Dáil Éireann - Volume 71 - 28 April, 1938

Agreements Between the Government of Ireland and the Government of the United Kingdom—Motion of Approval—(Resumed).

Debate resumed on the following motion:—

That Dáil Eireann approves of the Agreement between the Government of Ireland and the Government of the United Kingdom, signed at London on the 25th day of April, [164] 1938, copies of which were laid on the Table of Dáil Eireann on the 27th day of April, 1938, and recommends the Government to take the necessary steps to give effect to the provisions of the said Agreement.— (An Taoiseach agus Aire Gnóthaí Eachtracha.)

Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Lemass): In view of certain statements which were made by both of the Deputies who spoke in this debate yesterday, and also statements which were made outside the House, I think it is desirable that I should intervene in this discussion at this stage for the purpose of explaining in detail the provisions of the Trade Agreement which the House is asked to approve of, and to express the view of the Government as to the bearing which that Trade Agreement has upon the economic position of the country, and upon its economic policy. As the Taoiseach explained yesterday in the course of his speech, there is an essential difference between the Agreement relating to the ports and the Agreement on finance, and the Trade Agreement. The first two Agreements arise out of the relationship between Ireland and the United Kingdom, a relationship which is not paralleled between any other two countries on earth, but the Trade Agreement is similar to other Agreements made between ourselves and other countries in Europe, and between the United Kingdom and other countries. There is no difference in principle between the Trade Agreement negotiated with the United Kingdom and that made earlier with Germany and other European countries and that made with Canada. In fact, I may mention that the provisions of our Trade Agreement with Canada involve that any concession or any preferential treatment to be afforded in consequence of this Agreement to produce of the United Kingdom must be extended also to the produce of Canada. It is, perhaps, necessary to emphasise, in view of the attitude taken up by certain people, that it is not possible to make a Trade Agreement upon “the winner take [165] all” basis. There is a fundamental difference between negotiating an agreement and the process of backing a horse. A trade agreement is essentially a bargain similar to the bargain that takes place when a farmer brings a cow to a fair. In this case the British Government was selling the cow, the cow being free entry to the British market. Just as a farmer will not sell his cow unless he thinks the price offered for it is equal to its value——

Mr. Dillon: They had to do it in this country for a long time.

Mr. Lemass: ——so also, the dealer will not buy the cow if he thinks the price is in excess of the value, or more than he can afford to pay. The dealer naturally will dislike every penny by which his first offer has to be increased in order to get the transaction completed. Similarly, many of the provisions of this Agreement were accepted by the negotiators with reluctance. I am sure it is true to say the same of the British negotiators, that many of the provisions of the Agreement were accepted by them with reluctance, and only after considerable discussion and debate. When we went over to London to negotiate a trade agreement we had two primary aims in view, firstly, to secure free entry for our products into the British market on the same basis as it has been afforded to Canada and other countries, and, secondly, to preserve our powers to promote and assist industrial development here. I am sure it must be clear to anybody who has given even a moment's consideration to the matter that the achievement of both these purposes was no easy task. Anyone who thought on the subject must have realised that the British Government would not give substantial concessions except in exchange for a substantial quid pro quo. If any of those in the Dáil or outside it who have in recent years been advocating that such a trade agreement with the United Kingdom should be made, had the idea that it could be done on any other grounds, they were living in a fool's paradise. This matter of a trade agreement [166] must not be confused with the economic war. The removal of the penal duties which follows from the settlement of the financial dispute is provided for in the Financial Agreement. The removal of these duties left protective duties in operation on both sides, and the Trade Agreement deals, not with the penal or retaliatory duties but with these protective duties. I think it is necessary to make that clear, because there are many people in this country who have obviously confused the duties to which our products were subject on entry into Great Britain with the penal duties that arose out of the financial dispute. The economic war began and these penal duties came into operation before the protective duties. The confusion, therefore, is not difficult to understand.

Up to 1932 Great Britain was a free trade country. The agricultural produce of all countries had free entry to the British market and, in fact, the greater number of industrial products had similarly unrestricted entry into that market. But in 1932 Great Britain changed its policy. It ceased to be a free trade country, and adopted a policy of protecting its own producers, whether agricultural or industrial. In May of that year the British Government enacted the Import Duties Act and brought these protective duties into operation. One of the provisions of that Act postponed the operation of these protective duties in the case of Ireland, as in the case of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, for a period of six months, over the time at which the Ottawa Conference was due to assemble. What happened at Ottawa was that the nations represented there which made agreements with the British Government succeeded by these agreements in securing a continuance of free entry for their products into the British market, by making substantial concessions to British manufacturers and exporters. But, by reason of the fact that the penal duties had come into operation before the Ottawa Conference met, and were in operation here on the date upon which the protective duties came into force, many people in this country have not clearly distinguished between one set of duties and another. [167] Some of the protective duties applied to our produce equally with the penal duties. In other cases the protective duties were expressed to be in abeyance while the penal duties were in force, but would come automatically into operation with the removal of the penal duties. If any question arises as to whether the Irish negotiators in London did well or otherwise the easiest method of getting a satisfactory answer to that question, is by comparing the terms of the Trade Agreement which is now being submitted to the Dáil, with the terms of the agreements made by Great Britain with Canada, and the other countries represented at Ottawa in 1932. It was by these agreements that the Governments of these countries secured exemption for their products from the British protective duties, and it is by this Agreement that we propose to do the same thing. The agreements which were made at Ottawa were all similar in form, and it is, I submit, a reasonable assumption, that if it had been possible for us to have made a trade agreement with the United Kingdom at the Ottawa conference, that that agreement would have been similar in form to the other agreements made there.

It would at any rate have been a matter of exceptional difficulty for the British Government to have made with us a trade agreement of a different form from those made by the other countries there, and it was not unreasonable that when we went to London this year to negotiate a trade agreement the attitude of the British negotiators should be that if we were to secure Ottawa terms we would have to concede Ottawa terms. It is true that our circumstances are vastly different from those of the other countries that were represented at Ottawa. Our manufacturers and producers have not got the natural protection which the high cost of transportation over long distances involves. Our proximity to the British market makes our circumstances different from those of these far away countries, and, furthermore, the most effective, the most dangerous, competitors of the Canadian, Australian and South African industrialists [168] were not in Great Britain. For us, of course, the effective competition which our industrialists have to contend with is that which comes from the nearest country, but in the case of Canada the effective competition comes from the United States, and the same is also true, I think, of Australia and New Zealand. These factors operated to enable us to contend that there was such a difference in the circumstances of the various countries that the Trade Agreement which the United Kingdom Government made with us should be different in form to the agreements which the United Kingdom Government made with these other countries. Whether that argument would have been effective at Ottawa is, at least, doubtful, but it did prevail in 1938, and that difference in circumstances is recognised in the terms of this Trade Agreement of which the Dáil is now asked to approve.

Articles 1, 2 and 3 of this Trade Agreement secure for our producers free entry into the British market. Article 1 is expressed to provide that free entry. The terminology of the Article may be difficult for a layman to understand, and, in fact, its drafting caused some difficulty because, of course, the free entry which it secures does not apply, and is not intended to apply, to the goods which are, and have been for many years past, subject to revenue duties, such as beer, spirits, sugar, tobacco, and also goods which contain dutiable ingredients. That free entry, in so far as it is secured for the commodities mentioned in paragraph 2 of the Article, is guaranteed only until the 20th August, 1940. That provision is the same as in similar agreements made by the British Government with other countries and will be reviewed before that date.

Article 2 of the Agreement is expressed to provide us not merely with that free entry into the British market in respect of the classes of goods to which Article 2 applies, but also to give us a preference there over countries which have not made similar agreements with the United Kingdom Government: that is to say, countries other than Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

[169] Article 3 deals with the circumstances in which marketing schemes involving the regulation of imports may be adopted by the British Government in relation to agricultural commodities. It provides that the quantitative regulation of imports will not apply to our produce unless the orderly marketing of such goods in Great Britain cannot otherwise be secured, and if the quantitative regulation of imports is applied, then in fixing the percentage of the total importations to be allocated to this country, regard is to be had to the past position of Ireland in the trade, and to any special conditions which may have affected, or be affecting, the volume of Irish exports to the United Kingdom. That Article, and a number of other Articles, as I am sure Deputies have noticed, provide for consultation between the Governments from time to time either for the purpose of determining whether quantitative regulation is to operate, or, if it is operating, to fix the quotas which will operate for us. I may say in respect to a number of these commodities, that consultations took place simultaneously with the negotiation of the Agreement, and that information concerning the arrangements made will, in due course, be communicated to the Dáil by the Minister for Agriculture.

Article 4 of the Agreement does not appear in the corresponding agreements made by the British Government with the other countries to which I have referred because the conditions which apply in respect of the egg and poultry trade are, in a sense, peculiar to ourselves. It is, however, extremely unlikely that the exports from Éire will so increase as to cause a disturbance in the British market for some time to come. As Deputies are aware, the exports of eggs and poultry from this country have decreased in recent years due to reasons not associated with the economic war at all, and a substantial recovery in exports could take place before the stability of the market for eggs or poultry to the United Kingdom could be upset.

Article 5 has been regarded by some of those who have commented on this [170] Agreement as an important Article. Under it the Government of Ireland agrees that certain categories of goods, set out in the Second Schedule to the Agreement, of United Kingdom origin will not be subjected to import duties for the duration of the Agreement. The Federation of Irish Manufacturers, in a statement which they published hastily on the day that the Agreement was published, stated in connection with that Article as follows:—

“It appears, however, from the published text that future industrial development is drastically limited, if not wholly prevented, by Article 5 of the Agreement, by which protection is denied to a list of articles covering six pages of the Agreement, and in which are included some products capable of being manufactured at some future time in this country. Article 5, therefore, seems to have put a definite limit to industrial development in this country which is surprising, and requires very careful consideration.”

Now, it is quite true that the Article does debar us from putting tariffs on those goods of United Kingdom origin, which is, of course, a very different thing from saying that those industries must not be established here. If the list is examined by anybody with a competent knowledge of industrial possibilities here, it will be found that the articles set out there—that is, the articles of an industrial character as distinct from the agricultural products which are also included in the list—are either not capable of being manufactured here by reason of the fact that they are derived from natural products which we do not possess, or, if they are to be manufactured here, must be manufactured upon a basis which will involve an export business, because the limited size of our market would not permit of their being made economically for home consumption only; and, if they are manufactured here for the purpose of export, well then, assistance by way of tariff may not be required. It is, however, utterly preposterous to suggest that our abstention from imposing duties upon those goods either drastically limits or wholly prevents industrial development. The total value of the imports [171] of those goods in 1937 was £4,250,000 out of a total importation of goods of a similar character in that year of £24,000,000. In so far, therefore, as Article 5 operates to limit industrial development, it limits it to the extent of 16½ per cent., and, in fact, the field for industrial expansion which is left is much greater than I—and I have generally been regarded as an optimist in those matters—think is likely to be covered during the three years for which this agreement is expressed to operate. The advantage of the Article to the United Kingdom is not that it limits our industrial development to any extent, but that it precludes us from making trade agreements with other countries involving the imposition of duties upon those goods of United Kingdom origin. That Article and the accompanying Schedule also provide for the free importation of specified classes of agricultural products. I do not think it is necessary to comment upon that provision. The commodities set out in Part II of that Schedule are in the main, if not all, classes, in which we do an export rather than an import business.

Article 6 of the Agreement provides for the modification of the minimum customs duty, for the repeal of the stamp duty upon non-dutiable imports, for the abolition of the Post Office delivery charge, and also for a modification of the package tax on goods of British origin. Those changes have no effect whatever upon the industrial development programme. In so far as the goods concerned are manufactured here, and are consequently liable to customs duties, those customs duties will still apply. The reduction of the minimum customs duty may convenience occasionally the importers of small quantities, but it is not likely to impair in any way the protection which the Dáil decided should be afforded to the industries concerned. Article 7 is of a similar character. It provides for the giving of a preference to United Kingdom producers and manufacturers in certain circumstances, but it does not, obviously, interfere with our industrial programme in any way. Article 8 of the [172] Agreement is the important Article. Under Article 8 it is provided that the protective duties upon articles manufactured here, as against United Kingdom manufacturers and exporters, will be fixed in the case of fully established industries upon a stated principle, the principle being stated in the Article. It is in connection with that Article particularly that I would invite Deputies to make the comparison which I suggested with the agreements made at Ottawa between the Government of the United Kingdom and the other countries represented there, and also with similar agreements made between the United Kingdom and those countries since Ottawa.

The Agreement made between the Government of the United Kingdom and Canada at Ottawa provided, in Article 10, that the Government of Canada would not afford protection by tariffs to industries other than those which were reasonably assured of sound opportunities of success. Under Article 11, the Government of Canada undertook that during the currency of the Agreement—I am quoting now from the Agreement—“the tariffs shall be based on the principle that protective duties shall not exceed such level as will give the United Kingdom producers full opportunity of reasonable competition on the basis of the relative cost of economical and efficient production, provided that in the application of such principle special consideration shall be given to the case of industries not fully established.” Under Article 12, the Government of Canada undertook to constitute a Tariff Board, and, under Article 13, they undertook that on the request of the Government of the United Kingdom they would cause a review to be made by the Tariff Board as soon as practicable of the duties charged on any commodities in accordance with the principles laid down in Article 11, which I have quoted, and that after the receipt of the report of the Tariff Board the Canadian Parliament should be invited to modify the tariff in such manner as to give effect to such principles. Under Article 14 the Government of Canada undertook that no existing duty would [173] be increased on United Kingdom goods, except after inquiry and on receipt of the report from the Tariff Board, and in accordance with the facts as found by that body. Under Article 15 the Canadian Government undertook that British producers should be entitled to full rights of audience before the Tariff Board when it had under consideration matters arising under Article 13 or Article 14 of the Agreement. In the Agreement made between the United Kingdom and New Zealand in Ottawa, there is in Article 7 a similar undertaking that tariffs would not be afforded except in the case of industries which are reasonably assured of sound opportunities for success, and in Article 8 the Government of New Zealand undertook to institute an inquiry into the existing protective duties, and where necessary to reduce them as speedily as possible to such level as would place the United Kingdom producer in the position of a domestic competitor, that is, that the protection afforded to the New Zealand producer shall be on a level which will give the United Kingdom producers full opportunity for reasonable competition on the basis of the relative cost of economical and efficient production.

Mr. Dowdall: Would the Minister be good enough to read from the page before that, where it says something about consulting the producers?

Mr. Lemass: Is it in regard to the right of audience?

Mr. Dockrell: I think that is the point which the Deputy is making— the right of audience for the producer.

Mr. Lemass: The Canadian Agreement provides that the United Kingdom producers should be entitled to full rights of audience before the Tariff Board when it had under consideration matters arising under Article 13 or 14 of the Agreement. The Agreement made with Australia is similar in form. Article 9 is similar to the Articles in the other Agreements concerning the industries which will be protected by tariffs, and Article 10 provided that the Government of Australia should undertake that, during the currency of the Agreement, the tariffs would be based on the principle [174] that protective duties should not exceed such level as would give the United Kingdom producers a full opportunity of reasonable competition on the basis of the relative cost of economical and efficient production, provided that in the application of such principle special consideration could be given to industries not fully established. Article 11 provides similarly for a review of existing tariffs, and Article 12 undertook that no new tariff would be imposed and no existing tariff increased except on the recommendation of the Tariff Tribunal. Since Ottawa, other Agreements have been made—notably, one, in last year, between the United Kingdom and Canada, which similarly provides that the Government of Canada will not impose any new protective duty, or increase any existing protective duty, except after inquiry at which the United Kingdom producers shall enjoy full rights of audience.

Now, the Agreement made between the United Kingdom and Ireland, which the Dáil is asked to approve, is, as Deputies will have noticed, different in form. Paragraph (1) of Article 8 provides that, when tariffs are being reviewed here, they shall be adjusted in accordance with the principle that they shall not exceed such level as will give the United Kingdom producers and manufacturers full opportunity of reasonable competition, while affording to Eire industries adequate protection, having regard to the relative cost of economical and efficient production. There is no undertaking that new tariffs will not be imposed and there is no restriction on the powers of the Government to increase existing duties if circumstances should necessitate such an increase. There is implied in the Article, however—and it is necessary to call attention to it, because the point appears to have been overlooked—that existing prohibitions upon imports, i.e., the quantitative regulation of imports, will be substituted by import duties, except in the case of certain commodities set out in Schedule 3 of the Agreement.

Mr. Dillon: In Schedule 3?

Mr. Lemass: It has been suggested that Article 8 of this Agreement [175] limits our freedom to promote industrial development. In fact, the intention behind that Article has been expressed repeatedly to be the intention of this Government, long before the negotiations with Great Britain were commenced. It was never contemplated that duties originally imposed at a high rate for the purpose of helping industries in their initial stages would be continued indefinitely after these industries had been fully established and had overcome all their initial difficulties. I could quote here, if it were desirable, a number of speeches that were made here by me and by other members of the Government on that matter. I shall quote from one speech I made in Limerick, in January last, in which, referring to the powers of the Prices Commission, I spoke as follows:

“The Prices Commission had been asked to undertake a review of the very large number of protective tariffs in operation with a view to discovering whether or not it was necessary to maintain many of these tariffs at the level at which they were originally imposed. In order to get a number of industries established, tariffs at a high rate had to be imposed, but, as time went on, the necessity for the tariffs should become less and equal protection might be given by tariffs at a lower rate. It was not to be taken that, any general cutting down of tariffs was anticipated. On the contrary, they intended that each individual case would be the subject of investigation by the Prices Commission.”

Mr. Davin: What was the date of that speech?

Mr. Lemass: January of this year.

Mr. Davin: What was the date?

Mr. Lemass: The 31st of January.

Mr. Davin: That was after you were in London?

Mr. Lemass: Well, the Deputy can make any point he likes out of that. I say here, without fear of contradiction, that it has been frequently declared to be the policy of the Government [176] to review protective measures when the industries benefiting by these measures had been given a reasonable opportunity of establishing themselves. It is quite clear that any new industry would require protection at a higher rate in its initial stages than it would need after it had got over all its earlier difficulties and had become fully established. The policy of the Government in that regard is not out of accord with the provisions of this Article. Until, as the Article makes it clear, the industries are fully established, the principle contained in it will not apply to them, and, by fully established, I mean until they have reached the position of being able to secure maximum efficiency from their equipment, from their organisation, and from their staffs. When they have been developed, then there is no reason why they should expect more than the protection determined in accordance with that principle: that is, such protection as will offset any higher costs which are involved in manufacture here, either by reason of higher wages paid to labour or arising out of the smaller size of our market, or occasioned by the fact that British trade names have a high goodwill value in our markets, or that advertising undertaken by British manufacturers in British newspapers for the British markets has an effect here by reason of the fact that these newspapers circulate here. If the protection is fixed upon such a basis as will offset these disadvantages, then, in the case of fully established industries —using that phrase in the sense in which I have already defined it—there is no reason to anticipate that they will not be able to maintain themselves and secure their continued development if they are conducted with reasonable efficiency and reasonable economy.

Now, a lot of nonsense has been talked about that Article being a limitation upon our fiscal freedom. Deputy Cosgrave confessed to a certain sense of humiliation, because it was necessary, he said, for us to get taught a lesson by our neighbours. What lesson? Apparently, because we have agreed to review our tariffs. Is it the [177] Deputy's idea that our tariffs should have been fixed so low in the first instance that even the British Government would not think it necessary to ask for a reduction when negotiating a trade agreement? Was it a national humiliation for Canada to make an agreement with the British Government involving a very substantial reduction in existing duties and the abolition of a large number of other duties, as well as the giving of this undertaking to submit for review to their Tariff Commission the remaining duties and any new duty to be imposed? Was it a national humiliation for Australia and New Zealand to make an agreement on these lines? Is it a national humiliation for the United States of America, which is at this moment negotiating a trade agreement with the United Kingdom, involving a substantial reduction in a large number of very high duties that have been in operation there, to enter into that agreement? Was it a national humiliation for the British Government to make this Agreement with us, involving the abolition of the protective duties which were imposed by a British Act against our products? I think the only source of the Deputy's humiliation is that his every prognostication has proved to be wrong, and others have achieved what he did not dare to attempt.

Mr. O'Leary: You did not get the republic.

Mr. Cosgrave: Do you want an answer to that question?

Mr. Lemass: Any time the Deputy likes to give it. Reference has also been made to the fact that United Kingdom producers and manufacturers shall be entitled under the Agreement to full right of audience before the Prices Commission when it has under consideration matters arising out of Article 8. There is, however, nothing either new or remarkable in that provision. Even if no such provision had been inserted in the Agreement, it is obvious that the Prices Commission, in order to make a thorough investigation, would wish to hear evidence from British manufacturers and producers of [178] the goods to which a particular inquiry related. That practice was adopted by the Tariff Commission established under the Act of 1926, and I believe it is the practice of similar bodies in every country in the world. There is, in fact, as I have mentioned, in many trade agreements of which we are aware, a similar provision.

Some comment has also been made upon the fact that the Government undertakes to act upon the recommendation of the Prices Commission when a review of a tariff has been undertaken by them. If that review by the Prices Commission is to have any value at all in relation to a trade agreement, it is obviously essential that the Government should undertake to give effect to the Commission's recommendations. As I have pointed out, similar undertakings were given by Australia and Canada in the agreements which they made at Ottawa. The Prices Commission will have every opportunity of making the fullest investigation and of hearing evidence from all parties competent to assist in the investigation, and the Government has every confidence that the Commission will discharge its duties both impartially and efficiently. However, I think it is unnecessary to say more in relation to Article 8 than that it involves our doing what would be in any event good policy for us to do, and that is, to institute a review of existing duties and, in the case of fully established industries, to modify them to such an extent as would give our manufacturers adequate protection, but no more than adequate protection, upon the basis of relative costs of economical and efficient production in this as compared with other countries.

Article 9 of the Agreement relates to agricultural imports and provides for free entry here, but with the possibility of quantitative regulation in certain cases, provision being made for the substitution, by agreement, of quantitative regulation by import duties, where it is agreed that the purpose in view can be more conveniently effected by that means.

Article 10 provides for certain reductions in existing duties. These reductions have been very carefully considered, [179] and it is felt that the rates of duty set out in Part I of that Schedule should afford sufficient protection to the industries in question. But, it will be observed by Deputies that paragraph 2 of the Article provides an additional safeguard. It provides that, if the imports of any of these articles should, as a result of the reduction in the duties, increase to such an extent as to endanger the prospects of success of the producers or manufacturers of such goods in this country, the Irish Government will be entitled to apply the quantitative regulation to the imports of such goods. It will also be noted that paragraph 1 of the Article contemplates that on the removal of the quantitative control of imports of the items prescribed in Part II of Schedule 5, rates of duty higher than those set out in the Schedule may be imposed on these items, if the Prices Commission are satisfied that, in fact, higher rates of duty are necessary. Until these items have been reviewed by the Prices Commission it is the intention that quantitative control of imports of goods in these categories should be maintained and that such goods as are imported shall be subject to customs duties at the rates set out in Part 2 of the Schedule. Yesterday, speaking on this matter, Deputy Norton referred, in relation to this Article, to the reduction or abolition of what he called “retaliatory” duties. None of the duties applying to the goods set out in Schedule 5 were retaliatory duties. The only retaliatory duties in operation are the three referred to in paragraph 5 of the Financial Agreement, that is, duties of ten per cent. ad valorem on cement, on certain electrical goods, and on certain iron and steel goods. The reductions provided for in Schedule 5, as I have said, have no relation whatever to the retaliatory duties.

Mr. Dillon: Before you pass from that Article, are we right in understanding you to say with regard to the goods in Part 2 of Schedule 5 quotas and duties continue until the Prices Commission have examined them and then quotas and duties will be substituted by duties if necessary?

[180] Mr. Lemass: These goods are subject to quantitative regulation at the moment. That quantitative regulation will continue until a review has been undertaken by the Prices Commission. Following that review the duties may be increased on the abolition of quantitative regulation if the Prices Commission so recommend.

Article 11 of the Agreement is an Article which provides for certain preferential treatment for British goods in this market. Preferential treatment to British goods was given regularly until the outbreak of the Economic War. It was given occasionally during the Economic War. The Article provides that in the case of any new duties a preferential rate, one-third under the full rate, will operate against the produce or manufactures of the United Kingdom. There is, however, in paragraph 2 a further provision to which Deputies should refer. It is the only paragraph of its kind in the whole Agreement. It involves the imposition by us of a duty upon certain commodities, which are not manufactured here, for the benefit of British manufacturers of those commodities, that is to say silk and artificial silk. The benefit of that Article to British manufacturers is not inconsiderable and it was with considerable hesitation that the Irish representatives agreed to it. There is however nothing to be said in its favour from our point of view other than this—that it was considered desirable by the British representatives and pressed by them as something which they regarded as essential to the conclusion of an Agreement.

Article 14 provides an anti-dumping clause. Its intention is to ensure that if goods are being dumped by British manufacturers in this country or by Irish manufacturers in Great Britain then, following consultation between the Governments, special action outside the scope of the Agreement may be taken in order to check that practice.

Article 15 involves the withdrawal by us of bounties paid upon exports, particularly such bounties as were designed to offset the penal duties imposed by the Government of the United Kingdom arising out of the financial dispute. [181] It does however provide an exception for bounties that may be necessary to maintain production in Éire on an economic basis or to secure effective operation of schemes for the orderly marketing of agricultural produce.

Article 16 deals with coal, but, in fact, involves no change, or, at any rate, very little change, in the present position concerning the importation of coal into this country. At present the importation of coal is subject to quantitative regulation so designed as to secure the whole of the market here for British producers. That, as Deputies will remember, was a consequence of the coal-cattle pact two years ago. Under this Article, the quantitative control of imports will be abolished, but instead a duty of 3/- per ton will be imposed upon coal other than coal of United Kingdom origin, and the effect of that imposition will, it is assumed, be similar to the effect of the present prohibition of import of other than British coals.

Article 17 is designed to secure that the circumstances under which the motor assembling industry is at present being carried on here will not be changed, at any rate in respect of cars of British origin. It is expressed to provide that the requirements as to the disassembly of parts when imported here in order to qualify for admission at the lower rate of duty, known as the compounded duty, will not be made more onerous than at present. That is a provision that will be welcomed by everybody except myself. It will be particularly welcomed by the people who are engaged in the assembly of these cars.

Article 19 of the Agreement deals with its duration. The Agreement operates for three years from the date on which it comes into operation and may be continued thereafter, but will be liable to denunciation by either Government upon six months' notice.

That is the whole of it, and I think that anyone reading the Agreement for the purpose of understanding it will agree that the objects which we had in entering into these negotiations were achieved. I may remind Deputies of what these objects were, [182] as I expressed them at the beginning of my remarks—to secure free entry for our exports into the British market and to preserve our powers to promote and assist industrial development here. With considerable difficulty and after protracted negotia tions, which many times appeared likely to prove fruitless, an agreement has been made of which I think it may be fairly said that it preserves these aims. I know that some industrialists have expressed anxiety as to its effect upon their positions and that is perhaps something which was to have been expected. There are many industrialists, however, who are perfectly reasonable and who understand that there is a limit to the assistance which the State can give them and to the encouragement which they can expect from the public. There are, of course, some industrialists who think that every aspect of State policy should be subordinated to their demands.

Mr. Dillon: It is time you found them out.

Mr. Lemass: In fact, Deputies will I think remember from what they read in the newspapers during recent weeks that there were quite a number of people in this country who expected that the Trade Agreement would provide for a substantial modification of all or many tariffs, and, if evidence of that fact is required, it is to be found in the almost complete cessation of trading for some weeks past. These people are no doubt relieved now to find that the immediate reductions for which the Agreement provides are not drastic, and that, in so far as the Agreement involves a lowering of tariffs, it permits of the reduction being effected gradually, being effected after detailed examination of individual items, and on a basis which ensures the continuance of adequate protection for Irish industries.

The Agreement is one which we can confidently recommend to the Dáil and to the people. It is, I think, likely to prove of very considerable benefit to this country and will permit of an expansion of its economic activities which will strengthen our resources and increase [183] our powers for dealing with the many social problems which we still have. The economic war is over. It is, I suggest, complete waste of time to discuss now who began it. The important fact is that we won it. It is, I suggest, also useless to debate now whether an Agreement on these lines could have been made before this. I can only say that if an Agreement of this kind could have been made before this, we would have made it. That Agreement, in all its aspects, is one which we would have made six years ago, three years ago or even six months ago, if circumstances permitted of its being made then, and if there is any evidence required that it could not have been made before now, that evidence is in the fact that it was not so made. However, it is made, and, as I have said, we have now an opportunity of dealing effectively with many problems which, because of the consequences of the economic war, we could not tackle before this. More than that, we have cleared out of the way many of the points of difference between the political Parties in this country.

Mr. Dillon: Hear, hear! A most remarkable conversion.

Mr. Davin: Take him over.

Mr. Lemass: The importance of that fact does not arise out of the agreement of Deputy Dillon, but because it permits of our securing what might not have been possible before this, that is, some combination of effort between all sections in order to improve economic conditions in this country and make life easier for its people. I do not mind Deputy Dillon and those others on the benches opposite who are always against us, but many on those benches were once with us; and if we divided, we divided very largely upon questions of tactics and not on questions of principle. They may have considered it injudicious or unwise to press matters as far as we were prepared to go, but they have got to take note of the fact that we have now got to where we set out to go. We have reached that goal. All the things which in 1932 we had before us—the various constitutional changes which [184] were then the subject of great public controversy——

Mr. Keating: And the finding of alternative markets.

Mr. Lemass: ——the retention of the land annuities in the Irish Exchequer, the return to our sovereignty of those ports which were occupied by the British troops—all these things have been achieved, and I say with confidence that there is not in this House, or in this country, a single person, no matter how much he may have opposed our programme at the time, would now demand that these things should be undone. If that is so, can we forget the fact that we differed as to the practicability or wisdom of attempting these things before, and face the future in the knowledge that we have got an opportunity of doing something for this country which no group of Irishmen ever had before—an opportunity of securing a concentration of our united effort upon economic and social problems? Heretofore, differences between ourselves dissipated our strength, or the need for conducting our affairs in the light of our relationship with Great Britain weakened our ability to deal with these social and economic problems. These difficulties have been removed, and, in these circumstances, it is not unreasonable, however unfruitful it may be, to appeal to the various sections in the Party opposite to forget these past differences and give us their assistance now in a constructive way in dealing with the remaining problems upon which the Government will henceforth be concentrating.

Mr. Dillon: When the Prime Minister rose yesterday to introduce this agreement, I bade him welcome on his conversion to the policy of Fine Gael and the Prime Minister then told a little story which is recited in this morning's Irish Press, the kept paper of the Government. The Prime Minister is reported as saying: “You and I are one, but I am the one.” This comes from an old story about a blushing bride. According to the story, the bridegroom remarked to the bride: You and I are one, and the blushing bride replied: But I am the one.

[185] I am quite prepared to welcome the Prime Minister's conversion but proposals of marriage are as yet a little embarrassing.

Mr. Corish: No confetti now.

Mr. Dillon: It is gratifying to find on the opposite benches a return, in some measure, to economic and political sanity and I sometimes feel inclined to rebuke my colleagues that they have done their job too well as an Opposition in this country. After battering away for five or six years, we have actually taught the Fianna Fáil Party commonsense. It is true that the public of this country have had to pay about £50,000,000 for their education, and that is a pretty expensive business, but still, they have learned their lesson, even at the expenditure of £50,000,000 and it is good that we have managed to arrive at the point we have now reached by parliamentary and democratic methods of argument, and eventually agreement, in regard to certain fundamental economic facts and that we did not settle our differences by the violence which characterises other countries and which in the past, unfortunately, has characterised this.

So far as I am concerned, I have nothing to conceal, and I want to make my position in regard to this Agreement perfectly clear. In so far as it recovers for our people a free market in Great Britain, I welcome it on behalf of the rural population of this country. The only fault I find with it is that it has been made six years too late. There have been men and women in this country who have suffered during the last six years what appeared to be an endless agony and the announcement of the removal of these penal tariffs was for them the ending of a ghastly nightmare. On their behalf, because they are the people amongst whom I live, I rejoice exceedingly that this Agreement has been made and that that market has been recovered. Let us pause for a moment to ask ourselves: Suppose Deputy Cosgrave had gone to London with his colleagues and had come back with that document as an Agreement——

[186] Mr. Anthony: There would be a revolution.

Mr. Dillon: ——what would the present Prime Minister have said at the monster meeting which he would have called in College Green? He would have begun by saying that we had sold the North; he would have gone on to say that we had sold our fiscal freedom; and he would have finally said that Deputy Cosgrave had delivered our people into the slavery of the base, bloody and brutal British Saxon. Every one of his present colleagues would have sprung to his feet and cheered him to the echo; every one of the Parliamentary warriors sitting behind him now would have got hysterics of patriotic enthusiasm and would have gone down the country and wept over the desecrated person of Cathleen Ni Houlihan and would have pledged himself most solemnly never to sheath the sword until this awful deed was undone; and the Prime Minister would have spoken more in sorrow than in anger, and he would have gone amongst them and said: “Now, boys, whatever you do, do not nail their ear to the post”; and the Irish Times would have said: “This noble and disinterested man, who always speaks with moderation, has begged the somewhat reckless men who stand behind him not to murder their opponents. Of course, if any murder is hereafter done, every true and honest journalist in this country must acquit the Prime Minister and blame it upon the Party he has such difficulty in controlling.” I have not the least intention of saying that the Prime Minister has sold the North in making this Agreement. He has not sold the North; he has not betrayed the North; he has not let down the North. It would be cheap and easy for us to say that he had but it would not be true. We knew, when he went to London, that he could not abolish Partition in the course of these negotiations. We never expected he would be able to abolish Partition. No reasonable man who understood the situation ever dreamt he would abolish Partition, but he did commit the wrong against the people of Ulster of leading them into the belief that he was going to abolish Partition in the course of these [187] negotiations. That was a cruel, mean thing to do. The Prime Minister knows as well as I know that every Party and every Deputy in this House is anxious to co-operate in the abolition of Partition, anxious to do anything that in them lies to abolish the Border and bring back our people—Protestant and Catholic—into an united Ireland. But there is nothing more contemptible, nothing meaner than to make capital out of the natural anxiety of Northern Nationalists to get back into Ireland and to hold yourself out as the knight in shining armour who is going to surrender everything unless he succeeds in abolishing the Border, which he knows in his heart and soul he is not able to abolish.

The Taoiseach: If a person did that he would be as mean as the Deputy says he would be.

Mr. Dillon: I have no doubt the Prime Minister did not say that, but he used words which persuaded everybody in Northern Ireland that that was what he proposed to do.

The Taoiseach: The Northern people are not so senseless as to form an opinion which, the Deputy says, nobody else shared.

Mr. Dillon: They went over to London to assure our Prime Minister that they cordially approved of his declared intention never to settle this dispute unless Partition was disposed of.

The Taoiseach: I think it is only right to interrupt now to ask that my position in that matter be proved by statements and not by assertions. I think that it is scandalous to make assertions like that.

Mr. Dillon: It is the truth.

The Taoiseach: It is not. It is a falsehood.

Mr. Dillon: The truth is bitter, and I propose to utter it now. It is base and mean, in my judgment, to exploit our people's feelings in Northern Ireland. It is wrong for any political leader down here to suggest that everybody else is indifferent to the [188] problem of Partition and that he is going to solve it. You may employ language which you can afterwards demonstrate did not explicitly mean that, but that you conveyed that impression to the people of Northern Ireland there is not the faintest doubt. In so far as you did any wrong in that matter, that is the only wrong you did. Any person who says they were sold, betrayed or let down says what is not true. It was never in the Prime Minister's power to abolish the Border. If it were I am satisfied he would have done it. But it never was and it is ridiculous to taunt him with his failure to abolish the Border in the course of these negotiations. It was not for want of goodwill, but for want of ability to do it, that the Border was not abolished and it was a dilemma in which anybody in the office of the Taoiseach would have found himself no matter who he was.

Now, I come to the question of fiscal freedom. I have no doubt that the Prime Minister would have denounced us, if we had made this agreement, for having sold the fiscal freedom of this country. I do not believe you have sold the fiscal freedom of this country. I believe you have gone, in certain details, beyond what prudence would dictate but I also believe that the other Parties to this Agreement are reasonable men. I believe the British people are reasonable people and I believe that this Agreement will be operated and applied in the spirit rather than in the barren letter. Though some of my own colleagues may be more apprehensive than I, I honestly believe that, when this Agreement comes to be put into operation, such restrictions as are in it will not fundamentally interfere with the healthy development of the industrial life of this country and that, if there does emerge some specific case in which a desired fiscal reform cannot be made to coincide with the letter of this Agreement, no serious difficulty will arise which the decent kind of negotiation which has gone on in the last couple of months will not surmount, so that whatever is deemed desirable by our Parliament in the interest of our people will be made to coincide with [189] the Agreement entered into between our Government and the Government of Great Britain.

I do say that it is a mistake on the part of our Government to have identified these negotiations with the negotiations that went on in Ottawa because we were in a much better position for negotiation there than any of the other “Ottawa countries.” All the other “Ottawa countries” were selling much more stuff to England than they were buying from her. At the time we would have gone to Ottawa, we were actually buying more from England than she was buying from us. In regard to the other “Ottawa countries,” England was in a position to say “You have got to take much more stuff from us if you are going to maintain or develop the present position.” We were in a position to say to England “You have got to take more stuff from us if you want to maintain or develop the present position.” We could greatly have improved on the position then instead of buying back, by fiscal concessions, the position we voluntarily abandoned six years ago. I agree with the Minister for Industry and Commerce in this regard: I do not want to go back on that. That damage is done and our job should be to repair the damage. I do not believe in demonstrating to the Minister for Industry and Commerce his follies during the past six years. If he has learned sense now, it is as much as I desire. I believe he has learned sense or that he has come to realise that, if he is not prepared to learn sense, he will be thrown overboard, bag and baggage, because his colleagues have learned sense. As Deputy Cosgrave said, it is somewhat of a humiliation that the Minister for Industry and Commerce should have to go to London to learn what we have been trying to teach him for the last six years—that is, that economic self-sufficiency is a “cod.” It is not his fault that it is a “cod.” It is a “cod” in every country—in Russia, Germany, France and Spain. His policy was designed to an impossible end and it is somewhat humiliating that he should have to learn that lesson in London instead of learning it in our own Parliament where abundant argument has been adduced.

[190] Mr. Lemass: Does that apply to the U.S. also?

Mr. Dillon: The last matter I have to deal with is that of the ports. I have no doubt that the Prime Minister would have said to us, if we had undertaken to take over these ports and put them in defence, that we had sold the people into the servitude of the base, brutal and bloody Saxon. I say you have done nothing of the kind. What I do complain of is this deliberate wriggling. Why does not the Prime Minister get up like a man and tell the people what he is going to do with the ports. I listened to him yesterday weaving words round and into and about the problem, and the one thing he did not say was: “I am going to put those ports into defence.”

The Taoiseach: I said so.

Mr. Dillon: I know the Prime Minister meant that, but the Prime Minister used terms which would enable Deputy Kelly to go down to Meath and say that he never said that he would put those ports into defence. Deputy Kelly could say: “He spoke two columns in the newspaper, and I defy you to point out anywhere where he said he would put those ports into defence.” The Taoiseach is going to put them into defence as naval bases. I think that that is perfectly right. We have to make up our minds whether sovereign independence and national unity can best be achieved in the Commonwealth or out of it. If we make up our mind that these things can best be obtained in the Commonwealth, it is idle nonsense to pretend that we can be in that Commonwealth and stand indifferently by if that Commonwealth is attacked or jeopardised. We cannot. The Prime Minister knows that. The difference between him and me in that regard is that I tell the people perfectly plainly now that if the unity, sovereignty and independence of this country can be best provided for in the Commonwealth of Nations, then it is our duty to let the world know now that, if that Commonwealth is attacked, we, as part of it, will defend it. It is perfectly true that if that Commonwealth went Nazi, or if that Commonwealth went Communist, it might become [191] our duty to secede from it, to leave the Commonwealth of Nations and set up on our own on the ground that we should no longer be a member of it because we did not approve of its policy. But why can we not be honest with the people, and tell them honestly what we are doing? Why make concealment about it? If you are going to provide naval bases at your ports, if you are going to give the British Navy accommodation there for the general convenience of themselves and of every other country of the Commonwealth, why do you not say so honestly? Say it in terms that the simplest man or woman here can understand; do not say it in accents deliberately designed to deceive the simple people and at the same time to carry out the undertakings given to the other party to these negotiations. There is nothing to be ashamed of.

The Taoiseach: What undertakings?

Mr. Dillon: Did you not assure them that if you took over these ports that you would put them in a state of defence?

The Taoiseach: I will deal with the Deputy at another time.

Mr. Dillon: I am not trying to embarrass the Prime Minister; I think the Prime Minister was right. All I am asking you to do is to be as straight and plain——

The Taoiseach: As the Deputy has been about what I have said, I suppose?

Mr. Dillon: I am trying to find out what the Prime Minister did say, and you are trying to bewilder the people of this country.

An Ceann Comhairle: Deputies should not be addressed in the second person.

Mr. Dillon: I was merely taking an example from the Prime Minister. However, I take instructions from you. I do not want to speak heatedly about this matter at all; rather do I want to approach it objectively. I urge on the Prime Minister that when he [192] comes to deal with these matters again, he should deal with them quite plainly and simply so that when a Fianna Fáil Deputy meets his constituents down the country he can explain quite simply to them what it is the Prime Minister means and what it is the Prime Minister actually said. Let me remind this House that, so far as we are concerned, we repudiate emphatically any desire to make any of the cheap capital of that kind that we could make out of this Agreement. So far as I am concerned, I am prepared to repel on any platform and in any public place any suggestion that betrayals of the sort outlined by me just now have been undertaken by the Government. I am quite satisfied that in the circumstances, and with the equipment at the Government's disposal, they did the best they could. I think they made mistakes; I think they made mistakes in certain fiscal parts of this Agreement, but I do not blame them for that. I did not expect any better; in fact, I did not except this much. I think, however, that if they had the experience and the prudence of their predecessors in office some of the mistakes made in this Agreement would not have been made.

Mr. Flinn: What about the damn good bargain?

Mr. Dillon: There is just one other matter to which I should like to make reference. A lot of people imagine that once the free market is restored to our people, everything will readjust itself overnight. They are quite wrong. It will take years to repair the damage that has been done in this country. There are thousands of farmers who have been bankrupted by their experience during the last five years. There are thousands of people at present unequipped to take advantage of the markets we have now secured. I put it to the Government that, in order to get the full advantage of this Agreement, active and courageous measures should be taken at once to relieve the distress of the agricultural community; otherwise they will be unable to get for the community as a whole all the advantage [193] they ought to be able to get out of this Agreement. I suggest to the Government that the first thing they should do is to proceed with the immediate de-rating of all agricultural land so as to put farmers on an equal footing with the farmers of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and, secondly, money should be made available to the farmers on reasonable terms with reasonable safeguards and at a low rate of interest so that they can equip themselves to cash in on the advantages that will accure under that part of the Agreement which provides for the free admission of our agricultural produce to the British market. It is going to be a slow process to get back on our feet; it is going to be a slow process to get back that measure of prosperity which we had in 1931, but I am convinced that with this Agreement we can do it. I am convinced with the market in Great Britain we can get it.

We have told you for the last five years that if you abandoned the codology about hating the Commonwealth and so forth that you could get really constructive work done with a view to the unity of Ireland. I think you have come to see that yourselves, and perhaps that is a good thing. We told you during the last five or six years that if you abandoned the codology about economic self-sufficiency and about the British market being gone forever, thank God, and the tin-pot schemes of the Minister for Agriculture, growing tobacco, and so forth, we would be able to build up a prosperous community. It is a source of unalloyed satisfaction to me that apparently our words have at last borne fruit You have come to learn what we tried to teach you in so far as you have left the road open to a constructive policy by which we can develop the country and restore our people's prosperity. If that be so, that is what I want.

In conclusion, for the reasons set out and with the reservations mentioned, I welcome this agreement. I am glad it has been made. My only regret is that it was not made long, long ago. I agree with the Minister [194] for Industry and Commerce, I do not want to discuss the reasons why it was not made long ago, because I think it would be fruitless. I hope we may depend in future in regard to the matter of Partition on a different attitude from the Prime Minister. I hope we may get from him recognition that everybody in this country is just as deeply concerned as he is to recover the unity of this country, but that there are those of us who regard it as a horrible responsibility and as a shameful thing to do to raise false hopes in the hearts of those whom we know we are not at the moment in a position effectively to help. We tell them, as we tell the Prime Minister, that in time and by the exercise of commonsense and prudence in this part of the country we will be able to get back the lost province, but we will not get it back, and we will never get it back, by high-falutin' speeches made in the safety of Dublin or of London. We have to get it back by showing ourselves competent to run this country in the way it ought to be run, by demonstrating to the world that those who went before us and who staked their claims that the Irish people were best fitted to run this country and were the only people who could run this country well, were justified in their attitude. We have to show by our vindication of the men who said that, that we ought to be united and it cannot be done to-morrow or the week after next. I believe that it can be done in our lifetime, but it can be done in our lifetime only if that question is lifted out of the controversial politics of Ireland and is removed altogether from Party platforms and if our political differences are accepted amongst us all as the bona fide anxiety of everybody, no matter on which side of the House he sits, to do the best for the country.

Mr. Davin: The fact that the Taoiseach has put his signature to this Agreement proves that he is a statesman with a considerable amount of courage. I state that deliberately because I have a very clear recollection of many political pronouncements made by the Taoiseach in the past in connection with the demand for the [195] complete independence of this country and on the policy of self-sufficiency. At no time within my recollection in the past history of this country did the representatives of the Irish people meet the representatives of the British people under more favourable circumstances. When the present Government Cabinet decided to meet the British Government representatives in mid-January last, they did so at a time when they had all the good wishes of the Irish people and all the good wishes of the leaders of the political Parties in this country for their success. They did so at a time when every citizen in this country hoped that they would succeed in getting from the British Government representatives what they were looking for. They met the representatives of the British Government at a time when the British Government was in a weaker position than at any time in all its history. If the Cabinet and the negotiators have come back here with this Agreement and have confessed that it is something short of what they promised the Irish people in the past—short politically and short in the matter of trade and finance—they cannot blame anybody but themselves and their own actions in their dealings on that matter with the British Government. They had the full support of the whole Irish people and an assurance of support from all political Parties in their meetings with the British Government. Remember the British Government was never in a weaker position than it was at that moment. For that reason, it is then the concern of the members of the Government themselves to explain that to the Irish people. I feel certain that before the Cabinet decided to reopen these negotiations they had information as to what they were likely to be offered. Therefore, when the Taoiseach took upon himself the idea of initiating negotiations he had a good idea that he was not going to come back in an empty-handed fashion. I assume, therefore, that the Cabinet, having decided to initiate negotiations with the British, must have gone over with their minds made up as to what they were prepared to accept. It has been said here that this Agreement could have been secured six [196] or seven years ago. I do not believe it could, and I would brand myself as a traitor to my own class if I thought that it could have been secured six or seven years ago.

It has been contended also that this Agreement could have been secured by the Fine Gael Party if they had remained in office. I do not believe any such thing. How could the Fine Gael Government, after having said that these moneys were legally and morally due to Great Britain, go over to the British Government and secure agreements of the kind now before us? The British Government would be a pack of fools if after such admission they made such agreements. I do not believe it. I do not believe that any of the 11,000 or 12,000 people who voted for me believe it. I do not believe that such an Agreement as this, bad as it may be in the eyes of some people, could have been got while Mr. Thomas, the late British Dominions Secretary, was in office. It could not have been got before he was removed from office. Mr. Thomas dragged into the whole dispute the question of the constitutional status of this country. In the extract that has been read out he made it quite clear to everybody that unless and until the Government of this State recognised and admitted certain things no such agreement as this could even be discussed.

It has been said that this particular Agreement could have been secured as a result of the Ottawa Conference. I am not in the confidence of those who represented us at Ottawa but I do not believe that an agreement like this could have been secured at Ottawa. It could not because Mr. Thomas was then in office and it was not until he was removed from office that it was possible to approach the British Government with a view to coming to an agreement on the lines of the one before us. I, personally, and I believe the members of my Party and the supporters of the Labour Party in the country are glad that this nightmare of the economic or uneconomic war has now been got out of the way.

I claim that the Taoiseach would not be in a position to negotiate this Agreement or to sign it were it not for the fact that he had secured the loyal [197] support of the small band of labour Deputies who have been sitting on these benches since 1932. If we had thought that this Agreement could have been secured before now we would have indicated our desire in that direction. I have described the economic war as a nightmare. Is there any Deputy who has been sitting on these benches since 1932 and has since travelled to his constituency who did not find in either private or public conversations the question put to him as to when this economic war was to end? My Colleagues and I have been challenged, and we have been told “if you Labour lads wanted it this economic war could have been settled long ago—why do you not press de Valera to get it settled?” That conversation always wound up by our taking under what Conditions it should be settled, and the only answer we got was that it should be settled by surrendering to the conditions which the British were prepared to offer.

This Agreement may be short of many of the things in which we believe, but it is not a settlement by surrender. It is a settlement by agreement. The responsibility for that Agreement rests with the four Irishmen who appended their signatures to it. The responsibility rests on these men and their immediate colleagues and on nobody else. At any rate, the nightmare of the economic war has now come to an end. That is a good thing for those whom we represent in this House. In future if we stand here and discuss the policy of the Government regarding the solution of its financial, social and economic problems we cannot be charged with stabbing the Government in the back when engaged in a fight with the common enemy. The possibility of a charge like that disappears when this document is approved of by a majority of this House, or by the House as a whole.

As a result of this Agreement, the Government will be confronted with the task of solving much more serious problems than those with which they were confronted during the progress of the economic war. During that time the Government were able to get up [198] in the House and give the existence of that economic war as an excuse for not doing many of the things which previous to 1932 they promised they would do. I But the road is cleared of that obstacle. The road is now straight, and I hope the Cabinet will present to the House before many days schemes for the solution of these and many other problems with which the country is faced. The financial policy pursued during the course of that economic war resulted in our citizens being compelled to pay more for our own butter, bacon, eggs and other necessaries of life than the price at which these were sold in Great Britain. I hope when the Minister for Finance presents his Budget next week that part of the present policy of the Government will be dropped. I hope that the Irish Government in the future, under whatever policy they decide to engage, will be able to see that the food produced here is sold at least at the same price as our food is sold to people in a foreign market.

Mr. Allen: Would you deny producers the cost of production?

Mr. Davin: I say it is the first duty of the Government to provide food, clothing and shelter for the people of the country, and surely the Deputy will not disagree surely me when I say that that food and clothing should be produced and sold at least at the same price to our own citizens as it is sold to the foreigner.

Mr. Allen: What about the cost of production?

Mr. Davin: I hope that we shall have a clear indication now of a change of financial policy on that matter anyway. I sit in this House as a farmer's son. Everybody belonging to me is associated with farming and nobody realises better than I do— because I have been in continuous contact with up own people before I came into this House and since I came into this House—the extent to which the rural community suffered during the progress of the economic war. I am glad to say, and I am sure many Deputies will agree with me, that the people with have suffered most during [199] the economic war have borne their sufferings in silence. They have not gone out dressed in white shirts, red shirts or blue shirts, or any other kind of special garb, to parade their poverty and destitution to the people. They suffered in silence and these are the people who are entitled to the first benefits of any settlement brought about. The agricultural labourers of this country, in fact the whole of the rural population, are the people who have in the main borne the suffering involved by the continuance of the economic war. The bankers have been able to get their rate of interest in the same way as they got it before the economic war started. The stockbrokers likewise have been carrying on in the same way without any loss. The brewers also have been able to get their normal profits. The middlemen, even the increased number of middlemen created as a result of the commencement of the economic war, have been able also to get their bit out of it. It is the producers and the workers who have borne more than their share of the suffering, and I hope the four men who have signed this document and submitted it to the House will bear that in mind when they are considering the allocation of the financial benefits which will accrue as a result of their signing this Agreement.

I was rather surprised to hear the rather enthusiastic tribute—over-done in my opinion—which the Prime Minister paid to the negotiators on the other side. I was surprised too to hear him express the opinion that this settlement could not have been secured from anybody but a Conservative Government or from any Conservative Prime Minister except Mr. Chamberlain. I wonder what this poor old State will do when Mr. Chamberlain goes out of public life or when he will pass away, as all of us must, some day? If Mr. Chamberlain is the great and just man that the Prime Minister say he is, why does he allow this buffer State to remain in the North, propped up by British guns and British money? If he is the great, just and God-fearing democrat that the Prime Minister suggests he is, let him take away his [200] British guns, kept there by the money of British taxpayers, to impose horrible condition on the Nationalist minority there Deputy Norton asked the very pertinent question if anything had transpired at the meetings between our negotiators and the British negotiators regarding the future of the Nationalist minority in the North. We are entitled to know if these people are going to be compelled to live under the harassing restrictions imposed on them in the past, whether they are going to be tolerated as ordinary citizens with the right to work or whether the means of earning a decent livelihood are to be kept from them.

The people of the country as a whole, although I think the majority of them believed that it would not be possible to wipe out the Border by a stroke of the pen, think that it is only fair and right that our negotiators should get some better protection for the Nationalist minority in the North than has been given to them since the Treaty was signed. What has been done to secure for them even the restoration of proportional representation? What has been done to get anything better for them than the dirty, rotten treatment meted out to them for the last 15 or 16 years, or longer? I venture to suggest, although it is not my in tention to boost British Labour leaders, that certain British Labour leader who have a good knowledge of the conditions of this country for some time past, have given considerable help in creating the atmosphere that led to the opening of these negotiations. The Lord help this State anyway, according to what the Prime Minister says, when poor Mr. Chamberlain passes out or disappears from public life. Who, in the name of God, are we going to get to protect us here if and when Mr. Chamberlain disappears form public Life?

A Deputy: Mr. Dillon.

Mr. Davin: I followed very closely and very attentively the rather weekkneed speech made by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. I thought he was going to get up and rake the Opposition Benches but instead he put up a most extraordinary defence in support of the trade section of the Agreement. [201] He started off by saving that this was accepted by both sides with reluctance and he finished up by saying that all his objects were achieved. I am not sure whether there is any difference between the meaning of the two sentences but to me, at any rate, there seems to be considerable difference between the tone of the commencement and the tone of the conclusion of his speech. Tributes have been paid, and rightly paid, to the work performed by some of our civil servants in connection with the negotiations that have been carried on prior to the Agreement. I certainly desire to join in that tribute to the full. Were it not for the fact that we had at our disposal civil servants of the type of the very highly qualified men that this Government is lucky enough to possess, the work would have taken a mach longer time and, perhaps, would not have been done so well. If there is one man amongst them—and I know what I am talking about in this regard—who deserves a tribute from this House and from the Government for the tact, diplomacy and perseverance which he has displayed during a very critical period, it is the Eire Commissioner in London, Mr. Dulanty. I have some knowledge of the work which Mr. Dulanty has been called upon to perform. At the commencement and during the continuance of the economic war he was compelled to live in a city surrounded by suspicion and prejudice. He has borne the brunt of this struggle well and I am sure there is no Minister who will not admit that he played a very important part in the negotiations which led up to the settlement.

In conclusion, I want to say that the problems created as a result of the signing of this Agreement will he greater than any of the problems that have confronted this Government in the past. I hope they will sit down and consider their policy for dealing with these problems and present that policy to the House at the earliest possible date. This Party has on many occasions advocated the establishment of an economic council. If there was ever a time in the history of this State when an economic council was essential, it is now. It was never more essential [202] in my opinion than at the present moment. I hope the Government will give careful Consideration to that proposal. If they want to devise a solution of the pressing problems that will confront them after this Agreement has been accepted by the House, I think they will see their way to set up an economic council to enable them to achieve that work to the greatest possible advantage.

Professor O'Sullivan: Like every other Deputy, and like most people in this country, I share the deep satisfaction that is felt that this dispute is at an end. I do not think Deputy Davin described the position too harshly, and I do not think anyone aware of the conditions that prevailed in the country for the last five years could deny that the position was nothing less than a nightmare. Therefore, whatever may be said about the details of the Agreement and the conditions that made the Agreement the best that the Government and the negotiators could get, everyone will be delighted that the economic war is over. The Minister for Industry and Commerce finished up a remarkable speech by saying that the economic war was won. As Deputy Davin pointed out, the speech was remarkable for the complete lack of fire which generally is so characteristic of the Minister. The Minister for Finance proved that the economic war was won long ago. We were told that that was the position. Let us hope that at last it is over now. I think the country will be grateful to Providence that it is over. Two types of Agreement were made between this Government and the British Government, the Coal-Cattle Pacts and the Agreements we are now discussing. On each occasion we Government waited until the country was at its last gasp. In the case of the Coal-Cattle Pacts they waited until it was borne in upon them that the country could tolerate the conditions no longer. Since the first of these pacts they waited year after year until they could wait no longer. It was not a question of taking the first moment that a pact could be made. It was done at the moment beyond which the country could not wait. I will say this for the Government that they waited until the [203] last moment, so that anything they got, anything that brought the economic war to an end, could not but be accepted by the people. That is the position we are in. It was no credit to the Governments and to the statesmen on either side that this dispute was allowed to continue the length it did. Therefore, we welcome the end of that senseless war.

We listened to two remarkable speeches in this debate, to a remarkable political speech yesterday, and to a remarkable fiscal speech to-day from the Minister for Industry and Commerce. We must take them not as mere speeches, but as most significant actions on the part of the Government. Let us hope that the two speeches, the one we heard yesterday and the one we heard to-day, really mean a complete reversal of policy an the part of the Government and that we may now take it they are looking in a different direction to that they looked before. For that reason I welcome not merely these Agreements, with whatever drawbacks they have and however bad the conditions that forced the Government to accept them. I welcome also certain portions of the speech made by the Taoiseach and the complete somersault, if not as regards economic matters, at least in outlook revealed in the speech of the Minister for Industry and Commerce. Whatever we think of the circumstances that made this, as the Government say, the best possible bargain they could get, the conditions are to-day such that there is no other course open to the country but to accept it, and to accept the Agreement fully in the spirit as well as the letter and to make the best out of it. Let both sides, the British and the Irish, try to draw the bast out of this Agreement whatever drawbacks it has. Let us try to get the most out of it for the common advantage of the two countries. That is the policy we have been preaching as long as we have bean in this House. I do not regret that the Government now adopts it. They can say it is their own or not. More power to them if they work it. Let us hope that as long as they are the Government they will try to make most out [204] of this Agreement, and work it fully and honourably for the benefit of this country. Of quotas and tariffs we have had a surfeit in the last five years. It took a long time to convince the minister—possibly others were more easily convinced—that these quotas and tariffs that were imposed against us brought this country to the brink of economic destruction.

Certainly the Government did not act a moment too soon. It has good reason to know that it did not act a moment too soon, and that it could not delay longer. Then we had within the space of a month or two a complete reversal of mentality towards the close of last year, I presume, which we heartily welcome on the part the Government, and we had the starting of the negotiations. Candidly, after listening to the minister for Industry and Commerce, I cannot understand why they were so long about it. I read Article after Article of the Agreement, and as I listened to the Minister for Industry and Commerce explaining Article after Article, I had it borne in upon me that most of the Articles were almost imposed on the British Government for the benefit of this country rather than vice versa. There is such a thing as proving too much. There was a certain lack of fire about the defence of the Minister. It lacked his usual vim when dealing with these things and he proved altogether too much, which gravely interfered with business for the last four months. There was uncertainty, and there will be more uncertainty after the speech we listened to to-day—the explanatory speech as, I suppose, the Minister would call it. There will be more uncertainty as to what some of these Articles mean. The Minister referred to the way in which business has been held up owing to uncertainty while the negotiations were going on. He is now prolonging that uncertainty by giving a peculiar interpretation to some Articles and slurring over the implications of others. It would be better if he explained to us what precisely these things committed us to. If all that he said about the Articles is true why was there such difficulty in getting [205] consent? Listening to him we were imposing this apparently on the British Government rather than the other way round. As I said earlier, the Government waited too long and inflicted intolerable losses on the nation because of the length of time they wasted. We have to face the problem that we do not get back to the economic position we were in before. Every class in this country will now have to start from an incomparably lower level than we had before and build up. I certainly hope that the House will pass this Agreement without dissent. While the people will have to start pretty far back in the race, at least there is the conviction that they are looking in the right direction. I regard as one of the principal advantages to be acknowledged as a result of the negotiations that, at last, the people are allowed to look in the proper direction.

I gather that not merely from the fact of this Agreement. But there are two other facts. I mentioned the fact of certain portions of the Taoiseach's speech yesterday and certain portions of the speech of the Minister for Industry and Commerce to-day. These were not ordinary speeches. If they were I should not pay much attention to them. I would find it extremely difficult to interpret what any phrase that the Taoiseach would use would mean, but the important thing is the fact that he made that speech—not any isolated phrase here and there but the fact that that speech was made by the leader of that Party in this House. That is a tremendous advance forward, a bigger advance even in some respect than many of the clauses in these Agreements. If I regret that there was delay in concluding these Agreements I still more regret that there was delay in making that speech. Let any Deputy in whatever part of the House he sits, ask himself this question: if the problems of this country had been faced with the same mentality that inspired one half of that speech that the House listened to yesterday from the Taoiseach, what a different position we should be in to-day? Everybody can see that themselves. I am not criticising the Taoiseach for the speech that he did make yesterday. On the contrary, I hope that the country [206] will look in the direction that by that speech yesterday he indicated that the country should look. I am not going to taunt him, as Deputy Davin did, for the tribute that he paid to the British Minister as to the way these negotiations were carried on. I am going to ask the country to recognise that at last that speech has been made from those benches and by the head of that Party. We can congratulate ourselves that that speech was made and that there is an end to this——

Mr. MacEntee: The Deputy seems to be annoyed it at the fact that the speech was made.

Professor O'Sullivan: On the contrary, if there was anyone annoyed it was not the people on these benches. If there was anybody in the House annoyed by portions of the speech which the Minister for Industry and Commerce made to-day it was not the people on these benches. If the minister for Finance had deserted his comfortable position and stood for a moment in the gallery above looking at the faces of those who sit behind him while that speech was being made, he would know where the good reception for the speech was coming from and where it was getting a very cold reception.

Mr. Davin: It is a pity that they were not photographed.

Mr. T. Kelly: What good would that do?

Professor O'Sullivan: I do not think it would do much good.

Mr. T. Kelly: It would not.

Professor O'Sullivan: I regret that there was an attack on that speech. It was a good speech—portions of it.

Mr. Briscoe: Like the curate's egg, bad in spots.

Professor O'Sullivan: Like the Deputy's factories, very spotty.

Mr. Briscoe: All good.

Professor O'Sullivan: I rarely in this House refer to the north or to the question of partition. I feel that the less we say on that at present the better. I would say the I think the speech made by the Taoiseach yesterday [207] has not put back a settlement with the North. I say further, had he that mentality many years ago some 16 years ago, there never would have been a boundary question. It may be that psychologically speaking we are now behind where we were 16 years ago. But at least, so far as that question is concerned, I believe again that we are looking in the right direction. I was surprised at the heat into which the Taoiseach got in relation to certain charges made by Deputy Dillon. We remember when those negotiations were inaugurated. I confess that I was amazed at the way in which the Northern question was dragged in and given publicity, by whom? By the Press by our Prim Minister, the Taoiseach, and by the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland. The last mentioned alone benefited. But why was the Taoiseach's anger to-day visited on Deputy, Dillon? Remember that for a couple of weeks that was the dominating question in these negotiations, and yet to-day what the Minister for Industry and Commerce said—he repeated it again towards the end of the speech—was that they had two main objects in entering these negotiations. This was no slip on his part because he repeated it again. He said that the two main objects were—entry into the British market and to secure that we would not be deprived of the right of protecting our industries. That was what the Minister said and he was speaking on behalf of his colleagues. He at least entered into these negotiations with no thought of the North in his head, and yet there was no indignation at that revelation, no indignation from the Taoiseach. He listened calmly.

Mr. MacEntee: The Deputy know that that is misrepresentation of the Minister for Industry and Commerce.

Professor O'Sullivan: That in enterring these negotiations—he repeated it twice.

Mr. MacEntee: He was referring to the Trade Agreement.

Professor O'Sullivan: He was referring to more than the Trade Agreement. He was referring also to the economic [208] War. Does the minister deny that? Why is it that these two things were singled out by him and the other left out? Be cause other was never in his head.

Mr. MacEntee: That was the problem to be solved in getting the Trade Agreement.

Professor O'Sullivan: I took a carefull note of what the Minister said, “that we entered on these negotiations to achieve two purposes, and these we have achieved.”

Mr. MacEntee In regard to the Trade Agreement.

Professor O'Sullivan: He said nothing of the kind. You can have it if you like in the amended report, but he did not say it in this House.

Mr. Victory: Get another Feethaw Commission.

Professor O'Sullivan: I did not catch what the Deputy said.

Mr. T. Kelly: We are not saying a word.

Professor O'Sullivan: I agree that the Deputy did not, but the Deputy sitting behind him did try to say something.

There is no question about the acceptance of this Agreement. There is no other alternative open to the people owing to the condition to which the country has been reduced by the Government. If I may parody a phrase that used to soil the walls of Dublin in unhappy days, I do not object to something which sums up the present policy “Heads up, and into friendly relations with the British!” It is better than “tails down and into the bog”; the bog in which we have been during the last six years. That is the effect of the Agreement, and let us acknowledge it is a good and sound policy and stick to it. Let us have an end of all this cant about the “only enemy” as a result, thank goodness, of the speech that we had the pleasure of having delivered in this House yesterday. All that at least is at an end. No longer our only possible enemy! Our best friend now! As we are on that, perhaps the Taoiseach would answer only or two questions? I think it is only fair to the House that the Taoiseach should tell us what he [209] thinks be will be the cost of putting the port in to the condition that he intends to put them in?

Mr. Davin: Fighting condition?

Professor O'Sullivan: Perhaps the Taoiseach would make that clear to us? Can he answer me straight off, or has he any idea of the sum it will cost to put the ports into that condition?

The Taoiseach: I am not going to make my speech piecemeal.

Professor O'Sullivan: Was there any figure, even for his information, mentioned in the course of the negotiations? Can he tell me that? The same sphinx-like attitude! Yet, I think people ought to be told. No secret negotiations—

Mr. MacEntee: The Deputy is debating, not cross-examining.

Professor O'Sullivan: Vague phrases. Remember, it is not merely this House which is being kept in ignorance. The people are being kept in ignorance as well. He spoke yesterday about putting them in a certain position, namely, for defence. One would have thought he would have made it clear, when Deputy Dillon put the question, whether it was naval defence or not.

Mr. MacEntee: That was not the word.

Professor O'Sullivan: It occurred several times. You can ignore the word, but it was there, and it was an important thing. From the point of view of defence policy we ought to know that. Secondly, have we now a defence polIcy? Before the debate concludes, perhaps the Taoiseach would at least give an outline of the essential portions of that defence policy. Is that again one of the matters upon which the Taoiseach will be silent, and simply refer us to yesterday's speech, which leaves all the essential points untouched?

We are, as I say, glad of the two pieces of evidence, the two acts that we had, the speech of yesterday and the speech of to-day, because they represent a conversion, however it was brought about. I do not at all say that this side claims credit for the conversion. Hard facts converted him, and the British Government converted him but we should never be able to get a [210] body of Irishmen who would convert him. But the conversion is there, and possibly an opportunity will be given to the Taoiseach once more of giving another explanation of what “another round” with England means. It means sitting around a conference table or sitting around a luncheon table Again the Taoiseach was original. Breakfasts were taboo owing to the action of the Irish Party; dinners were taboo owing to the action of this Party, so the Taoiseach took luncheons.

Mr. Davin: What about top hats?

Professor O'Sullivan: He will be different. He did that. Of course that is what he meant long ago when he mentioned “another round” with England !

Just as some time ago we abandoned the Republic, to-day we have solemnly abandoned the doctrine of self-sufficiency. I am sorry to say that many people in this country are quite ready to abandon portion of our fiscal autonomy, and there are some—I do not know how many—who are glad that there is such an abandonment, because of the use made of it by the Minister for Industry and Commerce in the last six years. It is a sorry confession to have to make that one of the crucial points of the negotiations of 1921 has now been scrapped, formally at least. As to the price fixed, we will have to wait for more detailed examination, but formally we are committed to an abandonment of that particular policy. As Deputies opposite know, the question of our right to exercise fiscal autonomy nearly broke down the negotiations of 1921. What is the situation to-day? As I said, owing to the unwise use made of that power by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, many of the people in the country are glad that some check has been put upon him, and that he will not be in a position to come down here any morning, without notice practically, and impose new tariffs, new costs on the people, and new interference with the business of this country. It may be that some industries may not suffer. Probably some will. There were hothouse industries started on every possible occasion by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. [211] They may suffer now. Some people may have been wise; they may have seen what was coming and got out. But there are men who put their money into those things and who will suffer a loss as a result of their trust in the Government. The Minister for Industry and Commerce quoted us a speech made on the 31st January last. That was after the negotiations had been initiated!

Fiscally, you found this country free. Fiscally, from the formal point of view, you have put her into chains. We spent much of our time in this House in the last five or six years doing away with mere symbols, or as the Prime Minister put it on one famous occasion, converting into words things which were already facts, yet with an accent of scorn in the Minister's voice we abandon, formally at all events, our fiscal autonomy. The element of scorn in the Minister's voice certainly struck us on this side of the House as very peculiar.

Once more I can only say that it is time a settlement was made. The Taoiseach was not right yesterday when he said it was the first moment. He knows perfectly well it was the last moment; that the country could not have lasted out another 12 months. He knows that. He knows that that was so in the case of the cattle pact, and he knows it in the case of this Agreement. It was not the first moment at which he could make a treaty; it was the last moment. He could not push it further, and he knew that when he made his speech.

Mr. Aiken: That is a helpful statement.

Professor O'Sullivan: It is a great deal more helpful than many portions of the speech by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. We should be glad to hear from the Minister for Defence what the defence programme is. Perhaps, he will enlighten us?

Mr. Aiken: We might do that.

Professor O'Sullivan: You might? What do the Irish people matter? Other people may know what the [212] policy is, but the Irish people will not. They have got to wait and see.

The Taoiseach: Is this the time for outlining the defence policy?

Professor O'Sullivan: You may throw your shield over him, but it was the Minister for Defence himself who butted into the speech. Get the protection of the Chair to throw a veil between your defence policy and the Irish people. Appeal to him for protection by all means. The Taoiseach knows he is not going to give the information during this debate. We have an indication of it now.

Mr. Davin: Deputy Flinn is going to give it.

Mr. Flinn: I might.

Professor O'Sullivan: We can accept those Agreements. As I said already, let us work them to the best interests of the country now that at last the Government and the Party to which they belong—I hope all the Party are of that mind—are looking in the same direction. Make the most out of it without having any arriére pensée of any kind. Work them fully and honourably as between one country and the other, and make the most out of them. That is the one piece of advice I have to give to the Government.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance (Mr. Flinn): Deputy O'Sullivan suggested that this was not the first moment at which we could have made a successful negotiation. He said it was the last moment. Well, it was neither the first moment nor the last moment—it was the right moment. It was the moment when, as the Taoiseach said yesterday, a concurrence of a number of propitious circumstances had rendered successful negotiation possible. I believe that one of the elements of strength, both in negotiating at this time and in relation to the Agreement which was entered into, was the actual people who were negotiating. On the one side, you had those who could speak for the die-hard, for the old Tory, for the British Empire Party—what was said on behalf of the present Government in England committed in a way [213] in which that Government would not have been committed if it had been of a different constitution—all those elements in the English State who, in the past, have stood not merely for the subjection of Ireland, but for the doctrine that they owned us body and soul and could do with us, of their own judgment, what they liked, as a right. There are many much more liberal, much wider, much more broad and democratic sentiments held by different Parties in England than that. There are people who have defended their action over all the centuries in relation to this country on entirely different lines; but a Tory Government in England stands, as far as anyone can stand, in direct succession to those who held in relation to this country an entirely different principle —the principle of ownership of a chattel. On the other side, you have a Government in this State, speaking for the moat advanced national opinion, capable of committing, in a way in which the previous Government in this country could not have committed, that national opinion to an agreement of this or any other character. One of the fundamental difficulties which our predecessors had in relation to any agreement which they entered into was the doubt as to whether their signature would be honoured by other generations. In so far as national opinion in the Twenty-Six Counties can be committed, the most efficient persons, the most efficient Government to commit that opinion were those who, on behalf of this State, did negotiate in London. But neither they nor anybody else have to-day the power to commit that opinion unless and until there is some Government which has the acknowledged right and title, with the consent of all the people of this country, to speak in the name of the people of Ireland. No one has a right to commit the whole of Ireland to any Government—I mean for the whole of Ireland.

One of the enormous advances that have been made as a result of this discussion is the fact that we are, not merely looking forward now to some in finite, distant pant in the future, [214] but we are looking forward to a proximate moment—a proximate moment when the whole of the people represented in this House are prepared to say that the supreme common object of all Parties and all people represented in this House—the outstanding, over mastering, overwhelming purpose beyond which no other will be allowed to stand in comparison—is the reintegration of this country as one unbroken, indivisible whole. It is because we had those two negotiators that we have the strength behind this Agreement and the possibility of making this Agreement, which previously did not exist. It has been suggested that, if the Taoiseach had made, five or six years ago, a speech of the character which he made here yesterday, those negotiations could have been put forward by six years. I want you to test that against the simple facts of the case, and I am not saying to-day anything for the purpose of controversy of any kind whatever. I am taking it purely as an objective fact. Over a period of eleven year you had a previous Government here, and many of them, I think had sincerely come to believe in the truth of the professions of the kind they made. When our predecessors negotiated with the British Government in relation to any matter, they were entitled to be regarded as members of the House. They were entitled to be regarded as men who had given pledges of their loyalties, men who had made sacrifices and taken risks for those loyalties, men who had done and said all that was possible for them to do and say to assure the British Government, not merely of their good faith, but of their good feeling, towards Britain and the Empire. You had eleven years of promise and profession of that kind. Surely, they were in a position to negotiate very successfully, under those circumstances. Was it possible for us to get into that Position? Yet we know, that in any negotiation into which they did enter all that previous record of good feeling and good faith was disregarded. We know that it did not enable them to get anything from the British Government for which they asked and to which they thought they were entitled.

Why have we been able to make [215] this Agreement. Because at the present moment, and after four or five years of economic war, the position in this country relative to England economically has been proved to be amazingly and unbelievably different from what it was supposed to be when we entered upon the contest. Go back in recollection to the day on which the economic war broke out, when it was believed, honestly believed, by members on the other side, and honestly feared by a great many people not on the other side, that the economic strength of England relative to the economic strength of Ireland in that contest was so overwhelming that the duration of the contest could be measured in weeks and that the end of it was certain bankruptcy or surrender. That will be in the recollection of every honest man. If they could impose upon us the duty of paying that which we withheld on the ground that we did not believe it to be due in honour or in law, by the economic sanction of tariffs upon the perishable products which we had accumulated and had to export, then it was clear that they could impose upon us any other sanction not merely in relation to our economic, but our social, our political, our national life. Three months, six months, nine months—very few people, I think, certainly no one on the Opposition benches, stretched their imagination to an endurance of nine months of that contest. One Deputy opposite envisaged in six months 400,000 cattle lying dead in the fields.

What did happen? Did any one of these terrible things come out? Did three months, six months, nine months, or any other period see bankruptcy or surrender? Surely it is true that every passing day uncovered a new capacity, a new strength, a new power, both of resource and endurance, in our people, and that as the days passed it became evident that a peace of dictation would never be made a peace as between England and Ireland again. The real big outstanding fact of the economic war, of which this Agreement, by consent and after negotiation, [216] is a proof, is the economic strength and the national resolution of our people, which combined, won us into a position to endure long enough until the psychological moment came which the wisdom of our own leaders took advantage of to make this settlement.

The economic war has been defined as a nightmare. I define it as a revelation. It was a revelation both to Britain and to us. I for one have always envisaged as a necessary part of the development of this country a time when we would come to such an issue as this; when it would be tried out, whether; in fact, because England was our only customer, she did, in fact, own us body and soul. The proof of the years that have passed is that she does not; that as and when we are challenged on this matter again, when that particular relation of our trade to hers is used or threatened to be used for any purpose whatever, we in Ireland are in a position to say that that threat will be as ineffective then as it has been in the last five years.

Ireland does not start from scratch; she does not start from behind scratch, she starts a long way ahead of anywhere she ever was before, because she starts knowing that she can, with the resolution of her people, the resources of her own land, and the capacity for readjustment of her people to their economic necessities, meet that attack in the gate and defeat it as she has done. The strength of the Agreement is that it is not made between a master and his slave; it is not made between two people one of whom can dictate to the other. It is made between two people who have to be understood as people who will negotiate upon even terms to decide the issues between them on their merits and their fair merits only, apart from force.

Mr. Gorey: What about the Six Counties then?

Mr. Flinn: What about any other hares?

Dr. Ryan: What about the Kildare hares?

Mr. Flinn: I believe, without doubting, that any Government of this [217] country, under any Constitution whatever and under any franchise whatever, which could speak for the whole of Ireland is better than any alternative Government. It is something on which I could build, but my real difficulty is, and always has been, that we could envisage the extension of the liberty and the powers of those 26 counties and its Government up to the absolute limit of what we would demand and still we would not be over the border. If there was any sacrifice that could be made which did not touch the future or the integrity of Ireland it would be worth making—any material sacrifice of any kind would be worth making to rein tegrate the country and to begin to build from there. And the one great advantage of this Agreement, of the discussion which is taking place on it and the discussion which will take place after it, is that the whole of the 26 counties to-day will be united in cooperation with our nationalist fellow-countrymen in the North to reintegrate the country, to bring our nationalist and our non-nationalist fellow-countrymen back together into one.

Now, you may turn for a moment to the question of the ports. It has been said by Deputy Cosgrave, and it has been denied-that is a matter for investigation otherwise—that he could in fact have got back tho ports seven or eight years ago if he chose. He did not choose to do so. Again, I am not using that in any except an objective sense. He might well have taken the view that as long as we were oath-bound in this country to another country, as long as we were governed in the name of the King of another country, as long as our judicial decisions had to be submitted to the sanction of another country, that the taking over of the ports was a formality of very little importance—that the were fact that another country had the power in time of war or strained relations to resume those ports, to resume the whole possession of any portion of this country, any portion of our transport or other facilities, rendered the taking over of those ports of little importance. That is a view which he might have held. But, when all those considerations have departed. then the question of taking [218] over the ports becomes a very much more important thing. There is still —and I want to be perfectly frank about it—the difficulty of the bridge head which is already in this country. It is possible for people to take the line, even now, that as long as that bridge-head does exist, as long as that power to keep troops in this country behind those ports exists it is questionable how advantageous it is to take them over. But certainly the position has changed to the extent that many of the constitutional dificulties which would have rendered the possession of those ports of very little importance have in fact disappeared. We, in the process of, step by step, getting possession of the whole of this territory, have chosen to take back those pieces of national possession and protection. They have been taken back without any condition of any sort or kind, expressed or implied. They are our property and if we choose to neglect them we can. If we choose to spend money on them we can, but the people who are going to decide whether we spend 50 pence or 500,000 pence are the people who vote for every member of this Dáil and send them back to take the responsibility of the votes which they have given them. The ports are ours. The responsibility for dealing with them and the power in relation to them is ours. That power, that responsibility, cannot be implemented in any way without the consent of those people and will not be implemented in any other way.

The question has arisen in relation to the annuities, whether this £10,000,000 which has been or is to be paid is an admission of any moral or legal liability on our part in relation to the annuities. That question was asked by Deputy Davin, and I think it was a very relevant and very proper one.

Mr. Davin: Deputy Norton.

Mr. Flinn: Yes, Deputy Norton.

Mr. Davin: He addressed that question to the Taoiseach.

Mr. Flinn: I know that. The questions at issue in that particular matter [219] were of two different kinds. One was the annuities, and the other was a mixed amount represented by local loans, judicial pensions, and things of that kind. In relation to annuities and so on it has been declared by this Government on behalf of the people who elected them as a Government that those moneys were not due and would not be paid unless and until it was decided by an impartial tribunal that they were owing. Eventually, when the only real answer to that—the answer that we are going to take them anyway—was given, there was finally given the answer that because these moneys were not morally or legally due no penny of them would be paid, and that guarantee has been carried out. This money is not in any way a condonement; it is not in any way a restorement or in any way a ransom or a concession.

Mr. Davin: Or a token payment?

Mr. Flinn: Or a token payment.

Mr. McGowan: What is it?

Mr. Flinn: It was clearly understood from the very beginning of these negotiations that they were not going to pay a penny of the annuities whatever happened. But there is another sum of money and that is rather a mixed sum of money. It is a complicated question in relation to quite a few of them to what extent we were or were not liable. The estimated value of these other sums which were in dispute but which were not in the same position as the land annuities in the sense that we had never said we would never pay them, was somewhere about £10,000,000, and whether you call £10,000,000 a token payment or whatever you like to call it that £10,000,000 is in relation to those other things and is not in relation to the annuities.

Mr. Davin: Has Mr. Chamberlain authorised you to say that?

Mr. MacEntee: Has he authorised the Deputy to deny it?

Mr. Flinn: It has been rather suggested to me that I should not occupy the whole evening; otherwise I might [220] delay in replying to the Deputy. Now I think the great advantage that we have Had out of the thing is that we are now in a position to move forward. I do not accept for one single moment, and I think Deputy Davin is in the same position—that he does not accept it for a single moment—that we are coming out of this economic war broken and defeated. I think we are coming out of this economic war amazingly strengthened—amazingly in so far as we have shown capacity and resolution which people did not believe previously existed and I think we have come out as a people united upon one purpose. I think that the people in all parties are united now in declaring that the primal, first, last, and all the time, national purpose of all the people in the 26 counties and our nationalist colleagues in the North is to use every effort and every right and every power they possess in the world to see that that unity is brought about again.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: I have often heard empty speeches delivered in this House, but I wonder if I ever heard a more empty speech than the speech which was delivered with such an effort at emphasis by the last speaker. I certainly should have thought that the financial provisions of this document and the Trade Agreement would be considered worthy of notice by a Deputy who used to talk so much about finance and who is Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance. But what do we get from him? We get a great number of statements when he deals with statements of fact at all which are in themselves utterly at variance with historical fact, and we get a great deal of talk about the end of Partition by means of this document, but as to how this document is going to help to end Partition the Parliamentary Secretary could not give us even the slightest hint.

I am not going to waste the time of the House dealing with the Parliamentary Secretary beyond pointing out the misstatements of fact which he made. He made a statement to the effect that the negotiations which the previous Government conducted [221] with Great Britain were in the nature of negotiations between master and slave, and that the previous Government, had never been able to effect anything by negotiations. That statement, as every Deputy and every person in the country knows, is utterly and entirely false. Everybody in this House and in this country must know that the previous Government, by negotiation with Great Britain, achieved results far and away greater than anything contained in this document, and far and away greater than any results which ever have been, or could be, achieved by the Fianna Fáil Party. I have only to take this very Treaty here and to read Article 5 with its liability for what were described by Deputies opposite as enormous sums of money. How did that Article go? It went by negotiation. It did not take five weeks and there were none of these onerous conditions which this Agreement contains in return for it. Was that nothing? Was that an agreement between master and slave? There were larger sums of money at issue then than there are now and larger sums than this document deals with. Yet they were taken away, and taken away in a very short space of time by negotiators who were members of a previous Administration.

The Parliamentary Secretary talked about parliamentary advances. I wonder if the Parliamentary Secretary has got the ordinary knowledge that the ordinary man in the street has? I wonder if he is suffering from an absolute, complete and entire absence of memory, or if he is suffering from congenital incapacity to understand what is happening? Did the Parliamentary Secretary ever hear of the Statute of Westminster? Is the Statute of Westminster not the supplement to the Treaty? Was it not the Statute of Westminster, which plus the Treaty, brought complete and entire sovereignty to the Twenty-Six Counties which form this State? Has he never heard of that? Is the Parliamentary Secretary not aware that that was brought about by negotiation and that the passing of that Statute was due to the members of a previous [222] Administration in this State, and especially to the late Mr. kevin O'Higgins and to Deputy McGilligan? They are the real authors of the Statute of Westminster as anybody who reads the reports of the Imperial Conference can discover, and yet the Parliamentary Secretary, completely ignoring facts, makes a statement abounding in false ideas with which he has—although I should not really so describe it—delighted the House.

The Parliamentary Secretary read things into this Agreement which are not there. It says:

“The Government of Eire agree to pay to the Government of the United Kingdom on or before the 30th November, 1938, the sum of £10,000,000 sterling.”

Where is there any word that none of that is attributable to the land annuities? Where is there any word that none of that is attributable to the police pensions? It is attributable to every single one of them. Where is the limitation? I take the written document and if there is a limitation, it must be set out in that written document. Where is it? There is none. It shows the very opposite because the £10,000,000 constitute, by Article 2, a final settlement of all financial claims of either of the two Governments against the other arising out of matters occurring before the date of this Agreement. That sum of £10,000,000 is a payment on foot of the land annuities because that was one of the things which were in dispute, and it is so expressed in that Agreement, if yon read Articles 1 and together. That sum of £10,000,000 is a payment on foot of the police pensions because that, too, was one of the claims which arose out of matters occurring before the date of this Agreement. The thing is as plain as a pikestaff, on the interpretation of this document, and yet the Parliamentary Secretary gets up here and spins out some rigmarole, which I do not think anybody in the House attempted to understand, about nebulous other sums amounting to £20,000,000. Now I have finished with the Parliamentary Secretary and I go on to deal with this document itself.

[223] For a great number of years we have pressed upon the Fianna Fáil Party that it is, and was, an absolute essential for the prosperity and advancement of this country that duties should be taken off our cattle and farm produce, that it was absolutely necessary for the well-being of our State, which was founded upon agriculture, that we should have free access to the British market, and that we should have the same access to the British market as we had in 1932. From platform after platform, we have put forward that view. We were contradicted; we were told that we were traitors to the country if we put forward such a view; and we were told that negotiation with Great Britain and peace with Great Britain would be a dishonourable betrayal of Irish nationality and all the rest. I am sure the Deputies opposite remember the speeches they made without my calling them further to their attention. I am glad, however, that the Government have now changed their view, that they have been converted to our outlook, and that they recognise that a settlement with Great Britain is advisable and a settlement which would get us back our markets highly advisable. They have not got us quite the same position as we had in 1932 in the British market. They have not under this Agreement got us a completely free and unfettered entrance into the British market because there are certain restrictions here and there and certain powers are reserved to Great Britain to deal with our agricultural produce going into Great Britain, but I sincerely hope that it will prove in practice that we have got, if not quite the same, very nearly the same free access. In consequence, agriculture in Ireland now gets a fair start again. The terrible disabilities under which agriculture laboured during the past five years have ceased to be, and it is possible for an intelligent Irish farmer to use his land profitably as he used to be able to use it and to farm his land upon the correct and proper method—the only method by which Irish land can be made to pay. That is so much to the good. We have got back [224] very near to the 1932 position, and I thank God for that. I recognise fully the advance that will make in the position of the people, but, I want to impress upon the Minister for Agriculture, who is now in the House, what he must know—that the last five years have been a staggering five years for the people who have been trying to make their living out of the land. The Minister himself recognises that Irish land is now much under-stocked. The Minister must also recognise that the holocaust of calves, in which he indulged, has had the effect of considerably lowering the cattle population. If the Government want anything like a quick revival, if the evils of the last five years are to be got over in the next three or four years, and if the farming community are to be in as good a position as they were in 1932, certain steps will have to be taken to relieve them. One of those steps should take the form of a loan to farmers whose land is not fully stocked in order that they may stock it to the fullest capacity and that the country may produce the maximum of wealth. The other step should take the form of derating. If the burden of rating is taken off the farmer and if, at the same time, farmers who desire to restock their lands—there are thousands of farmers whose lands are understocked—are given reasonable facilities, then I do foresee a revival in Irish agriculture and I do foresee a restoration of the people to the position in which they were in the year 1932. I pass to the trade portion of this Agreement. I must confess that I have never been more astonished by any speech than I was by the speech delivered to-day by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. There was a time when the Minister used to be looked upon as the leader of the most keenly enthusiastic section of the community which favoured the protectionist policy. The speech of the Minister was a complete abandonment of protection as a policy. The Minister's speech was one that could be made by the most orthodox free-trade economist who has ever lived. What does the Minister's speech amount to? He says that there shall be protection—I am going to read and comment upon Article 8 in a [225] moment—for nascent industry. There never was a free-trade writer that did not admit that. Go back to the most extreme days of laissez faire. Go back to the days when laissez faire was the doctrine put before the English people, the doctrine of which Cobden was the principal speaker and on which David Ricardo and John Stuart Mill were the great writers. Every single one of them, when putting forward their doctrine of free trade, made one exception —that rising industries could not compete with well-established industries and that, therefore, in that one instance, protective duties were allowable under free-trade principles. That one exception to free-trade principles represents the only protective view which the Minister for Industry and Commerce now holds. We have, therefore, the strange position that the Minister for Industry and Commerce is at present a whole-hog free-trader. I propose to read Article 8 because the Minister put a construction on that Article which it is not capable of bearing. The Article is as follows:—

“The Government of Eire undertake that a review shall be made as soon as practicable by the Prices Commission of existing protection duties and other import restrictions in accordance with the principle that such duties and restrictions upon goods produced or manufactured in the United kingdom shall be replaced by duties which shall not exceed such a level as will give to United Kingdom producers and manufacturers full opportunity of reasonable competition, while affording to Eire industries adequate protection, having regard to the relative cost of economical and efficient production, provided that, in the application of this principle, special consideration may be given to the case of industries not fully established. The tariff on goods produced or manufactured in the United Kingdom will be adjusted, where necessary, to give effect to the recommendations of the Prices Commission.”

The position is that the Prices Commission must have sent to them by the Government a question on every single [226] tariff now existence. These tariffs must be dealt with by the Prices Commission in a particular way. That is to say, the primary consideration of the Prices Commission in fixing tariffs must be that United Kingdom producers have full opportunity of reasonable competition. That is the primary cousidertion, and, next to that, comes the consideration that Eire industries must receive adequate protection, having regard to the relative cost of economic and efficient production, special consideration being given to industries not fully established. If you have a fully-established, properly-run industry, the Prices Commission must recommend that the tariff be completely and entirely taken off. The Prices Commission have no choice. If the industry is properly and efficiently run, and is well established, it can receive no protection under that Article. There can be no doubt about the meaning of the Article. The meaning of the Article is as clear as daylight. Nobody can contradict that interpretation. But if it is not, if the rslative costs of economical and efficient production be higher in this country—that is to say, if it be not a properly and skilfully-run industry—if it is not an industry which in efficiency is up to the British level, then it can receive protection. If, having regard to efficiency, it is up to the British level, an Irish industry can receive no protection. If it is inefficient, it is uneconomic; if either the managers are not men of business ability, or the output of the workmen, through inefficiency or other causes, is less than the output of the English workmen; if the industry as a whole is not as efficient as the English industry, then it can receive protection. That seems to me to be a very unpleasant state of affairs. In other words, you are putting a penalty upon efficiency in this country. You are telling an efficient man: “Bring your business up to the English standard, and slick off every protective duty will come; but keep yourself behind the British standard, keep yourself so that the relative cost of economical and efficient production is higher than it is in England, and then you can receive the protection of a tariff.” That is not [227] going to make for efficiency in this country.

I am a protectionist. I believe in the doctrine of protection properly and wisely applied, not indiscriminately applied. I fully believe in protection as an instrument if properly and wisely used. But I do recognise that protection, while it has its advantages, such as giving employment and other advantages that I need not enumerate, has got one disadvantage, and that is that it invariably leads to a higher cost to the consumer for the article produced. You might have a condition of affairs, possibly, in which an industry being perfectly well run and perfectly efficient would sell articles, as a matter of fact, at the same price as imported articles. If you have an inefficient industry—and here you are putting a premium on inefficiency—it means that your consumer will always have to pay more. I do not think that there could be an Article devised very much worse than Article 8.

And then the question is to be decided by the Prices Commission. Now, the Prices Commission become a very important body; they become the most important body in this country, one might say. The Oireachtas puts a tariff upon certain goods imported either for the purpose of protection or of revenue. Under Article 13 an English manufacturer has the right of audience before the Prices Commission. He will go before them and the Commission may send notice to the Houses of the Oireachtas that the tariff is too high, it does not give British manufacturers full opportunity of reasonable competition, and of course the Oireachtas must honour this Treaty when it is passed and must immediately reduce the tariff. The Prices Commission, therefore, are going to be a body with tremendous power in this State. They will act in a judicial capacity. There are principles laid down in a Article 8 which bind them and the Commission will have to act in a judicial capacity. They will have various parties appear ing before them and I take it those parties will be able to appear by counsel and saalicitors and they can have such [228] legal representatives as they wish appearing before the Commission.

I should like the Prime Minister to consider this matter very carefully. The members of the Prices Commission, when they were appointed, were appointed for a completely different purpose. It never was visualised that they were going to have these tremendously great powers, powers which are vitally important to this country. It was never visualised that they would have judicial powers over the parties appearing before them. I certainly think the Executive Council should very carefully consider whether they should not have at least one High Court Judge as a member of this Prices Commission or, if they have not a High Court Judge, they at any rate should have somebody with trained mind and legal experience as Chairman of the Prices Commission, because this may lead to a great deal of ill-feeling possibly, between the two countries.

I agree completely with what Deputy Dillon said. I believe the Governments of the two countries will carry on and that the British Government will not act unreasonably so far as this State is concerned. But this is not a matter between the British Government and the Government of Ireland. This is a matter, and will prove itself to be a matter, between individual English manufacturers and the Prices Commission. Therefore, I think that it is quite possible that if a United kingdom producer or manufacturer comes before the Prices Commission and is dissatisfied with the finding, that he will endeavour to bring political pressure immediately on his home government to infiuence us and he will bring newspaper and other pressure to bear. For that particular reason I would like to see the Prices Commission completely above all suspicion. I would like to see a Prices Commission, too, which would have at least one member a man of judicial experience who has been trained to interpret documents and to weigh facts.

I would like also to point out to the House that Article 8 is an overriding Article. Take boots as an example. There is a maximum duty put upon boots. I am just taking boots as one [229] particular item. Even though the maximum duty which can be put upon boots is 20 per cant. ad valorem, boots like everything else must come before the Prices Commission, and, though they are dealt with in another Article—there is no limitation at all put upon Article 8—it is quite on the cards that a United Kingdom manufacturer would say he was not being given full opportunity of reasonable competition with the Irish boot factories and in consequence 20 per cent. is a great deal too high and it will have to be cut down. I do not think the entire implications of Article 8 and what it might lead to have been grasped entirely by Deputies opposite.

I am perfectly aware of the fact that there are two Articles very similar to Article 8 in the Ottawa agreement with Australia, but the conditions were completely different. Leaving out entirely the question which Deputy Cosgrave dealt with the other day of the relative balance of trade between the two countries, there is also this great difference, that Great Britain is right beside us; Canada and Australia are a very long way away. Canada and Australia have been building up industries under native Governments for a very long time and we have not, and also, although Canada and Australia accepted this Article 8, unless I am entirely mistaken, both Africa and New Zealand turned it down and there is no clause at all similar to Article 8 in South Africa. It may be in New Zealand, but I am not sure. I am not very much interested in that and I only refer to it because of the fact that the Minister for Industry, and Commerce dealt with it to-day. That is my only reason for referring to it. I am not very much interested in what Canada or Australia are able to agree to in their own particular circumstances. What I am looking to is how Article 8 suits this country. It seems to me that Article 8 is eminently unsuitable for the preservation of our industries. When I look through this Article and the whole of this Agreement I find a great deal of help for British-manufactured articles [230] coming into this country, but I do not find anywhere one single protection or help for any manufactured article going from this country into Great Britain.

Dr. Ryan: They are going in free.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: There is no Agreement that they will be free.

Dr. Ryan: Will the Deputy read the Agreement?

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Where is there in the Agreement any statement that all articles manufactured in this country will go in free?

Dr. Ryan: All articles produced in this country.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Where is that in the Agreement?

Dr. Ryan: Read Article 1. The Deputy ought to have read that Article before he started.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Yes, the Minister may be right.

“This paragraph does not apply to goods which, on the day on which this Agreement comes into force, are liable to duty under the Import Duties Act, 1932, or the Ottawa Agreements Act, 1932, and under some other enactment.”

From that I gather that there is no cutting down of existing British duties. These are not in the slightest bit cut down.

Dr. Ryan: Every duty but revenue duty.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Yes, but remember that revenue duties come under a different heading altogether. Who is going to decide what is the difference between protective and revenue duties? As I have said in the earlier portion of the remarks I addressed to the House, this Agreement is giving a fresh start in life to Irish agriculture. It is making it possible that Irish land can now be used profitably by the owners and occupiers. But I do lament and lament very much that this Agreement was not entered into a very considerable time ago. The Prime Minister, when speaking the other day, said it was impossible to have done so any earlier. He declared that there were political [231] difficulties in the way of settling this economic dispute. It is within my recollection and I am sure within the recollection of the House, that the President of the Executive Council, as he was then called, with certain other Ministers went over to London, that they had a short negotiation, lasting half a day. The negotiations broke off. As far as we were told at the time they were broken off on economic and not on political issues. This is the very first time I have heard that those negotiations were broken off upon political issues. If they were political issues I sincerely hope that the Taoiseach will tell us what the political issue or issues were on which they were broken off. We remember the Taoiseach going to England, accompanied by his Ministers. We all gave him our best wishes on his journey and we expressed the hope that he would come back with something. He came back but certainly he did not tell us that Great Britain had broken off negotiations on political issues. I do not believe that Great Britain did break them off on that account. I believe they were broken off entireIy upon financial issues. If that be the case it was not on political issues they were broken off. They were broken off simply because the Prime Minister had not then grown in stature. The point was well put from the Labour Benches to-day. He had not come up to the Cumann na nGaedheal stature. He has not got to that yet but at the time he was in London he did not approximate to it as much as he approximates to it now. If he had approximated to the Cumann na nGaedheal stature on the occasion of his first trip the result would have been more profitable than his second negotiations. I say that because I believe that was a better time to make a bargain than the present time. It would have been far better to pay £30,000,000 then than to pay £10,000,000 at the moment, considering tha losses which the country has since suffered.

The Taoiseach: Going back to 1932.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Yes, I was about to point that out.

[232] Minister for Agriculture (Dr. Ryan): I want to say a word with regard to what Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney has said in connection with Article 8. Deputy Fitzgerald - Kenney takes delight in misrepresenting what other Deputies have said. The Deputy said that the Minister for Industry and Commerce made a free trade speech. One would need to have either the ingenuity or the courage or the will for misrepresentation that the Deputy has in order to follow him in this matter. Coming to the interpretation of Article 8, Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney says that in order to get protection here the factory must be inefficient. God help this country if we are going to have that sort of interpretation of our agreements. The Agreement means the very opposite; it makes one despair to listen to Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney. Anyone reading Article 8 can see plainly that the fact of being inefficient rules out a factory. A factory must be economically and efficiently run in order to get protection. That is laid down in the Article. It is what the Deputy says is not in the Article that is actually in it. Where a Deputy can get up and rely on his legal knowledge to give an interpretation by saying “yes” where he ought to say “no” he must be either very careless in his reading of those things or he must be himself incapable of interpreting the Article.

A lot has been said about Article 8, and I just want to say this before we go on to other matters. It has been said that we have surrendered our fiscal autonomy. Everybody here knows that when we went to negotiate this Trade Treaty what we aimed at was to get free entry for our goods, whether agricultural or otherwise, to the British market. Everybody knows, I am sure, that in order to get that under a trade agreement we would have to do something to promote trade for the British here. We could have done that, as the British did, by giving free entry here. That would be one way to meet them, to give them free entry for their goods here [233] as they give as free entry for our goods there, or we could have said “That would absolutely ruin our industries and therefore we could hardly be expected to go as far as you would go.” We might say: “We will scale down our tariffs in order to give some better advantage to the British than other countries are getting in our market.” That was the idea with which we started the negotiations, but we found that in order to do that our officials would have necessarily to consult with the manufacturers in every single group, get their views—not necessarily accept their views—and also get the views of others, sift out and weigh these, and then go back to the British and say: “We can reduce the tariff on such and such a thing.” That, however, would take months and months, because there is a huge list of tariffs.

Although we commenced on that basis, we had to abandon it and we had to get some general way of dealing with the matter. We did deal with some classes on that basis. We came to a third way—to name an independent body that could investigate these matters and say what would be a fair tariff, having in view the interests of our industries here, the necessity for development here and at the same time having in view what would give the British importer a fair chance of competition. As a matter of fact we adopted all these three methods in part. We did take the duties off some things straight away. We did scale down some of the duties and then we adopted the method of referring matters to this body known as the Prices Commission. We are told that we surrendered our fiscal autonomy by doing that. I think that the, Opposition in the British Parliament could just as well say to the British Government: “You have surrendered your fiscal autonomy to these people on the other side by taking off all these duties.”

It must be remembered that Article 8 provides adequate protection for our manufacturers. What is more, it goes further and it provides for special consideration for new industries. I had, however, intended to deal principally [234] with the Articles of this Trade Agreement which refer to agriculture. Under Article 1 there will be free entry as far as duties are concerned. There will be no further duties on agricultural products from this country going into the British market.

Mr. Fagan: Will there be any need for licences for cattle?

Dr. Ryan: I shall come to that. That would be under Article 3. That of course will mean an immediate benefit to the farmers on certain items but no benefit whatever on other items. I am able to say that now because I said it for the last five or six years. I know Deputies opposite will believe me now but they would not have believed me for the last five or six years. It will mean a benefit on cattle exported. The tariffs on cattle ranged from £1 up to £4 5s.

Mr. Gorey: In recent years.

Dr. Ryan: Yes, for the last couple of years. Deputies opposite if they were speaking in this House a fortnight ago would have tried to persuade the exporter that he would get the full benefit of the remission of the tariffs if they were taken off. The Irish Independent states now that they will only get half that. We are told that they are only going to get half. I do not know where the other half goes. I held the view for the last five or six years that if the tariffs were taken off, the exporters would not get the full benefit because there was a slight part of the tariff being paid by the English buyer. That was scoffed at. I was told that that was nonsense by the people on the other side, but now their official organ warns the farmer that he will not get the full benefit of the removal of the tariffs when they are taken off, that the English buyer had been paying part of the tariff and therefore that the farmer must not expect the price of these cattle to go up by £4 5s., that they will probably only go up by £2 10s.

Mr. Gorey: Possibly on stores.

Dr. Ryan: They never said for the last five years that it was possible that they would not get the full benefit of the remission of tariffs if they were removed.

[235] Mr. Fagan: £2 10s. and £1 10s. of a bounty makes up £4.

Dr. Ryan: I am leaving out the bounty. Deputy Gorey and everybody is prepared to admit now that they will not get the full benefit of the removal of the tariffs when they are taken off, but they would not have admitted that during the last five years.

Mr. Gorey: The Minister knows that there has been gambling on this question of tariffs over the last couple of months in regard to store cattle. In regard to beef, it is quite different because there could be no gambling done in beef. The Minister is no fool.

Dr. Ryan: I say that the farmers are going to get benefits when the duties are removed, but not probably to the full amount of the tariffs. Everybody agrees with me when I say that, now that the economic war is over, but they would not have agreed with me in the last five or six years. These are the only items on which there is an immediats advantage to the farmers because in the case of dairy products we were giving producers here mare than the world price for the last five years. Deputy Bennett said to me here on more than one occasion: “Drop these bounties and we will make much more on our calves.”

Mr. Bennett: So we will.

Dr. Ryan: So you will certainly, but I met a big number of Deputy Bennett's constituents this morning. I did not want to let Deputy Bennett down. I would not do it to a colleague for anything. I said to them: “There were farmers during the last four or five years who said that if the economic war were over they would not need subsidies any more on dairy products because they would be doing so well in rearing calves.” One of the constituents of the Deputy then said to me: “The man who said that knew nothing about the dairying industry.” I did not tell them who said it. As I have said, I would not let down a colleague.

Mr. Heron: They know now, anyhow.

Dr. Ryan: Yes, they will when this is published.

Mr. Bennett: I would not like to let the Minister down, either.

[236] Dr. Ryan: They said the man who said it knew nothing about the dairying industry, and to my great surprise they said to me this morning:

“You will have to continue to give us the good price we were getting during the economic war.”

Mr. Corry: I am glad there were some sensible men in the country.

Dr. Ryan: As a matter of fact I anticipated, even though the economic war was settled that we would have to be prepared to go before the Dáil with an Export Bounty Vote and say— perhaps this will be a disappointment to those on the opposite side—that even though the economic war is settled, and even though we have got the beautiful British market, it will not pay our farmers.

Mr. Fagan: Are we going to get other alternative markets?

Mr. Gorey: Johnnie Lord has a chance.

Dr. Ryan: The alternative market is not gone.

Mr. Davin: I hope the consumers will not have to pay for it.

Dr. Ryan: That is another point. I said to these butter producers and to people representing the dairying industry that while my forecast might be wrong—it was often wrong before— the English market would give 112/- per cwt. I do not think dairy farmers could live on that. Even though we have got back the Engiish market, and God knows I was asked often enough to get it back, the dairy farmers cannot live on that price. I said to them that I would go before the Dáil and try to get money to bolster up that price, and to give them something better than the English market could give. I expect to give them 130/- in the coming year. Dairy produce did not benefit from this agreement so that as far as these farmers are concerned they are no better off. They are, however, better off in this way, that we will give them . something out of voted funds.

Mr. Keating: Will the home consumers get the benefit?

[237] Dr. Ryan: This means that the price of butter to consumers must go up naturally. Deputy Davin asked if we were going to make it possible to have butter, bacon and everything else sold to home consumers at the same price as consumers get these things in England or in alternative markets. We could not. I remember making a statement in the Dáil early in 1932, and the Labour Party accepted in principle what I said, that home consumers would have to pay farmers whatever was a fair price for production. If we have to sell less to the foreigner let us make up the difference out of Government funds. I do not think we should be asked to make up out of Government funds the difference between the world price and the price to home consumers.

Mr. Davin: It is true that the Labour Party tolerated that then under the circumstances.

Dr. Ryan: That was the principle laid down in 1932, to have a butter stabilisation price; that home consumers would be asked to pay what was a fair price to farmers for butter, and whatever was required to bring the export price up to that should be taken out of taxation if it could be found. That is what we are going to try to do. With regard to eggs and poultry, the economic war will not improve prices, because in the last few years, as I stated—with considerable want of conviction on the Opposition benches—when dealing with the Estimate, farmers here were getting as much for eggs and poultry as if there was no economic war. I say that still. When these duties come off I believe farmers here will not get any more for eggs and poultry. In fact they will get less. I have been trying to induce the Minister for Finance to provide a small amount of money in order to raise the price of eggs above the world level. I believe I may succeed in getting it. We must continue to give subsidies to egg producers as well as to dairying in order to keep farmers in production. Even though we have got back that great British market, I say it is not good enough for our farmers, and we will want to [238] give them a better price for eggs and dairy produce than the English market gives now.

Mr. Bennett: At the expense of home consumers?

Dr. Ryan: At the expense of the taxpayers in this case.

Mr. Davin: Correct Deputy Corry who is sitting behind you.

Mr. Corry: You see where you get the cost of production.

Mr. Davin: From direct taxation and not indirectly.

Dr. Ryan: In the case of eggs and poultry we were paying the same in bounties last year as was paid in duties on the other side. Therefore, the people here were getting as much for poultry as if there was no economic war. The duties are coming off, and the bounties are coming off, so that producers of poultry will be in the same position. It does not make the slightest difference to them whether the economic war is settled or not. The price of pigs here for the last 12 months was on the average a little better than the price in the North of Ireland. While it was a little better there is no use boasting of it.

Mr. Bennett: Were feeding stuffs as cheap?

Dr. Ryan: For the last eight months feeding stuffs were somewhat cheaper.

Mr. Gorey: Is the mixture scheme imposed on the duty?

Dr. Ryan: That does not arise now. I expect to be able to make a statement about that on the Estimates. I think it will continue for some time. I have mentioned the big items concerning farmers, cattle, sheep, pigs, bacon, butter, eggs and poultry. Farmers are not going to be any better off in any of these items except cattle and sheep. I agree with the Irish Independent here that while they will be better off it will not be to the full amount of the duty paid in Britain. Deputy Gorey will agree with that.

Mr. Gorey: Are you taking credit for the prices in Britain?

[239] Dr. Ryan: No. Deputies opposite would not let me. I told them not to blame me if prices came down.

Mr. O'Leary: You blamed us when they went down.

Dr. Ryan: No; you blamed me. Article 2 deals with certain duties that are maintained against Denmark and other continental countries, and there is a guarantee from the British that they will maintain these duties, even though our produec is going in free. I do not think that makes much difference to us, because I take it that the price of butter in England is regulated by supply and demand. We get whatever the real price is on that basis. If Denmark has to pay duty on butter. I suppose she has to pay it. We are not so very much interested in that Article. Article 3 deals with the regulation of imports of agricultural produce. As Deputies interested in farming are aware, the British Government has been regulating the imports of certain agricultural commodities. They have marketing schemes in bacon, potatoes and other items, and they mean to maintain these schemes. This Article is drafted so as to provide for consultation between the two Governments with regard to the quota to be allotted to this country. It also provides that in deciding the quota they would take into consideration special circumstances, the special circumstances being that where we could claim that we had gone down in production during the last five or six years, as a result of economic conditions, the economic war, and so on, we would be in a position to get a better quota. Otherwise, it would be based on last year's figures.

Mr. Bennett: The word “past” in the Articles refers to the period prior to the economic war?

Mr. Gorey: Are we done with quotas and licences?

Dr. Ryan: Not with quotas. They have a marketing scheme in bacon, and we were permitted to send 587,000 cwts. for the year 1938 before the negotiations took place. That was allocated last November. It meant [240] that we asked for as much as we thought we could send. It is probable that it is about as much as we will send. When we come to next November, we will be asked under this Article to give an estimate to the British Government of the amount of bacon that we can send in for the year 1939. Suppose that, instead of asking for 600,000 cwts., we were to ask for 1,500,000 cwts., I do think that would be against us. I think that we will get the quota we ask for if there is only ordinary expansion, and I hope there will be expansion in the bacon industry now. Under another Article of this Agreement we will be expected to allow a certain amount of English bacon in here. However, we can ask the British to allow us to send out a quantity equal to the amount that comes in. If, say, we allow in 25,000 cwts. of English bacon, then our quota to Britain would be 587,000 cwts, plus the 25,000 cwts.

Mr. O'Leary: Would that be Chinese bacon?

Dr. Ryan: The bacon sent in here must be produced in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Gorey: When has English fed bacon ever come in here?

Dr. Ryan: If it does not come then it does not matter. Take another item —potatoes. These marketing schemes, I should say, are all different. Under the bacon regulations certificates for importing into Great Britain are issued to the Government here and then we give them out to the bacon factories. Under the potato regulations, there is a different procedure. The import certificates are issued to the importers in Great Britain, and these importers are free to deal with anybody they like. They can deal with us or with any country that is not prohibited, on account of certain diseases, from sending potatoes into Britain. The British Government cannot help us there. They may say to us that we have our chance with other people, and that the importers are free to deal with anybody they like.

Mr. Gorey: Can English dealers buy from the Continent and export the stuff here?

[241] Dr. Ryan: No, I am talking about supplies for England — about the amount of potatoes imported into Great Britain. Instead of dividing that quantity amongst the countries, as they do in the case of bacon, they issue import licences to British merchants. These merchants are free to bring in potatoes from any country that is permitted to send potatoes to England.

Mr. Gorey: They are not taking them into England at present.

Dr. Ryan: When they have good crops themselves there is no need for them to import. With regard to seed potatoes we have what will practically amount to free access to the British market because seed potatoes will not come under this Article. We are much more interested in seed potatoes than we are in ware potatoes. No potatoes can come in here from Great Britain or Northern Ireland because we have more than we want. Therefore, we do not get them in.

I come now to cattle in which many Deputies are interested. I am confident that, in the case of store cattle, the quota that we get will be quite sufficient. The figure of 500,000 was mentioned. Probably that is as much as we will require. If we require a bigger quota I should say that we will not have any great difficulty in getting it. Fat cattle, cows and calves are outside that quota. In the case of cattle, I think that our biggest exports were in the year 1929. Going on the figures for that year, I think a quota for 500,000 would be sufficient. Our exports for last year were very good. According to the census we have as many cattle in the country as ever we had, but according to the eyes of some of the Deputies opposite we have not.

As regards fat cattle, the question with regard to them must come before the Beef Conference. Again, in that case I do not think that we need have any worries about the quota. I think that we will get a sufficient quota for fat cattle as soon as the question comes before the Beef Conference, and that we will be put in the same position for fat cattle as we were in last year with regard to stores—that is to say, that we [242] will not need to have licences. The cattle will be counted and enumerated entering Great Britain so that if we exceed the quota we will be likely to hear about it, but what I want to bring out is that the individual farmer or shipper will not be bothered with licences.

Mr. Keating: Will the cattle be graded on the other side?

Dr. Ryan: No; we will do the grading. The question of markings on cattle is a fine point. I hope to be able to give the House some information on that when the Bill comes up for consideration. The quotas for milk products such as cream, condensed milk and so on are enlarged. I think they will be sufficient to keep the factory that we have at Limerick going full speed. Deputies will notice that there is a special Article—Article 4—for poultry and eggs. If they look at the corresponding Article 9, they will find that we have the same right to regulate imports of agricultural produce here as the British claim in their country under Article 3.

Mr. Brennan: The Articles are not worded the same.

Dr. Ryan: Under Article 9 we claim that. At least it is put in that if the two Governments agree we may put on a tariff instead of a quota. They have made a separate Article for eggs and poultry. If the two Governments agree we may agree on a tariff rather than have quantitative regulation. If we do not agree on the tariff, we can proceed to have quantitative regulation. Our Article 9 can be taken as being the same as if Articles 3 and 4 were put in one. I think that would be the position.

Mr. Brennan: I cannot see it, Sir.

Dr. Ryan: I admit the wording is somewhat different, but I think the net result is what I say. Article 5 deals with commodities on the free list. The First Schedule refers to horses and other live quadrupeds, and to preserved fish. They are already on the free list coming into this country, and they remain on the free list; that is under this Agreement we cannot put a tariff against Great Britain on those [243] particular items. The next Schedule gives a list of items where we take off tariffs that are there at the moment, and guarantee not to put on tariffs against Great Britain. They are: Live cattle; live sheep and lambs; live poultry, which are domestic fowls, turkeys and guinea fowls; ducks, geese, game and other live birds; poultry, dead; rabbits and hares, dead; milk, whole, fresh; eggs in shell; wheat offals; pears, raw; and rose stocks. There is one item there in regard to which perhaps some Deputies will be curious to know why it was put in, and that is wheat offals. The British Government were anxious to get wheat offals in there although they were assured by our side that they would not be sold here because they are too dear. I think it will be found that that is the position, because for the last three years during the spring months we have issued licences for the imports of bran, and we never could get British bran that would at all compete with the price here. We always had to import it from the Continent or from South America. However, if at any time in the future British wheat offals come down in price to our own level they can come in freely and be purchased by our own farmers. Now I come to Article 9, which I say is more or less the opposite to Articles 3 and 4. It gives us the power to regulate the imports of agricultural products here. Under that Article, we have the right to put tariffs on a certain number of articles. They will appear in a Bill which is being circulated, I think, tonight or to-morrow night, and there is no necessity to go into them now, but they are principally fruits, because we found it very difficult to have quantitative control over certain fruits, like strawberries, plums and grapes. Therefore we agreed to have a small tariff on those fruits, instead of regulating them quantitatively. Other items in regard to which we will have quantitative control here will be bacon and live fat pigs—we can of course regulate all pigs if we like—fish, seed oats, seed wheat, and certain feeding stuffs; possibly tomatoes and apples. Those will be regulated quantitatively.

[244] Mr. Gorey: Might I ask the Minister a question about apples and plums. That applies to English grown apples and plums?

Dr. Ryan: Yes.

Mr. Gorey: It does not apply to Canada, Nova Scotia, or South Africa?

Dr. Ryan: No. We are referring all the time to United Kingdom products. There is, however, a difficulty about apples which we must try to get over, and that is that under this Agreement I am not sure that we can do it absolutely by quantitative control. We may have to keep our present tariff policy at least to some extent, but whether they go on the tariff list or the quantitative control side I cannot say at the moment. They are one of the most difficult things to control.

Mr. Gorey: I am concerned only with the outside stuff, and not with United Kingdom stuff.

Dr. Ryan: The items under Article 9 may be discussed in greater detail when the Bills come along. Article 15 provides for the removal of subsidies, but it is worded in such a way that we will be entitled to maintain subsidies either for a marketing scheme of our own or if we thought the producer here was not getting sufficient for his product. As I said already, we do mean at any rate to continue to give subsidies on dairy products, and very probably on eggs, and I should say possibly also on seed potatoes, that is exports of seed potatoes to any country outside the United Kingdom. We have been building up a very good market for our seed potatoes. They have been getting a remarkably good reputation in many countries, but I am afraid the price we would get if we dropped the bounty would hardly be sufficient to keep our farmers in production. Therefore, it may be necessary for us to continue some bounty on seed potatoes exported to markets outside the United Kingdom for the next year or two.

Mr. Roddy: Before leaving Article 15 perhaps the Minister would be good enough to explain the final portion, which says:—

[245] “In particular they undertake to withdraw export bounties and subsidies in so far as the intention of such payments has been to counteract the effect of duties of customs on such goods on importation into the United Kingdom, in all cases where such duties have been abolished.”

Dr. Ryan: I think the only subsidy to which that would apply is the subsidy on bacon and pigs, because we would consider in any case that at the present price for pigs here, and pigs for export, too, there would be no necessity to give an export bounty. The bounty was given for the last three or four years as against the duty going into Great Britain. In the other cases, like dairy produce, eggs and so on, we may have to continue the bounties, because they are given to try to raise the price even above the world price.

Mr. Brennan: Would the Minister tell us whether the Pigs Marketing Board are to continue operating in the same way?

Dr. Ryan: Oh, yes. They will have to continue. Before leaving the subject of this particular Agreement, I should like to say that I think I will be in a better position to give more detail with regard to the imports, especially of agricultural products into this country, when the Bills come up for discussion. As a matter of fact, as the Minister for Industry and Commerce said already, we have during the negotiations settled a good many of those quotas or duties, as the case may be. Some of them have not yet been settled, and perhaps may not be regulated at all. There are then certain duties on agricultural products coming in here which have been left on, and where protection will continue, principally, I should say, on things like potatoes, vegetables, and so on, where we have more than we want for our own needs, and where it would be absolutely foolish to try to give the British a market here for things of which we have too much already.

Naturally, I have great sympathy with Deputies opposite who ask why we did not make this Agreement [246] sooner, but I think the Deputies should remember that we had a very difficult situation to deal with, because it was being pointed out by Deputies opposite —and by newspapers which support them—that in the first place all those sums of money were due to Great Britain. In fact, I think that Deputies opposite and their Party went to a considerable amount of expense in getting lawyers to prove that they were due, and in printing pamphlets to prove that they were due. Naturally, some of those pamphlets got into the hands of the British Government. The Party opposite went to a great deal of trouble to prove that those moneys were due to Great Britain. We never had a debate on agriculture here in this House that we were not told the country was on the verge of bankruptcy. I kept a diary of it for a time——

Mr. Gorey: The Minister would have done well to close up at the last few sentences.

Dr. Ryan: If everybody else had closed up, I would have done so too. My diary was too long, because Deputies opposite in, say June, 1932, told us that we would be bankrupt about Christmas, and when Christmas came we were told we would be bankrupt in May.

Mr. O'Leary: Is the Minister referring to himself or to the agricultural community? We knew he was not going to be bankrupt.

Dr. Ryan: It was the country that Deputies always referred to as being on the verge of bankruptcy. We were always told that in about three months' time the country was going to be bankrupt, and not only that, but that the moneys were legally due. Deputy Gorey, in one speech—I do not know whether he was correctly reported or not—said it would be breaking the seventh commandment if we did not pay them over.

Mr. Gorey: I never mentioned the seventh commandment. I am not keen about commandments. Perhaps it is blasphemy to use the word “commandment” in this connection.

[247] Mr. Davin: Does not the Minister know that he said we were robbing John Bull?

Mr. Corish: Is that against the eleventh commandment?

Mr. O'Leary: I should just like to ask the Minister whether he was convinced by the arguments from this side of the House that the moneys were due?

Dr. Ryan: I was never convinced by anything——

Mr. O'Leary: Is that the reason the President admitted they were due?

Dr. Ryan: The Deputy must think I am a great fool if he thinks I am going to be convinced by anything from that side of the House. Here, however, is the point. The British Government wanted to win the economic war just as we wanted to win it; and the British Government read the papers in order to find out how things were going on here, just as we read the papers in order to find out how the British were taking it. Whenever we read that somebody got up in the British Parliament and told the members of the British Government that they ought to settle the economic war, we naturally said to ourselves “That is good”; but they were also reading the papers in order to find out the effects of the economic war here, and when, according to the newspapers, it appeared that a big section of the community here thought and said that these moneys were legally and morally due, that this country was almost broken and bankrupt as a result of the economic war, and that a Party in this State that said it was going to come into power held that it could settle the whole matter in three days, what attitude could one expect from the British Government in such circumstances? The Party opposite said that if they were in power—and they believed that they were coming into power—they could settle this thing in three days; and these were the men who said not alone that the moneys were due, but that this country was bankrupt. Could you imagine the British Government [248] seeing a better position for themselves when they were being told day after day in speeches from public platforms all over this country that the country was bankrupt, that the money was due, and that the people opposite, as soon as they got into power, were coming across to settle the whole matter and that they could settle it in two or three days? Yet we are now asked: “Why did not you settle it six years ago?” As a matter of fact, I met Mr. J.H. Thomas in Ottawa, and we were asked at that time by Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney why we did not settle it then. As a matter of fact, I was very anxious to settle it, and I told Mr. Thomas that we wanted to settle it. Well, I will not use his exact words on the occasion, but I shall paraphrase what he said, which was to this effect: “Do not bother me about the economic war; did you not see where a White Army has been started in Ireland?” A White Army—the predecessors of the Blueshirts—the White Army that was started to throw this Government out and, I suppose, to settle the economic war in three days. After all that, we have these people having the cheek to come along now and say: “Why did you not settle it six years ago?” I think they ought to forget it.

Mr. Bennett: Did Mr. Thomas tell you anything else?

Dr. Ryan: Not only that, but they ask us why we did not settle the question of Partition—and this from the men who consented to the giving away of the Six Counties in 1922 and confirmed it in 1925, and said, in effect, “We resign all rights in the Six Counties for ever more.” These are the people who say “Why do you not settle Partition”? Well, all I say is that if we had the cheek of that Party over there, with all our own ability, we could go anywhere.

Mr. Linehan: You mean, if you had the ability of this Party with all your own cheek.

Dr. Ryan: We are told that the country lost £50,000,000 on the economic war. That, of course, was issued by the Irish Independent for the benefit of the [249] people opposite, and there were several sums put into it on the wrong side, just as Deputy Cosgrave did in Carlow when he turned a sum upside down and got the result he wanted. In the same way, the Irish Independent added figures that should have been subtracted. In any case, what did the economic war cost, as such? We had been sending out £5,000,000 a year and, instead of us sending out that voluntarily, they collected it on the other side; but I do not see how we lost anything. However we arranged our affairs internally, the country lost nothing by the economic war.

Mr. O'Leary: What about the 500,000 calves?

Dr. Ryan: Yes, what about the calves? I was very anxious, at the time, to get our people here to consume veal, because I was told by Deputy O'Leary and other Deputies that they were selling calves for 2/6 apiece in Cork. I asked him what would we do with those calves, and he said that there were people buying calves down there for 2/6 apiece and giving the flesh to the dogs. When I heard this pitiful story, I said “Is it not a pity that we do not get our butchers to purchase these calves and kill them and sell the veal to the people?” And in order to encourage them, I gave a bounty on calf skins. In any case, however, our policy with regard to veal did not succeed. With regard to the slaughter of these 500,000 calves— and it may have to be done again—at any rate, the bounty was provided on them, but now we are told that if these 500,000 calves were now cattle, they would be worth a lot of money. Well, they would be worth a lot of money, if they had lived. Whether they died or whether they were slaughtered is another matter. At any rate, we paid the bounty on 120,000 calf skins in 1937 and, as far as I or my inspectors are concerned, we cannot trace the slaughter of 1,000 calves. We all know, of course, that a big number of calves died——

Mr. Keating: You killed them to prevent them dying.

Dr. Ryan——and the farmers who had dead calves skinned them and [250] brought the skins in and got their 11/6 for them, and I think they were doing very well in the circumstances. In spite of it all, however, I say that we have as many cattle in the country now as we had under the prosperous days of Fine Gael. They were able to pay £5,000,000 a year and they said that that sum was morally due. Now, some Deputy says that we will have to derate because he wants to put the farmers here on an equal footing with the farmers in the North of Ireland and in England. Well, one thing that has been settled by us for all time is that the farmer here has got off half his annuities. I know that the Deputies opposite agree with that policy also. As a matter of fact, I understand that Deputy Cosgrave was on his way to Naas when he heard about it and that he turned back and said that he would halve the annuities.

Mr. Fagan: Are they due?

Dr. Ryan: Of course they are due. Now we are having the old argument over again. Of course they are due, but they were not due to England.

Mr. Bennett: Why did you pay the £10,000,000?

Dr. Ryan: The farmer here is paying a certain amount of rates and he is paying half his annuities, and if there is an honest man on the other side— which, perhaps, is too much to assume —let him find out what the farmers in the North of Ireland are paying in rates and annuities together and compare that with what our farmers are paying, and then see which is the worse off. Let him compare what the English farmer is paying in rates and rents as compared with what our farmers are paying, and I think it will be found that our farmers are better off.

Mr. Gorey: What is his freight to his market—the market that you have to go to? What is the use in doing the clown in that way?

Dr. Ryan: Well, I suppose that the next time that we go over to England, we will have to get this island shoved over a bit.

[251] Mr. Fagan: The farmers in the North of Ireland are getting a subsidy of 5/- on beef.

Mr. Davin: What about the price of greyhounds?

Mr. Corish: There is no economic war there.

Dr. Ryan: Deputy Dillon said that we were now in a position to get back to sensible farming and to use the land to the best advantage, in other words, I suppose, to get back to a sort of Fine Gael policy and using the land as it should be used. He said we are going to drop schemes like tobacco growing. I suppose that even his friends will agree that Deputy Dillon talked quite a lot over the last five years and talked a lot about agriculture. He never made a suggestion on agriculture beyond “Get us back our markets” except on one occasion. He usually took an hour and a half to put “Get us back our markets” into a speech and he used to make that speech very regularly. Only once in the five years did he make another suggestion and that was to grow French beans on a big scale. Surely tobacco growing is as good a policy as growing French beans. We are not going to drop tobacco growing and adopt the growing of French beans —we will not grow them for export. Deputies will find that farmers are at least sensible enough and educated enough to know that the mixed farming which we have tried to get them into by growing wheat, barley, and oats is better than getting back to the bullock.

Mr. O'Leary: Deputy O'Reilly does not agree with you.

Mr. Fagan: You would not say that if you saw the heaps of dirt at the back of the ditches which were dragged off the wheat fields.

Mr. Davin: What will they talk about when the economic war is over?

Dr. Ryan: Another suggestion made by Opposition Deputies, as well as derating, was that we should bring in a scheme of loans for the re-stocking of land. I am not making a political point in this, but I put it to Deputies on the [252] other side to consider well before advocating that too strongly. I have always thought that the giving out of loans too liberally for re-stocking is a terrible danger to farmers because you will have them competing against one another and they will inevitably put up the price of stock higher than its value and, when they come to sell that stock, they will not get their money back. I think if we had money for any purpose like that it is not for re-stocking that we should use it, but for some other purpose. I think Deputies ought not to advocate too strongly the giving of large loans for re-stocking land without considering the matter very carefully.

Mr. O'Leary: I should like to know what the Minister's attitude is now in regard to derating.

An Ceann Comhairle: That does not arise on this motion.

Dr. Ryan: Somebody said, “Put the farmer on the same level as the farmer in Northern Ireland and Great Britain,” and I say that he is on the same level with regard to rents and rates put together.

Mr. O'Leary: Will the Minister take a case in point—the case of a person now as compared with 1932?

An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy might deal with that matter on the Vote for Agriculture.

Mr. O'Leary: We are having a very friendly discussion.

An Ceann Comhairle: Which the Chair would like to be in order.

Dr. Ryan: If I were offered £1,000,000 by the Government for the purpose of derating, I would say, “No, I would prefer not to use it for derating, but for some other purpose.”

Mr. O'Leary: When did you change your mind?

Dr. Ryan: I do not know.

Mr. Fagan: It is written up on the wall not far from my house since 1930.

Dr. Ryan: One other point I want to make is this. Deputy Keating asked [253] about alternative markets. We have got alternative markets and the Deputy will be surprised to hear that we will be able to carry on in these markets even though this Agreement is come to.

Mr. Fagan: Does that mean you will carry on with the Germans?

Dr. Ryan: Yes.

Mr. Keating: The Minister referred to bran from the Continent. Is that good business now that the Continent is raging with foot and mouth disease?

Dr. Ryan: But sending cattle to the Continent does not matter.

Mr. Keating: But you imported bran.

Dr. Ryan: We certainly will not allow bran in from any country where there is foot and mouth disease.

Mr. Keating: You said you imported bran from the Continent.

Dr. Ryan: The point anyway is this. I was asked if we got alternative markets. We did our best to get them and, what is more, we did our best to get the British market all the time.

Mr. O'Leary: I thought the Taoiseach said it was gone for ever.

Dr. Ryan: A person may make a remark here which, as I said before, is a figure of speech. Somebody said the British market was gone.

Mr. Keating: Ex-Senator Connolly said it was gone for ever, thank God.

Dr. Ryan: If I went down the country I might say that Fine Gael was gone. I would not mean by that that it had gone altogether, but that they are never going to come back. In that way the British market is gone. Look at the British market now. The British market was a free and open market up to seven or eight years ago. Now it is a free market to us so far as duties are concerned, but it is not an open market to anybody with regard to quantity. In that way I say that the British market is gone. I was told here by speakers on the opposite side that we now begin to agree with them [254] because we are now getting back the British market. I say we tried all the time to get the British market. Why did we make the coal-cattle pact which had nothing but sneers from the other side? Every time I appeared here with the Estimate—if you look it up—I do not advise you at all to read my speeches on the Estimate—but if you are interested and if you look them up I indicated in every speech I made on the Estimate how we were trying to get back the British market.

Mr. O'Leary: Did you describe how you lost it?

Dr. Ryan: I described how you lost it. That is all I have got to say. I say that because I do not want to be accused of going over to Fine Gael because we are trying to get the British market back. We do not want to be going over there, or accused of going over there, because we are giving them £10,000,000 in settlement of the financial dispute, seeing that they stated that £104,000,000, I think, was legally and morally due.

Mr. O'Leary: What do we think they owed us?

Dr. Ryan: I am only mentioning these points—Deputy Gorey said I was not taking them seriously— because I do not want to be accused of changing the agricultural policy in any way and I say we made the coal-cattle pact and renewed the coal-cattle pact because we were anxious to get the British market, and we did other things in the way of bacon quotas and so on in order to try and get the British market, and at the same time we tried to get the alternative markets—we succeeded in getting alternative markets—I admit in a very small way—but they are not such bad markets at all, and I believe we could continue in those alternative markets even if we settle with Great Britain.

Mr. Roddy: I do not think the Minister for Agriculture is to be commended upon his speech. His colleague, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, and Deputy Dillon on this side, set, I [255] think, a very fine example and very high standard of debate. After all, we are discussing a subject that is of considerable import to the people of this country, and I do think that at least one of the Ministers who participated in these negotiations should have taken and dealt with that subject seriously. Now, we wanted to hear from the Minister particularly something about this Agreement, and instead of that we have been compelled to listen at considerable length to a number of cheap jokes about a number of things that were said and that happened in this country in the past. Now, I think the Minister, if he were wise, would have refrained from making any reference at all to some of the things that he gave so much prominence to in the course of his speech. I would imagine the Minister and some of his colleagues ought to be very anxious to forget about a number of statements they made in the past, and I imagine that if I were in the Minister's position I would feel rather in a state of repentance when I would review a number of the statements made in the past and which they have been compelled to swallow according to the terms of the Agreement we are discussing now. It is true the members on this side did say that these moneys were legally and morally due and the proof that we were right is contained in the terms of this Agreement. The Minister, his leader, and his colleagues said “not a penny,” and this Agreement provides for a payment of £10,000,000.

I would advise the Minister for Agriculture to try and forget the slaughter of the calves. Surely, if ever there was a crime committed against the farmers of this country, that is a crime that will require a lot of explanation, and the sooner the Minister forgets about it the better. The Minister started his speech—I propose now to deal with the serious part of the Minister's speech—by ridiculing Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney when he said it was difficult to understand the language contained in some of the Articles of this Agreement. The language contained in these Articles in [256] many cases is archaic and, for the ordinary Deputy, without some legal assistance, it certainly is very difficult to understand what some of the phrases contained in these Articles do really mean, and that is why I was so anxious to hear the Minister explaining clearly to this House the meaning of these Articles, and especially those Articles dealing with the agricultural exports to Great Britain. Instead of that the Minister indulged in a lot of cheap jibes in replying to interruptions from members on this side of the House. Now, the Minister started off his speech by referring to certain statements that were made by members of the Opposition on the butter bounties, but surely the Minister is not prepared to claim credit for the butter bounties. Is it not a fact that the Minister's predecessor had prepared a scheme for giving bounties to exporters of butter?

Dr. Ryan: Why did your Party vote against it then?

Mr. Roddy: Is it not a fact also that the Minister adopted that scheme almost in its entirety and that that is the scheme that is in operation?

Dr. Ryan: In spite of that your Party voted against it.

Mr. Roddy: Because of the peculiar nature of the butter industry it was necessary to subsidise it. It was necessary to subsidise it in New Zealand and Australia and other countries as well. We were the authors of the subsidy and it comes very poorly from the Minister to be making cheap jibes about the attitude of the Party——

Dr. Ryan: Why did your Party vote against it?

Mr. Roddy: Now, another thing the Minister said is that feeding stuffs were cheaper in this country than they are in other countries. I want to know is he quite serious.

Dr. Ryan: Perfectly.

Mr. Roddy: Take the principal feeding stuff. What is the price of maize meal in Northern Ireland and Great Britain? You can buy it in Northern Ireland for £8 10s. a ton and you have to pay £10 for the mixture—a very inferior [257] commadity—on this side of the Border. I could mention a number of other items as well but I do not choose to waste the time of the House over matter of that kind. The one item that I mentioned shows clearly that the Minister's statement is not to be relied on to any great extent.

Dr. Ryan: Look up Bulfast and Cork.

Mr. Roddy: Take Great Britain leave out Northern Ireland.

Dr. Ryan: I say, compare Belfast and Cork.

Mr. Roddy: I am comparing prices in the Free State with prices in the Six Counties and Great Britain. The price of maize meal, the principal feeding stuff and the most valuable feeding stuff there is for live stock, costs the farmer in Northern Ireland from £8 to £10s. a ton. The price of the meal mixture here is £10 a ton.

Dr. Ryan: It may be in some parts of the Free State, but compare belfast and Cork.

Mr. Roddy: But in any event, I think the farmers on this side of the House as well as on the Minister's side of the House are very glad indeed that this economic war has been ended, but this Agreement now, this new charter of liberty, that so much capital is being made about, simply brings us back to the position we were in in 1931. In fact, it does not bring us back to the identical position we were in in 1931 because in 1931 we could export all the commodities we produced from the land of this country quite freely to the British market without restrictions or quotas of any description whatsoever. In these Articles we are discussing now power is taken to impose restrictions on a certain limited number of agricultural exports from this country and in addition to that our other agricultural exports are regulated by quotas of one kind or another. I accept the Minister's statement that these quotas will be operated sympathetically and that we will certainly get the maximum benefit which it will be possible for the British Government to extend to us. Nevertheless, the fact is there that our agricultural [258] exports are regulated and will continue to be regulated so long as this Agreement remains in operation, so that l do say, quite deliberately, that this Agreement does not bring us back altogether to the satisfactory position we enjoyed in 1931 so far as the export of agricultural commodities is concerned.

There is also this difference, and mind you, after all this means a tremendous lot to many members of the farming community in this country, that owing to the policy operated by the Fianna Fáil Government during the last six years the farmers in this country are not in a position to take advantage, and will not be in a position for a number of years to take advantage of the terms of this Agreement. As a result of the various nostrums, expedients and experiments resorted to by the Minister for Agriculture, the agricultural economic policy operated up to 1931 has becn completely disorganised and disarranged and the result is that, in order that the farmers of this country will have an opportunity of working this Agreement satisfactorily it is necessary, in the first instance, to readjust their agricultural economy so that they will be in a position to reap the full advantage from the terms of this Agreement. That will take time and it will probably take a number of years.

Another point, notwithstanding what the Minister for Agriculture says, the number of cattle in this country is declining and has been for some years. He advised the members on this side of the House to pause and to think carefully before advocating a grant to the farmers to restock their land. I say that if the farmers of this country are to reap the full advantages of this Agreement it is absolutely essential that there should be some form of State assistance to enable them fully to restock their lands. What is the position at present? Cattle prices have been soaring for a number of months past, due to a variety of reasons. Probably the fact that these discussions were going on in London was a contributory reason. But the fact remains that cattle prices have been soaring. The man whose lands [259] to-day are only one half, three quarters or one quarter stocked is not in a position to buy cattle in the market, and even assuming that he could borrow money from the bank for the purpose of buying cattle, he would buy at a big price. He would, I admit, sell at a big price, but the buying price would neutralise the selling price, and it would be a considerable number of years before that man was really in a position to reap any profit worth speaking about from his livestock.

Mr. Moore: Is that not a reason for not encouraging borrowing?

Mr. Bennett: It depends on the interest.

Mr. Roddy: Notwithstanding the Minister's attitude towards a grant or loan for the purpose of restocking land, which seems to me at least to be sceptical, can the Minister suggest any alternative to the granting of a long-term loan for this purpose? In what other way is the farmer who has suffered serious losses in consequence of the economic war to get his lands fully stocked and reap the advantages undoubtedly derivable from this Agreement? The banks will not lend the money. From what source will he get it? Surely there is no other way of getting it except by the State coming to his assistance, and I do not know how the State can assist him unless it is prepared to float a loan for the purpose of assisting him towards that end.

I do not propose to discuss the Trade Agreement, or the Third Agreement, because, as I said at the outset, I do not understand clearly the language in a number of the Articles and I have not had the opportunity of relating these Articles to agreements made in the past, either with the other Dominions or with the British Government. I will defer whatever I have to say on that subject until the Bill is introduced next week. In conclusion, I wish merely to say that I am very glad the economic war has been ended. I am glad also that the members of the Government have realised the folly of the policy they were pursuing up to the date of [260] the opening of negotiations, and no matter what the Minister for Agriculture or any other Minister, whether he participated in these negotiations or not, may say, it is, after all, a victory for the members on this side of the House——

Mr. MacEntee: You cheered us on.

Mr. Roddy: because the Government have been forced, by virtue of circumstances, to adopt the policy they have been preaching for the last six years—a policy of negotiation—and now they have learned, and I hope they will profit by their experience, that it was the only wise policy for them to have pursued right from the beginning.

Mr. Dowdall: I think the Agreement in respect of the cancellation of Articles 6 and 7 of the Treaty of December 6th, 1921, and the subsequent Financial Agreement is quite good. I did not intend to speak on this matter were it not for the fact that I was unable to see the Minister for Industry and Commerce or the Secretary of his Department. I could have got the information I require from either of these gentlemen had I been able to see them, and it would have prevented my going into a number of matters on which I had not intended to speak. I think it was Deputy Cosgrave who said that we got fiscal autonomy at the time of the Treaty. We did, but what did we get it for? In order that we might be able to put on tariffs, if we wanted to, with a view to encouraging industry. It was not intended that we should use our fiscal powers to the full extent because, of course, that would mean that the people against whom we were using those powers would immediately retaliate. All the countries in the world are practically in agreement on this and no one country uses its full fiscal autonomy. It would not be permitted to do so. America, as I think the Minister for Industry and Commerce stated, is at present negotiating with Great Britain; England is negotiating with Germany and other countries, trade treaties that last for certain periods, at the end of which they both agree to take off or put on or reduce [261] or increase tariffs. We are in exactly the same position. Had we at any time put on big tariffs against England's goods, England would have imposed what were the penal tariffs which we have had to pay owing to this economic dispute.

However, what I am interested in is this Agreement and so far as the trade section of it is concerned, I want to know what is the position of the Prices Commission. So far as I can gather from what I hear here and outside, the Prices Commission is a government of its own and not at all responsible to the House. That may not be so, but if it is so, I think power should be taken out of the hands of the Prices Commission and a new Prices Commission, with lesser powers, set up. One would like to know if the Prices Commission is the Commission which was operating at the back end of last year, or whether it has been brought into being since the negotiations started, because if the latter be the case, it would look as if it were brought into being in order to enable British manufacturers or importers to use it as an instrument to promote their own trade and industry, and that, of course, I would not like at all. If they have undue powers, I think they should be taken from them and I think a Bill should be brought in immediately for that purpose.

There is no question but that this Agreement, whether rightly or wrongly, has caused quite a lot of uneasiness amongst manufacturers. They feel that there is a sword of Damocles hanging over their heads. They do not know what the Agreement really means. The Minister for Industry and Commerce spoke at quite considerable length to-day, but he did not clarify the situation in such a way as to enable manufacturers and industrialists to know exactly what the position is. If any Minister can make the matter clearer, I think everybody engaged in industry would be very much interested. The chief point on which I seek information is with regard to boots and hosiery. No Minister, no official and no member of the House can have a knowledge of all trades and a Minister has to hear from the people interested in the different trades what [262] they fear and what their grievances are. In regard to boots, the tariff has been reduced to 20 per cent. I am speaking purely from memory, but I think that the Cumann na nGaedheal Government put a 15 per cent. tariff on boots. That was purely a revenue tax. It was not a protective tariff and 20 per cent. is very little, especially in view of the fact that whereas, formerly, they had a free market for the purchase of leather, they now have to buy from a firm in some part of the country which has quite a big tariff and which is not giving the best value. A 20 per cent. tariff is of no value whatever to the boot trade and if there is any possibility of having it revised, it should be done.

There is a tariff of 33 per cent. on hosiery. With that, the hosiery people are, I understand, quite satisfied so far as the higher-priced articles are concerned. In connection with the lower-priced articles, a gentleman was speaking to me about ladies' stockings, which are sold at 1/- per pair. These are sold by the trade at from 8/11 to 9/6 per dozen pairs and they are sold retail at 1/- That gives the retailers about 20 per cent. gross profit. In respect of that particular article, a tariff of 33⅓ per cent. is not sufficient to enable home manufacturers to compete. Some of them have had to lay off hands and others of them will have to lay off hands if that tariff cannot be revised. English manufacturers, by reason of the fact that they have an increased output of 30 per cent. per machine or per person, and by reason of some other consideration which I have quite forgotten, are able to produce these stockings at 8/- per dozen pairs and sell them at 8/- The Irish manufacturers are being absolutely wiped out. They cannot get any orders for the cheap stockings, which represent quite a big proportion of the trade in that article in this country.

When do the Agreements come into force? I do not refer to the two main Agreements, but I think that the Trade Agreement should, if possible, be subjected to revision. The Agreement itself states that the matters referred to will be subject to revision from time to time. Why cannot that be done before the Agreement is finally signed?

[263] Mr. Davin: It is signed.

Mr. Dowdall: I am not objecting to the signing at all. I simply think that those things should be done now instead of doing them later when they may have done a lot of damage. This is the time to do it.

Mr. O'Leary: Ní hé lá na gaoithe lá na scolb.

Mr. Dowdall: From the first paragraph in Article 6, I deduce that the British Minister or his officials were in touch with many people in the trade before they came to a decision. I do not think that any of our Ministers or officials were in touch with anybody here before they came to agreement. I think that they ignored them altogether and that the behaviour of the English Ministers and their officials could be very admirably followed, with good results, in this country. There is no doubt whatever about that. I do not think that the English exporters, notwithstanding what the Minister for Industry and Commerce said to-day, should have admission to the Prices Commission. I think that we should confine it to ourselves. They have quite sufficient means of wiping out our industries without getting the aid of our Prices Commission, which commission, by the way, is a free-trade commission.

During the discussion that took place this evening, Deputy Roddy called attention to what he described as the gibes of the Minister for Agriculture. The Minister was interrupted in a most disgraceful manner and even the Ceann Comhairle could not prevent that interruption. If you are treated in that fashion, you are not too careful about what you say. However, I think the Minister was right. We are going to get in a lot of cattle and other animals under Schedule 2, Part 2. I notice that, included in that Schedule, are poultry (live), ducks, poultry (dead), rabbits and hares (dead). I do not know anything about hares.

Mr. Davin: What about greyhounds?

Mr. Dowdall: Poultry can be bought very cheaply from China and Russia and the English may send us in some [264] of these Russian and Chinese poultry and Australian rabbits. We have any amount of rabbits here. They constitute a sort of plague in the country and they do a lot of damage. If these dead rabbits are allowed in, they will take the place of rabbits here which people would otherwise kill and they will allow the home rabbits to do a lot of damage to the land. Clause 2 of Article 9 states:

“The Government of the United Kingdom recognise that it may be necessary for the Government of Eire, in pursuance of their agricultural policy, to regulate the imports of certain agricultural products, including those enumerated in Schedule IV.”

If a clause like that were inserted on the industrial side, everything would be in order.

Mr. O'Leary: Is maith leis an cat an cronán.

Mr. Dowdall: If the fears that some of the industrialists have with regard to this Agreement are correct, the business of many manufacturers will be torpedoed. What is the Government going to do if that happens? People have put money into these businesses in support of Government policy. If they are going to lose that money and if these businesses are to be forced out of existence, what is the Government going to do about it? I should say that if businesses are closed down by reason of this Agreement, the companies should be compensated fully so that they can pay back their shareholders the money they got from them.

Mr. Linehan: Give them the same treatment that was given to Roscrea.

Mr. Fagan: What about compensating the farmers, who lost a greater amount of money?

Mr. Dowdall: This is what I objected to in the case of the Minister for Agriculture. I am dealing with this subject and I do not want any interruptions. Notwithstanding that the Minister for Agriculture had already explained the matter fully, Deputy Roddy persisted in talking about getting back to the position in 1931 with [265] regard to our agricultural exports. England long before that started regulating her imports, and she is continuing to regulate them. She is not alone putting quotas on them but this gentleman that the Taoiscach yesterday praised so highly, Mr. Neville chamberlain, when he was Minister for Agriculture or something else at one time or another, told the Danes, who had no economic war, “You have to sell 70,000 tons of bacon less next year.” NOW, 70,000 tons would, I assume, mean over 2,000,000 pigs. That is far more than we export in the year. He told the Danes that they would have to stop it. Look at the disorganisation that the cancellation of a trade of 70,000 tons of bacon, or 2,250,000 pigs, would cause, not alone to the people actually engaged in the trade, but to many other people such as those who provide food for the animals. The position is that England is acting in her own interests. Every nation does the same. England is not going to take any food or anything else from anybody that she does not want, and it would be just as well that all Deputies should get that into their heads. People in England will take everything they get at a price, and in our case it is to be hoped it will be at such a price that we will not have to subsidise the farmers. It would he helpful if Ministers could give some information that would make the people less anxious about their position. If there is any possibility of it, I think that Government officials should get in touch with the various industries and see if there is not some chance of giving them some explanation that will satisfy them as to what can he done.

Mr. Gorey: I do not intend to go outside the rules of order by introducing a matter on this motion that could be more fittingly introduced on a Vote such as that for the Department of the Taoiseach. I might say that I have already handed in a notice of motion in connection with that matter, and I intend to raise the whole subject of the amount of the costs of the economic war to this State, the particular sections of the people who had to bear it, the causes that led up to [266] the position that has existed here for some years, and the remedies that might be considered by the Executive Council. I do not think that any of these things would be proper to the motion before the House. The Minister for Agriculture, in the latter portion of his speech, in my opinion, spoiled a good and a reasonable speech by the introduction of what was nothing less than silly burlesque. It was the introduction of what he thought fit to introduce that was responsible for all the interruptions from this side, and indeed from all over the House. Nobody believed a word of what he said, and nobody will be deceived in the country by the burlesque the Minister indulged in. That sort of thing is more or less peculiar to the Minister now and again. Of course, nobody minds the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance, who always seems to remember the revue stage when he addresses this House, and more or less plays the clown on the programme on almost every occasion that he stands up.

An Ceann Comhairle: A Deputy may not be said to play the clown.

Mr. Gorey: That is the kind of thing that he always plays.

An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy must withdraw.

Mr. Gorey: I said he plays the clown. If you say it is disorderly, I withdraw it. I think this is rather a solemn occasion, solemn in more ways than one. It is a solemn occasion in the relation of the Parties here with each other and the effect of this Agreement, and solemn in regard to the relations of this nation with another nation, and I think that anything introduced to make it unseemly at this moment ought not to be introduced. Nobody is more grateful than I am that this war is over. Nobody is more grateful that the position is being restored to normal. Deputies will remember that in 1932 I was keen that this war should never have been started and, when it was started, I was anxious that it should be settled then. Nobody was more emphatic than myself in warning the President then about the silly idea that seemed to be [267] in his head looking for alternative markets all over the world. I remember telling the President then that it was little short of criminal for a man in his position to be dangling the bait of an alternative market before the people. At that time the President said: “Well, we are going to have good try.” Anybody who remembers the history of that time and all that happened since will realise how silly the President was to send out ambassadors all over the Continent looking for markets that never were there for us or for anybody else. I am really glad that it is ended, and with it ends the occupations of the hosts of buzzards and birds of prey who were brought into existence because of the economic war. I refer to buzzards in business, and especially the buzzards that came out of the North of Ireland into the cattle trade; the huge gangs that came through the country, some of them from this side of the Border, some of them connected with politicians in this House, some connected with private members in this House. They feasted for four or five years, especially in the first three or four years of the economic war, on the money, the life blood of the people. I am glad their occupations are ended and that they are gone out of business.

Mr. MacEntee: It is obviously a solemn moment for the buzzards, Sir.

Mr. Gorey: I do not see the point. We are prepared to do anything, even to come here on Monday or Tuesday, or any day, to facilitate the Taoiseach or the Ministry here in order to push this question of an Agreement, to have it settled at the earliest possible moment, because we know its value to the country, and especially do we know its value to the fat cattle trade. The cattle trade of this country is on two different planes. With regard to store cattle, people have been gambling on a settlement for the last three or four months, since it was first mentioned. In my opinion the whole extent of the benefit has already been paid in the matter of store cattle. It is quite a different proposition with regard to fat cattle. There could be no gamble there. In their case the [268] full extent of£4 5s. can be realised the moment this Agreement has been signed. That will not be so with regard to stores. With regard to fat cattle, heavy cows or springers that have to be shipped across, the full extent of this Agreement will operate from the first day. The sooner then that it is put into operation the better. The earliest day on which it can be put into operation is the proper day.

Great play has been made here about the opportune moment in which to have this settlement made. The Taoiseach went out of his way to prove that it could not have been made earlier than it has been. He has been followed by the Minister for Agriculture. I might tell them that we are not all fools in this country. We have some sources of information and some sense of observation. Everybody knows what brought back the Minister for Agriculture from Ottawa before the rest of his colleagues returned. The Taoiseach is smiling denial. But the Taoiseach went down to his own constituents in the country to deal with that matter and——

The Taoiseach: What?

Mr. Gorey: When I am finished the Taoiseach can reply. The Minister for Agriculture came home here from Ottawa. What was the cause of the threatened split in the Government Party between 1932 and the election in 1933? Why did the Taoiseach go down the country to his supporters and tell them that the election had to be forced because the Deputies of his own Party were in revolt?

Mr. Davin: That was not the reason.

Mr. Gorey: The Taoiseach cannot hide all the things he did at that time. All these things cannot be a closed book. Everybody knows that the offer that came from Ottawa a was an offer of £20,000,000 or £25,000,000 in cash——

The Taoiseach: Oh, dear, dear!

Mr. Gorey: The Taoiseach can “dear, dear” away now, but this offer he will have to admit.

Mr. Davin: It must have been Wicklow gold——

[269] Mr. Brennan: Found in Roscrea.

Mr. Gorey: The Minister for Agriculture talked about the difference in price now, as compared with some years ago, as if he or his Government did anything to remedy the price or to bring the price up to the figure at which it stands. Did they do anything to bring that about? This is, perhaps, not a matter for discussion on this particular motion.

An Ceann Comhairle: There I am in agreement with the Deputy.

Mr. Gorey: Thank you. The Government had nothing at all to do with raising the price. It is only throwing dust in the eyes of the people to suggest that they had. This Government did nothing and could do nothing in the last six years, since this economic war started, to raise the price of cattle in England. They did nothing and could do nothing, and I leave it at that. If we make a comparison between the price six months ago and the price to-day, that is not a proper comparison. The comparison should be made between the price to-day and the price in 1932, 1933, 1934 and 1935. When the Government did nothing to remedy the position, that position was remedied over their heads by the hand of God.

I would like to know from the Minister for Agriculture if there is any hope as to the revival of the dead meat trade that was in operation in the first year or year and a-half of the economic war? At that time we were able to kill cattle, sheep and pigs, and ship them to Great Britain. Will that position be restored? I have seen no reference to it so far. I dare say that will depend on British policy, as to whether they think it better to kill their own animals, or they might think that this may interfere with their own fresh meat trade. I would like if the Minister would give an indication of what the prospect is in that direction. The Minister for Industry and Commerce said “we won this war.” He paid a great tribute to the people of the country who won it. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance talked about the morale that was bred in the country, the new outlook and the new capacity for resistance displayed by the people. [270] The Parliamentary Secretary did not suffer much from the economic war.

Mr. O'Leary: He got an increase in his salary.

Mr. Gorey: The Parliamentary Secretary was not put into the front line trenches. He did not lose a bob over this war. On the contrary he secured quite an increase in his salary. That applies to the politicians who had nothing to lose, who represented nothing and who in my opinion knew nothing.

Mr. MacEntee: Like Deputy Gorey in 1927 to 1932.

Mr. Gorey: They lost nothing. But it was a different story with the people who were in the front line trenches all the time. The only thing these people got from the Government was the knife in the back and treachery from behind. I will deal with that matter another time. As regards the settlement we on this side have nothing but a blessing for it. We are glad that the economic war is ended-We are glad that normalcy has been restored. We are glad that the occupation of the buzzards, the suckers and the sharks, men bred out of this economic war, is ended. Their trade has gone out of existence. With it I hope will pass away the occupation of some industrialists, owners of some factories, people who have been guaranteed by this Government. One of these places was called a meat factory. They had the cheek to get down a high prelate of the Church to bless the opening. All they did there was to convert cattle into meat meal and they designated that place a factory. But that Roscrea factory was only a knacker's factory. These are the people who have been fattening on the misfortune of this country. These are the people who own this State and own Dublin to-day. Anything that will take away the growth of that host of buzzards, suckers and sharks, is something to be welcomed.

Mr. Anthony: I do not intend or propose to “damn the Government with faint praise” as so many previous speakers have done, beginning with complimenting the Taoiseach [271] and his co-negotiators on bringing about what we were told was an amicable arrangement with Great Britain. Having damned them with faint praise everything in the Agreement was then subjected to severe criticism. Deputies harked back to history which I had always thought was the prerogative of the Government Party. I was sorry to see that the Fine Gael Party this afternoon fell into that bad habit which has so marked the Fianna Fáil Party, when they engage in resurrecting Brian Boru and sticking a bit closely to Caithlin Ní Houlihán. Owing perhaps to the bad example of the Fianna Fáil Party, I am sorry to say that the Fine Gael Party have fallen into the same evil habit. I do not propose to indulge in any recrimination although I might possibly go a bit farther back, if I so wished, into history than the Fine Gael Deputies who have spoken. I welcome this Agreement. I hope it will mark the beginning of a number of other agreements towards a fuller and more complete understanding between the peoples of Ireland and Great Britain. I feel that while a great deal has been said about the pressure exerted by the second largest Party in the House, a greater pressure has been exerted from within the Government Party. It must be common knowledge that many members of the Fianna Fáil Party suffered as much from the economic war as did the members of the Fine Gael Party.

Every farmer here, many farmer Deputies on the Fianna Fail Benches, and Fianna Fáil farmers outside this House, have suffered very seriously and severely as a result of the economic war, and I believe it was because of the impatience of these people that they were able to exercise through their clubs or cumainn to bring a mass pressure to bear on the leaders of the Party from the Prime Minister down. I welcome their return to political sanity in this very important matter. I join with Deputy Roddy and others in asking that farmers who have suffered most by this economic war should be helped by way of loans at a very [272] low rate of interest to take advantage of the position that is created by the ending of the economic war and by the free entry which is now given our agricultural products to the British markets.

With regard to the annulment of Articles 6 and 7 of thc Articles of Agreement of the 6th December, 1921, and the transfer to the Government of Eire of the Admiralty property and rights at Berehaven and the harbour defences at Berehaven, Cobh, and Lough Swilly, I do not attach quite as much importance to that particular agreement as I do to the agreements that follow, that is to say, the financial agreements and the trade agreements. I consider that that part of the Agreement—and it may be considered unpatriotic on my part to say so—has been entered into by our negotiators in order to satisfy a certain number of irresponsibles in the, country who were possibly demanding that these ports should be acquired, and who consider it more important that we should get some concession of that kind rather than something of more tangible advantage. It was probably considered that the acquisition of these ports will satisfy certain ambitions about an Ireland “free from centre to the sea,” but it will cost this country a considerable sum of money to maintain them. I strongly hold the view that in the event of war it does not matter whether we own these ports or not. If these ports are wanted by any Power that is sufficiently strong to seize them, it will seize them, and it will regard this Treaty merely as a scrap of paper. Whilst our negotiators were about it, they might also have asked for occasional visits from the Fleet. The British Fleet in former years occasionally came into Bantry Bay, to Berehaven, to Cobh and some of these other places mentioned in the Articles of Agreement, and the landing of 8,000 or 10,000 officers and men was responsible for circulating a considerable sum of money in these places. I do not think that we would lose any of our patriotism if we asked for similar visits in future.

The Prime Minister has been chided because of his failure to end Partition, although every Deputy in this House [273] knows that this generation will not see Partition ended or the Border removed. Somebody in the course of the debate expressed the hope that he would live to see it. I have read of Scriptural figures like Methusclah and others but I have doubts, although I should like the Prime Minister live to see the realisation of his ambitions in that regard, that if he lived to the age of these venerable figures he would see the end of Partition. I do not believe that we shall realise it in this generation or possibly in the next. We will only realise the abolition of the Border and the ending of Partition when we shall have sufficient common sense here to face realities and when some members of the Dáil and some of our public men cease making provocative and bellicose speeches against “the one and only enemy,” the enemy with whom, by the way, we are now entering into an arrangement after friendly negotiation and with whom we have arrived at these remarkably fine series of agreements. I feel that the Prime Minister and his co-negotiators are to be congratulated on that achievement. Mind you, I am not saying that by way of irony, because I do not care to indulge in irony on an occasion of this kind; but it must have been a severe wrench for the Prime Minister himself and many of his fellow negotiators to sit down at table with a number of British Ministers and arrive at this Agreement. I pay them a tribute for their manliness, because any fool can float down with the flood but it takes a strong man to swim against it. For that reason, this is the one outstanding thing that this Government has done, and I do hope that they and the country will reap the benefit of it. I say that with all sincerity.

As I have mentioned the Border, whilst we all know it was and still remains an unnatural division of our country, and whilst we all believe it should be abolished and hope that it will be abolished, at the same time if we are perfectly honest with ourselves we must remember—I do not know anything, about the buzzards to whom Deputy Gorey referred—that there is a section, in fact two sections of the community, who do not want to see [274] Partition abolished. These are the persons, probstbly, to whom Deputy Gorey referred as buzzards or parasites. They are the people who made a good living by taking cattle across the Border They do not want to see that Border abolished. There is, too, that enterprising industrialist who established some small industry and perhaps gave some employment. I personally cannot conceive, and I do not know of anybody on this side of the House who could conceive, of an industrialist on this side of the Border sending out a cordial invitation to a number of industrialists on the other side asking them to join with him in a petition to the Minister for Industry and Commerce to allow these industrialists of the North to come down here and enjoy all the advantages of high tariffs that our industrialists enjoy here. I have put the question of the Border to several persons and the answer I got in nearly every case was to the effect that they were not troubling about the Border. If we want to be honest with ourselves and ask any industrialist in Dublin does he want the Border abolished, we may get a rather surprising answer. I asked an industrialist that question and the answer I got was rather illuminating. He said: “Look here, Mr. Anthony, I would like the Border down as far as Mallow.” That was his idea of the Border. There are very few altruists in industry. I have yet to find an altruist in industry and I have not met anyone, and I do not know of anyone, who has lost one night's sleep over the Border. Listening to all the talk and all the platitudes that we hear in this House on this question, one would think that there was weeping and gnashing of teeth all the time in connection with the Border.

The Financial Agreement I consider to be a very satisfactory one. In that I believe the Government made a very good bargain, too, but the Trade Agreement, which has been alluded to by Deputy Dowdall, has been suhjected to an amount of criticism. I know that Deputy Dowdall knows what he is speaking about, and I ask that the Minister should give as full an explanation as possible to satisfy Deputy Dowdall and those whom he [275] represents, that the case is not quite so bad as it appears. Article 8 states that the Government of Eire undertakes to do certain things “in accordance with the principle that existing protective duties and restrictions upon goods produced and manufactured in the United kingdom shall be replaced by duties which shall not exceed such a level as will give to United Kingdom producers and manufacturers full opportunity of reasonable competition.” This is the part to which I wish to draw Deputy Dowdall's attention:

“while affording to Eire industries adequate protection having regard to the relative cost of economical and efficient production, provided that in the application of this principle special consideration may be given to the case of industries not fully established. The tariff on goods produced or manufactured in the United Kingdom will be adjusted, where necessary, to give effect to the recommendations of the Prices commission.”

I listened attentively to the speech of the Minister for Industry and Commerce and, unlike some people, I say without egotism that I do not require a trained lawyer to construe or understand these Articles. I think it is a reflection on the standard of education of Deputies if they cannot understand Articles which to me appear to be as plain as A.B.C. Quantitative restrictions are mentioned in many cases, and I take it that they take the place of the present quota system. I think that covers the objections raised by Deputy Dowdall. However, as my deductions may require correction or amplification, I hope the Minister will deal with the matter. It must be remembered, too, that during the operation of a tariff system—and it certainly should obtain in this country in the case of selective or highly protective tariffs—these tariffs should be subjected to examination from time to time. It is only fair and right, as the Minister stated in his speech to-day, that when certain industries founded and financed by Irish industrialists or capitalists are in operation [276] for a time, under the protection of almost prohibitive tariffs in many cases, that they should, at the end of a period, be able to do without that kind of artificial assistance. I have always likened the position of a new industry to that of a child requiring help before being able to walk, but when the child is able to toddle around for itself it should be allowed to exercise its limbs. In that connection I feel that it is absolutely essential to the economic life of our country that the operation of these tariffs should be examined and all the facts concerning them taken into consideration from time to time. Assuming that a very high tariff is in operation and that wages in certain industries are higher here than across the water, that should be taken into consideration, and adequate steps taken to protect the wages and the conditions of the working-class, and also to see that those who invested their money got a fair return. When I say “fair return” I think they should be satisfied with 5 or 6 per cent., and not 25 per cent., as happened in the case of a protected industry.

There is one aspect of this agreement between the Governments of Eire and Britain which has so far not been referred to, and that is the enormous advantage that will arise when they become operative in relation to the tourist traffic. We know that a good deal of propaganda was used against this country in the past, and particularly during the operation of the economic war, that tended to keep away travellers, seekers of health, and sportsmen of various kinds. That represented a very big joss of revenue to this country. These agreements will have a wonderfully stimulating effect upon that industry, and will help in many other ways to dissipate old antagonisms and misunderstandings, and, let us hope, pave the way to a more prosperous and ultimately a more united Ireland.

Mr. Dowdall: As a matter of explanation, may I say that I have received information on certain points that I raised about some industries, and I am quite satisfied that they are fully protected.

[277] Mr. Anthony: Was I right then?

Mr. Dowdall: Yes.

Dr. O'Higgins: It would he more or less churlish for anyone on this side of the House to urge acceptance of this particular pact without, in the first place, welcoming to the ranks of Fine, Gael the Taoiseach and his colleagues, because we have incorporated in this document the particulir things that we have been advocating for six long years, although in our advocacy we were repeatedly shouted down and called “cowards,” “renegades” and “traitors.” I am not reminding Government Deputies of this in any spirit of pique. I am rather mentioning it in order to call attention to the fact that any of us may be wrong, and that the man who is capable of admitting he is wrong and turns in his tracks and goes the proper road should be welcomed when he turns in his tracks and goes the proper road. We accept this particular pact not so much as a very advantageous arrangement between this country and Great Britain, but rather as an instrument to end a period which was tragic in the history of this country, and to end a state of economic lunacy that could only rapidly lead to bankruptcy. We had this country brought to such a state that any way out, even though that way was rough and humiliating, even though it might mean in certain aspects a dipping of the flag and national surrender—even that way out was preferable to remaining in the position in which we were. This is a way out that has certain advantages and certain disadvantages.

It would be as, wrong to their people to exaggerate the advantages and to minimise the disadvantages as it would be to exaggerate the disadvantages and minimise the advantages. I am prepared to say from this side of the House that there are immense advantages contained in this document, and not the least is the new atmosphere of friendship between this country and Great Britain. I believe that is something which cannot be assessed in value: that it is only as one year follows another that the value of friendship between two contiguous islands, [278] two islands to an extent mutually dehendent, will be realised. We realised the value of that atmosphere many years ago. perhaps we were a little bit in advance of the times in doing so, but the pioneer always has a hard road to travel. We had to go the hard road because we first appreciated the value of friendship between this country and Great Britain, and because we first appreciated the extent to which this country is dependent on Great Britain for trade and the extent to which Great Britain is dependent on this country for trade. Because we were in advance of the times and expressed our minds openly, we went through all the hard experiences of the pioneer: the first to clear the bush, the first to blaze the trail, the first to make the path easy for others to follow. We do not begrudge the use of the road that we have steam-rolled to others, but we do at least claim that we should get a certain amount of credit for having blazed the trail, cleared the bush and made the path easier for those who came after.

There are contained in this document many advantages and many good elements, so good that, I think, it may be criticised mainly on the grounds that only a three-years life is given to the terms contained therein. There may have been sound reasons for giving this Agreement only a life of three years. I am not aware of them. I think that in patching up trade arrangements between this country and Great Britain, by leaving them, as you do here properly subject to revision by consultations at any time between the Governments, that the mere fact of giving it a three years life can only result in creating a certain amount of insecurity and instability. Whether we are engaged in commercial life, in agriculture or in anything else that is intimately concerned with the Agreement before us, a man will hesitate to sink big capital behind an arrangement that may be completely upset after three years. I would urge that one of the first matters in this Agreement that should be the subject of reconsideration is the life that is given to the document, always allowing to meet the person with the fears expressed by Deputy [279] Dowdall—that the clause remains as it is inside the document, and that any point which may arise can be rcexamined, rearranged and altered between the Governments at auy time following consultation. I think that one of the bad points in the document is that reference to the three-years life.

Now, I can see from the point of view of certain Ministers sitting opposite that this particular document can be viewed with pleasure, and that by others it must be viewed with a certain amount of relief, not unmixed with a certain amount of dismay. I can see every reason why the Minister for Finance should feel particularly elated at a document such as this, viewed purely from the financial angle. He now finds himself, presumably, in the position of a man having an unexpected sum of about £2,000,000 to play with on the eve of a Budget. Presumably, provision must have been made for the payment of bounties and subsidies in the coming year, because as we are not prophets we could not foresee an arrangement such as this. That sum will be available next week for the relief of taxation, or to give a new start to agriculture under the new conditions. I can see that from the Minister's point of view also a big debt, with a capital value of about £70,000,000, has been cleared out of the way, and the shadow of it taken out of his track for a lump sum payment of £10,000,000, so that from the angle of the Minister for Finance everything in the garden is rosy.

From the point of view of the Minister for Agriculture, this document must bring nothing but joy, no matter what empty phrases we had from himself and his colleagues in the years gone by with regard to the valueless British market and to the fact that we were rapidly getting out of it. We knew that such phrases were the hollow phrases of humbugs, and that, in fact, those men had sufficient common sense and intelligence to treat with contempt the phrases which were falling from their own lips. We knew that every one of them, in fact, appreciated, as we [280] did, the value of the English market to the Irish farmer. In spite of all those phrases, cant and hollow sentences poured forth by Ministers from Fianna Fáil platforms over the last six years, we know that the Minister for Agriculture must view this document with feelings of pleasure because it restores, once again, to the Irish farmer free entry to the greatest market in the world. It saves the Minister from the experiences he had in the last six years of having to engage in all kinds of foolish, futile political stunts, from the slaughter of calves to the promotion of crops and other phases of agriculture that were costing the neighbour dear. This document has brought him back once more into the position of having free entry into the greatest market in the world. Even the greatest nations in the world vie with one another to get an entry, such as we are now to have, to that market.

From the point of view of either the Taoiseach or the Minister for Industry and Commerce I think the document must be viewed with mixed feelings. The Minister for Industry and Commerce, perhaps more than any Minister sitting opposite, was the man who made his name known as the one who advocated whole-hog high tariffs on everything; the man who repeatedly and eloquently urged the advisability and desirability of national self-sufficiency; the man who claimed that the only path which this country could follow with dignity and hope was the path that meant esclusion from the home market of any and every element which competed with the goods of this country. We all remember the time when the Labour Party did not support him very fully in his advocacy of whole-hog tariffs, and he referred to that Party as being “whole-hog nothing”; in fact, “the bonham Party”. I wonder is he himself proud of that title to-day. If other parties in this House deserve the label of “bonham Party” because they were standing only for moderate tariffs——

Mr. Gorey: “Bonhameens” we call them in the country.

[281] Dr. O'Higgins:——at least they stood for moderate tariffs by their own choice, and not by direction from outside. Those are matters that must not be overlooked. We have got to remember that whereas it may cost a certain amount to educate Ministers, that money should not be regarded as wasted, and it is necessary wlso to educate the followers of Ministers. If one side of an Article such as this is unduly stressed without calling attention to the other side, we may be shirking our educational responsibility towards those behind us. As far as this document reopens to the farmers of this country free entry into the British market, with the preferences and advantageous terms that are given to every member of the Commonwealth as against outside competitors, it is particularly welcome. With regard to the clearing off of a big debt, whether in the past it was regarded as a debt or not—a big claim, at all events, by Great Britain to an immense amount—by a lump sum of £10,000,000, that again is highly welcome and acceptable. But let us remember in dealing with one another that once before Britain had a great claim, a huge claim, against this country, a claim for £130,000,000, I think. Irish delegates met British Ministers, just as they did in the last three months. They went over there with hopes of driving the best bargain they could with regard to the huge claim of the British, and with hopes of driving the best bargain they could with regard to the unfortunate partition of this country. They wiped out the debt of £130,000,000-not one red penny was left—and they failed to wipe out Partition. When they came back they were accused of having sold Ulster for the sum of £130,000,000. There was no truth in that charge, any more than there would be any truth in anyone who would charge the Taoiseach to-day with having sold Ulster for this pact. But let us understand that there has got to be give and take in those matters. If Ulster was sold on that previous occasion, if the chare was true then we are brothers in crime to-day, and the only difference between us is that we got twice as [282] much for the sale of Ulster as the people opposite got. It was not true then, and it is not true now. You are burying the hatchet, and, thank God, you are doing it with your traditional enemy. You are beginning to realise that they have qualities which you never bothered yourselves to discover in the past. let the same be applied to the people at home. While there is recantation of certain attitudes with regard to your outside neighbour, let there also be recantation of certain attitudes and certain charges with regard to your neighbour and brother here at home.

That huge British claim was wiped out by a lump sum payment of £10,000,000, but there was also wiped out a claim to £400,000,000 by the Irish Government against the British Government. Do not let us forget that, except the Minister and his colleagues were behaving as humbugs with their tongues in their cheeks on 15th October, 1932, when, acting us the Executive Council of this State, they formally lodged an itemised claim to £400,000,000 against the British Government. Do not let us forget that for that lump sum payment of £10;000,000 by this little State there is a claim of £80,000,000 by Great Britain withdrawn, but there is also a claim to £100,000,000 by Eire withdrawn. Now, I am not one of those who hold, or ever did hold, that compromise was surrender. I believe that compromise is, and always was, good business, and that if you only buy a handkerchief across the counter it amounts to compromise. One man wants the money, the other man wants ihe handkerchief, and the purchaser would like to get the handkerchief cheaper. I am glad we have reached a phase in the business of this Dail when compromise is no longer regarded as surrender, because this particular document expresses in every line of it a compromise on every important section and every important point. We give and we take. Britain waives a claim; we waive a bigger claim; we wipe them out, one against tha other. Britain gives us free entry into her market, but if she gives free entry into her market she says: “I am not going to [283] give that for nothing. You have cattle and agricultural goods for sale in that country; we have industrial goods for Sale in ours”; and she claims, in spite of all the twaddle and nonsense that deluged this country for six years back, that there has got to be co-operation in trade as well as everything else: that if we are to get free entry for our cattle and so on, she is going to get. reasonable entry here for the products of her industrial concerns.

There you have compromise, compromise of a, type which it would have been suicidal to reject. I would not refer to that compromise or any of the compromises contained therein as being surrender. I hope we have all got away from the mentality and the atmosphere that we are going to say to one another with regard to agreements, national and international, that compromise is surrender, that compromise means surrender, and that we will never be associated with surrender.

Remember, it is much easier to raise a cheer than to do sound business. There was too much cheer-raising and too little business in this country for the last six years. Perhaps the first evidence of a courageous attempt to do business in a businesslike way and ignore the flag-wagging, the cheapgags and the cheer-raising stunts, is before us here to-day. Because of that, I welcome it far more than because of the clauses of the Agreement. There is, however, one thing running right, through this Agreement that is worthy of consideration. To an extent, throughout this Trade Agreement, we have gone perilously near to the complete surrender of our fiscal independence. It may be that we are living in a hard, material, businesslike world; it may be that such concessions were necessary; but I think it is essential to stress the point that this country is an exporting country, and that even concessions of that kind, which may even approach the point of pawning our purchasing trade and conceding absolutely into the custody of others our tariff powers and our taxing powers over commodities, were necessary and desirable in this country on account of the importance [284] of the export trade and the conditions under which we were getting that particular market made available. I think it would be a mistake not to let people know in a loud manner that, in spite of the writings and the yearnings and the teachings of patriots in tho past when they were expressing through that voices or through their pens the mental aspiration for complete and full independence — and independence when mentioned in those times was nearly synonymous with separation—it is well to let the followers of such doctrines know that we are living in a world made up of many nations, that we are living in a world where there is a community of nations, that inter-trade is the lifeblood of a country, and that no country—even a big country—can progress and develop by living in splendid isolation behind high walls of artificial creation; that the smaller a country is, and the more it is an agricultural country, the more there is necessity for a clear export and a free export of the goods they produce; and that that export market is so vital to this country that we are justified even in jeopardising, if not completely surrendering, our fiscal autonomy in order to secure an export for our goods.

There are, as I say, clauses and sentiments and expressions running through this Trade Agreement which any of us would delete if we could have our own way; which any of us would delete, and cheerfully delete, if we could redraft that document and if we had not to get agreement with anybody else. I am not going to criticise members of the Government because there are certain things in that document to which they agreed in order to get greater benefits for this country. I am not going to act as a man who could take up his pen and draft that document according to his own liking, and had not to meet others representing another people with other points of view and arrive at compromise and agreement. Let us all take a lesson from that, too. Any of us could do things better if we had not to consult anybody else. Any of us could do things better to-day, or 18 years ago, if we were not confronted with the necessity and the desirability of reaching agreement in the interests [285] of our own people. When we welcome this pact to-day, and when we welcome even the courage and the risk that was taken in making such Agreement, let us remember this: that you are not the first generation of Irish Ministers that boldly and bravely risked much in making agreements with people beyond the sea, and let us extend to people who did likewise in the past the same generosity as the Opposition is extending to you to-day.

Mr. Esmonde: Sir, in intervening in this debate I do not propose to deal with any of the details contained in these three Agreements which we are discussing. I prefer to deal with the general character and the atmosphere of the document which the Prime Minister has asked the House to agree to. I listened very carefully to the Prime Minister's speech and I realised that, with him, it was a difficult moment in his political career to recommend such a document as this to the House for acceptance. Deputy O'Higgins, who has just concluded his remarks, referred to the fact that he welcomed into the ranks of those who can see a certain way towards the inhabitants and the Government of Great Britain the members of our Government and their supporters. May I be permitted, as a person who belonged to a particular brand of nationalism in this country, to say that I also welcome into the ranks of those who believe in good feelings and good friendship with England to-day the members of our Government as I did, in spirit at all events, in 1922, when members belonging to the Party to which I now belong realised at that time that the future of this country was linked up with friendship and co-operation with Great Britain.

There is a very important part of this document which has not been referred to yet and which, I think, is something that should be referred to. I mean the remarks that are contained on the inside of the first page, and contained in the first sentence of those remarks. They are as follows:—

“The Government of Eire and the Government of the United Kingdom, being desirous of promoting relations [286] of friendship and good understanding between the two countries...”

That is the first effective sentence of the document which the Prime Minister recommends to the House. The Prime Minister has asked us to study the map of Europe. Unfortunately, in the past, political opinion sometimes has been moulded too much by studying the pages of history books and not paying sufficient attention to the pages of the geography book and the matter contained therein. Therefore, for one reason, and for one reason alone, I welcome the fact that our Government has seen fit to recognise in a document of this kind that it is possible to be a good and a patriotic Irishman arid at the same time meet our neighbour with whom our destiny is linked up and tied up in order to make a sensible, a reasonable, and a proper bargain.

I am not going to deal with the question of whether now is the time it should have been made or whether it should have been made at any previous date. I prefer to deal with this matter as a realist. I do not care what the origins of the squabble were, who was responsible for it, or what happened during the last six years or the last fifteen years. It is our duty as representing the people who sent us here, no matter what Party we belong to, to take this Agreement and to work it as best we can for the benefit of the people of the country. Therefore, because we recognise that our destiny in future is linked up, in the terms of this document, by relations of friendship and good understanding between the two countries, for the first reason I welcome it. For the second reason I welcome it because the document in its various clauses Tecognises what we in this Party have stated time and again to be true, that the real, substantial and workable industry of this country is the agricultural industry with its market in Great Britain. That is the second reason I welcome this document and propose to vote for it.

There is one other thing I should like to say, and it is this. The Prime Minister, in speaking of the people associated with the bringing about of this Agreement, referred in very proper terms to the officials of the Government [287] who assisted him. He was quite right in doing so. Many of these officials are personally known to us, and we realise that they are very competent people and that they must have had a difficult task in working out the various matters connected with the Agreement. But I think the Prime Minister might have gone a little further. There was an omission in his speech. I do not believe for one moment that it was a deliberate omission. I think when I bring it to his notice he will probably recognise it was an omission. A little over three months ago he announced that he and three of his Ministers proposed to cross to the other side for the purpose of commencing negotiations in connection with the outstanding differences. From that day until this we of this Panty and members of other Opposition Parties can claim that by no word, act or deed did we put anything whatsoever in the way of the Prime Minister and his colleagues in bringing the best agreement they could back. I really think that in praising his colleagues and his assistants from the Civil Service, the Prime Minister did overlook the fact that the Opposition had played a wise, a noble, and a patriotic part during the past three months.

Mr. Fagan: As a farmer and as a Deputy representing a number of farmers in Meath and Westmeath, I wish to congratulate the Government on bringing back this Agreement. Since I became a Deputy I have always advocated inside and outside this House a settlement of the economic war, and lately I did not think it would come so soon. I therefore wish to congratulate the Government because of the relief which the settlement will bring to farmers, especially in my constituency, because everyone knows that the economic war hit the cattle industr5more than any other industry, and Meath and Westmeath are the two leading counties in the cattle industry. There is one thing that should be remembered now that the economic war is over and that is that there were a number of casualties during that war In my county a large number of farmers will not derive any benefit whatever from this settlement. At the beginning [288] of the economic war they had a certain number of cattle. Some of the Fianna Fáil Party maintained that they had also certain debts. Even if they owed a couple of hundred pounds, they always had ten or 20 cattle that would pay that debt. When the economic war had been going on for two or three years, if they owed £200 they found that 20 cattle would not pay more than a quarter of that debt, and when they sold them they were still left with a debt in the bank. The result is that the debt is still there and, in fact, has been accumulating by the addition of interest. In fact there are numbers of farmers in my county at present who have not a beast on the land. Owing to the rumours of a settlement for the last three months we have had English and other cattle dealers coming down there and taking land from the farmers so that they could buy up a lot of cattle for sale when the settlement came. I know that a lot of them are disappointed because the settlement did not come as quickly as they expected. But the farmers who are in that position should be thought of.

I know of a farmer with 150 acres who at the commencement of the economic war had all his land stocked. He had a certain amount of debt, but it was not a lot. At the present time that farmer has only two cows and eight yearlings on his land. The rest of his land is stocked by a cattle dealer from Dublin. When I was in that man's house the day before yesterday, that cattle dealer came down in a large motor car and went around that poor farmer's land and congratulated himself on the fine cattle he had now that the economic war was settled. Honestly, I pitied the poor farmer looking at that man examining his cattle. There are large numbers like him in the country and something will have to be done for them, both for the good of the country and of the State. Whether by loans oy some other means the problem will have to be tackled. It could be dealt with by some of the money saved by this settlement. There is another question which I do not want to go into now—it can be brought up afterwards—and that is the right of the Government to the land annuities now [289] that they are wiped out. These things will have to be thought of. These people are down and out now aud should get the benefit of that. There should be pity for that poor farmer, who was formerly well off and could make a living before the economic war started, when we think of him looking at a stranger coming to his home, where his people had been for generations, and of that stranger deriving all the benefit of this settlement. I ask the Government in all seriousness to think of that aspect of the matter, and I am sure they will do it.

I am delighted that the economic war is settled. Farming will derive a great benefit, more benefit even than the newspapers say. I, as a practical farmer, can tell you we were in the hands of cattle dealers and in the hands of people coming over here. During the economic war a, farmer might send 20 cattle over to York, and what would it cost to land them in York market? £1 12s. 6d. a head, and he had to pay his fare over. I know what I am talking about, because I do it. We have store sales here every Thursday, and we have Welsh farmers coming over. What can they land our cattle in Wales for at the present time? From 14/- to 16/- a head. This is the benefit we are going to derive and I am glad that the Government have sense at last to settle this up. I am delighted, and all our people will take advantage of it. I could have taken more advantage of it a few years ago, but I will pull along now, and I have a hope of rearing my family. I may say that I am in debt. I got into debt during the economic war, and I have hopes now of getting out of it. I could show the Government bills that length. I could show where I got £350 for a certain number of cattle and that there was £196 of that tariff. I have bills to show and to look at when I am old. I will keep them.

Mr. MacEntee: When Deputy Fagan has a few winners he will feel better about it.

Mr. Fagan: The Minister for Finance has a big salary, and I think it would be a great, thing for the country it he would spend some of it on the training of a few horses, I breed my [290] horses and try to sell them, and I support a lot by doing it, and I am not ashamed of it. I know the Minister for Finance was offered a horse, and his better-half advised him not to take it as it would be too expensive. I know those things.

There is another matter—derating— which, if it could be put into force now, would help the farmers. The Government Party advocated it at one time, and our Party advocate it now. I think it would be a good time to put it into force. It is awful to see the bailiffs and sheriffs going around the country seizing the few cows the farmer has for rates. I think something should be done about that. I do not want to take up the time of the House. I think it would be a good thing if Deputies would cut their speeches short and let this Agreement come into force immediately, because I know the cattle trade, and I know that it will upset business, especially in the first week of May. A week's delay at this time means a loss of thousands of pounds to the people. If you had two days' rain at the present time it would greatly. benefit the people of the country. I would advocate that the speeches should be cut short, and that this Agreement should be got through so that we can have a free market next Thursday.

Mr. Dockrell: A Chinn Chomhairle, I, like other speakers, agree with the Government in making a settlement of this question. At the same time there are certain points that I wish to bring to the notice of the Government and certain other points on which I would like information. The Taoiseach said that the Agreement fell under three heads. Now, under the financial head, £10,000,000 is to be paid. I also notice that Section 3 shows:—

“The provisions of Article 2 of this Agreement shall not affect—

(i) payments made or liabilities incurred by one Government to the other in respect of agency services,”

and so on. I should like to know what our total payments would be under that section of the Agreement. I should also like to know at whose expense the Irish Lights will now be conducted.

[291] There is another point that some Deputies asked the Taoiseach about and I noticed he was a little bit diffident about mentioning figures for it. What will the approximate liability be in taking over the services of the ports and harbours and the new military fortifications adumbaated under this treaty?

There is another matter to which I wish to refer. Article 8 can be read in a variety of ways. The review is to be made of existing tariffs on representations from the English Government as to the precedence that they are to have and, I take it, on applications from English manufacturers. The clause contained in this Article to which I call the attention of the House is that:

“such duties and restrictions upon goods produced or manufactured in the United kingdom shall be replaced by duties which shall not exceed such a level as will give to the United kingdom producers and manufacturers full opportunity of reasonable competition while affording to Eire industries adequate protection having regard to the relative cost of economical and efficient production, provided that in the application of this principle greater consideration may be given to the case of industries not fully established.”

I wish the body joy that has to interpret that clause. I would like to give the Taoiseach a hypothetical case and to ask him what circumstances the Prices Commission ought to take into account in the following instance:— Say, an English manufacturer applies to have the tariff on certain goods reviewed. The English manufacturer would make the case that the lrish manufacturer was protected by a 100 per cent. to 500 per cent. tariff and that the price at which the goods were sold in Ireland was 100 per cent. over the price in England. I suppose there would be counter recriminations and the English manufacturer, in support of his application for a reduction of the tariff, would say that the Irishman is selling in English territory at one-third of the price at which he is selling in Ireland, [292] and that the Minister for Industry and Commerce, when putting on the tariff, had said that tho increase over the world price would be only 5 per cent., but that it was now 100 per cent. The Irish manufacturer would probably say: “Look at my books; they are open to the Prices Commission. My costs are very much higher than in England, and I cannot sell the goods any cheaper.” I should like the Taoiseach to give us some line as to the matters that would guide the Prices Commission in reviewing such a case. I am quite sure they would not get over a case like that in an afternoon. The Prices Commission is apparently going to be a very important body. I do not know how fast they are going to move, but I have an idea that they have been considering prices in the building trade for the last two years and have not come to any decision in the matter yet.

Mr. O'Brien: The building bosses are too astute for them.

Mr. Dockrell: The building bosses have nothing on the English manufacturers, and you are making a great mistake if you think they have. I do not know how long the Prices Commission will take to go through that list, not to mention other lists. I should like to point out that apparently it is to be a sovereign assembly which is going to impose or take off tariffs. It seems to me that the logical outcome of that is that they ought also to prepare the Budget, because I think that millions of pounds of a difference could be made in a year as between putting on and taking off tariffs.

Another matter which occurs to one is why the Prices Commission, which is at present overburdened with work, and which has a job to do, is given this job at all. I think there are three Tariff Commissioners who are doing nothing. I should like the Taoiseach to correct me if I am wrong, but I think they ought to be associated with this job, and if not, they ought to be done away with. Another matter which I want to bring to the notice of the Government is, what right of entry to the Prices Commission will consumers or the distributing trade have? If they appear, [293] will they be told: “Read the terms of reference. You have no right of entry into this assembly.” I suppose many people would not be pleased with an arrangement by which the British, who had been put out of the ports, should be installed in the Prices Commission to which they had no right to go in and make their case.

I felt rather carious to-day—and I think Deputy Dowdall dealt with the same point—when the Minister for Industry and Commerce was talking about the Canadian Agreement, because I thought that, in that case, the consumers had the right to go in, and, if consumers here have not got the right to appear before the Commission I should like the Taoiseach to make that clear, because it ought to be safeguarded. For instance, could points be made before the Prices Commission to the effect that one manufacturer has a better system for distributing his goods and that, therefore, as between certain rival manufacturers, the distributors would favour one manufacturer as against another, or could the point be made that a manufacturer refuses to meet his customers to hear their complaints? I think that over the last few years far too little attention has been paid to the legitimate needs and grievances of the consuming public. In many cases, tariffs have been put on and revenues collected, tariffs being described as protective duties in cases where the goods were not manufactured in this country at all. If representation is made, will the Prices Commission have any right to intervene and can a case be made from the Irish side?

In making these few remarks, I have endeavoured not to range over past history or to deal with who started the economic war or who won. I have tried to make the case that the Government, as I recognise, had to come to an agreement, but having come to an agreement, I want to say that there is quite a lot of red tape and nonsense going on in connection with tariffs, and I only hope the Government will seize this opportunity to regularise and straighten out the present position, and that the situation in regard to tariffs, quotas, quantitative reductions, emergency duties and protective duties will [294] be straightened out. I am quite sure, if that is so, that the Prices Commission will have a whole-time job for years to come. Another point which I wish to bring to the attention of the Government is the position of the importer in this country who has brought in goods and paid duty on them. Under one of he provisions in this Agreement, the Customs duty, the stamp duty and the package tax are reduced. I do not say anything about that. I wish to make the point clear to the Government that that facilitates trading by post with the other side. I suppose that is quite right. At the same time, the people who hold stocks over here are at present in a very unfortunate and invidious position. They do not know, if they order stocks to-morrow, that the duty may not be off the following day. That is not good for trade. It is not assisting the display of goods in this country. The distributing trade has a very difficult position to face. They have got very heavy costs. They are trying in some cases to display goods for the benefit of a very scattered population. The alternative is to have no distributing trade over here—to have the goods sold by post. I think that the Taoiseach said at the start of the negotiations that he realised how bad for trade uncertainty was. The position will be infinitely worse if this uncertainty is to go on for years to come. It will really be an intolerable position so far as anybody who is trying to hold stocks of goods in this country is concerned. I suggest to the Government that they, at least, issue a time-table which would show that certain commodities would not be reviewed within a certain time. That would give an opportunity for adjusting the position which, in many respects, is a dangerous one owing to the possibility of very high tariffs coming off. I appeal to the Taoiseach to take into account the difficulties of the Irish section who are dealing with this Agreement. I am not in any sense indulging in reproaches. I merely suggest that, taking the document as it is, he should inflict only the minimum of hardship on his own nationals. That can best be effected by telling them, [295] as far as possible, when the tariffs are to be reviewed. I put that matter very seriously to the Government.

Mr. Benson: Before the Taoiseach concludes, there are one or two little points in connection with the Trade Agreement which t should like to get clarified. In the first place, I should like to know whether the Trade Agreement provides for the removal of quantitative restrictions. So far as I can discover, it does not definitely say so anywhere, but it seems to be implied in paragraph 3 of Article 8, which says: “It is understood that quantitative restrictions may be imposed...” Furthermore, the first paragraph of Article 10 says: “...Provided that, on the abolition of control by quantitative regulation, higher rates of duty may be charged...” The Minister for Industry and Commerce said that under Article 10, no change would be made and that the duties laid down in Schedule 5 would not come into operation until the matter would have been referred to the Prices Commission. I cannot read that meaning into that paragraph. The Prices Commission only comes in when you allow these higher rates on the abolition of quantitative restriction. As I understood, the Minister for Industry and Commerce said that neither the relaxation of quantitative control nor the imposition of the reduced duties mentioned in Schedule 5 became operative until the matter had been inquired into by the Prices Commission. In addition to Deputy Dockrell's point as regards uncertainty, there is the further point that, under Article 10, certain articles mentioned in the schedules have the duties reduced to 15 per cent. At present, in some of these cases, the difference in price between this country and the United kingdom is in the region of 50 per cent. If that provision becomes operative, it will obviously be economical for anybody to purchase these goods in the United Kingdom, but in paragraph 2 of Article 10, we are practically told that if they do so in any quantity, the quantitative restrictions will be reimposed. Will these quantitative restrictions only be reimposed after [296] reference to the Prices Commission? In other words, will they have an opportunity of inquiring into the question of the 15 per cent. duty and the 50 per cent. difference in price, or will the quantitative restrictions be automatically reimposed if considerable quantities are imported under the reduced duties?

Mr. O'Leary: I should like to welcome this Agreement. I am one of those who maintained in this House, from time to time, that there was no hope for the agricultural community until the economic war was settled— and settled on a basis that could not be described as surrender. I, and other Deputies, advocated a settlement even at the risk of being called “imperialists.” After all, it is a blessing that that cry is now gone, and gone for ever, so far as those on the Government Benches are concerned. There is as much patriotism on these benches as there is on the opposite benches. We were told from time to time that the economic war should not be settled. I do not want to say anything that would create bitterness. I do not want anybody on the Government Benches to think that what I say has that purpose. Nobody in the country is more anxious than I am to see the bitterness of the past removed. After all, there is no good in thinking of the past. I was glad to hear the Minister for Industry and Commerce ask members on these benches to support them in building up this unfortnnate country. There is no use in jeering or trying to convey to people in the cities and towns, who have no knowledge of the manner of livelihood of people in the country, that only small hardships were imposed on farmers by this unfortunate economic war.

I do not want to go into the motives behind the starting of the economic war, but there is one thing that we on these benches have made a point of since the negotiations started, and that is that. we were not going to do or to say anything that would embarrass the Government in the carrying out of the negotiations. Since the Treaty was passed I never suffered from any inferiority complex so far this [297] country is concerned. On one occasion the late Deputy Hogan, formerly Minister for Agriculture, made a statement to the effect that when they went across to bargain with the British they stood on equal terms with them as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations. I need scarcely tell you that from time to time it was a bit sore on some of us to have to put up with taunts from the Government Benches, such as when we were described as Imperialists and other things. Perhaps it is a good thing that that cry can on longer come from Deputies on the Government Benches. I am glad to see that at last they have realised the necessity of fixing up the economic war and that they realise the real importance of the British market for the agricultural community in this country. The Government realise now how important it is to have our agricultural community in such a position that they can pay their way. The people in the towns and cities know full well now how serious the conditions have been as a result of the farmers being unable to buy various commodities.

With regard to tariffs, I do not want to misrepresent Deputy Dowdall, but I think he rather tried to convey to-night that the Fianna Fáil Government were the first to start putting on tariffs, in order to encourage employment. I would not agree with that statement, that is, if Deputy Dowdall wished to convey that meaning. The Cumann na nGaedheal Government set up a Tariff Commission, and when any factory or any other concern applied for a tariff, they put that application before the Tariff Commission, and if anybody wished to object he could go before the commission and make his objection. The Tariff Commission investigated the claim for the tariff and considered any objections, and then they reported to the Government as to the desirability or otherwise of putting on a tariff. They reported as to the cost it would mean to the country and the amount of employment it would give. Then the Government decided as to whether it would be wise to impose a tariff. The leader of our Party stated on more than one occasion that if they did impose a tariff they always made it a point, when they saw that it was going [298] to impose a little burden on the community, to reduce the cost of living in some way, to reduce the tax on tea or sugar, or some commodity commonly used by the people. I believe that was a sensible policy. I am not in agreement with the policy of shoving on tariffs indiscriminately. I am sure this Government now realise that it was not a wise thing. When they were in opposition, the Fianna Fáil Party always argued that tariffs were not going to increase the cost of living. Is there anybody on the Government Benches now bold enough to say that tariffs did not increase the cost of living? I am as patriotic as anybody on the Government Benches. I was associated with the Gaelic League since its inception, and I have always given preference to Irish-manufactured stuff, even if there was a little extra expense. But there are people in this country who cannot afford to do that, and these are the people who should be considered. There are many men by no means well off by reason of this Government's policy through the last few years. It is all very well to tell them to be patriotic, but they cannot afford to do very much in the way of purchasing Irish-manufactured goods. I hold that it is the business of the Government to see that the unfortunate people are not fleeced by industrialists who come into the country just in order to take what they can out of it.

The Minister for Agriculture to-night tried to argue with regard to the increase in the price of cattle here. He charged us that we did not give him more credit for increasing the price of cattle when they went up in the British market. If he has any doubt about it, I want to reiterate the statement that he does not deserve any credit for the price of cattle in the British market. I will quote the words of the late Minister for Agriculture—Go ndeanaidh Dia trocaire ar a anam! —when he said here on one occasion that the export price of our agricultural produce ruled the price in the home market. I can get the qaotation of the present Minister for Agriculture, where, perhaps on more than one occasion, he admitted that that statement was correct.

[299] The Budget is being introduced on Wednesday next, and my principal reason for rising now is to support the claim put forward by Deputy Davin and other Deputies on these benches, the claim of the agriculturists, the claim of those who have been in the front line trenches for the last five or six years. The Minister for Agriculture argued to-night that we were in a better position than the people of the North with regard to derating and annuities. I will instance my own position, and I wish this to go to the Press, because there are people in the cities who know very little about the burden that has been imposed on farmers. My annuity in 1932 was £218 10s. Od. Now, it might appear very high to the ordinary person in the country, but, mind you, I am not a rancher, and I have invited the Minister for Agriculture on more than one occasion to come to my place and work there for a week. Probably he would then realise what the farmers have to go through in order to meet their commitments.

Mr. Corish: Would you pay him 24/-a week?

Mr. O'Leary: I never paid men as low as 24/- a week. I am nearer to paying them 24/- a week with their board and lodging. I may tell you that as s result of the Government's policy you will not get many men to work on the land even at £1 a week, all found. I am prepared to pay a good ploughman £1 a week, all found. Unfortunately, our people have been turned away from the land, and I told the Fianna Fáil Party that. As I was saying, my annuity was £218 10s. Od.

An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy might be good enough to relate the position to the Agreement to which the House is asked to give assent.

Mr. O'Leary: It has been conveyed by the Minister that this is going to be a great boon to the agriculturists. If this Agreement has been signed, what was the economic war fought for? Was it to improve the position of the agriculturist? I believe I have the right to say that, so far as we are concerned, we are in the dumps as a result [300] of the economic war. I want to make an appeal to the Minister for Finance now that the Budget will be introduced in a few days——

An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy cannot deal with the Budget now.

Mr. O'Leary: I am only referring to it in passing. I want to point out now that this is how it affects the farmers. In 1932 my annuity was £218 10s. That was reduced by £98 4s. 6d., and at present the annuity I am paying is £120 5s. 6d. On the other hand, my rates have gone up considerably since 1932. In 1938 the rate I was called on to pay was £95 1s. 1d. That rate included 2/2 in the £1 for the Blessington tram. This item came to £33, so that my net rate after deducting that figure would be £62. The Blessington tram rate is done away with now. My present rate has gone up by over £100 as compared with 1932.

Mr. MacEntee: Why do you not pay your annuities?

Mr. O'Leary: What?

Mr. MacEntee: Your rates have gone up because some people are not paying their annuities.

Mr. O'Leary: And the Minister wants to penalise those who pay them. It is an awful pity that some of your Supporters in the country who are so strong in advocating the payment of land annuities for others cannot and will not pay their own Shop debts.

An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy must get back to the motion.

Mr. O'Leary: I do not want to be at all personal, but if the Minister for Finance is looking for trouble he is going to get all he wants. If I have gone outside the motion, it is because I was trying to bring home to the people in this House the conditions at present existing in the country. The fact is, that we are now only in the same position as we were in 1932. As a result of the increase in the rates we are paying now as much in rates and annuities as we were paying before the annuities were reduced. I do not wish to take up the time of the House any further, but I do wish to appeal [301] to the Minister for Finance to go and investigate for himself up aud down the country the existing conditions in which the farmers are living, and I ask him to have some consideration for the unfortunate people who have been deprived of their means of existence.

Mr. Corry: On this motion I wish——

Mr. Linehan: Now we have the farmers' champion.

Mr. Corry: in the first place, to welcome this Agreement. I do so on the one hand as a farmer and, secondly, as one who believes in the absolute freedom and independence of this country. I have been listening all day to the Opposition Deputies asking why was not this matter settled five years ago. I have heard it asserted from the Opposition side of the House that this problem could have been settled more easily five years ago than now. Deputy Esmonde went so far as to ask why his Party was not thanked by the President for having kept quiet for three months. As to that, I must say that on very many occasions in the past six years I stood up here and asked them for God's sake to keep quiet for a few months——

Mr. McGilligan: They could not understand the Deputy.

Mr. O'Leary: We have no graveyards on this side, anyway.

Mr. Corry: There is always room for an extra one in it. I have sat here patiently all day listening to their talk and to their questions as to why this matter was not settled five years ago. If this matter was not settled five years ago it was because it took the British people all those six years to realise that the Opposition were not going to get back into office in this country. The British were not able to realise until now that the people on the Opposition side, who gave away the position before were not getting back into office here. That is the sole reason why this question was not settled during the past six years. During all that time the British were led to believe that the people who were going to hand over these annuities [302] to them were going to get back into office again.

Mr. O'Leary: I hoar applause in the gallery. I wonder if these fellows in the gallery have got pensions.

Mr. Linehan: They will surely get a pension after that clap.

Mr. Corry: I also wish to welcome the departure from our ports of the British forces——

Captain Giles: You will have to man them for them now.

Mr. Corry: We will man them for ourselves. If I know Deputy Giles or any other Deputy in this House who was in the war for independence from 1916 to 1922 I believe they are going to be manly enough to say that as they fought to get the foreigner out of this country they will be prepared to man these ports in the future.

Captain Giles: But not for England.

Mr. Corry: Not for England.

Mr. Brodrick: Deputy Corry had better not be blowing about 1916. We know where he was then.

Mr. Corry: Anybody living in the district in which I live and anybody who witnessed the state of affairs there from 1922 onwards could not help feeling a thrill of delight when we were told at last that the British were cleared out bag arid baggage from that port. We saw the British there in those years bolder than ever. I am glad they are gone and gone peacefully. There is only one regret I have in connection with this Agreement and that is that it has not completely finished the job, and that included in this Agreement we have not the Six Counties that were handed over by those who agreed to the Feetham Commission. But we have got Twenty-Six Counties, and I hope there is patriotism enough and enough Deputies with determination on both sides of the House to finish the job of getting the British forces out of this country.

[303] A Deputy: That is not what Deputy Corry has been saying all along.

Mr. Corry: We have been told all about the position of affairs now. We have, on the one hand, some members of the Labour Party, with Deputy Dowdall and Deputy Dockrell, talking about the effect of the Agreement on the industrial position and telling us about the industries that are going to be closed down. I am indeed rather surprised to hear any Deputy on the Labour Benches talking about these industries at all considering that during the last six months here any time I opened my mouth to speak I was asked whether I was backing the millers and whether I was aware of all the profiteering that was going on. Well, if there was profiteering going on, let it be stopped now. I am rather surprised, on the one hand, to hear Deputies shouting about the high cost of living and about profiteering in the matter of the new industries, and, on the other hand, these people objecting now and shouting because there is an attempt being made to have a check on these people—even by English people coming over here.

[304] Mr. Lawlor: Then Deputy Corry admits that English people are coming over here to interfere in this matter?

Mr. McGowan: I thought it was the high rate of wages paid here that Deputy Corry was objecting to.

Mr. Corry: Yes, the wages paid here are higher than the wages paid in similar industries across the water.

Mr. Lawlor: No credit is due to you for that.

Mr. O'Brien: Deputy Corry wanted workers paid 24/- a week.

Mr. Norton: He stood over that.

Mr. Corry: I paid more wages than Deputy O'Brien or Deputy Norton ever paid in their lives.

Mr. Norton: You had got to do it.

Mr. Corry: I now move the adjournment of the debate.

Debate adjourned.

The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on Friday morning, 29th April.