Dáil Éireann - Volume 108 - 15 October, 1947
Financial Resolution No. 13. - General.
Mr. Aiken Mr. Aiken
Mr. Aiken: I move:
That it is expedient to amend the law relating to customs and inland revenue (including excise) and to make further provision in connection with finance.
Mr. McGilligan Mr. McGilligan
Mr. McGilligan: On this Resolution, which I assume is the proper one on which to make a statement, I would like to express a few points of view which I think will represent at least the attitude of those on this side of the House in connection with these proposals. Out of all the two speeches that we have listened to to-day, I can find myself expressing agreement only with the sentiment contained in the last couple of sentences of the statement of the Minister for Finance where he prayed that God might send him wisdom. I hope it will come soon, because, up to date, it has been remarkable by its absence, and I have a fear, after listening to him for many years, that when his fairy godmother  was not present with that gift at his cradle, it is too late in the day for us to hope that any significant change will occur in the Minister's composition at this stage. One could not help being struck by the air of pleased brutality there was about the speech of the Minister for Finance when he hit this community blow after blow with imposts of taxation, without paying the slightest attention to the other side of the picture, as to whether or not we can produce more goods in this country and whether in that way we can lessen the impact of world events on this community.
In contrast with that there was the familiar air of detachment of the Taoiseach. He made a speech which quite easily might have been made in the British House of Commons, it had so little relation to the circumstances of this State. The Taoiseach opened by saying that modern war, by diverting towards military objectives plant, materials and labour—energies and activities that would ordinarily be employed in producing food, and all the rest of it—leads to a curtailment of all these necessities of life. We had no diversion of production to military objectives—none whatever. Why start off a speech, supposed to be applicable to our domestic conditions, with this which has no relation to our conditions whatsoever in so far as it is phrased in that way? “Military objectives”. What plant, materials and labour did we divert to military objectives? What plant, materials and labour have we been diverting to military objectives in the last one and a half years in which the full impact of the adverse economic circumstances have come home to us? Familiarity, over a recent day, with outside people has probably brought to the Taoiseach the realisation that that is what is happening elsewhere, but he is speaking here, not speaking, so to speak, as the Secretary to the Treasury in England. The speech would be appropriate to their conditions but is completely inappropriate to ours.
At the end of the first page, the Taoiseach says that there is one remedy for the conditions that operate here—a substantial increase in the quantity of  goods, such a substantial increase as would be sufficient to meet the active money demand. I want to take that as a starting-off point. Do we suffer from a decreased production of goods in this country? Are we taking steps to limit the active circulation of money pouring into this country? With regard to production, all I know is that in recent speeches the Minister for Industry and Commerce and the Minister for the Agriculture both have boasted that our rate of production ranges higher in volume than it did in the year 1938. The figure for industrial production, according to the Minister for Industry and Commerce, is now about 106 as opposed to the 100 for 1938, and a similar condition holds with regard to agriculture. Our production is up. Of course, that is not the whole story. Our production does not meet our demands. We have to look for imports from other countries, but the apostles of self-sufficiency could not mention that that is the really big difficulty in our situation.
What does this series of speeches that we have listened to to-day do with regard to increasing the goods that are in circulation in the country? In so far as they destroy incentives to work, these taxes will lead to lessened production. What are we doing with regard to lessening the activity of the money demands that are in the country? It has been said that it is easy to be wise after the event. It has been countered to that that it is sometimes not so easy and that, in any event, it is worth while being wise even if it is after the event. Do the speeches we have listened to show wisdom, even after the event? After all these speeches have been analysed, what is it proposed to do? Labour is now solemnly warned, all those who are gainfully occupied are solemnly warned, that unless they accept the wage conditions that now prevail, legislation will be introduced to make those wages stable. Unless they go voluntarily to the Labour Court for whatever the Labour Court may have to give them, legislation will be introduced in regard to people who withdraw their labour, or possibly it may be made a criminal offence to do anything of the sort.
 Profits are to be held, but at what point? The Minister for Industry and Commerce told us early this year that the profits of those who are engaged in industry in this country were the least significant item in the whole of the many matters that led to an increase in the cost of living. Is that the insignificant matter that we are going to deal with through trying to hold profits at the rate, presumably, they were before the excess corporation profits tax was reduced in this year's Budget? If wages are to be held, what will be the result of that, even supposing that men submit to having their wages at the end at the insufficient point now poised? I quoted in this House an earlier statement made by the director of statistics in this country that the rates of wages on the industrial side— wages and salaries—ranged pre-war at about £25,000,000. They have gone up by 50 per cent. Let us assume that is so, and that £12,000,000 has been put actively into circulation in the country, plus the insignificant item as to what profits may be. Is it that that is causing inflation in the country? I have here a reference made by a person whose credentials I think will not be questioned apropos a paper read by Mr. Eason before the Statistical Society. He was speaking on matters that tend towards inflation. He referred to external income: to income from investments, from the tourist traffic and to emigrants' remittances. He pointed to them as being a significant matter, and he placed these as amounting to £150,000,000 in six years or £25,000,000 a year. All the proposals that we have before us to-day do not deal with one penny piece of these, and do not suggest that the labourer who was thought worth only threequarters of his hire in 1938, should get a little bit above that. He is to be referred to a compulsory arbitration court?
Like most people, when I was young I used to be plagued doing sums. Many will probably remember that the system used to be made specially complicated to test our capacity by people who were trying to empty a tank or a bath filled with a certain amount of water. The question was in what time  could A and B empty the water in the tank, but then there was a special complication to reduce it since, while the two chaps were doing this, there was another fellow pouring water in. There was a popular radio feature which made fun of that, by asking the pet boy in the class whether the two guys who were emptying the tank knew that another guy was filling it at the same time.
Do Ministers know that there is one guy filling this tank of money which is actively in circulation, while they are trying to drain off what the profit makers or the profit takers may have made or their employees may have got. As far as the Government's proposals are concerned, this £150,000,000 from outside from investments, tourist traffic and emigrants' remittances is going to continue to flow in, and they are going to concentrate on the tiny little increase in inflation that there may be through wages and on the totally insignificant item, according to the Minister for Industry and Commerce, that is represented by profits. They are going to choke up the two small pipes represented by profits and by salaries and wages and leave there the enormous opening through which this £150,000,000 was poured in in six years, or £25,000,000 a year.
In that paper Mr. Eason pointed out that his figures related to the 1945-46 Budget figures. What are called our social services, or what I would call grants-in-aid to the annuitants in a servile State, amount to 30 per cent. of our Budget, the Army to 17 per cent., the service of debt 9 per cent. and pensions 2.5 per cent. Taking these four items they represent 60 per cent. of our expenditure—expenditure which is drawn in taxation from the country. I am not going to say that the social services should be cut down. My view with regard to some of them is that they should be increased, or that at least wages should be given to prevent people having to resort to them. In regard to our whole financial position, you have there 60 per cent. of our Budget situation which is not represented by the production of any goods.  In addition, you have all the time flying in from outside this £25,000,000 a year which is not represented by any production of goods here, and which is chasing whatever supply of goods we have, thereby putting up the price on those who have to live in this community.
As far as I understand the statement made by the Taoiseach and by the Minister for Finance we are going to impose the old-time controls upon profits. I want to reintroduce the familiar figure of the five Dublin drapers. I have spoken often on this. I do not want it to be assumed that they are representative of the drapers throughout the whole country. I do not want it to be assumed that they are significant as being people who are exceptional from other people in the way of making good in this State. They were permitted to make good by the taxation devices that have been adopted here. The five of them happen to be unfortunate in that their accounts have been exposed to the public view. It is worth while again examining the figures in order to see what the control of profits has amounted to. I have given the figures on a number of occasions. In 1939 some of these five firms were making profits and some were incurring losses, but between them they had about £6,000 to divide. When it came to 1943 the profits were on the upgrade, so much so that the five firms had a sum of £82,000 to divide between them. That was within the law. I am quite certain that the representatives of these firms attended many of the dinners which the Minister for Industry and Commerce has to eat and heard him speak of the critical, curious and severe controls that he was operating upon them. Then they turned to one another and winked. But the law permitted that—a lift of from £6,000 to £82,000. These firms were able to distribute £82,000 in 1943 instead of the £6,000 of old, having previously paid off three-quarters of their earnings to the State. They had, in any event, accumulated and paid to the State about £250,000, and then we had this added to it. That is the price the public had to pay to five firms for drapery goods. That is reproduced through the community  and goes through all types and conditions of business, and yet the Minister for Industry and Commerce says that that is the least significant item in the increase in the cost of living.
Notwithstanding all that has been said about the necessity for hard work, we have it on record from two Ministers that, as far as internal production goes, taking the figure of production as represented by 100 points before the war in 1938, we are above that point in volume at this present moment.
People are therefore producing more goods than they did before. What are they getting paid for it? The £ is worth about ten shillings at present. Wage rates were certainly not increased for people in industrial production by 50 per cent. Even if they were, it means that the employees in these businesses are getting less pay in purchasing power than they got in 1938. They are producing as much goods as they did in 1938. Yet one urges them to produce more. One asks them to produce more and one naturally says: “What is the incentive we will put before these people?” The incentive they will have is to ask them to turn to the figures for profits and to believe that profits are controlled, although they have before their eyes the increased profits made by even these five firms to which I have referred.
The Minister's aim to-day has been to reduce the money in circulation. How far do these proposals do it? So far as I can relate them to the circumstance, the general proposal is that we are going to spend in subsidies £5,000,000 in a full year to reduce the cost of living by about 13 points. The cost of living went up by about 10 points in the last quarter. If we pay out this £5,000,000 we get to the position that we were in at mid-May this year. That £5,000,000 would get us back to that point, to a situation representing a decrease in the purchasing value of the £ by one-half.
Will Ministers ever think of another side of this problem? If they want to draw off the other money that is in  competition with that which is paid out in salaries and wages, at least they should see that that money is diverted to this aim—to endeavour to get an increase in production. I see no suggestion in these Budget proposals towards increasing production. There are two ways of tackling that problem. If you leave the quantity of goods that is in circulation and have money increasing, prices will rise. You may draw off money and leave the same quantity of goods in circulation and prices may fall. But if you draw off money and increase the quantity of goods in circulation, you can make a great difference. Is there a solitary point that can be made in favour of these proposals in respect of the greater production of goods?
So far as the Ministerial pronouncements go, the only thing they are thinking of is to clap a ceiling on goods. We have had vague references to anomalies and we have had occasional references to development in regard to production, which may mean further plans. But this is only glanced at. Is anything likely to happen so far as the present situation goes? The situation contemplated by Ministers is likely to last into the future. We are going to carry on with the same quantity of goods and you have the anomaly that was noticed in the papers in the weekend of the immense payments made in respect of wheat imported into this country as contrasted with the low payments, comparatively, that are made to those in this country who produce that particular commodity. That comparison can be made right round the range of things produced.
We suffer in this country from what is called a shortage of goods. Shortages do not happen ordinarily. Shortages are made; shortages occur because some special steps have been taken by people. If they operate controls badly, then they drive people out of the production of certain goods. Let us go round the range of commodities in which this country used to be rich— eggs, bacon, butter, milk, even meat. Can the Ministerial group point to any one of these things that they have handled in such a way as to increase the productivity in respect of them?  The shortages have not occurred; the shortages have been brought about, and the shortages have been brought about in the main, in this way: that prices have been fixed lower than a reasonable cost of production, and the result has been that people go out of production rather than continue to produce at a loss.
The two statements made to-day give no prospect of any betterment in these respects for the future. The Minister for Finance, in part of his speech, talked about our imports. I remember speaking here in 1944 and the perversion that was made of my speech by the Minister for Local Government was that I said that our sterling assets were to be written down by 50 per cent. I did not say that. I said it was probable if that happened that it indicated that there was a tendency noticeable which might lead to that situation. What is the situation the Central Bank report records as having occurred? That the import price number is now 198.7 as opposed to what it was. If that is not writing down the purchasing value of our sterling assets by 50 per cent., perhaps the Minister for Local Government will explain what it does mean. These sterling assets have been a great boast of ours so far as certain people are concerned. We are told we can bank on them for the future. The British are fast paying off their debts to us by giving us 10/- worth of goods for the old time £ we sent across to them. Presumably, if these proposals do not work out, the best we can hope for is that we will liquidate that debt faster at that reduced rate. We will reach the happy condition then in which we will have nothing more to play with and in which we will have to turn attention to the home front.
Finally, I say that I would have expected to hear to-day that proposals were to be brought in stabilising, so to speak, wages at the rate which prevails at the moment; that this House would have something on its conscience and would at least have made amends for what it did last Session. Are we to be regarded just as lucky people who crossed the stream while the going was good? Was there any forethought about  this? We increased the emoluments of the President. We increased the Ministerial emoluments. We increased our own emoluments. We did all that before this blow fell. There are many people, not like ourselves in that happy position, who are trying to keep up with their commitments. We just take the date arbitrarily, and the wages which prevail now are to be regarded as good wages and the ones which will be made compulsory if the trade unions do not agree voluntarily.
I only give the example of the people in this House to draw attention to what seem to be anomalies outside. Many people must be preparing submissions for the Labour Court. Many people had not a chance of having their cases heard because of the multiplicity of claims received. Are we going to say: “We are sorry. This date in October has passed and you will stay where you are except you can get in under the shadow of an anomaly”. Surely there is no justice in that. If the State is going to be just, surely it ought to be possible to bring in those who are still lagging behind in increases in wages. Surely it ought to be possible to arrange that they will be brought up, say, to the average of what was achieved by those who already went before the court.
This House will be criticised outside in respect of the circumstances I have mentioned and there is something for which we have got to answer. I cannot understand how this has suddenly developed in October when it was not brought before the House in the early summer, when we were discussing an improvement in our own conditions. I asked in those days that we should wait for a more favourable time, that we should wait until God had given us the sense that the Minister for Finance now prays for himself and for us, until conditions had improved and until we could present the people with something in the way of stabilised conditions, in which we could feel, in common with other members of the community, that we were entitled to get our emoluments raised to meet the increase in the cost of living. It will be said now that we put ourselves in the favoured classes and that as for the  rest there was just a haphazard system in which it was left to those who could get in first to get an award.
One can see, dealing with all this matter, that right through Ministerial pronouncements there has been always this current of thought, that as far as money actively in circulation in the country, which flows in from outside, is concerned, we are simply going to turn the blind eye on it and that, as far as increased money in circulation within this country is concerned, Ministers look at it from two angles or two divisions—that which is produced and paid out in the form of profits and that which is produced and paid out in the form of wages. Ministerial pronouncements have been principally directed against the increased circulation of money by means of increased wages, by speaking of the tendency to inflation caused by increases in wages while making little reference to what is taken in profits. They may have figures which will show these statements to be correct. If they have, they should reveal these arguments because one thing that is certainly brooding over the whole community is a sense of injustice, a sense of bad treatment, of unfair treatment. It is felt that certain people in the community are getting hit every time and that certain others are having the blows that fall on them eased by Governmental activity. That feeling will not be lessened, but will probably be increased when the people read in the evening newspaper that while the increased rates of surtax and duties on wines are expected to yield £300,000, we look to the increased duties on whiskey, beer and tobacco to get nearly £2,000,000. There is no doubt that will be taken as a furtherance of the Ministerial policy that we are not going to put the burdens on those who are best capable of bearing them but are going to put them on those who are the weakest in the community. That is the significant feature of the proposals we have to-day.
Mr. Blowick Mr. Blowick
Mr. Blowick: The principal cause of unrest in the country at present is the fact that a good many essential commodities are in short supply. That fact, rather than the price of these commodities,  is the principal source of unrest. No amount of flag-waving or beating of drums will get away from that fact. It is certainly a splendid thing that the price of essential commodities such as flour, tea and sugar are to be reduced or brought to the lowest possible figure no matter by what means but I was rather surprised that not a single word was uttered by the Taoiseach or by the Minister for Finance, to give us any indication or any ray of hope that supplies of these commodities which have fallen to a very low level, will be increased. One would expect when the Government proposed to impose additional taxation for the purpose of lowering food prices, that in connection with that taxation, there would be some proposal to help to increase production. The cost of living has definitely gone up but we all know, no matter what price control is in existence, once commodities become scarce the tendency is for prices to go up and that when any particular commodity is in plentiful supply the price falls. There lies the base of the whole question. From that point, the Government should attack this problem.
We have here a proposal further to increase the tax on tobacco. Although the Government regards tobacco as a luxury—it may be for some—I think the day is past when tobacco could be regarded as a luxury for the ordinary working man, whether he be employed on the land, on the road, in the factory or the workshop. The poorest classes of wage earners regard tobacco, not as a luxury, but as an essential commodity, yet under this Budget it is proposed to increase the price of tobacco by 4½d. per ounce and the price of cigarettes by 4d. per packet of 20. The blow that is now being aimed at the pipe smoker and the cigarette smoker reminds me very forcibly of what occurred last May when the Minister increased old age pensions by 2/6 per week but counterbalanced that or rather lopped off the increase again by putting a tax on the tobacco which these old people smoke. In other words, he was acting the part of the good boy in giving the pensioners an increase of 2/6, but then the inference to be drawn from his action in increasing the tax on tobacco was that the  only pensioners who could benefit by this increase were those who did not smoke. Similarly this Budget simply means taking money out of one pocket and putting it into another except for those who do not smoke and they are very few.
The Minister proposes to increase to 5 per cent. the stamp duty on purchases of estates above £500 in the case of Irish purchasers and to 25 per cent. in the case of purchasers who are nationals of other countries. I think it was a great pity that the Minister, if he is sincere, did not take steps to put an end long ago to what has come to be known as the silent invasion of our country by outsiders who are putting up the price of properties to a figure that no Irish man or woman can pay. Instead of putting an increased tax on Irish nationals, who wish to buy land or property in their own country, the Minister should have taken the opportunity to raise the tax in the case of these foreigners to 75 or 100 per cent. There is a clamour and a growing resentment all over the country at the fact that the very best of our land and the very best of our business properties, even here in the City of Dublin, are being bought up to the detriment of Irish nationals who cannot compete with these foreigners— people who are flying from England, who have plenty of money, apparently, and who are not prepared to endure the difficult conditions in which the people in Britain are living at present. These people are coming over here and buying up as much property as they can. I say that should be stopped and this Budget would have provided the Minister with a very good opportunity of stopping it if he wanted to do it.
I was hopeful of hearing the Minister for Finance make some reference to the assistance which he proposes to give to increase production in the country. The wheat situation this autumn is absolutely alarming. The average yield, which was usually 15 to 18 barrels per acre, in some of our richest counties is down to three barrels per acre. That is to say that the farmers are threshing out of the crop just the same quantity of grain as they put into the ground as seed. That shows that  the land has reached a stage when production from it has fallen to the lowest possible minimum.
That is a dangerous situation for the country at large. It means that if this threat of a coming war which we hear about from public platforms at present, the fictitious threat of a coming war, becomes a reality, we cannot fall back on the store of fertility in the land which was there in 1938 or 1939 and which enabled us to come through the war and to produce our own food. That day is gone, but out of this sum of £4,750,000 which the Minister proposes to raise, he has allotted only £250,000 for fertilisers subsidy. There is no way in which production can be brought back expect by a restoration of the fertility of the land, so that, if another war does come, the land will be able to produce food. It is not at present, and the returns from every county in relation to wheat and potatoes, two of the principal crops on which we rely, are more than alarming. Wheat, as I say, is down from 15 barrels to three, four or five barrels per Irish acre. They might not be so alarming if we were in a position to get wheat in from outside countries, but, if another war does come, the land will not be able to meet the emergency situation as it did in the period just gone by.
The reductions in the prices of essential foods proposed in this Supplementary Budget are very welcome. They will relieve a vast number of people, but the imposition of extra taxation on tobacco and on the pint of beer and stout, the only luxuries available to the working man, particularly in rural Ireland and in towns outside the few cities we can boast of, is to be deplored and it could have been avoided. When the debate on the Estimate for Defence was under way this year, I asked the Minister why was it that at that stage the country was being asked to bear a burden of £5,250,000 for an Army. I pointed out at the time that during the emergency period we had to spend as much as £11,000,000 on defence. I also pointed out that, if, during the war years, there was a threat of invasion of this country from outside the country would not object to spending three times £11,000,000 to  defend and to hold what is ours; but now that the threat of war has passed, it is absolute national madness to keep an Army costing £5,250,000.
I advocated that an Army costing £2,250,000, thereby saving £3,000,000 on that one Department, would be quite adequate for our needs. We have a Local Defence Force throughout the country which could, under proper management, be put under arms instantly if another war broke out and if there was any threat of invasion or aggression against us; but it is a very costly toy to have the Army we have at present, seeing that it costs £5,250,000. I want to see an army capable of giving a good account of itself in an emergency. It would have the backing of practically every citizen in the Twenty-Six Countries if any outsider attempted to invade and to take from us what is ours. There is no gainsaying that, but spending £5,000,000 on an Army now is altogether wrong. If the Government had taken my advice when I advocated the lopping off of £3,000,000 from that Department's expenditure, it would have gone a long way to meet this situation. This also would be a very appropriate time for the Government to bring in legislation to repeal the three or four Acts which were passed here before the summer increasing the salaries of judges, members of the Government, members of the Dáil and Seanad and of the President.
If the Government want to retrench, they can do so, instead of bringing in this sham of reducing the price of the poor person's sugar, flour and tea, on the one hand, and taking it back from them by means of an impost on tobacco and on every pint or bottle of stout they may take. These things are not luxuries for the poor—they are absolute essentials. They represent the only form of recreation or ease available to them. The masses of the people cannot enjoy a holiday—not even a week—from one end of the year to the other. I know very many of them whose only pleasure is the pipe of tobacco after their meals or at night when the day's work is over and the pint of stout on fair days or such occasions. It is deceit on a huge scale to give it to them with one hand and to take it from them with the  other, and it is not much good to the average person to get a reduction in the price of tea, sugar and flour on the one hand which they have to pay out in respect of tobacco and stout on the other.
It does not get away from the fact that some more money should be allocated or some means devised to increase production. Production has dropped to such a level that we have flour rationed on the basis of a miserable 4 lbs. per week and we ask the best of our men and women to work strenuously on that ration. We are down to a small ration of tea and sugar, while butter has practically gone by the board. It is ages since we saw bacon. We have plenty of bacon for foreign visitors while our own citizens are denied a rasher for their breakfast.
If we want to set things right and get back to the 1938 level which the Taoiseach and the Minister for Finance spoke of, there is only one way of doing it, that is, by increasing production on the land. I can see no way of increasing production on the land except by making more fertilisers available at a cheap cost. The land, even if it got full fertilisers now, would not come back into production in one, two or three years and the setting aside of £250,000 out of this sum of £4,750,000 for fertilisers is making a joke of the whole problem of trying to increase production and to bring the land back into such a condition of heart and condition that, if another emergency does arise, the farmers will once again be able to meet it as they met it so nobly in the past.
Mr. Norton Mr. Norton
Mr. Norton: The House has had two statements read to it by the Taoiseach and the Minister for Finance, and is at the pronounced disadvantage that it has not had an opportunity of considering the statements in any great detail. I want at this stage, therefore, to confine myself to making a few observations on the general content of both statements, reserving until tomorrow and until I have had an opportunity of studying both documents, my fuller observations. It seems to me that this is a situation that called for a very great effort indeed, for what might be described as a supreme effort,  on the part of the Government, to deal with a problem which is agitating the minds of the masses of the people, the problem of how to make ends meet on their present inadequate incomes and, having listened to the statements made by the Taoiseach and the Minister for Finance, I am convinced that the joint effort of both these Ministers, which apparently crystallises the Government's intentions so far as the crisis is concerned, is a very puny effort indeed, having regard to the demands which the situation makes on our statesmanship and our intelligence.
The highlight of the documents put before us is, I take it, the subsidies to reduce the prices of tea, bread and sugar. I think these are sham reductions. I do not think they make any perceptible contribution to relieving the plight of the ordinary working people to-day and they make a less perceptible contribution in the circumstances in which they are offered. I took the trouble of trying to calculate hastily what the reductions in the prices of tea, bread and sugar mean to a family of six people. Let us examine it and let us see what contribution it makes to the domestic budget of these families. Let us see what they will pay on the other hand for getting these reductions. Let us see how little the whole contribution is in their ordinary day-to-day or week-to-week lives. A family of six, consuming two ounces of tea per week——
Mr. Lemass Mr. Lemass
Mr. Lemass: Two ounces amongst six?
Mr. Norton Mr. Norton
Mr. Norton: No, two ounces of tea per head per week. That family will, under this emergency Budget, save 1/7½ in the week. If they consume 4 lbs. of bread per head per week, they will save 1/6, and if they consume three-quarters of a pound of sugar each per week they will save 9d. At the end of the week this family of six will have saved 3/10½. That is the extent of the saving which this Budget will confer upon them. Let us suppose the bread-winner likes a cigarette, or a pint of beer in the evening. If he has a pint of beer per day he will pay another 1/9 a week for it. If he should smoke 20 cigarettes per day he will pay an extra 2/4 a week.  The Government, in this emergency Budget, this crisis Budget, this Budget to relieve the small man of his difficulties, will give him 3/10½ a week in the form of reductions in the prices of tea, sugar and bread and will take back 4/1 if he consumes a pint of beer per day and smokes a packet of cigarettes each day.
Let us take what the reduced expenditure will mean to an ordinary working-class family. The reduced prices which the family of six will pay for these commodities are measured at 3/10½ a week. If the wage earner has £4 a week, that is less than a 5 per cent. reduction for him, and the percentage is much smaller if his wage exceeds £4 a week; so that, in a situation in which the cost of living has increased by 84½ per cent. over August, 1939, the Government are now, by this Budget, reducing the expenditure of a £4 a week worker by about 5 per cent.
The Government's answer may be that the man has received increased wages in the meantime. What has he got? Higher percentage increases were granted to those in receipt of low pre-war incomes and the pattern of the increases was something like this: In the higher wage groups they got approximately 30 per cent. over 1939 levels and in the worst paid pre-war groups they got an increase of 60 per cent. Let us take 60 per cent. as the highest point reached and as the average among the lower paid workers, judged by 1939 standards. Those with pre-war wages of less than £2 a week got a 60 per cent. increase to meet a rise in prices of 84½ per cent., so that their real wages to-day are 24½ per cent. less than in 1939, and, instead of stepping up the real wage to the 1939 level by permitting wage increases up to that level, the Government will peg wages down to a maximum of 60 per cent. over 1939 and will give workers this paltry price reduction, represented by a 5 per cent. reduction in their domestic expenditure on three items.
That is the contribution made under this Budget, and not all the trumpeting up and down the country will prevent any person from ascertaining what he will gain under the Budget and also what he will lose when the Budget proposals  are fully implemented. One would think from these proposals that our people live on bread, tea and sugar and it would seem that this represents the Government's ambition from the point of view of the average person's diet.
This Budget will give the workers a reduction of not more than 5 per cent. on a wage of £4 a week, and it will be less where the wage is higher. Does the Government not propose to do anything in respect of the price of clothes or in respect of the price of boots and shoes? What about the price of fuel? Will anything be done about the price of meat? Vegetables are as scarce with working class families to-day as buffaloes are in O'Connell Street. What does the Government propose to do about the price of furniture, about the price of bedclothes, about the price of domestic utensils and general household equipment? Is that vast range of commodities not to come under any adequate survey and will the Government not endeavour to force down the price of these commodities?
Everyone knows that the people who make or distribute these things in a big way are better off to-day than they ever believed they would be. These are the folk who pack up the luxury hotels, who can visit the luxury restaurants in various parts of the country; these are the people who have the high-powered cars in O'Connell Street every night; these are the people who got away with all the swag for the past seven or eight years. They will continue to get away with the swag. Crumbs are being thrown to the workers and 3/10½ represents the Government's generosity towards them. The worker can see the glittering loot grabbed up by those engaged in exploiting the people, those who are permitted to charge the people what they like. Those people succeeded in amassing wealth over the past seven or eight years.
Then we have the Taoiseach talking in Waterford. It annoys him that anybody should like to preserve even the appallingly low standard of living of 1939. Apparently he has not been cured since his visit to Waterford because he told us to-day that the people are looking for the impossible, even to the extent of causing internal  conflicts. Who is looking for the impossible? The cost of living has increased by 84½ per cent. since 1939. The highest increase workers have got is 60 per cent.; many of them got less. The Taoiseach offers them a 5 per cent. reduction in the cost of living now; where they have more than £4 a week the reduction will be smaller. The Taoiseach lectures them and tells them that they are looking for the impossible. There is a fraternity in this country who have got what at one time they regarded as the impossible. These are the folk who have lined their pockets with money and it is the presence of all that money in the banks now that worries the Minister for Finance.
We are told by the Taoiseach that it is proposed to peg wages, apparently, on the present inadequate level. As Deputy McGilligan points out, there are large numbers of workers who have not yet got to the Labour Court, because of the cluttered up condition of work in the court, and there are many others who got in an early claim for an increase in wages, only to find that this is hopelessly inadequate now, in the light of rising prices in the meantime. The Taoiseach sets out now and expects the trade unions to agree to a policy of pegged wage levels, that is, wage levels only to be adjusted in the light of further movements in price levels; and the trade unions are expected to agree to peg wage levels at a time when even the best body of the workers have got only 60 per cent. over the 1939 level to compensate for an 84½ per cent. increase in prices.
What has the Taoiseach promised as soon as they do that, even if they do consent to a pegged wage level? The Taoiseach says, in effect, in his statement: “After you have agreed to peg the wages, no matter how inadequate the wages may be, the Government is not giving any guarantee that the cost of living may not rise. It is proposing to reduce it now and will endeavour to keep it down by subsidising certain products, but it cannot commit itself indefinitely that there will not be a rise or that any rise which may occur will be completely compensated by way of increases in remuneration”. So what  you do, in order to please the Taoiseach, is to agree to peg wages at the present inadequate level and, if you do that, the Taoiseach will remind you at a later date that page seven of his statement to-day contained a declaration that the Government did not guarantee that there would not be an increase in the cost of living and, in any case, if there was, the Taoiseach was not prepared to agree that persons would be completely compensated by way of increases in remuneration.
I think the Taoiseach is playing with fire in this whole business. He ought to know—and certainly his Minister for Industry and Commerce ought to know —that there is seething discontent among the masses of the workers at the increases in prices. Wage awards given by the Labour Court last year have no meaning to-day, in view of the increase in prices. The index figure has jumped from 288 in August, 1946, to 319 to-day, and all the indications are that we are still not at the ceiling. In every quarter since August of last year, there has been a progressive increase in the cost of living and this will make very little perceptible contribution to stemming that increase, since at best even the reductions which the Government are now effecting in the prices of these commodities, by subsidisation, bring us back only to the level of the May, 1947, index figure.
This widespread discontent at the rapid rise in prices has naturally taken the form of workers seeking to secure wage increases. It is the only thing they can do, if they are ever to get back again to the 1939 standard of living. One would imagine, from the way the Taoiseach spoke, that everybody was better off than in 1939. There are some people better off, but they are not in the masses of the workers, they are not among the working farmers, they are not in the people who contribute to the Unemployment Insurance Acts. They are to be found among a different fraternity—they are better off and, because they are better off, the Taoiseach ought not to imagine theirs is in any way a reflex of the standard of living among the masses of the people in the country. It is not  just to see how little they get for food that 25,000 go to England every year to look for employment there; it is not just a joke, either, that they are going over there to-day at a greater rate than they went even during the war years.
In so far as the Government used any of its powers to bring about a substantial reduction in prices, I welcome its efforts in that connection, but I say that the efforts as revealed in these two statements are utterly inadequate for the problem facing the country to-day. The Government has left out of review completely any proposals for effecting a substantial reduction in a whole variety of commodities which play, in the domestic expenditure, a far bigger part than sugar plays, even in a working-class family. As I stated before, this Budget means 9d. a week reduction in sugar for a family of six people. Trying to buy clothes and shoes and boots for three or four children in a family represents a much higher weekly expenditure in ordinary working-class families; and bringing down the prices of boots and shoes and clothes could conceivably make a greater contribution to easing the burden of working-class families than even some of the food reductions could possibly do.
The very fact that the Government have left out of review entirely proposals for effecting a substantial reduction in the prices of a large number of commodities—such as fuel, meat, vegetables, clothes, bedclothes and furniture—all clearly indicates that the pressure on the ordinary family in respect of the high prices of these commodities will continue, even after this Budget, with the same unabated vigour as it has during the past six or seven years.
So long as the Government does not implement a policy of effective price control, it has no right whatever to expect the workers to agree to a policy of wage control. If the Government wants to peg wages or stabilise wages, it must first put its own house in order by stabilising prices. Prices ought not be stabilised at the present level, but should be brought down to a level within the capacity of the people to pay: and to a level which will ensure that  the exorbitant profits which are being made to-day will not be available to those who are privileged to produce or distribute those commodities to the people.
About 18 months ago, we had a statement from the Minister for Finance to the effect that he proposed to remit the excess corporation profits tax which, up to then, had been levied on a large number of firms in this country who were making excess profits. Through the medium of the remission of that tax, the Minister handed back not less than £3,500,000 to wealthy payers of excess corporation profits tax, without any indication whatever from the folk who would benefit by his generosity or without any imposition of a condition by him that this excess corporation profits tax should be utilised for the purpose of ploughing back those profits into reduced prices for commodities.
Not only were the excess profits not ploughed back into industry or production in the form of reduced prices, but in fact prices have risen much more rapidly since the excess corporation profits tax was given back to those who previously paid it. The Government made a gift of £3,500,000 to those people and, having done that, it has the hardihood to come along and say to ordinary working class men: “You are going to pay more for your pint of beer, you are going to pay more for your hard or plug tobacco; and, no matter how poor you are, you are going to pay more for your cigarettes.” The excess corporation profits tax might well have been revived for the purpose of raising some of the money which is being raised in this Budget by methods which will impose hardship on many workers. To many of them, tobacco has ceased to be a luxury and the ordinary pint of beer has ceased to be luxury, too.
As I look on this Budget and survey the situation which produced it, I can only come to the conclusion that it is a poor and uninspiring Budget. There is neither hope nor encouragement to the people to face up to the problems with which they are daily beset, or to hope that this Budget will bring any easement in the difficulties and trials through which they have passed. This Budget may pass this week. The  wealthy people of this country, those who have been lining their pockets and lining the banks for the past seven or eight years, those who are purchasing materials as frequently as they can get them and those whose stocks and shares have been soaring higher and higher, will be as wealthy next week and next month and next year as they are now. This Budget will not take anything out of their pockets. This Budget will make no perceptible contribution to their high standard of enjoyment or their high concept of enrichment. The ordinary mass of the people will continue to suffer. Vegetables will be as scarce as ever in the worker's house. The worker's wife will still be unable to buy clothes or boots or shoes for herself or her children. The standard for the workers is debased as compared with 1939 and will continue to be debased after this Budget.
As far as the masses of the people are concerned, the ordinary toiling men and women in the fields, factories and offices, they will get no real benefit from a Budget of this kind, but the wealthy people who have had for eight years past the best financial spring they ever had in their lives are going to be permitted to carry on the same merry orgy of accumulating and dissipating money in the way that gives them the most enjoyment. But the masses will have the same austere life. It will not be for them the luxury hotels, not for them to have money in the bank, not for them the buying of saving certificates. For them life continues in the same austere way. This poor and uninspiring Budget will make no contribution to ease their difficulties.
General MacEoin General MacEoin
General MacEoin: I must start off by saying that I am very disappointed with this evening's work in the Parliament. We have the extraordinary situation in which the Taoiseach makes a statement of this kind. It is unusual for the Taoiseach to do that. But I expected that unusual step because of the circumstances in which we find ourselves, because he had particular information to give us in relation to the position to which our negotiations had developed with other countries and the arrangements that had been made  for the purchase of our products and the sale of necessities to us. I thought he would have informed the House of the position generally in regard to our foreign trade and having done that that the Minister for Finance would bring in a Budgetary statement showing a justification for that Budget and what he was going to do about it. We did not get such a statement from the Taoiseach.
We got what the Minister for Finance could equally well give us, a series of statements that are very well known to nearly everybody, but no solution except, as was pointed out by Deputies McGilligan, Norton and Blowick, by imposing further hardship on the people of this country. And when I say the people of this country I mean the working people of this country.
I would like to know how the Minister for Finance or the Taoiseach can show that this Budget or statement is going to increase production by one per cent or by one iota. There is no incentive for increased production, for increased wheat, oats, potatoes or barley. As a matter of fact this Budget, when it takes effect, will make emigration from this country more effective. Unless the Government actually closes the ports on the exodus we will have nobody in it by this time 12 months. It is an order to the working people to clear out of it.
There are subsidies granted on tea, sugar and bread. What is their value? Before I was born the people of this country paid 4/- a pound for tea and they did not mind provided it was good tea. Sugar is a necessity, and if there was some incentive for the further production of beet it could be sold at a price that would be reasonable. But other things are necessary. What about potatoes for the people of the cities? Bacon and butter are just as essential as tea and there is no subsidy for them nor any incentive to the farmers to produce more of them. As a matter of fact this Budget will knock the bottom out of the farmers' efforts and will take any bit of heart they had out of them. What incentive is there to a farmers's son who is working on the farm and whose only compensation at the end of the week  is a packet of cigarettes, to work harder and produce more? Everybody knows that a farmer's son in this country working on his father's farm has only an existence and the only wage, if any, he gets at the weekend is the price of a couple of packets of cigarettes. I think that this is one of the things which strike him hardest. This is the last piece of hardship put on him to force him to leave the country. At the same time we are to get more production.
I would like to know and this Parliament is entitled to know if this situation has arisen as a result of the negotiations in Britain. Does it mean that there is to be no increased price for agricultural exports? We should know that and the farmers of the country are entitled to know whether there is a chance of increased prices or not. At the moment, people who in my humble opinion are in close touch with Government circles, are buying cattle all over the country, for one reason, because they expect a very important increase in the price of cattle in the near future. As a result the farmers who worked all the year in the production of their cattle are going to make a profit, not for themselves but for the middle-man who will hold them until the increase takes place. The Government should say here and now whether there is going to be an increase in the price of cattle or not so that the agricultural community may know whether to hold their cattle or sell.
I am disappointed more than I can say at the nature of the speech made by the Taoiseach. As Deputy McGilligan pointed out the Taoiseach opened his speech with a statement that modern war diverted our industries into activities for war. Of course they did not. The only factory that was directed towards war was the munitions factory that Frank Aiken was going to build when he was on these seats.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle Eamonn O'Neill
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Minister for Finance.
General MacEoin General MacEoin
General MacEoin: He was Frank Aiken then. I am speaking of a person who occupied these seats a long time ago. Deputy Aiken, when he was on these benches, was building a munitions  factory to serve this country. As Minister for Defence or Minister for Finance he could not build it. But that was the only industry directed towards war during the past seven or eight years.
I say that this is blow, the greatest blow that could be struck by the Government against the working classes of this country. When I say the working classes, I mean not only the agricultural labourer but the farmer and everybody working on the land. We are told that food is an all-important matter. Because of the circumstances in which the farmer finds himself, the most he can pay to an agricultural worker is £3 per week. In a number of cases, he pays a great deal less. The wage in the Midlands goes down to as low as 45/- a week. That is static. Yet, a bus conductor has £5 a week, plus free uniform and other allowances. The railway worker also receives more and these occupations are only secondary. The agricultural worker is of more importance than any of these workers. Yet, that is all he can get. What can the farmer's son get? He can hardly buy a packet of cigarettes, the price of which is now to be increased. Only one thing is left for the farmer's son to do in this country: that is, to become a bus conductor or an engine driver. The alternative is to clear out of the country.
If food and clothing are guaranteed to the people, they will be safe. Food and clothing are the two essentials. If these can be produced at home and if we can have them in plenty, we need not worry about amenities, though they may be very important, too. If these are the essentials and if the people engaged in their production should have priority of payment for their services, that should be appreciated and they should not be “whacked”, as they are in this Budget. I shall not go into a discussion of the different Resolutions at the moment. It is heartbreaking that, at a time such as this, the ordinary workers, the farmers and industrialists should be hit in this way —and hit without necessity, in my opinion. There can be only one justification for it. That is, that the Taoiseach when he was in Britain had  this demand served upon him. The demand may have been made that this increase in taxation should be effected and that, as the Secretary of State for the Treasury was working on a Supplementary Budget, we should follow suit and increase the price of cigarettes so as to prevent them from being smuggled across the Border. If that case was made to the Government spokesman and the Border question was touched upon, more should have been said about it and greater headway should have been made. Some people may say that this is an election Budget and others may say that it is not. Whatever it is, one thing is certain—it is the greatest blow ever struck at the people here by any Government, British or Irish. I never thought that I should see the day that the people would be struck such a blow by a native Government.
Mr. Cogan Mr. Cogan
Mr. Cogan: Having regard to the gravity of the statement made by the Taoiseach, one would have expected an appeal for co-operation from all Parties. In the end of his statement, the Taoiseach appealed to the people to work harder and to make sacrifices. That appeal would, I think, meet with a wholehearted response if there was a real feeling of confidence amongst the people that the Government were treating them fairly. But we have a standstill Order introduced, fixing a limit on wages, just a couple of months after the Government enacted legislation increasing their own salaries, the salaries of Deputies and Senators and even the salary of the President. The people must, naturally, feel that this standstill Order was a long time in the minds of the Government and that they made sure that their own position would be made secure before placing a ceiling on the wages and incomes of the ordinary people. There is an old saying that charity begins at home. Charity begins at home when dealing with your own money but charity does not begin at home when dealing with public funds—the people's money. The Government had no right whatever to increase their own salaries, the salaries of members of the Oireachtas and the salary of the President in anticipation of this drastic step.
 Throughout the country, there is, undoubtedly, a feeling of grave uneasiness in regard to the economic situation. That will not be allayed by the statement made by the Taoiseach. Before they bend their backs to more intensive toil and bend their wills to greater sacrifice, the people will ask themselves: “Are we being fairly treated; can we trust this Administration?” I was one of those present in the House when war was declared in 1939. At that time, there was an appeal for confidence in the Government, who were given enormous powers. There was an appeal, too, for sacrifice on the part of the people. Those appeals met with a ready response from all Parties and from the people.
Many things have happened since then. Much blood has been split and much water has flown under the bridges. The shocking and alarming exposures in the Ward case last year have opened the eyes of the people to the fact that the narrow Party Government we have is not concerned about the welfare of the people, is not one that can be trusted with enormous powers or one which is entitled to demand sacrifice from the community. If there was purity in administration and sincerity of purpose on the part of the Government, the people would gladly respond. But, in the absence of those, and faced with growing evidence of a reckless determination to exploit the people, not only in their own interest but in the interest of all who lend support to the Government Party, I do not think that the Taoiseach is entitled to come here and demand sacrifices from the ordinary people.
Sacrifices are definitely being demanded on a large scale. The small subsidies provided on certain foodstuffs are more than offset by the taxation which is required to meet them, as far as the ordinary working people are concerned. There was no need whatever to increase the duty on tobacco. If the Government had been prepared to operate the economies which were advocated by this Party during the past year they would have saved more than the entire amount of  the duty on tobacco and even of the duty on tobacco and beer combined. There is only one way to relieve the economic situation which faces this country—to bring it through the period of danger and difficulty—and that is, to increase and intensify production. What real assistance is being given to the important producers in this County? The most important products which are so urgently needed at the moment are food and fuel. What real incentives, in connection with the production of food, have been given to the farmer? I suppose it must be admitted that at the present time the most important foodstuff is the bread cereal— wheat. The production of that crop during the past two years, whatever it may have been before that, was a matter of very severe loss to every individual farmer. There is no farmer who grew wheat on his land, who tilled 25 per cent. of his land and put it under wheat, who did not make a very heavy financial sacrifice for the sake of the rest of the country. Farmers have been compelled to make that sacrifice not one year or two years, but over a period of several years.
Now, on the eve of a few by-elections, a small increase in the price of wheat is offered. There used to be a maxim in Dublin Castle that the way to govern the Irish was by means of the whip or the sop: to give the sop to those who would take it and to give the whip to the remainder. The small increase in the price of wheat is an example of those usual sops which are thrown out at election times. However, this miserable, inadequate increase will not make the growing of wheat profitable in this country. It will not save the farmer from having to suffer a severe loss in the production of wheat. One cannot expect intensive and efficient production when one compels the producer to produce at a loss. That ought to be a governing factor of agricultural policy. For some time past we of this Party have been appealing to the Government to set up an impartial tribunal to decide the costs of production in agriculture—to find out the actual costs and to give the farmer his costs of production plus a small margin of profit. That demand was carelessly and, I suppose, hastily accepted by the Minister for  Agriculture six months ago when made by Deputy Corry. However, on reconsideration and, I suppose, at the dictation of other Ministers and of the Taoiseach, that pledge to set up a tribunal was broken and the farmer is going to be compelled by law to produce without being given any reasonable inducements to do so.
We notice that at the present time in Great Britain substantial subsidies are paid on every acre of land under potatoes. The Taoiseach in his opening statement told us that it would be impossible to subsidise such foodstuffs as vegetables—I suppose that would also apply to potatoes. It is possible to subsidise the production and the marketing of potatoes. It is possible to do so, as was done in Great Britain, by a subsidy on every acre produced. I consider that that would be a far more effective way of increasing our food supply than anything the Minister for Agriculture can do with his army of inspectors or with his battalions of tractors which he proposes to drive in on the farmer's land.
The high cost of living is, in the main, due to two causes. Firstly, there is reckless, wanton and ruthless profiteering in the essential goods which the people require. The margin of profit allowed by the Minister in the ordinary distribution of such goods as wearing apparel is altogether excessive. In addition to that there is the profiteering of the black marketeer and the profiteering of all the different types of racketeers who get advanced knowledge either of what is the Government's intention or of the world position, in regard to supplies. Those ruthless racketeers are mainly responsible for the heavily increased burden which the ordinary people have to bear. There is nothing in the Taoiseach's statement and there is nothing in the Budget statement about any measures being adopted to curb the racketeers and the profiteers. They can continue to rake off their excessive profits from the community. If the tax on cars is to be higher, well, I suppose, the racketeers will raise their demands upon the community. They will still continue to buy their expensive cars and they will still continue to use them on the roads. The proper way to deal with those people  would be to expose them—to drag them out into the light and to expose them and to prohibit their activities. However, with the aroma of green and slimy bacon which hangs over the entire Government Bench since the Ward case I do not think that we in this country have a Government which is prepared to deal ruthlessly and effectively with the racketeers. The unfortunate man who reared his pigs, who tilled his land to produce the food in order to feed them, and the farmer's wife who cooked that food in her yard or in her kitchen and gave it to the pigs have had to work at a loss for the past seven years while the racketeers in certain bacon factories—the type of bacon curer who supplied the black market—raked off a profit which was counted not in pounds or in hundreds of pounds but in thousands of pounds.
With that record behind the Government I know that it would be hard for them to deal with the real cause of the high cost of living, that is, reckless, ruthless and irresponsible profiteering. There is, of course, another cause for the high cost of living. It is the fact that for some time past we have had an influx of people from other lands— people who are coming in here to consume food which is not so freely available in other countries where the rationing is more rigid. Those people not only consume our food supplies such as butter, bread and bacon which are in short supply but they also put into circulation money which tends to add to the inflationary tendencies in this country. We all know that a tourist industry is valuable in normal times but the conditions prevailing in the world are not normal and the type of tourist that comes to this country as a result of the present conditions in Great Britain is not the type of tourist that will continue to be an asset to this country in normal times, should such times return. In this matter we must deal with realities. Discussion of the high cost of living serves no useful purpose when the most essential commodities are unobtainable by the ordinary working people while they are available to wealthy tourists. Is not that one of the factors driving up an already high cost of living? Yesterday I was driving through Tipperary. I  met a poor woman going into the town of Cashel who asked me for a lift. She told me that she was going to the town, a distance of four miles, to procure fresh meat for the dinner. She had to do that because, by maladministration of the entire pig and bacon industry, the Government have left the ordinary people without bacon. Fresh meat bought in the town by the working people is the most expensive food they could use. There is the time lost by some member of the family going three or four miles to the town and there is also the fact that it is not a suitable food for working people who were accustomed to good Irish bacon.
Mr. Morrissey Mr. Morrissey
Mr. Morrissey: And American bacon.
Mr. Cogan Mr. Cogan
Mr. Cogan: And American bacon in the distant past.
Mr. Morrissey Mr. Morrissey
Mr. Morrissey: It would be very welcome now.
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
Mr. Dillon: And very good it was.
Mr. Cogan Mr. Cogan
Mr. Cogan: I hope Deputy Dillon will be kind enough to let me continue and I will be kind enough to let him continue when the time comes. The House knows that it is matters of the kind I have mentioned that are making life so difficult for the ordinary working people. The small subsidies on bread, tea and sugar will not offset the enormous impost that profiteers, racketeers and maladministration over a long period have placed on the people.
Increased production can be obtained but the producer must be confident that there is somebody in authority who has his interests at heart, who understands his difficulty, who is prepared to see that the man who works hard on the land will have a decent margin of profit. That is not being done at the present time and neither in the Budget statement nor in the statement made by the Taoiseach is there any indication of a margin of profit for agriculture. The Taoiseach said that it is very difficult to ascertain agricultural costings. We know that but we ask that they should be ascertained, in spite of that difficulty and that the problem should be dealt with in an impartial and efficient manner. The  Government hope that the farmer will struggle on, producing at a loss and will save himself from bankruptcy by employing his sons and daughters on the land, without remuneration. If the farmers are foolish enough to continue to do that the agricultural industry may go on but if the farmers' sons and daughters and the workers' sons and daughters get out of the industry which the Government has made bankrupt the industry must come to a standstill and then the justice of the demands made on behalf of the agricultural community will be realised.
If there had been a reasonable economy in Government administration there would have been no need for the particular increases which press upon the ordinary working people, such as the increase in the duties on beer and tobacco. We are not worried about the £35,000 that the Minister will rake in on cosmetics and furs. The ladies who can afford cosmetics will continue to use them and to spend whatever is necessary, ungrudgingly, but the man whose only comfort is a smoke will feel the burden of the increased duty on tobacco very severely.
Another increase in this list which will press upon the agricultural community is the increase in the stamp duty on the transfer of property. In as far as that applies to property transferred to foreigners, to racketeers who are trying to escape their obligations to the country which they robbed during the emergency, I say that the Government should not tax them but should prohibit their entry into this country. In as far as the transfer of a farm from one individual in this country to another, and particularly a transfer from a farmer to his son, is concerned, I consider the increased duty very undesirable. The ordinary farmer ought to be encouraged, when he reaches the age of 70, to transfer his farm to his son. There has been a sufficiently high stamp duty on such transfers. I understand from my reading of the Budget proposals that that stamp duty will be increased by 500 per cent. I consider that an unjust burden to impose on those who want to transfer their property.
It is particularly unjust in the case of the farmer whose property is worth  £1,000 or £1,500 or £2,000 but who has very little income. He is a poor man and I think he should be encouraged to transfer his farm to his son when he has reached an advanced age so as to give his son a chance to marry and to settle down on the holding. Somebody in a very high place has talked about the dry old bachelors and spinsters in this country who are growing every day more sour, cynical, miserable and depressed. Many of them were not sour, cynical, miserable or depressed when the present Government came into power but 15 years of poverty and persecution have made them sour and cynical. The proposals in this Budget will not give them any relief but will add to their burdens.
I would make one last appeal to the Government to remember that it is production that the nation cries out for, the production of food and fuel. During the hot weather of August I visited a bog where I saw turf which was fit for use, perfectly dry. I inquired how long it had been cut and was told it had been cut only a fortnight.
During that period of dry weather, a much more intensive effort could have been made, if the machinery was available, largely to increase our fuel supplies. It is in matters of this kind, in matters of organisation, of anticipating difficulties and opportunities that we can increase our food supply. We are a country with fixed resources in the way of minerals or valuable ores. We are, therefore, a nation which, in normal times, has to depend on the agricultural industry, and in abnormal times upon both the agricultural industry and turf production. Both industries are subject to many grave difficulties: to seasonal difficulties, weather difficulties and difficulties of every kind. It is by the most intelligent planning and the intelligent anticipation of difficulties and opportunities that both agriculture and turf production can be expanded. We are a nation that, because of our economy, demands the utmost brain power in our vital industries. Our industries are not industries which can be run by fools. Our main industry, which is agriculture, is not an industry that can be run by incompetent men. It is an industry that demands the utmost intelligence, skill  and knowledge, and that being so there should be an intelligent attempt made to attract the best in the nation into it. Instead, we have the best being driven to Great Britain to build up that nation.
We have the agricultural population soured, cynical, miserable and depressed, and there is nothing either in the Budget statement or in the Taoiseach's statement to remove that cynical outlook so far as that industry is concerned. Ministers first line their own pockets by an increase in their salaries or remuneration and then seek to stop other people from obtaining just whatever increase they think is necessary for them. The people must feel that we have in this country a Government that is concerned mainly about one thing, and one thing only, and that is, to hang on to office and to the spoils of office, to increase these spoils as far as possible, and to increase the spoils for everybody who is in any way, directly or indirectly, associated with them.
I want to make a last appeal for a serious consideration of our agriculturists' problems. The farmer, as I have said, produced wheat last year at a very severe loss. It is equally true that in the past year he also produced barley at a loss. The potato crop, I suppose owing to the fact that it is very low in yield, will leave no profit in the present year. What steps are being taken to meet the situation created by this accumulation of losses on the part of the agricultural industry? There is nothing in the Budget except a small subsidy on fertilisers. I hope that adequate steps will be taken to ensure that it will pass fully to the farmer, and that it will be added to and supplemented by a reduction in the profits of those who engage in the production and distribution of this essential commodity. If that is not done then the subsidy is, to a large extent, waste.
The statement of the Taoiseach and the Budget statement by the Minister for Finance have perhaps been carefully considered moves in the field of political strategy. They are probably an attempt to show that we are still crossing the stream and that we dare not change horses while doing so. That would be a very sound appeal to make  to the people if the people were convinced that the horse was carrying them across the stream, but as far as we can see and as far as the ordinary man can see it is not the Government— in this case it is not the horse—that is carrying us across the stream, but it is we who are carrying the horse, and a dead load and a dead burden it is upon the community. The Fianna Fáil Party, with its steady refusal all through the years to judge and decide every question in the best national interest: with its determination all through the years to decide every question by one test and one test alone—how many votes will it bring to the Party or how many will it lose—has been acting on a policy that has resulted in our present difficult and dangerous economic position.
If we had had a Government in power since 1932 that looked ahead, that realised the importance of the agricultural industry and sought to build it up and expand it, we would not be short of bread, bacon, butter, eggs or any of the essential commodities which are so necessary for our people and so necessary to export in order to safeguard our economy. I think it might have been wise—one would have expected it at this, the eleventh hour—if the Taoiseach had admitted that all the economic tribulations which he enumerated are all of his own making.
One would have imagined that, in appealing for co-operation, for hard work and for sacrifices he would have said to the other Parties in this House: “We have monopolised everything in this country; Fianna Fáil has monopolised everything in this country over the past 15 years; we want your co-operation now; Dáil Éireann is elected by proportional representation; we will ask you to come into the Government on a proportional basis, to take your part in the responsibility of Government and to share in that responsibility, and in return for that you will give your co-operation in carrying the country through this abnormal period.” That appeal was not made by the Taoiseach. But he said that his approach to the question was: “The nation is in danger; most people realise it; I will exploit the situation  for the interests of my own Party; I will exploit the situation as I have exploited every situation that arose either internally or externally during the past 15 years.” His determination to exploit that situation is embodied both in his statement to-day and in the Budget statement of the Minister for Finance.
An Ceann Comhairle Frank Fahy
An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Dillon.
Mr. Fagan Mr. Fagan
Mr. Fagan: I should just like to make a few remarks——
An Ceann Comhairle Frank Fahy
An Ceann Comhairle: Deputies should realise that they cannot give way to another Deputy——
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
Mr. Dillon: I did not rise.
An Ceann Comhairle Frank Fahy
An Ceann Comhairle: I thought the Deputy did. Deputies cannot give way to another Deputy with the assurance that they will follow him.
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
Mr. Dillon: I did not rise.
An Ceann Comhairle Frank Fahy
An Ceann Comhairle: Then it is my mistake.
Mr. Fagan Mr. Fagan
Mr. Fagan: The farming community, and especially the people in the cattle industry, will be very much disappointed that no announcement was made in the Taoiseach's statement as regards the new agreement that we are all eagerly watching the newspapers for as to what we are going to get for our live stock. The fact that no announcement has been made is disorganising the whole industry. There was an example of that to-day in the Dublin cattle market. Up to this, foreign buyers were buying our cattle. We understand now that the Belgian Government will finish buying our cattle next week. They are not seeking a further quota to buy any more of our stock. The result of that is that cattle fell at least £3 per head in the Dublin market to-day.
If the Taoiseach had made an announcement as regards the price we are to get under the new agreement it would have helped to keep prices level. As I say, the Belgian buyers are to stop buying our cattle now. I understand the position in Belgium is that owing to drought they are not able to feed the cattle they have. The Belgain Government have ordered all the stock bought recently to be killed and put  into cold storage in London. Until after Christmas they are not going to take any more cattle from us. One can understand that that has caused a big slump in the cattle trade here at a time when it will hit the small farmer particularly. From the middle of October until the middle of November is the time when the small, hard-working farmer puts his stock on the market. He must unload his stock in the next fortnight or three weeks. If there is nobody else to fill the gap caused by the withdrawal of the Belgian buyers, the price of cattle must drop by at least £4 or £5 per head. The result will be that the men who have been the backbone of the nation in growing wheat at a loss will be further hit by having to sell their stock at a loss.
If the Government knew what was happening, they should have immediately come along with an announcement as to the new agreement for the supplying of the English market, if there is such an agreement. If we are compelled to sell our stock to the British Food Controller we will have to accept a price of about 11d. per lb. for it, whereas we have been getting from foreign buyers from 1/4 to 1/5 a lb. How is that gap to be filled if we are to sell at 11d. a lb. until the middle of November to the British Food Controller? From the 20th November the British Food Controller's price will drop a further 1d. per lb. I am asking the Government if they have anything to fill that gap. If there is an agreement with the British Government as to the price, it should be announced forthwith so as to keep the cattle prices level. I ask the Minister for Lands, who is on the Front Bench at the moment, to convey that to the Government. If that announcement is not made there will be a regular flop in the cattle trade. Deputy MacEoin says that racketeers are buying cattle. For the last two or three weeks people in the know were not buying cattle. Therefore, if the Government have any announcement to make it should be made immediately. The farmers thought that there would be a special announcement to-day that the Government would do the right thing by them.
The Minister for Finance in his statement emphasised the necessity for  more production and less waste. Deputy Cogan said that the farmers are sour and depressed. Certainly they are. They sowed wheat under compulsion, under terrible difficulties in order to provide bread for the people. Everybody knows what happened last spring. Farmers had to work up to their knees in mud in order to sow wheat. It cost £14 or £15 per Irish acre to get in that wheat and cultivate it. They will get about four barrels per acre from that which will bring them in £11 or £12, so that they will be losing £2 or £3 per acre. That is a very low estimate of the loss, because with a lot of farmers the wheat died away in the land; some of it disappeared altogether.
Deputy Cogan said the farmers are sour and depressed. The small farmer will be made more sour and depressed when he has to take £4 or £5 less for his stock if the Government do not come to his rescue by making an announcement about whatever agreement they have made with the British Government. This is most important for the people who have to unload their stock now.
We have been told about the necessity for more production and less waste. Does not compulsory wheat-growing mean waste? The new price has been announced at 62/6 per barrel. That will not give the farmer the cost of production. It is a waste of good money to make farmers sow wheat by compulsion on land that is not fit to produce wheat. If we had an intelligent Government, they would at least give the farmers the price they are paying in the foreign market for wheat and do away with compulsion. If the farmer got that price, he would sow wheat on land which would suit it and not waste seed on land that does not suit it. They should give the farmer at least 75/- per barrel or something like that for wheat and have no compulsion. Wheat would then be sown on land which can produce wheat. Farmers should not be compelled to sow a certain percentage of their land with wheat. Ten per cent. of the arable land must be sown with wheat. The farmer is putting 33 stones of wheat into every Irish acre, but he is not getting 33 stones out of it. The farmer should be  given a fair price for wheat and he will sow it on land which will produce wheat. In order to encourage farmers to produce more they must be given the cost of production. Farmers asked the Government to set up a costings commission. The Minister for Agriculture says he has something better. We hope he has. We want nothing but the cost of production.
Potatoes are the most staple food we have in this country. What encouragement is given to farmers to grow potatoes? The English Government have shown foresight in that matter. They give the farmers a subsidy for every acre produced. I do not like subsidies myself. They are like feeding the dog with his own tail. When necessary, however, they must be given. If you want potatoes grown, you must encourage the farmer to grow them. They should then be sold to the consumer at a price he can pay. At present potatoes are fetching from £16 to £18 per ton in Mullingar. Do you think that you are helping to lower the cost of living for wage earners and consumers generally when they have to pay £16 to £18 per ton for such a staple food as potatoes? What better food on the other hand can you send into a labourer's house than potatoes? Let the Government subsidise the production of potatoes and in that way cheapen the cost of living for wage earners. It is sheer bad management not to provide a subsidy on such an essential crop as potatoes.
The Minister talks about the waste of food but if the Government were to adopt a proper policy farmers would produce the types of food which are most economical and most essential. Milk is another staple food, but what is the Government doing to encourage the production of milk? To take one example, the Government has enforced compulsory tillage in the case of a number of cow parks in County Westmeath. In a parish not far from where I live, there was a cow park which enabled 16 or 18 cottiers each to keep a cow. I endeavoured to get that park excluded from the compulsory tillage regulations but notwithstanding my efforts three-fourths of it had to be tilled with the result that ten or 12 cows were put out on the road and these  cottiers deprived of the advantage of having a constant supply of milk. I call it ignorance and incompetence to compel the county council in that case to carry out tillage. I maintain that any man who is producing and selling milk to the poor in town or country should be relieved of the necessity of tilling the land which he requires for the grazing of his milch cows.
The Government sometimes says that tillage assists the production of milk, but I know that in Mulligar and in the surrounding country people who formerly kept cows have had to get rid of them because they were compelled to till so much of their land. I am sure the same remarks apply to Limerick and other counties in which formerly a considerable quantity of butter was produced. We have a great shortage of butter at present simply because the people in these counties are compelled to till land which was formerly utilised for the grazing of milch cows. I think the Government could have devised a scheme under which any man who kept a certain number of milch cows would be exempt from the tillage regulations. We are told that there is a necessity for more production and that there should be less waste.
An Ceann Comhairle Frank Fahy
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy is dealing largely with administration.
Mr. Fagan Mr. Fagan
Mr. Fagan: There is a reference in the Budget statement to the necessity for more production and a call for less waste, and I am trying to point out directions in which there can be more production and less waste. The Government certainly has not encouraged production by compelling farmers to till such a large proportion of their land and by compelling them to sow wheat on land which was not fit to grow it. It was sheer waste of so many barrels of good food to put wheat into land which was not fit to grow it. People who sell milk to the creameries or who produce milk for sale in towns or villages should be relieved of the necessity of tilling more land than they are willing to till.
Another feature of this Budget is the increase in the price of admission to dog racing. I am not quite sure that there is to be any similar increase in  the case of horse racing. Dog racing might be called the poor man's entertainment or the poor man's industry because it is one of the principal sidelines of many small farmers in this country at present. We export a large number of greyhounds every year and you are crippling this industry by putting a tax on it. The poor man when he races a dog has to have a bet on the race if he is to get anything out of it. If you had the Tote in operation at dog racing, as you have in the case of horse racing, it would mean that instead of getting a prize of £6, the owner would be able to get £12 or £15. I say that it is a scandalous thing to tax dog racing. One of the greatest industries in the country at present is the rearing of greyhounds. I say also that the Tote should be introduced in dog racing as in horse racing.
The Government complains of the high cost of living, of raising wages and of one thing catching up on another. Who is to blame for all that? The Government itself is to blame because it set the headline. Everything was going smoothly until the Taoiseach introduced a measure to increase his own salary and our salaries with the result that everybody else in the country said “We must have a whack too.” That is the real cause of the demand for higher wages. The example was set by the Government. When we, in the county council, opposed demands for increased wages, it was pointed out to us: “You raised your own salaries and you must follow suit now in our case.”
I wish to protest also against the proposal to put an extra threepence on the poor man's pint. The poor man can get no milk owing to the policy of the Government. In many parts of the country you will see heaps of empty tins thrown at the back of poor man's houses—tins which contained some form of milk powder which these poor people had to buy when they could not get milk locally. You will see dykes at the backs of labourers' cottages filled with these empty tins. The only comfort left to the poor man now is to drink his pint of porter and the price of that is to be increased by threepence. I should like to protest  also against the proposed increase in the price of tobacco which will also hit the poor but I support the proposal to increase taxes on luxuries. Why should it be necessary to import such things as tinned fruits and oranges? Every shop in the country is full of these tinned fruits and oranges. I say that is all due to bad management. I heard some time ago that Deputy Briscoe was responsible for the import of some of these oranges because he has a corner on them. Anyway I say that dollars should not be wasted on the import of such articles.
In regard to the proposal to increase stamp duty, I should like the Government to be very careful. It is all very well to say that a duty should be put on foreign purchases but one thing the Government should not do is to interfere with the free sale of land. If you interfere with the free sale of land you will do a lot of harm. I do not want to see foreign buyers coming in here, if it can be avoided but if you interfere with the free sale of land you are going to cripple the farmers' credit and if he comes on hard times and has recourse to the bank, he will find that the value of his land is lowered.
I warn the Government to be very careful in this matter. I do not like to see foreigners buying up the land of the country, but I think that these matters will adjust themselves in the course of time. If a farmer wants to divide his land amongst his children, I think he should not be called upon to pay this extra stamp duty on the necessary conveyances. It is a hardship on the farmers who stood up to difficulties during the emergency like men. Last spring, they worked in muck and dirt trying to provide for the feeding of the nation. What did they get? Four barrels of wheat to the acre, and they got £25 per ton while the foreigner got £29 a ton. There should be no compulsory wheat-growing. It is a waste of seed and a waste of food. Give the farmer a good price for his wheat and he will sow it. He wants nothing but his cost of production, and I say that if the Minister for Agriculture has something better in mind than this costings commission, let him produce it. Apart  from these three matters, I am quite satisfied with the Budget, but let the Minister for Agriculture see to it that there will be no “flops” in the cattle markets, because in such circumstances the big feeder can start in to buy the cattle from the hard-working farmer, for instance, for the next fortnight or month, at £3 and £4 per beast less, if something is not done to adjust matters.
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
Mr. Dillon: When I see this Government going into action, it always reminds me rather of Barnum and Bailey's Circus than of a competent executive. Every so often, when there is a by-election pending, or when the organisation is beginning to run down and money is not flowing into Upper Mount Street, an occasion is made and the Taoiseach is trotted out. The silk hat is polished up and the cut-away coat with white breeches produced. He is furnished with his circus master's whip and the press is summoned.
An Ceann Comhairle Frank Fahy
An Ceann Comhairle: I do not think it is parliamentary to compare the Executive with a circus or a circus master.
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
Mr. Dillon: Parliamentary, Sir? It is true.
An Ceann Comhairle Frank Fahy
An Ceann Comhairle: I do not think it is parliamentary.
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
Mr. Dillon: If you rule that it is not——
Mr. McGrath Mr. McGrath
Mr. McGrath: You can expect nothing from a clown.
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
Mr. Dillon: ——I shall choose another form.
An Ceann Comhairle Frank Fahy
An Ceann Comhairle: I do so rule. “Ringmasters” and “circus” are not terms to be applied to an Executive.
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
Mr. Dillon: I substitute for “circus” a brass band, guaranteed to make a great deal of noise which is incapable of record. We listened to-day to a carefully publicised election stunt, in which the Taoiseach read out a long, dreary list of platitudes and was followed by the Minister for Finance in reading a statement which he himself did not  understand and the net result of which is that, bad and all as we were before the pair of them got up, we are worse now because we know the full and horrible story of their contemptible incompetence and their unscrupulous readiness to avail of the difficulties which they themselves have largely brought about, in order to create an atmosphere of panic so that no one will hit the Taoiseach with the baby in his arms. It would be high treason now to vote against the Taoiseach with the baby in his arms in Waterford, Tipperary or Dublin—sabotage, wrecking the national effort, interfering with the man at the helm, and this while the ship of State is riding an unprecedented storm, with the rest of the Cabinet hiding behind the scenes and blowing like fury to make the waves on the artificial lake.
Incompetence in times like these is disgusting, but fraudulent pretence is nauseating. The Supplementary Budget! We are going to subsidise flour and we are informed of how the price of flour is made up. “The increased cost of wheat and higher wages will require £3.4 millions.” What about the millers' profits? Do they not contribute? How are they calculated? What generous gesture are these publicspirited men going to make in this time of crisis? What percentage of their fixed charge upon the foodstuffs of this country is being thrown into the common pool, or would it be impolite to refer to the millers when a general election is pending? Might it interfere with the size of the cheque that is expected in Upper Mount Street to oil the electoral machine? I shall thank the Minister to tell us at the end what provision he is making to sustain these humble men, to provide spokes for their bicycles and soles for their repaired shoes, and what percentage he will expect them to cough up when the call goes out for the general election fund and will he be so secretive next Budget day if the answer to his summons proves inadequate?
It is proposed to provide a substantial sum to subsidise sugar—£440,000 to reduce the price of sugar from 6d. to 4d. per lb. Do Deputies understand what that means? There is one food stuff in the world of which there will  be an absolute surplus next year, that is to say, so much of it that, every human need having been satisfied, there will be a balance left over. On that pool of sugar there is nothing to prevent us from drawing, and sugar bought from that source would cost us less than 4d. per lb., and the entire acreage of this country at present being wasted in the growing of that sugar beet could be used to grow feeding barley the yield of which would be sufficient, with an increased acreage of potatoes, to restore the pig population to what it was in 1935.
This collection which calls itself a Government trotted over to Paris recently to tell the world and General Marshall what we are going to do to contribute to the relief of the food situation in the world, and electrified their audience by declaring that they had discovered one commodity of which there was an absolute surplus, and our contribution to the difficulties under which the world is labouring is to add a trifle to the surplus already there. The Irish Press was full of photographs of the Taoiseach walking in and the Taoiseach walking out and ladies with babies on their shoulders rushing out to greet him and the babies and the Taoiseach smiling and everyone else smiling. God knows, small wonder they would smile, but anyone who has any respect for this country would be ashamed of their lives. It takes £440,000 to produce uneconomic sugar on land that could produce urgently wanted bacon. While that is the position, we have the Taoiseach twittering and smiling in Downing Street with the loving mother and her innocent offspring.
It is a long time since I heard speakers on the Fianna Fáil side of the House claim that they had been misled by the Cumann na nGaedheal Government when it made estimates of revenue and subsequent expenditure which were in fact never realised. Well, that may have tried their honest souls, but, like many a virtuous person who has risen to denounce sin they have become more expert in sinning than the original victims of their denunciations. Who made the estimate that raised the duty on whiskey by 6d. a glass to produce another £1,000,000 of  revenue? The Government must think the people of this country are very thirsty or are suffering from heart failure.
Mr. Cafferky Mr. Cafferky
Mr. Cafferky: Perhaps the Taoiseach will give a function.
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
Mr. Dillon: If the Deputy went to as many functions as I did, he would know that it is “divil a much” whiskey he would get; you would be lucky if you got a cup of tea. A million pounds will not be raised, in my opinion, by that device, and when I am told that the increasing of the entertainments duty, which will result in the cost of cinema seats being increased from 1/8 to 2/4 and 3/6 to 5/-, will yield £150,000. I beg to doubt. The fact is that in both taxes we have reached a point where diminishing returns must ensue unless, of course, the Government intend and desire that spirits and other commodities to be affected by these taxes are to be disposed of on the black market through Northern Ireland. If that be their calculation, they may succeed in getting their revenue, but they will get it at a horrid cost of demoralisation which, God knows, as things are, is bad enough.
Why did not the Minister for Finance tell us what effect the increase of the road tax will have upon the revenue derived from petrol? These taxes are put on to mop up money. If you increase the road tax on cars and thereby deter people from buying thousands of gallons of petrol that they otherwise would have bought and paid excise duty upon, on the balance where is the mopping-up function to operate?
We are to increase the stamp duty on the sale of land to persons ordinarily resident outside the State to 25 per cent. That is the kind of muddled-headed, mean, ignorant thing that Fianna Fáil is peculiarly expert at doing. They think that will be popular—“We are going to stop the Englishmen from buying our lands”. Of course, there will be a few ignorant “goms” down the country who will swallow it and at the same time they can say to others: “We do not want to stop anybody, but we want to get the revenue to prevent inflation.” But that ignorant, cloutish device will achieve  neither object. The only effect it will have will be materially to lessen the value of land generally and of such house property as may be purchased by strangers coming to visit this country.
Let us get this clear. Everybody wants to make pious gestures about it, because they think it is a popular thing to do. Do we object to English people buying a house and grounds in this country for their own occupation, or do we not? It is fully within our power, if we object to it, to stop it now. This is a sovereign Parliament and we can prohibit the registration of land in the name of any foreigner to-morrow without the slightest difficulty. If we want to do that, why do we not do it. I do not want to do it. Tens of thousands of our people were glad to have England to go to when they could not get a living in their own country as a result of the machinations of this Government. If they did not go there, they would starve. If we sent home the English people who are in this country and if the British people sent home the Irish people who are in England we would all starve, and we know that. But, of course, it is not politic to say that. The right thing to do is to cry the emigrants and say it is and awful thing to have them going to England, knowing damn well that if they did not go there they would die here of starvation.
I am not in favour of preventing respectable English people buying properties in this country for residences if they want to. I object to anybody buying land and setting it to tenants and reviving the landlord system in this country; but if a man wants to buy a house or a garden here and he is prepared to conduct himself decently, so far as I am concerned he is very welcome. There is a problem arising in connection with that business and instead of this cloutish device I think it would be appropriate to consider whether effective measures could be taken to end the problem that does exist. I have noticed in certain parts of the country people coming in here from England and—let us be blunt and plain about it—men coming in here and  buying houses and setting up their mistresses and living openly under that arrangement, and women coming over here with their paramours and living openly, in a way they would be ashamed and afraid to live in their own country, and then going back to England at regular intervals separately because they did not want to obtrude upon their neighbours in England the disgusting conduct which they display publicly and flagrantly in this country.
Now, I do not set myself up as a censor of any man's morals and have no desire to inquire into any man's private affairs or innermost thoughts. They are his own business; but there is a difference between private sin and public sin. My private sins happily are nobody's business but those of the Lord God Almighty. They are probably larger and greater than those of most men, but I will answer to God for them. However, when people choose to flaunt scandalous living in the faces of their neighbours, the question does arise as to whether foreigners should be permitted to come into this country and do it here.
It is not a new problem; it is a problem we had to deal with 70 years ago in the west of Ireland. We dealt with it in our own way then and it never again occurred, to my knowledge, until recently. It is not a large problem: I do not believe the number of persons who have come here in those circumstances is at all substantial. I believe the vast majority of the people who have come here from Great Britain to buy places are decent respectable people whom anyone might be proud to have for his neighbour. As far as I am concerned, those kind of people are very welcome for as long as they care to stay. But there is a decent way and a shuffling, cloutish way to deal with that problem and I need hardly say the way envisaged in this Budget statement is the shuffling, cloutish way. It will not deter one of the class to whom I have referred from buying a place if they want it; but it may prevent a number of decent people from acquiring modest establishments who otherwise would. It certainly will reduce the value of land on a lot of people who had a right to believe that  an Irish Government would not so interfere with free sale as materially to depreciate their assets in the shape of the holding they desire to sell.
There is a very odd echo of the Taoiseach's written hullabaloo in the Minister for Finance's hullabaloo—so odd an echo that I wonder if the same shadow stands behind the two men. On the first page of the Taoiseach's hullabaloo, we are told all about how war increases our armaments and armaments occupy workers, etc., etc. On the fifth page of the Minister for Finance's hullabaloo, “the overall international picture is one of a desire on the part of most people to buy consumers' goods which is greater than present world production can satisfy, with a consequent increase in prices, accompanied by the necessity on the part of most Governments to build up capital assets and to maintain defence forces at the expense of consumer goods—guns and economic guns instead of food, clothes and shelter.”
Now, who is building up forces? To whom is the Minister referring? Of course, the boys beyond believe he is referring to the base, bloody and brutal British Saxon, the United States and the Bolshevics—all one to the Gaels of this country. But, of course, the truth is—as the poor Gaels may not know—that the Americans are reducing their armed forces, the British are reducing their armed forces and, as far as I know, the only country in the world that is building them up is the U.S.S.R.
Mr. D. Morrissey Mr. D. Morrissey
Mr. D. Morrissey: And Ireland.
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
Mr. Dillon: And Ireland, strangely enough—but, in justice to ourselves, be it said that we were going to do the devil in a bag when the Estimates came out, but the devil a much we did since, because we could not get the soldiers— they would not join. Does the Minister for Finance think that if the U.S.S.R. was not building up its armaments, the peaceful toil of its rejoicing citizens would be engaged in producing consumer goods for the Gael? If he had any such illusion his mind, he had better start thinking again. If you ask the poor man: “What did you mean by that phrase, when you asked the shadow to write this document,” he  has quite forgotten and does not know. It was some kind of jolt he wanted to have at somebody; and if you press him to explain it now he could not explain it—because it means nothing at all. It is not the only part of the document to which that observation applies.
I recommend to some of the “sea-green incorruptibles” a careful perusal of the middle of page 6. It is almost incoherent—it obviously was written by himself—but if it means anything, it means that he repudiates the doctrine of economic self-sufficiency. I cannot resist reading the last paragraph, as it is good:-
“On top of all the other difficulties, actual and potential, the world economic situation is bedevilled by the fact that in most countries the means of payment, because of deficit financing and bank created credits, exceeds the supply of consumer goods available. . . .”
If ever there were a case of the pot calling the kettle black, that beats Banagher. We did not balance our Budget for the last 15 years. The higher the revenue the gayer the deficit. When I asked the Minister after his last Budget speech would he not think of applying this gargantuan revenue to the reduction of debt, he said that this was a most cruel suggestion to lay a burden on the backs of the poor in order to pay debt. The truth of the matter was that the poor man did not understand my question and was ill-equipped to attempt an answer. Page 7 contains a paragraph which well rewards careful perusal.
“An appreciable part of our invisible trade was the sale to tourists of commodities normally exported. If invisible exports had not been so large the adverse trade balance of visible trade would have been smaller.”
As far as I can find out just before that paragraph he has taken full credit for the invisible exports represented by our tourist trade, and having taken full credit, he has struck the balance on our entire debt, and for just good measure, throws it in again.
Remember, he is telling us that the whole world at present is bedevilled by  deficit financing. But he states: “Since September, 1946, State debt increased by almost £7,000,000 but this increase is offset” he is happy to report, “as to £4,000,000 by the increase in unspent balances in State funds such as the Transitional Development Fund.” Oh boys, there will be great spending on that between now and the general election! There will not be a bog road from here to Westport or from Milford to Crosshaven that you will not see a group of hopeful voters out rooting around. I want to refer to the glowing paragraph on page 11 and I will not get any sympathetic laughter from any side of the House as this is something you will not like. “This extra effort and trouble in a time of great distress for the human race we owe as a thanksgiving to our Creator for having so mercifully preserved us in the past.” I want to be explicit in this. I strenuously object to attributing the policy of the Fianna Fail Party to God Almighty. The suggestion there is that this country was kept neutral by the Providence of God. It was not, it was kept neutral by the policy of the Fianna Fáil Party, Winston Churchill, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. So long as that fact is recognised then the position of those who disagreed with that policy is demonstrable and understandable, but if it is to become a common phrase in this country that the Providence of God was that the country was to be neutral, any person who opposed or qualified that view must be taken as opposing his will to the will of God. Now I am tired of this business of suggesting that if anyone differs with our Taoiseach, Mr. de Valera, he is either a traitor or a heretic. I heard him recently likened to a bishop but it is going one step further if he is to be regarded as the inspired agent of God Almighty. The policy of the Government during the war was carried out with the consent of the majority of our people, and, as the Taoiseach himself said in this House, as the result of the readiness of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, to allow us to carry it out.
Posterity will pass a verdict on that policy and our several records will then  be authoritatively judged. But in the meantime let no dusty politician gather about himself the mantle of a prophet of the Lord. There are certain things, of course, that stand out like a sore thumb as requiring to be done at the present time, but there is not the slightest chance of getting this collection to do that. But nevertheless out of deference to Parliament, which thank God we have, it is right, I suppose, to set out here in Parliament the right way to meet the situation that now exists. In common with every country in the world, we have a problem of inflation, and our problem of inflation is aggravated by the fact that it is the policy of our Government to export men instead of goods. The Fianna Fáil Party has thought well to ship our population to England. Their earnings, coming back in a great flood, increase the money in circulation and the demand for goods which are not produced here, while the goods that they produce in England will not be sold to us by Great Britain. The extra money is operating on a diminishing supply of goods which we are trying to gather into the country from everywhere we can purchase them. I think that the best mopper-up of surplus money is a sales tax provided it is prudently applied. If the Government wants effectively to mop up the surplus of purchasing power in the interests of the country, they should pick out the essential commodities which constitute the bulk of the poor people's food and clothing—and in food I include the wherewithal to cook it—exempt them from tax, and apply a steeply graduated sales tax to every commodity sold by retail in this country which, in the judgement of a reasonable man, a person could do without for a couple of years if it were essential for him to do so. The effect of that sales tax will be that some people will postpone purchases for a year or two until the ratio of money to goods becomes more reasonable. When the people with more money than is good for them, the people who create the inflationary demand for inadequate supplies of goods, go into a shop, instead of being able to buy two pairs of ballroom slippers, their money will purchase only one pair.
 If you put 100 per cent duty on a fur coat, the lady who wants to buy a mink coat, instead of £1,250 must pay £2,500. If you put tax on perfume, on fashion clothes or electric fittings, on furnishings, on a wide variety of articles which attract the purchasing power of the persons recently grown disproportionately rich, you will collect a very large revenue and you will collect it, as nearly as it is humanly possible to go, from the kind of income that most grievously contributes to the threatened inflationary scarcity, and you will secure that the tourists coming in here to trench on our supplies will leave after them not only a reasonable price for the commodities they want to purchase, but also a substantial sum in reduction of our national indebtedness and in accumulation of a reserve fund for financing necessary public works in the future when our inflationary difficulties of the present are past. At the same time, if you really want—which I very much doubt—to control the inflationary trend at the moment, it is possible to stimulate personal savings and to draw into the Exchequer large sums of individual savings. If, as a result of that, the Government were simply tempted to engage in wider schemes of expenditure than they already have, that device would fail. But if they were not so tempted, the money could be hidden away for the time being and its purchasing power neutralised until such time as a proportion would be re-established between individual incomes and the total supply of goods.
Increased production — sometimes when I hear some of the Government's critics talking about the shortcomings of Deputy Smith, Minister for Agriculture, I wonder what the country would look like if the critics were to take his place. We are to subsidise potatoes, to subsidise wheat, to subsidise the farmer for waking up in the morning and for going to bed at night. Nobody ever asks: Who is going to pay the subsidies? They are not going to come down like manna from heaven. In the heel of the hunt, every subsidy we pay to the farmer, the manufacturer or anybody else will come out of the land. There is nowhere else from which it can come. We can all defraud the unfortunate  farmers by persuading them that we are putting our fingers up in the air and taking money out of the sky with which to subsidise them. The best this House can ever hope to do is to put its hand into the farmer's righthand pocket and to put the money which it takes out of that pocket back into the farmer's left-hand pocket. But have the brass band playing when putting the money back and knock the farmer unconscious when taking it out.
I could restore the pig population in 12 months. I could provide every farmer and every consumer with all the bacon they would want and leave a substantial surplus for export to Great Britain. If you set out now to plant feeding barley and potatoes on the land at present being wasted in the cultivation of beet and some of the rubbish called wheat—but leave wheat out for the moment—we could restore the pig population in 18 months at the longest, make a profit on every pig, provide bacon for every table in this country and have an export for Great Britain wherewith to purchase goods we want, because we should have an export which they particularly want. Of the total of their consumption, our production would form an appreciable percentage. Instead of that, we are to subsidise to the tune of £400,000 the increased acreage under beet, every acre of which will complicate the world situation created by a sugar surplus and every acre of which represents a serious loss to the national income. Eggs—we are told that it is impossible to subsidise the selling price of eggs. Why? What is to stop the Government from subsidising eggs as distinguished from bread or any other foodstuff?
At present there is a fixed price for eggs. What difficulty is there in going to the wholesale distributor and, if the price of selected eggs is 25/- per long cwt., taking 10/- —1d. an egg—off the long cwt. and letting consumers buy them retail for 1d. less than they are at present paying. What difficulty is there about that? It will not reduce the price received by the producer by a penny but it will nearly double the quantity of eggs poor persons can give their children. Eggs are a commodity the raw material of which is exclusively  produced in this country. The production of that raw material can be expanded almost indefinitely. If any surplus should accrue, there is an unlimited foreign market for a greater surplus than any sane person can ever contemplate. It is also one of the most valuable of foods, particularly for young children.
Is it suggested that we cannot increase the output of cattle, oats for feeding live stock and for oatmeal and potatoes? Potatoes will feed the population. Potatoes will produce bacon. Potatoes can be used for almost any purpose, directly and indirectly, in the process of feeding man. Can we increase the output of roots? If the Government of Northern Ireland can fly milk to Manchester and Liverpool is it not worth while enquiring as to whether a trade can be built up with these cities for fresh vegetables grown in the market-garden areas of this country? I was for the last 48 hours in Manchester and how on earth the British people continue to exist on the rubbish they are required to eat is amazing. Bulk there may be, but the quality is of a character I did not think it was credible any people could long endure. Certainly if the people in this country had to put up with one half of the hardship that the residents of industrial cities in Great Britain have to and have been contending with for the last seven years there would be a revolution.
Has it ever occurred to any of the other Deputies in this House when we are told that one of our most urgent duties is to increase the production of wheat—it amuses me now to hear everybody clapping their hands and saying they cannot do so—that when I pointed out the impossibility of it 15 years ago I was told it was high treason and that I was a traitor for saying so. It has taken about £60,000,000 to teach that to the Fianna Fáil sages who have been governing this country, plus a brisk attack of indigestion last spring when for the first time in their lives they had to eat Irish wheat. Is it not a queer thing that in a cereal year when there has been gathered in the United States of America the greatest  wheat crop that was ever gathered since Cleopatra sat upon the throne of Egypt, we should be told that the result is an acute shortage and the danger of a famine. Ten years ago the announcement of such a crop would have caused the price of wheat to drop 30 per cent. or 40 per cent. Now we hear talk of panic, of ruin. The gathering of this crop is going to bring disaster on humanity. Why? What has become of it? I will tell you, and it is one of those infernal dilemmas into which the world is working itself and out of which it is going to be extremely difficult to get. The whole system of wheat distribution is based on the assumption that there shall be a full pipe-line from the producer to the consumer and a constant flow of wheat through it. Our friends, the planners, apprehend a shortage. They set up an international body to control the distribution of wheat and they invite everybody to declare how much wheat they want. Well, we all fill up a demand for just twice what we expect to get.
We ourselves stipulated that we should receive a quantity of wheat sufficient to fulfil our total requirements, as if we saved no wheat crop at all in this country. Of course it is assumed that that is a secret—that we are pulling the wool over their eyes. Everybody knows perfectly well what is going on. But when every country puts in that kind of a demand—for substantially more than they expect to get —and when those total demands are weighed up against the total supply of wheat there is a mathematical scarcity of wheat. Whereupon the planners say: “Now we have to put everybody on a ration. Therefore not a single shipload of grain must leave the American coast until we authorise it.” The farmers begin to thresh their crop. The elevators at the railhead fill the available wagons at the railway. All the elevators at the port of export become full. However, the planners are as busy as bees but they have not got round to allocating yet. The ships queue up. The planners then say: “Now boys, you may start moving.” In the mean-time, however, all the available storage accommodation from the producing  farm to the port of loading is full, and a farmer in a particular area threshes his wheat and drives to the local elevator on Monday and says he will send down 2,000 barrels the next day. He is told not to do so. He is told: “We cannot take it. We are choc-a-bloc. We cannot take in a barrel. You must wait three weeks.” The farmer says: “Nothing doing. If I keep my threshed wheat three weeks with no proper storage space I will be paid for Manitoba No. 4 instead of Manitoba No. 1, and if you will not take my wheat now I will buy hogs and feed it to them.” He is told that Mr. Truman has said that no wheat is to be fed to hogs. He says: “Mr. Truman be blowed.” He goes home and buys his 200 hogs. In three weeks he is notified to bring the wheat. He says: “Nothing doing. I bought 200 thin hogs. They are now nearly quarter fat, and if there is one thing nobody wants it is a hog that is quarter fat. They will buy a thin or a fat hog but not a quarter fat hog. I have got to finish these hogs and it will take all the wheat I offered to finish them.” Two thousand barrels of wheat thus disappear from the available resources for shipment to this country, Great Britain and elsewhere.
Only at the end of the season in which there had been, before the planners got to work, a substantial surplus over the world demand, largely as a result of their activities they have driven a substantial part of the available wheat into the hogs' stomachs all over the United States and Canada and there is now a real shortage to which the planner points triumphantly and says: “There, did I not tell you? You will have to keep me here for the rest of your life because you would starve without me.” How we are going to get that Old Man of the Sea off our backs is a problem I find hard to contemplate because the longer we keep him there the more chronic and inevitable world shortages are going to become and unless and until the world can take its courage in its hands and tell him to go to blazes and let us get on ourselves as best we can we will never discover by experience the manifest fact that many of the shortages that at present afflict mankind are the  result either of ulterior political activity by Soviet Russia and its satellites or the well-intentioned but pestiferous activities of the planners who take a pathological joy in planning everybody, never having been planned themselves.
Deputy Fagan is quite right in what he said about the tax on greyhounds and greyhound racing. I know that in this country you are a swell, a toff, if you are in the bloodstock industry. Everybody is supposed to treat you with deference. But if you breed greyhounds of course you are only a common clod. Greyhounds are a very valuable export from this country at the present time and are likely to become infinitely more valuable. If the American market for greyhounds ever becomes exploitable the export of greyhounds may become a more valuable industry than the export of bloodstock. Deputy Fagan is perfectly right. On the whole, the people who produce greyhounds in this country are poor men, and they must either win a good bet on their hound every now and again or go bust. Most of them go bust. But I think it would be a very good idea if, instead of taxing greyhound racing, the Tote were established, stakes were increased and the sport encouraged with a view to the development of the export trade in greyhounds which would provide very useful currency and profit for the small farmers of this country, where the bloodstock industry is mainly the prerogative of people with very much wider acreages of land.
I see the Taoiseach beginning to sniff around about strike legislation. There will be no strike legislation between now and the by-election. Deputy Davin may sleep quietly in his bed and Deputy Larkin may keep his axe unsharpened until that is out of the way. But, the kite is up and what he would dearly love, if he could get away with it, would be powers in the Government that, when the Taoiseach thinks a strike ought to be settled and finished, he will have the power to do so by fiat. If he got that power he would arrange for five or six Fianna Fáil clubs to ask him to prohibit a few strikes and he would deliver a pious homily on democracy  and how when so great a power was reposed in his hands as trustee he had to be very careful how he used it so that everybody's rights would be adequately protected and that, bearing these facts in mind, he would not prohibit the first strike. He would not prohibit the second strike. Then there would be a teeny, weeny little strike and, more in sorrow than in anger, with paternal solicitude for the workers, he would stop that strike. That would go on for a while until eventually, when the arm would be getting limbered up, he would appeal to a feeling that is common enough amongst our people, that it would be no harm at all to put the ball and chain on all strikes.
This Dáil will perpetrate a terrible mistake if they ever give into the hands of any man, or any group of men, in this country the right to prohibit by law a man from striking. Once you put your foot on that slippery slope, sooner or later, you will arrive at the concentration camp. The only two men who have ever claimed the right to prohibit strikes in our day are Hitler and Stalin. The moment that right was conceded to them everything else went by the board.
I know it is very exasperating when men strike. I know it can involve us all in horrible losses, and so forth, but there are lots of things in this world that are wrong which you cannot correct by legislation. I doubt it very much—and I am sure I will get great abuse for saying this—if some of the strikes that are called in this country are carefully examined by the men who call them. I was always taught that it was a mortal sin to call a strike if the damage inflicted on the community was far in excess of any benefit that could reasonably be expected to accrue to the worker or unless the worker was labouring under some grievance of so grave a character that he could not reconcile it with his conscience to continue to submit to it. I think it is very difficult to envisage that set of circumstances occuring once you have the Labour Court in existence unless the case is made that the Labour Court is a corrupt and incompetent body, and I do not think it is. It seems to me that  if a body of workers can bring any employer in the State, great or small, into the Labour Court, before an impartial arbitrator, and say to that body: “Here are our circumstances; here is our case; now hear the employers' case.” and the Labour Court, as an impartial judge, lays down what is fair and equitable, without regard to the influence or power or anything else of the employer, it is very hard to envisage circumstances in which the difference between what the workers hoped for and what the court awarded would be so wide as to justify inflicting the grave injury on the community that a long-sustained strike in an important industry involves. I do not believe it is conceivable that, with a Labour Court publicly constituted, there could exist a state in which men would be forced to go on strike because they could not in conscience continue to submit to a set of conditions that obtained in their employment.
Mr. Larkin Mr. Larkin
Mr. Larkin: There have been cases.
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
Mr. Dillon: Does Deputy Larkin make the case that the Labour Court has found in favour of conditions which violated the conscientious sense of duty of the workers? Then I think these cases ought to be brought before the Oireachtas so that we could take steps to deal with them because, frankly, it seems to me that with that court there, given that it was doing its duty, that case could not arise.
Personally, if I were confronted with a situation in which I believed that a set of circumstances obtained which I could not conscientiously conform to, I would go on strike and I would exhort my colleagues to go on strike, whatever it cost me because there is no cost excessive for the vindication of right against wrong. But, I beg to reserve judgement on the cases to which Deputy Larkin has referred until I know the facts about them. As at present advised, I cannot conceive of such a state of affairs existing and I would be glad to learn from some of the Labour leaders in this House as to whether, with regard to every strike which has been called, that balance has been conscientiously and deliberately made between the damage done  to the community by the strike and the difference between what the trade union hoped to get and the award which the Labour Court has made.
Mr. Davin Mr. Davin
Mr. Davin: What about the bank directors' strike backed by the Government?
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
Mr. Dillon: Between hopping and trotting, your leader managed to squeeze me out when I wanted to get up and say what I had to say on that. I certainly feel that, whatever the cost to this community, we have got to recognise that the prohibition to strike is the end of liberty: that if this House ever accepts legislation authorising any individual, or any body of individuals, to compel a citizen of this State to work when he believes that it is his duty to strike, we belong to the category of satellites of whatever bloody dictatorship for the time being threatens the world. I believe that trade union leaders have a moral duty, the nature of which I have outlined, but it is no part of the work of this House to enforce it upon them. There is something which I wish to add to that—If what Deputy Larkin believes should prove to be true, that the Labour Court has made awards which would constitute a violation of a reasonable man's conscience—I find that hard to accept— an entirely new situation arises. I am speaking on the assumption that that belief is ill-founded and incorrect. Assuming that the Labour Court is doing rough justice between the parties, and honest rough justice at that, I believe then that if a party rejects an award to inflict the hardship of a strike upon the community that all the benefits of the Trade Disputes Act and of subsequent legislation of an analogous character should be withdrawn from the offending trade union which acted in that way. That is the appropriate remedy.
It is right that this House should spread a protective arm over trade unions in the prosecution of their duty to their members, so long as their unions conform to a reasonable standard set by the legislative body of the community to which they belong. If they wish, in the exercise of their essential individual liberty as individuals,  to transgress beyond what to their neighbours appears to be a reasonable standard of compromise, then they must not look to their neighbours for that special protection which their neighbours have gratuitously vouchsafed to them in the Trade Disputes Act and analogous legislation under which their unions are deliberately put in a specially preferred position so that they may be free to function freely and not be threatened with litigation and the hazards which are found suitable and which are, in fact, daily invoked against the rest of their fellow-citizens.
I do not believe that we are going to get out of this mess unscathed. I believe our suffering in the critical months ahead will be materially increased by the incompetence of the men who constitute the Government here. I cannot follow Deputy Cogan's argument at all in suggesting that they should summon into a Coalition the other Parties in the House. Why on earth should they? They have a clear majority given by the Irish people. I will give six to 4 on their winning the three by-elections. They would not win one of them if the Opposition was not scattered into four or five pieces. We would beat the head off them if we went to the country with an appearance of solidarity out of which an alternative Government could be provided, but surely nobody but a lunatic would vote for the conglomeration that we are here.
Mr. Lemass Mr. Lemass
Mr. Lemass: Hear, hear!
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
Mr. Dillon: That is the perfect truth. There is more ability in any one row of this side of the House than there is in the whole mass on the Benches of the Fianna Fáil Party. But one engine tied together with bits of string and manufactured 140 years ago is better for pulling a train than seven engines all unassembled, and that is what the Opposition in this country consists of.
Mr. Davin Mr. Davin
Mr. Davin: They will take you in if you go on with that game.
Mr. Lemass Mr. Lemass
Mr. Lemass: Who is taking whom in?
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
Mr. Dillon: Observe the smile on the face of the Minister for Industry and  Commerce. If anyone on this side of the House can score off somebody else on this side of the House there are whoops of joy. Of course, the gallery over there will laugh melodiously, from the treble of Deputy Corry to the bass of Deputy Kissane. The poor yobs on this side of the House will smile sweetly at this appreciation of his humour. Catch the boys beyond scoring off one another.
Mr. Harris Mr. Harris
Mr. Harris: Not likely.
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
Mr. Dillon: Not likely. They are too blooming careful of their job. One crack in that mud-hut and the whole thing would go, and they know it. They are right to keep close together under the chimney pot that they have got, for if it should ever crack, the roof would fly off very quickly. A fine brisk sprightly chimney pot it is.
Mr. Cafferky Mr. Cafferky
Mr. Cafferky: And a tall one too.
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
Mr. Dillon: I do not believe that we will get out without a great deal of trouble, but I have one hope not only for this country but for the world. Europe at the present moment, and we are part of Europe, is swaying on the edge of a volcano. The Politbüro of Moscow expect to tip it over when they occupy France and Italy, and dominate us all. There is one chance of that being averted, and that is if Europe is fixed with notice now— if that attempt is made and is resisted by the countries in which it is made and then sought by the Politbüro to be enforced by the arbitrament of war—that the resources of the United States of America and of Great Britain will be deployed against them. If that notice is given now Europe, and this part of Europe, will survive, but it is not a notice that can be given by word. It is a notice that must be given by acts now. The only way in which notice can be given is in a form that will be believed by the potential aggressor and by the victims who tremble before him, that is, that the two great democracies of the world, Great Britain and the United States of America, should for this period of danger for the next ten years, declare their resolve to exchange mutual support, free passage of men,  money and goods throughout their respective territories and to one another, and that the members of this Commonwealth to which we belong would be free to adhere to this economic association. On that day the economic perils that threaten this country and Great Britain will evaporate, and all Europe will know that she will not be severed or be destroyed by the Politbüro in Moscow.
Every fifth column in Europe which is trying to sell its country to the materialist dictatorship of Bolshevism will overnight be transformed from the pursuer into the pursued and free men will at last have the courage again to dispose of their own traitors in their own country who seek to subjugate their nation to a foreigner for a base end. If we are to escape from the dilemma into which we have drifted, partly through our own fault, but mainly because we were powerless to avert it, our salvation must be part of a larger plan. The best help we can give Ireland now is to make our contribution to the consolidation of an Anglo-American understanding, so that, not only Ireland, but Europe might be saved and the future might stretch before us in freedom and peace to build up our own country while our neighbours build up theirs.
Mr. Larkin Mr. Larkin
Mr. Larkin: In the statement of the Taoiseach at the opening of this debate he referred to the fact that his Supplementary Budget and the statement of policy on the part of the Government were called for by two features which had become alarming in recent weeks. One is the increase in the cost of living and the other what he regarded as an increasing wave of wage claims and the possibility arising from that of industrial conflict. Nobody for a moment will doubt the seriousness of the situation and the character of the situation from the point of view of the two aspects put by the Taoiseach. But why is it, when we are dealing with a serious problem, not only affecting the ordinary personal welfare of tens of thousands of citizens so far as their standard of living is concerned, but possibly also affecting the future economic and industrial welfare of this country, that we are treated to a series  of catch cries and a machine-like repetition of old shibboleths which have no application to the present situation.
The Taoiseach tells us that the remedy lies in two courses of action, one of which is that we increase production. If an increase in production will solve our problems, why the crisis in the United States of America? Is it not clear that something more than an increase in production is required, even though we all agree that that is one major remedy which is called for? But, when we have an increase in production and, at the same time, surrounding us on all sides those who are prepared, as they were prepared during the last seven years, to loot and rob the results of every effort made by the common people of the country not merely to increase but to maintain production, then we require something more drastic than a common effort to produce more goods, because we have to secure that those goods will go for the purpose for which they are produced, either as consumer goods or capital goods, and are not made a further means of extracting additional loot out of the people of the country.
I suggest to Deputy Dillon that his lecture on the situation in America might be thought over again in the light of that particular remark which I made. It is not merely a question of planners, but also a question of those who have their own particular plans and who are in a position to apply them.
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
Mr. Dillon: The speculators.
Mr. Larkin Mr. Larkin
Mr. Larkin: The speculators. Unfortunately, so far as our crisis is concerned, we are going to allow speculators to continue here. The Taoiseach tells us that we should increase production and, in a most pious voice, that we should all agree to share the burden equitably and not seek to transfer our share of the burden to some other section of the community—that it is not fair and it should not be done. I wonder would he be good enough to tell the House who is trying to transfer whose burden on to whose shoulders? Last year the Government issued a statement on national income showing the results of their control of wages,  profits and prices for the six years of the war; showing the features of that national income. The most remarkable thing is that, while we all agree that the agricultural community were entitled to and did receive an increased share, and another section maintained their share without any change, the only section that had to make sacrifices were the workers depending on wages and salaries. Therefore, if any persons are to transfer their particular share of the burden, it seems to me that the only persons who have failed completely are those depending on wages and salaries, because, even since the end of the emergency in 1946, somehow we have got the short end of the stick and we are coming out fairly badly.
When the emergency ended last year we were warned by the Taoiseach and the Minister for Industry and Commerce that we were facing a critical position. Everybody recognised that we had been in the peculiar position, so far as workers and trade unionists were concerned, that our advice given at the beginning of the war had been ignored. We had indicated our willingness as part of the community to accept a certain degree of regimentation and limitation of our ordinary claims and to accept pot luck so far as wage claims and increases of wages were concerned.
All we asked in return was that those things on which we spent our wages should be kept in some kind of fixed relation to the income that we would be receiving. Workers were told by the Minister for Finance at that time that that would be done; that not only would wages be controlled, but also profits and prices. We were controlled for a period and then we were allowed to have the benefit of what we are offered to-day—a sliding scale of wages and bonuses related to the increase in the cost of living. Before we got the benefit of that, we had already lost some 52 points and we never caught up on those 52 points. But those who had got away so far as profits and prices were concerned are still well in front. When we ended with that emergency and it was recognised that, having gone through six years of fairly difficult times when we had been  faced with this ever-increasing rise in the cost of living and a very strict limitation on wage adjustments, it was natural on the part of all sections of workers, both wage earners and those drawing salaries, that there would be an effort to try to achieve some adjustment of their income to the increased cost of living, there was an acceptance and a readiness, I think it cannot be denied, to have those claims adjusted with the least inconvenience and the least dislocation of industry or the country's economy. Those of us who have some authority to speak for organised workers here took our part of the responsibility so far as the debate during the passing of the Industrial Relations Act was concerned and the setting up of the Labour Court. Personally, I believe that was good policy.
While I am speaking of the Labour Court, I want to make one passing reference. I do not want to enter into a discussion of the Labour Court here as it will be discussed shortly.
When I intervened during Deputy Dillon's statement to say that there was one case, not charging the court with dishonesty or partiality, in which I thought the men were entitled to reject the decision of the court because I was aware of the circumstances, I was referring to a major dispute at the present time. I am satisfied that the men were right in rejecting the award. These remarks are not introduced as a condemnation of the court. There are other features that require examination and possibly we can improve the machinery by an interchange of views. But the court was accepted and I think it true to say that, in the major number of cases, while there might have been a certain reluctance to accept awards, these awards were in the main accepted and worked by the workers who submitted their cases to the court.
There have been remarkably few industrial disputes in this country since we ended the emergency. I think if in September, 1946, any of us had been asked what our position would be during the ensuring 12 months, we should have given a forecast which would have indicated a greater number of disputes than we actually experienced in these  12 months. I feel that to come here now and suggest that we have come to an end of this type of machinery, that we have now reached a critical condition, is not dealing honestly with the situation but is trying to utilise the position that has been created for ulterior motives and possibly to assist a certain political propaganda.
If one examines the three major disputes that exist at present, leaving the Labour Court and the wage issues out of it altogether, one will note that a peculiar thing arises. In each of these three disputes, we have got either direct or indirect connection with the Government, through the investment of public moneys under Government control, or the sitting on the board of directors of Government nominees. Through an indirect type of control, we have a very close association with Government policy in the management of these companies. My own belief is that if in these major disputes we were not dealing with the problem of Government policy, it would be much easier to adjust these disputes because the peculiar thing is that the attitude which has created a difficulty in settling these disputes is reflected in the approach we have had by the Minister for Finance and the Taoiseach in opening this debate—the feeling that so far as the workers are concerned, they have displayed a lack of patience and an unwillingness to accept any share of the present burden of lack of consumer goods and growing prices. That position, they know in their hearts to be completely wrong and yet they trot it out here when they tell us that we are in danger of these industrial conflicts, that we must have a certain regulation of wages and that if we do not accept it by agreement, it will have to be enforced by law.
If we want industrial production, is it not clear that there are certain factors of which we have got to take account? We do not get increased production merely by having employers and a sufficiency of capital. Incidentally, I would say to Deputy Dillon that the farmers are not the only individuals who produce in this country.
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
Mr. Dillon: I did not say that.
Mr. Larkin Mr. Larkin
 Mr. Larkin: It is not correct, anyway. However, that is an aside. The point is, that in looking for increased production we have got to consider a number of factors, and one of the most important is the labour that goes into production. How does the Taoiseach expect to get a response to his appeal for increased production if his treatment of the workers is such as that handed out in the Budget? In 1946 we accepted this machinery for adjusting disputes. I think in all reasonableness, we have used that machinery to the very limit and we have honourably in the main accepted the awards given us by that conciliation machinery. We went forward with these claims even in 1946 on the basis that we would have to carry portion of the burden of the emergency, that whereas we were faced with a cost of living which had risen by 56 per cent. over that of 1939, we would limit our claims to a 50 per cent. increase, even in the most aggravated cases, on the basis of a cost-of-living index which the Minister now tells us has got to be reviewed because it is no longer a correct index of our position, a position of which the trade union movement has not only known but of which it has for years repeatedly warned the Government. We accepted the position of having wage adjustments varying from 30 per cent. in the case of higher paid workers to 50 per cent. in the case of lower paid workers. We left a marginal line in the hope and belief that not only the play of economic forces but definite Government action—by steps taken first of all to secure that there would be stability in so far as the cost of living was concerned for a period, and then subsequently a gradual driving down of prices—would result in the stabilisation of prices and wages somewhere in the neighbourhood of 40 or 50 per cent. above the pre-war figures.
We even in our foolishness accepted the statement of the Government that it was good economic policy to take off the excess profits tax and let industrialists, manufacturers and distributors have the benefit of another £3,500,000 which it was hoped would reduce prices and increase production. We had only got our first wages increases when the  old circle started again. From an index of 288 in August when we started to put forward our claims, a figure on which we had based the major portion of our activities, the index rose to 305 in February. Even in the period in which we were making claims, the index figure was constantly mounting and finally we reach to-day a figure of 319. Then we are told if you will only be patient; if you will only not make claims for wage adjustments, things will stabilise themselves. We did that in 1941 and we know what has happened from that time. Nobody would object to that happening if it were something beyond the control of the Government or of other factors in this country. Through the Government's failure to take any action to control prices we reached a position in the spring of this year in which we saw that the cost of living had risen to 305.
We went further and we pointed out that, once this process of increasing prices had started nobody knew where it was going to stop. We urged on the Government even at that late date all the difficulties they would have to overcome in trying to retrieve a position that had been steadily developing since 1939 unless they took a more rigid and more definite power in regard to price control. We urged that they should say, as they said in relation to wages in 1941, that on and from this date there would be no further increase in the cost of goods or services except a case for that increase was made, as far as possible in public and where, after the case had been carefully examined, they could stand over that increase.
We were laughed at here in this House when we suggested that one of the most necessary things was to try and restore some public confidence in the price control machinery and that that could only be done by having an examination of all cases of price increases carried out in public, just as we have applications for wage increases dealt with by the Labour Court, with private sessions where necessary for dealing with confidential figures. We were told that that was completely unnecessary. Now we are going to have a new prices control. This  is not the time to debate the Industrial Efficiency and Prices Bill but again I would point out that we are told here that we have to deal with an immediate situation, a situation in which the problem is becoming so serious, so far as increased prices are concerned, that we have got to have recourse to large-scale subsidisation. To meet a situation in so far as prices and profits are concerned, we are going to rely on a Bill which may start to operate in six or nine months time. Again we will have the very same problem created in relation to the Prices Commission as we have had in the case of the Labour Court, of throwing more work on to a willing body than it is capable of carrying. However that is another day's work.
The position I am concerned with at the moment is that we ask that action be taken, and we say, and I think it is quite right to say this on behalf of the workers, that if we could get a reasonable undertaking that a halt would be called to the ever-rising cost of living, we would be content to see our wages stand at a certain figure for a period, in the hope that gradually that would be a contribution to a reasonable measure of stability. That has been denied us, but we are told now that an effort will be made to reduce the cost of living by subsidies—very nice and very kind. We take the subsidy out of one pocket and pay it back into the other.
That is the contribution the Government propose to make towards easing not only the problem, the very serious problem the Taoiseach refers to, of the growth of industrial conflicts, of the growth of class conflicts as the Irish Press refers to them to-day, but to the whole problem of the discontent and the dissatisfaction which exists around us. It is not confined to any section of workers, industrial workers, workers engaged in distribution or workers on the land, but is to be found amongst everybody dependent on a wage or salary. In the light and in the face of their own difficulties, which are growing bigger and greater day by day, they have a continuous flaunting, first of all, of waste and luxury on the  part of a small section, and, secondly, and the most peculiar thing of all, of the fact that, since we took off controls last year, since we repealed the excess profits tax and even since we gave increases in wages, two out of every three companies which publish reports are paying increased dividends or handing out bonuses for this year. These are the people who are unable to give increases in wages unless they immediately pass them on to the price of their goods. In the very early stages last year of the period of wage adjustment, statements were made by two leading industrialists that, so far as they were concerned, any wage increase given was going to be passed direct to the goods or services they provided and that they had made up their minds about that. They did succeed to a very large extent.
So far as workers are concerned, as I say, this Budget is going to present them with a peculiar problem. I repeat that, so far as workers so far as I know them are concerned, they do want to co-operate in trying to find a solution of this problem. It is no satisfaction to workers to receive an apparent increase in their wages and to find that their real wages are going down day by day. Even within the past two or three months, when this problem of the ever-rising cost of living was confronting us daily, sections of workers were meeting and in their own good sense and using their own intelligence taking the line of saying: “No; we are not going to put in claims for wage increases at this stage. We still believe and hope that a Government with any sense of duty or any understanding of economic factors will relieve us of that obligation and take some steps which will at least bring prices to a standstill for the moment and gradually reverse the trend.”
A remarkable thing is that though we have had this increase of 31 points in the cost of living since August, 1946, there has as yet been a remarkably small number of wage increase applications. A number have, it is true, been presented and have received certain publicity, but, compared with the wave of applications which went in in the period from September to December  last year, the number to-day is remarkably small, because the workers discovered then what actually occurred later, that, as they were receiving these adjustments in wages, the increases were being used as arguments for still further sending up prices and widening the gap between the cost of living and their wages, and so to-day they are a little reluctant to follow the same course. I do not know whether, tomorrow morning, they would be still as reluctant as they were this morning, in view of the statement made now on behalf of the Government, that the money to provide the subsidies on certain foods is to be obtained, in the main, from wage and salary earners by extra charges on what have now become recognised as necessaries. In passing, I may say that if it was a question of a tax on drink, from a moral or ethical point of view, I would be the first to tax it out of existence altogether.
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
Mr. Dillon: Oh!
Mr. Larkin Mr. Larkin
Mr. Larkin: I happen to be a very rabid teetotaller, but I have enough sense to know what I can do and what I cannot do. I recognise, and it is recognised even by the Minister in his statement, that expenditure on drink and tobacco and on the cinema has, in modern conditions, become part of the ordinary necessaries of life of the ordinary working-class family. Now we are going to tax these and with the proceeds we propose to offer to the working class family subsidies on certain foods. As has already been pointed out we will probably take more from them than we give back. But that is only one side of the picture. In return for these subsidies, we are going to call upon the workers, through their trade unions, to enter into a voluntary agreement to place wages on a stand-still basis as of this date, and, following upon that, we arrive at some agreement by which there will be a sliding scale in respect of increases in the cost of living.
Even at this moment we are suffering probably a 20 per cent reduction in our real wages as compared with 1939 and we are now to be asked to accept that. We got adjustments in 1946  which were officially stated to be moderate and reasonable. Since 1946, we have had a further increase of 10 per cent. in the cost of living. That 10 per cent. increase is to be taken off at our expense, and, having lost that 10 per cent., we are to be kindly allowed to have a sliding scale. If the sliding scale operates as it did during six years of war, we will find that every time the cost of living goes up, we lose a little more, until finally the gap becomes impossible to close. However, that is a matter for the trade unions and their organisations to deal with officially. I am quite sure they will give an answer adequate and proper to the proposition put up to them, but if this is to be the policy to try to deal with the serious situation facing us, of trying to control the rising cost of living and trying to avoid the difficulties arising from wage claims and the growth of industrial conflicts, all I can say is that that policy is an expression of incompetency or downright callousness so far as the feelings of the mass of working class and salaried people are concerned or possibly even at this late stage some kind of political madness.
It may be said that, if this policy is not acceptable to the masses of the people, they have a remedy and we will probably find what the result will be after the by-elections, but things do not just happen like that. It is quite possible that, in our foolishness, we will allow this policy to be operated and allow these subsidies to be paid for at our own expense. We may even be foolish enough to agree to a stand-still on wages and a sliding scale based on a loss of 10 per cent. of our wage values since last year and the majority of us may still continue to support Fianna Fáil. That is not the answer to the problem because the situation will still remain and I am very much afraid that the problem that faces us to-night, of an increasing cost of living and a danger of growing conflicts, will still face us after we have tried this policy and find that it failed, as we were warned it would fail, unless something were added to it in large measure.
If we are serious about this position there are steps which can be taken  which will give at least some measure of relief. I am not concerned at the moment with the question of inflation which has already been spoken of by a number of speakers, but if we want to deal with the problem facing us, I suggest that a number of steps are necessary. The first and most important is that our system of price control will be taken out of the realm of some kind of Star chamber, operating nobody knows how. That certainly would not enjoy anybody's confidence. It is necessary that it should encourage public support by being of a representative character and operating as far as possible in public. It may be desirable occasionally that it should meet in secret to consider confidential matters, just the same as the Labour Court or other tribunals, but for the most part it should carry out its functions in public.
Secondly, profits, in addition to being controlled under some form of price control, should also be subject to some drawing off by means of taxation. No matter how we operate price control, we cannot, under existing industrial conditions, so operate it as to allow the same margin of profit to all producers. We will have very grave differences and there must be some means whereby excess profits can be milked off for the benefit of the community and at the same time we must prevent any undue disparity as between those engaged in various form of production.
If we want to guard against inflation, all essential goods in short supply should be subject to a rationing system. The only protection you have against inflation is some control in the supply of goods. Unless we have that we are likely to have the effects of inflation felt in this country. We have embarked on a policy of subsidising food prices and, in general, there will be support for that except in so far as the source from which the money is to come is concerned.
Finally, if we are to have some machinery to adjust wage demands and to avoid industrial conflicts, it is a prerequisite that there must be an adjustment in wages, at least to cover the difference that has taken place in  the cost of living since 1946. If our claims were correct and moderate and justifiable in 1946, and we have lost 10 per cent. in the intervening 12 months, then it is only proper that the loss should be made good and that we have some system of machinery to adjust wage claims and so avoid future conflicts.
Mr. Maguire Mr. Maguire
Mr. Maguire: The Supplementary Budget that was introduced this evening is an indication of the seriousness of the country's problem. On looking casually through it, one must feel that it is an attempt to deal with the situation in a way which will give the least offence to the majority of our people. Very welcome indeed is the proposal that the cost of essential foodstuffs, such as bread, tea, sugar and a few other items, will be reduced. These commodities are, of course, essential and most people will welcome the proposed reduction, but there is the less welcome side of this Budget and that is the proposal that the cost of reducing the price of certain commodities will be borne by other sections of the community, people who are smokers, who drive motor cars, who take an occasional drink and who pay taxation on income, and some other classes. We must remember that taking money from one section of the community and handing it back to another section does not improve the position; it merely makes things easier for the time being for the class who benefit.
I see in this Supplementary Budget merely an attempt to deal with a situation which has grown to such an extent that it demands some action. The cost of living is soaring and there are repeated demands for increases in wages. There is no proposal in the Budget beyond transferring money from one section of the community to the public funds to make available at a cheaper rate the price of essential commodities. There is no increased wealth created by these proposals; rather it is that we must inevitably, as as result of these additional taxes, reduce the wealth of the community as a whole.
There is here one item which I consider deserves praise because it will undoubtedly bring about good results.
 That is that portion of the revenue to be raised will be allocated for the purchase of fertilisers. There is in that proposal a definite incentive towards providing the only solution that there is for our whole problem, and that is increased production. If more of this money which is to be raised could be diverted towards that purpose, I do not think it would be a wrong policy. If the whole amount asked for in this Budget was increased, doubled or even trebled, I feel the Government would be quite justified and would be making a sound investment if it were to subsidise fertilisers in order to improve production on our farms, and not merely that, but it should also subsidise workers in order that more of them might be engaged productively on our farms and in our factories.
We should aim at greater production. I think the present time is unique and great prospects are open to this country. We should make every effort to avail of our opportunities. Foreign markets are calling out for goods of every kind, from foodstuffs to manufactured articles. Would it be too wild a suggestion at this juncture, would it not be a wise thing, situated as we are, with many people unemployed, with our young men and women leaving the country in numbers that we cannot afford, that there should be a State subsidy to encourage the production here of things that we could export to foreign countries? I may be foolish in thinking along these lines, but I seriously suggest that, if taxation is to be raised here it should be diverted so as to bring about an extension in our production. I consider that would be good business. I consider that the Government's proposals, while they may seem a good method of dealing with existing conditions in this country, can by no means satisfactorily solve our problem. Our real problem is the production of essential commodities and our aim should be not merely to produce in sufficient quantities to meet our own needs, but we should also produce for export.
Deputy Fagan said that if a sufficient price were paid to the farmers they would grow much more wheat and grow it economically. He said that a proper  price would encourage the farmers to utilise land suitable for growing wheat and not use land in which seed wheat would be wasted. Deputy Fagan is an experienced farmer and I have the greatest respect for what he says. If his statement is to be taken literally, then the Government are at fault all these years in not having a survey made of the land in order to ascertain what is suitable for wheat-growing and what is suitable for other crops, and they should insist on the land being used for the crop for which it is most suitable. Compulsory tillage without some discrimination or some scientific approach is, as Deputy Fagan says, wasteful, and a remedy should be brought about as quickly as possible.
Under this proposal, the subsidising of our food stuffs—bread, flour, tea and sugar—has a peculiar significance. Economically, the less of these commodities that are purchased the better off we will be and, financially, the more we will increase the price on those who may contribute under this form of taxation. In other words, those who do not drink beer, or whiskey, who do not own cars, or do not smoke tobacco, are definitely a financial liability on this country. If those prices increase they are going to be a lien on the rest of the community who do drink whiskey and beer, attend pictures and drive motor cars. Economically, therefore, we would advance our interests if we could have more of the latter and have fewer of the others. I do not think for a moment that a man who drinks or smokes—and that includes the very poorest—should be made pay excessively beyond those who do not enjoy those things and accordingly do not indulge in them. To do so would be drawing near the line of being regarded as unjust. Drink in moderation is general all over the country. The poor as well as the rich enjoy it, as well as they do a pipe or a cigarette; and to make them pay because other people maintain they could do without those things is unfair. To many of them, those things are just as necessary as tea and sugar. Some other form of taxation, wide enough to include a more general contribution, may be more equitable in the long run.
 It is to be hoped that this Budget will have the effect of settling to a great extent the later developments of disturbance and the unsettled conditions of struggles and strikes. No doubt, the worker had a right to claim that with the increased cost of living his wage should be proportionately increased. If we succeed in pegging down prices, I hope the worker will have that degree of reason which belongs to workers generally and will bend himself to do his utmost to continue his service in whatever capacity his work entails, without further upsetting the general trend of business.
Apart from the organised worker, there is a section of the community for which I would like to say a word. The organised worker is fairly well protected by the trade unions and the Labour Court is available to settle any dispute between him and his employer. There are even sections of our agricultural community which find themselves in a privileged position and receive substantial subsidies from the taxpayers. Wheat and beet are well subsidised and each time the growers of these commodities find that the cost of production is not even with their requirements, they rightly make their case and can say with great force: “Unless we get a certain increase for these crops, we are not prepared to grow them next year.” Their work is so urgent and so necessary and their numbers are so limited—in areas, anyhow—that they are able to secure increased prices. Every time that wage increase grows, or there is an increase in the price of wheat or beet, up goes the price to the consumer. That consumer is in a trade union and is fairly well able to balance it, as his wage is fixed according to the cost of living.
What about the small farmer, or the farmer whose land is unsuitable for growing wheat or beet? He has to bear these increased costs and has no Labour Court to which he can apply. Of the needs of that section of the community, little is heard. He is not a trade unionist and is not strong enough or powerful enough to demand from the Government at a given time an increase in the price of his particular  products or alternatively the retention of his cost of living somewhere commensurate with the ordinary cost of living. These particular people live in different parts of the country, mainly in the west and parts of the south. No provision whatever is made for them. No work is provided, except bog work for three or four months of the year, after which they may go on the dole for the next seven or eight months, or find a few months' relief in minor relief schemes. These people are compelled to remain in the country and are not allowed to seek employment outside. They cannot find employment in any of the cities or large towns at factory work, as the trade unions are there to see that those boys and girls are not accepted. First of all, the salary allowed them is not sufficient to enable them to remain away from home. Secondly, if employment is available, the trade unions say they have their own workers in the city or town and cannot take these people in.
Even in the professions, there is no opportunity for the boys and girls of these families, who are clever and could avail of openings in accountancy or such work, if the cost of living in Dublin or similar places were not prohibitive on their parents. They are left in their own locality, without any prospects and are not permitted to leave the country. We may pour on expenses and try to adjust them and say we are fair to the whole community in drawing certain sums of money and distributing them as equitably as we can. I say definitely that this section of the community, the small farmers, is treated in an intolerable and unjust manner. I draw the Minister's attention to it to-day and suggest that it is not beyond the power of men who are inclined to be just and reasonable and who are trying to cover the whole of the community, to make an adjustment which would not continue seeking a sacrifice from one section of the community less able to assert itself than others. Whatever the effect of this Budget may be, we must recognise that it is drawing on a form of taxation almost to the limit.
If the taxes that are imposed under this Budget apply to everyone, if some of the people to whom it applies, even  a small number of those people, go out of production to the extent that they cease to own a motor-car, or cease to buy tobacco or cease to attend the pictures, if a small number go out this year we will have to increase taxation to make up that deficit in future years. In the future there will be no reserve of luxuries to tax and we will be up against it in a real way unless the people as a whole make up their mind, whether workers or professional people or Deputies or Ministers, to make a general contribution and a voluntary effort. A voluntary effort is much preferable to a compulsory one. We are up against a crisis; we are limited in our reserves of food, in our reserves of taxation and in our supplies from abroad, and nothing more than a voluntary contribution from each person to work his hardest can save us. Unless we have increased production and increased food supply, this Supplementary Budget is a very ominous thing and it forecasts for the future, if we continue as we have been doing for some time past, to look lightly on things of a serious nature, a very bitter and dark prospect.
Mr. Corry Mr. Corry
Mr. Corry: There is no doubt that the attempt made by the Government in this Budget for the relief of the ordinary wage earner in this country will be welcomed by all. I cannot see in it where money is found in a big heavy imposition on the worker. I have gone through the items and I do not see any worker paying surtax. I do not see any worker drinking too many whiskeys, too much wine or too many cocktails, or paying too much incometax, or being nailed on the duty on cinemas or cosmetics. In that list, which amounts, roughly, to £2,500,000 income, I do not see that the Government will have thrown any great strain on the wage earner in this country.
If the Government draws from any one section—and that section in my opinion can well afford it and I have no great sympathy for them— £2,500,000 to reduce the price of bread and other necessities of life for the ordinary wage earner in this country, it is a good thing. That is the way I look at this thing.
Now the whole crux of our present  position in this country and of our future lies in one thing—increased production. And the main place where you have to look for increased production is on the land. I do not know where Deputy Maguire spent his time. He has betrayed a colossal ignorance as far as the ordinary agricultural community is concerned. I do not know what kind of people he is meeting in his own constituency in County Leitrim. I know when I was down there I found them for the most part good tillage farmers. But his idea is that the man who produces wheat and beet can always come along and get a rise in price. Does he realise that the price of wheat has been the same since 1943 and that since then there have been three increases in agricultural wages and an increase of at least 25 per cent. in the price of artificial manure not to speak of many other things? I was very glad when the Minister let one thing out of the bag to-day; he mentioned the £29 per ton they were paying for wheat. I presume in dollars. If we are going to step up on production in this country and if we are going to save the dollars for something that is needed, I suggest that that £29 per ton would be very welcome to the agricultural community to-day. And it would be far better for the country if the £29 were paid for wheat grown in this country as against paying it in dollars we have not got to some other country.
Deputy Maguire also mentioned the price of beet and the howl being made about it. I would like if the Minister would make one decent drive in respect of what I am suggesting and endeavour to see what the result would be on those lines. Last year we endeavoured by every means short of a strike on behalf of the beet growers of the country to get a fair price for beet. We even went so far—though the price was bad at the wind up—as to recommend to the growers to grow at the price. The result was that there were 400,000 tons of beet this year, a reduction of 200,000 tons. That is the present position. The difference was made up last year, and will, I presume, be made up this year, by the importation of raw sugar or cane sugar. I admit that the company can continue to pay dividends on that basis but I suggest to the Minister  that it would be far better if he could get the agricultural community to grow somewhere between 700,000 and 800,000 tons of beet and put an end to the present rationing system which is going on here. I further suggest that on a 700,000-ton crop of sugar the company could better afford to pay 8/6 more a ton than they can on the 400,000-ton crop they are getting at present. That is a strange position. If we are going to step up production those are the lines of production on which we can step up. The Minister need not think that it is any pleasure to any farmer who knows what the position in regard to bread is going to be here during the next six months—it is the present custom of farmers after threshing to throw a couple of tons of oats on one side to feed fowl and for general feeding round the place on the farmyard—to throw a couple of tons of wheat aside to feed fowl and pigs because wheat is £22 while oats is £25. Now that is the situation. And that is where a large quantity of wheat which should go towards feeding the people this winter will go.
The Minister can do as he likes about it but he need not say that he was not told. The farming industry is our largest industry. It is the only industry which is denied a tribunal before which it can get its prices fixed. In preparation for such a tribunal, we in Cork, this time 12 months, induced a number of our farmers to get costed for the winter supply of milk to the city. The winter supply of milk to a city is an entirely different proposition from the supply of milk to creameries. The man who contracts to supply milk to a city must have his 40 gallons in the month of December as well as in the month of June. He must have his cows calving in August, September, October and November. He must milk them through the winter and provide feeding for them through the winter. During the six winter months, the cost of production of new milk on the farm, according to the figures given by Professor Michael Murphy, of University College, Cork, is 2/5 per gallon. The fixed price of milk in Cork City is 2/-. How long you will get milk for a city  on that basis, I do not know. It is just as well, when we are talking about standstills and prices, that the Minister should realise what the position is.
Deputy Larkin spoke about the 51 points or 52 points which labour had lost. I could speak of a couple of hundred points which we, the farmers, have lost and which we intend to get, no matter who pays. If we are to have a step-up in production, the first duty is to put our house in order. You will not put your house in order by having a price which is not economic for agricultural produce. There is no use in imagining that you will. While you have uneconomic prices, your production on the land will go down. While you have a worker on the land receiving less than half the wage for which bus conductors are out on strike, you will have the ordinary workers leaving the land for other walks of life. I could give the Minister several instances of that. Only a fortnight ago, a neighbour of mine got a telegram from the town to which he was sending his milk, saying: “Come in and collect your pony and cart; I have gone to Irish Steel.” That worker found himself, in the industry to which he went, with three times the wage the unfortunate farmer could afford to pay him. That condition of affairs cannot continue. We have an opportunity on this Budget of putting our house in order. No matter what you may say about fixation of prices, if you want production from the soil you must be prepared to put workers on the land and producers of food in, at least, as good and as decent a position as workers in the subsidised industries in the cities and towns. That is the crux of the problem. Let us get down to it from that point of view.
With two disastrous harvests, we get no compensation. We have to swallow our losses. The 5/- a barrel increase in wheat for the coming year will not reach the £29 a ton which the Minister has to pay to the foreigner for wheat. I suggest that it is good policy to get wheat grown by inducement rather than compulsion. I say that as one who has grown double his acreage of wheat each year and more than double during several years. When we come up against disaster in that line, there is  no use in my telling the Irish Land Commission that I grew 45 acres of wheat but got a yield of only two or three barrels to the acre and, therefore, cannot pay them their annuities. They would send down the sheriff. The Minister, under present conditions, will lose the whole acreage of wheat grown voluntarily in that way. He may or may not get the compulsory acreage of wheat grown. There is a way out of that, too. My advice to the Minister is to put our house in order now, fix prices for agricultural produce which will mean a step-up in production and enable us to go into some kind of competition for workers.
We want far more skill in the farm labourer than is requisite in the case of the builder's labourer in the city. The fellow who is useless to us, the farm labourer who is too lazy to work, goes a distance of six miles into the city and obtains a wage of £5 4s. 0d. a week, with a half-day on Saturday. The Saturday after he leaves the farm, he is to be seen on the ditch laughing at the idiots who have to work on Saturday evening. We can produce food. The only thing stopping production is the price which is paid for our produce. I suggest to the Minister that now is the time to fix up that side of the matter and let things go ahead. I have stated the position as regards beet. I suggest to him that it would be far better to have sufficient beet grown here to enable the rationing of sugar to be avoided. I have given the figures which this would involve. The sugar company could better afford to pay 8/6 a ton more on 800,000 tons than they could afford to pay 8/- or 8/6 less on 400,000 tons. That is the present situation and I suggest to the Minister that now is the time to deal with it.
Mr. Everett Mr. Everett
Mr. Everett: I wish to state that I disagree with this Budget. I consider that it is a very severe burden on the community as a whole notwithstanding what Deputy Corry has pointed out in regard to the subsidy on flour, tea and sugar. Deputy Corry overlooks the fact that the wealthy man, who is getting off very lightly in regard to excess profits, is reaping a benefit similar to that which the poor man is reaping under the subsidy on flour, tea and  sugar and also that he is in a better position to purchase more of any commodity than is the poor man whose wages are now going to be pegged down under a standstill Order.
Take the position of the old age pensioner. How will he be affected under this Budget? We are told he is going to get a reduction of 2/2 in the lb. on tea but we must not overlook the fact that he is allowed only a small ration of tea in the week and that, therefore, he will not reap the benefit which would be reaped if there were a big family. On the other hand, he is asked to pay 10d. in taxation if he smokes two ounces of tobacco, which is not a luxury but a necessity as far as he is concerned. If a poor man smokes two ounces of tobacco in the week he has to pay 10d. as against a grant of roughly 2d. in his ration of tea. If he takes two pints it will cost him 6d. extra in taxation. One shilling and fourpence is immediately gone in taxation as against a benefit of roughly 2d. on his ration of tea. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
Mr. Flanagan Mr. Flanagan
Mr. Flanagan: There will be very little smoking after to-day.
Mr. Everett Mr. Everett
Mr. Everett: Deputy Corry spoke about the great subsidy for bread. I would point out that an old age pensioner is rationed to one loaf per day, or to a 2-lb loaf every second day. As an old man he very probably lives by himself. He gets a reduction of ¾d. on his 2-lb. loaf. If he takes three loaves in the week he gets a reduction of 2d. On his sugar ration he gets a reduction of 1d. Altogether he gets a reduction of 5½d. for bread, tea and sugar in the week but, on the other hand, he pays in extra taxation on two commodities, which I suggest are not luxuries, but necessities, the sum of 1/4. The man who pays excess profits, on the other hand, gets off very lightly. I, like Deputy Corry, object to people who spend their money on cocktails, wines and champagnes which are imported into this country. If I had my way I would treble the tax on these wines as I consider that the people who indulge in them are getting off lightly. They have wealth and they have no other way of spending their money. It is the people in the rural areas who should  be considered. The Minister states that the price of the 6d. cinema seats will be increased to 8d., omitting to tell the House of an arrangement between the revenue authorities and the cinema proprietors by which a seat which formerly cost 4d. was increased to 8d. and that, in fact, there has been no 6d. seat in rural provincial towns, as a result of that agreement. Now there is to be a further increase. I respectfully submit that the people in the rural areas are entitled to some consideration and that they are not getting it. For that reason the person in the rural area looks upon this Budget as a severe strain on the miserable borderline poverty in which he is existing.
While increased taxation is being imposed on the wealthy person—on drink which is imported into this country— I would point out that, as wealthy people paying excess profits, there is no great hardship on them to pay the extra money. I have never taken a drink in my life yet I can understand the position of the poor man. These wealthy people will not be looking for a “pint”. They will be looking for wines, cocktails and champagne. The increase does not affect them but the 3d. on a “pint” will have its effect on the working man. I take it that it is manufactured in the country and that it is not interfering with our purchasing power abroad. The wines and the champagne are coming in. The wealthy person does not mind the double tax but the road worker, who is not worrying about fur coats for his wife and daughters, does mind it. The man in the Rolls Royce does not worry about a double tax or the price of a fur coat. I want to point out that this is a tax upon the poor. The Government has brought in a tax upon wages. There is going to be a standstill Order under which, according to the Taoiseach, the cost of living will be decided by civil servants who have their own opinion as to the cost of living. My opposition to this Budget is that the taxation is unfair. I appeal to the Minister to remit the 5d. per ounce tax on tobacco for the old age pensioner. That is the smallest concession he could make. It will not affect the revenue to any worthwhile extent. That is the least we can  do for him, considering that we have only made a certain allowance to him in the last few months under our Social Services Scheme.
I agree with what Deputy Corry said in regard to subsidies. We should give a further and a greater subsidy for the production of what we can get out of the land. We should make the life of the agricultural labourer and of the farmer as attractive as possible and we should pay him on the same basis as the man who is given protection in industry in the town or in the city. If there is to be contentment in the rural areas he must not be taxed out of existence and he must be given a proper home and good wages—wages as attractive, as Deputy Corry pointed out, as if he were working in Haulbowline where he would be getting £5 or £6 a week for a 44-47 hour week. I want to do everything in my power to help to get greater production on the land, but I realise that we must give some inducement to the men who are on the land. We must give the farmer who, through no fault of his own—through a bad season, such as the present time, or a low yield or a blight on his potatoes— has sustained losses, some form of insurance or initiate some scheme whereby he will not be at a loss for something which is beyond his control. I know of good hard-working men with small capital who lost a considerable number of cattle even as recently as this year and thus their whole year's or two years' savings went. Why does the Government not introduce a scheme similar to that which is in operation in New Zealand? If, through illness or accident, a farmer in New Zealand loses his stock or his crops he is compensated. Surely we could have some such scheme or insurance, so that a man would be able to replace his losses. I submit that no consideration is given to men except those in the cities and towns. I would appeal to the Minister to reconsider this taxation on the poor. I appreciate the difficulties. I recognise that we are in a serious position.
I do not want to take any unfair advantage or to play any Party game but I want to say straight and fair what the honest opinion of the people is. The  Government has made some very slight concessions but, on the other hand, it is going to keep down the wages. Two years ago I mentioned in this House that we were chasing the cost of living all the time. No matter what increase the worker got, when the foodstuffs went up another 20 per cent. he got only 5 per cent. and he was, therefore, worse off after than before. We must make a sincere effort to control the cost of living in so far as we can do so in relation to home production. I know it is very difficult to do it in relation to imports.
I was surprised to hear the Minister and the Taoiseach saying that it is impossible to control the price of vegetables. Cabbage is sold by the farmer for, say, 9d. a dozen and it is sold in the towns at 6d. and sometimes 1/- a head. The cost would be easily controlled if there were local committees but the Minister will not agree to have local committees. I do not know what is his idea in that. If there were local committees prices could be investigated and controlled. When I compare the prices of vegetables in the greengrocers' shops with the price the farmer receives, I am forced to the conclusion that the greengrocers and shop-keepers are paying excess profits tax because they must be millionaires. I mention that as one item that could be controlled.
I am disappointed with this Budget. I make an appeal for the old age pensioner and I ask the Minister at least to consider that point. The other matters can be debated to-morrow. I hope there will be an agreement in regard to the Prices Commission and that both parties will get together. I agree with Deputy Larkin that if a genuine attempt were made to stem the soaring prices of the goods we produce in our own country, each week and each month, the cost of living could be controlled. There should be no discrepancies in the prices in the various shops. Each shop has a different price for a particular commodity and, when one goes in to purchase, one is told in respect of an article that is sold from under the counter that the price is very different from the advertised price and that you will not get it unless you are  prepared to pay that price. That sort of thing can be prevented if you have a real, live, Prices Commission and if a judge or justice takes a serious view of serious mistakes rather than of some temporary mistake that may occur in writing up a register.
If there is a genuine desire on both sides, we will weather the storm but a standstill Order to keep men down to the borderline of hunger and prevent them from accumulating savings while others are making profits and are asked to pay only a certain amount back in excess profits tax is not likely to create co-operation or the peace we all so much desire. Unless it is possible to give fair play to both sections of the community, in 12 months time we will be faced with another set of problems and complications.
Captain Giles Captain Giles
Captain Giles: We have been always told that the majority of the people of this country are very good-living and I am satisfied that that is correct. To-day there was a clamour outside the gates and people were trying to get in in here to see what the Taoiseach was going to take out of the bag. I am afraid they were very disappointed. They have seen him trying to feed the dog with a bit of its own tail. He has produced neither plan nor anything else. There is a big number of commodities that are scarce in this country. In my county fish are scarce but the Minister for Finance could open his bag and pull out a shoal of red herrings. I do hope the people will not follow the red herrings this time as they did on the occasion of the last election. I am certain that the crisis that we are told is upon us is nothing more than part of the election campaign. It is an old game of the Taoiseach to beat the big drums, to tell of the crisis that is upon us, the leadership that is needed, the steady man, and all that.
Mr. Flanagan Mr. Flanagan
Mr. Flanagan: He cannot say it is going to rain down bombs now.
Captain Giles Captain Giles
Captain Giles: No. No matter what crisis is upon us, this country will weather the storm. We weathered worse storms for 700 years and we will weather this one and there is no use  in trying to create a scare. The remedy is simple. Let the people take off their coats and work. I am satisfied that all that is wrong, from the Government to the poorest man in the country, is that not one of us is pulling his weight. There is not half the production that could be obtained because the people are not working. Why have we all the joy-riding, dancing, Butlin camps, luxury hotels? It is because the people do not want to work. We love pleasure but we are going to pay for it and I hope we pay for it because we deserve to pay for it.
I, coming from a rural population, realise what the small 12-acre farmer has to suffer in trying to eke out an existence from his poor bit of land. Even in peace-time his is a hard struggle. When I think of these men, who are the majority of our people, being harnessed to production at an uneconomic price, forced to do what the Government demand, whether they like it or not, while others are flying around the country in high-power cars, with cheque books, coming here to eat the bit we are producing at less than the cost of production, I begin to think, are not we a quiet people?
It is time that the ordinary plain man of this country woke up to a realisation of his duty to himself and to his family and to the nation, to shake off the yoke that is upon him and to do what other people will not do, that is, to put this country on a proper basis. I am satisfied that this country is not being run as it should be run. This is an agricultural country and our first and last thoughts should be of agriculture and agricultural production. This country can and should produce all of its needs in agriculture. We could have full and plenty for ourselves and for export even in the present emergency. How is it that during the first European war and for years afterwards this country produced full and plenty of everything, not only for our own people but for Britain and anyone who wanted it? We have now a native Government and we have neither wheat nor beet nor sugar. We have practically nothing of the necessaries of life because the foundation of this State is  based on a false philosophy, on hypocrisy, humbug and political playacting. If the Government took off the mask they put on 15 years ago and faced the country as honest men and admitted their mistake and expressed sorrow for their mistake, we could have hope for this country. But they will not do it. They plead that they were right all along and that Cumann na nGaedheal were wrong. Where do they stand now? On to what platform is Fianna Fáil clambering? Where is the republican platform of self-sufficiency? That has gone and they are on the Fine Gael platform, trying to shove us off, and they are not men enough to admit it. If they would admit it, it would save the country a great deal of trouble.
At the present moment the people are not getting from the land that which they are entitled to get from it. If our farmers got relief and help and fertilisers from the Government we could produce, not three barrels of wheat to an acre, as we get at present, but 15 to 20 barrels of wheat to the acre. I am satisfied it can be done.
I am in the happy position that I was able to produce 12 barrels of wheat to the acre and 20 barrels of oats to the acre last year simply because I succeeded in getting some fertilisers. It paid me well to get them. There is no reason why every man in the country could not do that if the fertilisers were available. The Government are to blame. To bring in an emergency Budget is like feeding a dog with part of its own tail. Every penny in this Budget should be applied towards agricultural production and the provision of fertilisers. There is no use in trying to palm off the poor by giving them a thing with one hand and taking it from them with the other. That simply creates endless strife. I believe that the position in six months' time will be as critical, from the agricultural point of view, as it is to-day. There should be more money pumped into agriculture. How can we expect the ordinary farm worker to remain there on a wage of £2 or £3 a week when he sees those engaged in industry getting £5, £6 or £7 a week? He is working in the mud all day and cannot do with  less than two or three pairs of boots or two or three suits of clothes in the year, while the highly-paid industrial worker has not to wet a finger. All the comfortable fat little factories that we have are being kept out of the subsidies provided from the taxpayers' money. The workers employed in them are in a happy position. they are paid fairly good wages, they have good hours and good holidays, while the agricultural worker has to start work at 7 or 8 o'clock in the morning and oftentimes has to remain at work until 7 or 8 o'clock at night. He has cruel, hard, dirty work to do. The farmer is barely able to pay him his wages on a Saturday night. Sometimes he is not able to pay him until the middle of the week when he sells a few old bullocks.
We have a strike of bus conductors in Dublin, who are earning £7 a week. It may be that they are entitled to strike, but surely if they are, the farmer, with ten or 15 acres of land who is getting only three or four barrels of wheat to the acre is also entitled to strike. What is keeping the farmer from striking? A sense of honour and of patriotism. We are fully entitled to get £4 a barrel for our wheat. And why not, since we are ready to pay £5 and £6 a barrel for wheat we get from America or the Argentine? In fact, we are prepared to pay any price in order to get it in here. But the Government will not give us the £4 a barrel. Deputy Fagan was right when he advised the Minister to take away all restrictions and all compulsion and to give a good price. If that is done we will take off our coats. If I am given £4 or £5 a barrel for wheat I will put all my land under it and so will every other small farmer. It is not yesterday or to-day that we learned how to plough and till the land. Our forefathers taught us that.
Why are you not getting production from the land? Why should you when the ranchers who produce the big bullocks are able to get from £70 to £90 apiece for them? They are able to have them ready for the market after feeding them for a few months. I say “to hell with you and your compulsion; we do not want it; the Irish farmer never wanted compulsion. All  he wants is a decent return for honest work”. My advice to the Government is that, instead of bringing in an emergency Budget, they should consult with the farmers and see what agriculture is in need of. Deputy Corry told the Government where they were lacking. Any practical farmer could tell them the same. We have a lot of people, Indian princes and others, coming over here and buying land. One of them has bought a 300-acre farm that is within a quarter of a mile of my place. That is land that should have been divided up and given to farmers' sons, who would be well able to work it. Who knows where some of those people came from? One of them went to a contractor and told him “to build and build” until he was told to stop—that he was going to set up a stud farm. We have a lot of poor fellows running away from the land to take jobs at building and other work with people like these.
I was with the Minister recently at the opening of a factory in the Country Meath. When the Minister was travelling across the country he did not stop to ask the people in the small thatched houses with a chimney pot hardly over the roof how they were living or what was their cost of production, or how many barrels of wheat they were getting to the acre. We see the big Dodge cars and the Rolls-Royces travelling over the country and all the bowing and scraping to those foreigners that goes on in the Shelbourne and other hotels. There is not much bowing or scraping to the Irish farmer, the man who is and should be Ireland. He has to struggle and so have the decent workers who work beside him. It is for those men that I want to see a Budget brought in.
What have we but big pleasure stunts, racing tracks and a lot of other madness. The grass land of Royal Meath is now nothing more than a racing den, with Jews and jockeys and others flocking in there. On the other hand the Irish workers are going to Britian to work in the coal mines. Is that what we fought and suffered for? I ploughed land in a foreign prison with a chain around my neck. I am one of the few who survived, but I would be  willing to do the same thing again for Ireland. The Ireland of to-day is not the Ireland that Collins, Pearse and Griffith laid down their lives for.
We are living to-day in a gangster Ireland, a false Ireland and a faked Ireland, with nothing but deceit and fraud. I want to see an Ireland that will be clean, Christian, honest and decent—an Ireland in which every man will be ready to take off his coat and work for its betterment. That is what we want. We can do without the foreigners who come in here to eat our meat and our beef. They are getting what should be going to the children of the country who are suffering from rickets and other diseases. What do those people care about Partition? You have the English and others coming here buying up the land of the country. They have no interest in seeing the 32 counties reunited. They will not open their mouths to bring about the unity of our country which we all desire, but they will open their mouths to eat the food which should be going to our own people. Provide for your own people first and the rest afterwards.
Mr. Flanagan Mr. Flanagan
Mr. Flanagan: I move to report progress.
Progress reported; the Committee to sit again to-morrow.
Dáil Éireann 108 Financial Resolution No. 13. General.