Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Seanad Éireann díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 21 Jun 1950

Vol. 38 No. 5

Finance Bill, 1950 ( Certified Money Bill )— Second Stage.

Question proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

The primary purpose of this annual Bill is to give effect to the financial resolutions already passed by the Dáil following the Budget. The opportunity is taken at the same time to introduce any miscellaneous financial matters which require legislative authority.

Section 1 is the usual section corresponding to Financial Resolution No. 1 and its purpose is to provide for the charge of income-tax and surtax for the current tax year and for the continuance of previous legislation dealing with these taxes.

Sections 2, 3 and 4 are relieving sections. The first of these brings up to date the existing exemption from income-tax in respect of wound and disability pensions and gratuities granted under the Army Pensions Acts. The second extends the existing exemption from income-tax of certain allowances payable to the widows of persons killed in the 1916 Rising, so as to cover increases in those allowances granted under the Army Pensions (Increase) Act, 1949. The purpose of the third of these relieving sections is to exempt from income-tax allowances payable to relatives of signatories to the Proclamation of Easter Week, 1916, and also the annuity payable under the Griffith Settlement Act, 1923. Originally, allowances payable to the relatives of the Proclamation signatories were exempt from income-tax but later these payments were not exempted, as the Griffith Settlement Act did not provide for exemption. It has been agreed that all such allowances should be exempt from tax and provision is being made in this section accordingly.

Section 5 provides that the preferential rate of customs duty applicable under Section 15 of the Finance Act, 1949, to unmanufactured tobacco grown in, and consigned from, a part of the British Commonwealth of Nations shall, with certain exceptions, cease to apply as from 31st July, 1950.

Section 6 has been inserted following representations which I received during the year from a great many quarters. These representations were to the effect that it was not often possible to keep the expenses incurred in connection with educational and charitable dances or other similar entertainments to as low as 30 per cent. of the takings. In such circumstances, where the expenses could not be kept as low as 30 per cent., the relief from taxation granted in 1943 was not provided to the extent desired. Section 6 now provides that the expenses limit of 30 per cent. be increased to 50 per cent. as from 1st August, 1950.

As regards Section 7, my attention had been drawn to the fact that, although most of the games of an amateur type conducted under amateur auspices have been exempt from time to time from entertainment duty, amateur westling games have been left out. There is no reason why wrestling should not be exempted and I have made provision for such exemption in this section.

Sub-section (1) of Section 8 provides that, on and after the 6th July, a person authorised to conduct auctions by virtue of an auctioneer's licence or an auction permit, granted under the provisions of the Auctioneers and House Agents Act, 1947, may act as an appraiser without being licensed under the Appraisers Licences Act, 1806. It was really intended that that should be the case, but licences under the Auctioneers and House Agents Act are often taken out for a company and it is then not possible for the exemption in fact to operate in favour of people who are called appraisers or people who get auction permits. There is a consequential sub-section which repeals as from the 6th July, 1950, Section 7 of the Appraisers Licences Act, 1806, which provides that all persons duly licensed to act as auctioneers may act as appraisers without being licensed as such under the Act. That sub-section is consequential on the passing of the auctioneers' and house agents' legislation and on the provision I am now making.

Section 9 is designed to give full effect to the provisions of the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation in so far as they relate to customs matters.

Sections 10, 12, 13, 14 and 15 relate to the very technical conventions concluded between the Irish Government and the Government of the United States in relation to double taxation. They were explained by me in considerable detail when I was speaking on the Second Stage in Dáil Eireann and I am assuming, for the time being, that that explanation has been read. These conventions are set out in the Schedules to the Bill.

Section 11 extends for a further period of three years the exemption from corporation profits tax allowed to certain public utility concerns, etc. This exemption expired on 31st December, 1949.

Section 16 secures with retrospective effect that last year's legislation increasing the stamp duty in respect of fines or premiums on leases shall not apply in the case of leases by a local authority under the Housing of the Working Classes Acts or the Labourers Acts or in the case of a lease by a society registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Acts and made in accordance with a scheme for the provision of houses for its members.

Section 17 is designed to rectify a legal flaw which enabled the 5 per cent. tax to be avoided in the transfer of house property in certain cases.

Section 18 explains itself.

Section 19 embodies machinery to allow assurance companies to compound for stamp duty on industrial assurance policies.

Section 20 again was explained at some length in Dáil Eireann because it was not referred to in the Budget discussions.

The provisions of Section 20 are of a purely administrative character and do not raise issues of policy. The main purpose of sub-section (2) is to give the Minister power to invest foreign exchange held to the credit of the foreign exchange account, but he is restricted to two types of investment, either interest-bearing deposits with a bank or Government securities of the country in which such exchange is held. The rest of the section is consequential and no special point arises on it.

Section 21 provides for a further extension of the life of the Transition Development Fund to the 31st March, 1951, when it will be definitely wound up. While the moneys of the Fund could have been applied to various capital purposes in practice nearly all issues from it have been in respect of local authority housing including sanitary services which might just as well be provided for in the Vote for Local Government along with allied expenditure. After this year, as the Dáil has already been informed, all State assistance in respect of local authority housing will be provided through that Vote, and the opportunity will be taken to simplify the basis of subsidisation which at present is unduly complicated.

Issues from the Fund this year are estimated at £3,630,000 of which £3,461,000 is for housing and £169,000 for sanitary services. As the balance in the Fund at the beginning of the year was down to £1,630,000 it will be necessary to take a special Vote for about £2,000,000 as provided for in sub-section (2) to enable the Fund to meet the total estimated expenditure for the year.

Section 22 relates to the Capital Services Redemption Account. It will be noticed that after certain definitions have been set out, there is to be established an account called the Capital Services Redemption Account. Sub-section (3) of Section 22 provides a sum of £655,432 to redeem borrowing and interest thereon in respect of capital services. This is to be charged annually in the Central Fund, commencing with the financial year ending on 31st March, 1951. The annuity will be paid into a redemption account in half-yearly equal instalments.

Section 23 is the section which provides for the transfer of £300,000 from the Road Fund to the Exchequer for the purpose of meeting general charges falling on the Central Fund. When the Finance (No. 2) Act, 1947, was being enacted it was indicated that the proceeds of the increases in taxation on private motor vehicles provided for in it would not be available for roads expenditure but would be devoted towards meeting the cost of food subsidies. The additional revenue at the time was estimated at £300,000 for a full year. Since then there has been a considerable increase in the number of private vehicles taxed, so that the receipts from the increases in taxation would now be considerably more than £300,000 a year. This means that the Road Fund gains to the extent of some £100,000 to £150,000 not taken by the Exchequer.

Section 24 is the customary provision placing under the "care and management" of the Revenue Commissioners all taxes imposed by this year's Finance Act.

Section 25 is the usual provision in the Finance Act covering the "short title,""construction" and commencement of the Act.

Section 22 is the section upon which most of the discussion in Dáil Eireann turned. Section 22 has apparently been misunderstood. There is no reason really for a section of this type but it arises out of the borrowing programme in respect of the capital development of the Government announced or forecasted by the Taoiseach to the bankers and at a meeting in Clonmel and mentioned here and there is Dáil statements. In the Budget statement this year I said:

"The Central Fund Estimate shows an increase of £1,166,000 over actual issues in 1949-50, mainly for the service of public debt, which this year includes an annuity of £655,000 to redeem in full over a 30-year period the £12,113,680 of voted capital services which are being met by borrowing."

£12,000,000 odd is the sum which is shown on the face of the Book of Estimates this year as being for capital services. This provision then is to set up a special account known as the Capital Services Redemption Account for the payment of the interest on the sum of £12,000,000 odd and the amortisation of it over 30 years. When the Government came to a decision to admit in the Finance Bill the obligation of lodging this money to the Special Account they were fully aware of certain things: first, that the amount borrowed on foot of capital services might not meet the £12,000,000 odd which appears on the face of the Estimates; second, that it might be incurred only gradually over the year, and third, which has added force if what I said in respect to No. 1 is true, that the interest and sinking fund might be very much less than the sum provided for the year which is a full year's debt. The fact was lost sight of in the discussion in Dáil Eireann that without special provision of this kind interest on borrowings for capital purposes would have to be charged on the Central Fund as would the sinking fund on long-term borrowing on a national loan. £655,000 odd is provided for as evidence of the acceptance of the obligation of discharging capital service borrowings out of revenue over a period of 30 years and the determination to secure that result. The 3½ per cent. interest and sinking fund required to redeem the £12,000,000 odd is £655,432.

That section led in the Dáil to a discussion regarding the matter of capital services and borrowings in respect of them. That matter has been under discussion in this House once and in Dáil Eireann on several occasions. Again, I ask here as I asked before that in this debate Senators will let me know of any part of the £12,000,000 itemised in the Book of Estimates for which they consider this not to be a proper system of securing payment. They might let me know so that the items would be treated here in detail because I find it impossible to get those who are opposed to the scheme to come down to bedrock and list the items which they deem inappropriate to be dealt with in this way.

I will begin by quoting—as I will certainly will have to quote it before the end of the debate—the speech of one of the chief members of the Opposition regarding finance of this type. On the 6th March, 1948, Deputy Lemass addressed one of the Fianna Fáil Cumainn and said:—

"Austerity had not helped in increasing prosperity elsewhere."

He had in mind that the Government were setting out on a policy of austerity. His tune has changed but the speech remains. He went on:

"There was no justification for forcing their people to do without goods or services which they needed and which could be purchased for sterling. There was no need to cut down worthwhile projects for development merely to maintain external assets at their present level.

Plans for housing, arterial drainage, turf production, aviation, national defence, electricity development, harbour improvements, the expansion of the merchant marine service, transport reorganisation, and the like, would all require substantial capital expenditure. Fianna Fáil had been fully prepared to undertake all those projects, having been fully satisfied that the national resources were adequate, and that they would contribute in the future to the national prosperity or security. It was not a matter of choosing between those developments, plans and needed improvements in the social services, as the "ex-Labour" Minister for Local Government had suggested. There was no reason why the country could not have had both.

The present was a time for courage and enterprise, drive and enthusiasm. Instead they were being offered a mess of negatives, the timorous conservatism of little men who were afraid of the tasks with which they had been entrusted, who lacked confidence and imagination, and who were going to miss the greatest chance the Irish people ever had of placing the whole national economy permanently on a higher plane of productivity and safety."

We are taking that chance now.

The Finance Bill affords this House an opportunity of reviewing the past year and dealing with the proposals of the Government, which are put before the people, for the future. In doing so on this occasion, I think we should have regard to the position not alone at home but abroad. We see to-day the nations of the world, particularly the nations of Europe, preparing for what one could describe, quite justly, as an even greater catastrophe than the last war. In those circumstances, it is only right that we should, on this occasion, get from the Minister, as the responsible spokesman of the Government, some indication of what preparations are being made or what policy is being put before the people to prepare for any emergencies that might arise. We see to-day money being poured into the nations of Europe for rehabilitation. We, here, in this country have partaken of some of the grants made for that purpose. On the other hand, we see moneys being poured into and preparations made to arm and prepare the countries of Europe for another war. It is only right, then, that we should on the rare occasions which present themselves such as discussions on the Finance Bill or the Central Fund Bill, get from the Minister some indication of the Government's policy on these things and express our own views on what we regard as matters of urgent national importance regardless of what our views would be in the event of another war—whether we are going to be, as the Minister for Defence stated recently, in the position of following a willy-nilly policy of neutrality or whether we are going to be forced to take part in the war. We must have some indication of the policy of the Government and we must also have some indication that we are going to be in a position to give our best efforts if we are to participate in such a war. I believe that the policy that would be most generously supported by our people here would be one of neutrality but, if so, we must be prepared to defend that neutrality. In this respect, I would urge on the Minister and the Government that the best defence we could have is the defence of being in a position to supply our people with all their requirements in food and otherwise in the event of an emergency. Therefore, the first step to be taken should be that of making every effort which can be made to increase productivity in agriculture and ensure that the food of the people of Ireland is grown by the farmers of Ireland on the land of Ireland.

It is a sad state of affairs when we, in the year 1950, the one nation which was outstanding in Europe in the production of potatoes, were unable to discharge our obligations in fulfilling a contract entered into by the Minister for Agriculture and we had to import potatoes from outside in order to fulfil that contract. We had to use borrowed dollars to purchase wheat and other human and animal foods from abroad. These were all things which could have been grown by our own people but instead we have to pay for them in dollars from America.

It is interesting at this stage, when moneys are being made available for the rehabilitation of Europe, to recall that it was understood that we were availing of them so that we could make a great contribution towards the rehabilitation of Europe: that we, as an agricultural country, by an expansion of our agriculture would be able to be of great assistance in the provision of the food that Europe required. Now even after two and a half years of the present policy we find instead that we are in the position that we have to rely on the importation of foods from outside. If that policy is allowed to continue and should the emergency that the world is preparing for arise, then we will have something to regret. It is the first duty of the Government to ensure that every step is taken and every encouragement is given to the production of food by the farmers. That cannot be done until the farmers feel that the people who give them the advice to grow more and who make the regulations are serious in their advice, and if the farmers cannot feel that there is sincerity behind the whole matter on the part of the Minister who is responsible for agriculture, then they cannot be expected to give the co-opertion which would be necessary. Statements made by that Minister and particularly his mishandling of the Department of which he is in charge and its ill effects on farmers would not help in getting the farmers to give of their best and produce the desired results.

Apart from this question of food supplies in the event of an emergency, there are also the military matters to be considered. We were able to maintain our neutrality in the last war, to a great extent, because the nations who had thought that they might try to drag us in knew that they would have something to reckon with and that to do so might prove a very costly venture. In response to the united appeal made in the country, people joined the Army and other Defence Forces and stood in readiness to defend their country.

As far as my information goes to-day, the position is that we have now as many officers as men in our armed forces. We have little or no regard to-day for those people who have joined the voluntary forces such as the F.C.A. No official encouragement is being given to that branch of our defence forces. There are no preparations being made to educate our people in methods of defence against modern warfare. I would like the Minister, when he is replying, to give us some idea of what the Government's policy is in this regard.

As the Minister stated in his opening remarks, the Finance Bill is to give effect to the Budget proposals and it is in the Budget that we should seek the proposals and then consider the effect they will have on the country. The Budget has been referred to as a standstill Budget. It might have been better if it were a standstill Budget. It would have been better still if the Government, when elected in 1948, had stood still for a short period and reviewed the position before they took many of the decisions and many of the actions that have led to the position in which we now find ourselves.

We were promised that unemployment and emigration would cease. There is no provision made in the Bill before the House for the cessation of unemployment or emigration in that part of the country from which emigration is greatest, namely, the congested districts and Gaeltacht areas. We have repeatedly urged on various Ministers, particularly the Ministers for Finance and Industry and Commerce, the importance of the development of the turf industry. When the hand-won turf scheme ended, we pointed out the dire results it would have in Galway, Mayo, Donegal and Kerry. Our representations had some slight effect. The decision was not exactly reversed but, from what appeared in public, the Government seemed to be prepared to proceed with a very curtailed programme of machine-won turf. This year we find that there is an almost complete abandonment of the hand-won turf scheme and of the machine-won turf schemes that were about to be started in Galway, Mayo and Donegal. The reason advanced by the Minister for Industry and Commerce in the Dáil was that it was not possible to find a market for the turf. The market is there and a market could be created if the Minister and the Government were sincere in their effort to develop this industry. The cessation of the hand-won turf scheme, as I have shown more than once, led to the immediate emigration of a number of turf workers from the areas affected.

In addition to the curtailment of the hand-won turf scheme, there was also a curtailment of the various schemes that were in operation in the congested areas—the minor employment schemes, the farm improvement scheme, and all the other schemes that helped the small farmer to find employment for himself and his family. If he could not find that employment in developing his own land, it was found under those schemes.

If the position to-day is that the number of unemployed is less than it was in 1948, it is brought about by the fact that over 40,000 of our people were forced to emigrate. We should not try to fool ourselves into believing otherwise.

We do not see in the Budget or in the Bill any proposals or preparation to give assistance to these people. I am sure there are Senators from the West and the South of Ireland who will admit that there is very little use in telling the people in Connemara, Mayo or Kerry of the wonderful scheme to spend £40,000,000 on land reclamation in the Midlands or elsewhere. Last week, I met a man who had applied under the land rehabilitation scheme to have work done on his land. The reply he received was the joke of the parish. It was, that the Department regretted that they would not be able to undertake this work as they had not a bulldozer available at the moment. If they had any idea of the type of land in question, they would not talk of machinery.

Was there no inspection before that report was sent?

There is no provision made in the Bill or in the Budget to encourage the fishing industry, to improve the facilities for the sale of fish or for the development of this great industry which affects the people of western Ireland and those living along the seaboard. It is from these areas that the vast amount of emigration takes place. If we are serious about stemming the tide of emigration, we must encourage the people to remain in those districts by providing employment for them there and by encouraging cottage industries. All these things can be done but there is not a word in connection with the land rehabilitation scheme in regard to the people that I speak of.

There is another national asset that is of great importance in time of emergency, apart from its usefulness in time of peace, that is, the harbours. During the last war it was discovered that much time could be saved in transport by ships being able to unload cargoes at various ports and harbours. The majority of the ships were forced to unload at the Port of Dublin, with the result that goods had to be transported, under very difficult circumstances, by rail or road from Dublin throughout the country. I mention the development of harbours particularly because in Galway we are very interested. I would like the Minister to indicate when final consideration will be given to the application of the Galway Harbour Commissioners for a grant to complete the work that was begun some years ago.

The Transition Development Fund was built up to enable local authorities to receive special grants so that they could let houses at reasonable rents. The Minister this evening stated that this fund will cease on 31st December of next year. He asked for a provision of £2,000,000. The whole question of housing would occupy the Seanad for a long period. It is a matter to which the Seanad should on some occasion in the near future devote a discussion. We have various views being put forward. On more than one occasion, the Minister, in speaking on this matter, seemed to give expression to the view that all that was necessary was to encourage the contractors to be satisfied with less profits and that then everything would be all right, so far as cheap housing is concerned. I wonder is that the case, and, if it is, can the Minister or the Minister in charge of the Department more closely concerned, the Department of Local Government, give facts and figures as to what a particular type of house should cost. They have a large staff in that Department and they have qualified engineers and architects, and it would be easy to have a proper estimate made of what a particular type of house would cost. If the fleecing which the Minister seems to think is going on on the part of contractors building for private persons and local authorities is in fact going on, I suggest that the best way to stop it is by the Department giving us the figures for the different types of houses which local authorities have been erecting. If that were done, the Minister would find that it is not the contractors who are at fault. Various local authorities have undertaken the erection of these houses by direct labour. There may be some small saving on the actual cost of the house, but there are other costs which are not taken into consideration and, in the final analysis, when the cost of machinery and so forth is added on, there is very little between the cost of the direct labour house and the contract system house.

The Transition Fund was set up in order to encourage local authorities to go ahead with the erection of houses and not to wait until building materials became more plentiful and, therefore, cheaper. Payments from this fund are to cease on 31st March of next year and any person who has any knowledge of the building trade, any person who is even a member of a local authority, knows how difficult it is, even in normal circumstances, apart altogether from the conditions existing to-day in which supplies of one kind may be plentiful while supplies of other types cannot be got, to get houses erected quickly. If a contractor requires lead piping at present, it is almost a condition of sale that he hands in lead to the same weight as the weight of the piping being purchased. There are scarcities of one type of material or another, and there is also the scarcity of qualified tradesmen, so that it is not so easy for a local authority or a private individual to get a house erected as quickly as might have been the case before the war. What is to happen to local authorities in view of what the Minister has said, that payments from the Transition Fund are to cease on 31st March next year?

Anybody hearing that will probably ask what was the Minister's next sentence. Does the Senator remember—that the payments would be continued from the Vote for Local Government?

Not from the Transition Fund.

What is the difference?

I have an idea that there will be a difference.

Would the Senator explain the idea?

A local authority which may be about to undertake the acquiring and developing of a site and the erection of houses on it has it now definitely from the Minister that payments from the Transition Fund are to cease. That fund was established to bridge the gap between the prices prevailing and the prices which might prevail in more normal times. The local authority will, therefore, be inclined to wait and see what are the Minister's new proposals. There are people on local authorities who are interested in the ratepayers who make a big contribution towards the building and maintenance of housing for the working classes and it would be the duty of any public representative on a public board, reading the Minister's statement that this fund will cease next year——

That is not my statement.

—— and that provision will be made in the Local Government Estimate, to ask what that provision is and what shape it will take. I suggest that the Minister should clarify the position and clear up any misunderstandings which may arise in the minds of local authorities so that they will be encouraged rather than hampered in their efforts to go ahead with housing.

With regard to the cost of living, we were told on various occasions that the main thing which brought the Parties in the Government together as a Government was their anxiety to reduce the cost of living. We see now that they have not succeeded in that, and, even worse, not alone have we a cost of living which has risen but we have a two price system in operation. The Minister may say in defence of that system that the prices are there only for those who can afford them. It reminds me of the statement made by the Minister for Agriculture last week in the Dáil that he had no sympathy with the housewife, with the worker's wife or with those people for whom so many people have sympathy during an election campaign who wanted a rasher for their breakfast probably only on Sunday morning. That person had no right to be a chooser, and, if such people wanted the cheap article, they should take it and be satisfied, and, if they wanted the best rashers they should be prepared to pay for them. There were pigs' heads available for these people who were not able to afford to buy bacon. Down in a very remote part of the country on Sunday I heard a man suggest that we were now to have a new breed of pigs, pigs with three heads which when slaughtered, would provide dinner for six families on the basis of half a head each.

How many pigs was he keeping himself?

More than Senator Baxter keeps.

I wonder.

This system of two prices hits the poor classes more than any other class. They have the largest families; they are the largest consumers of bread, butter, tea and sugar; and they are the people on whom the rationing system when it was more strictly enforced than now bore most heavily. They are the people on whom the present rationing system bears most heavily. While those who might be described as the more wealthy can afford to have meals of many different varieties, the workers in general are confined to bread, butter, tea and sugar, and the present rations are not sufficient for them. I have first-hand knowledge that it is the workers in the towns and the rural areas who are the largest purchasers of the two price foods.

It is all very fine to say that they should be content with the amounts made available under the rationing system and that the Government should not be called upon to subsidise any extra amounts. If a case can be made for that, I should like to hear it, but I have not yet heard it. No one can defend the system, except by saying that the alternative is to subsidise foodstuffs to the full amount, despite the fact that we were promised, by not one but all the Parties in the Government, that the cost of living could be reduced, even if it meant subsidising commodities such as tea, bread, butter and sugar to the extent of 30 per cent.

In regard to tourist development, we are glad to see so many people converted to the importance of this industry. We are glad that it is recognised as a good thing to invite these people here and to extend hospitality to them, and especially to attract American tourists. Times have changed in the past few years when it was proposed that there should be a tax on tourists because they were coming to deprive us of the food that the Irish people should have.

The question I should like the Minister to answer is this. In introducing the Budget in 1948, reference was made to the Tourist Board and other boards. We were told the windows would be opened and the light of day allowed to pour into the rooms and offices of such boards. I am afraid the opening of the windows and the allowing in of the light has had a very bad effect. I have failed to see any indication of any activity by this board over the last two and a half years. I would like the Minister to be able to assure the House that the board is actively engaged in the development of the tourist industry from the American end. I think their failure to do what the board should be called upon to do at the outset is evident to anyone at the present time. It is a matter in which the Minister should be keenly interested and is one which has been allowed to drift over a long period. Quite a number of American tourists I have met in recent weeks have come through England and lodged their dollars there and have come to us with these very naughty British pound notes. There is something that the board, if actively engaged under proper direction, could have forestalled, if not completely checked, by proper publicity and guidance to our people from the other end.

The last and most important item is that of the Road Fund. The Minister is making provision in this Bill to take £300,000 out of the Road Fund. We all have a good idea of how that fund has been accumulated. We have had many debates in this House and we have seen the Minister take £2,000,000 from the local authorities.

Take it from them?

The road grant has been cut by £2,000,000. It was depriving the local authorities of that sum. We were to be provided with alternative schemes. Workers engaged on road work for local authorities throughout the country were promised work under the Local Authorities (Works) Act. What happened? While the Minister curtailed the grant by £2,000,000, he made available under the Works Act, £1,000,000 for local authorities. Surely no Minister, not even a Minister of the present Government, could find as much employment for as many men over as long a period for £1,000,000? as could be found for £2,000,000? We know full well that during the emergency, in some cases through lack of materials, the roads were allowed into bad repair. An extensive amount of transport of food and fuel was carried over those roads. The nation owed it to road users to put the roads back in repair, but at that time the county council were deprived of the benefit of using this £2,000,000. Now the Minister dips further into the kitty to take £300,000 out of it. This is a matter that, with some other items, we could deal with better on the Committee Stage, but I mention the point so that Senators here, and particularly those who are members of local authorities, will direct their attention to the seriousness of this matter during the discussion on this Bill.

I suppose one has to sympathise with any spokesman of the Opposition in rising to debate the Bill which is before the House to-day. I had the feeling that Senator Hawkins found himself in a particularly uncomfortable position. It was a task for a much more able critic, one with a capacity for analysis that is somewhat beyond the spokesman of the Opposition in this House to-day. He started his denunciation of the Minister's policy by repeating the caoining of his leader in Cork City at the weekend. Beyond question, the Opposition are losing complete touch, not only with the people in the country but with the conditions in the country. We had a speech from the Opposition Leader in Cork—it was a call to arms, preparation for war—and Senator Hawkins started in on that line to-day, calling for plans for an emergency. It was that sort of stunting that went on for 16 years. We were plunged from one emergency into another.

In those years, they probably understood the emotional character of the Irish people very well and felt that, by stirring the emotions, they might play on them and be able to hold on. By doing that, they prevented the people from reasoning out their problems. There may be emergencies ahead, but it is much wiser and it is a line that is deserving of much more encouragement, to try to get the people to live normal lives, to face their normal jobs and work every day in a thankful, earnest mood. If the policy of this country is to be planned on the basis that we are to be hurried from one emergency to another, it will never be constructive but always will be of a ramshackle nature, and the consequences for our people will be those that we have been witnessing over a very long period. If we are not laying any plans, broad and deep, the young people of the country will continue to fly from it. Have we not had enough of that? Is there not need for Senator Hawkins or anyone on that side of the House to raise this problem of the flight from the country, or to ask the Minister what he is to do about future emergencies when they see what has been the result of their own policy over the years?

The Senator speaks about money being poured into Europe for the rehabilitation of Europe. I do not know whether he regarded that as a policy to be commended or rejected. Perhaps he said in the double voice in which these people speak that it is something to be commended when it is applied to Europe and something to be rejected when it is applied to Ireland. The policy of the rehabilitation of this country and the development of its resources is a policy which is being rejected by Fianna Fáil, at least rejected in so far as it is wise to provide the means, the machines and the mechanism for the development of our resources and the rehabilitation of the land of the country on which the majority of our people live. The Government, in the policy enunciated by the Minister in this Bill, are doing the things that require to be done, not only to enable our people to live normal lives but to prepare plans for an emergency as well. The Minister in his speech in the Budget debate in the other House used these words:

"The need for further capital development in Ireland is apparent. Under-investment in our own resources is in part responsible for unemployment and under-employment, for involuntary emigration, impoverished land, industrial underdevelopment, bad housing and other defects in our economic and social structure."

That is the situation which the Minister found when he came into office with his colleagues. He is attempting to rectify that situation and is he to be decried for attempting it? If there are proposals in the Bill that are distasteful to the Opposition, why do they not segregate the good proposals from the bad and let the Minister and his colleagues and the country know with what they are in agreement and with what they disagree, but we have not had that from them.

It seemed to me that Senator Hawkins thought that the first plank in the Government's policy should be preparedness to defend our neutrality, and he went on to refer to the situation during the last war. I do not think that there will be any less vigorous spirit among our people to defend their rights in the next war than there was in the last. When I hear the word "neutrality" used in relation to our attitude in the last war, however, I cannot help thinking of the conditions during the war that were as well known, if not better known, to the people on the far side of the House as they were to the people on this. We were neutral; we were not taking sides; yet in the dark of the night trains came from the North with British arms into this part of the country and the arms were taken over by our soldiers under the reign of Deputy de Valera and his colleagues in Government. I am not going to develop that any further but this is not the first time that that line has been pursued in this House and the word "neutrality" is such a misnomer for what went on that I think we should have less of it. If any crisis comes to the country, I think that this Government will be as competent to face that situation as they were to face the situation which confronted them when they came into office. What was that? Senator Hawkins talked about the position regarding food production in the country. Are we producing less food than we were producing at the time of the change of Government? We are producing far, far more. The total output of food is far greater now than it was then.

400,000 less acres of tillage.

We have no fewer acres of land in the country as a whole and any intelligent person who wants to study the capacity of the country to produce food must look at the total output of the total agricultural land of the country. If we want to do right by the country that is the problem confronting us to which we must try to find an answer. The Minister for Finance made a statement in the Budget speech about the production of food and if Senator Hawkins does not agree, he should take up this statement and analyse it. The same facts will be found in the Trade Journal and it is not right that they should be challenged by the Opposition in this House or in the country as it is not fair to the country. We have too much of this thing Sunday after Sunday. The Minister said in the Dáil on the 3rd May, column 1649:

"The value of gross agricultural output in 1949 amounted to £127.8 millions as compared with £119.6 millions in 1948. The value of net output rose from £105.1 millions in 1948 to £110.5 millions in 1949.

In volume, agricultural output has now regained the pre-war level."

I am not quoting 1947 figures at all because if I did the picture would be much more disastrous from Senator Hawkins' point of view. The Minister went on:

"Gross output, in 1949, in terms of 1938-39 prices, is estimated at £53.3 millions as compared with £53.5 millions in 1938-39 and £49.7 millions in 1948. The 1949 volume of gross agricultural output represents an increase of 7.3 per cent. over 1948. The improvement is most noticeable in cattle, pigs, poultry and eggs. Milk production has also increased remarkably."

These are the figures and these figures being available to every member of the House, what justification is there for any Senator to get up to decry what has been done by the Government and, in so far as it is possible to do it, to misrepresent the Minister for Agriculture and to say that because of his mishandling of his Department, farmers can have no confidence in him? As I have said in this House before, the Minister for Agriculture does not say things as I or Senator Hawkins or the Minister for Finance would say them; he pleases to say them in his own way. His language, I know, does not please the Opposition but the fact remains that the Minister has achievements behind him. We have evidence, not only in the fields, but in the facts which have been collected and presented to members of the Oireachtas, that output from the land of Ireland has very considerably increased during the last two years and that the contribution of the Minister for Agriculture to that increase is very considerable indeed and that fact is understood and appreciated by the farmers of the country. I know that fact does not please the Opposition. The speeches they make indicate the conditions which they would prefer to see and the position which they would like to see in the country with poorer farm prices and more poverty. Politically that might be better for them but it is not going to be good for the country.

We have Opposition Senators in this House with one voice denying the claim of the Government that prices have not risen and at the same time claiming that prices for the farmers have fallen. That might be all very well down the country but it is not going to help the country to get to a position of prosperity. It is not going to create a position which would make it easier to get the young Irishmen and women to remain in the country to tell them that conditions were anything but satisfactory in the matter of prices and employment. Senator Hawkins has deplored the fact that the hand-won turf scheme was abandoned and that there is not all the development in turf schemes that there should be and ought to be. Why is that? Is not the Turf Development Board a board established by Fianna Fáil, and have they not the same machinery available to them that was available to them under Fianna Fáil. Why are they not going ahead with the hand-won turf scheme? The other day there were advertisements in the papers for men to work on the bogs in the country.

There is not a sod of turf to be had. You do not know what you are talking about.

Senator Seán Hayes says that there is not a sod of turf to be had, but the fact is that advertisements were inserted in the papers saying that work was available for men on the bogs.

They have all gone to the coal mines.

And Senators Seán Hayes and Hawkins will talk about men and women leaving the country. Suppose we had the position in this House where we were all one and united and working harmoniously together as we should be and you had Senator Baxter complaining of the abandonment of the turf schemes and Senator Seán Hayes saying there was not a sod of turf available, somebody else saying there was not full development in turf production, and yet somebody else saying that the people were leaving the country because they could not get employment; what would any outsider listening to such a debate think and what would Irish people, boys and girls, feel they could do in such circumstances but get out? It is not going to help national projects to have Senators and others dealing in propaganda of that sort. The problem to which they should set their minds is how they can better develop turf projects and other schemes rather than follow a line of decrying every effort made and try to create in the minds of people that no work was to be found, and that the obvious thing to do was to clear out of the country. Anybody who read the speech delivered by Monsignor Beck at Maynooth yesterday would see that there is another angle to the consequences of emigration, and if we are to serve our country and the God that made us we should try to concentrate on the problem of keeping our young people at home instead of belittling the work that is being done in that direction. By giving out attention to that problem we would be making a great contribution to our people and to the nation.

Senator Hawkins has spoken of the land rehabilitation scheme and has illustrated his remarks with the story of his experience with the Connaught farmer who, he stated, said there was not much use in the scheme for the people of Connemara. The Senator went on to say that that farmer had made an application for a grant under the scheme but he had been told that the work could not be proceeded with as there was no bulldozer available in the area. I suggest that that is a grotesque exaggeration and a complete misrepresentation of what the position really is. From my experience, and I challenge contradiction, that is the sort of propaganda, of misrepresentation, which is being waged against this great national endeavour. As far as I know when an application is made for a grant under the rehabilitation and drainage schemes the farm is visited by an inspector who discusses his particular problem with the farmer and then makes his report on what is necessary to put the farm in condition. Before any communication goes to the farmer this visit has to be made by the inspector. Does Senator Hawkins suggest that any graduate of the College of Science will go down and inspect such a farm and on returning to his office merely send out a communication saying that nothing can be done unless a bulldozer is available in the area? I do not believe any such thing would be done except of course there are rocks which it would be impossible to remove unless with the use and service of a bulldozer. I am sure Senator Hawkins would tell that story of his to farmers in Cork, Leitrim or any other place to which he might travel in the service of his organisation but I do not think it is right that he should do so. I think it is a great crime against the nation that we should have propaganda of this type used against any scheme designed at reorganisation of the country's life.

Senator Hawkins had a lot to say about tourists and the Tourist Board and also about tourists coming from America through English ports. The boats land at Southampton and unless Senator Hawkins can get them to land at Galway and Cobh in greater numbers it is inevitable that people would come to Ireland from America through England. Many of our own people down through the ages went out of this country through England to America and Senator Hawkins knows that quite well. A little study will have told him that. The Senator also talked about double-pricing of goods and spent a good deal of time condemning that system. He did say, I think, that this hit the poor hardest. He spoke of those who have large families. He indicated that some of these people were buying food off the ration. I do not know whether these are people who would get a great deal on credit or not, but it is a good sign of the times if these people can provide themselves with more than the ration of butter and other commodities, at a high price.

When this Government came into office they were faced with a situation in which they could do one of two things. They could either reduce the cost of living or raise incomes to a level that would enable people to buy as much as would maintain life and give them vitality and energy for work. They saw clearly that food prices can be cut only by cutting farm incomes or by such increase in taxation, in order to increase subsidies, as would make life very difficult for many people. They raised incomes. That was done all round. Both in the town or the country, there is a fairer distribution of income to-day than there has been since the establishment of this State. One has only to move about to see evidence of the high level of income both in town and country.

As far as the farming community are concerned, they are earning incomes to-day the like of which they have never enjoyed. I am quite satisfied that these incomes will not remain. In view of the dangers inherent in policy outside this country and in view of the quantity of surplus food that is accumulating in other countries, there is the danger that our prices will be threatened and may fall under the impact of this pressure from outside. At present, and for the last two years, we have enjoyed farm incomes of a level never before experienced.

On the whole, there is general satisfaction with the policy of the present Minister for Finance. I feel that the rather reticent mood in which Senator Hawkins approached the problem to-day and the rather half-hearted attack which he made on the Minister's policy are indicative of the fact that at the back of his mind he knows the country is doing very well indeed. On the whole, the country is very satisfied with the achievements of the Minister for Finance and his colleagues. Whatever effort is made, either here or elsewhere, to misrepresent the Government, its policy, and especially the policy and activities of the Minister for Agriculture, that fact remains. There may be people who do not like the way the Minister for Agriculture says things but there are very few farmers who are not satisfied with what the Minister is doing.

The levying of taxation is never a popular policy. On the whole, however, the Minister for Finance, with his usual skill, has been able to achieve something which will not make him any more popular with the Opposition: he has succeeded in maintaining a position of good Government without increasing taxation which, on the whole, is something on which we all ought to be prepared to congratulate him. In regard to his investment policy, that marks him out as a courageous Minister, with imagination, as he has shown himself to be since he took up the affairs of State 27 years ago.

We either believe in the future of this nation or we do not. We believe that it will be built up strong and vigorous by providing a way of life for all the people in future. That is not going to be effectively tackled, and cannot be achieved, by a niggardliness on the part of those who control the finances, by lack of courage and faith on their part, by unpreparedness on their part to invest money in the future of the nation, in land, housing, planned educational schemes, in its people. The young people, if they get a chance to work and to live in their own country, will be delighted to do it and will play their part in their generation, as we did in ours.

The Minister is not a pessimist. He is not preparing for a continuous series of emergencies. He is clear visioned enough to know that, if emergencies come, the capacity of our people to face them will be strengthened and secured by the vigour that he has given to their economic life in the days before the emergencies. That is what the Minister proposes under the Budget which he is standing over to-day. Far from being critical of his achievements, all sides of the House should congratulate him.

I was out for a couple of minutes while Senator Baxter was speaking. On my return I was amazed to see that he had worked himself up into such a heat over a Bill of this kind. I was particularly amazed to hear him attacking Senator Hawkins in such an apparently determined manner. I would be prepared to find fault with many people. Senator Baxter, while he is advocating honesty in other people so strenuously, should at least be honest in his attacks on Senator Hawkins, whom, apparently, he picked out as the object of his attack. Senator Hawkins may have many faults. We all have our faults. There is one thing that nobody can say, that is, that Senator Hawkins would be afraid to say what he thinks, here or anywhere else. One may not agree with what he says but one must admit that, if he convinces himself that a certain line is the right line, he will take that line against any opposition, whether in this House or outside it, whether it pleases Senator Baxter or not.

Senator Hawkins made a statement about the difficulties some farmer in County Galway had in connection with the Land Rehabilitation Scheme. We must accept that Senator Hawkins was speaking from actual experience and that he was told the story by the man who applied as he related it here. We all know that grants are available if people know the right way to apply but that there are considerable difficulties for people who may not know the proper approach. It is quite understandable that a small farmer from Galway, Cavan, Tipperary, or anywhere else may make an application that is not presented in the proper form and may get a reply from a civil servant in the Department, in all good faith, which would seem to him to be absolutely absurd.

I can see no reason whatever why any man should work himself up into a heat to attack a man because he made a statement of that kind. It would be a good job for the country if members of this House, and public speakers generally, were as seriously-minded as Senator Hawkins in any speeches that they are likely to make. Senator Baxter does not often lose his temper. He pretends to do so once in a while, but the fact that he worked himself up into a heat pushed him a little beyond his reach and into making the sort of statements he made. I am sure that he would not make them if he was in what we might call his sane senses.

Referring to the position in which Ministers found themselves when taking office as members of the Coalition Government, one would think that the Senator was telling us, as he has so often told us before—if not in the exact words—the story of Robinson Crusoe when he landed on a desert island and a fellow there pitched him the long tale that is now so well known to children throughout the world. One would imagine that when the Coalition Government came into office they found this country a desert, that nothing had been done for years until Senator Baxter and his Party came in and started to build houses and to drain bogs.

There must have been a bull in the desert.

Yes. Robinson Crusoe heard all that. What, in fact, was the position? It is only right that people should give credit where it is due. Senator Baxter said that we should segregate the good things from the bad things in the Bill now before the House. I am sure the Senator will accept my statement when I tell him that I searched the Bill and found few things in it on which I could compliment the Minister. The Senator will be equally disappointed when I tell him that I found in it some things which I wish to mention. The matter is not very important but, in Section 8, provision is made whereby, as far as auctioneers are concerned, they need no longer apply for appraisers' licences. That licence costs three guineas. It is good that, at least, some sections of the community are going to benefit to the extent of three guineas and I congratulate the Minister on that.

Continuing, Senator Baxter, in an over-heated condition went on to deal with the question of neutrality. He stated that neutrality as it was conducted here was really a misnomer. What he actually said was that neutrality here was a misnomer of what went on. I think that was most unwise, apart from being an unfair statement. Neutrality was the accepted policy. It was backed by Senator Baxter's Party, by my Party, by every other Party, and by every public representative in this and the other House, with one exception, the present Minister for Agriculture. We may be again forced into a position where this country would have to decide for or against neutrality, and I do not think it would be helpful if people in other countries could quote statements made by allegedly responsible members of this House to the effect that our neutrality during the recent war was really a joke.

Misnomer is not a joke.

It is the nearest approach that the ordinary person who is not a university professor could get to it. We have to provide for the ordinary people, but Senator Hayes, when lecturing to his class in the university, might get away with something there that would not suit here. There are many people not quite so smart as the Senator and, for that reason I do not think it wise to refer to neutrality as a misnomer, or a joke or anything of that kind, as we might again be forced back on a policy of neutrality. To say in justification of such a statement that guns were sent here from the North of Ireland, and were received by the Fianna Fáil Government is no proof that there was anything wrong with our policy. That statement was so much nonsense.

If this country was to maintain its neutrality it had to be prepared to fight for it, and if it was to be prepared to fight, it had to get guns somewhere. Where guns were got at that time was the responsibility of the Government and, if the present Government will only accept its responsibility in any future emergency, as well as the previous Government accepted its responsibility, then this Government will be entitled to be complimented by every Party in similar circumstances.

Senator Baxter went to great pains to convince Senators that the position as far as agriculture was concerned was much better now than it was under the Fianna Fáil Government. All depends on what Senator Baxter means by agriculture. If he means that the position can be estimated in accordance with the price of cattle, then I will say Senator Baxter is right.

The total output from the land.

I do not accept that and I should like to hear Senator Baxter proving it. The total output of agriculture must not be estimated in figures resulting from the export of cattle or of poultry or eggs. Anybody who would seriously judge the output of agriculture, as far as this country is concerned, must take in all the other things, including wheat. What is the position concerning wheat?

I took the total output for home consumption and for sale abroad.

If the present Minister for Agriculture can have 400,000 acres less under the plough, and if the total output under the plough is 400,000 acres less than when Fianna Fáil was in power, and still have greater output, he must be a wonderful man. I do not think that even the Minister for Agriculture would suggest anything of the kind. It must be evident that the output as far as food for man and beast is concerned has gone down rapidly. I say, further, that the Minister for Agriculture would not pretend to defend a policy which would tend to provide adequate food for man and beast. The Minister fought against that consistently as long as I know him. When Fianna Fáil were trying to put that policy into effect I think I am right in saying that Senator Baxter criticised it. If the Senator evolves a system whereby food can be produced without compulsion——

The Senator wants compulsion?

If Senator Baxter could get a system which would produce food without compulsion at that time, I think he would have had the backing of everybody.

Do you want compulsion now?

No. I will deal with that. What has happened under the present Government? Tillage has gone down by something like 400,000 acres. Because land has gone out of production the acreage under wheat has decreased; the production of sugar and other things, which are really the mainstay of the people in any sort of emergency, has gone down. As an alternative what we are doing is importing foodstuffs that we could produce here. Whatever excuse there might have been during the three or four years of the emergency for allowing foodstuffs to be imported, there is no such excuse at the present time. Senator Baxter may have criticised Dr. Ryan or Deputy Smith when they were in office for not doing certain things affecting the land.

Senator Baxter will agree that it is only within the past two years that artificial manures became available in any reasonable supplies and whatever excuse there was for importing, before the manure situation improved, there is not the same excuse to-day. I do not say that we should absolutely refuse to import anything, but there is no sense whatever in a policy by which wheat is imported wholesale into the country, by which the land is allowed to go out of cultivation and by which we will find ourselves in an emergency, if an emergency comes, in the position in which we found ourselves when Fine Gael went out of office before. That was a very different situation from that which the present Government found when they came into office.

One would imagine that nothing was done by way of development under Fianna Fáil, but what are the facts? During the term of office of the Fianna Fáil Government, 140,000 houses were built, which will compare favourably, on a yearly or a monthly basis, with anything done during the past 12 months or two years. It is only fair to remind the House that, during the period of office of Fianna Fáil, there were six years during which we fought what eventually came to be known as the economic war and that during a further six years there was a world war, when supplies were practically impossible to get. Notwithstanding all these difficulties, the building industry was kept going. Houses were provided, and, at the time Fianna Fáil went out of office, plans were made for the building of other houses for which other people are now claiming the credit. That, I think, is an accepted fact.

It is not at all an accepted fact.

Senator Baxter would not accept it, anyhow, but we will get him to accept something before we finish. While the Senator was speaking, Senator Sean Hayes passed a remark about the bogs, whereupon Senator Baxter got on his hind legs and talked about all the Government he supports had done for the bogs. I do not think it necessary to delay the House by quoting statements made by Senator Baxter when various discussions took place here on bog development and it is not necessary for me to quote the Minister for Agriculture, who said we were throwing money into the bog holes.

Would the Senator quote me in what I said then?

It is only right that the people who are opposed to us should admit that, as soon as they came into office, they decided to ease off on the turf policy—they had to do something to justify what they had said in the past and the speeches they had made during the general election. But when they examined the situation, they found that, notwithstanding what they had said in the past, there was something in this turf policy and they decided that they would have to bury their political pride, because the turf industry is a sane, sensible and good industry. To their credit, they changed their minds with regard to turf and have now apparently decided to carry on the policy in operation before they came into power.

What did they find? One would imagine again that this policy of turf which is now in operation was made possible only because of the machinery got in under the present Government. That is not so. Were it not for the fact that drainage work was carried out over a very wide area during the administration of Fianna Fáil, the present working of the bogs for the production of machine-won turf would not have been possible. Another activity which enabled machine working of the bogs to be carried out was the building of bog roads. Bog roads were built against terrific opposition in this House and we were told that we were building roads leading nowhere. We were building roads, because, on the long-sighted policy of Fianna Fáil, it was estimated that, in a certain number of years, it would be possible to work the bogs for the production of peat fuel and peat moss litter. We now have glaring headlines in the papers about the amount of money coming into the country through sales of this peat moss.

It was under Fianna Fáil that the industry was started and any credit which is due, apart from the credit which naturally goes to the headquarters staff of Bord na Móna and their various officials down to the workers, should go to the Government which instituted that industry, as well as various other industries throughout the country. It comes very badly from the people who in the past opposed the policy of turf development to criticise somebody else because he passes a remark, by way of banter, that workers cannot be got for the bogs.

Is the Senator referring to my opposition?

Not at all. Reading through this Bill and most other Bills, one cannot help but think that this Government is following an ostrich-like policy, and by that I mean the policy of the bird which puts its head in the sand. This is particularly so in connection with defence. Nothing of a practical nature has been done with regard to defence, while it is evident to anybody who keeps in touch with current affairs that most other countries are preparing against the possibility of another war.

Will the Senator say if anything different is being done with regard to defence from what was done when his Party were in power? Is there any different policy?

There is, because I think there is no policy now.

There was no policy then, either, because the policy is the same.

If Senator Baxter would have 1 per cent. of the patience which everybody else has in listening to him, we would get along grand. We listen to Senator Baxter orating until the cows come home and go out and come back again, and nobody says a word, but when I start talking about defence, he cannot put up with me for three minutes. When the present Government took office, one of the first things they decided on was the stopping of recruiting for the Army. I think that was a slight change of policy, as Senator Baxter will agree. Because of pressure from one side or the other and because of questions asked in the Dáil, that policy has, to some extent, been changed of late in so far as recruiting has again been started. Because of the lack of enthusiasm in the present Government on the whole question of defence, the recruiting campaign has been a hopeless failure. I have heard reports from various centres that it is practically impossible to get young men to join the Army. When Fianna Fáil were in power, the Minister for Defence then made definite speeches in favour of the recruiting campaign and the various Ministers made speeches encouraging it. Not one member of the present Government has made any public statement I know of, to bolster up the campaign for Army recruits. At the recent Fine Gael Árd-Fheis, not one speech was made, as far as reports go in any paper, on the question of defence at all.

Conditions in the Army to-day have not moved on with the conditions generally in the country. As a result, young men are expected to join under conditions such as existed, say, during the emergency. In 1950 you will not get young men to join unless the conditions are improved. I am told that there are very poor living conditions for them, that they are served with meals off tin plates. There was a time when the Army here would be glad to get a meal off tin plates or without plates, but we have passed on from that time. The men of the Irish Army are entitled to the benefit of the improvement in living conditions as well, if not more so, than most other sections of the people.

In a recent speech in the Dáil, the Minister for Defence made a statement to the effect that the numbers in the Army were greater than they were when he took over the office. He corrected that speech a few days later, when he said in reply to a question by Deputy Major de Valera:—

"I think the Deputy has in mind a reference of mine on the Defence Forces Bill a few days ago. As I informed the House, I did not anticipate a debate on that particular Bill. I had not the figures in front of me and I was speaking from memory. I told the House that the strength to-day was actually greater than it was at the time I took over. My memory did not serve me correctly. There is a difference of some hundreds."

The Minister further told Deputy Major de Valera at that particular time that the strength of the reserves on the 28th February, 1950 was: First Line Reserves, 5,764; F.C.A., 26,436. On the Estimates in April, 1948, the Minister said that the strengths were 5,748 and 48,000 respectively. I think the statement that the numbers were down by a few hundreds was a gross understatement of the actual fact.

As Senator Baxter said, we should deal with matters here with regard to the national interest. It is only right that we should regard ourselves as every other country—in Europe, at any rate—regards itself, that is, as being in a very dangerous position. If another war starts, what will be our position, under the present policy? Some 400,000 acres have gone out of production. We are dependent for our bread supplies largely on imported wheat. We are exporting cattle, poultry and eggs. Those could be reduced if necessary in case of an emergency but, as Senator Miss Pearse has prompted me, a man cannot live on beef alone.

Nor on wheat alone.

A man could live a long time on bread alone.

Did you try it?

I tried living without bread for a long time, and may be so did Senator Baxter. It is surprising how long you could live without either bread or meat, but we do not want to try that again. It is a very important matter in our defence that we should provide for our food supplies.

While we are allowing our numbers in the Army to decrease, it is interesting to find what other countries are doing. In Norway, £135,000,000 on a three-year defence plan has been approved by an all-Party Defence Council. The country is being organised into separate self-defence zones.

135,000,000 kröner, perhaps.

No, I know the difference between kröner and pounds. Regarding Switzerland, anyone who can read and write must have read the order issued by the Government in Switzerland to prepare a campaign for defence.

Against whom?

You cannot know whom to prepare yourself for defence against. Would anyone think that Senator Baxter would be standing up to attack Senator Fred Hawkins to-day? The best way is to prepare to defend yourself against all comers. If we knew who was likely to attack or that we have to defend ourselves, we would not be under a compliment again for getting arms in over the Border or off the Waterford coast. Senator Baxter will agree with me that most of the arms we got before, we got from the British, too.

In a different way from the last.

In Britain, increased expenditure has been allowed of £21,000,000. They are now spending £781,000,000 per annum. Special civil defence schools have been opened in several places in England and they are developing special anti-bomb defence. What are we doing? We are not doing anything of the kind at all. During the last war there may have been some excuse, but notwithstanding all the excuses the Minister then, when the first shots were fired out of the big guns in France, made a definite attempt to build up the defence of this country. Air-raid shelters were built, bomb-proof buildings were erected and units were established for evacuation of people from the cities in case of bombing, and gas-masks were served out. Those things were done away with after the war.

A lot of people foolishly thought that this was going to be the last war. I think we know enough now to know we have not had the last war yet. What we should be doing now, instead of criticising our defence in the last war and laughing at the policy of neutrality, is preparing for another war, to make sure that whatever policy may be the national policy at the time would be possible, as a result of preparations made well in advance.

In Sweden they are developing the civil defence and also protection for all the industries. Here our industries are wide open. We have industries in provincial towns which are, I am sure, already mapped by the possible belligerents and one high-powered aeroplane could ruin several of our factories in no time. If anything has been done to prevent such an occurrence, I would be glad to hear of it. The same applies to our waterworks. All these things need attention. They are getting attention elsewhere, but here we are reducing the number in our Army. When I say that, I do not mean reducing the ordinary rank and file. Several of the important Departments have been allowed to go into decay. Men have gone out of the service and their places have not been filled. I suggest that at the present time all those Departments should be built up to strength and nothing should be left undone to protect the various items that might be open to attack in case of emergency.

In Belgium they decided on the 15th February, 1950, to treble the navy and air force; that expenditure on the navy and air force should be three times what it was previously, while we sit down and do nothing. They decided to develop radar detection, that is, to use the most up-to-date equipment to discover mines, direct aeroplanes and so on. That is the sort of thing we should be doing instead of bragging about little things that do not matter while we are neglecting the things that do matter.

In America, which might be regarded as being a little bit safer from attack than we are and a little bit stronger if they were attacked, they are preparing a civil defence organisation to protect the country in the case of possible attack. Anybody might smile at the idea of an attack on the United States but the people of the United States are taking the matter very seriously in view of the fact that weapons are now being produced which can carry over a tremendous distance. It is now quite possible that areas which heretofore might regard themselves as being comparatively safe must now regard themselves as being in the danger zone. If the United States, Sweden and Switzerland are preparing their defence in case of another war, I think it is about time that we looked up.

One could go on talking for a long time on those things which we have neglected but I think that the principal fault one can find with the situation here at the present time is that the people generally are being lulled into a position of what might be called false security. I think more speeches should be made on the possibility of an attack in another war and that preparation should be made for our defence in such an eventuality. We should have all round an atmosphere in which the people would realise that the Government were taking seriously the situation which might develop in case of another war.

That does not merely depend on the Army as such. Several other things must be included in any preparation for an emergency and first and most important, in my opinion, is our position regarding agriculture. We must get ourselves into a position where we would be able at least to provide half rations for the people. During the last war we had numerous debates and now that the last of the guns has become silent I think we will at least admit that there were certain weeks during the last war in which this country was in a very precarious position.

The only reason in my opinion why we were able to carry on at all was that we had a sort of balance between mechanised agriculture and the traditional agriculture of the country. We had a sort of balance between the number of tractors in the country and the number of horses and horse ploughs. The Minister for Agriculture in a recent statement said that in ten years' time horse ploughs would only be found in the museum. I think that a definite effort should be made now to ensure that horse ploughs and the traditional methods of tilling the land of this country should be maintained in so far as it is possible to maintain them despite the march of time. The reason I say that is that if a policy of mechanised agriculture is to be fostered 100 per cent. by the Minister for Agriculture some attempt should be made by some other Minister or by some public representatives somewhere to ensure that we would not be totally dependent on outside supplies for our agricultural production.

What fostering is he doing? Are the farmers not free to buy the machines? Does the Senator want to prevent them?

They are free but there are some farmers like Senator Baxter who think that the Minister for Agriculture is God almighty or the next best thing. If they hear Senator Baxter say that the Minister for Agriculture is one of the wisest men who ever came into this country, one of the wisest Ministers for Agriculture we ever had or could ever hope to have again, they can only take him seriously and say: "I have an old plough. Begor, it is not much use to me and I will buy a tractor." If we get to a stage in this country when the food of the country is dependent on tractors totally then we will find ourselves in the position in which we found ourselves towards the end of the last war and it will be time to look out.

Would the Senator prevent farmers from buying tractors?

I would not prevent farmers from doing anything but I would encourage them to do what I believe to be right for the nation. I have said before, and I will say again in case I am misunderstood, that it is a difficult thing to go to a farmer who has the money and tell him that it would be better for him to get two pairs of horses than to get a tractor and it is more difficult still to go to that man's son and tell him that he will be a lot easier if he buys a pair of horses than if he buys a tractor.

From the national point of view it would be sound policy to get the farms of the country worked partially by horses rather than let the whole lot go over to tractors and I am as sure of that as I am of my own name. Why I am so sure is that it would be just as sane a policy to be dependent for bread on outside shipping and outside resources as it would to allow yourself to be dependent on outside sources for the means of production of that bread. What I say is based on my experience in the last war and I say here and now that were it not for the fact that the last war came so soon as it did come we would have been in a far worse position. Go back to 1928, 1929 and 1930 when the people of the country had practically got out of the way of tilling the land at all. In several counties when the drive came for agriculture it was practically impossible to get the tools to do the work and what I mean by the tools is the ordinary plough which we are only going to find in the museum in ten years' time according to Senator Baxter's ideal Minister. I believe that if the war had not started so soon we would not have been able to get a man to plough the land. It may seem a strange thing to say but anyone who was in touch with the situation knows that decent, honest to God farmers who were anxious to co-operate and produce food could not get a man to follow the horses. If the war had not taken place for another ten years I believe that we would have reached a situation where we would have to go to the museum and ask the man in charge to take out a couple of ploughs to do the tilling. If we allow the country to go over to mechanised agriculture that situation could exist, and if the Minister for Agriculture advocates that policy we will face another war in a completely hopeless position.

Apart from the fact that agriculture is our second line of defence, if not our first, in order to feed the nation and the Army, it is also a fact that as long as horses are used for transport here they can be produced in this country; they can be fed from oats which is produced in the country; they can be shod in the country; the implements by which the horses will provide the food can be manufactured in the country and repaired at the local blacksmith's forge. Any policy that does not include that system of agriculture is a faulty policy with regard to defence.

I was talking about defence when I started to deal with agriculture and I do not propose to go back on it again. In every Department at present, however, there is, in my opinion, the attitude that we have had the last of wars. There is no reason whatever why we should wait until the first shots are fired or until the first planes come in, as they did in the past, to realise our position. We all know that this is a small country which would be completely dependent on its own resources in case of a serious emergency and we should prepare now rather than put it off until the date when we hear the shots fired.

I do not propose to range over the wide field of economic policy in peace and war that has been indulged in by Opposition speakers in the course of this debate. I propose to confine myself generally to certain technical aspects of borrowing which have not been discussed yet in the Seanad, rather than to cover the wider field. My reason for that is that I think the wider field has already been very well covered in debates in the Dáil and in this House and that the major question of policy, and the capital Budget, and the division of expenditure between current and capital objects have been pretty well accepted by all Parties in the House, subject to certain differences on detail.

I think the quotation which was read by the Minister from the speech of Deputy Lemass really indicates that on this matter of the development of the resources of the country there is no great difference of opinion between the various Parties in the country, that the policy of the Government to-day is also the policy of the Opposition. A certain amount of the criticism which has been directed against the Government this afternoon has been, not on the ground that they are doing too much, but that they are not doing enough.

It seems to me that to criticise a Government for doing what they are doing and, at the same time, to criticise them for not doing more, is very inconsistent, blowing hot and cold, and that the Government's critics must make up their mind which they really want.

As I said, on the major questions of economic development, I do not believe there is any difference of opinion between the various politicians and the various Parties in this country. I think we are all agreed that the major object of policy, as far as it can be achieved, is to reduce, if we cannot succeed entirely in stopping, the flow of emigration. That is the great wound in our side, the great blood-letting, the great haemorrhage, that has gone on for over 100 years, the major feature of Irish economic life, the major waste in our economic system. I do not propose to go into it in detail to-day. I think it possible that when the Report of the Commission on Emigration, which is so eagerly awaited, is published, some occasion may arise in the Seanad to discuss the various issues involved.

It may be of some interest, possibly, to call the attention of the House to the fact that in a book which has just appeared, a very fine contribution to the study of this country, a new book on Irish geography, by Mr. Freeman, the opinion is reached there, by that writer, that emigration has now gone to a point in this country when it has produced such a shortage of agricultural labour and labour in the countryside that measures should be taken to bring it to an end. That is his opinion. I am quoting another person's opinion. I do not for a moment say it is my own. I simply quote it in order to show the urgency of the problem and the extreme measures to which responsible people are prepared to resort in order to try to remedy it. The author of this volume, who is a gentleman of high academic standing, indicates that, in his opinion, the policy of agricultural intensification and the intensification of Irish rural development are incompatible with emigration at its existing rate.

As I say, this is the great problem of Irish life. When the Report of the Commission on Emigration is published, we shall all read it with very great attention and interest. Meanwhile, I think we would all agree that, however much we may differ regarding details, we all fervently hope that some policy will be arrived at and agreed upon that will slow down to the minimum this terrible drain on the national life and this terrible wastage of investment in our people's education and rearing. It seems to me that, in regard to the main matters of policy, there is no great difference regarding aim and objective between the Government, the Minister, and his critics in the House.

What I cannot understand is why people who attach such great importance to the necessity for stemming emigration, should quarrel with some of the measures which are proposed in order to stem it. It seems to me that, if one is willing to will the end, one must be willing to will the means; and, therefore, at the same time, to advocate a policy of intensive development in order to end emigration, and to quarrel with the measures which seem to be necessary, in some way to achieve that policy by means of borrowing and investment, is slightly contradictory, certainly on the surface.

There was a point made by Senator Hawkins which I should like to refer to, namely, that the particular measures of development which are proposed at present are not directed to those areas in the country from which emigration is greatest. That, no doubt, is true, but I do suggest that the country must be regarded as a whole and that, whereas we all deplore emigration, the lowering of our population, people going abroad to add to the national income of other countries, a mere redistribution of the population inside the boundaries of our own country is not a matter for any regret. It may be that certain parts of the country have not got the same resources as others and it seems to me that if any Government policy of development employs people in any part of our own country, it has justification. Whereas, I do agree that it is the duty of the Government, as far as it can, to provide employment inside the nation to absorb as many people in the nation as possible, I do not think that duty applies to any particular area, any particular county or any particular district. It may be that what is wanted is a redistribution of population and movement of people away from places where the natural resources are not sufficiently bounteous to support a large population to other parts of the country where the resources can be more fully developed.

Therefore, I just do not quite follow what the Opposition criticism of the Finance Bill is. Everybody in the country is agreed that we must do all we can to reduce the volume of emigration. Everybody is agreed that, in order to do that, we must try to develop our resources. How can our resources be developed without a certain amount of capital investment? I have not yet heard the answer to that question.

Certain criticisms have been made that certain capital investments that might have been undertaken are not being undertaken but I have not heard any criticism here of any of the capital investments that are already being undertaken and, therefore, as I say, the criticism is not so much that too much is being done as that not enough is being done.

If all this has to be done, if everybody is agreed that it all has to be done, if capital investment is necessary, how can that capital investment take place without borrowing? Has anybody, in the course of this debate, suggested sources from which that investment could be financed other than borrowing? Have suggestions been made for increases in taxation that would bring in the £12,000,000 which is proposed for this capital investment? It seems to me that all Parties are agreed, or should be agreed, at the present moment, that a certain amount of investment is necessary, and, if that investment is necessary, borrowing must take place. Therefore, I really fail to see what the criticism is of the capital Budget and the policy of the Government.

In saying that I know that I will be accused, in the course of the debate, of certain inconsistency with statements I made on a previous occasion. It has been stated previously that members of the Banking Commission, of which I was a member, have changed their coat; that they were now saying something different from what they said in 1938. The suggestion is made that we are saying certain things now because we agree with the policy of the Administration, whereas these members said other things in 1938 because they did not agree with the policy then. That statement has been made and I object to it. It is a statement I should like to controvert on behalf of the signatories of the majority of the Banking Commission. I think the virtue of consistency is misunderstood.

The virtue of consistency does not involve the repetition of the same formula on all occasions. It seems to me that consistency is a virtue which involves adapting one's principles to rapidly changing conditions; as merely to keep repeating some words in different conditions is really reducing oneself to the intellectual level of a sheep that always repeats the same sound or to a cow or some animal which says "moo" on all occasions and never varies its diction in any age or country. I do not think that type of consistency is worthy of respect. What I should like to suggest to the Seanad is that the circumstances in 1938 were widely different from the circumstances now, and, therefore, certain things that were said then—and that I subscribed to then and would subscribe to again in the same circumstances— are not necessarily applicable to the same circumstances to-day.

In interpreting any historical document one must also consider the position of the people at the time, and one must remember that, when referring to the Banking Commission. In the Spring of 1938 at the time that report was signed, the country had been suffering for six years from the campaign referred to this afternoon as the economic war. I have no intention of entering into any history of that campaign. All I wish to say is that the balance of payments was put under a very severe strain owing to the measures taken against exports, that our balance of payments deteriorated, and that we were rapidly losing our external assets during those years. It therefore, became a matter of extreme urgency at that time, when the end of the economic war was not in sight, and could not be foreseen, to restore the equilibrium. One of the methods of restoring the equilibrium in the balance of payments as everyone knows to-day from the newspapers is to balance the Budget.

Therefore, with our preoccupation with the restoration of equilibrium, we attached great importance to the Budget at the time and made very strong observations on the impropriety of increasing the national debt. I believe in the circumstances in which we were that what we said then was true. Immediately after the signing of the report the situation changed. Within a few months the economic war was settled in such a way that our exports began to revive. Within a year the international situation darkened, within two years war had broken out. I believe if we had been endowed with the gift of prophecy to foresee the almost immediate settlement of the economic war, it would have very much relieved our difficulties at the outset of the world war, a period during which we were short of all sorts of imports, and as a result of which our external balances ceased to decline and accumulated to almost embarrassing extent.

In 1938, if we had seen such consequences our recommendations might be slightly different. I believe if we had foreseen the outbreak of a war that was going to interrupt all our supplies from overseas, we would, probably, have advocated a policy of capital investment and of expenditure on stocking for an emergency. I believe we would then have agreed with a great deal of what Senator Quirke said, but we could not foresee these things, and had to consider how to balance payments and exchange. The one way was to balance the Budget by applying drastically the pruning knife to every penny of accumulated debt. The immediate problem was to restore confidence in the country and to that end we had to restore confidence in public finance. The situation completely changed. The war was a period during which external balances accumulated and imports became difficult to get. What took place during those years could not have been foreseen.

If anyone were to criticise the Government of 1939-1945 for neglecting a programme of capital investment, I think such a person would condemn himself to a certain extent, as conditions were not favourable. It took the Government all its time to maintain the position. It was not a period during which any country could enjoy a programme of house-building, of land reclamation or anything else. Its energy was probably directed towards finding a solution of immediate problems. On the whole, we got through the emergency period with a great deal less inconvenience than we could possibly expect. I agree that the international situation is not good. We are in a more parlous position to-day than those who signed the Majority Report of the Banking Commission in 1938 thought we were in then. Possibly we were wrong.

At the same time, as Senator Quirke stated, comparing the situation to-day with the situation then, it seems to me that if this threat of war is near—and it has been suggested that it is near— a programme of capital development, and an extension of capital expenditure should be conducted on a greater scale than it has been. It seems to me that everything said this afternoon in the way of providing for any European war has not only been in favour of borrowing but of more borrowing. I do not think it is right for a country to base its policy in peace time too much on the possibility of war. It is morbid and unhealthy. Wars may come, I quite agree, but for a country to base its peace time policy on the fear of a war that may never come always seems to me like the healthy man living on an invalid diet because he may some day find it necessary to do so. It is hypochondriacal, and, while a person should be cautious with regard to his diet, it seems to me that hypochondria may lead a person to do things which make him unnecessarily uncomfortable. It is the same in the case of a nation and I therefore cannot help feeling that this insistence on the possibility of a European war may perhaps be overdone.

The only point I want to make from the point of view of this discussion is that, if that case is true, if the danger of war is as great as it is represented, if the actual risk is as great as it appears to Senator Quirke, it seems to me that the Government is under an obligation to pursue a policy of even greater capital development in the sense of stocking up supplies and creating every sort of insurance against that emergency; but I prefer to discuss the matter on a peace basis and on the basis that war is not a major factor in the situation. Bringing it back merely to a peace basis, the situation to-day is very different from that of 1938. The balance of payments is practically in equilibrium. The adverse balance of payments is rapidly disappearing—it has gone down from £30,000,000 to £20,000,000 to £10,000,000 and it is generally thought that, in the present year, there will be equilibrium in the over-all balance of payments. I do not say that the dollar situation is easy, but I am talking about the over-all balance of payments.

The intense preoccupation with the balance of payments which is noticeable in the Banking Commission's report need not overshadow our discussion to-day. The balance of payments is fairly comfortable. Furthermore, there is this—it may be a wrong point of view, but it is a very current, widely held and, I should say, fashionable point of view—that at present, partly owing to the war dangers, to the great deterioration in the international situation and partly owing, I am afraid, to a certain lack of confidence in the future of world currencies, there is an expenditure on capital investment, even of a kind which is not strictly self-liquidating, which is not regarded with the same disapproval—I might almost say, the same horror—as it was 50 years ago.

We are living in a world in which the future is uncertain and unsettled and I am afraid we have to take shorter views. Certainly individuals are doing it. People who 50 years ago would have regarded the spending of their current revenue on the acquisition of some object which would give them permanent enjoyment as something slightly wrong, something which should take second place to the accumulation of some saving for the future, do not hold that view to-day. There has been a change of climate regarding translating one's savings into concrete capital objects. That may be a wrong point of view—it may be overdone. The circumstances of the world may not justify its having gone as far as it has, but, rightly or wrongly, it is there. It is being done by private individuals and it is being done by business people and I really do not see why, when it is done by the nation, it should be regarded as something very wildly improvident.

That is why I said that I do not think members of the Banking Commission who are now prepared to support the capital Budget and the borrowing programme of the Government can be accused of inconsistency. In a certain situation in 1938, they held certain views. In a widely different situation in 1950, while maintaining the same general principles, they may have slightly altered the details of their application. The world around them has changed and for people in a changing world simply to dig themselves in and refuse to budge for fear of the accusation of inconsistency really shows, at its lowest, a certain moral cowardice and, at best, a certain stupidity and incapacity to move with the times. Therefore, I take it that all Parties are agreed that some capital development in this country is justified in the situation and it seems to me that a more useful topic to discuss this afternoon is the way in which that capital development can take place with the least burden on the taxpayers in the future.

That brings me to the subject to which I intend specially to refer quite shortly. The present structure of Irish Government loans gives the impression that Irish Government borrowing is rather long and rather dear. I have here the Handbook of Irish Securities issued by the Stock Exchange and an examination of it reveals the following facts, which I think are relevant to this discussion. Five of the issues of the Irish Government have now got to a position at which they can be converted or redeemed. There are five issues of the Irish Government, totalling £27,000,000, which are ripe for redemption and the Minister for Finance to-day, if he wishes, can offer to redeem those loans. A large block of loans, the first earliest date of whose redemption has already passed, are not a very satisfactory type of security to investors. The people who hold them are not anxious to part with them, hoping possibly to redeem them on good terms. Other people are not willing to buy them because their currency is so uncertain, so that there is a very large block of Irish Government securities which have not got a very free market. The only securities in which, I am told, there is a really free market on the Dublin Stock Exchange are the 3 per cent. Exchequer Bonds. That issue was £24,000,000 and the dates of redemption are 1965-70. The other issues available are the 3¼ per cent. loan, £7,000,000, 1956-61, the earliest date of which is now six years away and the 3¾ per cent. loan of £9,000,000, 1953-58. Both these loans stand at quite a substantial premium and the actual amounts are not very large. People at the Stock Exchange will tell you they are very tightly held and hard to buy.

No one can tell what is in the mind of the Minister for Finance in regard to new borrowing, but it might be possible to deduce something from Section 22 of the Bill before us. The sinking fund provisions for the new loans are to extend over a period of 30 years and the basis of calculation of the amount required is 3½ per cent. That suggests to me that the Minister's mind is thinking in terms of 3½ per cent on 30 years' currency. These are the terms of the British Coal Stock issued the other day—3½ per cent., 1976/80—and it would not surprise me if the Irish Government offered similar terms for their borrowing. If a loan on approximately those terms is issued, it might fail to mop up a certain amount of money in Ireland which, I think, could be readily available at a slightly cheaper rate.

There is a large amount of money in the hands of companies in Ireland, largely in view of the fears of the international situation to which Senator Quirke has referred, as companies are holding an unusually large part of their resources liquid. The bank deposits are very high and a large amount of those deposits is, I believe, reserves of companies being held in a liquid form. Companies do not wish to embark on loans for 30 years' currency at the present time. Fluctuations in gilt edged prices in recent years have not been such as to encourage people who may want to hold money in a liquid form to freeze too much of it in long securities. These companies, I am told, if they wish to invest their resources in suitable form, have to buy British Government securities. The trouble about that is that, in buying British Government securities, companies find themselves involved in questions of recovering British tax and complications of that kind; and, therefore, rather than involve themselves in these complications, the money is left idle. If it were not for that income-tax difficulty, there are three British Government securities which, I am told, are regarded as suitable by business people for the holding of liquid funds.

What I suggest to the Minister is that he should apply his mind to the question whether equivalent Irish Government securities could not be offered to the Irish public. To offer those securities might save the Exchequer quite a considerable amount of interest in the year. The worst that could happen is that they would not be taken up, which would not really matter very much. The experiment would have been tried. If they were taken up, they would be a gain to the Exchequer; if they were not, the position would not be worse than it is. Therefore, it is one of the experiments that seem to promise gain, without any equivalent possibility of loss. There are three securities to which I refer and I suggest to the Minister that he might consider whether there is not room in the borrowing structure of the Irish State to fit in some equivalent securities. The first is the 2½ per cent. Five Year Bonds. The maximum currency is five years. In the course of a year or two, they become a really short-dated security of a kind that appeals to people who want to keep their resources liquid. Another security which is calculated to appeal to private individuals rather than companies, as there is a maximum which may be issued to any one person, and which I believe is very popular in England, is the 3 per cent. Five Year Bonds issued on tap. They can be taken up by the public just as they require them. These bonds are repayable on six months' notice and, therefore, they give quite a reasonable return with considerable liquidity.

The final security to which I would draw the Minister's attention is one which, as far as I know, has not been utilised in this country, that is, the tax certificates. These enable idle money to be devoted to the payment of future demands for income-tax and other taxes at a substantial rate of discount, a higher rate of discount than can be obtained by leaving the money idle in the bank at 1 per cent. or whatever the deposit rate is. Income-tax which has already been assessed can always be paid before the date at which it is due, at 2½ per cent. discount, I am informed; but these tax certificates are specially designed for the holding of liquid funds in a profitable form against income-tax claims which have not been actually assessed.

All my observations regarding the necessity for borrowing are really meant to lead up to these concrete proposals. We are all agreed we must develop the resources of the country, we are all agreed the Government must borrow and, if it must borrow, it should try to do so on the best possible terms. I ask the Minister to apply his mind to the question whether some of these types of security which have been successfully floated elsewhere might not be successfully floated here also.

Ní dúirt an tAire mórán nuair a chuir sé an Bille ós ár gcomhair agus ní rabhmar ag súil le mórán uaidh. D'innis sé dúinn go raibh an oiread seo alt ins an mBille agus dúirt sé focal nó dhó ina dtaobh. Bé an rún a bhí aige, is dóigh liom, go raibh a dhóthain ráite aige sa Dáil ar an scéim agus mar adúirt sé féin bhí súil aige go raibh a chuid óráideachaí léite againn. Cé is móite den óráid a rinne sé tráthnóna inné ar an gCúigiú Céim, tá a chuid óráideachaí léite agam agus déarfainn nár mhór dó tamall eile a chaitheamh ar an stól cruaidh ag ceapadh míniú dúinn ar a chuid beartas sul a mbeidh mise, go háirithe sásta leis.

Ar an abhar sin is mó an spéis a bhí agam sna hóráideachaí a tugadh tráthnóna ag lucht an tSeanaid ná mar bhí agam in óráid an Aire. Níl fhios agam an fiú tagairt a dhéanamh do chuid de na hóráideachaí. Bhíodar chomh suarach sin, ar ócáid mar seo, go mb'éidir go mb'fhearr iad d'fhágáil marbh. Ina dhiaidh sin ní maith liom gan a fhágáil le léamh in Imeachtaí an tSeanaid gur bocht an mhaise don tSeanadóir Baxter masla a thabhairt don tSeanadóir Ó hEacháin nó do lucht Fianna Fáil. Dúirt sé go raibh sé ag súil, an té a labródh ón taobh seo, go ndéanfadh sé scrúdú agus anailís ar an mBille. Nuair nach raibh sé féin sásta le hóráid an tSeanadóra Ó hEacháin bhíodar ag súil go ndéanfadh sé féin mionscrúdú agus anailís ar an mBille. Chruthaigh an Seanadóir Baxter anseo tráthnóna go láidir dúinn an tuairim atá againn air féin le tamall: go mb'fhearr dhó a bhéal a choinneáil dúnta níos mó ná mar a choinníonn. Ní raibh fhios aige go mba cheart dúinn a bheith ag smaoineamh sa tír seo ar ócáid práinne. Fuair sé locht ar an óráid a rinne an Seanadóir Ó hEacháin mar gheall ar gur chuir sé ar shúile an Aire an saol contúirteach atá ann, an saol éiginnte atá ag bagairt orainn, agus gur mheabhraigh sé don Aire gur bé a leas agus leas na tíre go dtabharfadh sé áird ar chomharthaí an dainséir sin agus go ndéanfadh sé beart dá réir. Is é an sórt duine é an Seanadóir Baxter—agus go deimhin duine eile ar a laghad de na Seanadóirí a labhair ina dhiadh—ná duine den tsórt a cheapas gur bé an uair is ceart an doras a dhúnadh tar éis don fhoghail nó don ghadaíocht a bheith déanta. Míle buíochas le Dia, sna blianta atá caite, sul má bhris an cogadh mór deireannach amach, narb shin é an fhealsúnacht agus narb shin é an tuiscint a bhí ag an Rialtas ar a ndualgas; gur cheapadar gur cheart dóibh áird a thabhairt ar an saol a thart orthu agus beart a dhéanamh dá réir; gur cheapadar gur cheart dóibh réiteach a dhéanamh, agus a dhéanamh in am. Marach go ndearnadar é sin bheadh muid á rá ón ár gcroí amach "go bhfóiridh Dia ar mhuintir na hÉireann," i rith an chogaidh agus sna blianta ina dhiaidh sin ó stop an cogadh.

Rinne sé tagairt do neodracht a bhí á chleachtadh againn i rith na héigeandála agus facthas dó gur cleasach an gníomh é, gur mí-chneasta an gníomh é, ag Rialtas na tíre gur cheannaigh siad airm is oirnéis ón mBreatain Mhóir. Nach é brí na neodrachta go gceannódh muid in áit ar bith a d'fheilfeadh dúinn? Níor mhíchneastacht ná mí-dhílseacht é go raibhmuid sásta ceannacht ar mhargadh na Breataine Móire má fheil sé sin dúinn.

Thaispeáin an Seanadóir Baxter anseo tráthnóna gur duine suarach é ina intinn, muran duine é gan mórán tuisceana, nuair a labhair sé mar a labhair anseo ar an gceist sin agus ar cheisteanna eile. Rinne sé cosaint ar an Aire sa mhéid atá beartaithe aige. Tá locht againne ar chuid de na rudaí atá beartaithe ag an Aire—ní hé díreach ar na rúdaí atá beartaithe aige ach ar an mbealach atá sé ag dul ag tabhairt fúthu. Is é an rud is mó a bhfuil spéis againn ann inniu agus le tamall anuas: cén fáth a bhfuil athrú meoin tagaithe air mar atá le dhá bhliain go leith nó trí bliana anuas? Sin é an rud is mó go bhfuil spéis ag daoine ann. Cén fáth go bhfuil an somersault seo déanta aige? An rud a bhí ina pheaca trí bliana ó shoin, cén fáth gur suáilce nó bua anois é? Cén fáth gur mheabhraigh an Seanadóir Ó Briain dúinn go raibh sé sásta rúdaí a dhéanamh i 1938 nach mbeadh sé sásta a dhéanamh inniu? Mheabraigh seisean dúinn “dá mba rud é go raibh fhios agamsa agus ag an Coimisiún Bancaerachta go raibh cogadh le teacht agus go mbeadh an náisiún i sáinn, ní abróimis na rúdaí adúramar i dtuarascáil An Choimisiúin Bhancaereachta. Ní dóigh liom gur chualamar le fada an lá moladh níos mó ar thusicint, ar éirim, ar chúram, ar stuaim, ar fhadbhreathnaíocht an Rialtais a bhí ann san am. Bhí siad sin ag tabhairt aire don tsaol a bhí thart orthu; bhí siad ag tabhairt áird ar na comharthaí dainséir a bhí ag bagairt ó gach taobh, ach lucht léannta an Choimisiúin Bhancaereachta, ní raibh súile acu le breathnú ar na comharthaí dainséir ná cluasa acu le héisteacht le fuaimeanna an dainséir. Ar ámharaí an tsaoil bhí Rialtas tuisceanach againn a thuig céard a bhí ar bun agus a thuig an dainséar a bhí i ndán dúinn agus a rinne beart dá réir.

Debate adjourned.
Business suspended at 6 p.m. and resumed at 7 p.m.