Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Seanad Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 25 Jul 1963

Vol. 56 No. 20

Appropriation Bill, 1963: Second Stage.

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

The annual Appropriation Bill provides the Seanad with the opportunity to discuss the various Estimates for the Supply Services contained in the Book of Estimates.

This year's Bill follows the normal lines. The purposes of the Bill are to supplement the issues authorised in the Central Fund Act, 1963, thereby bringing the total issues for 1963-64 up to the figure of approximately £167 million shown in this year's Estimates Volume and to appropriate to the specific Supply Services set out in Schedule B to the Bill, the various issues authorised since last year's Appropriation Act. The Bill also gives powers to the Minister for Finance to borrow amounts required for the Supply Services additional to the amounts which this year's Central Fund Act authorised him to borrow.

I ask the House to approve the Bill.

The Appropriation Bill gives the members of Seanad Éireann one of the few opportunities they have of discussing Government policy or lack of it.

This Bill is concerned with Departmental administration.

Through the Finance Bill which was bulldozed through the House last night, with the help of the Taoiseach's eleven——

It was not bulldozed. If the Senator persists in that, he will receive further information.

Through that Finance Bill, the Minister is seeking to extract from the lowest population we ever had in this country, a population of 2,811,341, the highest figure of taxation ever, £181,750,000. Of this, £3½ million is to be collected this year and anything between £11 million and £13 million next year by a new method of taxation, by taxing the necessaries of life. The Minister knows that as long as the people have to eat, clothe themselves and buy fuel, the Government are sure of being able to collect this additional taxation.

The question of taxation does not arise on this Bill. It was discussed on the Finance Bill.

The Government are seeking to extract money from the people.

The Government are not seeking to extract money by this Bill which is concerned only with the expenditure of money.

I had always understood that on the Finance Bill you are allowed to discuss taxation and taxation only and were not allowed to discuss the appropriation of money as set out in this Bill. I suggest that the Senator is discussing taxation and not appropriation.

I am entitled to discuss the spending of £181,750,000 of the people's money, how it is related to Government policy and how it will be spent during the year. Despite the fact that through Government policy the cost of production of our primary producers has increased and will continue to increase this year, the prices at which they had to sell their wheat, oats and barley last year were at least 25 per cent lower than they were in 1954. Pig prices are nearly 10/- a cwt less than they were and we remember how in 1956 and 1957 they were as high as £7 million worth of bacon exported to Britain because the object of the Government then was to encourage increased production and increased exports.

This year, there is a record high trade balance of £106 million and despite the fact that it is intended to spend the sum of £181 million, as we have pointed out and proved over the last week, unemployment, while it is less than it was five or six years ago, has increased by 3,000 over the past year. As I said, our population is at the lowest level ever and we have a smaller number of people paying the increased burden placed on them year after year.

If the Government are sincere and if they want, to quote their own expression, restraint, they themselves should give the lead. The present is not the time for increasing the burden on the people. On the contrary, the people are entitled to look to the Government for an easing of their burdens so that a much needed stimulus would be given to agriculture, to industry and to business generally. If Ireland is to maintain a viable economy, the first essential is to ensure that the principal national wealth which is our arable land, buildings and stock and, above all, the families who work on the land, are made to prosper. Last night the Minister in his speech, as reported in today's Irish Press, pointed to a Fine Gael switch on the front of taxation.

How does that arise on this Bill ?

I want to state——

The Senator is not going to make a statement that is out of order.

I am not going to make a statement that is out of order. The Minister made a charge there was a switch——

That has nothing to do with the Bill before us. The Senator will come to the Appropriation Bill.

As far as our policy is concerned, there is no switch.

I should like to ask Senator L'Estrange to sit down unless he comes to the Bill before the House.

I want you to tell me, Sir, in what way you believe I am out of order.

The Senator is going outside the scope of this Bill and I shall not permit it.

In the past, on the Appropriation Bill, we have always been allowed to discuss Government policy or Government lack of policy.

The Senator will concern himself with the spending of money mentioned in this Bill.

I intend to concern myself with the Bill and the money in this Bill. As far as that is concerned, I am prepared to give credit where credit is due and, perhaps, we can say credit is due to the Minister for Industry and Commerce who has done his best to build up our industries and prepare us for the competitive period which lies ahead. We all agree that even though negotiations are off at present we may be in the Common Market much earlier than many people imagine. The Minister for Industry and Commerce is doing his best to prepare us for that eventuality.

What is the Minister for Agriculture doing? The agricultural community is being completely neglected and agriculture has become the Cinderella of our industries. If the same vigour, the same enthusiasm and the same blood transfusion were given to agriculture as is being given to industry, then there would, perhaps, be some hope for the future of this country.

The Senator sold his farm.

As regards the sale of my farm, I never offered it for sale. I was offered a really good price for it and I accepted it. There is free sale in this country. I bought another and a better farm on a main road. There is nothing wrong in that. I broke no law of God or man and I have nothing to be ashamed of.

The personal affairs of Senators are not subjects for discussion in the House.

I do not mind being taxed with anything——

Senator L'Estrange, to come to the Bill.

We have an incompetent Minister for Agriculture and I believe we have a wrongly conceived agricultural policy and the whole country is suffering for it. If we had a Minister for Agriculture with the same vigour and enthusiasm as the Minister for Industry and Commerce, then there would be some hope for the future. It might be no harm to quote from a speech made by Mr. Rickard Deasy, President of the NFA, which is reported in the Irish Farmers' Journal of Saturday, July 20th, 1963. At their annual general meeting he said:

However, there is as yet no clearly defined Government agricultural policy and no development plan for agriculture as the dominant partner in our national economy.

He went on to say:

Caution has, therefore, ruled the day without either a sufficient examination of the long term ill effects to our economy of undiluted caution in this sphere of agricultural development or the benefits to the whole economy, if by economic planning, sound organisation, imaginative processing and marketing we can replace caution and stagnation by ordered agricultural expansion.

It is a pity that the President of the NFA has to make a statement like that at the present time. Undoubtedly, it is true and it would be much better if we had a much younger and, perhaps, a more active member of the Government in the most important Ministry in this State. On 18th and 19th March, 1963, the vital talks affecting the economy and the future prosperity of this country took place in England. The Taoiseach and the Minister for External Affairs met the British Ministers and despite the fact that Ireland is an agricultural country and that agriculture represents over 75 per cent of our exports, the Minister for Agriculture was left behind. Many people wonder why. Are the Government not interested in agriculture? Do they not believe Deputy Smith is a proper or competent man to represent us abroad? We on this side of the House remember with pride the 1948 Trade Agreement with Britain negotiated by Deputy Dillon, when Minister for Agriculture. We remember the fruits that flowed from that agreement.

He was not in Fine Gael then.

Neither were you in Fianna Fáil then.

Senator L'Estrange will address the Chair.

We all remember the fruits that flowed from that Agreement. In 1948, our total exports were £48 million and in three years they had reached the staggering sum of £92 million. If people on the other side want to sneer and jeer when we mention that agreement, let them remember that the fruits are still flowing from it. Deputy Dillon made an agreement with the British Government that the price we were to receive for our cattle was to be tied to the price the British farmers were to receive, with a difference of only 3/-per cwt. That meant that Irish Ministers for Agriculture could in future stay at home because as a result of that agreement any time the National Farmers' Union in Britain negotiated for and got an increase in price it automatically applied here.

Let those on the other side sneer and jeer. We all know that from 1939 to 1945 Britain was in the throes of a world war, her ships were being sent to the bottom of the sea and her people left with a ration of two ounces of meat per week. We all know also the slogan of the Fianna Fáil patriots: "England's difficulty is Ireland's opportunity". There was Ireland's opportunity, but we sold our cattle, sheep and pigs at that time at give-away prices. If the people on the other side were so concerned about the Irish farmers, why did they not go then to John Bull when he was in difficulty, hold the gun to his head and demand fair and just prices for our produce? They would have had to get just prices as James Dillon got them in 1948.

If he had been in power then, we would have been in the war.

Senators will have to address the Chair.

Thousands of Irish boys and girls lost their lives fighting for Britain then because, due to economic circumstances created here by Fianna Fáil, they could not earn a living and had to go abroad and fight for Britain.

Will the Senator please come back to the Votes in this Bill?

We believe the money being provided in this Bill could be spent in much better ways than it has been spent over the years. It has been pointed out on many occasions in this House that Ireland is predominantly an agricultural country, that the prosperity of every man, woman and child here, whether they be in town or city, no matter what their business, ultimately depends on the prosperity of the people on the land of Ireland, because since we have no underground wealth it is by our exports that we live. Due to Fianna Fáil policy, there is no denying that the farmers of this country were seldom in such a bad state as they are today. Figures are the best way to prove anything and I think even Senator Brady will agree from statistics that the farming community in this country represents from 45 per cent to 46 per cent of the population. Let us have facts then.

In 1953, this 45 per cent of our people got 29.4 per cent of the national income; in 1959 they got 24 per cent and in 1961, despite the fact that people on the other side told us they never had it so good, that happy days were here again, this 45 per cent of the population received only 21.3 per cent of the national income. How can we agree that the moneys provided under this Bill over the years have been properly spent when we give 45 per cent of our people—the most important section of the community—only 21.3 per cent of the national income? These figures are in this White Paper, Closing the Gap, for any Senator to examine.

With this money at their disposal, it is the duty of this or any other Government to do something for the farmers, the principal producers in this country, and for the agricultural labourers, the hardest worked section of our working population. Senator McAuliffe yesterday referred to the fact that agricultural labourers were endeavouring to live on a wage of £6 per week. I can tell the House now that not alone are the labourers trying to live on such small incomes but that there are many small farmers who try to exist on £4 or £5 a week. An agricultural labourer is as much entitled to £10, £11 or £12 per week, in fact very much more so, as a bus driver, a corporation worker or any other employed man in the country. He is doing the most important work in the country and for too long he and the small farmer have been the hewers of wood and the drawers of water.

The 1916 Proclamation stated this nation was to cherish all its children equally. How can we say we are cherishing all our children equally when we treat the agricultural labourer and the small farmer in the way we do; when small farmers in the West of Ireland, throughout the Midlands and in other areas must try to live on £4 and £5 a week, when the most important producing element in our community, who represent 45 per cent of the population, get only 21.3 per cent of the national income? As reported at column 669 of the Official Report for 6th March of this year, 18,000 people left agricultural employment in this country between 1961 and 1962. Those people are leaving because of the low standard of living associated with work on the land.

The Second Volume of the Census of Population was published yesterday. It gives the figures for the different age groups. They are alarming and frightening figures. They point out that the population declined from 2,971,992 in 1926 to 2,818,341 in 1961—a drop of 153,651. According to the same statistics, 93,000 of that drop of 153,000 took place between 1956 and 1961. The population of the younger age group has risen substantially, and the population of the older age group has also risen substantially. As a matter of fact, the age group of 75 years and upwards has risen by 118,000 people. The "teenage" group has declined by as much as 50,000. Between the ages of 20 and 44 years the total loss of population has been 210,000.

If we take the male group, on which the future prosperity of this nation depends, we find there was a sharp decline of 26,000 in the age group of 15 to 19 years between 1926 and 1961; there was a reduction of 44,000 in the 20 to 24 years age group; there was a reduction of 34,000 in the age group between 25 and 29 years; there was a reduction of 17,000 in the age group between 30 and 34 years; and there was a reduction of 6,000 in the age group between 35 and 39 years. In the age group from 65 upwards, there was a substantial increase in population varying from 7,000 to 9,000, in the 70 to 79 years age group. There was the very same trend in the female age groups, but I shall not quote it, the very young age groups increasing, the "teenage" and 20 to 30 age groups declining, and the older age groups increasing.

These figures mean that the cream of our boys and girls are emigrating and helping to build up other countries while their brains and ability are needed at home. The Minister told me the other day that according to the figures the number of people emigrating now is decreasing. I remember when the Taoiseach was asked for figures his reply always was that there were no reliable figures he could give. If that number is decreasing, what is the reason? There is hardly anyone left in the age groups from 17 years to 44 or 45 years. You cannot expect the children to go in their cradles, or the old people to go in their wheel chairs.

Who will go to the big dancehalls Senator Quinlan talked about?

Senator Quinlan was condemning the dancehalls. He said it would be much better if factories were built.

They are being built in anticipation of making plenty of money.

They are closing down every parochial hall in Ireland. I think it is a disgrace and it is a question the Government must face up to in the future. The small parochial halls which were run by political, charitable and philanthropic organisations are closing down, because one gang were able to corner the good bands.

The Senator will relate his remarks to the Appropriation Bill.

Despite the fact that huge sums have been spent each year, and will be spent this year, the population is falling. Therefore, I believe the Government are spending the money in the wrong way.

The leading article in today's Irish Independent states:

If there is one lesson that leaps out of the second volume of figures from the 1961 Census, it is that the present generation of schoolchildren must not be let slip away from Ireland. That this is not just a platitude, a close look at the figures can reveal. The great emigration of the last 10 years has struck most heavily at the 20-30 age group. Not in living memory have there been so few people in their twenties in the country. Their number since independence has declined by a third —a drop almost five times out of proportion with the total decline in the population.

This loss of the young has been constantly bewailed, and people have feared a future when the balance between young and old would be severely upset.

We have arrived at that situation, despite the huge sums of money the Minister is extracting, and intends to spend, under this Bill.

I believe the yardstick by which the people should judge the Government is the prosperity of the country, the number of families living in happiness and prosperity and earning their living in their own country, the number of mothers and fathers with peace of mind, knowing that when their children are reared and educated they will be able to get work at home in their own land, and not have to emigrate to Birmingham, Liverpool, London or anywhere else. We remember being told to "get cracking" in 1956. Fianna Fáil got cracking and with lashes of their whips, they banished 300,000 of the flower of our youth from the country.

I also pointed out before that in 1961 and 1962 there were fewer people employed in Ireland than there were in 1955. A drop of 93,000 in our population is equivalent to a drop in population of 2,000,000 in England and 6,000,000 in America. We know what would happen in those countries if there were such a drop. Let us face facts and realities. I believe the most reliable barometer of our position is our population and at present, alone among the civilised nations of the world, we have a declining population.

We all learned at school the lines of Oliver Goldsmith: "Ill fares the land to hastening ills a prey, where wealth accumulates and men decay." We hear talk about prosperity and about the great times the people have under Fianna Fáil, but unfortunately for our people the words of Oliver Goldsmith were never more true than they are today. Indeed, unless there is a change of Government shortly, this country will be looked upon as a deserted island.

I shall try to confine myself to what should appropriately be said on the Appropriation Bill. When discussing the Finance Bill, we were concerned about how the finances of the country should be collected, through what channels and by what systems of taxation. Our duty is to ascertain whether the finances that are to be collected through the methods of taxation laid down in the Finance Bill are being spent in the best way.

I do not propose to travel along the avenues which the previous speaker traversed but there are a few points I should like to take up. The first matter is that of emigration and the departure from the country to England of young people between the ages Senator L'Estrange mentioned. One would imagine from him that it was only since this Government took office that that emigration has taken place. I remember a discussion here when the Coalition Government were in office and I pointed out that at that time people were leaving the west and south-west, that whole families were locking their doors behind them and departing for England. The then Minister for Industry and Commerce had no remedy. The question is what is the remedy? The remedy, of course, is to provide more work and more opportunities for the young people. That is exactly what the Government are endeavouring to do but they cannot do it without the necessary finance and when they propose to take measures to collect the finance, they are criticised by the Opposition who are shedding crocodile tears for the young people leaving the country.

I know I cannot refer to the question of the way in which the money should be collected so that the less said about this question of emigration by the people opposite the better. Everybody knows that emigration is on the decline and has fallen to such an extent that it now equates with the growth of the population. In other words, the population is being kept level and, perhaps, increasing a little. The Senator should bear that in mind.

Read yesterday's figures.

I must say I was intrigued to hear the Senator talk about wheat and the prices farmers were getting for their wheat. If the Senator's leader got his way, there would be no wheat at all.

That is all codology.

The farmers would get nothing for the wheat because the wheat would not be there. Was that not the policy propounded by his leader some years ago?

That wheat should not be grown in the country? Now we find one of his front benchers complaining that the farmers are not getting a proper price for wheat. The Senator's leader said that he would not be found dead in a field of wheat.

Three barrels to the acre.

Do we not remember that obiter dictum which came from the leader of the Fine Gael Party?

Of Fianna Fáil wheat.

Of course, he was not the leader of the Fine Gael Party then. The Senator also referred to the Minister for Agriculture. It is common practice—is there a conversation going on in the Seanad while I am speaking: what kind of discussion is it?—on the part of the Opposition to single out Ministers one by one—at one time it might be the Minister for Finance and at another time, the Minister for Agriculture—and to denigrate them and to try to point out that he is falling down on his duty as compared with other Ministers. We have had experience of that kind of thing in the past. The Minister for Agriculture is a very competent Minister who has done his work well. He has gone around and met the farmers and discussed their problems with them. He has received deputations from them. He was a small farmer himself and understands their needs. It is wrong for any Senator to say that the Minister for Agriculture is not doing his duty.

If any proof of that is needed, I have it here. The proof is the amount of revenue that is being devoted to the promotion of agriculture. Senator L'Estrange said that agriculture was the Cinderella of industries. It is no such thing. The amount of money devoted to the development of agriculture, according to the Book of Estimates, and added to it is what has been given by way of the increased price for milk, approximates to some £38 million or nearly one-quarter of the total sum to be found in the Book of Estimates. If all this is being done for agriculture, can anybody say that the Minister for Agriculture is not pulling his weight with the Government? He certainly is.

As I said, we are concerned with the uses to which the finances of the country are being put. I hold that they are being put to good use. I mentioned agriculture which is the basic industry. The farmers, despite what Senator L'Estrange has said, are doing well and their only trouble is the climate. The Government, however, have nothing to do with that. There was a time when I heard certain Opposition politicians blaming the Government for the climate. It is a wonder Senator L'Estrange did not do the same because he did say certain things of that nature.

There have been further developments in agriculture, fisheries, land division and afforestation. Take land division and afforestation. The rate of afforestation is greater now than it has ever been. The acreage of afforestation is greater now. The building of schools and the provision of further educational facilities at all levels are better now than ever before. More new schools are being built. More educational facilities are being provided and there is better ahead. This, I submit, is the best way to spend the money collected by the Minister for Finance through taxation and otherwise.

Senator L'Estrange also mentioned agricultural wages and spoke of their low level. They are not as low as he said they are. I want Senators to bear in mind that there was no question at all of regulating agricultural wages until Fianna Fáil took over. It was Fianna Fáil who established the Agricultural Wages Board. Up to then, agricultural workers were exposed to the winds of change. Nobody can deny that it was a Fianna Fáil Government established the Agricultural Wages Board.

Do not forget that there were three times as many on the land then as there are now.

Nobody was concerned about what wages were being paid to the agricultural workers until Fianna Fáil took up the matter.

On the Appropriation Bill, I think it right to make a general survey of the country as a whole. I have no doubt in my mind that the policy of the Government is working well for the farmers, for the workers, for the recipients of social benefits, and so on. Better provision is being made for the farmers, for the workers and for the people with whom we should be most concerned —

The emigrants, those who have left.

——the poorer sections of the community. I think the poorer sections of the community realise that their case will always be better looked after by a Fianna Fáil Government because, before Fianna Fáil took over at all there were no benefits whatsoever for these classes. They had to fend for themselves— they got nothing.

I for one hold that the policy of the Government is calculated to benefit all sections of the community. If any little sacrifice is asked for by the Government now and then, we may be sure that this will not be done unless there is some necessity for it and unless it is calculated to redound to the future welfare of the people. The policy of the Government is a long-term one— not a haphazard or makeshift one such as was pursued by the Coalition Governments in their time——

You have the results after 30 years of it.

——when nobody knew from one day to another what they were going to do and what the ultimate result of their policy would be, if it could be called a policy. At that time, of course, there was brought about a stagnation in the country's economy and the nation was brought to the verge of bankruptcy.

That is ridiculous and you know it.

Those people who criticise the Government and some of the measures they have to take must realise that the only alternative in the foreseeable future is another Coalition Government. Fine Gael pretend that they are prepared to form a Government.

Try it and see.

Does anybody here believe they will have the strength in the foreseeable future to do so?

On the result of the Dublin North-East by-election, yes.

That was only one part of the country and a by-election. I do not take notice of by-elections. I have known by-elections to work out like that in the past before there was ever any talk about a turnover tax. People do not attach the same importance to by-elections as they do to general elections.

Shall we now come to the problems of administration?

I would not have referred to it, were it not for the fact that it was referred to by way of interruption. There are some people here who are expert interrupters. Fine Gael say they are prepared to provide an alternative Government. Nobody believes that they will have the strength at any time in the near future——

Take the gamble. Rush to the Park at midnight tonight.

Anybody who examines the Book of Estimates for this year will see that all the increases in the Estimates are designed to bring about the expansion of the economy. Anyone who studies the various Estimates must admit that. In other words, the Programme for Economic Expansion is working out well and much better than some people thought it would when it was initiated. We are soon to have another programme. If it works out, as I am sure it will, better than the programme we have had, I think we can look forward to a better country.

Senator L'Estrange attributed a certain statement to Fianna Fáil. He said we were responsible for the statement that England's difficulty is Ireland's opportunity. That statement did not emanate from Fianna Fáil.

I said you believed that and you preached that.

It was there before us. Other people preached it. It was Jonathan Swift who propounded that policy and he also said that we should burn everything British except her coal. These sayings should not be attributed to Fianna Fáil.

But Fianna Fáil took up the cry and continued it for years.

The Senator gave some figures in an effort to give us the impression that the population of the country is going down. I doubt the accuracy of those figures.

They were published in all the papers yesterday.

I have said that he was wrong about emigration which has been stemmed and is now going down. If we are to place the same credence on his interpretation of the population figures, I fear they would be shrouded in uncertainty.

They were published in the three daily papers, if that can be denied.

In this Bill we are concerned to find out whether we are going in the right direction or not, whether the country's resources are being properly developed, whether the money is being spent in the right way. I think it is, and that the Government's policy is the right one. There is prosperity at present. The country is getting richer—

That is what is wrong—and the poor are getting poorer.

——and the poor are better off than they were. The Senator did not expect that.

I do not believe that.

The poorer classes are better off. They have got several increases in benefits from the Fianna Fáil Government over the years. It is the policy of Fianna Fáil to do their best for these people and to make no promises but it was the policy of both Coalition Governments to say they would do this and that but in fact to do nothing.

No Party made more promises than Fianna Fáil. What about maintaining subsidies and reducing the cost of living?

If we move along the road to national progress and let the people understand we have a policy for their benefit, in the long run, they will understand that. They do understand it in spite of the confusion that certain politicians and parliamentarians are trying to create.

This Bill, as has been said, deals with expenditure and not with taxation which was fully dealt with on the Finance Bill which we completed last night. I propose to address my remarks to the total expenditure included in the Appropriation Bill without going into any of the details.

I suppose this is the nearest thing we have in the Seanad to a debate on the Estimates in the Dáil and that almost any matter of Government policy involving Government expenditure would be relevant. Whether that is so or not, I shall confine myself to the totals. No doubt, each individual item of public expenditure can be justified or at least made to appear justifiable on some grounds but the total expenditure may add up to a dangerous sum. I shall deal with the large amount of the total expenditure.

The Appropriation Bill shows that the total expenditure proposed in the current year is higher than last year, that last year's total was higher than the year before and that expenditure, both current and capital, by the Government has been increasing steadily each year. I do not propose to do more than refer the Seanad to certain remarks in the report of the Central Bank which has gone into this matter very thoroughly. The Central Bank report this year, as I mentioned in last week's debate, is a very valuable document that I think everybody who takes any part in Irish public life should study.

I cannot sufficiently praise the publications of the Central Bank. The quarterly bulletins keep us up to date four times a year in regard to what is going on in our economic life and the annual report is a complete review of the previous year and contains a great deal of very valuable discussion regarding the trends which affect the present year and future years. Therefore, I wish to draw attention to certain remarks in the Central Bank report on the total expenditure of the country which is a matter on which the Bank lays particular emphasis in this year's report.

The main point made by the Central Bank and borne out by the various Appropriation Bills which we have had from year to year is that the current and capital expenditure of the Government are both rising very rapidly and rising at an increasing rate. I shall give some figures that I think are remarkable from the Central Bank before I finish showing they are rising at a much greater rate than the national income. This can have very adverse effects on the economy of the country. If the amount drained off for Government expenditure is rising every year more rapidly than the national income it can create what is known as demand inflation, that is to say money may be put into the pockets of people who have not earned it by any productive efforts. That may lead to an increase in imports of consumer goods of all kinds. It may also injure exports by putting up the cost of production.

The Central Bank report does not for a moment hesitate to state that inflation of this kind is taking place here. It points out—and I should like to repeat this for the benefit of Senators who, perhaps, have not read the report themselves—that there are two types of country where a rapid rise in public expenditure in excess of national income and in excess of current revenue can be occasionally tolerated. One is very advanced industrial countries such as Great Britain where there may be temporary unemployment and unused resources. This is a policy that is known nowadays in popular terminology as a stop-and-go policy. Occasionally industrialised countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States will have to inject a certain amount of purchasing power into the economy by means of Government expenditure in order to raise demand and raise the general level of activity, which is only justified in quite exceptional circumstances. It has been resorted to in Britain once or twice in recent years and it is now the official policy of the President of the United States.

The other type of country where rising public expenditure and rising public investment in excess of the national income is justified are the so-called undeveloped countries which do not possess an infrastructure of economic production. They are deficient in railways, roads, ports, schools and so on. In order that these countries may be able to progress, a considerable amount of investment is necessary. These countries are not able to provide their own capital and the provision of investment in these countries is one of the great international problems today; it is the problem of the undeveloped countries of the world, many of which are receiving very large sums to assist them from the more developed countries, particularly from the United States of America.

As the Central Bank report points out, Ireland falls into neither of these categories. It is not a highly industrialised country in which there is a large amount of unemployed industrial resources and highly skilled unemployed labour. It is not an undeveloped country in the sense of a country that needs an infrastructure of economic life. The infrastructure is already present. Luckily, there is a great deal on which to build here. The country is amply supplied with the main public services that any country needs. This country is, therefore, a country in which the rate of expansion in Government expenditure is extremely difficult to justify.

Agriculture still remains our principal industry. Now, agricultural exports are still very sensitive to costs of production. Ours is an exceptionally open economy, in the sense that influences in the outside world can affect our whole total activity more than in most other countries. We are a small country with a narrow range of natural resources. In relation to our total output, our external transactions are very large and it is important, therefore, that we should avoid inflation of any kind. In order to do that, we must be able to export competitively, keep down our costs of production and avoid any form of inflation, whether the result of rising costs or rising Government expenditure.

These are matters which are fully dealt with in the report of the Central Bank. I submit they are relevant for consideration under this Bill. I should like to draw attention to some of the actual facts of the situation in regard to Government expenditure. I propose now to quote the figures in the Central Bank report. This is a country where, in relation to its resources, public expenditure is already exceptionally high. At page 31 of the Central Bank report, it is stated:

Published statistics relating to 1960 indicate that the proportion of total government expenditure to national income in Ireland was one of the highest among a list of thirteen west European countries, being exceeded only by the United Kingdom and Austria.

Out of a large number of European countries, we rank third in relation to the amount of public expenditure compared with national income.

I wish to refer to the White Paper published by the Government in 1958, on which Government policy has been based in recent years. The White Paper Economic Expansion warns against excessive increases in public expenditure. I wish to quote merely one sentence from that White Paper where the Government are asked:

... to reduce the effective burden of taxation by moderating the growth in net debt service charges, by achieving maximum efficiency in administration, by relating further improvements in the social services to increases in real national income and by reducing subsidies to the minimum necessary to secure a permanent increase in economic production.

Unfortunately, since that admirable advice was tendered to the Government five years ago, public expenditure has tended to increase. Both current and capital expenditures have tended to increase. Both the amount of current expenditure which led, of course, to additional taxation, and the amount of capital expenditure, which led to additional borrowing, have increased very rapidly in spite of the warning given by the White Paper in 1958.

At page 29 of the report of the Central Bank, it is stated:

Briefly, the position, therefore, appears to be that the growth of expenditure has outpaced that of revenue.

It goes on to refer to the White Paper and quotes from that document.

"high taxation is necessitated by high expenditure and can be reduced only if expenditure is reduced,"

Further, it states:

While, since that time, production has increased, the cost of current services has grown more rapidly, and has reached so high a level as to necessitate new taxation.

The next page of the report states what I have already stated, and gives some figures in verification of the fact that public expenditure in this country is racing ahead of the available resources.

At page 30, some remarkable figures appear, comparing the financial years 1958/59 and 1962/63:

Government expenditure classified as strictly current in character, that is, excluding voted capital services and below-the-line issues, increased by 33.3 per cent, while Government expenditure increased by 52.9 per cent, net borrowing by 149.7 per cent and debt service charges by 50.0 per cent. Between 1958 and 1962, gross national product increased by 18.3 per cent in real terms and by 28.0 per cent at current prices. Thus, while strictly current expenditure showed a much greater average annual increase than national output in real terms as well as at current prices, total expenditure, borrowing and net debt service charges increased at a still faster rate, which compares even more unfavourably with the rate of economic growth.

I suggest that these are very significant figures, figures which should be pondered upon by everybody concerned with the credit and the underlying soundness of the finances of this country.

I have, of course, to admit that a large amount of the increase in expenditure is unavoidable. It is the result of rising prices and rising costs, which have to be met by the Government, as well as by everybody else. I also admit that much of the increased expenditure is justifiable from a social standpoint, but, as I said in the debate on the Finance Bill, it is very difficult to draw the line between social and productive expenditure. What may be productive expenditure in the very long run in such fields as education may have to be regarded as social expenditure in the short run in the years in which it is incurred. There may be a considerable interval between the investment and the reaping of the dividend and, until the dividend begins to be reaped, that investment is, strictly speaking, deadweight debt. However desirable, such expenditure does impose a deadweight debt on the country, in the sense that the service of that debt has to be met by increased taxation.

I wish to quote one sentence to corroborate what I have said on this matter. The Central Bank point out at page 30:

There can be little doubt that the acceleration of growth in public expenditure, with the accompanying increases in public borrowing and net debt service charges, has been a factor in creating pressure on the balance of payments and on prices.

So much for the past. Let us now consider the future.

Taking the present Appropriation Bill, the figures are much larger than any previously. The tendency towards ever-increasing public expenditure, far from being checked seems to be almost accelerated. That is the opinion of the Central Bank again at page 31:

The Budget estimates for 1963/64 provide for further substantial increases in both current and capital expenditure. There are no indications that the rate of growth in public expenditure will slacken in the future: it would appear, rather, that continuing acceleration is to be anticipated.

That certainly is borne out by the figures in the Appropriation Bill which, of course, are really a reflection of the Estimates. This is the nearest thing we have in the Seanad to a debate on the Estimates in the Dáil. The amount of public expenditure is determined by the amount of the Estimates together with the amount of capital expenditure. There is very little we can do about this in the Seanad except to talk about it. The amount of current expenditure is the result of the Estimates which have been passed by the Dáil. The amount of capital expenditure— most of which is justifiable in the long run, although it may impose burdens in the short run—is the result of the Government's policy outlined in the 1958 White Paper and followed ever since. There is not very much we can do except to call attention to the dangers in the situation. Nothing we can say will reduce the amount of expenditure which has to be provided in the Appropriation Bill this year, but at least we are entitled to call attention to the fact that there may be a dangerous situation.

I make no apology for quoting the report of the Central Bank on this matter because the opinion of the Bank, which contains a directorship of such ability, is of more value than mere personal opinions of mine or of any other Senator. We hear there is about to be published a new programme of expansion corresponding to the programme of 1958. It would be very sad if the realisation of that programme was to be held back and rendered impossible by excessive claims on the part of the Government on the resources of the country. The Central Bank, dealing with the coming Programme for Economic Expansion, makes some observations which are very relevant. I am quoting from page 34:

It cannot be denied that, at the present stage of economic development in this country, a large measure of responsibility for promoting economic growth devolves on the public sector, nor that public expenditure may have a special value when it takes the form of channelling towards productive use, by private enterprise, funds which might otherwise be invested abroad. There remains, however, a large field in which there is scope for the exercise of a moderating influence on the growth of Government expenditure. The choice of particular sectors of expenditure on which to bring such an influence to bear, is, of course, primarily the responsibility of the authority which prepares the programme of expenditure as a whole, that is, of the Government themselves; that this process of choice should be in continuous operation and should be carried out with full regard to the existing and prospective volume of the flow of real resources deriving from the productive activity of the community.

As I stated, since 1958 the volume of public expenditure has been growing in excess of the resources available in the country. It would be deplorable if this imbalance between these two figures—public expenditure and the resources available—were to continue or even to become greater. The danger is that if inflation of any kind is allowed to proceed in this country— whether it is a cost inflation, which I have refrained from referring to in these remarks or a demand inflation caused by public spending—it may lead to such deterioration of the balance of payments as to call for some corrective check, some deflationary correction, which could hold up the whole process of the economic programme. The whole purpose of the Programme is to increase the national resources and the national income. If too large a proportion of that income is taken for public purposes, however admirable in themselves, the result will be inflation which may have an adverse effect on the balance of payments.

This could have several bad consequences. It could lead to the necessity for a very painful correction in order to get the balance of payments into equilibrium again. It could make a large amount of the so-called social expenditure impossible. If strict economies have to be made in Government expenditure, the first victims in a programme of economy would be the social rather than the productive services. Finally, such things as the raising of the old age pensions, children's allowances and the other very desirable types of redistributive expenditure which figure so largely in the Budget every year might have to be checked also. All this redistribution of the national income, which is so desirable, does postulate that the national income is there to be redistributed. If Government expenditure is of such a kind as to produce inflation, which produces effects slowing down the growth of national income, a great many very desirable social services may have to be done without.

The old books on economics always talk about the size of the cake and the size of the slices. If the total cake is a small one, even a relatively large slice may be absolutely small. That is one of the dangers which I foresee —that the claims of the Government, as shown in this Bill, may produce inflationary effects which will have the effect of reducing the size of the national cake; and if the size of the national cake is reduced, everybody, sooner or later, will suffer therefrom.

The Appropriation Bill provides the only opportunity we have of looking at the various Departmental Estimates and, in doing so, one is tempted to try the impossible and range over all of them. Practically every one here would have something to contribute under each heading, but, due to the short time at our disposal, we have to select just a few. I shall confine myself to education and agriculture and I do so in the knowledge that the appropriate Departments are not represented here. However, the Department that controls them, the Department of Finance, is represented here and it may be an opportunity for me to show the Department of Finance that more money is needed in certain sectors and that certain proposed schemes are extravagant and should not be proceeded with.

In starting with education, I should begin with the university Vote. Here we find that the picture is the same old depressing one. There is no semblance of a plan to provide our universities with the resources of a modern university system. I felt a little happier in March last when I spoke on this matter because I thought there was a slight adjustment in some of the figures, particularly in regard to University College, Cork where there was an increase of £32,000 but when the directive came, £10,000 of that was labelled for reduction of college debt which knocked the bottom out of any semblance of an increase.

I cannot emphasise too strongly that we pride ourselves in being a modern nation. We listened with pride to the words of President Kennedy when he accepted us as a modern nation. But a modern nation has to have modern equipment and the most essential equipment of any nation is its educational equipment. The most important part of that educational equipment is its university equipment. If you have a university system that is up to international standards and if you have men who can meet their international colleagues and hold their own in international conferences, then you have inspiration in the universities. That inspiration flows out of the students and the desire to transmit knowledge flows out of the students. It is false economy for any nation to keep its university system in poverty and that is what is being done here.

It is not the poverty of the individual professors to which I am referring because, by and large, university salaries are reasonable enough. It is the poverty of resources and that is the greatest tragedy of all because you are not providing the ancillary resources necessary to get from those university people, who are being paid reasonable salaries, what they are capable of giving to the nation. Consequently you engender in them a sense of frustration and they are not to be blamed if some of them take the easy way out, decide to blame the Government, do nothing and spend their time otherwise. Thank God, many of our university people are not guilty of that, despite the handicaps under which they work.

The position is not an enormous one for the Government to face up to because the income figures at present show that the position is not terribly bad. I am quoting from Table 7 of the excellent report issued recently by the Federation of Irish Lay Secondary Schools on Education in the Republic of Ireland. Table 7 of that publication shows that the total income of the university system in the Republic was £1,750,000 in 1960/61, of which about half was provided by the State. Our sister university in Northern Ireland, Queen's University, had an income from all sources of £1,272,000 of which the State provided £1 million. They had that amount for 3,644 students while our total is 10,021. On a per student basis, you can thus conclude that the amount available for the work of the universities here is only half what is considered reasonable and right in the North. There is only a slight difference in salaries so that the difference is in equipment, junior staff and ancillary services.

That bill is not a frightening one. If we were to catch up with the North, assuming that we were to get certain additional income from fees, it would require additional State expenditure of £1 million. That volume of expenditure is not required immediately. You cannot recruit all the staff required overnight. What you want is a planned policy to catch up in, say, ten years. That means that under the heading of catching up, you should increase the subvention to the universities at the rate of £100,000 to £120,000 per annum. Surely that is not asking very much, but, as well as catching up, we have to improve as the others are improving. That imposes a certain strain because the grants in the North and in England are increased and the demands for increased grants are growing. However, we have to catch up on current expenditure first.

The main question is that of buildings. Here the Government are to be complimented on the bold policy they are pursuing in connection with University College, Dublin, which should yield a great dividend but I would ask the Government to remember that there are universities in this country besides University College, Dublin. I would ask them to remember the despised and neglected country cousins, University College, Galway, and University College, Cork, the building needs of which are very pressing because little or nothing in the way of building has been done as far as they are concerned since we got our freedom. The Government would gain big dividends by ensuring that these places are given the space necessary to function as modern universities.

I appeal to the Minister to cut through the red tape and let us not go back to the old question as to whether there should be 1,000, 1,500 or 1,700 students when our numbers have passed 1,700 students. Let us plan a bold policy. A bold policy will yield dividends and if the Government play their part, the provincial university centres will play theirs as they have done in the past.

Another very big discrepancy between the university system here and that in more affluent countries, especially in England and in the Six Counties, is the aid given to students. In fact, it has reached the stage in these countries where young men do not see why they should undergo the rigours of university training unless they are almost paid for it; in other words, a very high rate of scholarship is provided. I do not know whether we may be forced to go along that line but I hope not as far as the others have gone. After all, university education does increase the earning capacity of the person receiving it and it is not unreasonable he should pay back part of what is spent on his education.

While we need a greatly increased scholarship system — the Government have taken some steps recently in that regard—what we need far more is ease of borrowing so that a young man can borrow the money, or a good deal of the money, necessary to put him through the university, if he is not quite in the scholarship class, and then pay it back out of his earnings in the first five or six years after qualifying. I have been advocating this for quite a while. I have been told the legal difficulties are almost insuperable but I do not see why such a contract would not be as enforceable as any other contract for debt that anyone incurs in business.

This report I mention shows the disparity between the system here and in Northern Ireland, that there they spend £483 per university student as against £99 in the Republic. That is not quite as glaring as it sounds because the greatest disparity is in the aid given to students and I think the ratio I have worked out of two to one gives a more realistic comparison.

Recently we have had the foundations coming in, for example, the Irish-US foundation, and the Government have announced their intention of investing some money in this. Such facilities for students studying abroad are very welcome, though it might be said that, due to the generosity of the large American centres, we have not fared too badly in that respect in the past, especially in the past five or six years when we have been able to get a number of our best students abroad for training. However, there is the dilemma that we are sending students abroad for training as jet pilots but are we to bring them home and put them in charge of DC3s? If we do that, these young men will not stay with us. In fact, we note with grave disquiet the few applications we are getting for university posts in the last few years. It is becoming increasingly difficult to attract young men home to posts in the lecturer grade and other such posts. It is not a lack of money that is responsible for that but they always inquire: "What are we asked to do? How many lectures a week must we give? What research facilities have you got? Have you a computer?", and so on. When you tell them you have nothing comparable with what they would have in a second-class or third-class American or British University, then they are not interested in coming back to us. There is a dilemma there and the sooner we show improvement in this regard, the better.

The first essentials are equipment and staff. Then we should get away from our worries about expansion of the present system and how far it should expand. I believe we cannot expand it too much. The world is calling for more and more university education and if there are places available in our universities, I believe they can be filled quite readily from abroad and that, looked at in the lowest terms as a contribution to the national income, it will prove to be a profitable contribution.

Let me take a few figures in this connection. The student coming here, between university fees, general expenses of living, travel in the country, books and so on, spends about £600 every year. Taking a multiplication factor of 1.6 that means that, due to this student being here, the national income is up by about £1,000 and the tax system at present is designed to get back about 23 per cent of this for the Exchequer. It means that roughly a sum of £230 finds its way back into the Exchequer. Consequently, it is good business, if necessary, to subsidise such a student as to some fraction of that amount, at perhaps as low a fraction as we can get away with, but, even at the full university level of £100 per student, that would leave a profit and, as we pointed out, with the necessity for doubling the State contribution, if it is put up at £200 per student, there is still a slight profit.

In any case, it is a proposition that should commend itself to as hardheaded a Department as the Department for Finance, if we look realistically at the prospects of filling places with carefully selected students from abroad and the contribution this can make, realising that it will more than outweigh any cost to the State. I think the mathematics are quite sound.

I must again this year appeal for the neglected members of our system, for Maynooth College and the College of Surgeons. I appealed for both last year. I am not aware the College of Surgeons is in any way a particularly Catholic institution and consequently it was no answer to my plea for the Minister for Finance to come back last March and say I was in some way or another charging the Government with being bad Catholics. I am only asking for justice for these institutions. Maynooth College got a paltry £15,000 in 1957 and that grant was increased by £5,000 the following year, due to the fact that Kildare County Council had suddenly acquired the legal right to levy rates amounting to £5,000 on Maynooth. That was not an increase but a compensation for rates. Rates have apparently gone up since but the basic grant of £15,000 remains as it was in 1957.

In all seriousness, do the Government not agree that nowhere will they get better value for money than they are getting in Maynooth from the professors there who have international reputations in their subjects? Many of those professors could go to corresponding positions in Louvain or elsewhere. I submit it is a disgrace to the country that they should be offered this paltry grant of £15,000 which is only one-twelfth of the amount being spent on veterinary education in this country.

Likewise, the £4,500 given to the College of Surgeons is a disgrace. The grant is something that either should be given or should not be given and if the College of Surgeons are entitled to a grant, the £4,500 is an insult. They should be given a more realistic grant. I believe they are entitled to a fair measure of grant, always insisting that if our university institutions here, or an institution such as the College of Surgeons, are to take in foreign students, the standards of entrance must be set at the proper level so that we will never be accused of taking in students because they could not get in elsewhere. We should take in students only if we can provide for them an education here comparable with the best they can get elsewhere.

I come, briefly, to the agricultural schools and here, again, let me make a plea. The eighth round wage increase has passed them by. The privately-run agricultural schools have been given a 2½ per cent increase while the State schools got the regular 16 or 17 per cent. It was reasonable to give it to the State schools but it is equally unjust to deny it to the privately-run institutions such as Pallaskenry, Warrenstown, Gurteen and others which are doing a wonderful job to make our young farming community scientific-minded, to get them to increase production and carry on against all handicaps.

I would appeal to the Minister to right that position. It is a small figure in the Book of Estimates, but it is a figure that worries me on any principle of justice or fairplay. It costs as much to educate one student in a State college as it costs to educate ten in one of these private institutions. Surely if the State were looking for a good bargain, in effect they could close their own institutions and hand over the work to those private institutions who are able to do it so much more efficiently, to judge by money standards alone. But I am not for a moment suggesting that any institution should be closed. I am suggesting fair play should be given to the private institutions and then we could sit back and watch the revolution in agriculture these colleges would bring about if they had only the help per student comparable with what is given in the State schools.

I now come to another aspect of education. I have to refer to the statement by the Minister for Education in regard to post-primary education. I am amazed this document did not cause more controversy and has not been the subject of long debates in both Houses. The Minister, when he announced the proposals, said:

I am announcing them now so that the public in general, and the members of Dáil Éireann in particular, may have time to consider them before they come for debate when the annual Estimates for my Department are being presented to Dáil Éireann.

I have studied these proposals quite carefully and have studied the excellent report issued by the Federation of Irish Lay Secondary Schools, and I raise the matter here because it concerns the Department of Finance virtually since what is proposed here calls for greatly increased expenditure.

None of us is averse from spending more on education. In fact, in this respect it might be well for us to know that we have been going backwards in our spending on education. In the 1930-31 Budget, £4,697,000 was provided for education, or 21.1 per cent of the total of the Supply Services. That percentage dropped to 15 in 1940-41, to 12.4 in 1950-51, and at the moment it is 13.4 per cent. In other words, education is getting one-third less, percentagewise, than it got in 1930-31, and yet we say we are making progress, that we are more education-conscious than our fathers were in 1930-31. I submit it would be going a long way towards righting the balance if the figure were restored even to the modest percentage of 21.1 for 1930, and I feel sure the Budgets of other countries which we set as a pattern, like England, Denmark and Holland, would show a higher percentage expenditure on education.

Be that as it may, we must come to the proposals of the Minister for Education, which I regard, frankly, as being the most amazing I have ever heard because he speaks of the necessity for this post-primary education and refers on page 5 to what he calls the main weakness of the system:

The first of these is the particular one that, notwithstanding the tremendous growth in post-primary attendances, there are still areas in the country which have neither a secondary nor a vocational school within easy daily reach of potential pupils and where, under the existing system, such is not likely to be available in the foreseeable future.

So the Minister has found those regions at last, and I believe there is one in West Clare, depending on what you mean by accessibility, whether it be three miles, five miles or ten miles from a school. Here we may take the Minister's standard because in relation to these new comprehensive schools he plans to set up, he suggests they should have a radius of ten miles. That gives some idea of the Minister's thinking. There are not many areas in the country that are ten miles from either a vocational school or a secondary school and I am speaking as one who for two years travelled 23½ miles each day back and forth, 47 miles altogether, to a secondary school from Kilmallock to Limerick. I went by bus and it took me an hour and a quarter each way.

I think that limit of ten miles could be increased considerably. It could be increased to 15 miles, or 20 miles in exceptional cases, provided the Minister's intention to give assisted travel is implemented. It is easier to travel 20 miles in a car pool than by bus. It is far less tiring on the pupils. We must not get too soft, but we want to be practicable. The Minister wants to build schools ten miles from existing schools. He wants them to be capable of taking 150 pupils. It would be very hard to meet those two requirements. He wants to put up these magnificent schools in out-of-the-way places, and he wants them to be combined secondary and vocational schools which will have guidance councillors and all the rest. I might say that an area is to go from rags to riches.

The point I want to come back to is that the Minister does not propose to give any additional grant whatsoever to any of the existing secondary or vocational schools to enable them to serve a slightly bigger area. If pupils ten miles from one of the new comprehensive schools are entitled to free transport, justice demands that pupils ten miles from existing secondary or vocational schools are entitled to the same facilities. If the Minister proposes to pay all the salaries and practically all the costs associated with the new comprehensive schools, surely justice demands that he should make the same offer to the existing schools?

It is not an exaggeration to say that since we have had self-government, the secondary school system has been constantly the enemy of the State, and the target of those who endeavour to foster State control, because those who advocate State control see in our independent secondary school system a threat to State control. Our secondary school system is one of the greatest private enterprises we have, whether run by religious orders or lay people. The capitation grants have not moved since 1939. As given in this excellent document, the cost per pupil works out at something like £36, in contrast with £95 per student paid by the State in these vocational schools. I am not criticising vocational schools. I pay tribute to everything they have done, but the plain fact is that it is costing £95 per pupil. Justice demands that the amount spent on secondary schools should be increased to that figure also.

Justice also demands that if buildings are to be provided for these new comprehensive schools, buildings should be provided for existing secondary schools. The buildings are there already, but the Minister insists there is an undesirable dichotomy between our vocational schools and our secondary schools, between academic education and practical education, as it is called. He wants to bring the two together in the new comprehensive schools, and if he wants to do that, all that is needed is the addition of two rooms to the existing secondary schools in which there will be a machine shop and a teacher of the subject.

If the Minister says those things are necessary and will be provided in the comprehensive schools, they should be provided on the same basis, and with the same measure of Government support, in each and every one of our existing secondary schools which wishes to add to its range of subjects. The Minister would find that each and every one of the existing secondary schools would be only too pleased and ready to make such a worthwhile addition. If our secondary schools are to be kept in a state of genteel poverty, weakened, and laughed at because they are weak, we can only read into the Minister's manifesto the beginning of an attempt ultimately to liquidate our secondary school system and replace it by a fully centralised and State-controlled comprehensive school system.

Apparently the advocates of this document are not satisfied with the present measure of State control in the vocational schools. It behaves those of us who feel that State control is going too far carefully to study this document which is prepared to spend several hundred pounds of the taxpayers' money on schools in out-of-the-way regions, and is not prepared to add anything to the £36 per student which is at present spent on secondary education.

The idea that the two systems should meet, and that the vocational schools as well as what they are now doing should also be able to give instruction in the Arts subjects, Irish, English and mathematics, up to inter-cert standard is a pipe dream if ever there was one. To suggest that the standard should be widened to that extent is to suggest that there is uniformity in the students which just is not there. It assumes that the students in the vocational schools can do the practical subjects and at the same time, the academic subjects and reach the same standard. Of course that is nonsense.

So far as I know, this report was brought out without the benefit of any prior study. If there are to be major changes in our education system, I appeal to the Minister, as the senior Minister in the Government, to see that a properly constituted committee is set up to have discussions and make a report, before the Government are committed to this. I feel certain that all the compassionate and social objectives the Minister wishes to attain in extending equal opportunity to children all over the country—to which principle of course we all subscribe— can be attained far more expeditiously, and far more cheaply, by providing the necessary capital grants to existing secondary and vocational schools, and by giving assisted travel from out-of-the-way regions to the existing schools.

If the Minister feels so compassionate about the situation in those backward regions, he should surely know about the greatest difficulty in those regions, that is the difficulty of maintaining an average in our national schools. He should see to it that the law which lays down that there must be so many pupils per teacher is ameliorated because when the number falls below the average, one teacher must go. That is one of the greatest handicaps in out-of-the-way schools. The result is an amalgamation of schools and then one or two teachers have to cater for the whole range of subjects. If he wishes to improve the educational facilities in those regions, he will reduce or wipe out that differential and fix a minimum number of teachers, irrespective of the average.

Another feature in this excellent study by the Irish secondary school teachers is a map they produce showing the percentage of students between 14 and 18 years of age who are in secondary schools, vocational schools, or still in primary school after the age of 12. One finds that there are a considerable number of students in primary schools who have passed the age of 12. If the Minister removed this requirement of so many students per teacher and fixed a minimum number of teachers for any primary school, the resulting increase in teachers would mean that they would be able to cater effectively for studies in the 13 and 14-year old groups. Above all, let us unite and bring together our educational system rather than try to inject another spur into it. Let us remember the truth of the old Irish proverb: Is geal gach nua agus is searbh gach gnath—everything new is wonderful. We have too much of that in our approach to matters here. We should be ready to adopt and change and modify rather than simply to try to supersede our present institutions.

I suggest that the Minister for Finance should use his good offices with the Minister for Education to ensure that there is a proper spirit of co-operation between the officials in that Department and the members of outside teaching bodies, such as the Federation of Irish Lay Secondary Schools. There seems to be far too much eagerness on the part of the Department to try to discredit figures put up by voluntary bodies such as this Federation, rather than to give them credit for the work they have done, or to try to harness their energies in co-operation with the Department to iron out their difficulties across the conference table or ensuring that this mutual recrimination stops.

We have in our teaching bodies an excellent source of study teams to study the various aspects and deficiencies of the educational system. Along the lines of the CIO, which is doing such good work in studying industrial problems, the Minister should draw on the existing teachers to study different aspects of the educational problem. They could do this during their long vacation and as they are already poorly paid, they should be adequately remunerated if they have to serve on such fact-finding bodies for any lengthy period.

I should like now to turn to agriculture and to point out again that there is a complete absence of any plan for an organised increase in agricultural production. We are no further ahead today than we were ten years ago. There is still a lack of proper incentive to the agricultural community to develop increased production on a realistic basis. Senator L'Estrange mentioned the report on the population. All the newspapers have commented on this report and they have commented especially in regard to the group between the ages of 20 and 35 which has been the most heavily hit in regard to emigration. That is a frightening picture because our own future depends on that group. Speaking here in regard to farm apprenticeship, I raised that question in a different way, that is, that this group is missing from agriculture.

I feel certain that if that census were on a sectional basis, you would find that the loss from that group is far less in industry and in towns and cities than it is in agriculture. That is the tragedy of the whole thing. As far as I can ascertain, not more than 3,500 of that group remain on the land each year. We have only about 35,000 on the land between the ages of 25 and 35 and we are only getting a in-take for the future of about 3,500 young men. One might take the average working span from the age of 16 as being somewhat less than 60 years, say 47 years. If you do a sum you will find that you arrive at a total of 170,000 people. Our in-take in agriculture over the past 15 years has been geared to reduce the population on the land ultimately to 170,000 people from its present figure of 380,000. That is a frightening picture and if it comes about, I cannot see what hope there is for agriculture. Those figures cannot be gainsaid. To my mind, that is the real lesson there.

The recent population figures released represent the frightening part of the lesson. If we get to 270,000 people we shall be reduced to being the beef ranch of Europe and I cannot see what future the country can have in that. Government policy should straightaway be geared on an emergency basis to righting that picture and to ensuring that the average intake into agriculture per annum is not 3,500 but is as high as possible: I suggest 8,000 or 10,000 as a minimum objective. Unless we can do that, we cannot create the young labour force and the young farmers of the future who will get from the land of Ireland the wealth we know is in it.

Then, again, we have the impact of automation and the fact that America in its recent plan has shown that it is expected that 15,000,000 of the present labour force there will be rendered redundant in 10 years by automation. New jobs will have to be found for those as well as for the increase in population. That is one of the reasons why we are not making greater headway here in the provision of employment. As well as trying to provide new jobs, we really have to provide jobs for those who are rendered redundant by modern scientific progress. That is one of the major calls at the moment on our increased jobs. Consequently, the problem is really enormous. Unless we can stop this drift from agriculture and stop the reduction in the numbers on the land, then our problem will get out of all bounds when viewed on a national scale.

There is no reason why the drift from the land should not be stopped. At the moment, we have the lowest labour force per 1,000 acres in Europe. We have something like 35 workers per 1,000 acres. The European average is over 70. Surely common sense says you cannot get production out of the land unless you take adequate steps to get it and the adequate steps must be viewed by comparison with what our competitors consider reasonable. If our competitors in Europe, who are highly geared and mechanised, consider they require 70 people per 1,000 acres to get proper agricultural production, do we expect to get proper agricultural production with 35?

Many attempts have been made by Governments in recent years to get agriculture moving. They have ignored the fundamental labour question. I believe that must be righted. The Minister is tackling the question of grants to try to stimulate increased production. There has been a basic weakness in all grants that have been given. The grant is given but no adequate steps have been taken for its conservation. If you give a cow by way of grant, you must ensure she is there in 100 years' time: you must ensure there is such a structure that, co-operative or otherwise, when the present item runs out, there is a replacement fund available.

You cannot expect the ordinary small farmer with his £7 a week to act as banker or businessman for himself. If he gets a little extra money he knows full well how to spend it on his family and he is entitled to do so. But he will not put aside the extra 5/- a week to be able to replace the extra cow he got. There must be some major development in agricultural co-operation in this country to remedy that fundamental defect of Irish agriculture today, namely, capital conservation on our small farms allied to the problem of getting co-operative use of machinery on our small farms.

A radical revolution is called for if our small farms are to survive. The Government have announced their intention of bringing in some Bill to extend the scope of the powers of the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society. I hope they will not do this piecemeal. I hope they will get some competent committee together to go into the problem and ensure that the development that does come will provide for conservation of capital grants by the State and at the same time will further co-operative mechanisation and co-operation between the small farmers in the different regions.

We are faced with the problem that, without co-operation on an organised scale and probably with a degree of State interference that we have not had up to this in the co-operative movement, our small farms cannot survive.

I shall touch briefly on tourism, for which there is increased provision. In the past month or so, I have had an opportunity of studying the reaction of many tourists here. I find in general that we have a great deal that we ignore too often but one of the basic defects of our tourism is the short season. We need to lengthen the season. The reason I shall give for lengthening the season is not the one we have had before. I believe the real necessity for lengthening it is to be able to provide full employment throughout the year for the hotel staffs and so build up a first class staff.

Anybody at present visiting our leading hotels, especially in resort areas, cannot help but be struck by the immaturity of the staffs in those hotels. Most of them are very green and are about 15 or 16 years old. You may be certain that next year they will find themselves in Britain and that there will be another group of 15 or 16 years old people in for training. You cannot build a tourist industry on that foundation. Such an industry is scarcely worth building because it does not provide any permanence for the staff it employs.

I believe that, with the emphasis today on education, both adaptation and otherwise, training courses and the like, the Government could very well step into the picture and take the months, say, of March and April and probably October and November as training period months and use our present hotel service in the resort areas as centres in the hotels in which to run these courses. If you could so lengthen the season, then you could keep a permanent staff and you would really build up a first-class tourist industry because tourists, above all, like the service they get and the personalities that are developed by the waiters and the staff.

I have to advert on the Vote for the Department of Local Government to the failure of the Government to give justice to the engineering profession. There is, as the Government are aware, grave discontent among local authority engineers at the way they are being treated by the county managers' organisation. It is high time the Government took stock of the activities of the County Managers' Association and realised that they are arrogating to themselves rights and powers that were never contemplated in the County Management Act. They are creating a feeling of frustration among the engineering profession, because while the managers see that they themselves get their proper increases as timely as others, they are denying these increases to the engineers under their control.

Local authority work is primarily engineering work, the provision of services to the local community, health services, road services and so on. The administration or clerking part is the part of it that is insignificant: yet, in our inverted order of things, the clerking part is on top and we find the service is not going nearly as smoothly as when the county surveyor was the big man in the county and made the decisions. It is the growing octopus of State control spreading its tentacles out from Dublin over everything in the rest of the country. The county managers are the organ by which the Local Government Department do that.

I appeal to have that put right; otherwise, the Government will find that their present difficulty in filling engineering posts will increase considerably because the management side or the clerks in the local authorities cannot leave the country: very few of them could better their position abroad, but the engineers, to a man, could leave the country and double both their prospects and their salaries, if they wished to go. Thank God, most of them so far are patriotic enough to stay but the Minister and the Government would do well to remember that you can drive the willing horse so far, and recognise primarily that the local authority service is the provision of services. In other words, its is mainly a technical, engineering and medical job and not an exercise in bookkeeping or accountancy which it seems to have become.

Ba mhaith liom cúpla focal a rá i dtaobh gnóthaí an Roinn Tionscail agus Tráchtála agus an Roinn Oideachais. Do thárla rud le déanaí a chuir imní ar mhorán daoine maidir le cúrsaí árachais. B'shin é briseadh na comhluchta úd, Equitable Insurance Company. D'fhág an briseadh sin na mílte daoine gan árachas gluaisteán, árachas tine nó árachas chúiteamh lucht oibre.

I should like to make a few points in regard to certain aspects of the working of the Department of Industry and Commerce and the Department of Education. Quite recently something happened which is to be deplored. I refer to the going into liquidation of the Equitable Insurance Company leaving thousands of individuals and very many organisations at a substantial financial loss. That such a thing should or could happen is to be deplored and it shakes public confidence in the Government. I should like to emphasise that what I am saying has no political content because I believe supporters of the Government Party have been hit more than any other group in the country. What I am saying is strictly objective and without bias.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

There is no money in this Appropriation Bill for any insurance company.

It is the function of the Department of Industry and Commerce to ensure that this type of situation will not arise because, under the 1936 Insurance Act, the Department are bound to examine the accounts of every insurance company. These accounts must be presented within a period of six months after the end of the financial year. Thousands of people of every political belief have been affected. I maintain there is a grave obligation on the Department to ensure that this cannot happen. Yet, it has happened. I shall seek an answer to this question before the debate concludes. Is it true that no accounts were presented to the Department during the period 30th June, 1961, and April, 1963 ? Is it a fact that the law was not complied with and that that non-compliance has left so many people in a very serious position? I shall indicate how serious their position is in a few moments.

When the news broke that the Equitable Insurance Company was going into liquidation many people accepted it not too seriously but the affairs of the Company were then placed in the hands of the liquidator who has issued a circular to various policy holders as follows:

The Equitable Insurance Company Limited (in Liquidation)

Take notice:

(1) By order of the High Court made on the 27th May, 1963. It was ordered that the above Company would be wound up by the Court, and the Court thereby appointed the undersigned, William Sandys, as Official Liquidator thereof.

(2) Pursuant to the provisions in that behalf contained in your above-mentioned Policy with the Company and in accordance with an order of the High Court made on 8th July, 1963, I hereby, on behalf of the Company, cancel the said Policy with effect on and from 31st July, 1963.

This was almost two months after the policy became really ineffective because the essence of insurance is that a company should, without any distress, be able to meet any claims on it.

The actual position at the moment is that anybody who had a policy with that company has no effective insurance to cover fire, or accident by motor-car other than the third party cover which is the result of a statement made by the Minister for Industry and Commerce——

And which was incorrect.

I suppose these things will have to be threshed out in court. It covers nothing for property, for instance, if damage is done to another person's car or to one's own car or to passengers.

People are going up and down the streets today under the impression, as a result of receiving that circular that their insurance is effective up to 31st July. The only way they have found it is not effective is when any of them at the end of the quarter or half-year, 30th June, 1963, went to the taxation office and presented their certificates of insurance on the basis of this circular, considering their insurance effective and were told: "That is not insurance at all. You are not insured. You cannot tax your car on that basis."

An accident took place in a Dublin street within the past few days involving considerable damage to two cars and neither of the cars is insured. Until 31st July, on the basis of this circular, people will be travelling throughout the country thinking they are insured while the company with which they insured cannot effectively meet any claim upon it. This is an extraordinary state of affairs and I think the Department of Industry and Commerce have a grave responsibily in the matter. That is why I am raising it here. I hope anything I say will catch the eye of somebody driving up or down the street outside in the belief that he is insured and who might find himself involved in an accident between now and 31st July.

With regard to workmen's compensation, many employers are open to claims for injuries received during the course of work and, if the contractors are not in a position to meet these claims, that will mean that a man with dependants may be incapacitated for life, and with no compensation. Whilst this circular may be appropriate in the cancellation of motor insurance— there is a clause in motor insurance which says a policy can be cancelled —there is no such clause in workmen's compensation insurance.

Many people with workmen's compensation policies with the Equitable are now thinking it is time, in view of the shake-up in confidence, that the State should consider taking over workmen's compensation as part of social insurance. I understand a recent report of a commission of inquiry into workmen's compensation recommended that such insurance should be left with the commercial banks. In view of what has happened, I think the Government should consider taking over workmen's compensation as part of social insurance, thereby ensuring that no unfortunate man with dependants will be left in the position in which he might easily find himself now if his employer is not prepared to make compensation because of the inability of this company to honour insurance. I can illustrate this quite emphatically.

The teachers' organisation, and many other organisations, have had insurance with the Equitable and the position is that the teachers' organisation now suffers the loss in premium as between the date on which the company went into liquidation, or the date it ceased to be effective in regard to meeting claims, and the renewal date. We have suffered that loss. I am not making an issue of it; I just mention it to illustrate the position. Any accident that took place in a school prior to the date upon which the company ceased to be effective will now have to be met by our organisation. If a child, for instance, lost an eye, it means that there is no insurance cover as far as the teacher is concerned and the teacher will have to pay out of his own pocket or else the organisation will have to come to his aid. A teacher who is not a member of the organisation could be saddled with a debt for years to come.

This is a very serious matter. It should never have happened. Since it has happened, it is now imperative that steps be taken to ensure it will never happen again. I am not now speaking selfishly because I represent an organisation that has been, as it were, caught out. I am dealing with the matter from the broad point of view and in the broadest terms. Large numbers are affected. It is not just good enough that this kind of thing should be allowed to happen. I should like information as to whether it is a fact that no accounts were submitted to the Department from 30th June, 1961, to April, 1963, in direct contravention of the provisions of the Insurance Act.

I come now to education. Reference has been made to the "Dr. Hillery Plan". That plan is a long-term plan. It is also a limited plan. The schools suggested are comprehensive schools in selected areas. As Senator Quinlan pointed out, it is very difficult to see any of these developing in the foreseeable future. A great many snags will have to be overcome before these schools get under way. Senator Quinlan also pointed out the great need for co-ordination in our educational system. In that I agree with him. I also agree that not enough has been done to develop the existing system.

We have a very good system of national education. We have an excellent system of secondary education. Last year here I read out the full range of subjects on the curriculum in the secondary schools. There is every subject that could possibly be taught in the ordinary vocational school. Due to lack of investment in secondary education and to inadequate grants, the full range of the secondary school curriculum has never been fully exploited. More and more money will have to be invested in secondary education. A very practical bias can be given to secondary education. It need not be, as it is now, entirely academic because the schools cannot afford to employ the extra personnel to teach the practical subjects. A limited number of them are taught. If sufficient grants were made available, the schools could move along an academic-practical front, giving an opportunity to the brilliant child and also to the child with the practical bent.

One welcome thing which emerged from the Minister's plan is the fact that he appreciates the necessity for equality of opportunity for all children. It is in order to provide that equality of opportunity that he has hit upon the comprehensive schools for the neglected areas. It is only mere justice that every child should have an opportunity for the full development of his or her talents. It is only the nation which will provide for that at all levels which can survive. We shall never succeed unless we are prepared to invest very heavily in the education of our children. The surest test of a just society is whether its children are provided with every opportunity to develop their talents, abilities and aptitudes to the maximum. That is not the situation here at the moment. We have been content with top-layer education, the education of the children of parents who can afford to pay for their children's education. That situation cannot continue in a modern society. It has disappeared in most countries. We can no longer rest content with having just the top layer educated.

There is, of course, a vital link between the system of education and the standards in any country. This has been well and truly proven in the various surveys made. One recent survey in Washington made it quite clear that, wherever there is a high standard of education, there are high cultural standards, a high standard of living, high standards generally. Wherever the standards are low, there are low standards of living, culture, and so on. It is a fundamental fact that there is a vital link between the system of education and standards generally. We should ensure that our system is worked to the maximum.

Senator Quinlan pointed out that we have not examined into our system of education thoroughly enough. The Minister has taken a forward step now. It is a bold step. I know some of the implications involved; they were hinted at by Senator Quinlan. We think, however, that he has gone ahead without having had a good look at that which exists already. The step was taken without adequate consultation with the people involved. It is a strange thing that there is another survey taking place at the moment under the auspices of OECD with regard to our future requirements. It is an extraordinary thing all the people on the committee are either economists or civil servants. There are no teachers on it, no one who has ever stood in front of a class or asked a pupil a question. That is a very strange decision. I do not think it is one that sensible people would take. If you want to find out something accurately and precisely, you go to the person you think knows most about it. That should be the way in education, too. People should have more than theories of education; they should have some practical knowledge of teaching. They should know what exactly is involved.

Business suspended at 6 p.m. and resumed at 7.15 p.m.

I do not want to detain the House much longer because there is a general feeling that we should get matters finished. However, there are a few aspects of education to to which I should like to refer because this is the only opportunity we have during the year of discussing any aspect of education because Estimates as such are not presented to this House.

One matter to which I wish to refer is the school-leaving age. It is our duty to our young people to see that they leave school mature and properly equipped for the battle of life so that they can mesh into society as practical people. It has been my experience over many years of teaching children of school-leaving age that children of 14 years are not mature physically or mentally, although an interdepartmental Committee in 1934 decided that a child was fit physically and mentally at the age of 14.

World trends in this matter are contrary to our practice here. UNESCO has stated its policy to be to bring up the school-leaving age to 15 years all over the world. Father Doherty, an eminent psychologist of University College, Dublin, has stated that a child does not reach the age of physical or mental maturity until 15 or 16 years old, not to speak of 14 years. Psychologists also tell us that at that age children are passing through a phase of uncertainty. They are moody. It is important, even though they do not learn a whole lot at school, that they be under some form of discipline, and they would benefit a great deal from turning up and engaging in certain tasks in school. It would have a stabilising effect on them. Children should leave school mature.

Many Senators will recall an interview on Broadsheet some months ago where Miss Menuhin, the sister of Yehudi Menuhin, the violinist—she is a married woman although she retains the name Miss Menuhin—was asked in what work she was engaged in the London area, other than music. She stated she was engaged in social work in which she met a lot of Irish people. She was asked what struck her about the Irish people and she said the one thing that did strike her was the immaturity of the young people.

That is a fact. Any Senators here who have experience of teaching children of 14 years or who have sons and daughters of their own will realise that at 14 years they are not mature enough, in the context of contemporary society, for the battle of life. It is of fundamental importance that at some stage or another, maybe not for this year or for next year but for some year in the future, there be an indication of policy in the matter of raising the school-leaving age.

I wish to refer also to the necessity for some form of vocational guidance. I think Senator Ó Maoláin is very keen on these two matters to which I am referring, namely, the raising of the school-leaving age and vocational guidance. At the moment, children are drifting out of our schools and moving in a most haphazard way into employment. The getting of a job is entirely fortuitous. The parents often have no knowledge of the careers available so that they could advise their children and direct them into suitable employment. Children just move out and often it is a question of a father meeting a friend and asking for a job for the lad. He will be in the job for a few months or a year but he ultimately drifts out of it, because, as he did not go into it of his own volition, he has no interest in it. This tends towards an acceleration of emigration.

Where children are engaged in suitable employment for which they opt-and for which they have been declared, as a result of the scientific tests, to be suitable, they are far happier. Under social surveys in countries where you have vocational guidance, children who find themselves in positions for which they are suited and in which they feel happy, are found to be much more successful than children who just drift into jobs fortuitously.

In Britain, and Northern Ireland, too, the Ministry of Labour offices provide information for any parents who wish to have it. They have a series of pamphlets, all numbered, and if a parent thought her child had an inclination, say, to become a radiographer, the parent could go along and get the appropriate leaflet in which is given information on careers for children, the training necessary and the remuneration. That parent is immediately au courant the requirements for the particular profession or career.

This is something that should be passed on to the appropriate Department here so that it would become possible to publish a series of pamphlets on opportunities for children. It is something that is due to parents. It is due to the children and it is due to the community as a whole, because where you have people working in jobs in which they feel happy and properly adjusted, they will make a better contribution because they are working more harmoniously and you will accordingly get a more cohesive community. There are factors which militate against that occasionally, but, as far as is humanly possible, this applies to people working in jobs for which they have opted and to which they are suited.

I submit we should have here a national council for research in education. Scotland has had one for the past 40 years; there is one in England and Wales, with headquarters in London; but there is nothing like it here at all. We have research councils for practically everything else. Education is a basic service and we need a research council in this field much more than they need it in areas where there is only one language as, I feel sure, Senator Ó Siochfhradha will agree. We have areas of research involving particularly, bilingualism, which could be very well investigated by a research council in education here.

We must also look to the heating and cleaning of our schools. The State contribution to the heating and cleaning of our 4,480 national schools is £130,000, which works out at an average of £28 per school per annum. Is that an adequate sum to heat and clean a school? We all know from our experience that it is not adequate at all. It could not be adequate, and we must face up to the situation in which if we want to have proper schools, adequately heated and cleaned, for our children, we must spend more money.

It is important children should grow up as far as possible in happy, bright surroundings, because children have plastic minds; they are impressionable, and if kept in an atmosphere of squalor for so many hours every day, their attitude to life becomes squalid also. When they carry away ideas of beauty, when things are nice or ornamental, they have a better approach to life. Keep a child in squalid surroundings and he does not develop any standards; he does not bring standards back to his own home when he comes to get a house himself. We all should like to see our young people get a very good chance in life, that when they leave school, they will get some advice about where they are going. We should see in the school a seedbed in which will grow, and in due course flourish and flower, all that is good and beautiful in life.

This Bill reflects the progress which has been made in the past few years under the first Programme for Economic Expansion. It reflects the progress of this programme in the sense that the ever-increasing national income enables the community to provide, through taxation and Government expenditure, the better services which the people want. During the debate on this Bill, as, indeed, throughout the financial business not only this year but in other years, we hear a great deal from the other side of the House about the increase in Government expenditure. We have Senators standing up pointing a finger at us here and saying: “This Government are spending £60 million more than we spent in 1956,” or whatever date is taken.

That is a very easy thing to say and it sounds good to the unthinking. It conveys, as it is intended to convey, a general atmosphere of Government extravagance. Of course, what no Senator on the other side will ever do is stand up, point a finger over here and say: "You are spending £10 million more now than we did on education; you are spending twice as much on forestry as we did; you are spending several million pounds more on social welfare than we did." That is not what they will say. On the contrary, having complained about the £60 million extra expenditure, only a few minutes later they proceed to say that we are not spending enough on education, on agriculture, on health, on social welfare, on forestry or on the numerous other items which they agree are needed by the people.

They cannot, of course, have it both ways. We on this side of the House are proud of the fact that since we came to office, the amount provided in the Estimate for Agriculture has increased from £8 million under the Coalition Government to £24 million this year. We are proud of the fact that the amount provided in the Estimate for Education has gone up in the same period from £12,500,000 to £22,200,000; that we have been able to double the expenditure on forestry, from £1,600,000 to £3,100,000. We are proud of the fact that expenditure on social welfare has been increased from £22,600,000 to £28,700,000 and that expenditure on health has gone up from £8,600,000 to £11,200,000.

We are proud of these facts but we do not feel enough has yet been done. We feel more could be spent on all these services and many others. In particular, in view of the discussions that have already taken place, we feel more could be spent on education. It is wrong for people to ask for more money for all these services and then to complain about Government spending having increased. We know, of course, that the Labour Party state from time to time that they approve of this increased expenditure but then refuse to provide the money. I do not think we can take them seriously.

That is not true.

I would be out of order if I went into detail.

The Senator is out of order in the statement he made.

The Minister gave the facts on this matter a couple of days ago, and there is no need to go back on them.

He did not.

We know perfectly well that the Labour Party voted against every single tax.

That is not true.

The purpose of the Programme for Economic Expansion was to raise the national income by improving the general economy. In the past few years, the real income of the people, the national income, has gone up by around 18 per cent. Because of the continuing increase in the national resources, it is possible for the State to spend more money on these very valuable services. As the national income increases, income from taxation automatically goes up and it is possible to improve all the services. We hope it will be possible to improve them further in the years to come. It is only fair to point out that up to last year taxation represented about the same percentage of the national income as in 1956/57. The reason all the improved services are possible is simply the success of the Programme for Economic Expansion. There has also been a very large increase in capital expenditure on agriculture, industry, forestry, housing, and many other items.

Senator Ryan quoted a section of the report of the Central Bank of this year which looked very critically at this increased capital expenditure. While I have the greatest respect for the Central Bank—I have read this year's report and it is an extremely interesting document—I cannot agree with their views on capital expenditure. As I understand it, the suggestion is that capital expenditure should rise at approximately the same rate as the national income rises. It seems to me that is the way to stagnation. If we are to improve earning power, and the economic possibilities of industry or agriculture, it is necessary for the State to invest money in them. If we wait for agricultural production, or industrial production, to increase before investing money in them, it seems to me we are doing things the wrong way around. We must first invest money in them in the hope that in years to come this will lead to an increase in the national income. That, indeed, is what has resulted from this very large increase in Government investment which has taken place so far under the Programme for Economic Expansion.

It is no harm to mention just a few of the ways in which the Programme for Economic Expansion has improved the economy and, in doing so, perhaps, there is no harm in replying, not for the first time, and I suppose not for the last time, to some of the grosser pieces of misinformation we heard from Senator L'Estrange.

What are they?

I suppose I am wasting my time, because he just comes back the next time with the same statements.

The Senator comes in with Mount Street figures.

One of the totally erroneous statements he makes frequently is that the adverse trade balance last year was the highest in our history. That is a great phrase: "the highest in our history." The only thing is that it does not happen to be true.

I never said it was the highest in our history. I said it was £106 million.

The Senator talked about records the other night.

The Senator said on a number of occasions that the adverse trade balance last year was the highest in our history, or the highest on records, as the case may be. He said it today, and he said it on several occasions in my hearing. It does not happen to be true. I do not regard it as a matter of any great importance, but, for the record, it is no harm to mention that the adverse trade balance was £99.7 million last year. It was £122.5 million in 1950, and Senator L'Estrange will remember who were in office at that time. Unlike what Senator Fitzpatrick suggested yesterday, that is not really the important point in this matter.

The important thing is the adverse balance of payments because against the adverse trade balance are set all the various invisible items from tourism, and so on, which we get each year. Last year, the adverse balance of payments was £13 million. While that is regrettable, and while we regard it as a serious matter which must be considered, at the same time, it is very small compared with some of the adverse balances of payments we had in previous years. It was certainly smaller than the adverse balance of payments which existed in four out of the six years in which a Coalition Government were in office.

One of the principal benefits which has accrued from the progress so far under the Programme for Economic Expansion is the increase in the national income by some 18 per cent in the past four years. That means that the standard of living of the people as a whole has gone up in the past four years by almost one-fifth, and that is a rate of progress which is far beyond anything that has ever taken place in this country. It is an average of four per cent per year as against something slightly under one per cent in the previous ten years. It is a fairly rapid rate of progress following on a long period of stagnation.

Exports have also gone up this year by something like 70 per cent. Emigration is another matter about which Senators talk a great deal. They talk about a figure of 300,000, and so on. It is no harm to state again what the emigration position is, in fact. In the 12 months ending March, 1957, the excess of people who left the country over people who came back was 62,000. In the 12 months ending March last, that figure was approximately 13,000.

Does the Senator expect even the people on his own side to believe that?

In the past few months, the figure of emigration has gone down. It is something like one-fifth of what it was in 1957. That means that the population is increasing fairly rapidly. I do not regard that figure of 13,000 with equanimity. Obviously, it is 13,000 too many, but it is a great deal better than 62,000. Senator L'Estrange asks if I expect anyone to believe that, meaning that he will go around making speeches at chapel gates and saying that the figure for emigration is still 60,000. I think he is unwise.

Give us the chance.

It is perfectly obvious to anyone anywhere that there has been a very considerable drop in emigration.

Will the Senator give the 1950 figure again?

If I say anything which is not accurate, I shall be delighted to be interrupted by Senator L'Estrange. I am trying to convey a little information not in the hope that Senator L'Estrange will pay attention, but so that he will not be able to produce figures and pretend he does not know the truth.

Will the Senator give the balance of trade figure for 1950 again?

At the moment, emigration is practically one-fifth of what it was in the 12 months ending March, 1957. As a result of that, the population is rising. I make a present to Senator L'Estrange of this point. I am not sure that the figure will remain as low as 13,000. It may be due to circumstantial factors and it may rise to 16,000 or 17,000, but it is a great deal less than it was. Anybody who is not completely warped politically knows that perfectly well.

Taking the question of unemployment, one might expect that with a heavy fall in emigration, there would be a corresponding rise in unemployment. In fact, of course, the position at the moment is that the number of unemployed is something like 20,000 less than it was at this time in 1957. Agricultural production, in spite of what Senator L'Estrange says, has risen considerably. It is not as good as one would hope. Agricultural income, if he cares to look up his numerous statistical books, has risen some £20 million in the past few years. These are the facts. I might also say, especially for the benefit of those who constantly talk about the figure of £60 million, or whatever it is, for increased expenditure by the Government, that between 1957 and 1962, the value of the gross national product increased by some £183 million.

These are some of the bare facts and figures which show the very great progress that has taken place under the first Programme for Economic Expansion. That progress, I believe, will be speeded by the provisions of this Bill which will end the first Programme of Economic Expansion on at least as good a rate as the rate of progress for the rest of it. We may look forward to the second Programme for Economic Expansion to accelerate still further the economic progress that has been taking place.

On a point of order, the Senator gave a figure for the import excess——

That is not a point of order.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Would Senators please leave the matter of order to the Chair? It is not a point of order and would the Senator please resume his seat? Senator McAuliffe.


An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Would the Senator please restrain himself?

I wish to——

He gave the right figures.

He certainly did not.

Having read through the Dáil debates on the Budget and the Finance Bill, I noticed that the one thing missing was a reference to education. It was, therefore, a revelation today to hear people giving their views on education, including such Senators as Senator Quinlan and Senator Brosnahan. In the Dáil on the Budget debate, the only person who referred to education was the Taoiseach. He congratulated the Labour Party for having issued a policy on education. It was a rather comprehensive document He also announced that the Minister for Education would make a statement on post-primary education, which he subsequently did. Having congratulated the Labour Party, he criticised them for not saying how much their policy would cost if put into operation. The Minister in his statement said:

While pending the determination and location of comprehensive schools and the extent of vocational school courses, it is not possible to say with any degree of accuracy what the ultimate cost will be.

I imagine that the Taoiseach did not criticise his own Minister for not being able to give any idea of what the cost would be. He could get away with that. It was not the business of the Labour Party in their document to say what the cost would be. I would say that the Minister was in a much stronger position as he had access to the Department of Finance and so on for information as to what the cost would be.

The Minister's statement in connection with post-primary education was very welcome to the Labour Party. I have studied our policy document and the Minister's statement and the two are completely similar, so possibly the Minister read our document and saw that it made a lot of sense and made a statement on post-primary education to the country which conforms entirely with the sentiments of the Labour Party.

One thing that worries us in the Labour Party is in relation to the revival of the Irish language. We believe that there should be radical changes in the teaching of Irish and the aim should be to have the children speak the language easily and naturally. To achieve that, you will have to cut out quite an amount of the grammar and you will also have to provide suitable reading in the schools. Quite a number of the books produced are unsuitable, for the simple reason that there is nothing of great interest in them. Something which annoys me about the revival of Irish, and to which no reference has been made today, is the "h" alphabet. The people who were pioneers in the revival of the language opposed this bitterly. The teachers were never consulted about it. The people who will have to start off next year and teach the "h" alphabet were never consulted about it. It is a pity, when the Minister is going to break from a system, that he did not consult the various organisations whose members teach the language in the schools.

We could sum up the Minister's statement by saying that he intends to erect comprehensive schools in certain areas and higher schools of technology throughout the country. We believe that is a proper policy. He imagines a school will serve children within a radius of ten miles and I believe he is right and that that can be done. Last year, we had a problem ourselves. We had a new scheme of 100 houses and found that quite a number of children wished to attend the vocational school 12 miles away. That was in the month of August and we had not got much time. I was asked to approach the Department on the matter to see what could be done and before September, we had got our transport scheme going. It has been the most successful scheme I know of in the matter of doing the right thing for vocational education. The comprehensive school is a new idea. I do not believe in small schools scattered around the country. I believe in the comprehensive schools and the transport system.

It costs children approximately 3/9d. a week to travel 12 miles. That is very little. We had no absenteeism among the 16 children we sent to school this year. They travelled through the frosty and snowy weather. Had we not transport available at that time, none of these children would have been at school during January, February and into March. It is a pity that children who wish to attend secondary schools cannot be facilitated in the same way. There are difficulties but there should not be difficulties about bringing children to a Christian Brothers' school. We have children who are very anxious and who are travelling every day to the Christian Brothers' School in Mullingar. They have to cycle there and they had to miss school during all the snowy weather. We could not carry them.

Something should be done to give children an opportunity to attend whatever school they feel it is in their best interests to attend. I should like the Minister for Finance to bring that matter to the attention of the Minister for Education.

Never have I meet such courtesy as I met from the officials of the Department of Education in connection with that scheme. It could not have been a success but for the help we got in the Department. There is quite an amount of money here for salaries. The people in the Department of Education are earning their money and are worthy of it.

I am also very interested in what is being done by the Department of Education for mentally and physically handicapped children. We have a school in Drumcondra and recently one was opened quite convenient to us in South Hill. I understand that large grants were given by the State towards the erection of the school in South Hill. It has brought happiness to many homes where there was a mentally defective child because the child has been taken away and provision has been made for it. Some such children are capable of learning and they are catered for in one section. Some of the children will never be capable of doing anything and must spend the remainder of their lives in bed but they are being catered for there. It is a great relief to many parents. Such children come from all over the country. It is a great day's work. Much more of this is required. The Department are moving in the right direction when they look after the mentally defective children.

The Department are frequently criticised in connection with school buildings. While some of the criticism may be warranted, quite a lot of it is not. In their report on primary schools, the Council of Education recommended that local committees working under the direction of school managers could contribute much to the improvement of schools and school buildings not only by procuring funds locally but also by improving school grounds and so on. That is where the biggest difficulty lies.

In a rural area, according to our present system, we have to put up a certain percentage of the funds required to reconstruct schools, to get equipment, and so on. It is often difficult to collect these funds. The suggestion which was made here that committees should be set up to look after these funds is excellent. I believe that several schools have not been reconstructed and that there is bad sanitation in several schools because of lack of these committees throughout the country. I would even advocate that the Minister should send a circular to managers to form these parish committees so that funds could be collected to ensure proper sanitation, proper classrooms and proper equipment in our schools.

Senator Brosnahan has mentioned vocational guidance. I could not agree more with what he said on that subject. We are coming to a time when people, having finished their leaving certificate examination and intermediate certificate examination, must find employment. We find such people saving: "I shall not go back to school any more. I shall look for a job." Just imagine people with the leaving certificate coming to me and asking me to get them a job in the rates office which will last only three or four months. When I ask them if they have anything in mind, they say they have not, that they would like to go into the bank but cannot get a nomination or that they would like to do something else but do not know how to go about it. They leave the schools without a bit of instruction as to what jobs they should apply for, not to talk about the jobs that would suit them.

The Labour Party are conscious of all that in their policy. We believe and recommend that a well-organised system of vocational and educational advice should be provided and should be staffed by trained vocational and educational psychologists.

Parents in rural areas with children who have secured the leaving certificate come to me looking for any old job at all for such children. I have refused to get jobs for them. I have pointed out that it is better to face the difficulties now than to go into a blind alley and to come out in a few months' time and still be as far away as ever from getting a job. I have seen people in that category acting as substitute for a teacher for a day, a week, a fortnight, a month, and so on. I have seen such people spend a year or two years at that work. Then somebody is appointed and these people find themselves worse off than ever. They have got rusty during that period and they forgot to look for a job when they were getting £7 or £8 a week. That sort of predicament is due to lack of vocational guidance.

Too many secondary schools look only for good results. They have very little interest in what follows. So long as they get 12 honours out of 13 or 14 passes out of 14, they are pleased with their record. They will not tell you what happens to the students afterwards. The unfortunate students might be walking around looking for a job with the county council. I do not believe we should educate people to walk out of our secondary schools in that way.

Students leaving vocational schools know where they are going. They know they will become apprenticed to Bord na Móna or to some firm of contractors. They know exactly where they are going and they are advised accordingly before they leave the vocational school. They are trained in the vocational school for a particular job. I have never seen anything like that in the secondary schools.

Not a year passes, even at present, but they are at the door every day to know what they can do. I have always asked these people the same question: have they discussed the matter with the superior of their college? Their reply invariably is that they have not done so, that nobody bothered about it, that all they are interested in are results and that they do not mind what happens afterwards. That is bad. The Labour Party believe there should be a planning branch in the Department of Education composed of full-time officials of the Department, representatives of the local authorities, managers of schools, the teachers and representatives of their various organisations.

The Minister has spoken about comprehensive schools and colleges of technology. I believe he needs some sort of planning branch to give direction as to the proper places to have these schools. Already, the Minister is being plagued by people asking him if he will have a college of technology in such a town or such another town. In Westmeath already, they are disputing whether there should be one in Mullingar or Athlone and it is the same all over the country. If we had a planning branch that sort of influence would be obviated and they would probably make the best decisions in the interests of the people.

Senator Brosnahan referred to the Equitable Insurance Company. I did not think that would be in order. However, I see that in reply to a question in the Dáil, the Minister said that cases of hardship would be dealt with—I assume out of the Government funds. There is a particular case in Mullingar where a young man with five children started a furniture factory last year. A man there had an accident which did not seem very serious at first. He hurt his back lifting timber or something like that. The factory-owner has to pay that man £4 10s. a week at present and it seems he will have to continue to pay it for the remainder of his life. People are in doubt about whom they should apply to. Should they get in touch with the Minister for Industry and Commerce in this connection? What are the prospects of bringing about a settlement in cases like that? I ask the Minister to give very sympathetic consideration to this matter.

I know that Senator L'Estrange does not believe anything we say. He continues to play the same record every time he speaks no matter what the Bill——

Senator Yeats is the same. There must be two of us with record players.

Surely Senator L'Estrange must have some respect for, and must value the opinion of, his leader, Deputy Dillon. When listening to Senator L'Estrange talking about emigration, I was just reading what Deputy Dillon said on the subject of emigration when, according to himself, he had some very intelligent opinions to express. For the benefit of Senator L'Estrange and those who think like him and in the hope that it might make him stop once and for all using that tragic feature of our economy as a politcal weapon——

Fianna Fáil were supposed to cure it.

——I thought it well to remind him of this speech of Deputy Dillon in the Dáil on 28th May, 1958, quoted in the Irish Press of 29th May.

That is enough.

The Senator can check it in the Dáil Official Reports.

I should prefer them to the Irish Press.

There was, he said, an awful lot of cod talked about emigration. There was no true analogy between emigration today and 50 years ago. It was easier and much quicker now to come from America or Canada to Mullingar than it was to come from Belfast 60 or 70 years ago. Deputy Dillon added that he did not believe emigration was a bad thing for Ireland and he concluded: "I am told this is a great disaster for Ireland. I do not see what great disaster it is."

Provided our own population is increasing.

Those are the words of Deputy Dillon whose leadership Senator L'Estrange accepts, unless he has thrown it overboard and is acting independently. Surely, if Deputy Dillon takes that view, Senator L'Estrange will not be such a rebel to Party discipline as to find himself at variance with it?

If population is increasing, emigration is all right. Our population is decreasing.


An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Perhaps if Senator Ó Maoláin would cease to be provocative and stay in order——

I am very much in order.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

So far, Senator Ó Maoláin has not been in order nor has he related anything he said to the Finance Bill.

I beg your pardon. Senator L'Estrange was allowed to speak for over an hour during which time he talked on emigration in the same strain as he talks on it——

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

So far, Senator Ó Maoláin has not spoken on emigration. He has been speaking about Deputy Dillon.

Yes, in regard to emigration.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The Senator knows well what I mean.

I want to draw the attention of the House to a statement which Senator L'Estrange made last week speaking on the Finance Bill and reported at column 1205 of the Seanad debates which I got only this evening. I was horrified and disgusted to find that Senator L'Estrange in the course of his speech referred to the reception which the President of Ireland gave for the distinguished visitor, President John F. Kennedy, during his visit here.

On a point of order, is this relevant on the Appropriation Bill? It may be a point of explanation but I submit it is not relevant.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Senator Ó Maoláin is in order.

He referred to the reception which the President of Ireland gave to this visitor in terms which should not be used by any self-respecting representative of the people who had any respect for the dignity of his office or for the Head of the State. Senator L'Estrange described the reception, to which I presume he was invited, as "an unruly garden party". He described the people who were present as "all the thugs of the country". I want to draw the attention of the House to that despicable statement and I want to protest again, as I have protested on many occasions, against bringing into the debates here the high office of the President of Ireland, something which I hope will not be continued in the future.

The Senator should finish the statement—the thugs of Ireland who were invited because they subscribed £5 to Fianna Fáil funds. That is quite true.

Senator L'Estrange has sunk very low in this House——

Never as low as Fianna Fáil.

——but I did not think he would sink as low as to make that statement.

It is quite true.

The Senator knows it is not true.

I know that the chairman of Longford County Council was left at home because he was in Fianna Fáil a few years back and left them. There were people who subscribed £5 and £10 from the county there.

That is a shame.


There were heads of organisations that would not be brought to it.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Senator Ó Maoláin should be allowed to speak without interruption.

If there is no way of keeping Senator L'Estrange in order, I shall have to move one of the Standing Orders so that he will be put out of the House.

You will move it, or you will put me out—which?

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The last remark of Senator Ó Maoláin is a reflection on the Chair and I ask him to withdraw it.

No, I said that I would move one of the Standing Orders.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

If he were not kept in order.

Yes. Am I not entitled to move that?

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Not until I have failed to keep him in order.

Can the Leas-Chathaoirleach assure me that my speech will be made without interruption?

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Certainly, but I shall expect co-operation all round.

I shall give all the co-operation in the world if I can speak without interruption.

Coming back to the Bill, I should like to make a few comments, some by way of complaint, but most by way of congratulation. For a start, I direct my complaints to Telefís Éireann. Last year, on the Appropriation Bill, I defended Telefís Éireann very valiantly because I wanted to give them a chance to show what they could do. Eighteen months have passed and I think it is fair that we should now judge their performance. I am quite satisfied to continue to defend the entertainment value of the majority of their programmes. I find them good. I find them enjoyable, and that is one of the main purposes of a television station—the entertainment of the people.

Telefís Éireann, however, appear to be beset by some misfortune, whether of a technical nature or because of lack of planning, which I do not understand, but I certainly think those in charge should do something about it, because it is a greater cause of irritation to the ordinary viewer than anything else in the programmes. I refer to the unfortunate habit which Telifís Éireann has of cutting off before the climax of a programme of very high entertainment value.

The first time it occurred in my experience was at the end of the Football Association Cup Final at Wembley in May when the Irish captain of Manchester United, which won the final, was being presented with the cup by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth. Telefís Éireann gave a very fine telecast of the game, but when it came to the climax of the whole thing, the victory of Manchester United and the presentation of the cup to the skipper of that team—he happens to be a Corkman—the telecast was cut off. You can imagine the annoyance of the people in Cork, apart from the annoyance of Association Football fans all over the country.

Bad as that was, last night when the spectacular success of Tommy Wade winning the King George V Cup at the Horse Show in London was on the screen, again, when the presentation of the cup was made by Her Majesty the Queen, and the Irish National Anthem was played, and the whole assembly was standing in honour of the Anthem, the country and the victory, Telefís Éireann cut off the show. I do not know what gremlin is operating in Montrose but, whoever it is, or whatever it is, some action should be taken to liquidate him as quickly as possible, thereby saving bad language and bad temper on the part of viewers.

I must compliment Telefís Éireann on the coverage of the visit of our distinguished friend from the United States, President Kennedy. I have looked at a great deal of television and I must say that the technical efficiency shown by Telifís Éireann on that occasion merits the highest commendation.

For not showing the Opposition Benches.

I find fault with the news bulletins of Telefís Éireann for their very poor coverage of the Oireachtas debates. If one were without a sound radio set and anxious to find out what the Parliament of this country was doing, one would find very little in the Telefís Éireann news bulletins relating to either the Dáil or the Seanad. Whatever chance the Dáil has of being mentioned, the Seanad has very little. On the debate on the crucial turnover tax, the Dáil report was fairly good. The figures of the final division were given.

Last night when I went home, I turned on the news at eleven o'clock. The news in Irish gave the result of the debate on the Finance Bill in the Seanad, stating that the Bill had been passed, but without giving any figures for the division. The English news at 11.25 p.m. travelled from here to Tokyo, around the world via South America and back via Moscow but did not appear to realise there was such a thing as Seanad Éireann. If we are to believe Fine Gael speakers, the whole country was avidly interested in what was going to happen the Finance Bill in the Seanad. There was no mention of the Finance Bill on the Telefís Éireann news, no mention of the fact that there were majorities of 17, 15 or 14 for the particular tax which aroused such interest throughout the country. I suggest Telefís Éireann fell down badly on the job in not informing the people of that very important development here last night.

Last year I suggested, in the course of the debate on the Appropriation Bill, that Telefís Éireann might contemplate the production of films dealing with educational subjects, civics and history, films which would be of value to our schools. Telefís Éireann have now had 18 months in which to implement the suggestions made during the period of their existence. So far as films are concerned, they have produced nothing worthwhile on the lines suggested. In that connection, it should be recalled that the independent television network of Great Britain produced a magnificent documentary called "Rebellion". The whole history of the Irish War for Independence and what preceded it, going back to the lock-out of Dublin workers in 1913, and winding up in 1925, was produced by Independent Television. It was a very fine and impartial survey of the struggle for Irish freedom. The commentary was written by an Englishman. It was shown on Ulster Television, Welsh Television and the regional stations of the ITV network throughout Great Britain.

Irish television could have produced that film. That is the type of film they should produce. That is the type of film on which they should have made a beginning in the past 18 months. We could hire that film with profit from Independent Television and show it here for the information of our people. The sad story is made sadder by the news last night that the British Broadcasting Corporation are now engaged on a documentary film of the mutiny of the Connaught Rangers in India in 1920. I am quite certain the BBC will produce a documentary as good and as impartial as that produced by Independent Television. Again, this is a documentary that should have been produced by Telefís Éireann. It is time Telefís Éireann woke up.

With regard to the Irish language, I must confess I am dissatisfied at the lack of progress made in giving a fair place to the language on Telefís Éireann. Now and again, they produce an interesting and satisfactory programme, but it is only now and again. They have even dropped the system which they engaged in for a while of introducing other programmes with an introductory paragraph in Irish and introducing films with Irish subtitles. There is ground for complaint that they are ignoring one of the fundamental precepts in the Television Authority Bill. They should examine their consciences and see whether they cannot do better than that.

One of the best programmes on Telefís Éireann is Broadsheet but on occasion the promoters have made serious blunders which should be avoided in future. One terrible blunder they made—and to which I drew the attention of the Director-General without getting very much satisfaction — was the interview they staged on the eve of the presentation of credentials by the representative of a foreign Government to the President of Ireland. The interviewer proceeded to use language so insulting to the country whose representative was to present his credentials on the following morning that I became afraid that, if perhaps any of the officials of that country were looking in the night before, they might decide this was a hostile act and that he had not come to a friendly country.

I wrote to Telefís Éireann, drew their attention to it and pointed out our business was to make friends with all countries, that we wanted good relations with all countries and that this was not the way to go about it. I urged that in future interviewers on Broadsheet, particularly in connection with foreign relations, should be instructed that this country has no axe to grind except the axe of peace and that we should not go out of our way to offend representatives of any friendly country. I am afraid my letter did not receive the consideration it deserved. However, I have not lost hope, and I assure Telefís Éireann that if it ever happens again, I shall proceed in the same manner.

Broadsheet was guilty not alone of a grave error of judgment but of a piece of colossal bad taste in a programme they screened a few nights ago with regard to a dispute in Glengarriff between a gentleman who came from across the water and invested his money in a business there and some local boatmen. The interviewer went out of his way to elicit as much as he could of the story of that gentleman who came to Glengariff and as much as he could of the story of the boatmen in dispute with him. The net result was that on the following day the newspapers announced that the gentleman who had invested his money in Glengarriff, who had hoped to do business there and bring tourists there, had packed up his things, sold his business and gone back to England. That was not a subject that should have been put on the screen. It was very poor encouragement to anybody to come and invest his money in this country when he found there was alleged hostility to him by the people of the locality to which he went. Whatever difficulties there were between the persons concerned should have been left to be settled between them, without the extraordinary publicity which Telefís Éireann gave the story.

I have another grievance in connection with the Broadsheet programmes. Occasionally, they put on discussions which involve the occurrences in this country over the past 40 years. They seem to choose for their experts on those occurrences people who are strong and prominent supporters of the Fine Gael Party.

Good heavens!

Only a week or two ago, there was one of these programmes in which a prominent supporter of the Fine Gael Party pontificated to two university students on the history of Ireland in 1922 and the years that followed. I took very serious exception to the use of the Broadsheet programme for the propagation of the untruths which have gone as history from Fine Gael for the past 40 years. Telefís Éireann should on such occasions make certain that the people they get as experts are not politicians and not be prominent supporters of any political Party, thereby restoring the confidence which we should have in the impartiality of their broadcasts.

I noticed in the papers the other night that there are proposals by Telefís Éireann to freshen up their programmes. I read down through it and was sorry to note there were no proposals whatever for the introduction of schools' telecasts. I advocated that also during the past few years and advocated as well that there should be schools programmes on sound radio, but without result. The time has come when Telefís Éireann will have to face up to the fact that television is a very important, useful and valuable medium through which teachers can receive help in schools. It is time they set their sights accordingly. Whatever the technical and financial difficulties, if we are to keep in the van of progress with every modern democracy, those difficulties must be surmounted. Every modern educational aid must be used to ensure that the pupils in our schools will have as many advantages as can be given to them and as is the case in every other country.

I notice in the Bill before us that the Stationery Office is receiving a big increase in its allocation this year. On that point, I find myself annoyed by what I consider to be the undue delay in the issue of the reports of Seanad Éireann debates. We met last week. Very important statements were made and very important things happened. Yet we did not get the Seanad debates for last Thursday until this evening, and we got them this evening only by calling at the office in the main entrance hall. As far as I know, the last bound volume of the Seanad debates covers only up to March, 1961. We are over two years in arrears with the bound volumes of the debates. That is not good enough. Again, whatever the technical difficulties are in the publication and issue of reports of the Seanad debates, they should be got over and some speed-up should be arranged to ensure that Senators get within a reasonable time the reports of the sittings for the week prior to that in which they are assembling.

I notice that the rural electrification scheme is now coming near the end. I notice that almost 300,000 users are now registered in rural Ireland. All concerned with that scheme deserve the congratulations and thanks of this House and of the country. The new subsidy of 75 per cent and the special grant being made for the undeveloped areas will bring light and power to over 95 per cent of our people. The total cost of the project, which incidentally was initiated by Fianna Fáil in 1946, is over £40 million.

It is sad to think that the scheme could have been completed earlier, were it not for the stupidity of the first Coalition Government. In their first year of office, they withdrew the subsidy retrospectively and charged the ESB with a debt of £5 million. That action was equivalent to a charge on the consumers of something like £250,000 per annum. Undoubtedly it was a typical Coalition economy which had as its object the persuading of the people that they were reducing expenditure. Perhaps they did reduce expenditure, but, if they did, they did it at the expense of the people. The scheme is now nearing completion; it will be a great asset to the country and we should all be happy that it has come to that point.

I should also like to say a word in praise of Bord na Móna whose products Deputy Dillon described as all cod. Bord na Móna, in which Fine Gael had no faith, made a profit of £1 million last year and it is good to know that Bord na Móna, whose products Deputy Dillon described as all cod, are now in the export market and doing nicely. Speaking of exports, on which Senator L'Estrange waxed eloquent, I should like him to know that in the first six months of this year, there has been an increase of over £10 million in our exports as compared with the corresponding period of last year.

There is also an increase in imports.

While I am still on exports, I should like to make reference to the unfavourable balance of trade with east European countries and to suggest that it is time we did something concrete about the position. We have a Bill which deals with that matter but I want to go further. The centre of that group of east European countries is Poland and I feel that a diplomatic or trade mission in Warsaw would be centrally placed to look for business in the surrounding countries. Every other democratic country in Europe is represented there. There is a market there. We buy millions of pounds worth of goods from that country and if all the other countries are in there why should we not be there also?

A few years ago, I asked the Government to examine the possibility of having a trade mission in Japan because Japan is in the same position in the east as Poland is in Europe. I would repeat that plea now, that we examine that possibility in the light of the recent Bord Bainne survey of markets in the Far East and their survey of potential trade in the Philippines, Malaya, Hong Kong and Japan. If we had representation on the spot there by way of diplomatic mission or trade delegation it would be to our advantage in regard to that area.

In foreign affairs, I am glad to note that our foreign affairs go well under the able direction of the Minister for External Affairs. I am sure the House will be as pleased as I am at the success of the Irish delegation at UN during the year. The best tribute to the soundness of our foreign policy was paid when President Kennedy assured us that the United States of America would support it. The Irish delegation to the United Nations will sadly miss the experience of Mr. F.H. Boland, who is retiring from the diplomatic service. The best wishes and the sincere thanks of this country should go to him for his magnificent services to it. I hope his talents will still be at the disposal of the nation, perhaps in some other field, and that he will be available to serve the nation's needs.

While congratulating the Director General of Bord Fáilte and Bord Fáilte themselves on the continuing success of the work to which they have set their hands, I should like to repeat the remarks I made here some years ago with regard to the need for single bedrooms. They have done a wonderful job in the provision of highly-priced hotels and are now concentrating on the provision of medium-priced hotels and doing good work in regard to guesthouses. However, the bottleneck with regard to the lack of single bedrooms is still there. There is no provision for the boy and girl, perhaps an engaged couple, who come along here for a holiday, or for a father and mother with a grown-up son and daughter who also require single bedrooms. No hotel that I know of will, in the height of the tourist season, let bedrooms to single people. If there are such hotels, they should not hide their light under a bushel because there is a big market for single bedrooms.

In the early flush of the tourist boom about five years ago, thousands of people coming to this country for holidays and looking for single bedrooms found that they could not get in anywhere. They have not come back. They have gone elsewhere and we have lost that potential from tourists who might have made an annual visit to this country. They came mostly from the midlands of England. Bord Fáilte's job will not be completed until they have seriously tackled that problem. I know it bristles with difficulty as it brings the hotels into conflict with the rating authorities and other people, but if we are to be in serious competition with the other tourist countries, we must provide single bedrooms in the same way as we have now provided high-priced, and medium-priced hotels and are providing new guesthouses.

I feel also that it would be wise for Bord Fáilte to turn their attention not alone to Great Britain, undoubtedly our best tourist customer, but also to Germany, because the Federal Republic of Germany has immense possibilities with its hundreds of thousands of people now in a position to take holidays further away from home than ever before. They are now doing so, making for Spain, France and Algiers. The fact that they are in that position makes it possible for them, with direct air services from Germany to Ireland and with direct steamer services from Germany to Ireland, to come here. I know that Bord Fáilte in conjunction with Aer Lingus are doing a fairly good job with limited resources in advertising throughout the Federal Republic but I think the usual tourist gimmicks are not being used in the case of Germany. While the German economy is building up, I think Bord Fáilte should strain themselves to the utmost to tackle the problem and see what can be done.

Senator McAuliffe referred to the "h" alphabet. I presume he is referring to the Roman type in which quite a number of books are printed and which will become the standard type. I do not think there is any possibility that this country can further its language prospects and become a modern and up-to-date nation with regard to conversation and reading unless we march in the modern trend and provide, as every other modern country is doing, for the use of Roman script.

I make this suggestion to the Minister for Education. I read in the paper the other day that in Naas, County Kildare, a printer had investigated a new fount of type which instead of using the "h", used the aspiration over the letter. Up to now it apparently was not possible for printers to use type of that sort—the type was not there—and I agree that in many of the words the repetition of the letter "h" is unsightly. If this type could be experimented with and brought to a successful conclusion, as apparently this printer in Naas has done, it would be a great service to the Irish language and a great thing for students of the language as well. I suggest the Minister for Education, before deciding on the complete absorption of the Roman script, should investigate the possibility of using the Roman script as amended by this printer in Naas.

The references by Senator McAuliffe to the mentally handicapped children commended themselves to me very much and I strongly support his remarks in that respect. It is good to know that the Minister for Health has appointed a commission which has been sitting to consider this whole problem and that its report is expected in the near future. I hope that when this report is available, whatever measures are required to deal sympathetically and in a Christian way with the problem will be taken by the Government without delay and irrespective of what the cost problems presented may be.

I should like to speak further on many other items in connection with this Bill but I have referred to the points in which I am most interested at the moment. I hope the Ministers concerned will take note of the suggestions made from all sides of the House during this debate, the one opportunity we get of debating what happens in the various ministries during the year, and that something good will come from them.

As has been said many times since this debate opened, this Bill affords the Seanad an opportunity of discussing Government policy and Government expenditure. Senator Yeats, in his opening remarks, said it was true that the Bill presented by the Government this year is bigger than it ever was but he went on to suggest that that in itself was evidence of the success of Government policy because more money was being presented for agriculture, for education, for health and for other services. However, I would prefer to judge Government policy on the end result.

Senator Yeats did deal with the adverse trade balance but I think he dealt with that adverse trade balance with his tongue in his cheek. He seemed to contradict figures given yesterday by Senator L'Estrange and myself. In all fairness to him, he did not say that the adverse trade balance is not increasing because, in fact, he could not say that. He said the adverse trade balance last year was £99 million. I understand the more accurate figures for a later period show that the adverse trade balance is £106 million. Be that as it is, in recent years the adverse trade balance is increasing.

If the Government Programme for Economic Expansion, the first five-year plan which has just ended, has been a success — it is a programme, according to the Government, for economic expansion—one would expect the trade balance to be growing more favourable to this country. Senator Yeats goes on to say the balance of payments is all right. The balance of payments is something that cannot be tested as accurately as the balance of trade because in the balance of payments there are figures for emigrants' remittances and for all sorts of things like that which are really nothing for which the Government can legitimately claim credit.

At the end of the five-year period, we were also presented with a White Paper entitled Closing the Gap, closing the gap between income and wages, the paper which disclosed that the economy had gone wrong, had tended to go wrong over the last eighteen months. I think the Taoiseach said that from the end of 1961 an undesirable trend became apparent. I would prefer to judge and to test Government policy on that and to say that if the money were wisely expended the results would be better; there would be no necessity for the White Paper and there would be a steady improvement in the balance of trade instead of a steady decline. Then it was found necessary to introduce the turnover tax, again something which is to be deplored but which may not be strictly in order on this measure, and enough has been said about it.

Another test on which it is fair to judge Government policy is the population. It may be there is a slight increase in the population but if so it is an increase in the very young and the very old. As regards an important section of the people, the people who produce and the people who consume, the people between the ages of sixteen or seventeen years and thirty years, according to the most recent evidence available, the people in that age group were never so few. The figure is now at an all-time low level. It is a very serious matter.

It is natural that as science and medicine progress infant mortality is lower. It is also a fact that people are living longer. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect there will be more old and more young people. There are also people coming from America to live on social security pensions here and people coming back from England. However, the people who matter to this country are the people in their late teens and their twenties, and they are going and going quicker. If Government policy is to be judged or tested on that it must be regarded as a failure.

Another matter to which reference must be made—perhaps it is a bee I have in my bonnet—is the flight from rural Ireland. It goes on and on. I know a school in this country which in the late thirties was attended by 108 pupils each day. Now, I am told, the attendance has fallen to 50 and people in the locality say that when the present crop of children reach school-leaving age, this school, built less than 30 years ago, will be reduced to a one-teacher establishment, with perhaps 25 pupils attending. That is a deplorable state of affairs about which the Government should do something very quickly.

The Minister has told us from time to time that there is a drift from the land and that not very much can be done about it. However, if you search Government policy here, you will find that Government action is calculated to lure people towards the larger centres of population. We had the Undeveloped Areas Bill and a grants Bill here some time ago. The effect of those Bills—I do not think I can be contradicted in this— was to give the same treatment to large factories outside the undeveloped areas as within the undeveloped areas. Some factories got grants of up to £250,000.

Another Bill made it possible for business people outside the undeveloped areas to get loans from the State. I do not think it would be fair for me to say the Government, in these matters, are showing an anti-rural bias, but they are giving the same treatment to people in and around Dublin and the wealthier areas as to the people in the undeveloped areas, whereas if the Government are serious in preserving the country as a unit, they should show an undeveloped areas bias. I believe I am being fair in that statement.

Senator Ó Ciosáin thought it necessary to defend the Minister for Agriculture. I do not think anybody attacked the Minister for Agriculture, but I say now that the Department of Agriculture is the most important Department of State. It is the Department that controls our basic industry. Therefore, the Minister for Agriculture should hold a more dominant position in the Government; he should not be relegated to second place. He should lead the other Departments, and when this country is being represented abroad, whether it be in London, Brussels, or anywhere else, the Minister for Agriculture should be there to stand up for the farmers of this country, to advise the Taoiseach or the Minister for External Affairs or whoever else is there on matters pertaining to the basic industry of this country. I regret to say—and I am sure it is not the fault of the Minister for Agriculture but of the Taoiseach—the Minister for Agriculture seems to be treated as one of the least important Ministers of State.

Dealing with agriculture, we had the Minister here on a motion last year and the question of instruction in agriculture came up. I do not think I am being unfair to the Minister when I say he seemed to play down the desirability of agricultural instruction I referred at that time to the lack of agricultural colleges and the Minister said he did not think they were necessary for farmers' sons. I say again we are lacking in technical instruction in agriculture here and I do not think this country will get where it should be getting until every farmer and every farmer's son is made a scientific man in his own profession. I agree with the statement made by the Minister for Education somewhere in the south last week that we should have more intruction in agriculture and I sincerely hope the Minister for Education will succeed in putting his point of view across to the Minister for Agriculture and the Government.

Some members of the Government, or perhaps the Government as a whole, are losing their sense of proportion, being inclined to regard this country as a small empire. I can best illustrate what I mean by referring to a discussion we had here with the Minister for Transport and Power recently. Within the past few weeks, the Minister for Transport and Power said more than once in this House that there were no luxury hotels in this country. He did not say it once, but several times. I venture to suggest that if the Minister for Transport and Power thinks that, then he has lost all sense of proportion. There may not be luxury hotels here according to New York or Paris standards, but according to our standards and according to the type of tourists we are likely to attract, we have spent far too much money on palatial hotels and not enough on the better-class modern hotel.

In the same debate, the Minister for Transport and Power, replying to an allegation that hotel charges here were excessive and that they were discouraging the type of tourist we should endeavour to attract, stated that according to continental standards, our charges were not high. I say that unless we can offer something to the English tourist or the American tourist which the continental hotels cannot offer, we are not likely to attract him. We must admit our climate is indifferent and uncertain and that there is nothing the Government can do about it. It would be quite unreasonable to blame the Government for the climate, but we must do something to make up for the climate. All we can do is give tourists comfortable hotels at reasonable prices, give them value in hotel accommodation, but if we are satisfied by saying that our hotels compare not unfavourably with continental standards, then we have lost our sense of proportion.

I should like to say a word or two about the Department of Justice. Departments of Justice in this or in any other country are very important institutions of State. The Department of Justice regulate the lives of the citizens; their job is to stand between the citizen and the State and between one citizen and another. It is very important that justice be done and equally important that justice should appear to be done, as has been said on many occasions.

Within the past few weeks, there have been unfortunate happenings in the Department of Justice. I do not want to go into the matter in detail. We all know that a High Court judge sitting in the city of Dublin found it necessary to complain that a prisoner whom he had sentenced to imprisonment had not been conveyed to Mountjoy in accordance with the order made by him. The explanation given by the Minister for Justice was that a petition to remit the sentence imposed on that man had been presented and, pending consideration of the petition, he had ordered that the man be not sent to Mountjoy. The people who knew about the matter knew this man had been sentenced to imprisonment and that he had not been sent to prison, so much so that the judge in charge of the case thought it necessary to bring it up in open court and speak adversely about it.

That is very undesirable. It would have been prudent to send the man to prison on the day on which he was sentenced and if, when the petition came in, the Minister saw fit to remit the sentence, he could have been released. A few days in Mountjoy would not have done him a bit of harm. As events turned out, the Minister did not feel justified in interfering with the order of the court, but, in the meantime, a bad impression had been created. That was bad enough. The Minister may have been technically correct in saying that he was not——

He was technically correct. There are past precedents.

He may have been acting strictly within the law, but why did a High Court judge think it necessary to refer to it? As I said, justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done. A fortnight afterwards, in County Donegal, another judge presiding in another court in Letterkenny found it necessary to refer to the fact that a person whom he had sentenced to imprisonment for six months had not been conveyed to Mountjoy. As a matter of fact, I think it was even worse in that case because it was intended to call that prisoner as a witness in another criminal prosecution a few days later. However, that circuit court judge thought it necessary to refer to the fact that his order had not been carried out. Again, the public were informed that a petition had been presented and was being considered.

Again, it would have been much more prudent and would have led to much more respect for the law if the person had been brought to prison and the petition considered. In this case also when it was considered, I think I am correct in saying the Minister did not feel justified in interfering with the order of the court. Another matter is being investigated in the courts arising out of the administration of justice. It is sub judice and I do not intend to refer to it further at this stage.

Senator Ó Maoláin dealt at length with Telefís Éireann. I do not propose to deal with it in detail as he did. This Party believe in the complete independence of Telefís Éireann and the broadcasting system. We believe it to be the duty of Telefís Éireann, and Radio Éireann, to present the news to the people of the country, fairly and squarely, without bias on one side or the other. We believe that we have now reached the stage when Telefís Éireann should be able to present news features in a critical manner, if necessary. There is no use in putting our heads in the sand, illuminating all our good points and hiding all the things that might be criticised. That fairly and squarely represents our views on Telefís Éireann.

I intended to raise the matter which Senator Ó Maoláin dealt with, that is, the coverage of the White City Horse Show last night. Before I left the country this morning, I heard people complaining about the manner in which it was presented and the abrupt manner in which it was cut off, just when people were proud of the victory that had been won, and were waiting to join with the spectators there in acclaiming Tommy Wade and "Dundrum" as they should have been acclaimed. I wonder are Telefís Éireann to blame? It does not seem to be accidental. They have an unfortunate knack of blacking out the Queen, so to speak, on Telefís Éireann, as Senator Ó Maoláin said. Whether they think it is expected of them is hard to know. I do not think it is purely coincidental. I am sure the comment of Senator Ó Maoláin this evening, as Leader of the Government Party in this House, that he disagrees with that will be a help to Telefís Éireann in future.

In your absence, Sir, there was a discussion about the coverage of President Kennedy's visit by Telefís Éireann. By and large, they did a good job. By and large, Telefís Éireann were impartial, but people in the country who are not interested in politics as such, and who are certainly not politicians, were disappointed at the coverage of the Joint Session of the Dáil and Seanad. Constituents like to see people they know, whether or not they are photogenic.

They saw Senator Ó Maoláin seven times.

Maybe there were technical difficulties. I fully appreciate that. I had better say what I think straight away. The general impression in the country—and rightly so—was that the Government Party —I would not say stole the show— were given the show. I think that was unfortunate, and I think the people up and down the country regarded the presentation of the Joint Session as propaganda for the Government Party. It may be that there were difficulties about placing the cameras. That may be so. I fully appreciate the position occupied by the President of the United States, but I think an effort should have been made before the President arrived, and while we were waiting for him, to give a fair presentation of the House. That should have been seen to, and it should have been seen to in time. We were all extremely proud of President Kennedy's visit.

Reference was made to the garden party. I do not intend to use any strong language or colourful adjectives about it but if any member of this House is honest with himself and has been talking to the people, he will admit it was one aspect of the visit that did not impress the people. I have defended it and I have stated that it is easy to criticise it but easy to understand what happened, but let us not put our heads in the sand. It was not a very pleasant spectacle. A lot of people were ashamed and if in future there are garden parties, and whether or not they are to be covered by television, it should be seen to that there will not be a recurrence of the bad taste, shall I say, which, unwittingly or otherwise, was displayed there.

Senator Yeats spoke about the money being spent. More care should be given to the expenditure of large sums of money. We had another example of this necessity recently with the Verolme Dockyard in Cork. Four years ago, some millions of pounds were put into that project and it is now apparent that that project was not sufficiently scrutinised at that time. That can be proved beyond doubt because just before the Dáil went into recess, the Minister for Industry and Commerce asked for practically another £1 million. He asked for that sum on the basis that it was necessary to keep the dockyard going and keep 800 men in employment. He did not say, and he could not say, that the injection of that money would enable the company to carry on successfully. Apparently every ship that was built there was built at a loss. A ship is being built there at the moment for an unnamed customer and it will be built at a loss.

The fact that every Deputy for Cork city and county, other than Government Deputies, criticised this dockyard and the money being put into it, notwithstanding the fact that it employs 800, is proof positive that all is not well there. It is proof positive that sufficient consideration was not given to the expenditure of that large sum of money. We are all in favour of employment but you can pay too much for gold and those millions of pounds could have been invested in some other project that would have been much more beneficial to our economy.

Senator Brosnahan raised the question of the Equitable Insurance Company under the heading of the Department of Industry and Commerce. It is unfortunate that the Equitable Insurance Company has gone into liquidation in circumstances which will mean a considerable loss to many people. Not alone will it mean a considerable loss to many individuals but it will damage the insurance business generally. A lot of people, including people who might be expected to know something about insurance, believed that following the enactment of the 1936 Insurance Act, insurance business here was as safe as the bank and that insurance companies could not go wrong, that they were guaranteed by the Government. That was not strictly correct but it is true to say that an insurance company operates under Government licence. It must submit its accounts each year to the Department of Industry and Commerce and if the Department have reason to believe that the company is not solvent, or that the accounts need further probing into, they are not bound to accept the certificate of the auditors. They are entited to go behind that certificate and have a further investigation. If there had been more scrutiny by the Department, it should have been on notice two or three years ago that the company needed more investigation and this calamity might have been averted.

I should like to ask one question: what is the Government policy, or the policy of the Department of Industry and Commerce, on losses which may be incurred as a result of the failure of this insurance company? I ask that because I am a member of a vocational education committee which is building a technical school at a cost of over £30,000 and the builder was asked to give a bond for the due performance of his contract. He gave a bond which was issued under the seal of the Equitable Insurance Company Limited on the 14th May, 1963, which cost him, I imagine, over £100 and probably £200. As I say, the bond was dated 14th of May, 1963, a matter of two or three days before the company went into liquidation. It was presented to the vocational committee about a month ago, a very considerable time after the company had gone into liquidation, and of course the vocational committee refused to accept the bond.

No communication went to the Department of Education other than the minutes of the meeting. Following receipt of the minutes of the meeting, a letter came to the committee saying that the Department considered that the committee would be justified in paying the premium on a new bond. That means that the ratepayers of the county would be justified jointly with the State in relieving the contractor from getting another bond. I should like to know whether that means that the Government think that public funds should bear the losses resulting from the activities of this company. If they do, they should say so. Unless the Government are prepared to bear all losses, there is no reason why the ratepayers of any particular county should be asked to bear portion.

All the higher mathematics and the political implications of the Appropriation Bill have been fully threshed out. I hope to be brief in my remarks. One of the things that I feel requires some thinking on is the fact that the term "farmers" when used in this House is an all embracing-term, taking in large farmers and the small west and south of Ireland farmers. They are two different types of people altogether living under entirely different circumstances and each type requires special consideration.

One has heard about the low rate of wages for farm labourers. Farm labourers working for big farmers are entitled in justice to an honest day's wage. Even if the State had not stipulated what the members of the House consider a just wage, the farmer himself should pay to his labourer a wage commensurate with the work and service he is getting.

There is a different question entirely in connection with the small uneconomic holdings in the west. The drift from the land has been mentioned. I have lived in the west of Ireland and I can say that it has gone on continuously, to my knowledge, over 60 years. It is not a matter of recent growth. Possibly, within the past few years, it is more noticeable and possibly more accentuated.

One of the immediate causes of the drift from the land was the policy of building a lot of cottages—as I would say, satellite towns—in and around the small towns in the west without ensuring at that time that there was employment for the people going into those cottages. Contractors who took contracts for building these groups of houses found that the best labour to employ was the country labourer. They brought those country men in to erect the houses. They, in turn, formed contacts in the towns, married and, in the end, the people who came to build the houses occupied them without having, themselves, any prospect of continuous employment.

The other cause of the drift from the land is, again, partly our own fault and to a certain extent can be corrected. The small unecomomic holdings in the west of Ireland have managed to raise families only because the breadwinner of the house migrated for seasonal employment in Britain. Again, that has been going on for over 60 years. There was a regular outflow of migratory labourers from the west of Ireland to England and to Scotland. In recent years, since this State was established, an effort was made to supplement the earnings from those small uneconomic holdings by part-time or partial employment. That was given through roadwork, Bord na Móna, forestry, land division, drainage, and all those various Government activities which enabled a man to get employment during certain periods of the year, even on certain days of the week, and enabled him at the same time to carry on his small, uneconomic holding.

Recently, a practice has crept in under which practically all that employment is taken away from those very deserving people—mechanisation —and to an extent which I think should critically be examined. Every State grant operating in those uneconomic holdings and uneconomic districts should have a stipulation of a minimum unskilled labour content.

It is not correct to say that you cannot do the side-dressing of a road by manual labour or the trimming of hedges or the spreading of materials by manual labour. A man may say he can get it done cheaper by using machinery. What is the position? You purchase your machinery from outside and you purchase your fuel from outside. It affects your adverse balance. Your labourer is unemployed and drawing the dole if he can get it: otherwise, he has to migrate. If there were a stipulation that such men would get a minimum of employment, it would enable them to buy the necessaries of life which they cannot get by farming their holdings. It would result in holding a lot of people who have now to emigrate because, among other things we have allowed mechanisation to run riot in rural areas.

Whenever you consult with local people at present you will find a general complaint about lack of employment. You will find complaint that there is suitable road material in the immediate vicinity but that those sources of material are not being used. Instead, material is brought in from central bodies. Nobody considers the amount of damage done by transporting 10-ton to 20-ton lorry loads over roads which were never constructed to bear them. The wear and tear on those roads is very severe, in addition to depriving a local labourer of employment he might expect to get. All that represents a serious loss to the country.

There should be a serious re-examination of the matter of road signs. It is now considered that the "Stop" sign which was an effective road sign is no longer a legal sign. Some years ago, I travelled right through the continent and the "Stop" sign was in general use there: it was not in French, German, Italian and so on. It was just the word "Stop". It saved people going from a minor road to a main road.

We should examine again and adjust as soon as possible the 30- and 40-mile an hour speed regulating signs which are placed sometimes a half mile and sometimes threequarters of a mile from a town. Today, I went from Dublin to Wicklow and on the journey I saw only one 30-mile an hour speed limit sign, whereas in the west of Ireland I meet a 30-mile an hour sign at least a half mile from towns on a road designed for a 65-miles an hour speed limit. It is ridiculous and the sooner things like that are put right the better. There is no use in putting up signs unless we ensure they are respected. I am not critical of the Garda, for whom I have as much respect as anybody, but I often travel from my place of residence to Dublin and never meet a Guard on the road over that distance of 150 miles. I see any number of signs being ignored and then there is a spot check and some decent, respectable people, who make a mistake or forget, are prosecuted for exceeding the speed limit on a road designed for 65-mile-an-hour traffic.

A question that has not been mentioned is the closing of branch lines by CIE. The economics of closing small railways should be examined. I was recently a member of a deputation concerning the closing of a branch line in the west and it was stated that on that 30 miles of line there was an annual loss of £12,000. Consequently the line was closed and a number of people thrown out of employment. But a bus service was substituted and one of the roads on which that service now operates was said by the railway company two or three years ago to be unsuitable and dangerous for bus traffic. The company's timetable should really be re-examined by those who produce it to find out if they could devise any system less unreasonable and unacceptable to the public than the time schedule they have drawn up.

What we save by throwing people out of employment is the difference between their wages or pensions and the dole and for that saving we put an extra cost on the local authority. The Government gave grants where railways were closed down but now I think those grants will run for only a limited time and after that the local authority must bear the full impact of extra traffic on those roads, for the sole purpose of preventing an apparent loss of £12,000. So far as I see, the new services are not convenient to the public.

This has been mentioned by Senator Fitzpatrick but personally I feel deep concern in connection with the planning and subsidising of large factories and other concerns. It is said that the person who never made a mistake never made anything but we can make too many mistakes, and if it were a matter of our own personal business running headlong into losses, we would take some steps either to curtail losses or get out of that business. We should be very much more careful and critical in our examination of these projects. If as is bound to happen in a new industry in a young State, we find an industry is getting into difficulties, we should try to cut our losses.

I already approached the Minister for Finance on the matter mentioned by Senator Quinlan, the salaries of professional people. We educate such people and urge them to go to universities which we subsidise. We graduate them and they are of high potential to the country but we will not give them reasonable terms to keep them at home with the result that we are educating for export. This is a great loss to our economy and I particularly appeal to the Minister to do everything in his power to bring to a speedy conclusion the arrangements for a scheme of conciliation and arbitration in matters affecting professional people where there is now disagreement. Professional groups, veterinary surgeons, doctors, nurses, engineers and others have come together and prepared a scheme for conciliation and arbitration. There may be a little difficulty to be ironed out but I ask the Minster to make a determined effort to see that scheme thoroughly examined so that as far as possible agreement will be reached soon. A scheme which will result in satisfactory service and a satisfied staff will result in great benefit to the country.

The problem of Army engineers may have been mentioned by Senator Carton last night. After Army service, some of them got employment under local authorities. I should like to think they would get some consideration for their Army service in assessing their pensions or their service that would count towards pensions, so that their Army service would not be lost to them. Some Army engineers went to Bord na Móna and other concerns and eventually came to local authorities. Their service should also be taken into account towards fixing entry points on salary scales and pensions.

That matter is not relevant.

I should like to think that some Senators had experience of giving evidence in court as I have. One would feel justified in saying, as I say now, that some of the judges might be expected to treat witnesses——

The Senator may not criticise the judiciary.

I should like to say a few words about education and health which I think are sufficiently important to justify the remarks I have to make about them. It is very encouraging, particularly in regard to education, that we should have such evidence of increasing interest. The discussions here have been well informed and I have read with great interest the documents produced by the Federation of Irish Lay Secondary Schools and the Labour Party. I believe that it can do nothing but good to have this increasing interest in education.

So far as the general problem of improving education is concerned, I shall confine myself to the matter of capital investment in it. Senator Quinlan and others have mentioned the difficulty of running educational establishments in view of the discrepancy between our standards, salaries, the amount provided by the Government in respect of pupils attending universities and so on here as compared with Northern Ireland and elsewhere. I do not wish to deal with that so much as the need for some more capital expenditure in relation to the various forms of education. A step has been taken in that direction in relation to the universities. A certain number of projects are going ahead, projects which will greatly improve accommodation. Presumably there will be corresponding capital grants for equipment.

There is also a very commendable expansion programme in regard to building, equipment, and so on, in the sphere of vocational education. In regard to secondary and primary education, however, very little has been done in this direction from the point of view of State effort. There are a number of new buildings and a number of new science laboratories but these are due almost entirely to private effort. There are some instances in which the Minister for Education has given grants on the basis of £ for £ but I do not think that is adequate. It certainly grows less and less adequate as costs increase.

In the case of primary education, it is a matter of general comment that the standard of accommodation in schools in many parts of the country is very poor. It is not just a matter of repainting and refurbishing; many need total replacement. Again this is a matter in which very often it is expected local committees and private effort will remedy the position. The costs of these projects are becoming so great that it just is not possible to get things done any longer in that way. It means putting projects off or doing the thing bit by bit. All the time costs are rising; money does not go so far, and a proper job just cannot be done. In the meantime, children have to attend these very inadequate institutions.

With regard to health, I would urge the Minister here again to think along the same lines. The question of capital expenditure also arises here. He may be surprised, and other Senators may be surprised, to hear me say that capital is needed for our hospital system for it is a matter of common knowledge that an enormous amount has been spent in building new hospitals during the past 15 years, and most of these are splendid buildings, but there are a number of teaching hospitals in Dublin which have had very little done for them and which are still very far behind the standard of modern teaching institutions. The money spent on hospitals has not, of course, been spent by the State. It has been spent from the Hospitals' Trust Fund almost entirely. Indeed, the State has gained from this Hospitals' Trust Fund; it has gained the 25 per cent tax taken from the hospitals' share of the distribution after every sweepstake.

In relation to the activities of the Dublin teaching hospitals—indeed of all the teaching hospitals in the country—an incident in the last few months has pinpointed the situation. It has done a good deal to make people realise how dangerous that situation is for us. I have indeed on a number of occasions mentioned these dangers in this House. During the last few weeks, there was an announcement equivalent to a warning that the largest dental school in this country may be forced to close because it is not possible to guarantee proper education in that school. There are three other dental schools in the country—two in Dublin and one in Cork. They are all facing the same situation.

I hope we have turned the corner and that the effort we are making to cope with this problem will get us by, but it is not very dignified that we should guarantee a student who comes to this school that, when he qualifies, he will be recognised as having had an adequate and satisfactory dental education. The fact is we have put this matter off too long. We have delayed too long the expenditure of the necessary capital funds on these institutions. The result is that when they are inspected, as these institutions are inspected from time to time by the authorities of other bodies, they are so far behind that they just will not be recognised.

The position in relation to medical education and veterinary education is also serious but not quite so urgent as that in dental education. I am aware that in Dublin clinicians are compelled to teach in hospitals with the very minimum of accommodation and equipment. In my opinion—I should not like to be widely quoted now—the accommodation for teaching in our Dublin hospitals is lower than it is anywhere else in Western Europe or in America. We are really only getting by with this situation largely as an act of courtesy. We can be criticised, and are being criticised, very severely. The criticism, if pushed, could mean that the situation would become very serious just as quickly as it became serious in the case of dental education. The position was extremely serious in the case of veterinary education a year ago. Indeed, we are not yet out of that wood.

One of the difficulties in relation to medical and dental education arises from the fact that the clinical aspects of this type of education fall between two stools. In the hospital the Minister for Health is responsible only for the care of patients. He has no responsibility for education. The Minister for Education should be responsible for education. He has, of course, no responsibility for the care of patients. In regard to the education of the students, he operates through the universities. The universities find they have no proprietary right in the hospitals and while the amount of money that they can spend on clinical teaching is so limited they find it difficult to get much done. Patient care and education are played off against each other. The result is nothing is done.

We are very fortunate in having here tonight as Minister for Finance a doctor and a man who has been Minister for Health in the past. I think we might appeal to him now as Minister for Finance to take this particular problem under his wing. I believe the answer is finance. This matter is raised by the universities every year with monotonous regularity with the Minister for Education. He must pass it on to the Minister for Finance; that is the invariable answer. I hope that the next time he does so in relation to the clinical side of dental and medical education, and that the Minister for Agriculture takes the same step with regard to veterinary education, the Minister for Finance will be sympathetic to the proposals.

Debate adjourned.
The Seanad adjourned at 10 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on Friday, 26th July, 1963.