Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Seanad Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 13 Jan 1972

Vol. 72 No. 3

Appropriation Act, 1971: Motion (Resumed).

Debate resumed on the following motion:
That Seanad Éireann notes the supply services and purposes to which sums have been appropriated in the Appropriation Act, 1971.
—(Tomás Ó Maoláin.)

There is just one further section to which I wish to refer here, that is, the section on secondary education. There are many disquieting features in this. We find that the Government have set a shockingly bad example in their relations with all concerned in this field. I want to cite as No. 1 the grave breach of agreement made by the Government on the free fees scheme introduced by the late Mr. Donogh O'Malley. When that was introduced five years ago, the scheme was that the State was to pay fees up to £25 per student. Then we had the agreement by which the fees went from £15 to £25 for schools that had minimum fees. That was £25 in 1967. A great deal of pressure was exerted on many secondary schools to come into the scheme, schools which at the time found it necessary to charge more than £25 were still pressurised into the scheme and finally accepted the £25. Is there anyone connected with the public service who is today being paid the same salary as in 1967? If the Minister for Finance were to insist that the secretary and the senior members of his Department should not have had their salaries increased since 1967, then we would all rebel against this injustice. We would say it was not right or proper and that everyone should be compensated in the normal way for devaluation. Yet the secondary schools have been denied any increase whatsoever in this £25 that was given to them and paid to the vast majority of those schools back in 1967.

To bring that into line with the present value of the £ it should be at least £35. Schools which did not go into the free scheme in 1967—the fee-paying schools—have increased their fees in the normal way. They are about 30 to 35 per cent, on average, above what they were in 1967. Everybody considers that right and fair. Would the Minister for one moment hold that any of those schools for which the Government are paying fees of £25 would not have been entitled to raise their fees in the past three, four or five years to bring them into line with the increased cost of living? I cannot understand how the Minister for Finance can stand over such a blatant injustice. I ask that, as a matter of urgency, that be adjusted. Unfortunately we get the feeling that unless you are able to wield power and use pressure you are not going to get justice in present times. We see the example of the students in the streets and the way they get an increase. Is the Minister suggesting that the reverend mothers and the Christian Brothers and the principals of the lay schools must take to the streets before they will get justice on this? I am shocked and appalled at the indifference to this and at this grave lack of social justice. I wish to protest in Seanad Éireann in the strongest possible terms against this and to ask that action be taken immediately.

Would the Senator say where the money can be got?

The Minister produced £20 million last November.

That is capital.

That is £20 million to be spent in the year. The Minister also produced the necessary money for Civil Service and other increases, and rightly so. The amount involved here is not an overwhelming sum. The amount voted in the present year is £3½ million. To bring that up to current figures would probably require £700,000 to £800,000. Surely the Senator is not suggesting that we are so bankrupt that we could not raise that much. If you wish, another penny on the pint would bring it in—that would be no great burden for a laudable purpose like this—or a few pence on the income tax. I would not have the slightest hesitation in paying it, nor would Senator Ó Maoláin or any other income tax payer.

The school transport system estimate went up £1,200,000 in the last two years. There was no question at all of denying the bus drivers their rightful adjustment of wages. There was no question of not having to pay the increased cost of running the buses due to increases in oil charges. The estimate shows an increase of almost 60 per cent in 12 months. While the bus scheme is a great convenience, there were many other things that were far more necessary if the State was penny-pinching. These could have been done on a pooling system at half the cost. We have a superfluity of unused cars in all places in the country in the mornings that could be used on a pool basis as has been done in the past for transporting students. That might need a supplement or something else.

We have this free scheme now and the costs go up and up. I make the prediction here that that £3½ million is going to be £5 million probably even before the next election, if an election is a year or a year-and-a-half away. It is becoming the highest cost associated with schools and it is the one that is administered in the most bureaucratic way, in that there is the appalling situation in regard to children in the same family, that one is entitled to be carried and the other is not. That is a decision that should be left to the common sense of the local people and the bus operator in the locality as well as the schools concerned, rather than having it tied up by the red tape of officialdom in Dublin. I would urge that at least some of the red tape of the transport system should be unwrapped and that the decision be made locally at the school, so that any student will be entitled to travel on the bus provided the principal of his school certifies that in his or her opinion the student is entitled to that transport. That would take away all these annoyances.

The community school muddle is an example of getting into a totally unnecessary doctrinaire situation. What was required was a community of schools, in other words, the interchange of facilities and the development of those we have got, rather than this passion we have for reducing everything to uniformity, where the uniformity very often becomes a uniformity in mediocrity. This is something which our system, given the opportunity, could develop and is developing in all districts and I congratulate the parents in various districts for the way they are standing up to the totally absurd intrusion by Department officials who believe that the parents must be protected from themselves in their own areas.

To conclude on this, I wish to reiterate the second problem that faces us at the moment, the unemployment situation. I wish to recapitulate the six headings under which this problem can be tackled and tackled effectively. Number one concerns the retraining schemes for service industries, with a headline being set by the ESB where up to 15 to 20 per cent of those involved could be put on retraining at present and new recruits brought in to take their place. This would provide a very sizeable development in the service field and this is something we will need in the future expansion for which we all hope.

Number two is the recruitment of apprentices into the service and other fields, an immediate contribution by those involved in apprenticeship in lifting very substantially the limits on recruitment into the various trades to ease the present unemployment situation, and the provision of worthwhile training opportunities for our young men and women in the 18 to 21 or 22 age group, many of whom are finding great difficulty in obtaining employment.

Number three is the immediate injection into the public works sector of a very sizeable amount of money to get schemes that are already planned and have been ready to start for years going immediately, thereby creating employment for many of the skilled tradesmen who at present are experiencing great difficulties.

Number four, I advocate that in agriculture relief services be attached to the various co-operative units. In the coming spring there should be a minimum of 2,000 workers put into that area, an area where there is urgent need for expansion of agriculture. This can be done by giving a substantial grant-in-aid to the IAOS to carry out the organisation of this job. A grant of £50,000 would get that going immediately, and perhaps the State would give a grant towards the cost for a very short period, perhaps the first two years of the scheme.

Number five, I suggest that an immediate effort should be made to increase very substantially the number of apprentices in the farm apprenticeship scheme. I would visualise that the number could be expanded in the present agricultural year by at least 2,000 to 3,000 young people in the 18 to 21 age group.

Number six, I would suggest again that, in justice to the manual or nonwhite collar class, the same retirement age, 65, should be extended to them as is available to and indeed is mandatory for white-collar workers. Having regard to redundancy, it would be a much greater contribution that people should be able to retire with dignity at 65 from factories and nonwhite collar positions, rather than feel that they were going out on a sort of charity or redundancy basis. If that is introduced as a matter of urgency I think it will help firms in getting a new orientation as well as enabling people to leave employment who perhaps are not the best for modern industry, as well as opening the way for new recruits.

With those six points I think a considerable improvement could be made in the unemployment situation. You may ask: "Where would the money come from?" My answer is: have the Government got faith in what they say about the future and the prospects in the Common Market or not? The test of their faith is their willingness to borrow on the strength of that to give the economy that shot in the arm that it needs at the moment. In other words, the reflation of the economy is overdue and can be done with safety if the future for agricultural products is as rosy as it appears to be at present. If it is, then all the other employment sectors that I have mentioned can with confidence be expanded. We can have confidence in the future that in three, four or five years the service industries and agriculture will need those people. What then is preventing us from training them now?

I commend this to the Government and present it as a small contribution towards helping the unemployment situation. We should not panic about this but should recognise that we are being faced with the full measure of our employment responsibilities due to the worsening of conditions abroad and the consequent large reduction in the emigration figures. If the emigration figures were as high as they were five years ago, the figure of 70,000 would be down to 40,000 or 45,000, a figure we could accept complacently.

We have a duty to provide for our own people and as emigration is not as attractive as it was, we must examine the position more closely. I ask the Government to get on with the job and let us see what their approach to full employment means.

Tá an Bille Leithreasú ós ár gcomhair arís anois. Má fhéachaimíd ar an suim airgid atá i gceist tagann iontas orainn— £535,730,450. Is é sin breis de £73,000 ar an Meastachán a bhí ós ár gcomhair an bhliain seo caite. Buíochas le Dia go bhfaighmuidne sa Teach seo seans ár smaontaí a nochtadh faoi staid na tíre, faoi na fadhbanna, atá le réiteach agus na rudaí atá le déanamh againn san am atá le teacht chun go gcuirfear an tír agus leas an phobail chun chinn chomh tapa agus chomh éifeachtach agus is féidir.

I gconaí ag an am seo tagann i mo cheann scéilín i dtaobh sagart paróiste gur theastaigh uaidh dul go cluiche iománaíochta. D'iarr sé ar chara leis, sagart ón mór-roinn a bhí ar a laethanta saoire, ionadaíocht a dhéanamh ar an Domhnach dó, an tAifreann a léamh agus an tseanamóin a thabhairt uaidh—seanamóin ar an diabhal. Thosnaigh an sagart an mór-roinn agus ar seisean: "My dear brethren, your parish priest cannot be with you today. I take his place. I speak to you and tell you who the devil he is, what the devil he is doing and where the devil he is going."

Anois, na cainnteorí a bhí romhainn ar maidin agus inné, nochtaíodar a smaontaí ar a lán nithe, cuid díobh anchiallmhar agus an chuid eile cainnt gan ciall. Pé scéal é, chuaigh gach duine diobh in airde ar a "hobby horse" féin, agus ar aghaidh leis.

Is dócha go mbainfeadh sé le nádúir go labhróinnse ar oideachas.

There are very few subjects other than education about which so much nonsense and balderdash has been spoken and written. This is possibly for the simple reason that so many people, especially now, do not seem to realise what education means fundamentally. So many people unfortunately tend to equate education with instruction or with knowledge in some particular sphere. They seem to think that because a person attends an educational institution for a number of years that person is educated. This is far from the truth. Many people attend educational institutions—primary, post-primary and third-level—and when they are finished with it all they are still as far from being educated as they were when they started. Real education has to do with Christianity in its best form—politeness, charity, concern for one's neighbour, for the good of one's country, for the good of one's community, discernment, the ability to sift the wheat from the chaff. In short, education has to do with the development of the full man.

I heard a wise man summing up the gentleman who had a long session at various high-class schools and who was yet, in his own right, what we would call a boor. This man said to me—he was a countryman—"Do you know what he is, he is what you would call an educated cabóg". By educated he meant the man in question had attended various educational institutions but he was still lacking in the things education should give.

Education, no doubt, embraces knowledge. It takes in instruction and all the other things but it must create an atmosphere for wisdom, balanced judgment, discernment, acceptance and maintenance of high moral, cultural and national standards. A man must be trained so that he will not be fooled by every intellectual chancer who comes his way or by everyone who comes along with some new and foolish idea.

When I spoke on the Higher Education Bill last year I made this point, approached from another angle, and I gave a short quotation from my good friend Plato and it is worth repeating at this point. Plato says:

Whenever the populace crowd together at any public gathering booing and clapping until the rocks ring, and the whole place redoubles the noise of their applause and outcries in such a scene what do you suppose would be a young man's state of mind? What sort of private instruction would give him the strength to hold out against such a torrent or to save him from being swept down the stream until he accepts all their notions of right and wrong, does as they do and comes to be just such a man as they are?

Commenting on that I said "One would think Plato was living in 1971". I add to that now that one would think Plato was living in 1972. In this very complex and distorted world, where young people are caught up in a torrent of shoddy values, where things we considered sacred when we were a little younger than we are now are being valued as mere nothings, the values seem to have changed. Things that were regarded as being absolutely right are now supposed to be proved wrong. Those we believed were false are declared to be true. Living in a world of disquiet such as we are we will have to depend on the influence and teaching of wise men.

We come to the kernel of the situation now when I speak of the most important single thing in any educational structure, that is the teacher or the master himself, be he at primary, secondary or third level, be he parent, friend, adviser or counsellor. The quality of the teacher will decide the quality of the education given. Before I leave this particular point I should like to refer to something I mentioned when speaking on the Appropriation Bill last year. When I mentioned the fact that there seemed to be a deterioration in the quality of primary teachers coming from the training colleges, I added my voice to the higher education authorities when they suggested that mature students would be admitted to these colleges. Up to then a person had to be within a narrow age limit, 17 to 19 years, and very often people do not know at that stage what they are best suited for. I firmly believed, and many of my colleagues shared my belief, that a great potential was still there to be tapped of mature people who would be ornaments to the teaching profession if they got a chance to enter training colleges. I am very glad to say that beginning this year mature students will be admitted to the training colleges if they have certain qualifications already obtained in their leaving certificate. They will be admitted up to the age of 28 years. That is a great breakthrough. I can see we will get a better quality and a more mature type of teacher in our primary schools in the years to come. I cannot emphasise strongly enough this point of maturity and quality in the teacher, especially in Ireland where there are so many problems that do not exist in countries with which we have our principal dealings.

When we emerged from the 1916 to 1921 period, when the division came at the time of the Treaty, it is true to say that both sides, Free Staters and Republicans, were equally idealistic as far as Pearse's ideal was concerned— the ideal of an Ireland Gaelic and free. That has been proved by the suggestions, recommendations and the programme laid out for national schools when the first Free State Government came into office. It was fully recognised that our ideal should be an Ireland where we would have our own language spoken throughout the country as soon as possible and where the unity of the whole country would come sooner or later. How far have we fallen down then when you pick up newspapers and see letters, articles, columnists here and there with a smear campaign as far as the Irish language is concerned, as far as our own cultural values are concerned; when you hear people in the most unexpected places putting on affected English accents, when you hear people accepting the suggestion that Ireland is one of the British Isles and that the six occupied counties in the north-east of our country may be equated with the province of Ulster. We have in a publication such as Ireland of the Welcomes published by Bord Fáilte a caricature of Paddy the Irishman on his way to Mass. These are the things that hurt. How far have we fallen? What is the cause of it? Is it the fact that we are suffering from the effects of opulence? The greatest danger to any country is not poverty but opulence. It is especially important as far as we are concerned because we are a very small nation. We are alongside one of the world powers. Between their influence, their superiority and their innuendo that we are an inferior race by their newspaper articles and television, they can influence us to an alarming degree. We have to be on our guard all the time because if eternal vigilance is the price of freedom eternal vigilance must also be the price we will pay for the survival of this nation as a distinct entity.

I should like to say a few brief words on the interchangeability of teachers in the primary and secondary sectors. I have here Tuarascáil ar Oiliúint Mhúinteoirí: Report on Teacher Education, a publication of the Higher Education Authority. The question comes in of maturity and possibly lack of maturity. Very often a teacher trained for primary teaching finds after some time he could do far better work in a secondary or post-primary school. The same thing applies to secondary teachers and vocational teachers, who find after some time they could possibly fulfil themselves properly in a primary school. As things stand that is just not possible except under very special conditions. On page 16 of this report the Higher Education Authority state:

At present the graduates of the Training Colleges may teach only in Primary Schools. They are not permitted to teach at post-primary level without acquiring the further qualifications at present required. We may add that post-primary teachers are also debarred from teaching at primary level except in the case of graduates who take a one-year course in the Training Colleges. Consequently our primary and post-primary system is highly compart-mentalised. It takes no cognisance of the possibility that a University graduate might prefer to teach at primary level or that a Training College graduate might show a preference for post-primary teaching. We think that it would be highly desirable, from an educational point of view, to have the rigidity of the present system relaxed. With the recommended upgrading of the courses in the Training Colleges and the award of a degree (together with facilities for post-graduate study) we think that An Foras Oideachais should give immediate attention to the question of interchangeability of teachers between the primary and post-primary sectors.

That is an excellent statement and we can only hope that it will be acted on and that within a few years we will make arrangements for teachers to switch from one level to another. If we do so nothing but good can result both for fulfilment in the teachers themselves and for the good of the children concerned.

Before leaving the subject of education, I cannot help thinking that, despite all the hard things that were said about the old national school system, there were many things in it for which we should be thankful. We were inclined to blame the old national school system for the decline in the use of the Irish language. It may have been a contributory cause in some areas but I have no doubt that it was not the real cause. I shall mention the real cause later on. The old national schools gave a very, very sound education. At that time people took a great interest in education. They had respect for authority, they had respect for the local schoolmaster and those that were interested in learning found in the local schoolmaster a man who was prepared to give of his best, a man who took no cognisance of time. As proof of that think of the splendid speakers you had say from the years 1916 to 1921. They were people who had no further education than the education they received at the old national schools. Even those of us who followed the Treaty Debate recently on Telefís Éireann were no doubt impressed by the standard of the speakers. I think it is true to say that most of those men and women had very little in formal education other than what they received at the national schools.

It is lamentable that in so many of our post-primary schools and third-level institutions while knowledge is imparted very often the idea of inspiration is neglected. The inspiration of the child to love his God, his country, his community, his people, his culture and his language is of the utmost importance. They should come before everything else, because if we are loyal to God and our traditions then in any sphere of activity—agriculture, industry or whatever job we undertake— we will give of our best because we will see it as our duty and our responsibility before God and before our fellow countrymen.

Cúpla lá o shoin foilsíodh tuarascáil de chuid Gaeltarra Éireann agus SFADCO. Baineann sé leis an Gaeltacht. Níl sé agam fós. Níor léigh mé ach giotaí a bhí ins na nuachtáin, agus ní féidir liom chur síos a dhéanamh air go beacht. Ach is céim mhór ar agaidh é, sílim, an tuarascáil sin a bheith ann. Is céim mhór ar aghaidh é udarás ghaeltachta a bhunú. An tseod is luachmhara a bhfuil againn ár dteanga féin. Gan dabht is í an Gaeltacht tobar na Gaeilge. Má chaillimíd an Ghaeltacht, má chaillimíd an Ghaeilge, mar san is féidir a rá le fírinne nach mbeidh seans go deo arís againn naisiún a thabhairt orainn féin.

Much has been written and spoken about the question of the Irish language. If we lose the language we will never get it back. Any country which lost its language has never succeeded in restoring it, with the one exception of Israel. The Israelis restored their own language in their old country in a matter of between 12 and 20 years, but the Israelis are of a different calibre to us. They pushed ahead with a great deal of dedication. They had before them the ends, the means came as a secondary thing, they used compulsion and all sorts of methods but they succeeded in the end. We are an entirely different race. We hate even the suggestion of compulsion and even when there is no compulsion at all people can come along and by suggestion make us believe that there is. If we had compulsion earlier on possibly the language would be in a stronger position than it is today. I have no great fears for the language even though the numbers of Irish-speaking people in Gaeltacht areas may be decreasing. Scattered throughout Ireland we have dedicated families who use our own language as their means of conversation in everyday life. They do so in the heart of the big cities in this country.

We hear complaints and suggestions from time to time, many of them quite amusing, of the enormous sums being spent on the restoration of the Irish language. It is done in a vague way and the people who make these charges never go to the trouble of trying to substantiate what they are saying, mainly because they could not do so. A fair question is sometimes asked: "Why is it so absolutely necessary to promote the language, to maintain it where it is and to work for its widespread use throughout the country?" No case for it could be better made than the case made by Professor Seán Ó Tuama in his little book Facts about Irish published by Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge and, with your permission, a Chathaoirleach, I shall read a short extract from that pamphlet:

A nation, no less than an individual, in order to remain a nation, requires its own separate identity. What is meant by being Irish is decided in large part by the heritage of the Irish people. The larger part of the heritage, and of what it means to the Irish, is transmitted by the Irish language. The Irish language gives the Irish nation its most outstanding characteristics.

The Irish language is the expression of our personality as a nation, of our identity, of our pride in being ourselves. The language has been associated throughout our history with the rights we demanded as a nation, with the rights we were denied, with the rights we won, with what we hope to achieve. Our present position as an independent state derives in large measure from the language movement.

How true that is! If we did not have the Gaelic League and similar organisations, it is quite possible we might never have had 1916 or 1921.

It goes on:

A nation which desires independence is not merely a group of individuals who desire political independence. It is a community of independent minds. If we use the language of another community we are more likely to adopt the structures, opinions, values, standards, objectives, and solutions of that community even though they may be quite unsuitable to our needs. Independence of mind leads to independence of opinions, to originality of ideas, to independence of outlook. Independence of mind is necessary for any form of creativity and originality whether it be in the realms of art, politics, or industry, and so that a nation can develop its life, political, social, economic, and cultural. A nation without a language and the courage of its convictions, thinks like a province, acts like a province, is treated as a province.

The basic reason for the Irish revival is simply that the Irish language is our own, our unique characteristic; and not alone that but the only means we know of for saving Ireland as a distinct community. This is not just a question of reviving a language but the welfare of the national community... Few nations are as subject to the cultural influences of another nation as Ireland must be if English is to remain the only language of the vast majority of our people. This fact has resulted in culturally isolating us from the other nations of Europe. With the growth of communications, and of the power of the mass media, and the lowering of the other barriers a small State has a particular need to safeguard its separate identity, unless it wishes to merge completely with a stronger State.

Thomas Davis's statement is, therefore, even more true now than he could have imagined it to be when he wrote it over a century ago. "A nation should guard its language more than its territories—'tis a surer barrier and more important than fortress or river."

If we lose our language we shall not be in the same position as England. Their language enshrines their culture, not ours. Nor can we point to America as an example. Their problem in the past has been the submerging of many cultures and of diverse national groups, not in their preservation. They were consciously creating something new and had the numerical strength, the wealth, and the geographical circumstances to ensure its survival. The Irish language, widely spoken throughout the country, is the only guarantee we have that in the future Ireland will not be a mere satellite of England or America. The tendency to ape those countries has been on the increase a thousandfold in recent years. We read more and more of their books, newspapers and magazines; we look more and more at their films and television programmes; we sing more and more of their songs—behave more and more as they do. Would you be satisfied that this generation be the first generation in our history to take the irrevocable step of formally abandoning Irish—and then let Irish people discover in a hundred years that their country was nothing more than a nice material-minded replica of Lancashire or Jersey? Have we the right to do this? Was it for this men died? (and don't say their sacrifice is irrelevant). Was this the image our patriots had of the future Ireland? Is this the image you have of the future Ireland? If not, what is it?

The fundamental reason for our struggle for independence was that we were basically distinct from England. The Irish language is at the heart of that distinctiveness. Should we now abandon the real reason for independence? Should we now sit back and laugh at those who fought and say that they might as well have left us to evolve peacefully as part of the United Kingdom?

Seán Ó Tuama puts the case there, far better than I or most other people could. That brings me to the question of our six occupied counties of the province of Ulster. I spoke at considerable length on this last year. One of the points I made was that the people whom some regard as being, so to speak, on our side were a heterogeneous lot inasmuch as they had many diverse opinions. There was no semblance of unity between them. In other words, we had "40 shades of green". All I can say at this stage is —perhaps it would be better left unsaid —that as far as the tortures, the brutality and the persecution go I feel like saying: "Thank you, John Bull, because as a result of what you are doing you are going to unify the nationalist people of the North."

We are a strange race in many ways. Some time we might, perhaps, have a little debate and speak at more length on the characteristics of our race. Misfortune and persecution seem to bring out the best in us. We are probably a very jealous race. Dr. Johnson said on one occasion: "The Irish are a fair people;—they never speak well of one another." It is only when someone else comes along and bullies us and persecutes us that we show our best and, as a result of the terror in the North, we will probably have a cohesion of all that is good in the North. I read in this morning's newspaper that the son of a well-known former supporter of the Reverend Ian Paisley is now interned. Maybe it is a straw in the wind. It shows what can happen.

The reason may be because he is a supporter of the Reverend Ian Paisley.

I think the reason is because he is associated with civil rights, and that is something apparently with which he should not be associated. At any rate, I am not going to pursue in detail the problems of our six occupied counties; Senator Ruairí Brugha on Tuesday evening said all that I would wish to say on the matter. What can we do about it? What we must do here in the Twenty-six Counties is to maintain the highest discipline. We should not, under any circumstances, allow ourselves to be provoked into any undesirable action. Provocation could be part of the British campaign. One wonders incidentally why they are so desperately anxious to cling on to the Six Counties. Many reasons have been advanced. I believe they want the Six Counties to be a training ground for their forces, for their army, their police force and such units as the SAS. Maybe they want a training ground here. This is an idea that has just come into mind; it is worth thinking about. We have a duty as public representatives to use every means we have of communicating the facts to our friends in Britain, on the Continent, in North and South America, Africa, Australia and everywhere. We have a duty to let the world know that the British are behaving in a most uncivilised manner towards so many of our countrymen in the Six Counties.

I will end by referring to that great Corkman, Terence MacSwiney, who said, and this will hold true for all time in all parts of the world: "It is not those who can inflict the most suffering will survive but rather those who can endure the most."

I will deal briefly now with what has come to be known as the unemployment question or what some of the newspapers describe as the unemployment crisis. It is sad when you see the newspapers suggesting that the Government and, somehow, the Taoiseach, who was mentioned, are indifferent to the plight of those workers who are now unemployed, or will become unemployed, when, in fact, everything that can possibly be done to secure employment has been done, is being done, and will be done. They have got the best brains. They are working night and day to create more jobs and this facile talk about the Government not providing jobs, not acting immediately, is most unfair. Just think for a moment. Can the Government build factories? Even if they could, could they have them ready tomorrow morning, or next week, or in a year's time? Before a factory is built somebody must be found who is interested in building a factory in a particular place. He will have to survey the location, the market, the labour pool and so on. He will do that very carefully over a long time before he decides on building his factory.

We live in such extraordinary times. What was a popular product a few years ago could now be quite obsolete. Take the textile trade; I have a particular interest in this because I live near one of the most famous textile firms in the world, O'Mahony's of Blarney, where they are now down to about three days a week. The simple reason is because so many people nowadays are not dressing in what we used to call conventional attire. Even at church on Sundays, at Mass and at Church of Ireland services, we see men dressed in pants and pullover, even professional men, where a few years ago they would not dream of going around without wearing a full suit. The same applies to women's wear. People are becoming less conventional in their attire. Many new materials have come in—plastics, leather and leatherettes. Tastes change. I agree with whoever said that management should be more active in trying to anticipate the needs of the people in the years to come. I forget who made the statement, but I believe it to be perfectly true. Management have got to face this problem. Every age brings its own problems and the question is now to try to foresee what will happen, or what will be the requirements of people, as far as clothes and so on are concerned in the years to come.

I remember reading, a year or two ago, a very interesting article on the development of industry in Lancashire. We always regarded Lancashire as being the home of cotton goods. I have not the figures now, but the percentage of the cotton producing firms in Lancashire who had to switch over to other things, such as making electric cables, in order to keep their employees working was amazingly high. The demand for cotton had gone down because Lancashire could not compete with other countries. These are facts. It is unfortunate that difficulties should arise when employment is at its lowest during the months of December, January and February. Suggesting that the Government are indifferent is utter nonsense.

In conclusion, I will just read a short extract I came across recently when I was re-reading the politics of Aristotle. He is very sound on most things. I give this extract principally because the suggestion was made by some previous speaker from the other side that the decent thing for the Government to do would be to get out of office, that they are too long in office. I could not agree more, but what can the Government do when there is nobody else there to replace them? That is the first problem. Aristotle will probably supply the answer to the other. He says:

"The task facing the law-giver and all those who seek to set up a constitution of a particular kind is not only or merely to set it up but rather to keep it going. Any kind of a system can be made to work for a day or two."

As I see it, the greatest problems confronting the people at present are the position in Northern Ireland, the unemployment question, our entry into the EEC and, to a degree, the increase in crime and the growing disrespect for authority. The question of the North of Ireland has been dealt with by a number of speakers. I do not intend to go very deeply into it, but living as I do in a Border county, and as one who has had occasion to go into Northern Ireland at least once or twice a month for the past 27 or 28 years, I could not let the occasion pass without expressing my view and the views of those whom I meet. Yesterday Senator Jessop spoke at some length on the position in the North of Ireland and traced it back to a breakaway in the Christian Churches in the 16th century. I think it is a bit more complex than that, and it would not be right to give the impression that all those who broke away from the Roman Church became anti-national or anti-Irish. The facts of history do not support that view. A long time after the breakaway in the Christian Churches we had the support and the success which attended the efforts of Wolfe Tone in Belfast; we had non-Roman Catholics playing a very important part in Antrim and Down in the rebellion of 1798. We had Protestants and Presbyterians actively supporting John Mitchel in the middle of the 19th century. It would be unfair to those who differed from the Roman Church but who dedicated their lives towards attaining freedom for the people of Ireland as a whole to have it thought that everybody who was not a Roman Catholic was not interested in the freedom of Ireland. That is not the lesson of history.

As time went on, with the development of the Orange Order and so forth, there came a division between two sections of the people, but all along there were those of the Protestant minority who were to a very high degree Nationalist in outlook and who worked and strove to attain independence and the establishment of a Republic here. Unfortunately, the position now is that there is a great division of opinion between two sections of the people. I have talked to people who firmly believe that for upwards of 50 years they have been treated as second-class citizens and they have reached a time now when they will not endure that kind of treatment any longer. They might be excused for thinking we did not have sufficient interest in their plight. As high as 40 per cent of these people are absolutely convinced that the regime that existed in Northern Ireland for the last 50 years will never become effective again. That is their belief. People who do not believe in violence think that, if no other means are available towards a permanent change in the situation that existed, then violence, much as they may regret it, is acceptable to them.

I do not believe in violence and nobody in this House believes in violence as a solution, but there is a danger that, with the passage of time and the deterioration there, more and more people may become convinced that that is the only solution and a growing percentage of the people here may come to agree with them. That is the danger, as I see it. I am not saying that the problem could be solved overnight if the Taoiseach and the members of the Government were as active as they should be. I do not believe that they could solve it overnight. I believe it is a very difficult problem, but we should all start on what is common ground.

I think everybody agrees, no matter what their solution for the problem in Northern Ireland may be, that it is the fault primarily of the Westminster Government, that the Westminster Government inflicted an injustice on this country in 1920. They have continued to subsidise that injustice to the tune of £100 million to £115 million a year and, for 50 years, the Westminster Government have tolerated the treatment of a high percentage of our people as second-class citizens. Long before Little Rock, Arkansas, became a household word as a symbol of people's determination not to put up with victimisation, that same situation existed in Northern Ireland.

I believe it is the duty of the Government and of the other parties to inform the rest of the world of the conditions that prevail in Northern Ireland and in that way force the Government of Westminster to take the initiative in arriving at some settlement, perhaps an interim settlement acceptable to the different sections, but with a permanent settlement in view. We should all work together towards the goal of having Ireland a fit place for Irish people to live in, irrespective of their religious persuasions. I do not believe for a moment that it will ever be possible to put the Nationalist population of Northern Ireland into the United Kingdom; neither do I believe it would be possible to bulldoze the Unionist population into the Republic.

Some interim settlement must be arrived at and leaders in all sections of the community who are aware of their responsibility to the people must strive to bring people together around the table. In the long run—this has happened elsewhere—when more lives have been lost, when more property has been destroyed and when more bitterness has been generated, this will have to be done. It would be as well to have it done sooner rather than later. For that reason I agree with the suggestion made here by Senator Brugha on Tuesday evening that everything that can be done by our leaders here, by the different parties and by people of different persuasions to educate world opinion as to the conditions in Northern Ireland should be done to bring it home to them that a solution must be found and that we are never going to go back to what has prevailed there for the past 50 years. If that were done I believe that some success would soon attend such efforts and, in the long run, we would attain something like an acceptable solution.

It is too bad that the British Home Secretary, Mr. Maudling, on the occasion of his last visit to Northern Ireland should leave saying that the most that could be hoped for would be to reduce the violence to acceptable proportions. If his outlook is that as long as violence is reduced to what he thinks is an acceptable proportion, a proportion the people are prepared to tolerate for ten, 15, 20 or 30 years, violence, death and destruction in Northern Ireland, then he simply does not understand the Irish outlook on these matters at all. It is not a question of having it reduced to acceptable proportions; something must be done or violence will increase. I have talked this matter over with people from the North of Ireland and it is silly to hope for a reduction in violence without trying to meet the wishes of the people. Fifteen thousand British soldiers or 50,000 British soldiers will not succeed in reducing the violence. The more soldiers drafted in the greater the violence will become.

Unemployment has been referred to by other Senators and I do not intend going into it in any great depth except to say that in common with those who have spoken already I regret the present situation. It is not something which can be remedied overnight. We have not made satisfactory progress down the years in building up of industry and developing employment opportunities. It is regrettable that anyone should say that when there is full employment in Britain we have an outlet there and when there is a recession in Britain and a growth in unemployment, our position is shown up in its true light. Though this may be true it is sad to have to say it.

It is a poor outlook when the obtaining of employment in Britain is an acceptable outlet for a high percentage of our people. If, while we are developing our industrial future, emigration can ease the situation all to the good, but the impression should not be given that as long as there is employment for thousands of our people in Britain we are all right but when that situation comes to an end, then we really must face facts. The objective of trying to achieve full employment for our own people within our own country should be before us all the time.

Some people throw the blame for the present employment situation on management; some blame the workers; others blame the Government. It is probably true that the blame must be shouldered to some degree by all three. Everybody knows that there have been industries and factories in operation for years which did not come up to the desired standard regarding structure, hygiene, et cetera. Management are often at fault in not anticipating changes of trend in the type of article they manufacture. There will not be the same demand in 1973, 1974 or 1975 for the same article as that manufactured in 1965. Change has come about and has caught some managements unprepared with the result that what they have been producing is not in demand.

The workers are the people who suffer most from unemployment and redundancy. There have been too many wild cat strikes in the past and too many workers not determined to give a fair day's work for a fair day's wage. There have been and probably are some workers who do not understand that the success of the industry in which they are earning a living is of vital importance to them. Very often they only wake up to this when they find themselves redundant. As a people we are not sufficiently dedicated and determined to give of our very best for our employer.

Workers in the recent past and not-so-recent past have resisted changes being introduced by management. In some cases where the management knew a different type of machinery was necessary to make an undertaking viable, the workers resisted the introduction of that new machinery or change of plant. Because management feared that happening industries were forced to attempt to carry on at a production rate which the management clearly understood to be less than economic. With the increase in competition from other countries, and the change in trends and types of goods in demand, the inevitable happened and these plants were forced to close.

It is said at times that the workers' demands for wage increases have been unreasonable. This may be true in some cases but a demand for an increase in wages will come if there is a steep increase in the cost-of-living. Each year we have had a very steep increase in the cost-of-living in the last few years. I am not entirely convinced that the Government took sufficiently effective measures to stem that. In so far as that—in some cases—unwarranted increase in the cost of the necessities of life contributed to a demand for higher wages which in turn contributed to a degree to our products being priced out of the market then the finger of blame must be with those who did not check this spiral in time.

It has been stated that it is necessary from time to time to retrain workers and it has also been said rightly, by Senator Cranitch, that we cannot develop a new industry overnight. A new plant cannot be built to cater immediately for workers who have lost employment, but an attitude of anticipation might have made the development of new industries coincide more closely with the phasing out of the older ones. There are areas where, without much effort, apart from the provision of finance—and in some cases that is there already—measures could be taken to relieve the situation.

In regard to arterial drainage we have not being making satisfactory progress in this connection. I may be told that this is very costly and I agree, but it is a productive undertaking. There are large tracts of land that are much below the proper level of productivity because they are subject to flooding year after year and the farmers who own the land cannot get the maximum return from it. There are vast areas where land drainage schemes cannot be carried out under the Land Project because the arterial river itself is in such a state that it cannot take more water from streams draining land.

Last year when we discussed the Appropriation Bill I referred to the question of the River Erne. I refer to the failure to drain the River Erne in Cavan as an example to prove the point I am trying to get across. For years we were told in Cavan that the impossibility of draining the River Erne, the basin of which is formed mostly by County Cavan, was due to the failure of the Northern Ireland Government to drain the part of the Lower Erne passing through County Fermanagh. But that has been done nine or ten years ago and we are no nearer having the Erne drainage and the drainage of other rivers carried out in Cavan, with the result that large parts of the county are subject to recurring flooding. Farms of which part is subject to flooding every year are barely economical. If the drainage were done a holding that is now barely economic, and, in some cases less than economic, could become economic and provide a good living for a farmer, his wife and family. That is a costly undertaking but it would yield good results. It would increase the wealth and productivity of the country in the time ahead. Intensification of drainage work in certain areas could relieve the unemployment problem.

Some months ago the Dáil and Seanad voted money for the extension of rural electrification to areas which for some reason were omitted in the past. That happened five or six months ago and in my part of the country nothing significant has since been done in regard to that scheme. It would relieve unemployment if the ESB were to go ahead now with the extension of rural electrification in these areas.

There are tourist resorts which have not been developed to the maximum. It would be worth borrowing money to develop these resorts to provide employment at the present time because it would be productive employment that would yield returns in the years immediately ahead.

Afforestation could be speeded up. That, also, would relieve the unemployment in rural areas and in small towns. Great capital expenditure is not necessary in this case because in almost every county land has already been acquired for afforestation.

I agree with the point made by Senator Quinlan earlier under the heading of Education about the £25 supplementary grant. That is a question of more money, as was observed by some Senators on the other side. My information is that the heads of these schools were given to understand five years ago that this £25 would be progressively increased. Nothing has been done about it. Senator Quinlan has gone into the matter in depth. I do not propose to delay the House any further beyond saying that if the late Donogh O'Malley gave this undertaking five years ago the Government are in honour bound to do something about raising the figure of £25 in order to help to meet increased costs.

Another thing which causes a good deal of discontent in secondary schools at present is a Department regulation by which permission is required before engaging a new teacher. Heretofore the head of a school was permitted to employ teachers so long as the ratio of one teacher to 15 pupils was maintained. There is now no specified figure as to what the ratio is. It has happened, and is continuing to happen, that the heads of schools employ teachers because they feel an additional teacher or two is absolutely necessary and, having done so, they are unable to get sanction.

I now wish to mention a point I have raised before but which I feel is worthy of mention again. The reason it has not been attended to in the Department is that sufficient pressure has not been brought to bear. The revised programme for the teaching of modern languages lays down that more and more attention be paid to developing proficiency in the spoken language. That is the direction to the teachers of these subjects. When it comes to examination time the performance of the child depends on his or her ability to do well on a written paper only. I have been told by a secondary teacher with many years experience that if she were to teach French to her class as instructed and expected by the Department her students would all fail the intermediate certificate.

After a good deal of pressure some years ago the Department was forced to introduce an oral examination in Irish in the leaving certificate. It was opposed for a long time because the view was held by officers of the Department that it would be impossible to obtain the necessary number of examiners to visit the schools within a short time. In the end those who advocated the oral examination persevered and the wisdom of their argument was seen. Now 150 marks are awarded for the oral examination in Irish in the leaving certificate examination. But there is no oral examination in French or any other modern language. That is most regrettable and I hope the officers of the Department will give more thought to it. After all proficiency in the spoken language is what we should be aiming at now that we are thinking of going into Europe: it should be our first objective. It took a long time to get that accepted in regard to the Irish language, but it is taking an even longer time to get it accepted in regard to modern languages. I hope those in this House who are as interested in education as I am will continue to keep the pressure on.

Another point to which I should like to draw attention is that the new approach to the teaching of various subjects in the secondary schools, especially at leaving certificate level, demands a good deal of reading and reference work. It is generally agreed that the standard of the honours leaving certificate now is much the same as the First Arts some years ago. The student who is properly prepared for leaving certificate and guided along lines that will enable him or her to succeed at university level must be trained to the intelligent use of library facilities but it is impossible for secondary schools to get a grant from the Department to help to build libraries.

In sparsely populated provincial areas, where the school buses have a large area to cover, the secondary school children leave home at 8 a.m. and do not return home until 6 p.m. There are no canteen facilities in the secondary schools they attend. It is most unwise—to put it mildly—to expect children of that age who have had breakfast at 7.30 a.m. to go without any substantial meal until 6 p.m. I am convinced that in time so much pressure will be brought to bear on the Department by the medical authorities that something will be done to provide canteen facilities for students in all secondary schools and especially those who spend such long hours away from home.

During the last four or five years we have heard a good deal of talk about career guidance and only a few people are not convinced of the necessity for it but the career guidance facilities which we provide are not what they should be. I do not think the matter is being tackled seriously at all.

There are difficulties in obtaining properly qualified people who will interest themselves deeply in the subject but we have been playing about with it for too long with the result that far too many students end up as square pegs in round holes. They fall into some job for which they are not properly equipped or suited. If we are to get the maximum return for the money spent on education and the greatest possible measure of happiness and contentment among our people in employment it is absolutely essential to ensure that people will be channelled into the jobs most suited to them. We have fallen so far back in this regard that we have students launching on a university career which demands subjects they did not study at any level during their secondary course and as a result they fail at the end of their first year at university. This results in great discontent, dissatisfaction and waste of effort.

I was asked by some secondary teachers to draw attention to the failure rate in some subjects in the leaving certificate last year. The figures for failures they gave me in regard to some subjects were so alarming that I went to the trouble of checking them with the Department of Education from whom I received the relevant figures this morning. I am very glad that the failure rate in the leaving certificate in Irish has gone down very significantly. I am convinced that this is due, in large measure, to the introduction of the oral Irish examination. This ensures that people who are not geniuses at the written language but who reach a certain standard of proficiency in oral Irish will be able to get through their examination. I welcome that change and I hope it will be extended to other modern languages in the near future.

I was astonished to learn that the failure rate in mathematics among boys doing the leaving certificate is as high as 22 per cent. Over one-fifth of the boys—I did not get the figure for girls —who sat for mathematics in the leaving certificate failed in the subject. The failure rate for chemistry was 26 per cent. In the combined paper on physics and chemistry, 32 per cent failed and there was a failure rate in biology of 34 per cent. I ask the Members here what the reaction should be to figures like that—that one-third of the boys who sat for the combined paper in physics and chemistry failed? Does that mean that as a race we are not able to attain required standards in physics and chemistry? Does it mean that our teachers of physics and chemistry are totally inefficient? Does it mean that the Department are demanding an excessively high standard? I am convinced, and hundreds of others will become convinced when they become aware of the fact, that that is a ridiculous percentage of failures.

There is something grievously wrong in the whole set-up. If it is true that it has only been in recent years we have has a swing to physics and chemistry, to mathematics and biology, then sooner than fail one-quarter of all the students in one subject and one-third in another we should be content to accept a lower standard until we can reach the optimum conditions. Perhaps the failure rate is due to lack of facilities; perhaps it is due to the lack of training of some teachers in new developments in these subjects, but whatever the reason, it is wrong and unjust that so many students who devote their time to these subjects should flop in the end and have nothing at all to show they had any training in this subject.

I can understand the need for a high standard being set in honours subjects for students who will probably go to university because if they are to make progress there they must have attained a certain level before they enter the university. However, this does not apply to people who obtain the pass level and who have no hope of studying these subjects at university or in third level education. This situation is unrealistic and, attention having been drawn to it, I hope that the people responsible will ensure that it ceases.

Everybody associated with secondary education is aware that each year an outrageously difficult paper is set in one particular subject. One year it will be English, the next year it will be on another subject and so on. When the teachers see this paper they realise that even the most brilliant students will have great difficulty in getting through. These papers are of a much higher standard than that on which the course is based. There must be consistency in the formulation of examination papers. If not, it will be the students who will suffer and, through no fault of their own, they will fail in these particular subjects. This should not be the case.

With regard to the national school curriculum, it has generally been accepted but I would not advocate its total adoption to the complete exclusion of the old system which has stood the test of time. Through this new curriculum the children's educational potential will be developed; it is an entirely new approach but some of the old training techniques must still be employed. As we gain more experience in the system it will be a case of keeping the best of what is new while, at the same time, retaining what is best in the old system.

During a recent symposium on the new curriculum, held in Cavan, there was widespread dissatisfaction with the non-availability of suitable texts. There seems to be no reason for this scarcity. Another disadvantage which was mentioned was that the teacher/ pupil ratio is too high. In some urban schools in the country we have the situation where a teacher is in charge of from 50 to 60 pupils. This cannot work. It is false economy, the end result being that the teacher is overworked and the pupils are not receiving adequate attention.

I appreciate that sometimes, as in the case of newly-developed urban areas, inevitably these difficulties will arise. It should, however, be the aim of those responsible for education that no teacher would be expected to take charge of a class of upwards of 50 students. The numbers should be very much lower.

I do not know the reason for the closing down of the one- and two-teacher schools. A few years ago the Department of Education enthusiastically pursued a policy of closing down these schools. The rural population resisted this programme as they are reluctant to change and now it seems this policy has been abandoned. I know of schools which are being kept open without sufficient numbers attending. Some teachers are being forced to stay on after reaching retirement age because the managers cannot find replacements. This is especially the case in the remote parts of the country.

The tendency for young people is to move towards the towns or cities. This leaves the rural schools in the charge of teachers who have reached retirement age, who are not able competently to fulfil their duties. However, rather than see the school closed for want of a teacher they continue to hold their positions.

At the other extreme, we still have teachers who are not qualified for their work. There are not as many as previously but some still remain. Something was obviously wrong with the system in the training colleges. In the thirties so many teachers were qualifying that they had to go to work on the roads or work as warble fly inspectors or do anything at all that would keep body and soul together. Now we are in a position where not enough teachers are qualifying. That is bound to have bad results. I hope that position will be cleared up in the near future.

I will deal only briefly with matters pertaining to agriculture. With regard to the dairying industry I will not have to make any preamble. We all fully realise the importance of the dairying industry to this country. We welcome every effort made by the Government and by the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries to improve the conditions that prevail there. Dairying is a hard life. It demands attention seven days a week, morning and evening. There is no such thing as a five-day week for the dairy farmer. Whatever can be done to raise his standard of living is to be welcomed. It will help to maintain an industry which is of vital importance.

With regard to the new price structure announced by the Minister some time ago when he said that an average price of 2 pence per gallon will prevail I want to point out that over 80 per cent of the milk suppliers will be getting less than one penny per gallon, not 2 pence. People who are supplying less than 10,000 gallons per annum will lose their first year bonus. As conditions are at present it is not true to say that these people will have an increase of 2 pence per gallon.

The new arrangements that the Minister said would shortly be introduced have not been announced yet. People are most anxious to know what will be required to attain the new standard. What standard of butter fat content, cleanliness, and so on will be necessary? Representatives from the creamery managers, the IFA and the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers' Association called on the Department a number of times to have these points clarified. The clarification has not come yet. Even the officers in the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries are at a loss when questioned on these points to explain what the required standards will be.

At present there is a payment of 2½ pence per gallon for taking skim milk home. My attention has been drawn to this because of the failure to indicate clearly what standards will be required in regard to tests. Let us take the instance of a person who has a supply of 40 gallons of milk and has a test of 3.7. He delivers that 40 gallons to the creamery and takes home 32 gallons of skim milk at 2½ pence per gallon. Next day he gets his 40 gallons of whole milk, he adulterates that with 8 gallons of skim milk which he brought home the day before and he now has 48 gallons. Because he was careful in the amount of adulteration his tests still come up to the minimum required and he has 48 gallons. From that he will get 38 gallons of skim which he can bring home at 5 pence a gallon. Some of that 38 gallons of skim which he brings home was, in fact, brought in the day before.

That is the sort of thing that could develop if there was sufficient trickery on the part of the dairy farmer, which I am not saying is the case. Because of the failure to announce clearly and unambiguously what standards are required under the new set-up that is what could happen if we were a dishonest people. It is necessary that the Minister should state at once the standards required in regard to butter fat, the blue methylene test and so on.

There are a few other matters which I intend to deal with very briefly. There is the question of growth in the crime rate and a tendency to have less and less respect for authority and for law and order. It is an accepted fact that there is a lowering in standards in that regard. A couple of unfortunate things happened in the not so recent past that tended to develop this tendency. Some time ago a prominent member of the judiciary was not willing to sit in judgment of a person of some eminence in this country. When that got abroad the ordinary rank-and-file among us began to think that there are certain standards for some and other standards for others. That was regrettable.

Another development that caused disquiet among the community and tended to reduce our respect for the courts was at time of the national farmers' strike, or their protests against the failure of the Minister to see their deputation. District justices at the time imposed very severe sentences on these people not so much because they believed that they had broken the law to such a degree but, it is believed now, because they were instructed by the Government to be ultra-severe. That led people to believe that the judiciary can be interfered with. I know that is not true. Certainly it is not true to any alarming degree but there are thousands of people who believe it is.

If we once lose our respect for the independence and impartiality of the judiciary we are heading for something very close to anarchy. It is most regrettable that these developments have taken place but some measures will have to be taken to redress them and remove the belief that is held by many people. Recently grave dissatisfaction was expressed by the gardaí with regard to the course of justice as it operated in Cork or some part of the south of Ireland. It is most regrettable that that should happen.

It is also a fact that the numerical strength of the Garda force was allowed to run down to a dangerously low level. Dublin is acquiring a most unenviable reputation for the amount of crime that is committed here with regard to thefts of cars, thefts from cars and so on.

I regret to have to say that I believe we are one of the worst cities in western Europe in that regard. That is a comparatively new threat and is one that must be nipped in the bud, not only to restore our image but to make a visit to the country's capital city tolerable at all for people and not to destroy forever our attraction as a tourist centre for people from different parts of the world. That development took place for the simple reason that manpower in the Garda Síochána is not strong enough to patrol the streets properly and to give proper protection. My attention was drawn to the fact that there is a habit in the city whereby gangsters read the death notices in the morning papers, note the time of funerals, and having concluded that a house will be unoccupied at that time, proceed to break in and ransack it. I do not want to be an alarmist and I am not saying that it is being done on a wide scale, but it is being done.

I know a person who went to a Garda station to draw their attention to that danger, that a funeral taking place from her home the following day might afford an opportunity to these thugs to break in, only to be told by the garda in charge that he did not have a man to spare to give special protection to her home for that time. I think it is a most regrettable state of affairs that we should come to that. There is no right-thinking person in the country who would not rejoice in seeing a thug who would break into a house at a time of a bereavement to ransack it apprehended and given the proper treatment.

The numerical strength of the Garda force in Dublin is not nearly adequate, and indeed in the country as a whole it is not adequate. Time has shown that the decision to close down Garda stations in the Border counties to the degree to which it was done before the development of the present troubles was a stupid mistake. Everyone should have realised that even in times of relative calm in the North it is a particularly sensitive area. The closing down of Garda stations all along the Border counties of Louth, Meath, Cavan, Leitrim and Monaghan was a disastrous mistake. It showed a complete unawareness of the situation that obtains there and of the potentiality in the area for various developments.

It is also regrettable that the numerical strength of the Army was reduced to the level at which it is now. Not only that, but I think it is agreed that the equipment the Army have is, to put it mildly, obsolescent, if not entirely obsolete. In my opinion, it was a mistake to reduce the Forsa Cosanta Áitiúil. That was a force that was established here when there was a great need for it; it was a success from the point of view that people joined it in very large numbers because they were determined to resist any attempt at invasion, from whatever source it might come. That should have been developed and young men should have been encouraged to carry on that part-time military training. It was useful from a number of points of view but the force was allowed to run down in strength and it would be difficult to get it back to the required level in the immediate future.

There is one last point with which I should have dealt when dealing with education. I would ask Senators on all sides of the House to reflect on this: schools are being built in various parts of the country and in some cases, even in rural Ireland, not one solitary square yard of playground is provided. It is most regrettable that owing to costs and for other reasons this sometimes happens in cities. It should not happen in cities but we have at all times to be conscious of the cost of buying an extra acre of land or two in the heart of the city. It has surely gone much too far when it occurs in the heart of rural Ireland when a school, be it prefabricated or otherwise, is put up without a solitary square yard of playground. There is no place for the children to go except out on the public road. Not only is it wrong from the recreational point of view to have children spend their free time playing on the roadway, it is dangerous and it makes it difficult to inculcate road sense in these people in the years ahead. If in his impressionable years a road is a playground for a child, how are you going to get him to understand the hazards of the roads in future years?

In conclusion I wish to say that I regret that at the new technological schools in Athlone and Letterkenny, while some provision has been made for facilities for playing some types of games—soccer I think, and I have no objection whatever to students being given facilities to play soccer if that is the game of their choice, or rugby or even cricket if they want it—no facilities are provided at these schools for the playing of our own native games, hurling and Gaelic football. That should not happen. As a matter of fact, there are those who could make a case for giving priority to Gaelic games. I do not want to take an accusatory, bigoted or narrow-minded view about it; my belief is that a man or woman, boy or girl, should play whatever games he or she wishes, but as a nation certain games mean more to us than others. It must be entirely wrong to give more facilities to other games than to our national games.

Is is worth my while to start as it is just half a minute before 1 p.m.?

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

This is a matter for the House.

May I move the adjournment of the debate?

Business suspended at 1 p.m. and resumed at 2 p.m.

The word "patriot" is very common in the language of this country and through the years Ireland has had many patriots. The picture it conjures up in the Irish mind is that of somebody who fought and very often somebody who died for the freedom of the country. In this, the latter half of the 20th century, Ireland still needs her patriots, not the ones who fight and die for Ireland, no matter how well meaning their misguided intentions may be, but those who will work for Ireland and be prepared to sacrifice some little thing for Ireland.

I venture to suggest that the lack of practical patriotism is a great cause of the economic troubles which have beset our country down through the years. This lack of practical patriotism goes right across the board in the economic field. For far too long now the workers have pushed too hard and too fast to get higher wages, in many cases without giving the productivity that should accompany a rise in wages. Nobody will deny that every worker should have a decent living wage, but every Member of this House will recall the status strikes which took place, not because people felt they had not a decent living wage but because somebody lower down on the social ladder was catching up on them. I include in this all categories of workers irrespective of the colour of their collars.

Management in industry in many cases has been too complacent, often hiding behind high tariff barriers and looking for too great profits from their investment without looking to the future and ploughing back some of their profits into re-investment in industry. The buyers and proprietors of our large stores have continued to import more and more foreign goods without thinking of the effect on the economy of the country. They have sown the wind and, to a certain degree, we are now reaping the whirlwind. By far the greatest number of redundancies in the past 12 months have occurred in the clothing, textile and footwear industries. This sector of the economy has been hard hit for various reasons but the importation of goods has played no small part in it.

Do the proprietors and buyers of the stores who are importing all this material ever stop to consider what they are doing to the economy? I am not suggesting that no goods should be imported but, if people thought enough about their country, we would not need tariffs and the imposition of special import duties. If the people who buy the goods had a nationalistic spirit as far as was reasonably possible they would buy goods of Irish manufacture.

I should like to deal in particular with the clothing industry since I have a certain amount of experience in it, but this pertains indeed to any other sector of industry as well. Like Senator Crinion I, too, visited stores in Dublin during the past week. I was appalled to see on sale in a number of the shops, at sale prices, goods bearing an English label which could be produced in Ireland and put on sale any day of the week without sale prices attached to them at prices lower than the present sale prices. We have seen the growth of multiple stores. There is one multiple store owner, who shall be nameless, but I think most people would know the person to whom I am referring, and the greater part of the goods on sale in that multiple chain is of Irish manufacture. Thousands of people buy these goods. They are reasonably priced. They are as well finished as any imported goods. If this can be done in one store I cannot see why the buyers of other stores will not buy from Irish manufacturers. There is a certain snob element attached to having a label "Made in England" on your clothes. I do not know why this should be so. In this day and age surely value for money is what should matter and not what kind of a label you have, which nearly always falls off the first time you get the clothes dry-cleaned anyway.

Senator Russell said manufacturers would have to measure up to free trade conditions and would have to be able to produce their goods and sell them in competition with goods from every other country. I contend that, by and large, our manufacturers of outer wear can compete very successfully. But you cannot compete successfully if a buyer refuses to look at your goods, or having looked at your range, then buys English garments or garments from the Continent. You cannot compete in these circumstances. Our manufacturers of outerwear have done a good job in exports and continue to do so.

Senator Crinion mentioned the textile industry. Here I feel we are on slightly different ground. There are various factors affecting the textile industry and they did not arise overnight. Difficulties have arisen in many cases which could have been overcome. Our textile manufacturers in many cases are very complacent people indeed. They still have the protection of tariff barriers. If somebody wants to import cloth it is quite possible for a manufacturer to go to the Department of Industry and Commerce and say: "Look I can produce this cloth." This is sufficient to bring in the quota system. That means that for every one yard of that particular type of cloth you buy from an Irish manufacturer you are allowed to import three yards. A certain type of cloth, 60 inches wide, is produced in this country, costing roughly £1 per yard. This same material and infinitely higher quality can be imported into this country at 18s. in old money per yard and it is 72 inches wide. The difference to a manufacturer—and I am talking about a garment-maker now—between a 60 inch and 72 inch cloth is very great.

I had occasion in June of last year to make contact with the sales manager of one of our bigger textile firms. Because I was a small manufacturer the price to me was not £1 but 23s. 6d. for that cloth. I could not put down an order for 10,000 yards and the man was not interested. I asked: "Why do you do this when in a couple of years you will be faced with free trade and this protection will go?" The reply was: "Would we not be fools not to?" If this is the attitude of textile manufacturers I am very sorry for the workers in the textile industry because more and more redundancies will occur.

The time will surely come, and very shortly, when the Government will have to make up their minds on whether they will continue to nurse a sick textile industry or have a very good viable garment-making industry? The garment-making industry employs 27,000 people. I do not know the number employed in the textile industry but I am sure it is very much less than that. It is quite possible for our manufacturers to produce this cloth I am talking about at exactly the same price and weight as it is being imported. There is no technical difficulty involved. The machines they have at the moment can be adjusted. One small manufacturer has done this. If what I have heard is true, the price ring came in on him and refused to supply him with yarn for this cloth because he was selling below the fixed price. This is a disastrous state of affairs. The workers in the textile business should take a good look at what is happening in their industry before any more redundancies occur. Then there is the inevitable outcry that it is the fault of the Government when it is the fault simply and solely of management. This is happening and will continue to happen if people are not careful.

When Senator Kennedy was speaking about the redundancies in the bacon factory I was rather surprised by his attitude. Redundancy is a terrible thing. It is a very real tragedy to anybody to whom it happens. Unemployment is also terrible. I know what it is to be unemployed. I spent 12 months of my life unemployed at one stage. It is a very soul-shattering experience. Surely this redundancy in the bacon factories has been on the horizon for a long time. I seem to have read a considerable length of time ago that out of the 27 bacon factories in this country—and I am open to correction on these figures—either 12 or 14 would be the final number when rationalisation was completed.

Senator Kennedy mentioned that he had an interview with the Taoiseach and the Taoiseach asked him what did the unions propose to do about it. He said: "It is up to the Government." This is precisely what I am talking about, this lack of caring on any-body's part—just pitch it all back to the Government. Surely it is the duty of the unions, who know that their workers will become redundant, to meet the employers and to talk about it before it happens. I am very pleased to hear that they are now meeting the owners of the bacon factories but they should have done so long ago. I would quote as an example the Guinness firm who knew in the long term that they would have redundancies and did something about it. If the employers in whose firms redundancies are likely to occur are not conscious enough of their social duty to meet the unions and discuss redundancies with them beforehand, it is up to the unions, and it is part of their job, to be on their toes, to watch the situation and to ensure that they know what is happening in industry. Surely this is part and parcel of their job as well as collecting fees from their members and fighting for higher wages for them.

When industries fail two sections come in for the blame—the Government and the Industrial Development Authority. The Minister is here and is well able to make the case for the Government so I will not talk about Government policy on this matter. I should like to ask why the Industrial Development Authority are blamed when an industry fails? Our industries are not nationalised and so who can tell what profits and losses they are making until they run into difficulties and, in many cases, close down. As has happened in recent times, even in the case of grant-assisted industries, the Industrial Development Authority did not know about the difficulties until the firms were on the verge of closing down or had closed, at which point nothing could be done. If the firms are not grant-assisted the Industrial Development Authority need not be informed and so can do nothing about them.

Blame for the closure of industries, in a large number of cases, lies with poor management. In fact, I would go so far as to say that poor management is the cause of closures in 90 per cent of the cases. We are not sufficiently educated in management. In many cases, owners of businesses refuse to be educated in management. They refuse to believe that there might be anything wrong with their system of management and take the necessary steps to correct it. At one time a person could start an industry in a haphazard fashion and be assured of a profit. He could get a sufficient supply of labour. In this day and age of competitiveness, and increasing competitiveness, this is not enough. The Irish Management Institute have arranged courses in management techniques and they do their best to make up for the shortcomings in this regard; but firms, in many cases, are not responding as they should by sending their managers to attend those courses and by making the necessary adjustment in their industries afterwards.

When new grant-assisted industries are being set up one of the conditions attaching to the grant should be that at three-monthly intervals the accounts of the firm would be inspected by an official of the Industrial Development Authority. This would make that company cost-conscious. It would also ensure that the company knew exactly where it stood at any given time and the IDA would be aware, very early on, of any difficulties the firm might be encountering and would be in a position to take steps to correct them before any great damage was done. It might be said that this would not be possible, that it would require the recruitment of additional staff for the IDA and that people would resent their books being checked. When an industry is in receipt of money from the Government I consider that the Government are a shareholder in that firm and are perfectly entitled to know what is going on in the business. If people would not accept that as a condition I do not think they should get a grant.

If a big firm go to the IDA for a grant, and if they get a 50 per cent or 60 per cent grant, they should be willing to have somebody on the board. Where large loans are made to industries by the ICC, a condition of the loan is that a member of the ICC has a seat on the board. In this way the ICC know at all times of the affairs of the company. It would be money well spent to have approximately ten extra officers attached to the IDA who could go around to such firms and inspect their books. It would also create a great liaison between the IDA and the industry concerned. The IDA would become aware of employment needs in particular areas. No matter what surveys of manpower or employment are carried out, the IDA—and I say this with all respect to the IDA—are not always in a position to assess accurately the type of industry that would be suitable for a given area.

I should like somebody to inform me whether the IDA channel industries into an area because Mr. Killeen is on record as saying that where advance factories are going up it would be the duty of the IDA to see that industries went into that particular area. He is also on record in a letter as saying that the Industrial Development Authority do not guide any projects anywhere in the country. There seems to be some confusion on this matter and I would like it to be cleared up.

The Industrial Development Authority should be very careful about the proposals they accept for putting industries in small towns where there might already be a similar type of industry in existence and saying that it will not be affected. The authority should not be pig-headed in pushing the project. The small industries division of the IDA is the division that can contribute most to industry in general. I should prefer to see, anytime and anywhere, ten small industries employing between them 200 to 500 people, rather than one giant industry employing perhaps 375 to 500 workers. If the industry goes very well, that is fine, but if it closes the results to the economy are not good, not alone in that area but also on a national level. It has now been proved conclusively in the United States that the most efficient industries are those employing less than 70 people. There should be an all-out effort made by the IDA to get the greatest number of small industries into the country, rather than endeavouring to bring a small number of larger industries.

I do not agree with the authority on many of their policies. This is quite clear from what I have said here. I have, however, the greatest respect for their work. As a body of people who work very conscientiously in the service of their country they get very little gratitude or commendation in return. They get the headlines when any venture fails and the question is posed: "What are the IDA doing?" I have met most members of the staff and they are among the most devoted and unselfish workers we have in the country. They are not clockwatchers. They will meet one whenever it is convenient for that person, whether that is at 8 a.m. or 10 p.m. I should like to pay tribute to them on this account. I hope they will never become clockwatchers. They are among our practical patriots in this day and age.

One problem that manufacturers encounter is in relation to PAYE— not in the administration of the system but in persuading workers, especially those who are on an incentive bonus, to work flat out. This is because one-third of their earnings is paid in tax. Workers are willing to contribute to their country but they do not always understand why they have to pay so much. I should like the Minister to reconsider the basic allowance for single people.

That would involve legislation and legislation may not be advocated on this motion.

The point I was making was in relation to industries and the tax system of the country. May I not comment on this?

Details of taxation are not relevant on this particular motion.

I cannot say a word about it?

The Senator may mention the general question of financial policy and may make general remarks about taxation, but may not go into detail.

I am talking about recommending it to the Minister for future legislation.

Matters of this kind would arise more conveniently on the Finance Bill.

I would have thought that the administration of taxation might be referred to.

In general terms but details of taxation do not arise.

I think the Senator has made the point.

I will leave it so. I would plead the indulgence of the Chair to say this: travelling expenses for people commuting to work in rural areas should be tax free. In many cases people have to pay a substantial amount of their wages in travelling expenses every week.

There are many aspects of the national scene I should like to comment on, but as there are still many Senators wishing to contribute to this debate and as my remarks on taxation would be inappropriate at this time, I will conclude. However, I should like to make one last suggestion. Would the Department of Local Government put up a notice throughout the country asking: "Are you a good patriot?" This would make many people think of their duty to their country and the contribution they should be making to it.

Now that we have left the disastrous year of 1971 behind us, the most important problem facing our country for 1972 is the entry of our Republic to the EEC. I should like to comment very briefly on the effort the Government have made, so far, to inform the public and mould public opinion in regard to the advantages of being a member of perhaps the largest consumer market in the world. The efforts of the Department of Foreign Affairs, and the pamphlets they have issued, are inadequate on many different aspects of membership. They have made available in our post offices a collection of literature which does not put the pros and cons concisely before the public.

For instance on the Common Market and Irish Agriculture, in the introduction they state:

Membership of the EEC—What's in this for the Irish farmer? The short answer is that it will give him his greatest opportunity yet to exploit to the full his own skills and the potential of his land. Compared with his continental counterpart the Irish farmer is a low-cost producer...

It continues in that way. This is not very convincing especially for those people who have read other documentation. When they compare the figures in respect of the Irish farmer with those in respect of farmers in the EEC, they find that the Irish farmer is paying very high rates—rates that are higher than those of his English counterpart. The Government have done very little to gear the Irish agricultural industry to meet competition in the EEC.

For the past few weeks we have had most misleading banner headlines. They have certainly upset many people, not only the workers in the Comhlucht Siúicre Éireann group of companies, but the tillage farmers also. It is my opinion that the Government have allowed an extreme air of despondency to develop unnecessarily.

I would say also that I was more than surprised at the way the farming organisations, and indeed the unions, have handled this particular matter. I think further that the Government approached the problem from an extraordinary angle. I should have thought it would have been possible for our Government to have taken advantage of the regional policy which is pressed forward by the EEC and secured a better deal for the farmers and indeed for the industry in general in the Tuam factory area. This should have been done. Had we tackled the problem in that way our Government and our negotiators could have ensured a greater quota of sugar, indeed a figure well in excess of the 150,000 tons at the premium price that we are told they are about to accept. To my mind, of course, this figure of 150,000 tons is not altogether a disastrous figure. I would have preferred to have seen the quota set at least at the figure obtaining this year, but our negotiators, our Government, the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries and, indeed, the Minister for Finance, and everybody else were aware many years ago of the formula by which the Council of Ministers calculate these quotas. Yet with the exception of last year, after extreme pressure, the Government did allow for an increase in the acreage of beet. But our Government should have been awake and should have increased the beet acreage back over the past five years when they knew this type of problem would eventually face them.

Five years ago the farmers would not grow the beet.

I do not think that is altogether true.

What about the meeting in the Tuam area to encourage people to grow beet in 1967 and 1968.

There is a price factor there also that we should not get mixed up. I have figures here from 1968. Since 1968 approximately 22,000 farmers produced 147,000 tons of sugar on 62,444 acres. In 1969 we produced 136,000 tons of sugar on 61,250 acres. In 1970 the figure was up to 138,000 tons of sugar on 62,676 acres and in the present year the estimated tonnage of sugar produced is 168,000 tons on 75,000 acres. There was an improvement in the price of sugar back in 1969. Since then the crop has been looked upon by everybody as being quite profitable for farmers.

Did the Senator see the "Landmark" programme in regard to the profitability of the crop?

I am not a great television fan and I see very few programmes.

It would have been worth the Senator's while to have seen that one.

The point is that it is a very important industry. It has been much maligned over the past couple of weeks. The impression has been given that there is a danger to the jobs in the group of companies controlled by Comhlucht Siúicre Éireann Teoranta. This of course is not true.

Hear, hear.

Despite the handicaps placed on the group of companies by the Government they have been quite good. My grave disappointment is that so many people have helped to downgrade the tremendous efforts that have taken place by perhaps rushing into print. With the indulgence of the Chair I would wish to point out a few figures to the House which will more or less demonstrate that the progress of the Sugar Company and their 20-odd other subsidiary companies has been reasonably good. They have provided excellent employment. This year they will pay more than £10 million for sugar beet alone and more than £3½ million in wages.

The Erin Food Company have done very well. They have received a lot of extraordinary publicity, mainly due to Government policy. I should mention in passing that it is now abundantly clear that General Costello was so very right back in 1967. Indeed, time has proved his assessment of the situation and that his advice was on the correct lines. The Government should have followed his advice, but it is not much use crying over spilled milk. I picked out a few figures which more or less demonstrate that the Erin Food group of companies have progressed very well from the time they were set up. They have done a reasonably good job and it is unfortunate that because of perhaps a slump and the consequent redundancies, people should have despaired and given the impression that all was lost, which is not so. In 1966-67 we find that the turnover of the Erin Food group was £2,259,000. In 1967-68 this was up to £3.06 million and that year they sustained a loss of £750,000. In 1968-69 they increased their turnover to £6 million and at the same time brought their losses down to £330 million.


Sorry, £330,000. In 1969-70 their turnover shot up to £7.7 million and the loss recorded there is at £297,000. When we look at the Sugar Company's balance sheet for that year—it is the last annual report that I could lay my hands on—we find that the loss for the Erin Food group of companies is down to £299,027. But it is interesting to note that that year Comhlucht Siúicre Éireann paid £426,000 in company taxation. Despite meeting the entire loss incurred in their less profitable lines of production the CSET group of companies met their losses in full and still they were fleeced by the Minister for Finance to the tune of £426,880 in taxation.

The point I want to make on this is that because of the way the Oireachtas set up these companies it is not possible for Erin Foods or for the sugar company to offset their losses against taxation. If this were a private company you could very well find that this would be done. Because there is an amount of red tape here, this company is shown up in an unnecessarily bad light. I would say to the workers in the CSET group of companies to press on with the job. I think that they are doing an excellent job; they are certainly not altogether as bad as they are painted and they can break through if they continue putting their backs into the work; they certainly will succeed. Last year another semi-State company, Nítrigin Éireann, made a marvellous breakthrough as a result of dedicated effort and service by the workers, from the general manager down to the newest recruit in the company. I think it is possible for Erin Foods to do exactly the same thing. The people who issue contracts will have to take a serious look at things.

The greatest mistake in allowing the merger of Heinz-Erin was that the sales organisation which Erin Foods had built up over a few years was scuttled and the company were put in a very weak position. Nevertheless, we find that, since then, they have fought back very well and that Erin direct export sales account for 48 per cent of their total sales. They sell at home 37 per cent of their production and the Heinz-Erin subsidiary export only 15 per cent. This is a reasonably viable company and I think that there will always be a demand for their products. If the people who set the contracts and the people who forecast the trends put a little more thought into it they would be able to save themselves from having to ask farmers to plough down large acreages of peas, beans or even brussels sprouts. This is a great waste and is something that we must avoid at all costs.

Another significant aspect when we are dealing with this group of companies—and I am glad that the Minister for Finance is here because he has the overall responsibility for them, although I think they would be more at home in the Department of Agriculture—is the employment content. Erin Foods had 1,145 people employed in 1965 and paid £647,000 in wages and salaries. Then, in 1966-67, when the employment figure was reduced to 989, they paid £607,000 in salaries. This reduction was at the time of the sell-out to Heinz-Erin. The company have since that time increased the number of their employees to 1,600 and this year it is estimated that they will pay £1,000,300 in salaries. It is regrettable that some lay-offs have been threatened there; nevertheless I think all is not lost and that, with a realistic policy for this company, and if the Government would decide whether it is socially desirable or should be run solely on a business basis, the company could progress much better.

I should like to quote from a table contained in the publication Siúicre Éireann—Daichead Bliain ag Fás. It concerns the activities of the CSET group of companies. They give a list of the 22 counties in which beet contracts were allocated for last year. We find that, of a total of 20,150 growers who contracted with the company last year and produced 65,000 acres, the average acreage of individual growers works out at from one to four, and the highest for any county is an average of four acres. The acreages are surprisingly small when it is broken down into counties.

When people talk of a quota of 240,000 tons, one wonders whether we are going to have a rather drastic change—from beet growing as we have known it since 1926, employing mainly family farm units, to beet ranching. I do not know whether this would be possible, but the Sugar Company have in their engineering works in Carlow, where they employ up to 200 skilled and semi-skilled people—many of them from my own county—designed and built a number of excellent beet and vegetable handling machines. I suppose it would be possible to embark at this stage on a system of beet ranching.

I know that many farmers in beet growing areas grow large acreages but, taking the figures as a whole, the acreages tend to be very small—three and four acres per holder. It is going to be a slow process to change that pattern. The "B" beet price under EEC conditions, at £4.60 per ton, would, in my lay opinion, be completely uneconomic. Therefore, I think that farmers in this country can be expected only to sow the beet at the premium price, that is the "A" price which is actually a little less than the price system prevailing in this country at the present time.

In leaving that particular topic, I should like to say that it is regrettable that the IFA have pinned their colours to the mast. In a newspaper of Saturday the 8th of this month we had a banner headline "Sugar Quota Key to EEC Vote from IFA". To quote one of their spokesmen, they were demanding 240,000 tons and nothing less and threatening to vote against the Referendum if this demand was not met. This is a difficult line. There are so many people not altogether sure of what they will do regarding the Referendum. It was wrong therefore to further complicate matters by putting such an ultimatum before the general public, who will be expected to make up their minds on this issue.

I believe there is a great future for this group of companies. They have served not only the workers but also the farmers quite well. They have provided an excellent service by way of credit facilities for lime and fertilisers for the farming community. Even though the top rate of interest is charged, it is a facility availed of by most farmers. Erin Foods should strengthen their sales organisation, take a second look at what General Costello has said in the past and go on from success to success.

The Minister for Finance should look hard at his 54 per cent company tax. These companies which are giving a large volume of employment should be allowed to manipulate their balance sheet like every other private company.

I take it that this would involve legislation.

I would not know about that.

It would, but it might be done in another way.

It is something which should be looked at.

It has been looked at.

It is one of the things which will affect this particular company. I am sure the Minister will do his best to ease this and thus help to instil greater faith in the workers in the company they work for and guarantee stable employment for many thousands of people for many years to come.

I should like to take issue with the present Minister for Lands. He is apparently completely unaware of the potential of his Department and of the necessity for the Department of Lands to strengthen the Land Commission to effectively safeguard Irish ownership of land under EEC conditions. The Minister for Lands has not so far recognised the national importance of stepping up our investment in forestry. There is a great potential for investment in our afforestation programme. There is also a great employment potential in this field. With so many redundancies taking place and so many threatened redundancies the Government could, through an organisation such as this, give an injection of capital so as to absorb some of the people threatened with redundancy in rural areas.

It is difficult for the civil servants and the other employees of this Department to press on when the Minister seems to keep asking for the disbandment of the entire works. Continued over a number of years this practice could have a detrimental effect on morale. The Department of Lands have done a reasonably good job over the years. The Irish Land Commission, which is the most maligned section of the public service, have done an extremely good job.

On looking up some figures it is encouraging to find that ordinary forestry land, that is land which is not sufficiently fertile or suitable for agricultural purposes, can yield over £1,000 per acre over a 35 year period. That is a return of nearly £30 to £35 per acre indefinitely, and is an excellent investment. In hilly regions the landowners are reluctant to sell, even though many thousands acres of land are left almost completely unproductive. The owners of these lands do not wish to sell to the Department of Lands because they expect an increased value to be put on this land when we enter the EEC.

The Government should lease some of this land over a 36 year period which would give a growing span to the Forestry Division and thus the land could be utilised and could revert back to the original owners. This would be in the national interest. It would also cut back on the capital required by the Forestry Division or the Department of Lands and would save having to pay outright for these many thousands of acres which are at present left almost derelict. It would be a source of employment in almost every county.

Of late, for some reason, the Land Commission have evolved a scheme whereby for chosen sons of the favoured few they go so far as to build a superior type residence on allotments or new farms allocated to applicants. This type of discrimination, whereby one tenant gets the superior type residence and another gets an economy type bungalow, needs explaining. It causes disquiet in many rural areas. When the Department of Lands acquire a holding all the new farmsteads built on that holding should cost the same amount of money. Otherwise, there will be unnecessary jealousies. It is unfair to the tenants.

During the course of this debate, many Senators, including Senator Cranitch, have defended the Government and endeavoured to show that they are not to blame for the present deplorable state of unemployment. Senator Cranitch asked us not to blame the Government for doing nothing to reduce the numbers on the unemployment register. We all agree with him because we know that last summer the Government reduced the numbers on the unemployment register by taking 14,000 people off the dole. They did not even specify where they were to go. Cromwell years ago told them to go to Hell or to Connacht; Deputy Brennan was merely content to let them off. He was not particularly worried one way or the other.

I should like again to make a special plea to the Minister for Finance to bring down the company taxation as soon as possible. Unemployment and redundancies are an upsetting factor in so many homes and so many factories at the present time. If Irish manufacturing industries are to compete with their counterparts even in Britain it is important that the overheads should be comparable. It is ridiculous to expect our manufacturing industries to compete with United Kingdom organisations with taxation there perhaps 5 per cent lower than our company tax rate. This is something that can easily be remedied by the Minister for Finance and I sincerely hope he will do so. This year the Government must get down seriously to the problem of making as many branches of Irish industry as possible ready for the competition to be faced under EEC conditions.

As far as agriculture is concerned, the one thing it needs is credit at as cheap a rate as possible. We have the ACC. They are very well organised to administer unlimited funds if they had them. It would be money well spent. There is a publication which I would recommend to the Government, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries. It is entitled An Expansion and Investment Plan for Irish Agriculture, and is published by the Irish Grassland and Animal Production Association. It is a study made by some very eminent members of that association under the chairmanship of Dr. Roger B. McCarrick. This document was published this week. It is something the Government should study—something which I think they must accept. It is an excellent assessment of the potential of the Irish agricultural industry. I look forward to the Government taking very definite steps to finance the recommendations of this study, which to my mind are entirely realistic.

As this spate of redundancies is continuing the Government have an obligation to make additional capital available for public works of all kinds. The types of work which can absorb additional employment are roads, perhaps local authority housing, schools and hospitals. If there is to be a recession in the months ahead the Government must make the necessary capital available to ensure that as many people as possible will be gainfully employed in providing houses to bring down the large numbers on the local authority housing lists throughout the country. Hospitals and hospital extensions require to be built. In this field the Government could take some of the pressure off the unfortunate workers who find they are threatened with redundancy. I hope the Minister will find it possible to answer some of the points that have been raised in good faith here.

I should like to begin by bringing up a point in relation to the tax on books. This point was not made during the discussion late last year and I am grateful for the opportunity to make it now because it is very relevant to what we are discussing, not least because the Minister for Finance will be replying to this debate. In a general debate in this House some time ago I raised the question of the propriety of the action of the Minister for Finance in applying turnover tax to books. Various points were made in that discussion, which I do not intend to go back over.

The point I should like to make in connection with this discussion is that it was revealed by the Minister for Finance in the Dáil that turnover tax is not applied to a certain class of books, namely, to missals, hymnals, prayer books and books of a like description. In his reply to this debate I should like the Minister to confirm this for us and to ask whether he realises the implications of this. I should like to ask him whether he is aware that this particular sector of the book trade is a very substantial one, that it is for the most part, if not entirely, a sector of the book trade which is carried out on completely normal lines. It is one in which private firms and individuals work to make a profit, very often a very substantial one. I would suggest, although I have not got figures to prove it, that in this country especially it amounts to a pretty large segment of the book trade as a whole. Given the fact this is part of the normal book trade of this country, and perhaps even a substantial portion of it, the Minister should tell us why he has chosen to exempt one part of the book trade and if he can provide any good reasons for exempting some commercial organisations simply because they are involved in the trading of particular kinds of books. This is a very anomalous situation, legally speaking. While I can see what I presume to be the Minister's reasoning behind this, it seems to me to have been a decision taken without any deep appreciation of the issues of principle involved. It seems to me also to be a decision which reduces the amount of tax coming to the Exchequer. I may be accused of wanting to have it both ways, but I am against this thing in principle. I would prefer to see no books dealt with in this way. The Minister should reassure us, if he can, with his answer to the anomalies of the present situation. That was just a very brief point by way of introduction.

My first point on the Estimates is connected with our priorities in the expenditure of money. I do not know whether I am alone in being alarmed at the extra funds which are currently being made available for the Defence Forces. We deserve a more detailed explanation here than we have had up to now of the reason for, and the philosophy behind, this kind of expenditure and we are entitled to such an explanation for several reasons. The first main reason is one which is related to our attitude in the United Nations. I would like to quote very briefly from a statement by Mr. Seán G. Ronan on disarmament questions to the 26th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations made on 24th November, 1971. Speaking on behalf of this country Mr. Ronan said:

There can be little doubt that real security for all states has been almost in inverse ratio to the growth in military arsenals in the past decade. The squandering of materials and human resources in the arms race has cut into living standards, retarded economic and social programmes and even threatened the ecological balance. Yet military expenditure prevails as a priority over sanity in most states regardless of their social systems.

That has been said on our behalf in the United Nations. It was said in the very same year in which we had increased estimates and supplementary estimates giving more money to the Defence Forces. It was said in the very same year in which other vitally important sectors of our economy, such as the educational sector, are being, if not exactly starved of money, very much reduced in what they can expect from the Government.

In the current issue of Studies there is an article by the secretary of University College, Dublin, Mr. Joseph McHale, in which he writes in broad terms about the problem of restriction of university entry. He outlines all kinds of possible solutions to this problem which are not relevant here but he mentions improvement in the staff-student ratio and adds:

This, however, needs a massive infusion of funds into the university system of which there is at present no sign.

The success of the Government's policy to date—it is a mournful sort of success—has been to produce this kind of attitude among our university administrations. It is almost as if, psychologically, they have been beaten into the ground. The Government's attitude with regard to the provision of adequate finance for higher education, or indeed for any sector of education, has now been made so clear to them that they doubt whether it is worth asking for any more. Who can blame university administrators or educational experts of any kind for feeling very seriously disillusioned if, at a time when the priorities of State spending seem to have been adjusted to squeeze and restrict the amount of resources being made available to them, at the same time the Government expand the amount being made available in other areas, such as the Defence Forces, where there does not seem to be anything like the same call or the same justification for it?

Another reason why I think we should query this additional expenditure on the Defence Forces has to do with Army policy generally. Where the Army is concerned we have for far too long followed a policy which is a very unexamined one. There is no Army policy that anyone can really put their finger on. There is no clear idea behind the purpose of having an Army and what it should be doing. Only yesterday the same criticism was made by a promiment member of the Fine Gael Party, Deputy Mark Clinton, shadow minister for Defence, who told a party meeting in Lucan, according to yesterday's Evening Herald, that there was no clear policy on defence in this country. He said that the absence of clear directives from the Government as to policy was a constant source of complaint to officers and made it virtually impossible for them to plan ahead. I would absolutely agree with this criticism, although I would not at all agree with the conclusions to which Mr. Clinton felt himself led—that more, and not less, money should be spent on equipping and, generally speaking, looking after our Defence Forces.

I question whether we need an Army at all in this small country and with the kind of resources we have available to us. If we need an Army I should like to be told what it is for. Certainly in defence matters, but also in health services, in broadcasting and in other important areas of our national life, we have been breaking our necks trying to create pale carbon copies of institutions and structures such as exist in the neighbouring island. We simply have not faced up to the fact that, as a small country with limited resources, we cannot afford to do this. The defence system, health services, broadcasting structures and so on evolved elsewhere were evolved to meet different situations and different needs and were based on the application of a different kind of resources. If we attempt to copy them we are laying very serious trouble for ourselves.

This is not to say that we should do nothing. We can do a great deal more with the resources that are available to us if we spend them in a different way. I hope I will not be accused of being facetious by pointing to the experience of a country like China who provide a medical service for its millions and millions of people at a cost per person that must be the lowest in the world. The Chinese do so by being imaginative, by using foresight and, above all, by not being tied to the conventions of traditional western society and traditional western social services. Anybody who has been to China and examined the situation there will agree that, for all the criticisms one can make of the Chinese society today, it has enormous advantages which spring from this flexibility. Flexibility is something that we should import into the spending of our money here rather than aping patterns of expenditure elsewhere.

Have the Chinese stood down their army yet?

I am not talking about the Chinese army. I am talking about the Chinese health services, which are considerably better than ours.

One can do a lot with a dictatorship that one cannot do with a Parliament like this.

There are times when the difference between one social system and another escapes me even though the trappings may be different.

It does not escape me.

I would appeal for a new look at the way in which we spend our money. I am not criticising the sincerity and the obvious concern of the Ministers and Government Departments responsible for spending our money in the way they do. All I am asking for is that they should at least open their minds to the possibility of spending it in another sort of way. One does not need dictatorial powers to do the kind of thing I am suggesting. It needs a lot of careful study, but it is not the sort of thing that should be dismissed out of hand as an impossibility.

The points I am trying to make come together in this: first of all, that by spending more money on our Army we would remove resources from other areas where it is desperately needed; and, secondly, by removing this money from these areas such as education particularly, we would be moving further and further away from creating the kind of State here which Northern Unionists might be interested in joining.

I ask the House what the reaction of the average Northern Unionist would be or is if he sees our universities and other educational institutions generally howling for more money, being told they cannot have it, and, at the same time, sees an extra £3 million being voted for the Department of Defence. If this is a gesture which is calculated to improve North-South relations, I should be very interested in hearing the reasons for it.

This is something which we have to take very seriously into account. From all the discussion on the North we must conclude that one of the most concrete rules we can make to hasten the day when Irish unity will become a fact is to create down here an attractive and fair society which people will be interested in joining. Political measures may speed up this process. Any aim towards unity which is founded on anything less than this is ultimately bound to fail.

The people in the North have very often been critical of us and we have a corresponding right to be critical of them. We have a right to reciprocate, for example, the attention which is being paid by people in the North to our Constitution by paying some attention to their Constitution. I do not think anybody who is fair-minded will deny that. Certainly our political leaders, and above all the Government, have the duty to make felt their concern about the North of Ireland, constantly and continuously, to the Northern Ireland Government, to the Westminster Government and to world opinion generally.

I am frankly suspicious about a lot of the talk about the North that goes on down here, not because I think it is insincere, because generally it is not, but because in so many cases it is little more than a form of emotional self-satisfaction. It has very little effect, if any, on what is happening in the North. I doubt whether anything said down here can have a fundamental effect on what is happening in the North. All too often when people speak about the North down here they are, for all their sincerity, only trying to make amends for the guilty consciences they have about decades of neglect. Therefore, where the North is concerned there should be if not an end to talking certainly a de-escalation of the talk and an escalation of doing things—of spending money in the sort of way which will create a society which will be attractive for everybody up there.

I should like to move on very briefly from that to the question of education, which I think is also very important in this context. During the past year the Department of Education have taken a number of steps aimed at the rationalisation of post-primary education in this country. In so far as they are aimed at this rationalisation, I welcome them, but I am afraid that the system which we have inherited has been, for all sorts of reasons, an inefficient one, although well-meaning. The time has certainly come to find something which more adequately matches the aspirations of people everywhere and the need for equality of educational opportunity. The present Minister for Finance was Minister for Education and I should hope that education is not an area which has slipped from his mind during the last couple of years. I should not be surprised if the same sort of problems were exercising his mind now as they were then.

I regard the proposals of the Minister for Education for community schools as little better than a stop-gap. They are better than what has gone before but because they represent, basically, an arrangement arrived at between the existing interests in post-primary education in this country, they are undemocratic and should be reexamined from the point of view of this particular criticism. The existing interests in post-primary education in this country are, broadly speaking, divided into two categories—the managers of schools and the Department of Education. There are, of course, other interests in post-primary education, notably the parents. Traditionally, our post-primary educational system has given them very little representation in the educational system of the country.

Where the community school idea falls short of what is needed is that, faced with the opportunity to involve people democratically in the structures of the educational system, they choose instead simply to patch together the existing interests in a sort of gerry-built framework that will in the end fail to solve any of the real problems involved. This failure to involve people adequately in education demands a different kind of structure. I am not alone in thinking this kind of structure does not need any form of legislation.

With the passing of the Vocational Education (Amendment) Act the Minister has been put in a very powerful position. We already have a situation in which education as a whole is based on a minimal quantity of legislation like a pyramid turned upside down, but the Minister should use the flexibility he has to create some form of structure in education between the Department and the individual school in which the people can really be involved. Otherwise we will be left with the situation in which the Department of Education will sit like a spider at the centre of a huge web, increasingly remote from the school, and be the source of an increasing amount of hostility, misunderstanding and apprehension. If on the other hand we decentralise to the point of creating appropriate structures in which people can be involved democratically in the educational systems of their own areas and not just in a very unsatisfactory and limited way in the structure of individual schools, we will be some way towards answering the growing educational aspirations of ordinary people. To come back to my basic point, we will also be some way towards creating an educational system which cannot be the object of criticism, well-informed or ill-informed, from north of the Border. I believe we should do this for two reasons: first of all because it will be evident to people north of the Border than when we talk about democracy in the South we mean what we say, and secondly, and even more importantly, because it should be done.

I welcome the opportunity of speaking on this motion, which involves the expenditure of a sum in excess of £535 million. One of the problems which is foremost in all our minds today is the disturbance in our Six Counties. We may ask ourselves what are we doing here in an effort to restore peace in those Six Counties. As a first step we should do everything in our power to bring down the Orange Order and the Unionist Party, because for the past 50 years they have pursued a policy of repression, victimisation, segregation and the creation of two communities. Therefore, they have guaranteed the continuance of their supremacy and also the continuance in power of the Unionist Party.

While I condemn those sectarian groups I must say that the entire blame for all the problems rests on Great Britain or, should I say, what is left of the one-time famous British Empire. That nation and its Government have propped Stormont during the years: they have assisted them in their efforts to deny any right to the minority; they have assisted Stormont in its path of bigotry and victimisation in every field. It is extraordinary that those British leaders have not learned anything from the mistakes of the centuries.

All political parties in this country will have to mount a campaign in England and elsewhere to bring home to the English people the misdeeds of successive British Governments in their handling of the Six County problem. All news media in England, with few exceptions, are heavily censored. Therefore, the people there have no knowledge of the real problems in the North. They know nothing of the torture which has been meted out to the minorities in the North. Worst of all is that women and innocent children are being persecuted. I am convinced that no other Government would allow such things to happen anywhere in the world.

May I remind the House that the British once called their parliament the "Mother of Parliaments" and the champion of democracy? I wonder which type of democracy have we in Northern Ireland today. I dislike using the words "Northern Ireland": I will refer to it as our Six Counties. May I ask is it Christian democracy to send British troops here to act as barbarians, to terrorise, to torture, to kill and to disable our Catholic minority in the North, a community which has been left unarmed and unprotected against the might of the British Army? Let me say here and now that I do not shed any tears when I hear of British soldiers being mutilated or killed or injured.

While British soldiers are present on any part of Irish soil there will be no peace in this country. We never wanted them there, we never asked them to be there and the sooner the British Government realise that the better for all of us. My sympathy is with the innocents who have been murdered by the British torture machine, the torture policy which has failed in every country the British invaded. I would now appeal to the British to get out of Northern Ireland or to adopt some sort of a phased withdrawal and to allow all of us, both orange and green, to come together to make this island a place where we can all live in peace and harmony.

Northern politicians complained recently of our inability to patrol the Border. We did not set up the Border. We never accepted the Border and therefore I do not think there is any great obligation on any Government Department or any Government in this country to patrol the Border effectively. We never wanted it, we never accepted it and we never will accept it. Therefore, as I said previously, until such time as the British cease propping Stormont we cannot expect peace between North and South. We all long for peace, North and South. We all hope that it can be achieved by peaceful means. The Government here have no mandate other than to negotiate the unity of the country by peaceful means. Therefore there is an obligation on all of us to make every effort to achieve that goal.

There was reference by a previous speaker to the expenditure on our Army. Which country or democracy could hope to survive without an army? Is not our Army something we pride ourselves on? Were not our Army called on to act as a peacekeeping force in every corner of the world? I was surprised to hear a member of Seanad Éireann, Senator Horgan, say we did not need an army. Of course we need an army. We need an army that will be fully trained and fully equipped to go into action and to do whatever duties they may be required to do at any time in the future.

Wherever the Government of the day think necessary. On Tuesday last a great deal was said by Opposition speakers about the high level of unemployment which prevailed at the present time. I should like for a few moments to take Senators' minds back to 1956 and 1957 when this country had 97,000 people unemployed. That same year 70,000 of our Irish men and women were forced to emigrate. May I remind the House that that was the last year of the Coalition Government? The Irish people saw to it that those people again would not occupy the seat of Government in this country. May I ask how many people emigrated from our shores last year— was it 70,000, 50,000 or 20,000? No, it was a mere 2,000. Many of those 2,000 might not have emigrated, because I know from my own experience as an employer that many of them left the country of their own free will. Although the situation may be bad today, it is a great deal better than it was in the period of 1956 and 1957.

I was disappointed with the speech here on Tuesday of the leader of the biggest trade union in this country. It was disappointing for many reasons. I was surprised that he, a trade union leader, had nothing to offer in the way of advice or assistance to enable this country to resolve some of its problems with regard to redundancies and unemployment. What is needed today in the trade union movement is a new awakening to the responsibilities of its members, its leaders and everybody down the line. Thousands of jobs could be created if all sections of our people supported the "Buy Irish" campaign.

I am appalled at the amount of foreign goods offered in our stores and supermarkets throughout the country. I want to tell the House that if our people were a little more selective in their purchases, and if they demanded that Irish goods be produced, there would be very little unemployment today. There would be no need for our textile industries to close down. I feel that the trade unions have never made any real effort to impress on their members, their wives, their sons and daughters, the importance of purchasing Irish manufactured goods. If they did that they would be guaranteeing a continuance in employment of their breadwinners, they would be guaranteeing the safeguarding of our economy, they would be helping our balance of payments situation and they would be helping every section of our community.

I think our traders make no effort whatsoever to sell Irish manufactured goods and I have often wondered why. Is it because they get a higher discount rate from the importer of the foreign manufactured goods or is it because they get extended credit? I do not know why, but I feel that one way of compelling those people to sell Irish manufactured goods would be by making tax concessions of some sort to firms which endeavour to sell the Irish manufactured article, that is, of course, when that article is of good quality and when it can bear examination of any kind. The trade unions could do a great deal in this field and I am surprised that they have never made any effort whatsoever to assist in the "Buy Irish" and the "Sell Irish" campaigns. They should call on their members who are assistants in the various stores and companies to impress on their employers the importance of stocking Irish and ensuring that the Irish manufactured goods would be available at all times.

It is disturbing to go into supermarkets today and see the amount of imported foods prominently displayed for the customer. Take biscuits, for example. We have two firms here that are manufacturing top quality biscuits and the price is competitive, and yet our stores and supermarkets are literally bursting at the seams with imported biscuits from England and elsewhere. The same applies to soups, vegetables and many other foods which we have in abundance in this country. There should be a greater alertness on the part of all our purchasers—who are usually the house-wives—to the fact that in buying Irish they are helping to protect the jobs of thousands of our people. Not only are they helping to protect the jobs, but they are also helping to create many more new jobs. That is something our trade unions could concern themselves very much with in the future. It can be done and it must be done if many more jobs are to be created and many more jobs are to be saved.

Senator O'Higgins tried to paint a picture of gloom and despair. He should be reminded of the progress which we have made over the years. We have made progress, even in the face of adversity. It is not pleasant for any of us to accept the fact that we have a high level of unemployment. It is encouraging to know that it will never be as bad as it was in 1956-57.

Do not make any rash predictions. The Senator may eat those words yet.

I know the Senator does not like to be reminded of facts. His party were in power in 1956-57 and, as I said previously, the Irish people made sure that they were not returned since then.

They are not so sure in Longford-Westmeath, though.

The Senator need not worry about that. There is always a tomorrow. We increased our vote in Longford-Westmeath at the by-election by 18 per cent. Take that as you like. If this Government receive the co-operation of all sections of the community we will have progress in 1972. May I remind the House that when the census of population was taken last year it showed an increase in population for the first time? That in itself is a clear indication that the Irish people have confidence in themselves and in their country.

Turning to the EEC, I should tell the House that one section of the community that has been endeavouring to get the message across of the advantages to be gained from the EEC is the farming community and all the organisations that are associated with agriculture. Over the years they have been telling their members through Macra na Feirme, Macra na Tuaithe, the NFA and every other organisation associated with agriculture of the opportunities that await Irish farmers if and when this country becomes a member of the EEC. I was disappointed last week when a group decided to vote against entering the EEC in order to secure a higher sugar quota. If they wanted to add strength to our negotiators they should have supported them all the way in their efforts to negotiate a better deal for the Irish Sugar Company. By and large the farming community have geared themselves for entry into the EEC. Any incentives that were made available to them were availed of in the best way possible. I have no doubt that they are ready and willing and determined to face the challenge which the EEC membership will entail.

We have made progress in education over the years. In fact I often ask myself if we devote enough attention at the present time to vocational education. We have a situation today where the manual worker can earn more money than office workers. We must support vocational education because we will always need new skills to enable us to face any challenge which the future may hold.

Progress has been made in housing. I should like to call for a more vigorous housing campaign, because housing is an investment and a valuable source of employment. This industry uses products which can be manufactured in this country. Greater support should be given to local authority housing and private housing. I appeal to the Minister to make an effort to increase housing grants, bearing in mind that these grants bear little relation to the real cost of housing today. I appreciate that the estimate for housing grants has been increasing each year. This is because of the high level of private building and the increase in the number of applicants for new house grants.

There has been over the years a demand for local authority housing. This is an indication that our people are determined to stay at home if they are afforded the opportunity of working and living reasonably well. We can begin to worry when there is no demand for houses.

There is a need for a more ambitious policy regarding road improvement. It has often taken me one and a half hours to travel from Leinster House to Kilcock because the local authorities have not been successful in improving that road structure. I do not know if this is because of lack of funds or because they have been unsuccessful in negotiating for lands in order to carry out road widening. There is need for a more ambitious road programme. More of the money collected through road taxation should be channelled back into the Road Fund so as to enable more roads to be improved and constructed and also to create additional employment. As a result of the Government grants, the county councils are able to give valuable employment. to road workers. More moneys should be channelled into that sector to allow county councils to give employment.

Industry in general has been successful. The efforts of the IDA, which was established by the Government to assist industries, have proved beneficial to many areas. In future the IDA will have to play a greater part in inducing industrialists to establish industries in our towns and villages.

There has been new thinking in regard to the support of small industries. We have many small industries which are not afraid of the challenges of the future if we enter the EEC. It is not enough just to give those industries a grant and say "Right, you can carry on from there". If they are making an effort and are succeeding in securing markets and are successful in producing at competitive prices, they deserve more support.

The IDA will have to embark on a vigorous policy of encouraging people to establish industries outside Dublin. Our country is lopsided at present because of all the industrial expansion which has taken place in the hinterland around Dublin. I appeal to the Minister to exercise his influence with the IDA in an effort to give all-out support to any industrialist willing to establish an industry in a rural area. This would achieve a two-fold purpose. It would encourage our people to remain in rural areas and help to improve the earning capacity of those people. It would also go some way towards solving the problems of the small farmers by providing part-time jobs. This is very important because of the talk of the annihilation of the small farmer if we enter the EEC.

In County Westmeath there are over 8,000 farmers with under 50 acres and they are prepared to meet the challenge of the future. They have existed over the years with the present marketing conditions and the various aids which have been given to agriculture by successive Governments and Ministers for Agriculture. This country, with the co-operation of all the people, can surmount all difficulties if we all play our part and act as responsible men and women. We need to take a greater pride in our nationality, remembering that it is worth retaining no matter how great the sacrifices may be.

This annual debate affords Senators one of the few opportunities we have of speaking in a general way on the state of our economy or of commenting on special aspects of it in which we take a particular interest. At this stage of the debate there is a danger of repetition and, as I have not had an opportunity of sitting through the debate, I am conscious that many of the points I shall make may already have been made by other Senators. I apologise if this is so and, as this is the only occasion during the year when we can comment generally, we may excuse each other if this happens.

The main concern of the members of my party is the difference of opinion which exists between those in the Labour Party and the Taoiseach as to the seriousness of the present economic situation. We believe there is a crisis and we have stated this. The Taoiseach has said there is no such thing and that the position will deteriorate but after that there will be an improvement. This difference of opinion concerns us greatly in the Labour Party. There are 8 per cent of our people unemployed. In this small country 8 per cent is a very big figure. It constitutes in round figures 75,454 persons unemployed. We can add to that a further 4,000 persons approximately. The Minister for Social Welfare mentioned approximately 4,000 other persons who are now over 65 years and who have proceeded from the normal unemployment benefits to early retirement pensions. Because of that, we have a situation where 80,000 people in this country are unemployed. I do not think it serves much purpose to refer back to 1956-57 and to say the situation was worse then.

I hold no brief for the situation in 1956-57; I was not here. But I am deeply concerned about the situation we have at the present time. In the last two weeks of December we had 5,000 extra persons unemployed. I ask: is that serious? Is it serious that over the last 12 months approximately 9,000 people became redundant? Is it serious that the problem appears to be accelerating? We have had three programmes of economic expansion over the last 12 years. These programmes were destined to create 85,000 new jobs. We can all recall times when banner posters appeared forecasting 100,000 new jobs and exhorting wives to put their husbands to work. The result of that effort is not 85,000 new jobs but 2,000 fewer jobs. That to me constitutes failure and a crisis. This is where we differ radically with the Taoiseach. We hope to convince the Taoiseach that some definite measures are required now to improve the situation.

It is argued that emigration has lessened and that this has been the cause of the rising figures. I agree that emigration has been somewhat less in the last 12 months, but over five years 60,000 people have emigrated. Nobody can deny that the situation with regard to unemployment in this country would be very much worse today were it not for the safety valve of emigration. What is concerning us is the rate at which unemployment is accelerating. Each one of us, without having recourse to statistics such as I have been quoting, is aware in our own immediate localities of the dire effects of redundancy and of small firms closing down and so on. Only a few miles from me there existed a firm, Douglas Woollen Mills, which formed part of the textile trade. Over many generations the community of Douglas had its basis in that woollen mills. Whole families were employed there. That firm closed very recently. I could refer to several others. Every Senator in this House could refer to one firm within his immediate locality which has suffered a similar fate.

Senator Crinion yesterday is reported to have decried the flooding of this country with British goods and the fact that this resulted in unemployment in the textile industry. Of course there has been flooding of this country with British goods. It has been evident to all of us and has become more evident since the signing of the Anglo-Irish Free Trade Area Agreement. It is little consolation for us in the Labour Party to say now that we told you so. We anticipated this would happen and it has happened. I cannot understand people who voted for that agreement coming along and expressing surprise that this should be the case. We in the Labour Party believe further that the uncertainty that exists about impending entry into the EEC has had the effect of slowing down the economy somewhat. I share the view that foreign enterprises who might otherwise come in here are now adopting a sort of "wait and see" attitude. They believe that under EEC conditions they may make profit more effectively elsewhere than in this country. Their main concern is profit.

That brings me to comment on the way we have spent our money in aiding industry over the last ten years. Between 1960 and 1969—if my figures are correct—we spent £94 million in aid to foreign industries who have come in here to set up business. I am not going to make political capital over those who have failed in the interim, nor am I going to do more than comment on the fact that quite a number of them have not reached their projected labour content. I cannot help but feel that such money directed into industries based on native raw materials, such as food processing, fisheries, and mining, with a high labour content would do away with the necessity for spending many millions of pounds on social welfare services, and the state of our economy would be somewhat healthier. That is something which should have started long ago. Perhaps it is not too late yet. We are satisfied that the position is pretty drastic.

Only about five years ago we were exhorting parents whose children were at school to make sure to keep them there until they had obtained their intermediate or group certificate. We were telling them about the fate that awaited unskilled people in the world of the future. There was no place for them. What is so disconcerting now is that, in my political experience anyway, for the first time we have skilled men and women unemployed. We have young boys and girls—very notably young boys—waiting to be absorbed in industry or to be taken on as apprentices. Because of this recession their lives have been blighted. They have gone into dead-end jobs because there is no room for them as apprentices. This is a terrible reflection on us and something we will not easily rectify as the years go by.

Only yesterday I read of one tourist agency which was responsible for the booking of 1,000 tourists into this country this year having cancelled the bookings. That being the case, I cannot understand how the Taoiseach can say that, although the position will get worse in the very immediate future, it will probably improve later—without any direct intervention from him or the Government.

Let us contemplate for a moment the plight of the victims of unemployment or redundancy. Most of them, who are young married couples, have incurred very heavy commitments. Housing has been a nightmare for most young couples. Local authority housing has not progressed in a satisfactory manner over the last few years. It has not met the demand. These young couples who by way of loan and grant could borrow a maximum £3,300 approximately to build their own homes have about £2,000 more to raise. We are told that housing increased by about 15 per cent over the last 12 months. Just think what 15 per cent means in terms of the price of a house. It represents something like £400 or £500, which is a sum that most of these young people have never even had in their hands in their lives nor, as they are presently situated, are ever likely to have. They have fantastic borrowing commitments and have mortgaged to the hilt everything they have. They have no choice. I know several of them even in rural Ireland who have commitments up to £12 and £14 a week. This is fine while the husband can go out to work each day, and when he can work harder than he ought to, perhaps, on overtime and bring home £30 or £40 a week. But what happens when the husband is unemployed or redundant? That has been the fate of several of them already. I am very much afraid it will be the fate of several others. They have higher food prices, high ESB charges and high fuel and heating charges to meet. Fuel and heating prices have increased by 12 per cent over the last 12 months.

I want to comment, in particular, on the manner in which food prices have soared. There is no point in anyone telling the housewife that decimalisation did not result in a drastic increase in the price of food. A figure of 10 per cent has been given to us as the increase in such prices. Anyone who shops daily will realise that the items in the old days which were prone to increase by old pennies are now increasing by new pennies after decimalisation, which is an increase of two-and-a-half times the earlier increase. Prices nowadays are so varied from shop to shop that it is a very exceptional housewife who will have any idea of the proper price she should pay.

It is no consolation to us to think about the introduction of the value-added tax. It is a poor prospect for us to read that in Denmark the introduction of value-added tax resulted in an increase of 7.9 per cent in the cost of living in six months. If this fate awaits the Irish housewife, with the threat of redundancy or unemployment for her husband, I can foresee a great deal of misery in many families in the near future. While all this is going on, we hear of the workers being constantly exhorted not to rock the boat and not to seek further wage increases. To me it appears ironic to hear people, who themselves are earning £70, £80, £90, or £100 a week, exhorting those who have £19 and £20 not to rock the boat. I know the number of people who earn £19 or £20 a week are more numerous than those who earn £70 but you cannot get it into a person's head that your £70 a week—which may be the result of a £10 a week increase— has not rocked the boat but that if he seeks an increase of £2 or £3 a week he is rocking it.

We then come to the old age pensioners, social welfare recipients, widows, sick people, et cetera. These are the people we should be really worried about because unless we have a fairly sound economy we cannot do what we ought to do for them. Only yesterday I talked to an old age pensioner who decried the fact that she had paid 18s. in old money for a bag of coal. That sum might not mean much to us but if we had £4.10p to provide for the necessaries of life it would mean a great deal to us indeed. We are deeply worried about the social welfare classes who are completely dependent on the rest of us for their means of living.

Nowadays we have the situation of the old age pensioner who might have another small pension from some other source. Only yesterday I had a letter from a retired road worker and his wife. They are in receipt of a road worker's pension and old age pensions. Senators may recall that recently road workers' pensions were increased. That increase resulted in a 45p increase in that retired road worker's pension but with it came a deduction of 55p in income tax. Therefore, that old couple who live in the heart of the country, without electricity or water supplies, are 10p worse off than they were before they got the increase in their pensions.

I know there are several other speakers waiting to make their contributions to the debate. While I could go on talking about social welfare for some time because I feel very strongly about it I do not propose to do so on this occasion. However, I am worried about the prospect of the introduction of equal pay for equal work. I hope that any fears we may have in that regard are not justified. When one sees the present situation developing in the economy one sincerely hopes that in the mêlée the need for equal pay for equal work will not be lost sight of.

We are worried about the kind of society we have to offer our men and women in our six north-eastern counties. For 50 years we have talked about unity and we would all like to see—as a previous speaker said—unity by peaceful means. When others, with whose methods we do not agree, do something that gives the impression that at last the beginning of the end has come I think the bankruptcy of our ideas and of our preparation for unity will become very apparent indeed.

We ought to go along with the idea of setting up all-party talks on this side of the Border. I think we all agree with that idea but as a prerequisite for such talks there ought to exist some sort of mutual respect for each other's point of view. We, as political parties, may differ in outlook and in ideology but we must respect each other's views and each other's right to exist in society. It does not help to gain that respect when we find, at worst, in the Government party the tapping of telephones of an Opposition party or, at best, refusing to deny allegations that telephones are being tapped. That is the sort of thing that creates a great deal of fear. It is a terrible situation that this rumour should circulate undenied by those who are considered responsible for the tapping. We, as a political party, would expect to be taken a little more seriously than that. I expected that immediately that rumour was circulated the Leader of the Labour Party, who has had long and distinguished service as a public representative, would have been summoned by the Taoiseach to be assured that there was no basis in the rumour. If there was a basis for this rumour it creates a very serious situation and it must be cleared up right away before any progress can be made with regard to talks of a political or economic nature. I sincerely hope that within the next 24 hours we will have been assured that the rumour with regard to the tapping of telephones was false. As a political party, we cannot function properly if this rumour is allowed to circulate unchallenged.

Immediate action is required by the Government with regard to the economic situation. This party have called for the immediate undertaking of works of a public nature, preferably works with a high social content. It worries us, therefore, when we read today that there are some rumours that some public works, mostly the building of schools, are being deferred for the time being. This would be disastrous. More accommodation is needed in schools. There is a need for the erection of more houses and the provision of water supply schemes. All those socially desirable projects should be put in train immediately where they would help to lessen the greatly increasing unemployment figure. I sincerely hope that after the debate has taken place in the Dáil next week we will have an indication that the Government realise that they are facing a crisis and that they will not be slow in tackling it.

This Bill contains an appropriation for the Department of the Taoiseach, and that will be my justification for beginning by recalling for the House that in the course of 1970, after the troubles of August, 1969 in the North of Ireland, the Taoiseach told the Dáil that he was setting up a special unit, in his own Department, to advise the Government on northern affairs and to keep an eye on the North generally.

He gave subsequently, so far as I know, no details about the personnel of this unit nor of the individual qualifications of the persons who were to staff it. This unit may or may not have done its work well, but we are now in the position that it has been operating for nearly two years, and I think we are entitled to pass judgement on the northern attitude which has emerged at the far end. I call it an attitude, not a policy; because the word policy suggests the power to influence events, and that is something which the Government conspicuously have not got. The performance of this unit, so far as it may be traced in the attitude which can be read out of Government speeches, needs examination. It seems to me that this attitude falls into four propositions:

(1) That the unity of Ireland is inevitable in the long run. (2) That it is the fault of the British that it has been so long delayed and is still being delayed. (3) That while the IRA's activities are no doubt deplorable, they are venial, or relatively venial, when looked at in the setting of the longterm wrongs that Britain has done and is still doing us; and (4) that a new Constitution, if we were able to draft one cute enough, would bring the end of Partition a good deal nearer.

If these propositions do really result from the work of this unit, then I say to the House that the sooner the Taoiseach disbands the unit and sends back the public servants to the Departments from which they were drawn, the better. I say that because every single one of these propositions is eyewash. Every single one involves a tampering with the truth or a shortcut around the truth; every single one of them is intended for home consumption; not one of them is accepted or would be accepted by any unprejudiced foreigner abroad.

It may be that in the course of what I am going to say I will annoy people opposite. I will freely admit also that if the entire membership of my own party were present I would probably annoy some of them as well. I feel I have to express a point of view which is not often enough expressed in this country because of the kind of schooling we have all had; because of the kind of preconceptions, perhaps, of our teachers, innocently and sincerely held, and instilled into us in formative years.

Could I ask the Senator to deal with the four propositions he has mentioned?

Certainly. I shall do so at some length. The Minister may regret having asked me to deal with them seriatim.

The worst aspect of these propositions is that they are designed for home consumption. They do not stand up to examination. They are logically superficial. Of course, as soon as the North is kind enough to withdraw itself from the headlines and thus to cease being vote-material in this Republic, all these propositions will be quietly forgotten, as all untrue things eventually are forgotten.

The first proposition, that ultimate national unity is inevitable, is no more than a piece of wishful thinking. There is nothing inevitable about any particular solution of this country's problems. There is no inevitability about any solution of any problem. People who would be very slow to predict so much as the result of a by-election, have great nerve, in my view, in making large predictions about the future of this country. Has anybody checked with Glengall Street as to their view of what is inevitable? Has anybody checked with the elected representatives—little though I like them —of the northern majority as to their predictions about this country's inevitable future?

Let us look around at the "EEC context" that we are always hearing about and talking about, and let us look at some of the national problems which exist, even within this small group of countries. Within the boundaries of France, there is a very substantial German population in Alsace-Lorraine. They may, in their official dealings, speak French, or be obliged to speak French, but the House can take it from me, and I know that many Members of the House will be aware of this from personal experience, that by any ordinary criterion, they are Germans. They speak a German dialect; they have German names; their traditions are German and the way in which they build their towns looks German. To any outside observer they would seem far more like Germans than many of what are sometimes called "our own people" in the North of Ireland would look like us. But does anybody predict the inevitability that the Alsatians and the inhabitants of Lorraine will one day be reintegrated with Germany across the Rhine? No one makes such a prediction. If they did they would be written off as fools.

If we go down a few hundred miles we will find a large number of Austrians—people also of German speech but originally of Austrian nationality —within the borders of Italy, another country with which we propose to associate ourselves in the EEC. These Austrians, no doubt, would wish to be reintegrated with the State to their north. Sometimes they have lent emphasis to that point of view by murdering a couple of policemen or throwing bombs. Does anybody regard their integration with Austria as inevitable? It is not inevitable. Nobody looks at it like that. It may eventually come about, but anybody making a rash prediction like that is doing it only in order to fool people to whose votes he hopes to hold on.

There are people in Belgium of Flemish speech, which is simply another way of saying Dutch, many of whom—though here the problem is not acute in quite the same way—would like to be integrated politically with Holland lying to their north. Does anybody say that that solution is inevitable?

These are our parallels, and I think they are useful because in this country, due to our geographical isolation, due to our lack of experience of any other countries and sometimes even of our own country, we tend to make grand statements of that kind for which no serious evidence can be produced, even to the extent that evidence can ever be produced for a prediction of what is going to happen in the future.

An Irish solution which will produce a united country I do not regard as inevitable, but neither do I regard it as impossible. I think we might have such a solution one day. It is something which will take, if it is worth having, generations of hard work to achieve. I am not going to guess how many generations. I know that we have wasted two generations since this State was founded. Next to nothing has been done. Fifty years have been allowed to go by; and leaving aside, as a speaker here said yesterday, the economic cooperation initiated by the Coalition Governments and the visits of Mr. Lemass to Stormont in 1964, leaving these things aside, nothing has been done to reconcile us with the northern majority or to reconcile them with us.

I will not make any rash predictions about the North of Ireland. But I will make what I might call a sporting guess about what is going to happen. So far from national unity being inevitable as a result of the events of the last two years, what I see happening is this: that the Border will not only remain, but will become stronger than it ever was before; will become more impenetrable than it was before; will cease to be a subject of jokes about contraband sweaters from Marks & Spencers and pig-smuggling; and instead of that will become a thing of barbed wire, watch-towers and mine-fields. The beginning of that process can already be seen in the cratering of Border roads; I know it is being carried out by British troops, but does anybody suppose that if the British pulled out in the morning, the North of Ireland authorities, if they were still in charge, would not do exactly the same thing?

We are seeing, thanks to the IRA— which, I am sorry to say, few people on the far side of the House are prepared to speak the truth about—that Border being made tougher and harder than it ever was before. We are seeing it being made more impenetrable than it ever was before and we are seeing a ditch being dug between the Irish people having regard to which to predict the inevitability of Irish unity is lunacy. It was a far more reasonable thing to say about the Irish future, before the IRA got going three years ago, than it is now.

The second of these propositions is that it is the fault of the British to——

The Deputy did undertake to justify the statement he made that these were propositions which were being put forward by the Government apparently on the basis of this unit.

That is so. If the Debates, including some of his own contributions, though I intended to pass him a compliment or two in a moment if he lets me get that far, he will find that that point of view, in some shape or form, is constantly being expressed by Fianna Fáil speakers— that national unity sooner or later will come. The Taoiseach has frequently said so.

I must confess I am more interested in the Senator's justification of the other propositions.

The second proposition is one which I think is generally a modish proposition among the other side of the House, and I must admit it is very widely held in my own party also. It is that this is all the fault of the British. It is, certainly, the fault of the British; but it is a fault committed by a British Government in the time of King James I, and consolidated under the Commonwealth and in the reign of William III. It is not the fault of the British in 1920, although I know that is the orthodoxy which is easiest for people on the other side of the House to accept, because it provides them with sticks with which it is easier to beat us. But if it is the fault of the British—and of course I accept that it is—it goes back a very long time. It goes back to a period when there was very little respect for small peoples, when every country in the world that was able to do so imperialised all around them—the British no worse than the rest and better than some. That is where the fault lies, and to pretend that overnight that fault can be undone by a simple Act of Parliament, by a simple repeal of the 1920 Government of Ireland Act or something of that kind, is again playing to the gallery, playing to an ignorant gallery whom it pays the Government in power to keep ignorant. It pays not to tell them the truth about this.

Who is pretending that?

Who is pretending what?

That this thing can be solved overnight by an Act of Parliament.

The position, as I understand it, taken up by the Government in regard to the North of Ireland is that it is up to the British to solve this problem, not in the long term but in the short term, to get their troops out——

Yes, it is. That is a constant theme with Fianna Fáil speakers and, as I have tried to admit, it is a theme which I hear on my own side as well: that the solution is one which the British could bring about almost overnight by dismantling their administration in the North and withdrawing the military structure which protects it. If the British were to pull out in the morning or next year that proposition would be put to the test. I do not mind taking a flying guess at what would happen. There would be a unilateral declaration of independence by the northern majority and we would find ourselves dealing with a very difficult crowd of people. The people in this House and elsewhere who speak about the North of Ireland very glibly—many of them I suspect without ever having been there or knowing much about it—do not really understand what these million Ulster Protestants are like. They are not the kind of people who, as is sometimes suggested or hinted, will be converted into Republicans by the passage of Senator Robinson's Bill. They are not going to fall over into our arms and abandon the British allegiance which they rightly or wrongly profess just because we may muck around with our Constitution and change a few articles here or there.

Let me say another thing about them. They are the people who in this century first introduced the gun into Irish politics. They were the people who started this whole, bloody cycle in 1913. Let us make no rash assumptions about them lying down under an all-Ireland Republic if the British were to pull out in the morning. Let us not be fools about what they say they stand for. We expect them to take us seriously when we profess allegiance to an independent Irish State. Why should we not take them seriously when they profess allegiance to the British Crown? I know it sticks in our throats. It sticks in mine just as much as in the throat of any one on the far side of the House, but I take them at their word just as I expect them to take me at my word. When they say they would die, as some of them have said, rather than submit to Dublin, I believe them. In the event of the British pulling out in the morning, I want to know are we going to mobilise an army of 100,000 men in order to put them down—if we could?

Michael Collins who was a soldier, which I am not, said that possibly we might beat them militarily, but he would not bet much on it, and I would not bet much on it. Even if we did, we would have a country left in ruins, not worth living in, and a country which would be riven by hatreds compared with which anything we have experienced up to now would be insignificant.

The people who talk most—I admit that here I am not speaking about Ministers because the kind of talk I am going to refer to now comes from people further down the ladder—or by their silence imply most about taking a firm line with the North are people who know nothing about war. In fact this country in a paradoxical way suffers from knowing very little about war. The last time there was a real war in this country, recognisable as such by outside standards, in which professional soldiers with artillery were drawn up in armed ranks on both sides, was in 1691. The last pitched battle in this country in which these conditions prevailed was the battle of Aughrim. The only dangerous insurrection which took place since that time, in spite of what we have heard in school about 700 years of unremitting resistance to English rule, was the insurrection of 1798. The total casualties in the other insurrections between 1691 and 1916 would be far exceeded by the road casualties of a single month in this country. Large areas of this country and large sections of our population have not only no personal experience of war, but they have no family experience of it, and they have no family memory of it. They have no folk memory of it. They have never in their lives heard a shot fired in anger. They have never seen the body of a man killed by violence. They have never even seen anyone badly beaten up and yet they say: "Oh, we will march over the Border and put these fellows down. Why do we not send in the Army and take Derry?" They do not know what they are talking about. I cannot blame them for that, because ignorant people are ignorant people, but I blame the politicians who leave them in that condition of ignorance and who play up to their ignorance.

That whole line of thought and talk goes back to this proposition, that it is the wicked British that are at fault here. Of course they are at fault, but even if they admitted they were at fault, and beat their breasts, and pulled out in the morning, we would still be faced with exactly the same problem—or a worse one, in a sense, because we would have fewer propaganda sticks with which to beat our opponents before the tribunal of world opinion. If the British were to pull out in the morning, who could we appeal to? As long as the British are there we can go and complain about the brutalities committed by their soldiers. When they pull out who are we going to complain about? Is it our own people? Who are we going to complain to and who will pay any attention to us? Who is interested in Irishmen knocking the heads off each other? Naturally it is world news when the English do it to a small country. But who will be interested enough when we are doing it to each other? Absolutely no one at all. So in a sense this point of view is self-destructive. If it achieved its aim of getting the English to pull out, it would leave us with a worse problem, in my view, in regard to trying to produce real peace in this country. I hope the gentlemen on the other side will not be so dis-honest—I know they will not—as to interpret that as a plea for the staying on of the British. I do not like them there any more than they do, but the idea that the entire situation is their fault, and their continuing fault, and that it could be put an end to by an act of will on their part is totally wrong and dishonest, and ought not only not be promoted, but should be actively campaigned against by people who are in a position of influence over opinion in this country.

Before I leave that second proposition let me say this. I hear people— some are on my own side—saying: "Well, the British never gave up anything unless they were forced to do it. Look at Cyprus and look at Aden." That line of argument is a dangerous one. There is absolutely no similarity whatever between the conditions in Cyprus and Aden and the conditions in Northern Ireland. In Cyprus and in Aden the British garrisons were faced by a population not just 35 per cent of which, but 100 per cent of which wanted them gone, not one man in 10,000 of whom would have turned on his heel to save a British soldier or to give him a cup of tea or to give him any aid or comfort whatever. They were faced by a totally hostile population. Apart from the geographical distance of Aden and Cyprus, and the relative strategic unimportance of these places to the British in the conditions of modern warfare, which made their staying on there not seem worthwhile, the human situation in these places was entirely different from that in the North of Ireland. Of course that is something which requires a bit of thought and reflection, and it is not easy to put this across to the people who believe that the British never gave anything up except through force: the British are not faced in the North of Ireland by a totally hostile population.

In some parts of the North of Ireland, certainly, they are faced by a hostile population; and let me admit immediately, in deference to what Senator Keegan said a while ago— although I think it is the only thing on which I would agree with him—that the British have only themselves to thank if the population in the North of Ireland in these areas is hostile to them. I consider that they have made every possible mistake that could be made in their handling of this situation.

The only thing the British have not done so far, the only mistake they have not made, is to execute people. The only thing they have not done which could possibly make the situation worse up there is to conduct judicial executions, but short of that they have committed every foolishness of which an intelligent people can be capable. I think therefore that they have given a great deal of aid and comfort both to the IRA and to the soft-witted camp-followers which the IRA has in this part of Ireland.

But to suppose that their stupidity is going to extend to abandoning the North of Ireland in the way that they abandoned Cyprus and Aden I think is naive and foolish. My guess is that it will not happen. I do not want to appear to be discouraging or disheartening to people who hope that the happy ending is round the corner, but my guess is that it will not happen. There are tracts of the North of Ireland in which the population is not solidly against the British Army but solidly behind them. I do not see those areas being abandoned by the British. I see one or two Senators on the other side of the House who have a far closer knowledge of the North of Ireland than I have, and I am willing to be contradicted by them or corrected by them if I am wrong about this. My own guess, for what it is worth, is that the British will not simply abandon the area at present under their jurisdiction in the North of Ireland, because they are not faced by a totally hostile population as they were in Cyprus and in Aden. Apart from this, the political repercussions of their doing so would be considerable back in Britain.

I know it is popular to say that the average Englishman would like his Army to clear out of the North altogether. That may be so at the moment, there is a kind of 1938 Munich-like feeling about the North of Ireland. But if it came to the crunch, if they found that the IRA or the Army of this State was marching up and subjugating people, or trying to subjugate people, whose allegiance is to the Crown, that mood would change very quickly. Even though I may not know the North of Ireland very well, or England very well, I know a little about both of them. My belief is that the English, in spite of the contemporary superficial feeling that their soldiers should be brought home, would not in fact bring their soldiers home if there were a million people up there still depending on them for protection —a million people who regard themselves not merely as members of the British Empire but as citizens and subjects of the United Kingdom. It is difficult for us to swallow that idea, but that is how they regard themselves. I do not see the British clearing out on them, any more than we would let down people of our own who were under our jurisdiction though separated from us by a barrier of water, whom we were militarily in a position to protect.

Thirdly, as I said when I was introducing these propositions, the attitude of the Government has been that the IRA's activities, although deplorable, are in some way venial. I must qualify this because, although I have no desire or need to flatter the Minister who is here today, I have to concede that there has been a difference of performance among the different members of the Government in this regard. Some members of the Government have been like Brer Fox or Brer Rabbit, I forget which, who lay low and said nothing. They are keeping their abject little heads down, hoping that the trouble will blow over, and still leave them in their Mercedes when the smoke has cleared away. I am glad to say that, although they are a small minority, there are one or two Ministers, of which the Minister here with us today is one, who have given a bit of leadership to the people in this regard and have not been afraid to speak their minds about the IRA—not so much about what is in the IRA's hearts, because possibly what is in their hearts we might share a good part of—but who have not been afraid to make clear to the people what the effect of their deeds is.

Apart from Deputy Colley, and the Tánaiste, Deputy Childers, and sometimes—I suppose I have to say this too —what seems to me to be a reluctant Taoiseach pulled along by the tail by Deputy Colley and Deputy Childers while looking over his shoulder at the "fat cats" in his party who are not a bit pleased to hear him speak like this —apart from them, no leadership has been given by this Government to the people in this very important matter. They are being allowed to get the impression which could be summed up no better than in the words which Senator Keegan used a few minutes ago. Now he has gone, and I am not taking advantage of his absence to say things about him which I would not say if he were here. It is true that he did not mention the IRA at all in the course of his speech, but he said things such as that he could not shed a tear for the mutilated body of a British soldier in the North of Ireland. I think I am not misquoting him as having said that. That is not 100 per cent equivalent to saying to the IRA "Carry on, lads, you are doing a great job," but it is not too far off it. I would have liked to have been able to pin Senator Keegan to this question and ask him this: "If it is possible for you to keep your eyes dry when you see another human being, no matter what clothes or uniform he is wearing, blown to bits, what is your attitude towards the person who has done that? Is it one of support, or is it one of condemnation? Answer that question, yes or no." That is what I would have liked to say to him. I think that the Senator Keegan attitude is very widely held in the party across the floor.

I do not think it is shared by the Minister here. I could sympathise with the Minister having to listen to a Member of his own party speak as Senator Keegan spoke. The point of view is widely held that the IRA may be a rash lot of lads, well meaning, if you like, high hearted, high minded, idealistic, and no doubt they are all these things, many or most of them, but that basically the fault lies elsewhere and we must not be too tough on them, we must not be too hard on them, we must not speak our minds about what they are doing and, above all, we must not come along with legalisms about democracy and the rule of law and put them in the way of the IRA doing what they like. That is the kind of attitude which I am afraid has been percolating from the Fianna Fáil side. I exempt from the blame for that certain Ministers, as I have said, and they are very few.

In my view the duty of a Government is to give leadership. I do not just mean to draft legislation, introduce it and recommend it, but to give leadership by means of recognising that a crisis is upon the people and going out and talking to the people. My view is that there should be no weekend when Ministers are not out speaking to the people and rallying them around the things we believe in, because I take it, from the fact that we are here at all, that we believe not only in an independent Ireland, but that we also believe in parliamentary democracy, that we believe in what the Constitution says about the Oireachtas having the sole and exclusive power to make laws for the State and that we believe that there should be only one Army in the State and we believe that the Army should be under the control of the Dáil, that we believe that all these institutions are there to serve the people and should obey the people.

These are propositions which I think are just as important as national independence. If these propositions are not going to be respected, I think national independence is worth nothing to us. I would sooner be a Czech—and we may find ourselves in the situation of the Czechs before long—unless these principles are upheld by the Government. I consider it an outrage on Irish democracy that the defence of these principles should be left to Members of the Opposition and to a couple of Ministers who are by no means representative, I think, of the feeling in their party as a whole. Every Minister and Deputy should be out every weekend, let him leave his "clinics" to somebody else, he can get one of his hatchetmen to do them for him. Let him go round and rally the people behind these principles which are what we are all here in consequence of, and not mind the kind of thing which I see a Fianna Fáil Deputy did last month, namely, organise a boycott of British papers in his own home town. That is his contribution to the agony of the Irish people in 1972 or 1971. He was organising a boycott of all the British papers—all, of course, except for The Sunday Times, which happens to agree with his own point of view. That is his contribution. That is not good enough from a party which I believe, in spite of the fact that I oppose it on many grounds, is at heart or was at heart a democratically-minded party, and I mean Fianna Fáil. That is not good enough for Fianna Fáil—it would be far less than good enough for us—but it is not good enough even for Fianna Fáil. The duty is absolutely inescapable on Ministers, and on Government Deputies and Senators, to ensure that every one of their supporters, and everybody to whose opinion they have access, is rallied behind the institutions of this State and is not allowed to get away with the kind of soft-witted talk we got from Senator Keegan. He was careful to say “Of course, I do not support the IRA” but it is impossible to interpret the words he used in any other way but that he would let them do their damnedest and not put any obstacle in their path.

The Minister for Justice has been under fire in the Dáil and elsewhere for his record in regard to the control of subversive activities and the IRA in particular. He has been in here a couple of times during the last year, and we had disagreeable passages with him, but I believe he means well on the whole in this regard. Neither he nor the Government have an appreciation of the extreme danger that this State is in at present.

It may be easy for people on the other side to discount what I am saying, and write it off as typical alarmist Opposition propaganda, but I regard this State and our institutions as being in serious danger. I am not sure that the resources of the State are equal to dealing with it, and I should like to be reassured about this.

On the 22nd December last the Gardaí, going about their ordinary duty—and this is important—not interning anybody, not applying the Offences Against the State Act or any emergency legislation but in pursuit of warrants issued under legislation which has been on the Statute Book here for 45 years—were arresting three men in Ballyshannon in County Donegal, and the consequence of doing their duty was that that town was held up to ransom for six hours by people who could be ferried in on buses to show the State that they would not allow the law to be enforced. The newspaper reports of that incident said that that threat was met by bringing in soldiers and police from around the area and one paper said that they came from as far away as Ballina. I would like Senators to concentrate on this.

Could I interrupt the Senator for a moment? It is now 5 o'clock. Does the House wish to come to any decision as to how business is to progress?

Nobody would like to interrupt Senator Kelly's most interesting and important speech. We should remain in session until he finishes and then consider the position.

That is disarming politeness from the Leader of the House.

We are always very polite.

I will be about a quarter of an hour. My information is that the gardaí who were brought to deal with that occurrence came, not just from Ballina, but from the far south of County Mayo, and I know of one case in which the single garda manning a station in a village half a mile from the Galway border had to be brought 75 miles to Ballyshannon to help to put down this minor insurrection. I want to ask the Minister for Justice through the Minister for Finance: suppose we had seven or eight simultaneous outbreaks of Ballyshannon dimensions, where would we get the gardaí and the military to deal with them?

Senator Horgan would arrange that for you.

That is a calculation I have made myself, and anybody in the House is able to make the same calculation. But that is not the point. The point is this: the people who organised the Ballyshannon incident are just as well able to make that calculation as any of us. Make no mistake about the seriousness of the situation we would be facing if we had six or seven Ballyshannons on our hands at the same time.

They would be making a grave miscalculation if they thought that.

Perhaps the Minister for Finance has a secret supply of storm troops up his sleeve, but I cannot see them anywhere in the official documentation of this State. Without wishing any State secrets to be divulged I should like to know, consistent with reasonable security and safety, how the Government propose to deal with a situation like this should it occur simultaneously in several places.

The Minister for Justice, Deputy O'Malley, speaking in the Dáil on the adjournment debate last month made an interesting speech in which he defended himself against remarks which had been passed, inside and outside the Dáil, about the Government's handling of the security situation. I confess that I had been one of these who said that the Government had been too soft for too long and for the wrong reasons on subversives in this country. Deputy O'Malley's defence carries, in some particulars, a certain amount of conviction. I am able to see his point when he says that the subversive of 1970 is a much more sophisticated figure than the subversive of 1940, that he knows the law backwards and is well advised, et cetera, and that it is not so easy to catch him as it was then.

I do not think the Attorney General has exhausted the possibilities which the law offers him in regard to controlling these illegal organisations. Deputy O'Malley stated, in regard to the Attorney General's function, that it would be unjustifiable for the Attorney General to take a risk by prosecuting unless he could be sure the prosecution had a fair chance of success. That does not square with my experience. Without giving any controversial instances of conspicuous recent prosecutions, I wish to tell the House that during the few years during which I was in practice at the Bar it was regarded as an axiom that if you killed a person on the road with your car, unless the person had literally run under your wheels, you were automatically charged with manslaughter. It did not matter whether the degree of negligence which could be proved against you was great or small, you had to face a charge of manslaughter. I remember defending a boy on a manslaughter charge in a case in which there was no question of drink or even excessive speed. He had the misfortune to kill a child because of a piece of bad driving. He had to face a charge of manslaughter for which the maximum penalty then obtaining was a potential life sentence. He was acquitted, of course, not through my efforts, but because juries then regularly acquitted these manslaughter defendants.

I wish to point out the discrepancy between what Deputy O'Malley stated in the Dáil and the practice of the Attorney General. In my experience and in the experience of every member of the Bar, it has by no means been the case that the Attorney General only prosecutes where there is a fair chance of success. In the instance I have given, prosecution for manslaughter was absolutely automatic, and it remained automatic until the new Road Traffic Act introduced a separate offence of causing death by dangerous driving.

I repeat, therefore, that the Attorney General and his political superiors might have been a bit more active. It is, for example, an offence under the ordinary law to organise a meeting to abet an unlawful organisation. I do not believe that prosecutions for offences like that could not have been taken, and taken successfully, in the last few months. The same Act which makes that an offence gives the gardaí power to close buildings which they believe to be used by an illegal organisation. When was that power last used? Not alone are buildings in the city used by illegal organisations but interviews take place in these buildings and journalists know where they are and go along freely to them to talk to the people who live in them. We are due an explanation as to why this power has not been invoked.

During the last week another and very serious phenomenon has appeared on the scene, which is also dealt with in theory by the Offences Against the State Act, but for which I see no prosecution as yet forthcoming. This is the attempted seduction of the police from their duty. There were reports on two occasions in the last week or ten days of cases in which a cordon of gardaí drawn up outside a courthouse was addressed by a named individual urging them to go easy on what he called "the Republican movement", urging them, in other words, not to do their duty, urging them not to betray a trust which, he said, lay on them, but which was in no way consistent with the only trust which we recognise, namely, to do their duty. That is an offence, as I read it, under section 9 of the Offences Against the State Act, and it is a fairly serious one. To address language like that to an employee of the State, a member of the Garda or of the Army is a misdemeanour punishable by imprisonment for up to two years.

I want to know whether the gentlemen who engaged in that demonstration are being prosecuted under that section, and, if not, why not? I do not wish to adopt the tone of a public prosecutor. I had to do that here last year and I got nowhere with it. I do not at all urge or advocate the persecution of people, many of whom, as members of this illegal organisation, or either of its branches, are simply harebrained juveniles, harebrained teenagers, many of them unemployed, aimless and shiftless. They have nothing else to do. They are at a loose end, and are soft-headed enough to go along with this kind of thing. I am not urging their persecution at all.

I want the law to work where it is needed, against the people in this part of the country who are deliberately going about the subversion of our democracy, who do not submit to the people's will and never would submit to it. My belief is that somebody who does not feel he requires a popular mandate to kill someone, to blow a public house to pieces, to walk up to a car and shoot dead its two occupants, or to go into a man's private house, shoot him like a dog and blow his house up over his body, that people like that who can do these things without a mandate will not scruple to govern without a mandate either. I want to warn this House solemnly that we are faced with that kind of people today. There may not be many of them; I cannot assess that. The ones who are half-witted juveniles I would give a fool's pardon to, but there is a hard core of others, and I am not satisfied that this Government have got the moral authority to deal with them, let alone sufficient physical force.

From that I do not wish to be taken as appearing callous about the suffering of the minority in the North. We can all go through the motions of expressing compassion with their sufferings and giving out about brutality of the English. There is no shortage of voices doing that. If I were to add my voice to it it would make little difference to the total volume. Naturally I have sympathy with their sufferings, and for that reason I do not believe in abusing with intemperate language the people in the North of Ireland, even the northern end of the IRA, who have been subjected to provocations that we have never had to face in this part of the country, who have had the experience of being second-class citizens in their own land. Perhaps we might not be all that responsible ourselves if we had been brought up in conditions like that and subject to these provocations. I have always been careful, therefore, not to use words of ugly abuse about them.

It is a different matter with the "fat cats" down here. I think I know one of the "fat cats" the Minister had in mind, a conspicuous "fat cat" who prowls around this House, balefully looking at the Minister, never letting him out of his sight, and never letting out of his sight the Taoiseach who stands over him. He is not the only one, but he is a conspiciuous one.

These are men who have stood high in public regard, perhaps still do, to whose advice and words the public would pay heed. This is their time to speak up in favour of the democratic institutions from which they themselves have benefited. Are they doing so? They are not doing so, and I do not blame the Minister for using an ugly expression like that about them. He was perfectly justified.

I do not wish to hold the House much longer. The last of these four propositions is the idea that, if we could only cutely and cleverly adapt our Constitution, it would open the door to Irish unity. I heard, earlier today, speakers on both sides say we have made insufficient "preparations for Irish unity". When I hear that kind of talk I have to ask myself what kind of a horse-laugh can they be giving in Glengall Street. We are like an aged bachelor who has been repeatedly turned down by the woman he wants to marry, but who goes ahead with the wedding preparations, ordering the cake, getting in the caterers, laying on four dozen of champagne, although the woman not only will not marry him but has emigrated to Australia. That is the nearest simile I can think of. The childishness of it, adapting our Constitution if you please, bringing in Senator Robinson's Bill if Fianna Fáil will let us, introducing divorce, irrespective of what the majority down here might wish, in the hope that this is going to tart us up sufficiently to make the Unionists fall around our necks. Are we simpletons altogether? Has anyone checked with the Unionist Party whether this will make the slightest difference to their determination to stay British? I consider that we are being poorly led when this kind of talk can issue from the Government, even if in the form of an invitation to the Opposition parties to co-operate. We will co-operate in anything which is reasonable, but let us not delude ourselves that tarting up the Constitution, putting a bit of mascara, powder and paint on it, in order to make it attractive to the unwilling Unionist would-be spouse, will make the least difference. It will not.

There is nothing that will make any difference to the question of Irish unity except unremitting hard work in which there are very few votes, of community reconciliation at personal level, professional level and Government level, pursued unremittingly and without regard to political consequences in the short-term down here, over the next few generations. There is no way out of that and I am afraid it is because this Government have neglected that job over the very long number of years they have been in office that we are now being given this lazyman's load, this supposed short-cut to Irish unity in the idea that if only we could make our own Constitution fit for men to live under, the Unionists would come tumbling in. If our Constitution needs to be improved let us, in God's name, do it for our own sake, never mind the Unionists.

The theme I want to end on is this: we are all suffering from a kind of over-compensations. Senator Horgan earlier said we were all suffering from a bad conscience for our neglect of the North of Ireland. I believe that is true. One of the weaknesses of our national character is the way we make up for neglect by over-compensating with a kind of frothy enthusiasm in no way based on reality or related to anything which is truly important.

I have to look back at the sixties, the years when Fianna Fáil were riding high, before there was a scrap of trouble in the North of Ireland, and I think no one in this House will contradict me when I say that if one so much as mentioned the disabilities of the northern minority one was regarded as a damned bore and a sorehead.

That is wrong.

I am afraid it is right. I am sorry to have to say this about a man for whom I have genuine respect and who I know did his best for Ireland, the late Seán Lemass, but I recall him saying at a Press conference that in his view there was very little to choose between the northern minority and the northern majority. As far as he could see all the Catholics wanted was to get their foot on the necks of the Protestants. That was a point of view quite acceptable in Fianna Fáil circles in the sixties before the trouble started —more than acceptable. It released them from the obligation of doing anything about the North in any shape or form, whether by way of defending the minority—who were suffering discrimination then much worse than now—or by way of reconciling the majority. I remember being in Belfast in——

The Senator is attributing the statement to Mr. Lemass. Is the Senator quoting from something or is this from memory?

It is from memory.

It is not very fair to attribute a statement to a man in a debate like this if you are only doing it from memory.

My memory about it is fairly clear but——

I do not remember that he said anything like that.

——I recognise that the reference perhaps was hurtful. There is sufficient evidence, perhaps, without my having used it. I am sorry if I have offended Senators on the other side but my recollection of it is clear enough.

The statement to which the Senator is referring was in a slightly different context. It was a complaint about the minority going off in separate directions and not working together. The Senator would agree that the late Seán Lemass during the sixties did a tremendous amount to achieve reconciliation and certainly did not forget about the situation in the North.

I am afraid I can only agree with part of what the Minister has said. I give Mr. Lemass credit for having done something intelligent in trying to get on speaking terms with Captain O'Neill but I believe in those years the concern of people down here with the North— and of course the main responsibility for what was going on lay on the Government—was absolutely minimal.

I remember speaking in a debate in Belfast in 1966 or 1967 at which two or three Nationalist MPs also spoke. It was the first time, and I think the only time, that I met Mr. MacAteer, who is still President of the Nationalist Party. A couple of weeks before that, Mr. MacAteer had made a speech "regretting the snapping of the links with Dublin" as he put it. When I asked him what he meant by that remark and whether there was something positive which Dublin could do for his community, he said: "I wish they would throw us a kind glance from time to time." I do not think that was an unfair comment on the situation here in the mid-1960s.

What I complain about—and I recognise that it is not an attitude peculiar to Fianna Fáil; it is widespread in my own party as well—is that people who in the 1960s never gave the North of Ireland a thought, whether by way of reconciliation with the Protestants or in defence of the Catholics, are now falling over themselves in soft-witted admiration of the Provisionals, who are making the situation ten times worse. I am complaining about the lack of leadership from the Government to rally the people and steady them against that kind of soft-witted rubbish.

The Government, in my view, have fallen down in these major respects. They cannot control subversion here. They are not able to control it, and they have not got the moral authority to control it because their own party is not 100 per cent reliable. They are not giving the people the proper leadership and the proper direction in regard to the North about what view ought to be taken of the people who have taken it upon themselves to kill in the North of Ireland in the name of Ireland. I should like to hear a Minister say to the people in the Provisionals: "No bullet that you fire is fired in my name; no bomb that you throw is thrown in my name; no man that gets killed or woman or baby that gets blown to bits is blown to bits in my name. You are doing it off your own bat, and you will answer for it in your own name and not in mine." I want to hear a Minister speak like that. A couple of them have done so, but too few of them. It is a duty which ought not to be left to the Opposition.

I was inclined not to take in full seriousness the kind of words which Deputy L'Estrange in my party used to use two and three years ago, but I now see that Deputy L'Estrange had the rights of it. He was right and the people who laughed at him were wrong. This country is on a slide and I feel that this slide, like all national convulsions, will leave everything different afterwards. We may easily find ourselves in the situation that the party system here, because of the way it works, because of the pre-eminent need which Fianna Fáil experiences to keep ahead of us and the Labour Party, is going to destroy itself from the inside.

We may wake up one morning looking around for men of like mind in regard to a few fundamental principles of Government and of decent living. The old differences between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Labour Party will have gone out the window. We will be picking ourselves up from the ruins and looking around to see if there is anybody with whom we have a bit of common ground, and with whom together we could provide a decent Government and a decent future for this State. We will be looking over at one another's benches to see how much common ground we have with one another.

I am concerned that if this is to happen—and this should not be interpreted as a call for a National Government; the time for that was May, 1970, if at all—it must happen before it is too late. It must happen while people are still not too scared to stick their necks out, still not afraid to stand up and be counted, still not afraid to say that they believe in one Dáil, in one Army and only one Army, in one police force and only one police force. If we let the present situation continue much further, such people will become fewer and fewer. They will go out like the stars at dawn, and the number of democrats left in this country prepared to go to the barricades for what the people before us fought for will be so small that they will make no difference to the tyrants and the bullies who will not scruple to subject us and reduce us to serfdom if they get a chance.

Senator Killilea rose.

Before I call on Senator Killilea, may I have some idea as to how business is to progress tonight?

I wonder, a Chathaoirleach, if there are many other Senators who wish to take part in the debate?

You are outvoted by your own party.

Where did they all appear from? They were not here earlier on. There is no doubt the attraction of talk must be great.

Has the Leader of the House any suggestions for dealing with this situation?

I have in view of that. I see long-distance merchants amongst the numbers there. I do not see why a few of us who have been here all day should persecute ourselves for the rest of the night. I suggest, a Chathaoirleach, that we defer the debate until the next sitting. Incidentally, before I sit down I would like to congratulate Senator Kelly on a most refreshing speech.

Debate adjourned.
The Seanad adjourned at 5.25 p.m.sine die.