Dáil Éireann - Volume 1 - 06 August, 1920


THE DIRECTOR OF TRADE AND COMMERCE read the joint Report of the Departments of Industries and Trade and Commerce, and moved its adoption.

J. MACDONAGH (Tipperary North) seconded the motion.

J.J. WALSH (Cork City) stated that at no time in Irish history were Irish industries so neglected as at present. This was due to their failure to rouse the Irish people to a sense of their duty. He referred to the decline in the trade of Irish-made matches and cigarettes, and to the reduction of the staff in a tin factory in Ringsend. Over 100 employees had been dismissed from Paterson's works. A similar condition of affairs to that in Dublin obtained throughout the country. Notwithstanding that Mr. Blythe was devoting a lot of time to the organisation of a dressed meat factory in Waterford, which would employ possibly 1,000 hands, the bacon industry showed a decline of 5,000 in the number of hands employed within the last few years. He feared that the Department of Trade and Commerce was paying too much attention to foreign markets and neglecting the home markets. He emphasised the necessity of conserving the home market for Irish products. He suggested that Mr. Blythe should have the support of a strong Committee of the Dáil.

COUNTESS MARKIEVICZ (St. Patrick's, Dublin) agreed with the Senior Teachta for Cork City. The fault lay in the fact that they did not advertise [198] enough. The Dáil should give money for advertising purposes.

J.J. CLANCY (Sligo North) said that the fault to a great extent lay at the doors of the manufacturers themselves, who did not send travellers regularly to important centres.

J. O'MAHONY (Fermanagh South) and D. O BUACHALLA (Kildare North) complained that Irish goods were very poorly supported in mnay instances both by distributors and consumers.

LIAM DE ROISTE (Cork City) asked for a definite decision as to whether money might be spent on a propaganda campaign in favour of Irish industries.

SEAN MAC AN TSAOI (Monaghan South) asked what steps had the Department taken to draw the attention of the newly-elected Republican Councils to the fact that it was their duty to support Irish manufacturers. Arrangements should be made to co-ordinate the requirements of Irish public bodies so as to encourage manufacturers to cater for these.

The SECRETARY FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT referred to the report presented by the Local Government Department at the previous Session, which dealt with this co-ordination. Support of Irish industry and manufacture was advocated in the first instructions issued to the local authorities by the Department.

A. MACCABA (Sligo South) stated that there was £200,000 spent on steam-rolling machinery annually by public bodies in Ireland, and suggested that the question of having this money spent at home should be taken up at once.

R.M. SWEETMAN (Wexford North) suggested that the Dublin Industrial Development Association should be asked to compile a list of firms willing to stock Irish-made goods, and urge their members to deal with these firms.

R. O MAOLCHATHA (Clontarf) suggested that a league on the model of the Fainne for the support of Irish manufactures might be established. If people were to be directed to support home manufactures, a definite basis should be laid down. Schedules should be prepared showing list of articles made and consumed in Ireland articles not manufactured for which materials were available in Ireland, and articles that cannot be manufactured in Ireland. He referred to the proposed Mater Hospital National Exhibition, which was to take place next year, and in which a special section was to be devoted to the encouragement of home industry.

C. O HUIGIN (Leix) stated that sufficient use had not been made of the Sinn Fein Organisation for the spread of propaganda in regard to the consumption of Irish-manufactured articles.

A. MAC CABE (Sligo South) moved:

“That the issue of a new edition of the Buyers' Guide be financed by the Dáil.”

COUNTESS MARKIEVICZ (St. Patrick's, Dublin) seconded this motion.

The motion was talked out.

SEAN ETCHINGHAM (Wicklow East) thought that the proposal to start the manufacture of steam rollers was not a feasible one.

MICHEAL O COILEAIN (Cork South) thought that the blame for the backwardness of Irish industries rested not so much with the consumer as with the manufacturer. The manufacturers did not study the needs of the Irish consumers, and the consumer was expected to take whatever was offered to him. It was questionable whether it would not be better to have some of the manufacturers out of the country. He suggested that a return be made of all the requirements of the Poor Law Unions in Ireland. Such a return would be a guarantee to Irish firms, and they could improve and extend their plant. Irish manufacturers could not afford to speculate without some guarantee that there would be a continuous demand for their products. The Local Government Department should take the initiative in this matter through the General Council of County Councils. In any negotiations with firms Labour should be consulted, as they could not support any firm which “sweated” its employees.

The DIRECTOR OF TRADE AND COMMERCE stated with regard to the matter [199] of supplies to the bacon factories that arrangements had been come to whereby the question of the number of pigs to be exported would be submitted to a tribunal to be established by Dáil Eireann; the representatives of the Farmers' Union and of Labour had agreed to abide by the decisions of this tribunal. He had written to Liam de Roiste, of the Cork Branch of the Industrial Development Association to the effect that if a scheme for advertising Irish-manufactured articles was put forward it would be favourably considered. That was a different matter, however, from the proposal that they should subsidise the Cork Branch of the Industrial Development Association.

The Report was then put and carried.