Dáil Éireann - Volume 5 - 02 November, 1923

GOVERNOR-GENERAL'S ADDRESS (MOTION FOR RESOLUTION OF THANKS).

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Major Bryan Cooper moved the adjournment of the debate. Therefore, he has the right to resume the debate.

Major BRYAN COOPER: When I moved the adjournment of the debate, [628] after Deputy Johnson's speech, more than three weeks ago, I did not anticipate that I would have time to go to Copenhagen and come back in order to verify Deputy Johnson's facts, and consequently I did not arrange to do so. I am content to accept Deputy Johnson's facts. In doing so, I might point out that Denmark is a very exceptional country. During the war Denmark and Holland were the back doors of Germany. They were in that respect very exceptional countries. The Germans had to get their stuff in there, and they had to pay any price the Danish people liked to demand from them. The result was that if the Danish quay labourers chose to ask for any increase of wages, the shippers were making such profits, that all they did or had to do was to put the price on to Germany. I am rather surprised to find that that condition has continued to the present day. I have no doubt that in both Denmark and Holland labour is very highly paid. They were neutral during the European war, and naturally they took advantage of that position.

Now, I propose to confine myself, in discussing the Governor-General's speech, entirely to one paragraph, and it is the same paragraph that Deputy Johnson dealt with—that was the paragraph dealing with unemployment and high prices. Those of us, at any rate, who went through the last election on an independent platform, and who were not under the necessity, as the Minister for Home Affairs was, of making the same speech over and over again, in defence of the Government's policy, found that the two things that really interested the electors were the questions of unemployment and the high prices of living.

This latter was sometimes more epigrammatically expressed in the statement: “Will you lower the price of the pint?” My general reply was that it was easier to lower the pint than the price. That is undoubtedly the paramount issue in the minds of the electors to-day. Deputy Johnson spoke on that matter, and I found myself, as I always do, in complete agreement with Deputy Johnson as long as he stuck to general principles; but when he proceeded to reinforce these [629] general principles by arguments and points of detail, I disagreed with him very violently indeed. If Deputy Johnson would only confine himself to general principles, and not bring forward any facts in support of them, I think we would agree. Now, to come to the question of the limitation of profits, I am one of the comparatively few Deputies who belong to a class who have had their profits limited for forty years, ever since the Land Act of 1881. I have no objection in principle to the limitation of profits. I am delighted to see that other people will get the same medicine as we have got.

In regard to the particular point of the limitation of profits, it is very easy to limit the profits of anything that cannot get out of the country. It is easy, for instance, to limit the profits of land, because it is there and cannot be removed. It is easy to limit the profits of a shopkeeper who does business in his own neighbourhood; but when you come to limit the profits of a business that has an export trade, it becomes exceedingly difficult. That is why I quarrel with Deputy Johnson's instances. He gave as one instance the firm of Messrs. Guinness. As I have already mentioned Messrs. Guinness— perhaps I ought to state that I have no direct interest in the firm, and my only interest is as an occasional consumer of their products—Messrs. Guinness do the bulk of their trade outside the thirty-two counties of Ireland. Two-thirds to three-fourths of their business is done across the Channel, and if you limit their profits to such an extent as seriously to interfere with their dividends and their business, they will then say that there are other countries in which profits are not limited, and chemical science has made such advances that they can probably do without the water of the Liffey and they may be tempted to remove their industry elsewhere. They may be tempted to sacrifice their trade in Ireland and remove their industry to a place where profits are not limited.

I do not see how the country is going to benefit by that. The workers of Dublin will not benefit by it. I do not think the barley-growers will benefit, and I am quite certain the Minister for Finance would be exceedingly unhappy. [630] That point has to be taken into account. Limit profits by all means, but it must be done carefully and scientifically. If you limit profits in a fashion merely to obtain popular applause and assert a principle, you will drive some of the few remaining industries out of the country. There was one remark of Deputy Johnson with which I find myself in perfect agreement. He said: “The whole question seems to me to require some kind of an assent to a proposition that human labour must not be treated in the same way and by the same logic and argument as all ordinary marketable commodities.” There I agree with the Deputy, but as far as I know nobody proposes to apply the same logic and the same rules of political economy to human labour as to manufactured products. It is a maxim of political economy to buy in the cheapest market, but if anybody was proposing to carry out that in Ireland we would have Zulus working on the quays and Chinamen on the trams.

Mr. JOHNSON: It is working that way.

Major COOPER: It is not suggested that the employer imports cheap labour, but there is one form of logic to which human labour must yield, and that is the logic of facts.

And if it is a fact that work can be done more cheaply outside Ireland and people can live more cheaply outside Ireland, then that work will be sent out of Ireland, and people will go and live outside Ireland, and they are doing so. That is one of the most serious factors of the present case, and it is due to the high cost of living, and it is also partly due to the disturbed state of the country. These things are driving people out of Ireland, and a great number of people are going out of Ireland, partly because it is a very expensive country to live in. Things cost more in the City of Dublin and other Irish cities than they do in Manchester, Liverpool or Belfast. Postage is more expensive, for one thing, and people who are not tied to this country, by the conditions of their employment, or their property, will undoubtedly tend to go away where they can live more cheaply. The exodus nowadays is not confined to one [631] class of the community, namely, the boys and girls, who throng the American Consul's office, in the desire to have their passports vised. Professional men, doctors, barristers, auditors, are going away to England, and the only people who are remaining are solicitors and architects, because of the great amount of work that remains to be done in their particular line—reconstruction work— owing to recent destruction. Most of the class of people who tend to go away are those who have small incomes either from securities or from pensions.

In other days Government servants, bank managers, Local Government officials, and people of that class, when they got their pensions, came up to live in the County Dublin, but now they go away to Wales or France, to escape the heavy taxation and because a shilling goes further in these places than it does in Dublin. But that is not the only loss of expenditure in this country. We are paying compensation for damage to person and property, and except where there is a reconstruction clause attached, a great deal of this compensation money is being spent outside the country, and that has a most serious effect upon every class of the community. It has an injurious effect not only upon trade, but the fact that that money is going out of the country is a great factor in producing unemployment. I had hoped that the gracious speech we heard from the Governor-General might have recognised that very serious factor in our national life. You have only to walk outside this Dáil and pass into Grafton Street and O'Connell Street and you are struck with the number of empty shops in these great thoroughfares, even though quarter of O'Connell Street has been destroyed. Ten or fifteen years ago you could not possibly get an empty shop in Horse Show week in O'Connell Street or Grafton Street, yet when I was looking for Committee rooms at the last election I had a choice of four business premises to select from.

It is not only employment that is disappearing, but the taxation which would arise from monies spent on luxuries and other things is going also. People will not pay the Income Tax in [632] this country when they are only called upon to pay less tax across the water. The people are going to France in very large numbers. I am told that there is a large Irish colony at Dinard in Brittany, and also there is a large Irish population in the Channel Islands. I am not saying these things for the purpose of blaming the Government, but I hope they will bear this factor in mind. In making Ireland a country attractive for people to live in there is one factor that would contribute very greatly to that end, and that is the factor of taxation. One of the things that is driving the people out of the country is the fact that we have the heaviest taxation anywhere in Europe—I am not sure about Germany, but there the currency fluctuates so much that you pay your Income Tax as late as you can in the year, and sometimes you find that you have made a profit. But certainly of any place in this part of the world we have the heaviest Income Tax. As the Minister for Home Affairs asked in regard to the Northern Government joining with the Free State, why should the six counties want to pay sixpence more by ranging themselves with us? Of course, it will be better for the six counties in the long run to come in, as I hope they will, but they very properly ask at the present moment why they should unite with us in order to pay 6d. in the £ more in Income Tax. There is not one word in the Governor-General's speech about the heavy taxation. The country is bearing the heaviest taxation it can, and if the country is really to prosper that taxation must be reduced. I do not blame the Government for making promises they may not be able to fulfil, but I hope they will take this matter into their deepest and most earnest consideration. It is the bedrock of everything. It is at the bottom of the high cost of living. If the merchant in Cork, Limerick or Dublin has to pay sixpence in the £ Income Tax more than his competitors across the water, he is forced to extract that sixpence in the £, until we have a tariff system, out of the consumer, because he is not a philantrophist. Now, I have spoken at greater length than I intended, but I do want to put one or two points before the Government for their consideration.

[633] I agree with Deputy McGarry who said in the Dáil some time ago that there was no use in laying down general propositions on political economy without suggesting some remedy. The remedy of course is bound to be a highly unpopular one in Government Departments. There are two suggestions I want to make, and in doing so I am sorry that the Minister for Finance is not here, but I hope that what I have to say will be conveyed to him. There are two ways, I think, in which he might divert some of the burden that falls on his shoulders. I know of course that he has immense responsibilities to bear, and that he has the most unenviable and unpopular post in the Government. Apparently he is not let go on any of the Government joy-rides, he was not taken to the Imperial Conference, nor did he go to Geneva. I may say that I have the greatest sympathy with the Minister for Finance, but what I am now going to suggest is in the hope of trying to lighten the immense burden he has to carry.

My first suggestion is that he should be assisted by a small Committee on the lines of the Geddes or the Inchcape Committee, which should be set up to go into the estimates of every Department of the Government, and which should be asked to indicate where reductions can be made. I know that we have an Estimates Committee under our Standing Orders, but I do not suggest that the small Committee I propose should be composed of Deputies of this Dáil, or that even it should be a joint Committee representative of the Dáil and the Seanad. We are all very human, and we all have our constituents, and we might be slow to make a recommendation, even though we thought it right, which, perhaps, conflicted with the interests of our constituents. What I suggest is, that this small Committee should be composed of the three best men that the Minister for Finance can get, whether they be members of the Dail or not. In my opinion there should be on the Committee a business man and a pensioned Government servant.

My reason for suggesting the appointment of a pensioned Government servant on the Committee is that we all [634] know the tricks and the camouflage that could be put before an enquiry of this kind if you had not on it some person like a pensioned Government servant who had inside knowledge of Government offices. You might also have one, if not two, business men on the Committee, with this pensioned Government official, which would go slowly and methodically through the estimates of every Government Department. Take one item of expenditure, the cost of travelling expenses. That is an item on which I believe there could be an enormous sum saved. The cost of travelling expenses in connection with the Board of Works, runs, I believe, to a colossal sum, compared with the return given for such expenditure. The Committee, I suggest, should go through the estimates for each Government Department in the same spirit as a business man trying to discover, from an examination of his accounts, why his business was not paying.

I do not suggest that the Minister for Finance should be asked to share all the responsibility for the Government's enormous expenditure, and for that reason I would suggest that he should ration each Government Department and discover how much money he can allow to each. He should be put in a position to tell the Minister for Home Affairs, the Minister for Agriculture, the Minister for Defence, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, and so on, that he was allowing each of them so much and that they would have to do with that particular sum. Such a system might mean that supplementary estimates would have to be introduced, but I believe if such a system were adopted you would be setting each department to carry out reforms inside itself, you would prune off the unessential and leave the essential, and most certainly, I think, the pruning knife is overdue.

SEOIRSE DE BHULBH: Do labhair Teachta Tomás Mac Eoin cupla lá ó shoin agus thug sé a lán figúiri duinn. Bhi sin maith go leór acht in a dhiaidh sin agus uilig nior shaoileas go dtug sé aon chómhairle duinn chun an cheist acrannach seo a shocrú. Tá a lán daoini gan obair fa lathair acht nior thaisbean [635] Teachta Tomás Mac Eoin duinn cad é an doigh gur feidir linn é sin a leasú.

As Deputy Bryan Cooper remarked, we listened the other evening to an avalanche of statistics from Deputy Johnson. They were most interesting, of course, to all of us, but the impression left on my mind was that there was nothing constructive whatever in the speech. There was no suggestion, as far as I could discover in the speech, which would help in any way to relieve what is present in all our minds, namely, the problem of unemployment. The Governor-General in his speech recognised the importance of the matter, and the pressing need of meeting this problem. The longest paragraph in his Address was devoted to this subject. The Government put forward, in the speech delivered by the Governor-General, two special remedies. These were the construction of a larger number of houses in the country and the improvement of our roads. Both proposals are excellent in their way, especially the building of an increased number of houses. Anyone who goes through Ireland, especially the towns, and indeed through many of the country districts, must be impressed by this fact that there is an urgent need to have the housing conditions in Ireland vastly improved. It must be admitted, of course, that a great deal has been done in that direction during the last forty years, beginning with the Act passed by the Imperial Parliament about the year 1883; but still a vast amount remains to be done. When a start was made with the building of houses in Ireland a great many years ago they were let at a very low rent of about a shilling a week. That rent, of course, would not pay for the building or the cost involved in the erection of a scheme of houses. To do so it would be necessary to charge a rent of about 2s. 8d. per week, but the houses were let at 1s. a week, and the people in the districts in which these houses were erected were perfectly content to make up the balance in the rates, because they saw what an advantage it was to have houses provided for the labourers. That has been the record [636] for practically every scheme of houses erected in Ireland. Public bodies saw that houses were urgently necessary, and they were content to let them at a rent which meant a big tax on the local rates. Up to a certain point the country was quite prepared to pay its share, and rather more than its share, in the erection of houses, but it can no longer do so because of the high cost of materials and the other almost prohibitive costs involved in the carrying out of building schemes. Nevertheless, houses must be provided, and the Government recognise that this is a pressing necessity. The Government also recognise that the improvement of the roads of the country is an urgent necessity. None of these things, of course, will bring grist to the Government mill, but I would suggest that there are other ways of meeting this unemployment problem which, I believe, would bring in money to the Government exchequer. It is well known that there is a vast amount of potential wealth in the undeveloped water-power of Ireland and also in the development of our fisheries. I do not propose to touch on this latter aspect of our national resources, but I desire to say a few words on the development of electrical power, which has not been developed at all in Ireland so far.

There is a vast field of possible enterprise in that direction. I daresay a great many people have been aware that for a long time there has been a great deal written about what is called harnessing the river Liffey. Probably Deputies know something about that matter. I think it was opened first of all by an address given by Sir John Griffith in this very room on that subject a good many years ago. Quickly following upon that address a great many people formed themselves into companies and went down to the place and had interviews with the different riparian owners, of which I am one. They tried to bring those schemes forward. Of course they would not bring them forward if there was not some money in the enterprise. That stands to reason. When I was approached on the matter, I said that if it was to the advantage of the district I should be very glad to help in any way I could. [637] None of these schemes that have been brought forward seem to me likely to be of the least advantage to the district. They will be of great advantage to, shall I call them, the company-mongers, but to nobody else. The whole desire was to get in front of a scheme which would really be of advantage to the people, and which would cost much more than these schemes which these small companies bring forward on their own account.

Some of these schemes are of the most weird nature. There was one proposal to carry the river Liffey in a tunnel, diverting it from the falls of Poulaphouca, which is one of the beauty spots of the country, and leaving the river bed perfectly dry for a mile. This tunnel was to be carried through my place, partly through the ground and partly in the air. Naturally, I had rather an objection to this. Of course I am not the only person concerned. There are a good many others. I happen to own one side of the river, and on the other side there are a great many different owners. As a matter of fact all the schemes which were brought forward would absolutely ruin the beauty of Poulaphouca, one of the beauty spots of the country that many people visit and which might be developed in that respect much more than it is. All those schemes proposed to draw off the water from the river and leave it dry for about a mile, with a dry arch at Poulaphouca, which would naturally ruin the beauty of the place.

There is one scheme that has been put forward by Sir John Griffith which to my mind is a scheme worthy of attention on behalf of the Government. That scheme proposed to form a lake above Poulaphouca, which would give an even flow of water all the year round for the purpose of making electricity. The idea of these companies is to supply Dublin and the townships and the electric railways, and that beautiful railway called the Dublin and Blessington Steam Tramway, with electricity, which undoubtedly they could do at a very low rate. My position is this. It is rather a peculiar one. I am rather like the lady who was so bothered by her admirers that she was recommended by her medical adviser to go on board ship to get rid of them. [638] When she got on board ship she found that the captain and the crew gave her so much annoyance that she had to jump overboard to get rid of them. I do not propose to do that, but I thought when I came to Leinster House that at least I should be rid of those people. Only the other day, however, I was called out to meet another company that had been formed to develop electrical power at Poulaphouca.

I want to let the Government see that there is money in this thing, that it would give a vast amount of employment if a proper scheme was taken up and would bring in a good deal of money to the Exchequer, else these people would not be bothering about it. The people of the district are most anxious that the Government should consider this scheme—I do not say take it up. It is a scheme worthy of their consideration, because there is money in it. Another consideration is that the people of the district think that the preservation of the beauties of Poulaphouca would be taken into consideration by the Government more than by any company which would be simply out to exploit the undertaking for its own benefit.

Mr. WILSON: I am very sorry indeed that I am not a riparian proprietor of land, and that I could not also bring forward a scheme of development for my area. I rise to speak on behalf of an industry which occupies the attention of more than 2,000,000 of people in the Free State. I wish to point out to the Government that while the legislation foreshadowed in the Governor-General's speech in connection with agriculture is good in its way, it falls very far short of the requirements of the case and is not at all in keeping with the depression which exists in that industry, on which the prosperity of this State is dependent. I will be criticised if I do not attempt to put forward some constructive proposals by which this industry might be saved. The Agricultural Commission which sat recently has made certain recommendations, and the legislation which is foreshadowed implements those recommendations as far as they go. There are, however, other things which are entirely neglected, which in my opinion [639] are responsible for the depression in the agricultural industry, and which, if not speedily remedied, will sound the death-knell of that industry.

In the first place I would refer to paragraph 11, which says that the reorganisation of our railways has for a considerable time exercised the minds of the Ministers. In this country agricultural products are still being charged freights 400 per cent. above pre-war rates. Prices are on a par with pre-war, so that we are debarred from the markets beside us where most of our products are sold. The products of this country are in the proportion of three to one; that is, two parts must be exported, and the other part kept for internal consumption. While two-thirds of our products must be exported we are asked to pay a railway tariff 400 per cent. above the pre-war rate. The whole idea of railway reorganisation, in the mind of the Ministry, is to put it on a paying basis. Sufficient attention is not given to the rating levied by the railways. There is no body in authority in this country who can say to the railways, “You are charging too much for the carriage of this or that product.” Up to 1920 there was such a Board in England, and when a revision of rates was necessary the railways had to go before that Board. As the Board has been abolished in this country the railways are in a position to charge what they like. The result is that we are, three or four years after the European war, paying enormous freights which place us at a great disadvantage with competitors. If you take up a railway classification book you will find that the rates are based on an English classification, and that they are in favour of a manufacturing country, to the detriment of the products of this country. Textiles, hardware and boots are charged the same rate as eggs. There is no comparison whatever between the value of, say, 5 cwt. of drapery and 5 cwt. of eggs. Still we are compelled to pay a rate for eggs equivalent to the rate paid for high priced articles. Eggs in boxes are charged what is known as third-class rates. Hardware, cutlery and boots are also charged third-class rates. A box of [640] boots containing 100 pairs will occupy the same space as 3 or 4 cwt. of eggs, and while the eggs will be worth about £9 the boots will perhaps be worth £100. The railways are collecting one per cent. from the manufacturers and 20 per cent. from the agriculturists. The exporters are paying these charges, although ostensibly it may be thought that they are paid by people on the other side. Prices are fixed in England, and when people there buy cattle or eggs they know what they will get for the goods and what the railway freights will be. They deduct from the price they pay for products the enormous charges that have to be met. That means we have to pay in freights 20 per cent. of the value of the goods purchased from us. That is one cause of the depression in agriculture, and unless it is removed we have no chance of making progress in the industry.

Heretofore it was the custom to book cattle through from any part of Ireland to any part of England. You cannot do that now. Why? The English rates have been reduced to 50 per cent. over pre-war, but the Irish rates are 150 per cent. higher than they were before the war. The Irish railways will not reduce their rates in accordance with the English rates, and accordingly there is only booking to Dublin, and re-booking to England at tremendous expense and annoyance. It is only in parts of Ireland, where a railway company have reduced rates, that through booking is now available. Deputy McKenna will be able to enlighten the Dáil in that respect and explain what it means to agriculture. My remedy for the present state of affairs is to set up a rating authority and to let it differentiate in favour of agricultural products, and see that they are carried at the lowest possible rates. Most of the traffic that is carried in Ireland is from the ports to inland centres, so that there is a continual stream of empty waggons, going from the centre of the country to the ports, to bring back imports. The traffic that comes from the interior of the country could be carried for nothing, as the railway waggons have in any case to go back empty when [641] there is no traffic. We should have the cheapest possible rates on agricultural products. Our competitors in the Dominions get their products carried at a halfpenny per ton per mile. Why are Irish agriculturalists not placed in the same position? These things can only be remedied by setting up a rating authority under the Minister for Industry and Commerce, to which complaints could be sent, so that farmers will be able to put produce on the market at the lowest possible price. The Minister for Industry and Commerce is amused.

If he were in the same position as a man on the land who has to pay annuities, local rates, and income tax, he would not be laughing so heartily. The second thing that operates adversely to agriculture is the incidence of local taxation. At the moment, by reason of the various Land Acts, we are asked to pay an annual charge of £4,000,000 in annuities. £3,133,000 was paid last year, and the Land Bill is operating to extinguish rents in the nature of £1,000,000 so that the overhead expenditure on land which we have to pay is £4,000,000. We cannot reduce that, but in addition we have the local rating, which we can reduce if we work in the proper way. The last local councils were elected on a political basis. They were elected not for the efficiency of the members, not for their capability for conducting business, but rather to uphold certain political doctrines which at the time were necessary to fight other organisations. We have a series of Councils whose whole idea seems to be not to give good service for money but to give pensions here, jobs there, and grant direct labour here and there. Everything is done in a wholesale manner. Money is filched away, and we on the land are suffering and we must see that the Government, who went to the country on the plea of progress and who filched away farmers from their allegiance to the right people, shall, in return, see that the next elections will not be based on a political basis but on questions of economy, efficiency and good dealing. The whole country is being turned into a country of pensions. Home help is the name in one case, and old age pensions is the name in the other, but whether it is home help, old [642] age pensions, the Army, or the Civic Guard, we are being saddled with the expenditure, and I ask the Government to see in the next election that suitable franchise proposals will be put forward so that the people who pay the piper will be enabled to call the tune.

Now, with regard to the next obstacle in the way of progress, I would say that it is the attitude of labour. We have been forced for the last three or four months to sit idly by and watch a conflict with which we were not concerned, but which has inflicted untold damage on our industry. We have had to stand by with a falling market and have had no means of sending our goods there in time. This recurs yearly. Last year the same thing happened in Tipperary where a dispute took place between the creamery owners and labour. Our milk was refused, and if we sent it to the creamery we were not paid for it. These things are happening every day in the week, and until some definite arrangement is made by which labour will see that it is in their own interests not to hold up our products but to take a common sense attitude and meet the claims of the producers we will not be able to make the industry self-supporting. A good deal has been said about unemployment, which is a subject that has been over-dealt with. There are 40,000 unemployed persons registered in this country. All the industrial workers in the Saorstat do not amount to 250,000. The cost to the State in bonuses to these people is half a million pounds. If there is unemployment in the country the farm labourer is not insurable, and we have to support him in home help. Why do not the industrial centres bear this burden by raising the rates on the employers, on the one hand, and the workers on the other hand? Let the 200,000 people keep the forty thousand. Those who are idle should be kept by those who are employed, but do not saddle the community with half a million pounds to bolster up people who number only 250,000. Two million people are on the land, and if there is any unemployment there let the industries in the city support them. As regards general taxation, I had hoped that the Minister's statement would have been before us. It is absolutely [643] essential that the pruning knife should be rigorously employed to cut down expenditure—I do not say this year— to a state in which income will balance expenditure. We must borrow this year, and the farmers have been asked, and I have asked them myself, to contribute their quota to this new loan. Will anybody support a country in which running expenditure exceeds revenue? If you want money and you go to a bank, what will the banker say? He will say: “What is your income and what is your expenditure?” and if he finds that your revenue is not in accordance with your expenditure he will not touch you. The same applies to a country. We must balance our accounts. How is it to be done?

The pruning knife is one way; taking off unemployment relief is another way, and the setting up of the Commission, advocated by Deputy Cooper, so that the internal administration of the Head Office here should be overhauled and so that nobody will be employed for whom there is not suitable work, is another way. If we get our revenue and expenditure to balance then we can talk of joining the people in the North, and then it will be to the benefit of the people in the North to join us. By thus attending to our expenditure we can make this country a wealthy one.

Mr. McBRIDE: The address of the Governor-General was notable to me by the omission of one great problem which will add to the responsibilities and troubles of the Government of this State in the coming year. I am no lover of the League of Nations. I think it was a mistake to join it, and this Dáil will realise before many years that it was a mistake too. But I must confess that I am both instructed and amused by the grandiloquent phraseology and cultured form of sunburstry which announces Ireland's entrance into the League. We are told nothing of the responsibilities or expenses which membership of the League will entail. The fact remains that this nation here was always a nation. The Union with Great Britain did not take away the attributes of a nation, and we were [644] ushered into the League of Nations under the patronage of the chief tyrants, and the clamours of the minor ones. The Imperial Conference stands on quite a different footing. This State is a member of the Commonwealth and as such unfettered commercial and social intercourse should be cultivated and encouraged between all the States in the Commonwealth, paying, of course, due attention to one's own special interests.

At the outset I said that the Governor-General's address to me was notable by the omission of one great problem. I fear that His Excellency and the wise men who sit in his council chamber were so lost in contemplation of the delights of Geneva that they failed to see the problem looming big and gaunt which will call imperatively for their attention during the next few months. The harvest has failed absolutely, and in the west there is not half the usual yield of the two great essentials of life, turf and potatoes. On account of the bad weather the turf could not be saved and the potatoes are all rotting. In normal times, with industry going full speed in Ireland and Great Britain, this would be a serious condition of things. To-day, with stagnation all round, it is a thousand times more so, and a comparatively small expenditure upon roads and upon houses affecting small farmers very indirectly will not go very far to relieve the distress. I hope Deputy O'Connell will not think I am forestalling him about the fisheries, but it is only now I saw his resolution about the fisheries. Of course there is no mention made of the sea fisheries in the Governor-General's address. We have heard a lot of rumours. In imagination I have listened to the rhythmic rumblings of the new steam yacht and to the music of General Mulcahy's sharpshooters ranging round the coast seeking the enemies of the fishers. Both are expensive luxuries, and I can well imagine the groans of the Minister for Finance at the cost. We are now told we are to have four warships on the list. I will say nothing about that for a time, but the building up of a strong and prosperous fishing community is as important to the economic development of this nation as [645] the welfare of the farmers. I hope the Government will give serious attention to this question in the near future. It is announced that laws affecting merchant shipping are to be introduced. Those laws will have a very great influence for good or for bad on the merchant shipping trade of the Free State, and I hope sufficient time will be allowed to elapse between the time when the Bill is first introduced, and when it comes up for due consideration.

Mr. HOGAN (Clare): Like Deputy McBride, I cannot say that I was very favourably impressed by the Governor-General's Address. There are very many serious things that the Governor-General studiously ignored, and if his outline of the Government's policy is to be the guiding factor of the Government during the coming year or two, or whatever number of years the Government holds office, I think he should have told us in detail what the Government proposes to do. One thing left out in connection with our entrance into the League of Nations under the patronage of our oppressor of yesterday, is that not one word was said as to the cultivation of the Irish language in a proper manner so that we might assert our distinctive nationality before the world. It is all very well to say that we are a distinct nation, but if some effort is not made to secure that that nationality is felt before the nations of the world, we are but ploughing the sands. There is another matter about which I have not been able to find any reference in the Address, and that is the fact that to-day thousands of men are locked up by the present Government and no indication is given as to whether or not they are to be locked up indefinitely. It is not, I suppose, a pleasant matter to introduce, but it seems to strike at the fundamental principles of freedom in every country, the power of any Government to take a body of men and lock them up indefinitely without making any further observations on the matter. Time and again this question has been raised, and I think it is nearly time that we knew. I am speaking apart altogether from the protest made by these men on hunger strike. I am demanding a statement as to whether [646] the fundamental principles of liberty are not being stretched in order that these men may be kept incarcerated. That is one matter to which the Governor-General has not referred, and also the matter of our national distinctiveness regarding our language, and I desire to draw the Government's attention to these matters.

Mr. SHAW: I intend to deal with a few points in connection with the speeches made by Deputy Cooper and Deputy Wilson. We have heard from them the great grievances from which Ireland is suffering, the excessive taxation, the exodus of the people who had money to spend in the country, the fact that shops and other places are vacant, and the only thing that I did not hear them speak about was the root cause of this. It is perfectly evident that these things have been caused by the political position in which a minority refuses to accept the will of the majority, that the actions of the Republicans have caused chaos all over the country, and that to-day money was never so scarce. There have been 109 men returned to enter the Dáil to endeavour in every possible way to uplift the country, and the cause of the present unemployment, of the scarcity of money, and other troubles, is due to the policy adopted by the party of forty-four—I cannot call them T.D.'s, I call them D.T.'s—because the policy they stand for is unsound. If it goes on as at present the particular Party that would come most to grief will be the Labour Party, because a Loan is about to be floated and if the money is not forthcoming and if the Government are not able to get funds to carry on, it is perfectly apparent that in the near future there will be starvation. If they had addressed their remarks to the Party which has caused the excessive taxation and the exodus I think they would be well advised. I am sorry that Deputy Wilson touched the matter of Home Help, because I happen to be in touch with the distribution of Home Help in the county I come from, and I know that but for the small amounts distributed to these people they would either be in the County Home or in their graves. This is one of the items which I think it [647] would not be possible to reduce. I only make these remarks because it is perfectly clear—to me anyhow—that the cause of our troubles is the fact that the minority have paralysed the trade and commerce of the country. With regard to those who have left the country, if you had peace, or any sign of peace, you would have them all back again, because they cannot live out of it. Although we have not peace a great many of them are already coming back, and I believe that if this party who call themselves the Opposition would preach to the people who are causing the trouble, instead of stating that the Dáil is the cause, it would have a much better effect.

Mr. HEFFERNAN: I note the considerable amount of space that the Governor-General has given to the agricultural industry in his Speech. I am glad to see that the Ministry realises the importance of the agricultural industry in the fabric of this country. I note the Governor-General's references to the Land Act, and I would say that I, as one of those who had a good deal to do with the agitation which led up to the introduction and passing of the Land Act, felt a good deal of pleasure in its passing, and to a certain extent approve of a good many of its provisions. We believe that the Government made a brave and a bold attempt to pass an Act which would finally settle a question which has been bothering this country for generations. But there is one portion of the Act which we never gave our approval to and which we asked our Deputies to use all their persuasive powers to get amended, and these are the Sections which deal with the matter of the arrears of rent. We know that in all the Acts passed in the British House of Commons it was a common thing to wipe out arrears, or the greater portion of them, and if they were not actually wiped out by the wording of the Act, in the actual carrying out of the transaction, the passing of the land from the landlord to the tenant, they usually were by agreement, or were added to the purchase money.

What we find in this Act is that the greater portion of the three years' [648] arrears is payable by the tenants, and I would like to call the attention of the Government to the fact that these arrears accrued during years of turmoil and distrubance, during years of civil strife and strife with a foreign enemy, and this strife was followed by industrial distrubances. It is a fact that farmers, both purchased and unpurchased, can honestly say that they have not made a profit during the past two years. I do not know if there is any farmer in this country who can say his balance sheet will show a balance on the right side during the last two years. Since the passing of the Act the position of the tenant has been worsened. This industrial strife has held up the whole agricultural industry, and has prevented the export of our products. It has forced the farmer to sell at 50s. per cwt. pigs valued at 80s. across the Channel. Our whole cattle trade was held up, but our butter trade was not held up, though the actual cost of shipping it was considerably increased owing to these disturbances. I know for a fact that there are unpurchased tenants all over the country who are finding it a matter of considerable difficulty to meet the first demand made on them by the Government. I have been approached many times in my capacity as a Deputy for the farmers with regard to this matter, and I honestly believe that the great number of people who have come to me have told me what is the absolute truth with regard to their position.

Some of them say they have found considerable difficulty in getting the actual amount necessary to meet the first demand by the Government, that is 75 per cent. of one year's rent. We know that at any time before the appointed day they may get a demand for 75 per cent. of two years' rent, and simultaneously they may get a demand for the ordinary 75 per cent. of the annuity they have to pay in lieu of rent. I ask the Government to take into serious consideration the position of the agricultural community on whom they are making this demand, and I would say to them there are three courses open to them. The first course is to resist the demand, and I am afraid if they do they will find themselves [649] practically up against a stone wall. I do not think they will be able to collect the arrears they are attempting to collect, for the farmers will not be able to pay them, and they will have to evoke the law, and carry it to its utmost extremity. The Government may find themselves in the position of having to seize the cattle in the land, and forcing some of the farmers to sell their land to pay these annuities. I hope the Government will not follow that course. I would suggest that there are constructive courses open to them, and the first is to pass an amending Act which would have the effect of wiping out a certain portion of these arrears. If they do not think that is possible owing to the fact that they have just passed a Land Act, I would suggest some definite measures should be taken by which the tenants would be relieved of the fear that immediate demands would be made on them for the balance of arrears, and that some effort should be made by which the balance of arrears would be extended over a long period and make it easy for these tenants. I say that, not for the purpose of making a debating point, but to aid the Government and advise them on a matter which I think is of great consequence to the peace of the country. I know certain people are going through the country, and the advice they are giving is this: “Do not pay these arrears, pay no rent, and pay no taxes, and pay no shop-bills, and in the course of time you will not have to pay anything as we will have these things wiped out for you.” We do not give that advice. I advised these unpurchased tenants not to withhold the first payment, and that we would do all in our power to influence the Government to make the balance of these payments easy for them. Another notable omission from the Governor-General's speech is the matter of agricultural credits. I am sorry that the Governor-General did not see his way to suggest to the Government that they should carry out the suggestion which was put forward by the Agricultural Commission with regard to the provision of agricultural credit for the farmers. We know that the loans from the Board of Works have been cut off, and there is no available [650] means at present by which farmers can get loans on long-term credit for the purpose of doing such work as improving their houses and buildings and carrying out drainage, or any work of that kind which involves borrowing money for a considerable time. Banks are not willing to lend money for this purpose; they want to have their assets readily realisable, and they are accustomed to lending money for short-term dates of three or six months, and it does not suit a man who has to borrow money for the purpose of permanent improvement on his holding to be continually going to the bank and asking them to renew these bills. I suggest it is to the interests of the Government to introduce at an early date legislation to deal with this matter of agricultural credit, and I would suggest to them to follow the advice given to them by the Agricultural Commission which has studied the thing, and must know what they are talking about. It is also essential that the Government should in some shape or form encourage the establishment of co-operative banks for the purpose of making it easier for small farmers to obtain credit than it is at present.

As I stated before in connection with the unpurchased tenants' problem, there are many small farmers at present on the verge of bankruptcy, and if the present bad times continue they will have to appeal to somebody to provide them with funds. The Government should seriously consider the question of encouraging them, either by grants or guarantees, in the formation of Co-operative Bank Societies which will place within the reach of those small farmers an opportunity of obtaining credit on easy terms Before I finish, there is one matter which, I think, is of urgent importance to the community I represent. I note that the Governor-General refers to the improvement of the change in the system of government. I suggest in connection with this that the Government should give consideration not only to the matter of improving the present system of Local Government administration in the country, but to the changing of the incidence of Local Government taxation. We, representing [651] the farming community, feel that we have to pay an undue proportion of the taxation which has to be borne. Take the case of a farmer with twenty acres. During the past year or two he made no profit whatever out of his holding, and yet he had to pay a local rate equal to that paid by the owner of a shop in a town whose income would be about £1,000 a year. It is not uncommon for such a thing to happen. We of the farming community have to pay the rates for the maintenance of the main and trunk roads. What use does the average small farmer make of those roads? We know that by far the greatest damage is done by motor traffic. The largest amount of damage is caused by heavy lorries which tear up the road surface. The main and the trunk roads ought to be made a national charge, and the farmers of the country should not be forced to bear the expenses of maintaining them.

Mr. P.J. EGAN: I wish to make a few remarks in reference to Deputy Johnson's speech on the occasion of our last sitting. The reason I do so is that in my judgment the industrial situation, bad as other situations are in the country—situations in respect to farming and so on—at the present moment overshadows everything else. I think there are few things more important than the immediate prospect of industrial peace. For that reason I listened very carefully to Deputy Johnson's speech here on the last day. I was particularly anxious to know if he could give us any definite constructive proposals, and, candidly, I was disappointed. He gave us an exceedingly interesting academic resumé of the whole industrial and economic situation, but with the exception that towards the end of his speech he made a suggestion about the selection of a tribunal to ascertain certain facts, I am afraid I could not find any constructive proposal in his speech. I would like to say that with the general tone of Deputy Johnson's remarks I am in perfect agreement. I think there was really very little fault to be found with the general tone of his speech. He gave us a great many [652] figures, figures which dealt with Denmark and other places, and as far as the figures which he brought from Denmark are concerned I am not in a position to contradict them, and I accept them. He did indulge in some figures relating to matters nearer home. He referred—I am sure it was an oversight—to some of Messrs. Guinness's figures. He stated that the capital was 2½ millions. That was obviously a mistake. The concern was originally bought for 5 millions, and floated for 6 millions. There have been various paper adjustments since then, but if the Deputy considers the real working capital in Guinness's he will find the amount of money invested in stocks and debts and so on runs into very many times 2½ millions.

However, I do not wish to make any particular point out of that. The Deputy referred also at some considerable length to the cost of living. Very often when people speak about the cost of living, I think they might more correctly use the expression “the standard of living.” I go further and say it would be more correct to use the expression “standard of luxury.” in this matter of Guinness's to which Deputy Johnson refers. He told us the profits for the last three years were approximately 14 million pounds. If we allow for the fact that a considerable proportion of those profits undoubtedly come from across the water and from foreign export trade, there still remains a very appreciable sum which was earned in Ireland. The first question I want to put to Deputy Johnson in that connection is this: where do those profits come from? They come out of the wage earners' pockets and out of the farmers' pockets, and out of the pockets of other classes of wage earners in Ireland, but more particularly out of the workers' pockets. With reference to the standard of living, or what I would call, to a certain extent, the standard of luxury, in which the country is indulging at the present moment, in my judgment the country cannot hope economically to sustain it. Take the city of Dublin as an example. I remember some years ago, when I came to Dublin from the country, there were two or three theatres here. There [653] were a couple of small music halls, and that represented practically the total number of houses of entertainment in the city of Dublin. I do not think that it is an exaggeration to say that at the present moment, within a radius of four miles of where we sit, there are probably three-quarters of a million of money invested in picture houses alone. I want to ask Deputy Johnson seriously to consider where did that money come from.

Mr. JOHNSON: Invested money.

Mr. EGAN: Money invested in picture houses in the city of Dublin. In my judgment practically all that money came out of the pockets of the wage earners.

Mr. JOHNSON: Hear, hear.

Mr. EGAN: Precisely; they were supporting a standard of luxury and not a standard of living. That is the point I want to make. I think it ought to be perfectly clear that this country cannot sustain a standard of luxury of that nature. It is really altogether wrong to talk about the cost of living being too high when hundreds and thousands can be accumulated from the surplus earnings of the various wage earners to put up the capital necessary to supply all these forms of amusement which we have nowadays in the city of Dublin and throughout the country.

Mr. A. BYRNE: What about the entertainment tax?

Mr. EGAN: I will let you deal with that.

Mr. ALFRED BYRNE: You would want to deal with it too.

Mr. EGAN: What is happening in the case of Dublin is, to a great extent, happening down in the country as well. Although we are going through extraordinarily bad times, it is really wonderful the way that the taste for racing has developed in Ireland of late —or rather I will put it this way the taste for betting.

Mr. DAVIN: Coursing.

Mr. EGAN: In most country towns nowadays, certainly in a great number of them, you have a flourishing firm of [654] bookmakers. As an employer of labour I cannot help observing this, that there has been an extraordinary increase in the number of workmen who go in for backing horses.

Mr. DAVIN: And dogs.

Mr. EGAN: I do not know how that is consistent with the cost of living being too high. Mind you, I would be the very last in the world to interfere with or to suggest that the workman should not have reasonable relaxation. But, I am honestly afraid that not only the workers but the wage-earners generally, are endeavouring to support a standard of living, or should I say of luxury, whichever way you wish to put it, which the country is quite unable to afford. Deputy Johnson laid stress on the difference between employers and employees. In dealing with the industrial situation generally, he took up what I consider rather a detached attitude. His idea appeared to be to recite all the industrial and economic grievances, and no one knows how to do that better, and to bundle up all these troubles and throw them at the heads of the Government and to say to the heads of the Government “settle them.” In my opinion Deputy Johnson, and the gentlemen who sit on those benches with him, do themselves represent a class which more than any other class can be expected to give help in securing industrial peace. One of the difficulties at the present moment in the matter of securing industrial peace—and I do not wish to say this for the purpose of irritating Deputy Johnson, or the gentlemen who sit with him —is, that the Labour Party have not, at the moment, industrial peace in their own ranks. That is the statement which I make genuinely and with very great regret. There was a time when employers, as a class, looked upon the formation of workmen's unions with very grave suspicion. However, a great deal of water has rolled under the bridge since those days. For my part, as one who is associated with a great many industries, I view personally, even from the businessman's point of view, with very grave regret, those domestic differences within the ranks of the Labour Party, because one of the greatest difficulties which business [655] people have to meet with at present is the fact that it is difficult, in a great many instances, to have a united Labour Party with whom they can negotiate and with whom they can make agreements, agreements that they can have confidence will be respected. Therefore, I think that if Deputy Johnson would use part of his great talents in trying to compose domestic differences in the Labour Party, that to my mind would be one step in the right direction towards securing industrial peace.

Deputy Cooper, in the course of his speech, referred to the formation of a Finance Committee to help the Government to secure economies and to advise them on their policy generally. He mentioned that, in his judgment, it would be a very good thing to have some businessmen on the committee. I suppose I come under the category, to a great extent, of a businessman. It has been the custom in a great many quarters to regard the businessman as some kind of a superman. He is nothing of the kind. He is just gifted with the same dose of original sin that the Independents or the Cumann na nGaedheal members, or anybody else.

Mr. CONNOR HOGAN: Or the Farmers.

AN LEAS-CHEANN COMHAIRLE took the Chair at this stage.

Mr. EGAN: Oh, yes, they are human, too. The great objection I have, as a businessman—I will be perfectly candid and lay all my cards on the table—to going on these Committees is that having regard to the businessman's training and also to the fact that most of his mental activities are generally associated with a certain amount of commercial benefit to himself, which is really one of the main objects in a great many cases, it would be very difficult for the ordinary businessman to preserve a judicial attitude. After all, they are human, just as well as anybody else, and it is inevitable that the average businessman always has a tendency to view things from his own particular angle. For that reason I do not really think that the suggestion of Deputy Cooper that businessmen should be put [656] on these proposed Committees is a good one.

With regard to the general question of industrial peace, it is a matter on which I feel very strongly. I am not going to here enter into any statement of the employers' case, or any criticism of the labourers' case. I do not think it is to the advantage of the present situation that I should do one or the other, but I cannot help thinking that if there was a little more of the milk of human kindness on both sides, and if there were less of an atmosphere of mutual distrust and suspicion on both sides, we would make a good deal more headway in the matter of bringing about a more prosperous commercial condition in the country. I have been associated with a good many businesses. There are good employers and there are plenty bad ones. For my part, I have always found it very good business in dealing with labourers or with labour organisations to be a little bit human. I do not think it is good business for either side to get their backs to the wall, so to speak. I think there should be always a spirit of compromise and mutual trust and goodwill on both sides. Speaking as an employer, I say definitely that I have always found it good business to do that.

Mr. SHAW: I must apologise for getting up a second time, but I cannot allow some of the——

AN LEAS-CHEANN COMHAIRLE: You cannot speak a second time.

Mr. MILROY: I have listened with a great deal of interest to the observations made to-day. I had not an opportunity of listening to the speech of Deputy Johnson which has given rise to so much comment. But the impression I have formed from listening to those speeches is that in the main those who have spoken are viewing the situation on a one-eyed outlook. They only see part of the Constitution. At least one of the very serious aspects in the life of the country and its potentialities has been entirely ignored. But before I come to deal with this, I should like to mark my very emphatic dissent from the allusion made by Deputy McBride to the entry of Ireland into the League of Nations. I think that was a momentous step, and one which marks the [657] manner in which the world was made congnisant of the emergence of Ireland from behind and below the barrier of British aggression into a life of freedom and into the family of free nations. Those other nations may have members of their communities that have the worst of human failings, but I think there are just as great potentialities for good within these States as we pride ourselves on having in Ireland, and I think it will be something to the world's advantage if Ireland's association helps to evoke and make stronger those potentialities for better things. I do not know whether Deputy Egan suggests that we should abolish picture-houses and theatres, and that we should abolish racing and Gaelic athletic meetings.

MINISTER for HOME AFFAIRS (Mr. Kevin O'Higgins): And sweepstakes.

Mr. MILROY: And, as the Minister for Home Affairs, says, sweepstakes. It is evident that the apprehension of once more being confronted with the Sweepstakes Bill is weighing heavily upon the mind of the Minister. I can assure him he has the greatest ground for his apprehension, for soon, I hope, we will not only confront him, but overwhelm him, in his opposition. I do not know whether the abolition of these places of amusement would be the solution of unemployment or would bring industrial peace to the country. The real solution, or what appears to me to be the real solution of the lack of industry, has not been touched on so far as I heard, in this debate. I do not really think we can come to grips with that until the findings of the Fiscal Commission have been published. Speaker after speaker has emphasised the great, pressing need of this country, and the only way to the financial solvency of the country it would seem is the application of the pruning knife to Departments. One would imagine that there is not, and cannot be, any element of growth of revenue within this country, and that Ireland's financial position must be almost limited to its present source of taxation; that there can be no further increase in those sources, or in the capacity of existing sources to bear [658] increased taxation. If such an assumption were accurate, then it would be conclusive that the future of Ireland was to be no better than that of an economic derelict, and that all our associations with the other nations of the world, at Geneva or elsewhere, would be simply a mockery, because Ireland would be like a whitened sepulchre that concealed a mass of uneconomic rottenness within the country.

There are other sources of taxation, and there are other sources of revenue, besides that of cutting down the stipends of State officials, or cutting down the general expenditure of departments. Other countries had recourse to them, and I think we seem likely soon to appear to the world, if we persist in the existing fiscal system which has come to us as a heritage from our association with Great Britain, in the position of Casabianca who stood alone upon the burning deck. I doubt if there is any country in the world to-day that stands for the Free Trade system under which we exist at the present time. Even England built up her industry and greatness under a system quite different. It was only when she had the markets of the world at her command and was going ahead of every possible competitor that she opened her own markets to free imports. Even amongst those countries which have risen from the position of colonies to that of great self-governing dominions I do not think any of them adopted the principle of Free Trade, but, on the contrary, they reinforced their Exchequer by large taxation put upon foreign manufacturers who sought access to their markets. The Irish market is a valuable market, one of the most valuable that the English manufacturer has access to. Access to that market is a great thing to him, and if this country is in financial distress I say it is worth while considering whether or not we should not make these foreign manufacturers pay for having access to our markets.

The general tone of the discussion, in regard to the relief of unemployment, seems to have been that the State should act in the capacity of providing for that unemployment. It is [659] essential in some direction that that should take place, but I do not think it is good, sound economies. It certainly is not the way industrial enterprise has been built up in other countries. The great vital asset, without which no country can expect to get upon its feet either commercially or industrially, is the initiative of men prepared to start industrial concerns, and the essential thing, to make that enterprise successful, is that they should get a fair chance, and should not be harassed, as if they were so many enemies of the State. There seems to be abroad, in this country, an impression, shared to some extent on the one side by those who sometimes call themselves the proletariat, and shared, to some extent, I fear, by our immature economists within the Government, that the manufacturers are so many parasites who want to prey upon the community.

To my mind, that is a profoundly erroneous idea, and one which, if persisted in, will simply mean a continuation of the industrial distress through which we have passed. A captain of industry in this country is a much more important factor in the nation's future than a dominating politician, and we have got to recognise that the whole economic structure of the country rests, in reality, upon the brains and the enterprise of these men, and on the security that they get to carry out their different operations.

A DEPUTY: The farmers.

Mr. MILROY: In saying that, I am not making any reflection upon the farmers, but I do want the farmers to realise that there are other elements in the country besides the farmer, and that the more prosperous these other industrial enterprises are, the better for the farmer, and vice versa. I do not want to anticipate the discussion upon the findings of the Fiscal Committee which, I assume, will take place when they are published. I am sorry that they have not already been published, so that we might have considered them in conjunction with the remarks of the Governor-General. I believe those who are interested in the work of that Committee are looking [660] forward for some message of economic hope for the country, looking forward for an economic vision which will consider Ireland not as an abstraction, nor the Irish people as so many economic mummies that are simply there to be studied, but that will consider Ireland as a living reality. I trust the Committee's recommendations will be such as to be helpful to bring to this country a policy that will give renewed life to industrial enterprise. If it does that, it will have set Ireland on the right road, not only to industrial rest, but to progressive civilisation, but if it fails to do that, then a great vital issue will have arisen. I cannot anticipate what the decisions of this Committee will be, but whatever its decisions be, they will at least mark a definite stage in the life of Ireland's economic interests. They will be, to my mind, a highly important mark in these matters, and if they do not give us a hope, or if they do not fulfil the hope that a new system, and one more in accordance with Ireland's economic interests, is to be infused into the life of the nation, then I am afraid the Committee's labours will have been wasted. However, we shall wait and see.

That is the main thing I wish to draw attention to, that you may devise schemes by which the national revenue may be allocated to this phase of unemployment or that; you may arraign one section of the community as opposing the real interests of the nation in one direction or another, but now that we have in our own hands that for which we have struggled, not merely political power but economic power, the right to decide our own fiscal future and fiscal policy, the right to weld and to mould Ireland's interests, if we fail to do that we will have, I was going to use a very harsh phrase, I was going to say we will have sold the pass, but at any rate whether that is an accurate description or not, we will have done something to diminish very seriously the hopes with which the Irish people have looked to this Assembly to lift the country from the demoralising and derelict condition in which the last two years have placed it, and put it in a position to become, in the near future, one of the most solvent and progressive States in the world.