Seanad Éireann - Volume 20 - 25 March, 1936
Public Business. - Central Fund Bill, 1936—(Certified Money Bill)—Report and Final Stages.
Question—“That the Bill be received for final consideration”—put and agreed to.
Question proposed—“That the Bill do now pass.”
Mr. Counihan Mr. Counihan
Mr. Counihan: I want to refer to one or two simple subjects. On the Second Reading of the Bill reference was made to the Warble Fly Order and an impression was created by speakers on that occasion that the farmers were against the Order. I want to say definitely that every man in this country, who knows anything about the subject, thoroughly approves of the Order, but I object to the way in which the Order is being carried out. A number of inspectors are appointed in every county to see that the Order is enforced. These inspectors go round to the farmers and they have not a  single idea of how to give instruction. They are not furnished with leaflets. They just walk into a farmer's place and say: “Have you dipped your cattle or have you dressed them?” If the farmer has not dipped or dressed his cattle they say to him: “You will have to dress them or we will prosecute you.” That is not the way to encourage the farmers to carry out the Order. This is a very important Order, but it is going to be useless and hopeless unless better methods are adopted in seeing that the farmers carry it out.
I also object to that portion of the Order which suggests that it will be sufficient if farmers bruise the grub out of the beast's back. If it is to be enforced in that way, it will be impossible to know whether or not the farmer has complied with the Order. The farmer can always say that he has bruised out the grub. In my opinion there should be only one way of carrying out the Order and that is by dressing the cattle with the approved wash. We have in every county in Ireland a very intelligent set of agricultural instructors. Why should the agricultural instructors not call together those inspectors who have been appointed under the Warble Fly Order and give them a lecture on how to put the case to the farmers? Why not furnish them with the Department's leaflet? The cost of printing a few hundreds more of them would be very little. If they do that, the farmers will be induced to carry out the Order when they know that it is in their own interests and in the interests of the country as a whole. I should like to suggest to the Minister, as the provision of the money comes within his province, that every farmer or cattle-owner in the country with less, say, than ten cattle, should be supplied with an approved dip by the inspector. It could be made up in 1 oz. or 2 oz. packets and given to the farmers. At the same time the farmers could be instructed as to how to dress their cattle with the dip. A number of people are going to a lot of expense and a lot of trouble to see that their cattle are dressed, but that will be all waste of time and money unless everybody is prepared to weigh in and do  the business properly. Unless the work is done properly, it will be useless.
Another matter to which I should like to refer, though perhaps it does not come within the Minister's province, is the question of dogs worrying sheep. I know many cases all over the country where dogs have killed ten, 15 or 20 sheep in the flocks of farmers. Anybody going out at night can see that the country is full of prowling mongrels and these do a lot of harm. Instructions should be issued to the Civic Guard to shoot all dogs that are allowed out at night without being under control. I do not think there is any other way of dealing with the trouble. It is very important that the question should be taken up by somebody in authority, such as the Civic Guard. The Minister for Justice could give instructions to the Civic Guard that all dogs found prowling at night should be shot. There are a number of other matters to which I should like to refer, but perhaps it would be better to defer dealing with them until the Minister for Agriculture is present. Amongst them is the question of the provision for the slaughter of calves. I do not want to attack the Minister for Finance on this question. I have been looking for the Order which is to be laid on the Table to provide money for the continuance of the scheme. If that Order were laid on the Table, I would put a motion down to rescind it, as I think that would be the proper way of dealing with the matter. When the Order is laid on the Table I shall probably take such steps.
Mr. Quirke Mr. Quirke
Mr. Quirke: It was very pleasant to hear Senator Counihan, for once, at any rate, approving of Government policy. For his information and for the information of the House, I should like to point out that as far as I am aware the warble-fly inspectors are being called together in the various counties. They have been called together in County Tipperary at any rate. I was in the county council office yesterday when they were called in and they were given instructions as to how they were to approach the farmers and to carry out the work. As far as I am aware, the method of selection  was such that men who were totally unsuitable, as Senator Counihan suggested, could not possibly have got these jobs. As far as I am aware, the men are fully qualified to carry out their duties and fully instructed as to how they should be carried out.
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
Mr. Dillon: There is a matter to which I should like to draw the attention of the Minister. I do not know whether it can properly be raised on this Bill, but as we have no opportunity of asking questions in this House, I can only avail of this opportunity to ask whether there has been a departure from policy with regard to doctors living in local dispensary districts. I am not bringing forward this question altogether on my own. Representations have been made to me on the subject and I was asked to mention the matter so as to ascertain whether there has been any departure from policy with regard to it. I am referring particularly to the district in which I live, where a doctor has been appointed for over a year or more. He is now living ten or 15 miles away from the district in which he is supposed to reside. I believe accommodation could have been provided for him in the district at the time he was appointed. That accommodation has been otherwise taken up since. Taking into account the fact that a commissioner has been in office in Kilkenny, everyone has been wondering whether there has been a departure from the policy hitherto in existence and whether the doctor is now allowed to reside ten or 12 miles outside his district. This is a hilly district, in fact many people call it mountainous, and in many cases it is quite impossible to get in communication with the doctor, especially at night. I think it is only reasonable taking into account all the money spent on social services that doctors should not be allowed to live away from their districts.
If money contributed locally by the county council and by the Central Fund is wholly expended on trunk roads, are the district roads to remain practically in a state of neglect? I am referring particularly to a county where the district roads have become  almost impassable, where it is difficult for the people to use them. In those days of increased production from tillage, as well as the burdens being imposed on roads by modern transport, I think it is reasonable to expect that the district roads should be, at least, kept in the condition they were in prior to 1931-32, before the increased expenditure arose. I intended to refer at length to the slaughter of calves, to the use of Kerry cattle, and the money that is being expended on these schemes. I did so before without result as far as getting information from the appropriate Minister, but I wish to protest again on the ground that there is an enormous expenditure of public money in an absolutely uneconomic manner. I repeat, that the market not alone for cattle but for young calves is growing. It is a valuable market, and seeing that it is there, it seems to me to be an enormous waste of public money to use it to destroy calves. There are two outlets for these calves. There is an outlet for them as stores in England, where the use of stores for fattening has increased from 23 per cent. to over 50 per cent. While there is an increased market there we are spending I think £47,000 on the slaughter of calves. The other outlet is for cattle when they come to maturity. There is absolutely no competition for young cattle between two and two and a half years old or five cwt. dead, except the best Scotch and English. It may be said that there are supplies from the Argentine. Supplies from that country have nothing whatever to say to supplies of fresh meat. There is an untold store of wealth in the live-stock trade but it is being wasted as canned meat. While the Waterford canning factory is idle for eight or nine months of the year these untold resources could be providing other employment. I suggest that there is more employment in the breeding and raising of young cattle, and in the fattening of even two or three beasts, than there would be given on an acre of tillage. I am not saying that to protest in any way against tillage because the two must go  together, but the present schemes seem to me to be an enormous waste of money and of the nation's resources, and for the third time I wish to protest against them in the hope that the Minister will take cognisance of my protest.
Cathaoirleach: I think these questions should not be addressed to the Minister on the Final Stage. If information was desired these remarks would be more pertinent on the Second Stage.
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
Mr. Dillon: I mentioned some of these matters on the Second Stage. I am not suggesting that the Minister at present in the House would be conversant with them.
Cathaoirleach: I take it that you do not propose to oppose the Bill, and that you are raising points to which you object.
Mr. Toal Mr. Toal
Mr. Toal: With reference to the steps taken to deal with the warble fly, it would be an advantage if instructions were given by the Minister for Agriculture to officials connected with the committees of agriculture in the different counties so that they would give all the assistance possible in that matter. As far as I know there is no rule compelling them to do so, but in Monaghan the secretary, the agricultural instructor and all the other officials connected with the county called all the inspectors together and gave them instructions. That might not apply to other counties. If instructions were issued by the Minister it would be a great help, seeing that there is only a short time, until the end of June, within which the work must be done. It will be impossible to get it done unless there is co-operation by all parties. Otherwise the scheme will be a failure. I regard the distribution of leaflets by the inspectors as important. We decided to have the necessary leaflets printed at the expense of the county, as it is useless for young men to go round to farmers unless they have instructions. I was surprised to hear Senator Quirke saying that all these appointments were made on satisfactory lines. It is news to me to learn that any political appointments by any Party could be  made on satisfactory lines. Perhaps Senator Quirke will take an example from a Northern county, where we decided not to monopolise the appointments, but to give every Party a share. We decided that Fianna Fáil was entitled to a percentage, that Fine Gael was entitled to a certain percentage, and that our friends on the left were entitled to a certain percentage. We decided the matter on lines that should commend themselves to many other counties. I am glad to say that that decision resulted in satisfactory appointments. It is my experience that as long as appointments are made on political lines, either by one Party or the other, you will never have satisfactory appointments. The sooner we get away from that practice the better, not only in the making of appointments but in many other things.
Cathaoirleach: I wonder was any arrangement made whereby the unfortunate farmers, after treating their cattle, will get any more for the perfect hides. I think if that was done you would have farmers rushing in to have their cattle treated. If farmers are not going to get any more for the hides, I think this is all manæuvring.
Mr. O'Neill Mr. O'Neill
Mr. O'Neill: Senator Dillon made the rather surprising statement that the rearing of one or two calves to maturity would give more employment than an acre of tillage.
Mr. Counihan Mr. Counihan
Mr. Counihan: Quite right.
Mr. O'Neill Mr. O'Neill
Mr. O'Neill: In my opinion that opens up a very big question. I do not agree with the statement of Senator Dillon. My mind goes back to great wastes of land, some of which is occupied to-day by my friend Senator Counihan. My mind travels over what I saw in areas of Roscommon and on the plains of Boyle. It seems rather extraordinary to say that the rearing of one or two calves will give more employment than an acre of tillage, because I have in mind 500 or 600 acres of land in County Meath in charge of a man and a dog.
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
Mr. Dillon: Did he breed his cattle?
Mr. O'Neill Mr. O'Neill
Mr. O'Neill: Ask Senator Counihan. I do not think he did. The Senator hits at the whole policy of the Government by making such a statement. I  would not like it to go forth from this House than an acre of tillage gives less employment than the rearing of one or two calves.
Cathaoirleach: That cannot be decided now.
Mr. Healy Mr. Healy
Mr. Healy: Senator Toal spoke about the manner in which appointments should be made, but some of us remember that when the commissioners were in charge of municipal affairs no man would be taken on except he was an ex-member of the National Army.
Mr. Blythe Mr. Blythe
Mr. Blythe: I should like to refer to some matters that I intended to mention on the Second Stage if the Minister was present. When the Appropriation Bill was before us in August last I added my voice to certain representations which were made to the Government with a view to having some additional assistance given to the Gaelic Theatre in Galway. I should like to express my appreciation of the action that the Minister has since taken by giving additional assistance to that body. While the additional assistance is not as much as I would have liked, I think it is as much as I would have expected, and that good results will follow from it. There is no doubt that the part that can be played at Galway in the national work of saving and restoring the Irish language is much greater than can be played at any other place. At any rate work can be done there which cannot well be done anywhere else. In Galway we have the only substantial urban area in which a very large proportion of the inhabitants know and actually speak the Irish language. An institution like the Gaelic Theatre can do work there that no similar institution, no matter how well financed, could well do elsewhere, because in Galway you can have a natural audience—not an audience of students of the language, but an audience of people who go to see an entertainment and judge it as such an entertainment would normally be judged. Since the Gaelic Theatre was established. I believe that something like 70 plays have been produced. Quite an appreciable number of original plays  have been written for the theatre and produced in the national language, and a great number of foreign plays have been translated and played there. I am not at all in favour of giving large sums of money to any such institution, because if too much public money is provided there may be a tendency to slack, and to rely on the help that comes from the State, instead of considering the audiences and the resources that can be tapped locally. Ultimately I hope the Government will give some more money to the Galway Gaelic Theatre, so that there may be established there a permanent company of professional actors, whose efforts might be supplemented by amateurs and part-time actors. I think really satisfactory work can only be done if the main part of the acting is done by professionals. It is true that amateurs may play certain parts exceedingly well, but for repertory work it takes actors with about five years constant acting behind them to ensure that every performance will be well done. If the Galway Gaelic Theatre is gradually allowed to grow into an institution with its own body of permanent professional actors, I believe the effect on the work of reviving and restoring the national language will be very great indeed. It will not only have its effect locally on play-goers, but it will stimulate the production of literature. It will provide an immediate outlet for the writer who has capabilities and gifts.
Moreover, the existence of a permanent company will enable a dramatist to do better work than if he has to write without particular actors and actresses in mind. He will get from the existence of a permanent company some of the advantages that an artist gets from working from a model. And when a vigorous dramatic literature takes its rise there you will find that the growth of other branches of Irish literature will be stimulated. So that, while I express my appreciation of the increase the Minister is giving and while, as I say, it was as much as I expected he would do, I hope that the Government will look at this institution with an appraising, benevolent eye, and that as development justifies  it they will make some additional grant available so that there may be steady growth and steady progress, but, of course, always on such a scale and on such a basis that initiative and self-dependence will not be sapped.
I would also like to say that I think the Government and, in particular the Minister for Education, might consider whether in Dublin the moneys that are being expended for drama in Irish might not be expended in a somewhat different way. I do not want to condemn the work that is being done, but I do think that the problem in Dublin is a different problem from that of Galway. We must consider here chiefly the student audience, and very largely an audience of senior school children. I do not know whether it would not be a good thing if the Government, and particularly the Department of Education, were to consider the establishment in Dublin of a Gaelic theatre for children. A great deal is being done to encourage school drama. What is being done is extremely good in certain respects. It teaches the children who have been taught the language to use it in a natural way. It stimulates interest; but, on the other hand, if you have one school company looking at a performance by another school company they are naturally looking at a performance that cannot be perfect. They have no really good model that they may imitate themselves unconsciously: that they might go to see as part of their school attendance, just as they go to concerts conducted by the Army band. I have seen whole bodies of school children accompanied, by their teachers, go into the Mansion House to hear performances of music by the Army band. They went there as part of their school day. I do not know whether it would not be possible and desirable to have in Dublin a theatre manned by professional actors and actresses specialising in Irish plays of interest to children which the children from all the senior classes might go to once a quarter or once in the half-year as part of their school instruction. The dramatic work in school plays would be greatly improved by that. It is not so much that the children  would consciously appreciate the better technique, but that from observation they would incline to model themselves on better work. If you had competent professional players the children, from hearing Irish spoken naturally in all sorts of circumstances, would gain enormously. It would be an important auxiliary to the actual instruction given in the schools. The actors engaged on that work might also do work for adults and so on in the evenings and in that way put the whole thing on a new basis.
In any case, it seems to me that it would be a kind of supplement to the work that is being done by Coiste na bPaíste which sends children from Dublin for a holiday to the Gaeltacht. That work is very useful and valuable, and it is capable of extension. But there are definite limits to the extension which is possible. Not only are there limits because of the question of funds and because it is financially impossible to send all the children from Dublin to the Gaeltacht, but also because there is not sufficient Gaeltacht there to send them to. If the work were extended, and if funds were found to extend it beyond certain limits, there is the danger that it might do a great deal of damage, because in time it might swamp out the Gaeltacht. The work that is being done is valuable, but it can only affect a minority of children. All sorts of ways, it seems to me, will have to be thought out for giving corresponding benefits to other children if a great deal of the work that is being done for the language is not to go to waste. Therefore, I would like that that aspect of the matter which I have mentioned should be considered.
I would like to refer again to a matter that I previously dealt with. That is the question of simple, cheap “talkies” in Irish for school exhibition. I think that also might be considered. These could be used in the rural areas where the children are taught by teachers who, it may be, learned Irish well but who are in isolated districts and do not use it—whose Irish tends  to get somewhat rusty and cannot be kept quite fresh all the time. In any case, it is not good enough for children to hear only one voice speaking the language. I believe that at a very moderate rate simple little comedies, lasting say, a quarter of an hour, could be prepared as “talkies” and shown by a portable apparatus in country schools. At any rate, I would like, as the Minister has been so good as to make a concession in one respect, that this other development should be considered.
Finally, I should like to say that it is perfectly clear that one cannot get the work that requires to be done for the Irish language in the educational system carried out in the primary and secondary schools alone. I think that there must be development in the Universities. Certain steps have been adopted and certain developments have taken place, but I think the process needs to be continuous. In Galway there are certain lecturers who give their lectures in Irish. They have their effect not only on the students who attend the lectures but on the general atmosphere of the place. Their work produces results that extend beyond the immediate bounds of the University or the University body. Now in Dublin, for example, that development has not begun. In Galway it ought not to be allowed to stop at the point that has been reached. In University College, Dublin, if the Government could arrange it, I think that some start ought to be made in the use of Irish as a medium of instruction. Progress naturally must be slow. It cannot be forced. You have to recognise the existing position both as regards the staff and the student body, and apart altogether from that there is the question of finding the right personnel to undertake the new type of work. I think that suitable personnel will only be found very slowly. If any of the colleges of the National University felt that money was available, or would be made available by the Government when suitable personnel appeared, or could be discovered, then I think we would have development. I should like  to say this for the colleges of the National that they are not importunate, that they do not clamour at the door of the Department of Finance as some other institutions do, and, therefore, they would be quite liable to let opportunities of securing personnel and making development slip rather than approach the Government.
Consequently I feel, that the Government has a responsibility in this matter for making it understood that they desire development, and that as soon as development can properly take place they are prepared to assist it. There has been, in more colleges than one, an increase compared with the old days in the staff which is actually engaged in teaching the Irish language, apart from teaching through it. People with old-fashioned ideas may think that quite enough has been done, but I fancy in view of the struggle that is taking place and the efforts that require to be made, we are far from having gone far enough, and that additional staff could be employed with great effect and great utility. It may be said, of course, that the colleges are autonomous, but they are national bodies and are in touch with national feeling and national sentiment. I believe myself that if they understand that adequate help will be available from the Government they will move ahead.
I think it is important that the Government should make it understood that they will give that help, because if the Universities do not advance with the schools then a great deal of the work that has actually been done in the schools is going to be partially destroyed. It is not satisfactory that students should go through a secondary school, getting instruction through the medium of Irish, and having a certain spirit instilled into them, and that when they go to the University in Dublin none of them should receive instruction through Irish. I do not think that for a long time more than a minority can receive instruction through Irish, but at any rate the position ought not to be that none of them  should receive it. If we do not help the Universities and help to develop the work that is being done in the schools then, as I say, a great deal of that work will be wasted. To some extent also development in the schools will be crippled because it is from the Universities the secondary schools get their teachers, and you will not get that even, all round development that might be secured if you have not the Universities advancing in the actual use of Irish. I am not saying that by way of criticism at all. I think that great progress has been made as compared with the old position. I think that progress has to be continuous in this particular matter, and that there has to be continual alertness and continual adjustment.
Mr. Douglas Mr. Douglas
Mr. Douglas: There is just one matter that I would like to deal with. I just want to refer to the serious results that, I believe, are likely to occur if, as a result of Government policy, the bounty which has been removed on woollen exports is not restored. I have no personal interest in this trade. It is a trade which was built up in 60 or 70 years without any tariff. It seems to me that it would be a disastrous thing if this trade in high-class woollen goods to Great Britain should suddenly be stopped because, following the tariff imposed in the economic war, the payment of the bounty to balance that were to cease at the end of this month. I would be glad if the Minister would give me an assurance that the matter will be reconsidered. I would also be glad to hear from him what the reasons are for the removal of the bounty. There is another matter that I desire to bring to the Minister's notice. Would the Minister say if it is true that the Government of Brazil have sent a notification that the most-favourednation treaty with the Free State is to end in six months' time? I have been told that if that be true it will mean the loss of a very substantial trade to two or three firms here, certainly to one, and that very definitely it would be very unfortunate. I do not know whether the Minister can assure us, or whether he  is in a position to state whether or not this is true. I would be glad, at any rate, if he will look into the matter and see if steps can be taken as soon as possible. It might only be a gesture to arrange a more satisfactory treaty, but the occasion should not be let slip in view of the shortage of time. If nothing is done until the end of the six months it means that orders cannot be accepted for Brazil. Most of the stuff takes at least three months to make, and for all practical purposes it will mean that trade will cease in a month or six weeks unless some assurance is given in the meantime.
Perhaps the Minister will be in a position to tell us the attitude of the Government towards the possible sale of licences issued under quota orders. It seems highly undesirable that a person should be placed in a position to sell a licence to any other person. I am not able to prove that that is done, but I have reason to believe that offers have been made to sell licences to others. It would be a very good thing if the Government could give an assurance as to what steps they will take in the event of licences being sold in the way I have mentioned. When a licence is issued under a quota order, if the person to whom it is issued cannot use it, he is not obliged to use it; but in the next period when licences are being issued such a person is liable to be refused a licence. It seems there is something wrong in the way this is working, and if licences cannot be used there should be some method by which the Government can be satisfied so that the person concerned may again get a licence. If persons are driven to adopt various means in order to retain their place on the register, that is, to my mind, a very unsatisfactory condition of things.
Mr. Wilson Mr. Wilson
Mr. Wilson: On the question of bounties, it is close on two years since I first drew attention to the matter and I then referred to how the bounties applied to manufactured articles as compared with the cattle trade. Since the institution of this dispute with Britain, all the bounties on manufactured goods were discharged by the Government of the Saorstát—that is, a bounty equivalent to the tariff was paid. But there was discriminate  action taken in regard to the cattle trade. The tariff was £6, and there was, up to recently, £1 given, but that has now been taken away. There is no case for giving a bounty to manufactured goods and at the same time leaving the cattle subject to £4 5s. Od. without a bounty. If Senator Douglas would agree that the £4 5s. 0d. should be discharged by the Treasury here in regard to cattle, I am quite satisfied that he should get his bounty on woollens and those other things. We have been suffering all along—discriminated against——
Mr. O'Hanlon Mr. O'Hanlon
Mr. O'Hanlon: Silently.
Mr. Wilson Mr. Wilson
Mr. Wilson: Not silently, because there were certain growls now and again. But if Senator Douglas could induce the Minister to pay all the bounties and raise the price of our articles in this country, we would then be out of the economic war, subject to whatever amount might be paid for the bounties.
Minister for Finance (Mr. MacEntee) Minister for Finance (Mr. MacEntee)
Minister for Finance (Mr. MacEntee): A number of matters which have been raised here are matters with which I, naturally, because I have not Departmental responsibility for them, would not be able to deal. I will accordingly draw the attention of the Minister for Agriculture to the remarks made here with regard to the enforcement of the Warble Fly Order, and the attention of the Minister for Industry and Commerce to the points raised by Senator Douglas in regard to the position of the trade treaty with Brazil and the possibility that may arise that persons who have received licences under quota orders may offer them for sale.
With regard to the woollen bounty, I am able to speak with a little more authority, because I have gathered from the Minister for Industry and Commerce that he is satisfied that there is a market which the Irish woollen manufacturers here could supply if they set their minds to it and, until that part of the home market has been filled, there is no possibility that he will reconsider his attitude in regard to the bounties and, accordingly, that he will not ask me to reconsider mine.
Senator Dillon referred to the question of doctors living in local dispensary districts. So far as I am aware, there has been no change in the policy  which would normally require a dispensary doctor to live in the district to which he has been appointed. There may, however, in one or two individual cases be circumstances which might make it difficult to enforce that Order for a reasonable period of time. However, I will draw the attention of the Minister for Local Government to the instance with which Senator Dillon has dealt and I have no doubt it will receive his attention.
On the question of the slaughter of calves, I would like to say that I think, apart altogether from the restrictions imposed on us with regard to the British market, there may be something to be said for it as an economic measure. I am not going to stress that too greatly, but it has been represented to us that farmers and those engaged in the cattle industry are passing through a difficult period. We may assume that if a farmer has to slaughter a certain number of his calves he is not going to select the best of them for the axe, and it may be that some farmers are getting not very much, but something, for an animal which, even in the best of times, they might have found it difficult to dispose of, even if they had been able to rear it. I am not pushing that argument too far, but, mind you, Deputies engaged in the industry must know there is a little in it.
On the question of the canning factory, I think Senator Dillon was under some misapprehension as to the type of cattle with which the canning factory is dealing. We are dealing there, mainly, with the more mature and lean cattle coming from certain districts for which, normally, it was difficult to find a market, and for which it would be almost impossible to find a market now. I do not think the Senator would contend that the classes of cattle that are being utilised in the Waterford Canning Factory would, at any time, fetch a big price, particularly in Smithfield. Indeed, I do not think any of them ever found their way there at all.
I have to thank Senator Blythe for the very appreciative terms in which he referred to the action, first of all, of the Minister for Education and, secondly, of myself in giving an  increased grant to the Gaelic Theatre in Galway. I may say that it is only in accordance with the policy of the present Government, as I think it was of our predecessors, to encourage, in every way possible, creative and artistic work through the medium of the Irish language. When the Senator mentioned this matter and I had an opportunity of considering it in detail, I was very favourably impressed by what had been done in Galway, under circumstances of no little difficulty, to maintain a Gaelic theatre year after year in production. We gave them as much as, in the circumstances, I thought they could utilise properly.
I think it is the idea of the Minister for Education, as it is of Senator Blythe and myself, that it would be desirable to have there, ultimately, a professional theatre, but the difficulty is that one can go a little too fast in this matter as in other matters in relation to the Irish language. I do not mean to take up the view that we sometimes see expressed in the papers, that people ought not to try to do this or that, to teach this or that subject, or try to do this or that through the Irish language. I believe people ought to try to do everything they possibly can through the Irish language. It is only when they reach the stage that they think the Government ought to do everything and they themselves do nothing, that I am inclined to hold my hand and tighten the purse strings, and I think that is also the attitude of the Minister for Education. If, as we have already indicated, in connection with the Galway Theatre and the Coiste na bPáiste, people show they are in earnest, if their efforts show they deserve more, I am perfectly certain the Government will be prepared to give them more. That has been the main principle that has guided us in connection with these subsidies for the various matters relating to the Irish language.
I think the House can congratulate itself on the speech we have listened to from Senator Blythe in that connection to-day. It is always a pleasure to hear him talking on this subject.  I have found his speeches most stimulating. I have found that one gets new and original ideas from them, ideas which can be given effect to without imposing too many demands on the public purse and upon the Government. I have not the slightest doubt the suggestions he has made in his speech to-day are worthy of the most serious consideration. I will undertake to bring them to the notice of the Minister for Education and if he, on investigation, is satisfied that anything can be done on the lines which the Senator has suggested, I, at any rate, will not be found unhelpful.
Dr. Gogarty Dr. Gogarty
Dr. Gogarty: I would like to ask why is it considered fair to torture the Irish language with external and classical forms such as a theatre? Surely, we realise that a theatre is utterly alien to a Gaelic State? The idea of the theatre is a classical one and it is derived from the Continent, descending through miracle plays of the Church. A Gaelic theatre in Galway, or anywhere else, is a contradiction of the genius of the Irish language. To my mind it would be an effort to contort the Irish language and convert it into English or classical forms. This is all part and parcel of the hybrid mentality which confuses two things which are quite different and tries to merge them in the name of Gaeldom. Perhaps the Minister is in a position to give us an idea of what it has cost this poor country to push synthetic Irish down the throats of the children for the last 14 years? Could not the money have been much better employed? Just imagine how much more it could have done if it were devoted to cleaning up this slum-ridden City, or giving the people food instead of what I might describe as a Woolworth's Gaelic. It could easily have been devoted to achieving something much more substantial and valuable than the learning of a synthetic Irish. If it were utilised merely in looking after the school children's teeth, it would have been much better spent.
This Irish language has not even as broad an appeal for the nations of the world as Volopuk or Esperanto.  The people of this unfortunate country have never spoken it, even in its time of greatest energy. There is nothing to be gained by a knowledge of the Irish language except a petty Civil Service job. There is not even a word for “freedom” in the Irish language. Take the word “Saorstát” Why, it sounds like Sauer Kraut. There was never any constructive achievement derived from Gaelic speaking. If the Irish people in America, who won our freedom for us by their great weight and influence and the potential threat which their disaffection represented to Great Britain, were dependent on the Irish language—if they were depending on their knowledge of Irish, where would they be? Why, they would be like the Sicilians submerged in the slums of Chicago, people who do not know the common English of Great Britain or the United States. This Gaelic theatre is, to my mind, the most ludicrous contortion I have ever heard of. It resembles something that would be more at home on a trapeze, something that would look better on a trapeze than in a theatre. Just think of what we are calling the Gaelic language now —misspelt English words such as “bosca na puist” for post box, “Bille Siúicre” for Sugar Bill, “bosca na telefon” for telephone box and “incoim” is used in connection with income tax; but all the collections are in the English language.
Let us at least be honest with ourselves. The Irish language is not the language of the nation at the present day. Did our mothers speak it? I am sorry the Government has accepted the heavy mantle of the last Government in wasting millions of money slowing up every Department and confusing the none too brilliant intelligence of the proletariat. Only the other day I got a notice from the West of Ireland in Irish, and, when I wrote back for a translation, three weeks elapsed and they were probably trying to find out what it was they first sent me. They are simply span-celling themselves and making a very unintelligent proletariat more confused. It is time for people to speak out honestly. There have been many  energetic strains in this country from the twelfth century onwards who never knew a word of Irish.
Mr. MacEntee Mr. MacEntee
Mr. MacEntee: I do not know, Sir, whether I should be entitled to reply to that practitioner of a synthetic profession. Senator Gogarty, because, after all, I think that even the profession of surgery has been built up by a process of synthesis, and I do not think that even Senator Gogarty would claim that the modern surgeons are any worse than those who used to operate with a razor at one hour and with a lancet at another.
Dr. Gogarty Dr. Gogarty
Dr. Gogarty: It is not a synthetic profession.
Cathaoirleach: You cannot make another speech, Senator.
Dr. Gogarty Dr. Gogarty
Dr. Gogarty: I say that it is not synthetic.
Cathaoirleach: I cannot allow the Senator to make another speech.
Dr. Gogarty Dr. Gogarty
Dr. Gogarty: Well, Sir, will the Minister tell us what he means by synthetic?
Question—“That the Bill do now pass”—put and agreed to.
Seanad Éireann 20 Public Business. Central Fund Bill, 1936—(Certified Money Bill)—Report and Final Stages.