Seanad Éireann - Volume 38 - 20 July, 1950
Local Government (Repeal of Enactments) Bill, 1949. - Appropriation Bill, 1950 (Certified Money Bill)—Second Stage (Resumed) and Subsequent Stages.
Mr. S. O'Farrell Mr. S. O'Farrell
Mr. S. O'Farrell: So many problems of general interest and discussion have been considered in the last day and a half, one is left with less to say on the Appropriation Bill. Yet, on the Appropriation Bill, I think one can raise  almost any matter of Government administration. However, I will spare Senators' feelings by not going too deeply into anything.
This Bill provides for the appropriation and allocation of about £85,000,000. That is a considerable sum. When I look down the items which make up the £85,000,000, I wonder, if I were Minister for Finance, how I would redistribute the money and spend it, even to my own greater satisfaction than is provided here. I know it would not be possible to rearrange and spend it to everybody's satisfaction.
If I have any criticism at all to make of the amount involved, it is that it is a very considerable sum. Before the Minister can get the £85,000,000 to spend, some of our people have to go without the pleasure of spending it themselves. It has to be raised in taxes. I do not suppose very much of the State's income is derived from anything but taxation so that, in actual fact, the Minister for Finance is spending £85,000,000 of the country's income in a year. I would like if the people of the country could spend more of their own incomes individually, but I do not see at the moment how it can be done.
Criticism has been made, and made no doubt with the best intention in the world, of the Government's unpreparedness, their lack of policy, in this time of crisis. I do not want to enter into that matter in any controversial spirit but, since it has been raised, I might mention that over £4,000,000 is provided for defence services. That is not, I suppose, an abnormal amount; we may take it as in or about the usual amount that is required for the upkeep of the defence services. But I can remember, as I suppose other Senators also can, that when, the other emergency broke on us the Government then did not rush immediately into disclosing all their plans. I was rather innocent at that time and I was writing what I thought was a very innocent article. I mentioned in that article that newspapers were not allowed to publish weather reports. The whole of that article was censored lest it might endanger the State. The Government did not even want it divulged that  weather reports were not to be published.
I could mention other things that were kept very secret at the time. I have no doubt that if the Government have not gone round proclaiming all the preparations they are making, that they are still making the preparations. I am not anxious that they should begin to say that the emergency is upon us before it is, because what is very likely to happen, if a panic is created is this, that you will have hoarding and a shortage of supplies of essential things, just as you had before. There are a great many people who, if they think that there is going to be another war, will cash in on it now, as others did before, as, perhaps, they themselves cashed in on it before, so that any panic measures would be ill-advised. Although I am in favour of preparations to meet any emergency that might come, I am opposed to anything that will give the impression that the emergency is on us and that we ought to throw up the sponge since we have not made preparations or have not proclaimed in advance the nature of the preparations we have made.
I was glad to see in to-day's newspapers that Mr. de Valera, in an interview in France, said he did not believe there was any immediate danger of war. Perhaps that will come as a comfort to some people who last week thought there was an immediate danger, that some of us were not aware of it, and that we were not preparing for it.
There was one thing raised in the discussion of the Appropriation Bill to which I would like to refer. One might be flippant and feel inclined to say that because of all the accusations levelled against the Minister for Finance every time this Bill comes up, it might be rechristened the Mis-Appropriation Bill, because nobody seems to be satisfied with what the Minister is doing with the money. There was a reference made to the Government black market. I do not think we ought, whether we are in Opposition or otherwise, whether we are on one side of the House or the other, to try to belittle or blacken any Government that is in power. I do not know of any  Government black market. We have been told that there are two prices for certain commodities. There have been two prices for commodities all my lifetime, and there will be two prices. I have not heard any protest from any side in the discussion on the Housing Bill a few moments ago, that there was a black market in houses or in subsidies. There are subsidies for houses of a certain type and anyone who does not like that type of house and who wants a better one can buy it without a subsidy. There is a subsidy for certain sorts of flour, for butter and for certain other things. Anyone who does not want that or who wants something over and above that can buy it without the subsidy, and there is exactly the same principle as in housing.
I can remember before there was any two-price system for butter or tea by this Government; I can remember the previous Government, in a moment of extraordinary generosity towards the most lowly-paid people in the country, the old age pensioners, having a black market, if you like, in tobacco, because they reduced the tax on tobacco so that the old age pensioners could get it cheaper. You had the two-price system there; you had it all the time. Senator Dockrell to-day, when he was talking on housing, mentioned his suit. He talked about what will happen to it when it is no longer fit for Senator Dockrell, or what will happen to mine. There was a two-price system in clothing and also in motor cars and a several price system in the valuation of human labour and human beings. I have not heard anybody protest in this or in the other House, as long as I have been listening to them, that you have two valuations on human beings in this country. You have one valuation put on men and women when they come to the age of 70. They are allowed so much to live on, the State assuming that that amount, whatever it may be, is the amount on which they can be expected to live. There are other people in the country on whom the State puts a very much higher valuation when they are making their returns for income-tax purposes. I would like the one-price system there too. I  would like to see the old age pensioners getting the same amount to live on as does the rich man under his personal allowance or family allowance when making out his income-tax return.
I am not seeking to make any great case out of this, but there are two prices, two valuations and two measures. They are used in various ways and in different spheres. When the Government tries to ensure that everybody gets a reasonable amount, and it must be a reasonable amount because it was the amount fixed by the last Government and actually increased by the present Government—it is not fair to try to depreciate that. We must assume that the amount is reasonable. If it is not reasonable, then we must make our protest to the previous Government since it was that Government fixed the amount originally. Everybody, having got a reasonable amount at a reasonable price through the operation of a subsidy, there is then a surplus left and anybody who wants more can buy more without the benefit of any subsidy. The natural corollary, if one does not accept that, is that some should have more than others and the whole should be subsidised because the man who can buy most can spend most and get the most advantage out of the subsidy.
The subsidies in this Appropriation Bill are directed towards keeping down prices. The two points I would like to make are: firstly, it is rather unfair and playing politics, rather than taking the affairs of the nation seriously, to try to create a sensation out of the fact that this country is not prepared for emergencies because nobody is going around the country proclaiming that the danger is upon us; and, secondly, that this country is doing something that no other country is doing and something that is wholly unjustified in having a fixed price, subsidies and a reasonable quantity of certain essential foodstuffs for everybody and that, if anybody wants to buy a surplus, they can buy it without subsidy and thereby brand the Government as a black market Government. I think that is unfair.
Professor Stanford Professor Stanford
Professor Stanford: I should like to speak for a moment or two on what  is a very small sum in this total sum of £85,000,000. I refer to the £10,000 which have been so wisely and well spent by the Advisory Committee on Cultural Relations. The Senators have all received a copy of its report and I would urge them to study that report with care. They will see that this committee has been working now for over a year and has produced very definite and useful results in fostering literature, music, the fine arts and so on. Some Senators may think it is quite unrealistic to talk about a sum of £10,000 and the fine arts, music and literature.
I would ask them to think for a moment or two. Yesterday we were discussing the price of wheat and the value of investments. Is it unrealistic even financially speaking, as we should in such a debate as this, to refer to the price and value of books and paintings and sculpture and music? Is it unrealistic, is if impracticable and unworthy of mention in a debate such as this? Think for a moment. Suppose an Irish writer or an Irish painter produces a work of art which will bring in many hundreds, and possibly many thousands, of pounds into this country, is he not contributing in good measure to the financial solvency of the State? If Bernard Shaw were living in this country now he would be bringing in tens of thousands of pounds a good many of them perhaps in the form of dollars. I do not believe there is a single farmer or very many manufacturers who would bring in more than one Bernard Shaw. It is a practical point. I must insist that I am not hostile to farmers. I live on their produce. I am not hostile to manufacturers. I live in their produce. But I do insist that these writers and artists have a very definite financial contribution to make to the State.
I would like now to speak for a moment on another kind of contribution—their contribution to national prestige, to the good name of Ireland abroad. That is particularly the concern of this Advisory Committee on Cultural Relations. One world famous musician or writer is, in my opinion, worth all the egg producers and all the whiskey manufacturers in the country  as far as our national prestige is concerned.
Think for a moment upon St. Columbanus whose memory is being specially venerated this week. He went to convert Western Europe from paganism and ignorance. He had the Christian Cross in his right hand, but he had not a pound of butter or a basket of eggs in his left hand. What had he? He had classical literature and the value of a literary education which those pagans in Western Europe had not at that time. He brought two things to them: one was the Christian faith and the other was the higher learning of that time, the classical learning. He was a writer and a scholar as well as a saint. I am afraid we are tending to forget in this country that our greatest time was a time of scholars as well as saints.
Think again of Jonathan Swift. When he revived the spirits of Irishmen in the 18th century it was not by buying a farm or running some factory down near St. Patrick's Cathedral: it was by the power of the pen, and nothing else. Tom Moore, by his songs and by his poems in the early 19th century, did more to win friends for Ireland's nationhood than any manufacturer or any farmer.
These things add up. The resources of modern Ireland are far better known in Egypt or Peru for the writings of W.B. Yeats and James Joyce than for our stock exchange or our turf development schemes. That, I think, is an incontrovertible fact. Take the Shannon scheme of which we all thing so highly,—needless to say, we had better with the Minister here present who originally planned it. But we do think very highly of it. Think of the Shannon scheme. To us that scheme is a great thing. It is a pigmy scheme amongst the hydro-electrical schemes of Europe. But Jonathan Swift is no pigmy in any literature. James Joyce and W.B. Yeats are giants in the literature of the world.
There is a difference. Canada will always produce better wheat than we can produce. Denmark will always produce as good butter and eggs. But what Canadian or Danish name, with the possible exception of Hans Andersen,  can compare with the great literary and artistic names we can mention. There is none.
Besides national prestige there is such a thing as national morale. Who formed the idea of Ireland's nationhood as we know it now. The answer is the writers, the musicians and the artists from the time of the scribes, who illuminated the Book of Kells, to the writings of Mitchel and Davis and Pearse. If now, through lack of encouragement, our best writers and artists go abroad or produce inferior work the national morale will be in the gravest danger. I have argued and could argue at great length that the true riches of a country lie as much in its literature and in its arts as in its fields and in its shops. And, yet, how pitifully little encouragement our writers and artists receive! What protection have they got in the market of the world? Farmers are encouraged and subsidised and promised fixed prices. Where can one get a promise of a fixed price for one's book when one is writing it. Manufacturers are protected, subsidised and promised fixed prices. Where does the painter get any of that encouragement? The man who cultivates his own mind, and cultivates ours by his writings, gets no encouragement. The man who manufactures artistic works of the greatest value gets no protection. Now these men and women greatly affect the prestige and the morale of the country. As I have been arguing, they have to struggle in a free market. They get no protection and they get little or no encouragement. Often, for example, an Irish writer will only get a chance from an English firm if he wants to produce a book. It is his only chance of making his name,—by the help of an English firm.
The Minister for Agriculture this morning quoted the previous Minister for Agriculture as saying that it was unthinkable that agriculture should bear all the burdens. I say it is unthinkable that cultural activities should have to bear all the burdens. They are much harder his than agriculture. But  I come back to where I began. In this annual report there are definite signs of a revival of interest in cultural and artistic matters in this country. The pre-Treaty Cabinet of the Dáil with the utmost wisdom, had a Minister of Fine Arts. The Ministry was combined in the person of Count Plunkett with the Ministry of External Affairs. It seems a very happy thing to me that the present Minister for External Affairs is doing something to restore that enlightened policy, that policy that saw that a nation like Ireland, so rich in artistic, and literary treasures needed a Ministry of Fine Arts. If the Minister continues this he will serve the country well, both at home and abroad. I have been told by one member of the committee that his heart and soul are genuinely in this committee, and that is why it is doing so well. I am coming to the end. I think that both he and the public-spirited men who serve on that committee deserve our sincerest congratulations, the congratulations of all who value the true wealth of Ireland. Soon, I hope, their small grant will be very much larger and that it will be as well and as wisely spent.
Mr. Summerfield Mr. Summerfield
Mr. Summerfield: On the Second Reading of the Finance Bill, I made, what I intended to be, a passing reference to the fact that the Minister for Finance had not needed the representations made to him by the representatives of the industrial bodies of this country on the much debated matter of the wear and tear allowance. I am surprised that the Minister's interjections gave that little intended passing reference a prominence which I am now glad to avail of. He heckled me because I had, at that time, not got the details of the memoranda submitted to him and to his predecessor. I have got them all now. I had them on the next day, and in my ignorance of parliamentary procedure I thought I could have dealt with the matter on the Final Stage of the Finance Bill, only to be told by the Cathaoirleach that, as the Bill did not deal specifically with the wear and tear allowance, I could not do it. I will do so now.
Mr. M. Hayes Mr. M. Hayes
Mr. M. Hayes: I do not want to interrupt  the Senator, but this Bill does not deal with it either.
Mr. Summerfield Mr. Summerfield
Mr. Summerfield: I wonder who is in control of the House, because I have asked for permission to do so now? In view of the interjections of the Minister on the Finance Bill, I think I am entitled to get on the records the reply which he asked me to give.
Mr. McGilligan Mr. McGilligan
Mr. McGilligan: I gave it to the Senator on the proper occasion.
An Leas-Chathaoirleach An Leas-Chathaoirleach
An Leas-Chathaoirleach: I am afraid, Senator, that what Senator Hayes has said is correct, and that the matter is not in order.
Mr. Summerfield Mr. Summerfield
Mr. Summerfield: Evidently they do not want the answer of the industrial bodies from the Associated Chambers of Commerce, the Federation of Manufacturers and the body of chartered accountants. If that is the ruling, I have made my protest.
Mr. M. Hayes Mr. M. Hayes
Mr. M. Hayes: May I defend myself and perhaps the Chair? The Finance Bill is concerned with taxation. The Appropriation Bill is concerned with the spending of the proceeds of taxation. I do not want to hamper the Senator in any way, but the truth is that this particular Bill does not deal with taxation. That is all. There is nothing mysterious, subtle, technical, difficult or complicated about it. It is quite simple.
Mr. Summerfield Mr. Summerfield
Mr. Summerfield: The plain fact is that I am unable to get on the records of this House an answer to the statements that were made by the Minister. But, at least, my protest will be there. I cannot, however, be prevented from dealing with some of the references which the Minister made and with, in my opinion, his unfortunate interjections. The protection of industry in this country is a matter of Government policy. I wonder is the Minister for Finance honest in his affection for Irish industry? He said that the manufacturers of this country—I think I am entitled to speak on this because I am dealing with expenditure under the Department of Industry and Commerce—had a “feather-bed” existence,  and that they were so highly protected that they had no incentive; but, in the same column, the Minister contradicted himself when he said that no one would convince him that the people who sought protection here and argued that they had to have protection to make goods at competitive prices, could, in fact, go out after the export markets.
I must completely agree with him there. It is only in the exceptional case that the manufacturer in this country can hope to get an export market. He must either have supreme novelty in his goods or the goods must make some special appeal to enable him to sell, not on a price basis but on a quality basis. It is time, I think, that this sniping at our manufacturers ceased.
I should like to ask, are we honest in wanting an industrial arm in this country at all? I doubt it, in the light of the remarks the Minister made on the last occasion. Right throughout his summing up there was sniping at the manufacturers in this country who, in the main, have to buy their raw materials from their most severe competitors. The Irish manufacturer has to buy his coal at a greater price than his competitors can buy it at in their own country. The Irish manufacturer has to make his living in a domestic market with a population of in or about 3,000,000 people. Anyone with a practical knowledge of manufacturing processes knows that the bigger the market the better the chance of spreading the overheads if there is a big volume of articles produced.
I have often discussed here in debate the charge made against manufacturers about profits. Is the manufacturer in this country the only person who has made profits in recent years? Has the farmer made no profits? Have the professional men made no profits— have they made no abnormal profits? The difference is that the manufacturer, by reason of the fact that he has to have his accounts audited, has to render his full due to Caesar. I wonder whether all other sections of the community do so in the same scrupulous way.
I had intended, if I had been permitted, to deal more with the industrial  side, and, if I had been able, to quote my prepared statement in that direction. I am not going to detain the House unduly, but since we are dealing with the Appropriation Bill I will refer to two other matters which I think are pertinent to it. One is the matter to which I referred on the Second Reading of the Bill. That is the system which we have in this country in regard to the taxation of motor vehicles. I do not know if there is any other country in the world where the owner of a motor vehicle is so highly taxed, merely for owning a vehicle, than he is here, or where the taxation is so heavy. The tax is not related to the use of the vehicle. The tax is on ownership. I think that is a matter the Minister right to consider, and that in this stage of our development he ought to devise some scheme—as a matter of fact schemes have been submitted to him— whereby the taxation of motor vehicles in this country will be related more to their use than to their ownership.
The other matter I want to refer to is in connection with our radio station. The station is rapidly improving, but there is a little criticism which I want to make in a friendly way. I hope the Minister will see that my suggestion is carried out. This, after all, is Ireland. It is our country, but does anyone analyse, or study, the way in which we get news from Radio Éireann? Take as recently as last Friday night. We had in Dublin last week the Irish Open Golf Championship in which hundreds of thousands of people in this country probably had an interest and were anxious to hear the results. I listened from 6.30 until a quarter to seven to various items of news. We had the story of how a strike of 20 meat porters and lorry drivers held up the Smithfield market and of how a couple of thousand Scotch miners were continuing the strike in Scotch coalfields. A few years ago I wrote to the then director of broadcasting suggesting that Irish items of news should be given in the beginning or at the end of the news broadcast. The reply I got back was that the procedure established was that items were given in the order of their importance to the people of Ireland. I leave it to the House to  say whether a strike of 20 meat porters in Smithfield or a strike of a couple of thousand miners in the Scotch coalfields was of more importance or of more interest to the Irish people than the fact that the Irish Open Golf Championship had been won by Ossie Pickworth.
Miss Butler Miss Butler
Miss Butler: I am somewhat doubtful whether the first matter which I want to raise is strictly in order, following the remarks of Senator Hayes. The point I want to make is that in a financial programme where the Minister has adopted a policy of borrowing in order to meet some of the demands made upon him, I consider it a great pity that he has not seen his way to float a loan for the express purpose of housing in Ireland. I want to make my reasons for saying so very clear. I am well aware that the Government is committed to an extensive housing programme involving the expenditure of millions in the years to come. I am also aware that the Government has given the assurance on many occasions that no housing scheme will be held up for the want of money.
I personally am quite confident about these assurances, but I want to make the point that unless we have a long-term guaranteed financial programme for housing we cannot give the guarantee of continuity of employment which we shall have to give if we are to increase our building strength and by building strength I mean the number of men in the skilled trades necessary to carry out the housing programme, and the vast building programme that the country as a whole requires. We all know of our housing requirements and are very much aware of the energetic and drastic way in which they are being dealt with. We know that the steps taken have met with a considerable success to date. We also know of other building programmes which at the moment are not being proceeded with. There are numerous schemes such as those for the provision of public buildings, Government offices, buildings for cultural activities, community centres, swimming baths, recreation centres, etc.—I could go on enumerating them for quite a time—which have had to be  postponed mainly, we are told, because of a shortage of labour.
The housing output at the moment is up to peak point, as high as ever it was before in the City of Dublin, as high as in 1938 when 3,200 houses were built, the highest point ever reached in this country, but we are still told that there are quite a number of other types of buildings which cannot be proceeded with because of the shortage of labour. My contention is that the provisions already made and the assurances already given are not enough to convince certain unions of continuity of employment. If we review the whole building programme for the country, we know perfectly well that there is enough building needed and enough new works, replacements and repairs, if undertaken, to provide employment in the building trade for the next 50 years even if we had double the number of skilled workers. I think in this connection we should remember how important the building trade is from the point of view of giving employment to the whole country. I think we should also remember that for every skilled worker employed according to trade three to four unskilled men can be employed.
From the point of view of providing employment alone, the provision of definite funds would be an incentive to the building trade unions not only to increase the number of trainees and apprentices, but also to open up to new entrants closed trades which are at present confined. It would increase the scope and possibilities of employment in the country. It would bring, within the span of our own lifetime, the provision of certain amenities which are now taken for granted in other countries, and it would open up, I am quite convinced, the possibility of acquiring a skilled trade to a far greater number of young people than at present. I think one of the tragedies of our day is the limited number of young men who can acquire a trade in spite of the shortage of skilled workers. I think a first step towards that would be to secure a well defined financial programme for housing.
In the case of hospitals, the building programme is proceeding. There we  have an example of where people know in advance that a certain sum of money is available and that in itself acts as an assurance of continuity of employment. I think that the floating of a housing loan and the knowledge that the money was being actually borrowed for specific building purposes would also act as a great measure of assurance. So long as the history of the building trade remains in the minds of those employed in the trade, so long as they can remember the hardships of unemployment they suffered in the past, what happened, for instance, in the '30s when the banks were able to close down on housing, what happened even last year when the banks in one instance refused to grant the full amount required for the housing project, it is unreasonable to expect the workers to accept assurances alone. What happened last year undid all the assurances given by the Government for the time being. Although very drastic steps were taken to show that the situation was not so serious as it appeared to be at first sight, and although eventually money was forthcoming, still the uncertainty was there.
There is always in the minds of the trade unions a fear of what may happen if there were a change of Government tomorrow. There might be a change in regard to policy no matter what Government is in power. There is always that feeling of uncertainty amongst trade unions. For that reason, they have opposed the erection of prefabricated houses, opposed an increase in the strength of the building trade and the opening of certain closed trades. I just wanted to put that point of the need for increasing the number of skilled men to the Minister first of all, and now I should like to say that I regret to see in the reduced Estimates for the Office of Public Works that they do not include any appreciable sum for the provision of public buildings. It may not be possible in this financial year to do it.
Again, it may be that this instance of postponement is due to the shortage of labour, to which I have already referred. I think that when the Government so badly needs offices, when its offices are scattered from one end of  the city to the other, and having regard to the fact that it has often to pay exorbitant prices for the acquisition of old property which requires considerable reconstruction and adaptation, that it is false economy not to make a start on a building programme to meet these needs—for instance, make a start on the Dublin Castle project. That is, incidentally, an excellent scheme, architecturally and from a planning point of view, and I feel it should be proceeded with section by section, if only to a small extent in the beginning. Senator Stanford has already referred to the comparatively small amount of money spent on anything of a cultural nature, and I think it is a great pity that we have abandoned the idea of building a concert hall for Dublin, a broadcasting station for Dublin and many other important buildings. I do not think it can be stressed too often that the buildings of a country are the yardstick by which the country is judged by the people who come to visit it. We judge all the great cities of Europe or any other part of the world which we visit and form our opinion of their historical past and present achievements on the architectural outward appearance of their buildings and it is a tragedy in my opinion that after 25 years of self-government we have only built one or two Government buildings.
I very much regret that the Department of Education Estimate does not show any signs of their taking full responsibility for the provision and maintenance of schools. I am one of those people who believe and advocate very strongly that the Department of Education should take full responsibility for the provision and maintaining of the schools of the country, and I want to say at the outset that this in no way suggests that there should be any interference in the present system of the management of the schools. I know that in this country there is a tendency not to criticise and not to refer to the deplorable state of many of our schools because it might be taken as a criticism of the manager. I feel that in many cases the full circumstances behind the deplorable condition of the schools are  not known, but that does not excuse the State from taking full responsibility.
I have taken a series of ten reports of county medical officers of health on schools which cover a period of five or six years and I have prepared a list of schools showing year after year the same complaint. They reported cold, wet, damp schools; sometimes there was plaster off the ceilings; sometimes there was no lavatory accommodation; sometimes there was lavatory accommodation which was unusable; sometimes it was a flooded playground and sometimes it was no heating because the chimneys did not draw or the fireplaces were unsuitable. When you see year after year the same report from the same county medical officer about the same school you realise the need for some new approach to the whole problem of maintaining the schools.
The schools for the children should be one of the first concerns of the State. We hear a lot of talk about health, but I am thinking of schools, country schools in particular, where children often walk many miles and arrive in school cold, wet and miserable only to find there is inadequate or no heating. I have seen schools only a few miles from the centre of Dublin with broken panes of glass in the windows and the holes stuffed with rags or lumps of newspapers. I have seen schools, within a reasonable distance of Dublin, where there is no water, not to mention facilities for the children to wash their hands—that would be expecting too much altogether. We hear a lot about the value of education and the part played by environment in the lives of young people, but when one considers the amount of time a child spends in school one wonders if anybody takes the question of education and amenities for the children seriously. I feel that the only way to deal with this problem is for the State to take full responsibility. It is no criticism of the individual people who are responsible at present to bring forward that suggestion and again I say there is no need for interference in the present system of school management. In this ideological age we have seen the disastrous  results of secular educational systems in other countries. I should like to say how gratifying it is to see, looking through the Estimates for the Department of Agriculture, the emphasis on our basic industry, agriculture, and I should like to congratulate the Minister on the sums that are being spent on agricultural development as a whole because, in the last analysis, as someone has already said to-day, we all live on the farmers of the country.
One of the evils with which we have to contend in this country to-day is the problem of emigration, and I feel that if we are to stem emigration from the rural areas we must pursue not only a vigorous policy of land rehabilitation and development, but also a vigorous policy of revitalising the rural areas. Looking at the figures over the last 60 years, one sees that the whole decline in the population of the country has been borne by the rural areas, and that is a very serious state of affairs. As a result you have the serious national problem with regard to housing, economics and employment that over one-fifth of the population is now concentrated in one city, Dublin, which creates an entirely unbalanced state of affairs in the country.
I also realise that we have always had emigration and that many of its causes are economic. I can quite well see that, because for historical reasons we are committed to a policy of dividing the land into small holdings. These holdings are called “economic” holdings but they might more accurately be called “subsistence” holdings resulting in economic conditions in which a certain number of our people must always leave the land. Looking at the problem as a town dweller, however, I can see that if something were done, if a vigorous policy were pursued to make life on the land more attractive apart from economic considerations and inducements to increased productivity, more people would want to live in the country. If we had more rural industries directly connected with the products and by-products of the land, such as processing, etc., which would provide not only full-time employment but seasonal employment, it would be of great benefit.
 Also I think that every possible step should be taken to make life itself more pleasant. Take housing conditions, for instance. Under the various Housing Acts we are doing what we can to provide more houses in rural areas but are we doing everything we can to provide all the amenities that should go with houses such as adequate water supplies, the full development of rural electrification and some of the modern labour-saving devices for the housewife in the country?
I often wonder why the excellent suggestion made a few years ago by Deputy de Valera to provide a second house on every holding was not explored and its possibilities worked out, because we all know the evils that result from the fact that old people in Ireland hold on to their farms until a very late stage in their lives and so make it impossible for the son who is going to inherit the farm to marry until he also has reached quite a considerable age. So to-day many young people leave the country as a result of the fact that there is little possibility of marrying in the country and we do not need an emigration commission to find out that fact for us. I think that one of the best suggestions was this idea of a second house on every holding in rural Ireland where the young people could settle down and where the old people when they finally got to the stage of being incapable of carrying on the actual work of the farm could help the young people by looking after the children and in many other ways in which we know they always do in the country in Ireland.
One of the most serious aspects of the whole emigration problem is that the women are going away from rural areas, and, if the women go, the men will follow, although it is usually taken for granted that it is the other way round. I think it is time we realised that the shortage of women in rural areas is becoming a very serious problem. For that reason, I think that if the Department of Agriculture really wants to entice people to stay in rural areas, it should do something to make life there a little more agreeable for the women. I think the Department should encourage, financially and otherwise,  any existing organisation which sets about this task of making life for the women a little more pleasant than it has been.
I have in mind, in particular, the Irish Countrywomen's Association, an organisation with a long tradition of service and achievement in this country. It has provided an outlet for many women in remote areas and has brought together women of every class, every creed, and every political point of view on a constructive basis. It has given them valuable training in home making, in arts and crafts and in many other ways has enabled them to earn a little extra money to spend as they wish upon the house. It has run summer schools with very great success and has proved a boon to women in the country. I feel that it should be given some financial encouragement to pursue its work. I am always surprised at the idea some people seem to have that it is an organisation of aristocratic old ladies who find it a very convenient way of patronising the mere Irish, but anybody who knows the first thing about its organisation, the composition of its local committees and the officers and responsible people in the organisation knows that that is nonsense and absolutely untrue. That has been given by some people as the reason for the lack of official support.
The Department should also encourage the provision of every kind of recreation and education facilities to make life more agreeable for people in the rural areas. A plan or programme for the provision of social centres or community centres, village colleges and so forth should be prepared at once, and other organisations, such as those interested in the provision of village, halls, should, in the same way, be given some financial encouragement.
The last Estimate I want to touch on is the Estimate for the Department of External Affairs. I should like to congratulate the Department on their very encouraging year's progress and to congratulate the Minister and all his associates on the outstanding year we have had, a year in which Ireland was allowed to play its proper part in the affairs of Europe and the world. We  have made no inconsiderable contributions in E.R.P., the Council of Europe and various other European organisations with which we have decided to co-operate, but I feel that, if this undoubtedly important part which Ireland is playing is to be sustained, both Houses of our Parliament will have to take a lively interest in the whole matter of foreign policy and foreign affairs, and that is why I wish to refer to a few points under this heading.
If the Council of Europe, to which we, in association with ten other nations, have pledged our support, and which the nations of Western Europe now regard as the one hope of consolidating democracy, is to survive, we must awaken the interest of our people in the whole question of European affairs. Because we believe in democracy, we can move only as fast as the people we represent. If we move faster than the people we represent, it ceases to be democracy. Therefore we must awaken the people of this country and carry them with us, and always move at as fast a pace as, or at a slightly faster pace than, the pace they are prepared to accept. The Council of Europe will undoubtedly die, as many other idealistic organisations have died, unless it has that support and interest from the countries it represents.
Getting down to practical considerations, the Council of Europe, which is still only a consultative assembly, will die, unless it is given some statutory powers. If it is given statutory powers, this will involve the making of certain concessions perhaps with regard to national sovereignty by the countries taking part. Ireland has already made certain recommendations as a country for the setting up of statutory organisations for specific purposes, and I feel that we should make a definite recommendation that statutory powers be now given to the council. If we give these powers we must be prepared to take the responsibility of seeing how they are exercised both abroad and here in our own Parliament. I should like to put forward one more suggestion which might come from this country to the Council of Ministers, that is, the need for some alteration in the present powers of this Council of Ministers.  The Council of Europe is a consultative assembly which can only refer its decisions for the approval of the Council of Ministers, and approval of the Council of Ministers has to be unanimous before any action can be taken. The fact is that there is no obligation on the Council of Ministers to make known how they voted on any particular matter.
I want to make it clear that I am not raising this point as a reflection upon our own Minister or any other Minister, but I maintain that, under this secret vote, matters which may affect our country or any other country intimately—because, whether we like it or not the Council of Ministers has become an influential body in Europe to-day and is really acting as an Upper House for the Council of Europe—can be decided there without our being in a position to know how our own country voted. There is no obligation on the Council of Ministers to make known who voted for what or how the voting went. A very important proposal which might affect our whole future could be defeated by one vote, and all we would hear is that the Council of Ministers had failed to reach a unanimous decision. I contend that that is not democratic procedure, and I urge that this country, which has considerable influence with that body, should take immediate steps to put forward the suggestion that at least the vote of the Council of Ministers should be made known on every proposal put before it. We would then be in a position to discuss in our own Parliament the attitude of our country on each occasion. I feel that the result of the work of the Department of External Affairs as a whole, of the news agency, of the bulletins and those who went abroad to the Council of Europe has been extremely creditable. I should like to say, however, that I think these possibilities have opened up for us not only opportunities but responsibilities, and that our responsibilities include not only the making known our own national problem abroad, but also the making known of positive and constructive ideas which this country might have to offer in a world of confusion.
 I am in agreement with what the Minister said in introducing his Estimate in the Dáil, especially when he stated that we were involved in an ideological struggle the result of which we could not foresee. I only wish that in this country we were more aware of that fact, and that we could make people realise that we are involved in a war of ideas which can be won or lost without one single shot being fired in a military sense. We may be a tenth-rate military power, but in a war of ideas we could be a power with a first-class idea. I think that the history of our country and that very lack of military strength have placed us in a position where we have an unquestionable influence abroad that other countries have not got.
I was talking to a Cabinet Minister from India the other day and he said: “Everything we have learned to help us in our fight for freedom we learned from Ireland. Can we turn to Ireland now to know how to use our freedom?” That is a difficult question for an Irish person to answer honestly.
I agree with the Minister when he stressed the need for sticking to our principles, and when he pointed the fundamental principles of democracy, including the right to self-determination of a nation. I also agree with the many statements that have been made by the Minister and other Ministers and other public figures in this country on the same subject, and especially when they go on to say that they are willing to fight to the last for these principles. But I do contend that belief in these principles cannot be conditional—otherwise they cease to be our principles. It therefore follows that if circumstances prevent us from defending our principles the obviously honest course to adopt is to try to change the circumstances. What I am leading up to now is that we have often said that we are prepared to defend our principles, but where this is a question of doing so by co-operation in a scheme for military defence we insist that certain circumstances prevent us from doing so. I contend that if we are sincere in what we say, then we should take the obvious course, which is to state openly and clearly that we are  prepared to co-operate in the defence plan if the objectionable clause in the proposed treaty is removed. I refer to Clause 4 of the Atlantic Pact. If we were to adopt this attitude and there is a strong possibility that the offending clause might be removed we would be upholding our principles, we would be showing our sincerity in being willing to defend them, and we would be placing the onus on the other side to take action.
I feel that we have been manoeuvred into a position where we are allowing the admittedly unnatural and wrong division of our country to be exploited in this war of ideas by a power which has a world strategy for exploiting division everywhere. The primary evil in the world to-day is division. We are now in a position in Ireland where we are allowing the division of our country to prevent us from defending our principles. If this situation had been organised by Moscow, it could not be better done. We have become the perfect example of how division within a country can be used to put that country on the wrong foot as it were, and prevent it from defending all the things it believes in. I believe that we have to move very quickly at the present moment from the realm of idealism into that of realism. For the last 30 years we have seen at Geneva, at Lake Success, and other places idealistic men with idealistic schemes and plans fail. I believe that we have got to look for a new factor in our whole approach to the stand we are going to take in the present world situation.
The other day Monsieur Schuman, Foreign Minister of France, pointed out that in the sphere of defence we have got the Atlantic Pact, that in the economic sphere we have got the Marshall Plan, but what we need now is to give ideological content to the minds of the millions in order to sustain this plan and democracy. These are very clear words. Again, a few months ago General Marshall said that we will have to get back to first principles if we are to speak with a voice that will kindle the imagination and rouse the spirit. Our material prosperity may or may not be  exportable, but a dynamic philosophy is something which knows not the bounds of time and space. Again two leaders of Europe said the other day that if we had proof in any country that Europe possessed the power for a new force of life, the whole international situation would change overnight. I believe that it is Ireland's rôle to give that proof that there is a power for a new force and life in Europe.
I believe that the unity of Europe, or Ireland for that matter, will not come by chance but by change, and that for too long we have tried to unite without having to make any change of heart or of mind. What we should be aiming at to-day is to unite Europe and Ireland, not by fear or by force, but as a family of free men. I believe we can do that, but that we must face the facts of this age we are living in. We must realise that the fate of our nation or the nations of the world is not decided primarily through machines and markets, or by pacts, profits and wages, but by the ideas which will capture and move the wills of the millions of ordinary people. I feel that when we are discussing foreign policy or internal policy the question we should all have in our minds is, can we, the people of Ireland, offer the people of the world an idea of statesmanship and citizenship that is more satisfying and more spacious than any idea of class or race supremacy? Can we in Ireland show any hope of a renaissance in our own country to answer the hates of the revolutionary philosophy which, on a world scale, is dividing nations from each other and within themselves? I think that we must think swiftly if we are to give this answer to the people of Europe, which I believe we can do. We must learn ourselves and so teach others how to rise above sectional, national, political or confessional differences which divide us and no longer wait for other nations to do something in this fight.
I think the real problem to-day is, whether we are considering Ireland, or Europe, or the world, what changes can we make ourselves that will bring unity. We must realise that the statesmen of Europe are attempting an  impossible task in trying to create a united nation out of disunited people. That is our main responsibility—our own disunity. How often have we seen ourselves divided amongst ourselves by political and personal differences, by jealousies, by prejudices and by resentments, and how often are we divided from each other by an over-lag of the past. How often have we seen the assemblies and councils of the world fail for the same reasons?
So long as we are divided within our own nation and so long as the nations of Europe are divided from each other by these things, our fears, our dislikes and our greeds, it is foolish for us to hope that we can unite either our own country or Europe. We have to remember that neither Ireland nor the countries of Europe are not lines on a map or columns of statistics but millions of ordinary people like ourselves who will not respond to any exhortation but who will follow example.
The present situation is dangerous. Before this House meets again in the autumn many things may have happened. I put forward these ideas in all humility that we may think about them during the months to come. It is true that the problem of finding an answer in the world situation as it is to-day seems immense; but the answer may well be very simple. If we in this country were to live our philosophy of life as passionately as we defend many of our political ideas, then undoubtedly we would have an answer for many of the world's problems. In the economic sphere we would not only have found better relationships between employer and employee but we would have found an answer to class war. In the cultural sphere we could offer a conception of democracy which would stir the imaginations of all countries.
The price of success, the price of unity would cost us all something and we may as well face it first as last. It may cost us our pride and preconceptions, and even something of our positions. If in this country we find the answer to unity within our own ranks and if we pay the price, we are capable of building an order of society which can satisfy that hunger in human hearts  on both sides of the Iron Curtain, and we would go a long way towards leading the world out of the present state of confusion.
Mr. McGuire Mr. McGuire
Mr. McGuire: I want first of all to say that the Government is to be congratulated on its many successes during the year, first of all in giving us political peace, national prosperity, economic stability and social justice. Any Government that can give a country peace, prosperity and justice at the same time is doing well and I feel that the Government has well succeeded in this way.
Criticism of a Government is undoubtedly necessary in a democracy. It is also desirable. But, criticism must be both just and justified. This Government like every Government that we have had and like every other Government in the world, rightly regards the cost of living in the State as being one of the most important factors for peace and harmony in the life of the nation. A high cost of living will most certainly cause unhappiness and unrest and, on the other hand, a low cost of living can go far to make people very happy. Anybody, therefore, who either wittingly or unwittingly misrepresents in a bad light the cost of living situation in the country is acting most unpatriotically. Both for political and sectional purposes, I am sorry to say, there has been much misrepresentation of the position in this country as regards prices and profits and, consequently, the cost of living.
I have no hesitation in congratulating the Government on the stabilisation of the cost of living since 1947. The last Government and this Government controlled prices and profits and they have been criticised for it. It has been said that they have not succeeded, by those whom it suits to say those things.
There has been steady propaganda, in the Press, in pamphlets and on platforms. All this propaganda ignores the fact that there has been strict control of prices and profits in this country since 1938. It is significant that we have had this call for control of prices and profits to both this Government and the last Government, but labour interests are well represented  in the Cabinet to-day and their presence surely confirms that a strict, efficient and effective system of price control exists.
The facts are that because controls are incapable of bending economic facts and thus fail to please the wishes of wishful thinkers, they are supposed to have failed. Price control and every other control can fail from the point of view of the person who wants a specific result; in other words, who wants to claim that there has not been control. You can never please these people unless by distorting economic facts and figures.
In view of the fact that we have a protection policy—which has been State policy in this country since the initiation of self-government—which is maintained, not for the benefit of the manufacturer, solely, at any rate, but as an essential postulate of the maintenance of employment, and that we have to import our raw materials which are subject to world fluctuations of price, it is a splendid achievement that we have managed to stabilise our cost of living figure since this Government's advent to office.
I should like to congratulate the Government on attaching the Statistics Branch to the Taoiseach's Department. This is certainly a great improvement because we have now a quicker and more detailed source of information available to us on matters with which statistics are concerned and in which they can give us light and help.
A few days ago, the Labour Court, in dealing with the Bord na Móna case, made an unfortunate statement which was misrepresented by the persons to whom I have already referred. The following is a report from a daily paper, with the heading “Living Cost Increase.” It was a double column:—
“The Labour Court, in a recommendation relating to the rates of pay of certain workers employed by Bord na Móna at Clonsast, states that it would appear that there has been an increase in the cost of living of about 10 per cent. since the Court hearing of 1947.”
An Leas-Cathaoirleach An Leas-Cathaoirleach
 An Leas-Cathaoirleach: Would the Senator give the name of the paper and the date?
Mr. McGuire Mr. McGuire
Mr. McGuire: The Irish Press, on Monday.
Dr. O'Connell Dr. O'Connell
Dr. O'Connell: That was corrected the following day.
Mr. McGuire Mr. McGuire
Mr. McGuire: I am coming to that, I am sorry to say that it was not corrected in this particular paper. I am not making that point.
Mr. McGilligan Mr. McGilligan
Mr. McGilligan: That is a point to be made.
Mr. McGuire Mr. McGuire
Mr. McGuire: I want to deal with this thing in another way. I could have quoted this from another paper. This is the one I happen to have. In the Irish Times of Tuesday, a columnist took this figure of 10 per cent. and said: “Workers now are anxiously waiting to see what is to be done to make up this gap to all wage earners” —the implication being that this 10 per cent. rise had occurred since the formula was arrived at by the organisation of employers in this country and the Congresses, in 1948. The Labour Court, two days later, published the following statement:—
‘The attention of the Labour Court has been drawn to the likelihood that Press reports of its recommendation about the pay of workers in the employment of Bord na Móna may create the impression that there has been a rise of 10 per cent. in the cost of living since the last general adjustment of workers' wages.
‘The court desires to draw attention to the fact that the increase mentioned dates from February, 1947, and that almost the whole—about 8 per cent.—of the increase took place before November, 1947.’ ”
—agreement between the employers and the workers took place in 1948—
“ ‘It is well known that because of the increase in the cost of living  up to November, 1947, wages were generally adjusted.’ ”
The fact is, therefore, that the only increase in the cost of living since that date has been 2 per cent. This was seized upon politically. Naturally it was very good propaganda for a case which is being built up at present for a revision of the whole national scale of wages in this country. Thus, as I say, only a 2 per cent. rise since 1947 is admitted by the Labour Court. I understand that the Minister for Agriculture, Deputy Dillon, earlier in this House to-day mentioned the fact that there has been a rise of only two points in the cost of living since 1948 since this Government came into office—and he said he believed it would be offset shortly by agricultural prices and that, therefore, we would have complete stabilisation over that period and up to the present moment. I think this matter is important from the Government's point of view. This Government has based its existence on the maintenance of the cost-of-living index figure. This matter is of great national importance because everybody in this country, every man, woman and child, is going to be affected by the cost-of-living index figure. If any new changes are made in the general wage structure in this country they are going to affect the cost of living of every person in the country. It is important to get that clear. There has been very strong propaganda and people, both wittingly and unwittingly, have presented a false picture. It is, therefore, very important that this matter should be understood. I want to give the cost-of-living index figures in Ireland from 1947 to 1950. The true picture of the cost-of-living figure in Ireland over the period February, 1947 to May, 1950, is as follows: In February, 1947, the figure stood as 295; in May, 1947, it had risen to 305 and by August, 1947, to 319. Thus, in the six months from February to August of that year there was a meteoric rise of 24 points. At this stage the then Irish Government revised the index basis bringing up to date as far as possible the items appropriate to the index and striking a basic 100 for the month of August, 1947. Since then, the index ran as follows in quarterly intervals: November, 1947—97;  February, 1948—99; May, 1948—100; August-November, 1948, and February-May, 1949—99; August, 1919—100.
In other words, the position two years after the fixing of the new basis was identical. This position was maintained in November, 1949, and February, 1950. In May last a rise of two points disclosed itself. It is significant that for the quarter February to May, 1948, which was the period during which the national wage formula came into operation the index stood at 100, as published in May, 1948. Apart from four quarters, namely, August, 1948, to May, 1949, when the index dropped one point, there has been no change up to the publication of the last figure which showed an increase of merely two points.
Comparing Ireland's position with other countries, as revealed in statistics published by the International Labour Organisation, we find that, taking a 12-months' period, either from December, 1948, to December, 1949, or January, 1949, to January, 1950, and taking the nearest appropriate period for Ireland, namely, November, 1948, to November, 1949, or February, 1949, to February, 1950, Ireland is among those countries which show the lowest percentage increase. In fact, excluding only Norway (.8 per cent.), Sweden (.3 per cent.), and Canada (.8 per cent.), Ireland, with a 1 per cent. increase, compares favourably with 18 other countries where the increase in the cost of living ranged from 1.1 per cent. (Denmark) to 27.5 per cent. (Austria-Vienna). Admittedly, in 11 countries for a similar period decreases were shown, but apart from two instances (Israel, 12.8 per cent., and Indonesia, 15.1 per cent.) the reductions were unsensational, ranging generally from 1.3 per cent. to 5 per cent. I might mention, in regard to Israel and Indonesia, which are two new countries, that we are not in a position to assess how they arrive at their figures. It should be noted that since the advent of the present Government the indirect taxation relief conceded in regard to commodities or amenities which have always been claimed in recent years as necessary adjuncts to living conditions has been considerable. Special  reference may be made to the relief in respect of beer, cinemas and tobacco. It must be remembered that these three items are not taken into the cost-of-living figure and it is often claimed by people that the cost-of-living figure is not a genuine picture of the situation. Lots of items—such as the prices of hair-cuts, quoted only this week—are not taken into consideration. But people forget to mention that these three items—beer, cinemas and tobacco—were specifically taken out of the cost-of-living figure in 1947.
Mr. McGilligan Mr. McGilligan
Mr. McGilligan: Two of them—beer and tobacco—on the orders of the last Government.
Mr. McGuire Mr. McGuire
Mr. McGuire: What about entertainments?
Mr. McGilligan Mr. McGilligan
Mr. McGilligan: I am not sure.
Mr. Douglas Mr. Douglas
Mr. Douglas: I do not think they were ever in it.
Mr. McGilligan Mr. McGilligan
Mr. McGilligan: The Statistics Bureau were ordered by the last Government to take beer and tobacco out of the index.
Mr. McGuire Mr. McGuire
Mr. McGuire: My point is that this matter is important because a case is being made at present for higher wages on the grounds that there is a material change in the whole situation. I have a pamphlet here, which I shall deal with in a moment, which denies the Government's achievements and controls. I consider that such a statement endangers the living standards of the community and the demands, if insisted upon, will raise the cost of living of the whole community.
Mr. McMullen, as recently as last November, said:—
“We are aware that among our members there is a strong tendency to seek further wage increases, as they feel that existing wages are inadequate to purchase the necessities of life for themselves at the prevailing high prices.”
That is merely a statement that is not substantiated. On the other hand, we  have the Government, with all the statistical information available, giving its annual figures through the Taoiseach. In regard to the Trade Union Congress—they have produced a whole pamphlet full of suppositional figures. Then Mr. McMullen says:—
“The alternative to this plan is to seek further nominal wage increases. This will assuredly, in present circumstances, lead to higher prices, and neutralise any increase in wages secured, and leave the relative wage position no better, but possibly a good deal worse off.”
That is for the workers. What about all those who get no wage increases— people with fixed salaries, and so forth? I should like to emphasise that I am not denying the right of workers to earn more money now or at any other time. All I say is that to raise fixed wages on a national scale in this country is most inadvisable at the present moment. Workers can and should participate in any extra prosperity which comes about in the country through their own work and through their co-operation with employers but to raise wages on a national scale merely on the pretext that there is a rise in the cost of living—which is not proved—is, I think, deplorable. The case for higher wages is being made in a pamphlet which is very lavishly distributed all over the country.
In one of the Party rooms I noticed that there was a copy of it on every Deputy's desk. The case made by the Trade Union Congress is full of suppositions and I propose to deal with it in a moment. I think that that case has already been very well answered by the Taoiseach himself on his Estimate last Thursday in the Dáil.
I am not going to wade through all this pamphlet, because Senators can look at it at their leisure. I do not want to be disrespectful about this document. It is a serious production, seriously meant, and I want to take it in all seriousness because it is a serious matter. It is called “The Case for Higher Wages”, and it says:
“Partly as a result of the agreement——”
 that is, the 11S. agreement of 1948——
“there has been in the past couple of years a period of industrial peace and stability unequalled in peacetime.”
We all agree, but why disturb that peace? It must be disturbed only on very serious grounds. I submit those grounds do not exist. Then it goes on:—
“For two years they have faithfully abided by this agreement but in recent months trade unions have received demands from their branches for a further round of wage increases.”
Further on it says:—
“...after examination of all the relevant factors formed the view that there were grounds for a general increase and that workers were entirely justified in seeking it.”
This is the point I wish to challenge, not that I do not think the workers should not have more wages where they earn them. This is a demand for a general wage increase. I want to quote one or two passages at random:—
“Let it be said at the outset that it is not claimed that these estimates are absolutely correct; obviously they are subject to varying margins of error. It is evident, however, that the broad trends and movements indicated by the figures are substantially correct and that, at any rate, the degree of inaccuracy of the estimates does not in any way invalidate the conclusions drawn.”
These are most extraordinary statements. Then there is an article under the heading: “Why Wages Must Go Up” and it states:—
“Not only have prices increased since 1948 (though to a negligible extent only in comparison with the rises in the years prior to 1948).”
They admit it is only to a negligible extent and still we are talking about a national increase. On the cost of living they say:—
“Retail prices and workers' expenses have risen since the 1948  Wages Agreement and there is every indication that further increases are inevitable.”
I do not see that there is every indication. The index figure does not show such a position. If further increases are inevitable, are we to put up wages in anticipation of those further increases at a time when we have a committee sitting to see how we can export in order to satisfy our dollar requirements? I am merely going through this at random, rather cursorily. Another statement is this:—
“Overtime earnings, therefore, cannot be taken in justice or in fairness as constituting a portion of workers' wages for the purpose of considering claims for higher wage rates nor have they ever been so taken in wage negotiations in the past.”
This report is completely wrong. Overtime has always been taken into consideration. This is for public consumption by people who do not know what it is all about.
Dr. O'Connell Dr. O'Connell
Dr. O'Connell: I wonder what relation does this bear to the business before the House?
Mr. McGuire Mr. McGuire
Mr. McGuire: I submit it bears this relation, that the whole basis of the Government's policy and its justification for its existence is maintaining the cost of living. I submit there is a threat to that whole situation, a very important threat, a threat which is regarded by the Labour movement as being politically important. They have sent it out to every Senator and Deputy. If something is going to happen in the country which will upset the whole balance of our cost of living, surely that is relevant to the Government policy, which is to maintain the cost of living?
Dr. O'Connell Dr. O'Connell
Dr. O'Connell: You do not discuss Government policy on an Appropriation Bill.
Mr. McGuire Mr. McGuire
Mr. McGuire: I do not think we would discuss anything else.
An Leas-Chathaoirleach An Leas-Chathaoirleach
An Leas-Chathaoirleach: The Appropriation Bill deals with the spending of money.
Mr. McGuire Mr. McGuire
 Mr. McGuire: I am dealing with the Government's policy of maintaining the cost of living. That is relevant, because the money expended by the Government is all directed to that purpose. It is one of the main purposes to which expenditure is directed.
An Leas-Chathaoirleach An Leas-Chathaoirleach
An Leas-Chathaoirleach: Was not the matter mentioned by the Senator decided by the Labour Court?
Dr. O'Connell Dr. O'Connell
Dr. O'Connell: That is the proposal —that the existing agreement be revised after consultation with the employers and the Labour Court.
Mr. Colgan Mr. Colgan
Mr. Colgan: I do not agree with what Senator McGuire is saying, but I suggest he is entitled to make his case.
Mr. M. Hayes Mr. M. Hayes
Mr. M. Hayes: Is not price control a matter of administration?
An Leas-Chathaoirleach An Leas-Chathaoirleach
An Leas-Chathaoirleach: It is.
Mr. McGuire Mr. McGuire
Mr. McGuire: This concerns price control and profits control and I think it is highly relevant. I thank Senator Colgan for giving me a hearing.
An Leas-Chathaoirleach An Leas-Chathaoirleach
An Leas-Chathaoirleach: The Senator is dealing with the cost-of-living index figure.
Mr. M. Hayes Mr. M. Hayes
Mr. M. Hayes: I suggest that everybody would be satisfied if Senator McGuire dealt with this matter without referring to that particular document in detail. I suggest that would put him completely in order.
Mr. McGuire Mr. McGuire
Mr. McGuire: I submit that I am in order. On Thursday last the Taoiseach dealt with the financial situation and with the question of production and participation by the different elements concerned in production.
An Leas-Chathaoirleach An Leas-Chathaoirleach
An Leas-Chathaoirleach: The Senator might deal with these things without entering into too much detail.
Mr. McGuire Mr. McGuire
Mr. McGuire: Yes. Let me just quote briefly what the Taoiseach said last Thursday. His statement is reported  in Volume 122, No. 9, column 1796. Having analysed how the national income is made up, he pointed out:—
“On this basis, wages and salaries represented about 67 per cent. of nonagricultural income produced at home in 1949, as compared with 67 per cent. in 1948, 64 per cent. in 1947 and 62 per cent. in 1938. Thus the share of employee remuneration in nonagricultural income has increased since before the war.”
The Taoiseach also said on this question:—
“While great credit is due to Irish industrialists and Irish workers for such a considerable advance in so short a period, it is well to remember that these figures show that, in relation to the whole period since before the war, the increase represents a growth in industrial production of only about 1 per cent. per annum. In an expanding economy this is not, by international standards, an altogether impressive achievement and there should be no complacency among either employers or employees, particularly since an important contributory cause was improved equipment and improved availability of materials of suitable quality after the stringencies of the war years.”
He goes on to say:—
“In fact, however, there has been since pre-war a fairly considerable decrease in the net output of industry when expressed as a percentage of gross output... There is accordingly, as compared with pre-war, relatively less for everybody concerned in the gross output.”
The Taoiseach said there is no extra money to be distributed at the moment which would raise the cost of living and thus interfere with the Government policy in relation to the cost of living. There is this final quotation:—
“While between 1938 and 1948 the total output increased by 110 per cent., wages and salaries increased by 116 per cent., profits and miscellaneous costs having increased by 102 per cent. The actual increase in wages was 120 per cent. and in  salaries 98 per cent. Expressed otherwise, wages and salaries con stituted a somewhat larger proportion of the net output in 1948 than in 1938, namely, about 61 per cent. as compared with 60 per cent.”
This Government and the last Government, therefore, have in fact succeeded in controlling prices and profits. There is no appreciable change in the cost of living since 1947. The workers are about to have a social security scheme which the Government is putting up. In America, social security measures are regarded as a great advance in workers' conditions. They are being implemented at present here. That will make a great improvement and should help towards industrial production.
This Government is rightly pursuing a protectionist policy. Deputy Dr. O'Higgins, Minister for Defence, said last Sunday that Irish industry is in its infancy and that it is in no position, if it makes a profit, to have someone raid the till. Any money being made should go back in the form of new machinery, in consolidation and in bringing the industry up to date, or it should be used to lower prices to the community. It surely should not go to one class of the community. More profits are required. Instead of decrying profits, it must be remembered that “the only industry that does not deserve to exist is the one that does not make profits.” Profits are for the improvement of the industry and not for division as spoils. It is very important that there should be no upset in the national life at the moment. The real reason for the present agitation is that peace has lasted too long, that this Government has established peace in the political life. It is just as important to establish it in industrial and social life as well. The rise in the cost of living can be offset by industrial profits. If these profits are properly directed and used there is no cause for upsetting the national wage structure and so upsetting the whole cost of living of the people.
I congratulate the Government on holding the cost-of-living figure as it is and at the same time operating a  protectionist policy. This is one of the best countries in the world—as those of us who have been recently abroad know from concrete evidence— and we can do with less whining and misrepresentation in the Press and in politics. Let us have criticism and controversy, but let it be efficient and honest. This is a suppositional case for wage revision, but the Government itself has given us the real case, which is one based on facts and figures. Therefore, I have much pleasure in congratulating the Government, and I say it will be time enough to upset our whole cost-of-living figure when there is some substantial change in the cost-of-living position.
Mr. Colgan Mr. Colgan
Mr. Colgan: Senator McGuire was very much perturbed that there is a move for increased wages. The trade union movement is perturbed too. It would appear from the Senator's remarks that work people and trade union officials are looking for increased wages for the sport of the thing or that, when a certain cycle has passed, they think they should go forward for increases. That is not the position at all. It is not because over two years have elapsed since the formula was laid down that the workers are getting restive now. We all entered into that agreement in February or March, 1948, with enthusiasm. I think the employer representatives here would agree that the trade unions did their part, under the auspices of the Labour Court, in getting the formula accepted. It was not accepted easily by the workers. The trade union officials had a difficult job, but in the interests of the economy of the country and not with any political viewpoint, we got our members to agree, reluctantly. For over two years, this formula has been observed, in the main, with great success.
I made the case here again and again —and I was talked down—that the cost of living has increased. In spite of talk about black markets and double prices, the working class have not been getting sufficient of certain rationed goods. You need not tell me they are getting what they got during the war. That is no answer. I quite understand the policy of the Government, which  has proved a boomerang. They do not want to increase subsidies and have said that if anyone wants more of any rationed commodity they can get more by paying for it. The working class wanted more and are getting it and paying for it and now they want to be compensated for paying for it.
At least three or four members of the Labour Party are on the executive of the Trade Union Congress. You do not suggest these people would set out to sabotage the Government, any more than I would or would any man in the Congress of Irish Unions. There is a clamour for increased wages, as the wives and daughters say they cannot exist on the money they are getting from the men. I believe the Trade Union Congress was forced into its present position. I disagree with their method of simply taking off the ceiling and leaving a free for all.
The Congress of Irish Unions intend to meet again, under the auspices of the Labour Court, with employers, and try to agree on another formula. All of us, of whatever political viewpoint, have an interest in the welfare of the country and want to see it prosper. The cost-of-living figure is not a true reflex. It cannot be, or there would not be this agitation for increases. I am a trade union official for over 30 years and I know how work people's minds move. I have seen that before, during and after the First World War, and after the last war. There is the psychological effect of increased prices and they just feel they must get something to compensate for it. That is happening now. Those who think there is no reason for the agitation we have had for some months past are making a great mistake. Every union has been asking for increases and the officials in turn have been asking the congresses to do something about it.
At Killarney last week, there was a resolution to take off the controls and leave a free for all. That may be an easy way, but it is not the best way. We believe the best way, if there are to be increases, is to have a regulated increase, as the last one was.
This would probably come under the Department of Justice. I raised the matter before in connection  with another Bill. I refer to the administration of justice in relation to the imposition of fines on motor drivers who are convicted of being drunk in charge of a car. I do not think this is a matter that can be too often stressed. We see in the Press where men appear in court, are proved to have been drunk in charge of a car, possibly some unfortunate citizen has been killed and these offenders receive comparatively mild sentences. In my view anyone who is convicted of being drunk in charge of a car, irrespective of whether or not there has been an accident, should be disqualified from driving for life. I do not think that penalty would be too severe.
The greatest tragedy I see in the present situation is that it is tending to bring a very noble profession into disrepute. No matter what the police doctor may say another doctor can always be found prepared to say the direct opposite. I say that is a scandal and it is bringing the very noble profession of medicine, for which everyone should have the higest regard, into disrepute. It is a scandal that men can be found in that profession prepared to contradict the evidence of a colleague, an independent doctor, since he is the police doctor. Seemingly, if these men are paid enough they will be prepared to contradict the evidence of the independent police doctor. I feel that we have much to learn here from the administration of justice in England. I have no love for England but I do know that, where sentences of three and six months are imposed here, sentences of seven years' penal servitude are imposed in England. I cannot understand the difference. The possibility is that this leniency may lead to an increase in crime. I think that the penalty is not sufficiently severe in cases where men are convicted of drunkenness while driving and, for that reason, others are not deterred from acting in the same manner.
I mentioned on a previous occasion the question of broadcasting. I have not much to say with regard to its utility, but I think it would be no harm if we had a little more of it. I  think the programmes should run right through from 1 o'clock until the station closes down at 11 and there should not be this long interval in the afternoon. Certainly, there has been a tremendous improvement in the programme. I know that it is difficult to get competent artistes because they are not paid sufficiently well. I am afraid that position will always obtain in many spheres of activity. If one wants good material, one must pay for it. I understand Radio Éireann does not pay well. When I raised this matter on a previous occasion I was told that some of our universities' staffs are not paid as well as Radio Éireann artistes, who, in turn, are not paid as well as the majority of the craftsmen in the City of Dublin.
Mr. D. Burke Mr. D. Burke
Mr. D. Burke: I would like to support Senator O'Brien's plea for short-term loans at a low rate of interest. I said on the Finance Bill that I believed these loans would be very popular, particularly among the farming community, which does not like to tie up its money for a long period. I instanced the old custom in the country of farmers wanting to get their daughters married or buy farms for their sons. There must be something in a system which encourages a farmer to invest his money in the bank at 1 per cent. He can walk in and get it any time he likes. I believe they would be prepared to give their money to the State at 2 per cent. if they could have some greater assurance that the capital sum would be preserved and that they would be able to take it out again on a shorter term than at the present time.
I think the same can be said of business. There are many business men who do not want money for capital development or for the purchase of stock. Senator O'Brien mentioned inventories. They may not require the money back this year or next year, and if they could invest that money in short-term loans I believe there certainly would be a demand for that type of investment. It has been done quite successfully in Britain. There is no reason why the system should not be tried out here  and there is no reason why it should not be equally successful here.
Reference has been made to the price of commodities and to the fact that people are not getting enough of the more nutritious foods. I wonder how many of the Senators who have spoken after that fashion have read the very interesting fourth volume circulated last week on the dietetics survey. The volume circulated last week dealt with the lowest-paid class in the community. I think the general findings in the report were that the only item of which this class appeared to go short was vegetables. I think the suggestion was that if this class eat more lettuce and carrots they would have a diet sufficient in all essentials. Some people have said that the butter ration is not enough. Those who speak after that fashion were content at one period with a ration of 4 ozs. The ration at present is 8 ozs.
I would like the Minister to give us some information as to his intention in relation to valuations generally. People are disturbed because of the anomalies which exist in regard to valuations. That is particularly true where a person makes a small addition to his premises and finds his valuation increased several hundred per cent. I think the Minister mentioned in reply to a question in the Dáil within the last few weeks that he was considering this matter. Perhaps he would be prepared to make some statement to reassure business people and others before the summer recess that if they improve their premises they will not be asked to carry more than their fair share of the burden of local taxation. I do not believe the Minister will be unsympathetic. I know the problem is a difficult one, but the Minister may be able to give us some indication as to a possible solution.
With regard to housing, in the report on the Taoiseach's Estimate I notice reference is made to a large increase in production per man on the part of those engaged in agriculture, and also in industry. I think it is true to say that there has been no increase in production in the case of building. Building at the moment is absorbing  a tremendous amount of State expenditure, and I think it is only right that the Minister should direct his attention to that particular matter. There should be some inquiry made over the whole field of building costs right from the raw materials that are processed to the ultimate purchaser of the house. I think such an inquiry is overdue.
Our whole building programme in regard to hospitals, public buildings, schools, parish halls and the other amenities we require, is bearing heavily on the community, and must be brought to an efficient state. I think it is universally recognised that the building industry has progressed less in the last 50 years than any other form of human production. It is very desirable that we should be efficient in regard to this aspect of our activity. It is one on which a great deal of attention is being focussed, and one on which a great deal of public money is being spent at the present time.
I should like to compliment Senator Miss Butler on the admirable address which she gave this evening. I am not quite in agreement with her in regard to one or two matters which she mentioned—where she stated that she believed the care of the schools and of children should be a matter for the State. It may be that there have been cases where, say, managers have not looked after schools as well as they should have, or cases where parents have not looked after their children as they should have. That does not make a case for the taking over of the children by the State or of the schools by the State.
Miss Butler Miss Butler
Miss Butler: On a point of explanation, may I say that I never advocated the taking over of children by the State? I merely suggested that the State should be fully responsible for the maintenance and building of schools.
An Cathaoirleach An Cathaoirleach
An Cathaoirleach: Senator Burke accepts that?
Mr. D. Burke Mr. D. Burke
Mr. D. Burke: I am delighted that explanation has been given.
Mr. McCrea Mr. McCrea
 Mr. McCrea: I am very pleased Senator Miss Butler is here to correct Senator Burke on that point, because, otherwise, I would have done so. Senator Miss Butler mentioned schools and the maintenance of schools.
Mr. D. Burke Mr. D. Burke
Mr. D. Burke: And the care of children.
Mr. McCrea Mr. McCrea
Mr. McCrea: There would be a very serious implication in that which should not be let go on the records uncorrected.
Mr. Colgan Mr. Colgan
Mr. Colgan: A very dangerous one.
Mr. D. Burke Mr. D. Burke
Mr. D. Burke: I must apologise to Senator Miss Butler. The care of children would not be the same as taking over children. I suppose I have to apologise on that point, and I had better not deal with it any longer. I must say that I was very interested in Senator Miss Butler's approach to the ideological conflict that is going on in the world to-day. She gave a very lucid exposition of it so far as this country is concerned, and I am sure her contribution is one which will be considered not only by the Government but by public opinion in this country during the next few months. I hope, from what she has said, that she may, in some way, be able to influence democratic public opinion. I understood her to say that it is sometimes a little bit slow in coming around even to the things which are for its own good.
Mr. Tunney Mr. Tunney
Mr. Tunney: There is one matter in connection with agriculture to which I desire to refer. We in this House, of course, have no opportunity of considering the Minister's Estimate for the Department of Agriculture, but this Bill enables us to refer to agriculture in general. Before dealing with that point, I should like to refer to motoring offences which arise under the Vote for the Department of Justice. Senator Colgan had something to say in connection with the fines and regulations relating to these offences. In my opinion, this is the one matter on which the Government has completely fallen down. I feel we ought to have taken  some action. There has been a terrible loss of life due to careless motor driving, the conduct of drunken drivers and the speed at which motor cars and lorries are allowed to go through our villages and towns. I think that, sooner or later, and the sooner the better, the Government will be compelled to take action on this. Hardly a day passes without some person being killed because of the neglect or carelessness of somebody. That cannot be allowed to go on. The number of motor vehicles is increasing so rapidly that motor accidents would appear to be increasing proportionately.
I want to support what Senator Colgan said in regard to the punishment that should be meted out to drunken drivers. I know that if I were a judge dealing with these cases I would give a drunken driver, not a sentence of one month, but a very much longer one. I would also see to it that, instead of having his licence suspended for six or 12 months, he would never be allowed to drive a motor car again. If a child, for example, loses its life as the result of the action of some insane person—God between us and all harm—there is a terrible hullabaloo, and rightly so, because, whether it is a man or a child loses its life, it is a terrible thing, since life is so sacred. I am afraid that neither the Government nor the ordinary people, except those directly affected, are taking this question seriously enough. I would appeal to the Minister to use his influence with the responsible Minister to see that some action is taken on this very serious matter.
I now come to deal with the question of agriculture. I could never understand why it is, no matter what Government is in power, that Connacht should be so completely neglected as it has been. That has been the situation ever since we got a native Government. The population in my native constituency has gone down considerably. During the last ten years of the Fianna Fáil régime it went down by so many thousands that the Dáil representation for it had to be reduced by one. I am afraid, if there is not some change for the better that the Dáil representation  for it will have to be still further reduced.
Mr. Colgan Mr. Colgan
Mr. Colgan: We will send the Senator back there.
Mr. Tunney Mr. Tunney
Mr. Tunney: Members of the Seanad may laugh at this.
Mr. Colgan Mr. Colgan
Mr. Colgan: We are not laughing.
Mr. Tunney Mr. Tunney
Mr. Tunney: I defy contradiction when I say that the population in that constituency has gone down under successive Governments since we got control of affairs ourselves.
Mr. Colgan Mr. Colgan
Mr. Colgan: Emigration has been going on ever since the famine days.
Mr. Tunney Mr. Tunney
Mr. Tunney: I am now making the request that this Government, which has tackled so many other problems concerning the welfare of the nation, would devote some little attention to the mountainy portions of Connacht. The people living there are the descendants of those who, in Cromwell's time, were told to go to hell or to Connacht. They went to the mountains and they stuck to their God and to their Church. In view of that, it would be a terrible thing if, under a native Government, those people were compelled to leave the districts in which their people have lived for generations.
There is one suggestion that I would like to make to the Minister in the way of helping the people of Connacht. I suggest that portion of the Marshall Aid money should be allocated to small tenant farmers in Connacht to enable them to increase the numbers and to improve the quality of their mountainy sheep. That branch of our live-stock industry has been completely neglected. The prices for those mountainy sheep have dropped to such a low figure that the farmers there have allowed the breed to deteriorate so much so that the sheep have got smaller and are now not up to standard either as regards size or quality.
I am satisfied that with an improvement in the breed and a better selection of rams, the weight of sheep bred in this area could be increased from 12 to 15 lbs. per head. I am also satisfied  that if some of these moneys were given to tenant farmers to restock the flocks on the mountains of Connacht, that they would be able to rear three times the number of sheep there are on these mountains at present. I cannot speak so well so far as Kerry and Donegal are concerned because I do not know the position there but I know that the mountains of Galway and Mayo are not one-third stocked at the moment. I wonder does the Government realise that money spent in this way would be the wisest possible expenditure, so far as Marshall Aid is concerned, because there can be no greater asset to this nation than the wool which would be available from these sheep if we have to repay Marshall Aid in dollars? I know this is a matter for the Department of Agriculture but I would appeal to the Minister to request the Minister for Agriculture to examine this question of horned mountain sheep and to provide some means whereby the small tenant farmers could restock their farms. I was reared in that area and in my young days I know that the main industry of these people was the rearing of sheep, pigs and fowl. I can say that many of them were reasonably happy and reasonably comfortable. They had at least sufficient to supply their wants. In the intervening years, the sheep stocks have been reduced to a point which they never reached before.
The question of sheep rearing on the lowlands is a somewhat different matter but there is a point that I should like to mention, although it might be better to raise it personally with the Minister directly concerned. It is no harm to say, however, that I have met hundreds of farmers in the far end of County Dublin and in County Meath and I have asked them why they do not keep sheep. The answer invariably has been: “I would certainly keep sheep were it not that I live so near a town or a village and people are allowed to keep dogs there which are not under proper control and they killed so many lambs and sheep that I had to get out of them. I have no redress because I was not in the field when they were actually  killed and, even if I were, I would have to follow the dogs and prove to the owner that they killed the sheep. In many cases, even if I did follow them, the owner would not have a bob between himself and God to pay any compensation.” I would strongly recommend to the Minister that the licence fees for these dogs should be increased. I think the Gardaí authorities might also take action to ensure that dogs are kept under proper control so that they will not be allowed to cause so much injury to their neighbours' stocks and destroy a big portion of the national wealth.
Further, in regard to the position of the people of Connacht, I should like to bring to the Minister's notice the position of the cotton thread industry in Westport. That at one time was an industry which was fairly flourishing. Over 100 hands were employed there. It is sad to think that now there is employment for only about half that number and even those who are employed are on short time. I say that whatever Government is responsible, it is a national tragedy to allow an industry like that to decay, particularly in a portion of the country from which so many people are forced to emigrate. I hope that the Minister will have that matter looked into.
I believe that where you have an industry started in this country by an individual or by a company and that it is able to produce a reasonably good article, give reasonable conditions and fair wages to the employees, and sell the product at a reasonably fair price, the Government should not let down that industry at any cost. My attitude in regard to industries in general, whether they are situated in Dublin or Westport, is that we should give them every help and encouragement, and I hope that whatever aid is possible will be given to the Westport industry.
I should also like to refer to Electricity Supply Board charges. I am not sure what the Government can do about this, but it is a terrible state of affairs to say that out in Swords a farm labourer—I shall finish in a minute—
Mr. McGilligan Mr. McGilligan
 Mr. McGilligan: The Senator can finish before that. I have nothing to do with it.
Mr. Tunney Mr. Tunney
Mr. Tunney: I wonder would the Minister tell us who has?
Mr. McGilligan Mr. McGilligan
Mr. McGilligan: The Electricity Supply Board.
Mr. Tunney Mr. Tunney
Mr. Tunney: To whom are they responsible?
Mr. McGilligan Mr. McGilligan
Mr. McGilligan: They have the right to fix their own charges.
Mr. Tunney Mr. Tunney
Mr. Tunney: They are apparently responsible to no one. It is no wonder that they charge a farm labourer 22/- for two months.
Mr. McGilligan Mr. McGilligan
Mr. McGilligan: They are responsible for making the charges.
Business suspended at 6 p.m. and resumed at 7.15 p.m.
Mr. Loughman Mr. Loughman
Mr. Loughman: Senator Tunney referred to the punishment of offences committed by motorists. I want to talk mainly of the necessity for a complete revision of traffic regulations. To my mind, this provision is long overdue. One of the Senators mentioned that, in 1939, we had about 75,000 motor vehicles on the road and that to-day we have about twice that number. I believe that the regulations which were perhaps suitable when the number of motor vehicles was half what it is to-day are most unsuitable for present-day conditions. We are inclined to be very severe on people who are involved in accidents and sometimes, of course, we are more inclined to blame the owner of the vehicle and spare the person who is injured, but I think that the experience of motorists will generally be that the people who are injured are very often, through their own carelessness and heedlessness, as much to blame as the motorists—although I am not making excuses for people who use motor cars when they have too much drink taken.
Every aspect of traffic on the road needs special study at the present time. The pedestrians are very careless, in my opinion, about the way they  use our highways, and I think the time has come when they will have to be under some form of control. Driving along through the country, it is not unusual that a farm gate will open and cattle will be driven out onto the road, and I think it is more accident than anything else that greater damage is not done to live stock and to people who use cars because no care is taken. A man will simply open the gate and drive out without giving any notice whatever of his intention.
One abuse which is very prevalent is in regard to night driving. While 80 per cent. of motor car users will dim their lights when they meet another car, fully 20 per cent. of motor users, whether of lorries or of some other type, will not dim them with the result that both cars are in grave danger. I myself on the last two occasions coming to Dublin escaped only by accident from knocking over two youngsters 12 or 13 years of age who ran off the kerb in towns and straight across the road. The training of young people to the use of the roads in view of the traffic on them is a matter that should receive careful consideration.
The parking of cars in towns is, in my opinion, becoming a grave nuisance if not a danger. In a street which is quite narrow cars will be parked on both sides and it is just barely possible for two cars to pass between them and it is only very careful driving which prevents those cars from crashing into each other or into one of the cars on either side.
There are hundreds of aspects of the use of the roads which I could mention but I have just mentioned these few and I do not intend to speak any longer on this subject except to ask the Minister to represent to the proper authority that a careful study should be made of road traffic generally at the present time with a view to drafting regulations which, while they may take from people's liberty in their use of the highways, will ensure that the users of the roads will use them in greater safety in the future. I would urge that this matter should receive very special attention because the tendency is to get higher powered cars and to get more of them and it should  be quite clear that regulations which were to some extent suitable ten years ago will not be suitable any more and I would ask the Minister to refer my statement to the proper Minister.
Mr. Ruane Mr. Ruane
Mr. Ruane: I do not intend to avail of the opportunity which this Bill gives to Senators to examine and pronounce upon the expenditure upon the various services out of national revenue, but I should like to have your attention for a few minutes on a matter that I feel the Seanad and the people of the country through the Seanad should know: the Government is not as negligent of the wants of the people as some try to make out. Senator Tunney to-day said that Connacht was being neglected by the Government, but I should like to point out from my experience during the lifetime of both the former Governments that I never knew of any feasible scheme which was put before the Government that did not receive its sympathetic attention. I know that within the past year as a result of representations made in the Dáil by Deputies, works known as rural improvement schemes were liberally provided for out of national revenue. The carrying out of these improvements is contingent on a contribution being made by the people affected and heretofore the contributions of these people and the State were on a 50-50 basis. As a result of representations, however, people whose valuations are uneconomic can have very useful works carried out for their accommodation such as the making of roads and small drains and can get employment on making a contribution of from 5 to 10 per cent. of the estimated cost. As my constitutents and neighbours may avail of the facilities afforded, I think it is only fair to acknowledge that and express my gratitude for it.
Senator Miss Butler in a very interesting contribution to-day referred to the necessity for properly maintained schools and proper school buildings so that the health of the children would not be impaired. Senator Mrs. Concannon referred several times to the same matter saying that prevention was better than cure in so far as health  of school children was concerned. Anyone who examines the Book of Estimates for this year will find out that never before was such liberal provision made for the building of new schools and the reconstruction of schools in need of it, as has been made this year and it is only fair also that that should be referred to.
So far as the maintenance of these schools is concerned, it is not a matter for the Government, but I hold that the best way to ensure the maintenance of any building is to provide a decent building and the civic sense of the people will induce them to keep that building in a proper state of repair. With regard to the contributions to be made by the manager to secure the very liberal Grants-in-Aid which the Government make towards the erection of new schools and the reconstruction of schools which are considered worth reconstructing, I can say, so far as my knowledge goes, and I have been in touch with many applications, the Government has been exceptionally generous in the provision it made. In some cases, only one-eighth of the total cost of the work to be done has been asked.
Having said so much by way of compliment to the Government, I have a complaint to make. As we all know, very liberal provisions have been made for land improvements under the Local Authorities (Works) Act and another Act which passed through the Oireachtas during the past year. So far as that work is concerned, the people in my district, and for a radius of 20 or 30 miles from where I live, cannot avail of these benefits because of the bad condition in which the arteries of some of the main rivers are. A scheme was formulated by the Office of Public Works 23 years ago for the drainage of three rivers in my district which could have been put into operation on the basis of a contribution by the local authority of a very small amount. The Government at the time provided 50 per cent. and the total estimated cost of the work was £12,000.
Some people on the local body concerned, the Mayo County Council, considered that they knew more about  drainage than the engineers on the job, and they put the matter on the longer finger until such time as the river Moy would be drained. The result is that the three rivers still remain to be attended to, and the area which they should drain is flooded periodically, with resultant loss of turbary and riverside hay. The lands of a large number of people adjoining these rivers are in an impoverished condition, and there is no use in their embarking on any scheme of field drainage, or even seeking to avail of the benefits of the rural improvement scheme, because they have no place to drain their fields into. That scheme is still pigeon-holed in the office of Public Works. It could not, of course, be carried out at present at the estimated cost when it was formulated 23 years ago, but it should be attended to. If it were, I am sure that the people over a wide area would avail of the schemes now offered by the Government for the improvement of their lands. At present, because of the condition of these rivers, they cannot do so.
Mr. Fitzsimons Mr. Fitzsimons
Mr. Fitzsimons: For the past couple of days, the Minister has listened to a recital of various good things the Government has done and various bad things the Government has done. I do not propose to dwell at any length on that subject, but I want to say a few things about food supplies in the event of another war. Whether a war comes or not, a supreme effort should be made to secure all the goods we can in the next few months, and especially dry goods which will stand storage over a considerable period. If the war does not come, and if there is a loss incurred, and if the State has to face a deficit, I do not think any member of this House or the other House will blame the Minister or the Government.
In 1946, when we had a very bad winter, the previous Government was advised to get in fuel at any cost and irrespective of any loss that might be incurred. The Government at that time went out and got that fuel, and a big loss to the State was involved. Those who advised the Government to lay in that fuel, so that the people of the  country would have the necessary coal, turf and timber, have continually, in this House and elsewhere, denounced the Government at that period for doing so. In view of the fact that the Dáil of that day was unanimously of the opinion that the Government should lay in these stocks, it was mean politics on the part of those who advised them to take a certain line to belittle their efforts to get the necessary fuel in that trying period.
The point I want to make is that the Minister should take his courage in his hands and secure the goods which will be required if a war does take place. If a loss is incurred, whether a war takes place or not, no Party in this House should blame the Minister for trying to get in the dry goods which will keep over a considerable time, so that, in time of need, we will be able to fall back on them in order to save the nation from being hungry. There are some commodities in respect of which the Minister will say we cannot do that, by reason of our not having sufficient storage; but even though we have not had compulsory tillage this year, the Minister would be well advised to reconsider the position in that regard for next year. We were told yesterday by Senator Baxter that, even though we had a lesser acreage of wheat last year, we had a better yield; but the Senator forgot that this Government were very fortunate last year in that we had excellent weather. Were it not for that fact, I doubt if we would have had the yield from the wheat crop that he gives us to understand we had.
In 1946-47 we had a very bad harvest and, therefore, a very bad yield. We have often been told by the people who support the present Government that we got a better yield by having no compulsory tillage in 1949-50 than was got when there was compulsory tillage. They forget to tell us that, were it not for the fact that we had very bad weather in 1946-47 and in the years when we needed wheat badly, there is no knowing what the position would have been. I make an appeal to the Minister to reconsider the matter, so far as the future is concerned, especially in relation to the  growing of wheat, beet and other crops which will keep this nation in existence if a war takes place. It is, of course, our fervent wish that war will not come about and, if it does not, we will not blame the Government if they take the risk of getting in supplies and loss is incurred.
Senator Ruane mentioned the question of drainage. The River Boyne, which flows through the County Meath, is practically stopped with weeds. This Government and the previous Government made no effort under the Arterial Drainage Act to deal with the drainage of the Boyne. The Minister should have a survey made of the Boyne and Blackwater districts, where large tracts of land are flooded from time to time. I suggest that the Board of Works should be asked to make a survey and that the Minister should give a grant for the cleaning of that river.
I hope the Minister will examine the matters I have brought forward not from a political, but from a national point of view, because the people of the country are expecting that a lead will be given by the Government, irrespective of the private views of some Ministers. The time has come for a statement to be made by the Government. Even if the Government have not disclosed what they are doing, the people should be assured that they are making arrangements that, in the event of war, there will be ample food supplies for a couple of years at least.
Mr. Meighan Mr. Meighan
Mr. Meighan: Drainage is a matter in which I have great interest and Senator Ruane's statement reminds me of the position in my own county. I understand that a beginning is about to be made to have it rectified. I refer to the Lough Gara drainage and the removal of the Tinnacarra rock. On behalf of the people concerned I should like to tell the Minister that we appreciate very much the survey that has been made and that the scheme is to be carried out. I would like to stress the necessity for and the importance of the work and I hope there will be as little delay as possible in having it carried out. Until that rock is removed  the levels higher up and the tributaries which flow into it cannot be dealt with satisfactorily. This matter affects a large portion of Roscommon and Mayo where the land is water-logged. As a matter of fact, the local authority will not allow any water into Lough Gara until this rock is removed because of the danger of flooding down stream. For that reason we appreciate very much the survey which has been made by the Board of Works but the work should be undertaken with as little delay as possible.
For a number of years past representatives on the local council have been haunted by people from the various valleys within a radius of 20 Irish miles from Boyle to Ballyhaunis to have something done in regard to this. Every valley between these towns is subject to annual flooding. Most of the farms in that area are small farms of from ten to 20 acres, and these are the lands which are most affected. In each valley there are ten, 15 or 20 families living, and the flooding means an annual loss for them. Sometimes there is a complete loss of five acres of hay. I would not be doing my duty if I did not tell the Minister that we appreciate very much what the Board of Works have done and express the hope that the work will be carried out as soon as possible so that the other necessary work can be gone on with by the county council, and the land reclamation scheme can be availed of. At present the machinery in connection with that scheme is operating in our district and a lot of farmers will take advantage of it to have their land drained if the main source of the flooding is dealt with.
Senator Fitzsimons spoke about the food position. During the emergency, I did more than my quota of tillage. From my experience of the tillage carried out in a good many areas in Roscommon during the emergency, I have no hesitation in saying that if there had been less done and it had been done better there would have been a better return. I have personal knowledge of acres of land being ploughed up and only half of the required quantity of seed put in. I know that various public representatives  and farmers at meetings gave it as their deliberate opinion that if less had been done and it had been done better there would have been a better return. The Government of that time used compulsory powers with the best intentions, but I think that if the people are handled in a better way compulsion is not necessary. The figures which have been revealed in the last couple of weeks by the Taoiseach and the Minister for Agriculture have been very consoling and reassuring. We must take these figures as being correct and, if so, the decision which the Government have taken is justified.
For the reasons I have stated, I am wholeheartedly in favour of having sufficient food in the country. That is not only my own opinion, but it is the considered opinion of the farmers in Mayo and the adjoining counties. If you do a thing, do it well. In many cases land was ploughed, and only half of the quantity of seed that it would take was put into it and the crops that were thus produced would not repay the cost of labour or pay the fee of the agricultural contractor for turning it up.
During the emergency the previous Government advised people to put in stocks. Before the introduction of rationing there was a free sale in shops where people could buy as much as they wanted in the way of drapery, dry goods and various other things. That was a great help to people who had cash and who were able to purchase, but there was a very large number of poor and middle-class people who had only enough money to keep them going from day to day and scarcely anything in reserve who were not in a position to stock. That applied particularly to parents of families. They could not purchase a stock of linen and clothing that would meet their needs during the emergency.
I would suggest that if there is an emergency again or any danger of an emergency, the present Government would recommend, if they have an opportunity to do so, that provision would be made in some way to help those people so that they could put in a stock of goods. I suggest that credit  would be arranged for them or, alternatively, that the State would secure a quantity of necessary goods and have them stored to be rationed, in the event of an emergency, to people who are not in a financial position to stock a quantity of goods.
Mr. McCrea Mr. McCrea
Mr. McCrea: I will be very brief because I realise that the Minister is anxious to conclude the debate. I do not think I can let the occasion pass without conveying to the Minister the thanks and gratitude of the Arklow Harbour Commissioners and my own thanks for the generous grant he has made towards the improvement of the harbour and his offer to dredge the harbour and to keep the port open for the next two or three years.
Arklow is one of the most important towns in Wicklow. It is possibly the most important port on the south-east coast. It has one of the largest fishing fleets in the country. It has one firm that employs 400 hands. It has shipping, exporters, importers and shipbuilding—everything that one could think of, yet the harbour for a great number of years past would not be safe for a rowing boat. I want to convey to the Minister that his efforts are very highly appreciated.
I was at a meeting of the harbour commissioners last week. The meeting was composed of men of all political thought and creeds. Everyone paid very generous tribute to the Minister and they definitely very highly appreciate his efforts in making a grant available and guaranteeing to keep the port open for the next two or three years.
Some play has been made by Senators on the other side of the House about double prices, or black-marketing as it is called. I have been in business all my life and I make this statement without fear of contradiction: I am dealing with about 1,300 registered customers for tea, butter and sugar and I have never heard a complaint from any customer on the question of a second price nor is there any great demand for a supplemental supply except for some special occasion such as a wedding, christening or a wake. The people have told me that  it is a grand thing that they can get extra tea or sugar for such occasions. As far as butter is concerned, they are not in any way interested in the unrationed butter. There is plenty of good farmers' butter available. It is a good mixed-farming district and the people have all the butter they want.
I should like to have referred to the Works Bill, to the great schemes for roads and housing, which were grossly misrepresented in the other House by a certain Deputy, but I do not want to delay the Minister. I will get an opportunity in the very near future of dealing with the matter in another place. I again want to tell the Minister that his action, so far as the Arklow Harbour Commissioners are concerned, is very much appreciated.
Mr. McGilligan Mr. McGilligan
Mr. McGilligan: I am grateful for what Senator McCrea has said with regard to Arklow. Arklow has been a bit of trouble for many years and it is gratifying to know that whatever solution has been arrived at is satisfactory. It was a matter which was easy enough for the State to do, and apparently it is appreciated by the local people.
I do not intend to go into details about drainage. Senator Meighan referred to Tinnecarra rock. It will be blasted one of these days and whatever flooding is caused by the obstruction of the drainage will be relieved. The matters to which Senator Ruane referred are completely beyond my comprehension. I know nothing about the Yellow River, Geestaun or the Glore. I will simply convey what he said in that matter to the Office of Public Works and to the Minister for Agriculture, whose plans in connection with land rehabilitation are being very definitely dovetailed to a greater extent than ever before with the arterial drainage side of the Board of Works efforts.
Senator Fitzsimons has submitted one aspect of a particular matter that I want to refer to later. He referred to one detail, that is, in regard to the Government's duty to get in supplies of dry goods against an emergency. I  do not think that is the Government's duty at all. I do not think any Government has ever taken that on its shoulders.
Mr. Fitzsimons Mr. Fitzsimons
Mr. Fitzsimons: It should arrange for necessary credits.
Mr. McGilligan Mr. McGilligan
Mr. McGilligan: That is a different thing. I thought the Senator was asking me to set up some huge dry goods store for goods and men's clothing and all the rest of it against some future period. The last Government decided against that type of thing for the very best of reasons, and these reasons that operated in 1938-39 are still operating.
If I take the other side of the Senator's proposal, namely, that the banks should be approached with regard to providing credit for traders, that is another matter. So far I have not heard from any of the traders who were inclined to stock pile in that way that they have been unduly hampered by banks. However, that is a matter that can be looked into in another way. The Senator will remember that it is rather incompatible to have a plea for a system of rigid price control and at the same time to ask the banks to assist traders to any great extent to stock pile goods, because the two things run counter to one another. Traders are not anxious to end all price control, and banks naturally understand what traders have in their mind. Therefore, it means relaxing price control to put into effect the programme the Senator refers to. I shall refer to general conditions about an emergency later.
Several Senators have spoken about one matter, and I must say I was surprised to find that it is a thing that has excited so much interest. I refer to this matter of motorists causing danger or injury or destruction, particularly when under the influence of drink. I think three or four Senators have spoken in regard to that matter. Well, the law is there. The law has it at the moment that if a person is found to be guilty of dangerous conduct on the road and under the influence of drink, there is automatic disqualification.  Senator Colgan would have the yearly period, which is the minimum, enlarged to a greater period. That would involve a change in legislation, and I have not the facts at my disposal to give even an opinion in the matter. I would say that Senator Tunney spoke with some vehemence on this matter.
I take it that the Senators who have spoken in this connection are still interested in keeping the jury system alive in this country, particularly in regard to criminal trials. I would point out that the more severe the penalty in respect of any offence, the more difficult it is to get a jury to convict. If there were a penalty of a very severe type, involving, say, disqualification for life as far as driving is concerned, I think it might happen that juries who would now find against a drunken motorist might refrain from doing so because of the severity of the penalty. We must realise that they weigh these things up and if it was in the legislation the public would be informed about it. The Senator might then find that the remedy he is proposing would not be as effective as he thought it would be, and would not be an improvement on the situation as it exists at present. However, the particular remarks made are points that can be put before the Minister for Justice for his consideration, and, maybe, for the promotion of better legislation in that respect.
Senator Tunney, as well as speaking on that matter, mentioned sheep rearing. I thought that the owner of sheep at the moment was in the happiest possible position of all owners of live stock in this country. There are phenomenal prices going at the moment for wool and a good price is given for the sheep without the wool. I must say that I cannot understand the Senator's complaint about the matter. However, it may please him to realise that, as well as the land rehabilitation scheme, I know that the Minister for Agriculture has certain plans in regard to the areas which are suitable for sheep, and that he will probably see about that in the autumn.
Senator Tunney also referred to a  concern at Westport. I hope I am not making a mistake in that connection, but if the Senator was referring to the firm I was recently reading about, let me say that he has introduced about the worst possible example of an industry from the point of view of whether it deserves protection or not. If it is the industry about which I have been reading recently—and I am sorry Senator Summerfield is not here to get this as an example of extreme feather-bedding—the directors of that concern remake their capital every two years. As far as I know, they have about £7,000 capital in that particular concern. They draw, as between dividends and other profits, something short of £4,000 a year, and they have done that for over 12 or 13 years. If they want any extra protection, when they are recouping to themselves their capital every pair of years, I cannot refrain from saying that industry has come to a pretty pass if there is a demand for increased protection in these circumstances. I hope I do not do any injustice to the firm, but I feel that that is the firm we recently had under consideration in connection for an increased tariff. I have no great respect for the business if that is the one to which the Senator refers. There is, of course, the consideration that the town of Westport, with nothing much in the way of industrial activity in the neighbourhood, would be anxious to preserve whatever spasm of industry might be there. However, sometimes the price is too high. I think most people would agree that the price demanded there is far too high.
Senator Burke referred to the vexed matter of valuations. When I heard him speak in regard to that matter, I was not surprised to see Senator Fitzsimons on his feet later, because I realised that he, too, would be bound to refer to this matter as I have had correspondence with him on that point.
I said in the Dáil recently that I had become impressed by the volume of complaints all over the country with regard to increased valuations. It seemed as if there was something more than ordinary activity with regard to the sending in of lists for revised valuation. In the Dáil, in reply to a question,  I said that this matter had been constantly under review. It has been constantly under review simply because of the complaints both Deputies and Senators have brought to my notice in public debate as well as by correspondence and it is being specially examined at this moment. It has become the subject of special consideration because the absurdity of the present law has been shown up by an occurrence in Dublin. A citizen, whether well-disposed or evilly-disposed I do not know, took 400 pages out of Thom's Directory and put in a covering note saying that he required a revaluation of all these properties. That was the nearest thing to having a general revaluation taken more or less piecemeal, but in a very heavy piece. I was glad to find that the city manager decided that that was not in compliance with the law and that he did not intend to move on it. However, it revealed a weakness in the situation. As I have stated before, the initiative in this matter does not rest with the Valuation Office but with the rate collectors. They may move first and a ratepayer may move. This ratepayer, who was observant enough not to have his own property included, decided he would have as large a revaluation as he possibly could in the Clontarf area of the city. I got a return, however, that makes me feel that the clamour may be just a bit exaggerated. I asked to have a comparison made for me between pre-war and post-war revisions of valuation. Total valuation, of course, is a mixture of valuation of buildings and valuation of land. We need not bother about land now because it is not subject to increase to any great extent. I wanted to find out how the movement upwards was going in the pre-war years.
In 1939 the increase in valuation represented a 2.3 advance on the previous year. The increase in 1948 over 1947 showed a 2.2 advance. The advance in 1949 over 1948 was represented by 3.8, and that of 1950 over 1949 was 3.7. Although there is the difference between, say, an average of 3.7 and an average of 2.3 it is not so very big and in that connection one must remember that there has been  great activity in the way of building in the past couple of years so that the valuation of properties all over the country would necessarily go up whether there was a drive towards revaluations or not. On those figures there certainly does not appear to be anything much of a great movement. I think the trouble that has been caused is that which has often been brought to my notice, namely, that the whole thing seems to be so haphazard that there is no principle about it. A rate collector looks at one building and sends it forward for revaluation. Once there is a revaluation asked for it is almost inevitable that the valuation will be upwards. A property immediately beside it and built at the same time, and maybe in the same state of repair, has not caught the rate collector's eye, continues to be rated at the old valuation, whereas the one sent forward by the rate collector for revision may have a very heavy increase in its valuation. I think it is the inequality that is occurring here and there that is the trouble. The individual citizens who have been hit cannot be numerous. Anyhow, the matter is under review. I was made acquainted with this matter, which is getting a special bit of attention at the moment, because of this occurrence in the area of Clontarf.
The suggestion made to me may, possibly, be the best one—it would be a sort of interim measure—and that is that a revaluation should be permitted only where there is some addition, improvement or extension of a building, and a new valuation should have regard only to the improvement, the extension, or whatever it may be. That would tend to stabilise conditions for the time being; it would be a sort of interim measure. The suggestion seems to be a good one.
Senator Miss Butler mentioned schools, as well as other things with which I shall deal later. On the question of schools, I would not approve of the idea of having the State take over the complete maintenance of schools, or of having the State take a more prominent part in the matter of building grants or maintenance. It is essential to have the local manager and the people in the locality, through the local  manager, kept with a live interest in the school property and those who go there. If the State were to take on the complete maintenance of the school, the bill would grow heavy. It is not a bad thing to have a local manager who would be open to local pressure. Where a school gets into a bad state, where there are unhealthy conditions, where the lavatory accommodation is bad or unhygienic, the manager is under pressure there and it is not a bad thing to give him some help so as to be able to withstand too much pressure; it is not a bad thing to have him feel that he can get some part of the charges. They may not be very heavy in that way. The ordinary system is two-thirds by the State and one-third by the locality. When it comes to new housing areas or slum clearance areas, the State takes the whole charge—I am speaking now of building grants. As to what Senator Miss Butler says, it is not my particular concern, but I can direct the attention of the Minister for Education to it and we will see what he says about that matter.
Senator Summerfield, unfortunately, notwithstanding his experience of five or six years as a Senator, has not, apparently, got to know the difference between a Finance Bill and an Appropriation Bill. I expect he will know from this onwards. I am sorry I cannot deal with his point about obsolescent machinery, as it is out of order, but I would like to have heard his answer to what I said on the Finance Bill in regard to that matter. I do not think there is any case made by the industrialists that they should get a preferential position in regard to the machinery, plant and buildings out of which they make a profit. I want to say, in passing, that the last memorandum I saw from these people, if accepted, would have involved an extra £800,000 per annum as a gift to industrialists, and I do not think they are entitled to that in present circumstances.
It was in that connection I introduced the phrase which seems to have annoyed Senator Summerfield with regard to industry being in a rather feather-bedded condition in this country at the moment. I introduced  that in the context in which a demand was made to me. The suggestion was that, if a comparison were made between our industrialists and English industrialists, our industrialists should be proportionately as well treated. In so far as what industrialists on the other side have got is concerned, that is always exaggerated. I want a realistic approach to this matter. I would like to have a comparison made with respect to what has been given to industrialists here, and other things must be weighed in the balance at the same time. For instance, the lessened taxation, the smaller taxation on corporation profits, the reduced personal tax and the way in which industries were so very handsomely treated here in the war period as compared with how they fared in England. In the claim that was made to me, it was mentioned that Irish industrialists were suffering very badly in comparison with English industrialists. I do not believe they are, everything being taken into account.
Senator O'Brien returned to his point with regard to current savings and the necessity for increasing these by every means in our power. On what he said by way of principle, I am thoroughly in agreement. He then made the suggestion that there should be certain short-dated securities and short-term borrowings. He gave three examples which he suggested would be useful in present circumstances. I am having his suggestions examined. I want to say that the State has already borrowed on a very large scale on short term. The liabilities at the moment in respect of savings certificates total £17.7 million; the liabilities in respect of the Post Office Savings Bank and the Trustee Savings Bank total £52,000,000 and ways and means advances are £18,000,000. There is £87.7 million between these three sources which are all short-term borrowings.
There were two loans floated earlier, the 3¾ Financial Agreement Loan, 1953-58, where our liability is £9,000,000 odd, and the 3¼ National Security Loan, 1956-61, where the liability would be £7.3 million at the moment. These are short-dated and can be regarded  in the category of the loans the Senator spoke of. I am informed that it was not observed that these loans were any more popular than the loans issued at a longer date. Senator O'Brien would be aware, but I make the point to be kept in mind when reading what Senator O'Brien said, that we lend on an average on a 50-year basis. Housing is on a 50-year basis and the loans for electricity development are on a very long term. It is necessary in these circumstances to maintain that some proportion of the borrowings will be sufficiently long term to enable us to lend with an appreciation of proper finance.
Senator Hawkins referred to Galway Harbour. I do not know exactly what the position is with regard to Galway Harbour. I know there was a big scheme promulgated some years ago to which a Galway local authority and local authorities in Mayo and Roscommon gave certain aid. Where there is a local enterprise, one likes to help. I know, however, that the help given from the outside counties was not very popular, and I know one, if not two Deputies who lost seats in the election because they supported the idea that these outside local authorities would help Galway in bearing the loan charges of the first development.
A second project came along which was supposed to be an advance on the first, but it was a terribly expensive one, and seemed to us to go too far. It aimed at extending the whole of the inner dock so as to enable boats of a particular draught—far too big a draught—to get in on all tides. That was sent back for further consideration, and I think the last decision taken by my colleagues was that we would get into negotiation with the harbour authorities and their engineers and consultants to see if a less costly, but at the same time a valuable, scheme could be produced. This matter is under consideration at the moment. In any event, no one can say that Galway has been forgotten. I think the amount of money spent on Galway, between hospitals and sanatoria and now harbour development,  ought to make it, from the point of view of expenditure of money, one of the liveliest places in the whole of Ireland—if there is not some settled mood of depression on the whole area.
I think those are all the smaller points dealt with in the debate, but there are two or three big ones. One of them is emigration. It has been said to me that, in all this appropriation of mine of vast millions, there is nothing in the Appropriation Bill or the Finance Bill about emigration. I think the same thing could be said of 15 or 16 Finance Bills introduced by Fianna Fáil. I want again to bring people back to what the last Taoiseach said with regard to emigration. It was given in a recent debate in Dáil Eireann and Deputy de Valera said I was taking one phrase out of its context. I invite people to read the whole context of the debate and I simply take what was put there as the headline. I am not putting this in the way of saying to an individual that he failed, but I say that, in the course of 15 years, Deputy de Valera has got a more realistic attitude towards emigration. In 1932, it was one of the things—as I put in, in an interjection—one of “the permitted crimes against the country, a thing that should not be allowed to go on”. Unemployment and emigration were two things that he himself and Deputy Lemass, his great lieutenant, were most insistent about. Speaking in 1930, Deputy Lemass said:—
“The outstanding fact in regard to unemployment—the two things run together—is that it need not exist at all.”
Later in the course of that debate I interrupted at a certain point and I said I was not sure that he was not standing for a sort of selective approach to this whole problem of unemployment and gradualness in getting rid of it. He interrupted me to say that a permanent solution to the problem could be got. One of my colleagues spoke of the 80,000 and gradualness and selectivity, and drew the immediate reply from Deputy Lemass:—
“You could find the solution to unemployment to-morrow.”
 He, himself, and Deputy de Valera believed that in those days, but 15 years later they had gone through the experience of seeing fifteen years with unemployment running at the figure they derided when I was previously in Government. It was running at that figure at the time when emigration, as the last census report shows, in the decade 1936 to 1946, was at the rate of 2,000 more than in the decade 1926 to 1936. In part of that period in which Deputy de Valera was Taoiseach he had an enormous number of people drafted into Army work and, therefore, not as much open to unemployment conditions or to the need for emigration as in other periods.
At the Ard-Fheis of Fianna Fáil in 1929 the phrase which Deputy de Valera used about unemployment was:—
“The more certain I feel that it is a crime against the unemployed and against the nation to leave it unsolved...”
When he was challenged about it— Deputies will remember the great advertisement of the 1931 election—he said:—
“If other nations had the remedy against unemployment that was staring us in the face, they would avail themselves of that remedy.”
After 15 years, brought up against the fact of emigration still running very high, he said—I am quoting from a newspaper cutting of the 3rd July, 1947, referring to the debate on the Estimate for the Department of the Taoiseach for the day before, to be found in the Official Reports for the 2nd July, 1947:—
“The most important question is that of emigration, but when they had done the best they could, the drift from the land to the towns or abroad would continue. There was no other way for it. There had been that steady trend since the famine and perhaps it was a tendency that could not be stopped.”
I do not know why Senators of the Fianna Fáil persuasion should think that emigration is a bull point to make against the present Government. After  15 years, the man who said that unemployment and emigration were two things which could be stopped overnight, and who had 15 years to try his best effort—and, no doubt, he put his best effort into the endeavour to stop emigration and solve unemployment—comes to the point where he says that “there has been a steady trend since the famine and perhaps that tendency could not be stopped.”
I thought then that if that was not the end of a chapter it certainly was the end of an argument and a policy that had been based upon the proposal that emigration was something in which all that was needed was goodwill and the remedy was more or less in the people's hands. It is not so. That is the position with regard to emigration. It is going on, and has been going on. I might make this point. The drift away from the land is put by Deputy de Valera under two heads: it is the drift from the land to the towns and then the drift abroad. As far as there is a movement away from rural areas to the cities, that is not confined to this country. It is world wide. People apparently are awakening all over the world to the idea that life in rural areas does not offer the same opportunities, has not the same incentives or the same delights as appear to be around life in the cities and towns. The drift away from the land or away from the rural areas to the towns is proceeding everywhere. Where we are unfortunate is that people do not stop in coming from the country to our cities and towns, but go abroad to towns and cities in other countries.
I want to know if anyone has a solution for emigration. A solution that I thought there might be, from one angle, was if you gave better opportunities for work. If you provided better opportunities for employment at higher wages than people were getting, that might be an answer. You could make life in the countryside more comfortable, by making better provision with regard to wages. If you also gave certain of the city amenities, by the provision of electricity for light around the home and whatever use could be made of power around the farm, so as  to ease certain heavy labour on the farm, that would be another thing. Also, you could try to provide that there would be amusement in the rural areas and that it would be as cheap as the country could permit. In all these lines we have tried to make an advance, as against this drift from the country, and we have not stopped it. Can anyone, tell me what has been left undone, that could be thought of? Certainly, it is not a question of money— I can speak as Minister for Finance on that and say it is not a question of money.
Senator Tunney tackled me to-night over Connacht, which he represents, and said that Connacht was being left without any man-power at all. That is the difficulty. Most people reading newspapers and engaging in debates have got used to the talk about “balance of payments” as between countries and know that, if a country cannot, by its exports or whatever it is earning, buy its imports, then it must produce more and export more and must reduce its spending by refraining from certain imports. So also the same thing may happen as between areas. If you have an area that is impoverished, the same thing will happen there as would happen between an impoverished island and a wealthy continent.
If an area is not able to produce the quantity or the quality in the way of earnings that can be got elsewhere, the people in that area must submit themselves to live on a lower standard, or else leave that part of the country and go elsewhere, where they can make more and enjoy a higher standard. The only other thing that can be done is to send certain moneys back to that impoverished area by certain Grants-in-Aid or special expenditure. We have done that, as far as we can. If we have not met with success, we have not been ill-disposed. We have been following any sane suggestion made to us with regard to helping those worse off areas.
Store Street has been brought into this debate. Really, I wonder if it is worth while paying much attention to it, as certain phrases were used. I look  on Store Street in the context of the problem of housing the public servants of this State. I was also brought hard up against the Store Street matter by the fact that there was this enormous building, not completed, not paid for even so far as it had been completed, and a company in the background that had not 1/- to pay for it. At the time at which this bus station was being built the company that had authorised its erection had not even enough money to pay its rates on its other premises and, while they were drawing cheques every day, they were hiding them in the safe and hoping the safes would not have to be opened to let any of these cheques out, because the draught would be very severe.
It so happened that there seemed to me to be a good solution for both these problems. Córas Iompair Éireann could not complete Store Street. They could not pay for it, in so far as it was there uncompleted, and they asked to be relieved of it. Now it has been taken up by quite a lot of people. All the so-called æsthetes, the artists, the playwrights, and even some of the writers of books, are all outraged at the idea of this building being diverted from its proper purpose. To that particular section of our community there is added the Fianna Fáil Party, who have decided that wheat and Store Street are now the two main slogans of that Party. Why they should add Store Street to wheat I do not know. One can argue about wheat, but I cannot, for the life of me, understand why Store Street should be made almost an article of faith for that Party at the moment. It apparently has become so.
If the building cannot be completed by Córas Iompair Éireann, then it will lie there and it will deteriorate. Some use must be made of it. It can house civil servants very easily. It can provide good housing for a very big number of civil servants. If it is not utilised to house a particular lot of civil servants, then some other housing accommodation must be provided for them. The last Government had two enormous schemes; one was the £11,500,000 scheme for a new Parliament buildings and a palatial residence  for civil servants entailing the acquisition of 70 acres in the Merrion Square direction; the other was the £2,000,000 scheme in Dublin Castle.
Let us leave the £11,500,000 scheme out of it. It is just what Stephen Leacock would have called “One of the moonbeams from the larger lunacy”. The £2,000,000 reconstruction of the castle was a very costly scheme and I could never understand why one group of people were determined to block the city traffic by erecting a bus station in Store Street and another group were determined to make as much confusion as they could by building up the castle and letting loose a whole swarm of civil servants there, at whatever hour civil servants are let loose, on the ordinary people. £2,000,000 was a hefty sum of money to pay for that purpose.
There is the fact, too, that a number of premises are at present leased by the Government. My figures are approximate, since I have not been able to check them, but there are certainly not less than 27 buildings in which we house about 950 civil servants. The rentals we pay amount to something in the region of £18,000 per annum; again, that figure is a rough approximation. If I talk of all Government premises—not merely those that are leased, but also those that are rented we have about 90 premises in the City of Dublin in which are housed 9,500 civil servants.
In those circumstances, this big building comes upon the market. Córas Iompair Éireann want to sell it. At that point the Minister for Social Welfare informs me that he is inclined to invest the funds of the National Health Insurance Society in the building and he thinks it is as good an investment as investing them in English securities; he can get a return by way of rent which is equal to the return he is getting from the English security. That seemed to me to be a reasonable project. He will buy the building, and when he pays for it he will probably throw into the bargain Árus Brugha, which he will not afterwards need and into which I can transfer certain civil servants and take them away out of  the scattered 27 premises all over the city. The Minister for Social Welfare, still keeping his funds intact and getting a proper return on his money, can buy a building and can give me a certain amount of money, part of which I will seize hold of to repay me for the debt incurred in 1949 in respect of Córas Iompair Éireann. I think the plans made met the situation in a most desirable way. The only objection was that this building had, so to speak, a soul of its own; it was to be in some way or another, as I always thought, the outward reflection of a bus station. But to my amazement I found it was nothing like that at all. It was an insane, mongrel building, with a cinema, a hairdressing saloon, a restaurant and a variety of other things beside a bus station.
Of course, it had four or five storeys on top to house all the clerks in the railway world. I was asking for some comments upon this matter the other day knowing that the matter would probably arise. It happened to be the 13th July and it so happened that the 13th July is the feast of St. Anacletus and the person who was offering me some comments told me that the Gospel of the day contained the most appropriate comment that could be made upon Store Street:—
“For which of you having a mind to build a tower doth not first sit down and reckon the charges that are necessary; whether he have the wherewithal to finish it; lest after he hath laid the foundation and is not able to finish it all that see him begin to mock him saying: This man began to build and was not able to finish.”
I think that is the most appropriate comment on the whole of the Store Street business. I have got a building that will house civil servants. The change over from industrial security to investment in rent will leave the funds of the society in as good a position as they were before; Córas Iompair Eireann is relieved of a building which had become an incubus and, having sold it, they will have some money with which they can build a suitable bus station.
Mr. Hawkins Mr. Hawkins
Mr. Hawkins: I wonder would the  Minister be kind enough to tell us what the travelling public will get?
Mr. McGilligan Mr. McGilligan
Mr. McGilligan: I will tell the Senator. What is the purpose of a bus station anywhere? It is to provide a place where people can assemble while they are waiting for their conveyance and where they can have reasonable comfort while waiting. The Senator will recollect the accommodation that is provided in our modern airports. There is a large room with seating accommodation, a wash-up and lavatory accommodation. Here and there you will find a bookstall or a shop. But nobody looks for hairdressing saloons and cinemas. I do not believe that the bus service will ever become so bad that the people waiting for buses will need a picture house into which they can dash until the bus comes along. I think the important point in this connection is that the bus station should be so sited that the buses are not compelled to use the main arteries of the city's traffic.
Since all the agitation on this matter I have discovered that there was a plan or a suggestion to send the buses from the South and West around the North side of the city in order to keep them off the quays. Under that arrangement, the people coming from the West would come within sight of Dublin and see the lights of the city and then start: “Here we go round the Mulberry bush”, around the North side of the city and in at the back of Store Street in order to avoid impacting upon O'Connell Street or Capel Street, where the traffic might be very dense. This station was never properly sited in Store Street, and all who considered the matter—the town planners, the police authorities and the corporation—were dead against it. Senator Miss Butler has given us her experience of what happened when an effort was made to get the whole thing set up on some sort of pedestal and when the adviser on town planning was brought over here; and, only under repeated cross-examination, could he be brought to say in the end: “Well, you have destroyed my whole town plan. You may as well have your bus station now”.
 Those are the circumstances in which that type of unwilling assent was got. A good many of the people concerned in town planning were dead against placing it where it is. Anyone who looks at the place knows well that the station was never properly placed there. When I think of a cinema being there, will anyone just imagine what the situation would be if you had say a bus station placed below the Savoy Cinema with bus passengers queueing up and people swarming out of the cinema. You would have a situation of indescribable chaos if such a thing were to happen. Just think of passengers on western and northern buses being taken around the city to Store Street, and of people being landed there with hand luggage. If they had luggage of a heavier type it would have to be taken on some sort of conveyance. What would happen to people with hand luggage when they got to Store Street? They are so near O'Connell Street that nobody would think of any bus service connecting up between the two. Is there anyone with any experience of West-land Row station when a boat train arrives there in the morning? You have a swarm of mendicant youngsters who greet you with: “Carry your bag, sir.” Extend that to Store Street in the case of people who get off buses there and who have to travel either to the O'Connell Monument or to Nelson Pillar to get a bus to take them to some part of the city. Again in that situation would there not be complete chaos? The Smithfield area is sufficiently far away to necessitate a bus service which I understand the transport authorities have advised they can give. If people arrive there, and have to be transported with hand luggage, it will be part of the plan to shuttle the service to the proper side of O'Connell Street. It will not cross the traffic or add to the confusion.
What happened was that the company chose the wrong site. It involved them in an expenditure which at the start, was estimated to be in or about £320,000. They then decided to add all these unnecessary services—a cinema and a hairdresser's shop. Later they decided to add four or five extra  storeys to house the servants of the company, so that at the end this project was going to cost about £750,000. These offices for the housing of the staff are not necessary for the business of Córas Iompair Éireann. The offices they have at the moment are quite good offices. Such offices as they have are situated at the company's terminals where they are required. To take them away from there would mean unnecessary cost. Certainly, it is not going to add in any way to the efficiency of their service in connection with their work. In addition, the offices which these people have at the moment, if abandoned, would become derelict. No business firm was going to move to a site at the Kingsbridge to take up the offices which Córas Iompair Eireann were going to vacate. The result would be to take people away from where they should be doing their work and to bring them to this badly sited bus station. Their present offices would, as I say, be left to go derelict.
I am sorry Senator Stanford is not here because he made play with some notion about making £10,000 on the cinema and the restaurant. I had intended to ask him where he got the figure. I think it is just a figure which somebody thought of. Córas Iompair Éireann never thought of it, and it was never part of their programme. If they did make that money, I would ask Senators to remember that the rates on the building alone would be a few thousand pounds more than the £10,000 which Senator Stanford spoke of. Taking what we think would be the price to Córas Iompair Éireann in the way of building costs, and allowing 1 per cent. of that for valuation purposes, the rates on the building would be what I have said. Senator Stanford said they could get £10,000 from the picture house and from the restaurant, but on the best estimate we could get the rates would be somewhere in the region of £12,500 on that building alone.
I think it was a lucky situation that, at the same moment the building happened to be there, it was found possible, through the use of the funds of the National Health Insurance Society and at no loss to them, that  this building could be put to a useful purpose, instead of letting it go for a purpose for which it was never intended to serve and should never have been built.
That leads me, finally, to the question which has been agitating some people with regard to the emergency situation which is said to be pending and defence. The first thing I want to say is that defence can be considered from two angles, one the angle of the number of men who are attached to the forces, and the other the defensive preparations of warlike kind in the way of men in the forces, men in the First Line Reserve, men in the Second Line Reserve, warlike equipment and everything else. In the year 1939, there were 7,262 men in the Defence Forces. There are about 1,000 more than that now. I am taking the early part of 1939. I think everybody realises that war was more imminent then than anyone can say it is now. The best that could be done in those days was to gather in 7,262 people to the Curragh in officers and men. As I have said, there is about 1,000 more than that number now. In the debate in Dáil Éireann, when under pressure, Deputies got up to say that, if the average increase was another 1,000 men, they would be quite satisfied. That is the small point on which our fortunes depend. At 8,000 the country is undefended and at 9,000 the country would be properly prepared. That, of course, is only playing politics with a serious matter, but that is the way it was presented to Dáil Éireann.
The Minister for Defence (Dr. O'Higgins), in the debate in Dáil Éireann, said that surely one must take the surrounding circumstances into account. To everyone's knowledge, there is a far bigger potential of Army personnel now than there ever was before. There are men who served the Army, in different parts of the service, from 1939 to 1945. There are men who deserted from our Army in order to go into real war. A good many of these were helped to come back by the fact that we relaxed the forfeiture that was put upon them. There are men who had not been in our Army at all, but who did fight in  some armies during the 1939 war. They are here. There are veterans from our own Army and from other armies, and people who got whatever training was to be got in the reserves in those days and in the various auxiliary services.
There is an amazing potential here in comparison with what there was in 1938 and 1939. The Minister for Defence said, with regard to warlike stores, that there had been money devoted to the purchase of warlike stores ever since the State was founded. That went on from 1924. Increased sums were provided from about 1935 onwards, and still bigger increases were voted when the war came. A lot of money was expanded on stores, and stores, of course, deteriorated. The Minister for Defence said that from 1926 there has not been a shot fired in anger by the military forces in this country, and that whatever was got has not been expended in shooting other people. There must be a considerable residue of equipment, and it has been added to since 1948. I should like to repeat what I said before, that if it has not been added to to the volume one would like, that was not because money was not provided. There is certainly both on the individual and on the material side a better state of preparedness than there was in 1939.
There is one side that can be said not to have been too well provided for and that was the question of our equipment at sea. But then that appears to be a matter upon which the members of the Government lost their heads entirely. The Minister for Defence, in 1947, announcing the national policy of this country, said:—
“I believe it would be essential from the point of view of the maintenance of our neutrality that we should be able to prevent our territorial waters from being used as operational areas by belligerent forces.”
That was the greatest bit of nonsense that any reputedly sane man ever uttered—that this country was going to see that its territorial waters would not be used as operational areas by  belligerent forces and that we were going to fight whatever navy came against us. What we had in the way of naval forces in that year was six motor torpedo boats and, for a Government that had a record for extraordinary purchasing, they must certainly have been the champion instance of bad purchasing. They were bought for about £30,000 and they were sold a couple of years ago for £250 each—and that was not an underestimate of their value. They were replaced by three corvettes, three corvettes chosen in such a way that outside Dublin I think there is only Killary Bay and some other enormous bay in the West which can hold these vessels. They cannot go into Cork; they cannot enter Sligo Bay or any of the smaller ports around the coast. When they put out from Dublin they must have enough fuel to carry them back again into Dublin. If not, they are going to remain at sea at the mercy of the waves. These are the type of vessels by which we were going to prevent the territorial waters of this country from being used as operational areas by belligerent forces. Of course, the thing was utter nonsense.
I gather that one of the objections which Fianna Fáil have to the present Government is that they do not trust the present Minister for Defence. I think that is what the statement of Senator Hawkins amounted to. He gave a quotation from a speech by Deputy Dr. O'Higgins prior to the last war in which he said that he did not think our neutrality could be preserved. I think I am quoting Senator Hawkins correctly.
Mr. Hawkins Mr. Hawkins
Mr. Hawkins: Fair enough.
Mr. McGilligan Mr. McGilligan
Mr. McGilligan: But the Senator forgets that Deputy Dr. O'Higgins was only himself quoting the words of Deputy de Valera, the then Taoiseach. The statement was made on the 29th April, 1938, and it is to be found at column 428, Volume 71, of the Official Debates:—
“In modern war, there is not any neutrality.”
He made that statement in answer to  a question put to him by Deputy Dillon, which is to be found in the same column. Deputy Dillon asked:—
“Did I understand the Prime Minister correctly, when I believed him to have said that if we continued to send foodstuffs to Great Britain in time of war it would be folly to pretend that we could maintain our neutrality?”
Deputy de Valera's answer was what I have already quoted. He said:—
“I fear it would be so, in fact. The truth is, of course, that in modern war there is not any neutrality. During the war trade from one neutral country to another was stopped or interfered with by the belligerents on both sides. Food is, I think, conditional contraband, according to the conventions. But, again, these conventions are not worth a scrap of paper once war appears. Obviously to get down to bed-rock, we had to clear the decks and see what we were about. We had to see what were going to be the relations between the two countries in the event of a major European outbreak.”
He then went on to deal with the relations between ourselves and Great Britain.
In an earlier column, column 422, Deputy de Valera, the then Taoiseach said, speaking of the measures to be taken in case of a major conflict:—
“Is it likely that we could escape if there was a major European conflict at the present time? If there is such a condition, will we continue to export cattle and food to Great Britain? Will the export of food be regarded as contraband of war or will it not? If we are going to send food from our ports to Britain, when Britain's enemies, let us say, will be trying to starve her, will our position be respected by other people? Will our ports be free? Will we be immune from attack?”
I could give other quotations from that debate to show that the then Taoiseach very distinctly said he did not believe that in modern war there was going to be any such thing as neutrality.  Deputy Dr. O'Higgins was criticised in Dáil Eireann because he made a similar statement, but the people who referred to that did not say that he was merely agreeing with the statement of the Taoiseach of that time. Senators will find from the report of the Dáil of last week that Major de Valera decided to criticise the Minister, and he said that the Minister did not believe in a policy of neutrality. The Deputy said:—
“We cannot but reckon with the fact that here we have a Minister who said before the last war in March, 1939——”
He then quoted a statement made by Deputy Dr. O'Higgins at that time as follows:—
“As I said, I subscribe to the view that neutrality, no matter how desirable, is not to be expected in the next world war except on the basis of our giving up selling a pig or a sheep or a bullock or an egg to any outside country. We cannot afford to do that. We have got to face up to the fact that we are going to sell more of our agricultural produce during a war than ever we would sell during peace time; that we are going to get bigger prices and sell more.”
Deputy Dr. O'Higgins added to that statement in March, 1939:—
“I agree with the Taoiseach that that—even if there was no other reason—is going to involve us in the war.”
And the Minister for Defence is attacked because he quotes Deputy de Valera, when Deputy de Valera was Taoiseach and when Deputy de Valera said he did not believe that this country could remain neutral because food was going to be contraband and that if we attempted to send food to England we were not going to be regarded as neutral. Deputy Dr. O'Higgins agreed with Deputy de Valera, and Senator Hawkins thinks, because of that, that he is not a fit man to have charge of the Ministry of Defence and that everybody would be happy if Deputy de Valera could again take over control of the Defence  Forces of the country. I feel that it is sheer dishonesty that prompts this attack on the Minister for Defence. I do not believe that the people who are such hero-worshippers of the ex-Taoiseach, Deputy de Valera, could have forgotten that he said that.
There are other things about which I should like to remind Senators also but before we come to them I should like to say that the defence of this country can be considered from the point of view of preparation with regard to things other than the provision of warlike stores—preparation by way of getting in stores and the materials we require. I have been looking through the files in regard to that matter and I want to add this little bit of history. I am sure Senators will remember that it was in the autumn of 1938 that the world was shocked to hear that the then Prime Minister of England, Mr. Neville Chamberlain, was flying across to Berchtesgaden to meet Hitler. That was the time when it was clear that war was imminent, that war was definitely on. It was only about that time that the last Government had begun to think about war, although they had very many warnings from the time of the Czechoslovakian crisis in April, 1938. In 1938 they began to busy themselves but things drifted on until 1939. Round about June, 1939, the Fianna Fáil Government decided on the lines Senator Fitzsimons spoke about—that the traders should be encouraged to get in supplies of goods. There is a very definite statement which I think was sent to the banks, that the Government could not see its way to buy in stores themselves but they did appeal to traders to bring in certain stores. It was suggested that perhaps these traders would not have quite enough finances of their own and about the middle of June, 1939, the Government made an appeal to the banks to extend credit in a more liberal way to traders who desired to bring in certain commodities and gave a list of the particular goods and commodities which traders might bring in. Matters again rolled for a little bit and it was certainly about early or  mid-August when the traders were told that the banks had agreed to liberalise their attitude. Incidentally what the banks had agreed to do was if they got credit-worthy applicants—a good way of getting away from it if they did not want to do anything—they would extend credit, not in the rigid way that they had done up to that.
I was associated with two groups of traders, with one professionally and with the other in a more intimate way, and both of them told me that they had got letters from the Government announcing the banks' attitude to enlarge credit three or four days after the war broke out. I tried to find out if there were any results of these efforts with regard to traders who were trying to get commodities, but I had not been able to get in time where the then Minister for Supplies, Deputy Lemass, said that if we took half a dozen of the more important commodities he would stake his reputation on what had been done.
I find that with regard to the half-dozen more important commodities we had got on an average five weeks' supplies. That was the whole extent of the increase in importation. I have a rough-and-ready calculation made here earlier to-day. As far as maize was concerned, there seems to have been a good improvement. Take 1937 as a typical year. In that year 6,000,000 cwt. of maize came into the country; in 1938 7,000,000 cwt. came in, and in 1939 8,000,000 cwt. As far as wheat was concerned, we had what amounts to a month and a half or two months' supply. As far as tea was concerned, there was a serious drop; in 1937, 25,000,000 lbs. of tea were brought into the country; in 1938, 22,000,000 lbs., and in 1939, 21,000,000 lbs. Cocoa was great. Deputy Lemass always used to boast about cocoa. 27,000 cwts. of cocoa were brought into the country in 1937; 39,000 cwts. in 1938, and 61,000 cwts. in 1939. If we could have lived on cocoa we would have been well served, but if the community had turned to cocoa and away from tea the 27,000 cwts. would not have been much good. Tobacco had a peculiar course. In 1937, 9,000,000 lbs. were brought into the country; in 1938, 13.6  million lb., and it sank to 6,000,000 lb. in 1939. Coal did not show much change. 2,500,000 tons were imported in 1937; a little less in 1938, and about 2,750,000 tons in 1939. There were a whole lot of other matters, but, in fact, there is no evidence there of any great stocking up being done—no evidence at all. Certainly anything I have been able to discover on the files shows that the last Government started when everybody thought the war was on at the time of Berchtesgaden in 1938 and after that they relaxed their efforts and nothing was done in the later part of 1938 or in the early part of 1939.
I want to come back finally to another point about defence and here I am attaching myself to the very amazing speech we listened to to-day from Senator Miss Butler, a speech which I hope will be read and pondered over by the people outside and will get the attention I think it deserves. Senator Miss Butler spoke of the Council of Europe and has made a plea for a good scheme she has but—I say it with respect— there are some objections to it. She asks us to get the objectionable clause removed from the Atlantic Treaty and say that if our principles were preserved we would join them, but she used a phrase:—
“If the people of the world could only be made to appreciate that there was power in Europe for a new force in life particularly if Europe is facing a Communist war...”
I have a feeling that Senator Miss Butler's speech may have brought a new force into the life of this country with regard to our attitude towards a war and to the other problems that beset us when we begin to think about war and our approach to it.
In the debate to which I referred on 29th April, 1938—and that was after the Anglo-Eire Treaty had been signed and explained by the then Taoiseach to the Dáil—in the course of that speech he complained that there was one blot on our association with England—Partition. With Partition being stressed, the Taoiseach went on in column 427 of Volume 71 to speak of  attacks and where attacks might come from. He said:—
“Any attack on us by a foreign power could not be ignored by Britain, because if this country was taken by a European power—if possession of our harbours and territory was taken—then Britain would be in a very parlous condition indeed. Britain, therefore, could not ignore that, and in her own interests, and not for love of us, any more than anything that we would do would not be for love of Britain but for ourselves—under these conditions Britain would have to do her utmost to prevent such an attack, so that whether she willed it or not, the force of circumstances would make her an ally of ours in our defence.
Therefore, in planning our defences to meet such an occasion, and in order that, in such a situation, the greatest possible strength should be behind this nation to defend its rights, the planning should take place on the basis that we wanted to have the combined forces as effective as possible. That is how I face it.”
In 1938, coming fresh from England with an arrangement which still included Partition, the Leader of this country announced that his policy was so to arrange things that the plan would be joint for the joint defence of the two islands. We still have, as Senator Miss Butler pointed out, the objection. It is better known, probably, nowadays than it was, but there is still the same objection to our entering into the question of Western European defence or Atlantic defence or anything of that sort, because of the fact that Partition is there. Senator Miss Butler suggested: Let us stand by our principles and see that the objectionable clause is removed from the treaty and then, as I understand her, we could arrange matters.
I would like that policy argued in the country to see if Senators could get adherence to it. It is at least a working policy, but I wonder how many would join. People might say that if  the technical objection there is in the treaty were removed we would leave the fact of Partition and get our defences together and get what Deputy de Valera, the then Taoiseach, called our “combined forces”. It is good to have it ventilated and the Senator is to be congratulated on her courage in bringing it forward.
Deputy de Valera, during the time he was Taoiseach, acting in a war, said that the matter of defence was one for combined forces operating on a basis of combined defences. Senators have had experience, just as I have had, of talking to people who were in the military forces during the period from 1939 to 1945. Military exercises were carried out under the control of our people, and all were concerned with delaying action for a period of 24 hours or 48 hours or something like that—certainly not a very big period— and many of the young people who were serving in our forces asked what was this fastening on delaying tactics for two or three days. They were told by their operational commanders that by that time the relieving army would have arrived. Where was the relieving force to come from except the partitioned area of this country? That was the realism behind our defences during the period from 1939 to 1945, although it was the period that we said Britain had invaded the country. We used the phrase against the Americans that they had invaded the country, and it is my experience during the last two and a half years that it has been much more difficult to get that phrase out of the minds of the Americans than to get the fact of our neutrality out of their minds. But we could, at one and the same time, say: “You people are invading” and then tell our Army people to operate on the basis that what we called the invading force would come to our rescue, if we could hold out for 24 or 48 hours. Can we do the same thing this time, because there is no doubt that, if we are going to delay plans to make the combined forces as effective as possible until the day when the Kremlin has swept across to Calais, it may be too late.
 I want to commend to Senators the one phrase that stands out from Senator Miss Butler's speech, that the weapon of the Kremlin is disunity, and can anybody deny the truth of what she said? We do not allege a Communist conspiracy in this country with regard to the disunion that prevails here, but, if there were Communist agents about, could they have done a better job than what we have here at the moment in preventing the two parts of this country making even the combined forces of the island as effective as possible? That argument should be used, and, I hope, will be used, on the British and on the Americans, because, if they believe that this country is in the line of defence for Western Europe or Atlantic defence, and if they think there is a gap here, a gap which is a very serious weakness in the defence line, it certainly is their duty, as the superior Powers, to remove whatever is the cause which leads to that gap being in the defence fortifications. I think the speech we have listened to from Senator Miss Butler will put a new force and probably cause a new line of attack in this whole problem and I commend the Senator for what she has said.
The Senator referred also to the Council of Europe and said that, in her opinion, we should get an opportunity of discussing international affairs. I wish we could, both in Dáil Eireann and here, and not on a mere Estimate for a Department. In the Council of Europe at the moment is probably the biggest movement we have ever seen. It is only one of a group of movements. There is Marshall Aid, on the economic side, and, on the other side, there was the Brussels Pact, to start off, and then the Atlantic Pact and we now get to the Council of Europe. Added on to these, you have the Schumann Plan which is an attempt to provide on a concrete basis a system of either federalism or some association of that type. So far as one can see through the Council of Europe, there is being made a serious effort to restore the old-time unity that existed in pre-Reformation days, the unity of Christendom which was broken at the time of the Reformation. There  apparently, is a serious effort being made to get that old-time unity restored.
Senator Miss Butler points out that we are at the Council of Europe. I wonder how far have we really accepted all the background of the Council of Europe, because, if it is going to be a success and if there is anything in the nature of European federation or world federation stemming from Europe, on the one hand, and via the Commonwealth and the United States of America on the other, there has to be some diminution of the sovereign rights of the individual state, big or small. Are we ready to yield any part of our sovereign rights? We are very nearly in the position of all these arrogant sovereign states which emerged in the European state system after the Reformation broke up Christendom—so proud of their newfound sovereignty that they certainly were not going to yield on the religious side to the Papacy any longer and, on the lay side, were not going to yield to the old-time emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. I sometimes feel that we have more arrogance in our attitude as a sovereign State than ever inspired the sovereign states that came about after the Reformation broke up all the old system of Europe.
If we are going in for the Council of Europe seriously, sooner or later, we will come to the point where some significant subtraction from sovereign rights will be demanded. I wonder who is going to be the brave politician who will take his courage in his hands and come home to recommend that plan and to say: “Instead of having a sovereign assembly of the people controlling the country, we are going to hand it over to some group outside where possibly we will be numerically in a very weak position, but, as we agree that they are inspired by very good motives, we will take whatever they give us.” It may lead many places. It may lead to a regional arrangement—I do not know whether Senator Miss Butler has views on this, but I should like to hear her on it— which would be of no great effect, but  which might, on the other hand, be merely the preliminary to a wider arrangement of the world system, joining in both the United States and old-time British Commonwealth, as well as the states of Western Europe.
I would opt wholeheartedly for the Council of Europe even in the preliminary stages, for it is setting itself out to build up a bigger system and the only thing I would object to is if the council seemed to be so narrowing its outlook that it was not going to let the wider union spring where it might be. One of these days, possibly when our delegates come back from the council— it is a matter of great regret that Senator Miss Butler is not on that delegation after what she said to-day— we may get an opportunity of reviewing what they have done. We will see what the agenda was and what the programme held, but it is certainly essential, I think, that, with these big movements stirring outside, the two Houses of the Oireachtas should not be left to read in the daily newspapers what has happened. They should be informed by a debate and, if necessary, be allowed to give expression to their criticism.
Mr. Douglas Mr. Douglas
Mr. Douglas: It does not get much in the papers.
Mr. McGilligan Mr. McGilligan
Mr. McGilligan: It does not, unfortunately. I believe that the only hope for the world is to get that old-time unity restored, and the best movement we have had so far is the Council of Europe. We should give it every help and if, in the doing of that, we find ourselves, as Senators said, up against this peculiar agonising but still relatively minor problem of ours with regard to Partition, we have to weigh the big things against the small. If people tell me, as sometimes I hear it said in the Dáil, that war is imminent, I come back to what I said in the House before: Is it? How many people really believe it? How many people so really believe in the imminence of war that they are ready to say: “Well, war is on us, and, rather than have the Kremlin, I will have the Six Counties in association with us.”  When we have got to that point, I think the people who talk about the imminence of war will make me believe that they themselves believe in the imminence of war, but not until then.
Question put and agreed to.
 Agreed to take the remaining stages to-day.
Bill passed through Committee received for final consideration and ordered to be returned to the Dáil.
The Seanad adjourned at 9.20 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Wednesday, July 26th, 1950.
Seanad Éireann 38 Local Government (Repeal of Enactments) Bill, 1949. Appropriation Bill, 1950 (Certified Money Bill)—Second Stage (Resumed) and Subsequent Stages.