Dáil Éireann - Volume 91 - 02 July, 1943

Nomination of Members of Government: Motion of Approval (Resumed).

Debate resumed on the following motion:

That Dáil Eireann approves of the nomination by the Taoiseach of the following Deputies to be members of the Government:—

Seán T. O'Kelly

Seán F. Lemass.

Seán MacEntee

James Ryan.

Frank Aiken

Thomas Derrig

Gerald Boland

Oscar Traynor

Patrick J. Little

Seán Moylan.

(The Taoiseach.)

Mr. Coburn: It is not my intention to cast a vote on this motion without giving reasons for my attitude. I may say at the outset that I am not very much interested in what tactics were adopted during the course of the campaign, although I am of the opinion that it was rather unfortunate that certain things were said during that [161] campaign which reflected very badly on a man occupying a very honourable position in the public life of this country. I do not propose to dwell on that aspect further than to say that I refer to Mr. J.T. O'Farrell, whom I have known for years and who is general secretary of one of the most respectable trade unions to be found in this or any other country. However, lest it might be thought that these tactics were general all over the country, I should like to pay a tribute to the admirable spirit and goodwill displayed all during the campaign in the county I have the honour to represent.

The election has ended and we know the result. I think the Taoiseach will agree that, when he went out on this election, he went out for an over-all majority. The result of the election, however, is that, instead of gaining a majority, Fianna Fáil has been returned as a minority Party, the minority being in the region of four. In fact, they had lost ten seats and, if we consider the figures, we find that really they have got more seats than they deserve. Fianna Fáil got a seat for every 8,000, whereas it took 11,000 for Fine Gael, and I think it was 12,000 for the Labour Party, to get a seat. Anyhow, the result is that there has been a majority of first preference votes cast against the Fianna Fáil Government. No amount of juggling with figures can alter that fact.

If the result of the election means anything, it means, to my mind, that the people of this country are sick, sore and tired of Party government, especially during this emergency. In a word, they want a rest from Party politics. I was hoping—perhaps I hoped for too much—that the Taoiseach, realising the position, would do the big thing and would at once get in touch with the leaders of all other Parties who, I may remind the House, command a majority in the House, with a view to securing—if for no other reason— that on the opening day of the National Assembly we could avoid having a division or a vote. I thought that would be a very happy [162] opening for this Dáil, but our hopes have been dashed to the ground and the Taoiseach seems to take an old phrase that was used by another statesman who has since gone over to the majority—“Not an inch.”

Again I say I am sorry that the Taoiseach did not think fit to do that. Possibly he did the next best thing. There was that famous courtesy visit which lasted for ten minutes. I do not know what transpired during those ten minutes. I never knew of anybody taking ten minutes to shake hands and say “good-day” and nothing else. However, that is a matter for the leader of Clann na Talmhan and the Taoiseach. I am not going to say anything against the members of that Party. They are young and inexperienced and I welcome them here. They went through a rather severe baptism of fire yesterday and I think the least I can do is to show them a little charity and sympathy. They are young and inexperienced. Possibly when they are some time in the House they may be able to judge for themselves. But I do say in all seriousness that if any arrangement has been come to between that Party and the Government, it would be much more honest for the Taoiseach to get up in this House and say so.

The Taoiseach: And it has been said tens of times already that there was no such thing.

Mr. Coburn: Of course, the Taoiseach said so many things before——

The Taoiseach: Oh, yes.

Mr. Coburn: And went back on them——

The Taoiseach: Oh, yes.

Mr. Coburn:——that I must accept anything he says with a certain amount of diffidence. If the Taoiseach wants to go on that ground, of course, I would be prepared to meet him. However, it would be much more honourable and more honest, I would say, because it would meet with our wishes—with mine anyhow——

The Taoiseach: On a personal [163] matter. The leader of Clann na Talmhan stated definitely that there was a courtesy visit, that political matters in regard to this were not touched upon. Is Deputy Coburn going to take his word? As far as I am concerned, I say definitely that I received Deputy Donnellan, as he asked to pay a courtesy visit, and that there was no question of what action he was going to take here in the Dáil or anything of that sort—no question of asking for co-operation or anything of that sort. Is that enough?

Mr. Anthony: That should be accepted.

Mr. Donnellan: I stand by the statement of the Taoiseach.

Mr. B. Brady: Has Deputy Coburn nothing else to talk about?

Mr. Coburn: I just simply mentioned the fact, Sir.

Mr. B. Brady: It is not a fact.

Mr. Coburn: I just simply mentioned the fact that the leader of the Farmers' Party did call on the Taoiseach and had a conversation with him for ten minutes and I suggested, in all seriousness, that if any arrangement did take place between them it would be more honest to tell us.

An Ceann Comhairle: The word of the two Deputies must be accepted. Debate would be impossible if nobody's word were to be taken.

Mr. Coburn: All right. Now we come to the next question, that is, the election of Ministers. I hoped again that the Taoiseach, realising the result of the election and that there was a majority vote cast against the Fianna Fáil Party——

Mr. Kennedy: Fine Gael never had as many seats when it was a Government.

Mr. Coburn: ——would do something to meet the wishes of the Opposition Parties in this House. He has not done so. He has presented to the House a list containing the names of [164] the outgoing Ministers, carrying the same portfolios. I think it is generally agreed in the country that an improvement could be effected in the personnel of the Ministers. Personally I have not very much to say against the Ministers individually. Being a representative of a little county, I try to do my best for the people of that county in connection with any legislation that is passed here, and also with the help and co-operation of the various Ministers, but I think much more could be done. For instance, in connection with the Ministry of Agriculture, we on this side of the House think that more could be done by way of importing certain raw materials that are necessary if the agricultural industry is to be put into full production.

Take the case of fertilisers. I hold that it would be much more honourable to import them openly and above board than to have them smuggled across the border. The price in Northern Ireland is something like £6 to £10 per ton and they are sold to our farmers at £50 to £60 per ton. I think an improvement could be effected in that direction. If the Minister, assuming he gets leave of the Taoiseach, would get in touch with the Ministers on the far side, some better arrangement could be arrived at. I do not think there is much use in members of the Fianna Fáil Party or members of the Government for that matter pretending that they do not carry on negotiations with the British Government. The fact is that they do. My only objection is that they should do it more openly with corresponding advantage to the farmers of this country. The Taoiseach does not seem to think so because he has already nominated the same Ministers. The same could be said of the Department of Supplies. I am not here to blame the Minister for Industry and Commerce or the Minister for Supplies for all the things that we are short of at present. It would not be fair or right especially in the middle of a world war, but we do think that the infusion of new blood might be a good thing at the present time. It would satisfy many members of the opposition parties and let me [165] remind members sitting over here that we are a majority on this side of the House and we commanded the majority of the first preference votes in the election. Again if you take the position of the Minister for Education, we think a change could be effected there with good results to the country at large. The Taoiseach in his speeches throughout the country laid great stress on the revival of the Irish language. That is a good catch cry but the Taoiseach and the heads of the Gaelic League in the public press, in public conferences and at feiseanna all over the country have deplored the little progress that has been made in regard to the language. That being so, surely the Taoiseach must admit that there must be something wrong with the policy pursued by the Minister for Education during the last ten years. I know that I am contradicting a great many people outside but I am prepared to meet them here, outside or anywhere in debate. That debate can be rough or smooth as they like. Some of these people think that all they have got to do is to raise their hand and they frighten anybody who attempts to offer one word of criticism in regard to the policy pursued for the promotion of the Irish language.

An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy is not suggesting that we should debate that matter now?

Mr. Coburn: I refer to the fact that the same Minister who has been in office for ten years is going to be in office, I suppose, for another five years, and pursue the same policy in regard to the promotion of the Irish language, a language about which I know something myself and which was spoken more widely when I was a lad than it is to-day. In those days taunts were not hurled at us that we were not Irishmen unless we spoke Irish. I often wonder how this country lived for centuries past and how it could exist at all to the end of the world if the present policy is pursued in regard to the teaching of Irish. I am prepared to say here, outside and everywhere, that it will be the end of the world before Irish is the spoken [166] language in this country. I think it is absurd for the Taoiseach to be carrying this baby around at every election and getting votes on the strength of a claim that he and he alone is the man who can save the Irish language. Ninety per cent. of the people do not give a thraneen about it, but these people are wise and when these things are said about the Irish language it always ends up that they need more money.

An Ceann Comhairle: That is a matter of detail. The Deputy is discussing at length the position of the Irish language. Surely he does not want to initiate a debate on the revival of Irish in the limited time at the disposal of the House.

Mr. Coburn: I have not spoken very long. The Dáil has sat since 10.30. Deputy Norton spoke about what was said during the election for fully three-quarters of an hour, and I do not think that that had much to do with the election of the Government. With all respect, I think I am keeping more closely to the matter before the House, namely, the election of the Ministers. I am dealing with the work of a particular Minister in a particular Department, namely, education, and I do not think I have transgressed very much the rules of the House.

An Ceann Comhairle: The Chair is loath to interfere with the Deputy's references to policy, but the Chair is the judge of relevancy. The Deputy is proceeding to go into details regarding the fostering of the Irish language. If he pursues that line further, other Deputies will be entitled to follow and the debate would be very wide of the matter before the House.

Mr. Coburn: I am not going into detail very much, but I submit to your ruling as I always do. I thought that in view of the amount of money spent on the Irish language I was in duty bound to refer to it. However, I have said sufficient to prove that the policy pursued for the last ten years in regard to the promotion of the Irish language has been a dismal failure. [167] Now we have the Department of Local Government. I do not mean to say one word against the Minister for Local Government, although he has come in for a great deal of criticism here in regard to certain remarks lie made during the election. The Minister for Local Government occupies a very important position, and all I can say is that I hope and trust that in that important position he will think first of the interests of the people.

With regard to the creation of new Ministers, I wonder when will Deputies come to realise that this is a very small country with very limited resources and that the time has arrived when we must take stock of what this country can afford in regard to the number of Ministers necessary to conduct the affairs of the country. I think that it is nothing short of a scandal, in view of the poverty prevailing in many homes in the country, of which I have personal and painful knowledge, that we should spend even one penny piece over and above what this country can afford, unless we can be assured that we will get good value for it. Listening to some of the remarks made here yesterday one would think that this was a great undeveloped country with unlimited resources. The fact is that, being an island, we cannot expand our territory by as much as would sod a lark. No matter what boastful sayings and bombast may come from the Fianna Fáil Party, the fact remains that this is a poor little country and that we cannot afford the luxury of having Ministers supposed to do work for which they receive a very high salary but for which there is not, in present circumstances, an honest return given. That is my view and I have given expression to it before. I am convinced that when this war is over we will all recognise that fact. That is why I think that, irrespective of the Party to which we belong, we should always bear the fact in mind that we cannot afford the luxury of having Ministers unless they are usefully employed.

[168] In conclusion I want to say that I thought that wiser counsels would prevail here, but I have been sadly disappointed. As one of those who would like to see this old country making progress, I thought the Taoiseach would do something which would meet with general approval. That has not been done. Nevertheless, we on this side of the House will continue in future to give that unselfish support to the Government, if and when it is elected, that we have been giving during the last few years, because we believe—I, at any rate, believe—that the country comes before Party. I thought that, in view of the difficult times that lie ahead, we would have established a Government representative of all the Parties in this House, so that when the opportunity presents itself at the conclusion of his war—which we hope will be a short one—we would be in a position to assert the rights of the people of this country, not in any slavish spirit, but as the representatives of a free people in a free country.

Mr. Larkin (Junior): I rise with some sense of compulsion, because I feel that there is a necessity upon me personally to do something that so far has not been done in this House, and that is to defend Deputy MacEntee against what I feel has been a very unscrupulous and very unfair campaign from one side of the House. I can quite understand that members of my own Party have felt somewhat annoyed with Deputy MacEntee, and have given expression to their views. But I am in a most peculiar position. Deputy Linehan has stated that he thinks it is a very valuable thing for any candidate to attract the attention, even the unwelcome attention, of his opponents. I succeeded, without any effort on my part, in doing that in my election, and I think that I must in all gratitude admit that, if it had not been for Deputy MacEntee, I would not have the opportunity in this House to-day to express some words of defence on his behalf. I also feel that Deputy MacEntee has done a service to the working-class movement in this country. For many years we have been suffering from some kind of a fear [169] complex. Whenever certain words were thrown at us we felt we must immediately hide our head in the sands or take refuge in retreat. So far as that particular campaign is concerned — and I think Deputy MacEntee learned his lesson from our friends on the other side of the House some years ago—when even some small groups of unemployed men in remote parts of the country came together and, honestly and in an intelligent manner, tried to deal with their small problems, when certain words were shouted at them they were driven apart like a lot of geese and scared out of their wits. Passing over our treatment by Deputy MacEntee, we of the Labour movement will realise that that ability to scare us with words has gone for ever, that working men and working women will no longer be led astray by catch-cries, but will try to use their own intelligence and rely on themselves.

When I say it is necessary to defend Deputy MacEntee, it is not because he has been attacked from the Labour Benches, or that any other member of the House, outside the Fianna Fáil Party, has expressed distrust of his attitude during the election. I think the most dastardly attack made upon him was made by members of his own Party, particularly Deputy Cleary. I agree that, in any election campaign, anybody who sets himself up as a candidate must expect to have brickbats and mud thrown at him. But to state, as Deputy Cleary did, that mud slinging can become an accepted and settled policy, not merely on the part of an ordinary candidate—some of us ordinary candidates have to be allowed a great deal of liberty because we are inexperienced—but that it should become the sole basis of a political campaign of a responsible Minister, who has been a member of the Government for a long period of years —a man serving under the Taoiseach, who has attained a reputation for probity and personal honesty—is, I think, the most defamatory statement which has yet been made about Deputy MacEntee. Therefore, I think we should—those of us who are under a sense of gratitude to him—raise our voices in protest.

[170] I think it is even worse that, during the campaign, Deputy MacEntee was left entirely on his own in this particular field of activity. Not one of his colleagues in the Ministry, not even Deputy Cleary, gave him one word of comfort or sustenance during that campaign. Surely they had equal knowledge with Deputy MacEntee of all these peculiar happenings, not only in the Labour Party, but throughout the country. Surely they were aware of the terrible menace that was hanging over our heads. They were charged equally with the responsibility of telling our people about the dire consequences that faced the country if these terrible people in the Labour Party were returned to power. Perhaps they were unaware of these things; perhaps within the Fianna Fáil Cabinet all the wisdom and perspicacity centred in Deputy MacEntee; perhaps, because of his long political record, spread over so many fields, it was felt that he possessed qualities which placed him over his colleagues. I do not know. I only know that not one of the leading spokesmen of the Fianna Fáil Party followed Deputy MacEntee. They left him isolated. Even when I went out of my way to induce Deputy Lemass to refer to some matters in the area where they were properly raised, he seemed to be loath to stand by the side of his fellow Minister.

Deputy MacEntee was a lone bird. Many times he has been a lone bird. He has passed backwards and forwards on many occasions and often he has been a lone bird of passage and I think he will do some more passing movements in the years to come. I feel that my presence in this House is the only fit and proper answer to a Deputy of the type of Deputy MacEntee. Intelligent men and women who have read and listened to Deputy MacEntee's speeches have taken him at his, true worth and they have registered their opinion of him. Of course, it is quite correct that in Dublin City South the Labour Party was low on the poll and the Fianna Fáil Party, as represented by Deputy MacEntee, was at the head of the poll in the Townships, but I think it would be preferable if the [171] candidate of any Party, who had any pretensions to a national outlook or a political outlook, and who had the welfare of the Irish people at heart, was returned at the bottom of the poll in a working-class constituency like Dublin City South, rather than be at the head of the poll in that well known and accepted centre of reaction and British ascendancy, such as the townships, the constituency where, year after year, nobody but a true blue could head the poll or stand a good chance of being elected. It is worthy of note that Deputy MacEntee, the Minister of a Republican Party, is to-day at the head of the poll in the Dublin Townships.

I noticed that during the course of the debate the Labour Party were chided very kindly and were instructed very eloquently by Deputy Dillon, Deputy Morrissey, Deputy Linehan and other members of the Fine Gael Party. They said that we were not doing the duty with which we were charged by the electorate. It is amazing how often some political spokesmen discover that someone else is not discharging his duties and how often they forget to discharge their duties when they have an opportunity of doing so. We are charged that, because we did not vote against Deputy de Valera as the Taoiseach, we are committed to the acceptance of his policy. We may seem very child-like and inexperienced in politics, but not even Deputy Dillon, with all his Churchillian eloquence, is able to convince us.

If Fine Gael want to form a national Government, they have only to cross the floor of the House and take their seats along with the Party that they should have been with long ago. When Fine Gael look across the House at Fianna Fáil they can see themselves, perhaps in a slightly altered form —the same programme, the same incompetency, the same inefficiency. And when Fianna Fáil look across the House at Fine Gael they can see what has happened to a Republican Party that has lost all contact with the common people. We have the same internment camps, the same imprisonment of Irishmen, the same executions, [172] the same unemployment, the same emigration, the same swollen bureaucracy and the same poverty and degradation. There is really no difference, except that Fianna Fáil are operating on a larger scale and the results have been greater and more intense on our people.

If Fine Gael are disappointed that some of them to-day are not Ministers in the Government, they can still remedy the position by taking their seats in their proper political home and, by so doing, they can free our country once and for all and enable our people to concentrate upon the real issues, the economic, issues that mean bread and butter for the masses, instead of being torn apart, separated through the conflicts between our two so-called National Parties. I suggest they should end their disputes and let us face the only real division in the country, the division between those men and women who give service to the community through hand and brain, and those who live upon the community, who give no service and who are largely responsible for the state of affairs that exists here to-day. If those Parties would do as I suggest, things would become much simpler and clearer, and my friends in Clann na Talmhan would find their position easier. They would not be drawn between the devil and the deep sea, as apparently they are to-day.

It has been suggested that if we vote against the Taoiseach's proposal we need not necessarily take that as a vote for Deputy Cosgrave. Are we all children, or are we unable to follow logically the political process? There is a responsibility placed on every Party to bring about the formation of a Government. Each of the main Parties put forward a sufficient number of candidates in the hope that they would be given the sole responsibility of governing. We of the Labour Party were not favoured and Fine Gael and Clann na Talmhan have not been favoured. Even the Taoiseach was not favoured. He was very much rejected, because his Party forfeited ten seats and they lost 100,000 votes, and the only reason he occupies the position of Taoiseach [173] to-day is not because of any endorsement of his internal policy—there is no denying that that is the source of much discontent in the country—but because of his astute and very clever political move utilised during the last 24 hours of the election, the move which stampeded a lot of the people into final support.

I suggest to the Taoiseach that he has a double duty, as a political leader and as a statesman. I think he has not yet discharged his duty as a statesman by repudiating the electioneering tactics of his followers on the eve of the poll and on the polling day.

The people were told that the preservation of the neutrality of our country and its protection against external aggression were carried out by members of his own Party. In the heat of an election campaign many of us do things that, afterwards, we feel should not have been done, but I do not think that any of us realised—we should, probably, have been prepared if we had—that Fianna Fáil would have so imperilled the unity existing between the three main Parties as to descend to the form of propaganda they did that day. That is why I say that the Taoiseach, in his capacity as statesman and as the recognised leader of the Irish race, has still a duty to perform. I hope he will perform it in his closing speech in this debate.

On this question of voting for Ministers and policies, we are questioned and criticised by Fine Gael. They do not seem to realise that one inestimable thing which the Labour Party has to-day is of more worth than twice the number of seats we have in this House, and of more worth than our programme, our leadership or our organisation. That is that, at least, Irish Labour has its own political independence. We have won that at very high cost. We have had to live down the years of Fine Gael Government and the charge of submission of Labour to that Government. We have had to live down the following years of Fianna Fáil Government and the charge of submission of Labour to that Government. Through a long process of trial [174] and error, we have had to find for our own feet a basis in the political and economic life of the country. We have done it, and neither to Fine Gael, because of its desire for office, nor out of any feeling of responsibility to the Taoiseach, is the Labour movement going to sacrifice that independence. We, in the Labour movement, although we may be poor political prophets, are the future of this country, and we are going to be—it may be long or it may be short—the dominant political Party of this country. The suggestion that we should tack ourselves on to a Party that is the rejected and the outcast of this country does not appeal to us. Deputy Coburn said that Fine Gael could offer some new blood to Fianna Fáil. New blood from those benches, when every single one of those who have any ability has been rejected, when out of the whole group you could not get two capable of acting as Ministers! When a transfusion of blood is needed it is this Party that offers new blood. To suggest that the Labour Party should become associated with it is an insult to the Labour movement, and to those who sent us here.

I am sorry for Clann na Talmhan, because they are in a very dangerous position. It may be quite true, as Deputy Donnellan has said, that there have been no bargains or agreements. We quite accept that, but “Paul went down to Damascus and was converted”. I suggest—and I do so in all sincerity—that if Clann na Talmhan are to retain their independence and homogeneity as a Party, they will have to be careful how they tread, not only in this House, but more particularly outside. They have got a very difficult position to face, and a very difficult task to carry out, because they have not the advantage we of the Labour movement have, in that they are not homogeneous. They do not represent a single economic force, a single social grouping. They represent many varieties, from the agricultural labourer to the small farmer working 16 or 18 hours a day, from the medium farmer who works his land himself and employs hired labour, right up to the big farmer who [175] is of the same type as the big employer of the city. Amongst men of that character there is no common denominator. Deputy Donnellan will find in due course that it will take all his ability as a leader—I do not know how good a leader he is, but I hope he is capable of measuring up to his responsibilities—to keep that Party together in the years immediately ahead. He will find, in course of time, that there will be closer affinity between some of his Party and the working-class movement, and closer affinity between others and the Fianna Fáil Party. That will be the line of development he will have to face and I think he should commence to realise it now and face up to the problems that will be thrown up.

While it is quite correct that the Taoiseach should present us with a team and ask us to accept or reject that team as a whole, we also are entitled to express our views on the ability and probity of his nominees, and on the possibility of those individuals fulfilling the functions which it is proposed to allot them. I think that it would be impossible for the Taoiseach to allow us to criticise and vote upon each name separately. Not one of these men could stand on his own individual feet or on his own individual record. They must be covered by the cloak and mantle of the Taoiseach. To suggest that, even at this hour, it would be possible for the Taoiseach to make improvements in that team from the ranks of the Fianna Fáil Party would be very foolish.

I am not going to say that it could not be done because of all the Fianna Fáil Deputies being “yes-men.” Possibly, that is true. I do not know. I know that some of them have very deep disagreements with the Taoiseach in his policy and disagreements on the basic factors of his programme in relation to those economic and social considerations which are most important to our people. But I am afraid that he would have to search very diligently through all the ranks of the Fianna Fáil Party to get any improvement whatever on the team he [176] presents to-day—and God knows it is poor enough. I am not concerned with that. I think that we could go from Minister to Minister and make out a very good case why none of them should be a Minister. But we have very little choice in the matter. We could take Deputy MacEntec, a very famous boxer, a very good sportsman, a man who has had no bones broken and point out that, while he has a whole body, little children in the city are having their bones twisted and malformed by disease because of his incompetency. We could remind him that we have 700 human beings on a waiting list for admission to sanatoria for treatment and that, before some of them will have been admitted, they will have died of T.B. We could go down the category. We could remind him that his knowledge of Dublin workers was so far from reality that, once upon a time, in the presence of the Taoiseach, he told us that he could envisage a situation in which Dublin dockers would sit down and eat a meal while their own children watched them with hungry eyes because dockers are essential producers. We could take Deputy Lemass and go back to his famous speech of recommendation to the hoarders. We could take up the question of the Trade Union Bill and Order No. 83, issues which are not going to be settled to-day.

I think there are bigger issues facing us. Right through the whole election campaign it struck me that there was one point on which our people were at one. It was not on the merits of political Parties or candidates, not on the programme of Fianna Fáil because there was no programme put to the people apart from very eulogistic and very untrue statements about the last four years, indicating that if returned they would continue on the same old path, and no one knew what that path was. The one thing the people were interested in was that while it might be true that even under Fianna Fáil we could weather the remaining years of the war without complete physical extinction, when the war is over there will be problems so great in magnitude that it will require [177] all the ability and all the intelligence of our people to overcome them.

Right through the whole of the election campaign I think you could search the speeches of the Taoiseach and of Ministers and not find one word of a plan or a programme as to how they were going to meet the years after the war. Deputy Lemass has a plan somewhere in the remote and inaccessible pigeon holes of his Department. He reminds me of another gentleman who, during the election, had a beautiful plan which could not be changed in any form. It was not suggested that it would have to be changed, but six months after it was drawn up he had to change it himself. I am very much afraid the plan of Deputy Lemass is like the plan that we heard of during the election campaign, that it is the kind of plan that is being kept in pigeon holes, lest the common people find out what it is, because there is no plan except one, and that is to drive the standard of living of our people lower than it has been during the past four years, to make helots of them.

James Connolly said many years ago that if the Irish people were going to enter into the field of external competition in the industrial markets, that could only be done by bringing the standard of living of our people below that of any other European people. That has been the Fianna Fáil policy. The plan they set out with in 1938 had already become a failure. It was not the war that brought it to a standstill; it was not the war that made it necessary to export human beings; it was not the war that drove 33,000 Gaelic speakers from the West; it was not the war that reduced the number of children attending national schools; it was not the war that leaves many people ravaged by disease; it was not the war that compels ten of thousands of people in the City of Dublin to live in bug-infested tenements. It was the failure of the Fianna Fáil policy, a policy which started wrong, a policy which went on wrong and a policy which came to a wrongful end. No Party in this country will ever succeed in building up a standard of decent living until we realise that the first [178] and basic consideration for economics, for industry and for agriculture, is to give to the mass of the people not merely work at sweated rates of wages, not merely relief work for three or four days weekly, or a pittance of 10/6 to single men to keep body and soul together, but to give to our people the means of buying the things they need, to give them consuming power and purchasing power. If our people get the means of buying, their requirements would be very quickly produced here. When it becomes a question that nothing can be produced here except to provide a profit for some gentleman with a balance in the bank, who is seeking an opportunity for investment, then we are foredoomed to failure, because the touchstone of that policy will be low wages and that means under-consumption for the mass of the people.

I suggest to the Taoiseach and to Deputy Lemass that they should reverse their whole policy, and should try to look at the matter from another angle. It would be a very good thing for a man sometimes to stand on his head and look at himself in a looking-glass, so that he can get an unusual perspective. Fianna Fáil requires a very unusual perspective, and if they did what I suggest they might begin to realise what the Taoiseach said some years ago—that if they could not solve unemployment they would be prepared to go outside. He has gone outside in many things. He has gone outside his own convictions and his own programme. Even yet it is time to see if he might not get enlightenment which would give some ray of encouragement to our people.

I want to close on a point that was of paramount interest during the election campaign. What is going to happen to us after the war? There was continual harping about a coalition and a national Government. That is no longer possible. I do not think the Taoiseach or his Ministers will deny the gravity of the magnitude of the problem that will face them and members of this House when the war concludes. We may possibly have flowing back here 200,000 or 300,000 of our people—one-sixth of our population. If we are not prepared to accept them, [179] does that mean that we have to tell our brothers and sisters that there is no place for them in the homeland, that they will either have to work in their own country at a wage insufficient to enable them to live as human beings or throw themselves on the charity and good-will of foreigners? Is it possible even on the basis of equitable sharing of all the resources and all the wealth amongst all the children of the nation to give to those who will be coming back at least an equal share of whatever small ration we might have when the war is over? There are the problems of agriculture, of housing, as well as the problem raised by Deputy Flanagan as to how we can reconcile our so-called political and economic independence with complete subjugation in the field of monetary and financial matters to the Bank of England. All these problems face us, and I suggest to the Taoiseach that he should now consider what has been put before him on many occasions, and that is that if not for the problems of to-day, at least for those of to-morrow, there would be set up an economic council not confined to members of the Dáil, because on one side of the House we have those who failed in the past, and on the other side those who failed in the present, but to pick generally throughout the country trained and educated men, not necessarily from the universities, because a man who has learned his education in the old-time school of adversity is often more practical and more helpful than a trained university professor or a man with scientific degrees.

We should take men and women from all walks of life and charge them with a specific responsibility, the responsibility of having ready, before this conflict ends, ways and means whereby we as a people, as the Irish race, can save ourselves from the threat of destruction and extinction which will come with the end of the conflict; ways and means of aligning ourselves with the new forces of life which will be let loose throughout the continent of Europe, and taking our place in the civilisation of Western Europe, so [180] that, instead of living behind the paper wall set up by John Bull or the paper wall set up by Deputy Aiken and his censors, we will have the courage and the independence to enable us to meet all men and talk to all men while retaining our identity both as individuals and as a race; ways and means of finding that common denominator here in our own country which will make it possible to bring back the exiles of our race and to give to them as well as to those who have remained here that way of life to which they are entitled.

I would urge upon the Taoiseach then the immediate setting up of an economic council to consider post-war problems. If that is not done, I am afraid the days ahead will be very dark indeed. I am convinced, both as an individual and as a member of this Party, that Fianna Fáil is not capable of dealing with that problem. Fine Gael is equally incapable. The Labour Party could deal with it, not on the basis of a political Party but because it represents those young, enthusiastic forces that have not yet been given an opportunity of tackling this problem. When I say that, I refer, as I have already mentioned, to the men and women who gave service to the country —the men and women throughout the countryside generally, who have never been allowed to devote their intelligence to that problem. Some day they will come together. When that day arrives, we of the working class will not have to bother about Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil, because their whole basis of existence will have disappeared. They will be merely a small minority representing a small selfish group, who will at last have been put into the corner by the mass of the common people of this country. But we are not dealing with that day now. That is why I suggest that the Taoiseach should establish machinery to tackle the problem. If he does that, while coalition does not appeal to him he may find that something useful will come out of this other form of cooperation.

I want to deal with one other matter. I do not know whether we have yet arrived at the stage where we can succeed in arousing within the [181] minds and hearts of the Taoiseach and his Ministers that feeling of ordinary humanitarianism, that feeling, if you like, of being Irishmen; I do not know whether we can now, on the 39th day of this hunger strike on the Curragh, get them to do something, fine, something gracious. I believe the Taoiseach is a great man personally, although I differ from him politically, but I still wonder whether or not he is so great that he can behave like an ordinary human being and think of those four boys down on the Curragh who are living in the shadow of death. I suggest that it would be a great and gracious thing if those four boys, those untried prisoners who to-morrow may be dead, were released, along with several others who are also untried and who to-day are being denied the assistance and protection of the very Constitution for which the Taoiseach takes credit.

Mr. M. Dockrell: I rise, as a new member, to give my views to the House in regard to the election of the Ministers whose names are now before us. What I lack in knowledge of the procedure of this House I hope I will be able to make up from my knowledge as an ordinary man on the street. It is a pity that the Taoiseach, when he put forward his list of names, did not mention the respective capacities in which it is intended that those men are to work. It places anybody who wishes to discuss the Ministerial offices in the somewhat unpleasant position that they have to talk personalities. I do not like to talk personalities, nor do I like to hear personalities discussed in this House. Personalities are not of any great importance to the country in general, except in so far as they are relevant to the various offices which the Ministers will occupy. Of course, in that connection, they have relevancy, and perhaps a great relevancy, but the far more important matter is the manner in which those offices were administered in the past. Unfortunately, we have got no guidance from the Taoiseach as to whether there is to be any great change in that respect. Looking through the list of Ministerial offices [182] —I am now speaking, perhaps, more as an ordinary outsider than as a Deputy of this House—we have to remember that there is very widespread dissatisfaction throughout the country with the way in which the Government has been carried on. Governments, of course, can be carried on in good, bad or indifferent fashion. In the past few years we have had, at the best, indifferent Governments, and, in the main, bad government. That is why I have felt it incumbent on me to stand up and make those points, to add to what various other speakers have said in that connection.

In regard to supplies, some Deputies said that there are many ways in which we do not blame the Minister for Supplies for the shortage. I heartily endorse that. There are commodities with which we could not expect the Minister for Supplies to have dealt by any very different methods from those which he adopted, but there is a very large number of other commodities of which he could have ensured a supply, and of which larger stocks should have been laid in. That was not done, and in many cases to-day the people are crying out for commodities which should have been laid in, commodities which were pointed out to the Government of this country as being necessary and procurable. We are now asked to endorse perhaps the same position in that Ministry. I do not think that is fair. I represent a working-class constituency. There are very many people there who are short of supplies, and who are finding prices unnaturally and unnecessarily high, so I want to register my protest against the handling of the supply situation in this country.

Now, let us take the Ministry of Local Government and Public Health. I am afraid the public health part of that Ministry is somewhat like the forestry section of the Department of Lands; it is the Cinderella of the Department of Local Government and Public Health. As mentioned by a previous speaker, Deputy Larkin, we have here the terrible problem of tuberculosis. The Red Cross are doing [183] their best to deal with it, and a number of the newspapers are doing their best to help. That is all very laudable, but the problem is far too great to be dealt with by any body of well-meaning people in the country. It is a matter for the Government, and that Department should seriously tackle the problem before there is a real danger of the incidence of tuberculosis becoming even greater than it is at the present moment. Where have we seen any proper plans to provide for after-war employment? We have not got them. The Government have talked idly or lightly about that but there are no plans before this House or before the country generally. The population of this country is as intelligent as that of most other countries and intelligent people up and down the country are asking: “What are you going to do in the Dáil in connection with after-war employment?” That is a problem that has not been considered. Will we get a statement from the Taoiseach that it will lie largely before his new Ministers for consideration?

Another matter that I think should be the responsibility of the Department of Justice—I hope the House will forgive me if I am saddling it on the wrong Department—is the question of child delinquency. That is a matter that is very seldom raised in public. This is a small country; we have, I think, very happily, eschewed the science of war, and we should be cultivating the arts of peace, but in no connection can I, as an Irishman, see Ireland really alive to that question. We have the Scandinavian countries, for instance, paying special attention by education and other methods to this question of juvenile crime. The world in general is considering all these big social questions, but unfortunately Ireland is not in that position. I wish it were, and I trust that when the new Ministers meet they will take a glance over the new Departments and see how these Departments compare with some outstanding Departments of a similar type in other countries. The country is crying out for new blood in that respect. I trust the Taoiseach will [184] make a change and try to infuse some enthusiasm into the administration of those Departments. The country has suffered from bad government, and I am afraid that is why the people have registered their votes in such a way as to produce a multiplicity of Parties. The people have not been satisfied at the manner in which they have been governed in the past few years. They have shown their dislike of that method by electing a number of small parties. I should like again to ask the Taoiseach to see that when these Ministers to whom we have been asked, I think very undemocratically, to give a blank cheque, meet, they will, for Heaven's sake, start administering their Departments in a way different from that in which they have been run for the past five years.

Mr. Halliden: I am sure, a Chinn Chomhairle, you are very much surprised to find the members of the Farmers' Party present to-day in full strength after the unwarranted attacks which they received from practically all parts of the House yesterday. We are quite satisfied that an organised effort was made to disrupt our Party and to create dissatisfaction amongst the members of it. I can assure the House that the attitude we adopted yesterday was the result of calm and long consideration, and we are quite satisfied with the result, bearing in mind the needs of the country as it stands at present, and the desirability of having stable government in the country.

We are proud of our men, proud of the fact that they withstood the fire of misrepresentation—I might almost say intimidation—which was directed against them yesterday. As a new Party, we desire to place on record our abhorrence of the standard of the debate yesterday. We are disappointed as new members of this House. We are almost in dismay when we find trained and disciplined men, as they should be, from both sides of the House, abusing one another and using scurrilous language of every description. I desire to reiterate what my leader pointed out yesterday, that is, that the Farmers' Party are fully [185] determined to preserve their individuality, that we will pot be open to bargains or anything of that kind.

We were sent here for an express purpose. We told our constituents down the country that we were coming here for one purpose mainly, and that was to ensure that a very large section of the community should have direct representation in this Dáil to voice the needs and the requirements of the rural population. We shall hold ourselves independent of all Parties, free at all times to take whatever action we think is best calculated to assist the people who sent us here. During my election campaign I deprecated very strongly the use of personalities. I intend to carry on the same line of argument while in this House. For that reason I shall not refer to the various jibes and, as I said, almost threats that were thrown at us yesterday. We have survived all that. We have survived and shall survive, please God, the fire of misrepresentation and the abuse we received yesterday. I wish to assure all those whom it may concern that, no matter what they say or do in this House, we will not be drawn into anything calculated to lower the prestige of the House, or to interfere with the individuality of the Farmers' Party.

Mr. Finucane: I would appeal to the Taoiseach to show his good-will by releasing the men on hunger strike. It is the wish of our Party that not alone those men but all the political prisoners who have not been tried should be released.

Mr. Larkin (Senior): I should like to draw the attention of the House to the purpose of the submission made by the Taoiseach. His purpose is to secure authority, as it has been vulgarly stated by some people here, to drive a team. Well, Deputy Cosgrave told him during the election that he did not know how to drive either a two horse or a four horse team. They were then carrying on a lecture in national history. Now we are coming to another lecture in the form of a resolution that certain individuals named, but not yet appointed, should be associated with the leader, as my young friend Deputy Larkin (Junior) said, the [186] spokesman and the leader of the Irish race. I do not think there is any man in any group who would not say that when he speaks in his official and personal capacity he is the spokesman of the race throughout the world. But when he asks you to give him a blanket resolution to cover the inefficients set down in this sheet, I think the House should pause and ask itself what the mandate is that it is giving to the Taoiseach. Yesterday we had certain groups in the House playing the old political game. They thought they would manoeuvre the Labour Party of which at the moment I am not getting the Whip. I am still the old lion roaring at the young cubs. We were asked to fall into a certain political net and get scooped up so that we might be used against other people. I hope the Labour Party will never be led astray on that matter. The Labour Party is independent and is going to stand independent of all groups. Why? Because it is unthinkable that a Labour Party should be in any other capacity or should join in any coalition. We have got something that the other Parties have not got. If we have not got that, then we are not entitled to recognition in any country. We have separate ideas, viewpoints, policies, and ideologies. We are altogether separate because we take an all-comprehensive view, a view that is not shared by any other Party except the Labour movement. We have got a mission. We have had it from time immemorial because we have carried the earth on our shoulders. Those who lose touch with us and get into power and place become intolerable towards us.

The Taoiseach got the confidence of the House yesterday because of a peculiar kind of vote, a negative vote which became an affirmative. I do not want to criticise any person. I think I should criticise myself at all times because self-criticism is the most important thing. I wonder how many men can stand self-criticism. When we look back over the history of the purgatorial years of 1922 and 1923, I wonder do those men ever read over their own speeches, think of the [187] hell we went through during the pre-Treaty days—of men shooting each other. We had a statement made in this House only a few months ago by an individual who said that he was a supporter of Fianna Fáil, but that there were times when he had to chasten the Minister for Agriculture. The way that he would solve the problem of the Six Counties was to pour out acid on them. We had a statement made by a gentleman who is still a Deputy of this House against one of the best men of his generation—the late Alderman Tom Kelly.

I have been elected four times by men and women who have given service to this country, and not by groups who hate it. I have seen other people speak in the area which I represent. I regret that one man missed the tide on this occasion, an eminent scholar and a gentleman whom I respected. I would be glad to see him sitting in an Assembly like this. When one views the complexities of the situation and looks at the groups that are peculiar to the City of Dublin, and to the whole of Ireland to some extent, is it any wonder that we do not make any advance? There is a lack of understanding and of appreciation of one's point of view. There is the intolerance and the bigotry of some of those so-called Christian men. They are always blind to the realities of the situation. I was attacked during the election, but I was too old a dog to be bullied.

I have been in every portion of the English-speaking world. Your opinion of me does not concern me at all. The ideas that I have I hold deeply and sincerely. They cannot be shaken by criticism. Statements were made to the effect that I was in certain portions of the earth. Of course I have been there. I did not go on the mischievous mission that other people went on. I was charged with doing certain things to mislead the people. I do not want apologies from any man for my conduct or my actions. Some day the truth will be written of my activations. As to whether I carried out my duties and responsibilities faithfully is a matter than can be [188] judged by other people at another time and in another place. For various reasons they cannot be publicly referred to now. When Deputy MacEntee gets up and charges me with doing a thing that would affect the safety and security of the State he knows that was an infamous statement to make because he does know something of my activations over the years. When I saw gangsters running around the streets of Belfast he knows the work that I did for them. I am not speaking of gangster in the American sense, but of foolish lads running around the streets of Belfast. This man who tried to despise the work that I have done knew that neither he nor any of his generation ever attempted to do it. It is not a question of my statement. It is on the records of this country. In 1907 in Belfast, I did something that I think would have been made perfect, but owing to the-devilish machinations of other individuals the work was not done. I am still young enough to turn my mind and attention to it. What is the charge made against me? That I am not worthy of citizenship. There was a gentleman who at one time said that I ought to be put out of this country. For 1,000 years those I belong to have given service to this country. None of my name can at any time submit to direction. Maybe that is our fault. There is no one who can control my mind, and my sons who are following me are of the same type. They are unpurchasable. When a man who is purchasable gets up and charges another man with something that is detrimental to his name, tradition and race at least he ought to be made prove it in public.

We stand up here and make supplications to speak the truth with all due responsibility. Yet we get up here continuously over the years and we malign each other, we libel each other, we misunderstand each other and we deliberately try to betray ourselves, which is the unforgivable crime. I will never, I hope, during my life say a harsh thing about any man for which I will not apologise if I find it is untrue. Some of the men on those benches know my life's work in the [189] City of Dublin. Have I anything to be ashamed of in that regard? I am a citizen by adoption of Dublin. I love the very name of the city and the stones in the street where I walk speak eloquently to me of the dead, and nobody can dream that at any time I could be chastened by anything said by the types that speak of me and criticise me. Has anybody ever purchased me or got these two hands into their care? Has my mind ever been coralled by anybody? A man like the Taoiseach approves of what is done by one of his own accredited representatives, a man whom he comes in here to recommend when he knows that man was a living lie; yet the Taoiseach himself, in his own handwriting, invited me to join a commission, when, if I were of the character that man said I was, I should not be allowed in human society.

There is another Minister, a man who knows that there could not be a word of truth in what Deputy MacEntee said. I challenge Deputy Lemass: did he ever know me to do any harm to this nation by my actions, industrial, political or social? I challenge any member of the House or any Minister to say that I did. Yet that was the vile and vicious libel poured out during the elections, and the man who puts the name of Deputy MacEntee on the list has not the courage or the Christian charity to get up in this House and make that gentleman apologise before the nation for his lying, vicious statements. Deputy MacEntee, when out on the hustings, was very careful to keep away from the areas in which I spoke. He went to another portion of the city. Everybody knows the residents of that area and knows what their ideals are and their hatred for the generations of this nation. They gave him comfort and sustenance, and accorded him the privilege of coming back to this House to be selected by the Taoiseach as one of his Ministers.

When you speak of creating Irish ideological conditions and an Irish form of life, surely you must turn your minds into the earth you belong to and the area in which your activities are [190] to take place and not turn your minds, as members of the Government do, to a form of government which is the foulest and most hateful form of government ever suggested in this world, in that when we propose to make a determination as to the contribution of certain groups of people, we borrow the ideas of control of mind and body from the German Reich, from Minister Ley and his Labour Front Book. From it, we pick out paragraphs and statements, and we embody them in an Act, and then we put in charge of it a gentleman who is so much concerned about the sacredness of human life, who is such an authority on Canon Law, that on one occasion he said that if you gave a hungry child a dinner, there was a danger of its losing its immortal soul. Another Deputy was in the room when the question was asked: “What do you want to feed the children of Dublin on—chicken and caviare?” A hungry child gets a hot meal—ergo it loses its immortal soul. This is the gentleman who is recommended as a Minister of the Government.

When he proceeds to draft the so-called Trade Union Act to discipline the trade unions he has to go across to Germany to get the German idea of the control of mind and body. He brings in a Bill which is read the First Time. A delegation of the trade union movement in Dublin went up and talked to him, but could get no accommodation. There is no accommodation to be got from this little tinpot would-be Hitler—he is the great and mighty “I am.” We go then to the man who is charged with responsibility—one Deputy said that he did not mind about the Ministers so long as the Taoiseach was charged with responsibility—and we have a conference. Deputy MacEntee, with his private secretary was present, and the Taoiseach admits at that conference that he is not familiar with the Bill, although it had passed through the Government. He agreed that there might be a difficulty about the matter and thought he might even go further and say that it was a pity that it was submitted to the House—“but,” he said, “I cannot withdraw it.” “You [191] know, Mr. Larkin,” he said, “I cannot reflect upon my Ministers. I cannot withdraw it.” Our submission was that the Bill should be withdrawn until the war is over. Deputy MacEntee was on my left, with the Taoiseach in the chair, and the Taoiseach said he could not reflect on his Ministers.

That is loyalty to the individual, but loyalty to the race and nation is even more important. The working class of Ireland have never failed Ireland. Wolfe Tone said: “When the men of property fail me, I will resolve to appeal to the men of no property,” and the Taoiseach has had to do that more than once. When the men of property, power and influence in this country failed him and his associates, it was the men of no property who saved him and saved the nation, and all we asked him on that occasion was to pause and not to force this Bill, which was going to divide the nation, through, when we were all working for a common purpose. Let Deputies remember that when we were going through crises the working class people never raised any grievance. Deputy Seán T. O Ceallaigh said: “We are going to try to get a balanced economy. We are not going to permit any particular increases in profits and we are going to keep prices to a certain level,” and we all agreed. All the responsible trade union leaders said they would help towards that end, and-not make any demands for increased wages, so long as the cost of living did not go above what is normal. They said: “We will remain-quiescent and join with our fellow-men, women and children in accepting the full measure of sacrifice.” But then Deputy O Ceallaigh went on to say that he was going to stop— another phrase he copied from a French economist—the vicious spiral of wages. We had the fixing of prices of commodities and of margins of profit, but he was going to stop the vicious spiral of increased wages. Deputy Seán T. O Ceallaigh had to swallow his vomit, but I want to go on to deal with the gentleman charged with the job of putting the manacles [192] around the soul of the Irish working class. We asked the Taoiseach to agree to a withdrawal of the measure, but no, he could not offend his friend and comrade, the Minister for Industry and Commerce. We asked him again a third time to withdraw the Bill. “Oh, no,” he said. “Send in any amendments you suggest.” He saw us to the door. He spoke to me again personally as he, as the gentleman he is, could. He begged of us to send in amendments. We said, “Not a line; not a sentence. That Bill is going to bring down your Government when it becomes an Act.” We are on the first stage of that particular task. We brought down another Government, that had the jail gates fastened on our countrymen, by the slogan, “Open the jail gates”, in 1932; and we landed ourselves with that organised group over there. Now I say this Trade Union Act will be the downfall of Fianna Fáil, maybe not to-day, but to-morrow. However, it was made an Act, and there were trade unionists, so-called, sitting in this House. It was alleged by Deputy MacEntee and by the Government that responsible trade union officials were in consultation with them over the drafting of that Act, and that they gave advice. They have been challenged time and time again for the name of one trade union leader or one trade union official, and they are as dumb as dogs. They are mute of malice, and they ought to be indicted before the nation, before a court of summary jurisdiction, and be made to tell the truth, if possible, for once. Who are the officials, who is the member of the Labour movement that condoned that crime, assisted, comforted or advised? I say to Deputy MacEntee now, in the presence of this House and his Leader, “You lie, sir. You cannot give the name of one.”

Acting-Chairman: The Deputy must keep to the rules of debate. That expression is not allowed.

Mr. Larkin: All right. However, that challenge is there. I know there are people in the trade union movement [193] who would sell their souls for a penny round of bread or a chunk of bacon. There are such people. They are in every section of this nation. We know that. If I stood up here and said that a certain person had given his advice or had comforted and I was challenged to tell the truth, I would go to that man and say: “I want to get from you the privilege of telling. If you do not consent, I will give you so many hours and will then publish the facts and I will resign.” However, they passed the Trade Union Act. What have they done? Have they destroyed the trade unions? They did all they could to destroy the trade unions. The trade unions have a power of resistance that no other union movement in the world has got. They would like to have done what they did in Germany. They would like to have done what they did in Italy, what they did in Portugal—not only to seize our property, not only to take the leaders of the trade union movement and jail them, but to take their sacred lives, as they have done in other countries.

The trade union movement in this country cannot be overawed, nor can it be corralled by any power inside this country. However, the Trade Union Act is law. It is a joke. If you do not withdraw it and annul it some other Government will. Of course, we registered. They thought some would be foolish enough not to register. They thought “these people, like Larkin, uncontrollable gentlemen, will not register, then we have got them.” Then they attacked the British Trade Union movement. They have gone around with a vicious conspiracy against our colleagues who have associations over generations with the British trade union movement. I agree that the Irish trade union movement should have its roots in Irish earth. Surely, I would be the pioneer in that direction, but that men should break loyalty by force majeure—I do not subscribe to that, either here or elsewhere. In the course of time, by education and understanding, the trade union movement will become truly Irish, will have [194] its organisation headquarters in this country, but there has never been a body that contributed more to the service of Ireland than the members of British trade unions.

I came back here to my own country as a young man, as an organiser. Surely I have given service to this country. I threw up a good position because I wanted to stand by my own country-people when they were in jeopardy. I have never been beholden to any British trade union. I said: “To hell with you and your instructions. The workers of Belfast, of Derry and of Dublin are more important to me than you and your wages.” But, I have no idea of creating enmity or being associated with enmity between the British working class and the Irish working class. The only hope of salvation for the workers of this country is close comradeship with the workers of every country in Western Europe and Eastern Asia, if you like, of the Western Americas or the Australias. We have got something in common that no other people have got. Therefore, we have this Order No. 83 brought in—the standstill Order for wages. I wonder would MacEntee to-day tell us he would not allow an increase in wages?

Acting-Chairman: Would the Deputy refer to him as Deputy MacEntee?

Mr. Larkin: Deputy MacEntee, I had the satisfaction of seeing you removed from your position and a more competent man put in your place, a more courteous gentleman put in your place.

Acting-Chairman: The Deputy is addressing me now.

Mr. Larkin: And I have had the satisfaction of knowing that my comrades in the Council of Action—you do not like that name—it strikes terror—political terror into your hearts —organised by a trade union convention, carried on this agitation that [195] made you and the Government bring in amendments Nos. 166, 167 and 169, and we have made the employers in Dublin—from whom Mr. Seán T. O Ceallaigh took his orders, in 20 minutes—he withdrew and gave them all they asked for—pay £200,000 in increased wages in one year in the City of Dublin. Despite all these orders of the Executive, despite this decision that there will be no increase in wages, Mr. Lemass, recognising facts, wise and statesmanlike as he is in many respects when certain knowledge is brought to him, only a fortnight ago, increased the wages of the ordinary labourers in the Southern Railways by 5s. per week, which is absolutely against the Act and all the terms of the Act. There was an increase of 5s. basic wage for the ordinary labourers in Inchicore and Broadstone and in addition thereto 8s. bonus—in other words, an increase of 13s. per week.

Stupid, intolerant Larkin, the man who got all his instructions from Moscow, gave the workers of Ireland this good advice and whether it comes from Moscow, Constantinople, Uruguay or Alaska, it is good advice for the man who gets the increase of 13/- a week. I have been giving them that advice for 36 years in Dublin. You can look at the records of the wages in Dublin or Belfast. I would ask, has any member of the Front Bench ever contributed as much to an increase in wages for any worker?

The Minister for Defence attended one of my meetings and very courteously listened to me. It is a courtesy to listen to me because somehow I irritate people, but I always have a deep interest in their souls' welfare. I am always out to save souls. Even the soul of the Minister for Defence might be saved. He sat dumb and went over to his meeting and said he had got a trade union card in his youth. I do not know what union it is. It may be the union of front benchers but, according to my understanding of trade unions, he is not entitled to be a member of any trade union because he occupies more than one job.

[196] The Deputy has more than one salary and more than one job, but Deputy Oscar Traynor said that he doubted whether I had a trade union card. I suppose there is no man with a longer trade union record or more trade union cards than Jim Larkin, and not only in one country. I sometimes wonder if there is any sense among the working class when you realise what we have done for them and what these people are trying to do to them. Let me take our courteous and gentlemanly friend, Dr. Jim Ryan, as he is familiarly known, Deputy Dr. James Ryan. I am not going to touch upon the problems of those who are charged with responsibility for agricultural life. I do not know anything about it. I only ran a co-operative farm on the outskirts of the city. I ran it successfully and possibly I know as much about crop rotation as those charged with responsibility for agriculture, not forgetting the leader of the children of the soil—and I guarantee some of them will never go back to the soil. I do not want to intrude upon the Taoiseach's time, but I want to make this point. I think Dr. James Ryan will be gentleman enough to correct me if I make a mistake, but when the foot-and-mouth disease broke out in this city it was a member of my union and not one of his staff that discovered it, a butcher's porter, a poor ignorant, semi-illiterate butcher's porter. The veterinary officers had passed that group of cattle to Naas down to the North Wall and back. We reported the outbreak, which at one time seemed to be the most serious thing that happened in the country. Will Deputy Dr. Ryan tell us what the truth about that outbreak was? Will he tell us about the service given by the members of my union, who control 100 per cent. of the trade, and will he tell us about the hours we had to work, never daring to ask for a penny overtime?

Acting-Chairman: The Deputy would not be allowed to do so because it would be out of order and irrelevant.

Mr. Larkin: In what way, Sir?

Acting-Chairman: It would be irrelevant if Deputy Dr. Ryan were to [197] start a debate on foot-and-mouth disease.

Mr. Larkin: The point I am talking about is the incapacity of the Minister and I must introduce my argument in my own way. If I go outside the rules of the House the Chair can correct me.

Acting-Chairman: The Deputy has invited Deputy Dr. Ryan to deal with the policy on the foot-and-mouth disease which is utterly irrelevant.

Mr. Larkin: I am not doing that at all. There is a certain form of argument. To lead up to that line of thought I must be permitted to make my case in my own way. I am going to show the Minister's incapacity, and I am going to show he failed to do his duty through a lack of understanding. On the question of rhetoric we cannot have very closely defined lines, and in the case of this argument I am submitting that because of the lack of capacity of Deputy Dr. Ryan, there should be a change in his Department. On the occasion I have referred to we waited on Deputy Dr. Ryan. The Deputy is always courteous, and he is one of the most kindly men you could meet. He is always reasonable, but he stops at that. He has got no initiative, and he lacks that devil in him to go and immediately deal with matters. When we told him about the difficulties Deputy Dr. Ryan said that he would take them into consideration, but he did not do anything. We carried on through that crisis and saved the nation. What did the Deputy do when that crisis was over? He wrote a report in which he commended men who never saw the cattle, and thanked them for their efforts. But he did not give a word of thanks to the men who had done the work. Deputy Lemass, as Minister for Supplies, was good enough to give us a quota of tea to keep going these men who were staying up all night working for 24 hours, on St. Patrick's Day and on Sundays. We were there ready to slaughter and destroy everything that was infected.

But let us go to another matter. When we were killing these cattle we [198] asked Deputy Dr. Ryan to deal with another matter and I make the charge that the Taoiseach was conscious of this. We were killing 1,400 cattle a week for the canning trade and, at the time, we could not get dripping in the City of Dublin. We went to the Head of the Government by deputation and pointed out that there were 1,400 cattle being killed in the Dublin abattoir. They were dried milch cows, old bulls, scrubs, anything at all. We asked how much fat was there in the bone matter of these cattle and we asked the Taoiseach to get us the right to use the boilers, the battery of boilers in the Mansion House, in order that we could supply the poor with dripping. They laughed at the idea, but the bone matter was left there until it was partially rotten and taken away and fed to the rats while the children of the poor were going short of fats. Deputy Dr. Ryan would not go short of fats and the Taoiseach's children were being fed, but what about the 16,000 children between the ages of 14 and 20 of the unemployed who have never had enough to eat? Could not they have done with these fats? But no; all the fats have to go to the homes of certain people who are now asking us to give them the responsibility of the work of government. I am conscious of your difficulties. There is nobody realises more than I the difficulties with which you have to grapple. We wanted Deputy Lemass to start a shipyard in Dublin but he said that the Government could not put money into it. We forced them to open that yard without the aid of the Government, but how is it going on? It is only a marine store yard employing a few men when it should be employing 2,500.

I told Deputy Lemass to get ships in 1939. I said: “Why do you not get ships? There is any amount of idle tonnage available at £12 to £20 a ton.” They could not find the money for that but they poured £150,000 into the bog and they spent another £100,000 on West Clare and £58,000 in Leitrim because one of the officials of the Government had an interest in the coal mines there. When it comes to doing something that is fundamental, such as [199] getting ships, they did nothing. At that time we could have got good ships not the sieves that they paid £200,000 for.

Statements have been made about the sinking of the “Irish Oak”. I wonder is there anyone in the country who does not know the truth about those statements. These men went to sea. Their unarmed ship was sunk by our friendly enemy. The men were brought ashore and taken to Dublin. The then Lord Mayor invited them to “split the main brace,” but they did not happen to be here then. Most of these men are still ashore. One of them went to sign on at the labour exchange, which is under Deputy Lemass's authority. He was asked where was his record card, and he said it was sunk in the western ocean. The clerk there said to him: “Go and get it.” That is the attitude adopted towards these men. Then there was another man who was in a southern hospital. His youngest son was saved by Providence from the ocean. He came back to Dublin and wrote to the Department of Industry and Commerce for compensation for loss of his effects amounting to £39. What answer did he get? Deputy Lemass will tell you. This Government does not recognise any claim for the loss of effects. That man, who has lost his employment through his ship being sunk by a friendly enemy in the western ocean, is told in the labour Exchange: “Go and get your card!” I suggest that they should ask the Consul-General of Germany to send a submarine to the western ocean to find that man's record card. Would it not be terrible if he is to die of starvation in a Christian country? There is nothing but inefficiency and ineptitude.

I suggest that if the House approves of the recommendation of the Taoiseach some instructions ought to be given. Deputy Larkin, Junior, suggested an economic council, a matter which has been discussed for a long time. I think that is a suggestion which ought to be accepted. We have a Defence Council which has worked very well. We should have an economic council to deal with these important matters and the future of this nation, [200] more particularly when this blood bath ceases to flow. We will have to get into association with other nations and we want men of business aptitude who may have relations with other countries. We have to try to solve our internal and external problems. I do not wish by anything I have said to cause any injury. If I thought one word of mine would injure this country or its people I would never open my mouth again in public. If I thought that any action of mine would injure our people in any portion of the earth I would be hesitant about taking it.

I went to England a few months ago and was told about neutrality. Why do you say these things when you know there is no truth in them? Do you not know that you are not neutral when there are 126,000 Irishmen who were forcibly conscripted into the British army, navy and auxiliary forces? Do you not know that, according to the last figures, given in December, 1942, there are 147,000 men from the Twenty-Six counties in the armed forces of the British Empire? Do you not know that 30 per cent. of the personnel of regiments in North Africa come from the Twenty-Six counties? Do you not know that in the R.A.F. squadron in which the late Paddy Finucane was—I was with him the night before he died—30 per cent. of the personnel were lads born in this country? There are families in Dublin who have got several sons in that service. Why did they go there? One of the leading metallurgical experts was driven out of this country by hunger. He is now second in command of one of the largest metallurgical establishments making aeroplanes in England. We have close economic relations with one another. We are in a sense neutral. We are neutral so far as our Government are concerned. But there are forces greater even than diplomatic or political relations which force us not to be neutral. Some 270,000 of our men and women are giving service to the British Empire in the British Isles, in North Africa and other countries. What voice here was raised in protest when an Irishman in England was charged with refusing to wear military uniform? No voice was raised here when men in London, [201] Coventry, Newcastle and other places were brought up. There was not a soul to protest and say they were Irish subjects. Do we not know damned well that they are not subjects of this nation once they go outside the three-mile limit? We are well aware of the difficulties. But when we try to get accommodation or solidarity in this House on certain matters we are met with spite malignity and vituperation.

I asked Deputy Lemass about sending over some women welfare officers, but I had to go to another authority before welfare officers went with the women who were driven out of this country by hunger. What about the welfare of the many thousands of men working in the industrial districts of Great Britain? It is true that we sent one man, a man who has got a knowledge of these matters. I say that we have no right to submit to dictation from any nation. We should keep our hands clean of this blood guilt, this blood lust. We will get respect if we respect ourselves. There are 20,000,000 people of Irish descent in America. Deputy Aiken knows that he was a disastrous failure when he went out there. We can get help from them in the day of our trial. They will be by our side and so will our men in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The solution for the problem of Northern Ireland is not Deputy Corry's solution. The only movement which can bring the 32 Counties together is the labour movement, through the Labour Party.

May I say in conclusion that I am not at all worried about the future of this nation? I believe that in the last analysis we can rise to the occasion. We have an inner power which no other nation has got and when a crisis comes we are prepared to face any issue. The men on the other side of this House and on this side should get together on the important fundamental economic problem, on the problem of money and its control, and on our internal and external problems. I should like to see the £67,000,000 lying idle in Irish banks utilised as my friend, Deputy Pat McGilligan, suggested. I am glad to see him back again, as he is one of the keenest and ablest men in this country. He said that we should use the money as a [202] dynamic urge for more production. You need not tell me that the men who carry on agriculture in this country know anything about agriculture. They are almost as bad as the people in Judea who used a wooden hoop instead of a plough. They have not really touched production from the agricultural point of view. The late John Mackay wrote a good deal about forestry. What do these people know about forestry? I heard a man talking about forestry, but as regards forestry, he is a child.

There are men in the House, and men and women outside, who can contribute, and as long as we have Deputy de Valera and his Party to safeguard our position externally with the forces here, different Parties and groups, we are all right. We have our armed forces, and in our auxiliary forces are our women. We can safeguard our ports. It is desirable that we should have a proper love of this nation, and there should be a desire to do away with all the things that harm this nation. We must consider such things as the destruction of human life, disease among our growing children, the high death rate. We have heard the Taoiseach and his deputy talking about all they have done in the way of housing. They never did anything. So far as Dublin is concerned, the citizens built the houses; they paid for every brick and piece of timber. Some day when Deputy MacEntee returns to the cool alcoves of the Custom House, he should glimpse at the records of the Housing Board that was set up some four years ago. It takes three months to get a reply from Deputy MacEntee at the Custom House to Cork Hill. I suggest the Deputy should get the Housing Board's report and study it carefully.

General MacEoin: The motion before the House is to approve of the nomination by the Taoiseach of the members of his Government. He did not indicate last night that there were to be many changes in the allocations. We have had a great volume of oratory as to whether these names should be approved. I am not going to travel along that line. I want [203] to remind Labour and Clann na Talmhan, although I suppose they do not want my advice, that from the moment they sat in their benches and refused to do anything, even one day's work by voting, and once they allowed the Taoiseach to be elected, they failed in their responsibility. I hold no brief for Fianna Fáil, but I hold a brief what is known as common decency and honesty, and I will hold that brief as long as I live. There are Deputies here who refused to vote, but those Deputies asked the people to vote for them, and many people had to travel long distances to do so. If they will not do what they expected the people to do, I feel they have failed in their job. Therefore, I submit that if the Taoiseach nominated a much worse Cabinet it would be good enough for either of the Parties I have mentioned. I only hope that when he has his Cabinet approved, the Taoiseach and the Government will just go ahead and do the work they say they are going to do.

The Taoiseach has been quite straight and fair with us. He has told us he is going to carry on the policy of the last four years, that he is going to export our boys and girls and allow them to join armed forces in any part of the world if they wish to do so. He is going to leave our workers in the country without a drop of paraffin oil to enable them to have light in their homes. By allowing him to be elected you have implied that that is the right thing to do. Once you have done it, there is no reason why you should vote against the team he has proposed. You have appointed him Leader, chief officer of the Government. Even Deputy Larkin, if he was appointing his own staff in a trade union, would at least have the right to do it and would not take dictation from his son. I submit that once we have appointed the Taoiseach and he puts his team forward, we have given away everything and we have no right to complain of the team. We knew before we appointed him as Taoiseach that that is the team he would put up.

I submit that the Taoiseach is perfectly correct in nominating that team. [204] I think it is a bad one, and I am going to vote against it, and in so far as I can influence others I will ask them to do the same. I am consistent by reason of the fact that I voted against him. If I did not vote against him I certainly could not vote against his ministry. I suppose that ministry will be appointed, because again there are people in this House who will not recognise the obligation the people in the country placed upon them. I will finish by expressing this hope, that when these farmers who have done that go home, they will find that the men they left to mind the meadows and to work on the farms will not have carried out their duties, and when they are asked why the work has not been done, their labourers will retort: “As you did nothing in Dáil Eireann, we did nothing while you were away.” If that were to happen, it would be quite good enough for those Deputies.

The Taoiseach: I do not think I ever started a speech in such a quandary. It is difficult to know where to begin. We have had the whole election rehashed here. We have had the dead cat of coalition hawked about. Will the people who talk about coalition on the opposite benches show us with whom they are going to coalesce? Whom are they going to compel to come into their group? Everybody in the country knows perfectly well that it was an absurd business from the start. It was started, not by the Party opposite; it was started by a newspaper, and because it was thought to be good politics, in the end it was accepted by them. Everybody knows that the Parties here want to keep their independnce. The Labour Party says it wants to be independent because it has a future. I daresay that is what every Party would say. Where are you going to get this coalition that is being talked of? I do not see it anywhere; I did not see it from the start and, even if it were possible, I would be very sorry for the country's sake to see it started. It has worked disastrously in every country in which it has been tried. Even as an emergency measure, it has been found unsatisfactory. There is one place where there [205] can be co-operation, if it is desired, and that is here. This is the representative Assembly. Between elections, it has to speak for the nation. It is the supreme body. It has to get an Executive. Where is it to get it? We are the largest Party. Unfortunately, we are short of a majority which would enable us to go on with our work with the assurance that the planning that has taken place and that had resulted in certain decisions would not be in vain. That is the position. As the largest Party, if we are not the Government, we go into opposition. If there were, by some chance, a grouping together of those other Parties, I wonder how long it would last if opposed by a solid bloc of sixty-seven.

The question is: is there any solution other than a solution by the people themselves? I do not see it. I feel satisfied that, if there is to be good government in this country, the people will again have to be appealed to. They know the results of their voting. They now see the position. It can be put up to them to remedy it. So far as we are concerned, we are prepared to carry on. We will not deviate the slightest hair's breadth from the path we should have pursued if we had an over-all majority. If a combination of Parties vote us out, let them do so. We propose to continue to carry out our programme as we have announced it to the people. We believe in that just as completely as Deputy Larkin or anybody else believes in his programme. We, too, have our philosophy of life. Although we may not have to devote ourselves to the matter immediately and directly, as some of the Labour Deputies have, we believe we are just as much interested in the welfare of the workers of the country, as any members of the Labour Party are. Few of us were born with silver spoons in our mouths. Deputies have been speaking as if we knew nothing about agriculture. There is not an operation on the farm, with perhaps one exception, that I as a youngster had not to perform. I lived in a labourer's cottage, but the tenant could be regarded as, in his way, a small farmer. From my earliest [206] days I participated in every operation that takes place on a farm. One thing I did not learn-how to plough. Until I was 16 years of age, there was nothing of any kind on a farm, from the spancelling of and milking of a cow, I had not to deal with. I cleaned out the cowhouses. I followed the tumbler rake. I took my place on the top of the rick. I took my place on the cart and filled the load of hay. Let nobody talk as if we were reared in some exotic atmosphere and knew nothing about the life of our people. We have been intimately associated with the life of our people, and with the ordinary, plain people of the country. I took milk to the creamery. I harnessed the donkey, the jennet and the horse, and I know just as much as any Deputy in this House about these things.

Should farmer-Deputies want to come along and discuss farming matters with me, they will find they are dealing with one who has not got his knowledge from books. We are interested in the working people of the country. We are interested in the small farmers. We are interested in everybody who works whether, as it was put here, with hand or brain. We say we are doing our part in these benches even if, at the moment, we are working with brain and not with hand. We are trying to serve our country. There is not one man on the list I have read out who has not proved his service to his country. The suggestion is that these men are incompetent. I should like to see some of the gentlemen who talk about their incompetence doing the work. I am told to pick other men in the House. I have picked the men who have had experience, and I am perfectly certain that the team I have picked will stand up against any other team that Deputies would pick. Every one of these men has given service to his country, I do not want to go back and say how many of them are 1916 men; see for yourselves, they have proved their loyalty to their country, every one. They have been devoted to it and have done their work well. Just as you can say that I am the greatest politician in the [207] world, so you can say that the Minister for Agriculture is the worst Minister in the world. It is easy to coin phrases like that. What are the facts about agriculture? Deputy Davin comes along and makes statements, but will not tell us where exactly we will find the figures he quotes.

Mr. Davin: The trade returns.

The Taoiseach: Produce your trade returns. This is a deliberative House, not the hustings. If the Deputy wants to appeal to figures, let him get the figures so that we can see and answer them.

Mr. Davin: The census of production.

The Taoiseach: Get the figures and quote them. The Deputy said that agricultural production had decreased in value by £15,000,000 and that the value of food consumed at home had gone down by £8,500,000. Neither of those statements has the slightest basis in truth.

Mr. Davin: I shall give you the reference later.

The Taoiseach: Let the Deputy give us the source from which we can obtain these figures. It is easier, of course, to make these statements in cross-road fashion and fool people who will not follow the matter further. In this House a member will not get away with that.

Mr. Davin: Read the census of production.

The Taoiseach: I ask the Deputy to give me the basis of his statement, that agricultural production had decreased by £15,000,000 and that the value of food consumed at home had gone down by £8,500,000. The Deputy must get figures to support that statement. He cannot get them. The whole question has been carefully examined. A committee, the chairman of which is an expert, is sitting. He has got the whole statistical and other Departments at his disposal. The figures that have been submitted to me are to this effect, that the total volume of agricultural production through the period [208] 1929 to 1939 has been approximately stationary.

Mr. Hughes: Is that enough?

The Taoiseach: I am giving the facts. I can come later to a conclusion from them.

Mr. Davin: What are the figures?

The Taoiseach: I state here authoritatively that the fact is that the volume of agricultural production from the period 1929 to 1939 has been approximately stationary.

Mr. Davin: Give the figures.

The Taoiseach: Prices changed. There was a terrible depression in prices begun before 1929, and continued from 1929 to 1934 and 1935. With regard to the value of the output, by 1939 it had risen approximately to what it was in 1929; that is, if you take the years 1929 and 1939 you have both volume and prices approximately the same. By 1940 the value had gone up by some £5,000,000 to £67,000,000, and by 1942 it had gone up further to £75,000,000. Where are the £15,000,000 that Deputy Davin talks about? I should like him to find them for me. I should like to understand what juggling or misinterpretation made him come to the conclusion he arrived at.

With regard to food consumed at home, the value of food produced on our farms and consumed in 1929-30 was 32.8 million pounds; in 1939-40 it was 37.9 million pounds. Where is the reduction of eight and a half million pounds that the Deputy said there was in home consumption? The percentage of the total value of the output consumed at home in 1929-30 was 50.6 per cent., and in 1939-40 it was 62.4 per cent. When people quote figures to try to prove a case they ought, at least, to give us the basis so that we can see what method of interpretation they have adopted. They do not do that. Foolish people in the country will be deceived. They do not challenge statements of this sort but they will be challenged in this House. When figures are given here the basis of them can be asked for to [209] see whether they are being interpreted properly or not.

I have been asked to go over election statements. I am not going to do it. I deplore some of the methods that were used before and during the election. I deplore the fact that people who think they are very clever could use arguments to deceive people who may not be accustomed to examine arguments home. There is one cure for that, and it is for our people to see that they educate themselves in these matters. Large numbers of our people have educated themselves. They have not been fooled, and are not likely to be fooled. I do not think that Deputy Norton is precisely the best person to raise the question of methods. I do not think his own methods were too nice. However, I prefer to keep away from that question. In so far as my influence with anyone went I have tried to see that when people are appealed to on serious matters they will be dealt with as serious matters——

Mr. D. Morrissey: It is a pity the advice was not put into operation.

The Taoiseach: ——so that, as far as possible, the people would see what programme a particular Party seeking votes was going to follow, giving them an idea of the general outlook of Parties looking for their votes, and leaving them in a position to judge what was going ultimately to have a serious effect on their whole lives and on the future of our community. I think there have been altogether too much of personalities during the election and in this House. We come here as representatives of the people and we are to be judged by the soundness or otherwise of the proposals we put forward. Let us be judged on that basis. If there are arguments against some proposal let them be put forward but do not reduce the question, as is sometimes done when a lawyer has a bad case, to abuse of the opposing counsel. I do not think that helps anybody. We ought to have developed far beyond that. The matters that engage our attention require the full effort of our minds and we should not be distracted by personalities.

[210] With regard to other points that were raised, there is no evidence at all to justify statements that have been made about, the present depression of agriculture—none whatever. One thing was not mentioned very much in this House and that is the war. The gentlemen yonder are very wise now four years after the event. When it was a question of trying to foresee the future, were we met? I quoted once or twice during the election statements that had been made from the Opposition benches with regard to the position early in 1939 as to an “alleged” crisis, or something of that sort, and that there was no need for the “political hysterics” which we were manifesting. When we went to the people and pointed out that there was raging around us one of the greatest wars that the world has ever known, we told them that we in this country were in danger, as we are until the last shot in this war is fired, it was said that we were trying to intimidate and frighten the people.

Mr. D. Morrissey: That is not so.

The Taoiseach: We wanted the people to realise the dangers and the hardships that were bound to flow from the war. Talking about supplies, I have said many times that the only supplies we can be sure of are the supplies we can raise here by our own labours, and that it is our business to try to do everything in our power to have reserves made available. We were fortunate. If we were depending on some advice like that which we got from Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney, we would be in a nice position now. I suppose we could depend on increasing the acreage from 20,000 to 500,000 in a night?

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: It could be done in a year.

The Taoiseach: The Deputy ought to know. He spoke of me as one who knew nothing about agriculture.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Yes.

The Taoiseach: The Deputy thinks that we can turn over in one year from [211] 20,000 acres to 500,0000 acres in the production of corn? He knows that is not possible.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Why not? Provided you have the agricultural machinery and the horses, it is definitely possible.

The Taoiseach: During the whole time when we were trying to get the people to do it, you were telling us that we could not grow it in this country at all, and that we would have to put a pistol to the farmers' heads to make them do it.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: That statement is totally inaccurate. I never made any such statement.

The Taoiseach: During the whole of the period when we were trying to get the people to produce enough food from the land, as being the primary purpose of the land, Deputies opposite opposed us every inch of the way, but now they are wiseacres at the end, and when the people have to bear hardships they want to pretend that those hardships are due to us. We have been told that so many people were swept off the land. I expected that we would finally be accused of causing the world war. That seems to me to be the only way in which we could be held directly and immediately responsible for the things that have happened here. We did not cause a world war. We did not want the world war. We did everything that we possibly could to try to bring about conditions which would have prevented that war. I do not know whether or not it was preventable, but we certainly cannot be blamed for this terrible catastrophe for humanity. But the war is on. Because the war is on, this country has to bear hardships, and our task has been to try to even the burden somewhat. Sometimes it is not possible to do it, but our aim is to even the burden; to try to make those who have the stoutest shoulders bear the most of it, and to try to lighten it for those who are not so well able to carry it. That has been our aim. It may be suggested that we have not succeeded. We will, at all times, be ready to examine any practical suggestions [212] for the doing of those things better but instead of practical suggestions we get general criticisms. One would imagine that the members on these benches are out to try to bring about shortages; that we revel in them; that the hardships of the people are pleasing to us.

We are asked: “Why have not the people butter?” We cannot get the farmers to produce more butter than they are producing. The fact is that the production of butter is greater than it was some ten years ago. There was an export of from one-third to one-half of the amount of butter that was produced; there is no export now. Why is it that there is a shortage of butter? Because more people are using butter, or perhaps a more accurate way of stating it is to say that butter is more used in this country now than it had been, to such an extent that the former exportable surplus is now being used here, and there is still not enough. If there were any way in which I could induce the farmers to produce enough butter, if it were possible for them to do it, I would try to induce them, and the Government would do so, but again we are not masters of those situations. We have a shortage of sugar. We did our best to get the farmers to grow enough beet, and we believe that we are giving a reasonable price to induce the farmers to grow all the beet that is required. The factories are there capable of turning the beet into sugar. We did not get enough beet. That is the fact. It may be suggested that we did not give a sufficiently high price. The moment you come to that, you have another side to the question. How are you going to bridge the gap between the price the farmers want and the price the people can pay? We have tried to do it in some cases——

Mr. Larkin: Put the idle men on the idle acres. It is very easy to bridge the gap.

The Taoiseach: Put the idle men on the idle acres? I do not know to what idle acres the Deputy is referring.

Mr. Larkin: There are 31,000 acres around the City of Dublin alone with golf links on them.

[213] The Taoiseach: There is a number of acres, undoubtedly, but you will not produce butter suddenly by dividing land. If you want to produce butter——

Mr. Larkin: There are other foods besides butter.

The Taoiseach: Yes, and by every means adopt every way of stimulating production. I am in favour of every practical means of doing so.

Mr. Larkin: What about the other foods?

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Order. Give somebody else a chance to speak.

An Ceann Comhairle: The Taoiseach has one hour in which to conclude an eight and a half hours' debate. He should not be interrupted.

The Taoiseach: I have been asked questions with regard to butter. Here are the figures. In 1932 the production was 610,370 cwts. It had gone up to 758,000 cwts. in 1937. It had gone down in 1941 to 663,000 cwts. The exports in 1932 were about 246,000 cwts; in 1937, 333,000 cwts.; in 1941, 104,000 cwts. Now the exports have been completely eliminated. Therefore, the position in regard to butter is that we are not able to produce on the farms as much butter as could be consumed here at home. Let us, by all means, try to remedy that, but let us know exactly what the position is in regard to it. In my own constituency I saw posters: “No butter”, “No potatoes”, and so on; I suppose that was fairly general. No potatoes? In 1939 the production of potatoes was 1,000,000 tons more than it was in 1931. In 1941 there were a further 700,000 tons; that is, instead of 1,900,000 tons, the production was 3,600,000—an additional 1,700,000 tons. Yet we are told there are no potatoes. The Government cannot itself go out and produce those potatoes. It can do everything in the way of bringing to the farmers' minds the importance of the matter. We have done that. I think every year since the war began I have gone out with the Minister for Agriculture and others on a campaign for the production of food.

I told the people that we wanted not [214] merely food for the human beings, but food for the animals as well—if we could get it. In so far as it was possible, I wanted to see the foundation of our agricultural industry maintained. I did not succeed in many cases. We are told that we are short of bacon. We know we are. Why? Because it would take about 6 cwts. of cereals to produce 1 cwt. of bacon, and those 6 cwts. of cereals were more important as human food. If the farmers grow food for man and beast, we can have the bacon also. I know it is not easy to do it. I know it is not easy to expand our tillage from the low level at which it was to the reasonably high level at which we will have to arrive in order to produce all those things, but unless we do get from the land sufficient food for man and beast there is no use in our saying: “We are short of bacon,” because the cereals that would go to the making of a cwt. of bacon are more important as human food. We should like to have the concentrated forms in the highest quantity also. There are people who are willing to pay for them, and they are valuable from many points of view. We want to have both, but, again, we are in the hands of the farmers in so far as the possibility of increasing tillage to the extent to which we shall have enough both for man and beast is concerned.

We had probably the lowest percentage of arable land, under tillage of any civilised country, certainly of any country in Europe. Over 60 per cent. of the land in other countries in Europe was tilled generation after generation. We had only at one time about 12½ per cent. under tillage. The acreage has gone up considerably; the amount of tillage has been increased by 1,000,000 acres, but if we want to use the soil to full advantage, to provide food for our people—and when I say food I mean a variety of food, including animal products—we have to till more. That is one of the reasons our policy has been a policy of encouraging tillage. The solution of the food question, as far as we are concerned. necessarily lies with the farmers during this particular time. If Deputies really want to remedy the position they will [215] go out and encourage the farmers, tell them to grow wheat and other cereals, to grow potatoes and beet and to produce enough, not merely for human beings but, if you want poultry, for poultry, and if you want bacon, for pigs as well. If anybody can show other ways of doing this, then we shall listen to him. We shall be very glad to get from any part of the House suggestions as to how our people can be better safeguarded in regard to food supplies during this crisis because, again, true it is that if you do not produce them yourselves you will go without. I do not think that I need go further on the question of agriculture.

We come now to other supplies. Surely Deputies know the facts? They know the fact that you cannot at the present time purchase things in the ordinary way of trade, as you could in normal times. Is it not a fact that, even if you had ships in much larger numbers than we have, to go to the countries from which you used to get supplies, you would not be able to get from these countries the commodities which you used to get from them before? Why? Because every machine, every man and every woman who were working at these machines and who could be spared from them, have been turned over to munition work and other war activities. They are not out for trade at the present time. They are not out to sell; that is not their business at the moment. The business of nations engaged in the present war is to bring victory to their side. That is all they are out to do; they are not out to sell you these things because you badly want them. Again, we here, before this war is ended, may have to throw ourselves back very much more upon ourselves than we have done in the past. With regard to the question of self-sufficiency, we have always believed in it to the extent that was reasonably practicable. We believed in it for our country and our situation, as giving the best hope for rebuilding the country in ordinary normal times. We backed it as a good policy, as a safe assurance, for a time of crisis like the [216] present. That is the basis of our policy.

I know the arguments that can be put up against it. I know it can be said, “It is much better, for example, to import grain from outside, to feed it to pigs and sell the pigs, than it would be to grow that grain.” We know all these free trade arguments but we were not concerned with an abstract discussion on free trade. We were interested in the particular circumstances of our own country, and when people tell us, “They do this and they do that in other parts of the world”, my answer is, “Will you tell us how these things are to be done in our set of circumstances?” The circumstances in New Zealand and the Argentine are not our circumstances. We have a very peculiar set of circumstances, historically and otherwise, and because we have these, we were satisfied that our policy of self-sufficiency was the best policy for us. The Ministers who are on this panel have been working as a team to carry out that programme, and if I am to have the responsibility of selecting a team, that is the team I select. The House is at liberty to turn it down, but if it does, it is a vote of no confidence. That is what it amounts to. The House can vote no confidence and reverse their decision of yesterday. Then the problem will be to form an alternative Government. That is the position in which we find ourselves.

As I have said, we are prepared to do our duty and to carry on, but we are at the mercy of a combination against us if members want to vote against us. Every Party who went out in this election went out on its own as far as I know—except one. That Party went out on the basis of forming a coalition, without anybody in view with whom they could coalesce and with nobody willing to touch them. Yet, that was the policy they were putting before the country. Very well: you come to vote this panel or vote no confidence. In the latter event you will have to try to form an alternative Government. As far as we are concerned, we know where we stand. We believe in the things we have been [217] doing. This is a team the members of which have given good service in my opinion—men who have done their work well, both as members of the Government and as administrators. If you think that that team is not a good team, you can vote against it and form an alternative Government, because this is, and will have to be regarded by me as a vote of confidence. If you have not confidence in them, that is the end of it.

I do not think it would be right for me to delay the House by going over a whole series of replies to things that have been said in the course of this debate. I believe that most of the criticisms were unjust and that they were not founded on fact. When it comes to the question of voting on the Estimates we can go into these in detail. It was suggested, for instance, that the Minister for Finance was not able to deal with the Central Bank Bill and that I had to come into the House. As a matter of fact I was particularly interested in that question. I was bitten, as a number of others had been bitten, 20 years ago with this bug of monetary reform because it seemed to me that in the money system was possibly the evil that affected the whole social system, that perhaps it was the central evil of many other evils and that probably there was a solution to be found there. I examined it, and after a fairly careful examination, I came to the conclusion that this was not a central solution. I decided that you needed to have organisation as well and that this question of monetary control goes only part of the way, that you would have to go much further than that, if you wanted a remedy. I have come to the conclusion, for one, that the proposed remedy would make matters worse: I may be wrong, but that is my view.

Mr. Davin: There is to be no change.

The Taoiseach: I came to the House on the occasion of the Central Bank Bill because I was particularly interested in the question, just as I might come in with the Minister for Education when some question of education, or with the Minister for Supplies when a question [218] of supplies, was under discussion. I think I have the right to come in here if I am interested, and to speak. Therefore, I see no reason at all why it should be regarded as a reflection on one of the Ministers because I happen to sit in when he is in charge of a particular measure or Estimate. As a matter of fact, one of my regrets has been that I have not been able to be in the House more. I believe that you can learn a great deal here if you are prepared to winnow the wheat from the chaff, and that if you can wait sufficiently long you will get a few grains that will be worth while. I am sorry that I cannot be in the House more. The reason is that I have a good deal of executive work to do, which is also true of the Ministers. It would be well for us all if we could sit in the House when these social and economic questions are being discussed, and apply our minds to each particular subject under discussion. It would be much more interesting to be in the House if we had better informed discussions, and if Deputies in opposition would try to get the facts and talk on the facts. If we could do that, we would do very much better, because then every moment that we spent here would be well spent time. Speaking for myself, I regret very much that I have not been able to be in the House more, but surely it is not to be taken as a reflection on the Minister in charge of a particular Department because I happen to sit in with him at a particular time.

There is another thing. It was said that these were “yes-men.” It is very easy to make a general statement of this sort whenever a team is working harmoniously together. When we have discussed and differed and come to a conclusion in advance, as we do, it is very easy to suggest, because they are loyal—having accepted a decision—in putting it into effect that they are only “yes-men”. Some of these men were in the National movement before I was. They are men of independent mind and character. It is shameful to suggest all the time that they are simply “yes-men”. If the arguments that are put up are good enough to convince people, and if there is in a [219] team loyalty enough, when a decision has been arrived at, to keep to it, is that a question of being “yes-men”? Is there any other way in which a Party or a group can work? Does not everyone know that we are all individual souls, that we have an individual outlook upon things and that our opinions at any particular time depend on a whole variety of conditions?

My upbringing, my education and my contacts with life, have influenced me as they have influenced my neighbours. We are all influenced one way or another by social contacts. We are all individuals and it is not an easy thing at all to coordinate these individuals' views and try to get some definite action and progress. If we kept as individuals pulling in different directions, I suppose we would average out, and there would be no progress at all. But because we form a group and come together to discuss problems and arrive at a decision, and there is loyalty to the decision when it is arrived at, loyalty in carrying it out and in working together as a good team, then it is suggested on that account that the members of the team are simply “yes-men.” It is absurd, of course. Nobody believes it, not even the Deputies who are loudest in shouting it.

I am very far from having anything like a feeling of despair, but the situation that has been created in this House by the recent general election is a very strange situation. The situation is that we are the biggest Party, almost a majority, but we have not got any assurance that at any particular time our measures can go through. That has a paralysing effect on good planning. Before this war the Minister for Industry and Commerce set off a section of his Department in regard to supplies. He did everything that it was possible to do at that time. People are not so ready to take advice when they are looking into the future and when either of two things can happen. Some will say that (A) is going to happen and others will say that (B) is going to happen. But when it has happened it is not (A) or (B). It is [220] all (A) because it has happened, and the division of opinion is gone. There is no (B). With the political advice that was being given by those opposed to us, it was not very easy at all to get our people to realise that there was a need for the spending of considerable sums of money in insurance against a possible (A) happening. It might not have happened. If it did not, the money spent in insuring would have been lost, but it would have been wise to risk it. Unfortunately, we were not able to get a lot of people to do that.

The general of an army who wants to go somewhere does not simply wish it and it is done. There are long months of preparation in trying to train people to do certain things in providing and in bringing up munitions and so on. All these things have to be done in the civil and economic life as well as they have to be done in military life, but in military life they are all prepared to be accepted. We are all ready to admit that plans on paper have to be worked out in detail and practical preparations of a certain type made. We are all ready to admit that in the case of war, but very many are not prepared to admit it, and do not realise that it is equally necessary, in civil life.

I am tempted to talk on many things such as the building of houses, afforestation, the division of land, and so on. I could talk on them for a considerable time. They are all very important subjects, and if I do not touch upon them I hope no one is going to suggest that they have not been before our minds. As in the case of the Department of Industry and Commerce where, as I have said, a section was set off in regard to supplies to prepare for the possibility of war, there is also at the present time in existence a subcommittee of the Cabinet that meets every week before ordinary office work begins trying to look ahead and to provide as far as we can useful employment for those who are likely to return after the war. It is trying to develop various schemes so that we will be able to get about them with all possible speed the moment conditions become normal, and when the various [221] essential supplies are available. That work is being done. I would be very glad if we could get any suggestion for help in regard to that, but I do not see exactly how we are going to fit it in. You can add a fifth wheel to a coach, but it does not help. There is always the opportunity for Deputies to put forward suggestions here.

Mr. Byrne: What about family allowances?

The Taoiseach: I have already indicated that there is a proposal of that sort which will be brought forward, but I want to warn you now, as I did before, that it is a modest measure because we do not see that with our resources we can make it greater. It will come before the House in-due course for consideration. I am perfectly certain that when it does come forward everybody will say that it is not sufficient, and that when it comes to the question of meeting the bill at Budget time everybody will talk about over-taxation, and all the rest of it. Everybody will want to have it both ways. That is one of the privileges an Opposition has. It can have it both ways. Members on the Opposition Benches can even take two opposite sides. You have Deputy McGilligan and Deputy Cosgrave on finance, for example, and if you were to look for two greater extremes, you could not find them. We cannot do that. We have to thresh out in council any views we have so as to arrive at a plan and to decide what course it is best to pursue in the national interest. That consideration does not bind anybody in the Opposition. There is-no co-ordination there and there is no need for co-ordination. They can be as uncoordinated as Clann na Talmhan or the Labour Party.

Mr. Davin: The Taoiseach agrees with Deputy Cosgrave, of course.

The Taoiseach: Every one of you can take his own particular view, can attack the Government from the most contrary points of view, and may or may not make suggestions. We cannot.

[222] Mr. Coburn: You had that privilege yourself at one time.

The Taoiseach: I know, and probably exercised it.

Mr. Coburn: You used it to good effect.

Mr. Lemass: It was exercised more skilfully than it has been exercised since.

The Taoiseach: I am not finding fault either with democracy or with democratic methods at all. There are many things in the system which I should like to see reformed, if I could have them reformed, but I believe it has stood the test fairly well, and, although it leads to abuses at times, it is easier to correct these abuses than to correct the abuses of other systems which are suggested to replace it. As human beings, we have weaknesses and failings, whether taken individually or in the mass, and all we can do is to try to improve or make the best of it. We are trying to do that so far as we can. I shall have many opportunities on one side or other of the House, unless there is an election in which I am cut out altogether, for dealing with these matters, so I shall not keep the House further.

I merely say that in presenting these names, I present them as the best team, the team best fitted by ability and experience—most of them have had experience not merely of one but of more than one Department of State—and as the best people we can choose. We have worked as a team and we propose to stand or fall as a team, because whatever virtues we have have been shared, and if there are abuses or faults, we have to take these, too. We stand or fall as a team, and it is therefore a matter for the House as to whether they are prepared to accept it or not. If it does not accept it, that, so far as I am concerned, is the end of this Government.

Question put.

[223] [224] The Dáil divided: Tá, 67; Níl, 51.

Aiken, Frank.

Allen, Denis.

Bartley, Gerald.

Beegan, Patrick.

Blaney, Neal.

Boland, Gerald.

Bolaud, Patrick.

Bourke, Dan.

Brady, Brian.

Brady, Seán.

Breathnach, Cormac.

Breen, Daniel.

Brennan, Martin.

Breslin, Cormac.

Briscoe, Robert.

Buckley, Seán.

Butler, Bernard.

Byrne, Alfred.

Byrne, Christopher M.

Carter, Thomas.

Childers, Erskine H.

Corbett, Eamon.

Corry, Martin J.

Crowley, Fred H.

Crowley, Tadhg.

Daly, Francis J.

Derrig, Thomas.

De Valera, Eamon.

Fitzgerald, Séamus.

Flynn, Stephen.

Fogarty, Andrew.

Fogarty, Patrick J.

Friel, John.

Gorry, Patrick J.

Harris, Thomas.

Healy, John B.

Hilliard, Michael.

Humphreys, Francis.

Kennedy, Michael J.

Killilea, Mark.

Kilroy, Séamus.

Kissanc, Eamon.

Lemass, Seán F.

Little, Patrick J.

Lynch, James B.

McCann, John.

McEllistrim, Thomas.

MacEntee, Seán.

Moran, Michael.

Morrissey, Michael.

Moylan, Seán.

O Briain, Donnchadh.

O Ceallaigh, Seán T.

O Cléirigh, Mícheál.

O'Grady, Seán.

O'Reilly, Matthew.

O'Sullivan, Ted.

Rice, Brigid M.

Ruttledge, Patrick J.

Ryan, James.

Ryan, Martin.

Ryan, Robert.

Sheridan, Michael.

Skinner, Leo B.

Smith, Patrick.

Traynor, Oscar.

Ward, Conn.


Anthony, Richard S.

Bennett, George C.

Benson, Ernest E.

Broderick, William J.

Browne, Patrick.

Burke, Patrick.

Burke, Thomas T.

Coburn, James.

Connolly, Roderick J.

Corish, Richard.

Cosgrave, Liam (Junior).

Cosgrave, William T.

Davin, William.

Dillon, James M.

Dockrell, Henry M.

Dockrell, Maurice E.

Doyle, Peadar S.

Esmonde, Sir John L.

Everett, James.

Fagan, Charles.

Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.

Giles, Patrick.

Hogan, Patrick.

Hughes, James.

Keyes, Michael.

Larkin, James.

Larkin, James (Junior).

Linehan, Timothy.

Looney, Thomas D.

Lynch, Finian.

MacEoin, Seán.

McFadden, Michael Og.

McGilligan, Patrick.

McMenamin, Daniel.

Mongan, Joseph W.

Morrissey, Daniel.

Murphy, Timothy J.

Norton, William.

O'Donovan, Timothy J.

O'Higgins, Thomas F.

O'Leary, John.

O'Sullivan, Martin.

Pattison, James P.

Reidy, James.

Reynolds, Mary.

Roddy, Martin.

Rogers, Patrick J.

Ryan, Jeremiah.

Spring, Daniel.

Stapleton, Richard.

Tunney, James.

Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Smith and Kennedy; Níl: Deputies Doyle and Bennett.

Question declared carried.

The Dáil adjourned at 2.5 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 7th July.