At least it is implied. With regard to industry, I have indicated that the Undeveloped Areas Act was a step in the right direction. It is yielding results. I do not think those results can be expected to occur in one week or one year, but they are certain to develop, and we may take it that, as a result of the inducements offered, new industries will spring up in the areas that are so favoured.
Those of us who do not live in what are known as the undeveloped areas cannot help feeling a little perturbed, in as much as there will not be a tendency for potential manufacturers to go outside those particular areas where State aid is given. I think, therefore, that the main factor for the promotion of those industries outside those particular areas is local effort and local finance, as far as possible. I think it will need a tremendous effort to induce people in our provincial towns and in small villages to think seriously about the development of productive industry in their centres.
We have, unfortunately, a long tradition of disinterestedness, or perhaps hostility, to industrial development here, and that tradition has to be broken down. It is a tradition which does not exist in Britain, where normally every young man has had skilled employment, and it is his ambition to have a factory of his own. I had experience some time ago of meeting a young Englishman and his one ambition was to start a factory, though he had very little capital. He had, however, the spirit of enterprise. He interviewed some officials of the Department of Industry and Commerce and told them of what particular line he was thinking. They told him that the line he was thinking of was already overdone in this country and how much he was up against, if he followed it. He did not allow it to affect his ideas and he established in a small way an industry here which has continued to grow, slowly but surely. That just shows that, if we had more of this type of person in this country, enterprises would spring up here and there throughout the country. That particular industry has been established in a small village where there is not much employment or natural advantages for young men.
I think that, in this matter of promoting new industrial developments, the technical and vocational schools could play a leading part, in that they could inspire their students with a desire to help in the promotion of new industries. They could, if you like, create a public opinion among the young workers in favour of such industrial development. They could do a very useful work in that sphere, and, in addition, they could give their students the technical skill that is essential in the promotion of potential industries in their areas.
There has been in recent weeks or months a development which may or may not cut across this whole policy of decentralisation. That is the tendency to encourage foreign capitalists to come in here and establish industries. It will be, I believe, extremely difficult to bring these industrialists to the areas where we think they should go. As a matter of fact, if a potential industrialist from abroad is to come here, it will require a big effort on the part of the Government to ensure that he will not add to our problem of over-centralisation, so I think that, if that development takes place, the strongest pressure should be put on such manufacturers to locate their industries in areas where it is desirable to have them from the national point of view, rather than centre them more in one big area.
The same thing would occur to any Government in regard to our sea ports. I think the policy of the Government should be wherever possible and as far as possible to ensure that foreign goods being imported or goods being exported should be to see that ports other than the port of Dublin are utilised. Without taking unduly from the city, it would be wrong to centre all the shipping of this country in the port of Dublin. Therefore, all the harbours along our coasts which are quite suitable should be promoted.
One of the methods by which decentralisation could be carried out effectively is through the larger State companies. While it is not always possible in the case of private enterprise, the Government certainly should be able to ensure that, when a large State company is set up, its operations should be decentralised. I think the sugar beet industry set a very desirable example in that respect, inasmuch as, instead of establishing one great factory for the whole country, they established four. It might have been even better if they had established five, but at any rate there was a certain amount of wise distribution in that case. It is true that one of the factories has been disappointing in regard to the supplies of raw materials which they have been able to secure, but I think that the efforts to increase the supplies there should not be abandoned. I think that propaganda and publicity directed in that direction should be used to get the people to grow beet in the area and keep the factory going. I know that every farmer large and small supports the sugar industry and even the cottage tenants have grown beet extensively. The efforts have been so great that the case has been made that disease has occurred on these crops because of the continuous growing year after year of sugar beet. Many of these small land holders with less than one acre are disappointed that they are prevented from continuing to grow it.
Another development over the years which was, I think, desirable was the promotion of wheat growing. It had the result in County Wicklow, and possibly in other counties, of opening up flour mills which had been closed down, and I think there again there are people who would say that these small mills are a burden on the community, inasmuch as they cannot be altogether as efficient as the very large units of production.
Nevertheless, looking at the matter from a national or social point of view, I think they are desirable. In small villages where they are located, they provide useful and remunerative employment for workers and should be preserved. The industries which could be, and should be, promoted under a decentralisation plan are those which depend on agriculture for their raw materials.
Modern trends are moving more in the direction of processed foods of every kind. This opens up big possibilities for manufacturing industries based on agriculture. Almost every product of the farm can be processed and marketed in a condition that will not be dependent on an immediate market. For such things as vegetables, poultry and eggs, the market can be evened out, or the products preserved till the markets improve. They can be transported considerable distances, if better markets are available a long way away. In those particular directions, there is an opening for decentralisation.
Again, in regard to mineral development, the successful exploration work carried out by Mianraí Teoranta in Avoca during the past seven years has shown that, if we are prepared to spend a certain amount of money on exploration, we may succeed in uncovering greater mineral deposits than we thought existed. In regard to this particular enterprise, we understand now that all of the £500,000 that were expended will be returned to the State. That gives the State £500,000 to utilise in further exploratory work, whenever it is deemed to be desirable. I have heard, moving through County Wicklow in particular, local traditions of the existence of various types of mineral in practically every part of the county. There has been proof of considerable deposits in the Tinahely area, in the Glendalough area, and in many other areas. Whether they are sufficient to justify further development or not is a matter which can only be proved by exploration.
There was another matter that was mentioned in the course of the debate, and that was the famous Ferguson car. I understand that efforts have been made to have that car manufactured in the Six Counties. How far those efforts are likely to be successful, I do not know, but I think it would be a glorious idea if the promoters of this company were induced to establish their factory—and, of course, it will be a very large one—right on the Border between the Six Counties and the Republic. Such an industry would become a unifying force for the nation. That might not come completely under the heading of decentralisation, but at least it would be a development which everyone would favour. The Ferguson car, I understand, will have many new and revolutionary features. It is a car that will go not only backwards and forwards, but sideways as well. It would be an ideal State car for Coalition Ministers.