Dáil Éireann - Volume 45 - 22 December, 1932

Finance (Customs Duties) (No. 4) Bill, 1932—From the Seanad.

The Dáil went into Committee to consider Recommendations from the Seanad.

Recommendation No. 1.

Section 7. To delete the section.

Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Lemass): I move that the Committee accept this Recommendation. It is proposed on the Report Stage to move that a new section be substituted in lieu of Section 7. This new section is a modification of the old section and meets, to some extent, the point raised in the Seanad.

Mr. McGilligan: Will that be discussed in Committee also?

An Ceann Comhairle: Technically not in Committee, but a pretty wide discussion is allowed generally.

Mr. McGilligan: Will the same procedure apply as if it were in Committee?

Mr. Lemass: I have no objection.

An Ceann Comhairle: That is a matter for the Chair. Fairly wide discussion is allowed in such cases.

Question put and agreed to.

Recommendation No. 2.

Section 8. To delete in lines 50-51 the words “full standard size” and to substitute therefor the words and figures “a width of 16 millimetres or over.”

Mr. Lemass: I move that the Committee accept this Recommendation. The words “full standard size” were inserted during the passage of the Bill through the Dáil on the suggestion of Deputy Hayes. It was an ambiguous phrase, in any event, and did not cover precisely what the Deputy wanted it to cover. Consequently, the new phrase was proposed in the Seanad, as it covers the point raised by Deputy Hayes and at the same time removes any question of ambiguity.

Question put and agreed to.

[1023] Recommendation No. 3.

Third Schedule. Ref. No. 6. Third column. After the word “blankets” to add the words “or rugs.”

Mr. Lemass: I move that the Committee accept the Recommendation of the Seanad. The Recommendation is very largely a verbal one but its insertion was necessary.

Question put and agreed to.

Acceptance of Recommendations 1, 2 and 3 reported and agreed to.


Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Lemass): I move:

That Section 7 be deleted, and that the following new section be substituted therefor:—

(1) The customs duty imposed by Section 11 of the Finance Act, 1928 (No. 11 of 1928), as amended by subsequent enactments, shall be charged, levied, and paid on the following articles imported into Saorstát Eireann after the passing of this Act at the respective rates hereinafter mentioned in lieu of the rates mentioned in the said Section 11 or any such amending enactment as aforesaid, that is to say —

(a) on all parts of motor cars which are, in the opinion of the Revenue Commissioners, engine assemblies as defined by regulations made by the Revenue Commissioners, transmission assemblies as similarly defined, or propelling gear assemblies as similarly defined at the rate of an amount equal to 15 per cent. of the value of the article;

(b) on all parts of motor cars which, in the opinion of the Revenue Commissioners, are either radiators, lamps or starting motors and are imported separately—at the rate of an amount equal to 15 per cent. of the value of the article;

(c) on all parts of motor cars which, in the opinion of the Revenue Commissioners, are metal doors or metal body shells or assembled metal parts of such doors or shell and have not been [1024] painted, upholstered or fitted with glass or wood, and are suitable only for incorporation in the body of a motor car designed, constructed and intended for the carriage (otherwise than for reward) of not more than six persons, exclusive of the driver—at the rate of an amount equal to 40 per cent. of the value of the article.

(2) The customs duty imposed by the said Section 11 of the Finance Act, 1928, as amended by subsequent enactments shall not be charged or levied on any of the following articles imported into Saorstát Eireann after the passing of this Act, that is to say:—

(a) on any component parts or accessories of motor car chassis (other than engine blocks, crankshafts and piston connecting rods) which, in the opinion of the Revenue Commissioners, are not assembled otherwise than by welding, soldering, or other like process;

(b) on any component parts or accessories (other than doors and complete body shells) of motor car bodies which, in the opinion of the Revenue Commissioners, are not assembled and are suitable only for incorporation in or use as an accessory of the body of a motor car designed, constructed and intended for the carriage (otherwise than for reward) of not more than six persons exclusive of the driver.

(3) Whenever the Minister for Finance, after consultation with the Minister for Industry and Commerce, is satisfied that any articles chargeable with duty at a rate fixed by this section are required to be imported by a manufacturer for use in a process of manufacture in Saorstát Eireann, the Revenue Commissioners may by licence authorise such manufacturer, subject to compliance with such conditions as they may think fit to impose, to import such articles without payment of the said duty either, as the Revenue Commissioners shall think proper, without limit as to time or quantity or either of them, or within a [1025] specified time or in a specified quantity.

(4) In this section the expression “motor car” has the same meaning as it has in Part II. of the Finance Act, 1928 (No. 11 of 1928), and the expression “motor car body” has the same meaning as it has in Section 14 of the Finance (Customs Duties) (No. 2) Act, 1932 (No. 11 of 1932).

The proposal is to reinsert in the Bill another Section 7. It is similar to the section which has been deleted except for one slight change in sub-section (2), paragraph (a). Certain words are there inserted in brackets. These words are: “Other than engine blocks, crankshafts and piston connecting rods.” When this section of the Bill was under discussion in the Seanad certain representations were made that its passage would have an adverse effect upon firms engaged in manufacturing and re-conditioning in the Saorstát certain motor chassis parts. When the section was under discussion in the Dáil, and later when it came before the Seanad, I mentioned that we had for a long time given consideration to the steps that might have to be taken to encourage the assembly of chassis in the Saorstát rather than have them imported in an assembled form. We had found some difficulty in devising a satisfactory method of doing that, having regard to the fact that the duty was imposed originally for revenue purposes, and that certain calculations upon the yield of revenue from that source had been made and were being relied upon. We decided, however, that we could move that this concession be given in the hope and belief that it would encourage people to engage in the business of assembling chassis here. The concession is a twofold one. In so far as it applies to unassembled parts of chassis, it means a complete removal of the duty heretofore in operation; and, in so far as it applies to certain partial assemblies —engine assembly, transmission gear assembly, propellor gear assembly—the duty was reduced from the old rate of 33⅓ per cent. to the new rate of 15 per cent.

When this matter was under consideration [1026] by me, some advertence was made to the fact that firms were engaged in the manufacture of minor parts of chassis and in the re-conditioning of parts. The possibility of their being adversely affected was examined. We came definitely to the conclusion that no adverse effect to those firms was likely to arise. I, therefore, was very much surprised at the agitation which was initiated after the amendment was made and at the statements which were made in, presumably, responsible quarters that the inclusion of this section in the Bill would mean that unemployment would be caused amongst workers employed by firms engaged in manufacturing these parts. I said we had examined the matter and had come to the conclusion that that could not be caused. When these statements were made, however—it was as a result of these statements that the Seanad made the recommendation to delete the section—I went into the matter with the greatest possible detail and found, as I expected to find, that to the extent of 75 per cent. the agitation was due to a misunderstanding of what the section proposed, and as to the other 25 per cent. was due to groundless apprehensions as to the consequences of the change.

There are in the Saorstát certain firms which, apart from other work, do an amount of business in the re-conditioning of motor parts and in the manufacture of certain minor parts. These firms are, all of them, very competent, well equipped and highly efficient, and I would not like to be taken as saying anything to their detriment. I was, in fact, and have been repeatedly, very favourably impressed by the efficiency with which they are conducted, and would be very disinclined to take any action that would damage them in the slightest. They made minor parts and re-conditioned not merely for motor chassis but for all types of machinery. The parts they made were, in the main, bolts and various descriptions of nuts. One statement made was that the removal of the duty from such parts would mean that they would be imported in future and that the trade would be lost to existing firms. Now [1027] the position is that there has never been a duty on these parts. Bolts and nuts not identifiable as motor parts have been imported free of duty, so that the position of the firms in that respect has not been changed in the slightest. When I say free of duty, I mean free of the duty which attaches to motor car parts. The duty imposed under the Emergency Order applies at the moment to such articles when consigned from Great Britain, but that does not arise in this connection. No change has been made so far as these articles are concerned.

The other articles which those firms were interested in were magnetos, dynamos, batteries, cylinders, crankshafts and bearings. In respect of these articles the process of manufacture was not being done here. The firms were engaged upon the re-conditioning of magnetos and dynamos, cylinders were re-bored, crankshafts re-ground, bearings and connecting rods re-metalled and machined. In so far as magnetos, dynamos and batteries are concerned, there is no change whatever proposed by the section.

That is one point on which some misunderstanding has been caused. This section maintains, in respect of these articles, precisely the same duty that has operated on them since the establishment of the Free State. Magnetos and dynamos may be, and possibly will be, imported as part of engine assemblies in which case the medium rate of duty will apply. Of course there always has been an importation of these things as parts of completed cars. The firms here are merely concerned to ensure that the re-conditioning process will be done by them, that it will not be sent out of the country and done elsewhere, and then re-imported, which they think may happen, if the duty were taken off. Personally, I do not think that is a likely consequence. There remain three articles in which they are interested: crankshafts, piston connecting rods and cylinder blocks. In each case a considerable business was being done by these firms in re-conditioning those parts.

Now it has been stated that if the [1028] duty is removed from them the work of re-conditioning will be done outside the country. I may say frankly that I do not believe that. I have gone into the matter in great detail, and can find no justification whatever for the view that the removal of the duty would mean that firms would get the re-conditioning work done for them by motor shops in Great Britain or elsewhere.

I am supported in that point of view by the fact that there is even at the present time a considerable difference in price between the cost of getting the work done here and in Great Britain. If the figures supplied to me are correct it would, in fact, pay them at the moment to get the work done outside the country, pay the duty and bring the articles in in a re-conditioned form. The fact that that is not being done, despite the fact that there is a financial advantage in the doing of it, indicates the convenience of getting the work done by firms in this country, and that circumstance would mean that the work would be done here in any case. I went into the matter again very sympathetically because, as I said, I appreciated the efficiency and the skill of the firms concerned and I was not anxious to do anything that would react against them. I asked myself was it not possible to meet them in respect of those articles without upsetting the main plan. The main plan is to offer an inducement to firms to assemble chassis here. I think that, for the time being, at any rate, we can maintain the duty upon these three parts without upsetting the plan. The three parts are all parts of an engine assembled. We have assumed that any firm which undertakes the chassis-assembly will import the engine assembled at the medium rate of duty imposed and, consequently, will not be interested in the duty attaching to these three parts in an unassembled state. That is why I am agreeable to the insertion of these words “other than engine blocks, crankshafts and piston connecting rods” in sub-section (2). I do not believe any substantial difference is going to result to the firms concerned, but it relieves them of their apprehension and makes no difference [1029] to the general scheme. It meets the representations in that connection made in the Seanad. I think I am fair in representing to the Dáil that that was the main consideration which was in the minds of Senators when they made the recommendation.

Advertence was also made to the fact that motor agents would have preferred that the duty was maintained upon motor parts. I must admit that I was frankly astonished at coming up against that particular attitude on the part of motor agents. They requested that the duty should be maintained upon the parts. After I had been discussing the matter with the representatives for some time, they admitted quite frankly that when the duty was imposed in 1922 they had gone as a deputation to the then Minister for Industry and Commerce and told him that if the duty was imposed they were all going to be ruined. They discovered after ten years in fact that they were not ruined and in their opinion if the duty is taken off now some adverse effect is going to be brought about and they want the duty kept on. Again, on examination, I am satisfied that there is nothing whatever in their point of view. Their contention is that if there is no duty upon parts individual motor owners might be induced to import parts separately and do their own repairs, or that some such result as that would follow and that the business of selling these parts would be lost to the agents. I am not very much concerned about that.

Representations were also made that the agents had in hands existing stocks of parts upon which duty had been paid and that they would now be required to write down these stocks to the value at which they could be procured without the duty. It was pointed out, of course, that, in view of the statements made by the people who pretend to know all about these things, we must assume that when the duty was put on the value of the stocks was written up to that extent and that this is merely rectifying the process. But, even assuming that that is not the case, and that they did not write up the value of the stocks when the duty was imposed, and, consequently, should not [1030] be required to write down the value now, when the duty is removed, the position is that these people are entitled under certain circumstances to a rebate of duty upon re-exportation. Consideration is being given to the matter of meeting them in that connection, so that in certain cases the possibility of hardship will be removed. I do not think there will be many such cases, as the duty is only being removed from completely unassembled parts, and the majority of the parts mentioned to me were assemblies of one kind or another on which duty is still payable, and, consequently, in respect of which no differentiation of price will arise. I have nothing further to add. The section is precisely the same as was passed by the Dáil with this one slight change. I am making the statement to indicate what I am prepared to put in to meet the representations made, although I feel satisfied that no adverse effects would result to anybody, even if the change were not made.

Mr. McGilligan: The amendment which has been introduced to-day goes a very small way towards meeting the points raised against this section in the Seanad. I am presuming that articles of the types of driving axles, gear bushes, steering pins, valves, gudgeon pins and piston rings are brought in under the exemption that is spoken of here to-day. There are two or three view-points from which we must view the matter. First of all the Minister, who has introduced the remission, asked the House somewhere in the early months of this year, when he was bringing in a whole host of tariffs, what was likely to be the policy adopted and pleaded that in order to give the tariffs he was putting on a chance there should be a definite statement that if hereafter any Government came in not so strong on tariffs as he was that, at any rate, there would be taken into consideration the fact that people had bona fide employed capital in businesses that had been built up under the shelter of tariffs. An answer in the affirmative to that plea has since been given on many occasions. What is the Minister doing now? These duties were imposed eight or [1031] nine years ago and certain people have built up businesses under the shelter of these tariffs. The statement was made, and I do not think it is going to be denied, that a number equal to the 200 affected by the closing of Gallahers will go out of employment if this remission is persisted in. These people have built up their business under the shelter of the old McKenna duties taken over in 1922-23. How was this done? Was there any consultation with the trade; any attempt made to find out from these people beforehand how they were going to be affected; any attempt made in consultation with anybody interested, manufacturer, distributor or agent of any type? So far from that being the case, we had amendments hurriedly brought in here on 7th December on the Committee Stage of the Finance Bill and brought in in such a way as to draw from the Ceann Comhairle the following:

As regards the amendments tabled ... I desire to say that it is only with much misgiving I allow the amendments to be moved. In my view, such provisions as these, which propose amendment of the law relating to taxation, and which amendments are more than incidental, should be included in the Bill as read a Second Time, but taking into account that this is not what might be described as an amending Bill proper, and that the Bill already includes an exemption provision, I am in this case allowing the amendments.

In that rather scandalous fashion, which drew that rebuke from the Chair, it is proposed to take away the businesses which have been built up under the shelter of a duty and to do it without any consultation with the people concerned.

The Minister to-day has started off in a rather more dismal tone than he is accustomed to when dealing with tariffs, but he warmed up in the end to the usual enthusiasm that he has in assurances given to the people. It is relevant in this connection, seeing the variety of matters that have been brought into discussion, just to see what is the Minister's view on this [1032] business of motor cars, motor bodies and motor chassis building. There was a Finance (Customs Duties) (No. 2) Bill which brought in certain proposals with regard to taxation in relation to motor cars, and on the 8th June the Minister expressed himself this way: “I merely want to say that in respect of every duty contained in this Bill my expectations have been more than exceeded,” and mind you they were small expectations at the early stages, but on the 8th June the Minister was able to announce that the expectations had been more than exceeded. At another stage he told us quite definitely—and his words were true, but not, I think, in the sense in which he meant them— that a certain concession was going to be given operating only for three months. “At the end of that time it is hoped there will be no car offered for sale in this country that will not have an Irish-built body.” We have seen how that prophecy has been borne out and how the number of cars offered for sale at all has gone down. Finally, the Minister, speaking on that same Bill—the Finance (Customs Duty) (No. 2) Bill-said “that the duty altogether was one which certainly should be imposed.”

He talked of the amount of employment which was likely to be given as being hard to estimate, but he put it at 500 persons—this was with regard to motor body building—and he believed that this benefit, the employment of these 500 people, was going to be achieved within a very short time indeed, that is “a very short time indeed” speaking from the 28th June. In fact he said previously that he knew he was going to get the bodies built within the time limit contemplated, that is a time limit which carried forward a remission of some of those duties to some date in August. Then he came on, as he came later in the Seanad on this particular measure, to a certain amount of threat to the people engaged in the business. He said “We will not get people's minds concentrated on the solving of these difficulties unless they are convinced that there is no easy way out of it.” He then went along in a crescendo until he arrived at the point he arrived at in the Seanad, when he [1033] said quite definitely on the 15th December that any firm not able to import bodies in this form might as well resign themselves to get out of the business now. If the Minister pleads in this House that customs are a system of trial we should take cognisance of the fact that capital may be bona fide involved in an industry built up here in the shade of a tariff. He himself proceeded, even without the ordinary Parliamentary note that is required of these things, to bring in an amending remission clause, and to answer the people engaged in the business with that threat in the Seanad—if you are not prepared to import them on the lines I lay down, resign yourself to getting out. If that is the Minister's attitude with regard to bringing business to the country he will find his mistake before many months have passed. He has even found his mistake about the body-building business already.

It is easy to decry the figures that are put up from time to time with regard to loss of employment. I would never accept figures put to me by any interested party without investigation, neither from those who objected to a remission being granted nor from those who wanted a tariff. The Minister laps up every assurance given to him by those who want tariffs, even if they are clearly interested and are going to benefit by what is proposed. His method for a remission in relation to a business which is actually there, and with reference to a business which it is problematical as to whether it ever will be there, is to introduce an amendment, quarrel with those who put up a particular point of view in the Seanad, threaten those in business and order them to get out if they do not adopt his line. Then, after, I suppose, the receipt of numerous communications from people going to be injured, and possibly after pressure through organisations more concerned with unemployment than he is, he gives the peculiar concession which is given here to-day.

Now there is going to be less employment. [1034] That is definite. What the amount is going to be I do not know. I have seen it stated by the Senator member of the Labour Party, who seconded this particular recommendation which came down to us from the Seanad to-day, that the loss of employment would be somewhere about 190 or 200 people, and all that the Minister is able to set against that is the problematical employment of 500 people if we get body building and chassis modelling businesses going in the country, and he makes a reference to Fords which we will have to deal with in a moment.

At any rate there are some half dozen firms of a substantial type who have put a considerable amount of capital into the business which is affected by the remission clause which was first in the Finance (Customs Duties) (No. 4) Bill, and which to some extent still remains in it, and they employ a considerably larger number than 200 people. The side of their business that would be affected by this would probably lead to the disemployment of some couple of hundred people. The Minister made the point—where he got the point from I do not know— that any work of the type spoken of if done in the country was done only for obsolete models. Did he get that information from the motor traders? Did he take that phrase and examine it as to what it meant? It only requires examination of the number of obsolete models, or models that would be described as obsolete, which are still in use on the roads of the country. Certainly we have a very small number indeed. We have the problematical figures in the chassis assembling side or in the body-building side, and here we have the firm of Fords introduced. I presume that was the firm to which the Minister referred in the Seanad, when he talked of a firm which had always had 60 per cent. of the market here. I am assuming that that is Fords, because I do not know of any other firm to which 60 per cent.— although that is an exaggerated figure —could be made to apply. The registration of new cars from the beginning of this year until the month of October does not show that the Ford car [1035] amounted to 60 per cent. of the cars used. There are 2,600 odd cars registered; of these 329 were Fords, something nearer 12 per cent. than 60 per cent. The Minister did refer to the motor trade business being affected not by his tariffs but by the general slump in what he called the luxury businesses. The total number of new cars registered in October of this year was about 120. It was well over 300 a year ago; the registration figure is down by about 62 per cent. The Ford figure alone is down by almost 33 1/3 per cent., even though they have got almost a monopoly of the market by reason of the body building impositions. When this proposal was last before us in this House, in the very short period we had to deal with it I asked some questions about the number of people employed at Fords. A Deputy on these benches spoke with regard to the Ford works, and the benefit or otherwise they have been to the people of the country.

At any rate, the Minister is definitely pinning his faith for the motor building side to the Ford Works in Cork. I have here a report of the third ordinary general meeting of the Ford Motor Company held on Friday, the 8th April, 1932, and it has a special reference to the Cork factory which is well worth informing the House about. They say this: “The business of Henry Ford & Son at Cork, Ireland, is principally export, and our hopes and aspirations have been to build up a large Empire and foreign trade in Fordsons tractors manufactured in the Irish Free State. When deciding upon this enterprise, we envisaged a clear economic atmosphere. Taking the long view, we are not pessimistic as to the future world demand for our product; but recent events may react upon our plans, policies and prospects, and we regard the changed political outlook in the Free State with grave concern and apprehension.” They mark that concern and apprehension in the following way. “As a consequence,” the report goes on, “you will observe that we have made provision out of capital reserves for possible loss and depreciation in respect of our investment in [1036] Henry Ford and Sons, Ltd., of a sum amounting to £1,224,262 14s. 2d. Our investments in this subsidiary are share capital £224,262 14s. 2d. (previously written down from original cost of £500,000) and loan £1,970,000. The reserve made, therefore, places the present value of our total investment at £970,000.” The accounts are then given and, taken in conjunction with the phrase used there, writing down a reserve for possible loss and depreciation in respect of the investment in Cork, it simply comes to this, that they have made every preparation to get out, and that balance sheet means nothing else. They have written off anything that is fixed in Cork, and they have very definitely even written down the plant, machinery and tools, which would have the same value if taken out of this place and removed to some other works. Yet this is the firm to which the Minister proposes to hand over the monopoly of the motor trade in the country.

I think it is true to say that until the beginning of this week outside of Cork motor cars, there had not been a motor car on the roads of this country with a newly constructed Irish made body. There are three this week and yet in May of this year the Minister's expectations were to be more than fulfilled. He had been in touch with those who were going to build bodies. He had I presume got into touch with that enthusiastic individual whom he quoted with such relish two years ago who offered to build the body of a car and have it put upon the road equal in quality, design, finish and everything else at a less price than any car could be produced under mass manufactured conditions. We have not seen I think one body from that gentleman although I am sure he was one of the people on whom the Minister relied for this industry. Now, there have been three bodies built. They have not stood any road test yet. I do not know if the prices have been quoted. I do not know if any comparative costs are available, and nothing can be said about them until these details are made known to us, but we do intend under this particular section of this measure as amended to risk the employment, putting it at the minimum, [1037] of some couple of hundred men. For what? In order to have two or three bodies built by Irish firms after four or five months, or in the vain hope of keeping the firm of Messrs. Ford in Cork. And in addition to the loss of men who are engaged on a particular side of business in this country there is also the probability that the business as a whole will collapse. If a man has a business which he is depending on and if he has an income from three different sections and one of the sections is completely taken away and there is no increased trade, and there is no increased trade possible in this country at the moment, how is the business to last? If there is a loss of trade that way it is going to react upon individuals. If there are going to be people out of employment in future who were in employment up to this what is going to be said, and in this particular clause there is nothing even in the way of an ordinary assurance given by the Minister that there was even a certainty of a body building business to be hoped for in the future. We got off this time by being told of a possibility that some five years hence we may get, not a small chassis assembling business in the country, but that we might get the manufacture of certain chassis parts, which have now got to be imported, but the time is put down definitely as five years.

There are certain other comments made by the Minister on the debate in the Seanad apropos of this particular amendment which are relevant to the discussion of it here. We are told by the Minister that even though there was a slump in the sales of cars, and that is more or less admitted, it had to be remembered that there was a slump elsewhere, and that there was a slump in Great Britain. Take the number as far as Board of Trade and other official returns go, I do not think they are finally or officially put out, but certainly the provisional figures, as given, show that there is a reduction in the sales of motor cars in this country in the month of October of as much as 78 per cent., whereas in Great Britain there is an increased sale and, mind you, we are told very often that Great [1038] Britain is on the down grade and is financially gone. And we were told here, very often, that we are in a much healthier state and economically stronger than we were before, and yet there is that distinction to be noticed, that the sales of cars here fell off by as much as 78 per cent. in the month of October, whereas they increased in Great Britain by some small amount— 8 or 10 per cent. The motor trade in this country, in so far as the end of it that is mainly affected is concerned, has to deal with building, assembling, importing and distributing, and whatever are the varied activities of it, of private motor cars. That is an important business in the country. It employs a very big number of people and, probably, outside agriculture, the main industry of the country, and two or three of our biggest and obvious industries, it is the one which has the most money involved in it and certainly gives employment to the greatest number of people. Yet they have been hit and hit very hardly by all that has happened in this country since March last, and they are now being more directly attacked than ever because most of them have to rely not on one angle of the business only but on two or three. They can lay off their staffs, or, at least, they can economically employ staffs when they have business and when their varied activities are going on and they will not find it so easy to employ anything like the same number of men if an important section of their work is taken away.

I do not understand this point which has been made by the Minister as to re-exportation. This matter was raised in the Seanad specially on the relevant point of parts that have been already imported, subject to duty, and which may have to be made up into a chassis or involved in some way in a chassis and sold as against parts which will hereafter come in free of tax. In the Seanad, the Minister stated:—

“These firms are all entitled in law on re-exportation to a rebate of duty paid, if they can establish proof of the payment of the duty.”

Then, he continues:

“Re-exportation may involve certain [1039] difficulties, but I am quite certain that these difficulties will be overcome.”

He was asked later

“Will the re-exportation to which the Minister refers as creating no serious difficulties be actual re-exportation or constructive re-exportation?”

Apparently, he had, in some way or another, given a hint that there might be some fictional re-exportation; that people who imported parts in some way would be deemed to have exported them out of the country again and could get them in free when the new provision came in, but, when asked the direct question, he avoided it, stating:—

“It is a matter entirely for the Revenue Commissioners who will be dealing with the matter.”

We ought to know here what are the Minister's intentions with regard to that. Does he mean that, if motor traders have already imported spare parts, or parts of different types, under duty, and that, if they mark these in a particular way so that they can be brought definitely to the inspector's notice and identified as duty paid spares, the duty will simply be repaid without any move on the part of the trader? Alternatively, must the parts be moved out of the country and then brought back or is there to be some system like warehousing as if for export, and, then, after the passage of a day or two, a deeming that these parts have gone out of the country and have been imported? The phrases, as used in the Seanad, do not make the matter clear and those who have already brought in parts and paid duty on them ought to know where they are with regard to these items.

The other point on which the Minister expatiated at length in the Seanad was that admitting that motor traders had been badly affected in the last few months, they had been so hit, he said, for two reasons:—

“First, by the imposition of the duty upon motor bodies designed to develop the body-building industry here...”

[1040] I said previously that the phrase used in May might be found to have some truth in it, that, in a few months, there would be no car on the roads here except one with an Irish body. That might be true — there is another side to that question. How many cars are on the road registered and with Irish bodies and how does that compare with the number of cars previously registered, and how many cars are on the road registered with Irish-made bodies, the bodies having been made elsewhere than in Ford's? The Minister continued, that these people have suffered

“Secondly, by reason of the general slump in trade”

and motor traders are supposed to be content with that, that, because the conditions which the Minister has helped to bring about have decreased trade in all its branches, they should not mind because they are only part of the general community, even although he admits that they are getting something more in the way of a knock than the rest. It runs counter to all that we have been told about the state of the country. It is only in moments like that, when the Minister is pressed, that accurate statements escape. We have been told that the difficulty was over. We have been told over and over again that there is much more employment going than ever before and that more money, presumably, is circulating in the community than before and, yet, there is the admission that the motor trade has suffered and suffered heavily.

The points that have been introduced here, in so far as they are slight amendments, are welcome, but the Seanad amendment ought to be accepted in its entirety for some time, until this has been better examined, or until, at any rate, the Minister can come forward and say (1) that he knows that Ford's are secured for this country for some time, and (2) either that they themselves, or that they, with some additions, can supply all the bodies required for the cars likely to be put on the roads of this country in the near future. If he does not do [1041] that, we have got to understand with regard to the plea which he made to people in this House as to their attitude on goods which were tariffed and the operation of tariffs on them in the near future, he did not mean it, but that this is the technique that he himself would like to employ with regard to tariffed industries—find out if there is something that stands in the way of a new tariff, even although the question as to whether there is likely to be a new business started here is very problematical, and, at a moment's notice, without consultation with anybody, and, without any attempt to alleviate any of the hardship imposed on those who have previously come in and built up employment, step in suddenly and wipe them out. If that is the technique the Minister wants us to follow, it will not be followed.

There ought to be a better appreciation of the fact that capital may be bona fide employed in protected industries, even although, in the end, it can be shown that the money is not going to bring about the establishment of industry permanently in the country. The money in it, the conditions under which the money is involved or the period for which the tariffs run— all these ought to be taken into consideration and, in this case, these things merit more consideration than the Minister gave them when he introduced, at this late stage, the amendment which drew the criticism of the Chair which it did draw.

Mr. Moore: My chief reason for intervening is because of an extraordinary statement made by the Minister. He remarked that 75 per cent. of the objections to this change were due to misunderstanding and 25 per cent. were due to unnecessary apprehensiveness. In that connection he remarked that those opposing his proposals were under the impression that the industry they had in the manufacture of bolts and nuts was going to be affected. I can scarcely believe that the very able men attending the conference that gave rise to the Minister's statement made that report to the Minister. If the Minister's other [1042] information with regard to this industry is of the same character, I think he should seriously consider this matter once more before going ahead with this proposal. I must say it is the most amazing statement I have ever heard.

Here is what happened: A man who is engaged in the town of Monasterevan in the manufacture of motor parts gave details of the number of parts manufactured in his place over a number of years. Incidentally, there was quoted the number of bolts and nuts that were made in that factory in 1920—something like 1,250,000. It was stated that that number was reduced to something like 30,000 or 40,000 last year for want of protection. The statistics were entirely used with reference to the bolt and nut business, the object definitely being to prove that any engineering industry that is not protected in this country cannot exist. The Minister says that part of the opposition to his proposals is due to the belief that they affect the bolt and nut industry. If the Minister's other information with regard to this industry is based upon details of that kind, he is on very dangerous ground indeed.

If his hopes of an assembling industry are based on information of the same sort, I would like to ask him is it right to interfere with existing employment in order simply to gamble on a thing like an assembling industry arising? The Minister does not attempt to prophesy as to the number of firms likely to engage in this industry, how many cars they will produce; how many hands are likely to be employed; at what price the home manufactured cars will be sold; what will be the demand for those cars and will they have the ordinary guarantees, such as has been the practice heretofore. When the Minister made that perfectly amazing statement and declared that 75 per cent. of the opposition was due to misunderstanding and 25 per cent. to unnecessary apprehensiveness, I felt I had to correct him. There is no misunderstanding. When I tell the Minister that there are men engaged in this business who have degrees from some of the highest educational institutions in the country, it must be evident [1043] to him that they would know their business better than to confuse things in that way.

I submit also that their views as to what would take place with regard to free trade in motor parts are entitled to some consideration. In reply to those views, the Minister can only say that free trade in unassembled parts is not going to affect their business; he says “no adverse effect is likely to arise; I have come to the conclusion that that is not likely to be the case.” The Minister feels “that there will not be any disemployment or any reduction of business”; and he “was very disinclined to take any action which would affect those firms adversely.” Of course he is, but while he might be disinclined, he could make a mistake; if he had not correct information he could easily make a mistake. I do not consider that the Minister would deliberately take any action that would adversely affect this industry, but he could easily make a mistake, particularly if he gets such very curious information as has emerged from his statement to-day.

In connection with the concession given, I am quite sure that is not going to do very much to keep the people engaged in this business in employment. Very few of them have any margin to spare. The Minister must know they are comparatively small industries not long established and, if he takes away one section of their business, the manufacture of parts, for instance, they would be very seriously affected. If there is no inducement offered to people to go to them for required parts, they will not go to them for other business. If you take away any section of the business you may be wrecking the whole concern. That is a danger to be apprehended. I think the Minister could easily have gone another way. There are alternatives that could have been adopted. The haste with which this has been done is to be deprecated. It is too serious a matter. There are a number of industries just barely taking root, a number of small businesses of an admirable kind, and instead of discouragement they should receive every [1044] encouragement. The Minister might have allowed a little time to elapse for further negotiation. I am sorry he did not give a more satisfactory assurance in view of the representations put to him. In my opinion this will have a most injurious effect on certain desirable businesses that have been established in the country.

Mr. Lemass: I am afraid I am not in a position to make any apology for the statement I made, that 75 per cent. of the opposition to this concession is due to misunderstanding. It is due to a misunderstanding. Those responsible for the opposition said “You are taking the duty off dynamos, magnetos, and certain parts, in the reconstruction of which we are engaged,” when in fact we are doing nothing of the kind. The duty upon these articles remains. Persons engaged in the manufacture of nuts and bolts for motor cars said they were under the impression that these were also dutiable. They are not.

Mr. Moore: With great respect, that is not so.

Mr. Lemass: The feeling I have is that the firms engaged, amongst a variety of other activities, in the re-conditioning of motor cars, did not themselves seriously believe that they were likely to be substantially affected by this change until other interested parties used them for the purpose of making their own case. Let us see what the position is. There are numbers of firms here engaged in the manufacture of machine parts. The idea that is being conveyed by Deputy McGilligan that their sole trade is the manufacture of parts for motor cars is utter nonsense.

Mr. McGilligan: I never said it.

Mr. Lemass: The Deputy talked about 200 being put out of employment. I do not know who gave him that figure. He asked me on another occasion not to accept without examination figures supplied by people looking for tariffs or opposing the removal of a tariff. I would ask him to examine carefully the figures he quotes so glibly here.

[1045] Mr. McGilligan: I said I accepted them with reserve.

Mr. Lemass: They should be accepted very much with reserve. They are entirely fallacious.

Mr. McGilligan: I do not believe the Minister.

Mr. Lemass: Of course the Deputy would not.

Mr. McGilligan: I accept the Minister's statement also with reserve.

Mr. Lemass: I have definite information on the point. There are firms engaged in the re-conditioning of motor cars and in the manufacture, to some extent, of machine parts—parts for any type of machine which the tools at their disposal will permit them to make. Their business in relation to motor cars is the re-conditioning of the three parts mentioned in this new section, cylinder blocks, crankshafts and piston connecting rods. So far as they are concerned now there is no change in the existing situation. I can therefore say with confidence to these firms that they are not likely to lose one shilling of trade in the twelve months in consequence of the passage of this section. That is the position. I do not believe they would have lost in any case. Why is it to be assumed that this business of boring cylinders, grinding crankshafts or re-metalling connecting rods is going to be given outside the country if there is no protective duty imposed? We are told it is cheaper to get it done in England but, on the figures supplied by interested firms, it is cheaper to get it done in England even with the duty off. Why has it not been done, if it is merely a matter of saving a few shillings on a job which would have been done in England in any case? It has not been done. It has been done by firms here for the most part and it will, I am quite satisfied, continue to be done by those firms. In any event, this modification leaves their position unchanged. So far as these firms are concerned, there is not now any alteration in respect of the types of cars in the re-conditioning of which they have been engaged. The position in that regard remains unaltered.

[1046] Certain criticism has been advanced on the ground that this section was inserted in the Bill without the usual notice on Committee Stage. I want to point out that that was done by agreement with the Party opposite. I was quite willing to wait a week. I was quite willing to keep the Dáil in session for another week or another fortnight to give the Deputies opposite all the time they wanted.

Mr. McGilligan: That has nothing to do with the stage at which it was introduced.

Mr. Lemass: It was introduced on the normal stage.

Mr. McGilligan: It was introduced under circumstances which drew a reprimand from the Chair. That was not done by any consent of this Party.

Mr. Lemass: I am prepared to take the description of what the Chair said as a reprimand, if the Chair says it was such. I did not regard it as such. It was an expression of opinion by the Chair upon a point of order and had nothing to do with the section moved. It merely referred to the introduction of a section in the Finance Bill having relation to a matter not dealt with on the Second Stage.

Mr. Good: Has not the Finance Bill to be through by a certain date?

Mr. Lemass: There is a certain date in connection with a Finance Bill.

Mr. Good: Was not that the reason for urgency?

Mr. Lemass: Not in relation to the Committee Stage of the Bill or this amendment. The Finance Bill had to be introduced and get a Second Reading by a certain date but the Committee Stage would have done next February if we had wished. This is not the only section in the Bill. Certain other changes are effected by the Bill and we are anxious to bring them into operation as quickly as possible. The fact that consideration of this amendment was taken with shorter notice than usual and that the other stages of the Bill were put through in one day is due to the fact that there was agreement between the Whips of all Parties [1047] in the House that it should be done. It was certainly not done at my request or at my wish.

Mr. Cosgrave: Did the Minister consider that he had not enough time?

Mr. Lemass: I considered that I had plenty of time. As I stated in the Seanad, the possibility of making this concession and the consequences of making this concession were considered by us in relation to the Budget of this year. We had then in mind an arrangement by which the concession would be given only to such individuals as, in fact, were engaged in the assembling of chassis and not to those engaged in the sale of parts or in repair work. We could not find an acceptable means of doing that. We have been trying to find a satisfactory method of doing it since May. We came to the conclusion that it could not be done owing to all the safeguards that would have to be applied in such cases to prevent the revenue being defrauded and we finally determined that we would give the concession in respect of all parts. That is why this section appears in this Finance Bill and did not appear in the main Finance Bill of the year.

What is the position? There is no new impost. I read with considerable interest in some of the morning and evening papers and elsewhere statements criticising this measure as imposing new burdens on the motor industry or, shall I say, the motor trade. It imposes no new burdens. Every section removes or reduces a duty. Not one section imposes, an additional or new duty. Consequently, it cannot possibly impose a burden. It may be argued that a reduction of the duty upon parts will adversely affect some industry established in consequence of the imposition of that duty. We have prevented that from arising. A slight modification, which is hardly necessary, is being made in order to prevent any possibility of any industry brought into existence by the duty being adversely affected by this removal. That will not happen. Any employment given by that type of work is going to remain. We can even contemplate [1048] the possibility of its being increased if the foolish idea that we, in this country, must necessarily import our motor cars complete is definitely ended by the passing of this section.

Let me turn to body-building. There are two classes of motor traders. One section—I grant that, numerically, they are the minority—have been seriously considering how they could fall in line with Government policy and make this job of assembling motor bodies here effective. They have met with difficulties. We have tried to meet them. We have discussed the matter with them and considered a variety of ways in which the difficulties they have encountered could be overcome. They got, and are going to get, from us every possible assistance. But the other section were too busy supplying the Deputies opposite with arguments against the duty to consider the possibility of doing anything in the matter. These people are allowing politics to interfere with their business. If they are going to maintain that attitude, they can make up their minds, as I stated in the Seanad, that the business they have heretofore been engaged in —importing completed motor cars—is going to cease. We are told that certain people engaged by motor distributors have lost their employment. The traders to whom I refer decided to put a number of their employees on hunger strike as a protest against this idea of getting part of the process of motor car manufacture done here. We are going to get it done, if not by these people, by others.

Deputy McGilligan quoted a speech made in June last by me when a certain concession was given to motor traders which meant that, for a period of three months, the importation of completed cars might take place. I said then, and I believed then, that at the end of those three months we would have a position created in which we would hope that all motor bodies used here would be built here. I made that statement in consequence of the statements made to me by representatives of the motor traders who approached me and asked for the concession. I am not going to accuse them of having deceived me. It may [1049] be that they found, when they went on to consider the matter, that there were difficulties which they had not contemplated. But the fact is that the statement they made—that at the end of these three months, if the coach builders were not able to supply their needs, they would organise themselves to get the bodies built here—was not borne out by the fact. At the end of three months, the position was unchanged and the attitude towards the possibility of establishing this industry in the country was also unchanged. They stated that there were difficulties—difficulties that were associated with the size of our market and the cost of the machinery necessary for the welding of body parts together. In so far as what they stated about these difficulties was well founded, it is being met. This section meets them. It is now possible for them to import the body-shell welded together and there cannot be any question of the possibility of getting the rest of the work done here. It has been done in the past; it is being done at present and it will be done in the future.

I know that Deputies opposite have got the opinion that because of some mysterious reasons which operate here and nowhere else we in this country cannot engage in the various forms of production that other people can. We cannot grow wheat because of our climate! We cannot do something else because of some other natural difficulty which they have detected!! But there is no natural difficulty which makes us the only people in the world who cannot have some part of the process of manufacturing motor cars done within our own shores by our own people. It can be done. There are people who can do it, though to some extent the advances in that direction may have been impeded, and deliberately impeded, by those who do not want the thing done successfully. Nevertheless with the assistance of the Government and the goodwill of the Government, and with co-operation that we can give them, naturally these difficulties will be overcome and that industry can be established. What are the particulars with respect to the Ford [1050] industry? I do not know who supplied the Deputy with the figures he quoted with regard to the number of registrations this year. The Deputy quoted figures but when he did so he might have asked himself what were the circumstances of this year and the number of months in which Ford cars were available. Then had he done so he would understand why the figures he quoted are so completely out of accord with those which I gave.

We cannot be certain that Fords are going to remain in the country. I agree with the Deputy in that. We could not have been certain of that for some years past. I do not think that Deputy McGilligan is in a position to deny that. There is no doubt in my mind that those responsible for the position and policy with regard to that Company were stupid enough to be influenced by the ridiculous propaganda which the Party opposite indulged in last year as to what would happen on a change of Government. Fords were not the only people who were influenced by that propaganda during that period. Those who might be influenced in the matter of industrial development here and who might still be induced to engage in business and manufacture here which might employ our people are still reacting under that campaign of propaganda by the Cumann na nGaedheal Party. However Messrs. Fords have learned that the fears engendered by the Cumann na nGaedheal propaganda were ill-founded. Other people will make a similar discovery in time, but that does not compensate us for the damage done by the Cumann na nGaedheal campaign to which I have referred nor does it compensate us for the loss of time that may have been occasioned in respect of certain industrial propositions here.

There has been a reduction in the sale of cars in this country due entirely to the circumstances produced by the failure of the persons engaged in the motor trade to adapt themselves to the new circumstances created by the higher duty on imported bodies. But the sale of cars I have no doubt would be substantially greater if the assembling of them here had been [1051] successfully accomplished and if they were available at prices comparable to those at which they were available here before the change. But so long as certain firms have got the idea in their heads that the only way in which motor cars could be brought to our people was by importing them whole, importing them with every process of manufacture down to the last coat of paint completed outside the country, and that in no other way could cars be supplied here, then the higher duty which we have imposed and which checks such importation, was bound to react considerably upon the sale of cars. But I want to say to those engaged in this trade that they have to make up their minds that a change has taken place and that if they want to sell motor cars to our people they have got to take it that every part of the manufacture that can be done in this country must be undertaken in this country. We are going to insist on that. If those engaged in that trade are not prepared to co-operate in that manner we will have to make other arrangements to ensure that the supply of cars so produced will be such as will be required by our people. I have nothing to say concerning my remarks as to the right of those people who import dutiable parts to get a rebate upon the re-export of these parts. That is the position—that on re-export they are entitled to a rebate.

If there is any question of a concession in the matter of facilitating certain firms, then we will have to consider the attitude of the firms concerned towards the policy enshrined in the Bill. Those firms who want facilities from us have got to be prepared to facilitate the country and to co-operate with the policy of the Government in office. I have nothing further to say on that point. The section which I ask the Dáil to insert in the Bill is precisely similar to the section deleted with the exception of the words I have quoted. The section is designed to meet those who claim that the task we originally put them in relation to the motor industry involved capital expenditure and insurmountable difficulties. [1052] It permits persons engaged in the importation of cars, and in the importation of motor bodies as well, to have these cars available for sale at a price similar to the price at which similar cars were available in the past at the old rate of duty. If people will persist in taking advantage of this section and getting that work done, then they can contemplate a revival in the trade in motor cars amongst our people and, in addition, more employment than the motor industry ever gave in this country previously.

Mr. Good: The discussion we have heard this afternoon is one of the most interesting that I have listened to in this House for some time. The subject of it is that a duty was introduced some six or seven months ago which practically dislocated a large industry in this country, and after that industry had made considerable efforts and had got its trade together in reduced circumstances adapted to the altered conditions, it found then that a further Bill is introduced, with a clause in that Bill entirely altering the circumstances of that particular industry. After the industry has adapted itself to the existing duties it finds that the whole circumstances are altered. I have pointed out many times that what we want in industry in this country is stability, stability first and last. No industry in any country can be carried on without stability. Behind stability is confidence. Behind confidence is capital. Here is an interesting experience we have had in this country. The Minister has urged this particular industry to expend capital and to adapt itself to meet the altered circumstances. It has done that, but it has no sooner done that than the whole position is changed. If this is to be an example of the vacillating way in which trade and industry are to be carried on in future in this country, we can quite understand why unemployment figures are so high as they are at the moment. If this policy continues it is going to be at a very much higher figure.

Mr. Lemass: Will the Deputy say what industry I told to adapt itself to the new circumstances?

Mr. Good: The particular industry [1053] which the Minister has dislocated by his action.

Mr. Lemass: What industry?

Mr. Good: The industry under discussion.

Mr. Lemass: What is that?

Mr. McGilligan: Those who were protected under the McKenna duties.

Mr. Good: In furtherance of his argument the Minister pointed out— Deputy Moore has already drawn attention to it—that 75 per cent. of the opposition to this new proposal of his is based on misapprehension. As an illustration of that misapprehension, he tells us that the motor trade stated that the bolts and nuts which were apparently a considerable item of manufacture were subject to duty when the Minister said they were not subject to duty. I had an extraordinary illustration brought to my notice of the peculiarity of this situation within the last few months. A firm told me that if they got bolts and nuts from a manufacturer who was not a manufacturer of motor parts these bolts and nuts were admitted free of duty but if the bolts and nuts came from a manufacturer of motor parts they were looked upon as motor parts and were subject to duty. I do not know whether that situation has since been cleared up but that was the situation two months ago and I am not at all sure that it is not the situation at the moment. That is the extraordinary position in which business men find themselves to-day.

We do not know where we are with regard to these duties. The position, in the Dáil, is not at all evident. We come here and we find Financial Resolutions on the Order Paper. Until we hear those Resolutions disclosed here, we have not the faintest idea of what is contained in them. When we hear them disclosed we can picture the interference they are going to cause in certain industries but the Minister points out, before there is time to make any inquiries, that it is necessary, in order to prevent forestalling, to have these Resolutions passed at that particular sitting of the Dáil though [1054] they may have very serious reactions on particular industries. That has been the policy here from day to day, as Deputies know. We have been facing those difficulties for the last six months and we have pointed out over and over again that it is impossible for business men to carry on business under such circumstances. Now we have some of the reactions of this particular policy. I hope, before we have further proposals introduced into this House which will further dislocate business and add to the difficulties of getting capital and employment for our people, that those who are responsible for these proposals, the Government, will see that they are carefully considered in conjunction with representatives of industry before they are introduced to the House.

Many of the proposals recently introduced into this House, if they are to be carried out as the Minister hopes, will involve a large expenditure of capital and yet these proposals have been brought in here and carried through without any consultation whatsoever with the representatives of the industries involved. That can have only one result—to dislocate industry and to cause widespread unemployment. I would urge on the Minister to consider this whole question of the policy of the present Government and see if something cannot be done to promote stability in connection with industries in this country.

Mr. Norton: I think many Deputies will have been consulted or communicated with during the past few days by certain people who are financially interested in certain kinds of motor enterprises. From one of those firms to-day I got quite an avalanche of stuff. From another firm I received a telegram advising me to do so and so. Whether the communication took the form of a telegram or a whole sheaf of enclosures, one thing that is clear from the campaign of both firms is that not a single shadow of evidence has been produced to sustain the contention that this section, especially as amended, will result in unemployment in the industry. One would imagine that a firm that thought its industry was seriously affected would [1055] try to do something more than, perhaps, to send a telegram of forty-one words to a person and expect him to understand the whole position in the industry. Another firm in the City of Dublin sent out more memoranda but produced not a single shadow of evidence to support the contention of Deputy McGilligan and Deputy Good that there is going to be unemployment produced as a result of the section. Here is the most extraordinary part of the business—that the representations in both these cases have come from the employers in the industry. So far as I am concerned not one single worker in either of these two particular firms has come to me or has stated to me that he believes that there will be any unemployment as a result of this section.

Mr. McGilligan: Did the Deputy read the speech of Senator O'Farrell in the Seanad?

Mr. Norton: I am not responsible for anybody's statements but my own. I am sure that Deputy McGilligan would not like to be held responsible for some of the actions or speeches of Deputies on his own benches.

Mr. McGilligan: I would treat them with a little more earnestness than the Deputy treats speeches from members of his Party.

Mr. Norton: I look upon the section as something that is calculated, perhaps not immediately, perhaps somewhat slower than most people would wish—the Minister can regulate the speed and the growth of the business—to encourage the establishment here of an engine assembly plant or a motor car assembly industry. If we can get motor car parts from outside the country there is no reason why we should continue to export our moneys for the carrying out of relatively minor and simple details of motor car assembly which could well be done in our own country. I think that this section is calculated to assist in the establishment of an assembly industry of that kind. I have had no evidence whatever, not even from the recital of statistics or the reports read by [1056] Deputy McGilligan, that any of the firms will be affected to the extent that they say in their very copious generalisations, no evidence that they will be affected at all. Some of them have stated that they employ a certain number of hands. They might have been a little more detailed and stated how many hands are employed in connection with the manufacture of motor cars as distinct from the hands employed in the manufacture of parts required in general engineering work. As I visualise the thing, this seems to be a campaign generated on behalf of the people who own the industry. Apparently, as far as this Party is concerned, no complaint has been made to them by workpeople who are engaged in the industry, and no evidence whatever is produced to show that these firms will be affected in the way that they pretend they will be affected. In any case, the country has to take a long view of the whole problem. I think the amendment will encourage the establishment here of motor car assembly plant. If it does that, it will do something that is very valuable, something that will be more permanent and more beneficial than the kind of industry which grows up around the conversion of second-hand parts to suit the modern type of industry.

We are told that the removal of the duty on certain parts will mean that some Irish firms which under protection have been making these parts will lapse. We are told that by firms which later say that the rate of wages paid here is £1 5s. 0d. per week greater than that paid in Great Britain. If that is true, obviously there was no such thing as a protective tariff in operation, because if that represents the position it would be cheaper—even though undesirable—to get the parts from across the Channel where, we are told, inferentially, that the rate of wages was such as would enable them to get in and undercut the duty. The amendment suggested by the Minister, which continues the measure of protection—other than on engine blocks, crankshafts and piston rods—is one which I think meets the main portion of the difficulty. Having regard to [1057] the fact that the purpose of the section is, undoubtedly, to endeavour to create a motor assembly industry here, I think very much more arguments can be used in favour of the section than in favour of its deletion.

Mr. Bennett: Like Deputy Norton and other Deputies, I got circulars from various firms about this matter. I do not agree with the Deputy that these firms took the trouble to produce rather elaborate documents purely for fun. Deputy Norton says that no evidence that there will be less employment has been given by these firms. If they did not consider that their business was going to be grievously hazarded, with a possible reduction of output, they would not have gone to such fuss and worry in an endeavour to get Deputies in the various Parties to take up their case. They had the fear that their business would deteriorate as a result of the changed conditions, and Deputy Norton will agree that that would mean a loss of employment. Deputy Norton takes care that he does not see that aspect of the case. It is there, however, and it is definitely staring him in the face. If there is less output eventually it will mean a loss of employment. The whole thing is proof of the folly of indiscriminate and unconsidered tariffs.

As Deputy Good mentioned, owing to the rapidity with which tariffs have been imposed during the last six or seven months, these firms do not know where they are. Even Ministers had to be quick-change artists if firms were to keep above board, and if there was to be any possibility of continuing in industry. No sooner had some tariffs been imposed than representations had to be made to Ministers, and during the last few months we have seen Ministers bringing in amendments to make provision for damage caused to industries—inadvertently, I may say—owing to want of consideration at the initiation of various tariffs. We had many of such instances and they must be in the mind of the Minister. There is no necessity to elaborate them now. This is the latest instance in connection with the motor car industry. From representations I had [1058] from firms during the last six or eight months I do not think any section of the motor car industry was pleased with the Minister's legislation.

Deputy Norton said there was no evidence from these people that there would be any total loss of employment. Certainly, no evidence has been produced in favour of Deputy Norton's statement about the new industry which is to be set up. Has there been any evidence as to the certainty of employment that will be given, and of the date at which the new industry will be set up. In fact, has any evidence at all been given about it? Deputy Norton, at least has given some information about these firms as they appealed to him in this matter, but except the Minister's words, that he is going to force on this industry, very little evidence has been produced to the House. There is some evidence that the tariffs which have been imposed will help certain industries. There are in various parts of the country small industries—the Minister mentioned two large ones—including the making of bolts and nuts. As one who was never a very great advocate of tariffs I say that it is unwise in the space of a few months, to make changes in the case of individuals who set up manufactures, and to put them into the position that there was a possibility that the capital they expended would be lost. I understood from the memorandum sent to me that that was the position in a few instances. One Deputy on the benches behind the Minister seems to be in the same position as I am in interpreting the views of a particular section of the motor industry. The Minister said that was all nonsense, and stated that 75 per cent. of the fears of these people were unfounded. In other words, that it was due to ignorance on the part of these firms in interpreting the Minister's decrees, and that there was really nothing in them.

[An Ceann Comhairle resumed the Chair.]

The Minister seems to think that motor firms are incapable of interpreting the incidence of this tariff upon their industry. The business people of this State, whatever their ability [1059] to interpret the regulations of the Minister is, are not in any doubt as to the effect of these tariff regulations. They are in no doubt as to the effect of this particular section upon the motor industry. I think the Minister has made a rather bad case. It is something, as Deputy McGilligan has said, that some little amendment has been made in the original proposal of the Minister, but that amendment does not effect enough by any means. When the section of the motor industry particularly interested will have had a little more experience of tariffs they may come round to the Minister's view that this difficulty that they foresee exists only in their imagination. They are quite satisfied now, however, that the effect of this recommendation on the industry will produce unemployment, no matter what the Minister says.

Mr. McGilligan: I am sorry that Deputy Norton has seen fit to remove himself after the exposure he made of his relationship to the working-classes in this country. His speech was founded upon the phrase: “I have no tangible evidence that unemployment will result from this remission section even with the amendment.” One would have thought that he would have gone on when speaking about matters tangible, to give some evidence as to the new industry that was going to come into being. That point was pertinently put up to him by Deputy Bennett, whereupon the Deputy left immediately. He voted, in this House, for the imposition of tariffs in order to bring about industry to bend corrugated galvanised iron in this country. There was a shortage of evidence to support this or deny that firms here paid 25/- a week more in wages than firms on the other side. However large the trade therefore, there would be no protection. Wages would absorb the profit of the manufacturer. Deputy Norton observed that all the telephone communication and telegrams and testimonials that came to him came from the employers. I quite well understand that the employees have ceased to come near Deputy Norton at all. It was his [1060] colleague in the Seanad who seconded the recommendation that we are now discussing, and he did so in the following words:—

“I beg to second this recommendation. I do so at the earnest and urgent request of a number of workers who say that they are threatened with almost certain disemployment if this proposal is adhered to.”

There is no reason that that should appeal to one in the position of an office boy to the Fianna Fáil Party masquerading here as a Labour Deputy. I know he is tied hand and foot to that Party. Senator O'Farrell seconding that recommendation moved by Senator Douglas did so “at the earnest and urgent request of a number of workers who say that they are threatened with almost certain disemployment if this proposal is adhered to.” And he went on to declare that the effect of the Minister's action “will be to disemploy a number of workers in an industry that actually exists in favour of an industry that does not exist but which may or may not at some future date come into existence.” Senator O'Farrell had also anxious doubts about the tangible evidence and he said “Certain unscrupulous interests had, I believe, misled the Government and let down the country by pretending that they were able to do certain things that they have, so far, utterly failed to do. They have given no real or tangible evidence of a keen desire to do what they represented they could do or of their capacity to do so. They have neither built a motor body or assembled a motor chassis.” That speech was delivered on 15th December in the Seanad by Senator O'Farrell. Continuing he said:

“I suggest that they have already been sufficiently spoon-fed and that the Government should not go further along the road of disemploying workers until those people give more forcible evidence of their ability to deliver the goods later on. The present conditions in the motor trade are utterly deplorable and the tragedy of it is that nobody seems to have gained as a result.”

That is the point of view put forward [1061] by Senator O'Farrell on behalf of the workers whom he represents. We have heard the point of view of Fianna Fáil put forward here this evening by Deputy Norton. Continuing his speech in the Seanad Senator O'Farrell said:

“I know a firm that employed 100 men up to recently. That staff is now reduced to 46. Another little firm had 45 employees. Their staff is reduced to 12. Another firm has slightly over a third of the staff they had up to comparatively recently. I have not been able to discover that one of these men has been absorbed in any of these industries in respect of which the Government has been induced to embark upon its present policy so far as the motor trade is concerned.”

And later on he said:—

“Many happy little homes, in which frugal comfort prevailed, have been irretrievably broken up, and the approach of Christmas is darkened in many other homes by the shadow of impending unemployment as the result of the proposal contained in this section. It is terribly heartless, wicked and unjustifiable to embark hastily on a policy that condemns men to what is equivalent, at the present time, to a lingering death. In all the wide horizon, there does not seem to be the slightest prospect of any of these men who are now threatened with unemployment being able to get work elsewhere.”

And on that he made a plea that in relation to this section delay for a month might take place in order to enable investigation to be made. Deputy Norton does not see how the workers are to be affected by this. It is the other way about, in the view of Deputy Norton. In his view, there is no question but it will improve their conditions, but they have decided, apparently, to leave him in the Party to which he belongs.

We have again got a short statement from the Minister for Industry and Commerce with his usual reference to bluff, fury and assurance. He told us that he was determined to secure for this country what existed in every other country except this, and that is a [1062] motor body-building industry. That was the assurance, followed by the usual wail: “What is the mysterious thing,” he asks, “that prevents being done in this country what every other country can do?” We have had all that before. We were told there might be difficulties but the great thing was to get people interested and to get them to come round to the particular point of view; and he told us that he was satisfied that he was going to secure the fullest co-operation and promises everywhere, and that he believed that we were on the high road to success. “I do not want to be misunderstood,” the Minister said. “The industry here at the moment is in a position to start building those bodies at competitive prices at the rate of from 75 to 100 per week, any statement to the contrary notwithstanding.” The Minister, at one time, used the phrase, “beautiful theory being destroyed by ugly fact.” Looking at the real facts here, what do we find? Since that phrase was used three bodies have been put on the road, besides the Ford bodies, and those only. On 12th May, we were told that the industry here at the moment is in the position to start building those bodies at a competitive price at the rate of from 75 to 100 per week, and then there follows the phrase, “Any statement to the contrary notwithstanding.” Any statement made to the contrary of the Minister's is always notwithstanding. But the actual facts have to be faced. Fords have written down their capital, ready to get out; and Senator O'Farrell, speaking in the Seanad on 15th December, told us about a firm that employed 100 men up to recently and that staff is now reduced to 46.

We were told at another stage, that before the time limit of August had gone the industry would be found on its feet. August passed and we did not get that. Now we are told with the same fury and with some assurance that “Any firm that is not prepared to import bodies in shell (unpainted, unupholstered) might as well resign themselves to getting out of the business now.” They were to get out of the business altogether if they did not behave as he told them. And then [1063] he asks what is there so mysterious in this country that we cannot get done here what is done elsewhere? They tried this body-building in Australia and they had to give it up. They tried it in New Zealand and they had to give it up. The Minister announced that dealing with the average people or person here he was beginning to realise that he was also in touch with people from outside, and he thought they were going to come in. In fact, the phrase he used was that they were in a peculiar dilemma—either their trade was substantial in this country or it was not substantial. If it was dropped the position here would be more attractive and more people would have to come in, and he said that they were coming in. What I should like to know is, was that statement just bluff? Had the Minister somebody or some firm in mind other than Ford? Did he ask anybody to come over here to investigate the conditions here and what reply did he get? If he did get a reply, did it not refer to the obvious fact that in this country there is not a sufficient market here to enable a firm to embark on the necessary expenditure in order to set up a decent plant for the making of bodies? Is there anything that has not fully justified everything the Tariff Commission wrote about the impossibility of getting bodies of the standardised type of private motor cars manufactured here? That was derided by the Minister. He then had in mind a firm that had promised to build him a body equal in type and at less cost than any of the bodies that could be manufactured under the conditions of mass production. Where are these bodies now? Do they exist, or have they gone the road that the Minister has opened out for those who are not going to do his bidding?

Senator O'Farrell has talked about the serious condition of the whole motor industry which was brought about by all this bungling with regard to tariffs with no chance of successful results. The Minister's excuse about Fords is that they were subjected to the terrible campaign of mischievous [1064] propaganda. This report of theirs is dated the 8th April, and it refers specifically to the changed political outlook in the Free State, which it viewed with grave concern and apprehension—such apprehension that they have made provision for a possible loss and depreciation of £1,224,000. It will be interesting to see what the report will be when the next meeting comes round. If they were merely to go on as before it would not be that provision alone which would make for loss and depreciation but the whole capital involved in the business. The Minister may take some ugly turn one of these days against Fords and they may be told, like everybody else: “If you are not prepared to do business on these lines, then resign yourself to getting out.” That type of bullying phrase may be used for a bit, but the more people that are bullied in this way, and particularly those engaged in business or trade, the more definite opposition is there going to be to any of these fantastic plans of the Minister — plans which, although fantastic, have in the main been accepted by the trades concerned and the business people generally who are trying to do their best even with all the hardships that have been imposed upon them. If these trades and business people generally had not cushioned down the effects of the Minister's policy there would be tens of thousands more unemployed people walking the streets to-day and the Minister would have caused considerably more unemployment than he has already caused.

We are told now that the decline of car sales is due entirely to the failure of the people here to adapt themselves to the new processes of manufacture of motor car bodies. Can the Minister explain the drop in the Ford registrations? There was a big market here. Fords came in. Fords in the month of October of this year had got sufficient chance and sufficient time to adapt themselves to the new scheme. They had a bigger market than ever before because, owing to the body tariffs, they almost had a complete monopoly and yet the number of new cars registered in this year was down by 37½ per cent. Is that due entirely [1065] to the failure of these people to adapt themselves to the new processes? Does it mean that Fords are not capable of holding the entire market, even when it is thrown at them? In the Seanad the phrase was used that it was partly that and partly due to the slump in the trade generally. The slump in trade is not mentioned with the same gusto here, because in the main it is denied that there has been any slump in trade. We have over 100 new industries established by the Minister. We have more money in the country, more money employed in the country, and a greater proportion of money kept from going out of the country than ever before and yet, in some unexplained way, there is a slump in business.

Tangible evidence is wanted with regard to unemployment. Is there any tangible evidence of any firm coming in here for the purpose of manufacturing chassis or for the purpose of assembling chassis parts? On the other hand, it is fact that there were certain firms in the country employing some men in the manufacture of parts that used come in here until the Minister imposed the tariffs. Is there a possibility of these people losing their employment if the tariff barrier is suddenly withdrawn? We have the statement made by responsible members of a big business — Deputy Moore has even dragged in the phrase that one has only to meet these gentlemen to realise that they are men of education and men who are not going to be misled by figures — and when they are asked for information they are not going to put up figures which will not stand the test of examination. These gentlemen say that about 190 people will be put out of employment by reason of this remission. They do not attribute it to other causes. They say that if you take the index of unemployment figures, unemployment to the extent of 190 or 200 people will be caused by this remission. That is something tangible anyway. That is a tangible statement. They asked that it be investigated and that this be delayed until an investigation was held to show whether they [1066] are right or wrong. Some tangible evidence should be shown of some firm or firms coming in here to avail of the benefits given under this remission clause. If the Minister could tell us that he has any belief of any foreign firm coming in here or of natives coming together and cohering for the purpose of getting new manufactures going, then it would be interesting to know what their views are on the condition that they also will have to be subject to investigation; also as to the amount of the new employment that will be given.

Has the Minister any views as to the prospects of Messrs. Ford remaining on in this country for any length of time to come. He said that, of course, he had got no guarantee of their remaining on here. There never could have been any guarantee in the sense that they would pledge themselves to stay on here, but there could have been got the kind of guarantee to which Deputy Good referred: a guarantee of stable conditions that if an industry was started under certain conditions those conditions would not suddenly be altered to their detriment without there being some provision made by way of easing the burden, of letting the new conditions operate for a lengthy period so as to find some new employment for the men concerned, the capital invested, plant and all the rest. That is not what is happening here. Any firm must view the future with apprehension, apart from the change in political outlook, because of the change in economic outlook where a Minister says openly in debate that they had to proceed by way of a policy of trial. There were sixty tariffs put on at one go, and where that happens of course you cannot expect serious examination. It is that policy that has led the Minister to where he is now. So far as the motor business is concerned the Minister has undoubtedly, as Senator O'Farrell said in the Seanad, gone into it misled by certain unscrupulous people who pretended that they had the capacity and intention to do certain things. They have since shown themselves not capable of doing those things whether they are still interested in making them or not.

[1067] There is one other point to which the Minister has not referred. I want to remind him of what he said in the Seanad. The proposed new section contains in sub-section (3) the usual licensing arrangement. The Minister was asked in the Seanad what did that mean. His answer was “As regards this licensing provision, I frankly confess that I cannot see how it is intended to be used. It is merely inserted there in the event of some difficulty arising which was not foreseen. I would prefer that it was not there.” Why is it there? The Minister was then asked if he would agree, where licences were granted under this, that there should be publication of the licences. His answer to that was: “I think it is most inadvisable that there should be publication of the licences issued to individual firms.” Why? This is a provision for the granting of licences. If the Minister can stand over the conditions and circumstances in which they are issued, why should there not be publication given? Why is it there at all if the Minister does not understand the reason for it, as he said in the Seanad, where he also said he would prefer not to have it there. Is this again a showing of the white feather? He knows very well that he is still advancing from bluff to bluff although he is weakening down by degrees.

His speech in the Seanad was studded with, “I think that will be done.” Previously the Minister's statement in the Dáil was: “The industry here at the moment is in a position to start building those bodies at competitive prices at the rate of from 75 to 100 per week, any statement to the contrary notwithstanding.” So far as the licensing provision in the proposed new section goes, does the Minister mean that the licences will be given as a way out hereafter, that that is why it is there and that he really has no belief in this. Is not the position this, that he cannot stand up to the arguments that have been used with regard to this whole thing?

At any rate, there is this to be considered, that both employers and employees are seriously concerned [1068] about this. The employees have approached Senator O'Farrell if they have derided Deputy Norton. Senator O'Farrell acted on the representations they made to him. It was, I suppose, after investigation of the statements made to him that he backed the recommendation which came down from the Seanad. The employers have made certain statements. I have said that we should accept statements from anybody interested in these matters with reserve. I have asked the Minister to accept also the statements made on the other side with reserve. The way to find out where the truth lies between the two is by a process of investigation.

The appeal made to the Minister in the Seanad was that its recommendation should be accepted and that time should be given to have the whole position reconsidered. At any rate, there is an industry here which claims through its workers and its employers that it is going to be prejudiced if the recommendation made by the Seanad is not accepted. It claims that it will lose some trade and will have to disemploy certain people. As against that we have the statement that there may be an industry started in the country without any evidence given to support that. We had no evidence to back up what the Minister said previously about foreign people coming in. We simply had a statement made by those people which showed that the Minister's hopes were all futile, and that there is no likelihood of a decent motor body-building industry being started in the country. That hope may also be postponed for five years, like the hope in regard to chassis manufacture. The evidence before the House is entirely in favour of the recommendation that has come down from the Seanad. No evidence of any substance has been put up against it. So far as those who are affected by the remission of the duty are concerned, everything said by the Minister in support of that is insubstantial. All he can offer is the hope that there may be a chassis assembly here, and that there may be, five years hence, the manufacture of certain chassis parts.

[1069] Mr. Lemass: There is not going to be one man disemployed, nor is a single firm going to lose one pound's worth of business in consequence of the passage of this section. That is a definite statement. During the whole course of this discussion not a single Deputy has mentioned one part of a motor car now being manufactured in this country by any firm in consequence of the tariff in operation which will not be made here in the future. Despite the appeal I have made to Deputies who are opposing the granting of this concession, I have not discovered up to the present the name of one motor part now manufactured here in consequence of the imposition of the duty which will not be manufactured here in the future. I am prepared to admit that it was reasonable that those firms should have some apprehension that a change in the tariff situation might have an adverse effect on them, but in so far as every part mentioned in the discussions are concerned we have modified the section so that the duty position is unchanged. Is that clear? In respect of every part of a motor chassis upon the manufacture or the reconditioning of which any of those firms are engaged, the duty position is not being changed. There is, therefore, no foundation whatever for any statement made in this House or elsewhere that a single person is likely to lose a day's work in consequence of the passage of the section.

Again, let me repeat that the section provides entirely for the remission of duty. If it does not succeed in getting a single motor chassis assembled in this country then no harm is done. The position will not be any different from what it has been over the past ten years. I am not going to promise that one chassis will be built. I have had certain discussions about certain statements that were made to me. My defence for the section is that it does not affect for the worse the position of any person in the country, and the remission of duty will facilitate those who are prepared to engage in this industry of assembling chassis. Any opposition to it that has been organised has been organised very largely on the [1070] basis of misunderstanding, and very largely by people who admit that they have misunderstood before the direction in which their interests lay. During the period since I became Minister for Industry and Commerce I have never had a consultation with the representatives of any business who knew less in what direction their own interests lay than those who came to see me about the motor distributing business. They admitted that on every occasion upon which a change of duty affecting them was made they argued against it, and at least on one occasion subsequently found that they were wrong.

I do not want to say here who is responsible for the fact that the hold up in starting the body building industry has occurred. There has been a hold up. I want that fact definitely appreciated. It may be due to the fact that the coach builders of the country did not rise to their opportunities, but I think those coach builders have a legitimate defence when they say that they cannot build motor bodies if they do not get orders for them, and the motor traders took good care that they did not get orders. I think that if orders for bodies at the rate of 75 or 100 per week were available and were given by the traders to the manufacturers they could and would be produced at competitive prices here.

I do not want to enter into any prolonged discussion as to the position concerning Messrs. Fords. Messrs. Fords' factory in Cork is equipped for the manufacture of tractors, and when the world slump started in 1929 the international market for tractors disappeared. During 1930 and 1931, when this country was blessed with the prosperity which of course inevitably followed from the existence of a Cumann na nGaedheal Government in office, employment in Messrs. Fords fell from 7,000 to about 1,000, and the proprietors of the firm seriously considered from time to time whether or not the factory could be maintained.

Mr. McGilligan: What is it now?

Mr. Lemass: And it was Deputy McGilligan as Minister for Industry [1071] and Commerce who in the performance——

Mr. McGilligan: What is it now?

Mr. Lemass: ——of his duty in that office had to concern himself with the taking of steps that would induce Messrs. Fords to maintain their factory here. I gathered from the speech of the Deputy, and the speech delivered here last week by his colleague, Deputy O'Neill, that it is the policy of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party to put Messrs. Fords out of the country.

Mr. McGilligan: I never said so.

Mr. Lemass: Well I do not know what idea the Deputy had in his mind as to the likely result of the speeches he has made here to-day, coupled with the speech delivered by his colleague last week.

Mr. McGilligan: To try and get you to see sense in this matter, so that they may stay on.

Mr. Lemass: Messrs. Fords may have a peculiar way of looking at things, but they would want to be very peculiar if they read into the two speeches to which I have referred any other interpretation but that the Cumann na nGaedheal Party do not want Messrs. Fords to stay, or at any rate are not particularly concerned with whether they stay or not.

Mr. McGilligan: They got scared to the extent of a million and a quarter when you came in.

Mr. Lemass: But they are still here.

Mr. McGilligan: Still scared.

Mr. Lemass: We are told that there is another coachbuilding factory which at one time stated that it could produce and sell a body for a certain type of car at a price as low as the price of the bodies produced and imported by a firm that manufactured them in mass production. I often stated here, during the past five years, that the longer the period which elapsed until the Government of which Deputy McGilligan was a member was put out of office and another Government substituted for it the greater would be the difficulties in the path of that other Government [1072] in trying to repair the damage done by Deputy McGilligan's indifference and inability to cope with the industrial situation here. Quite a number of firms went bankrupt before the change of Government took place, and quite a number of others found themselves in the position, when the change of Government was effected, that their recuperative powers had been so exhausted that despite the more favourable circumstances produced by the change in policy they were unable to take full advantage of it, because of the wastage of wealth and capital that had taken place during the five or six years——

Mr. McGilligan: You are not talking about the civil war now?

Mr. Lemass: I am talking about the firm of O'Gorman's, of Clonmel, to which the Deputy referred, and which might have been a factory employing several hundred workers now; might have been one of the foremost industries in this country, if in 1925 or 1926 the Deputy's Government were prepared to do as they were requested in relation to that industry.

Mr. McGilligan: How did Messrs. O'Gorman first start to go down? Does the Minister know?

Mr. Lemass: I am not going to discuss it now.

Mr. McGilligan: During the civil war, when your own crooks confiscated their business.

Mr. Lemass: I do not think there is much more to say——

Mr. McGilligan: Do not talk any more about that.

Mr. Lemass: About what?

Mr. McGilligan: About O'Gorman's.

Mr. Lemass: I think it would be quite a useful thing if there were a discussion on it some day.

Mr. McGilligan: Certainly, now if you like.

Mr. Lemass: I am quite prepared to take the point of view of the people who might have been employed in that factory as to the cause of its going down.

[1073] Mr. McGilligan: No, you will take the firm's own written statement that their works were damaged by irregular troops.

Mr. Lemass: I think the statement of the firm, if I recollect it correctly, was not that its circumstances were produced by the fact that the works had been occupied during the civil war by not merely members of the Republican Army but also by members of the National Army——

Mr. McGilligan: I do not think that there was any mention of the National Army.

Mr. Lemass: ——but by the fact that the damage done during that period had not been adequately compensated for by the Government.

Mr. McGilligan: The looting was not made good.

Mr. Lemass: In relation to our whole policy we are beginning to realise now that the expectations we held out are not going to be realised. We are told we imposed 60 tariffs, and consequently were unable to give them any serious examination. If by serious examination the Deputy means we did not brood over them for three years the same as he did in relation to the few tariffs imposed by his Government, he is correct. We are told we made mistakes. Quite possibly we did make mistakes, but let me answer the Deputy by saying we made something. We were not sitting in a day-dream twiddling our thumbs, as the Deputy must have done when not discussing purely academic questions relating to international politics. We have been getting something done here. We have been getting progress made; day after day and week after week the Deputy can read in the Press of some new development here, a new factory being established, an industry being extended, or additional employment being created. I want the Deputy to turn back if he gets the time — probably he has plenty of time on his hands now — and read the files of the newspapers for the period he was in office. He will find day after day and week after week old-established industries disappearing, old factories closing down and thousands of our [1074] people thronging down to Cobh so that they might take the emigration ship for America to find there the employment they could not find at home. We have turned the country around and it is going in another direction.

Mr. McGilligan: Hear, hear.

Mr. Lemass: The Deputy cannot quite understand that, and does not appreciate how it is done.

Mr. McGilligan: I do not know indeed.

Mr. Lemass: But it is happening.

Mr. McGilligan: The unemployment figures have gone up.

Mr. Lemass: The unemployment figures are in fact a proof of it.

Mr. McGilligan: The unemployment figures are going up.

Mr. Lemass: I do not know what the Deputy is referring to when he mentions unemployment figures.

Mr. McGilligan: The Minister's own figures.

Mr. Lemass: I am referring to this fact, that the employment given in industrial concerns, the employment of people in protected industries and other industries, is going up, and that there are more people employed in those industries now than at any previous time. There is a greater production of industrial wealth in this country than at any previous time.

Mr. McGilligan: Rubbish!

Mr. Lemass: The Deputy cannot credit that.

Mr. McGilligan: It is not true.

Mr. Lemass: He could not achieve anything like that and he did not realise it could be done. Of course we had to take the risk of making a mistake but I think we are particularly fortunate that we made very few mistakes indeed despite the fact that we had to move probably faster than we would have preferred to have done if circumstances were more favourable. Anyhow we have got things going, and that is something which might discredit some of the nonsense Deputies speak and might again speak here from time to time.

[1075] Mr. McGilligan: Where are they going?

Mr. Lemass: Upwards and onwards.

An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy McGilligan might remember his speech was not interrupted.

Mr. Lemass: I have no more to say. The opposition to this amendment is based upon misunderstanding. It is not going to affect adversely any of the firms engaged in the manufacture or reconditioning of motor parts. Apart from that, it may produce a considerable industrial development in other directions, and, in any case, it cannot possibly impose a hardship upon anybody. It is, perhaps, a little anomalous that I who have been regarded as the advocate of protection in this House, should have to defend this action against a body who are described as theoretical free traders. This section remits or reduces the duties which have been in existence, and we are doing that in the only manner we can and in the circumstances to have this case fully developed. That is why we are doing it, and for no other reason. We are not going to put one person out of employment, but we are putting a large number into employment. We are not going to increase the duty on anybody, and I want to know on what serious grounds, other than those put forward by Deputy Good, any party is going to vote against the section.

Mr. Moore: The Minister has asked for the name of any part which is at present being manufactured in this country and which will be affected by this. In unassembled motor parts there is one firm in the country, and one firm alone, which has made over 8,000 axle shafts in three years. According to the Minister, people who are engaged in the business have very little intelligence. They do not know anything about their own business, but they understand that axle shafts can now come in free and, they can, from their experience anticipate the loss of that business. They are prepared to show how in their experience that belief is founded, but certainly I think it necessary to give the Minister an answer to his question.

[1076] Mr. McGilligan: Will the Minister answer that?

Mr. Lemass: If the part referred to is not an assembly of two pieces but is one piece of metal shaped in a particular manner for a particular purpose, then the duty is remitted. I cannot answer the question whether that description is attached to the particular part. I would have to get notice of that. If it consists of any two pieces of metal, not merely one piece, the assembly duty always in operation remains in operation.

Question — “That a new section be there inserted” — put and declared carried.