Seanad Éireann - Volume 7 - 06 July, 1926
SHOP HOURS (DRAPERY TRADES, DUBLIN AND DISTRICTS) BILL, 1926. - APPROPRIATION BILL, 1926—SECOND STAGE.
CATHAOIRLEACH: The motion is that this Bill be now read a Second Time.
Colonel MOORE Colonel MOORE
Colonel MOORE: Senators may, perhaps, remember that the question of the payment to the British Treasury of  the land purchase annuities has been brought before the Seanad in the presence of Ministers three or four times and on none of these occasions has any reasonable answer been given. On the last occasion the Minister for Finance merely replied that he felt justified in handing them over to the British Treasury. Neither he nor the President, who I see present, will, I think, deny that I am bringing the matter forward in a reasoned statement, quoting the legal authorities for each step, and that I am making a prima facie case deserving an answer. I may say here that the sums concerned are £3,000,000 for land purchase annuities and about £650,000 local loans annually.
There are two lines of argument, both leading to the same conclusion, and yet resting on quite separate bases. One of these—the one on which I relied during former discussions—rests on the British Act of 1920, entitled an Act for the Better Government of Ireland, but commonly called the Partition Act, because that was the first occasion on which partition of Ireland was made into a law. The other line of argument rests on the London Pact, an agreement vaunted as a great victory by the Ministers who made it. I will begin with the Act of 1920. It must be remembered that this was a British Act imposed on Ireland without the consent of a single Irish representative from North or South, and yet it was the existing fact which forced the signers of the Treaty to accept Partition. We were told at the time of the Treaty that this part of the Act of 1920 was actually in force, that the Parliament was started in the North of Ireland and that they could not possibly overrule that fact. The Oireachtas has passed judgment upon the validity of the Partition Clause of that Act or rather upon the British Ministers' twisted interpretation of the validity of the Partition clause of that Act and Ireland was forced to suffer by it. If, therefore, while there is one clause under which Ireland suffers, and which she was debarred from opposing, there is another clause which is favourable to her. I maintain that that clause should be insisted on equally. People cannot have it both ways. England cannot have Partition which was insisted  on as part of the Act of 1920 and at the same time get free from the financial clauses which remain. Some persons failing to find a legal defence have appealed to moral duty devolving on the Free State to pay over the annuities. In reply, I say it would be morally as well as legally unfair to enforce one clause hostile to the Free State and wipe out another favourable to it. The Government of Ireland Act, 1920, lays down in Sections 26 and 27 that:—
Purchase annuities payable in respect of land situated in Southern and Northern Ireland respectively shall be collected by the Governments of Southern and Northern Ireland, and the amounts so collected shall be paid into their respective Exchequers.
That is that our Government shall pay into their Exchequer the land purchase annuities which they collect in Ireland. The next clause provides for interest on the land purchase debt. It was clear that that debt is to be paid in any case and the question was to whom to pay it. The land purchase annuities were to go into the Treasury of Southern and Northern Ireland. The Act provides:—
In each year a sum equal to the amount payable in that year in respect of land purchase annuities shall be paid into the land purchase fund out of moneys provided by the Parliament of the United Kingdom.
So the Parliament of the United Kingdom takes on itself the duty of paying the interest on the land debt. It is clear from these clauses that the purchase annuities payable by the tenants which formerly went to the land purchase fund for the purpose of paying the interest and principal of the loan were devolved and handed over by the London Parliament to the Treasuries of Southern and Northern Ireland, and also that the Treasury of the United Kingdom undertook for the future to pay the interest on the loan without receiving the annuities from the Irish tenant farmers. With regard to the 1920 Act the question arises whether it is now in force in this country in part  or in whole. Article 73 of the Constitution is as follows:—
“Subject to the Constitution and to the extent to which they are not inconsistent therewith the laws in force in the Irish Free State at the time of the coming into operation of this Constitution shall continue to be of full force and effect until the same or any of them shall have been repealed or amended by enactment of the Oireachtas.”
The Act of 1920 has not been repealed or amended by the Oireachtas, and moreover, its validity has been judicially decided by the Irish Courts. In the case of John Cahill and others v. the Attorney-General and the Ministers for Defence and Justice, Mr. Justice Meredith in February of last year gave judgment, I quote the judgment given by him:—
That the Constitution of the Irish Free State must be recognised by the Courts as an original source of jurisdiction since April 1st, 1922, the repeal by the British Parliament of an Act extending to the Irish Free State, including the partial repeal of the Government of Ireland Act, 1920, could not affect the question as to whether or not the Act continued to be in force in the Irish Free State, and, accordingly, that such (if any) of the provisions of that Act as are not inconsistent with the Constitution of the Irish Free State were adopted into the code of laws of the Irish Free State under Article 73 of the Constitution.
It seems to me that unless that decision of Judge Meredith is reversed that that is the law of the land in the Free State and that the 1920 Act is in force except where it has been repealed. It is true that the English Parliament had repealed parts of the Act of 1920, but that was done after it had passed the Free State Constitution and after 1st April, 1922, and, as Justice Meredith decided, that repeal is inoperative as far as the Free State is concerned, and the Act is still the law in so far as it does not contravene the Constitution. No one can contend that the clause transferring 3½ millions of  money can be a breach of the Constitution. The Act of 1920 has not been repealed by the Oireachtas. No appeal has been taken against Judge Meredith's decision and it seems perfectly clear, therefore, that the 1920 Act is still in force in the Free State except in so far as it is inconsistent with the Constitution, and that the clause allotting the land purchase annuities to the Governments of Southern and Northern Ireland respectively and the taking over of the liability for the debt by the United Kingdom is still valid and is the law of the land and remains so till the legal decision is reversed or till an Act is passed by the Oireachtas to repeal the 1920 Act. One argument I may mention which the President used on the last occasion when he was here discussing this matter. He used some argument that seemed to me to be invalid and which I do not think he himself would back up now, but I will just mention one argument the President used which is tenable. He said: “The Free State (Agreement) Act, 1922, provided that Orders in Council might be made for the giving effect to Article 17 of the Agreement for a Treaty. Under these powers the Transfer of Functions Order, 1922, was made, Article 4 of which provided that purchase annuities should be paid into the Land Purchase Fund.” Now the President must know that that Act was a British Act in the first place, and secondly it was a temporary Act. It was an Act made merely for the handing over of certain powers to the Provisional Government then in force in Ireland, and so certainly is that the case that this is stated in the very first clause of that Act, which states that the Act was only for 12 months and that it shall cease to have any effect at the end of that 12 months. That is the 12 months allowed for the handing over of the services to this country. Therefore any orders issued under that Act cannot extend longer than the Act itself. Now that is so far as the 1920 Act is concerned.
On the 6th December, 1922, this Provisional Order of the British Government became out of date, and Section 26 of the Government of Ireland Act, 1920, became effective instead, awarding  the land purchase annuities to Southern Ireland. It is strange that the President should have stated that the Provisional Order continued till the Land Act of 1923 became law. In 1923 the Oireachtas had a free hand in the disposal of these 3½ millions of Irish money. The Ministry introduced a clause into the Land Act of 1923 to the following effect:—
“Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in the Provisional Government (Transfer of Functions) Order, 1922 (quoted above), all sums collected after the 31st March, 1923, in respect of purchase annuities in repayment of advances made in Saorstát Eireann in pursuance of purchase agreement under the Land Act of 1891, etc., other than this Act shall... be paid into a ‘Purchase Annuities Fund’ under the control of the Minister for Finance, and there shall be paid out thereof by the Minister for Finance to the ‘Appropriate Authority’ for the credit of the land purchase account an amount equivalent to the purchase annuities accruing due in respect of the aforesaid advances.”
The “appropriate authority” is not further explained or defined, nor is the British Treasury nor the British Government mentioned in the Act. The “appropriate authority” cannot, therefore, be applied to any person or department outside the Free State because it would be unconstitutional to send large sums of Irish money abroad without the direct and clearly laid down authority of Dáil Eireann. I may mention that the local loans amounting to about £650,000 a year, come under exactly the same conditions as the land purchase annuities. That concludes that portion of the argument which rests on the 1920 Act. I now come to another argument which is as good, probably better, and certainly much simpler, and this deals with the “Pact.” Now, the “London Pact of the Amended Treaty, December, 1925,” proves even more conclusively than the Act of 1920, that the land purchase annuities and local loans belong to Ireland. Article 2 states:—
“The Irish Free State is hereby released from the obligation, under  Article 5 of the said Articles of Agreement to assume the liability therein mentioned.”
Article 5 of the Treaty, which concerned certain obligations to pay over certain sums on account of the public debt of the United Kingdom— and other matters—to the British Treasury, was wiped out by that Pact. I think it can hardly be denied that the public debt of the United Kingdom at the time of the Treaty included the land purchase loan and the interest from it. Is there anyone who will maintain that the United Kingdom was not responsible for a loan which it issued and guaranteed? The British Press and British members of Parliament were never tired, as some may remember, of claiming that it was a British gift to Ireland for which the Irish people ought to be grateful. The Englishman at that time seemed to remember that Ireland's concern in the matter was lending money to herself. It was always thrown in our teeth that it was an English gift, but there is no talk now about that. If, however, there is any doubt as to the interest on the land fund and the local loans being a part of the public debt of the United Kingdom, this doubt will be cleared up by reference to the 6th Schedule of the Government of Ireland Act, which recapitulates items of the National debt, and includes both the land purchase annuities and the local loans under the heading of the National debt; but excepts them from the Irish contribution, because that is so arranged under clauses 26 and 27.
I think I have shown pretty clearly that these two large annual sums, amounting together to £3,650,000, ought legally to be retained in the Free State, just as they have been in Northern Ireland. I do not understand how the Pact can possibly be interpreted as not including land purchase annuities, which was clearly part of the United Kingdom debt at the time of the Treaty, and, therefore, I must refer to the moral question again. In conclusion, I am unable to understand why all the morality should be on one side; that the clause suiting Britain both in the 1920 Act and in the London Pact  should be retained, whereas the clause suiting Ireland in both documents should be quietly shelved. If we are to talk of morality I wonder how those friends of Britain who urge this will explain the morality of the retention of the Lane pictures in defiance of the admission that the donor meant them to remain in Ireland; or again, Judge Feetham's decision on the boundary. I might quote many more instances, but I leave it at that. Britain, like Brennus, never hesitates when she has the power to throw the sword into the scales to balance law and morals. We have many instances of that in Ireland, Egypt and many other places. We expect our Ministers to do the best they can for their own country as English Ministers do for England.
Sir JOHN KEANE Sir JOHN KEANE
Sir JOHN KEANE: Is it in order to refer in opprobrious terms to the conduct of a friendly State?
CATHAOIRLEACH: I do not think there is anything in what the Senator said that could give offence to anybody.
Colonel MOORE Colonel MOORE
Colonel MOORE: I am winding up now. As I said, we expect our Ministers to do the best they can for this country, and to get everything that can be got for it, and not be too particular as to what they do. Other countries are not at all particular when it means getting whatever they can get. I hope the President will take some cognisance of this. It is causing a good deal of trouble down the country and will cause more trouble. If some answer or explanation in the matter is given, that is all I ask for, and the President can also answer the legal and moral questions involved if he likes.
Mr. MacLOUGHLIN Mr. MacLOUGHLIN
Mr. MacLOUGHLIN: I do not think there could be a better example of wanting to eat our cake and have it, too, than is furnished by the suggestion of Senator Colonel Moore that we should retain the land purchase annuities. The Senator has discovered that the Act of 1920, which this country repudiated and refused to put in force, is still in existence, and is the law of the land, and that under one section  of it we can claim £3,500,000 a year which is being paid into the British Treasury in the shape of land purchase annuities. I was under the impression, as far as the great majority of the people of the Twenty-six Counties was concerned, that the Act of 1920 was dead and buried; but now, apparently, the Senator wants to resurrect it from its dishonoured grave, and he goes searching amongst its decomposed remains for a crock of fairy gold. As I understand the position, the arrangement by which these annuities were to be paid into the Exchequers of Northern and Southern Ireland was part of a general scheme of finance embodied in the Act of 1920, a scheme of finance which was most unfavourable to this country and which this country repudiated, a scheme by which England took the entire proceeds of our taxes. That scheme of finance was never put into operation. The Exchequer of Southern Ireland never came into existence. It became, if I might use the phraseology of the ex-President of the Irish Republic, “a nominalistic formula.” Instead of that a new and a much more favourable financial arrangement was entered into with England under the Treaty, which gave us the power to impose, collect, and retain our entire taxation.
The Senator referred to Judge Feetham's decision. Where is that decision? I understood that decision was abortive under the much-abused London Pact. Under that London Pact we escaped all liability for war debts and war pensions that the Act of 1920 had imposed on us, and we agreed with England, as regards financial questions, to turn, practically, back to back. Senator Moore now invites us to go back on these agreements which Ministers representing this country solemnly entered into, and to go chasing with him after phantom millions of land purchase annuities which we were to get under an Act that this country rejected and repudiated.
We cannot have it both ways. We cannot approbate and reprobate. To do so would be entirely dishonourable, especially when we remember that  these land purchase annuities go to the repayment of a loan, for the repayment of which every tenant purchaser in Ireland pledged his personal credit. If an Irishman owed an Englishman a debt the Treaty did not abolish that debt or break the contract. I assume that the Senator does not suggest that tenant purchasers should break their contracts and discontinue paying their annuities. As far as I remember, when the Land Act of 1923 was going through this House it was not very pleasing to the Senator. I recollect that he considered it confiscatory, taking away incomes from the landlords.
Colonel MOORE Colonel MOORE
Colonel MOORE: The Senator is quite wrong; nothing of the sort.
Mr. MacLOUGHLIN Mr. MacLOUGHLIN
Mr. MacLOUGHLIN: I think I am right. I think you described the Act as a confiscatory one that took away almost all the income of the landlords.
Colonel MOORE Colonel MOORE
Colonel MOORE: Nothing of the sort.
Mr. MacLOUGHLIN Mr. MacLOUGHLIN
Mr. MacLOUGHLIN: If there is a copy of the Official Debate in the Seanad it can be referred to. I adhere to the opinion that I am right. At all events the Senator implied that the landlords were a great deal better treated under Land Acts that were passed during the British régime. I think it is most ungracious on the part of Senator Moore, when the landlords have pocketed the money so generously advanced to them by the British Government that he should now seek to prevent repayment of that money by way of annuities. I do not know anything about law, but I think, in honour and in equity we are bound to continue this arrangement. Senator Moore sent me a circular about this matter, in which he stated that he had consulted the best legal opinion, and that he was assured he was correct in his view. The Senator did not give us the name of the eminent lawyer who had produced this opinion. Perhaps it is the opinion of the new Attorney-General, in the shadow Cabinet of the new Party. If it is, then the country will have some idea of the fiscal ability of the new Party that is to replace the present incompetent one.
Mr. LINEHAN Mr. LINEHAN
 Mr. LINEHAN: I desire to approach this question from the point of view as to whether the Free State is really liable to the British Government for the handing over of annuities collected in Ireland. The matter appears to me to be in a very obscure state at present, and it would be very desirable that a reasoned statement should be made explaining why the Free State Government transfers this money across the water. This matter was discussed last year, but some of the conditions that then existed have changed. The President, on that occasion, mentioned that it would be very difficult to say what the area of the Free State really was. That was so last year, but since then the area has been defined and accepted by both the British and the Free State Governments, and by both Houses of the Oireachtas. I observe that before the Land Act of 1923 was passed, which provided for the handing over of the annuities to the British Government, the method adopted by the Government for getting sanction for the payment of this money was by placing an item in the Appropriation Act enabling them to do so. If this country was liable for these payments what was the necessity for putting in that clause in the Land Act of 1923? I make the further point, that a section of the Land Act of 1923 provided only for the repayment of the annuities which accrued under Acts which passed subsequent to the year 1891.
I would like to know how it is proposed to dispose of the annuities accruing under the Acts which were passed prior to that date. In the Appropriation Act of 1923 I observe that this item was described as “for making repayment to the British Government in respect of annuities under the Land Purchase Acts, 1881 to 1909.” That is not on a par with a section in the Land Act of 1923, which only deals with annuities subsequent to the year 1891.
I may say that I am not in favour of repudiating one single farthing of any debt that we are liable for to any country in the world, but, in the ordinary business way, I should like, before paying, to be assured that I owe that sum and that I was legally bound to pay it.  The money for land purchase was not advanced by the British Government, as Senator MacLoughlin seems to think. It was advanced by the Treasury of the United Kingdom, of which this country formed a considerable part. That partnership was dissolved, and now there are two Treasuries. A settlement was come to. Fortunately that settlement is in writing and it ought to be adhered to. Outside the 1923 Act I maintain that a settlement come to last December, which wiped out all our liabilities for obligations under Article 5, also released us from any obligation to pay the annuities. What was our liability under Article 5? Was it to pay a share of the war debts? Not at all. “The Irish Free State shall assume liability for the service of the public debt of the United Kingdom existing at the date thereof,” etc. The 1920 Act was mentioned last year, and the President very properly stated that while Section 26 was favourable to us, under Section 23, we were bound to pay 56 per cent. of £18,000,000, which would amount to, approximately, £10,000,000 yearly, subject to revision. I hold that section is repealed, because our contribution to the British Government is now fixed under the amended Treaty of last December. I need not say any more to impress on the Seanad the necessity of having a reasoned statement published showing why we should pay this money. That is necessary in order to satisfy the public that we are doing what we have to do and that there is no remedy for it.
Mr. DOUGLAS Mr. DOUGLAS
Mr. DOUGLAS: I think there is a great deal in what Senator Linehan has said in the last few sentences. This matter has been raised a good many times, and I think a brief, reasoned statement as to the position and what exactly the nature of the terms are would clear the air a good deal. Senator Colonel Moore sent a circular to most members of the Seanad. I carefully read that circular, and I came to the conclusion that he was wrong on the ground on which he claimed legality. Further, if he was right I should consider that the admission almost of that right would be far too much to pay, even for the amount of money that we would get were the annuities paid now into the  Exchequer here. I do not believe the Government of Ireland Act is in any way consistent with the Treaty. If it be true, and I am not sure of the facts, that a judge of the High Court here has stated that any portion of that Act can be regarded as consistent with the Treaty, then I think there should be an appeal from that judgment.
The Exchequer and the Parliament referred to under that Act, in my opinion, cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be held to be the Exchequer and Parliament set up under the Treaty. The position is totally and absolutely different, and to that extent I do not believe Senator Moore has made any case at all. I do not think that the question of repudiation really arises. No one questions that this bona fide debt should be paid. I imagine we all sympathise with Colonel Moore to this extent, that if, by a proper agreement, this money could be paid into the Exchequer here, we would very much like to see it done. I do not think it is wise to press too far the question of a joint Exchequer. If, and it is on paper, it be true, it was a joint Exchequer of the United Kingdom, then. I think, on the whole, we have got off fairly well in the Free State and if there were only annuities plus something in the London Agreement we would not have much to grumble about. It seems to me this was a capital sum paid by the Exchequers of the United Kingdom, or advanced by them, and it should be made clear exactly under what agreement the annuities became payable to the British Government. I do not think we should make any point of the question of legality and, particularly, in reference to the 1920 Act. But I think it would be well if a Paper were issued clearing up the exact ground on which they are payable and the exact agreement under which they are paid.
CATHAOIRLEACH: I do not know what the wish of the House is, but I am sure there are several other Senators who want to speak on other portions of the Appropriation Bill. Perhaps it would be more convenient if they would do so now, and then the President could answer the various points made so far as he considers it necessary to answer them. If any Senator  wishes to speak upon this particular point, or upon any other subject matter that arises under the Bill I think it would be well if they availed of the opportunity now.
Colonel MOORE Colonel MOORE
Colonel MOORE: With all due respect. I think it would be more convenient if the President would answer those who have spoken on this particular subject now.
CATHAOIRLEACH: The suggestion has been made that a more satisfactory method of doing it would be if an official document were issued explaining the matter. That is a suggestion made by Senator Douglas, and I think also by Senator Linehan. This is not, perhaps, exactly the sort of matter that any Minister would like to make a dogmatic statement upon here. As I understood Senator Linehan and Senator Douglas I think they would like to have a State paper or an official paper, as it might be called, issued by the Government explaining the position. If the President has no objection I think that would be the better course.
Mr. MacLOUGHLIN Mr. MacLOUGHLIN
Mr. MacLOUGHLIN: On a point of personal explanation I should like to say that I find that Senator Colonel Moore did not use the word “confiscatory” in his speech on the Land Bill in 1923, but he said: “I agree with Senator Sir John Keane that it is a very unjust measure to landlords. Many of them will lose part of their income and some of them will lose all their income.... To the landlords who are selling it is a very unjust measure because not only do they lose part of their income ten, twenty or thirty per cent., but in many cases they lose all their income. Men have had their rents reduced 30 per cent. the first time, then 20 per cent. again, and later another ten per cent., and then 25 per cent.; now it sweeps away any margin left, and therefore, they will be left beggars.”
The PRESIDENT The PRESIDENT
The PRESIDENT: I am not exactly clear what Senator Colonel Moore or Senator Linehan is driving at. As I understand the position. Senator Moore wants to get his pound of flesh  out of the 1920 Act. I think he will have to take the blood with it, if he wants to get it out clear. As I understand it the sums due in respect of land purchase and the various land purchase Acts were debts due by individuals, not to the British Government but in respect of certain securities issued by the British Government and which that Government had to honour. It was not money going into the British pocket to remain there; it was simply going into one fund and was being transferred out of that to shareholders having shares in respect of that.
It would be just as wise to say that persons who had not bought their land had a claim against the British Government because its plans were not sufficiently big or extensive at the time and did not permit them to purchase. These debts, due in respect of the bonds issued for land purchase, were liable for collection by the British Government here. We undertook to collect these annuities, and for the credit of the country to make ourselves responsible for the whole of the sum—not only the sum we collected but the whole sum.
Colonel MOORE Colonel MOORE
Colonel MOORE: Where is the undertaking to do that, because it does not appear anywhere?
The PRESIDENT The PRESIDENT
The PRESIDENT: If I have not made the statement to the Senator before, he is hearing it now; and if I had made it before the repetition now will not hurt him. There are different sums due in respect of money advanced. We have agreed now that that money should be paid, and to make sure that it should be paid we are simply discharging the ordinary honourable obligations of business in that connection by collecting these annuities and paying them over. It may be that we are not able to collect as much as is due, but if not there are the guarantees in respect to them. There are other funds if there is any shortcoming. But it is not to be assumed that if the annuities are not paid that that is to the benefit of the community. Somebody will have to pay. If the guarantee fund is insufficient to make good any sums not paid then the local taxation account comes into play and the money that has to be made good from it.
Colonel MOORE Colonel MOORE
 Colonel MOORE: The President did not say anything about the Pact.
The PRESIDENT The PRESIDENT
The PRESIDENT: I dealt with that in December last. I may say that the Senator did not do me the honour to send me a copy of his statement.
Colonel MOORE Colonel MOORE
Colonel MOORE: I sent a copy to him on the last occasion and he made no answer at all.
CATHAOIRLEACH: Then the Senator has the satisfaction of knowing that his case is unanswerable.
Mr. KENNY Mr. KENNY
Mr. KENNY: In our Orders paper here it is stated that discussion on various matters of Government policy will be permitted on the Second Stage of the Appropriation Bill. I want to make a few general observations with regard to the policy of the Executive, generally, and its effect in the country. I think Senators in close touch with the commercial and agricultural position of the country at the present moment will admit that some special effort is desirable in order to give a stimulus to trade and commerce and to overcome, as it were, the present stagnation. We are now on the eve of the setting up of a Tariff Commission that will inquire very properly into the question of the advisability or otherwise of imposing tariffs and protective duties on certain industries and manufactures natural to this country so as to foster and develop such industries specially favoured by the position of this country having regard to its climate, soil, and geographical position. That is a very proper subject for inquiry. Even though such industries do not exist at the moment, yet if the Commission came to the conclusion that they were specially favoured by nature to conduct such industries, then, I say, we would be very well advised in taking the risk of setting such industries on foot even at a loss in their early years to the revenue. Nobody, I think, desires that any industry which is not natural to this country and which does not present any advantage in this country over its rivals should be bolstered up by a tariff or otherwise.
 If the industry is unsuitable there is no use in bolstering it up and keeping it in a kind of hothouse existence at the expense of the community. But we have in this country great natural advantages, we have a very fertile soil. We have fine deep-water harbours north, south, east and west, and we are abundantly supplied with rivers and great potentialities in water power. That is being taken advantage of by, in one instance, the Shannon scheme. These are natural advantages and geographically we are right in the highways between east and west. I have the very greatest hope in the future of our industries. Any attempt to revive or re-establish industries here in the past was suppressed immediately. Hostile tariffs, preferential rates, transport rates were all thrown into the scale against Irish industry and for one reason or another it was found practically impossible to establish industries under the old régime. The peculiar thing is that despite our great resources and natural advantages we are undoubtedly a very poor country. Our industrial development is at a very low ebb. Our income tax returns will show how poor we are as a community. With an income tax of 4/- in the £ our whole return only reaches a figure of £3,500,000 or something like that. In New Zealand with a smaller population they have a larger income tax return and the reason is that we here in this country have so few rich men in comparison with other countries. This again has a bearing upon the taxing capacity of the people averaging them as a whole.
With a large section of the community throughout the State there is a feeling of depression due, I think, to the fact that we are over-rated and taxed beyond our capacity. It is very hard on the community to see its energies in commercial enterprise filtered away by means of taxation. It enervates business men. No one will accuse our Government of want of courage in dealing with great national problems but, I think, that the time has come for them to do something to restore the confidence of the people. A great deal has already been done in  the undertaking of such a gigantic enterprise as the Shannon scheme.
I think that in enterprises like the Shannon scheme, the housing scheme, the great drainage works, the benefits from them will be enjoyed not only by people here to-day but by succeeding generations, and it is rather asking too much that these schemes of general utility, so far as the results are concerned, should be borne out of revenue. I think them proper schemes for the flotation of a loan which would reduce taxation. That would have the double effect of passing on your burden to another generation who would enjoy the benefits equally and possibly more than the present generation—it is only proper that that should be passed on—and of removing the grievances that exist at the moment. Thus you would stimulate the people. Per contra as to whether the relief of taxation should take the form of a reduction of income tax or relief in indirect taxation would not matter.
Anyway, the community as a whole would benefit. The working classes and those more fortunately endowed would equally benefit, and it is a very desirable thing, even from the point of view of the working classes that those who are in the position of employers should be heartened in this way and should be induced, not only to extend their capital and take part in an enterprise, but also that capitalists from outside should be induced to come in and establish themselves here. There were elements, in the agitation some time ago to sweep away income tax, which were worthy of the consideration of the Government. If we could, as we can, put ourselves in that unique position that profits derived from enterprise should be free from income tax and that all investment and enterprise within our own area should be free from that impost, it would not only encourage men to spend money which is much desired, but it would also encourage those outside the country to come into a country which offers that advantage. In that way it would have a similar effect and would be tantamount to what you are aiming at in the setting up of tariffs. The setting up of tariffs, I think, is the more objectionable form of stimulating  enterprise and industry, because it is the invariable experience of countries with tariffs in operation, that the consumer pays. The wholesaler will always raise his price sufficiently high to the apex of the tariff so as to derive the greatest profit. He will pass that on to the consumer, but he will not raise his price sufficiently high to enable an outsider to jump the tariff barrier. I have seen that in Australia, and the inevitable result was injury to the masses of the people.
You are only aggravating the present position so far as the workers are concerned in this country. The time is now ripe in this country for the Ministers to take their courage in their hands to come forward and give close consideration, at least to the advisability of floating a loan for the purpose which I have indicated. We need have no qualms. The Ministry has shown that it is very desirous to do all that can be done in the way of developing this country out of revenue. We have shown that now, and we are in a more favourable position to come to the markets of the world for a loan than any other country to-day. We have practically no national debt. We have a clean slate and we have many potentialities within our own shores. When we go forward for a loan it will not be to dissipate the money which we will get, but for a specific purpose for projects which are under way which we have financed out of our own savings, and for the purpose of relieving rates and taxes and stimulating people.
Sir JOHN KEANE Sir JOHN KEANE
Sir JOHN KEANE: I wish to raise two points. One is the attitude of the Local Government Department towards local government accounts. The Minister, when the Collection of Rates Bill was under discussion, said that in the matter of rates the Government was proceeding by easy stages on the lines I recommended. I do not think that he is doing anything in regard to accounts, because my information is that he is doing nothing. I can only presume that he is satisfied with the accounts. I know his advisers are, and I do not think he is going to take any stand against his advisers on this matter. The House has had this matter before it and has unanimously taken  the view that Government accounts should be examined by experts with a view to reorganisation. I am sorry the Minister has not seen fit to make any move to meet the express views of this House. I think the views of this House should be met to a certain extent. I suggest we should begin in a simple sphere in the local government accounts and proceed, even, more slowly. The suggestion is that one county alone should be made the subject of an experiment for a modern, scientific, and infinitely more simple form of accounting. Until the system has been tried out in one county there is no necessity to extend it to others. The responsible Minister of the Local Government Department ventured to say that the Government would not do it, but if any private person wanted to do it the Government would have no objection. I say that is trifling with the question, and is treating it with ridicule.
I am not going to do more than refer to one document of the Local Government Department to show that the accounts are utterly valueless, although they were obtained by enormous labour. I have before me an abstract of the report on the mental hospitals. In the year 1924 it shows the cost per patient of a number of services:— Salaries, clothing, bedding, fuel, light, and so on. Take any one head and you will find discrepancies. In the case of furniture in one place it is 7/- per head, and in another it is 15/-. In the case of fuel and light in one place it is £2 16s. 0d., and in another £5 3s. 0d. In the case of groceries, in one place it is £8, and in another £16. You naturally begin to say that there is some extraordinary variance in the management of those homes. The accounts are perfectly valueless. Inquiries show that the figures are based merely on cash. If the institution started at the beginning of the year with sufficient stock to carry it through the year, it could show that it spent nothing during the year. What is the value of these accounts? They are most costly. Why cannot these accounts at least be discontinued? All we ask is that there should be a careful inquiry with a view to putting these things on a proper basis. The  House has asked that, and the Government has ignored it. There is strong opposition from permanent officials, and the Government does not see fit to stand up and at least try an experiment in face of this strong, official opposition.
Mr. BENNETT Mr. BENNETT
Mr. BENNETT: On the Vote for wireless broadcasting I should like to know whether the policy of the Government is to try and extend broadcasting in the country or whether it is to try and diminish the influence of what I think is an almost essential mode of instruction as well as recreation for people. There is the cost of £29,000 for broadcasting. So far as I know people in the country who want to hear broadcasting must have sets which bear a large tax in proportion to Great Britain. I should like to know whether, as a result of that tax, the number of licences being renewed in the country districts has either diminished or increased.
If the policy of the Government is to prevent the spread of broadcasting, then, to my mind, the imposition of this tariff is going to advance that policy. But if the hope of the Government is that broadcasting should spread and that the light should be spread through the country districts by means of Government broadcasting, I think that broadcasting—let you call it recreation or instruction, if you like —is in an infant condition, and to impose this large tax upon it will tend to destroy it. I am quite sure the Government will keep in view during the coming year the effect of the tax and if the tax prevents people in country districts from enjoying the benefits of broadcasting I hope it will be the policy of the Government to remove the tax. This tax is by no means a protective tax. It is purely a tax for the advantage of revenue, but the effect of it will be that it will not produce revenue because it will only prevent people from enjoying a source of instruction and amusement which would be of the greatest possible assistance in alleviating the monotony of life in the country. I would like if the Government could give me an idea as to whether the tax is producing the  effect which they hoped it would, that is, if they find it is making revenue. If it is making revenue it is at the cost of crushing the desire to avail of the benefits of broadcasting. My fear is that it is not producing revenue and that it is preventing the spread of broadcasting.
Mr. O'FARRELL Mr. O'FARRELL
Mr. O'FARRELL: Following what Senator Bennett has said regarding this vote of £29,000 for broadcasting, I think it is well that in this discussion expression should be given to what seems to be a very prevalent opinion with regard to the merits of the broadcasting programmes. I do not want to be unduly censorious and I am certainly quite willing to be satisfied to a certain extent, if some hope is held out that after more experience and after more time for organisation, there will be an improvement. I think the general opinion is that for mediocrity of programme and for maddening monotony of repetition, the Dublin Station would take a great deal of beating. One only asks this: Is this the best that Dublin, and the whole of the Free State which it has at its disposal, can turn out? If the answer is in the affirmative, then we have no need to be proud of the talent at our disposal, but I hardly think that it is the best that can be turned out. I certainly think it does not require any extraordinary powers of reorganisation or modification, to make a very considerable improvement on the present arrangement as far as variety and suitability of the programme are concerned.
Night after night, week after week, we have with just a slight re-arrangement, the same artistes, the same songs, the same jokes, pretty well the same order and then they are certainly not of the very highest. Certainly I never heard anything so depressing as the humorists. I do not know whether it is due to my lack of sense of humour but I think if one wished to get into the dumps he had better listen to some of the humorists who have been put on at the Dublin Station. They dole out just the same old chestnuts that our great-grandfathers laughed at for the first time hundreds of years ago. Sometimes they border on the crude.  I do admit that there are some very decent exceptions to this rule. I ask, when we are subsidising the Abbey Theatre as a State theatre, why cannot we have an occasional relay or broadcast from the Abbey Theatre? It would be one way of advertising what is looked upon as a national institution. Is it practicable to have a broadcast from some of the Dublin theatres as the British Broadcasting Company are able to arrange? Why have the relays from London and other B.B. stations been discontinued? There is one thing that I did notice in regard to these relays and it was that when an item was selected, the Dublin Station seemed to select the heaviest and the most discouraging item on the whole programme. I do not know if that was a policy in favour of protection for the Dublin Station. It certainly seemed to me to lean that way.
The Minister for Posts and Telegraphs who is responsible for the broadcasting station has, I think, infinitely more imagination and initiative, as displayed in his public speeches, than are displayed by the people immediately responsible for the broadcasting station. I would earnestly suggest that he should try to form some sort of organising committee with a little more imagination, a little more regard for what the ordinary common people require, a little less regard for cranks and faddists, and with a view to giving us something worthy of Dublin and the Free State. After all it is a broadcast to the world, as far as multiple-valve holders are concerned, and we should have a little pride as to the type of stuff we are going to broadcast. Starting at 7.30 each afternoon with two talks, one after another, and with a light organ playing heavy music for another half-an-hour, it is a rather aggravating form of recreation for a tired man. Certainly we are not going to increase the number of crystal-set holders or encourage them to pay their licences. As far as I can gather the great desire of the holders of multiple-valve sets is to devise wave traps, and other contrivances, by which they can cut out Dublin altogether. That is the first thing they try. It seems to be the  great object of people having valve sets. Sometimes one has to envy those people in distant parts who say that they cannot get Dublin.
Another item to which I would call attention is the Forestry Fund, for which there is a vote of £37,000 during the present year. The Department of Agriculture is doing a good deal for forestry, as far as planting is concerned and in the acquisition of land and in maintaining new plantations, but nothing seems to be done with a view to maintaining the forests we have. In some parts of the country it is deplorable to find the wholesale felling of timber and no planting in its place. Demesnes left in the hands of owners who contemplate leaving this country are invariably consigned to the axe, sold in many cases at a ridiculously low price to people who allow the timber ruthlessly to be felled wholesale and the district left bare and derelict. There are tracts of land particularly in the West, bogland planted many years ago, covered now with fairly decent forests. They help to give a decently comfortable appearance to the countryside. In many cases these forests are being cut down and taken away in the most ruthless fashion. There is no planting in their place and the whole countryside is being laid waste.
I think the Ministry of Agriculture ought to take power to control or restrict in some fashion the felling of these forests. Where forests are felled I think there should be power to restrict the felling to a certain proportion of the trees. At least a skeleton forest should be left and for every tree that is cut down another should be planted. I think this country is the worst in all Europe from the point of view of forests. Forests that are now being planted will not mature for forty years, and meanwhile the destruction of existing trees is proceeding at an alarming pace. This is particularly the case where large estates are being bought out, where the forest covered a large tract of land, such as shooting-ground or bog or mountain-land, belonging to the estate, and where the owners intend to leave the country.  Before they go they sell the timber to a contractor who cuts down the trees and plants nothing in their place. The whole appearance of these estates is being disimproved. There is very little object in planting trees unless we try to save for some time, at all events, the trees we have got.
There is another matter in regard to the administration of the Court Orders Bill to which I think attention should be drawn. Personally, I have had a number of complaints regarding what are alleged to be the terribly exorbitant fees charged by sheriffs' officers. I gave comparatively little credence to these complaints until I saw in a newspaper to-day a statement attributed to Judge Kenny, at Macroom Circuit Court, where in the hearing of Land Commission cases for the recovery of arrears of rent, he referred to the fees charged by a sheriff's officer and said, “These fees are oppressive, intolerable, and are certainly most unconstitutional.” An instance was quoted where on a decree for £1 10s., the sheriff's officers were claiming £3 expenses. That is certainly an item that requires immediate attention. Sheriffs and sheriffs' officers responsible for charging exorbitant fees of this kind to poor people, or to anybody at all, should be very drastically dealt with because if there is one thing which frightens everybody in this country, it is legal expenses and particularly if the execution is to be levied. I presume this is a matter for the Department of Justice, but it certainly calls for some attention.
I notice an item for Temporary Commissions. There is one aspect of that Vote that ought to be made clear, and it is that members of the Oireachtas acting on these different Commissions are not paid for any service rendered here, nor do they get any expenses whatsoever, except members in the country who have to travel to Dublin in connection with the Commissions. There is an impression abroad that members of the Oireachtas sitting on these Commissions get specially generous expenses, and that many people are able to augment their income considerably in that way. I think it is well that that doubt should be dissipated,  and that it should be understood what is the fact, that they have to neglect their own work, that they get no expenses and no payment of any kind, and that their services are absolutely free. With regard to Vote 1, the Governor - General's Establishment, there is only just one item that I would like to refer to, and that is the expenses for telephones. I notice that the charge for telephones is put down at £510. Last year it was £800. It seems to me that a very large number of people must be using the Viceregal telephone because the telephones for the two Houses of the Oireachtas cost only £365, and there are the members of both Houses and the staffs of both Houses. The telephone for the President's Department costs only a couple of hundred pounds. I do not think that even in the Governor-General's Department that gross extravagance in any particular Department should go unquestioned, and this item deserves some explanation or another. Perhaps the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs would be able to give some explanation with regard to this item?
Sir JOHN KEANE Sir JOHN KEANE
Sir JOHN KEANE: I have already spoken. Can I speak again on the Appropriation Accounts?
CATHAOIRLEACH: Yes, if it is on a fresh subject.
Sir JOHN KEANE Sir JOHN KEANE
Sir JOHN KEANE: Yes, sir, it is on a fresh subject. I am sorry that the Minister for Lands and Agriculture is not here, because this deals with that aspect of the account. The case that I want to refer to has been presented to me as a grave injury that is being done to the security of land, and also to agricultural interests in connection with certain aspects of the policy of land division. I have here cases where people to whom land is being given are quite unfitted to work it, and they do not till it. They take hay off the land or let it. Instead of having one large grazier who might be expected to improve the land and work it properly, if even only as a grazing farm, the position is that you have a lot of small people trying to drag and pull all they can out of the land by grazing. This is to the injury of the land, to their  own personal detriment, and at the expense of the State. These small parcels of land are not economic propositions. A Senator spoke a while ago of another side to this matter, that is of the fewness of rich men in the country. Well, I know that if this policy is carried on it will lead to still fewer rich men. I think the Minister himself knows about the matter to which I am now going to refer. It was only the other day a rich Englishman who keeps up a sporting establishment in the West of Ireland, had notice served on him from the Land Commission to acquire 100 acres of arable land that was attached as an amenity to his large residence. He found it necessary in order to prevent that being gazetted to supplicate the Minister, interview him, and ask him to look into the case. The repercussions of cases like that are enormous, they unsettle the security in land, and they have a most damaging effect on land credit. There is nothing more wanted to-day than generous credit, and you cannot expect generous credit where the title and ownership of the lands is unsettled. I could develop this subject, but as the Minister for Lands and Agriculture is not present I will not do so now. This is the only opportunity we have of dealing with this question.
The PRESIDENT The PRESIDENT
The PRESIDENT: There are just one or two things I have to speak on. There was a notice put down on the agenda that an intimation should be given to the Ministers as to the points that were to be raised. Senator Colonel Moore just touched on the Local Loans Fund, and Senator O'Farrell just mentioned the item of telephones in the Viceregal Lodge. The telephone is not an important matter. This was already raised in the Dáil and the same statement was made that Senator O'Farrell has made now, that a smaller sum was included in the Estimates for telephones for the Oireachtas than for the Viceregal Lodge. Well of course the Oireachtas is only sitting for a certain number of days in the week. The Viceregal Lodge is there all the time. In addition to their telephone wages there is a special wire and special communication with my office and the actual incidental  costs of the whole system there are very much heavier than they are in relation to both Houses of the Oireachtas. There is economy being effected this year but it will not be very considerable. The other matter that has been touched upon by Senator Colonel Moore, the Local Loans, does not call for an answer. But I think it would be better in connection with the matters raised if the Ministers got notice so that they would be able to reply definitely to the matters on which information is sought. There was a matter to be raised by Senator Sir Thomas Esmonde under Estimates 14 and 15 and it has not been raised.
MINISTER for LOCAL GOVERNMENT and PUBLIC HEALTH (Mr. Burke) Seamus Aloysius Bourke
MINISTER for LOCAL GOVERNMENT and PUBLIC HEALTH (Mr. Burke): I did get notice from Senator Sir John Keane that he was going to raise something in connection with the Vote for Local Government and Public Health. I was not certain what it was going to be. But I find it is in connection with the method of the accounting of local authorities. This method of the accounting of local authorities has been brought before the Seanad on several occasions by Senator Sir John Keane and he seems to feel that we have not given sufficient attention to it. On one occasion he discussed this matter at very great length before the Poor Law Commission. I believe at the time he got ample satisfaction from the secretary of the Department. On another occasion it was discussed at a full dress debate in the Seanad and I tried to point out the difficulties of the position and I thought I made my position clear. We have adopted a method of accountancy, which, so far as we are concerned has given great satisfaction. It is not a perfect system by any means but it worked out well in practice. Senator Sir John Keane has advocated a system which was tried by the British Army. They gave it a very fair trial and they dropped it because they found in practice that it did not work. It was much more expensive and cumbersome to administer. I expect Senator Sir John Keane will object to that statement.
Sir JOHN KEANE Sir JOHN KEANE
 Sir JOHN KEANE: I do most strongly but I do not feel I am justified in exploring that issue at very considerable length. I do not accept for a moment the statement that the Minister made.
Mr. BURKE Mr. BURKE
Mr. BURKE: However, that is a fact. As regards this system of accountancy recommended by Senator Sir John Keane, in practice, so far as we are concerned, we do not feel justified in putting it into operation. No urgent demand has come from any local authority to put it into operation so far. If there was very great pressure brought to bear on us from local authorities we might be inclined to go so far as to experiment with that system in one particular district, though I do not know that we could do that without further legislation. But as I say, up to the present we had no demand from any local authorities to make the change.
MINISTER for POSTS and TELEGRAPHS (Mr. J.J. Walsh) MINISTER for POSTS and TELEGRAPHS (Mr. J.J. Walsh)
MINISTER for POSTS and TELEGRAPHS (Mr. J.J. Walsh): I welcome the introduction of the subject of broadcasting for the purpose of enlightening some of the Senators who have been discussing this matter with me from time to time. It would be as well, perhaps, to say what we have in our minds with regard to the spread of the service. To begin with, seeing that the service is being run by the State, it is, perhaps, more essential that we who have this responsibility should pick our steps rather carefully than would have been necessary if it were run by private enterprise. Somehow or other, the public are more critical of State action. At the outset we had hoped that it would have been possible to cover the country through the medium of three or four small stations. I have now concluded that this is not possible, and that, in fact, in addition to four small stations we will have, at least outside of the stations which will be located around the coast, a high-power central station is also indispensable. The population of this country is, in the main, located along the coast, and whilst a high-power station would serve crystal sets, within a radius of 70 to 80 miles it would not certainly satisfy the requirements of that great  majority located, as I pointed out, along the coast. Therefore, we are in this position that not only have we to put up small stations for the big centres of population, like Cork, Dublin and Galway, on the coastline, but in addition, we are forced to the alternative that a high-power station is indispensable. Now that is the policy which we have ultimately decided on. It is a more extensive policy than we had anticipated. Were the radius of the high-power station another 15 miles, we would have satisfactory power for crystal sets and the smaller stations could be dispensed with. But the fact is that the high power from Daventry is not effective for crystal sets beyond 75 to 80 miles. We are forced to engage in a more expensive programme than we had in mind at the outset.
The erection of the smaller stations will take place without delay. The high-power station is about to be put up, and in the next three or four months to follow with others, possibly in Galway and the North-West. These small stations are to be completed within the next eight or ten months. It will take anything from eighteen months to two years to complete the high-power station. The cost of this broadcasting venture will be more than perhaps the public has in mind. The smaller stations will in cost of erection come to something like £8,000 or £9,000 each, and the high-power station ought to touch something like £40,000. As to the running costs of the smaller stations, in the case of Dublin, for instance, for the current year, the cost will amount to £21,000. In the case of Cork and, also for the station in Bundoran, for the North-West, the running costs will be very much smaller, but, nevertheless, there will be costs. In the case of Galway we have in mind a separate service because of its location. I believe that these four small stations will run into something like £40,000 between the repayment of principal and interest. In addition to that £40,000 we will have possibly a similar sum for the high-power station when working. At any rate, it can be taken that apart from the capital, which will not fall very much short of £80,000 or  £90,000, the State would have to make an annual contribution, either by way of licence fees or revenue from import duties, or from some other source amounting to anything in the region of £60,000 or £70,000. These figures are round numbers, as our scheme is not sufficiently advanced to give anything more definite. The fact is that with the completion of this broadcasting scheme we can fairly count on an annual expenditure of at least £60,000 or £70,000.
There were two ways by which we could secure revenue for that purpose. One through an annual licence fee, and the other through an import duty. It will be recognised that in those countries where broadcasting has been working for some years the greatest difficulty has been experienced in collecting licence fees. We here have had a more depressing experience. I believe it is true to say that fully 20,000 or 25,000 people have sets of one kind or another here, and during the months that have elapsed since the opening of the financial year, notwithstanding many appeals to the public, we have received fees from only 5,000 which shows that at least three-fourths of the people are determined to get something for nothing. We intend to amend the law, and put up a rather adequate machine for running down these people, and then a more satisfactory result will accrue, but I doubt very much whether the majority of the people will ever be induced to pay what we believe to be their due through the medium of licence fees, and because of this we thought it well that we should resort to another medium, and in the ultimate it may be the better, that is revenue through imports. Now this import duty of 33⅓ per cent. has no connection whatever with protection. a subject which is rather closely associated with some people. It is solely and entirely for the purpose of getting revenue, and here at any rate we are certain to get our pound of flesh. The Minister for Finance anticipates that in the current year he ought to get something in the region of £20,000 through this channel, which is perhaps a more equitable way of raising revenue than by the licence fee. In  the case of a licence fee the poor man who buys a set for 10/- or 12/- has to pay an annual fee of 10/- a sum equal to that which the holder of, let us say, a £40 or a £50 set would be called on to pay. That is scarcely a fair treatment, it is hardly a democratic treatment, but in the case of the import duties the man with a set worth £60 has to pay 33⅓ per cent., otherwise £20, while the man with the 10/- sset pays about 3/6. If you do it from the point of view of equity that would be striking a better medium. However that is a matter of opinion, but it is our opinion that it is a better way of collecting revenue.
With regard to Senator O'Farrell's criticism of the broadcasting programme policy, I would like to say that at the outset I had never hoped to be able to satisfy the public in regard to programmes. I doubt very much whether broadcasting in any country has succeeded in that ideal. I remember that some six or eight months ago, and possibly some of the Senators will recollect it also, certain English journals opened their pages to criticism of the programmes produced by the British Broadcasting Company, and in one particular instance a paper announced that it had received no less than 400 protests in a single day. The British Broadcasting Company has practically unlimited finance, and it has enormous resources not only in money but in materials, and if it fails, as all these critics evidently believed it has failed, in producing anything like satisfactory programmes, it is natural to conclude that we here with practically no money and with very limited resources from the point of view of broadcasting must necessarily fall very much short in that matter. I do not quite agree that our programmes are not pretty good. I had before me a week ago the principal English paper on broadcasting, and in it the views were set forth of continental listeners. I may say in passing that I caused an extract from that paper to be sent to the local Press, but the Press for some reason or another refused to publish it. The extract dealt with a review of the criticisms  of continental countries on the different broadcasting stations. Summarised it was to this effect, that next to Daventry the Dublin Station is more popular on the western border of the Continent of Europe than any other station. Only last week a somewhat similar tribute came our way from the principal broadcasting company of Germany, with a request to us to send along our weekly programme, and pointing out that Dublin was quite popular in Germany. I have also other evidence which I could quote at great length.
It is only by contrasting what we produce here with what is produced elsewhere that we can arrive at a reasonable conclusion as to what we are doing. I believe myself that the Dublin broadcasting programme is good, and that we have discovered an immensity of material here, a surprising amount of tip-top material that none of us had ever anticipated. The prospects of increasing that material are very bright. The people here are rising to the occasion, and we have every reason to congratulate our Irish artists, and instead of discouraging them it is our duty to give them every possible encouragement. I do not for one moment associate Senator O'Farrell with the idea, but it appears to be the policy in this country to decry everything Irish. The mere fact that it is Irish necessarily means it must be no good. That is, unfortunately, the most depressing fact in our present-day existence. The greatest Irish artist there is to-day could not have earned a £5 note in Dublin, and it was necessary for him to go to the United States to do so. Had he not gone to the States I do not believe he would be in the singing world to-day, and that is his own view, anyway. We are inclined to throw cold water on what we do here at home. We have to try and get away from that, and try and let our people understand that after all they are able to do something, and I am satisfied that they are able to do something. With regard to our programme I do not say that it is as varied as it should be, and if any Senator could give us a hint as to how variation may be brought about we  would be very pleased to receive it. It is intended that later on we should set up an advisory committee to help the station in formulating a programme. My own view is, and it is also the view of those responsible for the station, that such a committee may not be helpful, and that it may, in fact, cut across the programme of work, but there appears to be an idea outside that it would help, and because of that we hope later on to get such a committee. I hope Senator O'Farrell, who has very brilliant ideas and well-known initiative will place his services at our disposal.
Mr. GUINNESS Mr. GUINNESS
Mr. GUINNESS: Is there any high-power station in Ireland? Also will the Minister say whether these four or five stations that are to be erected in the course of the next few months will be high-power stations?
Mr. WALSH Mr. WALSH
Mr. WALSH: No; Dublin is only a low-power station. We have no high-power station at present. Daventry is a high-power station. We intend to erect three other stations of the Dublin type, plus a high-power station like Daventry. That is the programme.
Mr. GUINNESS Mr. GUINNESS
Mr. GUINNESS: Has the high-power station been begun yet?
Mr. WALSH Mr. WALSH
Mr. WALSH: No.
Mr. JAMESON Mr. JAMESON
Mr. JAMESON: The Minister has told us there are a great many sets that pay no duty and, that the only way he could really see of raising revenue is by this import duty. Could the Minister give us any idea of what the State will get from this after allowing for the cost of collection?
Mr. WALSH Mr. WALSH
Mr. WALSH: It would be very hard to answer that question offhand. Were it not for this import duty I venture to say that the loss for the current year would be anything in the neighbourhood of £12,000 to £15,000, and with the import duty I believe we should clear accounts.
Question—“That the Bill be read a second time”—put and agreed to.
Seanad Éireann 7 SHOP HOURS (DRAPERY TRADES, DUBLIN AND DISTRICTS) BILL, 1926. APPROPRIATION BILL, 1926—SECOND STAGE.