slaves of a mechanical system. What you can do is to institute a new system or reform the existing system in such a way that these tendencies will no longer operate as drastically as they do. There is no doubt at all that one of the greatest causes of our difficulties now is the enormous growth of the City of Dublin. The fact is that the population of Dublin goes up by something like 60,000 people every ten years, and that is not happening by way of a natural increase, but because Dublin is wide open to the whole country. I say that although I am an immigrant myself. There is hardly anyone in Dublin who is not an immigrant or whose father or grandfather was not an immigrant.

I was not.

The peculiar feature of the situation is that if you look at the average employment available in Dublin, assistants in shops, bus drivers, bus conductors, Gárdaí, clerks or teachers it will be found that nine-tenths of those employed are country people who came to the city. It will be found, if you look at the effects of their coming to the city in these enormous numbers, and in that unchecked way, that every year a considerable proportion of people in Dublin are condemned to the slums for the rest of their lives, because a big city inevitably has a large proportion of people who are living below the margin of subsistence. That is one of the far-reaching problems that troubles us at a time of crisis like this, when the question of feeding our population is a matter of urgency.

In his speech Senator Johnston provoked a certain amount of amusement in this neighbourhood by suggesting that we are, perhaps, facing this danger, that very drastic steps will have to be taken to deal with the question of overcrowding in Dublin, and that if we are going to feed the population some people will have to move out of Dublin. The increase that has gone on so steadily in the staffs of Government Departments seems to be an inevitable process, and has been accompanied only by a steady increase in taxation, to pay for which more and more people are being taken out of productive work, in order to keep them in unproductive work, and more and more money has to be raised from the people who are at work. The result is that side by side with the growth of civil servants you have, at the same time, the enormous growth in taxation, such a form of taxation as income-tax, until it has reached a point when it has become certainly intolerable to large numbers of people, and will probably begin to cease to be productive, as any further increase will become utterly impossible. When I talk about income-tax I do not want to complain about income-tax myself, because I think professional people as a whole get off more lightly from income-tax than most other types of citizens.

Because they are in secure positions for one thing. It is a kind of taxation that presses most heavily on small struggling business people. I am not very much in touch with business, but I have come across people who were making a respectable, though not a very large, income in a small way of business until three or four years ago, whose business has since been ruined by the war and who are still being harried and persecuted by the Revenue Commissioners for the payment of income-tax arising out of an income which they are no longer able to command. It is a situation that is very serious for some of the best and most enterprising elements in the whole community, the type of small businessman who never made a great deal of money but who did a great deal of work and whose work, in many ways, was very valuable to the community. I suggest that the time has now come when we ought to reconsider the concomitant growth of that enormous and, to a very great extent, unnecessary State machinery with the enormous growth of a very oppressive form of direct taxation. Unless we do something to halt that process, there is bound to be a crash and that crash will be accentuated by our present economic difficulties.

It is not really as visionary as it may seem to some to suggest that now is the time to reconsider and to overhaul our whole method of administering the country. All these things make one pattern. The fact is that we took over here a system of government and ideas of administration that are entirely unsuited to this country. One of the tasks to which we should set ourselves is to reform that system of administration. That is one reason why I am altogether in favour of the suggestion I have so often repeated in this House that we should have a National Government because no Party Government, certainly not a Government formed by any one of the present Parties, ever could do the things that will inevitably be necessary sooner or later if we are going to put the State on some sound basis after this crisis has passed.

As one of the earliest steps it will be necessary to have a process of retrenchment in all directions. I suggest that even though it is true that you may have to spend a great deal of money in a crisis, even though I agree to a point with Senator Johnston as to the necessity for some form of mild inflation during the crisis, that process should be accompanied by a really serious attempt at national retrenchment and economy. That attempt should go not only into the Civil Service but into our education system and its methods of working, to see what use we make of its products and kindred questions. It should be directed, above all, towards seeing that the burden is made as light as possible on the people who are producing in the country, not merely that the burden should be made as light as possible for producers but that producers should get the larger share of the capital endowment of the country.

One of our troubles is that our agriculture is notoriously under-capitalised, and the tendency all along for the last hundred years has been for capital to flow from agriculture into the cities and towns, for money that should be spent on primary production to be spent more and more on the purchase of motor cars, wireless sets, cosmetics and other trifling things that loom so much and are so important in the life of the townsman and the city man. We shall have to consider a system of economy which will put the emphasis on the forms of production for which this country is best suited. Questions like the old tags about protection, free trade, etc., have ceased very largely to have any real meaning in that connection because not only this country but every country, as far as one can see, is going to be thrown back very severely after the war is over on a lower standard of living, with a much greater care for its own productive capacity. It is not too soon by any means for us to begin to consider these things at the present moment in the middle of the crisis. In England, for instance, they have had various Ministries whose task has been to consider the situation that will arise for them when the war is over, to try to lay down some line of approach to the enormous task of reconstruction which they will have when the whole crisis is passed.

We are going through the war as much as any country that is actively engaged in it. We are not suffering the military consequences of it, but we certainly are suffering the economic consequences just as severely as any other country. In many ways the impact of it from the economic point of view up to the present was like the first year from the military point of view. It was what the Americans used to call a "phoney" war, to a considerable extent until a few months ago. Now we are beginning to see indications of its real seriousness. I suggest it is about time that we took the matter more seriously and that we should abandon the notion that you can get the people of the country to join together merely by having an odd speech made to them by the Taoiseach over the wireless or by sending an odd Minister or Deputy to make a speech to them in some country town. As a matter of fact, the effect of that is more negative than positive. I was told very recently by a man who is very much in a position to know the circumstances, that when there was a question of an A.R.P. organisation in a particular place, he found there was no use bringing politicians to that meeting to organise a branch because the people in general have no longer any use for politicians. It is about time that we should begin to realise that. There is no member of any Party who can lay any particular unction to his own soul in that regard. The country has become quite tired of politicians of every class and quite apathetic about the differences, if there are any differences, and the jealousies of various Parties.

The only thing that will bring us through the crisis that may well come upon us in the next two, three or five years is some form of a united National Government. We are told again and again that it is an impossibility. It may be an impossibility, but our choice may be to do the impossible or go down in disaster. Our people have faced impossible tasks in the past. Many people would have said that it was impossible to make headway against the victorious British Government at the end of the last war, but our people faced that task and were successful. They will have to do something that may appear at the present moment to be impossible if they are to survive the next two or three years. Our political Parties will have to try to put their heads together, whether they like it or not. Certainly if they have any hope of continuing to guide the destinies of the country, they will have to come together because if they do not they will be swept away in four or five years' time in one common debacle.

They will learn that the country will not tolerate the continuance of this completely meaningless and pointless political division for many years longer. It is for that reason that I reiterate what I have said here on several occasions before, that both for their own sakes and the sake of the country, our political leaders of all Parties ought to try to come together and come to some agreement on policy for bringing the country through the crisis, to some agreement on the principles that will guide this country over the next three or four years. After all it will be agreed that during the last five or six years most of the differences that separated the two Parties have tended to disappear. They are far less widely apart from each other now than they were seven or eight years ago.

We shall need, as Senator Johnston pointed out, a policy of something in the nature of inflation in order to carry us over the crisis. I think that any sensible man, looking around and seeing what is happening with regard to labour, emigration, the supply of commodities and so on, must realise that, and must also realise something I have said here already, that the mistake the Government has made all along has been in being too cautious about borrowing to meet this crisis. Nothing depressed me more than the attitude of the Leader of the Opposition in the Dáil on that subject. Last year, the Minister for Finance made a virtue of the fact that, in the middle of the most unparalleled crisis, with business collapsing and the whole country looking as if it were going straight to ruin, he was proposing to borrow only £3,000,000 to meet the crisis. That was regarded as a virtue, and he was chided by the Leader of the Opposition in the Dáil because he was borrowing anything and because he was not balancing his Budget. I am only an ordinary individual, and, unlike Senator Johnston, I cannot even do mental arithmetic, but to me and to anyone who reads the papers, or who has his eye in his head to see how things are going, the combined attitude of the two Parties was as near bedlam as anything could be.

If we are to get through the crisis, we shall have to borrow and we shall have to inflate. The notion that you are going to get over it on the principles that guided the English Civil Service up to 1938 is a childish notion, but, before entering on any such policy, we must have the first essential. We must have national unity; we must have agreement between our leaders and an end of all the talk about the split, all the old, miserable debate about the Treaty and the Republic and about what such and such a person said in 1925. All that must be put aside and even all recriminations about recent financial policy had better be put aside, so far as that can be done. We must start from where we are, taking what has happened up to the present for granted, and we must combine with the policy, which, I think, will inevitably be forced on us, the policy of inflation, an attempt to cut out inessential services, to cut down on our Civil Service, so far as it can be done—to stop recruiting, for example, to the Civil Service for a while—to cut down even on our education, or at least to look into our educational system and see how far we have been spending money on unnecessary things in that system.

Anyone with eyes in his head could point to many instances where money has been clearly wasted on unnecessary, ornamental adjuncts to our education system. I know of one case myself of a workhouse on one side of a road being left to some friend of the Fianna Fáil Party to do what he liked with it, while part of the local fair-green just opposite was taken away from the people and thousands of pounds spent on erecting a palatial national school on it, the workhouse being left there to be misused. There are thousands of such cases, about which everybody knows, of money being spent which need not have been spent and where, even yet, many economies could be made and the money so saved spent on the things we shall have to have—food for the people of Dublin, clothing in so far as it can be got, and the necessary increases in wages to induce our people to stay at home and produce the food and clothes we need. But in order to get any of these things, you must have a Government which commands the confidence and allegiance of the people, and I suggest, with all charity and all wish to be fair, that we have not got that at present. We have a Government to which the reaction of a large proportion of the people is one of despair, of apathy, and under which people feel that they are in the grip of some mechanical destiny which leaves them completely helpless to contribute anything at all to the national welfare or to the progress of the country.

I do not like to sit down without dealing for a moment or two with Senator Goulding's suggested remedy, or partial remedy, for some of the ills that afflict us. He suggested that we should have patriotism taught in the schools. I was pleased to hear at long last from a man like Senator Goulding a statement to the effect that it is beginning to dawn on him and on people like him that the policy we have been pursuing with regard to the Irish language for the last 20 years has been a wrong policy, that we have overdone it and that it is not producing the results we expected it to produce. It is not producing these results because we have insisted, right from the beginning, on not consulting the people who could have told us what to do with regard to the Irish language; because we have insisted on making the cause of the Irish language synonymous with the cause of ignorance and stupidity; and because, instead of not having had enough patriotism in our schools, we have had far too much patriotism, and it is about time we began to think that matter over and to make up our minds that many of us are not so expert in these matters as our strong feelings make us think we are.

Senator Goulding said that we must teach people why we are forcing them to learn the Irish language. Unfortunately, I am afraid that Senator Goulding and I and many other people would not agree on the reason why we are compelling people to learn the Irish language, and that, to my mind, is one of the fundamental troubles of the whole business. Senator Goulding, I am sure, thinks we learn the Irish language and make children learn it, spoiling their schooldays and making them hate the Irish language, because he and many other people like him believe that Wolfe Tone was a Gael— that is what it comes to—and because we have insisted on identifying the Irish language with radical republicanism, with which the Irish language has had just as much to do as it has had to do with Chinese metaphysics. Until we get away from that and until we summon up enough intelligence and enough capacity for simple thought to understand that the Irish language and republicanism are to a great degree incompatible, we shall not make any progress with the Irish language, and we shall not only not make any progress, but we shall walk straight into the time when all the young people coming out of our schools will unanimously turn against the Irish language and throw it away. We may be quite close to that time already, largely because we have confused the question of reviving the Irish language with false and short-sighted notions of what Senator Goulding calls patriotism. I leave that to Senator Goulding to ponder over.

Listening to this debate, I am reminded of a remark made at University College by the President when he was speaking to an auditor's address. The auditor had covered the whole range of things from the origin of man to the present day, and the President said he was panting from his efforts to keep up with the variety of topics and ideas which were given forth. I am rather in that position in relation to this debate: I am panting and bewildered by all the different theories advanced. I do not propose to reply to any of them, except to express myself as completely puzzled by the attitude of the last speaker, who, on the one hand, wants economy, and, on the other, wants a united Government, agreed on a policy of inflation. If there is one principle that all economists—even the rather extreme radical economists—are agreed upon now, it is the dangers of inflation and the desirability of avoiding it by all means possible, and I ask the House not to be led away by facile doctrines of that kind. Even the economists are not agreed as to the meaning of inflation. To talk light-heartedly about inflation being a remedy for our present evils is to propound a most dangerous doctrine, one that would enormously aggravate the present situation. Looking back over the last 20 years we know that a policy of the kind produced untold misery after the last war, in certain countries.

Instead of devoting our attention to these fancy schemes, let us try to discover some practical means of meeting the difficulties with which we are faced. Take first of all the importance of food production. I regard the food front as far more important than the defence front. In my view the Government should use all the resources they possess to ensure the production of essential food. If there is a shortage of agricultural labour they should, in my opinion, use the Army to the fullest extent. It may be too late to do that for the spring sowing, but it could be done for the gathering of the harvest. I do not fancy the war is going to end this year. If labour is wanted on the land by farmers, or even under Government schemes, for the production of food, especially on large-scale farms, I think the Army could be usefully employed. I do not believe its diversion at spring time or harvest into agriculture would materially affect its efficiency for the purpose for which it was recruited. If the Army is short of essential warlike stores, a slight break in its training would not affect its efficiency.

There are two practical matters I want to raise. The first is a question of policy with regard to what are commonly known as betting-shops. It seems as if it were only the other day that we were discussing this matter. I ask the House seriously to consider whether we should not stand back from the picture and examine the great harm we are doing to the morals of the whole nation by the State traffic in these betting-shops. It is a canker which is eating into the whole spiritual and moral welfare of our people. I searched in vain in the Lenten pastorals for any condemnation of this crying evil. I did see a condemnation of the innocent amusement of dancing, but nothing about these wayside places to which people resort during working hours, waste their employers' time and often are tempted to use their employers' money as a means of trying, by chance, to increase it. We know, too, of how wives are deprived of the means to maintain their homes in decency and comfort, and that in many cases the wives themselves are tempted to desert their homes and hang about these loathsome places that we find all over the city.

I was met by a rather humorous aspect of this a short time ago. A visitor said to me that he was very pleased to see that our fuel scheme was getting on so well—I hope Senators will not think that I am trying to pass off an old chestnut—but when I asked him what he meant, he said that he had been down through the country and had seen a large number of shops called "turf accountants," and asked if these were not in connection with our fuel schemes. The Minister and I are, I hope, very good friends. He has always been very courteous in any dealings I have had with him. The bone that I have to pick with him relates to the rather disarming and disingenuous manner in which he meets my criticism of his whole policy on this matter. Last year, when I raised this matter, he met me with the reply that "well, we all must have our little flutter," and on that he justifies the moral iniquity of these betting-shops. Surely no one believes that a flutter as expressed by a bet on a racecourse, or even on a sweepstake, is in any way comparable to the places I refer to, places which are frequented day in and day out by people who are tempted to waste time and to commit all the very worst evils that one could possibly imagine. If I may say so, with all due respect, I feel that it is up to the Hierarchy and the Government to take a strong and determined line to stamp out this moral iniquity from our midst.

The other matter that I want to refer to is not a question of policy but one of machinery—that by which permits are obtainable for those who wish to leave the country. I am not concerned with the policy of the Government on this. At present it is the accepted policy that people, for certain stated reasons, are permitted to go to England. I should like to see someone within the Government, who is concerned with the administration of this machinery, try to get a person to England so that he might actually see for himself what happens—all the delays, the circumlocution, the confusion and the sending from one place to another that goes on. I can assure the House that it passes all belief. I speak from experience. I have tried to get permits for several of my friends. I do not say that we did not get them in the end, but there is all this jungle that you have to try and make your way through before you reach the end.

I ask the Minister to have the matter looked into so that the procedure may be simplified. My first suggestion to him is that the procedure should be set out on a leaflet. I do not want to start a debate as to the desirability or otherwise of people going to England. My point is that as long as people are allowed to go the procedure to enable them to do so should be simplified. The whole thing should, I suggest, begin with a form of application. If the authorities concerned give their "O.K." then there should be no delay. At present authority must first come from the labour exchange on the other side. That is then passed on to the labour exchange authorities here, afterwards to the police and then to the passport office. My suggestion is that all that should be dealt with on one form which could be sent by post. If an application is favourably received then the form, I suppose, will have to go to the final authority which, I believe, is the British Permit Office. Why not allow that form to be taken as the final authority to proceed on the journey? I assure the Minister he may be shown regulations which look perfectly simple when seen in an official and calm way; but when you try to carry them out in the case of a permit you are bewildered and disheartened. Six weeks is a long time for a person to be delayed in getting a permit. A lot of it is due to persons being sent to the wrong place. I would ask the Minister to request his Department to consider a simplification of the machinery. It has nothing whatever to do with the policy: it is merely a question of the machinery.

If I were asked to make a case against parliamentary institutions, I would quote this debate as an ideal example. I do not think it is fair to expect the Minister for Finance to be able to take in all the statements that are made in respect of External Affairs, Justice, Local Government, Agriculture, Education and other Departments of State. He cannot be expected to take away the exact statements or the substance of them. He has an enormous Department to contend with himself and even with the best intention in the world he could not do it. That is an ideal argument against parliamentary institutions. After all, we may succeed in getting him to take away some of the arguments which we consider good and bring them to the notice of the various Departments concerned. So Senator Goulding was possibly on good ground when he said it is the duty of everyone contributing to this debate to offer some practical and constructive suggestions. It may be due to my own want of appreciation that I failed to discover any very constructive suggestions in his own contribution. At all events, they escaped me.

The complaint of many of the Government supporters was that there was a plethora of contributions rather than a scarcity of them. I seriously suggest to Senator Goulding that there are many suggestions, not alone when the Vote on Account and the Budget come up for consideration, but at other times. For instance, there is the suggestion of an economic council to consider long planning, planning for a crisis such as this, planning for the reconstruction of the State and the development of the various resources in it. More recently, a constructive policy was put forward by the wheat growers, when they asked that an adequate price be paid for wheat, so that there would be no shortage when it is needed next harvest and next winter. The Minister for Finance probably said: "Well, we want to conserve the funds of the country. We cannot afford to bleed people any more than we are bleeding them at the present time." Surely, if we are to produce for consumption—as we were told—the relative value of a couple of hundred thousands of pounds in the coffers of the Treasury and of a couple of hundred thousands of barrels of wheat in the granaries of the country would be easily discovered. The wheat would provide something to eat, but the money would be of very little value.

There seems to be a certain mentality guiding the decisions and administration of the Government. I do not want to say it is Civil Service mentality— perhaps it is—but it is put down as that. There are many liberal-minded civil servants who contribute a good deal to Government policy that is worth considering, but let us take some of the administration. We always have a lot of heroics and trumpet-blowing about the amount of money spent on the relief of unemployment, in employment grants and schemes. It is worth considering what happens in that case. I looked at the Appropriation Accounts for 1940-41, as I wanted to see how much was spent, and how much of the money voted for employment schemes went back to the Treasury again. There is no good in saying in 1938-39, that £1,500,000 was voted for employment schemes when the amount actually expended was about £1,300,000, leaving a return to the Treasury of £197,968. Neither is it any use in saying that, in 1939-40, there was a similar grant of £1,500,000, when there was returned to the Treasury close on £218,000. Surely there was no scarcity of schemes on which this money could be spent? Surely a means could be found by which people drawing unemployment assistance could be put to work on those schemes?

The Minister was Minister for Local Government for a long time, and he was a very effective worker in that capacity. Possibly he can remember how the employment schemes worked. About September or October, the schemes were prepared and sent to the Department for examination, and invariably they were sanctioned within a month or six weeks, so that work went on from November to March. What happened this year? The schemes were prepared in September or October and sent up. Then an order was sent down telling the council or the county surveyors that they should consider these schemes in the light of the turf traffic or employment on roads used for turf traffic. I agree that there is a lot of sense in that, and that when one is transporting fuel it is only right that the roads bearing the turf traffic should get consideration.

But the schemes were not sanctioned and what did we find? It was only in the latter end of February or the first week in March that they were sanctioned, and the men were hanging around the street corners drawing unemployment assistance when they should have been working as in other years. They were idle from October to the last week in February. When the grants were released in the last week in February or the first week in March, the county surveyors were told that, if the employment of these men in employment schemes interfered with the tillage work, the scheme should close down on the 9th March. For goodness' sake does it require anything like supermen to see that men should not be left idle from October to March and then have the work closed down after a week? That is bad management, whether it is done by the civil servants or directly by word of the Minister.

There is no reason why bog development could not go on during those months. Drainage in respect of virgin bogs could go on. We know what happened last year: men went into virgin bog without its having been drained and they were cutting 70 per cent. water. The drainage should have gone on from October to March on such virgin bog, and then the men would have been cutting 70 or 80 per cent. turf instead. I think Senator Goulding has no right to say that everybody should make constructive suggestions. When turf production was debated before in this House some of us had the temerity to suggest to the then Minister for Industry and Commerce, Mr. MacEntee, that the question of transport should be considered. We were told transport would solve itself. It did not solve itself and transport proved to be the most serious and the most difficult problem.

In respect of bog development, I wonder if the Minister is going to cause a great amount of difficulty by fixing a rate of wages below the rate of wages usually in operation in the area. He is fixing a rate of wages at 30/- a week for bog development. Whether that will appreciate by reason of recent activities by a board, or not, I do not know, but I do know he is going to create trouble for himself if he asks men to work in the production of fuel for the entire community at a wage less than the wage that is paid by the best employers locally. I suggest that he will create a good deal of trouble for himself if he proceeds in that way.

There is another matter in respect of local bodies. Local bodies were told about six months ago, maybe longer, that managers were going to be appointed on the 1st April. That is a very bad day to appoint anybody, but it was said they were going to be appointed on that day. Most public bodies are not taking things as seriously as they would if they had not that threat hanging over their heads. A certain amount of dry rot is setting in in public administration because of that statement. Members of public bodies do not take the same interest in the administration as they would otherwise take. They say: "We are not going to be the real, effective power. Within the next twelve months a superman is coming in here who will be the man who will do the new things, bring in the new ideas, operate new schemes and activities. Let him do the work." I would suggest that the Government should come to some definite decision immediately as to when they are going to appoint the managers, if they are going to appoint managers, and to say definitely when they are going to appoint them so as not to leave public bodies with that sword of Damocles hanging over their head, which is introducing a kind of dry rot in local administration.

On the vexed question of education, Senator Goulding gave us a lead. I am glad he did, because many of us feel that the standard of education in the country at the present time for boys from ten to 19 years of age is very low and is not improving. The fault cannot be laid at the door of the teachers. I think the fault can be laid at the door of the programme. The programmes are overloaded. Whilst the people have not acquired a knowledge of the Irish language that one could consider good in any circumstances, they have lost what was given by the old national schools and the old secondary schools. They have failed to get a good grinding in English, orthography and mathematics. That is because the programmes are overloaded. I am glad that Senator Goulding made the remarks he did make. We have lost these things, but we have not gained Irish as a result. I noted that he said we should teach patriotism. Candidly, it is very difficult to define what patriotism is. Senator Douglas said that it connoted selfishness and that we should not be selfish. I confess that I know some patriots who, if they were anxious to secure everything they possibly could for the State, were also very anxious to secure everything they possibly could for themselves.

You cannot have it both ways.

It passed on from the State and they were able to secure the lion's share of what was going for themselves. I do know a few of them. On the question of education and patriotism, I wish to refer to one incident that I think indicates a very bad idea and is a very bad example of Government policy, if it is Government policy. I listened the other night to Tráth na Scol—I am not sure of the name—it is the children's hour. I heard a broadcast on the ballad poets of Ireland. Charles Kickham was the subject of the lecture. Patrick Sheehan was not a fiction created by Charles Kickham. He was a reality. As a matter of historic fact, I think he was buried in Clare out of the workhouse in Ennistymon. What I did not like in the broadcast, and I am sure the Minister would not like it either, was that certain matter was given out as history to the children which certainly was not history and which no commentator on the life or writings of Kickham has ever stated was history or could be the history of Charles Kickham. We were told that he wrote in order to secure certain alleviation of certain grievances among the peasantry. I did not object to that very much although that is not the reason he wrote "Patrick Sheehan". He wrote it for a very different purpose. I think Kickham is dead since '82 and why we should censor at the present time what Kickham wrote is more than I can understand. We all know the verse of Kickham's poem:

"But cruel as my lot was then,

I ne'er did hardship know,

Till I joined the British Army,

Far away from Aherlow."

How was it recited and sung?

"But cruel as my lot was then,

I ne'er did hardship know,

Till I joined a foreign army,

Far away from Aherlow."

Are we to censor Kickham, who died in '82, and are we to teach the children of this State such things as historic facts and are the taxpayers being asked to pay for that lie in respect of Kickham? It is a lie in respect of Kickham.

National spirit.

It is a lie in respect of Kickham. I do not know what Senator MacDermot's idea of Kickham is, nor am I very much concerned, but I am concerned about the fact that the taxpayers are asked to pay for the broadcasting of that lie in respect of an Irish poet and an Irish patriot. I do not think that is the kind of patriotism that Senator Goulding wants taught in the schools or over the radio. I think it is not a kind of patriotism that should be taught over the radio to the children. I would not mind adults listening to it, but to have the children of Ireland being taught it as history is, I think, an insult to the nation and a gross attempt to cheat the taxpayers of the country.

Although Senator Hogan, after complaining of the variety of topics that we have been dealing with this evening, carried us yet further afield, I am not at all sorry that he did, because I think his contribution was extremely interesting, and that what he said about Kickham had quite a relevance to what Senator Goulding said earlier in the debate.

I am in the fortunate position that much that I would have thought of saying in this debate has been better said by other people, so I will detain the Seanad only a very short time. First of all, I would wish to number myself, by no means for the first time, among those who make appeal to all concerned to consider the plan of a National Government. I agree with Senator Tierney that a National Government which could give the country strong and far-seeing leadership, and which was believed by the country to be giving it that sort of leadership, might achieve things that come near to being considered an impossibility now, though perhaps not quite such an impossibility as Senator Tierney himself suggested when he proposed combining a programme of inflation and retrenchment, for I have yet to learn that that has ever been achieved anywhere, or, within the nature of things, is capable of achievement.

Those who have been advocating a National Government have perhaps overlooked the fact, or at any rate not adverted to it, that the principal obstacle is probably one kind of national spirit—the national spirit of the Fianna Fáil Party. Unfortunately, for years past "national spirit" has connoted to me—the phrase has become rather odious to me and to many others because of that—bitterness, narrowness, intolerance, and inability to compromise, the habit of referring to your opponents as lacking in patriotism, as the tools of British imperialism, and so forth. In fact, it has connoted all the ideas that are most inconsistent with the formation of the National Government that I and others would like to see. I think that there is no denying the truth of Senator Tierney's remark that there is so little to distinguish the Parties from one another that a united Government, formed at any rate by two of them, perhaps three of them, ought to be perfectly possible. If we ourselves want to give an example of the right sort of national spirit, I cannot imagine a better way of doing it than by forming a National Government.

Although we cannot overlook the amount of patriotism that has been shown by the young men who have gone into the Defence Forces, and the people who have gone into the A.R.P. and nursing services, and although I think that many of those who crossed the seas to take up service in the British Army, or "a foreign army", whichever you prefer to call it, have also been actuated by the highest patriotic motives, it remains the case that, as Senator Goulding has said, there is less of the right sort of national spirit among the young people than we would like to see. I would diagnose the evil as being this, that for too long—for 25 years at least—the humdrum civic virtues have not had the place in the esteem of this country that they deserved. We have been so accustomed to glorifying the spectacular and the violent and the hotheaded, that people have ceased to value the more humdrum workaday virtues which are comprised in civic duty as those virtues deserve. I think that needs to be changed, and that the school-teachers and the parents are the ones that can change it, and that would have to recognise the need for changing it.

The individual members of the Government are, I believe, highly patriotic men, and I have not the smallest doubt that, if they realised what a difference it would make to the whole psychology of the country to get away from Party warfare, to get away from those recriminations about each other's mistakes in the past, and to see in power a Government composed of the ablest and most experienced men of all Parties, they would not hesitate a moment before acting. For some reason or other a curtain seems so far to have been drawn before their eyes, which prevents them from realising those things. I do appeal to the Minister to think it over again and again before finally putting it away from him.

Senator Baxter said some important things when he was referring to the question of man power. The whole problem of supplies and the problem of man power are closely bound up with each other. I do not think that we can begin to complain and shout about people going over to work in England—people who send back good money here without which many a home in this country would be hungry that is not hungry at present—until we are sure that we have found employment for everybody in this country who is fit to be employed. I confess that I find it rather paradoxical to hear at one moment men saying, as they have done rather often lately, that it is a scandal that people should be going away to England who could be used in the national effort here, and then to hear somebody making a speech next day in which he says that such and such an industry cannot be closed down even though it is consuming goods that cannot really be spared. Let us take, for example, the confectionery industry. We are told that it cannot be closed down even though the wheat it uses is wanted for bread for the poor, because if it were closed down there would be thousands thrown out of work. Surely, if we need labour so much in so many directions, it ought to be possible to close down all industries that do not really fit into the national effort that is necessary, and to employ the people in ways that would be more beneficial to the State?

I am afraid that, in order to overcome the appalling period of stress which lies before us, it will be necessary for the Government to assume and exercise greater powers over the persons of all of us than it has so far done, to order us more about, and tell us what we are to do. One of my reasons for being in favour of a National Government is that I agree with the general view that it would be almost impossible for a Party Government to do that. It would not be tolerated. But if we are to overcome that dreadful spectre of poverty that faces us, and to come through all the economic difficulties, I do think that we shall have to become temporarily more totalitarian in our methods, although no one is more devoted than I am to liberty and to parliamentary government. I do think that the Government will have to assume and exercise tremendous powers, but it will not do any good even with tremendous powers unless, in the first place, it has the confidence of the country, and consequently secures the willing co-operation of the people; and, in the second place, unless it does an awful lot of really hard thinking. The people of this country may be wrong, but I do believe that nine people out of ten think that this Government has not done enough hard thinking; that it is always meeting crises that it might have foreseen more fully had it thought more vigorously, and that it is having to deal with those crises by make-shift expedients because it has not thought things out in time. That may be unjust to the Government. Personally, I do not think it is altogether unjust to the Government. At any rate, if they are hard thinkers, they ought somehow or other to try to convince the country of that fact, because it is very important that the country should be convinced.

Before I close, there are one or two points about which I want to ask the Minister. One relates to the Construction Corps. Senator Sir John Keane suggested that the Army should be used in connection with the coming harvest. I was rather surprised to hear him, as an old soldier who knows much more about these things than I do, express the view that it could be done without injury to the military efficiency of the Army. We know that new equipment is now being received and I should have thought there was an immense amount of training for the Army to do during the coming spring, summer and autumn and that it was very doubtful whether its services could be spared for getting in the harvest. Then again, apart from training, there is the question of discipline. I wonder whether the discipline of the Army would not seriously deteriorate if it were scattered about the country in small parties, as I presume it would have to be in order to assist the farmers during the harvest. But what about the Construction Corps? How big is the Construction Corps now? Can the Minister give me any figure?

In or about 2,000, I think.

That still remains an awfully disappointing figure as compared with what it might be. Perhaps, if the Government have to exercise their powers over the persons of all of us, the Construction Corps may be the nucleus of something bigger and very much more useful than it is at present.

I shall bear that in mind, Senator.

Another thing to which I wish to refer is the Defence Conference. Does the Defence Conference do anything beyond forming a sort of recruiting platform? Does it accept any responsibilities? The country would like to be sure that the large sums that we are spending on the Army, which it does not grudge in these times, are being spent with the best possible effect; that they are not being wasted and that our Army is being made in all its branches as efficient as it can be made so far as money is concerned. May we take it that the Defence Conference comes into that picture; that the leaders of the Opposition, in fact, share in the responsibility of the Government in that respect? If they do not, one asks oneself just what use is the Defence Conference. I do not want to run down any institution that is doing useful work, but I would like to be sure it is useful work and that it is not merely something that misleads the public and gives them a false sense of security.

With regard to the shortage of petrol, which has reached a new stage and apparently is going to be worse and worse, I want to mention one or two things to the Minister. One is with regard to our fisheries. I see that sea-fishing boats are in a very bad way and are likely to be in a worse way for lack of fuel oil. They cannot get sails; they are not able to revert to sailing because they cannot get sails. Can the Government do anything to help them in that respect? Could not the sails of pleasure boats be compulsorily acquired and altered in so far as they need alteration to be made available for the purpose? As regards cars, pleasure motoring is to stop so far as it depends upon the ownership of cars by private owners; but there is another sort of pleasure motoring that, so far as one can see, is still to continue, and it absorbs a fairly considerable amount of petrol, and that is motoring in hired cars. I have known several cases of people, who are well off enough to be able to do so, in order to avoid a tedious train journey to some place as far away as County Kerry or the remoter parts of County Cork, hiring a car. This means using up a great deal of petrol, perhaps for only one person. In England they have a law that over a certain distance—20 miles in that case, and I think here it should be less—you cannot hire a car, except for some sufficient reason, and you have to fill up a form indicating that reason. I suggest that plan might be copied here with advantage.

What about bread for breakfast, or the bread-for-breakfast-only league? Can we have a little guidance from the Minister? I have vainly scanned the lapel of his coat for a badge.

I do not eat any bread—potatoes.

The Minister for Supplies has announced that he is a member of the bread-for-breakfast-only league, or the bread-for-only-one-meal league. One would think it was a subject on which the Government ought to speak with a united voice and not have one Minister leading us in one direction and another Minister giving us a different lead. I believe there are very few people of the degree of prosperity that it is desired to attract, people who can afford other foods than bread, who would not be prepared to make a modest sacrifice such as is proposed, if they were given the assurance that it was the right thing to do. But I wonder whether there is not a danger that the consequent depletion of our fuel resources might more than make up for the depletion of our bread stocks if people should come to eat cooked food instead of bread? Take potatoes as an example. They require a lot of cooking and they use up a lot of gas. I dare say the Minister for Supplies has thought that out fully. That may be regarded as a trivial thing, but there is a host of trivial things like that on which the ordinary man is only too anxious to do the right thing if he can have authoritative guidance as to what the right thing is.

The Minister announced that among the matters which this sum of money will enable him to deal with is compensation of the dependents of the Irish seamen who have been killed as the result of warlike action. I want to know whether any reply has been received from the German Government about the "Glencree" and other similar cases since the war began, and whether the Minister cherished any hopes of getting any compensation from the German Government for such cases during this war. I want to ask him also how our mercantile fleet is getting on. Is it, in fact, being subjected to attacks? I understand some of our ships are crossing the Atlantic. How are they faring? Can the Minister give us reassuring news about them? Have he and his colleagues made a final decision on the question of arming our mercantile marine—have they ascertained quite definitely what are the wishes of the people in the mercantile marine, the sailors and the captains of the ships, as to whether they should be armed or not?

Finally, have the Government taken note of a recent broadcast by Herr Hitler—a broadcast made a few weeks ago—in which he announced the initiation of a new, unlimited and more ruthless submarine warfare against the ships of all nations and, if the Government have taken note of that announcement by Herr Hitler, have they made any sort of protest in regard to it?

War teaches many lessons, not only to belligerents but to neutrals. It sometimes explodes pet theories, and at other times it confirms long-held views. In our case, the war appears to have exploded and shown the weakness of the policy of artificial industries, created and maintained behind a high tariff wall. It has, at the same time, demonstrated that the only real wealth produced in this country, of any real consequence, is produced from the land. It behoves us, therefore, to plan our future economics with that primarily in view. This is a time for bold planning, and the Minister, in my opinion, would be well advised in taking the advice given by Senator Johnston and adopting what are, in normal circumstances, considered unorthodox methods.

Now, from time to time there have been harsh criticisms of the Minister for Supplies and the Department of Supplies. When this Bill was before the other House the Minister for Finance defended the Minister for Supplies. I, personally, do not intend to join the more harsh members of the community who criticise the Minister for Supplies. I think everybody is agreed that the task that confronts him is a gigantic one, and one on which he or any other man in that position could hardly hope to give general satisfaction in all respects. I should like, however, to make one criticism, and that is that I do feel that the Government and the Minister for Supplies have not made full use of the prospects of bartering our products for supplies: in other words, that it is up to the Government to see that the products that we send out of this country are paid for in kind rather than in money. That might entail Ministerial conversations with the Ministers of another country. That is a position that the Ministers of this Government should not be afraid to face up to. They may say that if they enter into such conversations, questions outside of supplies and trade may be raised.

They still should not have any fear in facing that situation. It is one of the few points of national policy on which all Parties in this country are agreed, our neutrality, and the members of this Government should no more hesitate to make their position on neutrality clear in Whitehall than they should hesitate to make it clear in College Green or the Grand Parade in Cork. I do feel that that avenue of approach for supplies has been sadly neglected.

Now, there is just one other matter to which I should like to refer. During the course of this debate, the formation of a National Government has been suggested from various quarters. Undoubtedly, the kind of action that I see it will be necessary for this Government to take before the emergency passes would be far better taken by a National Government. In fact, I have very grave doubts if this Government or any other Government would be able to take the decisions or carry out the work that will be necessary to pull the country through—any Government except a National Government. But, while saying that, I should like to point out to those members of this House who have advocated a National Government that, of necessity, the suggestion for a National Government must come from the majority Party. The responsibility for forming or not forming a National Government must be shouldered by the majority Party, and by them alone. They are the people who must take the responsibility for saying in an emergency: "Are we going or are we not going to make use of the men of ability in the other Parties of the Parliament?" Theirs is the responsibility. They must make the choice, and they must stand or fall by that choice. As regards the difficulties of forming a National Government, I only want to say this: National Governments have been formed before in other countries, and they have always been impossible on paper and in theory until they have been actually formed, but formed they have been.

I think it is time that somebody should speak in connection with this ramp which seems to be pervading the minds of speakers to-night, in connection with a National Government. I maintain that we have a National Government. We have the Government elected by the people, and if anybody or any Party wishes to challenge that, there are several by-elections pending in which the people can get the opportunity of showing whether they want a National Government, as it has been styled by the speakers here to-night. Surely, the Government which is elected by the people, and which has never shown any indication of losing the confidence of the people of the country, is still a National Government? What are we going to have as a result of an alteration in the present position, such as has been suggested by speakers here to-night? It comes from representatives sitting in the Houses of the Oireachtas who seem to think that if a few of them were added to the Government they would make it more national. I do not hold anything of the kind. What Parties have we? We have the Fine Gael Party, previously called the Cumann na nGaedheal Party, which was rejected by the people and replaced by the Government which is at present representing the people. I do not think it is going to be any addition. If the demand comes from the people, I have not heard of any such demand. On the other hand, I have heard plenty of people thanking God that the present Government are there to maintain the country in the position in which it is at present and expressing the hope that it will be maintained in that position. They pray God for the continuance of the present situation. Then we have the Labour Party, which has never been in office and which has not indicated a tithe of the benefits for the working-class people and the poorer people that the present Government has instituted. There are fewer people on the subsistence margin to which somebody referred than there were ten years ago when the Fianna Fáil Party came into power. Even then people who are in opposition at present objected to the unemployment assistance scheme brought in by this Government for maintaining people who were able and willing to work but could not get work. That Christian scheme which was instituted in this country was criticised by members of the Opposition and even by the Labour Party, because it was suggested that they could do something better.

Senator Foran referred to a matter which has been discussed a great deal in the Press lately, namely, the opening in Dublin City of kitchens which were provided through Government foresight in view of a greater emergency than the emergency which exists at present—the emergency of actual hostilities being forced upon us. That matter has been discussed widely, and the Government have not agreed that these food centres should be opened to provide meals for which the poor people of Dublin are not looking. The St. John Ambulance Brigade have a restaurant capable of providing 800 meals at a negligible cost. Quite recently it was stated in the Press that the attendance at that restaurant has dropped to 400 odd. I cannot understand why a Senator should look for the opening of more kitchens to provide even free meals or meals at a nominal cost. These meals were being provided at a nominal cost of 1d. or 2d. and the people did not go to get the meals. What puzzles me is that Senators should expatiate here about starvation when there is no starvation. In spite of what any Government may do you will have people badly fed, often through their own negligence. I do not see what action of any Government can bring that down to a negligible number. I am glad to say that when going through the city you will not see the barefooted children you would see ten years ago. The conditions of the people have improved despite the emergency and the crisis that is on us.

The people of the country have shown no indication that they require any change in the Government, that they require representatives in the Government of one Party which has been rejected by the people, another Party which has never come into power, and, I presume, a few Independents who represent nobody and who have been rags on several bushes already; even Independents, whether they be Seanadóirí or Teachtaí, who, when the people of the country would not listen to them, went to a foreign country and greatly jeopardised our position by expatiating on a policy which the people of this country would not listen to. I want to voice my objection to any suggestion about the formation of a National Government when we have an eminently National Government. Despite the smiles of some Senators, these are my sentiments and I wish to express them. We have a Government which is representative of the different sections of the community and especially the farming community.

I should like to refer to one statement which Senator Baxter made. He claims to be the representative of the farmers in this House. I do not know why he claims to be that, except that he is a farmer himself. But I am a farmer's son, even though I am not living on the land at present. Perhaps that is one of the sins Senator Baxter thinks I committed. At any rate, he claims to speak on behalf of the farmers and to justify everything that farmers do. I claim to be able to speak on behalf of farmers, but I condemn wholeheartedly what some farmers have done which Senator Baxter tried to explain in a most childish way. He said that the wheat found in the stomachs of pigs slaughtered in the bacon factories was there because the pigs had eaten grains from the straw of badly-threshed wheat which was in their bedding. He seems to stand for a farmer who makes that sort of statement.

Was it there?

It was there.

In how many pigs?

I am not giving any figures.

That is my point.

You admitted it in your speech.

I said I heard it.

You admitted it was there. You tried to give an explanation that it was there because some pigs had eaten from the straw grains of wheat which had been badly threshed. The thing is too preposterous. In the first place, if it were threshed like that and grains of wheat were left for pigs to eat out of the bedding, it was a disgrace. I would not stand for it, although I am interested in the activities and the general welfare of the farming community who have responded to all the appeals made to them and who have supported the National Government which is in office. Despite the arguments used by members of the Opposition in regard to farmers, if we were not in the position to-day of having a Government in office which instituted an agricultural policy which has been developed during the past ten years, we would be in a bad state to endeavour to feed the people. When the emergency came upon us we would not have been able to extend our acreage of wheat to 500,000 or 600,000 acres. Neither could we have developed the sugar beet industry.

You did not start the sugar beet industry. It was started by your predecessors even before you came into the Oireachtas.

It is not necessary to interrupt me to tell me that the Fianna Fáil Government did not start the beet factories. The development of the beet industry was one of the principal planks in the policy of the Fianna Fáil Government, and only a year ago Senator Johnston suggested in this House the advisability of closing some of the beet sugar factories and buying sugar from abroad.

A year ago?

Yes. I wish I could get the actual quotation. Time marches on.

Hear, hear.

It may have been two years ago.

Now you are talking.

Certainly in a debate that took place in this House Senator Johnston suggested to the present Minister for Industry and Commerce the advisability of closing some of the beet factories as national policy. If that is the kind of help this country would get from a National Government, or of what Senators spoke of as National Government, God preserve us from it. I wish strongly to voice my objection to such a project, because if a few people are absorbed from other Parties, that is not going to make a Government anything more national than the Government we have now.

I want to confine my remarks as much as possible to the sphere with which I am concerned, agriculture. In a recent debate that took place in this House I was debarred by time from answering some statements that were made from other parts of it. One of these statements was that the farmers had let the country down. That statement calls for some explanation, if not denunciation. I do not think any attempt could be made to support it. Senator Tierney stated to-night that the period of greatest crisis was approaching, especially in regard to emigration and essential supplies. In a crisis like this every Senator is bound to contribute in a helpful way, whether we agree or disagree with the Government. Looking at the position from the angle of one whose lot is cast in close proximity to the life of the majority of the people, I suggest that nothing has yet been done to avert happenings that may be the outcome of this crisis. The position is easier since the Government wisely increased the price of wheat, but there are still many attractions across the Border. These attractions are being keenly felt on this side of the Border. Not a day passes but our workers, in justice to themselves and their families, feel that they are bound to avail of the conditions that exist elsewhere. Within the past month I know cases where those who earned 30/- weekly converted that amount into £5 5s. and in some cases into £7 7s. I appeal to the Minister to take cognisance of that position while there is time to do so. I like to look not three or five years ahead but one year ahead. I take this opportunity of thanking his Eminence Cardinal MacRory for his very clear exposition of the position of our farmers in his recent Pastoral, in which he stated:—

"At a time like the present, if the State errs at all in its treatment of the farmer I think it should err on the side of generosity. All other labour is highly paid. Why should that of the farmer be an exception? The Irish farmer has seen many a lean year, when foreign grain or foreign meat, dumped upon Irish or British markets, reduced prices to such an extent that he and his family were sometimes almost on the verge of starvation; and now, when war conditions, if allowed free play, would bring him considerable compensation, it would be unfair to treat him in a niggardly fashion. We hear a lot of the desirability of keeping people on the land, but if we want to do that the first thing to be done is to make the farmer prosperous, and himself and his family contented."

What is the position of agriculture here compared with conditions that prevail across the Channel? If I go to Newry market on Monday next with Grade A cattle I will be paid 11/- per cwt. less than the Imperial preference price, and as the average weight of beef cattle might be between nine and ten cwts., if we export about 500,000 cattle yearly, the loss to this State of the benefit of Imperial preference can be readily estimated. Pigs are sold from £1 to 30/- less than if sold at the Imperial preference rate. Farmers in Great Britain and Northern Ireland receive a bounty of £2 on every acre they plough. On every acre of potatoes they grow they receive a bounty of £10. If a farmer there grows 60 or 80 acres of potatoes, as some of them did last year, they get £10 bounty on every acre. They have also derating which is of more advantage than the reduction made in the annuities here. In addition, they can buy sulphate of ammonia at £10 a ton as against £45 to £60 here as our farmers know to their cost. With these facts before us, I sometimes think that some of the things we do are not wisely done. No man loves an orange more than I do, but surely to goodness if we could import 500 tons of oranges, there was nothing to prevent us importing 500 tons or 5,000 tons of sulphate of ammonia. Are we to allow the best of our labourers to go to employment across the water and to be left to carry on with men who are not fit for farm work? Whatever criticism there may be of education or other things in this House, nobody will deny that we would be acting wisely and well if we could put the farmers here on an exact footing with their competitors elsewhere, so that they would, at least, have the same financial resources and be able to employ our labourers to produce the food we require. When farmers fail to produce the amount of food required at home it will be time enough to deal with the statement that they had let the nation down, but not until then. I am supported in my appeal to the Minister by the Pastoral of the Cardinal Primate to see to it that our farmers are put on the same footing as their neighbours.

Senator McGee struck the most practical note in this debate and I wish to emphasise all he has said. He referred to the need for a supply of sulphate of ammonia for this year's crops. The greatest need of agriculture here is a supply of artificial manures, and if some ships could be made available to bring in sulphate of ammonia or nitrogenous manures of any kind it would be of the greatest service to agriculturists. I ask the Minister to take a note of that request and to ask the Minister for Agriculture to deal with it, because it is a constructive proposal. If successful it would be a great help in the production of food. As there has been a great deal of pessimism I would like to be a little optimistic. It is obvious to anyone travelling through the country that tillage has been greatly increased. I believe that it has been increased some 25 per cent., and if that is so it is a matter for congratulation. Provided we get a good yield from this year's harvest this country should be safe for another year as far as the food supply is concerned. Senator McCabe mentioned that there was a subsidy of £10 per acre given to British farmers who grew potatoes. As the time is now opportune for planting potatoes, our farming community should be exhorted to go in more largely for the growing of potatoes, because that crop provides good feeding for man and beast. If there are plenty of potatoes here there will be no hunger. At one time our people had to live almost entirely on potatoes, and if an acute crisis arose potatoes would again save this country from hunger. It would be a great help if something could be done now to stimulate greater production of that crop. Several speakers made a plea for a National Government which, I take it, means a fusion of Parties. In my opinion it is the farmers and not the statesmen who will save this country.

Tá faitchíos orm gurb é an fáth is mó a n-eirighim le labhairt tráthnóna, le tagairt a dhéanamh do chaint a rinneadh, le linn na díosbóireachta, do cheist na Gaedhilge. Thrácht mo charaid, an Seanadóir Ó Góilín, ar mhúnadh na teangadh agus rinne sé cur síos ar thábhacht an tír-ghráidh mar chuid den teagasg. Aontuighim leis maidir le n-a thábhacht sin. Ach rug cuid de na Seanadóirí ar bheagán de na focla dá ndubhairt sé agus bhaineadar casadh mí-chothrom asta agus ina cheann sin bhaineadar feidhm asta le deis fhagháil ar an teangaidh agus ar an náisiúntacht ionsuidhe. Shílfheá go leigfeadh cuid de na daoine seachtmhain na Gaedhilge thart gan a ndíth céille faoi na hadhbhair seo a léiriú ath-uair.

Rinne an Seanadóir Ó Tighearnaigh trácht ar na daoine a bhfuil "strong feelings" acu i dtaobh na Gaedhilge. Tá mé cinnte gur iomdha Seanadóir a thugas fá deara chomh láidir tréan agus a bhíos a chuid "feelings" seisean nuair a bhíos sé ag caint i gcoinne na teangadh. Bíonn a chuid "feelings" chomh láidir sin aige gur ar éigin a bhíos sé i ndon labhairt chor ar bith. Bhfuil fhios aige céard é foighid?

Dubhradh, le linn na cainte, nach raibh na daoine óga a foghluim na Gaedhilge go ceart agus nach é amháin nach mbíonn an Ghaedhilge aca ach nach mbíonn na hadhbhair eile sgoile aca ach an oiread agus gur ar mhúnadh na Gaedhilge a bhí a mhilleán sin. Na daoine a bhí ag caint mar sin, is beag Gaedhilge a labhruigheann siad féin ná is beag an tsuim a bhíos acu inti ach le í ionnsuidhe.

Tá an oiread eoluis agam ar obair na sgoltacha agus tá ag an Seanadóir Ó Tighearnaigh nó duine ar bith eile sa tír. Casadh na céadta agus na mílte páiste orm ins gach ceárd den tír—sna sgoltacha, ag feiseanna, agus ar ócáideacha eile—agus deirim go díreach agus go cneasta gur féidir leis na páistí an teangaidh fhoghluim agus go bhfoghluimthear í go rí-mhaith áit ar bith a múintear i gceart dóibh í. Ní hé amháin go bhfoghluimthear an teangaidh i gceart ach áit ar bith a múintear na hadhbhair sgoile nó léighinn eile thrí Ghaedhilge dóibh, foghluimigheann na daoine óga na hadhbhair sin níos fearr ná iad-san a fhoghluimigheas i mBéarla iad, níos fearr ná iad-san nach gcaitheann mórán ama ag staidéar na Gaedhilge ná nach bhfuil mórán measa acu uirthi, b'fhéidir. Ní hé go bhfuil mé á rádh sin ach is féidir é a chruthu más gádh sin.

Sílim go bhfuil sé in am ag Seanadóirí áithride machtnamh a dhéanamh ar cén fáth nach gcleachtuigheann na daoine óga an teanga níos mó ná a dhéanann siad. Dá n-eirigheadh na Seanadóirí sin, agus daoine eile le n-a gcois, as a gcuid sabotage, dá labhruighidís, an teanga an chorr-uair féin, dá dtugaidís an deagh-shompla anois agus arís, sílim go mbeadh níos mó misnigh agus muinighine ag na daoine óga as an teangaidh thar mar tá agus gur mó an dul chun cinn a dhéanfadh sí dá réir.

Mar adhbhar magaidh chuir an Seanadóir Ó Tighearnaigh na focla seo i leith Sheáin Uí Ghóilín gur mhol sé go mbeadh "Professors of Patriotism" againn sa tír. Níor mhol Seán Ó Góilín a leithéid ach feicthear dhom fhéin go mba é leas na hÉireann go mór é dá ndéantaí iarracht ar riar de na "Professors of anti-Patriotism" a laghdú sa tír. Mar a dubhairt mé, Seachtmhain na Gaedhilge féin ní fhéadfadh cuid acu a sgaoileadh thart gan an sgian a nochtadh agus í a sháitheadh i gcúis na teangadh. Is suarach iad.

Chaith an tOllamh Ó Tighearnaigh cuid mhaith ama ag caint ar forbairt an airgid nó inflation mar deirtear. Ar thuig sé an focal? Níl fhios agam cé méid uaír a dubhairt sé é le linn a óráide ach gach uair dá ndubhairt é is mó a facthas dom nár thuig sé brigh an fhocail. Is beag nach ndéarna sé dán faoi'n téarma. Níor thug sé leide dhúinn ar an mbrigh a bhí aige leis agus rud níos greannmhara ná sin níor mhínigh sé dhúinn cén tslighe go mb'ionann inflation agus saidhbhreas na tíre a mhéadú. Nach cuimhneach linn toradh an inflation ar an Eoróip tamall o shoin? Nach bhfuil inflation sa tír seo cheana féin de bhárr an mhéid airgid atá ag teacht isteach agus a gcreideann duine ar bith gur soilgheas no buntáiste as éadan é? Ach bfhéidir gur fearr gan bacadh a thuilleadh leis an bpoinnte—anocht ar chaoi ar bith. An dearmad a rinne an Seanadóir MacEóin ina chuid figiúracha, chuir sé an milleán faoi ar shlaghdán a bhí air. D'fhuagair an Seanadóir Ó Tighearnaigh nach bhfuil aon mheabhair aige le figiúracha nó uimhríocht de shórt ar bith—ach ní ar shlaghdán a chuireann seisean an milleán. An í an Gháedhilge is cionntsiocair le n-a laige sa gcása? Ar chaoi ar bith sílim gur féidir linn a rádh nach staidéar ar an nGaedhilge ná í bheith á labhairt aige is cionntsiocair leis an doiléire nó míochruinneas a nochtuigh sé tráthnóna. Bá spéiseamhail, agus ba greannmhar freisin, bheith ag éisteacht le cuid de na lochtaí a bhíothas a fághail ar an Rialtas. Ní dhearna an Rialtas an oiread agus ba chóir le go mbéadh ar ár gcumas an ghuais ina bhfuilmuid a shárú. Céard a rinne an dream seo atá a tromaidheacht ar an Rialtas le cuidiú leis le réidhteach i gcoinne na guaise? Rinne siad, istigh san Oireachtas annseo agus amuigh ar fud na tíre, a ndícheall le beag is fiú a dhéanamh de gach gné de pholasaí an Rialtais. Chuir siad i gcoinne polasaí na curaidheachta, cruithneacht, biatas agus eile; chuir siad i gcoinne na muilte agus monarchana agus na gnóthaí a bhí an Rialtas a iarraidh a chur ar bun. Má támaid gann ar chruithneacht ná aon adhbhar ar bith eile ní ar an Rialtas atá an milleán ach ar na saboteurs a rinne an oiread agus a rinneadar le polasaí an Rialtais i rith na ndeich mbliadhan atá caithte a bhriseadh agus a chur ar neimh-nidh.

Ba chóir go mbéadh ríméad ar an Aire agus ar an Rialtas go bhfuil na daoine seo a bhíodh ina n-aghaidh roimhe seo chomh tréan anois ar shon an pholasaí gurb é a chuspóir maoin aicionta na tíre a chur á saothrú agus á foirbhiú. Agus os rud é gur mar sin atá an sgéal, ceapfaí nach bhfuil mórán brígh leis an gcaint a bhíos ar bun i dtaobh Rialtais Náisiúnta. Is cosamhail go bhfuil an Rialtas Náisiúnta ann le fada an lá i ndáiríribh. Ach ós a tagairt don cheist seo faoi Rialtas Náisiúnta mé, an bhfuil lucht Fine Gael dáiríribh sa gcaint a bhí ar siubhal aca faoi? An geuimhnigheann siad ar an méid a dubhairt an Fear Ceannais atá ortha, an Teachta Mac Cosgair, le gairid sa Dáil nuair a rinneadh tagairt don cheist chéadna.

Cad dubhairt sé?

Nach bhféadfadh Rialtas Náisiúnta bheith ann an fhaid a bhéadh an Taoiseach ann.

Sin é an rud a bhí sna páipéirí ach ní mar sin a bhí sé sa Tuarasgabháil Oifigiúil.

Sin é an rud a léigh mise, ach má abruigheann an Seanadóir Ó hAodha liom nach raibh an ceart sa tuarasgabháil no nach shin é an rud a dubhairt an Teachta Mac Cosgair glacaim leis an gceartú agus fágfad an sgéal mar sin. Agus tar éis an tsaoghail, bhfuil an oiread seo éifeachta a baint le "Rialtas Náisiúnta"? Cuireadh go leor Rialtas Náisiúnta ar bun ó am go ham, ar an Mór-Roinn. Cén mhaith a rinne siad? Ar shábháil siad a dtíortha? Nach bhfuil Rialtas Náisiúnta ar bun i Sasana ó thosuigh an cogadh seo agus an bhfuiltear sásta leis nó a gceapann duine ar bith annseo go ndearna siad mórán níos fearr ná an cineál Rialtais a bhí ann roimhe.

Ba spéiseamhail an tagairt a rinne an Seanadóir Mac Diarmuda don Chór Déantais. Is truagh linn ar fad nár eirigh i bhfad níos fearr leis an iarracht sin go dtí seo. Tá súil agam go n-eireóchaidh leis níos fearr san am le teacht. Is truagh nach isteach ann a théigheann cuid mhaith aca seo atá ag dul go Sasana. Is mó an mhaith a dhéanfadh sé dhóibh dul isteach sa gCór Déantais dá dtuigidís é, agus ba uasal dílis an gníomh é, ar son a dtíre. Ach ós ag caint ar an gCór Déantais dom ba mhaith liom na fir atá ann a mholadh agus iad a mholadh go hárd. Feicim go minic le gairid iad agus iad i mbun oibre; molaim a spiorad agus a ndúthracht agus a ndílseacht.

Tá cosamhalcht ann go bhfuil cuid mhaith Seanadóirí i bhfábhar "campaí saothair" agus fiú amháin i bhfábhar na preasála féin. Maidir liom féin tá mé sásta bheith foighdeach go bhfeicfe mé cén toradh a bhéas ar an iarracht ionmholta atá ar bun ag an Rúnaí Páirliminte atá i mbun na mónadh. Tá brath aige-san na fir a thabhairt le chéile i gcineál campa. Gheobhaidh an sgéim triáil féaráilte agus má eirigheann léi b'fhéidir le Dia nach fada go mbéidh ar ár gcumas an sgéim a leathnú i riocht is go mbéidh a lán de na rudaí ionmholta ba mhaith linn a bheith ar bun ar fud na tíre á ndéanamh. Is experiment é agus go n-eirighe leis. Is maith liom bheith ag éisteacht le mo charaid, an Seanadóir Magee. Ní theastuigheann uaidh ach leas a thíre agus leas a mhuintire. Tá mé ar aon intinn leis nuair a deir sé go mba chóir dúinn ár ndícheall a dhéanamh ar son na bhfeiliméaraí agus ar son mhuinntir na tuaithe go léir. Go deimhin, ní beag atá déanta ar a son go léir go dtí seo.

Ach ní thóigfe an Seanadóir orm má chuirim ceist air. An gcreideann sé, i ndáiríribh, gur fédir linne £5 no £7 sa tseachtmhain íoc le oibridhthe na tuaithe annseo—nó cén sórt punta atá i gceist aige? An gcreideann sé gur féidir linn luachanna ar thortha na talmhan íoc ar an leibhéal céadna agus tá i bhfeidhm i Sasana faoi láthair? Sé an locht atá agam ar an gcaint a rinne sé go bhfuil caighdeáin no "standards" Shasana á moladh dúinn mar chaighdeáin chearta dhúinne annseo in Eirinn.

Ach is thall atá an margadh. Nach thall a caithfear an stuif do dhíol?

Is fíor go bhfuil margadh againn i Sasana agus gur margadh tábhachtach dúinn é. Ach ina dhiaidh sin, ní féidir linne bheith ag súil go bhféadfaimís na caighdeáin Sasanacha a bheith againn annseo agus iad a choinneál ar bun.

Ach tá an margadh i Sasana.

Tá, admhuighim sin. Ach bfhéidir nach mbéidh sé ann i bhfad dúinn. Tá súil agam go mbéidh an margadh againn ann ach muna féidir linn feabhas a chur ar an soláthar ionnus go mbéidh ar ár gcumas ár gcuid torthaí a chur ar an margadh sin ar luachanna chomh híseal leis na daoine a bhí ag coimhlint inár gcoinne, Danair, an tSéalainn Nua, srl., b'fhearr dúinn, is eagal liom, druim láimhe a chur leis an margadh sin. Ní ciallmhar an rud dúinne bheith ag íoc deolchaire nó deóntas ar earraí no torthaí ar bith is mian linn a chur ag mhargadh Shasana, rud atá ar bun againn le tamall maith. B'fhearr dúinne, creidim, ár n-aghaidh iompódh isteach chun ar dtíre fhéin agus iarracht a dhéanamh ár chaighdeáin a bhéas níos feileamhnaighe dhúinn, caighdeáin a bhéas níos nádúrtha, caighdeáin a bheás do réir ár meóin faoi leith féin agus do réir ár n-acfuinne náisiúnta a bhunú. Má leanamuid nós no polasaí ar bith eile, tá faitchíos orm gur cill a déanfar den tír seo in áit muilinn!

Tá súil agam nach dtóigfe an Seanadóir McGee orm an cheist a phléidhe mar seo. Tá faitchíos orm go raibh dul amugha anocht air sna tuairimí a nochtuigh sé.

Debate adjourned.
The Seanad adjourned at 9.50 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24th, 1942.