Seanad Éireann - Volume 11 - 21 March, 1929
Public Business. - Central Fund Bill, 1929—Final Stages.
Bill passed through Report Stage without amendment.
Question proposed: That the Central Fund Bill be received for final consideration and do now pass.
Mr. Wilson Mr. Wilson
Mr. Wilson: The Minister for Finance, when speaking in this House  last evening, dealt with the question of the de-rating of agricultural land, and of the financial difficulties it would involve here. The position is that farmers in England and in Northern Ireland are to have de-rating in respect of their land. That will mean that the cost of production in the case of our competitors will inevitably be less than ours. The effect of that will be this, that in the principal market for our products we will be forced to accept less than the cost price of their production. In regard to rates levied on land, there are three main fundamental costs to be considered. In the first place, we have the roads; secondly, the maintenance of the insane in the mental hospitals; and thirdly, the maintenance of the poor. Should land be compelled in justice to provide for the upkeep of the insane poor and of the ordinary poor? Should not that be a community charge? If there are people in the community who are hungry, should not that be a charge on the community? The present system which makes the ratepayers pay for them is unjust. It is a communistic charge, and therefore I hold the community should pay for both the upkeep of the insane poor and the poverty-stricken persons. That being so, the ratepayer should not in justice be asked to pay for those services.
An examination of the voters' lists will show that probably 50 per cent. of the voters in the country are ratepayers. Why should the cost of a communistic service be asked from half the people of the country? Why should the minority be asked to pay what is a majority debt? That is one reason why the de-rating of land ought to be considered on its merits.
As for the roads, at the present time they are made principally for the benefit of motors. Why should farmers be taxed for the purpose of providing roads on which his horses cannot travel? The main roads under the Act of 1925 are a charge on the county councils, and these bodies, as the Minister for Finance  said yesterday, derive 65 per cent. of their revenue from the farmers. That, I submit, is another point in favour of de-rating proposals for this State. Why should the farmer alone be asked to undertake the communistic charge of providing for the care of the insane poor? That is a charge that should fall on the State as a whole and not on one section. It is a charge that should be borne by everybody. The question of the de-rating of agricultural land, apart altogether from its effect on our position in our principal market, ought in justice be considered by the Government. It is the burning question to-day in the financial arrangements of this State.
The Minister told us yesterday that the de-rating of land in this State would involve a charge of about £2,300,000. I am aware, of course that the money is not available at present to meet that. In my opinion, the charge for the upkeep of the main roads should be placed on the State. The State should also pay a specific rate towards the upkeep of the insane poor in the mental hospitals, and a substantial amount towards the cost of the upkeep of the poor in county homes. I think that money could be found for these purposes if the Government here were to do as is being done in England and in Northern Ireland by placing a tax on petrol. A tariff of 4d. a gallon on petrol here would, it is estimated, bring in annually a sum of £300,000. Of course, I admit that sum is very far removed from the £2,300,000. I ask the Seanad to support me in recommending to the Executive Council that they should put a tax of 4d. per gallon on petrol. The revenue from it would, at any rate, go some distance in giving relief as regards rating on agricultural land.
As has so often been said, the farmer is practically the only wealth producer in this country. The tendency at the present day is for people to leave the land and to go to the towns. Everyone on the land is working, but they are not getting the same return as people living and  working in the towns. There is a drift, as it has been put, from the land to the towns. If something is not done to encourage people to remain on the land, then the economic position of this country is going to be much worse than it is. People working on the land should be given every facility to enable them to meet their competitors in their principal market. It has to be remembered that our competitors in England and in Northern Ireland are now relieved from the payment of rates on the lands which they occupy. That will give them a tremendous advantage over the farmers here. We have got to fight these men on the English market. We are in the position that we have to sell our products against them and to pay carriage on what we send to England. If something is not done to improve the position of those on the land, then the drift that has been going on from the land to the towns will become worse than it is. In many cases, when people go to the towns they are faced with destitution. I suggest to the Government that they should put a tax on petrol. The revenue from it would give some help, at all events, in relieving the rates on agricultural land, and would go some way, at all events, to enable the farmer and those dependent on him to make a livelihood. It would place the farmer in a better position than he is in at present.
Mr. Counihan Mr. Counihan
Mr. Counihan: Yesterday I appealed to the Minister for Finance to reconsider his proposal of cutting down the postal deliveries in the rural areas from six to three days a week. His reply was not very encouraging. I am afraid, judging from his reply, and even though he knows that this proposal is against the wishes of the majority of the citizens, that he is still going to put it into operation. The appeal that I am now going to make to him is this, that as most of the business in the rural areas, in consequence of the putting into operation of this proposal, will in future be done by telegram, he should consider reducing  the cost of porterage on telegrams from sixpence to three-pence a mile. In spite of the Minister's contention, there are still quite many important people living in the rural areas. A large percentage of the members of this House reside in the rural areas, and they will come under the ban of three letter deliveries a week instead of the usual six. I believe that this reduction in the postal service will hamper business to a great extent. People will not know on which of the three days their letter delivery will be made. Consequently people with important business to attend to will be obliged to send a good many telegrams. In pre-war days telegrams were delivered free over a three-mile distance. At present the cost of delivery is 6d. a mile, much the same as the cost of hiring a motor car. If the Minister would agree to reduce the charge for the porterage of telegrams from 6d. to 3d. per mile it would go some way to mitigate the hardship which the rural community will suffer under by the reduction in the number of postal deliveries per week.
Colonel Moore Colonel Moore
Colonel Moore: On this question of de-rating of agricultural land Senator Wilson has explained that as money cannot be got otherwise a tax on petrol would get over the difficulty. Might I point out that the matter might be very easily settled if Minister would only take a straight view of these things? The rates from agricultural land amount to approximately, I think, £1,750,000. Land purchase annuities amount to £3,000,000. If we kept those land annuities here, and I say that we shall very soon keep them, whether the Ministers approve of it or not, then we should very easily be able to settle this matter. By taking this sum of £1,750,000 out of the land annuities we could go a long way towards de-rating agricultural land. If we did that, the farmers would not have very much to pay in the way of rates on their land; and I think that would be a great help to them, as they say themselves. As far as I know, that is the only way  in which this de-rating can be carried out. Yesterday, the Minister took great care to shelve the whole subject, as well he might, because he knows perfectly well that he is not able to get the money required for this purpose in any possible way. He will not be able to meet his Budget requirements this time, or to meet a thousand and one other matters.
Supposing that we did de-rate land altogether in that way, what then would happen? At present, about £1,000,000 a year is paid annually as an agricultural grant for the relief of rates on land. If a scheme for the de-rating of land was carried out as I have suggested, then there would be no need to pay this million a year or so as an agricultural grant, and that sum of money could be devoted to other matters—towards the relief of taxation under the Budget.
On this question as to whether we are entitled to retain the land annuities here, I do not intend to enter into that argument now. I have dealt with that matter very often in the Seanad. It is a matter that has now gone to the country, and neither the Seanad nor the Dáil has much of a say in it, because it is to be decided by the country. Ministers never produce any argument against the retention of those annuities here except to tell some that we are liars. Two Ministers now present have already told us that. That is not very polite, and before Ministers succeed in convincing the people of the country that we are wrong, they will have to produce better arguments than that. I just wish to draw attention to this to show how easily this question might be settled if Ministers were not so weak in paying out millions of money to England which we do not owe at all. That is all I have got to say on the matter at present.
Mr. Johnson Mr. Johnson
Mr. Johnson: I want to raise a question of perhaps wider interest, and to touch upon the general economic and social position of the country, and to interest Senators in the matter, shall I say, from a detached point of view. I think the Central Fund Bill, while the Seanad has no  power to amend it, does at least provide an occasion for criticism of general policy, of warning and suggestion, and even appeal. The Central Fund Bill is based upon the Estimates that have been circulated, and, in the absence of new legislation, it presumably gives a picture of the intentions of the Government for the succeeding year with regard to public expenditure, and of the services on which it is proposed to expend money. The prevailing sentiment in the Department of Finance appears to be to cut down expenditure. Now, we are blamed occasionally for refusing to join in that campaign; and the more I see of the lines on which what is called economy is advocated, the less I am inclined to join in that rampage. I am entirely in favour of restricting expenditure to what is wise and necessary; but I do not favour, and I do not think it is good national politics or national economy merely to cut expenditure on services which are useful and beneficial. In fact, I say now what I have frequently said, that it is just as likely, in many cases much more likely, that money will be expended more beneficially through a State organisation than it will be if left in the hands of individuals. That, of course, runs counter to the prevailing political economy, but is none the less true for that.
We had a discussion, for instance, yesterday on one of the lines of what is called economy, the cutting of the service and the deprivation of 700 or 800 men of wages, the throwing of those men inevitably upon some other source of maintaining themselves, which course must mean a drawing on the national fund without providing any new accession to that fund. So it is with some other items of economy in these Estimates, the cutting down of services which are useful, the deprivation of spending power from men who would undoubtedly spend it in a recuperative fashion, and leaving the money which would thus have been spent in the hands of people who are more likely to spend it on imported commodities and luxuries. That may be  said to apply to the Army and to the Land Commission cuts, and so on. In saying this, I am not advocating expenditure for expediture's sake.
The main point of my criticism lies in this, that there has been a refusal to accept responsibility, which should be a national responsibility, for securing to men a means whereby they may earn a livelihood. Were there in existence some channel whereby men who were deprived of the opportunity of working would find another opportunity of earning a livelihood, then there could be no complaint whatever about such savings from the Exchequer as is exemplified in these economies, but in the absence of any alternative means of earning a livelihood, and perhaps increasing the national wealth, then there is a national responsibility for the maintenance of the men who are being deprived of their livelihood. The complaint then that I have to make lies in this, that the whole outlook of the Government and of our political economists generally, appears to be reliance on the individual, and on individual groupings, to find a prospective profit in their operations, and failing that prospect then men must be allowed to go hungry.
There is in existence at present, and has been for many years, what is in effect an anti-rationalisation policy. The reverse of rationalisation is the system under which this country is maintaining itself at present. I want to see some schemes of humanised rationalisation initiated by the central authority, that is the Government or some auxiliary of the Government, or some authority with initiative and power.
One has read a good deal lately on the coal-mining trouble in England. There was an inquiry there as to the cause of the decline in the coal trade. There was a report to the effect that no possible means could be devised whereby the existing number of the miners could be re-absorbed in the coal-mining industry, and that there was a prospect  of permanent deprivation of work in coal-mining to the extent of 250,000 men. I put it to the two Ministers now in the House, what would they think if a Commission of that kind had reported that the economic policy of the coal-mining industry in England had been that the coal-owners had spent their greatest efforts for years and years upon the least remunerative of the coal mines—that they had failed to use modern machinery, and that they had left the richer and easier worked coal seams unworked, trusting to a profit to be made and national benefit to come from an extraordinary effort by an abnormal number of coal miners concentrating their attention upon the poorer seams? That, strange as it might appear, is the position under which this country at present is working in respect of its agricultural industry. It is a fact that entire reliance has been placed hitherto upon the private initiative of the farmer, as it was in other days through all times of pressure and coercion of all kinds. That was to force the country into dependence upon the poorer areas. I want to prove what I am saying, and I am going to ask the House to be patient with some statistics.
We are reminded frequently that 77 per cent. of those engaged in productive occupations are engaged in agriculture. I have gone through the statistical returns furnished last year, and made some examination and analysis of them, and compared the figures with previous reports. I have taken the country and divided it into two. I have taken the counties of the western seaboard and added Leitrim and Cavan, treating the West Riding of Cork as a county. Those would be the ten poorer counties, and I find in those ten poorer counties that the land valuation is 35 per cent. of the total land valuation of the country, and those ten poorer counties produce 44 per cent. of all the cattle of the country; 50 per cent. of all the sheep; 47 per cent. of all the pigs; 54 per cent. of all the poultry; 46 per cent. of the agricultural horses.
Mr. Barrington Mr. Barrington
 Mr. Barrington: On a point of order, does the Senator mean it produces that as young stock or as finished stock?
Cathaoirleach: That is not a point of order, but a point of explanation.
Mr. Johnson Mr. Johnson
Mr. Johnson: I will explain exactly my position to the Senator as I go along. I speak of the total population as reported to the statistical enumerators and recorded in the statistical returns. One could go into very more detail and explain that if the richer counties were populated in the same ratio as the poorer counties, taking the test of valuation, there would be an increase of 105,000 agricultural horses in the country; 1,000,000 cattle of all kinds, including 573,000 more cows and heifers; 176,000 of from one to two-year-olds; 385,000 under one year, and a deficiency of 110,000 cattle of two years old and upwards. That, I think, answers the query of the Senator. In addition to that, if the richer counties were maintaining as high a cattle population as the poorer counties in proportion to valuation, there would be another 1,300,000 sheep, 316,000 additional pigs, and 12,000,000 additional poultry. I have not in this calculation, because it does not appear in the report, taken into account the quality of the produce of the various classes of stock or the size, and no doubt that would make a considerable difference in the market value of the various elements. The comparison is sufficiently alarming from the point of view I am dealing with it.
It may be worth while taking a note of the fact that the poorer counties have a valuation of 9/- per acre and the richer counties a valuation of 13/9 per acre. I have pointed out already that in all those poorer lands there is a disproportionately high agricultural population, and, consequently, notwithstanding the greater wealth production obtained from that land, the relative position of the agriculturist there is less desirable than that of the agriculturist on the richer land. I am emphasising this because it seems to me that  it points distinctly to a line of policy that ought to be followed. It points distinctly to the necessity for utilising the richer lands in the production of a great deal more wealth than they are at present being used for— that we may use our national effort upon the more productive seams of wealth production.
For twenty-eight odd years there has been in existence a Department of Agriculture. The Department has been for all that time engaged in the work of improvement through education and better organisation. The present Ministry is engaged in the same work, and has in fact made no drastic change in the policy of the old Department. It is interesting to take account of the effect of that voluntary effort of education and test it by its results. Between the period of 1901 and 1928 we find that tillage crops have declined by 222,000 acres. We find in comparing those years that there has been a decrease in the number of horses of 1,700 and of sheep of 718,000, and a decline in the agricultural population of 250,000. The decline in the agricultural population has been equalised, if one may speak merely in terms of figures, by the increase in the cattle population of all kinds by an almost equal number, 257,000. Pigs increased 168,000, and poultry, which is the one item in which there seems to be a distinct advance, increased by 2,700,000.
I want to comment that while the policy regarding livestock had those results the policy of the Department in regard to crop cultivation has had less beneficent results. Let us examine that. The average yield per acre, taking the five years period from 1901 to 1905, is given as 1,412 starch pounds and for the comparative period from 1922 to 1926 it is down to 1,266 starch pounds. That is a sign of the decline in the yield per acre of the agricultural crops. It is very likely though that the pasture value has distinctly improved in that period of decline, but as to that there are no statistics, one can only judge by observations. Of the total yield of all crops including hay, corn  roots and green crops, the decline in that period was from 2,212,000 starch pounds to 2,177,000 starch pounds, or a decline of 35,000 starch pounds. One is not pinning oneself to any particular figure but one is forced to the conclusion that the policy of the Department, the policy that is being continued, has not been sufficient to revive the productive activities of this country in such a way as to lead to a greatly increased production. It is my conviction that something more than educational propaganda on tillage, something more positive as a stimulus, is needed to get the results that are desirable. If I may be allowed to quote another few figures to have them on record I think it will be an advantage. It is perhaps always useful to take a specific area and examine it. I have taken the figures relating to the county of Mayo, and compared the agricultural wealth and related that wealth to the population from, say, the beginning of the Land League agitation.
Take the year 1881 and compare it with the year 1926. I think, examining this country, it will give a picture of the tendency in the agricultural economy which prevails all over the country. There has been in that period no change in the number of horses in the county. It is practically equal. There has been an increase in the number of cattle by 18 per cent. I am speaking of all kinds of cattle. The population of sheep is the same in the two years. The pig population also is about the same, but poultry have increased by 143 per cent. The agricultural population declined by 29 per cent. I want to relate that to the general national position, and to ask the House to consider the effect of that change in the economy of the county of Mayo. There has been an increase in the agricultural wealth per head of the population in County Mayo to this extent in those years— as to horses, an increase of 43 per cent; cattle, 67; sheep, 39; pigs, 37; and poultry, 245 per cent. Apart from any question of price, for prices are  variable and are not determinable by the people of this country, the net result of that increased wealth to the people of County Mayo during the whole period depends to a very great extent on this, that there has been a decline in the number of people maintained out of the agricultural revenue in that county.
What then, are we to conclude, becomes of the agricultural population that has declined? They have, as we all know, emigration as a means of relieving the agricultural communities is being stopped, or at any rate, restricted. We have to assume that for the future the outlet is going to be to the towns of this country. We may succeed in improving the prices of the products exported by better organisation, by better marketing methods, and by improving the quality. We may succeed in maintaining the prices in rivalry with competing countries, which will add to the revenue of the agricultural community, but if the policy of the country is to encourage the farmer having his increased revenue and to make the most of it by spending it in the markets where he can buy the cheapest goods—that is to say, if he is to be encouraged to spend his increased revenue in purchasing the articles he requires in England, where he sells his stocks— the outlet for the sons of the farmers is still further restricted. What is to happen? They are to make a living in the towns of this country.
If they are not producing wealth, if they are not actually producing exchangeable commodities, they are going to be still a burden on the agricultural producer, and his relative position is not going to improve in accordance with what would be expected to follow an improvement in market prices. Therefore we are forced, in my opinion, to the conclusion that, concurrently with any improvement in organisation methods and in quality of produce, and so on, unless there is going to be a positive activity on the part of the State to develop industrial production, the agricultural community will not  benefit in the least by a continuance of the present policy of the Department or the Department's Minister. The position as I see it is that agricultural wealth production is not really improving. There has been an improvement in 1928 as compared with 1925-'26-'27. But as compared with 1924, there has been a distinct retrogression. One item which seems to be steadily improving for these five years, both in the quantity of the produce exported and its value, is poultry, but otherwise there has been a decline for 1928 in the chief products of agriculture in Ireland as compared with 1924.
I am advocating that the Minister for Agriculture is bound, if he has regard for the country's general welfare as compared with the welfare of agriculture detached from the community, to find the means of increasing the gross wealth of production drawn from the soil. That is to say, there has to be an increase of tillage by the initiative of the Minister's Department in some way. It is not, unfortunately, true that reliance upon educational methods is going to result in that desired objective. Some other method than mere educational propaganda is required, as is proved by the history of the Department in the past. Looking upon the general situation and the condition of the country as a whole, I think one ought to take into account the social change that has resulted from the political change since the war. I believe that the different changes will ultimately result in very great benefit both materially and culturally, and in every desired way. But I think it is no harm to face the fact that temporarily, at any rate, in respect of a considerable section of the urban population the immediate result of that change in social conditions has been a distinct loss.
Men of leisure and wealth, no matter how they got their wealth, who lived in a local society, probably spent much money in such a way as to give a moderately decent livelihood to a considerable number of workmen and women, and undertook  social work, in the way of luxury services, of one kind or another. That, to a great extent, has passed away. What has taken its place? Presumably the source of the wealth of all these gentle folk, if I might call them so, has been retained by the producer. The farmer. it is presumed, is better off by the change, by reason of the fact that he is a tenant paying an annuity instead of rent, or that he is the direct owner of his farm as distinct from being a holder of land from the landlord. But when those who were dependent on the spending of the gentle folk are now dependent on the spending of the farmer folk, and the farmer folk are encouraged in every way to spend their earnings upon imported commodities of a cheap type, the home service is to that extent deteriorated, and the maintenace fund has to be called upon, without the service which ought to be given in exchange. So that there is in fact a distinct loss as far as that goes, and I think it is the duty of public men, Ministers, politicians and others to find out the best way to replace that service, and to ensure that the people who have been deprived of their livelihood by a change in political conditions shall not suffer continuously, but that they shall find some other means of employment. The same argument does definitely apply to a large extent to the withdrawal of British troops.
Now, all this leads me to the conclusion that the situation requires, first, that the organised community, which is represented by the State, must accept responsibility for maintaining in something like civilised decency, at least, to provide bread and milk, or oatmeal and milk, or food, clothing and shelter of the most meagre, but certainly health-giving standard, for every child in the community, and I think that ought to be recognised as a first charge on national wealth production. Unfortunately, we are being forced to the conclusion that the various Departments are acting in water-tight compartments, and  are not working with a due sense of the national responsibility that devolves upon them. By national responsibility I mean responsiblity for the care and maintenance of those who have been deprived of an opportunity of earning a living. If we accept that as a social responsibility, which in my understanding of the term is what nationalism must mean, then it is distinctly our duty, and I think primarily the duty of the Ministers of the State, to initiate such economic movements as will bring the opportunity to work to those who are at present idle; to initiate such economic movements as will intensify the amount of national wealth production. I am forced to this conclusion, having examined the matter with as much care as possible, that even though the present national wealth production were equitably distributed, and it is not equitably distributed to-day, it is not enough to give every citizen a reasonably civilised standard of life. Therefore, the objective of the economic activities of the State, co-ordinated as it should be by the Ministry, is to intensify wealth production, not only agriculturally but industrially.
I am one of those who is prepared to give credit for a good deal of very valuable work that has been done since the initiation of the Free State. I think, for instance, that the most valuable work that has been done, both by the present Minister for Agriculture and his predecessors, was the work which they undertook actively, not merely by means of educational propaganda, but when they used a certain amount of compulsion they achieved the greatest success. Almost all those enterprises, shall I say, that are being boosted, to use a slang term, as having produced beneficent results had an element first of State initiative, and second, a certain amount of compulsion. They have undoubtedly led to valuable results, and I want to urge that the Ministry is bound, by virtue of its responsibility in this matter, to undertake of its own initiative a more  definite organisation of those forces which are engaged in economic activities, to encourage, stimulate, and almost compel the various element of employers, agriculturalists, distributors and others to organise themselves into responsible bodies, which will be held responsible by the Government, and which will have definite duties thrust upon them. This is a line of development which will be subject, no doubt, to a great deal of criticism and dissent, but I am convinced that unless there is a very swift and radical change in the economic conditions, it will not be possible to maintain in this country the present population of three millions. If they are to be maintained in this country we shall have a continuously growing proportion of poverty-stricken beings; if a radical change is not entered upon, the tendency will be for the population to continue to decline, and I am sure Ministers will be at one in this, that it is imperative to maintain in this country an increasing population of well-fed, well-clothed, and well educated human beings.
I am making this criticism because it seems to me that not sufficient friendly comments have been made upon the tendencies of present economic activities. The returns have shown that certain improvements have taken place with regard to those industries which have been benefited by protective tariffs. I think sufficient has not been done in that direction. I think much more initiative and much more sense of social responsibility has to be shown than mere reliance on protective tariffs as a means of stimulating industrial activities. I think it is a radical mistake to imagine that the initiation of tariff proposals must come from interested parties, and that the Tariff Commission is bound by inference to exclude from its consideration any alternative other than a tariff for stimulating and protecting an Irish industry. I am, therefore, proposing to close on this point, that to stimulate national wealth production, it is necessary to acknowledge that there is a much  more definite duty cast upon the central Government than has hitherto been considered desirable; that to advise and assist the Government in coming to a conclusion on economic policies, there should be continuous inquiry by a body which is capable of examining in every way the pros and cons of any economic question; that that inquiry should be by an authoritative body, that it should have powers of close examination, and should have powers to initiate proposals of its own regarding the best methods of proceeding for the benefit of agricultural and industrial production.
I ask Minister and I ask the Seanad particularly, to take into account these tendencies I have indicated, drawn from the agricultural statistics. Important as may be said to be the benefits derived from improved quality and improved marketing methods, the advantage to be derived from those improved methods depends almost wholly upon the relative conditions in which they are marketed, compared with the competing countries of Denmark, Australia, South Africa and Canada, and while we may be improving and therefore making up lee-way we are not necessarily always going to be continually benefited. Concurrently with that improvement there is steady pressure downwards on the part of the buying and consuming population in Great Britain, and reliance upon a mere improvement in market prices through an improved marketing organisation is not enough, unless you have a very great improvement in the total quantity produced.
Mr. Counihan Mr. Counihan
Mr. Counihan: I rise to ask if Senator Johnson could see his way to give a little more information so as to enable us to arrive at a proper conclusion. He seems to have statistics at his finger tips. I do not know if he has quoted the area of county Cork as one of the six counties he referred to. Co. Cork, if I remember rightly, is six times as large as Co. Carlow, and I think we would need to know what class of farming  is carried on in these six counties. If we have not that information, I am afraid his statement would be misleading.
Mr. Johnson Mr. Johnson
Mr. Johnson: Will I be permitted to answer the question?
Cathaoirleach: I do not think you can go any further.
Sir John Keane Sir John Keane
Sir John Keane: I hope Senator Johnson will forgive me if I am unable to deal with him as profoundly, or perhaps quite as seriously as his important speech deserves, because in order to give a true and critical examination to his utterances one would require to have his statement circulated in advance so that it might be properly studied and digested. So that if my remarks sometimes do appear to savour of levity I hope he will forgive me, because it is not my intention conscientiously to discredit what he has said. I wish at the outset to congratulate the Senator on the happy way in which he is preserving the spirit of perennial youth, because I lately attended a debate in the Society of a certain University where I heard very much the same abstract doctrine propounded, the doctrine of what I call the synthetic dish. A certain person comes along to make a dish. He starts with a bit of Karl Marx, adding a dash of Sydney Webb and a dash of Bernard Shaw. Then we hear about the right to work, of work for everybody provided by the State, and the whole thing is whipped up together. That is really the sort of synthetic product that I picture the Senator wants this House to adopt. I fully admit—I think I have used the expression before—that if you have martial law and 80,000 men, with no private rights and no vested interests, and if you treated the people like cattle and disciplined them like soldiers, moved them about how you liked and where you liked, making them work how you wished, you could enormously increase the production of the country. But who is to recommend that as a doctrine or a method in accordance with the democratic  spirit? Surely what is far more valuable than this synthetic State, this abstract economic system, is the liberty of the subject, and I would far rather that we would go back to that than that we should lose our freedom. Our freedom is very valuable, even if it only means our doing things in a rather bad and inefficient manner.
I would ask the House when they are looking to those countries that have departed from freedom and that have dragooned and disciplined their peoples, to realise all that they have lost with the loss of their freedom—freedom of expression and liberty of the Press—and in many cases they have not gained that remarkable efficiency which the Senator has pictured and which I have no doubt they hoped for.
I also think that, although the Senator did admit certain credit to the Government, on the whole his remarks did not show sufficient gratitude, because, according to my reading of the thing the Government hurried almost too quickly along the rationalistic, or rather along the nationalistic, lines that he wishes for —I might almost say the Socialistic lines. We have had, only lately, rather lamentable examples of what may happen if that policy is extended. Only the other day we saw that a certain meat factory at Drogheda, no doubt owing to economic circumstances, failed and brought down with it a substantial sum of Government money. I remember another case also, that of the Irish bottle factory, where in the same way the Government, in trying to sustain an industry, lost their money. We have at the moment, I hope not permanently, the rather unfortunate experience of the sugar factory, where the Government have also embarked their financial credit, and which, at least for the moment, is in jeopardy.
I think that these illustrations are practical, and I put them against the vague statements of the Senator. I think he has given us furiously to think, and we think that the Government  might be wise to cry halt to certain efforts to stimulate trade and industry by direct action. After all the old, time-honoured methods have endured throughout the ages when others have failed. This doctrine of the Senator's is not a new one; it has been tried time after time. My classical research is not very good, but in modern times there are a number of instances where, time after time, efforts have been made to stimulate and to create industries and the lesson has been one of per petual failure. I challenge the Senator to show any case where these efforts at super-Socialism have been sustained over anything but a very short period, and have ever succeeded, have ever produced any durable results. There must be something, after all, in this old-fashioned, time-honoured, traditional method of leaving people alone, of letting enterprise operate as it wishes, of letting capital, which is only accumulated savings, develop where it sees opportunities, of letting the State hold the ring, of letting the State give liberty to large groups of individuals, or to individual companies, or to rationalised large combines, if they wish to deal with this exceedingly sensitive and delicate problem as circumstances dictate, because Senator Johnson must know that once you get the State in you get a thing which cannot adapt itself to the flow of circumstances and to the various changes of markets, business, and trade.
I do not know exactly what the Senator wants, but presumably it is to embark upon some system of communal farming in County Meath. Perhaps I am not putting his view fairly, but he gave me the impression that he wanted to recreate the poverty of the Gaeltacht in County Meath, because he seemed to suggest that, owing to necessity and over-population in the Gaeltacht, we were to produce those very necessitous conditions in other areas. But the first thing, of course, is the question of an adequate wage, then the question of the right to work, and then the setting up of a  regular scale of socialism and State control, all of which is to be borne by the taxpayer, all of which will come back to the poor of the country to sustain it. There is not a word about where this money is to come from. The country is heavily taxed, but its credit is good; its credit will not remain good if you embark upon these abstract, nebulous schemes of State production. I would not like it to go from the Seanad that there is not a great deal, in fact more, to be achieved by the old traditional method, bad as it is, no doubt, in some cases, which has produced, I submit, a fairly decent civilisation, and a civilisation growing and improving as the ages pass. It has brought great blessings to many people who suffered from poverty and distress. We need to think twice before we abandon that and embark upon an economic system which has never, as far as I know, justified itself in history.
Mr. O'Farrell Mr. O'Farrell
Mr. O'Farrell: Senator Sir John Keane congratulated Senator Johnson on being able to retain his perpetual youth as a champion of what he termed socialism, or the Marxian doctrines. In turn, one might congratulate Senator Sir John Keane on having maintained his perpetual old age as a champion of reaction. Wherever there is a suggestion, no matter how slight, of State interference, of State intervention in any respect, he sees the red flag. Senator Johnson's speech was by no means a red one, a Communistic speech, or anything of the kind. It was mainly along the lines of ordered State assistance for the development of industry and for its prosperity. We have had numerous examples where the State has had to intervene in order to enable agriculturists against their will to get the best out of their industry. In the Dairy Produce Act we had to take steps to save the Irish butter industry; we had an Eggs Act—I do not remember its exact title—and we had an Act for the elimination of scrub bulls, whose existence Senator Sir John Keane  defended as though they were heroes and martyrs, and we have had a number of other enactments by which the State has had to intervene in order to compel reactionary and recalcitrant farmers, of whom Senator Sir John Keane seems to be the appointed champion in this House, to do their duty towards themselves and towards the industry. I think he said in effect that it is much better we should be dirty and backward so long as we are free. That reminds me of an old saying I often heard in the country by dirty people who objected to being clean: “Where there is muck there is luck.” I think we have advanced a little bit along the road from that stage, but the Senator at least pretends to defend that mentality.
Sir John Keane Sir John Keane
Sir John Keane: Might I explain? The Senator is not treating me fairly. I have no objection to voluntary cleanliness, but I object to compulsory cleanliness.
Mr. O'Farrell Mr. O'Farrell
Mr. O'Farrell: I quite agree, but I am in favour of compulsory cleanliness. I am in favour of the compulsory abatement of nuisances in the State. It is in matters of that kind that the State has had to intervene, for the protection of society, against people who are voluntarily dirty, voluntarily careless in the management of industry, against the best interests of the community. We have had to enact sanitary by-laws for the protection of the community against people who were unclean in their habits and in the way in which they maintained their houses. This, after all, is, from the industrial point of view, a new country. Historically it may be old enough, but it is new from the point of view of industry, and the few people who have money in the country have not yet sufficient confidence in the stability of the State, or in the ability of the people to make the best of their opportunities, to invest money here for the promotion of industries. It is the bounden duty of the State in those circumstances to give young institutions a helping hand along the road,  to encourage them, to induce them, and, where necessary, to coerce them, as they had to do in the case of the Dairy Produce Act and similar Acts. You have got to have a certain amount of benevolent coercion. That certainly is not tyranny; it cannot be said to be tyranny, but, like all enactments that make people do something that they feel they should not do if they do not want to, you are bound to have all sorts of objections. I intervened only to show that Senator Sir John Keane has read into Senator Johnson's suggestions something that they did not contain, and that he has, whether jocularly or not I do not know, sought, at all events, to pose as a champion of letting people do things as they choose, as if we lived in a primitive age, in a primitive land, where the law of might was the law of right. We live in an ordered age, and combination is the order of the day. The farmers find that they cannot stand alone. They have formed organisations.
Sir John Keane Sir John Keane
Sir John Keane: Voluntarily.
Mr. O'Farrell Mr. O'Farrell
Mr. O'Farrell: But the rules are compulsory upon all good members. The majority coerce the minority. In all organisations, in this House, the majority coerce the minority.
Sir John Keane Sir John Keane
Sir John Keane: Only in trade unions.
Mr. O'Farrell Mr. O'Farrell
Mr. O'Farrell: Yes, and in farmers' organisations, or if they do not they very quickly break up. Majority law is the law of democracy. It may be quite wrong in many cases, but at all events it is coercive to the extent that it imposes the will of the majority on the minority. To that extent one cannot call it tyrannical, or anything of that kind. It is in accordance with modern orderly progress for the State to intervene to help people along the road of progress and to remove artificial obstacles placed in the way by a few people who can never be got to advance in the right direction except by coercion.
Mr. Milroy Mr. Milroy
Mr. Milroy: I am reluctant to intervene in this debate between Senator  O'Farrell and Senator Sir John Keane as to whether people should be compelled to keep themselves clean or not. I leave it to the champion of the free-to-be-dirty to settle that with his opponent. But I do think that Senator Sir John Keane had something much more serious in his mind than to try merely to make a jocular simile, to try to push aside the serious portion of Senator Johnson's remarkably interesting survey. It was quite obvious that his attitude was one of non-recognition of the new polity that has come into being in this country. It was quite obvious that his was the voice of a defeated cause, but that in that voice there was still the echo of a lingering hope to see that beaten cause yet resurrected. I do not agree with all that Senator Johnson said. I am not convinced that the function of the State is to provide work. I believe that in so far as it approaches the arena of economic development the major function of the State is to create those conditions in which the energies of the individual citizens will get opportunities or liberty to function, rather than to be immediately directed and controlled by the State. One of the great basic considerations that stimulated and organised the people of this country to break down a certain condition of things which prevented that liberty of the people, both individually and collectively, was that by securing control of the different aspects of our national life we would then have in the Government an instrument by which the people would have that opportunity for development which we now have and which is being used, possibly not with the fullness and the despatch that is desirable, but certainly by steady stages in an expanding way. Senator Sir John Keane's contention is that everything should be left alone, that people should not be compelled to do this or that. Why, sir, that is the voice of the anarchist, and it means the annihilation of all law and order. But I am as certain as I stand here that that is not Senator Sir John Keane's contention at all.
Sir John Keane Sir John Keane
 Sir John Keane: No, sir; it is purely the Senator's interpretation of my point of view, and a wrong interpretation.
Cathaoirleach: I think he has tried to explain.
Mr. Milroy Mr. Milroy
Mr. Milroy: I think it is upon Senator Sir John Keane that the onus of explanation lies. If there was anything manifest in his remarks it was a repugnance and a horror of State authority in any sphere whatever. A man who was arrested for being drunk and disorderly could use to the policeman who arrested him precisely the same argument as Senator Sir John Keane has used. The Senator says: “I object to being made compulsorily clean.” The drunk could say: “I object to being made compulsorily sober.” The great objection which the people of this country had to a regime which is now gone was that they objected to being compulsorily impoverished.
Sir John Keane Sir John Keane
Sir John Keane: You are no richer now.
Mr. Milroy Mr. Milroy
Mr. Milroy: No richer now?
Sir John Keane Sir John Keane
Sir John Keane: Certainly not.
Mr. Milroy Mr. Milroy
Mr. Milroy: What an extraordinary absence of outlook that phrase indicates.
Sir John Keane Sir John Keane
Sir John Keane: I mean no richer financially. I do not say no richer spiritually. I mean in a purely financial way.
Mr. Milroy Mr. Milroy
Mr. Milroy: The difficulty with regard to Senator Sir John Keane's declarations is that they always require to be re-edited and explained. He seems incapable of telling us in plain, straight language what exactly he means. The point with which I find myself in sympathy with Senator Johnson's remarks is this, that the strain of population on the land, with the inevitable trend of economic development in the modern world is such, in so far as it finds its effect upon our country, that  unless we can ease the strain of the population on the land by alternative employment we are going to have a situation in which, I think, Senator Johnson's picture of its being impossible to have an increasing population except that born to increasing misery, is one which I think is not very much overstrained. We require some other means of employment to ease the strain of the population on the land. That does not mean either a diminution in the development of the land, relaxing our hold upon the potential realities of the land, and the markets and products of the land, but it does mean that if we are going to produce those conditions within the State by which an increasing population shall be a population increasing in economic wealth, by which the burden of taxation per head will be diminished by increasing the number of citizens to bear the strain of that taxation, we require a stimulation of our industrial life as well as of our agricultural life, and in the rather primitive economic conditions industrially in which this country exists some kind of State intervention is essential if progress is to be made. I do wish that this question of dealing with tariffs could be divested of party points of view.
Sir John Keane Sir John Keane
Sir John Keane: Impossible.
Mr. Milroy Mr. Milroy
Mr. Milroy: Nevertheless I cherish the hope that Senator Sir John Keane regards as impossible. There are many things that I am sure Senator Sir John Keane thought at one time were equally impossible but which have since come to pass. It is quite possible that, just as he was an inaccurate prophet in those matters, he may be equally fallacious on this policy. But I do hope that it will be possible to approach the consideration of these matters from a non-party point of view, because it is not the welfare of any party that is involved; it is the very vital basis of the State's life. One of our essentials of the future is an economic development, and I do not consider a purely agricultural development, or a purely grass production, is an  economic development from the point of view of the State. The phrase that is often used that our agriculture is such and such a large percentage of our economic assets and therefore should not be trifled with or dealt with unthinkingly is, to my mind, often misleading. You can have a condition of things where the process of extinguishing the industrial life of the State goes on until agriculture becomes the vital 100 per cent. of your economic life. That does not mean that it becomes a more important factor; it means that it has been reduced to that by a process of national retrogression. Therefore I say that we must face the future economic life of this country, not as partisans but as citizens of a State which has secured full control over all phases of its economic development. We must face this question, that the people who live within the State are the most valuable asset to the State, and that we must provide those alternative forms of employment which will enable the State to absorb its own citizens, at least until the population of the State has increased to such dimensions that the natural order of expansion necessitates some form of emigration. But that is certainly not the position at the present time, and certainly what has been done in the direction of stimulating industrial development, though perhaps not all that might be desired—perhaps the particular manner in which it has been done has not met with the full approbation of all serious students of this matter—has shown that in these matters the right direction is being followed. And even though it may be possible for someone to point to some cases where mistakes have been made, it does not follow that because mistakes have been made in those directions the same thing will apply to every experiment that may be tried.
I do not know the circumstances of the Irish glass bottle tariff, and I do not know to what extent that may be a useful illustration on the part of the Senator who used it, but even if it were absolutely as he  wished to suggest, it has no bearing whatever on the other aspects in which tariffs are being used. One thing is certain, that if the tariffs that are in operation had not been embarked upon this State would have something like 10,000 to 15,000 human beings without a means of livelihood, or who would have left the shores of Ireland, and if the latter happened there would be 10,000 or 15,000 potential taxpayers that this State would have lost, but who, having been retained, are bearing their quota of the State's burden. I know that there are powerful interests who regard this kind of thing as undesirable; there are powerful interests who will be reluctant to see a development of industrial manufactures here, because it means the loss of certain annual dividends that they drew as a result of their trade enterprises. I do not blame them. It is natural and only human nature that they should safeguard their own interests. It is not the State point of view; it is not the point of view of those interested in the State, and it certainly shall not be the point of view of those who are sent here to try to devise the laws that will build up this State, to try to secure that every citizen born in it gets a decent opportunity to get a living, provided he stands loyally by the State and its legitimate institutions.
Mr. Dowdall Mr. Dowdall
Mr. Dowdall: Whether we agree or disagree with Senator Johnson's statement, and with much of it I agree, it was very interesting and contained a good deal of valuable information. Notwithstanding the efforts made by the Minister for Agriculture in particular, I think the agricultural community, financially, at all events, in its produce is not materially better off than it was before, but that is not the fault of the Minister. I wish to draw attention to one matter over which the Minister has no control but which is very important, and which may be controlled by an organisation which he has assisted. There is out of the public funds a grant of a certain sum of money to the Agricultural Organisation Society. Let  me confess it was not given by this Government but was a legacy from the previous Government. At the time it was given I opposed it vigorously, and I think it is in the memory of the House that on a Bill of which the Minister was in charge last year, the Creameries Bill, I said I was not a co-operator, that I never had been a co-operator, and that I did not think I would ever be a co-operator. I rather changed my mind in one respect shortly after that, and that was when I saw the figures of freight rates contrasted with what they were some years ago. In this connection, looking up this morning the accounts of the Irish Associated Creameries, I noticed that the cost to that institution for freight, which, let me say, is paid by the farmer, amounted to more than the total costs of every other kind and description for carrying on that institution. The freight rate was 3.8 and a fraction shillings per cwt., and all the other expenses amounted, approximately, to 3/4 per cwt. That is, selling, discount, cold storage, office and overhead administration, all added together amounted to less than the freight, and I would suggest, more particularly to the Minister for Agriculture, who is here, that as the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society is in touch with all the co-operative productive institutions up and down the country, and I am sure that in this respect he would have the co-operation of those who are in private enterprise, in dealing with agricultural products, that a co-operative move might be made to deal with the monopoly which certainly is over-charging in transit freights across the Channel.
Mr. Barrington Mr. Barrington
Mr. Barrington: Perhaps after all the lines of speculative philosophy in which we have indulged I might be spared a minute or two to go back to what our American friends call “brass tacks.” I think the subject we were discussing—I have almost forgotten it—is on the final reading of the Central Fund Bill. I am sure that every original member of this Seanad will recollect that from the time the Seanad was first formed we have protested in every way we possibly  could against the system which has grown up, and which we always thought violates the spirit, if not the letter, of Article 38 of the Constitution. It states that every Money Bill shall be sent to Seanad Eireann for its recommendations and that a period not longer than twenty-one days after it shall have been sent to Seanad Eireann it shall be returned to Dáil Eireann. It has been the constant practice from the time the Seanad was first established to send up these Bills to us at the last moment, and they are usually accompanied by a request that the Standing Orders may be suspended so that the Bill can be rushed through with practically no discussion. Now I am perfectly certain that the mails of Senators have been filled with letters for the last few days from people requesting us to take into consideration one matter that has been very largely discussed here, the reduction of postal facilities.
It is the duty of the Seanad to make recommendations, and I would suggest—and I know something of the circumstances in the country— that there are many interests concerned, for instance the one mentioned by Senator Johnson, the poultry industry. I am sure the Minister will not contradict me when I say that his legislation affecting the egg trade has improved it, and a great deal of that trade is done by the postal service. If facilities for people in certain districts— I do not say that it applies to the whole country—are seriously curtailed, a great many people interested in the poultry industry will be either driven out of business, or their incomes and prosperity will be seriously interfered with. In addition the Post Office itself will lose a large portion of the revenue it now derives from birds and eggs sent by the post. I cannot help thinking that the Seanad will be only doing what is expected of it, and will be only doing its duty, if it sends this Bill back to the Dáil with a recommendation appended, that postal facilities shall not, if possible, be interfered with, and that some other  source of saving should be sought. It is not for the Seanad to suggest that. The Minister has all the information at his disposal, and he should be able to find some service on which a similar saving could be effected. I am absolutely sure that a great many people will be injuriously affected, and their livelihood injured, if the proposals for the reduction of the postal facilities are proceeded with.
Dr. Gogarty Dr. Gogarty
Dr. Gogarty: Touching postal facilities I made inquiries yesterday, and I find that the difficulty of delivering by motor is occasioned by the distance of farmers' houses from the road, and the boreen up which the postman must go. In Canada that is met by a rule which forces every farmer who wants to get his post to put a box on the nearest road to the farm. That can easily be arranged in rural districts by erecting it on the wall or secure in some way. In that way one postman on a motor-bicycle would be enabled to deliver letters in a circle of about 50 miles. In Canada the circle is over 300 miles a day. That would not meet the problem of the unemployment of 700 men, but it would certainly meet the desire of the public for a daily service, which, at least, a small country like this with a growing agricultural industry is entitled to.
Mr. Foran Mr. Foran
Mr. Foran: Senator Barrington has just made a very sensible proposition. I would like to know if it would be in order to send it back in the form of a recommendation to the Dáil. If so, I would have much pleasure in seconding it.
Cathaoirleach: On the present stage of this Bill it would not be in order to make any recommendation. Ministers will have it before them and they know what our feelings on the matter are.
Mr. Foran Mr. Foran
Mr. Foran: Would it not be in order for Senator Barrington to move a resolution on the lines indicated by him?
 Cathaoirleach: I am afraid not on this stage of the Bill.
Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Hogan) Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Hogan)
Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Hogan): Senator Johnson made the point that it was the duty and the responsibility of the Government of the day to find work for every man, to keep every man in the country in his job, and that if he had not one to find one for him. That is what the Senator's point comes to. That is the logical conclusion that his argument leads to. Not only are you to do that, but you are to do the same thing for his children and his children's children. That sort of generalisation is unsound in every respect. If we had a population in this country of six millions instead of three, Senator Johnson would still enunciate the same doctrine, if it could be carried out. If the Government were to undertake that particular responsibility and achieve the particular object the Senator has in view, and that in a short time the population was twelve millions instead of three, and if later still it were twenty-four millions, the responsibility of the Government in that respect would still be there. But there are limitations, and what are they? One is that the amount of wealth that can be produced in this country is limited. You cannot get as much wealth out of this country as can be got from a country with the same resources but twice as big. Might I point out that there are definite limitations to that particular theory? I agree with Senator Sir John Keane's doctrine that the individual has the right to do absolutely as he likes. Because that is really what the Senator's argument came to.
Sir John Keane Sir John Keane
Sir John Keane: The Minister overstating the point that I made.
Mr. Hogan Mr. Hogan
Mr. Hogan: If I am, I am overstating it deliberately. You have to put things in an extreme way. Senator Sir John Keane wants to give extreme liberty to the individual quite regardless of the interests of  the State. That is as much out of date as the doctrine of Senator Johnson. If you are to put Senator Johnson's idea into operation, everything should be controlled. To come down to some of the points that Senator Johnson dealt with. He said that 35 per cent. of the land valuation of the country carried 44 per cent. of the cattle, 50 per cent. of the sheep, 47 per cent. of the pigs, 54 per cent. of the poultry, and 46 per cent. of the agricultural horses. In other words, that on these figures practically half the agricultural wealth of the country is produced from about 30 per cent. of the real value of the land of the country. If that was the obvious meaning of these figures, and if they were to be taken at their face value, that would be a very serious state of affairs. To some extent, of course, they should be so taken. To some extent, Senator Johnson is right that the people on the poorer lands of the country work harder than the people on the richer lands. That, for some extraordinary reason, is not only the case in this country, but elsewhere. In practically every agricultural country you have relatively more production off poor land than off rich land, and that, unfortunately, is the position here. But the figures are not as bad as they would appear to be. Griffith's valuation was undoubtedly a wonderfully accurate piece of work, but I think it is somewhat out of date now. It was based on the value of land for wheat production purposes. That particular standard of value is not quite appropriate to-day. It was a fairly good standard of value, but it is not appropriate to-day for the reason that the agricultural economy of this country has completely changed.
You could have excellent wheat land that would not produce as much livestock as land of lighter quality, land that would be more suitable for tillage. There is no doubt but that real rich land that would be suitable for wheat would not carry as much livestock as land of a lighter quality. Therefore, I suggest to Senator Johnson that the argument is the other way  around. In any event, these figures must be corrected by the fact that the standard of valuation there is not the standard that would apply at present times. The second correction that needs to be made is this: that we export cattle to the value of seventeen or eighteen millions per annum. We produce cattle to the value of between twenty-five and thirty millions. At any time, we have about £25,000,000 worth of cattle in the country. Therefore, the live-stock that we have in the country are nearly fifty per cent. of our total agricultural production. I think that the value of the cattle we have in the country would be more than the total value of our sheep, pigs, butter, poultry and eggs—60 or 70 per cent. of the total. Ten millions, I suppose, would represent the value of the pigs in the country, and the figure for sheep might be taken at nine millions. The value of poultry, butter and eggs, might be put at fifteen millions. Roughly, the position would be this: that sheep, pigs, butter, poultry and eggs would represent about thirty-four or thirty-five millions, as against the value of the cattle, which I put at between twenty-five and thirty millions. In other words, on these figures cattle would represent nearly half the total agricultural wealth of the country. Forty-four per cent. of the cattle are on these figures on the poorer land, in what Senator Johnson calls the ten poorer counties. The word “poorer” is inaccurate in the respect in which it is used there. Of these figures it means that fifty-six per cent. of the cattle are in the remaining 16 counties. In that respect we are dealing with far and away the biggest item of agricultural production. I feel perfectly certain in saying this, that if the average value of beasts in these ten counties was £x that the value of the cattle in the other sixteen counties in the Free State would be x plus £7 or £8. That makes a tremendous difference. If you take all the factors into account the face value of the figures is very much altered.
 In fact, on the poorer and the lighter land, there is more work done than on the richer land. What is the moral of the whole story? Senator Johnson did not draw it. The Senator went on to speak about the county of Mayo, and said there was an increase in agricultural wealth in Mayo, but a decline in the agricultural population there. That is so, but why? Why has there been an increase in the agricultural wealth in that county? Because under the Land Acts, there were about 200,000 acres divided in that county alone and about 300,000 acres divided in Galway. That is to say, that in these two counties you had 500,000 acres of land divided out of about 900,000 acres of the untenanted land that has been divided over the whole country. That is one reason why there has been an increase in the agricultural wealth of Mayo. What is the present position in Mayo? The average holding there would not have more than a £10 valuation. Senator Johnson says that there has been a decline in the population in Mayo. I admit that there has been since say the year 1848, but at that time the average person in the county Mayo was living on a holding with a valuation of 25/- or 30/-, in a state of poverty, ignorance, misery and suffering. What is the deduction to be drawn from the present state of affairs? The valuation of the average holding in Mayo at present is £10 or thereabouts. In fact, I should say that £10 is an extreme figure. The average valuation is hardly £10. At any rate, the holdings there at present are something like economic compared to the holdings that were there in the old days, say, in the years 1848, 1868, or 1870, when the valuation of most of them was 20/- or thereabouts, and when the occupiers of them were huddled together in poverty, misery and suffering. What is the moral to be drawn from all that? Senator Johnson says that there has been a decline in the population. Is it suggested that we should divide those £10 holdings in Mayo into £5 holdings. Senator  Johnson, of course, will say “No” to that. Will he say “Yes” and produce twice as much wealth out of Mayo?
Mr. Johnson Mr. Johnson
Mr. Johnson: May I intervene to say that I rejoice at the fact that there has been a dispersal, if I may say so, of the overcrowded populations in Mayo. What I want to see is that the dispersed elements are offered remunerative employment.
Mr. Hogan Mr. Hogan
Mr. Hogan: In any event, we are talking about present conditions in Mayo. Similar conditions apply in other parts of the country. The point is this, that a holding with a £10 valuation in Mayo is too small as it is to be further divided. The fact of the matter is that Mayo cannot carry, no how you might arrange it, a bigger population than it has. Furthermore, a surplus population produced in places like Mayo, cannot be absorbed in this country by any State action or by any schemes that anyone could devise—only a proportion of it, and that very slowly. You may reach a time when the population of this country will be ten or twelve millions, but if and when that takes place, you will still be faced with the same problem. People will still have to go away. The position is that there are limits to the resources of a country.
Senator Johnson made another point. In fact, it was the most serious point that he made. It is serious in this respect, that it is hard to explain. He said that taking the period, 1901 to 1905, and comparing it with the years 1922 to 1926, that there had been a reduction in the area under tillage and in the output per acre of tillage in spite of the efforts of the Department of Agriculture. I am not surprised at that. I think that I am right in saying that, in the period 1905 to 1910 there was increased production. Take, say, the case of potatoes. I think that if a comparison is made between the period 1901 to 1905, and the period 1905 to 1910, that in the latter period there was an increase in the average output. But undoubtedly, between  1922 and 1926, the output per acre as regards the crops of the country diminished. Why? Because no one was working. That is all about it. I am again putting it in an extreme way. You will get no real work or efficiency at a time when there is confusion and civil war in a country, and when the popular thing is to preach political doctrines of all kinds.
Mr. Johnson Mr. Johnson
Mr. Johnson: In the period 1905 to 1910, there was practical stability, and a slight decrease per acre.
Mr. Hogan Mr. Hogan
Mr. Hogan: Practical stability? The point at any rate is that there was a decrease as regards output from 1922 to 1926. First of all, the European war demoralised the farmers of the country. During the war, there was no occasion to be efficient. All that you had to do was to turn out quantity. At that time, there was no occasion to farm at all. All that you had to do in order to make money was to go in for dealing —buy and sell. All that killed agriculture. We have not yet got back to agriculture in this country. Then, added to the confusion of the Civil War, you had all sorts of political unrest from 1922 to 1926. The spirit of the farmers and of the country was against work. If the farmers of the country did not depend entirely on actual revolutionary action to get money, they depended on what the State might do for them.
In fact you had the position that, to a great extent, the rural population thought that A would probably some day or another share B's property, and would not be asked to pay any debts to C even if he were the owner of the property. All that sort of thing militated against work being done. There were people who preached everything but the one thing that people should help themselves.
Take the case of a man in the country with a holding the valuation of which is £25. Take it that he purchased it pre-war and that the annuity is £13. I think Senator Johnson suggested that the point of view of the present Government was completely antagonistic to organised  rationalisation and providing community services. That is not so. Take a concrete example, the case of this man who has a holding the valuation of which is £25. He purchased the holding pre-war and the annuity is £13. Say that he is a married man with a wife and children. What has happened in his case? He was lent £300 or £400 to buy the land that he holds. He got the money at 3½ per cent., and Senator Colonel Moore preaches the doctrine that he ought not to pay interest on the money advanced to him. He got a loan of that money at 3½ per cent.—at the expense of the community. His mother has got the old age pension and possibly his father also—all at the expense of the community. We are spending £4,000,000 on education. Teachers are paid and his children are provided with a free education—all again at the expense of the community. I do not know any other country where a Government provides so many community services as are provided here. The fact of the matter is that, at the moment, there is only one hope for the farmer, and that is to tell him that the State is not going to do very much more for him.
The Irish farmer has undoubtedly got into bad habits. Since 1881 he was told: “Do not work; if you do the landlord will raise the rent.” That was quite right then, because if he did work the landlord did raise the rent. He was also told: “Do not pay your rent; get into arrears and an Act will be passed wiping them out.” He was quite right. The Act was passed. He was next told: “Do not work hard to buy land for your son. A Land Act will come along in due course. You can acquire some land and give it to your son.” Whatever may be said of the Irish farmer trying to impede the British Government I do deny his right to obstruct an Irish Government. If people have the interests of the farmer at heart the thing to do is to tell him to depend upon himself. “You have a good holding, you have excellent livestock,  you have loans and grants provided to build houses, you have free education for your children, and therefore do something for yourself.”
Mr. Wilson Mr. Wilson
Mr. Wilson: And he has rates to pay.
Mr. Hogan Mr. Hogan
Mr. Hogan: What in fact does happen at the present moment? Envisage the problem of that particular farmer. Do not talk about Ireland, because to the extent of 60 per cent. he is Ireland. Come down to the case of that one farmer. He is in debt. What is his reaction to that? He is not able to feed his children properly. What is his reaction to that? The first is that if he can get the old age pension increased from 6/- to 10/- weekly for his father and for his mother, he is right. If he can persuade the Land Commission to make a bog road into the nearest estate, where his son John would get 30/- a week for four months, under a Land Commission ganger who does not work very hard himself, he would be really well off. Then, if Senator Colonel Moore's policy for the repudiation of the payment of land annuities were successful, and if he were not asked to pay his Land Commission annuity of £13, of course he would never see a poor day.
That is the doctrine that is preached to the farmer. The man who is listening to that sort of poisonous and sterilising nonsense is not going to do any work. He has plenty of manure in his yard, but he will not till another half acre of his land. If he were to buy a slip, costing, say, £2 10s., he would have a sow in two or three months. It would pay him to do that, but he will not do it. He would have practically no trouble in getting seed to seed an extra half acre of tillage. It would not take a lot of money if he were to get an extra cow or to get a sow. But see how he could improve his position if you multiply all these things together. Will he do that? Not at all. Will he sow a line of vegetables at the back of his house,  so that instead of giving tea to his family he may have during the year a plentiful supply of fresh vegetables. Will he do that? Not at all. There will never be any work in this country while that sort of picture is held up to the farmers—of living in a sort of county home under a system of licences, grants, doles and subsidies. No State action can take the place of an energetic, independent, hard-working community, and practically all influences for the last five years have been directed towards the exact opposite, have been directed towards teaching the farmers that their salvation lies in, number one, repudiation; and, number two, dependence on Governmental action, or in other words, on the other taxpayers to do everything. That will rot this country if it goes on.
Senator Johnson said that something must be done. He pointed out that in spite of all the efforts of the Department of Agriculture there was not a big increase in the wealth of the country, nor a big increase in livestock, and, in fact, not a big increase where you would expect to find it, namely, in the produce of agricultural tillage land. That is so, and it is suggested that something should be done, and that would seem to be that further State action is necessary. I fail to envisage for myself what he has in mind, or how State action will remedy the state of affairs he shows us to exist. I see nothing for it but to try and win back the spirit of self-reliance and work in farmers. I gathered from Senator Johnson that he was in favour of the development and not the abolition of the present agricultural system. I am glad that we have at least reached the stage where nobody has the temerity to come forward and suggest that by a complete abolition of the agricultural system, and by some system of protection or licences, and so on, you can find wealth for the farmer, and find it quickly. The problem is there.
 You have a certain percentage of the farmers of the country tilling a very much higher percentage of their lands, and consequently carrying more stock, and operating under conditions the same as their neighbours. Their holdings are not big. They have some family labour and employ some labour, and they are producing far and away more wealth than their neighbours. But the majority are not working nearly as hard. The minority who are working under conditions like that are producing twice as much as the others, and the economic problem is to bring the majority up to the standard reached by the minority. I do not see any better policy for doing it than the policy that is being carried out. I cannot see any direct way of compelling farmers to till so much land, and compel them to make direct changes in the existing system. Nearly everything in the way of compulsion we can do we have done. There may be other directions in which that policy could be extended. The State has been pretty generous to the individual, and it is now time for the individual to help himself more effectively than he has done in the past, and he should be taught also that the results from the point of view of the country as a whole, and very possibly the point of view of tillage, will be far and away more beneficial than the results of any other changes, whether political or economic.
Colonel Moore Colonel Moore
Colonel Moore: May I say a word or two?
Cathaoirleach: Yes, if on a point of personal explanation.
Colonel Moore Colonel Moore
Colonel Moore: It is something that way. The Minister has made a joke on statements regarding me to which I do not in the least object. I happened to be in Connemara and attended a particular meeting at which he spoke. I see the Minister smiling, because I think he remembers the circumstances. I listened with some attention to the Minister. He was speaking to his own supporters when another large party holding  opposite views arrived. The Minister spoke in these terms: “We are going to be the Party in power in the future, and when in power we will give a certain amount of loans, but they can, of course, only be given to honest people, and those people over there are not honest, and they will get no loans. We have houses to build, but these people over there are not honest and they will not get houses.” That was the tenor of his speech, and it was very contrary to the speech he has made here to-day.
Question put and agreed to.
Seanad Éireann 11 Public Business. Central Fund Bill, 1929—Final Stages.