Seanad Éireann - Volume 87 - 24 November, 1977
Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Bill, 1977: Second Stage (Resumed).
Question again proposed: “That the Bill be now read a Second Time.”
Mr. Mulcahy Mr. Mulcahy
 Mr. Mulcahy: Last night I was putting emphasis on the need to look at what I called the planning imperatives as opposed to economic planning imperatives. The point I was trying to make is that planning, in itself, has a set of imperatives, and these have emerged over time as people have experimented with methods of planning.
I would see these as coming under the following headings. Planning is a process and, as I said, Eisenhower is said to have said plans never work but planning is everything. So it is a process. Any organisation system that deals with it has to recognise what is known as the law of requisite variety. Planning involves a goal-setting process which, in itself, has an inherent logic. If we take those three first: planning is a process. It must be interactive in that people who are interested in the evolution of a particular system, like a country or any corporate entity like a company, have to come together in what might be called a problem-solving mode, not just a consultative one. It is my view that the failures of planning in the past have been due to the fact that people have tried to operate in this consultative mode which meant something like: “We are doing a bit of planning; we have reached certain conclusions about the goals that should be accepted; and we are now consulting you about those goals.”
If you like, the planning section of the Department of Finance, or some group from the National Economic Council, or the National Industrial and Economic Council as it was before, meet with businessmen and say: “We are now consulting you.” But the businessmen did not have the opportunity to go through the same process the civil servants or the advisers went through in reaching an understanding about those goals. As a result, the consultative process was a flop and did not work. So planning must be interactive. The people involved must interact in reaching an understanding about desirable goals and how they might be achieved.
Obviously it must be adaptive and, by adaptive, I mean that if the conditions change, or the assumptions  under which plans are evolved in the beginning change, well then there must be a process of adaptation. That must be planned and organised for itself. It must roll forward. The usual way of looking at that, as Senator Whitaker said, is that you have an annual review and you update, knock off one year, add another. If you have five year planning you add on one more year. This is one way of doing it, but we need not be tied to it.
Then there is the question about when the review should take place. There is no necessarily absolute logical agreed approach that the review should take place at the same time as the annual budget is taken. As a matter of fact, I have found in my own work in corporate planning with companies, that it can be counter-productive to review a longer term plan at the budget period because, very often, the evolutionary and speculative and creative nature of the planning process can be drowned out by the realities of an annual budget and, if it is taken in the context of the Santa Claus atmosphere, as Senator Whitaker mentioned, that only makes matters worse. So there may be a case, in fact, for reviewing the——
Mr. Alexis FitzGerald Mr. Alexis FitzGerald
Mr. Alexis FitzGerald: You might pull Santa Claus' beard.
Minister for the Public Service (Mr. Colley) Minister for the Public Service (Mr. Colley)
Minister for the Public Service (Mr. Colley): Sometimes it is a hair shirt situation.
Mr. Mulcahy Mr. Mulcahy
Mr. Mulcahy: I do not know whether or not my colleague Senator FitzGerald is with me, but I believe the atmosphere of the annual budget can be counter-productive to creative planning. That is what I mean by the process imperative. It has to be organised for, and my conclusion is that the Department of Finance is not the place for it.
The law of requisite variety states that, if any unit of an organisation is going to plan for, control and regulate the operation of some organisation, it must have sufficient variety in its make-up to deal with the complexities that are ahead of that particular organisation. It cannot be done by one  person. The organisation for planning must be capable of dealing with those complexities. If it does not, planning will not work. The third imperative I am speaking about is the imperative of goal-setting. If there is any aspect of planning which has reached some acceptance, any principle of planning which has reached some acceptance, it is the process of goal-setting.
There are three levels of goal-setting researchers agree exist: the so-called normative level, the so-called strategic level and the operational level. All three must be covered in any planning process. The normative level has to do with the value system which the planners car those responsible for running a particular organisation or country have. In other words, they say: “Such and such ought to be done.” They do not necessarily know how, or in what time it can be done, or if the resources are there to do it, but they have the value which says: “Such and such ought to be done.” For instance, in five years' time our GNP per capita ought to be at a certain level, the output of our manufacturing industry ought to be at a certain level, the reward systems ought to be, and so on.
Given that some attempt is made to take a visionary view of things along those lines, it is possible to move to the next level which is the strategic level. This level has to do with: how can we move towards that vision we have of what ought to be done? What is on, in other words? What resources have we at our disposal? How might we deploy them across alternative routes to that desirable end position? Very often people who are good at operating at the strategic level, that is, working out these various options, generating and evaluating them, may not be the type of people capable of taking the normative view. This has to be recognised. In any Government system I would see the Cabinet coming forward with some normative views. That is what they are elected for. I would see a different layer, having a look at the strategic aspect and that is why I think it is a good thing to have a separate planning Department. People have to be fast on their toes  when dealing with strategy. Clauswitz said: “In der Bewegung liegt der Sieg.” (“In movement lies victory.”)
The third level is the operational level and this is where each Department gets on with the action which is cleared within the time period of, say, one and a half years. The strategic time period is usually more like one and a half to five years. The normative is more like five plus. Taking the operational level, each Department get on with the job, come up with their annual targets based on the budget within the goal set in the evolution of the strategy.
Senators may feel that sounds a bit like a lecture on planning but it is an opportunity to get across at a national level that planning, in itself, is a complex process and must be handled as such, even though its various elements are simple. To the degree that these steps I have outlined are ignored, planning will fail as it has in the past.
The next question is the measures one will use to help to set goals. The measures, words and yardsticks used in themselves can be inspirational or motivational. The late Seán Lemass made GNP popular. He brought it to the point where any individual felt he knew what gross national product meant. Therefore, it was something worth working for, worth tracking. I believe another measure should be made popular and I hope the new Department might work at it.
The gross national product is made up of the sum total of all the added values produced in the country by every company, organisation, and by Government activities. I would like to see people thinking along the lines of: “What did I do this week to create a little more added value for my country?” The more of that that is created, the more successful we will be economically. If parallel with that we can discuss and resolve how that added value is to be shared out amongst the various interested parties, then we might take some of the heat out of this year-to-year fuss that goes on about wage negotiation.
If the goal of added value is used  more often, and less emphasis is put on the proportions of the added value various interested parties want to optimise in their own interests, for instance profit, wages or tax, all of which together make up the added value, this is an area where somebody else could make a name for himself.
The rewards for input to any social and economic system will be looked at by the interested parties. Labour will look at it in terms of wages for work done. Capital will look at it in terms of a fair return on investment. Enterprise has to be rewarded and this depends on how much residual is left at the end of the added value. Risk, which is an essential part of enterprise, must be rewarded also. If those interested in profits, returns on investment, wages and enterprising action, do not come together and recognise that they are all in for added value, then we will continue with the type of conflict we have had over the years.
We had a number of contributions on the power required. It was suggested the Department would not have enough teeth. Power in any organisational system might be classified under the headings of structural power, sapiential power and moral power. Most of the discussion so far has been about structural power. What power will the Department of Economic Planning and Development have over resources? Can they influence income and expenditure? There is structural power in this system. Senators will recall from the debate on the Bill on science and technology that there is a science budget. The science budget, in itself, will provide teeth for this Department. Periodically the Department will have to look at expenditure across the country in this area. It has been written into legislation that this must be done. Likewise, we have the National Economic and Social Council to examine on an objective basis what is going on and, obviously, the planning system will come under that. There is an influent power available there.
The sapiential aspect of it is that the Department will be organised specially for planning. One would hope that,  when we look at that Department, we will see expert planners and, as a result, we will listen to them. The moral power will be there because planning tends to be seen as good. Very few people knock planning. The most famous of the researchers who has written on this area, a man called Lindblom, talks about an alternative to planning being muddling through. Even he has regard for the planners in the more elegant sense, in that he has made a name for himself by taking them on and coming up with an alternative which he calls muddling through. God keep us from it.
The next area I should like to refer to on the structural side is the whole question of the Devlin recommendations. Obviously, this Department will affect the approach to the reorganisation of the public service, and the Tánaiste has responsibility for that area. I have written in the past that elaborate organisational development approaches to the reform of the public service may take decades. Four functional specialists on planning, organisation, personnel and finance should be appointed to every Department immediately. This can be done within a few months. It does not have to go through any of the more elaborate so-called organisational development approaches.
The notion of the Aireacht and the notion of delegation of authority and responsibility from the Minister to other officials in the Department, making up the Aireacht, can follow. In itself it is a notion which is fraught with many obstacles, the very least of them being the political obstacles. People do not like sharing power. As long as people do not like sharing power, the notion of the Aireacht will be difficult to implement. If those four functional specialists are placed in each of the Departments of Government—the planning, organisation, finance and personnel specialists— their very presence in the nest of the Minister in the Department will produce the change that we all want. I will go further and say, I would hope that a goodly percentage of those specialists, say 30 per cent at the very least, should come from outside the  service, I guarantee that would produce change.
The next areas I want to explore are the international aspects. There is no doubt that planning, as an approach, has caught on in the more developed countries. Other countries have Ministers for planning. We know the more obvious ones like France — they have been at it for a long time — and we can see how the Japanese have worked operating with a Minister for planning. One area that impressed me immensely in the French scene, and it has something to do with better planning for industrial sectors, was a group set up under a Professor Tabatoni who is now a Minister of State in France to examine the strategic options available in each of the main industrial sectors.
I would hope that within this new planning Department that we will have a project of this kind and the Department, working in parallel with the IDA, the IIRS and other State agencies who are taking an interest in this, will come up with a comprehensive review of the strategic options open to any company operating in a particular industrial sector. In that way, they will help to produce a more sophisticated approach in the companies themselves.
I recall that the National Industrial Economic Council in the 1964-65 period recognised the importance of planning at company level. One of the ways they came up with to encourage that was the publication of an occasional booklet entitled “Planning your Business”. That booklet was brought out to encourage Irish businessmen to plan and the carrot held out was that 50 per cent of the cost of a consulting assignment to get a planning system going in a company would be provided by the Department of Industry and Commerce. After one year of its existence, and a fair amount of promotion of that book, I checked with the Department of Industry and Commerce to see how many people had taken up this option. After one year two companies had done so. That, to me, was failure. It was failure because the planning imperatives I mentioned were not followed.
 Even three or four years ago — ten years after the incident I have just related—the Irish Management Institute did research, and one of the dimensions of research they looked at was the extent to which planning was operating in various Irish companies. Again, the figures were dismal. Something less than 40 per cent of medium companies planned or attempted to plan in any organised way beyond one year. Even in the larger companies, with over 500 people employed, some 20 per cent of the directors of the boards of companies stated there was no need for them to become involved in planning in the long-term sense. I believe the steps taken by the new Government to set up a new Department for planning, as such, are giving good example to the country as a whole, and may well not only lead to better planning at Government level but also improve the approach to planning at corporate level and at the level of business. I would be willing to take bets on that.
Some points have been made about the failure of planning across the water in the planning department set up under George Browne. While recognising some of the very valuable contributions made to the notions of democracy and administration by Britain, we should not be tied to their views because they slow us down. We should look further afield. We are now part of the EEC We can look at other countries. Our Ministers interact with other Ministers outside that system, and we should look at the best, and not necessarily at one.
We all know, again referring to the Crossman diaries, why there was failure there. It was because the individual concerned lost the moral authority required. He lost the support of the Prime Minister. He did not have the complete collaboration of the Treasury Department which is required. It is essential, regardless of what personalities occupy the roles of Minister for Economic Planning and Development or Minister for Finance, as Senator Whitaker said, that the officials of the Department of Finance co-operate in this. In the same way, the financial controller of a company must co-operate with the corporate planner of  a company, and that in relation to financial aspects of the planning he does his bit. It should not become a question of almost crying over the fact that a particular Department is losing portion of its original powers and some of its functions.
Senators will recall that I said one of the first steps in the goal-setting process was getting the normative aspects sorted out, that is, what ought to be done. This Department should not necessarily get licked into the economic issues alone. It should suggest scenarios which are more visionary for the country as a whole and bring them before the Cabinet. A well-known leader of this country produced various scenarios in his time among them the scenario of the comely maidens. Perhaps we should be talking now about the scenario of the well-integrated, well-edncated, skilful young people of Ireland with a lot of confidence in themselves and their skills so that they will be able to run a nation which provides full employment and has an identity which is recognised and has evolved into a culture which in itself is distinctive and recognisable from the other cultures that we have to live with in the harmony of the EEC. In other words, planning in total must take in all the dimensions, not just the economic ones alone. We know that the social aspect is covered in that as well.
The EEC are now talking about a five-year plan which involves the convergence of the economies of the constituent countries. I believe the Minister was at a meeting this week where that particular plan was discussed. He will have seen there the complexity that lies ahead in dealing with and contributing effectively to that planning process. I believe that this Government, in establishing a new Department of Economic Planning and Development, have taken a very significant step. I agree entirely with Senator Whitaker when he says that that step will have more influence on changing the workings of Government than the influence of a new set of Ministers of State. I commend this Bill wholeheartedly.
Mr. Cooney Mr. Cooney
 Mr. Cooney: It was interesting to listen to Senator Mulcahy speaking with a professional knowledge — I do not know whether to describe it as a science or an art but we will do the Senator the courtesy of saying it is both a science and an art—of planning. I was amused to hear him say he would bet on the successful outcome of the new Department proposed. I would advise him that the placing of bets is the very antithesis of good planning—
Mr. Mulcahy Mr. Mulcahy
Mr. Mulcahy: Assessment of risk is the essence of planning.
Mr. Cooney Mr. Cooney
Mr. Cooney: I would like to look at this Bill with a crude political eye for a few moments, possibly in contrast to some of the views that have been expressed on it so far, to see how this Bill arose and where it came from and possibly speculate a little about its genesis. I would look back as far as 1972, pre-1973, and see what the political scene was then in the Government of the day and how they were dealing with these matters. One thing that strikes one in doing that is the fact that the present Minister for Economic Planning and Development at that stage was in the process of being a special adviser on the economy to the Taoiseach. He was in a key position in the running of the affairs of the nation but he was also an outsider. He was not at the Government table and more particularly and more significantly he had no influence in the Department of Finance, which at that time was the sole planning and financial Authority in the country. That was the position then.
There was a change of Government in 1973 and again in 1977 and that significant person, who was there in that sensitive place in the Government, is now an elected Member of the Parliament of the nation and is proposed as Minister. We have to see him in the context of the election campaign, particularly in the context of the Fianna Fáil manifesto which was a most important document; it won the election for the Fianna Fáil Party. When the manifesto was published it had to be sold. Initially, there was some questioning about its credibility as to how Government could suddenly produce all of these millions; we had been told  for many years that the country was in recession, that the economy was struggling to come out of it, and yet here we had a manifesto producing an immense amount of goodies. It had to be made credible and the person brought forward to do so was the Minister for Economic Planning and Development. With his status as an academic economist and with the title of university professor, and being an articulate, eloquent and convincing person, he had the job of selling the manifesto, a job he discharged very satisfactorily. All of us, laymen and students, are in awe of university professors. As long as we are students and laymen we have no opportunity of observing the traces of clay around their feet, and the sale was able to take place effectively.
The manifesto, with its promises of handouts on a very large scale, was sold successfully and there was a change of Government. The question then arose of implementing the manifesto and giving out all of these hundreds of millions without, at the same time, unbalancing the economy or throwing things out of joint and undoing the good that had been achieved in the whole economic field. The question also arose, perhaps more important from the political point of view, if it should prove to be difficult or impossible to implement the manifesto fully, of explaining why it was not possible to implement it; why for example, it would be necessary to say that the reduction in unemployment targets could not be reached because of the intransigence of the trade unions or for this or that reason. Again, to deal, not with the budget of 1978 but perhaps with the budget of 1979 it might be found necessary to improve the revenue-gathering position of the Exchequer in the event of people trying to avoid paying imposed new taxation. They might have to do that. That would be a terrible blow to public expectation after being led to believe that taxation was even possibly on the way out. Obviously, this would require some explanation.
Mr. Colley Mr. Colley
Mr. Colley: Would the Senator quote the reference in the manifesto for that statement.
Mr. Cooney Mr. Cooney
 Mr. Cooney: I am not saying that was in it. I am just talking of the expectation in the public mind. Consequently, should that stage be reached where new taxes might have to be imposed in a budget once again, it would take some explaining. I am sure the Minister for Finance would be pleased to allow that explanation to be handled by the person who would have the overall charge of the economy.
Ruairí Brugha Ruairí Brugha
Ruairí Brugha: There is no point in talking about it if it has not arisen.
Mr. Cooney Mr. Cooney
Mr. Cooney: Good planning involves looking to the future. I am just looking to the budget, possibly of 1979 and the explanations that might have to be given. I hope they will not have to be given but it is prudent on the part of the Government in mind that they might have to be given and provide for an economic overlord to give them in the same convincing way in which the manifesto was sold. I concede that it was a work of political art. That is how I see the genesis of this new Department.
I think it is a political exercise because I do not see any need for it. It will duplicate the structures which already exist in Government to carry out any planning needed. In the Department of Finance we have a Department which is heavily staffed. According to the State Directory for 1977 this Department has in its economic policy division a total personnel of 83, employing an assistant secretary, three deputy assistant secretaries, seven principal officers and 21 assistant principals. They are all very senior members of the public service and that is a very high level of staffing. In addition, the public expenditure division has a total staff of 103.
Apart from having a large number of skilled and expert personnel, the Department also has within itself an aggregate of many years of experience in the whole economic, planning, budgetary area. These are records and files and the whole ethos of the Department is geared towards that sort of activity. It has contacts at home; it has its own contacts within the public service; it has contacts with the private  sector and within banking circles and in industry and contacts in the academic world. These contacts have been built up over the years and are immensely important in informing a Department such as the Department of Finance as to the general feel and state of the economy.
The Department of Finance already has this expertise and function. How will this be disturbed? Will the section dealing with economic policy be moved completely into the new Department of Economic Planning and Development? Will the public expenditure division stay in the Department of Finance or will a few members from each of these sections move into the new Department? Will new sections be recruited for the new Department? I do not know what will happen. I see in the new Department a lot of duplication of what is already present in the Department of Finance. The question automatically is raised as to which Department will be the prevailing one, which one will make the decisions. Will the Government be involved in arbitrating on frequent occasions if there is any conflict between the two Departments?
The Minister said that because they, the two Departments, are both concerned with the central co-ordination of Government business, the Ministers for Finance and Economic Planning and Development and their Departments will necessarily have a very close working relationship. That is a nice way of putting it. The Minister later in his speech spoke about the great care with which the Bill had been drafted. I should like to compliment the person who drafted the speech on the equal standard of care used in getting over the very delicate issues involved. The Minister then said:
Although the functions of economic and social planning —
that is one set of functions —
and of budgetary and financial control will in future be organisationally separate they will both form part of the central co-ordinating system of Government with the main areas of contact in the preparation of the  budget and the development of the National Plan.
Again, that is careful drafting but within that sentence there is the germ of an immense area of conflict, not abrasive conflict, but it has a potential for opposing views and contentious debate, much waste of time and resources and of national effort in trying to resolve these two roles in two different Departments when they should be in the same Department and under the ultimate control of one Minister. To have the functions of economic and social planning on one side and the budgetary and financial control on the other side seems to me, as a layman and one not versed in this new art of planning, as described by Senator Mulcahy, to be daft. I wonder if in many cases the planners' common sense sometimes slips out the window.
What is proposed for the new Minister in the Bill is substantial. As the Minister says, it has been very carefully drafted. It would be no harm to look at it as drafted. The important subsection is subsection (2) of section 2, paragraph (a) which tells us that the new Department will have the function to promote and co-ordinate economic and social planning. Some Senators asked earlier if the new Department would have a social role and the answer is there—it has a social role. Even if it was not there, the Minister made it very dear on the Bill on the National Board of Science and Technology that he regards science in that context as not being exclusively the physical sciences but also the social sciences. He was very specific that the social areas, the social sciences and their development and social planning were to be part of his empire. We find that idea repeated here in specific terms.
Senator Whitaker on the same Bill, the National Board of Science and Technology Bill, spoke, possibly through the voice of experience, about the word “co-ordinate” as it appeared in that Bill when he said that “co-ordinate” has the tendency to develop into control; that the word “co-ordinate” when provided for executive areas where there is no spending  power tends to be interpreted to compensate for the lack of spending power by turning into excessive interference. That is possibly a point of view which one could apply to the definition here “to promote and co-ordinate economic and social planning.”
That is a very specific function and a very specific direction to the Minister from Parliament as to what he is to do. The words “direction to the Minister from Parliament as to what he is to do” open a whole new area of consideration, the role of Parliament, the role of Minister, the role of Government and the operation of separation of powers, but that is by the way.
Paragraph (b), after what has been described in the Minister's speech as the general mandate, gives some specific roles to the Department. It will be required to identify the policies it considers necessary for general economic and social development and to report thereon to the Government.
I want to draw attention to a sentence in the Minister's speech — this is an aside — “The Department will be required to report to the Government on the policies it considers necessary for economic and social development.” That is a perfectly simple statement which is understood by everybody. That sentence is repeated two sentences later in this fashion: “The output of the analytical process will be reported to the Government by the Minister for Economic Planning and Development on the desirable direction of Government policy towards economic and social development.” Just, by the way, contrast those two sentences and I think in the second sentence we see a great deal that it wrong or that is off-putting in this whole planning area, a use of extravagant and contrived language.
Again, during the Minister's speech he said that apart from its function to promote and co-ordinate economic and social planning and development the Department of Economic Planning and Development will be assigned certain more specific functions to enable it to act in the appropriate areas of Government. I would have liked to have known what these more specific functions  are likely to be, how they are anticipated and what is meant by the phrase “to enable it to act in the appropriate areas of Government”. Does this mean that it is to have some sort of final say in the policy-making in some of the Departments? I would like the Minister to expand on that and give us some details of the more specific functions that the new Department will have and how he sees its role in relation to a particular Department. For example, the Department of Health is notoriously rapacious when it comes to gobbling up public pounds and it is also a Department with a high social profile — I am falling into the trap of contrived language that I just mentioned but the House will know what I mean — when that Department prepares estimates of its financial requirements to discharge its social functions. The functions of economic and social planning might meet with the total approval of the new Department — they have been separated in the Minister's speech as being for this new Department — but could be totally at variance with the budgetary and financial control which might be necessary on the other hand and which will be imposed by the Department of Finance. You then have a very odd situation, the Department of Health arguing with the Department of Finance for money for its social plans which have the approval of the new Department or perhaps vice versa. The whole area seems to be fraught with confusion and wth potential acrimony.
Again, to get back to subsection (2) (c), it gives the new Department the function to identify in consultation with Departments of State and to review and appraise the plans and activities of such Departments, giving effect to the policies for general economic and social development adopted by the Government. Again, I think we have to look at these words carefully or closely because they have been carefully drafted. The idea of “review” is to have a careful or a critical look back: it has the element within it of passing judgment. I think that is the correct interpretation of the words in  this subsection because it is followed by or joined with the word “appraise” and that generally means to gauge something, or cost it or set a value on it. Here we have the Department being given the job of identifying in consultation with other Departments of State and then to review and judge and give a value for and put a price on the activities of the other Department. That is a very wide and a very significant power and obviously has the capacity to grow into something really significant.
There is no doubt that the empire which is being set up by the Bill is going to become, in effect, the Department of Finance. What the role in the future for the Department of Finance is going to be, I cannot honestly say. It will possibly be purely a technical Department dealing with the collection of the excise and the administration of the Revenue Commissioners. But as far as economic planning is concerned, as far as the supervision of the economy is concerned, this function is very clearly going to this new Department. Quite obviously, it is going to impinge more and more on the daily running of the Government and the daily activities of all Departments. Possibly this may work out in a satisfactory and efficient way but, for the life of me, I cannot see why it is necessary to take from one Department and give to another Department these functions which already have been exercised. The only reason for it is to provide an empire or a seat in the public eye for the new Minister. There was literally nowhere else to put him. I think that is the main reason why we are faced with this new empire in this area.
I hope that it will work because we all want to see our country progress economically and socially. It is the common aim on all sides of the House. We may disagree as to the means proposed to achieve this end. Indeed, when I consider this whole field of planning I look back on the last four years and consider the plethora of advice that the Government were subjected to during the time of recession. Captains of industry and princes of commerce at their general meetings, at this dinner and that dinner, the annual  gatherings of industrialists, the annual gatherings of trade unionists, all had advice to give to the Government of the day and very often much of that advice was given from the narrow point of view of their own sectional interest. Of course when it was not taken there were irate reactions. Likewise, people in the banking area, again speaking from the necessarily conservative standpoint of good bankers, had certain advice to give and no doubt had to suffer the frustration of seeing their advice ignored or not fully accepted. But what we have to remember is that ultimately the buck stops with the Government of the day. Planning theories were put forward by Senator Mulcahy, who described the science and theory of planning in relation to private companies. However, there is a factor present in Government planning which will possibly always upset the most carefully laid plans of the theorists and that is that Governments are composed of politicians who have to fight elections and may find it necessary to fight elections on manifestoes which may be the very contradiction of what the economy needs.
I think we saw an example of that in the last general election. This is a political factor which comes into the picture where Governments and planning are concerned. It is a political factor which is a volatile thing which has to be taken into account constantly and which causes Governments to disregard the strongest advice from the people in a position to give it. Governments may have to disregard it because it is their responsibility to rule the country as they think best and for the benefit of the people.
I hope that the new Department will work well. I see grave dangers in it because it has attempted to duplicate what is already there in the Department of Finance. I think, and I say this again, the reason that we are having this Department is that it was necessary to find somewhere of suitable eminence to put Minister O'Donoghue.
Mr. E. Ryan Mr. E. Ryan
Mr. E. Ryan: I fully support the contents of this Bill, not only the concept of planning and development but  the proposal to set up a new and separate Department to take charge of planning. I am not impressed by the arguments which have been put forward that a new Department was not necessary; that the Department of Finance could handle this assignment without the necessity for a separate Department. The Department of Finance originally had what could be described as an overseeing role. This was because that Department provided the finance and every other Department had to consult them from time to time. This gave the Department of Finance an importance and an influence which tended to give them the position of overseer of what then went for planning.
It must be recognised that up until the late 1950s, the role of the Department of Finance was very much a negative one. It was a cautious role and it did not have an outlook which would favour planning and development. In the late fifties and early sixties the Department of Finance set up a planning division and in those years a great deal was achieved in regard to planning and development. The fact that planning succeeded at that time was very much due to the personalities involved and very much at variance with what the history of the Department of Finance had been up to that time. I pay tribute to Senator Whitaker who was one of the people very largely responsible for the success of planning at that time and for the fact that the Department changed its outlook in this regard.
In regard to the setting up of this new Department, Senator Whitaker said that he was satisfied that the new Department headed by the Minister proposed for that Department and the Department of Finance under its present Minister would probably manage to get on very well together, that there would be no clashes, and that the arrangement would be a reasonably successful one but, he said, only because of the personalities involved. However, he envisaged a situation in a Government of the future where there might not be an ideological policy agreement between the two Ministers and postulated the problems that could then arise.
 I would look at this argument from a different point of view. I believe that the present arrangement of a separate Department will always have a reasonable degree of success. On the contrary I believe that personalities would be very important and possibly very disastrous if planning was left to the Department of Finance, because it would then depend very much on who was the Minister of that Department and on who was the secretary of that Department: if they did not believe that dedicated planning and development were necessary then planning within the Department of Finance would be anything but successful.
I believe that old habits die hard and that the historic role of the Department of Finance is very likely to be repeated in the future, that the Department is quite likely in certain circumstances to revert to type. By that I mean it will revert to the negative cautious role which it adopted in the past. Consequently I favour the setting up of a new Department. I would not think it wise to take the risk of leaving planning and development in a Department which might from time to time in the future revert to this negative and cautious role.
Quite apart from this danger, I am not convinced that there is any good reason why planning should be in the Department of Finance. It is not appropriate that planning should be in that Department. From the practical point of view it is quite inappropriate that it should be in the Department of Finance as it exists today having regard to the very wide range of responsibilities that Minister and that Department have. The Department of Finance in the last few years has taken on many extra assignments because of our membership of the European Communities. Because of the ever-increasing consultations that must be made with international bodies, the World Bank and so on, the responsibilities of the Minister for Finance are constantly increasing. All of these responsibilities —keeping in touch with what is happening in the European Community, making sure that Ireland's interests are protected and advanced and keeping in touch with the World Bank and other  international bodies—are very time-consuming and very important for the economy of the country. If the Minister for Finance is to do his job in this regard properly in addition to carrying on his traditional job of looking after the budget, he will have less and less time to devote to planning and development.
In addition to these European and international responsibilities the Minister for Finance is now responsible for the Department of the Public Service. This is a Department which is growing in size and complexity, and it is a Department which is very time-consuming and very important. It will almost certainly take up more and more time of the Minister for Finance in the future. There is the added danger, in regard to whether a Minister for Finance would be able to carry on all these responsibilities successfully at the same time, that some responsibilities—if the Minister for Finance was also the Minister in charge of planning—would demand immediate attention. The budget naturally would be the Minister's prime concern and coming up to budget time this would have to get his immediate and almost full-time attention. When international consultations arose they would have to have his immediate attention.
Appointments to the public service and all that that entailed when they arose would have to get priority from the Minister for the Public Service. In that situation priority would have to be given to the budget and to international consultations and to the public service. The net result would very likely be that planning and development would get a very low priority in the time and attention of the Minister for Finance. Planning and development would only be reached when the other more pressing duties, perhaps not more important duties, but more pressing duties, had been discharged. This would be a very real danger if the Minister for Finance was also in charge of planning.
Another consideration—and possibly the most important one of all—is that planning and development should be considered objectively, at arm's length.  I am not suggesting that the Minister for Finance or any Minister for Finance would not be able to do that if he was concentrating only on planning and development. Planning and development should be considered without immediate reference to the financial implications of the planning and development. It would be almost impossible for a Minister for Finance going through a period of financial stringency, going through a period coming up to budget time when he realised that he would have very serious financial problems, to bring forward in that atmosphere plans which would have serious financial implications. The Minister would quite naturally put to one side any new plans or developments which were likely to add to the burden of the problems he was already experiencing from the budgetary point of view. They would be put to one side no matter how attractive, or how interesting, until another time. This is not the philosophy, or the approach which a Minister for Planning should have. It would tend to interfere and to delay some plans and developments which a Minister who is not immediately concerned with finance would bring forward. That is not to say that a Minister for Planning and Development should entirely ignore the financial implications of plans that he is bringing forward. He would we are told, be in constant touch with the Minister for Finance, he would be conscious of the financial implications but he would not be dominated by these implications. The Minister would take the view that these are plans which have merit, have validity, which should be considered by the Government and the various Departments and if the Government decide that at the moment they are not possible, they can be put to one side for the moment, but nevertheless would be brought forward as plans which have validity in their own right and should be put into operation sooner or later. In regard to these nians the Minister for Finance naturally would have his own point of view, would have his say when they came before the Government and would give the expert view as to the likely cost of the plans and the ramifications from the point of view of the  national finances. That is his job, that is what he should do and that is what he should concentrate on rather than concentrate on planning and development.
Senator Whitaker said that it would be appropriate for the Department of Finance to be in charge of planning because it was the Department which would eventually implement it. I find it difficult, to understand what Senator Whitaker means by the Department of Finance implementing plans. In nearly all cases it is not the Department of Finance which implements plans approved by the Government. It is the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Industry, Commerce and Energy and various other Departments which implement the plans which are approved by the Government. This is clearly envisaged by the Bill. The Bill says in section 2 (2) (c) that the function of the Department of Economic Planning and Development would be to review and appraise the plans and activities of the Departments of State giving effect to the policies for general economic and social development adopted by the Government. The idea that has been referred to by other speakers, certainly in the other House, that the Department of Finance should have planning under their control because they would be implementing plans is not a valid observation and is not a valid objection for taking planning away from the Department of Finance.
I have stressed that the Minister for Finance at present has more than enough to do without being responsible for planning and development as well. The new Minister for Economic Planning and Development will also have his hands full. The idea that this job was invented for the new Minister or the idea that he will have very little to do or that he would only be an adviser in a vague way is very far from the truth. The role of the State in the economic and social sphere is, as we all know, constantly increasing. Some people may regret that but it is a political and democratic fact of life. The demands for the State to take a hand in these spheres, to plan in these spheres, to make sure that development  in these spheres is on the right lines are ever-increasing. I have very little doubt that the Minister and the Department will have more than enough to do in the future and that the new Minister will be a very busy man indeed. It has been alleged that the functions of the Department are vague and do not place any special concrete responsibility on the Minister. I have heard and read a number of speeches which have made this allegation but practically none has suggested what the role of the Department should be. It is not the functions of the Department which are vague but the criticisms which have been made in this regard. It is essential that the terms of reference of the Department should be in general terms, as Senator Keating would say if he was here, “ongoing” A Department cannot be given terms of reference which are capable of being achieved in a short time. It would be taking the view that this was only a temporary Department. The only concrete example that was given in this House in my hearing of something the Department should be asked to do, was the suggestion by Senator Robinson that they should set up a State development corporation.
The trouble about pinpointing things the Department should do is that once they were done the Department would have nothing left to do. It is most undesirable that there should be any rigidity about the functions of this Department. Planning should not be looked at as a once-and-for-all objective. Even if the Department brought up plans which would solve all our present-day problems and if these plans were implemented and our problems were solved, by the time they were solved there would be a whole lot more problems and the Department would still have a job to do. The Department should not be looked at in terms of once and for all. It is not a Department whose terms of reference should be rigid or capable of being achieved and repeated. The terms must be general and must be in the form which is set out in the Bill.
One of the criticisms made of the Bill is that the Minister has no power,  that he has no teeth and it has been said that the Minister who prepares the plans must be responsible for financing them. This is getting back to the argument that the Department of Finance should be responsible for planning. I find it very difficult to understand this argument, because although the Department of Finance, for a while at any rate, produced plans over the years and up to the present day, it was not the Department of Finance who produced most of the plans. The Department of Industry and Commerce, the Departments of Agriculture, Health, and Social Welfare all produced their own plans, most of which were adopted by the Government and were implemented in turn by these Departments. These Departments did not have the power to finance the plans they produced. They were financed by the Department of Finance with the approval of the Government.
It is not a valid argument that a Minister who prepares the plans must be the Minister responsible for financing them. That has not been the practice or the reality in the past, and it will not be the reality in the future. One must consider the implications of the suggestion that the Department of Finance is all powerful in providing finance for any plans that may be introduced. It must be remembered that although the Department of Finance vets and often vetoes these proposals put before them their function is to examine the financial implications of proposals, to comment on these proposals from a financial point of view. and to advise on them, but in the last analysis it is not the Department of Finance who provide the finance, it is the Government who decides whether or not any plan, policy or proposal will be put into operation. A Minister whose proposals are turned down by the Department of Finance very often brines the proposals to the Government, and gets the proposals put through if the Government wish it. Even if the Department of Finance looked after planning and development if would not have the final say in financing plans, it would in the last analysis, be a matter for the Government. I am merely commenting on the principle of collective responsibility  which is the way in which a Government should work and normally does work although at intervals it does not seem to work very well. Consequently, if a Government want certain plans or policies the Government will ensure that these plans are put into operation.
That is a very important principle to remember in the context of this Bill. It is very important when we consider the suggestion that the Minister for Economic Planning and Development will have no power, and will have no teeth. The Minister will have the power, the support and financial assistace of the Government behind him, if his proposals are proposals which the Government want. The criticism of the Bill by members of Fine Gael and Labour is misconceived. Probably to some extent there is misunderstanding arising from the fact that the last Coalition Government seemed to lose track of the principle of collective responsibility during its term of office and concentrated very much on the individual power of each Minister. Fianna Fáil believe in planning and development just as they believe in the principle of collective responsibility.
The idea put forward by Senator Cooney that this Department was only invented to provide a position for the Minister who is proposed for the job is simply not borne out by the history of Fianna Fáil's conviction in regard to planning. Planning has existed to some extent, but it was Fianna Fáil who in 1957 introduced it in a concrete, comprehensive way. The setting up of a Department of Planning and Development at this stage cannot be described as a late conversion or as something done merely to provide a position for Deputy O'Donoghue. Fianna Fáil have faith in the concept of planning and also the determination to make it work in a comprehensive way. That is why this Department is being set up.
During the discussion of this Bill both Labour and Fine Gael said in a somewhat half-hearted way that they believe in planning also. The Coalition Government in their term of office, if they believed in planning, showed no  wish or ability to put it into operation in any way. If the parties concerned are now in agreement with planning and are willing to let it be tried out— it is evident from Senator Cooney's speech that some at least are not very keen on it—I welcome their conversion.
I fully agree with the terms of this Bill. The setting up of this Department was the most important decision made by the present Government since they came into power. The lack of planning was one of the basic weaknesses of the Coalition Government. The problems which have been left to this Government by the previous Administration are serious ones. It would be impossible to tackle them successfully without dedication to planning and development. Fianna Fáil have this dedication and, with the help of this new Department and the conviction and dedication of Fianna Fáil to planning and development, these economic and social problems will in due course be solved.
Mr. Harte Mr. Harte
Mr. Harte: I am not going to begin by defending yesterday's situation or make an argument about whether we were good at planning or whether the Coalition avoided it. I would remind the Leader of the House that over 30 years ago young Jim Larkin was an advocate of detailed economic planning. Fianna Fáil Ministers of the day scorned the idea and looked on it as a foreign document. However, they have come around to the idea, and that is a welcome development no matter how late it is.
Speaking as a member of the Labour Party, not as a member of the Coalition——
Mr. Colley Mr. Colley
Mr. Colley: The Senator is very wise.
Mr. Harte Mr. Harte
Mr. Harte: I am speaking as a Labour Party person. I worked manually for my livelihood and I have lived with unemployment both in my family life in a large family and in the trade union sphere, and I know the problems it creates. Because of my concern about unemployment and my  wish to see the numbers in the dole queue cut back, I welcome any measure that might tend to move in that direction. However, the welcome I am giving it is in the hope that the new Department can play a useful role in influencing the factors that would give more people work. That is a hope of mine and of the Labour Party and not a belief that the Department can do it. I am not saying that that is the Department's only function.
My welcome for this measure is qualified because I would be more influenced by the amount of employment that would be generated than by anything else. I am a little sceptical of experts. I have been the victim of them in my lifetime, my family have been victims and so have my friends and the people I represent. One cannot transfer or hive off certain responsibilities to an expert such as Deputy O'Donoghue and say: “These are the tasks. This is what has to be done and this is how you have to co-ordinate things so that we will realise a good economic and planning development.” We have to talk to the business community in the final analysis. If they are not conscious of the need to help and if they have not the desire to do so, no Minister, no matter how good he is in theory, can get his theories put into practice by these people who have not even got the desire to create full employment. There is no record of real willingness in private enterprise society to produce plans and to work to bring about full employment. I cannot see how anybody, just because he is going to speak in a different tone and who has accepted new responsibilities, is going to provide us with the 30,000 jobs a year that we need. It does not matter who is responsible for it. We are talking about the “now” situation and it is the “now” situation that either elects or defeats Governments on the promises they make. I am not belly-aching about being beaten. If you do not deliver the goods that is the way you should be treated. If the people believed that we were not delivering the goods, then they did the right thing.
I am still concerned about society  as a whole. There are many things over which the new Minister will have no control. He is not going to have any control over the geographical distribution of redundancies. He is not going to be able to influence people to realise that growth centres should be set up not only in Dublin and in Cork but in other areas where industries would come up as a result. I do not make any apologies for saying this because from the time I was a boy I have been hearing about full employment. I was hearing about it when the only social welfare available was the nine bob and two pounds of free beef. I do not know if anyone in the House remembers that, but I was a member of a family who drew the nine bob and the two pounds of free beef. I had six brothers and five sisters and my father and five of the six brothers were unemployed. I have been listening all my life to talk about full employment. I do not think it is within our ability in the society we live in to achieve it. I cannot see the new Minister, for all his wisdom, will be able to compel employers to employ people over 40. If this provision is put into legislation the employer will interview every applicant under and over 40 and he will take only those under 40.
I spoke earlier about the growth centres in Cork and Dublin. Full employment cannot be created where the entrepreneurs have not the will to do it. I do not want anyone to think that if we do manage to develop a little in the way that the IDA have been developing it should be at the expense of small towns. I hope it radiates throughout the whole country if it is going to radiate at all, and I have my doubts about it. This Department will not make any change without direct State involvement, in other words State investment in industry, either on their own initiative or in joint ventures, and unless the new Department themselves show evidence that they are prepared to take advantage of the native resources and of production by way of spin-offs from the existing enterprises.
I am not opposed to mixed economy, but, in the manufacturing side of industry I see very little State involvement. There is a lot of State involvement  in the services side, which is vulnerable and this tends to suggest that State involvement is a bad thing. Somebody might criticise CIE, for instance, but it does not necessarily follow that State involvement is a bad thing. That service has to be provided whether it pays or not. The Department of Posts and Telegraphs also provide a service and also very good employment and again it is not a question of whether it should be a profit-making concern. On the other side, the State can become involved in manufacturing industries to a much greater extent than they ever were. They can become involved by either joint ventures or taking initiatives of their own. Somebody might think that I am talking in an ideological way; I am not. I am talking about ways to create employment. Too much is dependent on private enterprise.
We depend largely on foreign investment. Irish entrepreneurs—I do not know whether that is the right name to give them—do not seem to be growth-conscious. If the Minister can make them growth-conscious, good luck to him, and I wish his Department success.
Mr. Mulcahy Mr. Mulcahy
Mr. Mulcahy: The last Government did.
Mr. Alexis FitzGerald Mr. Alexis FitzGerald
Mr. Alexis FitzGerald: Let us have a serious debate.
Mr. Harte Mr. Harte
Mr. Harte: If the Senator had been here earlier he would have understood that I was speaking as a Labour Party member and I made that clear at the outset. I made it clear, not to knock the Coalition Government, but because I want to see things happening that I do not think are happening. I am expressing my own reservations as to whether the Department will do the job and I am entitled to do that.
The new Department could identify the potential viable industries and projects with existing public enterprises or by way of participation in the private sector. I do not think there is enough of that. I cannot lay enough stress on the accepted dependence on foreign enterprises in the development of new industries. If I thought that the new Department could convince me that  there is not an excessive dependence on foreign enterprises, that the Irish business people will become growth-conscious, I certainly would be inclined to go a lot further with them than I am at the moment on this Bill. Over the years there has been no real evidence of the necessary dynamism in the business people of the country. They are more interested in short-term gains rather than in the growth situation. A ship lying in harbour for a long time gathers a lot of barnacles and until you remove them you are not going to move in the right direction. These are the reservations I have.
I mentioned earlier why I was more concerned with the unemployment aspect of it than anything else. From 1960 to 1970, taking Dr. Walsh's figures, about 110,000 people left the country. In 1960 we had a fraction of over one million people at work. In 1970 we had the same number of people at work, plus the 110,000 people who emigrated. It was a wonderful decade for profits and it was also good for wages, but it was not good for employment. I am afraid we could get into the same false situation when there is more money around. People are making more profits, wages are better, but we still have not got sufficient jobs for the youth and to take up the slack in agriculture and other areas where redundancies occur.
The famous American economist Galbraith describes unemployment as a disaster to the working people. He calls it personal catastrophe and says that during unemployment, even on insurance benefit, idleness corrupts and the feeling of not being wanted demoralises. This is very true. I can bear witness to it as I experienced this situation and that is what brought me into the ranks of the Labour Party. I felt from the very early stages that the oldest political party in the country were in fact advocating detailed economic planning.
Young Jim Larkin was advocating that over 30 years ago and everybody scorned him. Because of all the events since then, and going back to the late twenties and early thirties when I was a boy, I am very doubtful about the  society in which we live having a real desire to create full employment. I do not think any Minister by taking on added responsibilities will bring about the things that are needed. As a trade unionist the things I feel are needed most are, naturally, full employment as a priority, a steady rise in living standards, equality of opportunity and also a fair distribution of incomes and wealth and the elimination of poverty. These are things we have been striving for.
Some progress admittedly has been made by both administrations in the elimination of poverty, the introduction of better social services and so on. It is not a question of trying to take credit one way or the other; it is a fact I do not mind admitting. Other things have not kept pace with it. There may have been a steady rise in living standards in the sixties and seventies, but it is not a continuing thing. There is no guarantee under the new Department that it will be, and there is no guarantee that we can generate full employment.
The Minister's title is the Minister for Economic Planning and Development. The absence of the word “social” in the title—not so much in the text—gives rise to concern. If there is no desire on the part of many people to proceed very rapidly in respect of eliminating unemployment, then regard must be had to the fact that a comprehensive and adequate welfare service could well be neglected because, while the Minister may have some authority for it, he has not a first role in that it is not spelt out in the title of the Ministry. I would like to know why the word “social” was deliberately left out of the title.
When the Minister is looking at this question of unemployment he should not allow to continue much longer the excessive dependence on foreign enterprise, and he should consider seriously further State involvement in a joint venture, by initiating viable and potential projects, and by seeing what can be achieved out of natural resources by developing industries from spin-offs, and so on. I am so concerned about the title of the new  Department that I propose to put down some amendments for Committee Stage. I hope that when we get to that point my mind will be a little easier on the question of whether we can improve employment prospects, particularly having regard to the fact that 30,000 jobs a year will now be necessary. If the Government are not seen to be heading in that direction they will be the laughing-stock of the nation once again.
Mr. Lambert Mr. Lambert
Mr. Lambert: I welcome this Bill from a practical business point of view. The establishment of the new Department of Economic Planning and Development is in keeping with the modern practice of private enterprise in introducing at top level a separate corporate planning Department which will operate on the basis of the well-tried principles of scientific management, that is continuously getting the facts, continuously analysing the facts, continuously formulating a plan, and then deciding on activating the plan. In order to achieve the maximum results from participation at all levels of the various Departments their plans need to be linked or, to use the word mentioned by the Minister for the Public Service, “meshed” into a national corporate plan which can give the separate functional plans impetus and an overall purpose, thus creating a greater momentum for potential success. Furthermore, a corporate plan provides a blueprint against which progress can be monitored and controlled as in private enterprise, whether at budget time or at any other time.
Everyone is agreed that there has been insufficient forward planning at national level. I remember the statement of the last Government on a national partnership in 1975, the principles of which I tried to inculcate within my own industry. The preliminary appeal of the former Taoiseach evoked a favourable reaction within the workforce. But we waited in vain for a plan of action and, for whatever reasons, this did not materialise. As we look back on the past few years, many industries did not survive and many other industries survived in a different form.
The point I want to make is that  this was not the first time industry had to survive during a period of decision not to make decisions. There have been many other periods of Government indecision which provided breathing space for uncertainties to multiply. I am glad this has been acknowledged in the Dáil debate, and even by the new Minister in explaining his difficulty in adhering to an annual plan because of political strategy. In fact, Senator Cooney endorsed that this morning.
Today, we eagerly await the outline of a national economic plan, but we must realise the new Minister has his work cut out in tackling the three outstanding problems of inflation, unemployment and the control of public services. Last year, there was a proliferation of economic reports, all saying the same thing in a different way: the OECD Report, the McKinsey Report, the IMI submission, the ESRI report, all highlighted the most vital point to us amongst the welter of other statements. I quote:
An immediate policy is needed to prevent any further erosion of our cost competitiveness in relation to the United Kingdom.
With such easy access to this market from our major British competitors, it is blatantly obvious that we must control our inflation below that of the UK, and this includes Northern Ireland where there are many Border problems as we are aware.
The Government lost no time in emphasising that moderation in incomes is essential to maintain our competitiveness and contain inflation. This involves us all, from managing directors, anyone who has a job, down to the factory floor. This is the first priority. I am sorry Senator Harte is not here because a permanent increase in employment depends on our success in controlling inflation. Many Irish industries have the dilemma about numbers employed as they aim at steady improvement in the rate of productivity which, in itself, can limit the increase in employment in the short-term. We must look at the longer-term view of controlling inflation in order to achieve greater competitiveness which, together, will bring greater opportunity to expand our home and export markets.  Then, hand-in-hand with growth and output and higher productivity, will come potential for a permanent increase in jobs.
Another point worth remembering is the experience of the Irish economy, not so long ago, when we had reasonable growth and a rise in real incomes which led to a rise in demand for services, so this improved productive efficiency led to a rise in employment in other fields. In fact, during the last boom, all the extra jobs in the public service, and other services such as banking, retailing and the professions, were created to service an expanding industrial base.
During the recession, a number of these jobs remained relatively secure, while the number of jobs lost in industry continued to escalate, adding to the costly imbalance of our economic structure. This is not a very advantageous point from which the new Minister has to start while such imbalance exists. Irish manufacturing industries, however efficient, cannot achieve competitiveness with the outside world because they may be loaded with an undue share of public service overheads.
However, looking to the positive side, it is gratifying that a new realisation of the importance of our manufacturing industries as the generators of wealth has dawned. This new realisation is fully accepted by our new Government. Under this Bill I look forward to the reorganisation which will strengthen the Government's capacity to lead more positively the course of our economic development and, with more time and more resources to assess all the factors involved and to plan forward more scientifically. I agree with Senator FitzGerald that the plan must bring closer together the respective interests of agriculture and industry.
Regarding the outstanding problem of controlling public finances and planning our capital needs, when I was a member of the Electricity Supply Board, I was made fully aware of the necessity to plan forward ten years in advance, in their responsibility to ensure that electricity generating capacity would be available to service the  needs of our developing economy. Recently, we learned that the capital requirements of the ESB alone in the next ten years would amount to £1,500 million, the reason for which I am fortunate to have some awareness, understanding and approval. Even if 40 per cent is financed through internal resources, it still leaves £900 million, or £90 million a year, to be found by borrowing. The reason I mention this is that, as a member of the board, I found it extremely difficult to envisage how the ESB's gigantic capital requirements fitted into the total national requirements which must include massive demands for forward borrowing from all the other State and semi-State bodies, including Government services, assuming they provide equally efficient projections. For me, the longer-term problem of the nation's capital requirements has never been fully explained, presumably because Government Departments have been too involved in day-to-day commitments.
The new Department can give attention to this major problem of forward planning of our public finances. I am sure we will be made more alert, not only to what the country can afford during the impending period of economic prosperity, but also to the extent to which too much optimism could lead us to the verge of bankruptcy in the years to come, unless corrective measures are taken in time as cyclical booms and recessions inevitably follow one another.
In choosing a name for the new Department, the Minister has already made the comment in the Dáil that it is quite ridiculous to talk about social planning divorced from economic planning. Progress on either of these fronts will be barren unless they are interwoven with our cultural development. Let us not make the mistake of other nations in thinking that economic growth is the panacea for all evils. Economic, social and cultural development must go hand-in-hand. Unfortunately, our cultural development is still the Cinderella of our national aims in the competition for a share of the financial cake. We have  many evidences of our failures in this respect, when we look round at the appalling planning of some of our new housing estates which provide little or no cultural or social facilities for the local community.
We must also question the present policy of economic development which allows a situation where it is more profitable to demolish buildings and leave them like derelict bomb sites. A glaring example of this is not half a mile from here, where we had one of the most beautiful squares in Europe, St. Stephen's Green. Now we must witness the desecration and visually stomach this for an unknown period of years. How long will the gaping hole in Harcourt Street be allowed to remain, another small but pathetic exposure of economic development without the guiding hand of cultural responsibility?
In one form or another, cultural development impinges on about five different Departments, including the Taoiseach's, which is responsible for the Arts Council, which I firmly believe should remain in the Taoiseach's Department, because our Arts Council is of such national significance that only the Head of Government can give it the commitment, importance and motivation needed throughout the whole of Ireland, North and South.
I hope the new Minister will act as a catalyst in the development of the role of culture in our society and help to plan and co-ordinate the investment in our cultural activity which will reap the rewards of putting us back in harmony with our environment, with our ancient history, with our neglected educators—our contemporary artists. In fact, the Minister, Deputy O'Donoghue, has an unusual opportunity to develop a most neglected human resource, our creative artists, who have an enormous self-employment potential. I look forward to congratulating the new Minister as a fully-fledged Minister to head up this new vital Department as soon as possible. Few incumbents have received in advance such confidence and goodwill, and here credit must go to the Minister for the way he has presented this Bill and encouraged the new Minister.
 I welcome him from industry's point of view because there has been criticism of not providing a plan, but I know he has been doing his home work. He has been visiting industries like ours, and he has been listening to the hopes and fears, as well as the potential opportunities for expansion and for the creation of additional employment. I have also found he has had time for relaxation at one of our major cultural events, the Wexford Opera Festival. I mention this because I note that he has the characteristic which I admire in some other politicians in that he has shown himself to be a well-integrated human being. Senator Mulcahy mentioned the necessity for this type of person, well-skilled, young, well-integrated, and I see the Minister as this at the age of 32, and he should have no ambitions for the crown prince position.
Above all, let us remember the new Minister has had the unique advantage of working closely with the Taoiseach as his adviser for many years. Such a close working relationship must mean he has a sensitive perception of the Head of the Government's views on future policy and strategy. When the final plans are agreed by the Taoiseach and his team—and I mention this in particular, team of Ministers—I hope they can be launched with the same verve as the Government's manifesto. Certainly, Irish industry is eager to respond, and I have no doubt that the whole community wish to get involved in creating momentum to ensure the success and survival of the plans. It will be in everyone's interest, whatever their affiliation, that we move forward to greater employment, greater prosperity and, I hope, a more culturally and socially rewarding life for us all.
Professor Murphy Professor Murphy
Professor Murphy: I listened last evening with rapt attention to my Chancellor, if I may so call him, Senator Whitaker. I thought his contribution was very impressive and, indeed, very independent, so independent, in fact, that if that corner over there gets a bit crowded, I would remind him there are plenty of spacious seats on this side of the House.
 In effect, of course, what he did was to echo the reservations about the measure which have been expressed in the other House, but he did so in a particularly authoritative manner. He has a clarity and intelligibility which are unusual among economic experts, and a welcome freedom from jargon.
He is, as well, the moat distinguished voice in economic matters in the Oireachtas. After all Senator Whitaker is already in the history books: at least he is in my history book. I am not so sure whether he should be properly labelled by historians as the architect of the economic expansion in the late 1950s, because we have not yet really answered the historical question, and it has a great bearing on what we are discussing now. Was the resurgence of the late fifties and early sixties simply due to the accident that we were on the crest of an international wave in the capitalist world and when that crest receded in the early seventies we receded with it?
Perhaps Senator Whitaker's role was more illusory than real in the creation of the economic boom of the late fifties and early sixties. But one thing he did put his finger on at that time—and I think this was his real achievement— it was he who divined the psychologically depressing effects of emigration and unemployment and got the Government to move accordingly. At any rate, what he said yesterday—particularly as one of the Taoiseach's 11, and he is the first to have broken the ranks and I am sure the last—must give us pause. In effect, in the nicest possible way, he has said the measure is unnecessary and is unlikely to work. As he put it in an arresting sporting image, the Minister for Finance will continue to play the ball, and the new Minister will be confined to cheering from the sidelines. The risk of a personality clash, he warned us, may impair the relationship between the two Departments. He might well have added that rival aspirations to party leadership constitute another possible source of conflict.
My contribution to this discussion is necessarily limited by my lack of knowledge of economics, though I  sometimes find a bleak comfort in a lunatic suspicion that even the economists themselves do not know what they are talking about. I relish the aphorism that every economic analysis is plausible but no more plausible than the converse. It does not require any specialist knowledge to grasp the main points at issue here, and to relate them to the hopes and expectations of the people who endorsed the Fianna Fáil manifesto, and who now await the delivery of the goods. That same manifesto, I suggest, should be an indispensable source document for all of us in the next four years. It rarely leaves my sight and will be in time as well-thumbed as my Gideon Bible.
Introducing this measure in the other House the Minister said:
Although, most people intuitively regard planning as a good thing, there is, regrettably, little consensus, even among the theorists, as to what the concept involves precisely. At one end of the spectrum the term has connotations of rigid compulsion. At the other, it is a loose arrangement for undisciplined forecasting. The Government's view of planning places it between the two extremes.
This is exactly what I fear because here is the economic counterpart of that bland middle-of-the-road, catchall Fianna Fáil political philosophy. I am no doctrinaire socialist, but the only hope I see for the economy is more and more public control and direction and ownership.
I agree with Senator Harte that it is futile to talk about reducing our massive unemployment, still less eliminating it, in the kind of economy we now have. I thought Senator Mulcahy was endearingly naïve when he conjured up the picture of workers asking one another over their Saturday pint: “How did you do, brother, this week? Did you increase the national product?” That conversation is very unlikely to happen in our kind of society, whatever about its likelihood in a socialist economy.
But, as we now are, and the way Fianna Fáil see the economy, there is only a limited role for planning in a  free or mixed economy. Of course, there is another limitation on planning. Daily we are being reminded that our freedom to plan an Irish economy is being circumscribed more and more by the tightening net of EEC regulations and directives. It is, therefore, with more hope than confidence that I wish the new Department well.
This new Department will be inseparably associated in the public mind with the Minister, Deputy O'Donoghue. The projection of the Minister, Deputy O'Donoghue as the economic saviour of his country carries with it its own in-built Nemesis.
If unemployment is reduced or eliminated, whether the new Minister and his Department are responsible for that unlikely development, or whether we will once again ride on the crest of a temporary capitalist wave, his stock is bound to soar and, dare I say it, his succession prospects will soar with it. On the other hand, if things go badly, the Minister's fall will be all the harder.
Ultimately, I am not concerned about these Ministers' power politics or about abstract economic analyses. I am concerned about the chances of solving the greatest problem of the day, massive unemployment, so let us wish the new venture well, not this time out of the customary politeness which has obtained up to now in this House, but for the sake of the very survival of the economy and, perhaps, even of this political society as we know it. Let us hope it works. If unemployment is not reduced and, indeed, is not seen to be on the way to elimination, social unrest and political revolution loom ahead, perhaps as soon as 18 months to two years' time. Let us hope that the new Minister and his Department will help to stave off those very real threats to our whole political and social system.
Micheál Cranitch Micheál Cranitch
Micheál Cranitch: Ó thosaigh an díospóireacht seo tráthnóna inné is mó tuairim a nochtadh agus is mó cheist a pleadh: ach tá cúpla gné den Bhille seo nár deineadh tagairt dó go fóill, agus tá sé i gceist agam labhairt ar na gnéithe sin ar feadh tamaillín.
 Nobody has any doubts as to the mammoth task facing the new Minister and his Department. The tasks before them are stated with stark simplicity in the Bill. Section 2 (2) (a) reads:
to promote and co-ordinate economic and social planning for the development of the economy both generally and as respects different sectors thereof and different regions of the country.
Various speakers, so far, have gone back and made references, some complimentary, others otherwise, to the type of economy promoted by various Governments since the founding of the State, and particular reference was made to what we might call the Lemass era. Somebody put forward the idea that the economic prosperity which ensued came as a result of chance fleeting circumstances. I do not think the vast majority of the people would accept that.
Prosperity came as a result of the sensible and practical planning by the Government of that time and, along with that, the wholehearted co-operation they got from the general public, from officials, workers, and all concerned. If there is one thing in this Bill which pleases me—and I wonder why Senator Harte did not notice the frequency with which the point I am about to refer to occurs—it is the repetition of the words “co-ordinate”, “social”, “social planning”, “social development”, and so on, right through all the subsections in section 2. We have a repetition of the words “co-ordinate”, and “social”, all suggesting that the dry bones of planning are not enough. We have to have the oil to lubricate the machinery of planning and to see that it works.
A story is told of a man who, when electric light was available to him as a result of the rural electrification scheme, installed in his house innumerable lamps of various shades and designs—he actually got the advice of an expert when planning the colour schemes of the rooms, and so on. He had lamps, lamp shades, heaters, and so on. A few days after  the current was turned on, a friend of his called and admired all the lamps and shades, and went over to the switch to turn on the light when the owner stopped him and said: “Yes. You complimented me on the lamps and the lamp shades and on all the fittings, but there is just one little snag. It will not work.” No matter how carefully one plans, there is always the possibility that the plan will not work. In ordinary life we see that. We plan something for next Sunday and we have various ideas in our heads as to what will happen but, when the times comes, due to unforeseen circumstances, the plans just do not work.
One thing is essential for the working of any plan where human beings are concerned, that is, kindly, neighbourly, sincere and patriotic cooperation. That is lacking at this point in time. We have strikes, rumours of strikes, go-slows, industrial strife, jealousies, meanness, selfishness, and so on. There seems to be a malaise in the country at the moment. To my mind, one of the biggest tasks facing the new Minister and the new Department is how best to overcome this difficulty. It has to be repeated; no matter how good the plans are, how appropriate the time is, the work cannot be done and, therefore, employment will not be created, unless we have the goodwill of everybody concerned.
Fears were expressed by some speakers as to personality clashes between various Ministers of State. I do not see any danger good, bad or indifferent of such a clash. What I would be worried about is, when the plans are made and generally accepted as being workable, various difficulties, industrial actions, and that kind of thing, as they are euphemistically called nowadays, will intervene and the plans will not be allowed to come to fruition. That is the greatest danger facing the new Minister and the new Department.
I should like to refer to one section and I hope the Minister will say something about it when the time comes for his reply. In his introductory speech he said:
 The new Department will have responsibility for the promotion and co-ordination of economic and social planning as respects different regions of the country. While the reconciliation of the regional and sectoral elements of the planning matrix will require development, the immediate structural effect will be the transfer of responsibility for the County Development Teams and Special Regional Development Fund to the new Department.
I have a slight fear there may be a danger of local initiative being hampered—I will not say stifled. Local initiative is very important to the life and to the prosperity of the nation, and to fulfilment of individuals. I would be apprehensive lest the new Department, possibly with the best intentions, but with a paternalistic outlook, would be inclined to override the decisions or the findings of the Local Development Teams throughout the country. Whatever we do, we should not stifle initiative.
We wish the Minister well in the mammoth task before him. We wish his Department well. They have a colossal job to do but I have no doubt whatever that they will do it. While listening to some of the speakers today, Robbie Burns came back to my mind: “The best laid schemes of mice and men gang aft agley.” As far as the mice were concerned, Burns was quite right because, during the past four years of Coalition, certainly many schemes went astray. Now that the men have come back, I am sure fewer of the schemes will go astray. The new Department will, I feel, succeed, and must succeed because, since the founding of the State, from no Government has so much been expected by so many.
An Cathaoirleach An Cathaoirleach
An Cathaoirleach: It is 1 p.m. and this is the normal time at which the House adjourns for lunch.
Mr. E. Ryan Mr. E. Ryan
Mr. E. Ryan: The Minister has to take questions at 2.30 p.m., so I suggest we adjourn now and resume at 2.15 p.m. We will take the Stock Exchange (Completion of Bargains) Bill and remain on that until 3.30 p.m.
Mr. Alexis FitzGerald Mr. Alexis FitzGerald
 Mr. Alexis FitzGerald: No proposal could more inconvenience me. If that is all the Senator can suggest, I suppose I will have to accept it.
Mr. E. Ryan Mr. E. Ryan
Mr. E. Ryan: In those circumstances we will take the Consumer Information Bill.
Business suspended at 1 p.m. and resumed at 2.15 p.m.
Seanad Éireann 87 Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Bill, 1977: Second Stage (Resumed).