Dáil Éireann - Volume 5 - 14 November, 1923


Debate resumed on the resolution: “That the Dáil returns thanks to the Governor-General for his Address, and [750] approves of the Legislative programme of the Government, as outlined therein.”(Mr. James Burke.)

Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS: Perhaps I may be allowed at the outset of my speech to quote, for the sake of simplicity, certain words which I used in this Dáil last April when speaking on the Budget as the basis of certain comments I desired to make upon the important financial statement made by the Minister for Finance. Speaking on the Estimates when they were before us at that time, I said: “I think that when the Estimates are reduced to Budget form, the Minister for Finance might, with advantage, remember the difference between expenditure strictly stated as non-recurrent, and expenditure that is recurrent, and classify the entire expenditure of the nation under these two separate categories strictly recognisable in finance, viz., recurrent and non-recurrent expenditure. That expenditure which is recurrent and which is due to each year, and is more or less in the nature of establishment charges should be liquidated completely within the financial year in which it occurs.” I went on later to suggest that the two chief matters that might be treated as non-recurrent were expenditure in connection with the Army and in connection with compensation. I mention that now because the Minister for Finance, at that time the President of the Executive Council, was a little derisive at that classification. Nevertheless, that is the classification that has been adopted by the present Minister for Finance, and is the basis of the statement he made. He adopts different words, but the principle is the same, and I naturally think that the principle is a sound one. He states in his speech that careful consideration has been given for some time past to the relation that at present exists between revenue available from taxation on the present scale at one end, and on the other hand the expenditure that is being incurred on the normal operations of the Government. That is excluding compensation charges and that part of the Army charges which are now regarded as abnormal. I think it might have been to his advantage and to the advantage of the clarity of the [751] national accounts if the principle had been still further extended, because buildings have been purchased and buildings have been set in order and buildings have been re-built and reconstructed into permanent dwellings which have been taken over, and surely if it is right to regard any expenditure as being in the nature of foundation charges it is expenditure of that kind where you can levy the renewal charges and the dilapidation charges. I suggest that if the principle which the Minister has already accepted be rightfully extended he will find a considerable asset come to him when he comes in the future to amplify the matters he has dealt with in his resent speech in laying the estimates of expenditure before us at the termination of the current financial year. At the present moment I desire to do no more than just mention that such is the principle that has been accepted, and upon the basis of that principle it is stated that so much of the expenditure that this Nation must incur will be charged to taxation. Certain other matters which the Minister describes as abnormal expenditure, but which I believe could be more accurately described as non-recurrent expenditure, will be taken over and funded in a National Loan. I propose quite briefly to touch upon the first of these two before coming to the other.

The Minister, I think wisely, at this stage avoided any attempt to go into details of the figures with which he was dealing, in order to show exactly how he arrived at his deficit. But he did say that at the end of the financial year he expected a deficit of £1,000,000, that is to say, that the normal expenúiture, after abstracting the abnormal expenditure for allocation to date, would leave a balance of £1,000,000 that he was not able to meet out of current taxation. To that he adds a further two million pounds for debt services in the next financial year. Now, that figure of two millions I would like to touch upon briefly, because the Minister has, in effect, said to us exactly what the amount of the Loan is going to be, because unless he is going to take a much higher rate of interest than the circumstances would [752] warrant, a debt service of two millions a year means a national loan of £40,000,000. The Minister for Agriculture, being an expert mathematician, agrees entirely.

Mr. HOGAN (Minister for Agriculture) After the Deputy has laboured the point at great length, I have got it successfully.

Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS: Well, that will practically be in effect the National Debt that will be incurred. I would like the Minister, if he can, at a later stage in this debate, to deal with one matter of some importance not touched upon in the course of his speech. I refer to Article 5 of the Treaty.

Now, there may be certain liabilities that other people are expecting in the course of Article 5 which it is the confident belief in this country will not be forthcoming; but while Article 5 remains open, while there is no decision taken on that Article, then a certain element of doubt has been introduced which it is wise and desirable that we should get rid of at the earliest possible moment. Outside the provisions of that Article, outside whatever may happen under that Article, it would appear then that when we have got that loan floated, it will constitute practically the entire National Debt. The Minister addressed the greater part of his remarks to the three million deficit which has got to be met, and he stated that that deficit cannot be met out of taxation or by any increase of taxation, leading to the conclusion that since it has to be cut off, it can only be cut off by a very vigorous process of retrenchment. The Minister indicated that this country would have to take a share all round in that retrenchment, a share in which everybody must bear their burden from the highest to the lowest. I think it will be agreed that that is perfectly sound, and that whatever retrenchment is required, it is a retrenchment that every person will have to take a part in, and that it is a retrenchment that should be participated in by everybody from the highest to the lowest. But I do not say, although the Minister seemed to indicate that he has got his preferences, that this is a [753] share that should be participated in not from the highest to the lowest, but from the lowest to the highest, which is quite a different matter altogether. He has indicated only two sources in respect of which savings are to be effected, one pensions and the other the teachers. A 10 per cent. cut is to be applied in each case. In the case of pensions, the cut will mean a reduction of £320,000, and in the case of the teachers the reduction will amount to £330,000, giving a total of £650,000.

My attitude towards these cuts is this: These cuts may be necessary, but they have not yet been proved to be necessary, and they will not have been proved to be necessary until every other source has been examined, and every other source has not yet been examined. The proposals may be necessary, but at the present moment they would appear as being put in the vanguard of retrenchment, and they would appear to be extremely unjust. I think it will be admitted that, unjust or just, they are at least politically very unwise. In regard to the pensions, I ask why it is decided to levy a cut of 10 per cent. all round. The Minister knows, and everybody in this country knows, that if the pensions were kept at their present level and were to be administered better than they are, that very considerable savings could be effected in respect of the persons receiving pensions who are, nevertheless, not entitled to receive pensions.

I know that economies are being effected in that direction, and I venture to say that probably one entire half— and I throw this forward as a suggestion—that one entire half of all that he hopes to save by taking a shilling off the old-age pensioners could be achieved, and will this year be achieved, by a careful examination of all those persons who ought to be in receipt of such pensions. In regard to the teachers, I desire to say one or two words, because I think that this proposal of the Minister has raised a very far-reaching principle. I am not going to touch at all upon an aspect of the case that a deal has been made or that a contract or agreement has been made, and that this proposal is going back upon pledged word. There are those in this Dáil who are in touch with the actual [754] facts who will argue that case, and I leave that aspect of it to them. But there is one aspect that ought to be touched upon and it seems to me to be of outstanding importance. It is that the teachers in a country are probably the most important persons in that country, seeing that it is they will be instructing the future generation who will have the continuance of the State for which legislation is proceeding in this Dáil.

I remember a long time ago hearing a man in the city of London make a comment to a friend. I was only a young man at the time and overheard it. The phrases he used clung in my memory since, and they were these:— That in the conduct of his industry, in the interests of efficiency and capability, he discovered certain positions that were regarded by him as being pivotal positions, and any salary he attached to these positions were attached definitely to the worth of the position, irrespective of the person who was to fill it, and then he proceeded to get the best person for that salary and wherever else he cut, these positions were kept up by him because they were regarded by him as being pivotal positions in his enterprise. I suggest that the teacher occupies one of these pivotal positions in the enterprise of the State, and should be so regarded. I have said that whatever the future is to be it is the teacher who will decide that matter. I know that in this Dáil it has been urged in the past by the Farmers' Party that retrenchment might be effected in the teaching profession, but I would urge upon them, and the Minister, that the very future of farming is concerned in this matter; that it is the efficiency of the future farmer that is concerned in the efficiency of the school of to-day, and it is the efficiency and the worth of the future State that is being decided to-day by the teachers. For these reasons I think it very deplorable, not that this saving should be effected, which might be ultimately proved to be necessary, but I do urge that it is unwise that this should be the very first that should be attacked instead of being among the last to be touched.

There are other sources. There is the Army at the present moment. The [755] Minister used certain words in regard to the Army that were heard with peculiar attention in this House and should be underscored. He said that the day of destruction has gone. Now, it is perfectly clear to everybody that the day of destruction has gone. And yet, consider the Army that is being maintained at the present moment. Consider the savings that might be effected in the Army. I elicited from the Minister for Defence to-day the salaries that were being paid to the Army Council. The Chief-of-Staff was getting £1,300 a year, the Adjutant-General £1,100 a year, the Quartermaster-General £1,100, plus free quarters and messing in barracks. He might further have added plus orderlies and free motor cars. We would all consider that a very princely income indeed, even on parity of exchange it is a salary equal to what is being received, at this moment, by Marshal Foch. Considering the difference in the exchange, it is about three times as much as Marshal Foch is getting. I consider, whatever the military worth of these gentlemen is, it is not three times the value of that great soldier. I have heard the suggestion that the Quartermaster-General is worth the salary, because he is three times the size, but these are not matters that enter into estimates.

There are other matters. There are three military gentlemen as aides-decamp to the Governor-General. I understand that the salary of one of the three is £1,100 a year; the salary of another is £900. These are very considerable salaries. Considerable economies could be effected in one of the most wasteful of the Army establishments; that is at Gormanstown, which is costing this country £150,000 per annum. I suggest to the Minister that here is a very fruitful subject of enquiry, if savings are to be effected, and I urge upon him that it would be a very popular thing to do, and a very instructive thing to do to order a public audit of the Army accounts, an audit that should be published by him. I consider that, at least, such a course should be adopted by him long before the Old Age Pensions should be touched. What is the cost to-day of the Canadian Army? In the monies current in the [756] Free State the Canadian Army costs 1½ millions. The Minister states he will be able to reduce the Army from ten and a half to something in the vicinity of four million pounds. If an army were to be run in Ireland on the militia system, same as it is run in Canada, an army could be maintained of equal efficiency, though without the same extended personnel, on a sum that need not, at any moment, exceed two million pounds a year. I am not making any guess at that figure. I have worked it out in some considerable detail, together with persons who are quite competent to assess the figures. Consider what that, in its turn, would imply. If we had in Ireland an army established on the militia system we would be able to save two millions a year. In other words, we would, out of that one economy alone, be able to pay the entire debt service that the Minister spoke of, as being necessary to estimate for in the coming financial year. There is also the Civil Service, concerning entrance to which we have just passed the Second Reading of a Bill. The Minister has already indicated that something is going to be done in that matter. But it is notorious that appointments have been made during the past two years to the Civil Service that were not justified by the attainments of the persons appointed, and certainly were not justified in respect of the salaries those persons are receiving. The salaries were on a much higher scale than the salaries that prevailed up to that time. It is true that a large number of the persons who have been appointed would not be able to retain their positions to-day if they were called upon to pass an examination. I think a considerable economy might be effected in that regard if the Minister were to make the coming examinations for the Civil Service retrospective, so that persons who have been appointed within the past two years shall be called upon to pass such an examination, and if they fail to qualify their positions shall automatically fall vacant. It would be rather surprising to discover exactly the economy that might be affected out of that one single measure.

There are other matters pending, not immediately before the Dáil. There [757] are matters of which we have already received notice. There is the Ministers and Secretaries Bill. We will deal with that when we come to it. I will only make this comment upon it now, seeing that it is in the possession of the House, that £8,400 a year is going to be spent under it on Parliamentary Secretaries. The Dáil will be able to work out a very interesting arithmetical calculation to discover how many old age pensioners will be called upon to do without their shilling a week in order to contribute towards these new offices that are about to be created.

When all economies have been effected we come then to a matter which we can, at least, regard as a matter of common agreement; that is, a loan is necessary that will be the common concern of every citizen in the Free State. The Minister, in his speech, stated that it is important to have it understood that the public finance of the country does not need to be conducted and will not, under the present Government, be conducted in a manner that can render us subservient to any external interests. This is a very admirable principle to set out as a headline. Unfortunately, it is not altogether true. It is true that the raising of this loan will make us subservient to external interests, because the loan will be raised in terms of British currency. It is perfectly true that Irish citizens are to be asked to contribute, and no definite overture will be made to British citizens as such. Much less, I gather, will overtures be made to the British Government as such. But the Irish citizens who contribute will be contributing in currency notes of the British Government, currency notes that will be dependent upon British financial policies, currency notes that will have to be purchased by Irishmen across the Customs frontier of their own creation—a necessary frontier, a frontier that follows upon the provisions of the Treaty, but a frontier, nevertheless, that will make those loans more expensive here than they would be made for ordinary British citizens in Great Britain. I raise that matter now, because I do think that the Minister ought to take very early into his consideration the very important matter of currency.

[758] Directly we touch the question of a loan, we touch a matter closely dependent upon the currency upon which any State relies. We already have the conditions under which that currency can be created. I urge that it should be created. I was speaking the other day to a business man of some weight in another country and put before him the figures of exports and imports in respect of the Free State, by which it appears that we are exporting every year one-third in value more than we are importing. When any country can show a position like that, it is a country of which the credit is very high indeed—a credit equal to that which any other country can show. In any case that is the position to-day. A loan somewhat of the order of forty millions pounds is to be issued. It may not all come at once, but if that debt service is to be as assessed by the Minister, such naturally must be the order of the debt.

Here we come to a question involving a grave public duty for every citizen of the Free State. It is incumbent upon this country that that loan should be made a resounding success. I do not deceive myself that any words of mine would reach even people outside calling themselves Republicans, who have said that they would not recognise any such loan, if created, and that they would afterwards repudiate it. Words like those can be disregarded. They are having a certain measure of weight with certain persons, but they can be disregarded, because no matter what the Government of this country may be, that Government could not continue for five minutes if there were not to be a recognition of the National liability incurred in the name of the people. It is a liability in which every individual is concerned. Business men in Ireland to-day would find that their own personal credits in other countries would be affected injuriously if the National credit were to be impaired by any failure to raise what this country needs in the way of money for the continuance of the normal processes of its business. I urge the Minister to recognise that this is a matter that cannot be treated and will not be [759] treated by anybody in a merely party spirit. I urge him to put the people of this country in possession of the full facts at the earliest possible moment, to organise a drive and to put every Deputy in his district to the task of assisting in the collection of the loan that is required by the Free State. Let the Government itself give the headline in the recognition of the principle that this is a matter—whatever differences we may have on other questions—that is not a Party question, that it is a matter in which every citizen is concerned and in which every citizen is called upon to give his assistance. In that way we may be able to prove that in this ship of State every person will have his or her duty. I believe that if the matter be regarded in that way, and a proper publicity campaign instituted in which every person who can help will be called upon to help, there will be no difficulty in raising within this country what this country wants for the administration of its services and for putting this State into a condition of solvency.

Mr. JOHNSON: I do not know whether it is the desire of the Dáil to enter upon discussion of the amendment of which I have given notice. Assuming that it is in order, I think I am right in saying, on behalf of Deputy O'Connell, that he is prepared to postpone amendment No. 1 in favour of amendment No. 2.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: If Deputy O'Connell waives priority in respect of amendment No. 1, we can take amendment No. 2 now. That is inclusive of amendment No. 3. It contains the two matters—Education and Old Age Pensions. I would suggest to Deputies that when the amendment is moved, the discussion would permit of the raising of any matters dealing with economy and retrenchment and with the statement made by the Minister for Finance generally. When that amendment has been disposed of, amendment No. 1, dealing with the Fishing Industry, can be taken up and disposed of. Then, the main question would be again before the Dáil, and Deputies who desire to raise other matters, not [760] relevant to the question of economy and retrenchment, would be in order in doing so. I think that arrangement would suit all those who desire to speak.

General MULCAHY: In case there is an amendment coming on just now perhaps I would be in order in dealing with one or two small matters arising out of the last Deputy's speech.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Perhaps the Minister for Defence would be better advised to wait, as other similar questions may be raised. I would allow his reply to these questions on the discussion on the amendment, if he is willing to wait until then.

Mr. HOGAN (Minister for Agriculture): It is clear, then that the general question can be debated after these two amendments have been disposed of.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Yes. But it cannot be debated by way of repetition. When the amendment has been disposed of, we cannot have a speech delivered on the main question that is really relevant to amendment 1, 2 or 3. With regard to amendment 3, we could deal with it in several ways. What I would suggest would be that when amendment 2 has been discussed, if there is any desire expressed, we could, at the end of the discussion, put the amendment in two parts. Perhaps that would meet Deputy Byrne's desire.

Captain REDMOND: Do I understand from your ruling that you do not seem disposed to permit Deputies to indulge in a general discussion of the Governor-General's speech upon these two amendments, but you suggest that the general debate may be afterwards resumed. If that is so, I would suggest —speaking, as I do, only for myself— that it would be better for us to proceed with the general discussion first and take these amendments subsequently. If Deputies speak on these two amendments they will be limited to the matters you have referred to, namely, the question of economy and also the questions raised in the amendment.

These matters undoubtedly come up in regard to the whole outline, form [761] and proposals contained in the Governor-General's speech, and if Deputies are not to be allowed to refer to them again, when they desire to take part in a general discussion, I think, for the benefit of the Dáil generally, it would be better to proceed with the general discussion now, and have a limited discussion later on the amendments according to their terms.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: I have not made any ruling; I merely made a suggestion.

Mr. HOGAN: I suggest that if we branch off now to the motion on the Governor-General's speech, we will be getting into matters relating to Agriculture, Industry and Commerce and Local Government, matters absolutely foreign to the subject we have been discussing. From that point of view it would, perhaps, be better to deal with the amendments specifically, and afterwards deal with the general question. My only point is that we will be taking up something absolutely new and entirely foreign—or at least foreign to a great extent. We will be discussing Industry, Local Government and other matters if we adopt Deputy Redmond's suggestion.

Mr. GOREY: I do not think it wise that the discussion on the Address should be continued in general terms. The financial statement made by the Minister has introduced new matters. The principal part of the two amendments deals with the financial statement. It would be better to dispose of the amendments first, and I suggest we do so. Let us not be mixing up matters. The question raised on the financial statement is altogether foreign to the Address, and it should be dealt with separately. I quite agree that anybody speaking to the financial statement and the amendment ought not be allowed to introduce those matters afterwards.

Captain REDMOND: I would like to say that that is exactly my point. When we proceed it discuss these amendments, we will not be discussing the Governor-General's Address, because neither of these matters were mentioned [762] in the Address. My point is, that we are not now discussing the Governor-General's Address, but the Address as amended by the financial statement, and as amended also by another statement which I intended to refer to. I think the method adopted of dealing with the Governor-General's Address in this fashion of dribs and drabs is bad for the Government and bad for the Dáil. The Address should be disposed of in an allotted time. These matters were not brought up on the Address. That is my complaint in regard to the Address. They were overlooked and now we are going to discuss, as Deputy Gorey has said, two questions which were not mentioned in the Address, and then we are going to go back to the Address again. I bow to the will of the Dáil, but I think it would be more logical and reasonable to dispose of the Address first and then proceed to deal with the amendments.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: I have not given any ruling on this matter. I have merely made a suggestion as to the most convenient way for Deputies to discuss the matters which they themselves are very anxious to discuss. Deputy Gorey has told us that the statement made by the Minister for Finance had nothing to do with the Address.

Mr. GOREY: It is a distinct matter.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: I dissent from that view because the words actually quoted in amendment No. 2 from the Address are “The decision of the Ministers to avoid waste and extract the utmost value from all public expenditure.” Upon that it is surely relevant for a Minister to state how he proposes to avoid waste and effect economy. Proceeding further, it is surely relevant for Deputies to state that they do not agree with the Minister's method of avoiding waste and effecting economy. The method we have been following is that the address is a statement of Government policy. The Government, having made its statement through the Governor-General, seeks the approbation of the Dáil for their policy as outlined in the Address by means of a motion such as is on the paper. The Minister for [763] Finance took the opportunity of making an important financial statement, and Deputies desire to propose an amendment and get a vote on a specific matter indicated in it. That has very distinct relevance to the Governor-General's Address and to the question of whether the Dáil does or does not approve of the Government's programme as outlined therein. It seems to me that if we continue the general discussion on the Motion of Thanks it would be impossible to avoid the matters mentioned in Deputy Johnson's amendment. Deputy Figgis mentioned matters quite relevant to this particular amendment. Seeing the position we are in, my suggestion is that we should discuss the amendment, and considerable liberty should be allowed in the discussion of the amendment in dealing with matters of finance. Having disposed of that, we could then take the other question of Fisheries. I make the suggestion after a consultation with some Deputies and with knowledge of what certain Deputies will want to discuss. There is one Deputy, not present at the moment, who will appear sometime in the discussion and will want to speak about Railways. That is a certainty. He will not be in order in regard to the amendment, but he is entitled to discuss the matter somewhere. Similarly, Deputy Gorey and others who sit with him will desire to make some statement on Government policy which will give food for thought to the Minister for Agriculture. These may not be quite relevant to Deputy Johnson's amendment, but I wish to make an arrangement which would allow these matters to be brought up. It is entirely for the Dáil as to what is decided, but if we discussed the question of finance on this amendment and then went on to the general question and took up other matters, I think it would be conveninent, and the Chair would deal with the matter in a very lenient way from the point of view of irrelevancy with a view to not interfering with the rights of Deputies to discuss the important matters arising out of the Government's statement of policy. While offering that leniency, we could not possibly have a speech made on [764] the amendment and repeated in substance on the main question. That would be completely wrong. Before Deputy Johnson moves, I would like to have the view of the Dáil. I would like it made clear so that the question may not arise later on. I think Deputy Redmond's statement will be quite in order when we come to the general question. May I take it that is agreed to?

The Dáil agreed.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: With regard to the difference between Deputy Johnson's statement and Deputy Byrne's amendment, I would like some agreement on that matter.

Mr. JOHNSON: I would suggest that the two amendments might be discussed together, but may be voted upon separately if there are votes taken. If amendment No. 2 is defeated, a vote might be taken on amendment No. 3 without any extra discussion.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: There are some objections to that, but I would agree to the proposal if the two things are discussed together, that in the event of No. 2 being defeated, No. 3 will be proposed and put without discussion. Does Deputy Byrne accept that?

Mr. A. BYRNE: I am quite agreeable.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Amendment No. 1 is postponed. We will now deal with No. 2.

Mr. JOHNSON: Paragraph 23 in the Address of the Governor-General to the members of the two Houses reads in the latter part “Your Ministers feel bound to urge not only on every Department of State but on every citizen the compelling necessity of husbanding our resources, and of avoiding waste and extracting the utmost value from every public and private expenditure.”

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

Mr. JOHNSON: Now I subscribe to that, and I ask the Dáil to subscribe to that wholeheartedly. I think it is a very good definition of the term [765] “economy” that we should extract the utmost value from every public and private expenditure. My amendment seeks to put into this warning the proviso “That while approving of that decision, the Dáil cannot agree to methods of retrenchment which would be detrimental to education, or which would cause suffering to the aged poor.” I submit that any attempt at retrenchment on the lines indicated by the Minister in regard to education and in regard to old age pensions would not be economy, but would be added waste —additional waste to the waste in administration, of which mention had been made. The Dáil listened to the statement of the Minister for Finance with a good deal of interest. With respect to some parts of it, as far as some Deputies of the Dáil are concerned, they listened to it with great astonishment and surprise. The majority of the Dáil no doubt were well aware of what was coming. But those Deputies who are dependent for particulars of policy from the Government upon statements of policy which are made to this assembly, which ought to be the first to hear them, were, I think, taken with surprise by some of the statements made by the Minister. I was personally inclined to whisper “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread,” but I know the Minister is not a fool, and I had to think of some other explanation of the extraordinary announcement made in the manner in which it was made. I rather suggested to myself that there was some Iago tempting him to take advantage of his newness to the office, tempting him to do harm to the State under the plea of financial policy and the plea of national economy. The Minister has got a reputation, I think well deserved, of being intellectually honest, of being very candid, even if I may say so, without disrespect, brutally candid, in his statements to the Dáil. Again, without disrespect, I would suggest that his statement was not candid, not wholly candid, as I will try to show, but brutal in respect to his reference, both to the teachers and to the old age pensioners. The suggestion of the Minister regarding old age pensioners, which I will deal with first, took the Dáil by surprise. The arguments that were [766] adduced in favour of his proposal rather show me that he had not the time or had not taken the trouble to examine his case with that intellectual honesty which I credit him with, or he would not have stated the case in the manner he did. He told us that when this pension was first introduced in 1908 the rate in the most usual case was 5/-. It was not intended at any time that the pension should provide the recipient with an independent and complete means of livelihood. I do not know whether he intended to infer that 10/- a week was a sufficient sum to provide the recipient with an independent and complete means of livelihood. That is the inference which nine out of ten people would take from the statement. He pointed out that the 10/- was fixed when the cost of living had risen to 120 per cent., and it was now 80 per cent. Therefore, as he suggested a reduction was valid and justifiable. That proposition is not valid and is not justified. And if he had examined the case, as normally he would have done, he would not have made that statement. The 10/- rate was adopted when the cost of living had risen to 120 per cent. above pre-war. It remained at 10/- when the cost of living figure was 176 per cent. above pre-war. I quote that from the Minister's statement. If the cost of living figures are to be the index which is to denote the rate for old age pensions, then there ought to have been a rise considerably above the 10/- when the big figure was arrived at. But that is not so. The Minister will not admit that there is something due to the old age pensioners in consequence of the failure to add to the rate of pension when the cost of living rose above 120 per cent. I want the Dáil to realise that 5/-, which is the basic figure for the majority of pensions was fixed not in 1914 but in 1908. It remained at 5/- up to a time considerably after the war began, and considerably after prices began to rise.

Prices rose nine points between 1908 and 1914, and if the Minister wants to argue for his shilling per week reduction on a basis of cost-of-living prices, and he examines the position honestly and candidly, he will see that on that basis there is nothing due to be deducted. All these prices, according [767] to the figures quoted by him, as compared with 1908, will show an advance from 100 to 195. Now if he likes to take one-fortieth of a £ off the 10/-, and justifies it on the basis of the decline in the cost of living, these figures will entitle him to do that, but that is all they will entitle him to do. I submit if there is going to be any argument for a reduction of 1/- per week from old age pensions on the basis of the decline in prices you must take the prices at the time the pensions were fixed, and compare all these prices with present prices. But I want to ask the Dáil to believe and recognise this consideration that this index figure referred to is a figure based upon family expenditure. Everyone who knows anything about children knows that the family will consume a very much larger proportion of those articles which have not risen as greatly as other articles which are consumed by old age pensioners. The old age pensioner does not eat so much bread as the youngster —the growing boy or girl—and in the family expenditure there are three or four children taken into account in arriving at this index figure. So that you are trying to mulct the old age pensioner on a basis of declining prices when you take into account these things which are not normally consumed by men and women over 70 years of age. The largest proportion expended is on tea, sugar, and tobacco, all of which are taxed to a very much greater extent than the normal commodities consumed by the average family, and the Old Age Pensioners by virtue of their consumption of these taxable articles have paid back very much of the increase through the extraordinary increase in taxation upon these articles, such as I have named. So that on the basis of these figures you have no case to put before the Old Age Pensioners of the country in favour of a reduction in the amount of the pensions. Now the Minister relies to a greater extent perhaps upon another argument. He speaks of the resources of the country not affording those pensions at the present rate, and he quotes the cost to the Revenue of pensions in the Free State as compared with the cost of pensions in Scotland. He shows [768] to-day that the cost of pensions in the Free State amounts to 13.2 per cent. of the Revenue, while in Scotland it is only 2 per cent. of the Revenue. I suppose that fact was known to the members of the Dáil and to the Ministry before they sought to be severed from the British Financial System. We have all a right to assume they took that into account because if they failed to take that into account they are asking the Old Age Pensioners to bear the burden of their failure. Are you asking them to be responsible, and to bear a loss consequent upon the history of the last 100 years. Because Ireland has an extraordinary and abnormal number of men and women over 70 years of age, we are being asked to make these people responsible and to bear that burden. I say that is not worthy of the Dáil, if the Dáil agrees to that proposition. We had our eyes open when we were seeking to be served from the British Government system, and we know this was one of the charges that would be imposed upon the country.

I have never heard, nor read, of any Ministerial statement, or of any statement by any member of the Dáil, which told the people they were going to cut Old Age Pensions as soon as they got control of the finances of the country. The Minister for Home Affairs, the Minister for Agriculture and members of the Dáil in all parts have emphasised the position of agriculture, and the position of the small farmers and we know that there is a very large proportion of these in receipt of Old Age Pensions, that is, that there is a very large class of small farmers in receipt of these pensions.

In the main, I believe they are entitled to have pensions. I believe, having done their work for the State as they have done, they are entitled to be considered in their old age, but I think I have heard it said in this House, as I have heard it said elsewhere, that agriculture in Ireland has been notoriously a sweated industry, sweated by the community and, I put it to the farmers' representatives here, this is one way of paying back some of the debt due by the community to the small farming community. I do not think we should agree for a minute [769] to make old men and women the first portion of the community to be called upon to bear the charges which we now think the State cannot afford.

The cut in the teachers' salaries, and the proposed additional cut in their salaries is, I submit, distinctly and inevitably a means of hurting the educational system in this country, which we had hoped, and indeed felt confident, was going to be immensely improved under the new condition of affairs. I say we hoped it was going to be immensely improved under the new condition of affairs, and, perhaps, members of the Ministry interested will recognise the value of a full page advertisement, which appeared in the newspapers on August the 20th, addressed to the people of Ireland and signed Liam T. MacCosgair. August the 20th is not very long since, and the memories of Deputies can easily go back so far as that date. The programme of the Government party, signed by the President of the Executive Council, contained this clause:— “Education has long cried out for reconstruction, and we seized the earliest opportunity of making the first and most urgent reform. We have changed this whole character and outlook by placing the National language and all that concerns the Nation's life in their rightful place, and the next generation will enjoy the fruits of our policy in a citizenry reared in the atmosphere of love and respect of their Motherland, her language, her history, her tradition, her lore. But the reform of public education cannot rest here. It must be truly modern and progressive, and made a real and a living thing by close relation to the life and the social, agricultural, and industrial conditions and life of the country. It must have no artificial barrier of class or grade, and it must attract to its service teachers enabled to be efficient and enthusiastic by adequate remuneration. The record of what we have already done shows that we have set our course in the direction of National efficiency and progress in education, and we will introduce early legislation to give effect to a well-considered scheme.”

Now, I ask Deputies on the other side of the House is there a single one of [770] them who, three months ago, believed that that proposition was going to be followed by an immediate cut of 10 per cent. in teachers' salaries, with the prospect of an indefinite cut to follow.

I challenge any member of the Dáil to say that he told his constituents there was going to be a cut in teachers' salaries. That proposition, which appeared in the programme of the Government Party, signed by the President of the Executive Council, suggested that you were going to enlist the enthusiastic support of the teachers; that you were going to give them adequate remuneration, and that you were going to utilise their enthusiastic support in building up “a citizenry reared in the atmosphere of love and respect of their Motherland, her language, her history, her tradition, and her lore.” The Minister for Education, having subscribed to that proposition, consents to this action of the Minister for Finance in cutting the teachers' salaries, and destroying their enthusiasm, in making them discontented and quite unfit to do the work which was in that programme set out by the President of the Executive Council.

Now, Deputy O'Connell has already touched upon the financial proposal, and I have no doubt other Deputies will have more to say on that. I am not going to enlarge upon the actual financial facts, or the justification, or non-justification, of any action which the Minister has outlined, but I say that the evil genius who first prompted the Minister to take this action seems to have shown an utter disregard of the Government's policy as stated on frequent occasions in regard to the relations between the servants of the State, employees in industry, and their governors or their employers. A very respected Deputy who was elected to the Dáil, but unfortunately who does not appear here to enable us to add to our admiration of him—Deputy Alfred O'Rahilly—used these words when speaking to the Teachers' Congress at Easter time:—“Just as after the French Revolution the pseudo-democratic educators sought to abolish all corporate life and combination, so, in a small way, after our little revolution, there is a distinct tendency to abolish all Councils and Boards and consultative [771] bodies in Education, Agricultural and other Departments. One of the first fruits of liberty is apparently to be Ministerial bureaucracy.” Perhaps he might have added Treasury autocracy. I think I can see signs of assent from certain Ministers to the suggestion of Treasury autocracy.

Some little time ago there was raised in the Dáil the question of the action of Treasury officials in ordering that wages should be reduced in certain Departments, without notice and without consideration, cutting them below the ruling rates in the district, and thereby over-riding all questions of fair wages clauses or the usual conditions of employment. Here, again, we find at work the same influence, presumably, which says that the Education Minister may whistle; the salaries of teachers must be cut on the first of November, and no questions asked. There is a clause in our Constitution which deals with Vocational Councils, and I think the Minister for Finance has indicated a certain assent to that general idea. This method of simply decreeing that certain public servants shall have their salaries reduced on a certain date, without consultation with anybody, is very far removed, indeed, from the idea of Vocational Councils—is very far removed, indeed, from modern practice in regard to employment, whether in State offices or in private offices. But mind, it is only these two indefensible elements that are being attacked, notwithstanding all the Minister vaguely hinted at about retrenchments in other Departments. He did not say in any single case there were going to be reductions. There was a statement that there had been reductions in respect to the Army, but there had not been any reduction in the rates of Army pay to existing soldiers. The only reductions are in new attestations. The Minister for Defence was not told by the Minister for Finance that, on and after a certain date, every soldier would have to be cut 10 per cent. in his pay. He dare not. The Minister for Home Affairs, through one of his Departments has given assurances that there will be no reduction in the pay of the Civic Guard without consultation. But they can strike back, and I [772] suppose that is the reason. The Old Age Pensioners have no redress. The teachers can only refuse to teach the children. What does the Treasury care about that? The late Minister for Education in England very recently said “The Treasury notoriously know nothing about education, except that it costs money.” That, apparently, is the position of the Ministry of Finance in the new Saorstát. I submit that it is bad politics; it is bad economy; it is waste of political knowledge, to attempt to introduce new scales of pay in this autocratic manner without notice, without consultation, without intimation to the Dáil even, that such reductions were going to take place, apart from any question about violation of agreements. I leave that for discussion in another manner. Even assuming there was perfect justification, apart from agreements altogether, the method of doing this thing is a bad one, impolitic, and ought not to be sanctioned by the Dáil.

The Minister said that the Old Age Pensioners may attribute a high degree of responsibility for this reduction in the amount of tea or tobacco or sugar they would have been able to enjoy, to those who have wasted and impoverished the country during the past two years. It is very easy to blame everything upon the events of the last two years. It is very easy to say that the Irregulars and the Irregular campaign were responsible, but I think that is another exhibition of lack of candour, at least a failure to examine with that honesty which I say is his general characteristic, this proposition. The proposition to reduce Old Age Pensions and to reduce teachers' salaries, is to meet normal—or, as Deputy Figgis calls it—recurrent expenditure. It is not touching the abnormal cost of the Army. It is not touching compensation, and while the Minister may retort that the ability to pay has been reduced, I am going to ask Ministers if there is in existence, and if they will produce to the Dáil, any financial estimates which were before them when they were discussing the Treaty in London? You had the cost of administration before you. We have the estimates based upon the expenditure of the past [773] few years, and know what the cost of the administration of this country is, and has been. We had no right—any of us—to anticipate that there was going to be any big reduction in the national charges for quite a long time.

The Treaty was made with certain financial obligations. It was accepted by the Dáil and the country and confirmed in the Constitution. That Treaty contemplated the possibility of even larger expenditure than is contained in the estimate that has been placed before us. We knew that within the bounds of that Treaty every Civil Servant might have resigned and claimed a pension, and that we would be bound to meet those pensions. We knew that within that Treaty—it has been mentioned here this afternoon —we undertook to bear a share of the British National Debt. I suggest that there are very few members of the Dáil, if any, who have examined the proposition but expected that we would have to pay interest charges upon a portion of the British National Debt. In these estimates that are placed before us there is no charge for that share of the National Debt, and we have no right, therefore, to think that, even if the history of the last two years had not been gone through, the annual charges would have been any less. Certainly we had no right to count upon that. We had a right to assume that every item that we were making ourselves possibly liable for, we would have been called upon to pay. I do not believe any member of the Dáil, or any candidate, elected or not elected, ever put to the people that there were going to be cuts in the cost of education and cuts in the charge for Old Age Pensions. Do not let us hide our responsibilities for present and future taxation behind the Irregular movement. We went into this Treaty with our eyes open. We knew it was going to be an expensive matter for a few years. Let us bear it, and not try to cut the humanitarian services and those services for education, which are the best investment that the country's money can be put into.

It seems to me that running through the Minister's statement and through much of the discussion that we are [774] being treated to in the newspapers, such expenditure is being accepted as the same thing as National income. Of course it is not. It might well be that the National income was high and State expenditure low. We ought, if we want to look at this problem seriously and earnestly, distinguish between National monies paid out for education, National monies paid out for these humanitarian social services, such as Old Age Pensions, hospitals, and Poor Law, and the ordinary National expenditure on administration of the army, police, and the like. Supposing the charge for Old Age Pensions was taken off the National Exchequer and thrown upon the rates, the country would still have to bear it. The totality of expenditure would be just as high, and perhaps higher. If the Dáil refused to pay any more money for education, it would not necessarily mean that education was going to be any cheaper, or that the country would have any less money to raise. It would be simply paying through a different channel, but it would have to be paid or the country would go to ruin. It seems to me that the Minister is proceeding in quite a wrong direction. Economy in expenditure by all means, full value for all expenditure, private or public, by all means. But do not take steps which will reduce the value you are getting for the money you are paying. I would say, without any doubt whatever, that to create discontent and unsettlement amongst the teaching profession is going to reduce considerably the value you are getting for the money you are paying. That is not economy, and that is not retrenchment in any true sense. I think, instead of moving towards mere cutting of prices, mere cutting of wages, and mere cutting of salaries, the policy of the Minister should be, rather, to stimulate production and encourage that better return for labour expended. I would be with the Minister heartily if he would say, “We are paying four millions for education. That four millions is being raised out of the taxpayer's pocket. We want to see that a larger proportion of that four million is expended upon articles produced in this country, thereby employing other people through the expenditure of the [775] salary that the State is paying.” You will need to raise more money. I have not the slightest hope that the Minister will be able to carry out his policy of reducing taxation. I have not the slightest hope that it will be possible to carry on on the present rate of taxation. You may have to change the incidence of taxation, but you will have to raise the present amount, and perhaps more. I suggest that the true line of policy should be, not to cut on those services and reduce their value, but to look round for other means of raising money to pay for this necessary and useful public service.

The Minister says he cannot consider increased taxation. I hope he will be able to carry on the Government of the country in the manner which was outlined in the programme of the Government Party at the elections, without increased taxation. I believe it is impossible, and I believe, before the winter is through, that he will find a very heavy demand upon the public Exchequer, if he wants to save trouble from the rising numbers of unemployed. In the spring-time we warned the Ministers that the new system of paying Insurance might be all right, provided that employment were to become general before October. The Minister, through the Assistant Minister for Industry and Commerce, told us that the plans outlined in that Unemployment Insurance Amendment Bill contemplated and hoped for a general revival of industry before the end of October. That has not taken place. The number of unemployed is increasing, and their ability to sustain themselves while unemployed is steadily decreasing. The prospect is not hopeful for the promise of the Minister that he will carry on without increased taxation. He may find, as he will find, that he will have to put taxes upon imported manufactured goods.

He will have to find revenue by some means and probably he will find it by that means. It would be of some interest to the country and to many anxious employers of labour to know what the Government's policy in that respect is, or if they have any policy yet. Perhaps, before I sit down I may ask the Minister if he would, before [776] the debate closes, enlarge a little more upon his references to expenditure on roads and expenditure on houses. He is not prepared, he says, to involve the State in any additional charge for an expenditure on roads, but he hopes that perhaps there will be a million and a quarter spent during the next eighteen months on improvement and repairs. That one and a quarter millions partly is to come out of motor vehicle duties apparently, plus the special rate which the County Councils are required to pay to the Exchequer under recent legislation. I would like some enlightenment on that because the best figures I can find do not show me any sum beyond £800,000, at the maximum, for that 18 months, and it would be a pity to deceive the country into thinking that there will be an expenditure of one and a half millions on roads.

Mr. BLYTHE: One and a quarter million.

Mr. JOHNSON: Yes, one and a quarter millions on roads, and there is not much sign of it as far as the figures that have been presented in different quarters up to now, would show. Further, I would like a little more enlightenment on what is meant by the Minister when he says it is an essential feature of these schemes that they cannot be initiated until definite recognition is given to that fact that the Government and the financial and economic interests of the country cannot consent to allow them to be conducted in a manner that would keep prices or wages above the nominal level at which they stand at the present time. That to me rather suggests that, while promising that there will be expenditure, he is taking good care to show that there will be none. I may be wrong in my interpretation, but it seems to me to suggest that there must first of all be a campaign of wage-cutting before there will be any expenditure on public works. By allowing a loud clamour of unemployed men to be heard, and keeping them clamouring, you will be able to cut down the level of wages, and then all things will be beautiful. I hope the Minister is not building upon that. I am afraid if he is it will be calamitous. [777] I do not want to say anything in that matter that would make things more difficult. But, if there is any intention to use the unemployed as a lever to bring down the general rates of wages and to allow that to happen by virtue of that clamour and that contest and competition for jobs, well, that way madness lies.

I have asked the Dáil in this amendment to declare that it will not agree to any curtailment in expenditure which will be detrimental to the interests of education or will cause suffering to the aged poor. I hope the Dáil will tell the country by its vote on this question that it is not prepared to put burdens which we all foresaw upon these two elements in the community, and make them bear the first charge. I am one of those, and I have said it here before, who believes there will be need of a very general simplification of life in this country so far as the better-off sections are concerned. If we try to emulate in expenditure Great Britain, or even the habits of the past, when we were identified with and bound up with the British economic and financial system, we shall perish. I believe it will be good for the country to reduce expenditure on luxuries. I am with Deputy Egan on that. But when I see forms of luxury, when I see lavish expenditure on motor cars, and other forms of luxury, I wonder whether the Minister is looking in the right direction for his economy, for his retrenchment and for his additional finance. I think not. I think certainly he has been tempted down the wrong road when he was tempted to have a slap at the old age pensioners and the school teachers.

Mr. T. MURPHY: I second the amendment.

Mr. P. HOGAN (Minister for Agriculture): I have read this amendment, and I think I will vote for it.

Mr. JOHNSON: Hear, hear; I knew you would.

Mr. HOGAN: I hope the Dáil will give full and complete support to the Minister for Finance in the two cuts he proposes to make, amongst the many other cuts which he will find it necessary [778] to make, if we are to run this country successfully, namely, to balance the Budget. I will try to meet, as far as I can, the numberless points which Deputy Johnson made, but I hope I will not emulate his heroic language. I will attempt to meet his points. First of all, he complains about the methods. He objects to the methods adopted by the Minister for Finance in this regard. He talks about autocracy. He asks us do we hear of Vocational Councils now. He complains that there is a tendency to abolish all Consultative Bodies. I do not know what that has got to do with this case. The Minister for Finance comes forward here with two proposals. They are only the first steps. He tells the Dáil that he proposes to make these cuts. There is a full and free and frank opportunity for criticism. No member of the Dáil will be gagged. No member of the Dáil will be forced to vote for the Government.

We are here in the hands of the Parliament of the country, and the Parliament can, if it wishes, turn this down. That is not autocracy; it is democracy. We defend these proposals on their merits. We put them to you on their merits, and it is you who have the last word. If that is autocracy, then the word has taken up a new meaning. Deputy Johnson's speech was like the sting of an adder. I think it is the adder that has the sting in its tail— or is it? The speech, however, is like whatever animal has the sting in its tail. After a speech of an hour, he made just one suggestion to meet this deficit, namely, a cut in the salaries of certain officers in the Army; that was his only specific suggestion in the way of cuts.

Mr. JOHNSON: I think the Minister is mistaken. While I might agree with the proposition, I did not make the suggestion.

Mr. HOGAN: That is, perhaps, a little too subtle for me. When he referred to Army salaries, I took it that what he really meant was that we might look for retrenchment in that direction.

Mr. JOHNSON: I said that the cut had not been made in existing Army [779] salaries, but on new attestations, and men would attest on new terms; that is the point I was making, and it is very different from the method of treating the teachers.

Mr. HOGAN: If I am to take it that Deputy Johnson did not mean to suggest that some retrenchment could be made on Army salaries, then he made no suggestion except one, and that was increased taxation. After one hour's speech, the one constructive proposal of the Deputy is increased taxation. In an impassioned moment he turns to the farmers and asks them are they going to stand this—are they going to stand for a one shilling reduction from what Deputy Byrne calls the poor old age pensioners, and what Deputy Johnson himself properly calls the aged poor.

Mr. A. BYRNE: My poor old age pensioners are people in the slums of Dublin, not people with farms or people who signed away farms.

Mr. HOGAN: Deputy Johnson asks the farmers are they going to stand for this, and he suggested to them that a way to meet the case is to increase taxation and to put a tax on imported manufactured goods. I deal with this at length because it was his one constructive proposal. I think we all agree on one thing, and that is, it is absolutely necessary for the Minister to balance his Budget. The one constructive proposal of Deputy Johnson was increased taxation, and the putting of a tax on imported manufactured goods. I hope that commends itself to the farmers. I hope they like the prospect of increased taxation, and I hope the country will like it, as the Labour solution of the present problem. I hope the farmers in particular will like the proposal to put a tax on imported manufactured goods. At the present moment the increased figure for farmers' prices is between 36 and 40 per cent. above pre-war level, and the index figure for what they have to buy but do not produce is about 100 per cent. What will be the case if a tax be put on imported manufactured goods? Deputy Johnson is good at mathematics, as he has shown in his speech.

[780] I would like him to tell us what the index figure would be for what the farmers must buy, and what effect it will have on the index figure of what the farmer sells. I do not think it would improve it, and I would be surprised if the farmers thought so.

When all the heroics are set aside, and when we have to come down to hard facts, then we find ourselves in the same position as the Minister for Finance found himself when he came down to hard facts. The one proposal of the Deputy is increased taxation and a duty on imported manufactured goods. I am perfectly certain that Deputy Johnson examined the field pretty carefully. He always does his work thoroughly, and I am sure if he could have pointed out alternative methods of finding money instead of increasing taxation and putting a duty on imported manufactured goods, he would have done it. I will say that for him.

Mr. JOHNSON: The responsibility is not mine.

Mr. HOGAN: I know the responsibility is not yours. The responsibility, unfortunately, is on the Minister for Finance. He must do it. The Deputy has been criticising him, and has been showing how wrong he is. The Deputy pointed out: “This way madness lies.” The responsibility is on the Minister for Finance, but the irresponsibility seems to be Deputy Johnson's.

I put it to the Dáil that if Deputy Johnson, on behalf of the Labour Party, could have made a single constructive suggestion except these two he would do it. Now, we have got to get this money by means of these cuts. We have got to get more money, and there will be many more cuts, and these will have to be made, too. The Minister for Finance will balance his Budget, if it can be done, and this is only a beginning. These two cuts should be looked upon in that light. Deputy Johnson dealt with old age pensions first. He went into figures, and announced that we were not justified in proceeding on the cost of living figure in making this cut. These pensions were increased in the year, I think, 1920. I am not sure about the year.

Mr. JOHNSON: The point I made [781] was, and I think the Minister will agree when I remind him of it, that if the cost of living figure is to be made the basis of the cut, then I say it is not justified.

Mr. HOGAN: That was the point. The pensions were increased when the cost of living figure was 120. I do not remember at the moment the year in which the increases were given, but I know that the cost of living figure at the time was 120. Why, I ask, were the pensions increased? They were increased because of the increase in the cost of living, and as a concession to the fact that the cost of living had increased. Therefore, I say the Minister for Finance is perfectly justified, unless somebody goes into the merits of the case and shows him that he is wrong, in taking the pensions in that year, the year in which the pensions were increased because of the fact that the cost of living had increased, and in saying that “the cost of living figure in that year was 120, but it has decreased by 33 per cent. since; therefore, I propose to decrease the pensions only by 10 per cent.” On the face of it, I say that is a reasonable proposition.

Deputy Johnson wondered why the Minister for Finance should have said that the pensions were never meant to take the place, let us say, of wages, and that they were never intended to be the sole means of livelihood of a particular recipient. The Deputy wondered why the Minister said that. He said it for the simple reason that arguments were being advanced here which would have no validity, except that the people using these arguments had suggested that these pensions were fixed on that basis. They were not fixed on that basis. I do not think it was ever suggested by anyone that they were fixed on that basis. There has been a decrease of 33 per cent. in the cost of living figure since they were fixed, and I think the Minister for Finance has made a perfectly reasonable proposal. He proposes to put the pensioners in a far better position than they were in at the time when the pensions were fixed originally, having regard to the cost of living figure. There is no doubt about that. He proposes to put the old-age [782] pensioners in a better position than they were in immediately after the pensions were fixed on the last occasion. There is no denying that. Deputy Johnson, I must say, worked out his own suggestion to its logical conclusion. It was that we should not take the year 1914, which has been invariably taken up to this, but that we should take previous years. Will he, I ask, admit that principle in regard to other questions that may arise. I would be interested to know that.

Mr. JOHNSON: On wages questions, yes.

Mr. HOGAN: What Deputy Johnson asks us to do at this stage is to pay the old-age pensioners what they should have been paid in respect of losses between 1908 and 1914. That is what his suggestion comes to, and that is what you have to consider in the present state of our finances. You have also to keep before you the fact that the Minister for Finance proposes to leave the old-age pensioners in a much better position than they were in at the time the pensions were fixed on the last occasion, having regard to the cost of living figure, then and now. But, if we were to follow Deputy Johnson's suggestion to its logical conclusion, what we should do is to pay the old-age pensioner what he should have got between the years 1908 and 1914. I say that the Deputy's suggestion is merely juggling with figures, and leads us nowhere, and that life is too short for that sort of argument.

We have heard a lot of heroics about the poor old-age pensioners, but we here on these benches may have just as much sympathy with the old-age pensioners as the people who employ all the adjectives. I will tell Deputy Johnson and Deputy Alfred Byrne how they can put the old-age pensioner in a far better position than he would be in, even if we were to leave him this shilling a week. If they are really interested in the old-age pensioners and in the teachers, if they do fear that this cut of 10 per cent. on the teachers and of 1/- in 10/- on the pensioners is going to have very serious results, so far as education is concerned on the one hand and the poor laws on the [783] other, they can at least help to remedy it if they would only tackle the problem with half the enthusiasm that they are tackling us at present.

Mr. A. BYRNE: Tell us how we are to help.

Mr. HOGAN: Help to reduce the cost of living figure—and Deputy Johnson can help more than any man in that direction—to 72. That is a proposition that labour can help in just as it is a proposition that capital can help in. I just want to say this, that having been in fairly close touch with the industrial situation during the last month, my experience is this, and it is the truth: Labour does not care whether the cost of living figure goes up or down provided the present wages are maintained, and capital, the employers in Dublin as a body—there are exceptions of course on both sides— does not care whether the cost of living figure goes up or down provided present profits are maintained. That is undoubtedly the moral to be drawn from what has happened during the last month. Labour and capital between them can solve these questions which have many reactions, far more reactions than these reactions on the teachers and old-age pensioners, but that is a matter which I will take another opportunity to deal with. I repeat that if Deputy Johnson and Deputy Alfred Byrne are really in earnest, and if they really feel the sympathy with the poor that they say they feel—Deputy Johnson certainly and Deputy Alfred Byrne almost equally certainly—and if they tackle this question with the same enthusiasm and conviction that they have shown as regards these two cuts, they could help the poor five times as effectively by bringing down the cost of living figure and, in addition, they would be doing a good turn to everybody in the country as well.

These heroics that we have listened to are absolutely unreal. All this talk about the old-age pensioners and about the teachers sounds very hollow to anyone who knows the real facts of the case. I would want a lot of persuasion to believe that there is any real sympathy [784] with the old-age pensioners or with the teachers or with any of the other down-trodden classes in the country amongst any persons or parties who have examined the industrial, and the general, situation in the country. If you want to help the people who are poor in this country, and if you want to help national economy, the thing to do is to concentrate in bringing down the cost of living figure, and that must be done from both sides. Unfortunately, the farmers, who are being appealed to, are in the position that they must wait while both sides here in Dublin, which is the key to the position, say, “Who will begin?”

As regards the teachers, Deputy Johnson did not take exactly the same line as Deputy O'Connell who suggested that we had broken an agreement, and that this cut was a violation of a contract. That argument does not hold water. Would anyone suggest that if the cost of living went up by, say, 500 or 1,000 per cent., as it might easily do—a very small thing would bring about such a situation as you may realise if you look at Germany and other countries—that the teachers would not come and ask for an increase in their salaries. Equally, is it suggested that if the cost of living suddenly fell to par that the State should look on and say “We made an agreement with the teachers in 1920, when the cost of living figure was 180, and we cannot touch their salaries now.” These are two extreme cases. Surely, no reasonable man will say that the teachers would not be entitled to an increase if the cost of living figure went up enormously, or that, on the other hand, the State would not be entitled to make a reduction if the cost of living figure fell to par.

If that is so, the one question to consider here is, whether the 10 per cent. cut is justified on the facts, figures, and merits of the case. We had three speeches on this question, one from the Minister for Finance, one from Deputy O'Connell, and one from Deputy Johnson. The only figures quoted in these speeches were the figures given by the Minister for Finance. He said that the teachers' salaries had been increased three and a [785] half times. Deputy O'Connell called attention, and rightly called attention, to the fact that the basic salaries paid to the teachers were very low. I will agree that you could conceive such a state of affairs that would justify an increase of three and a half times if the basic salaries were extremely low. It may be that at the present moment, in the interests of the teachers and of fair play, that their salaries should be increased three or three and a half times. But, I ask, let us have the figures. The Minister for Finance makes a plain suggestion. He says that the salaries were fixed in 1920, at a time when the cost of living figure was 180, and he proposes to take 10 per cent. off their salaries at a time when the cost of living figure has fallen by more than 100. That, I think, is a reasonable proposition. Let Deputy O'Connell produce his figures here if he has a good case. Deputy Johnson did not attempt to do it, but let Deputy O'Connell produce his figures and give the salaries that the teachers are paid if he says we are doing wrong. Let him show what 10 per cent. would amount to; let him show it to us and to the country, and we are willing to be judged on the merits of the case; but, as I have said, there has been no attempt made to do that. We have to carry all the blows and do the unpopular thing, but there has been no attempt made up to the present to show the Minister for Finance how he is to get about one million pounds to balance his Budget this year, the recurrent Budget of this year. The Minister stated that he has to meet a deficit of something over a million on his Budget this year.

We were asked some time ago not to approach this question in a party spirit. We were advised, and I think it was good advice, to take the country and the Dáil into our confidence, and to put all our cards on the table, and we were promised co-operation and told we could not get on without co-operation. We realised that. This is a big job, and we want the help of every man of good will and of every man who means business. But, it is not exactly in that spirit that these sort of speeches have been made. People are not entitled to get up and [786] attack us, on what they consider a politically vulnerable issue, in extravagant language, without at least making reasonable suggestions. We heard a lot about salaries, and that the Dáil is entitled to know if people are being paid too much. I say that the Dáil is entitled to know that the salaries we pay are what we can afford to pay. We hear a lot of loose talk about salaries. Letters appear in the newspapers which save other people from troubling to think about them. They say they know what salaries are being paid. There may have been extravagances; it would be impossible if there were not, but they have been extremely few in the circumstances. We do not pretend to be perfect, but every sensible man here knows that no possible retrenchment of salaries in the case of the men who have been appointed since the Treaty, could get us £50,000. Let us have some measured language in our criticism. We will not fill up this big gap of over a million pounds simply by saying “salaries.” It is hardly fair to suggest either, as Deputy Figgis suggested, that we are now proposing to appoint seven Parliamentary Secretaries at £8,400. That is not a fact. The Ministers' Bill is to construct the framework of the various Government services for the future. It is proposed, under the provisions in that Bill, to co-ordinate services like agriculture, education, and industries which were previously scattered under this, that, and the other head. That will do more for economy, in my opinion, in a year or two years than any other measure that could be brought forward with the same object.

AN LEAS-CHEANN COMHAIRLE: It would be better for the Minister not to go into this question, which will be debated here on Friday, when the whole matter will be raised on the Ministers' Bill.

Mr. HOGAN: I bow to your ruling. In the end, in addition to the two constructive suggestions which Deputy Johnson made to meet this deficit, namely, increased taxation, and putting taxes on imported goods, he suggested additional expenditure. After balancing the Budget by increased taxation, we are to borrow, I presume, for the [787] additional expenditure we will have. I agree, we have to spend money on useful reconstructive work, but it is to put himself in a position in which he can go with his head up and ask for money that the Minister for Finance proposes these cuts, and he will find it necessary to make more cuts. We cannot be going round in a circle. There must be no decrease in wages, no decrease in profits, and old age pensions must remain the same. There are going to be a good many increases in taxation and other things, but there must be no decrease in expenditure and yet we are to find money to balance our Budget. It is not business. I invite the other Deputy who has put down this amendment about the aged poor to tell the Minister for Finance where he is going to get this million. We have, I think, exhausted salaries. In addition to these cuts we want others, and I invite Deputy Alfred Byrne to show the Minister where he can get the necessary money.

Mr. WILSON: Civic Guard.

Mr. J. WHITE: Local Government Board.

A DEPUTY: The Governor-General.

Mr. HOGAN: You cannot do it by smart interruption. It is a business problem. We want something like one million. Show us where we can get it before you say that we should abandon these two cuts which we say are, on their merits, justified.

Captain REDMOND: If I had been framing this amendment perhaps I would not have used the exact words which we find on the Order Paper, but with the general intention of the amendment I am in complete accord. Now the Minister for Agriculture has sought to reply to Deputy Johnson's various arguments, but I approach this question from a somewhat different angle, though perhaps arriving at the same conclusion as Deputy Johnson himself. The real question I want to put to the Government is, why have they—and presumably they must have a reason for doing so—hit upon these two specific cases for immediate reduction and retrenchment? I want to know [788] whether they have exhausted every channel of inquiry into every other means whereby they could secure this million which will be required to make up the unfortunate deficit and if they have not made these necessary inquiries, I say that it was, and is, their bounden duty to do so. These two items—old age pensions and teachers' salaries—are, to my mind, the very last sources from which the Minister for Finance should seek to make up his million deficit. Therefore, I seriously would urge upon the Government the sensibility of the proposal put forward the other day by Deputy Bryan Cooper, namely, that if they had not yet had inquiries made into every other means of securing this supply they should now, and it is not yet too late, set up a small Committee to make inquiries into every possible, available, financial source, including, especially, Government staffs and Government departments whereby they may be enabled to raise the sum by methods of retrenchment. It would not possibly take very great time, and it would put the Government in a particularly strong position if they would be enabled to come to the Dáil and to tell the country that after making these exhaustive inquiries they find that these two sources are the only two whereby for the moment they shall be able to secure this sum. I do say this, that if it were at all possible, any other source would be better than to deprive the aged poor of their wretched and miserable pittance, because it is nothing else, and also the teachers of the salary which was agreed upon by the late Government.

The Minister for Agriculture has taunted Deputy Johnson with making no alternative suggestion, but the increase of taxation and the diminishing of salaries. This is the first occasion I have had the opportunity of making any suggestion, and most tentatively I immediately accept his challenge and venture to make some upon my own.

In the first place, I welcome most heartily the Minister for Finance's statement with regard to the general policy of retrenchment, but he was exceptionally vague as to how that policy was to be applied, except in regard to these [789] two particular instances. It is true he did say it might be possible to scrap some Ministries in the future. I will make one suggestion here at once: that is, that the Ministry for Fisheries should be scrapped here and now. I am as interested in fisheries as any Deputy in this Dáil, but to have for us, a population of little over three and a quarters millions in the Free State, a separate Ministry of Fisheries, when Great Britain, with a population of thirty-three and a quarter millions, has no separate Ministry of Fisheries, but whose Ministry of Fisheries is incorporated with the Ministry of Agriculture—I think is utter extravagance upon our part. I think that no better or more capable Minister could be found to deal with the necessary and, perhaps, complicated problems in regard to our Fisheries in the future, than the Minister for Agriculture who has spoken. There is one definite proposal I make now, that that Ministry be instantly scrapped. That may not amount to a million pounds, but it goes some way towards it. I will make further suggestions. It is not only in the question of particular individual salaries that economies can be made. Enquiry is necessary in order to avoid that snake-like system of redundancy which, unfortunately, has crept into our administration to-day. It is common knowledge that there are walking about the streets of Dublin efficient Civil Servants who have not only nothing to do, but are not allowed to do anything, but who are paid huge pensions, and in whose place others have been put who have to be paid salaries. I say that after examination by a Committee such as I suggest, the Minister for Finance would be able to make extraordinarily large economies by cutting down existing staffs of the various Departments. I would make further suggestions.

Is it proposed still to indulge in the policy of “sack the lot”? Are all the existing Judges to be dispensed with? I do not think that is the present intention of the Government, but it may have been their intention some time ago. At the commencement of the sitting of this Dáil I asked a question of the President whether it would be an [790] immediate saving to the Irish Exchequer to retain as many of the present Judges as possible. He admitted that was so. Is it the present intention of the Government to do so, or do they intend paying two-thirds of the salaries of those Judges out of the Free State Exchequer and appointing additional ones? I think that is a very pertinent question. This does not only apply to judges. It applies equally to Civil Servants generally. It applies to Clerks of the Crown and Peace. Is it the intention of the Government to scrap them and appoint new ones? I would like to know what was the cost of doing away with the late Crown Solicitors. We have had to appoint other solicitors in their place, and we have paid for dispensing with the existing ones. The Minister for Agriculture also seemed to suggest that it was up to both employers and employees, typified, as he made them out to be, by the persons of Deputies Johnson and Hewat, to bring down the cost of living and thereby place the old age pensioners in as good a position as they were previously. That is a very good idea, and one to which I thoroughly subscribe. But why apply it solely to old age pensioners? Why not fix upon some other group of citizens in the country? Reduce the expenditure upon them, and the same argument applies both in regard to Deputy Johnson's and Deputy Hewat's efforts in the future. I think we have yet to be told by the Government, not so much on what grounds they justify this actual cut of 10 per cent, but why they propose the cut at all in regard to these two classes and not in regard to the others. The Minister for Agriculture has said, in regard to teachers, that if the cost of living went up would it not be suggested that their salaries should be increased? He knows as well as I do, and as well as the rest of the members here, that the salaries of the teachers were not increased on the basis of the cost of living, but that their salaries were increased because they were endeavouring to exist upon a starvation wage.

It was never an adequate wage. That was the finding of the Committee of Inquiry, the result of which was the agreement, stated to be a permanent [791] one, the breaking of which is complained of by Deputy O'Connell. Therefore, as regards the teachers it is not a question of the cost of living, and I may say here, for my own part, if there is one branch of all others where I would be generous, where I would be lavish, even to the point of extravagance, it would be in regard to the proper remuneration of Irish teachers. Goodness knows, I had enough experience in another place of endeavouring to extract some recognition of the value and the worth of teachers. The Government of that time had their lesson in their treatment of them, and I hope that the Government of to-day will not find the same result. I do not propose to go into the question of the merits of these reductions. I am in favour of a policy of retrenchment; I want retrenchment, because it is a living necessity. If we are to exist, we must cut our cloth according to our measure. But, what I do object to is that these two classes, without adequate explanation, should be specially singled out and fixed upon as the two who are to be made the victims of immediate reductions. The statement of the Minister for Finance—which I think was rather overdue, because it was really the first financial statement of any importance, for the last year at any rate—contains some items which I certainly would like to have cleared up. We know that there are debt charges for loans from banks. We have not been told either the amount of the loans or the amount of the debt charges, and I think that that is a very important consideration. Neither did the Minister for Finance refer to what we might term our Great War Debt. We all hope that under the Clause in the Treaty the set-off of overtaxation in the past will more than counterbalance the amount of War Debt due from us to the Imperial Exchequer. I think we are owed more than that, because, judging from newspaper reports, and from Ministerial statements, the Six County Parliament has already been allowed a considerable amount of abatement in regard to the War Debt which they so eagerly and so willingly adopted. I think, therefore, that it would be well, especially [792] in view of the coming Loan, if matters like this could be cleared up. In regard to the question of currency, there I must part from Deputy Figgis——

Mr. GOREY: On a point of order, may I ask if this discussion is not going outside the terms of the amendment?

Captain REDMOND: Before you answer that, I might be allowed to remind you that the Ceann Comhairle expressly stated that he would allow latitude in regard to the question of the statement made by the Minister for Finance, and that we should discuss it on this amendment.

AN LEAS-CHEANN COMHAIRLE: I think the Deputy is in order. The Ceann Comhairle gave a ruling that Deputies were to be allowed a certain amount of latitude in discussing this motion.

Captain REDMOND: I am afraid that I am not altogether in agreement with Deputy Figgis in regard to the question of currency. I think, as we have to float a Loan, the least we say about currency the better, except perhaps to make that Loan a success. Now that the matter has been raised, I think it would be most advisable for the Minister for Finance to assure the country that he has no intention of tampering with the existing currency. I think that that would distinctly reassure the people who would have doubts about the matter.

As to the amount of the Loan, the rate of interest and its character, we are in complete darkness. I think it would be well also if the Minister for Finance could clear the air on that point. Before he comes to any definite conclusion, at least, before he makes any public statement binding himself and his Government to any particular form or amount of Loan, perhaps I might be allowed to make this suggestion. Taking for granted that we want to raise this Loan in Ireland, our problem is how best to achieve that object. I would divide the investing community into two classes, the one, the larger investor, the man who has large sums of money at his disposal, or companies, or charities, for that matter, and the [793] other the small individual investor, and I would provide one form of Loan for each. I would suggest that there should be, as there was in Great Britain during the war, a Loan at, if necessary, a lower rate of interest, but free of Income Tax, for the large investor, similar to the 4 per cent. Loan which was such a success in Great Britain, and I would go so far as to say that for the small class of Irish investor nothing would secure the money and fill the coffers for the Minister for Finance better than an issue of premium bonds. To the ordinary Irishman it does not matter very much, when he invests £5 or £10, whether he is to get 5 per cent. or 3½ per cent., but it does matter if, when investing £5 or £10, and getting only 3½ per cent. interest, he may have a chance one fine day of finding himself in the possession of thousands of pounds. I throw out these suggestions on this occasion because, according to the ruling, I am afraid that this is the last opportunity that I will have for doing so on the Governor-General's address. That is why I have taken advantage of this opportunity to ask the Minister for Finance to consider these various aspects and, if he possibly can, to clear the public mind of any doubts that exist in regard to these various questions in order to ensure the success of the Loan which he is about to issue. I do say in regard to these proposed cuts that there are, in my opinion, other means at the disposal of the Government for obtaining this £1,000,000, and even if they cannot see to it, even if they are able to come here and say, “We know of no other means,” I say it is still their duty to take advantage of the suggestion put forward by Deputy Bryan Cooper, to have a Committee appointed to exhaust every possible channel of inquiry before they proceed to cut down the salary, in the one case, and the pension in the other, of the two classes who should be the last resource of any Finance Minister.

Mr. SHAW: I do not intend to take up much of the time of the Dáil in connection with this discussion, as I understand the matter will be taken up again on Friday, but I would like, if possible, that the Minister for Finance would put before the Dáil the [794] cuts he intends to make as regards the various other persons in receipt of salaries. Undoubtedly there does appear to be a difficulty from the point of view of the selection of National teachers and Old Age Pensioners, because the first question put to the person is “Why are these selected?” and if the Minister for Finance would outline his other suggested cuts it would leave the Dáil in a very much better position, and we would know better how to record our votes. It is perfectly evident to the Dáil and the public that cuts and retrenchments must be made in the various positions, and it would be well if the Minister for Finance would state what he intends to do in this respect, so that teachers and Old Age Pensions will not appear to be victims.

Major BRYAN COOPER: I entirely endorse what Deputy Redmond has said on the subject of the Loan. I do not endorse everything he said, but on the subject of the Loan he has expressed my views better than I could. I do not know if the Minister for Finance expected his proposals to be agreed to with joy. If so, he will have been disappointed. I regret that he finds it necessary to make a cut in the Old Age Pensions, and the reason I regret it is because I am extremely anxious to see Income Tax brought down to the British level. I realise that in a democratic state it would be very difficult for a Minister for Finance to bring down the Income Tax, having reduced the Old Age Pensions. I do not ask him not to make the cut, but I suggest while making the cut he should look into the Income Tax Acts, and into their administration carefully, because he made a strong case, a case that has never been answered outside the Dáil, and which Deputy Johnson has not attempted to answer, when he said that 13 per cent. of the National Income went to pay Old Age Pensions as against 2 per cent. in Scotland. I think Deputy Johnson's answer to that was that Ireland had an abnormal number of people over 70 years of age. That abnormal number of people are old friends of mine. I have been meeting them for the last 15 years. From 1908, when the Old Age Pensions were introduced, [795] we were told that Ireland had an abnormal number of people over 70 years of age. That was true in 1908, but if true now there must be an abnormal number of people now over 100 years. There were special circumstances in these days, owing to the effect of the famine and the exodus caused by the famine, but I believe now that the balance has been redressed, but that there is an abnormal number of people prepared to transfer their property to other people to get the pension. We should take into consideration not only the pensioner's own means, but the means of his children, who ought to support their parents in their old age, if they have the means to do it. An amendment should be introduced on these lines, and the Minister should not shrink from the consequences of making it legal liability for children to support their parents where they have the means to do it. A man is legally obliged to support his wife, and why should not children who have farms be compelled to support their parents? I have heard of one case, in Co. Carlow, where a man has the old age pension, and he has a son who is receiving £1,000 a year in the Police Force in Singapore. There are, as we all know, cases of that kind.

Mr. JOHNSON: Jurisdiction does not extend to Singapore.

Major BRYAN COOPER: The jurisdiction does not extend to Singapore. Deputy Johnson has made a point against that on legal grounds, but that is not a thing on which I would make a suggestion on. I leave it to the Attorney-General. I wish to turn from the old age pensioners with that suggestion—to the question of National Teachers. It is very remarkable we have heard so little from the Labour Party, that Deputy Johnson's has been the only speech on this amendment, and it is still more remarkable that Deputy Johnson, with his usual wisdom, will not go into Deputy O'Connell's point regarding broken contracts.

It has been made a great deal of. I think it is germane to the debate because Deputy O'Connell used it in argument on this question. It has been made an enormous amount of outside [796] the Dáil, both by the National Teachers at their meetings and in correspondence in the Press. It was stated that a contract was made in 1920, and it is now being broken by the Minister. Was there never a contract made before 1920? Did not every Teacher who entered the employment of the State, enter into a contract to serve for a certain salary? Did the Teacher ever hesitate to have that salary increased? Never. You cannot have a contract binding on the employer and not on the employee. I took that view when I heard Deputy O'Connell speaking, and I am confirmed by this publication which is issued by the Irish National Teachers' Organisation.

Mr. GOREY: Hear, hear.

Major BRYAN COOPER: This publication says that in October, 1918, the teachers applied to have their claim for a temporary war bonus considered by the Arbitration Board. It was considered and adjudicated on, and it was far from satisfactory; but one of the conditions under which it was decided was that all the parties should pledge themselves beforehand to accept and abide by any decision arrived at by the Arbitration Board. The Teachers accepted the 1918 award, much as they were dissatisfied with its terms. The Teachers renewed their application for increased salaries and in June, 1919, they put forward a claim for a permanent scale. They abided by the award for nine months. They never hesitated to agitate to have their wages increased whenever they got an agreement they did not like, and is the Minister for Finance then to be debarred from taking steps to have their wages decreased when a new situation arises? Are the Teachers to be at liberty at any time to agitate against an agreement they have made, and pledged themselves to abide by? No wonder this publication is called “Broken Pledges”; the title is very appropriate indeed. Surely the common sense of the whole matter is that every contract is subject to variation. Take a case in which Deputy Good is to build me a house and a contract is entered into. Circumstances arise which make it onerous or impossible, and we can go [797] into court. If we establish a case we can have that contract set aside.

Mr. JOHNSON: Hear, hear.

Major COOPER: This is the court, and the Deputy, by moving his amendment, has put the matter before the court, which is the Assembly of the nation.

Mr. JOHNSON: Will the Minister tell if he will accept the decision of the Court or appeal to the Court?

Mr. BLYTHE: I must accept the decision of the Court.

Major COOPER: It is obvious he must.

Mr. JOHNSON: Are we to take it, then, that the Minister acted in defiance of the Court and before the Court had decided?

Mr. BLYTHE: I acted within my power. I am appointed to an Executive office by this Assembly. I acted in pursuance of that office, and my action is subject to review by the Assembly that appointed me.

Major COOPER: Deputy Johnson has appealed to Caesar in this amendment. If the amendment is carried, the Government go out of office and the Deputy has made his point. Surely it is not illegitimate on the part of the Minister to bring this forward? If he made the cut and refused us an opportunity of discussing it, I think it would be unfair; but, in the circumstances, I do not understand Deputy Johnson's point. I understand it almost as little as the suggestion that the National Teachers are peculiarly helpless, and not like the Army or the Gárda Síochána; they cannot strike back. I have been reading the reports of meetings of National Teachers, and I am bound to say that they have a pretty shrewd idea of how to hit back. I read the report of a meeting in Dublin. I do not know if Deputy Johnson was there, but Deputy O'Connell was, and he made a very judicious speech. A gentleman called Quinn at that meeting remarked that it would be the duty of all Teachers to advise the parents of the children not to invest in the Government's loan. That is a somewhat new idea of patriotism. He [798] finally wound up by saying that if the Minister for Finance gave them all they wanted they would do their duty, but if not he might look out for trouble. These are the gentlemen who cannot strike back. It seems to me they can strike pretty effectively. I think that gentleman is a constituent of mine. As a teacher of citizenship and patriotism, I should say he was very highly paid, indeed, whatever salary he got, even if it were only a penny. Deputy Johnson's remedy is increased taxation. He made a great point of the Government's election manifesto. Unfortunately, during the elections he was laid up, and I do not think he can have brought home to those responsible for his campaign that his idea for removing the evils of the State was to increase taxation. I do not remember seeing anywhere in print: “Vote for Johnson and Increased Taxation.” I sometimes wonder what would be the result if he had issued that? Secondly, his remedy was that the well-to-do classes would have to be content with simpler mode of living. They would have to do away with their motor cars, for instance. My withers are unwrung. I sold my car fourteen months ago and I could not get another one, because I have to meet double the taxation I was liable for in 1914.

I have to pay double taxation now on a smaller income. I wonder has it escaped Deputy Johnson's notice that there is an island three hours' journey away where that scale of living does not apply. Deputy Johnson must have a most extraordinary idea of the patriotism of the well-to-do classes in this country. I never realised it before, but I did not gather it from his speeches. He thinks that this class who have money in investments—investments that can be transferred— are tied to Ireland. They are not. What is left of their property they can easily dispose of, or they are probably prepared to sacrifice, and yet Deputy Johnson expects them to stay here and pay heavy taxation, when it is perfectly easy for them to transfer themselves and their investments to Great Britain, the Channel Islands, France, or anywhere else on the globe, and [799] enjoy those amenities of existence that Deputy Johnson would not allow them here. His one remedy and solution for the evils of the State is increased taxation. Surely that way madness lies. No, sir, nobody likes economy. All economies are unpleasant, but taking it in this scale between Deputy Johnson and the Government I shall vote for the Minister for Finance's proposal and against the amendment.

Mr. GOREY: I suppose it is more or less expected from me and from the Party that I represent, that we should define our attitude on this question. I believe before the Minister for Finance ever came in for hard knocks over this question of the teachers' salaries that I had been having my share of it. I, too, have occupied columns after columns in the Press for the part I took here seven or eight months ago over the very same question. At that time, I simply gave a bald statement of what the salaries were. I made very little comment, and the statements that I made then have been borne out by several others. The statements that I made then, I am prepared to repeat now. The income, I said, of First Class Principals might be taken at £370 for men and £300 for women, with a Capitation Grant added. The Minister for Education is my authority; I am quoting his figures. These are the figures he gave. The facts are that 85 per cent. of the married teachers in my county are married to each other. The fact is that the male National teacher and the lady teacher are, in a large number of cases, husband and wife, and they run the schools between them.

Mr. O'CONNELL: Do farmers ever marry farmers?

Mr. GOREY: I will come to that later. The facts are that an income not less than £700, and probably not more than £800, is very often coming into one house in the country. Deputy O'Connell has interrupted about farmers. A good many of these teachers are also farmers. I can quote him dozens of them who are also farmers. I had one with me on Sunday evening who is also a farmer. He was canvassing [800] me. Now, a 10 per cent. cut off a £700 or £800 income would mean £70 or £80 of a cut. That is a big thing coming out of any home. But I think these people who complain of their cut in income might easily console themselves with the fact that they have an income to cut. There are very few people in this nation at the moment, who have any income that can be reduced, and there are many people who have no income at all. There are very few people in the Saorstát at this moment with any income, and the man or woman with £700 or £800 of an income coming into the home is in a very happy position. They are the favoured few of the community. A good many people down in my part of the country, I am very glad to say, are able to indulge in some of the luxuries of life. It is no uncommon thing in my town. Last Saturday the teachers had a meeting, and anyone could see ten or twelve private motor-cars, belonging to the teachers, passing through the town. Well, the reduced cost of petrol will more than balance the proposed cut. They will be in a better position, considering the reduction in the price of petrol, than before. Lower grades will be quoted by the teachers. They have been quoted, in some arguments, as being in receipt of a salary of £120 a year or something like that. Now, these people in receipt of this salary are young men and young women living in the country and living very largely in their own homes. We know what living in your own home means in comparison to living in the City of Dublin, or in places other than your own home. I will not go into their educational qualifications at all, or into the cost which their educational qualifications entail. But I will try to contrast it with the case of the average citizen of Dublin. Thousands of young men and thousands of young women come up from the provinces to earn a living here. Then there are the cases of those who are born in the suburbs of Dublin. Some of these have to find a home far from their own, and have to live in what are called “digs.” I understand the least figure at which they can live in decency in the City of Dublin would be 35s. a week. That is quite different [801] from the tariff in the country. How many in the Government Departments here are in receipt of £3 a week? How many of the thousands of the typists in the City of Dublin are in receipt of £3 a week—people whose education cost them something and whose years of study were not a few. Take the case of stenographers and the other hosts of people who come up here from the country to make their living. Their education has cost them a lot.

They are not in receipt of any thing like the amount of even these low grade salaries and they have to live in Dublin, and to be respectable and to dress themselves well. These are the people—the average citizens—and these are the people asked to deny themselves the means of subsistence in order that the favoured few may be put in a position that they themselves can never attain to; for the citizen in Dublin with £3 a week, and the citizen in the country with £3 a week, are two different cases altogether. None of the speakers here, in dealing with this question, has made any contrast whatsoever with the position and salaries of teachers in other countries. I made a statement over half a year ago with regard to this question. The figures I quoted were not my figures; they were the figures of one of the leading journals in England—the “Daily Mail.” Its columns were opened to anybody who wanted to contradict their figures. Were they contradicted in the columns of the “Daily Mail” or in any newspaper in Ireland with any circulation? They were contradicted just on the eve of the late election in provincial newspapers where the men who wrote them knew they would never be seen. Mr. Mansfield and the rest of them wrote in the columns of the “Kilkenny People” to contradict these figures, and they tried to throw dust in the eyes of the electors. Column after column, week after week, were published in little country journals, where it was known they would never be seen, except by the local electors. Why were not these figures questioned—the figures for Belgium, France and America? If we were able to spend more on education than any of these countries and were able to pay our teachers more than any of these countries, then by all means [802] let us do it, but are we able to pay more? Are the resources of this country greater than the resources of any other country? We stand higher on the list than any other country with regard to primary education. We pay more to our teachers, with the exception of England, than any other country. The only argument to justify this would be that we were in a better financial position if we were able to get money easily; but can we? Deputy Redmond very wisely said we have to cut our cloth according to our measure. We had better do it, and if we have to cut it on every other section of the community not only with people in receipt of salaries and wages, then we had better do it in regard to the teaching profession. It is asked why anything else has not been touched except these two services. The Minister for Agriculture has said that this is only the first instalment of the cuts in the different services. I welcome that statement, and I accept that as the Government's intention. It is time that not alone these services but every other service, including the Government service, should be recast, and seriously recast, and recast not from the bottom, but from top to bottom. Agreements have been entered into, and Deputy Cooper has dealt with these. We have all been reading these leaflets sent out by the Teachers' Organisation, and I see there have been several agreements. I think there were at least four. If these different agreements were broken, why not the last one be broken?

Mr. O'CONNELL: Did the teachers ever break their agreement?

Mr. GOREY: All these arguments against this cut are put forward from the Labour Benches ostensibly in the interest of the rank and file of Labour. I do not think for a moment we are deceiving Labour at all upon this question; we are not deceiving the rank and file. Labour will look for money where it thinks it is; it will look for income or a share of income where it is. It would be very foolish if they did not look for it where it is, and if we want money for reconstruction and for employment and for development we will have to retrench and look for it where it is, and the rank and file of Labour [803] will find it on the Labour Benches represented by Deputy O'Connell; they will find there an income running into something like seven or eight hundred pounds a year. That is the place to look for it and not where it is not.

I have been talking to several men in the rank and file of the Labour movement on this question, and I know there are no cobwebs on their eyes at all. Deputy Johnson advised us to look around for other means to make a saving. I have heard that phrase from the Deputy before, but he has never yet pointed his finger as to where we are to look. He must have some idea himself, because otherwise he would not have given us the advice, but he has never yet told us where to look. Deputy Redmond also spoke, particularly with regard to the old age pensions. I want to make our position perfectly clear with regard to the old age pensions. We accept the proposal of the Minister for Finance only because of the fact that 9/- now represent a good deal more than 10/- did two years ago. As a matter of fact, from the figures put before us, 7/- now are worth as much as 10/- two years ago. We would not accept the reduction in the old age pensions were it not for the fact that 9/- to-day leaves the old age pensioner in a much better position than he was in two years ago. Deputy Redmond talks about the miserable pittance of 10/-. If it was a miserable pittance when it was fixed in 1920, what was it before that year? I believe it was only 5/- at first. If that is so, it must have been a still more miserable pittance then. What, I ask, was Deputy Redmond doing during all these years when the old age pensioners were receiving that still more miserable pittance of 5/-? He was a member of the British Parliament, which passed the Act dealing with the old age pensioners, and that was where he should have made his voice heard. He was in a position to make a protest, but did he do it?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: resumed the Chair at this stage.

A DEPUTY: He advocated 10/-, but his suggestion was not adopted.

Mr. GOREY: Then why did he not [804] bring in a Private Bill and get the amount increased?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: The Deputy is under a misapprehension. A private Member could not introduce a Bill to increase a public charge.

Mr. GOREY: I am sorry. We welcome these proposals as a step in the right direction. We accept the proposal with regard to the old age pensioners because the money value proposed in the cut represents, for the pensioners, a better position than they were in two years ago. Only for that we would oppose it. We recognise the fact that money must be found and that more millions must be found. We know that this year's revenue is not a normal revenue. I would like to know from the Minister for Finance how much of the income tax he received was normal for the current year, and how much of it was arrears that had been accruing for years. It has also to be remembered that we have to face reconstruction and development problems, and that we have to find employment for the unemployed. We will have to find money to do all these things, and in my opinion if we are to tackle all these problems we will have to find more than the million that has been referred to.

Someone made the suggestion to scrap the Ministry of Fisheries, and so spare us the £1,700 a year that is paid to the Minister in charge of that Department. I do not care what title you give to the Ministry of Fisheries, whether it is put under the Department of Agriculture or some other Department, it is going to cost the amount that it is now costing, and you will want some Department to deal with it. I say that if the Minister for Fisheries is to do justice to the position, and succeeds in developing the industry as it should be developed, he will have earned his £1,700 a year, and the money will have been well spent. No matter what heading you put the Ministry of Fisheries under it will cost just as much money as it does now under the title of Ministry of Fisheries. You will have to employ the same staff and there can be no saving in that respect. There has been some reference to this in the newspapers, but I say, with all due respect to these people, that they do [805] not know what they are talking about. We heard another suggestion that money could be spared on the Governor-General's establishment, that a few thousand pounds could be spared. It would be well for people to remember that we want millions saved, and that millions and not thousands must be saved if we are to make this country solvent. If economies are to be made everyone in the nation will have to bear his share. The people in the country have not incomes of £700 or £800 a year. The average man in the class that I represent has no income at all. His income has disappeared. He had a bit of an income during the war, but he has none at all now, and he has to pay his way out of capital or pay out of the bank or not pay at all. If all the industries and all the professions of this country are going to be saddled on the agricultural industry, you will have this position: that every man engaged in agriculture will combine into one party and scrap every other section in the Saorstát.

General MULCAHY: In the discussion which we are having, and which is supposed to be on recurrent expenditure, Deputy Figgis dealt with certain points regarding the army to the prejudice, I think, of a clear discussion as to what is recurrent expenditure. The remarks that he made with regard to the army and its position were, from the point of view of non-recurrent expenditure pure and simple, and I think it well to deal with some of those points in order to remove certain impressions that may be created to the prejudice of what we are discussing here.

I might mention, with regard to Gormanstown, which is said to be a place in which vast retrenchment can be brought about, that there has been already within the last few days marked down for immediate demobilisation 211 men. As we use it at present, we do not anticipate that the life of Gormanstown as an institution will be longer than the present financial year—will outlast the present Army Vote. At the same time, it is absolutely essential that it should be thoroughly realised that we could never have got on up to the present without Gormanstown. It was absolutely [806] essential in the circumstances in which we found ourselves that we should have an institution such as Gormanstown capable of doing all repairs to our motors without letting them outside army hands.

It is not fair also to say that the Government has not applied itself to cutting down expenditure in the Army in the same way as it proposes to cut down expenditure on salaries to teachers and payments made to old age pensioners. At the present moment you have upwards of 15,000 men in the army who are time-expired. In the next two or three weeks the demobilisation of that 15,000 men, as far as demobilisation in respect of the old terms is concerned, will take place.

Mr. JOHNSON: What will become of them?

General MULCAHY: Re-attestation will be offered to those of them that we consider are suitable for re-attestation in the army at the new rates. Whether that is cutting down the payment to soldiers at present serving or not is a matter of how you look at it.

Mr. JOHNSON: It is a new contract?

General MULCAHY: It is a new contract, but it is tackling the immediate problem, and tackling it immediately. It is suggested that the payments made to army officers may be cut down. Army officers at present serving are serving under very special conditions, and in a service that may terminate at any time. There is not a single officer in the army to whom you could hold out a definite prospect that he will be continued in his position for, say, two or three years, and it would be unreasonable, considering the work that officers in the army have done, and the problematic term of office, that there should be any cutting down of the salaries paid to the present officers.

Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS: I am reluctant to interrupt, but I should be sorry that the Minister should labour under any delusion or illusion with regard to what I said. I was not dealing with the question so much of economy as the question of morale. I was therefore dealing, not with the salaries of the majority of the rank and file officers— [807] if I might use that expression—as with regard to the higher type of officers, and, therefore, with the highest type of salary.

General MULCAHY: With regard to the three members of the Army Council, the Deputy did not suggest what particular cutting down could be made in the amounts paid to those officers. I doubt if there is anybody who, realising the responsibilities that rested on the members of the Army Council for the last 12 months, could reasonably suggest that there should be any cutting down in the amounts paid to them as persons occupying the particular position that they occupy. The name of Marshal Foch has been mentioned, and I fear that the Deputy has mixed up his calculation when transferring Irish money into French money. The task that Marshal Foch was called upon to face, with his experience and training, for his country, was not greater than the task that these members of the Army Council, with their training and experience, were called upon to face for their country, and the achievements of the members of the Army Council for their country will, I am perfectly satisfied, not be written down in history as less than any achievement of Marshal Foch for his country.

The question of whether the present army might not be replaced by a militia, costing two millions or one and a half millions, is not a question that arises on the points of criticism that the Deputy raised. You have to deal with the present situation; with the machinery that you have. At the beginning of the period of hostilities here you might say that you had a militia, and your militia system, faced with the circumstances of 12 months ago, left you without any control of any kind over very much the greater portion of your country; and you cannot, in my opinion, talk of establishing a militia system for, at any rate, the next three or four years. You are tied by your circumstances here. We are laying our plans in this matter of the demobilisation in such a way that we shall probably leave you, at the end of this financial year, with an army of 20,000 men—that is, 10,000 men less than we estimated we would have.

[808] The circumstances in which we will leave that army of 20,000 men at the beginning of the next financial year will not be such as will bind the Government or this Assembly to the retention of an army of that size for the twelve ensuing months, if circumstances do not warrant it. The expenditure on the army will have to depend on the circumstances that face you in the country. While we may hope that they will be such that you can reduce your army even below 20,000, you cannot afford experiments in shifting from the type of army you have at present to a militia system, or any other system like that, until you know in what particular atmosphere you are discussing a proposal like it, and for, at any rate, three or four years. These matters are being thought of by the army authorities. On the general matter of army accounts and army extravagance, which is so much talked of, you hear it suggested from time to time that there has been unnecessary extravagance in the army because inexperienced people have been in charge, and because you have an inexperienced army. I doubt if anyone who knows anything about armies will be very much struck with an argument of that type. Armies in warfare are extravagant, but they are carrying out a business in circumstances where you cannot have ordinary routine methods. There must inevitably be additional extravagance as a result of the manner in which matters have to be carried out. I think it well, for the comfort of Deputies, to state that the system of keeping army accounts is such that I can give you the figures of expenditure in the army up to and including the month of October. That is, on the 14th of November, I can tell you what the army has spent on itself up to the 31st of October. The total Army Estimate was £10,679,500. For the seven months ending the 31st October there was £6,750,810 spent, or 63.2 per cent of the total Army Estimate. Seven-twelfths of the Estimate would be less than that. It would be 58.3 per cent. The first seven months of expenditure for the army were, naturally, the heaviest months. The expenditure for the month of October itself was £779,750, that is, 7.3 per cent. of the whole Estimate. If the expenditure [809] during October was on the ordinary pro rata percentage, it would be 8.3 per cent. That is, 8.3 per cent. would be one-twelfth of the total expenditure. So that your expenditure in October is only seven-eighths of a month's pro rata expenditure, showing that, while you are to some extent overspent for the first seven months, because of the excessive strength the army carried during that time, your expenditure in October shows you are very much on the decline. The expenditure will decrease much more rapidly during the ensuing four months, say, December, January, February and March. While, as I say, that has to some extent crossed the present discussion, I am glad to see from the general feeling of the Dáil that it has not prejudiced the appreciation of the necessity for cutting down both the amount of money set aside for payment of teachers and for old age pensioners. It is not correct to say that the cutting down of either [810] of these amounts is simply because of the fall in the cost of living. Cutting down these amounts is owing to the absolute necessity of reducing your total expenditure, and these are two obvious and outstanding items in which it is possible to reduce expenditure. The reference to the cost of living was made simply in order to demonstrate that it is not unreasonable that such cutting down should take place, and particularly when the cutting down does not bring undue hardship upon any one of these two classes.

Mr. GOOD: I move the adjournment of the debate.

Debate adjourned until to-morrow.

Mr. BLYTHE: I move the adjournment of the Dáil.

The Dáil adjourned at 8.15 p.m.