Seanad Éireann - Volume 88 - 26 April, 1978
“Buy Guaranteed Irish” Campaign: Motion.
Mr. Mulcahy Mr. Mulcahy
Mr. Mulcahy: I move:
That Seanad Éireann notes the need to maintain a continuous “Buy Guaranteed Irish” campaign as an important part of national economic policy.
I am very pleased and privileged to be able to address the House on this most important question of the campaign to promote the notion of guaranteed Irish products. From the terms of the motion it can be seen that I consider this an essential plank in our national economic policy.
I might be forgiven for opening with what might appear to be a trivial aspect of it; it might bring home the issue. I was pleased to be invited to luncheon yesterday when there were present some visiting dignitaries interested in EEC matters. Needless to say, I enjoyed the occasion and the discussion but when it came to the part of the meal where one is asked what one would like, the waiter whispered gently “A brandy or a liqueur, sir?” I wonder what it is in our make-up that a phrase like “Irish Mist, a brandy or a liqueur, sir?” could not come naturally to our hoteliers or those who work in that area. There is something psychological in our make-up that seems to act as an obstacle, to blank us out and make us possibly a little careless. Maybe it is just carelessness and nothing else. Carelessness costs jobs and means the non-implementation of declared national policy. When that happens we have to draw attention to it.
I would like to boast that I had, in fact, arranged that the front page of the management journal which is published today would be devoted to the “Guaranteed Irish” campaign. I did not orchestrate that; it was a happenstance but I am delighted that it happened.  When it comes to influencing consumer behaviour, and that is what we are doing, we are not trying to build a policy that is based on patriotism only. We are trying to influence consumer behaviour so that the Irish consumer becomes aware that there are benefits in Irish products and that he should keep them in mind when he is making a purchase. The definition of marketing commonly used could be summarised this way: it is to discover and satisfy the present and potential needs of a target consumer. Normally in any marketing situation we use the so-called marketing mix, the four ps, to do this: product, price, place and promotion.
It is national policy, and funds have been made available, to operate in two of those areas under product and promotion and this is now part of a three-year plan for this purpose. I hope to elaborate a little on some ideas around the three-year plan. There is at this time a comprehensive attack on the total marketing approach to encouraging the purchase of guaranteed Irish products. On the promotion side, advertising and sales are the main arms and they are used to create the desire in the consumer to buy the product. The question we have to ask ourselves through this debate is: how do we promote Irish products as a category in themselves? Products can be categorised in other ways. For instance, there are speciality goods, convenience goods and shopping goods. Each one of these in a marketing sense is pushed or promoted in a different way. In some instances the purchaser makes an instant purchase: an example of that would be cigarettes. There is a minimum shopping effort involved in it, so it is an intuitive, habit-type purchase.
On the other hand, a lot of these purchases are made on an emotional basis and these might be looked at under the headings of imitation, individuality and the promotion of individuality in that the person has a product that someone else has not got. There might be the opposite, that is, conformity, something about meeting an individual's ambition to reach a certain level in relation to a product. It might be something like the size of a car, something of pride in the product, something about prestige and pleasure. All of these things have an emotional basis and obviously they will influence the purchasing pattern.
Given that the campaign is about a total marketing approach, spelling out the good thing in Irish products emphasised by the G sign, guaranteed Irish, what other basis as a nation do we have to promote and to justify expenditure in this area and to justify the fact that it is necessary for institutions, such as this House, to put their voice before the Irish people as a means of helping this campaign? Let us look at the economic basis. In the motion we see as an essential step in economic policy. The figures have been mentioned before but let us repeat them and get them into perspective. We are looking for a 3 per cent turnabout in spending from the import side. A 3 per cent turnabout through various calculations — we can play around with the figures — is predicted to contribute to the production of  10,000 new jobs. It is important that the casual element, which is the 3 per cent turnabout, and the output which the employment achieved, should be highlighted this way even though the dimensions that go in between, the expansion in manufacturing, the greater promotion of Irish products, must happen in order to bring about the new jobs. More about that in a moment.
The White Paper talks about imports going up at 13.3 per cent per annum and about manufacturing industry expanding at 12 per cent per annum. If the Guaranteed Irish Campaign can bring that manufacturing industry output from 12 to 12.8 per cent, something of that order, then we will get that 3 per cent turnabout effectively and the 10,000 jobs will be there. I do not want to bore the House with too many figures but it is important for the purpose of the debate to consider the general dimensions of the economic situation.
We are a very open economy. We have a lot of exports and we have a lot of imports. In 1976 our imports were £2,300 million and our exports £1,860 million, which meant an excess of imports over exports of £478 million. We are talking here about something of the order of £500 million. It was £478 million in 1976. Imports were £2,300 million. Out of the £2,300 million something like £620 million was made up of consumption goods ready for immediate use. That, on £2,300 million, is quite a penetration. The figure has gone from something like 21 per cent to 31 per cent since 1973. It is growing. The most recent figures I have for the 12 months to March are imports £3,160 million as opposed to £2,650 million in exports, which means an excess of imports over exports of £510 million. The comparative figure for 1977 was £540 million. That is the first sign that the campaign is beginning to bite. Congratulations are due to all concerned for this, because some of the campaigns in the past have not been that successful, to say the least of it.
We are talking again of the order of £600 million consumption goods ready for use, but we must take into  account the fact that about £250 million worth of industrial products are also involved. These might be produced at home if people were aware of the situation. It is not a case of not being able, it is a case of being aware. Take some of the sectors in industry and look at what is happening there. I hope that subsequent speakers will elaborate on these. I know some to whom I have spoken will.
Since 1970 the percentage as far as food is concerned in terms of imports has gone from 5 to 8 per cent, in textiles from 33 to 55 per cent and in clothing and footwear, taking the figures combined, from 6 per cent to 44 per cent. What we are talking about here is not just a matter of getting Irish people to buy Irish goods. It is about getting Irish manufacturers to defend their market share. It is a total marketing effort influenced obviously by the behaviour of the consumer and the knowledge that he or she has about Irish goods and the quality of those goods.
The £600 million worth of imported goods ready for consumption means something of the order of 50,000 jobs. Obviously we cannot completely turn that around where we are trying to promote open competition within the EEC context. But we are asking, and it is a plank in our economic policy, that we should get 10,000 out of that 50,000. That will come from the 3 per cent turnabout. It is significant that the products most susceptible to competing imports have given rise to most of the unemployment in the past. Between 1973 and 1976 something like 13,000 jobs were lost in this most susceptible sector.
As far as the industrial type products are concerned lack of an Irish equivalent seems to come about from ignorance of the requirement, ignorance of the need and also ignorance of the fact that the capacity to produce them is available. I am glad to see that as part of the programme of the Guaranteed Irish Campaign a sub-contract type service is now in existence to promote this knowledge. It has been adverted  to in the media over the last few weeks. Those are the economic facts—10,000 jobs, a 3 per cent turn-around in purchasing behaviour and in manufacturing behaviour. Remember, it is just as important to push the product out of the manufacturing system as it is to pull it through the retail system. Those 10,000 jobs could mean everything in terms of achieving our goals and reaching our targets. We were clear about this in our manifesto. We were clear about this from away back when the preparation work for that manifesto was under way.
What is the trend? I have mentioned one or two good things. I mentioned that the excess for 1978 had come down to £510 million as opposed to £540 in 1977. Given the fact that we still have an element of inflation— 8, 9, 10 per cent averaged over the period — that is a significant improvement. I note from the statistics circulated that between March 1977 and March 1978 food imports have fallen from £30 million in 1977 to £25 million in 1978. That is a good trend and all we can hope is that it will be maintained. We can attribute this to the success so far of the Guaranteed Irish Campaign. In the case of manufactured goods, between March 1977 and March 1978 the figure has gone from 5.4 million to 5.48 in terms of volume. In money terms it is about the same. In footwear it has gone from 2.7 up to 3.1. I must admit that, looking at it, I would have thought it might have been worse, and I am sure that some of my colleagues who are deeply interested in that area will point out some of the difficulties.
The totals for March 1977 and March 1978, and I should remind you that I am talking about the month, went from 280 in 1977 to 285 in 1978. In real terms that is a very satisfactory volume improvement. Given that we know from what is published by the Irish Goods Council that we are talking about 800 manufacturers who have been gearing themselves to take on the competition, might I ask then which areas are worth pushing? To get a feel for the figures, we import roughly £15 million worth of wines and spirits—every time a  Senator has his jar he might think about it — garments £42 million; underwear, which is hidden, £13 million; toys £10 million and various plastic items £21 million. I have here a plastic holder. It contained documents handed out by the IDA in a recent description of their planning campaign. The print folder reads: “Made in England.” I am not knocking anything. I am saying this is just carelessness. It is an attitude of mind which must be fought in the “Guaranteed Irish” Campaign. It is an attitude that forgets we produce “Irish Mist” and sell it at international level but we push brandy. It is the attitude of mind which thinks any old folder will do. Any old folder will not do because we have to give good example. In particular State bodies have to give good example. In Croke Park last Sunday I saw beautiful Irish flags: Where were they made? In a very, very far eastern country, not at home.
The “Guaranteed Irish” Campaign is a very exciting concept. It is exciting because it relates to the real needs of the purchaser. It is not built on a narrow chauvinistic appeal. It tries to bring home to the purchaser that there are good reasons for buying guaranteed Irish and, of course, it emphasises that there are good emotional reasons. We all have emotional needs which influence our purchasing patterns. It is a three-year programme clearly spelt out in a circular from the Irish Goods Council.
It is important in any marketing campaign, as any advertising agent will tell you, not to peak too quickly. We do not want to have a great flurry of guaranteed Irish excitement and behaviour in the first six months and after that a tailing-off. This exercise should build up to a consistent new purchasing pattern in Irish consumers. The Government have made the funds available. This is not to say that the previous Minister did not have an important hand in these concepts and in getting the ideas off the ground, but the figure in the budget at that time was something like £227,000. It is now running at £680,000. That is a measure of the importance the Fianna Fáil  Party put on this as an essential plank in economic policy. Hopefully, in the coming years the budget will get up to the £1 million mark. Not only will that be a measure of the amount of promotion available but the money can be used to pump prime other money. It is hoped that another £250,000 might be squeezed out of the grocers, and so on, to issue leaflets and promotional merchandising material and ensure the campaign is well and truly exposed to the consuming public.
One may ask what is happening in other countries given that we are trying to promote free and open competition. Take the UK, for instance. In the UK they had the “I'm Backing Britain Campaign”. They had Chancellor Healey saying recently in his budget speech “Buy best, buy British”. We had the Financial Times yesterday publishing an article about the bad condition of industrial relations in this country. I cannot help but think that their own industrial promotion is in some way influencing that particular line of thought. Their employment subsidy, in operation for a couple of years now, has been a real thorn in our side.
We have, too, the so-called bureaucratic barriers that can be built up in all countries making it difficult for products to be imported. Specifications can be renewed every day. I heard recently that in the case of Canada, because the £ sign was missing, even though a statement on the particular form said “sterling, so many thousand” it was sent back as being incomplete. We could get to the stage where people would say: “If you are going to import tomatoes into this country they must not have more than 31 pips”. That is as good a way of promoting their own product as any other, not to talk about the volume of paper work that comes up.
The question now is how can we improve this campaign, which means so much, for instance, to the youth with something like 43 per cent of people under 25 years of age out of work as compared with something like the EEC. These are the conditions we are up against. How can we improve  them? The first step is to avoid carelessness. Be aware! Look before you buy. It does not mean any chauvinistic attachment to the Irish situation but to make sure that you are giving the Irish product a run for its money.
In this country something like 5,000,000 purchases are made per week. I reckon that about 1.5 million are purchases of foreign goods. The question that the Irish purchaser has to ask himself is: Am I one of the 1,500 purchasers giving away a job this week? On average 100 purchasers are throwing out three jobs every year. Would it be possible for each family to appoint one person, possibly the youngest member, to ask at home “What have we done for the ‘Guaranteed Irish’ Campaign this week?” These are just some ideas.
To conclude, I would suggest that we need to identify the Irish product where that product exists. We need an instant response now and that is the great value of the “Guaranteed Irish” Campaign. Everybody can do something now. It is not a question of waiting for a long term policy, they can do something now and one way of bringing it home and avoiding the carelessness might be for each purchaser to say or to think of people who are unemployed, children who might not get employment or relatives who are unemployed, when they make a purchase. I would suggest that “G” as well as standing for “guaranteed Irish” would also stand for guilt. Let nobody be guilty of not contributing to this most important national campaign.
Mr. Hyland Mr. Hyland
Mr. Hyland: I want to add my voice to that of Senator Mulcahy in asking the House to lend its support to the Irish Goods Council in its campaign of assisting in the work of national development by promoting the sale of Irish goods on the home market. We are at a very difficult and critical stage in our economic development. We have come through a very testing period of inflation and high unemployment with many industries either closing down or getting into serious financial difficulties. Due now  to positive and planned action by the Government hopefully we have arrested this trend by introducing measures which should in the long term put us again on the road to economic recovery. No Government action, no matter how carefully planned, can succeed without the backing, goodwill and support of all sections of the community. I would refer particularly here to the organised sections of the community like the trade unions and the producer and consumer groups.
The main objective of the Government's strategy is the creation of an economic climate in which the maximum number of people can find secure and rewarding employment in their own country. Since the bulk of this employment should be created in the productive areas of agriculture and industry, as distinct from the public sector, it goes without saying that our success will and must depend on our efficiency and competitiveness both on the home and export markets. While exports are essential and vital for our future it would be wrong and, indeed, dangerous to lose sight of the home market as a vital outlet for home-made goods. It is the market in which we have the natural advantage, the one in which we should be most competitive. An essential element of every export programme is that it be firmly based on a soundly established home market. Therefore, the more we can increase home consumption in conjuction with exports the more efficient we can become and the more expansion will take place resulting in a corresponding increase in employment. “Buy Irish”, a slogan used by successive Governments and by the Irish Goods Council, has not had the desired effect in relation to the promotion and the sale of Irish goods. I think nobody would admit this more readily than the Irish Goods Council and successive Governments. It is unrealistic to expect that Irish consumers will purchase, although some do, goods simply because they have been manufactured in Ireland. We must ensure that the goods we are asking our people to buy are of the highest possible quality and are competitive in price.
Thanks to the new strategy of the  Irish Goods Council and the dynamic leadership provided by Mr. Hardiman and the council members, particularly Vivion Murray, their CEO, Irish industrialists have been motivated into producing quality goods and these products are now backed with a “Guaranteed Irish” symbol recognisable by the entire population. The “Buy Irish” symbol, which is one of the best things that has happened in an Irish promotional campaign, has now firmly established itself not only as a guide but as a hallmark of quality. When a person goes into supermarkets and stores and the “Guaranteed Irish” slogan is visible on the product the purchaser can be assured he is buying a quality product. It is in this regard that the present effective and, hopefully, successful campaign has distinguished itself from its predecessors.
I want to thank the firms who have co-operated with the Irish Goods Council in this particular campaign. They deserve our thanks and our congratulations because, apart from furthering their own economic interests — I presume this is and would be the main objective of any industrialist — they are also contributing investment and management techniques to overall national development. Unfortunately, the great bulk of our people have not sufficiently recognised the fact that there is a close link between economic expansion and the decision of the purchaser to buy an Irish or an imported product. It must be brought home forcibly to people that every time — perhaps unconsciously we are all guilty here, including myself — we purchase imported goods when alternative quality products are available we are reducing the demand for domestic products. This automatically reflects itself in the production line and has serious effects on the future expansion of the particular industry and, in turn, will inevitably affect our employment situation.
Those of us who are fortunate to have jobs have an obligation to ensure that an economic climate is created which will enable further expansion and the creation of new jobs to take place. Therefore, every time the housewife buys an imported product she may be contributing to, perhaps, her  husband's unemployment in the long term or, indeed, to the unemployment of members of her family. If we bring home to our people that they have an important role to play in our national expansion programme they will become more conscious of the need to co-operate with the Irish Goods Council in relation to the purchase of domestic products. This is an area where with very little effort, accepting the commitment, understanding the problem and, indeed, desiring to assist, all of us can play a very important role.
The present campaign has set a very modest target. We are talking about a 3 per cent transfer from imported to Irish made goods which will, as Senator Mulcahy said, result in the creation of 10,000 jobs. If we could achieve that target initially and then expand you can see how we, at no cost to the nation, could be well on the way to full employment.
It is important to emphasise that this is not an Irish Goods Council programme or a Government programme. They are providing the leadership and the publicity. In the final analysis it is a community programme, a programme which asks for the co-operation of all consumers. Therefore, its success or failure will depend on how the community responds.
Senator Mulcahy provided detailed figures of the situation in relation to imports. He gave them under various headings. I have a short list and for what it is worth I will read it for the purpose of highlighting some imported products which could be manufactured here and purchased by Irish consumers. Last year we imported 8.7 million pairs of stockings. We imported between 1 million and 1½ million pairs of gloves. We imported 2 million shirts, which represented almost 56 per cent of our total consumption. We imported 21 million pairs of tights, representing 60 per cent of the total consumption. Under the heading of refrigerators, 55,000 units were imported. We imported 134,000 units of radio sets, 25 million metres of wallpaper, despite the fact that we have an excellent industry for the  production of wallpaper, and 2 million kilogrammes of cheese even though we have many factories producing some of the highest quality cheese that there is in the EEC.
That brings me to the important question of import substitution. I think that we would need to tackle the question of import substitution. There is no question that we have the expertise to produce and manufacture quality goods which could substitute for the ones which we have been importing down through the years. In this regard, I think it is in order to compliment the Junior Chamber, Ireland, for their recent project in relation to import substitution. They have put a lot of effort and research into it. We should also recognise the work of an organisation in which I am particularly interested, that is, Muintir na Tíre. They have also put a lot of work into the establishment of small industries which I believe are essential for our future economic well-being. I hope that organisations like Muintir na Tíre, Macra na Feirme, the ICA, the IFA and many other organisations which we are proud of, will now instill into their members the importance of purchasing guaranteed Irish products.
Another area in which the campaign could be promoted is in our schools. Unfortunately, our school leavers are finding it very difficult to get jobs. I wonder to what extent our secondary school teachers emphasise to their students the importance of purchasing Irish goods. I think it should be brought home to them that they have an important role to play in relation to our industrial expression which would result in a corresponding increase in jobs.
I could go on and talk of the role of the retailer and of the manufacturer but, unfortunately, my time has run out. That we have been given an opportunity of discussing this important Motion will, I hope, help the Irish Goods Council in its campaign to highlight the importance of each person in the work of economic expansion. If this debate assists in doing that then we will have done a very good day's work.
Mr. Cooney Mr. Cooney
 Mr. Cooney: There is no doubt that all sides of the House can support this motion with enthusiasm. We all wish this campaign complete success because the beneficial effects it can have for our economy are immense. There have been similar campaigns in the past and, unfortunately, the precedent for success is not there. It is only fair to say that the campaigns were only partially successful. Perhaps they were being run at a time when we were just coming out of the era of protectionism. Having lived in that era with a limited range of quality goods probably induced a reaction among the consuming public against the Irish-made product. Very often the articles produced at home during that time had an ersatz quality about them and I think that memory is lingering longer than expected.
If we think back to the fifties and the sixties, shopping excursions to Northern Ireland were a common feature of life in the Republic. Those shopping expeditions were carried out because the shoppers were aware that they were going to get in Northern Ireland a wider range of goods in more attractive designs and of better value. A large number of people went on those shopping trips quite regularly for the reason that the range of product, variety in design and competitiveness in price was not then available here as we were coming out of an era of feather-bedding of local industry. That policy was quite justified and necessary but it did have the consequence that the article produced by it was not up to standard in many cases and the range very often was limited. This induced a certain hostility on the part of the consumer who felt that he was compelled because of this national policy to do shopping in this comparatively limited way. Consequently there was an understandable desire to look further afield, and these shopping trips to Northern Ireland were a common feature of our life only ten years ago. Many of today's shoppers are still influenced by that and have possibly passed on to their children the memories of the excitement of those trips. I have no doubt that this has been a big factor in impeding the  success of the “Buy Irish” campaigns until now.
I do not want to engage in any exercise of teaching our grandmothers on the Irish Goods Council how to suck their eggs because they are the experts in this business and we should be wary of falling into the trap of telling them how to run a “Buy Irish” campaign but this is a feature that should not be lost sight of and which might have to be counted in the propaganda and advertising engaged in by the Goods Council.
We do have to make it very clear that those days of protectionism, with the result that I have mentioned in the range, variety and price of Irish goods, have gone and Irish goods are now totally on a par with imported goods. Irish manufacturers are somewhat to blame in that free trade was on the horizon. When the ship of free trade had come right over the horizon and was steaming rapidly towards them they were very slow to take protective action, notwithstanding the official assistance that was available—I think there were committees on industrial organisation—to give expert advice to the various sectors in the Irish manufacturing scene. Unfortunately, many of them did not take that advice at that critical time.
In that failure lies some of our present difficulties; indeed, we might be able to point to that failure as being the cause of some of the failures in Irish industry in the last, say, ten years or less, particularly in the textile and footwear industry. The advent of free trade was not recognised as the urgent matter that it turned out to be. This is a matter of history but it is relevant in so far as it formulated public attitudes towards native goods and towards imported goods. It will take some time to change that mental and national attitude as a result of the Irish consumer being confined to Irish goods by virtue of the necessary policy of protectionism.
In that context we have to consider, too, whether the Irish manufacturing area is ready to avail of the immense opportunities which a successful “Buy Irish” campaign will produce for it.  Any buying campaign needs money in the pockets of consumers and the budgetary policy of the Government has considerably increased the amount of money for personal spending through income tax, rates and car tax reliefs. This, of course, will be spent immediately and the question then arises—whether Irish industry is sufficiently far advanced and sufficiently geared to take advantage of this money that is immediately available.
There are incentives available for industry to expand its productive capacity, incentives that will enable it to compete by way of streamlining its operations to become more competitive in terms of price, but there is obviously going to be a time lag between the taking up of these incentives, the change of procedures in industry and the production of the goods. I wonder if that time lag will be fatal to the total success of the buy Irish policy. In other words, has the increased spending capacity been given too soon in advance of the capacity of industry to capitalise on it? Again, we will have to wait and see what the answer will be. I certainly hope that Irish industry will have the capacity—unused as of now—to immediately come on-stream to take advantage of the greater availability of money in the hands of the consumer.
There are so many factors involved in the individual consumer's decision —curiosity, personal taste and so on. All these matters can affect the consumer at the last moment. A lot of goods are bought in a routine fashion and there is not much thought put into the purchase of them. The extra spending that might be expected from the public is one factor we will have to be careful about. Again, this will very often be an impulse purchase by somebody attracted to a well-designed article or by somebody attracted to a mere novelty.
It is a matter of some puzzlement that there should be such a high penetration by foreign food products of the Irish home market, bearing in mind that we are essentially an agricultural country and can produce a full range of foods. I think the answer is that these foreign products are very  often novelties to the Irish consumer and there is an understandable tendency to be curious about them and buy them for that reason. If the product is up to scratch according to the expectation of the consumer the chances are that that product has made a foothold in that consumer's household. Multiply that by a wide variety of goods and one can understand how the novelty of these foreign goods can substantially increase their sale.
The amount of penetration by foreign textiles is a matter for some worry because our textile industry has the capacity to produce good contemporary designs and should be able to compete in design and in price. I know we suffer from the employment subsidy and from textiles coming through devious routes from the Third World and landing upon our counters at very competitive and unmatchable prices.
Nevertheless, the level of penetration in these two areas where we are, and have been for quite a while, capable of competing is a matter for some worry. It will be interesting to see if the proportions diminish over the next nine months until we have the trade figures in 1979. I agree with Senator Mulcahy that it is heartening to see the excess diminishing but one must ask, in view of the penetration in these two areas, whether the lessening of the excess is due to less purchasing of consumer goods or whether there has been a fall-off in the purchasing of capital goods in which manufacturers have invested. I do not know but I am sure the figures will reveal the answer. We can only be happy when we see the excess diminishing by virtue of a reduction in the purchase of consumer goods rather than by means of a drop in the purchase of goods that would be needed by way of investment in our industry.
We all wish this campaign well. It will be a difficult one to bring to total success. The energy that has been brought to it at the moment is commendable and I am quite certain that the people who are in charge of the campaign, from the Minister of State through all the officers responsible for  organising and running it, are well aware of the various factors that come into the picture and that have to be taken into account.
It is unfortunate, perhaps, that this campaign is such an important plank in the Government's economic programme. I say “unfortunate” from the point of view that, if the campaign fails and this important plank is not available to support the Government's programme, the programme might fail with dire consequences for us all. Unfortunately, this campaign is dealing with people's emotions, people's personal tastes, matters which are very difficult to manipulate and direct, and the difficulties are proved by the unfortunate precedents of the past. Nevertheless, we can only be optimistic. Anything this debate can do to assist that campaign by highlighting the importance of it for our country and for our future is desirable. I am glad to add my voice to the debate in supporting the motion wholeheartedly.
Ruairí Brugha Ruairí Brugha
Ruairí Brugha: This motion has the unanimous support of all Members of this House. It is a timely one. If it were necessary to justify it, which it is not, the very frightening figure produced by Senator Mulcahy showing that 43 per cent of those under 25 are at the present unemployed would justify the campaign. That should be a sufficiently strong motivation to any one of us to get up off our chairs and get moving.
I believe all organisations, particularly socially organised ones, should take this matter seriously because we, as a community, are obliged to ensure that young people are provided with useful employment as soon as possible. In that sense this is a community effort that should get the full support of everybody in the community, particularly those in some key areas to which I would like to refer.
The areas I would like to deal with, in which I believe the Irish Goods Council should push or engage most strongly and most vigorously would be the manufacturers and those in control of the retail area. In the case of manufacturers, some of them need a strong market effort to ensure that all  retatil outlets are getting efficient delivery and the market effort that requires that retail outlets should be continuously contracted by the manufacturers' agents. I say that because I have known of instances in the past where foreign goods were being sold across the counter because our manufacturers had not bothered to send in their agents. This is merely one aspect of what one can describe as inefficiency and laziness. It is also an assumption that people should look for your products rather than that you need to do the hard work which many of our exporting manufacturers are doing abroad.
In the case of the retail area, I would ask the Irish Goods Council to direct their efforts towards the following categories: the managing directors of retail concerns, the managers, the buyers and the staffs. Those who promote foreign goods across the counter can hardly be blamed if they are the only goods being made available to them. If the shelves are full—and that process takes place six to nine months before the goods are in current market or on the shop counters—and the goods already ordered from abroad—all the goods efforts in the world, all the pleas to the public to buy Irish will have no effect at all if the buyers in many of our supermarkets and retail stores have already bought the foreign article. This has been happening for a long time. There are many culprits in the retail area. There are many large supermarkets and stores and a large number of smaller outlets in which, through laziness, carelessness and perhaps through a lack of interest and a healthy conscience on the part of managing directors and boards of directors, the selection of goods is mainly foreign. For that reason I would urge that the efforts of the Irish Goods Council be directed into that area. It is quite obvious that, even with the best publicity campaign only dedicated members of the public are going to fight it out on the shop floor. They will be helpless anyway if the unfortunate sales person says: “I am sorry but I have not got it; it is not here.” If the purchasing power of the retailers is already taken up in commitments for orders for foreign goods, they are themselves cut  off from any goodwill they might feel, having made the mistakes.
An aspect of it that is most interesting is that there is here, as in every other country, a handful of key individuals in the right positions who could make this campaign successful. Not only could the target be reached but it could be virtually doubled. They are the areas I am speaking of—the owners and directors of major concerns, the buyers and, to some degree, but only marginally, the key figures in the trade union area itself.
I commend the efforts of the Irish Goods Council. I have had the opportunity of seeing some of their advertising. In my opinion it is quite good. I have been studying the three-year programme for the promotion of Irish goods and I am very pleased to note the sectors that have been set out for attention over the coming three years. I believe that if the council vigorously pursues such matters as seminars and workshops, a good part of their success will come from these areas.
As I have said, it is difficult to expect people continually to run the gauntlet in shops and stores throughout the country. The real significance lies in who is buying the goods for retail sale. The representatives of the Irish Goods Council know as well as I do where the trouble lies in many of our service industries.
I do not want to take up too much time in talking about this, although something that is worth saying is worth saying often. Some people can get a little tired of listening to pleas. If one could only get at the people concerned and motivate their consciences, one could easily have the kind of success that we are looking for.
I am glad to learn that there has been some measure of change even over the last six to seven months. I will end by saying that, if Irish retailers fulfil what I would describe as their community obligations—assuming, of course, that the manufacturers are being efficient and doing deliveries on time and that the goods are available—those retailers would themselves gain on the multiplier because the Irish purchasing market, that is the money available for buying, would be increased  that much more and automatically would lead to an increase in retail turnover and therefore in the retailers' own profit.
There are many other areas that one could deal with in this debate: the question of buying by semi-State companies, for example, the question of the major building programmes that are going on around the country, and where the Goods Council could be very busy trying to get at what we call the nitty-gritty of purchases within contracts for major construction work that is going on.
Finally I would say to our buyers and managers, look after the small things, look after the little things that Senator Mulcahy referred to in one instance, look after these and this campaign will be successful because you will create an atmosphere which will be healthy and which will be conducive to improving the prospects of young people as well as strengthening our economy, which does need a considerable degree of strengthening over the next couple of years.
Mrs. Robinson Mrs. Robinson
Mrs. Robinson: Like other Senators I support the emphasis on a “Buy Irish” campaign and I also support and encourage the work of the Irish Goods Council. However, I also welcome this motion because it gives Senators an opportunity to assess the credibility of the commitment in the Fianna Fáil manifesto, and taken up in the White Paper, that a 3 per cent diversion of imports would result automatically in 10,000 new jobs. I do not think there will be any disagreement in this House that a strong and successful “Buy Irish” campaign will be good for the economy, but I am not convinced, and I have not been convinced as yet by the proposer of the motion, Senator Mulcahy, or by any other contributor on that side of the House, that the diversion of 3 per cent of imports will automatically create 10,000 new jobs over the next three years. That is very clearly what the manifesto promises. The relevant section of the manifesto says:
A comprehensive and effective programme could switch 3p in the £  of spending to Irish products within three years, and this would yield 10,000 extra jobs.
There is an element of doubt as to whether we can mount a successful campaign but if we do mount a successful campaign there appears to be no doubt and, indeed, it is so certain that there is no statistical back-up. There are no figures. There is nothing to say on what this assessment is based.
When Senator Mulcahy tabled this motion in the Seanad and proposed it, knowing his area of expertise, I thought he would spend a considerable time explaining to me certainly how he comes to that automatic conclusion because, like other Senators on both sides of the House who have spoken, I believe unemployment is the greatest problem facing Ireland at the moment. It is a deeply serious problem which must engage our maximum attention and we cannot afford to mislead or to make false promises in the area of employment creation.
What I would like is much more specific assessments and facts and figures on how the 10,000 new jobs will automatically and necessarily result from a rise in home consumption of products on the home market and a 3 per cent diminution in imports. Of course, I am very much in favour of cutting down our imports and I hope we will be able to cut our imports down by 3 per cent, but perhaps I am missing a very obvious point. It seems that this would clearly result in a greater profit to Irish companies because of their higher sales, but it is just as likely to lead from there to investment in improved technology to improve further the production of these home companies and not necessarily in increasing employment.
Again, maybe I am missing something obvious, but it seems to me that there are not that many incentives at the moment in Ireland to expand employment in the private sector. Indeed, on the contrary, the scales are weighted too much in the other direction. My view of that is very much supported by a major study on unemployment in Ireland produced last Monday by Dr. Brendan Walsh.  I happen to be on the Steering Committee, composed of members of the Irish Council of the European Movement and the Irish section of the European League for Economic Co-operation, who commissioned this report. It is a very major study of the unemployment problem in Ireland— the background analyses and the policy options. I would say it ought to be compulsory reading for every politician and everybody involved in policy formation or decision-making in Ireland.
Strangely enough, although Dr. Brendan Walsh came forward with a very significant number of policy options, both on the supply side and on the demand side for creating employment, he did not focus on this magic formula that will somehow produce 10,000 new jobs. I cannot think how he missed this, considering the very thorough study he did of the problem. His conclusions were not necessarily more pessimistic but involved more of us than just the rather simplistic formula of buying more Irish goods and automatically there would be 10,000 new jobs.
I assume new jobs here means not just jobs to replace jobs lost elsewhere in manufacturing or other industry in Ireland, but new from a defined base on top of the replacement of any existing jobs lost.
Dr. Brendan Walsh in his conclusion on the policy options open, and an analysis of the structural reasons for unemployment in Ireland, concludes at paragraph 4.56 of the report:
The problem of unemployment is ultimately a question of the distribution of income and employment opportunity between different groups in society. The policies pursued by Irish governments since the late 1950s have been quite successful in providing employment at relatively high, and rapidly growing, real wages for most of the 300 thousand persons employed in the industrial sector. Others have benefited less—notably those who emigrated, young people who have not yet obtained employment, those who have accepted employment at low wages in services or on the fringes of the economy, those who have retired early or remained  in home duties due to the scarcity of job opportunities, and of course the 100 thousand officially registered as unemployed.
The policies of promoting employment discussed in this chapter will be successful only if some degree of sacrifice is forthcoming from the sectors of population who have gained the most from the sustained economic growth of the period 1961-1974. The sacrifices in question involve a willingness either to accept a slower growth in real earnings due to moderation in wage claims and a switch towards less capital intensive employment or to shoulder a higher burden of taxation to support early retirement, prolonged education, and higher levels of subsidies to job creation. There is no escape from the choice between these two types of sacrifice. In the longer run there is the hope that the structure of the economy, and the technology used in it, will adjust to reflect the abundance of certain types of labour, but this cannot come from Irish effort alone, as so much in this area is dictated by international forces. If the economy adjusted to the task of providing employment at the required rate by movement towards greater labour intensity, the central issue would soon be seen to be the need to raise income per person or per worker. It is, ultimately, the more basic concern, and if the income distribution issue raised by unemployment could be settled, then the long-run task of raising income per person could receive the individual attention it deserves. Until that time, account must be taken of the very real tradeoff between growth in income per worker and in employment.
The message is not a very palatable one for any of us. It is one that we must reflect on extremely seriously. I really believe—and I do not make this as a party political point—it is misleading the people and young people to talk glibly about the automatic production of 10,000 new jobs because we manage to divert three per cent of imports, and to have greater consumption of home produced products.
That could just as easily mean  greater profit to manufacturing firms, and to the use of that profit to improve technology in those firms and, by doing so, further to cut down on the present employment level because of the high cost of labour and the lack of incentive at Government level in promoting labour. It need not at all automatically result in a significant job increase, never mind 10,000 new jobs over the next three years.
Maybe I am missing something obvious. I notice Senator Whitaker is in his customary seat listening carefully to the debate. If he intends to participate in it, I would welcome his enlightenment as to how a 3 per cent diversion of imports automatically leads to 10,000 new jobs. This is a figure picked out of the sky. It is part of a promising package. Indeed, I would have to say a great deal of what Senator Mulcahy said was the language of packaging and of PR. I believe his heart is in the right place. He wants to help to solve the unemployment problem and he tabled this motion as a contribution towards that, but I would ask him to define very precisely first of all, from what base these 10,000 new jobs are being calculated; secondly, what is the statistical research that went into the calculation of 10,000 new jobs as opposed to 8,000, or 15,000, or 11,000? Was this figure on the basis of statistical research because, unlike other areas where the assertions made in the Fianna Fáil manifesto were backed up to some extent by research and statistics, there are no statistics for this global figure.
If we mislead the people into thinking that we can solve our unemployment problem by this magic formula, then we will still continue to refuse to face reality. I agree with Senator Ruairí Brugha who referred in particular to our very high rate of youth unemployment.
I shall have to leave this House shortly to go to a meeting of the Joint Committee on the Secondary Legislation of the European Communities to present a report on community proposals for youth employment. It is clear from an examination of the situation here and in the other eight countries of the European Community  that the situation in Ireland is dramatically worse. We have a much higher rate of unemployment generally. We have a significantly higher rate of unemployment among under 25 year olds and, whereas the population bulge since the Second World War tapers off in the other eight countries, and they will not have the same dimension of problem from about 1983, certainly from 1985 on, our problem will continue at the same dimension into the 1990s and to the turn of the century because of our unique democratic structure.
This is the greatest economic and social problem facing us and there is no easy or automatic solution. We must orchestrate a whole range of policies, many of them considered in great detail by Dr. Brendan Walsh in his paper. As I say—and I conclude on this—I wish the “Buy Irish” campaign well because it is obviously in the interests of the economy and the people, but let us not fool ourselves: it will not necessarily and automatically result in some magic figure of 10,000 new jobs. We would be fooling ourselves if we thought it did.
Minister of State at the Department of Industry, Commerce and Energy (Mr. R. Burke) Minister of State at the Department of Industry, Commerce and Energy (Mr. R. Burke)
Minister of State at the Department of Industry, Commerce and Energy (Mr. R. Burke): I welcome the opportunity to visit the Seanad and speak on this motion. I thank Senator Mulcahy and Senator Hyland for having placed the motion on the Order Paper. I should also like to thank those Members of the Seanad who have contributed to the debate for the general welcome given to the campaign announced by the Minister for Industry, Commerce and Energy on 18 January last.
I do not want to become contentious on this issue but I want to refer to a couple of points made by the previous speaker. She referred to facing up to reality. The reality is that, if we do not stop the slide into being a nation relying totally on imports we will not be talking about the creation of 10,000 extra jobs. We will be slowly but surely sinking into the Atlantic Ocean under the tidal wave of imports that we are now trying to stop.
I agree there is a need for orchestration,  but this is only one of the instruments in that large orchestra: the instrument of the budget proposals which were incentives to an improvement in the economic life of this country announced by the Minister for Finance on 1 February last, the IDA promotional work, all of the other work that is being done. This is merely one instrument in that orchestra, and the figures were not just plucked out of the sky. They have been proven and been gone over on a number of occasions.
As the Minister indicated on 18 January last when the programme was being launched, this programme, in terms of funding and the comprehensive nature of the activities proposed, is the biggest and most extensive promotion ever undertaken to increase home sales of Irish manufactured goods. This is a measure of the Government's commitment to the programme which is an important element, as our election manifesto indicated it would be, in the overall strategy for employment creation and industrial development over the next three years at least. There is, as I hope to bring out in what I have to say, a close link which is being further developed between the programme and activities such as those of the project identification unit of the IDA, the small industries programme, and the product development work of the IIRS. In short, the programme is concerned not only with increased purchases of Irish-made consumer goods in the shops, it also, and to an increasing extent, seeks to identify and bring to the notice of purchasers in Ireland, capacity which exists for the manufacturers of goods which have tended to be imported, identify and bring to the notice of manufacturers here opportunities which exist for supplying the needs of customers who up to this may have imported particular requirements simply because they failed to appreciate that, with the broadening that has been taking place in our industrial base in the past ten years or so, the capacity or the potential of make those goods is now available here in Ireland.
Last year our total imports bill was just over £3,000 million. This included  much that we cannot produce here ourselves: oil, commodities and raw materials. Almost one-third of the total, £1,000 million worth, could be said to represent competing or substitutable imports. To put this figure more in focus, let me say that, in the ten years from 1967 to 1977, competing imports have doubled their share of the Irish market, from 15 per cent to 30 per cent, and this comparison understates what has happened in particular sectors where the domestic market share has fallen from over 80 per cent to below 30 per cent. In the past five years, for example, imports of clothing, footwear and furniture have more than trebled.
Increased imports were, of course, inevitable as we progressed to free trade, first under the Anglo-Irish Free Trade Area Agreement and then on entry to the EEC. Indeed, it is now 17 years since the Government of the day, recognising the inevitability of free trade and the opportunities for industrial expansion it would provide—as indeed it has— began the process of encouraging our manufacturing industry to adapt to the new conditions which free trade would bring. However, competition from imports has in recent years been greatly accentuated for the countries of the EEC and other western European countries by the massive upsurge of imports, generally well made and highly competitive, from Far East countries and other low priced sources.
The increasing pressure of imports from these sources, along with the effects of the recession on employment and excess capacity in some sectors, has led to the taking of measures designed to stabilise the position of certain sectors of industry. One example of this, and a very welcome one from the viewpoint of our industry, is the series of restraint agreements in respect of textile goods which the EEC negotiated towards the end of 1977 with a number of its supplier countries, 25 in all, under the international arrangement known as the Multi Fibres arrangement.
Other such measures are those introduced both by the USA and the EEC at the end of last year in respect  of steel products. These and other developments have led to it being said that we are now in the era of organised free trade which is likely to persist for some years. At various times over the past year or so, there have been ominous signs of a drift towards protectionism. Indeed, only last week the chief executive of Córas Tráchtála warned that some of our exporters had in very recent times been affected by such protectionism. From our point of view it is vital that this drift towards protectionism should be stopped. Apart from the difficulties which would arise for our exporters, the further industrial development we need so much would be put in jeopardy.
I have laboured this point about free trade and current trends towards protectionism because I want to emphasise, first, that the campaign to promote the sale of Irish goods cannot by any stretch of the imagination be regarded as smacking of a new form of protection. On the contrary, it starts from the premise that we ought to apply in the home market the sales and marketing techniques which are necessary for success in exports. This, however, has all too often not been the case. Secondly, we cannot afford to go on complacently accepting the erosion of our home market by increasing imports year by year and it is time for Irish manufacturing industry to fight to win back lost business, create new opportunities and maintain for itself a reasonable share of the home market.
The present programme is a three-year one and it is, of course, too early as yet to assess its results to date. Even so, there are some encouraging signs. The preliminary trade figures for the first quarter of this year published last week indicate that the rate of growth in imports, particularly competing imports, is down by comparison with the corresponding period of 1976. It is, of course, much too early to draw any definite conclusions from this, but it would suggest that the programme is already making its effect felt on purchasers' attitudes. Senator Mulcahy already dwelt on this point.
Some aspects of the programme that  will be of interest to Senators here are the promotional works which have been drawn up and agreed with the manufacturing industries in the food, footwear, furniture and carpet sectors. Industry itself has committed £70,000 to these programmes in the present year. I am gratified by this indication of support by the sectors concerned, which I expect will be emulated by other sectors. Promotional programmes are being discussed with the interests concerned in menswear, electrical goods, building materials and groceries other than food.
Commitments to undertake regular programmes in support of “Guaranteed Irish” products have been obtained from seven groups engaged in multiple retailing or in merchandising, and two of these have committed themselves to spending over £35,000 on these activities in the present year. Other retail promotional activity has involved streets, shopping centres, cities and towns throughout the country. The degree of co-operation which has been forthcoming from other organisations in the public and private sector has been most encouraging. At this stage I would like to mention particularly the co-operation and effort by the trade union movement.
Significant among these is the national project undertaken by Junior Chamber, Ireland involving over 20 towns and cities. The objective of the project is to identify opportunities for import substitution within local communities. The Junior Chamber programme includes local exhibitions, research, school projects, window display competitions and a variety of related activities.
As I have already indicated, the programme is not concerned with consumer sales alone. Special attention is being given to industrial purchases. Already this year a potential £15 million worth of industrial components and other needs has been identified as substitutable from within Irish production capability. Substantial orders have already been negotiated and the Irish Goods Council—and when I mention the Irish Goods Council I should like to compliment them very much, their chief executive, the members of the  Council and the staff, on the work they have put into this programme so far—are satisfied that new business worth up to £10 million will have been negotiated with Irish suppliers by the year's end.
I might mention here the particularly encouraging result of the Enquip exhibition held here last February. To many of those who attended from both sides of the Border, this exhibition was an eye-opener in terms of the range and quality of engineering goods now available from Irish sources. Many people, including industrial purchasers, though aware of the extent of our industrial expansion of the past decade or so, seem somehow to have failed to appreciate the implications this broadening of our industrial base has had in terms both of supply and demand for new products.
Public purchasing is another area to which we are giving special attention. Allowing for the constraints which our EEC obligations impose on us in the matter of preferences for home firms, there is still, in the view of the Government, considerable scope for increased home purchasing by public sector interests without in any way impairing the efficiency of the operations of any of these organisations. With a view to stimulating an enhanced awareness of the importance of buying Irish, and of working with Irish manufacturers to develop home production of products which might heretofore have been imported, I have already had a very constructive meeting with the heads of the major State-sponsored bodies. This will be followed up by a meeting between the Irish Goods Council and the purchasing officers of these bodies. I am also to have a similar meeting shortly with the county managers and with the chief executives of the various health boards.
I mentioned that basically the programme, from the manufacturers' viewpoint, has to do with applying in the home market the same sort and degree of marketing and sales skills that are necessary for success in exports. Many of our firms have but limited experience of exporting and these firms also tend to be production  oriented. They know their product but not how to sell it. Thus there is an urgent need to expand the level of marketing skills throughout Irish industry and to introduce market disciplines where these are virtually non-existent. This will have to be worked at and will not happen overnight. In the meantime, I would offer the following ideas as worthy of attention by industry.
First, there is clearly enormous scope for more joint ventures by Irish companies. I am thinking here not so much of joint ventures in manufacturing, which is one of the IDA programmes and which the work of the Irish Goods Council can further, as of joint ventures or co-operative measures in sales and distribution. This is by no means a new idea. I understand that back in the early sixties ideas of this kind were put forward by the Committee on Industrial Organisation in some of their reports as being among the measures sectors of Irish industry might take to meet conditions of freer trade.
There are many instances where the potential exists for expanding national sales of a product or product range, the only constraint being the lack of a distribution and sales network. If two or more companies were to share the distribution overheads, utilising the sales force of just one of the companies, the benefits in terms of expansion could be significant. Second, groups of companies might consider the establishment of a joint sales and distribution force on an agreed shared cost basis. This would be a logical extension, for example, of the co-operative sectoral marketing programmes which have been organised successfully by the Irish Goods Council in conjunction with sectoral groups over the past two years. Third, an assessment or inventory of distribution and sales capacity within various sectors is likely to reveal many cases of under-utilisation of resources.
In these cases, would it not be profitable for companies with a distribution network to seek partners who produce goods which could be channelled into the network? Would there  not also be possibilities for the development of new product lines to avail of underused selling potential? This is an area in which manufacturers could seek to avail to a greater extent of the services of the IIRS.
Traditionally much of Irish manufacturing management is not geared to developing strategies along the lines which I have proposed. There is a “go it alone” approach and a resistance to considering co-operation but —and I would emphasise this point —the time has well and truly arrived for Irish industry to do some fresh thinking in their market approach, recognise the need for shared expertise and resources and provide themselves with marketing, sales and distribution capabilities that will enable them to concentrate where they are strongest: on production of high quality marketable products. A new spirit of co-operation is needed in Irish industry if it is to win its fight in the Irish marketplace.
To conclude, let me stress that, though the Government have a major role in furthering the programme, the programme depends for its success on being a community effort. That is to say, it depends on the decisions of the individual consumers in their individual purchases to opt for the Irish product and, where that is not immediately offered, to ask for it. The consumer is not being asked to buy Irish because it is Irish but because the product is good and because decisions to buy the Irish product are decisions that in the aggregate create and sustain Irishmen and women in jobs that might otherwise be lost. Also, given the level of our imports, the switch to Irish goods being sought does not represent a great limitation on consumer choice.
Once again, I greatly appreciate the opportunity of being here today and I look forward with interest to the remainder of the debate.
Professor Murphy Professor Murphy
Professor Murphy: I totally support this motion which is laudable in every way. It is completely non-contentious in the expression it wants to give to the “Buy Irish” campaign and in that respect it is rather like being against sin. In that sense it is non-contentious.
 I was glad to be at the meeting in Cork organised by the Irish Goods Council. It was very well attended, as the Minister will remember, and it had a widely representative audience. I was very impressed by the way in which Mr. Vivion Murray handled the questions that were asked. We all pledged our support and indeed there were very many ways in which each of us individually can help a campaign like this.
For the industrialists involved it is no more than enlightened self-interest. When they talk about buying Irish their main concern, as always, is profit; but the other motivations—the one which concerns me—is the provision of jobs. I share Senator Robinson's reservations about how the figure of 10,000 was arrived at, and in passing I might well say that the figure of 10,000 new jobs is very small beer indeed when compared to the tens of thousands of new jobs that were promised in the manifesto in a facile attempt to win votes on control of natural resources issues.
However, there are certain aspects of the philosophy behind the concept that give me pause, that raise certain questions in my mind. It is no harm, without subjecting the Seanad to a history lecture, to put the “Buy Irish” campaign in an historical context. It has a long lineage in Irish history from the time in 1720 when Jonathan Swift published a Proposal for the Universal Use of Irish Manufactures. It is of interest that Swift's publication did not meet with any great popular response, and that set a pattern which has been followed up to now. It is interesting that the appeal in the eighteenth century to buy Irish goods did not catch on until the highly politically excited year of 1779 when the Irish Volunteers set the example by having their uniforms made of Irish cloth and non-importation associations were widely formed all over the country and were supported by high sheriffs and civil magistrates, grand jurors and so on.
More than a century later the Gaelic League took up the cause of buying Irish and though there were certain comic aspects to the Gaelic League  activities—certain comic outcomes of their obsession with wearing Irish, for example—nevertheless let no one underestimate the contribution of the Gaelic League to native Irish industry. Modern Irish industry owes a debt to the enthusiasm generated by the Gaelic League campaign. In 1901 An Claidheamh Solais pointed out to its readers that buying Irish could cut down significantly on the high emigration rate of that period. The whole Sinn Féin-Irish Ireland movement at the turn of the century was animated by this economic nationalism, reaching its high point perhaps with Arthur Griffith and his propagation of the ideas of Frederick Liszt that the national economy should be controlled nationally and protected by tariffs.
Now, be it noted, if history can teach us lessons, I think it teaches us the lesson that these various campaigns and these various buy Irish movements were economic concomitants of patriotic fervour in one way or another, that the appeal to buy Irish did not really catch on until it was allied to a political fervour or a political excitement. In our own time the now apparently abandoned slogan that was common in the thirties and forties was “Buy Irish, Be Irish”. In other words, the appeal to buy Irish is linked or should be linked with good old-fashioned patriotism. All these movements in the past were based on the assumption that if there was not at the moment a national control over the economy then future national control over the economy could solve those problems. Even in the thirties and forties, it was assumed that the nation controlled the economy and it was within this concept that the “Buy Irish” campaigns were launched.
One of the reservations I have about the present campaign, or rather one of the obstacles that I see to the present drive, is that today there are grounds for believing that we do not now have this national control of the economy and that this, indeed, could lead to a crisis of public confidence about the efficacy of this present campaign. We are told that as an optimum outcome of the campaign we will create 10,000 jobs. People are not going to  walk into a shop and say “I'm going to buy this guaranteed Irish product because it is going to create a new job.” People are not motivated by considerations of statistics of employment or unemployment. If you are telling people to buy Irish your only hope is to appeal to the old tír ghrá.
If people feel that we have no real control over our economy, either because of multinational power or because of directives from Brussels—in other words, if they feel we have no economic sovereignty—they will find it hard to believe that any individual actions of theirs can really make a difference to the employment situation. What guarantee have people who are sufficiently patriotic to buy Irish that this or that industry will not go to the wall next week in Ireland, perhaps because Brussels decides that production of a particular line is superfluous or obsolete according to overall EEC criteria? Is this campaign itself not anomalous in view of our total commitment to the European Economic Community? Is it not based on the old-fashioned patriotic appeal which is very far from being chauvinism? I would respectfully remind Senator Mulcahy that there is no question of chauvinism because by definition chauvinism is hating another country more than one loves one's own. Let us not be afraid to use patriotism. Is this campaign not based on an old-fashioned patriotic appeal with which I thoroughly agree and which I thoroughly endorse but which is arguably in conflict with the supra-national aims of the EEC?
I should not be surprised if we were presented one day soon with a directive from Brussels telling us that the allocation of Government funds to, and the expenditure of ministerial energy in, a campaign like this violate the spirit, if not indeed some obscure law letter, of the Community. It is curious that in the booklet Making the Future Work, which is one of the hand-outs of the Irish Goods Council, much is said about the economy, imports and exports but there is not a single mention of the EEC, not a single mention of the impact of the EEC on our economy. I find something  of the same schizophrenia here today in the House. We have had hardly a mention from Senators about the impact of the Community on our national economy. Senator Brugha, who is one of the committed Europeans in the House, more than once used the term “foreign goods”. It does not seem to me that he has lately in Strasbourg or Brussels been using the word “foreign”. Does “foreign” mean, for example, Italian shoes? Do we have a double think about us Irish nationals and those Italian foreigners when it comes to buying footwear? We have been talking so much on every economic occasion about the EEC and yet when it comes to the “Buy Irish” campaign we concentrate on the good old-fashioned patriotic appeal.
In this booklet I have mentioned, Making the Future Work, there is mention on page 2 of factory closures, thousands of lost jobs being at issue in the whole matter of buying Irish or not buying Irish. I find it ironic that the situation of factory closures and thousands of lost jobs is partly a result of our EEC membership. I find it ironic then that we should have this schizophrenic outlook about the non-mention of the EEC in a “Buy Irish” campaign context. The fact is, of course, that we have gone a long way towards alienating control of our national economy to Brussels.
I do not want to conclude on a negative note. I want to repeat my full support for this campaign. If my fellow Senators who are also involved in EEC affairs are crusading for a “Buy Irish” campaign at home, then in Europe they should be as concerned for the national interest as they are at home and should be assertive about the national economic interests even to the point of obstructiveness, as are other member states in the EEC. They should take this attitude in Europe if they are to be logical in their concern for the “Buy Irish” campaign.
Mr. Dowling Mr. Dowling
Mr. Dowling: I should like to add my voice to the voices of the many speakers in the course of the debate so far. To pass this particular motion  or any motion and wish for the best is no solution to this problem. A wishbone is no substitute for a backbone and a backbone must be put into this campaign by each and every one of us if we are to succeed in meeting the requirement and achieving the success we have been anticipating. Much good work has been done by very many people. Some people have been praised here today. The Departments and the various committees that have been in operation for some time have done much in identifying some of the problems. The identity of the problems is one factor and the solution is the other. Very often in debates like this there is sincerity on one side and hypocrisy on the other. I do not doubt for a moment the sincerity of each and every Member of both Houses of the Oireachtas.
In the past I questioned this matter in the other House. The question of Irish manufacture is one with which I have concerned myself over a considerable period. In relation to the public service, whether national or local, we should be conscious of the part that can be played by the various Government Departments and the local authorities. In many cases Government Departments have failed miserably in the past in relation to the question of Irish manufacture and many local authorities and other institutions have failed in their responsibilities.
I want to point out that in discussions in the past two years we had the matter of large shipping orders being given to Japan and to Wales, furniture for the Irish Life offices, the Department of Posts and Telegraphs getting labels printed in Britain, Savile Row shoes being given to members of the Naval Service, boxing and sports footwear from unidentifiable countries, apart from Taiwan and East European countries, being given to members of the Army boxing team and members of the Defence Forces. Low loaders for the Defence Forces that could have been manufactured here were manufactured abroad.
I could go on with a long litany of items that I personally raised in the Oireachtas over the  past two years. I am sorry to say that this has been raised not alone by me but by many other people who have pointed out the defects and the problems. Lip service is not enough; active service is required by every Department. I would hope that we will examine this situation in great depth.
I was heartened to hear the Minister indicate that every Government Department and local authority, as well as other authorities, will rectify this situation in the future. This is a situation over which we have control and we have failed miserably. I hope the lessons of the past will be a guiding light for the future and that we are really concerned and in earnest about the problem under discussion. The question of national pride has been a factor of great importance down through the years.
I would hope, too, that the industrialists will learn a lesson. It is not enough for the industrialists to rake off as a result of the efforts here and the efforts of the various committees that have been so patient and diligent in their work. Industrialists should back up the call for the guaranteed Irish campaign, but at the same time if their clothes were examined one would find they have the Savile Row shoes or that the clothes which they and their families wear come from the fashionable outlets of Paris and London. It is not enough to preach, we must all be consistent in this. We must make the complete effort in order to ensure that we meet the success that is desired. I am concerned about national pride and the effort that each of us should put into this in order to achieve success.
The industrialists have a large part to play. Some people believe that industrialists themselves are not measuring up to their responsibilities, that they restrict orders or that they put people on overtime and do not increase their production by pumping into the employment sector additional job opportunities. If the additional efforts are to be absorbed in overtime and other gimmicks, then we will not meet the target, notwithstanding the fact that greater production effort is required. The industrialists themselves  will have to back this to the full and ensure the increased production to meet the expanding markets and they must increase employment in a very positive way, not just by the sop of overtime. We want people taken off the dole queues. That is the only solution to this great problem. To restrict orders—as some of them have done— is no solution. It is sabotaging the national effort and I hope that these matters will be brought to the attention of the Minister and others in the not-too-distant future.
Industrial peace is a large factor in meeting the targets that have been set and putting us on the road to the prosperity that is desirable. It is necessary that the mentality on the part of some sections of the trade union movement in bringing an industry to its knees is one that should be corrected at an early stage. Essential services need to be protected and the trade union organisations must play their part fully in ensuring that the essential services of the State are maintained in order that the job opportunities are made available to their members on the dole queues.
This arises particularly in relation to communications and transport, the electrical services and the other services that are necessary to maintain industrial progression. I hope the Minister, in the course of discussions with the trade union movement, will press these particular points. Many of them have been in the news too constantly in the past few months. Communications and transport are essential. Nevertheless, without serious consideration, certain members of the trade union movement are anxious to bring this nation to its knees and it has been stated by some people that that is their effort. We must ensure here that our efforts are not nullified by the efforts of a few who are not concerned about the prosperity of this nation or about job opportunities and would rather see longer and larger dole queues. I hope that this effort and this discussion will do much to project the points of view of the Members of this House and that as a result of constant pressure and constant endeavour by the responsible members of society those people who  endeavour to wreck it will be brought out in the open and will have the opportunity of identifying them fully.
Recently I was in Italy and I saw there the mergers and amalgamations of a number of groups in the motor industry who came together to meet a particular demand because they felt that with the pool of resources, the large reservoir of technical and scientific and marketing knowledge they could do a better job. I feel that much can be done in this regard here. It is not enough for Departments of State to say, as they said to me some time ago, that they got low loaders made abroad because none of them was made here. I am quite certain that the workshops in Inchicore or Dundalk, or the sugar factory workshops could make to order any item that is required by any Department here. I hope in the future that we will not have a repetition of the past and that we, by our efforts here, can pin-point to the Minister the items of importance that we see.
I would like to congratulate Vivion Murray and many other people who have spent long hours trying to pursue this difficult course of putting us on the road to prosperity. I will not detain the House any longer. There are many other things I would like to say and I hope that the Minister, on the next occasion, will be able to tell us that he has 10,000, or maybe 15,000 jobs, as a result of a united effort. I would not give thanks to any political party because it is the collective will of the people, national pride, that will motivate us, as one of the Senators has already said. I wish the Minister well and also the mover of the motion and those people who have been associated with it and I add my support.
Mr. Governey Mr. Governey
Mr. Governey: At the outset I wish to say that I fully support this motion. I believe that, were Senators Noel Mulcahy and Liam Hyland to ask every Member of the Senate to put his or her name to this motion they would not have any difficulty in getting the signatures.
I feel a certain amount of disturbance in my mind to think that it has been necessary over the years to have “Buy Irish” campaigns, especially  during the period around St. Patrick's Day. It should not be necessary for us to have to keep plugging this all the way. I want to be very fair about this. I have enough faith in Irish industry and also in Irish workers to know that they can produce goods that are second to none.
Unfortunately I had not the time to look up the debate which took place about two years ago in the Dáil, in which I referred to something which it may not be popular to say but I am one of these people who believes in straight talking. One of the faults that lies with the promotion of Irish goods is that much too often when we go into shops we are shown first goods which are not of Irish manufacture. Two months ago I went into a shop to buy a pair of shoes. I was shown a foreign pair which fitted me and I asked if they had a similar pair made by an Irish manufacturer. I walked out of the shop with an Irish-made pair of shoes with “Guaranteed Irish” on them. It may be unpopular to some people to say it but if more of us insist when we go to purchase goods on being supplied with Irish goods it will be to the betterment of our economy and it will ensure the employment of our workers.
It is not just the business of the present Government or of any political party to do their best to try to have all our people employed. We are all anxious for full employment and anxious that there should not be dole queues. The best way to prove that is to ensure that we give a lead as Members of the Houses of the Oireachtas and to preach that gospel to the people who support every party in this country. The only way to bring about job creation is by ensuring our products are sold here and are also capable of being sold on the export market.
Having looked up the figures recently I note we import well in excess of £100 million worth of industrial products annually. Is there not something we could do to correct this situation? The Minister referred to the role the Junior Chambers of Commerce are playing. I am very happy  to be able to say that in my own town, Carlow, there will be a project at the beginning of May sponsored by the Junior Chamber of Commerce in Carlow for the promotion of the sale of Irish goods and the sale of local manufacture. I suppose we are one of the towns that are fortunate because, even in the days of recession, we were not the most adversely affected. During that time we had two new factories opened. We have the Sugar Company. Only last week I was through the building again looking at some of the machinery being manufactured there for export. This is a credit not alone to the management of these concerns but to the workers who produce the goods.
I mentioned the need to promote Irish goods. There is a responsibility on manufacturers to ensure the goods produced are worthy of the label “Guaranteed Irish”. I have enough faith in Irish industry to believe that both workers and management are capable of producing top quality goods. I would ask the Minister here to ensure that any technological or other advice that may be needed by manufacturers should be readily available to them regardless of cost to ensure that we play our part in putting our own top quality goods on the Irish market and compete successfully in foreign markets.
These are just a few brief points. I am glad to support the motion. Everything possible should be done to encourage the proper production and proper presentation of Irish goods. If we produce the goods to the right standard I have no doubt that we will succeed in reducing the numbers in our dole queues.
Dr. Whitaker Dr. Whitaker
Dr. Whitaker: I should like very briefly to express support for the motion and, therefore, for the “Buy Guaranteed Irish” Campaign and to say here what I have already said in public, namely, that I think it is most important that there should be widespread community support for the objective in the White Paper on National Development persuading people, in their own interests and in the interests of so many young unemployed,  to use more of their purchasing power in purchasing home products rather than imports. I mention the White Paper particularly because there is, and this is acknowledged fully by the Government, grave risk in relying entirely on global expansion of demand to achieve the Government's employment objectives. The risk, of course, is simply that as you generate more domestic purchasing power by large-scale borrowing you may boost imports rather than employment. It is because this is such a serious risk, particularly from the balance of payments standpoint, that it is highly important the campaign to switch 3 per cent of consumption from imports to home products should succeed. That, perhaps, is a negative reason, but there is also the positive reason that, if the campaign is successful, it will not only arrest the tendency for employment to fall, because of the growth of competing imports, but actually expand it substantially.
Senator Mrs. Robinson, who has had to leave the House, left behind a couple of questions addressed particulary to me. I will not get into a wrangle about how many jobs so much extra purchasing-power would produce. Perhaps I could point out to Senator Robinson that she seems to have misread the White Paper in referring all the time to a 3 per cent reduction in imports whereas, as I understand the White Paper, what it is aiming at is a 3 per cent switch of total consumption away from imports to home products. That is of a much bigger magnitude and could, therefore, be expected to have a much more favourable impact on employment. She also referred to Professor Walshe's very valuable paper on all the problems associated with increasing employment and, in particular to the phenomenon of increasing productivity which, looked at narrowly, is the kind of competition we do not want to have between productivity and jobs.
One can look at it too narrowly. That sort of argument and the apprehension would apply if our total output was in some way limited and we could not dispose of more than a certain volume. There would then be  competition between increased productivity and new jobs. Fortunately that is not the case. If we are competitive in what we produce in the way of goods and services, we are not limited as regards the amount we can dispose of and in that direction maybe is part of the answer to Senator Robinson's question.
The fact that we are a member of the EEC was brought to our attention. We have to remember we are in a free trade system. We are in a common market and sometimes, when we look with regret at the amount of certain commodities we are importing, we tend to forget the counterpart which is that in those very lines we may be exporting substantially. That is the case, in fact, in relation to footwear, which is one of the most sensitive of our industries to import penetration. Being a member of the EEC does not mean that it is forbidden to us to do what the Minister rightly said. It is not a matter of our indulging in or going back to protectionism. As the Minister said, it is a matter of applying to sales on the home market the same energy and sophisticated techniques we realise we have to apply in export markets. It is also, as so many speakers have pointed out, a matter of encouraging people to see what there is in the Irish range of products and not to be put off by indifference or neglect on the part of distributors.
In all this vulnerability to imports we have to keep in mind that protection or resort to methods of restricting imports is not the direction in which our salvation lies. We are committed by treaty to being partners in a free trade system but, apart from that, in the world in which we live it is obvious that it is only by latching our sales at home on to world demand by being competitive that we have any hope at all of reaching our employment targets. Our aim is to try to increase the amount of net value we add to the materials we work upon in order to produce goods and services. It is out of this net value added that we have the fund to pay wages, make profits, pay taxes to the Government  and have retentions for new investment. Presumably we are trying to maximise that net added value. We have to realise that to maximise it means not only being good at what we produce so that the “G” in guaranteed Irish means good value, but also that, in terms of quality, design and attractiveness we are constantly moving up the scale. Unless we move up the scale we will find ourselves losing out to the countries mentioned here which can produce the lower grades of products much cheaper than we can.
In fact the secret of making one's way in a highly competitive world is to be able through a high level of education, technical skill and artistic flair, to raise the quality and attractiveness of the goods and services we offer for sale. Relatively developed countries like ours and we are one of these, being in the first 25 in terms of wealth per head, seeking to maintain and improve their already high living standards must keep moving up the scale of quality in what they produce because of the growing competition to which they will be inevitably exposed from countries at a lower stage of development which will be taking over the production of less sophisticated products and services. We have to admit as part of our international aid policy that this is the only way, short of always living on the charity of others, by which the Third World countries can move up in living standards.
Mrs. Hussey Mrs. Hussey
Mrs. Hussey: I agree with the Senator who said it would have been better if the two Fianna Fáil Senators whose names are to the motion before us had asked for the agreement of others to putting their names to the motion to demonstrate the real sincerity of purpose behind it. It would be much better if people reading their papers tomorrow morning would see that this is an all-party motion. There is a danger that people may get the impression that this is an attempt by Fianna Fáil to meet their election promises and that, if you do, in fact, buy Irish, as admonished by Senator Mulcahy, you may be perpetuating Fianna Fáil in Government. That is  something which should have been thought about by Senators before they put the motion down with just two Fianna Fáil signatures to it.
I am always impressed by the very dramatic figures Senator Mulcahy produces for us and the dramatic way he lays them before us. I was sorry the Senator referred to alcohol and cigarettes once because in a “Buy Irish” campaign, or in any campaign where Government energy is expended, it should be selective. I would say to Senator Mulcahy that at a meal in the middle of a working day perhaps brandy, liquours or Irish Mist are not a good idea anyway. I understand we spend £4 million a week on alcohol. The greater part of that goes to Irish firms. We import wines to some extent. Now £4 million a week on alcohol is far too much. It is deplored by everybody. We must be selective in the kind of firms and the kind of help we give to them. It goes without saying that manufacturers of tobacco and cigarettes should not get any help whatever from the State and we should not have “Guaranteed Irish” written on products like that with, on the other end of the package, that a statement may damage your health. That is totally illogical. Being a reformed smoker I am a fanatic on this point.
A third area where one should be selective is in the area of refined white sugar which is considered to be extremely bad and the confectionery industry has, therefore, to be very carefully thought about. We heard this morning that dental health here is the worst in Europe. It is not a good thing to have the Irish Goods Council and the Minister for Health in opposition. We might have a problem of two Government bodies, one the Health Education Bureau and the other the Irish Goods Council, doing things in opposition to each other. We should not add to the enormous advertising budget of this kind of body in order to help a buy Irish campaign.
It is ludricous that we import so much in the line of fruit and vegetables. As a housewife, I go to my supermarket and I find that there is a display of European fruit and vegetables which we could grow here and  are not growing here. We waste our agricultural land, our hedges and margins. This is something that would make a Normandy fruit and vegetable gardener cry. Growing fruit and vegetables is a logical area of development for a European Ireland because it is something we are good at and not something we should have to hide behind protective barriers.
Finally, the problem between European status and buying Irish has not been cleared up to my satisfaction. I agree with Senator Murphy that we should describe buying Irish as a kind of modern patriotism, infinitely preferable to the many other kinds of nationalistic drumbeating patriotism which goes on. It seems to me to be a major problem. Unless this is a very short term effort to encourage people to buy Irish, it could rank as protectionism and directly contradict the aspirations we have towards European unity. I know Senator Mulcahy is a committed European, as indeed I am, and I know Senator Murphy is not. I understood the European Economic Community meant that we would eventually have a situation where goods would be manufactured wherever and by whomever could do it best. In practical terms of consumption that is what counts in the long run and ordinary people should have explained to them—and I include myself among the ordinary people— what is the dichotomy here. Could somebody explain this apparent dichotomy between buying Irish and being European?
An Cathaoirleach An Cathaoirleach
An Cathaoirleach: Before we go on, I would like to remind the Seanad that the motion will conclude at 5.48 p.m. Consequently the mover of the motion will be entitled to come in at 5.33 p.m. He is allowed 15 minutes. I would like Senators to bear that in mind.
Mr. Mulcahy Mr. Mulcahy
Mr. Mulcahy: I will be quite happy with ten minutes, so perhaps the Chair would like to let the House speak up to 5.38 p.m.
Mrs. Cassidy Mrs. Cassidy
Mrs. Cassidy: I welcome the opportunity afforded by this debate to add what I hope will be a practical note  from the viewpoint of the under-informed and sorely-tried consumer, the housewife. The object of this campaign is to change our spending habits. The habits of the housewife when she shops are limited by the amount of money and the amount of time at her disposal. Therefore, she looks for good value and quality at a competitive price. why buy inferior goods when quality in the long run is always cheaper? That is the basis of sound management, whether you are running a house, a business or, indeed, a country. Quality is not something that is found easily in this era of planned obsolescence, when household goods, whether we are talking about washing machines, footwear or clothing, seem to self-destruct in a remarkably short time. The housewife also looks for goods which are easily accessible, well-packaged, well presented and easy to carry. The manufacturer, therefore, must be encouraged to produce goods which meet these basic requirements and the retailer must be encouraged not only to stock them but to advertise them. What is the use of asking people to buy Irish if you do not ask people to sell Irish? In this regard I welcome the recent statement of the Minister for State, Deputy Geoghegan-Quinn, that the Irish Goods Council is to step up its efforts to involve retailers in the promotion of Irish goods through this “Guaranteed Irish” scheme. This task would, I feel, be made much easier if the Government devoted some of the money they intend to spend on subsidising the Irish Consumers' Association in order to enable this body to disseminate information through the media, on a weekly basis, about the availability and the prices of Irish goods and to compare these prices with those of imported goods.
I would like to refer briefly to the more specialised products, things we are rather good at producing, traditional crafts, knitwear, crochet, pottery, glass and silver. Usually these are produced only for the export market and I would like to see us being encouraged to buy them and to use them. These small indigenous crafts, demanding a  high degree of skill in their production, should be encouraged and I hope their promotion will form a large part of the “Buy Irish” campaign. Something that inhibits people like me from buying these items is a certain sloppiness about their assembly. Who has not had the experience of buying something rather special, something to wear, and being asked to wait while somebody in the shop sews on the buttons? I have on occasion brought home something on which I have had to sew the buttons myself or have had to go over the seams. Indeed, I have had to wash something because it seemed as if it had been tried on by a miniature coal heaver so grubby was it. This is to be discouraged. There is enormous potential in this field and I would like to see it used efficiently. There is some progress because if you go to our tourist resorts you will see these small items of pottery. But the smaller decorative items are on sale side by side with the Oriental leprechauns. The success of this campaign is vital to our economy, to our balance of payments, to our unemployment figures, and one can only commend the efforts of those who are engaged in it.
Mr. Harte Mr. Harte
Mr. Harte: When Senator Joe Dowling was speaking, I felt like cheering at what he was saying about hypocrisy. It was very true. On the other hand, in part of his contribution he implied some misbehaviour on the part of the trade union movement as a whole with regard to this “Buy Irish” campaign. There is a history of support by the trade unions for “Buy Irish” campaigns. It is unfortunate, therefore, that an otherwise excellent contribution has this element introduced into it. I would draw attention to the fact that the Fianna Fáil Party claim more trade unionists vote for them than for any other political party. I do not agree with what the Senator said about the trade unions. I do not think there is any intention of disrupting the “Buy Irish” campaign by any dispute going on at the moment. If it is true that more trade unionists vote for Fianna Fáil then it must be the Fianna Fáil people who are letting down Fianna Fáil. However, I do not believe the Senator's statement.
 Senator Mulcahy pointed out one particular semi-State body using goods that were not Irish. Politicians receive various complaints. There was one about bars of English soap being used in Castleknock in An Foras Talúntais. It is a small point. It will not make or break the campaign, but it is worth mentioning.
Ireland's percentage of tillage in the growing of wheat, oats, barley, beet, potatoes and so on, is very low. Denmark has 75 per cent, Belgium 44 per cent, France 42 per cent, Holland 30 per cent and Ireland has only ten per cent. Tillage generates employment in, for example, the use of seeds, manures, weedkillers, machinery and so on. These things generate employment and I hope they have been taken into consideration in the overall situation. When the Minister was making his contribution it did not appear that this aspect was considered. Under the Lomé Convention the Irish Sugar Company must import a certain amount of sugar, particularly from the ACP countries. Regard must be had to these things. The EEC agricultural policy has not been very charitable to some Irish farmers and that is not helping the “Buy Irish” campaign either.
In past “Buy Irish” campaigns there were fluctuations, peak and valley period situations, in the middle of them. They were investing a hell of a lot more abroad than they were investing in Ireland. That situation needs to be watched in any “Buy Irish” campaign. I am not suggesting that that tendency is with us at present but in the long run it can develop. I am still convinced that capital is a citizen of the world that has no great loyalty in the final analysis and I would be suspicious of that. If we did run into a situation such as that and we had something like the Development Corporation, which the trade unions have been advocating for years, planning agreements could be made with the top companies whereby some of the profits would be hived off and arrangements for withdrawals would be controlled. In other words, it would be related to the cyclical problems that arise. These points are worthy of consideration.
Short-term capital movement is  another area in which we had trouble before in “Buy Irish” campaigns. In cases where there were bottlenecks through inefficiency in production or distribution areas the manufacturers used to ease the problem by resorting to imports. In the case of all the financial institutions, including the banks, I do not know to what extent the promoters of the “Buy Irish” campaign and the Government intend to review the situation to see if changes can be made to ensure that they act more in the public interest.
Mr. Lanigan Mr. Lanigan
Mr. Lanigan: I am not going to delay the House because there are other people who want to debate this very important matter. I should like to bring a few figures forward which might help in assessing the effects of not buying Irish on a particular industry. I will confine my remarks to that particular industry and let other people deal with other sectors of the problem.
In 1960 footwear manufacturers had high sales of 95 per cent but those dropped to 24 per cent by 1977. Since 1970 the trend was accelerated, particularly in the area of fashion shoes, an area where ladies change their fashion so often. they seem to think that Italian shoes are better than Irish shoes and they have brought the imports from £2.3 million in 1970 to £22.9 million in 1977, which is a big increase. Last year we imported 7 million pairs of shoes. That is a drastic figure.
During the period 1960 to 1977, job losses in the footwear industry exceeded 2,500 and people ask how can 10,000 jobs be produced by a 3 per cent increase in purchasing. I am not suggesting that we will get 2,500 jobs in the footwear industry because it is an industry with cyclical problems. Last year a factory in Kilkenny exported £8 million worth of shoes. If they are good enough to be exported and sold all over the world why are they not good enough for Irish women? I am not speaking in particular of shoes manufactured in Kilkenny but of shoes manufactured in Ireland. The design of Irish products, whether footwear or any other item, is of very high quality and  people should look for these high quality Irish manufactured goods.
We import sports shoes from Korea and Taiwan and we also manufacture sports shoes here. It should be pointed out that Irish shoe manufacturers pay 91 per cent duty on exports to Japan and 80 per cent on exports to Korea. Another figure that should also be pointed out is that two-thirds of the shoes that are worn in this country were imported last year from Great Britain. Their employment incentive scheme of £1,000 a worker to protect the footwear industry has meant that their home market is not taking what they can produce and we are taking two-thirds. Fifty per cent of shoes worn in this country at present are British made. I am not suggesting that we should not be buying British but we would be much better off buying Irish.
Senator Robinson mentioned that Brendan Walsh, in his IIRS report, did not include the “Guaranteed Irish” Campaign as an area in which jobs could be created. She should not be worried about this because he was dealing with particular areas of the unemployment problem and we are talking about a particular area. The footwear industry should look at the problem to see how we can get more people to buy Irish manufactured shoes.
How many parents have gone into shops and tried to buy Irish shoes for their children? Why it is virtually impossible to buy Irish made shoes in certain shops? It has been pointed out that the buyers in these shops like their trips to Paris, London and other foreign cities to buy shoes. Some of these shoes may be cheaper than Irish shoes but many of them are quite dear and shoddy. They fall off the children's feet after one wear and you might as well be idle as bringing them back to get a guarantee on them. If we teach our children that “Guaranteed Irish” is good and buying Irish is good, we can have a very successful promotion. This campaign should be aimed more at the schools and at young people. If this is done they will get to know that Irish is good and that “Guaranteed  Irish” is perfect and we will succeed in this campaign.
Dr. Martin Dr. Martin
Dr. Martin: I want literally to name a number of headlines which I would like to present to the Minister of State, whom I welcome to the House, and to Senator Mulcahy, in replying. Some of them are just brief questions, for instance, the guarantee itself. In the old days the contract was between you and the retailer. In this case what kind of guarantees are there that you can take that guaranteed demand to the wholesaler and have it met and for how long? I would be interested in having that point covered. Perhaps it was covered today but I may have been absent from the Chamber when it was covered.
The second question I would like to ask, following what Senator Lanigan and others said, is there no way we can do something to discourage or put embargos on goods coming in from outside the Common Market? I am thinking of Korean goods. I myself for a matter of curiosity bought a Korean shirt which claimed to be pure cotton and I got it for £1.50. I thought it was worth a try, but the whole thing almost disintegrated in the first wash. Ordinary people are being fooled by that. I could afford to take the risk and have £1.50 on that shirt, but the shirt was produced by sweated labour, obviously for people who do not pay properly in these countries. Is it fair that shoddy goods should be thrown on the market to delude our people without any attempt to find some way of curbing that enormous dumping on to the market? I should like to know if anything can be done in that direction or whether we must proceed. Certainly a distinction should be drawn between that and the Italian shirt which Senator Murphy referred to. However foreign the Italian shirt is, at least it belongs to a common market in which we are partners.
I should like to return to Senator Mulcahy's initial point. It was probably the most striking point today, even though he offered it very diffidently. With all respect to my colleague, Senator Hussey, let me put it  this way. If people are to drink, and it is deplorable that they should, there is a strong case to be made to have them drink Irish as distinct from foreign. Saint Benedict, in his rule for his Benedictine monks, says it is deplorable that monks should want to drink wine at all, but if they insist on doing it then let them confine themselves to a half litre a day. I think we can take the same kind of moral here. I would like to make the point even more strongly. If I go into an Irish public house and ask for a beer I should automatically get an Irish beer; if I ask for a lager I should automatically get an Irish lager; if I ask for a gin it should automatically be an Irish gin and a whiskey should be an Irish whiskey. Frequently you will be given a Carlsberg if you ask for lager. If you ask for a whiskey, frequently you will be given a Scotch, or you will be asked if you want Scotch or Irish. It should be assumed if somebody asks for whiskey that it is the whiskey of the country he is looking for. In no other country in the world would they do that except in Ireland. I think that is something that should be brought home to people. It is a matter of psychological importance.
My final point very briefly is this. I think we are weakest of all in our services. The standard of courtesy and efficiency in our shops has absolutely nose dived in our time. I find shop assistants truculent and unco-operative. Frankly I would be afraid to ask for an Irish version of a garment. What must be done—and I direct this strenuously to the attention of those in charge—is that there should be training courses for sales assistants. De Gaulle brought about a transformation in France before he died. He offered a prize to French waiters and waitresses, who were notoriously the most truculent and boorish in Europe, for the best smile in France. He offered something like a copy of Guy de Maupassant's novels to the one who won the prize at the end of the year. It brought about a transformation. I was there the year of the scowls and when I went back a few years later I thought I was in a different country.
Mr. Mulcahy Mr. Mulcahy
Mr. Mulcahy: I should like to thank  all the contributors to this motion for the enthusiastic way in which they treated it and for the unanimity of support. The fact that we did not have a contentious motion does not in any way take from the importance of the issue. It was important that the Seanad gave its time to an important issue like this.
It is clear that action can be taken immediately by every person in the country as a contribution to this plank of economic policy. Therefore, anything that we can do to support it and show the support of this House for it should be done. In particular I am pleased, as I am sure the Seanad is, to welcome the Minister here today to participate in the debate and to hear the various views put to him. I would love to have heard more speakers. I knew there were more in the pipeline and I tried to squeeze my own contribution in at the end to help out, but we are only allowed three hours and we had three hours, and for that I thank the Leader of the House for allowing the motion through.
Just one or two points that arose during the debate. In regard to manufacturers, I agree with some of the speakers that the manufacturers may not be fully playing the game and playing their role. Where the demand is stimulated for Irish products it is essential that the manufacturers do not meet that demand by partial deliveries, do not meet that demand by overtime alone, and that they do gear up for the extra output. Only in that way will the jobs that we are seeking be created. So there is still a big challenge to the manufacturers in that regard.
I now refer to Senator Robinson's question in relation to 3 per cent of jobs for which, unfortunately, I was not present as we were exchanging places on the Joint EEC Committee. I cannot answer for the Government but at the manifesto stage a few sums were obviously done and my recollection of that I give to you for what it is worth. Total consumption is of the order of £4,200 million. A 3 per cent swing on that figure represents about £120 million. Given that the output per employee in industry is of the  order of £12,000, that means £12,000 into £120 million, and hey presto, 10,000 jobs. I give it to the Seanad as a simple sum.
In regard to incentives to encourage the “Buy Guaranteed Irish” Campaign, I gather from suggestions made by Senators that an area to which the Irish Goods Council will have to give a lot of attention is to persuade school children of the importance of buying Irish goods and the importance of having a national pride, as Senator Dowling said, in Irish products because the products will not only be consumed at home but will also be consumed abroad. It is about quality and if national pride is linked with quality then the two can grow together.
Finally, I should like to draw attention once more to the fact that this campaign is not just about getting people to buy Irish goods. It is a marketing issue, a marketing campaign. I was delighted to listen to Senator Murphy telling me about history and I am sure he will not mind my saying a little bit about management techniques in the same way. Marketing as a management technique has been under-utilised in this country for too long. To some extent we may be victims of our protectionist past when Irish manufacturers were operating under a protected situation. They could afford to give a little on quality, give a little on delivery and so on because they did not have the competition. We welcome the competition. I was not afraid to refer to the EEC role in my opening statement. We welcome the competition but what we are trying to do is to catch up a little bit on the past. Other countries have spent decades, centuries in some cases, promoting their quality products. We as a new country have not had that opportunity. When we did develop our own manufacturing output it happened under protection. We must now make up for it and we should not be too worried about the fact that, for the moment, in a situation where we are having a policy of convergence of economic monetary unity and unity of  the market, we must put an extra bit of promotion into making our Irish producer more aware of the fact that we can produce quality Irish goods which can take their place in the fight for markets in any part of the world.
I should like to end by reminding the House that every person making a purchase should say to himself: “I am one of the 1,500 people who, as a result of my purchase of this product instead of an equally good or better Irish one, is throwing someone out a job”. In that sense national pride is being thrown out the door as well and forgotten about for the sake of some baser motive. In that sense “G”, which stands for “Guaranteed Irish”, can very well stand for guilt, as I said in the beginning. I am very pleased to have the opportunity of winding up this debate and I thank the Minister again for coming.
Question put and agreed to.
Seanad Éireann 88 “Buy Guaranteed Irish” Campaign: Motion.