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Agreements between the Government of Ireland and the Government of the United Kingdom.

Wednesday, 5 January 1966

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 219 No. 9

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The following motion was moved by the Taoiseach on 4th January, 1966:

That Dáil Éireann approve the Agreements, Exchanges of Letters and understandings between the [1280] Government of Ireland and the Government of the United Kingdom which were signed in London on the 14th day of December, 1965, and copies of which have been laid before Dáil Éireann.

Debate resumed on the following amendments:

1. To delete all words after “Dáil Éireann” and to insert the following:

“, while approving the Agreements, Exchanges of Letters and Understandings between the Government of Ireland and the Government of the United Kingdom which were signed in London on the 14th day of December, 1965, and copies of which have been laid before Dáil Éireann, is concerned with the inevitable effect of the freeing of trade on employment and emigration and deplores the fact that the Agreement as negotiated is unbalanced and that the concessions obtained are small in the immediate future and limited and insecure thereafter.”

—(Deputy Cosgrave.)

2. To delete all words after “Dáil Éireann” and to insert the following:

“is of opinion that the Agreements, Exchanges of Letters and Understandings between the Government of Ireland and the Government of the United Kingdom which were signed in London on the 14th day of December, 1965, copies of which have been laid before Dáil Éireann, represent a balance of advantage to the United Kingdom in that they do not provide adequately for agriculture and will lead to a reduction in industrial employment and an increase in emigration.”

—(Deputy Corish.)

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay I must refer again to the fact that this Agreement has a title which is a complete misnomer. It is entitled an Agreement to establish a Free Trade Area between the Government of the United Kingdom and the Government of Ireland. It does not establish any such thing. It establishes [1281] a free trade area as between the two countries for manufactured goods. It does not establish a free trade area for any aspect of agricultural produce and I am sure the Minister for Agriculture will tell us why that happened. I can well understand it happening in this way and I should like the Minister to enlighten us in this regard. If agriculture were included in this Agreement as a free trade area, it would conflict with Britain's commitments to EFTA and GATT.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey We do not want a free trade area in agriculture.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay You do not want a free trade area in agriculture?

The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass Zoom on Seán F. Lemass It would ruin us.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey Wipe us out.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay Perhaps the Minister will tell us how a free trade area with Great Britain would ruin us?

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey They would have complete access to all our markets here.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay The Government, as I understand it, want union with EEC, which would involve a free trade area in agriculture.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey Not a free trade area.

The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass Zoom on Seán F. Lemass The EEC has a managed market in agricultural products, not a free trade area.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey A common agriculture.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay I shall listen with interest to the Minister when he makes that case.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon A very interesting discourse it will be.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay A feature of this agreement that interests me is this. I hope I am right in classifying the economies in this manner when I describe our industrial sector as the weak arm of our economy and when I describe, relatively speaking, the agricultural sector in Great Britain as their weaker arm. After ten years, the result [1282] will be, if this Agreement is to be interpreted as it reads, that our now weak arm will be weaker still by the positive and irreversible action of dismantling of tariffs and removing protection entirely, whereas after the same ten years the British agricultural sector will still have available to it the relevant Articles in this Agreement enabling them to impose quantitative restrictions, so that they keep their protection for their weaker sector and we lose ours.

What would happen in that event if at the end of the ten-year period some of our industries had gone by the board and others were putting up what would have to be described as a gallant struggle for survival? What would happen in that set of conditions with the British operating some of the Articles here which would enable them to impose quantitative restrictions on agricultural produce from here, thereby weakening our economy on its major front? I would welcome some contribution from the Minister for Agriculture on that aspect.

In relation to our position under this Agreement, vis-à-vis agriculture on the one hand and industry on the other, why was it not possible—maybe it is yet possible—for us to negotiate some kind of agricultural arrangements with the other countries of EFTA? Is that still open to us as far as this Agreement is concerned?

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey Agriculture is not in EFTA at all.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon But it may soon be.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay I am not saying it is. I am saying that surely it is possible, even if agriculture is not in EFTA, that arrangements can still be made with countries who are members of EFTA—not necessarily all of them— in order to provide a wider field for agricultural exports?

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey Unilaterally?

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay Not necessarily.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey Agriculture has nothing to do with the Association as such.

[1283]Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay Agriculture may have nothing to do with it but it is certainly not ruled out. In my view, the making of the necessary arrangements cannot be ruled out. I want to suggest to the Minister for Agriculture that agriculture was left out of this Agreement as a free trade area because the British imposed that upon us so that they could keep their commitments with GATT. I do not want the Minister throwing his eyes up to heaven at this or any other suggestion. I can well understand that kind of expression drawing trouble on him from many sources. If he has anything to say in that regard, we will listen to him with interest and forbearance.

As I have already indicated, when the ten-year period is up, some of these industries will have gone. We will have lost the bargaining power for Europe by way of dismantling our tariffs. It is the only bargaining power we have. If the Taoiseach, as he said yesterday, is now of the view that some of these industries are high-priced and obsolescent — I hope I quote him correctly—it might now be relevant to inquire as to whether they were really viable at the time their creation was first conceived, as to whether they were at any time economic and self-supporting units or were merely sited with political advantage in mind. If the latter is the case, then this country has had upwards of 30 years of wasted industrial effort, effort that has been purchased at a very high price by the Irish taxpayer.

This agreement is unbalanced. It must necessarily, as a consequence of free trade, cause unemployment and certainly displacement and redundancy. What plans have the Government to combat that? There is no use talking about setting up a manpower committee. I am speaking for the West where it is likely this will hit hardest. Talking of the West and of the efforts of An Foras Tionscal and the IDA in this regard, I notice that in this Agreement it is proposed that Government aids will be entirely withdrawn by 1975, unless there is some consultation in the meantime prolonging [1284] them, extending them or modifying them. I want to know is it a fact that by the end of 1975, in the absence of consultation making for the contrary, all Government aid will be withdrawn and that An Foras Tionscal and the IDA will be then enabled to play no further part in the development of what we know as the undeveloped areas? Are these places being thrown to the winds under this Agreement? If that be so, it is not only one of imbalance but one of callous indifference to that part of the country which is supposed to be the great concern of all our Ministers when they go west of the Shannon to speak or seek votes.

Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries (Mr. Haughey): Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey First, may I deal with the extraordinary suggestion by Deputy Lindsay that we would want a free trade area in agricultural products with the United Kingdom. Of course, we could not possibly stand up to such an arrangement for even a matter of months. In fact, our position in regard to these negotiations was, if you like, the slightly audacious one of saying to the British Government: “We want access to your markets in the most unrestricted fashion we can get and, at the same time, we want complete protection in our home market.” And, to be fair to the British Government, the upshot of the Agreement as far as agriculture is concerned is that we have practically achieved that. We have unrestricted access for all our agricultural produce, with the exception of two or three products in respect of which we have satisfactory arrangements. At the same time, we have been required to concede only very minimum quantities of British produce into our home market. But, for heaven's sake let nobody criticise this Agreement because it does not create a free trade area in agricultural produce.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange How could you have free trade with quotas and restrictions?

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey I have already said that this Free Trade Area Agreement is the best deal we have ever been able to get for Irish agriculture. Nothing that I have read since or, indeed, heard in [1285] this debate has caused me for a moment to question that opinion.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange The Minister was not here for the debate.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey I think it is self-evident and furthermore that it is fully recognised as such by everyone who is engaged in, or interested in, agriculture. Attempts have been made, most of them indeed pretty half-hearted, to try to minimise what has been achieved but the benefits accruing and the advantages secured are too obvious, too positive and too tangible to be obscured by facile argument or clever debate. This Agreement in the firm and secure provision which it makes for access to the U.K. market for our produce, in the advantageous arrangements it ensures for the marketing of our most important products and in the protection it affords to the home market provides a foundation for the industry such as it has never had before in all our history.

To see it in its proper perspective, we must look at it first of all against the broad background of agriculture in the world to-day, especially in Britain and Europe, the developments which have taken place during the last decade or so, the place occupied by our agriculture in this scene and the contribution expected of it in our Second Programme for Economic Expansion and the likelihood of its being able to meet this contribution in the light of the overall situation in Europe and in Britain. Secondly, this Agreement can be evaluated by comparison with the previous Trade Agreements—those of 1938, 1948 and 1960—and, finally, we can assess the Agreement in the light of what it has to offer for the future.

The world generally and Europe and Britain in particular present a picture of national agricultures being subsidised and protected to an ever-increasing extent in recent years.

Ever since the war, the major industrial countries which might be expected to provide substantial markets for agricultural imports steadily increased their own agricultural output, mainly with the aid of State subsidies and supports [1286] and also within the past few years commenced in some cases to ration their market among suppliers on the basis of previous trade. For example, imports of butter and bacon into Britain were controlled, with particularly unfortunate results for us in the case of butter. Proposals for the control of imports of meat into Britain were carried to an advanced stage but were shelved at the last moment. These proposals would have affected our exports of livestock and meat to Britain and it could not be assumed that they would not be brought forward again at some future date. These were just typical examples of what was happening and typical of the sort of thing which was worrying us greatly.

The European Economic Community was proceeding rapidly with its plans for a common agricultural policy which is of a highly protectionist nature and affords us very limited scope for marketing our agricultural produce in that area. The countries in EFTA were all free to pursue and were steadily pursuing their own protectionist agricultural policies. Denmark, a member of EFTA, was securing improvements in its position on the British market. Food surpluses were appearing everywhere. The question presented itself more clearly every day—what was to become of our agricultural exports in an increasingly protectionist world?

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Denmark is supplying almost half the bacon. We supply four per cent. That is not much to brag about.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey Britain had the legal power to restrict the import of any Irish agricultural, horticultural or fishery product, including live animals, if this was necessary in the interests of orderly marketing and provided she consulted us. She was in no way, however, obliged to follow any advice offered in those consultations. We were in a very vulnerable position in respect of one of our most important forms of economic activity—our agricultural exports. We have, of course, other markets for some of our products outside Europe and Britain, principally the US, but they could not [1287] be relied upon for more than a fraction of our requirements. Assured access to adequate markets was becoming crucial for us in a world of inexorably closing doors. Some commentators, indeed, some Deputies on the far side of the House, still talk as if Britain were still short of food or agricultural produce.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange She is, of meat.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey She was short of food at one time immediately after the War, when everything our farmers could produce was readily absorbed. But that situation has long since disappeared——

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Not for store cattle.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan Deputy L'Estrange must cease interrupting the Minister.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman It is very hard, when the Minister is talking such nonsense.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey I believe Deputy Sweetman was the author of the famous document.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman What document?

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey The press release. I shall come to that in a moment.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Who has done it for the Minister?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan Contributions to the debate may be made not by way of interruption but by way of speech.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman It is not a speech. The Minister is reading it.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay Prepared by somebody else.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange In 1948, the then Deputy Daniel Morrissey was interrupted 40 times; I counted them.

The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass Zoom on Seán F. Lemass I am sure they were intelligent interruptions.

[1288]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan The Minister for Agriculture.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey I was saying that at one time immediately after the War, when Britain was short of food or agricultural produce, everything our farmers could produce was readily absorbed. But that situation has long since disappeared and today Britain has increased her own production enormously and has a variety of suppliers anxious to meet her full requirements in different products, very often at give-away prices. That is the reality of the situation and to argue about this Agreement as if it were not, is just futile. Because this is and has been the situation in Britain and because most of the other developed industrial countries have, by means of subsidies and supports of one sort or another, been increasing their own agricultural production at a very rapid rate, the truth of the matter is that during the past decade or so our Irish agricultural production has been carried on under the shadow of disorganised and uncertain export markets.

When I came into Agriculture, this was one of the first things that struck me. Here we were planning for major increases in our agricultural production and exports under the Second Programme while the markets in which we could dispose of them were becoming more and more restricted.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange “Gone and gone forever.”

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey That did not appear to me to be a very happy situation. I mentioned it in a few speeches but none of the pundits, some of whom are very vocal now about this Agreement, rushed in at that time to point out where a solution to this dilemma would lie. It was not very realistic to expect our farmers and to exhort them to increase production all round while, at the same time, they could not be sure of secure markets for what they produced.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange They had it under the 1948 Trade Agreement.

[1289]Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey So much for the background in which we came to make this Agreement. It will help us towards an understanding of the present Agreement to have a look at previous Agreements others made in 1938, 1948 and 1960. The 1938 Agreement—the most important of the three—ended the Economic War and was intended to give us roughly the same position on the British market as that of Commonwealth countries.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Cease fire.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey The World War which broke out a year later prevented the 1938 Agreement from being fully applied in practice. The system of bulk purchase of food by the British Government which developed during the war was not, of course, provided for in a longterm Trade Agreement made in peacetime. During and after the war, while bulk purchase lasted, the prices we got for our produce were those which the British Ministry of Food was prepared to pay, not what the market could stand. Later on when bulk purchase ceased, British agricultural policy became highly protectionist. British farmers were given valuable guarantees in regard to prices and markets. The deficiency payments scheme, which gave British farmers guaranteed prices for their main products while allowing market prices to find their own level, was introduced. Eventually, as world supplies of agricultural produce increased after the war, various restrictions were placed on imports into the United Kingdom of different products—such as butter, bacon, cereals and so on.

The Trade Agreement which was made in 1948 by the Coalition Government dealt mainly with the short term circumstances arising out of the British bulk purchase system. In fact, the Annex to that Agreement which dealt with our principal exports of agricultural products to Britain was expressed to apply only until 30th June, 1952. It made no firm provision for dealing effectively with the more long term position which was to be created when world supplies of foodstuffs again became plentiful. Apart from a rather [1290] loosely worded arrangement for store cattle, it did not provide any permanent link between our prices and the prices guaranteed to the British farmers.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange That is wrong.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey In the case of store cattle, all it promised was that the British Government would introduce no excessive increase in the then differential of 5/- per live cwt between the guaranteed prices for British bred cattle and Irish store cattle fattened in Britain.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon You know of the exchange between Sir Stafford Cripps and myself, and if you do not know, you are being misled.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey Under the 1953 Government, that differential was reduced to 4/6 per live cwt. In 1956, the British Government agreed to reduce the differential from 4/6 to 3/6 per live cwt and in return, the Coalition Government of that day agreed to an increase from two to three months in the waiting period for our store cattle on British farms.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman And the first time you recognised that in a Trade Agreement was in 1960.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey A Pyrrhic victory indeed. In 1960, a further Agreement was made by the Fianna Fáil Government of the day under which Irish attested cattle fattened in Britain qualified for the same price guarantee as British-bred cattle.

It is not my purpose to belittle any of these Agreements. I am sure they were the best that could be procured at the time. But the great problem of secure access has become increasingly acute in recent years and they clearly provided no real solution or safeguard for us.

Can any reasonable person suggest that we could continue in the conditions of today to live happily under the combination of these three Agreements of 1938, 1948 and 1960? The truth is that we just could not, unless we were prepared to accept a static agriculture and a pretty dim industrial future.

[1291]Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Is that not what we have?

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey In fact, these old Agreements are out of date. They do not answer the needs of the modern world; and they do not provide any solution to the great economic problems which have arisen. The development of the Irish economy and the increased prosperity of our people depend on the fulfilment of the Second Programme for Economic Expansion. This Free Trade Area Agreement assures us of the export outlets and the improved export terms which are essential if the production targets set out in that Programme are to be fulfilled. There was no real possibility of our continuing to rest on those old Trade Agreements unless we were content to become a stagnant and declining country—a picturesque backwater in an ever advancing Europe.

The Free Trade Area Agreement deals fairly and effectively with these major problems. For store cattle, store sheep and store lambs, there is unrestricted access to the British market for the first time ever.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay I thought there was no free trade area for agriculture. Why is the Minister talking about a free trade area when he rejects my contention that there should be such an area in agriculture.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey I have already tried to indicate to the Deputy that a free trade area in any product implies free trade in both directions.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan Deputies should restrain themselves and allow the Minister to proceed without interruption.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne Is the Minister entitled to read a speech?

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon Let him read it.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne Every Deputy makes his own speech. The Minister can make a speech introducing an Estimate——

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey I am making my speech.

[1292]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan The Minister should be allowed to make his statement.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey On access to the British market for the rest of our agricultural, horticultural and fishery products generally, this Agreement represents a striking improvement in the position under the previous Trade Agreements and provides the market security which is essential for our agricultural industry. As I have already pointed out, Britain had the legal power under the existing Agreements, to restrict the import of any Irish agricultural, horticultural or fishery product, including live animals, provided only that she considered this to be necessary in the interests of orderly marketing and that she consulted us beforehand.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Has Britain ever introduced an international commodity arrangement in the interests of live animals?

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey I have already mentioned products for which she did it. Butter, bacon, cereals, potatoes, and she was actively contemplating doing it in relation to meat.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Did we not have a free trade area for agricultural products?

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman The Minister knows perfectly well what he is saying is a distortion of the truth.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey What is a distortion of the truth?

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman Britain cannot possibly get store animals except from here.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey A conference was held little more than a year ago with a view to introducing an international commodity agreement for meat.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman But in relation to stores, no.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey In my opinion, that conference and those negotiations were interrupted not on their merits at all but because of the problems of the political situation inside Britain itself.

[1293]Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan Can the Minister not get away from the political situation——

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey I am trying to answer a question which Deputy L'Estrange put to me. Deputy L'Estrange asked me the simple question: has Britain ever introduced an international commodity arrangement in the interests of orderly marketing? I said, yes, she has.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman Deputy L'Estrange said, in relation to live animals. The Minister may have heard it as livestock but live animals was what he said.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan The Minister should talk about the Agreement he made and forget about the sniping.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey I am not making political arguments. I am elaborating in relation to the situation.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan It does not sound like a ministerial speech.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan I suggest the Minister be allowed to proceed.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman The Minister might have accorded us the normal courtesy of circulating his speech.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey Britain has now given up the right to regulate imports from Ireland except only in the context of an international commodity agreement covering all major suppliers of the product, including—and this should be specially noted—British producers themselves. Britain has also undertaken to consult us beforehand with a view to agreeing on the arrangements to apply under any such international arrangement; to aim at providing opportunities of access for us in line with the quantities proposed in the Second Programme and to provide opportunities for growth—and this is very important indeed—no less favourable than those accorded to other suppliers, including the British producer.

British agricultural interests have criticised certain aspects of this [1294] Agreement and they have been particularly critical of this assurance that in the event of the regulation of imports and of British home production in the case of international agreement, we would get as good a growth factor as the British home producer. I think this is the best possible indication we can have of the value of that particular provision.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange We were even told to produce bees one time instead of cattle.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan Deputy L'Estrange ought to exercise some restraint.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey I should now like to turn to another matter related to access. This is the letter from me to the British Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mr. Peart, in regard to a minimum import price system. This matter has been the subject of a great deal of misunderstanding, as is evident from some newspaper comment. First of all, it may be asked why it is necessary to have the letter at all. The plain fact of the matter is that the British Government could not accept a position where they would be prevented for all time from introducing a minimum import price system for any agricultural product. It would have been unreasonable for us to insist on such a position. How then was the matter to be resolved consistent with the maintenance of our duty free access rights? The solution arrived at was the letter in which we agreed that in certain circumstances we would be prepared to grant a waiver from our right of duty free access so as to enable the UK to introduce a minimum import price system. Such a waiver would be technically necessary before any minimum import price system could be introduced.

The question of the introduction of a minimum import price system could arise only in the context of an international arrangement. In addition— and I say this to remove one of the misconceptions about the matter— there would have to be prior consultation with a view to reaching agreement [1295] of the character and substance of any such arrangement, and the other parts of Articles 8 or 9, as well as the Understandings referring to our Second Programme, would apply. Thus, Britain would aim to maintain access for the quantities which we expect to have available under the Programme or, if the matter arose after 1970, to provide full opportunity for imports from Ireland at a level not less than that achieved during a recent representative period. Furthermore, we would have to be given a growth factor not less than that accorded to any supplier, including British farmers. I do not think that we should be unduly concerned about the possibility that an international commodity agreement might not apply to British farmers. The prospects of the big suppliers to the British market agreeing to this are, to say the least, quite remote.

The letter provides that in return for the waiver we would have to be accorded treatment no less favourable than that given to any other country enjoying a right of duty-free access. This covers not only the Commonwealth but also Denmark which too is in a free trade area with Britain.

We are, of course, already participating in a minimum import price system for imports of cereals into Britain. This system differs greatly from the EEC system inasmuch as the question of a levy under it arises only if a product is being sold at less than the agreed minimum price, whereas under the EEC system a levy is normally charged at all times and irrespective of the price at which you sell. Indeed, even if we were within the EEC our exports of most agricultural products to other Member States would be subject to levy until the end of the transition period.

It should be clear that in certain circumstances we would welcome an international commodity agreement. Such an agreement could be of great benefit to us provided that our access position is safeguarded on the lines incorporated in the Free Trade Area Agreement. The purpose of these Agreements is to prevent excessive [1296] quantities of a particular product flooding indiscriminately into the British market and depressing prices to unacceptable levels. Provided our quotas or quantities were satisfactory, we would very often be very pleased to have international commodity agreements introduced for different products. Provided we have access for our production as we now have under the Free Trade Area Agreement, therefore, we would stand to gain from an international arrangement being negotiated for a product in which this country has an active trade interest.

Certain products such as butter, bacon and cereals are already the subject of arrangements made between Britain and her major suppliers. Our position in regard to both butter and pigment will, however, be much better than it was up to the present. I say pigmeat deliberately, to cover both bacon and pork. Our basic butter quota has been nearly doubled and the British Government will aim to provide for growth in the new quota, taking into account our plans for increased output of dairy produce under the Second Programme. The position in regard to other dairy products such as cheese, milk powder, cream and chocolate crumb is safeguarded under the general access arrangements.

As regards pigs, not only has there been a recent increase in our bacon quota under the multilateral Bacon Understanding but our position in regard to the export of pork to the British market will in practice be unrestricted. Our total exports of pigs in the form of bacon and pork are therefore fully covered.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Pigs are declining here, have you got them in the country now?

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey Deputies have mentioned a reference in the Annex to the 1948 Trade Agreement to the British Government's willingness to purchase 20,000 tons of butter and 27,000 tons of bacon. As I have already stated this Annex was expressed to last for only four years and, in fact, was intended to deal only with commodities covered by the British bulk purchase system which was a hang-over from the War.

[1297] At that time food supplies were so scarce in Britain that she would have been glad to secure any quantities from any source but in point of fact we had little or no bacon or butter for export at that time or for years later. Indeed, Danish butter was actually imported into this country about that time while Deputy Dillon was Minister for Agriculture.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon And butter was exported to England.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey It is important to realise that these two figures were not quotas in fact. They were merely indications given by the British Government of the quantities which they would be willing to buy. They were completely meaningless in a world which was desperately short of food of all sorts.

There are many products which it is practically certain will never be the subject of an international commodity agreement. This applies especially to horticultural products, which means that we will now be able to develop such exports without any fear of restriction.

Let us now look at the position in regard to some specific items under the new Agreement. First the position of livestock and meat. As I have already stated, we now have unrestricted access to the British market for our store cattle, store sheep and store lambs. The waiting period for which these animals have to be held on British farms before receiving the British fatstock guarantee payments has been reduced from three months to two months, and the differential of ¾d per lb dead weight between the rate of guarantee payment on British home-bred sheep and lambs and that on Irish stores fattened in the UK has been abolished. These are really substantial benefits.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy Would the Minister state what restrictions, if any, were imposed by Britain on the importation of store cattle up to the present time?

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey The point is that there could be restrictions.

[1298]Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy They certainly did not exist. There was completely free trade so far as the export of store cattle was concerned but we had not sufficient cattle to export.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey May I come to that in a moment?

There is no doubt that these are really substantial benefits.

Deputies are inclined to suggest that in practice Britain would never restrict imports of Irish stores. That seems to me to be a very short-sighted and superficial view. It is never possible to forecast the future. Particularly is this true in relation to the cattle trade. No sooner does one make a prediction in regard to it than events completely upset the prediction. It is possible to envisage a situation in which British farmers, in their own interests, could pressurise the British Government to restrict the entry of Irish stores into Great Britain in favour of home-produced stores.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon What help is this agreement to Irish farmers to sell stores if the British farmers will not buy them?

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey We should not overlook the possibility. The only reason why Britain does not import stores from any other country at the moment is veterinary considerations.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy Will the Minister say——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan The Deputy can make his contribution later.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy The Minister has all his statements prepared.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan The Deputy will be able to make his contribution and to say all that he wants to say by way of contribution.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne The Deputy is only putting a few civil questions while the Minister is here.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey What is the question?

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy The Ceann Comhairle intervened and put me off the question. The Minister says that the [1299] position might obtain that there would be sufficient stores in England and, then, if this agreement were not made, we could not export stores to Britain. Surely the Minister knows that, irrespective of this agreement, if sufficient store cattle are provided by the British farmers, they will not buy our store cattle and this agreement will not help?

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey It is a different thing.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy The same thing applies to poultry or any other commodity. If the British farmers produce any commodity in sufficient quantity they will not buy from outside.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey There are two different things. What I suggested was that we must envisage the possibility that the British farmers with a view to encouraging the production of home-bred stock, might go to the British Government at some stage and request them to restrict entry of stores from Ireland for the next few years to such and such a figure, so that British breeders would be encouraged to produce more animals at home. That is a possibility. It cannot happen now.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne It cannot happen?

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey It can never happen again.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman Why could it not happen like the levy happened?

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey We are assured now for all time of complete freedom of access for store cattle.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne No matter who comes the way? That goes for Health or whoever comes the way after Wilson?

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy That is cod.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne It lives as long as Wilson's Government lasts.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey As I have said, we must also envisage the possibility that veterinary developments could at some time in the future bring about the [1300] situation where stores could be imported to Great Britain from countries other than ours.

The position secured by a Fianna Fáil Government by the 1960 Trade Agreement whereby Irish store cattle, provided they are fully attested, qualify for the same guarantee payments as British bred cattle will continue. The extension of the British guarantee payments to 25,000 tons of our carcase beef completes the structure of this now firmly secured cattle and beef industry.

The same solid foundation has been procured for our sheep and lamb trade. We were particularly keen to secure the future of the sheep trade alongside that of the store cattle trade because of the possibility it offers for expansion and because of its particular importance for the west of Ireland and the small farmer there. The abolition of the existing ¾d per lb differential, the reduction of the waiting period from three months to two months and the extension of the British guarantee payments to 5,500 tons of our carcase lamb achieve this in a satisfactory manner.

It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of the break through represented by the fact that the Agreement provides for the extension of the British agricultural support price system to our finished products—25,000 tons of carcase beef and 5,500 tons of carcase lamb. This is something completely new and of the utmost significance from our point of view, both as a new departure and because of its intrinsic value and the solid foundation it provides for our meat and lamb trade and for the security it guarantees for the future for farmers who fatten cattle, sheep and lambs.

There has been some criticism of the size of the quota of lamb to which the guarantee is to extend—5,500 tons. The critics, however, have overlooked the fact that a significant proportion of the lamb we are exporting to Great Britain at the moment is represented by lamb or sheep which have already qualified in the North of Ireland for the guarantee payments and which subsequently come down here, are slaughtered and are exported to Great Britain. These lambs [1301] could not qualify and will not be able to qualify for the British guarantee payments system twice. They will be excluded from the operation of this guarantee payments system in future. When you extract that amount of lamb from the existing annual quota it will be seen that the 5½ thousand tons represents a level of trade which is very near that of recent years. The beef quota, of course, is considerably higher than the existing level of trade.

It is naive of commentators to suggest that this Agreement merely confirms the existing position. It is not long ago since there was an international conference called in London by the British Government with a view to regulating imports of meat and cattle. I emphasise cattle very specially for Deputy Murphy's benefit. This conference was called by Britain in order to bring about an international commodity agreement governing meat and cattle. If this international commodity agreement had been evolved we would be in the position where our meat and cattle exports to Britain would be restricted. For one reason or another, that conference was not proceeded with. The very fact that it was called should serve as a warning to us, from the point of view that it could have happened. It cannot happen now. The position is that our sheep and cattle trade, no matter what form they are in, are assured access to Britain for all time.

The reduction in the waiting period for stores means that they can now be held for another month on Irish farms and exported at a correspondingly higher price per head. British feeders will be able to achieve a more rapid turnover in these store cattle and, therefore, will certainly be willing to pass on a higher proportion of their guarantee payment to the Irish farmer.

In this connection, I want to come to one of the most extraordinary documents ever issued by a political Party in this country—the Fine Gael statement on the Free Trade Area Agreement issued on 20th December, 1965. To me, paragraph 9 is a sample of the whole, an example of the haphazard [1302] approach of the present Fine Gael Party to Irish agriculture. If I may quote from paragraph 9, it reads as follows:

The advantages secured for Irish agriculture under the Agreement are indeed minimal. The reduction of the waiting period for cattle to the two month period originally secured by the inter-Party Government in 1948, and surrendered by Fianna Fáil in the 1960 Agreement, is of very limited value, as is shown by the fact that the extension of the period to three months in 1960 did no serious damage to Irish agriculture. The deficiency payments to be received by the Irish Government are strictly limited in amount and may be disposed of by the Irish Government only with the consent of the British Government, thus for the first time permitting that Government to have a direct say in our agricultural export system.

That statement is so inaccurate and misleading that it borders on the fantastic. First of all, the statement that the reduction of the waiting period was secured by Fine Gael in 1948 and abandoned by Fianna Fáil in 1960 is just simply untrue. The history of this waiting period is that it was first reduced to two months under a Fianna Fáil Government in 1941; it was confirmed at two months, again under Fianna Fáil, in 1947, when a quality premium payable on British home-bred cattle was extended to Irish stores. The period continued at two months until 1956 when, under a Fine Gael Government, it was extended to three months; the extension from two months to three months first took place under the Fine Gael Coalition Government of 1956.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman For three years.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey At the same time, they agreed that the waiting period for sheep and lambs should also be increased from two months to three months.

The price differential in favour of British home-bred cattle was reduced at that time also from 4/6 to 3/6 and it was completely wiped out in 1960. [1303] To try to suggest that the reduction in the waiting period from three months to two months is of very limited value because the extension of the period in 1960 did no serious damage to Irish agriculture is absurd. The extension of the period from two months to three months in 1960 did no damage to the cattle trade in 1960 because the extension did not take place in 1960; it took place in 1956 and it was then followed immediately by a disastrous fall in the price of store cattle in 1956.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy The Agreement was responsible for the fall in store cattle in 1956?

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey No, the extension of the two months to three months. The Coalition Government extended the period to three months and that immediately brought about a disastrous decline in the price of store cattle.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman There were only three Trade Agreements—1938, 1948 and 1960.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey I am talking about 1956 when the Coalition Government agreed to extend the two months waiting period to three months.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman There were only three Trade Agreements.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey This absurd, inaccurate Fine Gael document has tried to prove that the extension of the waiting period is of no value and that, when it was extended, as they wrongly state, in 1960 it did not make any difference to the cattle trade. I am pointing out that the waiting period was first extended in 1956 and not, as stated by Fine Gael, in 1960. I am also pointing out that it was followed by a disastrous decline in the price of store cattle.

There is no doubt that this reduction in the waiting period will be of immediate, significant and tangible benefit. It will place extra cash directly into the farmers' pockets. To try to suggest otherwise is patently absurd.

In June, 1965, I discussed the [1304] store cattle trade with the livestock exporters. We had a wide-ranging and useful discussion and the livestock exporters were vehement in their opinion that the greatest single thing that could be achieved for the Irish store cattle trade would be to get the three months' waiting period reduced to two. I agreed with them then, I still agree with them, and I think it is nonsense to suggest otherwise. It was on that basis we set out to procure this advantage and it was on that basis we procured it in this Trade Agreement.

I do not know what any sensible person could make of the statement that “The deficiency payments to be received by the Irish Government are strictly limited in amount and may be disposed of by the Irish Government only with the consent of the British Government, thus for the first time permitting that Government to have a direct say in our agricultural exports system.” As if they have not been having a direct say in our agricultural exports system for the last two centuries at least! This provision that the guarantee payments to be made by the British Government shall be disposed of in a manner agreed between the two Governments is of no significance whatever. It is simply a matter of mechanics.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman It is simply a matter of mechanics?

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey That is all. That is the only reason why it is there. It is intended to deal with matters like this. First of all, it is agreed—I think it is only common sense—that the British guarantee payments will not apply twice to cattle and sheep; cattle and sheep from Northern Ireland which come in here will not again benefit from the British guarantee payments system. Secondly, it is agreed—again it is only reasonable—that this guarantee payments system on 25,000 tons of beef and 5,500 tons of lamb should apply only to beef or lamb going into the United Kingdom. There are a number of practical details like that which have to be worked out and which could not be spelled out in black-and-white in the Agreement. That is [1305] why this provision is there to show these moneys shall be disposed of in accordance with some arrangement worked out in consultation between the two Governments.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman That is not what Article II says, paragraph (e), page 182.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey I am giving the realities of the situation.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne It has no political significance whatever.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey Not the slightest.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne We will go into that later.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey To look on the inauguration of a system whereby two of our very important finished products, beef and lamb, will now for the first time qualify for these payments at the expense of the British Exchequer as some sort of unwarranted interference in our agricultural exports system is, to my way of thinking, complete and utter nonsense.

Incidentally, there is another howler in paragraph 10, if I might be permitted to point it out to the Deputy I believe to be the author of this famous document. In paragraph 10 it is stated, quite incorrectly, that the deficiency payments were not currently being made in the United Kingdom. As a matter of fact, they were being paid by the United Kingdom at that time, but the Fine Gael Party did not take the trouble to check whether they were or not before issuing this document.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman .3 of one penny, I think.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey At any rate, it is absurd to assess the value of this new arrangement on the basis of the rate of deficiency payment in operation in a particular week, the particular week in which the Fine Gael Party decided to issue a Press release. The average deficiency payment on cattle in Britain over the past four years, or so, was over 24/- per live cwt., or £12 per head. In the same period the average deficiency payment on lambs amounted [1306] to 9d. per lb. dead weight or 35/- per head. It is nothing less than shocking, I think, that the major Opposition Party should approach this fundamentally important matter in such a careless, inaccurate and slipshod fashion——

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman With the exception of one week in 1965, they were not paid.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey ——and that they should make such patently absurd statements because of Deputy Sweetman's complete ignorance of the facts of the situation.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman One week in 1965.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey I should like to make a guess, in fairness to Deputy James Dillon, that he had nothing whatever to do with the preparation of this Press release because he knows too much about the facts of the situation and knows too much about what happened ever to permit such nonsense to be published. I am quite astonished that the Fine Gael Party are not so red-faced after the publication of this nonsensical document, clearly absurd on its face, and so humiliated as not to be able to participate in discussing agriculture in this debate.

Annex A of the Agreement lists a large number of agricultural, horticultural and fishery products which are excluded from the free trade area Agreement altogether. I wish Deputy Lindsay were here to listen to me explain this to him. This means that the import of these products here will continue to be restricted in future. In other words, our home market will still be protected from the point of view of our home producers. Some of these products are supported, either directly or indirectly, under the British agricultural support system and, that being so, it would be absurd to have a free import of them here in competition with our unsupported products. In the separate Agreement relating to Trade in certain Agricultural and Fishery Products we have undertaken very limited commitments in regard to some of these excluded products. The broad effect of these commitments it to permit existing conditions and [1307] volume of trade in them to continue and to enable imports from the UK to this country to remain at approximately the same level as they have been up to now. These imports at the existing level will not cause any problem or difficulty whatever for our producers of these items. The granting of this limited importation simply maintains the status quo in regard to these products and enables us in return to secure free and unrestricted access for our horticultural, fishery and agricultural products, with the exception of the limited number which are the subject of international commodity agreements.

In the case of tomatoes, the Agreement provides a real opportunity for our growers. We have been able to procure the continuation of protection in the home market while, at the same time, securing unrestricted access for everything we can produce to the UK market. That gives growers a very sound foundation on which to go ahead and develop their industry and I hope they will make full use of it. The same applies to apples. The arrangements in regard to this product effectively protect our home growers while procuring for them complete access to the UK market.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy Is it not correct that the UK produce more apples than they require and export apples to this country?

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey It is not true that they produce more apples than they require. Every year they import substantial quantities of US and other apples. However, it is true that from time to time they do export certain apples to this country and the position is that we have more or less agreed that they will be entitled in future to send here at the existing rate of duty, namely, 1d a pound, the average of the last five years, which works out at 3,000 tons of apples. If they send in any more we can apply increased duty. Therefore our growers are protected on the home market and, at the same time, we have complete access to the UK market in regard to apples. I [1308] would not be pessimistic about this. It is possible for us to develop here a trade in certain qualities and varieties of apples and export them to the UK market. At any rate this Agreement secures access for us to do that.

The position in regard to broilers and turkeys is quite satisfactory. We have unrestricted access into the UK market for our broilers and at the same time we can continue to protect our own industry. The Agreement provides, and this I think is only reasonable, that if in the future our exports to the UK should reach significant levels, then we shall hold discussions with the British Government with a view to giving them access for some quantities into our market.

The same position applies in the case of turkeys. In the case of oven-ready turkeys we have said that they have no right of entry here but we have unrestricted access to their market for our exports. Should they reach significant quantities then we shall discuss with them the question of letting some of their turkeys in here. In the case of what they call New York dressed birds, if our exports to them reach a figure of 3,000 tons a year then we shall again discuss with them the question of permitting some imports from them into this country.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy I thought there was no export market for turkeys at a reasonable price and that the production of turkeys has decreased so much there was a likelihood this year we would have to import turkeys to meet our own requirements.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey Unfortunately that is the position at the moment, but this Agreement naturally must look to the long term, and in the event of our being able to develop the export of turkeys to the UK we want to have the right of access.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy There is no trouble getting turkeys produced because we have that tradition but what is the use in producing something for which you are not paid?

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey I agree with the Deputy, but that is a different problem. [1309] If we can at some future date compete in the British market with our turkeys on the basis of quality and price, then we want to have the freedom of access to send them in, and that is what we have secured in the Agreement.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy That is unlikely.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey I agree with the Deputy that it is unlikely at the moment, but the situation may change. These situations change from time to time and we may in the future want to export or be in a position to export broilers to the UK market, and the Agreement concerns itself with securing access for these products if and when we can make them available for export.

The Agreement makes completely satisfactory arrangements also for our fish. We have now for the first time established unrestricted access to the UK market for all time. This is a vast improvement on the existing position where our supplies could be restricted by Britain in the interests of orderly marketing. We are maintaining import opportunities for the existing limited volume of trade from the UK and now in the case of smoked fish, which we hope to build up here, we have been given the right to grant increased protection over and above the existing level. The overall arrangements now made for fish provide excellent opportunities for the development and expansion of our fishing industry on a permanent and secure basis, and I have every confidence that the industry will make the most of them.

On sugar we have provided for the continuation of the Anglo-Irish Sugar Agreement of 1963. This Agreement regulates trade in sugar between the two countries and is resulting in very substantial financial benefits for this country. As part of the new Agreement we have provided for the possibility of some imports of speciality sugars which for various reasons it might be more convenient to import than to produce here. Any arrangements made will, however, have to be approved by the Government and beet growers can rest assured that their interests will be fully protected. One minor matter I should mention here is that the £1 a ton duty [1310] which was levied on 10,000 tons of sugar which we send to the UK has been abolished.

In the case of seed we have secured the continuation of protection for our cereal and grass seed production while at the same time our seed producers will have unrestricted access to the UK market. I do not think we could expect to do better than this.

Our malt producers now have the British market completely open to them. On our side, however, we are not opening up our market but are merely continuing a very small traditional import trade by Irish brewers.

The only other matter of significance in this supplementary Agreement relating to agricultural and fishery products is the provision in regard to vegetables soups and to mineral mixtures and similar ingredients of compound feeding stuffs. For these products we are continuing the existing arrangements for imports from Britain, while Irish exporters of similar products to Britain will, of course, enjoy unrestricted access.

It is true that it is difficult to estimate in accountancy terms the value of this Agreement to Irish agriculture and fisheries. In the long-term, the value will be enormous if we make full use of the opportunities now available. I have been asked time and again, however, to say what it is likely to be worth to us immediately. While that will depend on the volume and terms of trade, the level of prices and a number of other factors, I believe it should be worth at least £10 million per annum at the outset——

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Nonsense. The farmers' income is down by £15 million this year.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey ——apart altogether from the expansion in our exports which the Agreement should generate. That is, in my opinion, a fairly reasonable estimate, taking the current trends and levels of trade into account. I hope it will be a great deal more and it could well be. Projections of this sort must always be made with caution.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange The Minister has not shown much caution.

[1311]Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman Really, it is amusing to see the Minister make this statement with a straight face.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey Deputies and members of the public have been asking for some assessment of what the immediate value of the Agreement is likely to be in tangible terms to our farmers and I feel they are entitled to some reliable estimate from me and my figure is put forward accordingly on that basis.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Would the Minister break it down?

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon This is the worst speech I have ever heard made and I have heard many.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin Deputies must cease interrupting.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey The surprising allegation has been made by one or two people that this Agreement may make more difficult our eventual entry into the Common Market. The Taoiseach has dealt fully with this argument in his opening statement. He pointed out that in fact the reverse is the case. I should just like to add my own strong personal opinion, formed as a result of a visit to Brussels, that there is not any early prospect of our entry into the EEC or of close association with the Community. I formed the opinion that our application for membership will not succeed other than in the context of the entry of other members of EFTA.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon Hear, hear!

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Singing “Rule Britannia”.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry The Deputy has been singing it all his life.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin Deputies must allow the Minister to conclude.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey By forming a free trade area with the United Kingdom at this stage, involving the gradual reduction of our industrial tariffs and the immediate removal of all British duties on our goods, we are tuning up [1312] our economy for the stricter measures with which it would have to contend on our entering the Common Market. The fact that some British and Northern Ireland farmers have objected to the Agreement as being inimical to their interests has been taken by some of our people as proof that it must be beneficial to our farmers. I must say that is not an argument that I like. I reject the thinking behind it. My view is quite the contrary. I believe that the Irish farmer and the UK farmer must have common objectives——

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon Hear, hear!

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey ——and that we must seek to establish conditions in which both will be working in co-operation for the expansion and development of their common interests.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Like down in Dunmore East.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey I do not think people believe today that it is necessary either in public or private trade or commerce to hurt the other fellow to get a good bargain yourself. The best deal is the one which benefits both the seller and the customer.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange A disadvantage of £30 million last year.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey It is only then that real and lasting prosperity can come and I believe that is one of the most satisfactory aspects of this Agreement from the agricultural viewpoint. It creates a mutuality of interests between the two agricultures.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon Hear, hear!

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey It makes them complementary to each other in many ways and will, if things develop as we hope, bring considerable benefits to the farmers of both communities. The reduction of the waiting period, the abolition of the differential on lamb, the extension of the guarantee payments to our beef and lamb mean that in fact the livestock economies of the two countries are now all but integrated. We have very nearly a common market in this most important sector of our agriculture. [1313] I do not believe anyone can seriously argue that that is not an entirely natural, constructive and sensible development.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon Hear, hear!

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey I was astonished to hear some doubts expressed in the House about the advantages of the Agreement for small farmers. It was said they are not very great. In fact, we took very great pains to ensure that the typical products of small farms— milk, pigs and horticultural produce— were fully provided for. In addition, the western farmers will benefit particularly from the new arrangements for sheep and lambs. I posed the question at the beginning as to what the agreement will hold for us in the future. The political correspondent of Business and Finance has called it “an agreement of opportunity”. That is a description which I wholeheartedly endorse.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy He is probably one of the Minister's own fellows.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman He is, quite obviously, from the Minister's smile.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey Whoever he is, he has aptly described the Agreement because it provides enormous opportunities for Irish agriculture. For the first time ever, we have a sound, solid foundation on which to build and expand. However, we must avail of the opportunities offered if the Agreement is to achieve its purpose. Our agricultural production can now be expanded steadily and consistently as the basis of increased farm income but the expansion must be along the right lines. To make the most of the opportunity now offered to Irish farmers, there is a greater need than ever for sound farm planning, for good management, for efficient methods, practices and techniques, for good husbandry, for elimination of diseases and pests in our livestock, for more education and wise investment, for first-class quality products and for well organised, effective marketing.

It will be the aim of my Department, with the assistance of the advisory services, the Agricultural Institute, the co-operative movement, the colleges [1314] and universities, to help the farmer in every way to meet this great new challenging opportunity. If we work together, united and agreed on the objectives to be achieved, then this Agreement will surely mark the beginning of a period of development and progress in Irish agriculture unparalleled in our history.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne The first thing I should like to say is by way of comment on the statement on the face of the agreement that it is presented to Dáil Éireann by the Minister for External Affairs. Sure, he was not even there. In fact it was perfectly obvious to people like myself, looking at him when he alighted from the plane at Collinstown, that he did not know anything about the Agreement or what was in it. He was monosyllabic about Vietnam and places like Rhodesia and his name on this document seems to me to be peculiarly inappropriate.

However, that is a minor matter because I do not think this Agreement will be regarded in years to come as an object of veneration in the archives of this country. It will be regarded in the time that lies ahead as an example of the credulity of the Government that existed for a short time in Ireland around the 1965 period. If anything exudes from the speeches we have been listening to since Christmas, when the Taoiseach and his aides returned with this Christmas box for the Irish people, it is the utter credulity of our negotiators. I suppose we might call them self-appointed plenipotentiaries. That word we know, in the context of Irish history, has a very sinister ring.

The Taoiseach spoke about industry yesterday. He did not tell us what is going to happen to many thousands of workers who will undoubtedly find themselves unemployed as a result of the loss of protection and the mass invasion we are going to experience by British industrial exports. He did not tell us about or give us any intimation of the legislative proposals to which he adverted in the course of his almost hour-long television appearance when he stated that the Government [1315] had on the stocks legislative proposals which would provide for the many people who would become redundant, redundancy payments, retraining and so on. There is no reference to that as yet. There was simply this vague television announcement. It struck me, looking at that television performance, whatever the gain to the Irish political scene may be represented by the Taoiseach, Deputy Seán Lemass, the loss to the Irish stage is immeasurable.

The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass Zoom on Seán F. Lemass It is a good job the Deputy was not lost to the stage.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne He spoke also yesterday, in a way which one might say had biblical overtones, about Irish industry and its swaddling clothes.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon Some of them were quite expensive swaddling clothes.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne I must say that good taste prevents me from pursuing that somewhat divine reference too far because Irish industry seems to have lived for 33 years.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon In swaddling clothes. They will get pneumonia.

Mr. Aiken: Information on Frank Aiken Zoom on Frank Aiken They would never have lived at all if Deputy Dillon had his way.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Every ship was to be sent to the bottom of the sea. Go back to the United Nations.

(Interruptions.)

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin Deputy Dunne, to continue.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne At this juncture, primarily in order to divert attention from the serious economic and financial position looming up at home, which is already evidenced in the bank credit squeeze——

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey What is the Deputy quoting from?

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne I am waiting for the Leas-Cheann Comhairle to advert to the fact that I am. The first duty of [1316] the main Opposition Party is to state in the Oireachtas their objections to any Government measures involved in a changed policy. I regret to observe that the Fine Gael Party has abdicated from that. They have abdicated their function by their refusal to oppose the Agreement signed in London on the 14th December, 1965. The Labour Party have always acted in the interests of all the people and on this occasion they are prepared to take over the function of the main Opposition Party for the continued welfare of the country. The daily papers have, in their leading articles, been unanimous in condemning the attitude adopted by the Fine Gael Party towards the Trade Agreement. In a joint statement the National Farmers Association and the Federation of Irish Manufacturers who speak for agriculture and industry have stated that the advantages accruing from this Agreement will be marginal.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin Will the Deputy give the reference?

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne I am reading from a speech.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin It is not in order to read from a speech.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne I am glad you brought that up.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon It is late in the day you brought it up.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne We have been treated to an hour-long speech, all of which was read by the Minister for Agriculture.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon It was distributed to the Irish Press last night.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne This was brought to the notice of the Chair and no action was taken.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin Deputies and Ministers are entitled to refer to notes in the course of their speeches.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne It was perfectly obvious that there was no reference to notes. The speech was read, as I am reading this here. I do not like [1317] reading speeches. The only reason I am reading this is to pinpoint the practice and show the abuse of the privileges of the House.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin It is not in order to read speeches.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne No action was taken and the Minister read his speech. As I understand it, with all respect, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, the position in this House is that Deputies are not permitted to read speeches, nor are Ministers, except when introducing measures or Estimates. They are certainly not permitted to read speeches by way of contribution to a debate. Yet, that happened this morning. Of course, it is understandable that the Minister had to be circumspect about what he said. He had to be very careful and he had to press in his relatively vast army of civil servants to provide a series of excuses to put before the House in respect of this so-called Trade Agreement. That is understandable but it should not be tolerated by the Chair. That is the point I am making. The Chair's function should be to protect the rights and privileges of the House and not to give a blanket coverage to any Minister who decides to break the rules simply to facilitate himself. That is why I took the opportunity of reading from material which I have here. I now want to read something else, perhaps a little more interesting.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin Perhaps the Deputy would get back to the debate.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne I suppose that the question of free trade and protection has agitated the minds of politicians in these islands over a very long period and, indeed, politicians elsewhere for over a century, if I am not mistaken. In this country protection has had a very special connotation inasmuch as it became part of the dogma and revealed truth of Fianna Fáil philosophy if one could so describe that farrago of nonsense. Suddenly we find the idea of protection being completely thrown overboard into a winter sea with no choice at all of survival.

It is interesting to see what the [1318] founder-father and prophet of Fianna Fáil had to say about protection. As reported in Labour News of December, 1965, and taken from the Catholic Herald of February 8th, 1939, Deputy de Valera, now President de Valera, had this to say:

The principle of free trade is buy wherever you can in the cheapest market, no matter what effect it may have at home, and sell whenever you are permitted in the dearest market. Let there be no interference with the individual.

Let the law of the jungle prevail both within the State, concerning the individuals in the State, and between one State and another.

The gentlemen who stand for that Free Trade policy in its fullness would wipe out national territories because it could not work if these national barriers were not wiped out. They want a cosmopolitanism which is not accepted by the majority of people in any country in the world.

They want a state of affairs in which say a modern Greece would have to disappear because its land is not sufficiently rich to enable it to exist in the fierce competition. The Free Trade policy is one for which we do not stand. We saw it in operation for the greater part of the nineteenth century and for the beginning of the twentieth. The people revolted against it, and a national policy was set up.

The people set out not merely to seek political freedom but to get economic freedom. In order to get economic freedom they based their policy mainly on protection, because it was the only policy that would enable them to have any measure of real freedom.

They saw the Free Trade policy working out in the depopulation of the country, a depopulation that reduced the number of people living in Ireland from eight and a quarter to four and a quarter millions.

They decided that if this nation was to survive we would have to have protection for the industries of the people.

Otherwise the end was obvious in [1319] competition with other countries that we would have to get larger and larger units and more and more machinery carrying less and less people on the land, and we were going to be a large grass farm beside Britain, a large industrial country.

Those words are interesting, even at this remove, not indeed that I like quoting that gentleman's words at any time, with all due respect to his elevated position. It is obvious that Fianna Fáil have reneged on their prophet. All this talk which the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries indulged in about this Agreement being guaranteed for all time suggests to me a presumption of infinity which is hardly justified. “For all time.” The country is settled for all time according to the Minister. That is so ridiculous that it is hardly worth serious mention, but it has been repeated ad nauseam here. In fact, this Agreement will run so long as it suits the British Government. We have had examples of the British Government breaking agreements before, not once but many times. It does not seem to matter very much what their political or social philosophy is. The people who compose successive British Governments are Englishmen first, and perhaps social reformers after that, or social reactionaries, as the case may be. They are Englishmen first and Harold will not be any exception. It must have gladdened his heart in these days of the obvious disintegration of the Commonwealth, with various coloured nations taking their leave of the British Raj to know that if he was losing a Mr. Smith, he was gaining a Mr. Lemass—or should I say “regaining”?

It seems to me that this Agreement, so far as industry is concerned, can be compared to a picture of a frail underdeveloped youth being forced into an obstacle race with a well-seasoned long distance runner with obviously no chance whatsoever of succeeding. What prompted all this flurry, all this charging across to Downing Street, I wonder? What else but the sad plight of the country.

[1320]Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon Hear, hear!

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne We do not have to ask: “How does she stand?” nowadays. It is all too obvious when we saw the evening before last in banner headlines that CIE is broke, not stated by me or any other person who might make a comment upon the conditions of that company, but stated by the manager of CIE.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon Hear, hear!

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne There was a suggestion also of possible denationalisation, a confession of the complete and absolute failure of this incubus of supernumeraries at Kingsbridge.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin We cannot have a discussion on the administration of CIE in this debate.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne We had it last night from Deputy Corry who started by trying to make a defence of this Agreement and ended by sabotaging his Party in a way I have never seen him do before. He has never done it so effectively, although he has always done it unintentionally, but last night he certainly went to town.

Of course the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries attempted to explain away the fact that the Irish Government will have to consult the British Government as to how it will dispose of price supports, and have to consult the British Government and get their permission for certain other types of action if this Government want to undertake that action. The Minister's attempt to explain away this fact was puerile in the extreme. The fact is that after 15 years of intensive republican nationalist propaganda, the Fianna Fáil Party are now back to the position occupied roughly by the conservative members of John Redmond's party circa 1910 or 1912. It is as if the past 50 or 60 years had never happened. They would have us believe they never happened.

I know the “whiz kids”, the people who want to “get with it” in a hurry, the “go-man-go” business boys of Fianna Fáil would like us to forget [1321] they ever happened, but I was raised in a generation that was drenched and brainwashed in Republicanism, in school and out of school. The revealed word was not Republican only, but physical force Republicanism as well. Bristear an ceangal, break the connection, the never failing source of all our evils. The people who promulgated that are the very people who have made this Agreement bringing us back to the position we were in at the time of the Act of Union. This may be said to be sentimental politics. God knows, nothing was so bitterly amusing to me, at any rate, as to hear the Taoiseach, at the end of his hour-long performance on television, when one gentleman who was interviewing him asked whether he thought this would have any political connotations replying: “No, no, no. Oh no, no political connotations at all.” In the name of God, to whom does he think he is talking? Does he think that the people are a bunch of fools? We have learned that economics is the very basis of politics and the two things are intertwined and interwoven. National economics is national politics and vice versa. But what are we to believe politics is then? Is it strumming a harp and marching around to a band singing come-all-ye's? Economics is politics; buying and selling, work and sweat and labour is politics, and therefore this pretence that there is nothing political in this would not deceive a simpleton.

Unfortunately some members of the Fianna Fáil Party are so remote from the people that they imagine the country is a sort of extern clinic of a mental hospital. The prospect which we now face is that of mass unemployment, of a continuing denuding of the land of people. Perhaps there may be an increase in the number of cattle but certainly there will be a reduction in the number of people on the land. There is the prospect of mass unemployment and there are no apparent preparations for the absorption of workers in other industries. There has been vague talk about retraining, but as one man in the motor car assembly trade, which without doubt is going to get the hammer, as we say in Dublin, said to me: “What are they going to [1322] retrain us for? Milking cows?” No effort is being made to retrain such workers for any industry to which they might be suited. Is this then the prospect of the new golden age for the Irish which was foretold some months ago by that sagacious, albeit youthful, seer, the Minister for Agriculture? A golden age——

Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins Zoom on Seán Collins Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne It seems that he must not really have been “with it” when he made that statement that we were entering upon a golden age. He must not have appreciated that there was ahead this visit of himself to Brother Harold along with Comrades Lemass and Hillery. The Taoiseach says that as he sees the situation, it will provide for full employment by 1975 and, indeed, in the intervening period. Well, that may very well be because there will be so few people left here when this comes into operation and when industries start tottering that it may be easy to employ people then because they will only be a handful. As we know, they are going as fast as they can and as Deputy Corish truly said yesterday, when a worker loses his employment, becomes redundant or is laid off or put on short time, he has no money to wait around while this Dáil discusses in its leisurely way Bills for the provision of redundancy payments or considers, parses and analyses the legal instruments which might be necessary to provide for such people. He has got to be up and doing and getting money somewhere to keep himself and his family. Where is he to get it? Where are the employees in the motor industry to get money?

The Taoiseach on television said— of course it was the aftermath of Christmas and I suppose one can forgive a lot in the euphoria of the period—that people would be permitted to import cars, provided they employed the same number of men as if they were assembling cars. I mentioned that to my friend in the motor car industry and even he is laughing yet, and, mark you, Dublin operatives [1323] facing unemployment are liable to lose their sense of humour. In other words, the situation will be that ships arriving at the North Wall, or other ports, will lower a drawbridge and cars will be driven off and delivered to the purchasers. That is all. Now they arrive in a CKD, completely knocked down, condition and provide many types of work in their assembling. The Taoiseach seriously asks us to accept the proposition that only such mercants who will employ, in that situation, the same number of men as they now employ will be given permission to import. The thing is ridiculous and childish and nobody will believe it. In other words, we are dropping all our economic defences and going into the arena in competition with a country which can be said to be fully equipped because of its considerable degree of socialisation and consequent liberalisation of industry, whereas our economy remains at the moment one which is little better than archaic, nineteenth century capitalism.

Another point which strikes me is that we are talking about, and have been talking about, competing in the European Common Market and entering into competition in ten years' time, full and untrammelled competition, with Britain and other countries. You would think that we had been an industrial nation for some considerable period. We are little more than a lifetime out of feudalism and you just do not jump out of a feudal condition of society to an ultra-modern society such as, say, West Germany has at the moment, and an industrialist society. You cannot do that in a short time and 50, 60 or 70 years is a very short time in the context in which I am speaking. It takes considerable physical effort, a great deal of education— perhaps I had better use another word because “education” is suspect; it is a kind of badge people wear to impose themselves on others—a great deal of enlightenment and training before a country can change its normal and centuries-old patterns of thought and behaviour, whether personal or mass behaviour, and whether in a moral or a social sense.

[1324] We in the Labour Party, as has been said, know full well that the day will come when Europe will be united in the economic sense. It is a desirable aim to strive for because it may very well be that the example of how other Governments treat their populations may benefit our people in many ways, particularly so far as the workers, both white collar and manual, are concerned. But we do not feel it is a situation we should rush into completely unprepared. As I mentioned to somebody, what we are doing is like a man with a weak heart going down to take a Christmas Day swim in icy conditions. We should not be so foolish as to do this. Undoubtedly, we should be preparing for free trade; but we have not taken any steps to prepare for that eventuality. There is a vast world stretching from here to what used to be called the Iron Curtain—I do not know if it is now; I suppose it is—to the Wall, and we know little or nothing about it. Our industrialists have not been pushed sufficiently to explore Europe to see what possibilities it holds for our products.

We believe that one of the first steps that should be undertaken by the Government is the setting up of a State organisation of some form which would train, in so far as we have people capable of training, young, energetic men with imagination, drive and push who could act as what might be called commercial explorers, going out into Europe and other countries, examining the markets there, seeing just where the markets lie, finding and fixing them and seeing how far we can meet the demands there. That is a first step. It has not been even thought of. It is something we should have been doing for years back. It is certainly a precaution we should take before ever entering into any free trade conditions with any other country. It is so obvious. We should find out first where we can sell what we have got to sell; and, goodness knows, we have not a lot to sell. I only hope we are not reduced to Oscar Wilde's condition when he said that all he had to declare was his genius. We have not very much. As the founder of Fianna Fáil indicated in the [1325] revealed word, that is a consideration we should never lose sight of.

We had reference during the course of the debate to the two famous Civil Service prose poems, the First and Second Programmes. Where are they now? I wonder who lies beneath their spell? How can we envisage participation in any free trade area if our national transport system is, as it is stated to be, on the verge of collapse? Surely we should take first things first, deal with that, and deal with all the rumours abroad outside this House about the reasons for that situation?

To my mind, the Taoiseach is a great impressionist. He proved that on television. He is now topping the bill in the longest run political act in the halls. Only the routine is reversed; the names remain I suppose also it could be said that when certain Deputies—hasty, youthful and ill-advised—were attacking the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs some months ago for his purchase of letter boxes in England instead of in Ireland, these young men engaged in that pursuit of the worthy Minister were not aware that what he was really doing at the time was exercising an intelligent anticipation of this Agreement. So, I suppose from that point of view he is to be commended by Fianna Fáil.

One of the most ominous things in the Agreement is the fact that when we have shed all our protective devices and all our economic armour and are facing the world in 1975—or, perhaps more correctly, I should say when those who come after us are facing the world in 1975, looking back and talking in not very complimentary terms about their precedessors—at that stage our semi-State bodies will have no right to give preference to Irish manufacturers. This is inherent in this Agreement. The Buy Irish campaign we have been talking about since the 15 per cent British levy will be just a waste of time and money. It will be a sort of treason to suggest any Buy Irish campaign at that stage, and one might very well find oneself arraigned before a military court on a charge under the Offences against the State Act.

However, it is not political, the [1326] Taoiseach says, dismissing Irish history with a television gesture. I think that is the greatest hypocrisy of the lot. Yesterday, Deputy Treacy made reference to the history of this country. A dim view was taken of that by some of those who in other years assumed proprietorship of all that appertained to the Irish Republic. They assumed they had every right and title to it, which of course they have not. It is a heritage they have thrown out. Deputy Treacy referred to it and some people in Fianna Fáil did not like it. It is only right they should be reminded of the fact that in this country you just cannot take off your green jacket, throw it out the window and don a multicoloured garment with very hard to discern streaks of pale green but predominantly designed with the Union Jack motif. You cannot do that in this country and expect people to go along with you and forget all about it.

Quite apart from what has been done in the economic field, this is a piece of political turncoatism and nothing else. How can one spend all one's life painting the British as oppressors and destroyers and arch-enemies of the Irish nation, and have most of the people believing that with you, sincerely believing it, and even have people getting killed for it and shot for it and dying painful deaths for it, and then suddenly come along and say: “Shut the door. Forget about that. We are now going into an agreement with these people. Everything is all right. The past is over”—and everybody who is raising the subject of the past is making politics out of it which is low, mean, something they would not do themselves.

I wonder what would happen if an inter-Party Government were over there and made this Agreement. There would be green flags flying in every bench on this side. Truly, civil war would be called for and as for the traitors who would do such a thing, why, no end would be bad enough for them. I can hear the rasping voice of the Taoiseach denouncing that kind of perfidy. But, of course, this is different. This sell-out is being done by Fianna Fáil and that makes it all right. One would imagine that at the very topmost [1327] level of Fianna Fáil there must be some disquiet within a radius of not more than a few miles from here.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange He will not speak. You can have any bet you like on that.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne Let us be respectful.

Acting Chairman (Mr. Carter): Information on Frank Carter Zoom on Frank Carter The Deputy should use the third person.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon “The man” is not a term of disrespect.

Acting Chairman: We can manage without Deputy Dillon.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon You cannot.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman We cannot—and that is a most offensive interruption from the Chair.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon You are not fit to be in the Chair. You ought not to be in the Chair and your observations are a disgrace to the Chair.

Acting Chairman: I beg your pardon.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne If I might resume my few conciliatory remarks on this matter. I am sorry the Taoiseach is not here. He spent a lot of time listening to this debate and has a lot of work to do. I should like to ask him this simple question, just for old time's sake. Did he mention anything at all to Harold about Partition?

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange It is forgotten now.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne I suppose that would be in bad taste, too. I suppose you would not like to be insulting to your host. He might think you were a Fenian, or something.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon You are getting better since you left the printed manuscript.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Order is forgotten now.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne This is the last I have to say on this subject. There has been [1328] a lot of talk about the cattle trade. It brings to mind the fatted calf. Fianna Fáil are now saying, in effect: “We were prodigals; we were only prodigals”—and there is more joy surely over the return of the prodigal.

However, with all the humorous aspect of this, there is the serious fact, of which I am convinced, that this thing represents a disaster for thousands of Irish workers and I think that ere many years pass those who have been associated with this Agreement will wish it were buried. The prospect of our becoming competitive in Europe is a long way off, certainly far more distant than ten years hence. Ten years is a very short time in which to prepare ourselves for engaging in that jungle. May I suggest at least one step which might be taken in the direction of preparing ourselves and that is by exploring the situation with the aid of men whom I would describe as young commercial explorers. Let us send them out there to see what the thing is like and tell us what can be sold there and where our products can sell. That would be a first step— exploratory. But the precipitation with which we have been rushed into this condition of things is, to me, inexplicable unless perhaps the Taoiseach and the Government were suffering from some delusion that they could spring an election on this. Maybe they rushed it through because they thought it good election material but I think that idea has now gone out of their heads. What was to prevent this discussion from being left over until next month by which time the people would have had more opportunity to chew the cud, as it were, in relation to this Agreement? Quite frankly, anybody you meet outside in the streets is asking: “What does this thing mean? What does it mean to me in my job? What will happen to me?” That is what they are saying, quite naturally, and the Taoiseach's answer has been “I do not know. I do not know who will lose their jobs. I do not know what industries will fail”.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange On television, a week ago, he said that the motor industry will collapse.

[1329]Acting Chairman: Deputy Dunne.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne The motor industry has been told that for some time. He must have some animus——

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass Zoom on Noel T. Lemass That is not true.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne At all events, this is a very serious matter. Agriculture is something which I shall leave to others to talk about. I am sure people here remember—the older people, anyway—my predilection for agricultural labourers as a class and my prejudice in their favour as against the farmers. I am satisfied that, whatever the farmer may gain, if there is any gain, the farm labourer will get damn all. The farm labourers represent a diminishing class, the most depressed class in the country. They are flying off the land as fast as they can go. The most highly skilled men in the country are flying off the land because of lack of remuneration.

Industry is the immediate and obvious problem in so far as this Agreement is concerned. To me, it is as if the Taoiseach, who undoubtedly suckled the infant, has now got hold of the bottle and is about to give the infant an unmerciful linger on the head. That is how it looks to me.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman I think all of us, whether we agree or disagree with the views expressed by Deputy S. Dunne, must accept that his contribution was one of the best he has made for some time, if he does not mind my saying so. However, he missed one point at the beginning, without saying whether we agree or disagree with what he had to say. He suggested that the purpose of this, for Mr. Wilson, was to bring the Taoiseach in, in place of Mr. Smith of Rhodesia. He missed the point that, as proof, perhaps, it was the Minister for the Colonies who was sent down to the airport to see the Taoiseach and his Ministers home in their aeroplane.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne You see, I do not look at UTV.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman Before I come to discuss the Agreement itself, I want to make a comment on the disgraceful [1330] manner in which the Government gave the facts in relation to this Agreement to our people here. The Agreement was signed at 5.30 p.m. on Tuesday evening and it is very noticeable indeed that Mr. Wilson, the British Premier, was able to go back to the House of Commons and give them some information about the Agreement there and then. Though the Taoiseach gave a television interview at the airport on the other side, he was not able to give one here. I accept, of course, that that was entirely due to his temporary illness, but, at the same time, it is very, very wrong indeed that authentic information was not made available here until the Friday morning. The suggestion that it was impossible to release the text of the Treaty on Wednesday because difficulties of typing prevented copies being made is so ludicrous as to make what must have been a barefaced lie, quite unbelievable to anybody. The suggestion that it was merely staff difficulty which prevented the terms of the Agreement being made available both to us in the Opposition and to the country as a whole until Thursday night—for Friday morning's publication—is one that was quite disgraceful.

I want to suggest to the Minister for External Affairs, because primarily, perhaps, it is his responsibility as the person who tables this Agreement, that it was done quite deliberately so that the Minister for Agriculture, in particular, could go out and put a face on the Agreement that is not warranted by the clauses in it. By so doing, he could get not merely journalists who did not know the full facts at that time, but other people in public life, to commit themselves on something in respect of which they had not been told the truth. The Government and the Minister for Agriculture, in particular, appreciated that if that was done, it might be difficult for those people subsequently to mend their hand when they saw exactly what was included in the Agreement.

When we did get the document in this sort of semi-print type, half way between roneo stencil and a print—[1331] I do not know what the technical word is—all of us saw it was a matter for an ordinary small office to produce in a matter of two or three hours by any of the copying machines which are available. The suggestion made to us officially on the Thursday night that we would not get any copy of Appendix C until the following Monday was even worse. We got that copy after some rather rude expression of opinion by me to the unfortunate person who was told to come and give us that information and who was then told to carry back exactly what our views were on the methods of the Government and the Taoiseach, as a result of which, we got it within a matter of a few hours afterwards. I believe it was all part of a designed Fianna Fáil propaganda stunt to ensure that people would have been codded into giving opinions before the truth was made known.

The Minister for Agriculture this morning had a few rude things to say about me in relation to the Fine Gael press release, to which I will return later. I do not mind rude things in the slightest. After all, I give fairly hard knocks myself and if you cannot take them as well as give them, you should not give them at all. The only thing that can be said in relation to this Agreement on which the Minister for Agriculture can be congratulated is his proficient propaganda for putting it over before the Agreement itself was published.

In relation to any Trade Agreement, any Opposition considering it, examining it and seeing what is the best approach to it, must, perhaps, consider it under three or four headings, or three or four alternatives would be a better phrase. First of all, one must consider whether the Agreement should be rejected out of hand as containing provisions which are so objectionable in principle that no one can stand for them.

In relation to agriculture, about which I propose to speak mainly this morning. I agree with the view expressed by Sir Harold Woolley, Chairman of the British Farmers Association, that [1332] this Agreement merely schedules the arrangements which were there already except in minor respects. Therefore, so far as that is concerned, I do not think it should be rejected on that ground. There is another alternative, that is, that it should be rejected because it does not provide as much as one would hope. That, undoubtedly, is true. This Agreement does not provide as much as any sane person would hope and we must regard it as an opportunity thrown away by the Government.

What are we to do? We could be without any new Agreement at all, existing as an isolated dot on the edge of other large collaborations either in EFTA, EEC or otherwise and be entirely on our own. I do not think any responsible person could take the view that that, either, was desirable. Certainly that isolation used to be the great preach of the Fianna Fáil Party and, particularly, my friend the Minister for External Affairs now back in this House after his visits, metaphorically speaking, from Tibet, Vietnam and all round the world. That used to be their cry, as Deputy Cosgrave said yesterday. I do not think isolation is possible at all in modern international economic conditions.

There could be the next alternative of rejecting the Agreement: of sending it back so that an endeavour could be made to negotiate a new Agreement. What hope would there be of the Government negotiating any better Agreement when we have the evidence, not merely of newspapers and television but yesterday here in the Dáil, that the Taoiseach is so mesmerised by the British Premier that he believes the British Premier has negotiated an Agreement for our benefit and not for the benefit of the British people? Indeed, in that respect, it would be difficult for the Taoiseach and his Government to go back and negotiate any new Agreement even after the ejaculation the Taoiseach produced for his extraordinary interview with The Word. I have always understood— and we have again the person who was supposed to be the guardian of that type of etiquette here in front of us, the Minister for External Affairs—that it was considered bad taste, to put it [1333] mildly, on the part of any head of any independent country to express comments on the individual people in Government or out of Government in another independent country. The manner in which the Taoiseach, in that interview, forgot his taste has to be read to be believed. It is indeed further evidence of what we had here yesterday, that the Taoiseach seems to be so mesmerised by the charm of the British Premier that to send this Government back to endeavour to negotiate the better Agreement they should have negotiated would be an utter waste of time.

I do not propose to make any comments on the deliberate interview given by the Taoiseach and the manner in which he chose to deride the statesmen of other countries. Anybody who wants to read it can find it in the Evening Herald of Thursday, December 23rd. I have met at least two of the people concerned in his interview and my opinion of their ability and their concern for friendly relations with this country is entirely at variance with that of the Taoiseach as indicated.

When one has taken those alternatives, one sees that in present circumstances there is no useful course left but the one this Party has adopted, namely, that while approving of the Agreement, we want to make sure that the lack of opportunity in it and the lack of benefit will be brought home and that the possibility of pitching it in a much wider sphere should be explored to the full.

The Taoiseach yesterday made it clear that he could not understand why we in Fine Gael advocated that there should be an approach to EEC. He was very careful in his speech never to refer to any question of association with the Community. He referred to the question of membership. We have said many times that membership of the Community was not possible for us without membership also by Britain at the same time but we have also said many times, and I repeat now, that it should have been possible for an Irish Government who knew their job to ensure that certain benefits [1334] of association with the Community would have been obtained simultaneously with the negotiation of a Free Trade Agreement with Britain. Incidentally, in that respect, I think the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries took up Deputy Lindsay slightly incorrectly when Deputy Lindsay was referring not to absolutely free trade in agricultural produce but to trade integrated with that of Britain so that the support prices for agricultural produce would be available to us in exchange for free trade otherwise.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon Hear, hear!

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman Of course a free trade in agriculture without that integration on the one hand or without the very elaborate system that there is in EEC of equalisation devices, would not be something we could consider. I think an adroit debater, such as the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, tried to put in Deputy Lindsay's mouth something he did not say and it is just as well to get that clearly on the record.

It is a fact that in relation to EEC, Austria, by dint of persistent effort has succeeded in getting substantial benefits in regard to association. Greece in the same way was persistent but of course again, as Deputy Cosgrave said, our Minister for External Affairs is more interested in prestige for himself, trying to chase the Noble Prize, than in ensuring that the economic benefits that could come from dealing with the Community would be available here. There is a rumble under the surface at present suggesting that Denmark, even though a member of EFTA, is endeavouring to negotiate in relation to certain agricultural products a type of associate membership with EEC. But of course these countries are able to do things that Fianna Fáil will not even try to do because apparently the Fianna Fáil Government would prefer to take the soft type of negotiation rather than the persistent type of difficult discussions involved there.

The Taoiseach also at one time yesterday referred to the difference between [1335] the EEC and the Free Trade Agreement in relation to certain clauses about dumping and so on. As I have mentioned the Community, it is appropriate perhaps to elaborate somewhat on the question I asked at the time—what about the stabilisation Fund? Chapter II on page 16 of the Treaty of Rome deals with the European Social Fund and Article 123 reads as follows:

In order to improve opportunities of employment of workers in the Common Market and thus contribute to raising the standard of living, a European Social Fund shall hereby be established in accordance with the provisions set out below; it shall have the task of promoting within the Community employment facilities and the geographical and occupational mobility of workers.

Article 124 goes on to say how the Fund will be administered and Article 125 indicates what it is to be for. Its purposes are (a) to ensure the protective re-employment of workers by means of occupational retraining; re-settlement allowances; and (b) granting aids for the benefit of workers whose employment is temporarily reduced or wholly or partly suspended as a result of the conversion of their enterprise to other productions, in order that they may maintain the same wage-level pending their full re-employment. We feel very strongly that the advantage in relation to that Stabilisation Fund is such that it is one of the things that must be and should be considered by an Irish Government with any question of dismantling tariffs and ensuring the proper working out of an agreement such as this.

It is rather significant also that one of the comments of the Taoiseach in relation to this Agreement was that if we can face this Agreement, then we can face the Common Market. The implication is that if we can get over this Agreement, which is going to be such an appalling task, then, perhaps, we should be more ready for the Common Market. Perhaps that is so, but it does not offer any excuse for the fact that [1336] the Government did not make any effort and of their own volition chose to take this type of negotiation without examining in any shape—on their own words—the possibilities of an associate agreement with EEC. The EEC has an infinitely greater growth possibility than the British market alone. It has been done. The Government have done it. From this side of the House, we cannot undo their mistake. As the years go on, I am certain that it will be seen to have been one of the mistakes for which Fianna Fáil have cost the country dear.

If you go back over the record of Fianna Fáil, there have been a good many things that have cost the country a lot to make them learn. On Saturday night I heard one man make one comment. It was a very nice phrase and very typical of the position in which Fianna Fáil have always put the country. The comment was that the tragedy of the last 40 years was that it cost the country so much so that Fianna Fáil might learn in their lesser ability what ordinary people have known all during those years. This Agreement is another mistake the country will have to put up with.

We must also examine the Agreement in the context and in the background of the internal position as we find it today—the internal budgetary position, the internal industrial position, the internal agricultural position, the internal labour position. What is the budgetary position? The Exchequer situation on 31st December—and I make a present to the Minister for Finance of the fact that what I am saying will help him with his colleagues —showed that compared with last year, our current budget was in deficit over £10½ million more. Last year we ended up with a budgetary deficit of £4 million. Assuming that there has been no cooking of the book—I will assume that—it means that the budgetary deficit on current account that there will be at the end of this year will be £10 million. There will be a £10 million current account budgetary deficit and a Trade Agreement is brought into this House to be approved by Dáil Éireann which [1337] includes, as I shall show in a moment, bound up in it, substantial Exchequer liabilities for the Irish taxpayer.

I do not know, and I cannot tell whether payments have been made deliberately before 31st December for the purpose of throwing off balance the published figures. That could be done. Only the Minister for Finance knows whether that is so or not, whether he has paid out before 31st December more funds than need be paid then and January would then be a lighter month for payments. Equally, I cannot tell whether the Minister for Finance gave the Revenue Commissioners orders to tumble in from the revenue account into the exchequer account more balances than need be before 31st December or told the Revenue Commissioners not to bother to put them in until after 1st January for the purpose of influencing the position either way. The fact is, on the published figures, that supply expenditure for the nine months to 31st December is £23 million up on the same period of last year, that receipts which the Minister for Finance has grabbed into his maw in the nine months to 31st December are £16 million more than in the same period last year and that below-the-line issues for capital commitments have been some £7½ million up on last year.

This is not a debate on our internal budgetary figures but it is essential that we examine this Trade Agreement against the background of these pictures so that we may see what were the problems with which the community was likely to be faced and how the Government negotiators have gone about their job to lift the difficulties that there were.

Industrial production, on the other hand, has gone up between September 1964, and September 1965, by no more than 3½ per cent. In the previous 12 months, it went up by 15 per cent, even though in the corresponding quarter there was a building strike. Is it not obvious from those figures that, far from there being an excess of industrial production here, the growth is tapering off and that the Agreement [1338] should have been considered in the light and in the framework of ensuring further growth rather than in the framework which we have seen. I mention the September quarter figures because they are the last figures, so far as I am aware, which have been published.

The last figures that have been published in relation to the breakdown analysis of imports show that consumption goods ready for use were imported at a higher level, at £58 million, than in either 1964 or 1963. This year, the last figures published show that £58 million of goods were imported ready for use, ready for consumption —a higher figure than ever before. Yet, an Agreement has been made whereby that figure will be increased.

Our imports from Britain in 1964 were £160 million; our exports to Britain in 1964 were £130 million. There is a disparity there that gave our negotiators an opportunity of showing that the balance was such that they could fairly say to the British Government that here was a market that was worthwhile for them and that they were entitled, in exchange for that, to give something to make up the balance. If anyone wants to check the figures, they are in the Official Report, Volume 216, for 22nd June, 1965, given in a reply by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach.

I had intended to say something about the background in relation to the labour position. However, in view of the fact that the Minister for Industry and Commerce is meeting the Federated Union of Employers and the trade unions tomorrow and the next day, I shall refrain from saying anything in this respect, except that the picture that is before us in relation to labour unrest, if what we read in the newspapers is to be believed, is anything but a happy one for the country as a whole and that that picture is not improved in any way by this Agreement.

There is another thing that surprises me about the Agreement itself, that is, the manner in which the Government and each of their individual Ministers, led of course, by the Minister for Agriculture, were all cock-a-hoop [1339] and gave the impression that they had got everything they asked for. On television or Radio Éireann— I forget which—the commentator suggested that from talking to the Ministers in London he got the impression that they had got everything they asked for. In relation to certain aspects, we have had specific statements by the Taoiseach, on the one hand, and the Minister for Agriculture on the other, that in certain aspects they got everything they asked for. I will deal with these when I am dealing with individual items in the Agreement. In every comment, in his recorded interview on television, the Taoiseach gave the impression, until he came here to talk yesterday in the House, that they had got all they asked for and that they were delighted.

Of course, one of the things one always notices about Fianna Fáil is that they love making statements, not in this House, but on television and at functions—which they like most of all—but do not like making statements at places and at times where they can be challenged. Yesterday we saw that the Taoiseach was taking a different line in respect of this Agreement. The fact is that the whole tenor of what was put out to the Press—I think as part of deliberate propaganda—was that they had got everything they wanted and were delightedly cock-a-hoop. Of course, when they came back and tried to explain or, if you like, in modern parlance, to sell the document to the people here, they had some difficulty in doing so, once the full effect of the Agreement was disclosed.

In fact, one of the things very noticeable in this House yesterday was the rather glum faces over there behind the Taoiseach while he was speaking. It was no doubt for the sake of the public image that the Irish Press recorded—I have not read it yet, and I do not know whether or not it did record, but no doubt sometime it will faithfully record—that the people behind the Taoiseach gave him an ovation and clapped when he finished speaking. But, during his speech, [1340] it was particularly noticeable that the faces sitting behind him were very glum and, had the television cameras been trained on that side of the House, the country as a whole would have known that the Taoiseach was speaking in front of a Party of uneasy men; they did not seem to be a bit happy about the document they were being asked to support.

What does this document do? First of all, it gives away substantially benefits, if you like, of ours on the industrial front. Undoubtedly, it will mean, as everybody admits, and as the Taoiseach and his Government admit, substantial difficulties in relation to certain industries. Now, while we recognise that, at the same time we, in Fine Gael, do not feel it is possible to keep ourselves in isolation and, because of that, we cannot therefore suggest that the Agreement should be rejected. Nevertheless, we must take note of these things so that we can set them up on one side against the benefits that should have been obtained on the other side for agriculture.

In relation to the Article dealing with dumping, the position is one that no doubt other speakers will deal with as the debate proceeds, but it is significant that it provides only an ex post facto method and does not provide the method adopted in some other countries requiring a declaration of fair market value to accompany the declaration of value. Such a declaration of fair market value ensures that dumped articles cannot be introduced into a country because there would immediately be a special levy on the difference between the dumped price and the fair market value. That system is in operation in at least one country of which I am aware. Apparently there was no thought given to that in this Agreement and we are left solely with a method of consultation, a method of dealing with dumping with 18 months as a maximum, and then it is a matter of consultation. Consultation may, as I say, be good, or it may be bad. The Minister for Agriculture seemed to think that consultation under the 1948 Agreement meant nothing at all while consultation under the 1965 Agreement [1341] is excellent. What is sauce in one direction is also sauce in the other.

The only thing that is specifically different in the general context in this Agreement as compared with the 1948 Agreement is that in this Agreement there is a radical difference in the approach to what we are entitled to do in relation to our balance of payments. Here both the United Kingdom and Ireland are entitled to take certain steps to endeavour to safeguard a dangerous balance of payments situation. In the 1948 Agreement, however, the position was entirely different. In that Agreement, recognising, as our negotiators at the time were skilful enough to recognise, that, while differentials for balance of payments purposes by us against Britain would have relatively little effect on their economy, differentials for balance of payments purposes by Britain against us would have a disastrous effect and, therefore, in the 1948 Agreement, only Ireland was entitled to take remedial action in relation to duties or quantitative restrictions for balance of payments purposes and Britain was not so entitled. That has now been given away.

I suggest it would have been a better performance for the Taoiseach and the Government to have ensured that the letter of the law in the 1948 Agreement was kept by the British, even at this late stage, by the removal of the levy, and negotiating from that end, rather than that he should give approval, perhaps, to that levy in advance of their contractual agreement, by his, in his own words, not making any effort to get the British to withdraw the levy and consequently by including in this Agreement power for the British to put similar balance of payments restrictions on our imports into Britain in future, notwithstanding the enormous differences in impact that is bound to have as between the one country and the other.

That, of course, is one of the difficulties in considering this Agreement. We are a small country. They are a large one, with perhaps roughly 16 times our population. I shall not go into the question of comparative wealth. Certainly in any diversification [1342] of trade their position and ours is quite different. Yet, when the Government were negotiating this Agreement, they failed to get the best that could be got on that account.

Before dealing with the details of the Agreement, I understood the Taoiseach to say yesterday that he had the making of a Free Trade Agreement, such as this, in mind since 1963. If I have misinterpreted him, he can correct me when he comes to reply, but I thought that was what he said when he was stressing that this Agreement arose as a result of initiative on his part and that he had had it in mind and was chewing on it from 1963 on. If that is not what he said, it is difficult to understand his comments about other British statesmen. If it is what he said, and if one accepts, as one must accept, that the emergence of complete free trade between this country and Britain is a matter of major importance, one of the most important things that has evolved in the past 40 years, is it not an extraordinary comment on the fraudulent approach of the Taoiseach to the electorate last spring during the general election campaign, during the course of which he never mentioned one word about this Agreement?

One would think that the Taoiseach had something of which to be ashamed, something he wished to hide, something he had deliberately in his mind but of which he did not inform the electorate last spring. It is a further indication of what many of us have seen pretty often, that with the members of the Fianna Fáil Party, it is the getting into power of Fianna Fáil that really matters, and breaking faith with the electorate, failing to tell the electorate the truth or using fraudulent means to get funds is, in their opinion, honourable. Thank goodness it is not deceiving so many people now.

Let us consider what Fianna Fáil believe to be the better side of this Agreement. In relation to trade with Britain, in the past 27 years or so we have had three Trade Agreements: the Trade Agreement of 25th April, 1938, the Trade Agreement of the 31st July, 1948, and the Trade Agreement of [1343] 30th April, 1960. There have been from time to time, between these Agreements, variations or temporary changes by whoever happened to be in power, but they are the only three formal Agreements that there have been between the two countries. In regard to those three Trade Agreements, the three-month period is mentioned in one only, the 1960 Agreement of Fianna Fáil; the two-month period for cattle is mentioned in one only, the 1948 Agreement of Deputy Dillon.

If the Minister for Agriculture wants to make a point of the fact that in paragraph 9 of our press release, the words “by treaty” are left out, I make him a present of it. He also took exception to the fact that the press release in paragraph 10 suggested that deficiency payments were not being paid in the United Kingdom in the last eight months during 1965. Everybody can himself calculate how many weeks there are in eight months but in this eight months, in one week only, I think from the week ending 13th December, was any deficiency payment made. If the Minister for Agriculture wants to score a small debating point because reference was not made to one week out of approximately 35 weeks, he is welcome to that point, but those are the facts. What is annoying the Minister for Agriculture is that people have now seen through his propaganda statement when he came home. The deficiency payment that was made in respect of that period was about one-third of a penny.

The payment made here in respect of carcase beef is not a payment that is going to the Irish farmer. It is a payment that is going to the Exchequer. There is in the Book of Estimates, in Subhead K.20 of the Vote for Agriculture, an estimate of £150,000 for the purpose of payments in respect of beef in this way. That £150,000 has not, we assume, yet been expended, or else we would have had a Supplementary Estimate. Therefore, the effect that would have in the past year is not such as would be world shattering.

In relation to agriculture generally, it [1344] is well one should get on the records of the House the statement that was made by Sir Harold Woolley, Chairman of the British Farmers Union, which I think is true. It is reported in the Irish Independent of 17th November last:

Sir Harold Woolley, Union President, said after a meeting of his Council in London yesterday,——

“after a meeting of his Council”, which indicates that it is not his own view alone but the view he expressed, having had the views of members of his Council.

——that as a result of representations made by the Union during the negotiations, the Irish had merely confirmed their position in the British market for a wide range of commodities.

In fact, all this Agreement really does, with two little exceptions, is to set out in a schedule the factual situation that is already there. Does anybody in his wildest dreams of fantasy—and goodness knows, Fianna Fáil can have some pretty wild dreams of fantasy—believe that the British buy their store cattle from us for the love of our blue eyes? They buy them because they want them and must have them. It is nonsense for the Minister for Agriculture to suggest that there would ever be any possibility of their getting them anywhere else not merely in our lifetime but in the lifetime of our children. They get the cattle from us because of our proximity, because of our limestone soil and because this is the only place they can get adequate store cattle.

For the Minister for Agriculture to suggest that there was any chance of limitation of store cattle importation into Britain is flying not merely in the face of history but in the face of truth, in the face of what any ordinary person could possibly believe. I know we had the Party opposite saying 30 years ago that the British market “was gone and gone forever, thank God”. We had the Minister for External Affairs saying that if all the ships went to the bottom of the sea, it would not matter a bit because we could exist in splendid [1345] isolation. That was nonsense, then and it is nonsense now. The fact is that in relation to our store cattle, the British want them and must get them, and proper advantage should have been taken of that fact when the negotiations were in progress. There were suggestions some years ago that there might be some question of orderly marketing in that connection but that was at a time there was bulk buying during the War. The position now is that the British farmer wants our stores, will want them and will take them, even in spite of Fianna Fáil.

I did not hear the Minister for Agriculture when speaking today, however, tell the House how he made the estimation, a fantasy of estimation, that the reduction in the waiting period from three months to two months was going to mean £5 or £6 a head for cattle. It was something the House was entitled to be told, if indeed he really meant what he said, and Ministers should not make statements unless they mean what they say. In the Irish Times, he was reported as saying that the reduction from three months to two months in the qualification period for Irish cattle would mean between £3 million and £5 million per annum extra for our cattle and would mean from £5 to £7 per head for stores. I have since been waiting for him to give some indication of where he got those figures or how he could possibly make them out.

This provision will come into operation on 1st July next. Many farmers would be delighted to know that their store cattle were to jump between £5 and £7 in value and, even in the present squeeze when they cannot get money from Government sources, they would be tempted to go out and buy extra stores if they thought the prognostication of the Minister for Agriculture was anything but silly bravado. That was not the end of it, however. The following day the Minister gave the figure as not £5 to £7 per head. It came down and, as reported in the Sunday Independent the next day, it was £5 or £6. Today when he spoke it came down to nothing because he did not mention it at all.

[1346] In relation to carcase beef, as I have mentioned already, the benefit that has been obtained in terms of money is a benefit to the Exchequer, not one that will inure to the farmers directly in relation to the price of their cattle. Though at the figure mentioned, it is only a fleabite, it is welcome to the extent to which it is paid by way of reduction in the appalling burden the Minister for Finance has imposed on the community and taken out of the pockets of the taxpayers and farmers on the present rates of taxation or perhaps even worse rates in the time to come.

The Minister for Agriculture challenged the statement we made in relation to the expenditure of this money. Let me read paragraph E of Article 3 of Appendix 11 of the Second Agreement—the agreement on store animals and carcase meat, page 182 of the printed volume which was so slow in reaching us:

The sums so paid—

That is, the sums in relation to carcase beef and lamb—

—shall be applied by the Government of Ireland to such purposes and in such manner as may from time to time be agreed between the two Governments after consultation together.

It says: “be agreed between the two Governments after consultation together”. It seems to me that the phraseology of that clause makes it true to say, as we said in our Press release to which the Minister for Agriculture took such great exception, that it is strictly limited in amount and may be disposed of by the Irish Government only with the consent of the British Government. What does the clause mean if not what we stated it means, or are this Government so incompetent that they are unable to reduce to phraseology in an agreement the bargain they thought they made? It cannot mean anything but what it says and the attempt by the Minister for Agriculture to brush it off as meaning something else just is not true.

Let me say at once that one of the [1347] few benefits in this Agreement is the payment of the carcase lamb deficiency for 5,500 tons of lamb. In that respect I welcome the Agreement as a small token of what an efficient Minister for Agriculture might have got for the Irish farmers but failed to get in this Agreement. Apart from that, I do not see where in the Agreement we are to get greater benefits for the cattle trade. It confirms, and does nothing more than that, the position as it was and has been since 1948, with some small variations. Since 1948, we have had complete access for our cattle, for all we are able to export. We have had since then the link with the British farmers' prices by reason of the foresight of Deputy Dillon in 1948. Now we have got these new schedules of the position in relation to our cattle, setting them out again.

I agree it is good to set out again in 1965 what in fact has been there since 1948 but to try to herald them as epoch-making, something which the Minister says is the best possible deal for the Irish farmers, is, of course, utterly nonsensical. It takes the Agreement from the realm of the practical into the realm of utter fantasy. The position in relation to all livestock is virtually the same. We have got exactly the same position as we had in and since 1948.

Let us turn to other types of agricultural produce and it is in relation to other types of agricultural produce that the Minister for Agriculture made his greatest failure. Let us take butter, milk. The Minister for Agriculture gave this gem to the Irish Times:

He regarded the butter quota as crucial and it was gratifying to know we had got exactly what we asked for in this respect.

I cannot give the date of that issue of the Irish Times but it was one of those days when the Minister was so pleasant after he had come back. It was one more brilliant statement he made. Was not the crucial thing in relation to butter that we should have got in on their deficiency payments to safeguard our taxpayers and farmers from having [1348] to pay to the British anything from a shilling to 1/6d per lb. for eating Irish butter? Was that not the crucial thing in relation to all our dairy produce, the essential thing to go for? Paragraph 9 of the Annex to the Trade Agreement of 1948 stated:

The Government of the UK undertake to import butter from Ireland at the annual pre-war rate of 20,000 tons or more, if available, at a price to be fixed by negotiation.

We have a great song and dance now because a figure of 23,000 tons has been fixed for one year. I shall come back to the phraseology in the Agreement in this respect in a moment. It was to be taken there at a price to be fixed by negotiation. Now, what have we got? We have got nothing except the bare quota and, in consequence of that bare quota, we will have to pay anything from one shilling up per lb. for everybody in Britain to eat a pound of Irish butter. I do not know the exact figure for the present day. The current figures are not published by Bord Bainne. I am going to take an approximation that the loss at present on the shipment of butter from Ireland to Britain is approximately £112 per cwt.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy It is more than that.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman It is £112 on the whole average for Kerrygold. That is the equivalent of one shilling per lb. That is for Kerrygold alone. When you take an average over all types of butter—we will not be able to sell all types of butter on this quota—it will work out at more than one shilling per lb. If we have to meet that payment as to two-thirds by the taxpayer and one-third by levy from the farmers on their milk because the Minister for Agriculture did not ask, in his own words, for the deficiency payments in relation to dairy products, as had been got some years ago in relation to cattle, we are losing substantially.

We are losing substantially also on the cream, the cheese, the crumb, the powder and the other commodities Bórd Bainne export. These are things [1349] in respect of which apparently nothing was asked for by the Minister for Agriculture. We are using about six million gallons of our milk in respect of the cream exported to Britain and we will pay them to drink that cream somewhere in the region of three pence. We are using between 25,000 and 30,000 gallons of milk to process our cheese to send that cheese to England to be eaten by the people there. It is costing somewhere in the region of five pence to seven pence to pay them to eat that cheese.

We are exporting, in equivalent crumb, about 30,000 gallons. Here the loss again is somewhere between four pence and six pence for the purpose of having them eat our dairy produce. With regard to powder, I think the convertible figure is somewhere about 20,000 gallons and the loss for that is the highest of the whole lot, over six pence. We did not make any effort, according to the Minister for Agriculture, to get in on this deficiency payment to be sure that we got in on their price support in every way that we would have been in on that price support if we had been joined with the European Economic Community. That is what Deputy Lindsay meant when he was referring to free trade in agriculture and what the Minister for Agriculture tried to misrepresent in his meaning. There was a wonderful opportunity for the Irish negotiators to ensure that we got in on deficiency payments in relation to dairy products in the same way as we had got in 17 years ago on cattle.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Hear, hear.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman At that time, 17 years ago, the question of deficiency payments in relation to dairy products was not a current problem. At that time everybody was so short, in relation to dairy products, that it did not matter. It was very much a market that was so short indeed that deficiencies were not something that mattered. Let us make this quite clear and get it quite clearly understood, as it is understood. I think, in the country as a whole. There are only two alternatives in relation to dairy products. Firstly, when we failed to get the integration [1350] in their support system, that we would support them ourselves through the taxpayer, or, secondly, that we would not support it at all and if we did that our whole livestock production would, of course, naturally go. We have got, therefore, to support them through the Irish taxpayer because of the incompetence of this Government in their negotiations in this respect.

The Minister for Agriculture made a great song and dance about the bacon quota. The bacon quota is now fixed at 28,000 tons. What was the position already? As I say, only three former Trade Agreements were made between Ireland and the United Kingdom in the last 30 years. They were made in 1938, 1948 and 1960. Paragraph (f) of the 1948 agreement is the only one that mentions this at all. Paragraph (f) of the 1948 agreement says:

The Government of the United Kingdom undertake to import bacon from Ireland at the annual pre-war rate of 27,000 tons.

The Minister for Agriculture is shouting about an extra 1,000 tons quota but if he went to the trouble of looking at the 1948 agreement he would find something added to it. It says:

The Government of the United Kingdom undertake to import bacon from Ireland at the annual pre-war rate of 27,000 tons or more if it is available.

It says “or more if it is available”. The question at issue really is not whether he has increased the quota from 27,000 to 28,000 tons but rather whether we will be able to fill a quota of that sort. I have my grave doubts as to whether we will. The Minister also made reference to other forms of pig meat. What are the facts? The facts again in relation to that are the same as in relation to cattle. There is not, and has not been, any restrictions on the import of pork into Britain. It has never yet been regulated and if they wanted to regulate it now, why did they never regulate it before now? Is that not another example of the fantasy that has existed only in the mind of the Minister for Agriculture in endeavouring to make a case for [1351] this Agreement, a case to cover his failure in that respect?

The Minister mentioned broilers this morning. I must confess that there are times when I am completely lost in admiration of what I think the Minister for Agriculture would call hard neck. How can he possibly mention broilers in the same breath as he talks about the Trade Agreement which ensures that there will never be an export trade of broilers or turkeys from Ireland, because of the terms of the Agreement which he himself negotiated? If we look at Appendix III, Article 2, we find:

If at any time Ireland develops a significant export trade in broiler chickens...to the United Kingdom, the Government of Ireland shall consult with the Government of the United Kingdom with a view to providing facilities for the import of such chickens into Ireland from the United Kingdom.

Having regard to that, what hope is there of our ever getting any confidence into any broiler producers to endeavour to find an export trade when they know that the moment they put their exports into the United Kingdom the Minister for Agriculture has agreed that the United Kingdom will be able to flood imports into Ireland? The same thing applies in relation to turkeys. A peculiar thing which I was intrigued to note is that Appendix III, headed “Agreement relating to trade in certain Agricultural and Fishery Products” relates solely to concessions that are given by Ireland to imports from the other side. It does not in any single article include any concession by Britain for exports of those particular things into Britain.

I mentioned butter earlier and I want to refer to one thing which I forgot to mention a second ago. There is in Appendix V a most peculiar correspondence in relation to butter. I say it is a most peculiar correspondence because it is one which does not bear on its face at all the interpretation that is being put on it by the [1352] Minister for Agriculture, or any member of the Government. Deputy Flanagan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry and Commerce has been temporarily translated from his professional sphere, but I venture to say to him if he were instructed as a solicitor, or if I were instructed as a solicitor, to write an agreement giving effect to what the Government say these letters mean in relation to butter, and we did this, we would both have an action for negligence open to us at once, and we would be sacked by our clients, and we would deserve to be sacked.

This exchange of letters expressly refers to the basic quota for the 12-month period ending 31st March, 1967. It makes no mention whatever of any basic quota for any year thereafter. We have got, in the terms of this Agreement, a specific basic quota of 23,000 tons for the 12-month period ending 31st March, 1967, and not a ton after that. We know that in paragraph (b) there is a proviso dealing with the aim of consultation, but there is nothing whatever in this Agreement that gives us any right whatever to export one lb. of butter into Britain after 1st April, 1967. We will have to go hat in hand into consultations to endeavour to see what we can do under paragraph (b) of the Article to fulfil an aim. Why in the living earth, if we were getting a basic quota of 23,000 tons per annum, as the Government suggest, was that not included in the written Agreement? Was it because they were trying to pull a quick one over someone else, or was it because they were incompetent? I do not believe that the civil servants are incompetent in that way. Perhaps it was left for agreement at ministerial level and Ministers facing Ministers fell down on their job. I could easily believe that, because of the whole team that went over there seem to have been utterly mesmerised, as was the Taoiseach, by the thought that the British Prime Minister was producing something desirable of his own volition.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay The Taoiseach described the Minister for Agriculture as fighting tenaciously.

[1353]Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman As Deputy Lindsay says, the Taoiseach said the Minister for Agriculture fought tenaciously, but the Minister rather gave the lie to that when he said in relation to dairy products that we got all we asked for, but when we remember that he left out integration in their price support system it does not seem as if the Minister for Agriculture fought very tenaciously. In any walk of life if you pitch your request lower than the other side are prepared to give, they are amazed that you asked for so little. In a motor accident case, to come back to the Parliamentary Secretary and myself in our professional capacity, if we were prepared to pay more than the other side asked, we would close very quickly in case they might change their minds. Perhaps Mr. Peart was able to do that to our Minister for Agriculture because, in his own words, he did not ask for integration in relation to dairy products into price supports, which we would have got if it were a question of our being tied in with the EEC.

Yesterday Deputy Cosgrave listed some constructive ways in which we in Fine Gael felt that industry and the country as a whole could be further prepared for the day of complete dismantling. I think they deserve serious consideration, not merely by the Government but by the country as a whole. How far are we prohibited from giving any further tax reliefs in this respect by the Agreement is a question I am not able to answer. It seems to me that we have agreed to abandon any prospect of incentives by tax relief other than those which are already there. That is a pity because a great deal could be done by private enterprise, if private enterprise were enabled to offset against profits in Ireland, expenditure abroad for the purpose of endeavouring to get export markets. That is a matter which I mention at this stage purely because the Minister for Industry and Commerce has come in and it is a matter he should urge vehemently on his colleague, the Minister for Finance, if he has not already given away the possibility of doing it by this Agreement.

This Agreement does little in relation [1354] to agriculture, very little more than set out again in 1965 the situation as it has existed in relation to our main agricultural produce since 1948. In so far as it does repeat in 1965 the things that were won in 1948, and does restate them again in the middle of the 1960s, it is a good thing, but let nobody try to pretend that they are something new when they are not. In relation to industry, I am not a bit happy with the anti-dumping clause and not a bit happy that there is a complete absence of anything like the European Social Fund for Retrainment for Workers. In relation to the Agreement as a whole, there was a wonderful opportunity but I am afraid that opportunity was missed and what has happened is that we have got instead a damp squib, a damp squib with which unfortunately we are going to have to live as the opportunity has been missed.

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass Zoom on Noel T. Lemass I should like to mention in the first instance that every Opposition speaker, both in Labour and in Fine Gael, has chosen this debate to try to speak in ridiculing fashion about the Minister for External Affairs. That his efforts have already contributed a great deal to international understanding is recognised not alone here but throughout the world. We as a small nation have a very special role to play in world affairs and we have an obligation to use that role in the pursuance of world peace. To say that we should not do this would be to say that His Holiness the Pope should not have gone to the United Nations. The very fact that it has now been mentioned by these speakers that he is a contestant for the Nobel Prize is their recognition of the wonderful work he has done.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay Did the Pope sign this Agreement?

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan Zoom on Stephen Coughlan The Minister for External Affairs or the Pope?

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan If I brought that back to Louth, they would be very amused.

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass Zoom on Noel T. Lemass I do not intend to deal with many of the individual Fine Gael speakers but I want to refer to [1355] one because it amazes me that Deputy T. F. O'Higgins could vote in support of this Agreement after the type of speech he made here. In fact he expressed the hope that the progress of this Agreement will be stopped by European development, or any other way, before it comes fully into effect. This type of attitude is reducing one of the advantages of this Agreement, reducing the certainty of our trading conditions with England in the future, and it may result in some industrialist or manufacturer slowing up his effort to re-adapt or re-equip, and in that way it can only damage Ireland. That type of talk can only do national damage. We all hope that there will be developments which will bring about a much wider market than that available to us now. In that we are all in agreement. However, we cannot agree that it might be to our advantage to go directly into this much larger market than to go into this limited market of 50 million or 60 million people as we are now doing. Listening to Deputy T.F. O'Higgins —a member of what was looked on in this country as the former Unionist or West Briton Party——

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Looked on by Fianna Fáil.

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass Zoom on Noel T. Lemass ——until we had a statement from the Leader of a Coalition about hitting Britain in her pride and in her pocket—we can see that now they have gone full circle and gone to the other extreme which is not quite so bad by having complete hostility to Britain. The latter is almost as bad as the first and I suppose we must thank the Labour Party for starting this conversion. Deputy Seán Dunne chose to quote an extract from a speech made by the former Taoiseach, President de Valera, regarding his views at that time about economic integration and free trade but what Deputy Dunne fails to realise, as apparently do most of the back-bench Members of the Labour Party, judging from their interjections and contributions, is that there has been a complete change throughout the world [1356] in economic thinking. There has been no change in the Labour Party and they are still stagnant in the decadent economic process of thinking in so far as their approach to this debate——

(Interruptions.)

Mr. S. Flanagan: Information on Seán Flanagan Zoom on Seán Flanagan Shut up.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin The previous Deputy was allowed to speak without interruption.

Mr. S. Flanagan: Information on Seán Flanagan Zoom on Seán Flanagan For over an hour.

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass Zoom on Noel T. Lemass In economic history, any time there is a change that is viewed with suspicion, the suspicion has always come from the Right Wing in the particular Parliament and this goes for Factory Acts and so on.

I should like to comment in particular on Deputy Treacy's contribution last night. You were not here last night, Sir, when Deputy Treacy was speaking, but I am quite sure that if you had been, you would agree that you never heard such a doctrine of despair expounded in this House. Abandon all hope all you who enter Free Trade Agreements with England. He was in such a state of despair that I expected him, when he had finished, to go out and commit hari-kiri. I chose hari-kiri, which is a form of self-destruction in Japan, because it was made in Japan and would possibly be a cheaper form of self-destruction than any other which an Irishman could possibly afford to pay, now that we have taken this step. This was the whole tone of Deputy Treacy's arguments.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy Deputy Treacy was worried about workers having to emigrate.

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass Zoom on Noel T. Lemass Is he a member of the Council of Europe? If he is, I wonder what his colleagues will think about his speech.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan Zoom on Stephen Coughlan He is not.

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass Zoom on Noel T. Lemass He claims that Fianna Fáil wanted to abandon responsibility of government while in [1357] effect he is abandoning his responsibility to the workers by not following the line given to him by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the leader of the Labour Party. Fine Gael are a little more careful about this; they suggest “Go ahead with this, but have more association with Europe”, but the Labour Party say: “No; the EEC is all right but England is no good”. Are they aware that the cheapest clothing and the cheapest textiles come from Italy? Are they aware that our clothing and textile manufacturers can compete with anything in England? What about the problem which France has in regard to cheap refrigerators from Italy? The competition with which we would be faced on our entrance to the EEC would be far greater than anything we can expect arising from this Agreement.

This Agreement is being used to prepare ourselves for the ultimate step into Europe and to put us into a much stronger position to face that competition. The Labour slogan is that we are selling out to England but we are sovereign and independent, but if we join the EEC there is an implication that we will have to lose some of our sovereignty. There is no such implication in this Agreement; there is in the EEC. Before Labour start shouting “sell out” or other good old 1913 slogans in 1966, let them check the position and understand what they are talking about. What some of the Labour Party speakers recognised, but did not appreciate the significance of, is that we have progressed in this country from a state of poverty to a state of comparative affluence in a very short space of time.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte I wonder what the people in Griffith Barracks would think of that?

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass Zoom on Noel T. Lemass Deputy Corish disagreed entirely with Deputy Treacy. He said we could not live in isolation, that tariffs were always considered by the Labour Party to be temporary duties, that they lasted too long and that many of them should have been got rid of long before this. He said we had not been given sufficient preparation [1358] for doing it at this stage. He completely disagreed with the views expressed by the back bench Labour members. Deputy Corish was much more reasonable and apparently has some understanding of the problems which the back bench members who have considered them so far have not got.

We are told we had free trade with England before and this was a very bad thing. Before the 17th century when trade was free, this country was relatively well off and strong. In this connection, having listened to the arguments put forward last night, particularly by Deputy Treacy, I brought with me a book entitled Turn of the Tide by Basil Peterson.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange By Seán Lemass— he turned the tide all right.

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass Zoom on Noel T. Lemass I should like to read a page or so from this book, which will sum up our history from the trade point of view. In the mid-seventeenth century, the effect of royal policies was to develop the Irish shipping industry and, the book tells us, this in turn led to the improvement of the ports. I quote:

By 1650, for instance, Carrick-fergus had 27 vessels registered and Belfast 29. In 1680 Irish ships were carrying provisions to Ostend, Nantes, La Rochelle and Dunkirk, and Belfast had 67 ships trading to the Continent.

But this represented the last effort of Irish seafarers and merchants at the time. Already the Navigation Acts of the English Parliament were in force and the whole trade of Ireland was again on the way to disaster.

These Acts were the logical outcome of the mercantilist policies of the time and were also designed to deprive the Crown of its Irish revenue.

In 1651 the first Navigation Act sought to deprive foreigners of the benefit of the Irish fisheries by prohibiting the import into England or Ireland, or the export therefrom, of any fish not caught by native fishermen. This was not so harmful [1359] a penalty but it foreshadowed the worst that was to come. Up to now the Irish had shared in the Newfoundland fisheries, if not to any great extent, but in 1672 the Navigation Act of that year excluded Ireland from the fisheries of Newfoundland and Greenland and exhibited a spirit of commercial jealously which became manifest in 1698 in petitions from English ports complaining of injury “by the Irish catching herrings at Waterford and Wexford, and sending them to the Straits, thereby forestalling and ruining markets.” These petitions did not do as much damage as might be expected due to the Irish fishing fleet being regarded by the English Government as a school for the British Navy.

But the destruction of trade went on. There had been a steady rise in the export of cattle and sheep to England over the years, but an outcry by English breeders led to prohibitive legislation between 1663 and 1680 which completely destroyed this trade.

That is unlike what Deputy Sweetman said, that we always had free access for our cattle to the English market.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy Deputy Lemass should be allowed to read his book.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin I suggest Deputies allow Deputy Lemass to make his speech.

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass Zoom on Noel T. Lemass Deputy Dunne made a long quotation; I am making mine. It is the only one I have. It goes on:

The Irish proved themselves adaptable to these new restrictions. Instead of cattle and sheep they turned to provisions and enjoyed a growing trade with England in these foodstuffs until the Navigation Act of 1666 cut off the supply of beef, pork and mutton. Two years later cheese, butter, mutton and lamb were excluded. Nothing daunted, the Irish turned to the colonial market in the Americas until the Act of [1360] 1670 excluded Ireland from the Plantation trade. From this time Ireland was excluded from all direct trade with the Colonies. All cargoes had to be transhipped to England, a procedure which proved ruinous to the Irish merchants and ship-owners...

In 1698-99 the Woollen Acts destroyed one of the largest industries left in Ireland. The entry of Irish wool into England was forbidden and naval patrols established to prevent the intense smuggling which ensued.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan Zoom on Stephen Coughlan Is this a lesson in history and geography?

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass Zoom on Noel T. Lemass It is a lesson in history which the Labour Party obviously require.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish There was no free secondary education at that time.

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass Zoom on Noel T. Lemass At all events, as a result of these steps against our trade, the book tells us:

...by the end of the seventeenth century Ireland again lay prostrate due to the destruction caused by the Williamite Wars and the new restraints on her trade.

The point I am making is this. When we had free trade conditions in this country, although the Parliament of Ireland owed allegiance to the King and he collected dues from the Irish ports on goods coming in and out, Ireland was economically and from a population point of view much stronger in proportion to our relationship with England today. The only way our aggressors could find to bring us down from a position of strength was by attacking our trade. From that time forward, “break the English connection” was the slogan in Ireland, and in those circumstances it was the right slogan. The poor situation we were in after independence prolonged this thinking. We could not afford to go into free trade with England as a result of the position at that time. Since then, new moves towards integration have taken place and the situation has changed completely. [1361] The influence of the late President Roosevelt and the former President Truman changed British colonial policy. Economic thinking throughout the world has changed. The emphasis has certainly changed from break the connection to getting into integration with any trading partner of significance on fair terms as a soverign independent people, masters of our own destiny.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Men expressed those views 45 years ago and they were shot for it.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin Would Deputy Harte allow Deputy Lemass to make his speech?

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass Zoom on Noel T. Lemass There have always been people afraid of change. These people slowed up progress in practically every country in the world because they wanted to stick to the old conservative ideas. In fact, I would say it is only about 200 years since it became generally accepted in England and much of Europe, from the example mainly of the United States, that the people can best be served by the minimum of Government interference than by the maximum of Government guidance and protection.

It became plain that liberal trade and commerce were the road to strength rather than the accumulation of bullion. As Voltaire said, “It is only because the English have become merchants and traders that London has surpassed Paris in extent and in the number of her citizens.” I am quoting from a book entitled Modern Capitalism, page 87.

Mr. S. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan Zoom on Stephen Coughlan Have you ever read Garibaldi?

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass Zoom on Noel T. Lemass The conservative thinkers of that time gave warning of the irreparable damage that would be done by every step forward and that includes Social Insurance, the Factories Acts and Trade Unions. The solemn warnings are with us again, this time from, as usual, the out-of-date conservatives, vested interests and, strangely enough, from members of this House who claim to come here to [1362] represent the Left. The first group we can ignore.

I have often tried to consider what a vested interest is. I have either read somewhere or heard that it is an advantage enjoyed by a political minority to which the speaker himself does not belong. If the speaker himself belongs to this group, it is no longer a vested interest or if a majority enjoys this advantage, it becomes a hardwon human right. For my purpose, the vested interest is the manufacturer who, having grown fat and lazy behind the high walls of protection, is not prepared to avail of the time and the warnings given to him and the assistance available to him to re-adapt or re-equip himself to ensure that he will continue to contribute to the national economy.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan Zoom on Stephen Coughlan That is interesting to hear from a member of the Party that built the barriers.

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass Zoom on Noel T. Lemass Sometimes, in the interest of special groups in this regard, trade restrictions can quite possibly be made to appear to coincide with the interests of the whole community. Once you have unemployment, as we have, then any measure which may appear to cause more unemployment can very easily be opposed by publicity-seeking politicians, and even by a majority of the electorate, if presented in the right way, even though the long-term effects of this position will be bad for the nation. These bad effects are likely to prevail even after the unemployment has disappeared. We in Fianna Fáil believe that any type of unemployment that might arise as a result of this Agreement will more than be offset by advantages in other industry.

Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins Zoom on Seán Collins What are these advantages?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin Order.

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass Zoom on Noel T. Lemass I do not believe that any member, particularly of the Labour Party, who falls into this position of trying to utilise any difficulties we may be faced with for the purpose of political gain will be happy he did [1363] so when he goes before the electorate at some time in the future.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan Zoom on Stephen Coughlan Prophetic words.

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass Zoom on Noel T. Lemass The Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the Leader of the Labour Party, Deputy Corish, took a reasonable attitude: I cannot speak for the other members of that Party.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan Zoom on Stephen Coughlan Look after yourself, now.

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass Zoom on Noel T. Lemass There is already a freedom of movement of workers in England for Irish workers and because the freeing of trade is likely to bring about a greater division of labour, the Government have already taken steps to ensure that if a man becomes redundant, say, in Dublin, it will be more to his advantage to go to a job, if one is available for him, in——

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Birmingham.

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass Zoom on Noel T. Lemass Cork, Waterford, Galway or Sligo instead of following the old, far too familiar routes to Liverpool and beyond. With proper planning in this regard, the wider division of labour within our own country will lead to diminishing costs. Success in this regard depends on the extent of the market. With greater markets, there can be a greater subdivision of productive processes. Some people may doubt the superior efficiency of large establishments but we can expect more large establishments in Ireland as a result of this Agreement, when it comes fully into effect, but there can be no doubt as to the superior efficiency of larger production. Anybody who doubts this, who thinks we would be better in striving for self-sufficiency in isolation, which is impossible, anyway, should ask himself what would happen to the greatest union of nations in the world today, the wealthiest nation where the workers enjoy the highest standard of living in the western world, if these 50 states of the United States were each to try to become self-sufficient on its own.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish They have a fair amount of unemployment and high [1364] tariff barriers. Try to sell cloth there. It is the distribution of the wealth that is important. Does the Deputy agree?

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass Zoom on Noel T. Lemass I agree. It is to be hoped that the Kennedy round of tariff reductions which are now under discussion will come to fruition. The point is that the United States by comparison with other countries of Europe, generally speaking, does offer——

Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted and 20 Members being present,

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass Zoom on Noel T. Lemass As I was saying, there is no doubt that the high standard of living enjoyed by most workers in the United States is due to the effects of nation-wide competition. In the same way, the increased competition which we must now face will help to bring about higher standards for our workers. This freeing of trade must bring about a spur to efficiency and technical progress, to the advantage of our people. Furthermore, in this wider market, there will be less opportunity of monopoly and restriction. In the United States today, more people die from the production of too much food than from too little. The only danger I see in this Agreement is that, in ten years' time, we shall be killing off more of our citizens by over-feeding than by starvation.

Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins Zoom on Seán Collins The “citizens” instead of the “nation”.

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass Zoom on Noel T. Lemass National advancement is based on production and more and more people at work with progressively higher standards of living. This depends on larger markets and on technological advance. In fulfilling these requirements, a limited amount of redundancy in certain sectors, but advancement in others more than offsetting the disturbances of workers and management in the former, will take place.

Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins Zoom on Seán Collins Whom are you quoting from now?

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass Zoom on Noel T. Lemass From Noel Lemass's notes. As I said before, the [1365] Government have appointed a Parliamentary Secretary who has already outlined his plan for re-training and re-settlement and the payments to be made to the workers while this re-training and re-settlement takes place. However, what is of serious concern to me and should be of concern to most people in this House is that the money invested at present by the State and by private industry in technological research is far from adequate. It is to be sincerely hoped that our industries, either collectively or individually, will make more moneys available for technological research if they wish to stay abreast of the rest of the world in this regard.

We all agree that the bringing about of this Free Trade Agreement will create certain difficulties for some manufacturers. It is not entirely clear yet, as has been said, which manufacturers will be faced with difficulties but the Government have already made it clear that, in any case of distress which is brought to their notice, Government assistance will be available either towards re-adaptation, retooling or helping in any way to ensure that production can be maintained. I do not think the Government have overlooked anything, and everything that can reasonably be done to ensure that we enjoy the opportunity offered to us by this Agreement can be availed of by us. There has been a dog in the manager attitude which we have heard from Fine Gael to the effect that “If we get in, we will immediately stop this Agreement.” This will not do any good to Fine Gael, to the nation, or will not do any harm to us. It could do harm to the national progress only if some foolish manufacturer thought that Fine Gael might hold the reins of office some day soon and hold on so that they could by-pass or tear up this Agreement.

We had a problem in this country regarding excess consumer spending and it is a problem which, I think, indirectly links itself with this Free Trade Agreement. I shall put forward a suggestion now, for what it is worth. I doubt if it will be accepted but if any thought comes into a person's head [1366] which might contribute to the welfare of the country I believe they should mention it.

Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins Zoom on Seán Collins When miracles do happen.

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass Zoom on Noel T. Lemass The thought which entered my head is to correct the inflationary tendencies we have now. The credit restriction is being imposed by the banks at the Government's behest——

Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins Zoom on Seán Collins Daddy said that was not so for months.

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass Zoom on Noel T. Lemass I am open to contradiction. The Deputy will speak later, no doubt.

Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins Zoom on Seán Collins He will.

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass Zoom on Noel T. Lemass ——By the restrictions on hire purchase which have been imposed and, furthermore, by the cutting down by some £3 million the money which the Government were hoping to spend in excess of what was considered wise. This, I am sorry about. I believe this could better be done by way of a surplus Budget and, if the Government could raise £5 million or £10 million, which they did not spend, this would have the same effect in correcting the inflationary tendencies. This could lead to a release of the credit squeeze which the banks are putting on and, thereby, make more money available for investment in production, and production is what we need—more and more production. This money, so raised, could be used to pay off our National Debt or, alternatively, retained by the Government and put back into the economy in better times.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin I am afraid the Deputy is getting away from the debate on the Free Trade Agreement.

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass Zoom on Noel T. Lemass I was curious as to what was said when I was three or four years old during the debate on the Emergency Imposition of Duties Bill, 1932——

Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins Zoom on Seán Collins When did you grow up?

[1367]Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass Zoom on Noel T. Lemass ——so I had to look it up in the Dáil Debates and, in volume 43, column 1005, Deputy MacEntee, the then Minister for Finance, said:

We will do nothing which will prevent the re-establishment of cordial trading relations between us and them...

“Them” being England. I think this Agreement fulfils the ideas not only in Mr. MacEntee's mind at that time but also the ideas which were predominant in the late Mr. Norton's mind at that time. At column 1024 of the same volume Deputy J. J. Byrne of Fine Gael expressed the fear that the duties to be imposed would isolate us from the rest of the world. The fact that they are being removed now does not seem to please everybody in Fine Gael, when we are coming out of this isolation. But, Mr. Morrissey, at column 1052 said that Labour, by supporting that Bill, were:

throwing overboard everything that Labour in this country has stood for since the Labour movement was founded in the town of Clonmel by the late Jim Connolly.

How wrong he was! Fianna Fáil, with the co-operation of Labour, started this industrial protection policy. Consequently, we have been able to lift Irish manufacturers off their backs and put them on their feet. Now that they are on their feet, it is time to give them an opportunity to show their maturity through using their brains, their skill and their effort, to go forward and bring to Ireland greater prosperity than we have ever known before.

World trends are such that we cannot hope to survive as a State in isolation. We can no more be self-sufficient than Iowa, Alaska or Texas. If we are to survive as a sovereign State we must encourage every effort directed towards the free movement of goods between Ireland and an ever-growing number of countries. The curtailment of interState competition is not the best way to look after our workers or our manufacturers.

The arguments in favour of this [1368] Agreement are identical with the arguments which will be put forward if we enter into EEC or, for that matter, if we integrate with world trade as a whole. Because we are dealing with our best customers, there is objection to it. There is some sort of feeling of patriotic twitching in the people's minds that because we are dealing with our best customers we are making some mistake. We are dealing with a market whereby we know we can expand and whereby we know our own manufacturers, in most cases, can compete effectively even as they stand now. In lowering our trade barriers there will be gains and losses and this Agreement has a clear balance of advantage. I am firmly convinced that the gains far outweigh the losses.

In conclusion, I should like to make a brief reference to management and worker relationships at the moment. I think this largely springs from the expressed desire of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and, for that matter of the Government and of the FUE, that there should be fewer trade unions, that there are too many. Congress has set up a committee to investigate how a reduction in the number of trade unions could be made and I believe all this is partly responsible. I am a member of a small union and since this policy was announced, some larger unions have entered into competition to secure the members of the profession my union represents. There is an out-and-out effort to try to show that if we, as a small union are pushed into a larger union, they are the particular union which should be responsible for us. While I know the majority of the members of my union will not agree to be pushed——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin I am afraid we are getting away from the Free Trade Agreement.

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass Zoom on Noel T. Lemass No, we are discussing the question of unions, and industrial relations were referred to by the Taoiseach. I am putting forward a suggestion that might solve this problem and it will not take more than 30 seconds.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish I know Deputy [1369] Cosgrave referred to this matter also and I did not think it should be mentioned. However that is the business of other Deputies. I believe there should be a clear ruling on this because this is a very important question at present and we certainly would have views to express to enlighten some people who have made outlandish statements on the trade union movement. I do not think this is the place for it.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin I have already pointed out to Deputy Lemass that this does not arise on the Free Trade Agreement.

Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins Zoom on Seán Collins But has the Chair ruled on it?

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish I do not want to prevent Deputy Lemass from saying what he wants to say so long as our people will have the same latitude.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin The Chair has ruled that a debate on trade unions at this stage is not relevant and not in order.

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass Zoom on Noel T. Lemass I shall conclude by saying that in this difficulty to which I was referring, Congress have no power; only the Government have power and should use it.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy It is usual for a Deputy to make some reference to statements made by a previous speaker and I propose to make a few remarks in regard to statements of the previous speaker. He is a very important member of the House by virtue of the position he holds in the city and the position of his immediate relatives and he is likely to have information at his disposal that would not be at the disposal of other members of the Party who would not have the same facilities to get those views.

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass Zoom on Noel T. Lemass That is, of course, completely incorrect. I am the same as any other Deputy.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy I am not suggesting there is anything wrong, but the Deputy did seriously indict some members of the Labour Party in his [1370] opening remarks and said that at least one of them should commit hari-kari. I am sure he will bear with me if I make some remarks as a member of that Party now. If I may say so, with all respect, I think I have never heard such foolish statements as those made by the Deputy here. I thought I had a reasonable knowledge of our history and I do not want to impose unduly on the time of the House but there was one clear statement made by Deputy Lemass that a few hundred years ago when we were in complete union with Britain, we were very rich. He used the terms “very rich long ago.”

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass Zoom on Noel T. Lemass Comparatively.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy I never knew that we were even comparatively rich long ago. My information from history is that we were oppressed and our standard of living unfortunately much lower than it should be and that we had great difficulty in providing a bare existence for families here.

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass Zoom on Noel T. Lemass That was general in most countries.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy I understood that at the time the Deputy referred to, when we had the big population of 1847, we were actually starving. I do not think it was a good idea, in support of his views and of this Free Trade Agreement, to say that when we had this type of free trade with England before, when there were no barriers, we had 8.25 million people here. That, of course, is utter nonsense. We do not want to go back; indeed we would like if possible to forget the suffering of our forefathers at that time when want and hunger stalked the land. That statement in no way supports the Government's line that free trade will bring advantages and I think I may advise the Deputy to drop it.

I come from a constituency where, unfortunately, we have very few manufacturers but I know some manufacturers for whom I have great admiration. We have business people who can be termed manufacturers and who put a great deal of industry into the formulation of schemes and proposals [1371] to extend their business and give more employment and we owe a debt of gratitude to them. They have the know-how and the capital to develop industry. Possibly there are a few who are not coming up to requirements but in saying, as the previous speaker did, that this Agreement was only making it difficult for manufacturers who were growing fat and lazy behind protective barriers, I think he was making an unfair indictment of manufacturers generally. If he is aware of manufacturers who are growing fat and lazy behind protective barriers, he should be more specific. It is unfair to make a general indictment in the gravest possible manner of a group of people, many of whom are contributing in a big way to our economic development. If we have manufacturers who are fat and lazy, it is as a result of their association with the Fianna Fáil Party who gave them concessions to which they were not entitled and which allowed them to continue, to use the Deputy's words, to grow fat and lazy and enjoy protection to which, possibly, they were not entitled.

I want to make it clear, and I think I am expressing a Labour Party viewpoint, that we have to fight for fair rights and conditions for all sections of the people. We also have admiration for those people who are giving employment and the last speaker's condemnation of them is something that should not go unchallenged.

In so far as this debate is concerned, never since I came into this House was more exaggeration employed in describing the effects and the impact of any proposal coming before the House. Not only are the terms exaggerated, and wilfully so, but deliberate untruthful statements have been made to support contentions and assertions. I do not want to impose on the House unduly, seeing that this Agreement has been accepted by several Members but it is only right and proper that we should refuse false assertions that have been made here in relation to so-called advantages that may accrue from the Agreement.

[1372] We had the Taoiseach yesterday evening shaking with pride, stretching out his hands and telling us that we were over in England as equals and should forget about the inferiority complex which the Opposition Members are supposed to have, that he sat side by side with Harold Wilson, not as a subordinate but as an equal. That is how the Irish nation should be represented, standing up to these fellows and being there as their equals. That description is not a correct appraisal of the position. Describe this Agreement as you may, and I am finding fault with the description that has been given of it, it is my view that in any negotiations with a foreign Government we should be present as equals. Unfortunately, we were not.

The international procedure in cases where heads of Governments have to meet on more occasions than one is to hold meetings alternatively in their respective capitals. If we were sitting at the table with British Ministers as equals, instead of our representatives going to London when it suited the British Prime Minister and the other Ministers involved to spare an hour or two to listen to the Taoiseach and our other representatives, the British Ministers should have come to Dublin. That is international procedure. If the British Government and the French Government and the German Government were in negotiation or drawing up pacts and agreements, it would be most unlikely that all the negotiations and discussions would take place in one capital, as happened in the case of this Agreement. The Taoiseach went to London in July of last year. He has gone over on a few occasions. If he had to go over on three occasions, he should have asked Mr. Wilson and the British Ministers to come to Dublin once. The procedure adopted cuts across the Taoiseach's statement and would suggest that we were very much junior partners.

The Taoiseach implied that the negotiations would have been determined at an earlier date but for the fact that he had to wait for some weeks as Mr. Wilson, the British Prime Minister, was very busy and could not bother with him. I do not [1373] think that that bears out the Taoiseach's statement that we were there as equals.

Unfortunately, I am not a very good note-taker but there was another statement made yesterday that intrigued me. A very significant sentence in the Taoiseach's address yesterday referred to the help which we are getting from Britain to strengthen our national economy. The Taoiseach's words were: “with a view to getting Britain to help us to strengthen our national economy”. Does it not represent a great change, if we recollect what has happened since this State was established, to have the Taoiseach making that type of statement in this House in the early days of 1966?

While some papers and press people and others may feel that it is not proper procedure in discussing matters in Parliament to go back over the past, I disagree entirely. To judge matters in their proper perspective, it is in order to refer to proceedings in years gone by, particularly when those proceedings are related to what we are discussing in the House today. People had views and opinions ten, 15 or 20 years ago which they put forward vehemently in this House and which time has proved wrong. It is not out of place to refer to such statements so that the same mistake will not be made over and over again. It is nothing new to comment on Fianna Fáil policy of non-co-operation with Britain. I always believed that that policy was a mistake because of our geographical location and proximity to the British market and because of the help we could obtain by selling our surplus agricultural products on the British market. The policy of Fianna Fáil, as has been mentioned by a previous speaker this morning, was that the British market was gone and gone forever. It was not enough to say that; they started to thank the Almighty that that was the case.

There are the people who come here today and say that we cannot exist without this close co-operation with Britain, that we should do everything we possibly can to produce as much goods as possible for Britain and to [1374] give Britain as much freedom as possible in this country if, as indicated by the Taoiseach yesterday, we are to develop our national economy.

My appraisal of this Agreement is that it is just a rewriting of the 1948 Agreement which has been referred to by Deputy Sweetman here today and which required to be brought up to date to some extent. It is such a long time since that Agreement was made that it would require some revision. What we get out of this Agreement is very little. If, when my colleague, Deputy Collins, and I return to West Cork over the weekend we are asked by any section of our constituents what advantages accrue to us from this Agreement, our story will not be very bright.

There are a number of people in this country who believed that the Agreement would give them advantages which it certainly will not give them. There has been no reference to the many disadvantages that will arise from the Agreement in so far as certain parts of the country are concerned. We had a long dissertation this morning from the Minister for Agriculture about all the benefits which will be enjoyed by the agricultural community as from 1st July, 1966, when this measure is in force. He listed a number of the advantages and indicated quite clearly that our agriculturists could look forward to a very successful and prosperous year commencing on 1st July, 1966. That is, I believe, completely false. It is creating a completely false impression. I represent a reasonably substantial section of the agricultural community and I maintain that that prophecy is a gross exaggeration and, so far as a typical constituency like South-West Cork is concerned, the advantages to the agriculturists will be very slight indeed.

I do not want to take up the time of the House, but, at the same time, I do not think it is out of place to go over the ground covered by previous speakers with regard to the so-called benefits to agriculturists. So far as the major portion of the country is concerned, the most important aspect is a market for store cattle. We are told this Agreement will be a great advantage [1375] from that point of view. In future we will have an assured and guaranteed market in Britain for at least 638,000 store cattle. If this Agreement had never been negotiated, that market would be there, as it has always been there, for 638,000 of our store cattle. Reading the terms of the Agreement, it is obvious now that what the British were anxious about was that we should endeavour to ensure that we would supply them with a minimum of 638,000 store cattle every year. Their worry was that we might not be able to do so and, without sending over the Taoiseach and his Ministers, any civil servant could have done that job.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan Zoom on Stephen Coughlan On the telephone.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy Exactly. There is no question that anything was secured in Britain. I asked the Minister for Agriculture about this this morning. The statement was misleading and I said that he was not conferring any benefits when he said that, as a result of this Agreement, we would have a guaranteed market for 638,000 store cattle. The market was there. The unfortunate position was that we were down in numbers last year. We had not enough stores to sell. I have been at fairs. On a number of occasions I have sold cattle. I know the difficulties and the problems confronting people selling cattle when there is little demand and a poor price but it must be said that in recent times, fortunately for us, we have had a ready and a steady market in Britain for our stores. Five or six months ago prices were not as good as we would have liked.

We all appreciate the advantages of the cattle industry, particularly from the point of view of the impact of the export of cattle on our balance of payments. In Chapter 2, paragraph 88, it is specifically stated:

In Article 4 the Irish Government undertakes, in consideration of the benefits provided by Articles 1 and 2, to use their best endeavours——

the Government have promised to use “their best endeavours”; that is what the British asked them to do——

[1376] consistent with the circumstances of the trade, to ensure (a) that exports of store cattle to Britain in each calendar year will not fall below 638,000 head...

This clearly indicates that what was worrying the British Government was the fear that we would not be able to supply the number. They wanted to ensure that Ireland would at least keep up the quota of 638,000 head and would not fall below that figure. To me, this is the same as the manager of a bacon factory, which is capable of processing 600 pigs per day, ensuring that he will get the 600 pigs every day, if he possibly can, in order to keep his factory working to full capacity. That is what the British are doing here in relation to our store cattle. They want our store cattle and they are endeavouring by Article 4 to ensure that they will get them.

I do not think it took any great diplomacy on the part of the Taoiseach or the Minister for Agriculture to achieve that result and I think it was, to say the least of it, an exaggeration on the part of the Taoiseach yesterday to pay outstanding tribute to his Minister for Agriculture for the work and industry he put into these trade negotiations. The Taoiseach was asking us to be grateful that we had such a capable Minister for Agriculture. I am not trying to reflect on the Minister for Agriculture, but that statement by the Taoiseach was an exaggeration. The Minister for Agriculture did not deserve the commendations he got from the Taoiseach yesterday. The store cattle trade is a most important part of our agricultural economy and arriving at this particular Agreement required no great trouble and no great industry on the part of anyone in the course of the recent negotiations.

Much has been said about the advantages secured for carcase beef and lamb. Slight advantages have been secured, for lamb in particular. We have an extended market, a small percentage increase, where carcase beef is concerned. But that really makes no real difference because in the past few years, and the trend is likely to continue, we have had a greater demand than we have been able to supply for [1377] this particular type of meat in Britain. In fact, we have had difficulty in measuring up to our quotas.

So far as bacon is concerned, pig production is a very important industry in rural Ireland. Our export of pigs, if the 1948 Agreement were imposed, was limited to 27,000 tons annually. What have we got in this Agreement? We have got an extra 1,000 tons. Our quota has been increased from 27,000 tons to 28,000 tons. To my mind, that is nothing to brag about.

I should like to run over briefly the agricultural commodities produced by our farmers. I have outlined the position as best I could in relation to cattle, sheep and pigs. I have tried to give a factual appraisal of the situation. It is all taken from this Green Book. Instead of entitling it a “Free Trade Area Agreement and Related Agreements, Exchanges of Letters and Understandings,” it should be termed a restricted Agreement. There are restrictions on the exportation of bacon, of lamb and of carcase beef.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Poultry and eggs.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy In view of the personal interest of the Minister for Agriculture in poultry and eggs, I propose to deal with them separately. In any case there are restrictions in regard to agriculture. This matter has been presented to the people with exaggerations of every description, so that there are a number of honest people who accept that this Agreement, so far as agriculture is concerned, will do wonders for us.

The question of butter was referred to in great detail by Deputy Sweetman in the course of his remarks earlier today. Deputy Sweetman gave a fair indication of the implications of that part of the Agreement. Our butter quota is now 23,000 tons, and I understand that our butter exports for the year are 19,000 tons, so that we have got about 4,000 tons extra. We should all like to see exports of butter moving up. Along with butter, there are other milk products, chocolate crumb and so on, which were enumerated in detail by Deputy Sweetman and which we export [1378] to England but which cost us a great deal of money. Around every pound of butter we send over to England, we have to tie at least a shilling of our taxpayers' money in order to ensure that our neighbours over in Britain will get butter on their table at least a shilling a pound cheaper than the housewives residing in the poorer areas of the city or the poorer areas of any other part of the country can get it.

It seems to be beyond our capacity to devise a scheme by which we can keep that butter at home and sell it at a subsidised price. Despite what Deputy N. Lemass has stated about all the prosperity we enjoy at the present time, I am sure there are several families in this city and in many parts of the country who could do with a few extra pounds of butter a week. There are people living on small incomes and who have big families and people living on public assistance who have to trim down such things as butter costs. We are imposing on the Exchequer— and I do not see any way out—anything up to £500,000 to cover the subsidy on exports of milk products.

If this question is carried to its logical conclusion about producing cattle, producing milk and so on, the sensible man today is the man who produces the cattle, produces the calves, and does not make any butter. He is providing us with the raw materials we want. He is providing us with store cattle for export and he is not imposing on us, so far as subsidisation of the dairying industry is concerned, the big subsidies we have to add to keep it going at a reasonably economic level. Therefore the man who is not going to the creamery, the man who is putting the calves under the cows is, from the point of view of the Exchequer, being helpful, but what would happen if every fellow started off on that line?

The employment content in agriculture is steadily declining. What we want to see in rural Ireland is not a whole lot of cows with a whole lot of calves sucking them but a whole lot of people happy and contented What we are obliged to do here as Deputies is to formulate policies that will give effect to that idea. I must say, as I [1379] hope to illustrate, that this Agreement does not contribute to that.

The broilers, turkeys and eggs, despite what may be the personal position of the Minister for Agriculture in regard to poultry production, are regarded as a dead loss throughout this country. I remember a time when in many of our small farms and in many of our country cottages the income from the poultry industry was up to 30 per cent and indeed in others something more than 30 per cent. That poultry income formed a sizeable proportion of the total household income. That industry has been lost. It has been lost to almost everyone I know, and I know a great many engaged in that industry because I was very closely associated with it. I cannot meet anyone who has made money and who is boastful about the opportunities thrown up by that industry, other than the Minister for Agriculture.

In view of the importance of the poultry industry in years gone by, if the Minister for Agriculture is able to make that industry pay and if he is able to get 9/- net income from every hen on his farm out in Raheny, there is an obligation on him as Minister for Agriculture to pass on that information to the poultry keepers throughout the country. We are anxious to know how it can be done.

Mr. Davern: Information on Donal Davern Zoom on Donal Davern I thought he gave you a first-hand view of the whole thing?

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery I thought he invited you out?

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy He withdrew that invitation. However, if as Minister for Agriculture he is able to make a profit from poultry, I believe he should pass on the information. I do not intend to hold up the House much longer in dealing with that because everybody knows that the poultry industry is gone; everybody knows that the production of eggs, farmyard chickens and so on, has all gone and that the prices are so low that most people are withdrawing from the industry altogether.

[1380] In his remarks today, the Minister for Agriculture referred to turkeys. Apart from other poultry, in my part of the country and I am sure in many others, turkey production was very important up to recent years. It provided self-employment for women-folk and they had sizeable cheques to reward them for their efforts at Christmas. Time and again we tried to get the Government if possible to explore markets for turkeys, but without result. It seems turkey-rearing is no longer likely to be a source of income and we may well ask what this Agreement does for turkey producers. It does nothing significant except, perhaps, to their detriment. I cannot find the Article in the Agreement dealing with this subject but I can tell the House that one Article gives the British Government the right to export turkeys to Ireland. That is clearly set down in the Agreement and it will not make very comforting reading for many people throughout the country.

The Minister for Agriculture touched on another matter to which I shall refer as a little industry—apple-growing. Replying to questions, he implied that energetic people engaged in apple-growing here would have a market in Britain. When I questioned him on the subject, he admitted that the United Kingdom produce more apples than it requires. Surely there is no question of finding a market for apples in a country which produces more than its own requirements of apples. The Minister had to agree that we import apples from Britain and this Agreement guarantees rights for future imports. According to Article III, Ireland shall import apples from Britain during the months of March to July free of import duty. During the other months Ireland shall import 3,000 tons of apples at a duty of not more than one penny and if any more are required, at a duty not exceeding twopence. It is the British Minister dealing with apples who should be talking about a market and not our Minister for Agriculture because Britain has secured an apple market here instead of the reverse. That is all very well, but people reading the Minister's remarks here today might be foolish [1381] enough to go into apple-growing and eventually find that there is no export market.

The we come along to fish. The Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries today indicated that the prospects for fishermen under this Agreement were promising. Following his remarks, I looked through the Agreement to try to find what the bright prospects for fishermen were and I must say that, coming from the town of Schull, I dislike very much the terms of the Agreement in so far as fishermen are concerned. In my constituency of SouthWest Cork our fishermen cannot sell their catches occasionally at reasonable prices. Now we find that the Agreement gives Britain rights to sell fish in this country. It might be no harm if our fishermen were made aware of this fact because I think this provision is very unfair to them. I sympathise with them because the Government, instead of being diligent about their interests, are willing to allow imports of fish from Britain.

Each year during the debate on the Fisheries Estimate Deputies on all sides advocate the use of restrictions on imports of fish because we are able to provide sufficient fish of high quality to meet our requirements. The Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries deserves no kudos for that part of the Agreement. I cannot see anything in it that is likely to be helpful to our Irish fishermen. Even Government speakers agree that that is what we have got now but there are two sides to every Agreement and we are coming now to what we had to give away.

When we examine the Agreement in detail under the different headings, as I have tried to do, we find we have got very little. There is an additional market for butter and there is an improvement in lamb but with regard to store cattle there is no indication of any increase in price. There is a probability of an increase of £5 or £6 as a result of the reduction from three months to two months in regard to deficiency payment. That is an exaggeration. The improvement in that respect is likely to be slight. Mark you, we are giving good value to Britain so far as agricultural products are concerned.

[1382] We have established a great reputation for agricultural products. Mark you it is not the pound of Irish bacon the British housewife buys in London that the Irish housewife can buy in Dublin. I understand that last year 98 per cent of our bacon and pig meat exports went to Britain. All the bacon we export to Britain is mainly A.1 specials. Grades X, C and B may be all right for the fellow living in the back streets of Dublin and in the rural districts but, in order to compete with other countries, who export to England, we must ensure that the English get A.1 grade. The people in England can have A.1 bacon, which they receive from here, on their tables. That is a great advantage to them. They are assured of getting first class bacon without any fat.

A number of speakers more conversant with the position dealt at length with the industrial development implications of this Agreement. Having regard to the different cases made, the different claims made and the different comments from various bodies of people, it can be agreed that this Agreement will be detrimental to industrial development here. It was all very fine to be told by the Taoiseach yesterday that he more than any other man was responsible for industrial development here and that for a number of years, to use his own expression, he kept the industries in swaddling clothes. Now he proposes, possibly with the agreement of Deputy Lemass, junior, to remove these clothes and those industries must go out to face competition. We all agree it is difficult to continue protection for industries having regard to the many changes taking place in industrial development and in trading over recent years and that there must be some dismantling of tariffs and concessions must be granted. If that assertion is to be approved of and agreed, how then can we tell that to anyone in SouthWest Cork, or Kerry, Clare, Mayo, Galway or anyone in the twelve counties which are supposed to be given special treatment, and where teams are being set up to develop industry in any way they possibly can? In my opinion— it is not correct to say it is my opinion [1383] but it is the opinion which I have got from many people who are much more conversant with industrial development than I am—this Agreement sounds the death knell of industrial development in rural Ireland, particularly those parts of Ireland about which the Government recently seemed to be so concerned from the point of view of developing and setting up industries there.

We know those western counties have suffered very much from emigration. In recent years the people had to go away because there was no work or employment for them at home. In the peninsula I come from, Mizen Head, as I mentioned in the Dáil 12 months ago, one of the priests attached to the parish of Goleen, the next parish to my own, indicated from his statistics and the returns he made, having gone into the position closely, that 600 people left the parish over a very short period. That is a sizeable proportion of the total population. We have the Berehaven Peninsula and we also have the Sheep's Head Peninsula. Those were three populous peninsulas in days gone by but they have been denuded of their inhabitants. If anything will ensure that more of them will go, I believe it is this Agreement because side by side with agriculture these people were hoping that some small industries would be established with a view to giving employment to a number of people in those districts.

Deputy S. Dunne quoted this morning a statement by the President —and everybody knows this—that as a result of free trade the small men must go and if the small men must go, the small industries must go. In the not too distant future, when the tariffs are steadily dismantled, ten per cent this year, ten per cent next year and ten per cent the year after, there will be no room for small industries here. With regard to the large industries in England where the population is 15 or 16 times what we have here, where they have big manufacturing plants, this country will become a handy outlet for their surplus requirements. Their prices will be far below [1384] the prices at which our small factories here can produce.

It is quite evident to me, from my appraisal of the position, that industrial development in those areas has received a death blow. There is no use in these county development teams who are now getting secretarial assistance going out to establish industries. Having regard to what has happened here, I think there is little likelihood of getting small industries for any of these places. In addition, there is also the likelihood that in places where small industries exist at present those industries will be closed down. It is one thing to say there is no prospect of getting increased industries in these places but it will be a big blow to this country, particularly to the western districts from Donegal down, where we have existing industries, maybe not very big, but at the same time giving reasonable employment, if these industries are to suffer.

People in Dublin city and in Cork city are fearful that many industries in our bigger centres of population are likely to suffer as well. We are all national minded and we have to speak here on a national basis. It would be deplorable if workers in factories in Dublin and vicinity, in Cork and in other areas, became redundant as a result of the implications of this policy as time passed and that they would find themselves out of employment and possibly having to emigrate. I am not personally acquainted with the Taoiseach and I do not know whether he was joking or not when he said for every factory that had to close six would rise. I think he was joking.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange He said five would spring up.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy He said that five would spring up. I do not think that is possible. In my opinion, there is no prospect of any factory springing up where a factory is closed down. The Taoiseach should not give false impressions.

We are now in the second year of the Second Programme for Economic Expansion. We were told that a big target was set, which we all hope we will be [1385] able to achieve. I understand that we hope to employ almost 8,000 extra workers anually, in order to achieve our employment goal, but I believe we are not making much headway in that direction. We have to be factual in our statements here. The position is that instead of our employment content improving, it is reducing, and reducing significantly, and many people who were employed in recent times have now become unemployed and have to go to the labour exchanges. I think the credit squeeze and the restrictions which have been imposed by the Government are responsible for that.

The Taoiseach made a significant statement today when he said that the decision to reduce the amount of money available to county councils for house repairs and the continuation of people in employment was a decision of the bank directors at the behest of the Government. We have been trying to get to the bottom of that for some time and the Taoiseach made the position quite clear so far as that aspect is concerned. I cannot see any justifiable reason why the Government should say to the bank directors two months ago that they were not to give £45,000 to Cork County Council for house repairs and to continue people in employment.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan The Deputy is travelling outside the scope of the motion.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy I know it is a little outside it, but it follows on the Taoiseach's statement.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan It does not.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy Before the Parliamentary Secretary leaves I should like to give him some statistics. I am sure he will not doubt these returns, the returns of the numbers registered at employment exchanges and branch offices of the Department of Social Welfare.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan It is not relevant to the motion before the House.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy I am telling you, Sir, that it has this relevance——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan Unfortunately, I am the authority.

[1386]Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy I know you are the authority. The reason we are voicing our objections to the Agreement is that we feel that we did not get enough, and that Britain got the best of the Agreement. Members of the Labour Party have to take into account that in the past year 5,555 extra people were unemployed. Instead of achieving this target of 7,800 extra workers, this document shows that the figure is down by 5,555 and of those 5,555, 5,341 are men. It is clear that we are not progressing, and that is why, after a good deal of deliberation, and a number of discussions examining every Article of this Agreement carefully and diligently, we as a Party came to the conclusion that there was no course open to us other than to oppose this Agreement by our votes. We feel that the impact on industrial development will be unfavourable, and that the agricultural community did not get what they should have got. We are backing our assertion with statements made in the House by different Labour Party speakers, which indicate clearly that our views are reasonable and fair.

I should like to conclude by expressing my disappointment, if I may move now from the national to the local scene, that, so far as my people in South-West Cork are concerned, whether they are farmers, road workers a few industrial workers, shop assistants, fishermen, poultry people, apple growers, this Agreement has nothing in it for them. I am sure Deputy Collins will agree with me in that. We are spending so much time dealing with this because of the exaggerated statements, the false and deceptive statements, that have been made by Government spokesmen trying to divert attention from the credit restrictions which were imposed by the Government and which exist today, possibly through Government mismanagement. We feel they have achieved, to some extent, their purpose of diverting attention from the credit difficulties which confront many of our people today. Unfortunately, I cannot commend this Agreement and consequently I propose to vote against it.

Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins Zoom on Seán Collins The time has come [1387] for a factual appraisal of this Agreement. I know the trumpets have blared and I know that this Agreement has witnessed the final burial of Fianna Fáil's stupidity in their one-time claim to self-sufficiency. I know we have reached the stage where we can now appraise the indiscriminate slaughter of the calves and the stupidity of the Economic War. We have now reached the stage where fortunately for this country, Fianna Fáil have arrived at some kind of political maturity. I know it must be very difficult for them to regurgitate and recant virtually all the rubbish they spewed over this country so successfully for many years. They virtually have to regurgitate their former vomit. That is a crude description of their recanting of a policy which cost this country not only economic development but also far too many lives.

I am not putting a tooth in the contempt I have for their masquerading, for their machinations, and for their successful political balderdash over the years, that cost Irish agriculture and the country's economic development an immense amount of money that we can hardly now conceive and, at the same time, allowed this spurious rubbish to blind the Irish people to what was a facade built up for political purposes only.

Let there be no doubt at all about it, no matter what the Press says, and no matter how Fianna Fáil may cloak this Agreement, the unfortunate reality of the situation is that the ineptitude, the paucity of effort, the lack of concept of this Government, put them in a position that they were not fit to bargain at the rate at which they should have been able to bargain for the Irish people.

Mr. Moore: Information on Seán Moore Zoom on Seán Moore Why do you not vote against it?

Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins Zoom on Seán Collins I will make my speech and I will rub your noses much more in the dirt before I am finished. I am in a position to make my speech because of the traditions with which I am associated and I am not a bit ashamed of them. Fianna Fáil have [1388] learned their lesson that airy nonsense is not sufficient to bolster an economy. It is time the people learned that the economic foundations on which this Agreement is based were laid between 1922 and 1932 and that it was the foresight and courage of the men who were involved which made it possible for us to survive the economic disasters and lack of cogent thought from which we have suffered so much over 30 years. It is said that this is the most important Agreement to be discussed in this House since 44 years ago when the vital Articles of the Treaty of Association were discussed. Let that be so; let us take it in that concept. It is time the people realised that 44 years ago all the advantages now being boasted about in this Agreement were here, if we had the courage to see them and to use them, and that the stupid sacrifices subsequent to that were unnecessary if this nation had only grasped, in an intelligent way, what was within its capacity to develop in those circumstances. We would not then need Documents Nos. 1 and 2 and all the rubbish that you successfully tried to hide ever since. It is in the light of that that I am going to deal with this Agreement.

Somebody challenged me—a new Deputy—as to why I do not vote against this. By the time I have finished discussing this document, he will realise that we are going to treat this document as no more than it is and to praise it for what it is, but we in this Party continue in the tradition of service to the people and as long as we feel there is any glimmer of hope, or any advantage to be gained for the people in this Agreement, we will continue to support it. It is not because the Government negotiated it but because we feel our people are entitled to the highest possible service that can be given to them in this House. We have always stood for that. When the sound of the trumpets has faded, when the effort at deception in political difficulty has blown over and when people appraising this Agreement have got rid of their rose-tinted glasses, it will be realised that this in the main represents less than the 1948 Agreement and that what it gives to the country in [1389] the present situation is virtually nothing.

However, there is a potential in it which has nothing to do with the Government and which can be availed of by improving the condition of our stock and agricultural produce. Then we will be in a position to demand our market despite the Agreement if our quality is right and our quantity is sufficient. Let us get down to hard, blunt facts. The advantages can be listed where agriculture is concerned. There is an alleged improvement because of an increased butter quota but let the practical man analyse that and see what the improvement is. My colleague, Deputy Murphy, has described it as an increased subsidy to pay people outside this country to eat our butter. It is very funny reading in light of the time when we were going to starve the British and burn everything but their coal. Perhaps the practical person looking at this may see what I see, a slowing up of the diversification of milk products.

I have always been a realist, and representing a very substantial dairying part of the country, I believe that we have to appraise our dairying industry and butter products in the light of our capacity to diversify our surplus into something that will not need a subsidy and which will save the taxpayer money. This is rubbish which is being adumbrated by Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Minister for Agriculture, about a guarantee forever in relation to our stores. Do you know that the 630,000 odd stores which will make the quota are less than we were able to export a few years ago? What is more, it will be under terms that will give the British the right to get our quota filled before we can export to other markets.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Even if they were to give us £10 more per head for cattle.

Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins Zoom on Seán Collins It is time that even the Press, with all due respect to them, stopped blowing trumpets and started to look at the realities of this. Of course, it is a most convenient time. God knows, one could say an awful lot against Fianna Fáil but one will always admire their “neck” and their capacity for exploiting a situation when they are [1390] in political difficulties. With the aftermath of Christmas and the kind of black shirt and dark clothes to be worn in the future, with credit squeeze difficulties and so on, they blow trumpets about Agreements to try to create an aura around a political effort that is only a bubble.

I do not want to be particularly offensive to our neighbour when I say that we are perfectly aware of their delightful suavity when breaching agreements with this country. It was not only with the imposition of special levies that we in Ireland experienced the capacity of our neighbour to brush agreements aside. That is my difficulty in the main with this Agreement because there must be the haunting spectre at the back of our minds that at their convenience, whether it is Brother Harold, who has been so euphemistically described as having intervened at a vital stage when all might have been lost, or whether it is a new Conservative Government under Mr. Heath, they will continue to subscribe to this Agreement only as long as it suits the convenience of Her Majesty's, or His Majesty's Government, whichever it may be. We could very well endanger other avenues of outlet if the Government allowed themselves to be mesmerised into the belief that there is some panacea for all our economic ills in the Agreement.

I am warning this House solemnly that they should take this Agreement for no more than it is. You can list the alleged advantages to our agricultural economy, every one of which was there in unlimited degree before the stupidity of 1932 commenced. The basis of trade between Great Britain and Ireland in 1932 was infinitely better than anything in this Agreement. This Agreement lays to rest forever, fitfully and unsung, the economic theories once so strongly advocated by the present Government Party that we could manage without anybody, that we did not want the British market, that we had ourselves alone and we were going to be self-sufficient. We were going to live in some isolated, queer Hy-Brazil of our own. Even though the burial is belated, I hope the obsequies will be complete. It is nearly time this country [1391] was given a positive opportunity to go ahead.

I want to deal now with carcase beef and the alleged advantage there. Is it real in the light of the developments since 1948? Of course, it is not. If you analyse it, it can be of benefit to us only so long as it is in the interests of the English buyers to buy our carcase beef. So long as it is in their interests, even if we produce substantially in excess of the quota, it will all be taken.

But what is the position with regard to pig development, a most serious matter from the point of view of the people I represent? Pig production is used by small farmers and cottier farmers to supplement their earnings from road work and intermittent employment. What guarantee is there for an extended and unlimited market for pigs? What confidence can there be that this Agreement will give Irish agriculture the impetus for expansion and development it vitally needs? This is required if Irish agriculture is to carry, as it must in the main carry, the burden of overcoming difficulties I shall be referring to later in respect of changing industry here and the effort to try to maintain Irish men and women at home, for whom the emigrant ship will be hungry if we cannot bring about a proper adjustment in respect of industrial development here.

This is no debate to take lightheartedly. We have to put this Agreement into the context of what advantage it is going to give us in extricating ourselves from the appalling morass of economic chaos into which this Government have willy-nilly led us. They were either blind or too careless to appraise the economic factors building up around them. This Agreement is fraught with danger on the industrial side. There may be people naive enough—indeed it is obvious from the tone of the Press and of statements by many organisations—to believe the rubbish that there is going to be an expansion in certain industries here as well as new industries. I forecast that in the future many Irish industries may go to the wall simply because a slight over-production in the big British plants will enable them to [1392] swamp markets here, to the detriment of Irish industry and labour. Many of the big industries in England coming into this free trade area will be far better fitted to meet the demand of the Irish market by a gradual improvement of output, development and automation and because of the fact that the greater the surplus output is, the lesser the price you have to get for it in order to make good your overheads.

Will anybody tell me in the light of that how there can be any speculation that increased benefit will be secured by the unfortunate industrial workers here? We are aware that many of our industries, as described by the Taoiseach, had swaddling clothes. Many of them are now gradually growing into manhood. This Agreement may arrest that growth or make development impossible for a number of them. We had better not talk about empty factories today when we have to think of those that may be empty tomorrow. Perhaps it is fortunate that Potez Aerospace, or whatever that beautiful lagoon factory is, has not yet become an employer because it may face redundancy under this Agreement.

We have to keep the Government's feet on the ground. We have to keep the mind of the House on the responsibility it owes to the Irish nation. No ballyhoo and no blare of trumpets about the interim position between the two countries can alter the fact that we have a nation suffering from grave economic stress and growing unrest, which is naturally manifesting itself in deteriorating industrial relations. What is there in this Agreement to give hope to people who are already anxious about the survival of industries at present, and indeed about the survival of one of our big national concerns?

I have made it clear that the Fine Gael policy of not voting against this Agreement is based on the fact that we regard it in some ways as a modernisation of the 1948 Agreement but at least as an interim basis on which we can continue trade relations. I can understand the attitude of mind of my colleagues in the Labour Party in voting against this Agreement because all the Taoiseach or all the [1393] Minister for Industry and Commerce has done is to produce airy-fairy vapourings about what might happen. Nobody is coming in here to give us an assurance of what will happen and that, in the event, for instance, of the car assembly industry having to close down, there is a plan of rearrangement, of reappraisal and a guarantee of a job in an alternative industry. When that is not there, I can understand the anxiety of people who have responsibility for the workers and for the lives and security of people over a broad section of the Irish economy. I can understand why they continue to press in opposition when they get nothing but airy-fairy vapourings.

When I find the Taoiseach in that truculent, assertive mood that he can so readily command, I know he is more wrong than ever before. I challenged him here on the floor of this House when he made his dramatic speech about “We go it alone into the EEC.” When I told him, 12 months before the decision was taken, that neither he nor Britain would get into it he laughed at me. There was no truculence or laugh when he had to eat crow.

The situation about this Agreement is that we welcome it and exult in the fact that, after 40 years odd, we have taught Fianna Fáil the folly of their stupid economic thinking. But, from now on, they will do their job in government or we shall force them, as quickly as possible, to get out and to make way for a Government who will. There is no use in trying to use the printed terms of an agreement to blind the Irish people to the fact that there are uncertainty and unrest in industry and that there is nothing like the development and expansion in agriculture that there should be and the reasons are that there is no certainty and we are directing our minds, as we do even in this debate, to wrong issues.

We want work doing and work being done in Ireland. We want agricultural expansion and that can be achieved only by improved marketing and developing the market properly, by improved stock and by an improved sense of responsibility between all sections of the Irish people, In the final [1394] analysis, have no doubt about it, the burden of the gap that has to be made up in our export deficit will have to be carried, in the main, by the Irish farmer. I do not want to be repetitive of what my colleague, Deputy M. P. Murphy said, but there is no doubt at all that, as a consequence of this Agreement, all thought of poultry development in this country is literally dead.

We talk about industrial development. Many of us, for years, have been preaching the practicality of the development and the extension of fishing and industry supplied by fishermen. As properly referred to by Deputy M. P. Murphy, Article 7 of this Agreement gives specific guarantees to the British in relation to the import of fish into this country. We talk about fishing and its development. We send for all kinds of extraordinary agencies to tell us how to do it: I believe that Japanese and Americans are the latest varieties of experts we have called in relation to Irish waters. We cannot settle a bit of an argument between trawlermen below in Dunmore East but we are blowing trumpets about this wonderful Agreement, this panacea for all ills.

What is in this Agreement that we can shout about? I do not even regard it as an equitable bargain between two countries. It might have been better not to talk of Brother Harold but rather to get back to the imagery of Byron's Childe Harold. We could alter one of the words and say that we met thunder on the way not in a mask strangely like Castlereagh but Lemass with a trade agreement that, in fact, has no real innovations and, at its best, can be measured only in a term of a notional three per cent progress in relation to certain agricultural products.

Do not let us get away from the reality of the situation. Strip the Agreement of all these “whereases” and “whereofs”. Strip it down to basic entity and you will find that for that notional advantage to agriculture, we are putting industry in a jeopardy that is not justified in the circumstances, particularly when we can be told by the Taoiseach, with his usual truculent arrogance, that he sought this Agreement. He went [1395] farther, leading his men, a bit like the Duke of York, up the hill and down again. He went forth to seek this that Ireland might progress on some marvellous new road to Europe and from Europe into a greater integrated world. But the net effect, to me, anyway, has a sting so that we very nearly become another odoriferous feather in a defunct Commonwealth. Far from trying to get rid of what was once that terrible odium, that positive traitorous mark of affinity or associating with Britain, we are now, in fact, to have to go forth to seek Harold and his Merry Men so that we may conclude Agreements of no advantage to us.

It is difficult not to be cynical. I know it is not good national policy but when one hears the blare of trumpets, one is inclined to come to the rather sad part of it. “Step light o'er the dead in the valley,” but, in Fianna Fáil's case we have to step light over the mountains of dead calves; over the indiscriminate killing of our agricultural industry for some six or seven years. Owing to the abject, hat-in-hand, chasing after some recovery to the day that has now come, we blaze forth and say: “We never thought that way. That is all dead and forgotten. We have now grown up.” We now realise that of our own volition and on our own initiative we must run after England to seek an Agreement that has tons of paper, tons of Articles, volumes of White Papers in green covers and, in the ultimate and cruel analysis, represents a notional three per cent benefit for five aspects of agriculture and jeopardy, uncertainty and potential chaos to many branches of industry.

I heard my Leader, in his own erudite, forthright fashion ask what protection we are to have against dumping of all kinds, which can readily be envisaged by anyone who is aware of the industrial situation in this country. What protection will we get against that? Somebody described us as co-equal partners in this Agreement. It is rather reminiscent of somebody like myself going into the ring to take on the great Cassius himself when one [1396] describes Brother Harold and our Taoiseach as co-equal partners. Possibly we have one equality with them in that our Taoiseach can be as fine a talker, in fact, a better talker than Harold Wilson. But the reality of his achievement, when analysed in the cold black and white print in which we have to read it, is not capable of bearing the comparison with this gallant hero marching forth seeking this Agreement.

I want to say this before I conclude. I have always believed that some particular whim has inflicted on this country far too long a Fianna Fáil Government. I have never made any apology for that position but I say it is a tragedy that exactly 44 years to the month since this country reached the stage at which it was able to achieve every possible development, we still have it, whether in sovereignty, legal capacity, agricultural or industrial capacity. In their recanting and their admission of the right, the courage and the determination of those people, this mere pittance, this mere shadow of what a manly agreement could be, is the Government's best offer to the Irish people.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. S. Flanagan): Information on Seán Flanagan Zoom on Seán Flanagan I had not intended to intervene in this debate but Deputy Lindsay this morning, Deputy Treacy yesterday and I think also, the Leader of the Labour Party made references to the progress, or lack of it, in regard to manpower by the Government since the end of last April.

Indeed, it is necessary to say a few things in regard to specific allegations made in this House. One was made last night by Deputy Treacy, that industrialists were, to his knowledge, already either in the process of making a decision to close down or seriously considering that course. He mentioned that these people would give themselves a golden handshake and dismiss the workers on the roadside, without any repayment. I was listening to Deputy Treacy at the time and I am satisfied that what I have said is an accurate reflection of his comments. I want to say there is no justification whatsoever for that specific statement [1397] and no indication at all that any industrialists or group of industrialists are contemplating the action Deputy Treacy mentioned. I think it important that that should be said at this stage, in case either the House or the country should get the wrong impression of the effect this Agreement is likely to have industrially in Ireland.

Having listened to a fair imitation of the Redemptorists for the past half hour or so, I think it advisable that the House should get back to the real subject of discussion, which is the Free Trade Agreement and its likely effect on this country's economy. While speakers like Deputy Seán Collins and Deputy T.F. O'Higgins differ in their approach to the Agreement itself, and while the Labour Party and the Fine Gael Party differ in their attitude to it, there is one thing that is common cause between Fine Gael and Labour, that is, that the relentless march of free trade which first began after the war continues, is likely to continue in the future and, indeed, to intensify. The whole of this country must take whatever steps are necessary to fit itself agriculturally, industrially, socially and otherwise, for the changes which that development will involve.

If it is accepted that that is the truth and reality of the position, then all the accusations made by various speakers about Fianna Fáil's change in attitude over the past 30 years, all the references to policy 45 years ago, become totally irrelevant. Indeed, I suggest that a great deal of this debate has been, from that point of view, not merely irrelevant but rather degrading. It is not in Ireland alone that a protective policy was in operation 30 years ago. It is not in Ireland alone that over the past few years the policy of industrial protection by tariffs and quota has had to be changed. If we accept that this country is likely ultimately to go into EEC or some other associative trade group, then we must either adapt our policies to be able to survive in such trade association or sit back and do nothing.

Manpower policy is necessary to prevent adverse side effects on various sections of the community arising out of these necessary changes. May I say, [1398] in regard to this work, that neither the Minister for Industry and Commerce nor I would regard himself as being totally satisfied with the progress we have been able to make in the course of the past eight or nine months. I should like the House to realise that there is one practical difficulty in puting manpower proposals into practice, that is, the wide variety of interests that have to be consulted before these proposals can even be formulated. This applies, first, because the Departments of Education, Industry and Commerce and Finance are almost inextricably bound up with proposals of industrial trading and free trading and because trade unions and employers' representatives are equally interested in the details of any Government proposals in this regard.

Even more so does this apply, for instance, to the formulation of a redundancy payments scheme but I reject altogether the assertion made by Deputy Lindsay that no progress at all has been made. I was not here at the time but I got the impression from the reports I received that the Deputy hardly bothered to read the White Paper we published last October setting out the objectives of the Government in regard to manpower. Our aims are vital to both economic and social progress in Ireland arising out of the changes that will certainly take place and if we do not have (a) from Parties in the House and (b) from the public a basic understanding of our objectives, economic and social, it will certainly make our task more difficult of accomplishment.

In the past day or two, Labour speakers in particular have spoken about emigration and the effect that the operation of tariff reduction will have on employment in industry. One does not like to see employees finding themselves redundant and I am sure most people who employ workers would prefer to be able to keep them on rather than declare them redundant, but the facts of life are that in a free trade group, whether small or large, one's ability to compete is the measure of one's ability not merely to expand but to survive and therefore we must take all steps necessary to keep up with [1399] technological change and understand the human problems that will be involved both for workers and managers as a result of its being necessary to keep up with these changes and survive and prosper.

I have here a report from OECD Observer by Professor Touraine who is head of the Laboratory of Industrial Sociology in Paris. It is quite brief and it comes from the October, 1965, issue. He deals with the problem of overcoming resistance to technological change, a subject which the House will recognise we have already met in certain instances and are certain to meet again in the future. The House will know that, as I have said so often, one of our main objects is to remove from the workers' minds the fear of economic and technical change which is a normal, natural fear and is not peculiar to the Irish temperament. It is there and it is our duty to minimise and, if possible, remove it.

For instance, in regard to the closing down of mines in the south of France, he says that this aroused protests from tradesmen and parish priests and the need to seek employment elsewhere was described by some who were interviewed as “deportation”. “People,” he says, “who see established values and a way of life shattered by technical change may understand the economic need for it but cannot make sense of it in terms of any values they know. As a result, instead of being encouraged to learn new trades or seek employment elsewhere, workers may withdraw into what is left of the old community and family life, the remnants of old traditions.”

He goes on to state:

By contrast technical change may be more easily introduced into communities which are less closely knit. In the Upper Aude Valley of France, where hat-making, the traditional employment, was falling off, a new plastics factory was opened. The employees recruited, however, were not former hat-makers but people drawn from a wide radius in the countryside around. Their expectations were [1400] different, and the change, rather than threatening their way of life, introduced new opportunities for them.

It is in the economically most diversified communities that changes can be most readily accepted.

Later on in the article, the writer refers to the reactions to this at the level of trade unions. Again I quote:

At the level of the trade union, the attitude towards change in society is also an important force in shaping response to particular changes. The so-called voluntary trade unions, believing strongly that technical change is associated with progress and social evolution, have taken the view that it is the mission of the trade unions to press for technical change so as to overcome social backwardness; and their claims will generally be based on the potential or achievement of technological progress. This is in contrast with other trade union attitudes, for example the one typical of craft unions in many countries in which leaders, having no particular convictions about technical progress, focus negotiations on a search for gains. In this context change often appears as a troublesome force.

It will be seen therefore that the difficulties, human and organisational, that are likely to confront this country, whether we think in terms of this particular Agreement or in terms of EEC or some other wider association, are not by any means peculiar to us, although obviously in manpower there are bound to be particular difficulties since the difficulties of any particular country are, in certain respects, individual to it. In Canada, for instance, there is a great difficulty in the lack of winter employment because of the weather. In Sweden, the disparity between the north and the south of the country is quite different from the disparity between the congested areas here and our east coast areas. The basic human problem remains and must be viewed in the light of certain figures that have recently been produced by the National Industrial [1401] Economic Council regarding our production.

May I say that I am not aware that any Party in this House or any Deputy seriously objects to the main conclusions of NIEC regarding changes likely to take place in the employment structure in Ireland in the years ahead? As the House knows, the NIEC is a representative body——

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully Except in the case of agriculture.

Mr. S. Flanagan: Information on Seán Flanagan Zoom on Seán Flanagan They deal mainly with industrial factors.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully They are not supposed to do so. They are supposed to be national.

Mr. S. Flanagan: Information on Seán Flanagan Zoom on Seán Flanagan Their conclusions in regard to the industrial sector have not, I think, been criticised. In a recent report it was pointed out that the unit cost of production in this country in recent years has risen by 17 per cent during a period when the rise in unit cost production in Great Britain was only six per cent and the unit cost of production in the United States of America had actually fallen by five per cent. This will show that we have a considerable way to go in regard to adaptation of our industry to meet the challenge of free trade.

Of course, the adaptation that has already taken place has not been even in regard to industry generally. It would be invidious to name any particular industry but some industries, through their adaptation councils, have made rapid and consistent progress and are continuing to do so. I should like in regard to those councils which have functioned so well to congratulate all those concerned, whether employer, trade union or otherwise, on their efforts to achieve the objects of the Government in making the grants and so forth available to them for these necessary adaptation measures.

The fact that our unit cost of production has risen so much in recent years is something which, as the Taoiseach pointed out yesterday, makes it all the more imperative that anybody associated with industrial production [1402] should not look for any escape clause in the Free Trade Agreement but should look to making his undertaking as efficient and as productive as possible to meet the challenge ahead. Even at that, there will certainly be, as in all other countries, dislocation; there will certainly be redundancy. To complain, because this is a fact, that the Government are heartless is merely to shirk the issue. I should hope that the remaining speakers, especially from the Labour Party, will cease crying about——

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey Unemployed workers.

Mr. S. Flanagan: Information on Seán Flanagan Zoom on Seán Flanagan ——the fact that there will be redundancy and face up to what every other country——

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey With a background of full employment.

Mr. S. Flanagan: Information on Seán Flanagan Zoom on Seán Flanagan ——has had to face up to, that with technical change, you will inevitably have movement in labour from one industry to another.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey What are you going to do about it?

Mr. Mullen: Information on Michael Mullen Zoom on Michael Mullen He does not know.

Mr. S. Flanagan: Information on Seán Flanagan Zoom on Seán Flanagan I have listened since 1.45 p.m. with great patience, and I will not tolerate interruptions from Cluskey or anybody else.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey The Parliamentary Secretary waited to read his brief.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully Is that the way to address a Deputy?

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey Is this an indication of what the Government know about free trade?

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully Is the Parliamentary Secretary entitled to address a Deputy by his surname?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin The Parliamentary Secretary is entitled to make his speech without interruption and Deputies who interrupt may have to take what they get.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully On a point of order, is the Parliamentary Secretary [1403] entitled to refer to Deputy Cluskey as “Cluskey”? Is that the way he is allowed to address a Deputy in this House?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin It is not the usual practice.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully The Chair does not seem to take much note of it.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin The Chair is taking note of the fact that there are too many interruptions and Deputies who raise points of order should remember that. The Parliamentary Secretary should be allowed to speak without interruption.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully I have not interrupted anybody.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin The Deputy's colleagues have been continually interrupting the Parliamentary Secretary.

Mr. S. Flanagan: Information on Seán Flanagan Zoom on Seán Flanagan One of the measures taken to minimise the fear of change to which I have referred is the introduction of a scheme of redundancy payments coupled with a scheme of resettlement allowances to promote geographical mobility of labour. In that connection, the proposals of the Government are already in the hands of the trade union and employers' representatives and, as a matter of extreme urgency, I have asked them to try to process their consideration into the shortest possible time. I do, indeed, appreciate that at this stage the people who are most prominent at both trade union and employer level are extremely busy with consultations about various industrial disturbances and, indeed, general policy about wages and so forth but I should hope that they will find it possible to let us have their observations on our redundancy proposals within the next five to six weeks and we will then be in a position to furnish them to the Dáil.

With regard to the Industrial Training Bill, this, as the House knows, was introduced in December, towards the end of the session, and it is hoped to circulate the text of the Bill in the [1404] next few weeks, depending on the amount of pressure on the Parliamentary Draftsman's Office. Again, this will be a vital instrument in our hands to enable us to set up suitable schemes for acceleration of vocational training, for retraining where necessary and for training within industry where that is possible, and so on. All of the steps have been sufficiently detailed in various speeches by the Minister and by myself and I am sure the House knows all about them already.

We have been consistently criticised over the last few months because of the initial decision to place the improvement of the employment service in the hands of the Department of Social Welfare on an agency basis for the Department of Industry and Commerce and again, yesterday, Deputy Treacy of the Labour Party objected to this decision. I am aware that this is possibly a justifiable attitude but when we took up the task of examining what the manpower requirements of this country were, a few months ago, we realised that this was a matter of extreme urgency and, therefore, that it might be better, as an initial step at any rate, to entrust the task to the Department of Social Welfare which was already at least partially geared for expanded effort in this field. I do fully accept and agree that there is a pressing need for the elaboration of data on a national and regional basis with regard to labour and that more, possibly upgraded, staff will be needed to procure that data. I also appreciate that, in present circumstances, to expand the force that will be available to do this work either under the aegis of the Department of Social Welfare, or under the aegis of the Department of Industry and Commerce is not an easy matter. We can only hope that the importance of the work will be taken as a prime consideration, because we need, above all, to re-examine our labour position to see what actual labour potential we have and then break it down into reasonably accurate data in relation to the skills that labour force has. Our information in this connection is altogether too sparse and I do not think it is wrong to say that the so-called [1405] register of unemployed is not at all realistic, since quite a number of people, several thousands, perhaps up to 20,000, on the so-called live register could not properly be described as live at all.

The other matter I should like to mention in relation to manpower is perhaps the most important of all. I refer to the manpower forecasting service. So far, we have only the global figures given by NIEC in regard to the projected change in employment in agriculture and in industry over the next five years. Here, again, we need very much more accurate information and data. We have come up against a practical difficulty in that people technically equipped to do this statistical work and to interpret it in sociological terms are extremely hard to find. The Government are alive to the necessity for reviving this service with all possible speed. If necessary, we shall have to go outside this country if suitably qualified technical people are not available here.

There are two or three other matters with which I should like to deal. One concerns a statement made by Deputy Lindsay, a statement echoed by Deputy M.P. Murphy, to the effect that this Agreement effectively kills the hope of the western areas in regard to new industry. Although I am not sure, as I was not here at the time, I think Deputy Lindsay implied that we could no longer give special consideration to industrialists proposing to start up in the underdeveloped areas. That, of course, is not so. Not merely will this Government continue to give aid to the establishment of new industries but they will continue to be in a position to give bigger grants where the industries involved are being set up in the congested or underdeveloped areas. In that connection the disparity between the grants which can be given in the congested areas as compared with other areas is quite considerable.

The House and the country must realise, I think, that even with the best will in the world, no Government here, or elsewhere, can embark on a policy of establishing industry in an area or in circumstances in which it is not likely [1406] to survive. Indeed, to do so would be socially and perhaps morally wrong because it would raise the hopes of the people that permanence in employment would be accorded to them when, in fact, that was not so. The truth is that you cannot put social and economic considerations in conflict with each other. They must agree and, if any particular project or undertaking is put down in an area merely for social reasons, when the economics are against it, that is bad policy and policy which will not endure.

I agree that having to face reality in regard to some of these matters may be difficult but, in regard to the western areas, I do not accept that specialised industries cannot be attracted there and cannot have a viable economic future there. To suggest, however, that the Government, merely for the sake of keeping the people from emigrating from, say, Berehaven, should put down an industry which would have no real hope of survival is to be totally unrealistic about what Government are entitled to do with the taxpayer's money.

I should mention that the reorganisation of vocational, post-primary and secondary education which is being carried out at the moment is being done in close collaboration with the Minister for Industry and Commerce, who was a former Minister for Education, and his successor in that office, with a view to keeping the future manpower requirements very closely in mind from the point of view of any changes introduced. Obviously education, especially vocational education, and the activities of the Industrial Training Authority are one and the same thing and, equally obviously then, the Ministers for Education and Industry and Commerce must keep in close touch with each other in relation to any changes inaugurated by either of them. This, in fact, is the position. To ensure that there will be a coherent application of these policies where more than one departmental interest is involved, an inter-departmental committee at official level has been established for the purpose of regulating so that the Ministers involved will be able [1407] to keep abreast of the changes that must be made from time to time.

All countries which have made a serious effort to tackle manpower problems have discovered their original ideas have always had to undergo considerable change in the light of their practical experience in operation. That is true of Canada. It is true of Sweden. It is true of Britain. It is likely to be true here. All we can do, therefore, at this stage is to set up the necessary machinery and see how it operates in practice. We can do this only after examining in as great detail as we can the problems that are peculiar to ourselves as well as those which have arisen in roughly similar circumstances elsewhere. We have done all that. We have prepared our proposals. They will be debated here in the course of the next few months. If and when necessary, we shall not hesitate to take whatever further steps experience may dictate because it is at least recognised now and agreed, that an active manpower policy is an integral and essential component of general economic and social policy-making.

The Government attach great importance to this work and recognise the key role that an effective manpower policy will certainly play, especially in the industrial field but also in the agricultural field in the years ahead. In Ireland, as in Britain and practically every other country throughout the world, these are going to continue to be years of great and rapid change, change which in some cases may appear to be undesirable and indeed may and will sometimes have undesirable consequences, but change which is no less inevitable as we in the Government recognise. But we will do everything in our power from the human point of view to minimise the human hardship involved, recognising that over all, Free Trade Agreement or no, we must be competitive or fail.

We do not intend to fail. We believe that we not merely can survive but will prosper. We believe that this Agreement is a basis for an improvement in the prosperity of this [1408] country in the years ahead, if this House and if the Irish people are prepared to leave unnecessary emotion, unnecessary looking back, behind them and take an unemotional, sensible look at the practical problems they will face and, we hope and believe, surmount.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan Zoom on Stephen Coughlan When we come to consider this Agreement, we do so with grave misgiving. First of all, when one makes an agreement or a bargain, one must consider the opposite number to the agreement. I remember when the big bands were playing down the middle of the streets of Limerick and appeals were made to the people to join up to fight for the freedom of small nations, the unfortunate people were led to believe that this was the cause for which they were fighting. We come to later times and have to consider the statements, the bands and the horse parades through the streets of Limerick during election time, leading the Chief up to the platform, when they promise this, that and the other. One must take into account the background of both those elements.

It is not so very long ago that we fought two by-elections. We were told the country was never better off, that we never had it so good. Everybody got a substantial increase, particularly the civil servants, who got a fine lump sum for themselves. When the game was over and when full time was called, what was the position? We came back to this House and we were told no later than two months ago that there was no such thing as a credit squeeze. We were told today by the Taoiseach's son that the Government ordered the banks to operate a credit squeeze. We have been told now by the Parliamentary Secretary that he is going to get data for a manpower policy. I can bring him to Limerick and give him all the data he wants. People are leaving Limerick in scores at the present time, skilled men, because of the collapse of the building trade.

We must take cognisance of the fact that the trumpets are played now and again to gull the people, as was done in the past by both elements. We believe [1409] in the Labour benches that this bargain was a panic bargain, a bargain made because of necessity. It was a bargain made to the betterment of one side and the detriment of the other. That bargain was made at this particular time because the country was never worse off. We are now trying to pull our heels out of the bog in which we have been stuck because of our own indolence and because of our refusal to accept the economic facts presented to us. When we were talking about Nobel Prizes this morning, we should have mentioned Mr. Whitaker as a competitor against the Minister for External Affairs.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin It is not in order to refer to individuals in this House.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan Zoom on Stephen Coughlan With all due respect, you allowed the Taoiseach's son to mention the Pope this morning, and there was not a word about it.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin The Deputy is referring to Deputy Lemass.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully Deputy Seán Flanagan referred to a Deputy by his surname, and it was all right.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin The Chair could not hear everything, with the interruptions from the benches.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully The Chair heard Deputy Seán Flanagan calling Deputy Cluskey by his surname and did nothing about it.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin I would again ask Deputy Coughlan not to mention officials by name. It is not in order.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan Zoom on Stephen Coughlan Interviews were given and the TV stage was set, the homecomings were organised and we were told about the great bargain we were getting, that we were again on the road to prosperity. How many times has this talk of the road to prosperity recurred in the past 20 or 30 years? Prior to every election, the Fianna Fáil Party tell us that we are on the road to prosperity. I remember hearing it the [1410] day I made my First Communion, and I am still hearing it.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery Surely that was before the foundation of Fianna Fáil?

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan Zoom on Stephen Coughlan I do not know. It all depends on how backward they are in Miltown-Malbay. We are told this represents a vast improvement for agriculture, that the farmers and the people depending on farming and farm products are secure for ever and a day, in the words of the Minister for Agriculture this morning, in secula seculorum. But what is the position? We are asked to give what we always give. I believe cattle on the hoof is a bad means of exchange and that it does not affect to any measurable degree the economy of the country. We are told that our quota of lamb will be increased. There is a very good reason for that. Over the past 12 or 18 months, the French demand for lamb could hardly be filled here at prices much higher than those on the British market. Britain is now securing that instead of lamb being flown out of Shannon Airport, it must now be sent at a much lower price to the British market. They must think we are all a lot of lambs when they put this up to us and think we do not know what is happening all round us.

Then we are told our butter quota is to be increased. The brutal facts of butter-making are these: it takes about two-and-a-half gallons of milk to make one pound of butter. I wish we could stop talking about making butter and turn our milk into other products so that more employment will be given. We have used every possible hour and minute of the time of this House to impress upon the Minister for Agriculture and those associated with the Department of Agriculture that the quicker they get away from the manufacture of butter, the better.

We believe that because of this agricultural Agreement, rural Ireland will be denuded of its male labour. Every farm can carry only one or two of the family. Where are the others to go? There must be some outlet for them. At the moment we are told about this great agricultural bargain. What in [1411] reality are we about to face? In rural Ireland two live at home at the moment and the rest of them pack their bags and go into industrial employment or emigrate. The quicker we realise the facts about this grand agricultural avalanche that is about to hit us, the better. It is fraudulent in the extreme to try to gull the people, particularly of rural Ireland, with pictures of prosperity in the future.

I come now to the industrial situation and the future of industry in this country. When considering industry in the context of this Agreement, we must look around and see where and how industry is operated. I ask the Minister and the Deputies present to throw their minds back to a visit they paid to the Industrial Estate at Shannon. They saw hundreds of people gainfully employed there, many of whom travelled up to 40 miles to work in the morning and 40 miles back in the afternoon. The people concerned in those industries got big hand-outs from the Government, good assistance, but we must lay that type of industry side by side with the old-established, traditional industrial projects. They are the industries that should concern us most in this situation. I have in mind particularly certain factories in my city which have existed for generations.

These industries cannot now get the loan of a pound to expand, develop and reach a position to compete. As I have said, they should get first consideration. Instead, we are told that some of them will have to turn the key in the door. If there was any honesty in this Agreement, surely the first thing a sensible Government would do is to go out and find the people who will be most affected by it. Why not bring such people together, both labour and management, put the position before them and say: “Look, you may be facing a storm. We want you to be protected; we want you to gear yourselves for competition”?

Did we get that? What we got was the Taoiseach on television and if ever a man did a bit of swivelling, of ducking down the centre of a field, it [1412] was the Taoiseach. He produced evasion after evasion in face of strong questioning. The people who have put their hands in their pockets to try to start small industries in towns and cities throughout the country are now in a fog. They do not know where they are. All they are told is that they will have to close down. The workers, on the other hand, are told they will be absorbed in alternative employment. Where, in the name of all that is intelligent, can a man of 45, 50 or 60 years of age be placed in alternative employment in industry, having spent the best part of his life engaged in work completely contrary to what he may be asked to do under the provisions of this Agreement?

The only prospect I see in this is of massive take-over bids. Industry in this country is about to face that challenge and I am sorry to say it will be defeated. Vast high-geared industrial efforts in Britain will move in or they will dump here and call it something else. On the other hand, we will not be allowed to export one head of cattle, one ton of bacon or one lamb more than provided for. They can throw what they like in here and still we will be told it is not dumping.

I fail to see any advantages for industry in this Agreement. If there are any, I cannot find them. We have been told that the motor car industry will close down. I do not know how many other industries will follow— footwear and clothing, perhaps. We do not know where we are going, so for that reason this pig in a poke bargaining does not suit my way of life or my Party's way at all. For that reason, we condemn it because we see in it all give and very little take. If we are going to enter Europe and a United Nations of Europe, we will enter it as equals, equal with the man from the other nation who sits beside us, but in this Agreement there is no equality. It is all one way to the detriment of the Irish people.

We are told there will be no emigration. We have that from the Parliamentary Secretary. There is no other alternative because no responsible family man will stand at the corner of [1413] the labour exchange every morning waiting to go in and put his initials on a piece of paper to qualify for a miserable couple of shillings. The very day that man realises the implications of the Agreement—as happened in Limerick in the building trade this week—he will pack his tools and go over to England where he will get work. This is what will happen all around because of the bad planning.

This was a panic bargain; it was a panic bargain because of necessity. We had a forthright statement from the Chairman of CIE yesterday that there is not a penny in the kitty. I wish to goodness the Taoiseach would be as honest and tell us the same position prevails with regard to the country today. We all agree that technical knowledge is not as widespread as it should be. Who is to blame for that? What were our Ministers for Education doing down through the years? Where were our vocational schools and why were they not developed? We had another scare story this morning in the papers with regard to the relationship that will in future exist between secondary, primary and vocational education. This is another pipe dream that will never be realised. Pupils will attend one school for one class and travel four miles to another school for another class. They will not change their classes. Was there ever such nonsense heard in a generation?

The same thing applies to this Agreement, despite the trumpeting and hand-clapping. We will wake up, as we woke up after the last general election, and every other election, when it was too late. The view of the Labour benches is that this is a damn bad bargain.

Now we come to what is very near and dear to some of us and that is the political, or at least the lack of political future, or any political outlook, in the document we got during the week. Where are all the old catch-cries we heard when we were young about our independence and that we would stand only as equal partners with the other nations of Europe? Where are they all today? Have we forgotten about the whipping of John Bull? A [1414] statement was made here. What about the time we were told about destroying all the ships crossing the Irish Sea? What about the time we were all told to drink light beer, that tea was detrimental to our health?

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange And honey was better for our health.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne This was received very enthusiastically.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan Zoom on Stephen Coughlan Particularly by the Pioneer Association and he himself one of the leading lights in it.

A Deputy: He has changed a bit since then.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan Zoom on Stephen Coughlan On the other hand, we are told that the gentleman, Harold Wilson, brought us over and that this is an Agreement signed, as the Minister for Agriculture said this morning, for ever and a day. We all remember the famous Treaty of Limerick. Will anyone tell me that any treaty since that day was honoured by the people we are giving all the praise to today? What did they do 12 months ago when they put on their tariff? What consideration did they give to us? They have us where they want us, financially and politically. If we think we will enter into a United Nations of Europe as equals it is time we woke up. We will go in at the behest of the great John Bull. We will go in as his puppet and as the people who are paying his people to eat our food. These will be the conditions and we are told we sat down as equals. If we sat down as equals we got up as slaves because we had to take everything and do what we were told.

We in the Labour benches now want the people of Ireland to realise, consider and take note that when all the trumpets and the fanfares are silent and when all the deceptions and skulduggery are laid bare, that it was the Labour Party who tried to expose and bring to light the fraudulent agreement now perpetrated on the Irish people.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan This Agreement, whether we receive it with enthusiasm or otherwise, is now a fact of our political, [1415] economic, moral and legal life. It is an inescapable fact and it seems it is an unpleasant one but we do not do any service to the people of this country to contend that an Agreement, which was signed on behalf of this country by its Taoiseach, and signed on behalf of Britain by the Prime Minister of that country, is not a binding Agreement. That being so, there was clearly an immense and an inescapable moral obligation on the Taoiseach, who was negotiating such an Agreement, to seek a mandate for his signature and his seal before he appended it to the Agreement. Even if this were the best Agreement this country ever had, or ever could have, there was still an obligation on the Taoiseach, who regarded himself as the Leader of his people, to tell them what he was doing, and why he was doing it, and ask them to support him.

Last October, I asked the Taoiseach:

—if he will state with reference to the current trade negotiations between this country and Britain the dates and venues on which he and any members of the Government have been personally engaged in negotiation; if he will give similar particulars in respect of civil servants; and the rank and Department of such officials.

The information was given but its significance was not appreciated. I picked up the daily newspapers to discover no mention of the fact that since November, 1964, no less personages than the Taoiseach, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, the Secretaries of the Departments of Finance, Industry and Commerce and External Affairs, and the Irish Ambassador in London were negotiating a Free Trade Agreement.

I was somewhat amused yesterday and today when some people expressed surprise that we should have been committed to this idea of free trade with Britain so far in advance of the general election. No mention was made of this tendency during the critical Cork by-election, and the subsequent general election campaigns. Has it come to this? The Irish people are no longer consulted by Fianna Fáil [1416] about an agreement that Fianna Fáil are going to impose as binding upon them. Does it mean that democracy is no more here? Is this an unavoidable farce so far as the Dáil and the other House are concerned? Does it mean that Fianna Fáil will come in here only when they are forced by the rules of our Constitution to do so, and that otherwise the people are never to be consulted?

Apparently that is the doctrine, the outlook and the approach to the Irish people, to the industrialists and the trade unions, that they should not be consulted or told what is going on until we are so far committed that there is no way of withdrawing. Would it not have been a strange situation if following the last general election we had had a change of Government? We would have been in a position in which Britain with whom binding commitments had been made would have found a Government who knew nothing whatsoever about those diplomatic activities, and about the efforts made by the outgoing Government to bind this country closer economically, socially and politically to Britain.

We are seldom unaware of what is going on in Britain because of its proximity, its size, and the fact that so many of our kith and kin earn their living there. No matter how nationally-minded or how anti-British we may be, what happens in Britain must be known to us through the newspapers, the radio and television, and must be uppermost in our consideration all the time. We cannot escape it. On the other hand, we find that an overwhelming majority of the British people, and the vast majority of British politicians, are ignorant of Ireland and of anything that happens in Ireland, no matter how vital it may be to our interests. Some months ago I had the opportunity of meeting some few dozen British MPs and I found that, with only two exceptions, they were unaware of the fact that a free trade area was about to be established between their country and the little bit of land that lies out on their western coast. They were unaware of it, although for us here, and for tens of thousands, and perhaps hundreds [1417] of thousands of Irish people, this is a matter of economic life and death. They could not have cared less. That is the position in the fiscal and economic institutions of the British. This is only a fleabite to them. It has no great consequence to them and therefore we are a pawn in a political game. For us this is a critical matter. I am sure the Minister for Industry and Commerce and his colleagues in the Government appreciate that this is so critical that we should have been consulted in advance.

We in the Fine Gael Party have been taken to task by our colleagues in the Labour Party about our approach to this Agreement. It would take a very skilful lawyer to determine the difference between the Fine Gael amendment and the Labour Party amendment. They are both critical of the Agreement because of the effect it will have on employment and emigration. Both amendments are critical of the Agreement because its terms are unbalanced. Both amendments are critical of the Agreement because the concessions obtained are insufficient and insecure.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully The Labour Party are voting against it, and Fine Gael are voting for it.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan The only point at which the difference comes is on whether we admit as a fact of life, pleasant or otherwise, that the Agreement is binding. Either we accept the moral obligations of international and constitutional law or we do not. This marriage, even if we like to describe it as a shotgun wedding, has taken place. The Agreement exists and we have to make the best of it. A Party with no expectation of taking office on their own, and therefore with no expectation of being in a position to negotiate amendments to the Agreement will, naturally enough, demonstrate in the most obvious way and say: “We are `agin' it all”.

When the inevitable swing of the pendulum, combined with a further push on the pendulum by a progressive and outward looking Fine Gael Party, bring that Party to power, we will radically amend this Agreement by Government negotiation. We in this Party [1418] are stating our criticism of the Agreement and stating in an unequivocal manner what we will do when we come to power. I notice that the Labour Party have not made any such declaration. I suppose they realise that the possibility is too remote. I do not say that in an offensive manner to our friends in the Labour Party but they can hardly expect us to accept that we have abrogated our duty to oppose, to amend, and to reform. Far from it. We believe that this attitude is far more responsible than an open declaration of war.

A responsible Opposition Party oppose, not for the sake of obstruction, but for the sake of trying to influence public opinion to put them into a position in which they can put their policy into effect. If we opposed this Agreement in a blanket form as our friends on our right suggest, on our becoming the Government Party, we would have to tear it up. What would be the consequences of rejecting this Agreement in toto? It would involve the British Government in refusing to accept any exports from Ireland, so our second state would be worse than our first. Changes would have been brought about in which certain industries would have had to close down. If we ripped up this Agreement completely, we would start a second economic war and we had enough of that before not to proceed on such a line again. A Conservative Party which is inward looking, which wants to preserve the status quo; a Tory Party which is unwilling to accept a change, or the need for change, is a Party which would prefer a limited market rather than a new and larger one. I feel that perhaps unwittingly the Labour Party just put that cloak of conservatism and toryism and narrow-mindedness and keeping things as they are, about them.

Different efforts have been made over the years by various Governments to have a breakthrough so far as employment and expansion are concerned. Again and again those efforts have been thwarted for one reason or another. I am not saying that that means that we must recklessly race after something else but we have to look at the situation in which we find [1419] ourselves. A conservative approach which refuses to recognise the economic or social developments elsewhere is not one that is going to help us in the future. Whether we wish the situation to exist or not, the fact is all probable markets into which we can export our agricultural goods are managed markets. They are managed in one way or another, and that being so, the opportunities to export our agricultural produce, no matter how competitive our price becomes, are exceedingly limited. On top of that, industrial tariff advantages which we once enjoyed in a number of markets, particularly in the British market to which we export 72 per cent of our goods, are fast disappearing and in a couple of years will disappear altogether. On top of that, we have the position in which tariff barriers which formerly did not exist are being raised against us.

It is important to remember, of course, that these difficulties are arising not only in Britain. We in Fine Gael criticise the Government particularly because they have not taken cognisance of the fact that these dangers were looming in Europe. They have had discussions, we are told, with the European Economic Community but discussions are no substitute for negotiation. The casual conversation as one drops off in Brussels on the way to Berlin is no substitute for persistent, unrelenting diplomatic activity and that is what we should have been engaged in in Europe over the past decade. Because we did not do it we are now in the position of having to accept a very limited scheme in the British market. It is good to remember that John Bull is a very bad European. Even the shadow of de Gaulle does not hide from the rest of Europe the fact that John Bull is a bad European and we do not improve our image in Europe one bit by keeping closer company with him. So far as Europe is concerned, the fact is that a majority of Europeans, and indeed of the British, are ignorant about us but where we have taken the trouble to explain our difficulties, and where we have made the most of the special circumstances that exist between Britain and ourselves, [1420] we have received a most sympathetic hearing.

It may well be that it is more difficult now in 1966 to negotiate a separate agreement with the EEC than would have been possible five years ago. I think that is true but the failure to negotiate five years ago, and in the intervening years is that of the Fianna Fáil Government and it is they who have got us into this impossible situation of having to have even tighter association with John Bull, the bad European, at a time when we have failed to negotiate or consult with the people who not only for our good, but for their own good, might have been willing to enter into some agreement in anticipation of the day when things would change and make it possible for us to come in altogether.

I have been discussing the policies of Parties and before I leave that topic, I want to say that a Party which adopts, without regard to the consequences, every fashionable economic trend, every alteration in theory, and which at one period accepts without regard to the consequences absolute protection, will also, as soon as the fashion changes, somersault and say: “We cannot have protection at all and we are going to have completely free trade arrangements.” The Government have not gone quite that far but they have gone as close as is possible to it. We believe they have sailed too close to the wind and there is a danger of the boat overturning. That is why we will continue to press to have even greater safeguards provided and why we will insist as long as this Government remain in power that they will use whatever escape clauses are in this Agreement. We believe that the people, realising the dangers in the long run, will say that those who first appreciated these dangers should be given the job of saving the boat from being wrecked. We have been consistent in Fine Gael down the years and we have always sought expanding markets when it was unpopular to do so and when other Parties in this House were praying that all ships in the Irish Sea should go down so that no trade could exist between ourselves and other countries. We in Fine Gael, against the fashionable [1421] trend, insisted that the real opportunities for this country lay in expansion and in an outward-looking policy.

We say the same today and that is why in principle we say that we do not object to an Agreement which makes it possible for this country to be more outward-looking than it has been in the past. We feel, however, that this Agreement to some extent has gone too far but it is not in a way which cannot be cured. That is why we accept the Agreement but we feel that it is a pity that it was not made quite clear that this arrangement was tied up with future membership of the EEC. I think it is recited in some way in the Agreement that this is the expectation but it should be clearly provided for, clearly understood and emphatically stated, that in the event of membership of the EEC receding from us, we would not be committed to the obligations in this Agreement which would render us open to some kind of danger or competition, against which we would have no compensating opportunities, in Europe.

Just before I leave the attitude of Parties to this matter, may I comment upon a telegram which was sent last year by the Leader of the Labour Party to the Leader of the British Labour Party, the gentleman who has put his name to this Agreement? This telegram congratulated him upon assuming the office of British Prime Minister. I hope that the Irish Labour Party, if they continue in their present attitude, will be good enough now to withdraw this telegram——

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully Let the Labour Party look after their business and the Deputy can look after his.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan If the Labour Party are prepared not to misinterpret, as they have been doing, the attitude of Fine Gael, then we can join forces to criticise the weakness in this Agreement without——

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully I did not know Fine Gael had any idea about what they wanted for themselves.

[1422]Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan There are some people who can give it but who cannot take it.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan Zoom on Stephen Coughlan We will return it, the same as you returned the Christmas card last year.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan Some objective commentators have asserted that the most valuable and penetrating criticism of this Agreement has come from the Fine Gael benches.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully Nobody else noticed it except yourselves.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan I am simply giving the views of objective commentators. There are ways in which we can achieve a better economy for this country. We believe in Fine Gael we are going the right way about it. As we have the opportunity and expectation of governmental office within the lifetime of this Agreement, we are setting out to amend it, and it is the purpose of myself and my colleagues to show in what respect we will do it.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully We will spend half an hour on you, the same as you spent on us.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan You have spent a good time already. The EEC has existed for some years and is a fact we must face. We are unable to accept the atmosphere which the Government have sought to create, that this Agreement was the only agreement that could be made. We say it is ridiculous nonsense for the Taoiseach or any of his colleagues so to suggest. There is a view abroad, and accepted by many people here, that nonsense spoken by a Minister of State becomes commonsense. There is a view abroad, and accepted by many, that every silly utterance prepared for a Minister by an official must be accepted as inviolable and binding and that any remark made by any politician opposed to the Government is necessarily of lesser value.

If the Government did in fact make an effort to negotiate a separate agreement with EEC, if the Government made any effort through diplomatic activity or otherwise to open the doors [1423] of EEC to us, we in Fine Gael say: “Publish the evidence or else be silent and do not again try to mislead our people into the notion that you have been active on the diplomatic front in Europe when you could have been.” If the evidence is produced, we will accept it. If it is not, we say that this trash, printed at public expense under a green harp in this green book, is nonsense and can be made nothing else even if it is printed at public expense in a green book.

It is extremely foolish to pretend that everything published under Government auspices cannot be contradicted. The facts are that in Brussels last October the people responsible for the administration of EEC said to a delegation from Ireland of which I had the honour to be a member that efforts were not made by Ireland to negotiate with them. That is not to make light of the difficulties which would have faced us if we had gone about such negotiations. But other countries have had negotiations, have maintained constant diplomatic activity and have won some ground. The same was open to us.

At present we export only 11 per cent of our exports into the EEC area and 72 per cent to Britain. What will be the outcome of this Agreement? Probably that we will export 82 per cent to Britain and five per cent to the EEC. I do not think that is sound for this economy. Even if it never changed in any other respect, certainly it is not the correct approach to the future, whether we want it or not in an entirely different economic set-up.

There are a number of handicaps which put this country at a disadvantage compared with other countries. We are a small island with no access to foreign markets except by crossing sea or air space. This increases handling charges. It also entails delay and involves us in capital expenditure in carrying these goods or in paying other people to carry them for us. We must also take cognisance of the fact that the prompt delivery of our goods is not assisted by antiquated and unsuitable operations in the docks. For the sake of Irish industry as a whole, for [1424] the sake of the people working in our docks and for the sake of those engaged in the transport industry, we must have a streamlining and modernisation of the handling of Irish goods for export and also imports. If there is inefficient handling of our imports, it is the consumer who has to pay the cost. We would hope that in the light of the new circumstances we will have a re-appraisal of the various activities which at present hamper the handling of our goods. It may well be we have no control over inefficient handling of our goods when they arrive in other countries, but we ought to have sufficient resources and responsibility here to overcome the difficulties surrounding the handling of our own goods here.

We also have difficulties in relation to the raw materials for many industries in which we would like to engage. The bringing of raw materials from outside and their subsequent reexport imposes a charge on our industries which might not lie on industries elsewhere. We may have capital but I think we have not yet established a satisfactory scheme for the management and re-investment of that capital. It is imperative that we have a system which would give confidence to the Irish investor to keep his capital at home and by so doing enable us to meet the sophisticated competition already coming from abroad and likely to become more intense.

We have also a handicap in the size of our domestic market. In Britain, for instance, this partner now bound to us by this Agreement, you have a situation in which any given industrial plant which can manufacture efficiently can supply 95 per cent of its output to the home market and requires to export only five per cent. Here a similar plant, operating with similar efficiency in all respects, can allocate only five per cent of its output to the home market and must export the remaining 95 per cent. I have these figures in mind when, with the majority of industrialists here, I express resentment, and unqualified resentment, against the attacks by the Taoiseach, by the Minister for Industry and Commerce and by Deputy [1425] Noel Lemass when they suggest that the only people who have anything to fear under this Agreement are what they call the lazy and the inefficient industrialists. It is not a question of absolute efficiency or inefficiency. All of these things must be related to the circumstances of the country in which the industry is operating. The circumstances as between our home market and the British home market are entirely different and different standards of efficiency come into operation.

This Agreement does not provide sufficient protection for the efficient Irish industrialist who is producing efficiently for the home market but has to export a disproportionate amount of his product to a highly competitive foreign market. These are the inevitable and inescapable handicaps that face our industry. We feel that this Agreement does not provide sufficient assistance to overcome these handicaps.

We are in a difficulty, in the Opposition, and all the country are in a considerable difficulty, in that the Government have not yet published any reasoned estimate of the gains and losses in this Agreement. We feel that that is the least information that should be given to Dáil Éireann. We feel that an assessment should be made of the increase in exports which is likely to flow from this Agreement and the industries from which they will come. There should be a statement of the losses we cannot avoid and of the opportunities for re-employment of people who become redundant because of the operation of this Agreement.

Some months ago, I raised in this House the question of alternative opportunities for people engaged in the motor assembly industry. I was told by the Minister for Industry and Commerce that if the people in the industry had any proposals to make to the Government, the Government would sympathetically consider them. A Fianna Fáil Deputy asked if it was not a fact that one of these assembly plants had already gone over to an alternative form of production and the Minister said that that was so. There were great [1426] jeers and chattering and laughter on the Fianna Fáil side of the House, the purport of which was “Ryan, that shook you; they are already doing it.” We made our inquiries. We discovered that the plant in question had an employment force of about 20; that for a short while it produced cars here for the Irish market and found, even within the period of its short operations, that it could not economically do so and then the industry turned over to the manufacture of plastics. That effort to suggest to the 6,500 people in the Irish motor assembly and ancillary industries that opportunities were available for them after the example of a small and insignificant plant was a dishonourable effort and is the kind of thing that will create a tremendous amount of disillusionment in this country—and a disillusioned country cannot progress satisfactorily.

We say that the Government have a strict obligation to state who will suffer and to what extent, and who will benefit, and to what extent. Until such time as they do that, they cannot expect the Irish people, as they are preaching to them, to alter everything. For all he knows, the industrialist who goes out of a particular line of production at the moment may, in fact, be engaging in an activity in which, in the Government's estimate, he should continue. Our industrialists are entitled to that information and assistance.

This Agreement has been made by the Government without consultation with our industrialists. Therefore, the Government have a strict and immediate obligation to give this information to those people. My talks over the past few months with those people indicate that no information of that nature has as yet been forthcoming.

We find it extremely strange that a Government who were thinking about this matter so long ago should, at great public expense and with great ballyhoo, have prepared and published what they call the Second Programme for Economic Expansion, without any effort in the preparation of that Programme, to assess the consequences to various industries of what they were thinking about at the time. We are told that that Programme was prepared [1427] in the expectation that we would be in the EEC by 1970 but it was not done, apparently, in the expectation that anything would happen in the meantime to alter the course.

Either this Agreement is a significant one and will alter the course of affairs here, as we are led to believe, or it is not. That being so, we think the present position is upsetting, in the least. It is even more upsetting to produce a Programme the aims of which were already wide of the mark and, now that the targets are removed altogether, where is industry to go?

In my constituency there is an industry which has been operating extremely efficiently for several years and, before Fianna Fáil came into office, they had a plan to expand. They had plans drawn up by architects and engineers and approved by the local authority. They intended to go ahead with those plans in 1963 and postponed expansion in the light of the negotiations which, we were told, were then taking place for our membership of the EEC which, at the time, was bound up with the application of Britain, but these petered out. We were not informed to any great extent what had happened, what would happen or what the Government were trying to do. In any event, when it went by the wayside, those concerned made a re-appraisal of the market and the situation and decided again that they could expand. On this occasion, not only did they commence the building work but they were also entering into contracts for the purchase of machinery to equip the extended factory. Then this bombshell of last July was sprung, this concern with a new Free Trade Area Agreement with Britain. Again, they had to cancel their activities. The unfinished building is standing there, quite a ruin and a testament to the failure of Fianna Fáil to communicate with industry.

We think industries were entitled to better treatment than they got at the hands of Fianna Fáil. Since the Agreement was announced last week, some of them who had been frustrated and worried over the past few years said it would create considerable difficulties [1428] for them and that certainly they would be obliged to reduce their labour force but that, at least, it was an end to uncertainty and that they could now go ahead in a certain way. However, when they read the Agreement, discussed it among themselves and took advice on it, they saw they were not at the end of uncertainty and that a great deal of this Agreement is no more than an agreement to agree. Any student lawyer will tell you that an agreement to agree is no agreement at all. Many of these industries which would like to go ahead in certainty, whether good or bad, are unable to do so. All this growing creeper of uncertainty is strangling them.

That is why we in Fine Gael speak about the insecure protection or opportunities which have been provided in this way. The words used by the Taoiseach, if I quote him aright—I wrote them down at the time—were that this Agreement was necessary because “the alternative is nursing our high cost inefficient, soon-to-be obsolescent industries”. Those are the words of the Taoiseach.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan Very bad English.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan Maybe but that is what he said—“Inefficient, soon-to-be obsolescent industries”. The Minister for Industry and Commerce spoke about “the honourable exceptions”—those are the words he used—“the honourable exceptions amongst Irish industrialists who had been winning export markets and adapting themselves to meet competition abroad.” So, apparently, the majority are now high cost, inefficient, soon-to-be obsolescent industries and it is only the exceptions in Irish industry who have been making any effort to be efficient. Was ever a worse slander uttered against those who have been efficiently and courageously operating Irish industry, even in the atmosphere of insecurity such as Fianna Fáil have been responsible for in the past five years? Those industrialists are now being condemned, slandered and paraded as the new enemies of the Irish nation. Those who for years spoke about efficiency, those who for years spoke about the desirability of foreign markets, those [1429] who for years advocated increased exports, are then said to be the enemies of the Irish nation. But now, apparently, it is the inefficient industrialists who are to be attacked.

Deputy Noel Lemass said this Agreement was a danger “only to industrialists growing fat and lazy behind protective barriers”. Let us face the facts of economic life. There are many efficient industries in this country which existed long before 1932.

Mr. O'Hara: Information on Thomas O'Hara Zoom on Thomas O'Hara Hear, hear.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan There are many industries which existed long before 1922. Remember the originators of protection in this country were the disciples of Arthur Griffith, the Cosgrave Government, who when Fianna Fáil would not soil their backsides by sitting in this House brought in protection here to provide employment for the Irish people. Those people and those who existed even before we got the opportunity, by the application of the Sinn Féin gospel, to provide protection, are the people who will suffer, not because they are inefficient but because of the fact that we here have been immune from trends elsewhere, which are not necessarily trends of efficiency.

We have several processing plants here in respect of different commodities we produce, old and new processing plants. In some cases they are family concerns who are able to process our own manufactured goods here so successfully for our own market and for abroad. In Britain and across Europe, very many industries and small concerns for years did this kind of thing efficiently until the large combines, the large monopolies, came along and wiped them out of existence, not simply on the grounds of inefficiency but by take-over bids and all the other indirect methods which large industry and wealthy concerns can use to wipe out smaller concerns. Those concerns which are just poised at the moment to get into Ireland will not be concerned with the preservation of employment here, and do not let [1430] us fool ourselves that they will. Their anxiety will be to buy out those small concerns here and there is nothing the Government will be able to do about it. The fact is that those concerns which are adequate for the processing of our goods will find themselves bought out by those outside concerns. That, to us in Fine Gael, is an unsatisfactory development. We do not for a moment think that whatever escape clauses there may be in this Agreement are sufficient to protect people of that calibre.

When we first listened to the optimistic talk of the Taoiseach and his Ministers about this Agreement and the opportunities it opened for us —I am talking now about last July— I felt that industry would be welcoming this Agreement; but I took the care to approach all the industrialists in my constituency and I am most grateful to them for the advice and assistance they gave me then, and since, in discussing their problems. I am alarmed that so many men of integrity and efficiency are themselves concerned about the effect of this Agreement upon their businesses. Most of these are not people who could in any way be described as “lazy” or “fat” or “nursing high cost inefficient industries”. The industries which might be regarded as high cost—and this is not an anti-rural Ireland comment —are not situated in Dublin in the main. Certainly my own constituency is blessed with some of the most efficient industries in this country. In fact it is a constituency which relies to a very large extent upon industry. It is the only constituency throughout the length and breadth of Ireland that has not got an hotel or similar place of relaxation, simply because it is, in fact, a highly industrialised area. The only agricultural pursuits in the constituency would be in whatever square yards of a back garden were arable.

Mr. O'Hara: Information on Thomas O'Hara Zoom on Thomas O'Hara Singing pubs.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan There are a few singing pubs but singing may diminish if some people get their way with this Agreement.

Those industries cover a vast range [1431] of industrial activity but I can say objectively that there is a tremendous amount of concern amongst them. While several of them may, in fact, continue to operate in one form or another, the general expectation is that it will be done with a considerably reduced labour force. That is what worries me—that these industrialists feel it is inevitable that their labour force will be cut, and cut substantially. A number of industries which manufacture what I will call highly consumable goods which depend upon individual purchasing power and small amounts of money from a large number of people are particularly concerned about the effects upon their sales with possible redundancy.

Remember when we are talking about changed conditions, the official estimates are that our population will increase between now and 1975. The Government agencies have been suggesting a figure of 3,300,000 people by 1975 as being our population and they have been endeavouring with this calculation of theirs to console people who have been thinking of reduced purchasing power. If this is to be a population with a lerge degree of unemployed people, then it will be of no use to those industries. A larger population, with a reduced purchasing power per capita, will be little or no use to many of the industries which at present are operating efficiently.

There are some provisions in this Agreement which will permit the Government to prevent dumping. I know that industry is most anxious that the Government should, without further delay, declare their hand regarding the dumping legislation they have in mind. I want to draw the attention of the House to the fact that there are many sophisticated, subtle forms of dumping which can be just as dangerous and destructive as cutpricing. By dumping is understood exporting into another country goods below the home price. That is a relatively simple form of dumping to legislate against but in Fine Gael we fear the Government may not even deal with that in a realistic way. Their inactivity over several years past in [1432] regard to prices, price structures and incomes generally indicates that if they can procrastinate and get away with it, they will do so. But there will be no time available in connection with anti-dumping legislation because there are many industries in Britain which are so anxious to get into the Irish market that they will carry whatever tariff we impose in the short-term in order to get in ahead of their competitors or ahead of anti-dumping legislation. Therefore, it is vital that this legislation be introduced in the spring term of the Dáil and be passed into law before this Agreement becomes operative on July 1st next.

There are other forms of dumping which I think the Government must take steps to ensure are not used to the detriment of Irish industry. Large, wealthy British concerns will be able to provide better credit facilities for Irish traders while Irish manufacturers may be able to give only one, two or three months credit or able to allow discounts over only a short period. I can foresee some of the big British concerns putting in an article similar to an Irish product at a similar price and offering credit facilities of three, six or 12 months and it is almost certain that if such temptation is put in the way of our traders, they will naturally accept the goods which give them better credit facilities. This is something that must be prevented. I can see the difficulty in so doing but the Government will have to get information about the terms on which goods are supplied, not simply the question of the price per gross or per dozen but also what credit facilities are being made available because if better credit facilities are offered by British or other financial institutions, I am afraid the inevitable consequence will be that foreign goods will be preferred by our traders. It would no longer be permissible to criticise a trader for doing that because under this Agreement the Government will be obliged to prevent anybody giving preference to Irish goods.

I suppose that related to what I call better credit facilities are better discounts either in relation to time of payment or bulk buying. Again, the British concerns may already have, and probably [1433] from time to time do have, tremendous surpluses. If they manufacture according to their capacity, it may be in excess of the domestic demand at the particular time and they may have a surplus available, while an Irish concern with a much smaller capacity which has been working consistently for a known demand over the years may not have such a surplus available. It may then be open to the British competitor to supply goods immediately from stock and that again may give them an advantage over Irish manufacturers who may require time to fulfil an order. It is imperative that the Government should ensure that while all reasonable demands of traders are met and while it is necessary that they should be supplied with goods in time for resale, nothing will be done which would give an advantage to foreign producers who can have surplus stocks without any difficulty.

It is quite obvious that large British concerns can build up surplus stocks and carry them because the overheads caused by stocking up will be a negligible part of their overall costs while an Irish concern producing for a smaller market, if obliged to carry similar stocks in order to meet a similar demand for immediate delivery, would have to allocate a disproportionate amount of its capital. Irish capital would therefore lie idle in such stocks. It is necessary, therefore, to ensure that by anti-dumping legislation that sort of situation will not be allowed to develop.

It is well known that among the sophisticated activities in the distributive trade which give one concern an advantage over another is the provision of finance for re-equipment and modernisation. Again, Irish manufacturers have seldom much spare capital available to allow them to give loans at an enhanced rate to traders who deal with them, but it is well known abroad, and it is even in operation here to some extent, that manufacturers will make loans available for the modernisation, re-equipment or alteration in lay-outs of retail stores. If they do it and do it at enhanced rates, this will also be a temptation to an Irish trader to stock up with foreign [1434] goods against Irish goods. This must be prevented in any anti-dumping legislation we have. It seems to me that nothing in the Agreement would prevent us having legislation of that kind to prevent unfair advantage being taken by the wealthier partner in this Agreement.

Tremendous damage was done to many industries here after the First World War from 1918 to 1920, long before many of us were born, in that short two-year period by dumping from Great Britain. It is imperative that we should act in time to prevent anything like the same thing happening at any stage under this Agreement because if dumping occurs even in the short-term, it may well put out of action a particular industry and it is extremely difficult to start again when an industry is put out of production.

We must also consider outlets into the Irish market controlled by British concerns. In recent times there has been a development which has caused a great deal of concern to many of us in Fine Gael, the procedure by which British-owned chain stores have been moving in here. While they were obliged to purchase Irish goods by reason of tariffs which are applicable to imports from abroad, the situation was not as catastrophic as it may well become. If these British concerns now come in here, they will be able to, and inevitably they will, feed their retail counters with goods manufactured in their own British factories by working those plants to full capacity. That is not an infrequent occurrence in Britain; indeed it is quite frequent now during this period of recession and the result will be that we will have British goods put on to Irish counters that could be efficiently manufactured here. It is not a question of simply putting the British goods here at a price less than the price operating in the British market. It is simply a question of using the stocks available in Britain or the goods which can be produced in Britain without any strain upon the productive capacity of that country.

The glossy magazines produced in Britain for women contain numerous [1435] advertisements for mail order and commission clubs which issue catalogues. A reader may become an agent for those clubs and arrange for persons to subscribe to her a certain sum every week and they can then purchase the goods from the catalogue clubs. Up to now these advertisements have been little more than a matter of interesting reading when one has exhausted the romantic stories and the solutions suggested for the settlement of social and medical problems but from now on these advertisements can mean something. Irish housewives will be able to purchase a greater variety of goods by using these British based mail order firms and clubs which will be using British manufactured goods. This is something that we will have to control because it would be most damaging to us if we were to open these clubs to Irish purchasers. It is not necessary for the good of Ireland that they should be opened and, as great harm would be done, we should not tolerate them.

We were told in the statement by the Minister for Industry and Commerce yesterday that manufacturers of a number of goods can hope to increase their exports. He mentioned man-made fibres. For that we are extremely glad. We congratulate the manufacturers of man-made fibres on the great progress they have made and on the fact that in some cases they have been able to jump the tariff barriers raised against them abroad. That speaks very well for their efficiency. We were told also that another advantage was that we would be able to increase the production of pianos at Shannon. That is nice. There will be nicer music in Britain in future, perhaps, than the Beatles can produce. But, when music is being made at the cost of the total destruction of the motor assembly industry, I say that we are paying too high a price.

I want to be quite objective about this. Before we discuss the effects on the motor assembly industry, let us deal with a number of misconceptions that exist in relation to the motor assembly industry. The erroneous view is fairly widely held that the motor assembly industry here is uneconomic [1436] and inefficient and is the cause of putting on the Irish market cars which are dearer than could be made available if cars were imported already assembled from abroad.

Let every purchaser of a car realise that 20 per cent of what he is paying on a car, even a car that is assembled here, is in respect of Government duties and that before that car is put on the Irish roads, the Government have already collected a fine smack off it in respect of revenue duties and that these revenue duties will continue to apply even when the cars are being imported from abroad. What usually happens is that people compare the retail price of Irish assembled cars with the price of British assembled cars minus whatever purchase tax is applicable in Britain. That is grossly unfair to the Irish motor assembly industry and has led to a situation in which some people, at least, are saying: “Thank God, we are going to get rid of one grossly inefficient industry.” It is far from being inefficient. It is regrettable that the motor assembly industry which is one of our relatively heavy industries, is being sacrificed simply for the manufacture of pianos in Shannon.

Another misconception that exists in relation to the motor assembly industry is that Irish labour in that industry is unduly costly. Before we discuss whether that is true or not, let us discover what percentage of the cost of a motor car is attributable to a man's skill or lack of skill, to his sweat and his energy, to the actual human element involved in its assembly. What is it? A mere eight per cent of the cost of a motor car is attributable to the cost of labour, here or anywhere. That is the figure. That is the amount of Irish human effort in the cost of motor cars assembled here.

The two figures I have given should make us cautious before we join in the clamour that is raised again and again by uninformed persons about the inefficiency of the Irish motor assembly industry. The industry is producing a tremendous revenue for the Government, a tax of which people are not aware and, on that account, have been [1437] blaming the motor assembly industry here for the cost of cars. It is an industry having a very high capital content because, clearly, the cost of producing the engine, chassis, components, bodywork, which come in here, has already used up most of the cost of a car and, leaving the tax factor out, 92 per cent of the cost has gone into the cars before ever they reach the Irish shore. It is ridiculous to expect that there will be much cheaper cars on the Irish market when we abolish the motor assembly industry. There certainly will not be.

Again, people complain about defects in motor cars. I share with many car owners many moments of exasperation with faulty fittings, poor finish and so on, but anyone who reads British newspapers will be aware that British motorists experience the same thing. It happens also in Germany. It happens throughout the world. Where you have mass production, you frequently have poor testing. Where you have poor testing, you have poor finish. Motor car companies everywhere, this country included, protect themselves by what they call a guarantee. In order to increase the impression that they are giving a guarantee, they put the word “guarantee” in beautiful Gothic letters. In fact, as the Parliamentary Secretary knows well, these guarantees prevent people from taking any action against companies in respect of deficiencies. The greatest length they go to is to replace a part and the customer has to pay for the labour. This, I am sorry to say, is part and parcel of the world motor manufacturing and distributing trade. That will not disappear when we send to the emigrant ship the 6,500 people now engaged in the motor assembly industry and we should not presume that it will.

There are 4,000 persons directly involved in the motor assembly industry. That is a very big number of people in any one industry in this country. There are 1,000 in the coach building industry, that is, in the manufacture of the heavier motorised units, and there are 1,500 in the ancillary industries manufacturing [1438] glass, seat coverings, furnishings, electrical components and so on.

It is all very well to suggest that there will be other avenues of employment open to these people. They are people who met challenges in the past and will meet them again but they are asking, and we re-echo their question in this House: “What opportunities, what alternatives, are available to us? Please tell us. For God's sake, tell us now. Our lives, our families' fortunes, our investments, are at stake”. If one assembly-plant goes into the manufacture of clothes-washing machines, then there is not an opportunity for another one to do the same. There is not work in the manufacture of clothes-washing machines for the 6,500 now engaged in the motor assembly industry. It may well be that the various assembly plants will have to take up alternative activities, and the sooner they are told what the position is the better it will be for them. A large proportion of these operatives in the motor assembly industry are at a critical stage of their lives, a stage at which they are passing from what is regarded as the re-employable age into the stage in which their opportunity for new employment or their capacity to retrain becomes diminished. It is critically important for these that the alternative should be made known to them without delay.

I do not know what the opportunity or future is for those assembling motor cars for foreign companies outside the British area. As I understand it, they will have raised against them a 75 per cent duty and, while the duty on British cars will decline by 10 per cent every year it will remain at 75 per cent on these other cars. If that is so, it is impossible to see how these can produce them for the home market and that will be a colossal burden for these people to have to face immediately. It may well be that an arrangement can be made to manufacture cars for the British market but, if they do that, then I think in fairness to them they should be given a cut of the home market as well because it is very, very difficult to ask anybody to produce exclusively for a foreign market, the more so as those concerned have been producing [1439] very good cars here and it is vitally important they should be permitted to continue.

I hope I have been objective in commenting on the motor assembly industry. I am quite well aware of the anxiety of those in this industry to face up to the position. I am keenly aware of the fact that those involved in the industry want to help but the operatives are certainly at a loss as to where their future will lie and I think we are entitled to know something about it. I do not mind putting it on record that something like 40 per cent of those involved live in my own constituency. If these people are not looked after, and looked after immediately, the unsettling effect on the constituency of Dublin South-West will be colossal. I am sure Deputy Dowling shares my feelings in this matter. This is a very clear case of damage flowing from this Agreement and we feel that there must be a straightforward answer.

I trust this debate will not end without the fullest details from the Government as to the alternatives which will become immediately available to those engaged in the motor assembly industry or else the Government must categorically give an assurance that these people will continue in their employment in this industry in some form or another. It is too late now for procrastination. It is too late to adopt a Micawber-like attitude that something may turn up before the end of the five or ten years to save these people ; one cannot expect human beings numbering 6,500 to be Micawbers and go through life like that.

I appreciate there is in the Agreement a clause which permits the Government—I think in July, 1970— to increase protection to save industries which have suffered or would appear to be about to suffer unduly as a consequence of this Agreement. We are, however, limited in the protection which can be provided to three per cent of imports from Britain in the year 1st July, 1969, to 30th June, 1970. That is a clever piece for the British [1440] to insert. That is the kind of thing which would encourage us to increase our imports from Britain during 1969-70 so that we would have a large figure in three per cent before the 1st of the following July. I may be wrong but I cannot visualise the Government lightly using the three per cent there for the motor assembly industry for the reason I outlined at the beginning; 92 per cent of the cost of motor cars coming in here has to be paid out in cash by us in order to purchase from abroad and we would, therefore, be using a tremendous amount of import value were this three per cent to be assigned to something like the motor assembly industry where 92 per cent of the capital cost is already used up before the goods are put down on the Irish quayside. It is, therefore, imperative, for the sake of these people and those who depend upon them, that they would get the fullest information from the Government in the course of this debate in relation to this extremely important industry.

I should like to know why Government assistance for adaptation is limited to 1967. That is a very, very short period. It is grossly inadequate. There are several industries which are working efficiently and which may, in fact, deliberately and efficiently go about assessing; but, due to trends, they may not be in a position to know before 1967 the consequences of this Agreement as far as they are concerned and, because of the paucity of the information given by the Government, nobody could blame them. They do not know yet whether or not they will be affected. Nevertheless they are supposed to decide this year whether or not they will look for adaptation grants. It seems to me nobody should be denied an adaptation grant until such time as the Government communicates with those concerned and tells them the consequences of this Agreement as far as they are concerned. I do not think this idea of adaptation grants need be limited to 1967, certainly not so far as the European Economic Community is concerned. There are other countries in the EEC —Italy, Norway, Austria and France, to mention a few—which have got [1441] adaptation grants available, and which are paying them out all the time, notwithstanding the fact that the Rome Treaty imposes obligations to some extent more stringent than some of those in this Trade Agreement. It could well be that this is aimed at encouraging people to apply for adaptation grants soon and the Government may review the situation then at the end of 1967. I should hope they would, but I think a more honest approach should be made and these adaptation grants should be paid if and when the need arises. If, of course, the Government were to communicate to someone the desirability of altering his course of conduct and if the person made the offer by the Government refused that offer, then it would be fair to say that if he came along for an adaptation grant later he should not receive much sympathy. However, to limit the adaptation grant to 1967 is to provide grossly insufficient assistance for people who may not know their fate for another five, 10 or 15 years during the duration of this Agreement.

I was glad to hear from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry and Commerce—I hope I am interpreting what he said correctly— that it will still be possible to provide grants and other assistance in relation to the undeveloped areas. He said, however, and I agree with him in this, that sometimes the price one can pay for a factory in an undeveloped area may be too high and justifiable neither socially nor morally. I think that is something that has happened. There is in the city of Dublin labour available and no shortage of labour, and it might be rationally more desirable to site some industries there. However, we must not lose sight of the fact that there are many industries which can be as efficiently run in an undeveloped area as in a developed one and here we should not hesitate to use all the powers that we now have, and we should refuse to modify them, so that we can in future make a decision on every case according to its merits.

It must be remembered that Britain has its own undeveloped areas legislation. They call it the Local Employments [1442] Act which allows them to provide 25 per cent subsidies towards the cost of siting an industry in an undeveloped area or an area—I forget what term they use—in which the supply of labour exceeds the local demand. Their legislation also provides that money can be made available to industries in such undeveloped areas and that an extended period for the repayment of it be allowed. Under the British legislation there is also a ten per cent grant in respect of the cost of plant and machinery in these undeveloped areas. Their percentages are probably less than the ones which we apply; in some cases we provide a 100 per cent grant for the site, factory and so on. Nevertheless the principle is there and we should not qualify it or modify it in any way. It appears from the actions of members of the EEC, whatever about the letter of the Rome Treaty, that it is also permissible in Europe. It would be undesirable, therefore, that we should qualify our actions in relation to the undeveloped areas legislation.

May I say just objectively, in case somebody thinks I am making the case for my constituency of Dublin South West, that the benefits of the undeveloped areas legislation do not apply, unfortunately, to Dublin South West although we could do with it by times. However, we must consider the national good, and we in Fine Gael are anxious that we would yield nothing by way of protection or opportunity or assistance for Irish industry where we are not obliged to do so, and I do not think we are under any obligation here so to do.

I appreciate that there are paragraphs in the Agreement calling for discussion in relation to these matters. As I said earlier, an agreement to discuss is no agreement at all and if we have been a bit soft, as I think our negotiators were over the last year, probably because of the charm of Harold Wilson, there is no reason for us to continue to be so soft. A little bit of hard bargaining in the future may do everybody a great deal of good.

The Taoiseach said, very wrongly I think, that this Agreement involves no interference with our sovereignty. It [1443] is unmitigated rubbish to say this involves no interference with our sovereignty. Of course, it does. Every international agreement in which you undertake not to do something which you could do if you exercised complete sovereignty is a qualification of your sovereignty.

Mr. S. Flanagan: Information on Seán Flanagan Zoom on Seán Flanagan “Political sovereignty” is what he said.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan Political sovereignty, economic sovereignty, legal sovereignty, any sovereignty you like. If you undertake with your neighbour not to do something that you are entitled to do, it is an interference with your liberty. You have deliberately given away part of your liberty by your undertaking. That is in private life. If nationally or internationally you say : “We will not do something or we will do something” you are limiting your sovereignty, and we are not going to help one another or the Irish nation by pretending otherwise. It may be desirable to do it. If so, say so, but do not pretend, when it is clearly untrue, that this is not an interference with sovereignty.

What is the cause of the crisis in the European movement at present? Apart from the agricultural trouble, what is the real cause of that crisis? It is that France will not suffer any further diminution of its sovereignty, and that is the crucial difference between France and the other member nations of EEC. France is not prepared to go any further along the line in qualifying its sovereignty. The other nations publicly concede that they have qualified their sovereignty. They publicly acknowledge the fact, and they have gladly done so. I do not think we are in a position here to surrender our sovereignty or to qualify it in the same way, but if and when the time comes that we have to make that decision, it is better to do it in a community of eight, or ten or twelve nations so that we have some people who are friends of ours when any discussion arises or any vote has to be taken. In this Agreement we have no friends but ourselves. Britain are also on their own, but they are stronger [1444] and wealthier. They have greater resources, greater exports, a wider spread of exports than we have. That is the difference. There is a qualification here of our sovereignty. We, like the British, can tear up the Agreement but that involves moral considerations, and it will also affect the trust that nations will put in us in the future. However, we do a disservice to our people to pretend that this does not affect our sovereignty in any way.

The day may come when we go into the European Economic Community and if we do we shall do so, as the Taoiseach has emphasised, probably in the long run on the same basis as the nations that are now participating therein. They have acknowledged and have rejoiced in the limitation of their sovereignty, and they have done it because they said it was an excess of sovereignty that led to international conflict in Europe in the past. That being so, let us now acknowledge that this is a qualification of the idea of national sovereignty which we have accepted. I believe we should never do that without providing room to manoeuvre in the future. We in Fine Gael feel there is some room to manoeuvre in this Agreement, but whether the Government are willing to manoeuvre or not is an entirely different thing.

We are told by the Government that this Agreement represents no more and no less than what they wanted. I do not know why negotiations had to go on from November, 1964, to December, 1965, if this Agreement is all they wanted. If that be so, then the British are right idiots. They must have started with entirely different demands and yielded to everything the Irish negotiators asked for. That is too much to expect us to believe, but that kind of thing is said by a man who also tells us he has been actively endeavouring to join the EEC. I think both statements are of equal weight.

As I said earlier, we are bound to have competition from Britain and invasion by British financial interests, by British distributive outlets and by British industry. It is inevitable that, [1445] whether new industries or old industries operate, they will probably be in bigger and wealthier units. It is therefore necessary that the Government, without further delay, reform here our stock exchange operations, that they also provide new machinery for the collection and creation and reinvestment of capital. This must be done as a permanent feature of our economy so that money will become available with which to combine the various units of industry we already have and to provide greater efficiency. This kind of thing can be of much greater importance than adaptation grants which, after all, evaporate overnight when the work for which they were designed has been done. We need something permanent to meet the sophistication of the monopoly tendency. This has not been undertaken and the Government have an obligation to undertake it without delay.

This Agreement is not so much an agreement of opportunity as one of risks with opportunities. We will only create serious disillusionment here if we pretend it is one of opportunity without risk. We in Fine Gael have never tried to create illusions. We have never harboured them. I believe the Government have been creating illusions for political purposes in relation to this Agreement. If they continue to do that, they will rue the day. The sure way to avoid disillusionment is not to harbour illusions. Therefore we must regard this as an Agreement with considerable risks but if it has risks, given honest, imaginative and courageous leadership, the country can probably get more benefit than disadvantage from it. We have reason to doubt whether the Government have this integrity, imagination and courage to take the steps necessary to get the best out of the Agreement, with the least harm. The name Cosgrave is synonomous with honesty, courage and imagination and we believe the nation will soon adopt the man Cosgrave to help us meet the difficulties ahead and make the most of the opportunities.

Mr. Davern: Information on Donal Davern Zoom on Donal Davern Having listened to numerous Fine Gael speakers, it is [1446] apparent that they find themselves on the horns of a dilemma. They appreciate well that this is a good Trade Agreement, the best that could have been secured and the best that has been secured to date in the history of the State but, producing opposition for opposition's sake, they have indulged in a minor filibuster of their own during which Deputies have spoken for an hour or more and made no cogent argument against the Agreement or suggested any valid reason why there should be any change in it. We heard Deputy Seán Collins drag up things of 40 years ago to the incessant echo of “hear, hear” from Deputy L'Estrange.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange The Deputy has got a “haw-he” on his side, not a “hear, hear.”

Mr. S. Flanagan: Information on Seán Flanagan Zoom on Seán Flanagan This is shocking. We had it before the Deputy came in.

Mr. Davern: Information on Donal Davern Zoom on Donal Davern The wind of change is blowing across western Europe and the world. We cannot become isolationists.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Hear, hear.

Mr. Davern: Information on Donal Davern Zoom on Donal Davern We must now face it and gear ourselves for what is to come.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange That is what we have been saying for years.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin The Deputy must allow Deputy Davern to make his speech.

Mr. Davern: Information on Donal Davern Zoom on Donal Davern This is but a preliminary step in the freeing of trade which eventually must come if we are to survive as an economic unit and give our people the standard of living to which they are entitled and maintain the growth in the standard of living to which they are accustomed.

I welcome this Agreement as does every sane, thinking person in the country and in the House. While free trade will doubtlessly bring some difficulties, to the agricultural community it will bring gain at every turn of the [1447] road. This is something we cannot in any way play down or have played down by phoney argument. The standard of living of the agricultural community is bound to increase by this hard-won Agreement. The British market will provide a growth of three per cent in the beef trade while in respect of lamb it will mean three farthings per lb. on 5,500 tons annually. This is something which will be beneficial to the ordinary farmer. In essence, it is a desirable situation to all those residing in rural Ireland. While the area of free trade is limited—this is an Anglo-Irish Free Trade Agreement—it will give a sample of what is to be expected when and if we gain full membership of the EEC.

Fine Gael adduced the argument that we should have sought association with the EEC but in Brussels early last year the disadvantages which would accrue from association were pointed out, as was the reluctance— not alone reluctance but determination —of the EEC countries any longer to afford this facility to economies not as highly geared as their own. In 1966, we should not think of the past or of past structures of trade. We should be more futuristic and realistic, thinking of the trade structures that will emanate from the agreements and the consultations which will take place between every country in Europe.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Thirty years too late.

Mr. Davern: Information on Donal Davern Zoom on Donal Davern This Agreement is the vehicle by which this country can move forward and gain advantage for all its citizens but this vehicle cannot move unless every section and every interest in the nation grasps fully their part and play their part in the motivation of that vehicle. By greater co-operation and effort, by greater output, we shall achieve our specific purpose. To the agricultural community and indeed all who reside in rural Ireland, this is a godsend and it will not be decried outside the House. We heard numerous Deputies on the Opposition benches quoting statements by Fianna Fáil 30 odd years ago. That was a retrograde [1448] step but if it must be done, I should like to quote some from Fine Gael, like “We will drown Britain with eggs”—famous last words—and “I wouldn't be found dead in a held of wheat”. It is a pity that Fine Gael cannot be more constructive.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange We were never destructive like the Deputy's Party.

Mr. Davern: Information on Donal Davern Zoom on Donal Davern This is the old hackneyed argument which serves no useful purpose, distorting the advantages by involving them in issues long since past. We had the Opposition argument that the three month provision in respect of carcase meat will not benefit the agricultural industry to any great extent. I say it will. Those in the livestock trade and in the industry generally will appreciate that themselves. It will give a greater impetus to our store trade with Britain.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Nonsense.

Mr. Davern: Information on Donal Davern Zoom on Donal Davern Deputy Coughlan alluded to what he called the bubble of agriculture. That was a profound statement. I do not know whether Deputy Coughlan was serious or not but surely he cannot refer to agriculture in any fashion, be it jocose or otherwise, as a bubble? It is the most important industry and it can never be referred to as a bubble.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange He was talking about the bubble of Fianna Fáil publicity.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin Deputy L'Estrange must cease interrupting. Deputies are entitled to make their speeches without interruption.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Deputies opposite have also been interrupting.

Mr. S. Flanagan: Information on Seán Flanagan Zoom on Seán Flanagan That is enough from the Deputy now.

Mr. Davern: Information on Donal Davern Zoom on Donal Davern There was also mention that the man who reared his calf under the cow and did not participate fully in the dairy industry was going to be the man who would limit the [1449] subsidy we are now paying on butter. This, to me, is not good policy. The ordinary farmer, the man who rears a calf, who sends his milk to the creamery and who gets back skimmed milk and involves himself in every aspect of the dairy industry is the man we want to support. The ordinary people do not want the big man, the rancher who can put out 30 to 40 cows and forget them and leave the calves out there. Our policy is one which is more geared to the small farmer, the man who counts and who will always matter in this country.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Why was the £15 subsidy given to the rancher to rear calves?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin Order.

Mr. Davern: Information on Donal Davern Zoom on Donal Davern The aim of the £15 heifer subsidy was to increase the livestock of this country and I am surprised that Deputy L'Estrange, a professed farmer, does not remember that.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange The ranchers got the most out of it.

Mr. Davern: Information on Donal Davern Zoom on Donal Davern As regards industries, I think there is an unnecessary degree of concern here, and not so much concern, as lamentation and pessimistic tears, looking at the glass and saying it is half empty rather than saying it is half full. There are industries in South Tipperary which have faced only one major obstacle in their export trade in the past five years and that was the imposition of the British levy. They are selling, unregrettably so, I say, 90 per cent of their products in England against English manufactured goods while the same English manufactured goods are imported into this country and are bought by Irish people. This is a lesson that should weigh heavily on the people who are supporting and buying those foreign products.

This factory, with the diminution or complete wiping out of the levy, will go from strength to strength. Despite the levy, it has succeeded in holding its own. Many of the so-called people concerned with industry would [1450] like to have us think that every industry will go to the wall. Most certainly this will not happen because I have sufficient faith in Irish management and in Irish workers to realise that if a higher degree of intensity and volume are necessary they will rise to the occasion.

Deputies: Hear, hear.

Mr. Davern: Information on Donal Davern Zoom on Donal Davern I do not intend to delay the House any longer, and if most other speakers could have been as brief as I was in their contributions, we would have had a more constructive debate.

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell Zoom on John F. O'Connell The Agreement, to my mind, is a sell out. The British have once more come out victorious. The Irish Government have fallen prey to the wiliness of the British politicians. I do not think we will ever have in this country what they call a Free Trade Agreement. It is free for the British but we achieve nothing whatever from it. We receive a little sop by way of agricultural concessions. The Taoiseach says we were treated as equals at the table with the British. The very way he said it implied that he had this inferiority complex. It was very much suggested by him that he had felt overawed by the thought that the British should consider him as an equal.

It is ironic, on the eve of important celebrations, to think that we have concluded this Agreement, this traitorous act, to my mind. This has happened at a time when the Taoiseach and his colleagues in the Government are preparing to take a prominent part in the celebration to commemorate our political and economic independence. These celebrations, to my mind, will be marred by the hypocrisy of the Government leaders who chose to sell us out. Sell us out, they certainly did.

The agricultural benefits are negligible, especially when we compare them with the concessions we have given to British industrialists. Free access to the Irish market for British products would mean the close down of our industries, dumping, unemployment and emigration and the disruption of so many Irish households. [1451] There are 200,000 people unaccounted for in the British plan and with the Emigration Bill going through the British House of Commons, one wonders where the 200,000 people will come from. It is very much suggested we can supply the greater number of this 200,000.

Our leaders of 1916 did not fight for this, that we should become a large grazing ranch for Britain. We notice the Taoiseach decided to negotiate this Agreement under a cloak of secrecy and one gathered from the statements that any divulging of this in any form would spoil the wonderful advantages we were going to get. I now wonder why the risk? Why was he afraid of endangering these talks that led to this, to my mind, disgraceful Agreement which shows up the leaders of our Government as incompetent men? It would have been well for this country if these talks had leaked out. The Agreement would not have been signed and we would be in a better position today. The country is now committed to this Agreement, and we must face the consequences. We, in the Labour Party, dissociate ourselves entirely from it. We condemn it as an act of incompetence on the part of this Government. We have had previous Agreements with Britain. She flagrantly broke them by imposing the 15 per cent levy last year. She broke Agreements which she had with this country, and now the Taoiseach foolishly trusts her once more with another Agreement.

There is no comparison between a free trade area and a customs union. We talk about resettlement and redundancy allowances, but I wonder who will really provide the funds for this Free Trade Area. This fund is a joint fund by member nations in the customs union, but it does not exist here unless we provide it. There is no provision whatsoever that Britain will supply anything under this Agreement. She will create unemployment and we must provide the funds for retraining, resettlement and redundancy, and perhaps the fares to Britain. One document here says that for the customs union of the European Social [1452] Fund in 1962 our contribution to provide for all this would be a mere £100,000. I wonder what it would cost now or what burden it would be on an already impoverished country. Britain has no interest in helping to create such a fund, the same country as will create the state of affairs that will result from this, mass unemployment and its consequences.

The Taoiseach wants the Dáil to approve such an Agreement. I think this is a glaring example that once more Britain has bamboozled Ireland. Time and again we fell for her wily tricks. This time the Taoiseach tries to brazen his way out, and tries to justify the Agreement at all costs. I think the fund that will provide for this redundancy will create a tremendous burden on our country. The Minister for Industry and Commerce and the Parliamentary Secretary are very vague about the manpower policy that will be created for this purpose. The Minister is as vague in his plans as he is in his speeches about this. Recently I read the White Paper on the manpower policy and it is a marvel of ambiguity and vague generalisations in preparation for unemployment.

Mr. S. Flanagan: Information on Seán Flanagan Zoom on Seán Flanagan Would the Deputy please tell us what he would do?

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell Zoom on John F. O'Connell They are the leaders and we expect something better from them. There is nothing definite or concrete in that policy. They will wait until unemployment results. This also mentions employment opportunities. One wonders where those opportunities will arise. The Taoiseach says opportunity is knocking at the door, but it would be more accurate to say that the wolf is knocking at the door. That would describe the situation that will result very shortly in this country.

There was no talk whatsoever about this Free Trade Agreement prior to the election. There was not a word about it. I do not believe for one moment that the Taoiseach has a mandate from the people for this Agreement.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Hear, hear!

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell Zoom on John F. O'Connell It was very discreetly [1453] hidden from the people and was first mentioned in July. I wonder what the position would be had the Taoiseach mentioned it before last April. It would have meant that Fianna Fáil would not be in power today. There is a growing resentment among the people over this Agreement. There is an ominous feeling, a feeling that further disaster will result from it. How the people feel about it should be apparent to the Government now. The country today is in a state, to my mind, almost bordering on economic collapse, due to an inefficient and incompetent Government with a policy changing from day to day. They have a fluctuating policy with no planning and no foresight. For a Government who have been in office for 27 years out of the past 33 years, this is a disgrace, and only their propaganda machine can keep them in office.

We are in the midst of a credit squeeze which is gripping the country financially at the moment. The Government have tried by every means to cloak it. They have tried to convince the ordinary person that such is not the case. One wonders what is happening about the American loan which has suddenly drifted from the news. I cannot say much for the inter-Party Government, but I think the Fianna Fáil Government should be ashamed to point an accusing finger at any Opposition in view of the state in which the country is at the moment, a state which will become progressively worse as the implications of this Free Trade Agreement become apparent. I have been wondering if the Government were a team of managers in private industry how long they would last with their bungling and mismanagement. I would fire each and every one of them, immediately, and I doubt if any company would keep on men of such incompetence.

If the people had more time to see the results of an investigation into this Agreement, their resentment would be more widespread, but the people are very confused. There has been no time to consider it. The Taoiseach has rushed this debate, and he wants to get it over in two days because he knows that as time goes by, the flaws [1454] in this Agreement will come to light. He is very much afraid of this, and he is endeavouring at all costs to conclude this debate as quickly as possible. I do not think he can fool the people for too long. The people will very shortly become wise to the fact that this traitorous act, as I call this Free Trade Agreement, is a sell-out of this country. I have no doubt the Fianna Fáil Government will rue the day it was signed because it will result in a crushing defeat for their Party. This has been foisted on the people without any mandate being given to them. It is no ordinary Agreement and it is perhaps one of the most important Agreements ever signed. They are trying by every means at their disposal to justify this because even among their own supporters there is tremendous resentment over this Agreement.

If we look at some aspects of this Agreement, we notice that the motor assembly industry will collapse; it will be the first industry to suffer; yet the Government allowed this industry to expand. They allowed it to expand, despite the fact that they knew the Free Trade Agreement was envisaged. Figures for employment in this industry show that expansion has taken place since 1961 and nothing whatever was done by the Government to halt this expansion. The employment figures in this industry over the past four years show that in June, 1961, 5,300 workers were employed in it and in June, 1962, there were 5,700 an increase of 400 over the previous year. In June, 1963, there were 6,000 employed, a further increase of 300 over the previous year. In 1964, 6,400 people were employed, again an increase of 400 workers. In June, 1965, there were 6,900 workers employed, or 500 more than in the previous year. There we have a situation in which this industry has been allowed to expand, despite the fact that the Taoiseach knew that a Free Trade Area Agreement was to be negotiated and that this would be the first industry to suffer.

I should like to know why he allowed this industry to expand when he knew that no adaptation measures could make it more competitive. A total of 1,600 extra workers were employed [1455] in this industry over the past few years. It has been made very clear that no adaptation measures whatsoever will make the industry more competitive and that it will be one of the first industries to collapse under the new Agreement. The action of the Government in this regard shows a complete disregard for the consequences of free trade on this industry and a complete lack of planning on their part. Yet they have the audacity to boast about what they have been doing.

Let us consider some other aspects of the Free Trade Agreement. I cannot see where the Free Trade is in regard to agriculture. We have Article 1 and Article 2 showing that the deficiency payment period has been reduced to two months from three months. This may not be of any signifinance for the farmer. It did not have very much effect in the reverse direction when in 1956 it was increased from two months to three months. We know that over half of the farms in Ireland are under 30 acres and I cannot see how this will benefit them. We know that one in 14 has more than 100 acres but I cannot see how this will benefit the farmer to any great extent and I cannot see that it is a tremendous concession. The British Government have a veto on the use of this money and I should like to know to what purpose this money will be put, seeing that they will have a say in the matter. Will the British Government permit it to be used for the subsidisation of Irish meat factories? One wonders about this because it would put our factories into open competition with the factories in the North and the British would not like that. In Article 2 of Annex D it says that the liability is limited to payment in respect of not more than 25,000 tons of carcase beef and 5,500 tons of carcase lamb. Exports of mutton and lamb in 1962 totalled 13,000 tons; in 1963, they totalled 10,900 tons; and in 1964, 9,200 tons; but they are only paying a subsidy on 5,500 tons. To my mind, these arrangements suit the British who want a guaranteed supply and they are going to be sure of getting 25,000 tons of carcase beef rather [1456] than relying on an erratic source like the Argentine.

The concessions in regard to butter are a great disappointment. It appears that we wanted the British to guarantee 23,000 tons up to the 12 months ending 1967, to the target figure of 37,000 tons. Certainly the British, if left with 23,000 tons will only consider increases, and, as it says in the Article, the equitable claims of other countries and suppliers. They would not be explicit about accepting our target figures. We certainly did not succeed in getting any great bargain on butter. Are these temporary quotas being given in proportion? We got 6,000 on 12,000; will we now get 12,000 on the 23,000 in the temporary quotas? This should be clarified.

Article VIII, on page 71 of the Agreement, says at paragraph (3) :

In the event of the Government of the United Kingdom invoking the provisions of paragraph (1) of this Article, it would be their intention to take account of the special relationship created by this Agreement, to provide full opportunity for imports of the product from Ireland at a level not less than that achieved during a recent representative period prior to the introduction of the arrangement in question, and to afford opportunities for the growth of such imports from Ireland which would be proportionately not less favourable than are allowed under the arrangement for supplies to the United Kingdom market from any source, including producers in the United Kingdom, covered by the arrangement.

This could be interpreted to mean that it includes producers in the United Kingdom, or does it mean that producers in the United Kingdom are not included in the arrangement? The whole document is vague and ambiguous. There is very little clarified in it. It is open to abuse and misinterpretation.

Paragraph 153 of the White Paper says:

The Committee on Industrial Organisation, in its final report, stated that it could be expected that the

[1457] total reduction in employment in existing manufacturing industries in the transition to free trade in the context of EEC membership would be about 10,000....

If we act on what the Government say in paragraph 158, then an extra 10,000 people will be unemployed under this Free Trade Agreement. This is very obvious from those two paragraphs in the White Paper.

Take the case of the special levy imposed recently by the British Government. Britain broke her agreement with us by not granting a preference to Ireland. When we imposed our levy special preference was granted to Britain. The British levy looks like being a long drawn out measure, whereas the Taoiseach says our levy will be of only short duration. The whole thing is unfair to this country by virtue of this. There is no mention whatsoever of the special import levy imposed by Britain.

There are a few other points in this Agreement which are vague. In Article XIII on page 78 the word “frustrate” is used while the word “defeat” is in the original Agreement. It is strange that two different words should be used. Article XIII says in paragraph (1) : “The parties recognise that Government aids, the main purpose or effect of which is to frustrate the benefits ...” The original Agreement referring to the same Article mentions Government aids which “defeat” the benefits. I wonder why that is changed? “Defeat” does not necessarily mean frustrate. I would take it from the word “frustrate” in the original Agreement that anything that would hinder it without defeating it would be considered wrong by Britain.

The Agreement suggests that Britain will bring pressure to bear to end the operations of An Foras Tionscal and the Industrial Development Authority. It says that any Government aids incompatible with the Agreement will be forbidden. Take the case of a factory set up here by a Dutchman to make machine tools. He normally would get Government aid, but under this Agreement the British could protest at this. [1458] If he went up to the North and started his factory there the Northern Ireland Ministry of Commerce would offer him grants and other aids and there would be no protest from British manufacturers because Northern Ireland is considered a development area. That being the case, this Article would suggest to me that Northern Ireland could attract industries at our expense. We are losing out in the Agreement by virtue of this. This is bad, in view of the fact that we could just as readily be termed a development area as Northern Ireland. The percentage unemployment area is the same in both, 5.5 per cent, but the unemployment benefits up North are much greater. We have no redress in this Agreement under this Article and I think we lose very much on it.

Article XIV, on the public undertakings, suggests that the Buy Irish campaign will go completely by the board. This Article says “no new practice”. Does that mean an extension of the existing practice or does it mean a completely new practice? However, it is suggested that this Buy Irish campaign will go and one wonders if the Government anticipated this when recently they purchased manufactured goods from Scotland and from England at the expense of similar Irish goods.

This “no new practice” also suggests that the Buy Irish campaign, even if it were allowed to exist in its present form, could not be extended in any form. Instead of the Buy Irish campaign, instead of seeing that slogan, we shall probably very shortly see “Buy Anglo-Irish”. Buy Anglo-Irish looks like being the theme for the next St. Patrick's Day parade here.

Again, in Article XIV, this “no new practice” could also mean that the semi-State bodies could be adversely affected. It would mean that the Government could not advance capital to semi-State bodies because they would be meant to be hidden subsidies and we have mention in this that no such practices will be permitted. Under this Article, semi-State bodies such as Aer Lingus, the Dockyard, [1459] the Dundalk Engineering Works could not continue to receive subsidies and could not continue to protect themselves. It would mean that Britain could protest strongly against any advances of capital, where these advances occurred with no return, and we should have no redress. We should have to stop this and it might endanger semi-State bodies very much.

This document is vague. It gives the impression of having been constructed by these British civil servants and as I said, is a marvel of ambiguity. It would be similar to the special Agreement with Comhlucht Siúicre Éireann which, of course, is a marvel of ambiguity. This Agreement suggests the very same thing, that it was constructed by British civil servants who have once more outwitted us.

I think it will be months before the real flaws in this Agreement come to light. It will call for examination and re-examination. Only then, I think, will the Government realise that the Agreement is not all they thought or tried to convince the people it would be.

Another point is the impression given in the newspapers that the great majority of the food products are exempt. Certain products are not exempt. Canned meats, meat soups, chilled and frozen vegetables, meat extracts and margarine are not exempt, despite the fact that it was mentioned that almost all food products are exempt.

There is another very important item in the Agreement which can mean considerable unemployment in the confectionery industry. I refer to the duty of 1d a 1b Commonwealth preference. on packaged foodstuffs: that also includes the wrapping on the sweets— on each sweet. They say the Irish tariff will remain but that the package duty will progressively be reduced. The package duty on wrapped sweets is the greatest protective measure they have and the reduction in the package duty on wrapped sweets will endanger this industry. With closer examination, I think that more and more of these flaws will come to light.

[1460] For these reasons, I do not think we should rush this debate through the Dáil. There should be ample time to study the Agreement. No attempt should be made by the Taoiseach or the Government to conclude this debate until the Agreement has properly been studied and debated and its flaws brought to light.

If Article XIV were not in the Agreement, the way might be open for some specifying of this country as an underdeveloped country in the Free Trade Area. We should be considered an underdeveloped country if this Article were not in the Agreement. Some provision should have been made for us to attract foreign industries and some provision should have been made for us to build up industrial sectors here. The only instance in this Agreement where we were considered not to be on a par with Britain, where there was a disparity of industrial development between the two countries, was cited in paragraph 3 of Article 13 where it says there was a disparity between the levels of economic development of the two countries. The exact words are:

having regard to the disparity between the levels of economic development of the two countries, the Government of Ireland may continue to apply, in respect of exports to the United Kingdom, a system of relief from Income Tax and Corporation Profits Tax.

The concessions we have given to British industry are very apparent and very real. We have given everything and the concessions we have received in the agricultural sector are very, very few. If one could be shown against the other it would be seen, very obviously, that we have come out of this Agreement very poorly, with Britain emerging victorious. She has gained all and has granted very few concessions. We could have received better concessions. I am not against free trade but I am not in favour of such an agreement as was negotiated by the Government. Fianna Fáil made a very big mistake. We benefit very little, when the benefits are weighed against the concessions to Britain. I can judge how the British feel about [1461] this Agreement by the fact that their farmers were not outraged by it. Had we gained considerable concessions on the agricultural side, the British farmer would have been up in arms. Apart from a few isolated cases, the British farmer was not disturbed and you can conclude from that that they did not give us any great concessions in agriculture.

We will suffer badly from this Agreement, which I think will become apparent. British industrialists here, knowing this Free Trade Agreement, knowing the consequences of it and knowing that they can very readily supply this country from England with a few hours extra on their machines, will very soon pack up here and return to England. I know of a few cases where a couple of hours extra on machines in England would supply this country, and were it not for the fact they know that under the present system they could not operate directly from England, they would not be here. Now that they know the consequences of this Agreement and have studied it, I daresay there will be a close down of those industries faster than the Government realises.

I do not know what the Taoiseach's idea was in concluding this Agreement. He may have hoped it would have meant virtual elimination of the border. The Taoiseach knows it could not mean that because there is one way, and one way only, in which the border situation could be solved. That is by raising our social services standards to that of Northern Ireland. Then, and only then, would they consider integrating with the South, where our social services are atrocious by English standards, Northern Ireland standards and, indeed, European standards. Serious contemplation of integration with Northern Ireland, I think is the first problem which must be tackled and which has been ignored for so long. The Taoiseach has gambled on this Agreement and it is a gamble which may very readily not pay off. It is a gamble on the part of the Taoiseach, by associating himself more closely with Britain and concluding that the chances of admission to EEC [1462] are greater. Nobody knows the benefits with regard to EEC. Certainly, the efforts made to date do not suggest that membership of EEC is likely in the near future. But, meanwhile, we must suffer the consequences of the Free Trade Agreement. Will the Taoiseach state now that we will make a separate application for admission to EEC, or will we make it now jointly with Britain, dependent on their membership?

As an alternative to this Agreement we should have had an Agreement which would have given us absolute parity with British farmers. This would have compensated us for the concessions granted to British industrialists. Then, we would have been in a position to gear ourselves a lot more readily for EEC membership, rather than gearing ourselves under the present Trade Agreement. By the time EEC membership is seriously considered, this country will be impoverished. The gamble in this Agreement was too great and I do not think a responsible Government should have taken it. The gamble is too great for what we can achieve from it. We will not achieve anything special, there are no great concessions and, still, the Taoiseach has gambled the entire country on this Agreement.

I strongly believe that, before signing the Agreement, the Taoiseach should have made the country aware of its implications. I also believe he should have had a referendum because no Government have the right, without consulting the people, to conclude such an Agreement. If Fianna Fáil were in opposition today, they would have made political capital out of the fact that such an Agreement could be signed with Britain. I can imagine their slurs and what they would say to the Government in power. I would say they would call them traitors to this country for signing such an Agreement. I have no doubt that they would have raised a tremendous furore throughout the country, but they have not tried to explain the Agreement in any form to the people, to the working community, and it is the working class who will suffer from it. It is they who [1463] will find themselves on the emigrant ship. The industrialists will not suffer so much and the bigger they are, the less they will suffer.

I believe we shall have less employment within a few years and I cannot see how the small concessions we have got in agriculture can possibly compensate for all we have given away to Britain. We could not have given them more. We have virtually opened up the entire market to British industrialists. Our efforts to date for industry have been in vain. The Taoiseach, as Minister for Industry and Commerce, fostered these industries and one can only conclude that the Agreement he has accepted represented the only way out, in view of our economic position, that he had to accept any Agreement, no matter how few concessions it offered. Perhaps, and it seems likely, he has not presented a clear picture of our economic situation, which is a state of virtual collapse. We have a credit squeeze and when we see the Government resorting to pruning small expenditure like that on the Garda Band and now the pavilion at the Canadian celebrations, we can only deduce that we are virtually bankrupt. This is an opinion shared by many, There is no money for housing or proper social services and the social services we have at the moment can, I foresee, only worsen as less and less money is available as a result of this Agreement.

If we were to consider a more positive approach on behalf of Irish industry and if we had proper planning, we could, were it not for this Agreement, have industries capable of competing in the European market if we had able men acting as our representatives abroad. We have made no such effort and no proper attempt to explore further markets. We have tied ourselves almost exclusively to Britain and, as a professor in Durham University said recently: “You left the Empire when there was some chance and now you are trying yourselves to the apron strings of a country, that is economically crumbling, Britain.” We are joining with Britain at a time when she is almost collapsing and fading [1464] out of the picture as a major power. It seems we cannot conceive of any other outlet and that we still think of Britain as the great power. It is obvious if the Taoiseach gives so much away that he still regards Britain as an almighty power. Because of the inferiority complex about which he spoke at length and which I think he displayed so much in the talks with Britain, he was glad, it seems, of any concession. No other conclusion can be reached.

It should be obvious that Britain would not conclude an Agreement giving us everything or even any great advantages. She never did so before. She flagrantly violated the last Agreement with the imposition of the levy and yet once more we trust Britain, despite so many broken agreements. We are prepared to take another chance, hoping that this time she will keep her word. I hope she breaks this Agreement so that we can then take steps to tear it up completely. It is a sad thing for Ireland that the Taoiseach can say that this Agreement is permanent. It ties us completely to an industrial giant. I cannot see how industry here can compete with these economic giants in England.

There is talk of a concession on man-made fibres but it is clear that many of these industries here are subsidiaries of British industries which, in turn, will benefit. This is not a great concession. By membership of EEC, all tariffs would be reduced for us, not in one particular field. There is no comparison between such a position and the concession on man-made fibres which I think are supplied mainly by British industries so that we are at an unfair advantage at the beginning. That will become more obvious as time goes on and it will be clear that this so-called concession is no concession at all.

This Agreement does not provide proper safeguards against dumping. I believe measures will be taken after dumping occurs, that the stable door will be closed when the horse has gone. As happened before, the dumping will come first and then we may take measures against it to a certain [1465] extent. In this Agreement, we depend very much on consultations with Britain and on what Britain says. Consultations mean nothing. Consultations do not guarantee anything. Consultations can go on for a long time and in the meantime we will suffer. I do not think that the use of the word “consultation” in so many Articles of the Agreement is good enough. I do not think it safeguards us or guarantees anything. The use of the word renders the framing of the Agreement bad. I do not think Government Ministers can sit smug having negotiated and signed this Agreement.

Further study, examination and scrutiny of every clause of this Agreement will show that we have come out on the wrong side, that we have fared very badly. It is a great pity that the debate on the Agreement was not deferred until people had a greater opportunity of studying it in detail. To have the debate at this stage was a political ruse to prevent Deputies from studying it properly. It has been admitted by economists that only by prolonged study can every article in the Agreement be properly understood.

The Taoiseach is vague in regard to some of the implications of the Agreement. He has not been able to tell us which industries will close down and which will not. The Agreement has been rushed through even too fast for the Civil Service. A little more study should have been given to the Agreement before it was signed. I cannot understand the precipitate hurry to produce the Agreement and have it signed. There was no tremendous urgency, unless the Government did not want the signing to coincide with the celebrations at Easter. I cannot understand the rush to sign this Agreement without considering the consequences, the implications and the wishes of the people. The Taoiseach has rushed it through as if the existing Agreement were due to expire immediately and he must have a new Agreement. Undoubtedly, it was in his mind to rush the Agreement through for some reason or another which has not been made known to the Dáil or the people. The Taoiseach has ignored the Dáil. I might say, with regard to this Agreement.

[1466] Very rarely does the Taoiseach announce his decisions in the Dáil. He makes his most important statements outside the Dáil. Since April last, when I was elected, I have noticed that the Taoiseach makes very few statements in the Dáil. Deputies become aware of his decisions only through the Press and only when he is forced to have debates on particular issues. The Taoiseach has chosen on many occasions to ignore the House completely. That has been his attitude over a long period. His approach to this Free Trade Agreement suggests that he did not want the Dáil to know anything about it, that he wanted to conclude it and that the Dáil must hear nothing. As far as I can see, the public know about these issues before Deputies know about them. It is typical of what has been happening. The Taoiseach refuses to discuss matters in the House before making announcements at dinners and various functions. One of the first things I noticed when I became a Member of this House was that all the important statements made by the Taoiseach were made outside this House. I have been wondering if the power of the Dáil was dwindling more and more. That is the thing that I noticed about this Dáil, that the Taoiseach chooses to ignore it on making statements on particular issues. He makes them at functions. I do not know if that is the usual procedure but, in my view, the Taoiseach should make important statements in this House, not at functions. He should respect the authority of the House.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan This does not seem to be peculiar to this motion.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins It happens so often.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan The Deputy could take the occasion of the Taoiseach's Vote to make that point.

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell Zoom on John F. O'Connell I am emphasising this fact because I have seen that the Taoiseach chooses to ignore the House.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan The Deputy has said that several times. He should come to the motion.

[1467]Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell Zoom on John F. O'Connell It is important that I should stress this fact.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan If to repeat is to emphasise, the Deputy has certainly emphasised it.

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell Zoom on John F. O'Connell I was just explaining. In the Second Programme for Economic Expansion the question of employment is referred to. It is in complete contradiction of what will happen under this Free Trade Agreement. The White Paper on the manpower policy refers to the Second Programme for Economic Expansion which forecast an increase in employment of 78,000 in the decade to 1970 —an increase of 86,000 in industry and 58,000 in the services, offset by a decline of 66,000 in agriculture. The White Paper issued in relation to the Free Trade Agreement suggests that unemployment will increase by 10,000 within a few years. The White Paper on manpower policy refers to 15,000 extra jobs per year in the next four years. In the White Paper on the Free Trade Agreement there is a reference to 10,000 extra persons becoming unemployed as a result of the Agreement. Will the Taoiseach or his Ministers explain the apparent contradiction? I rather imagine that, even though they say 10,000, it will in fact be a great deal more. One statement is a complete contradiction of the other and I should like an explanation as to how we can have unemployment to the tune of an extra 10,000, while, at the same time, creating 15,000 new jobs each year. There seems to be something illogical.

It is stated in the White Paper on manpower that the aim is the attainment and maintenance of employment at the highest levels practicable. Despite the fact that the Agreement is bound to cause vast unemployment, it is stated here that the growth in the industrial sector is vitally important as a major increase in employment is anticipated in this sector. We will open the floodgates to British industries, creating unemployment in our own industries, and yet we talk in this White Paper about creating more employment in the industrial sector.

[1468] The White Paper is vague. It is too generalised. There are no proper plans for a manpower policy. It would have been infinitely better had the Government created a manpower agency, with everything geared to cope with the situation that must result from this free trade agreement before entering into the actual agreement. That should have been done first. I cannot understand the urgency for concluding the Agreement before a proper manpower policy had been put into effect. People cannot live on promises. But that is what the people of this country are being asked to do, to exist on vague promises of a manpower policy. The effects of free trade will be felt long before the now non-existent manpower policy can be put into operation. The White Paper is not sufficiently explicit as to what actual steps will be taken. There seems to be a decision to do something and to make some plans, but there is no really hard and fast decision and no real manpower policy to put into operation as a working proposition before the implementation of the Free Trade Agreement. That approach would have been a more sensible one and would have demonstrated that the Government are capable of planning the actual affairs of this country. Tackling the situation in this roundabout way is but one more glaring example of Government incompetence and inefficiency.

There is talk about mobility of labour, about restraining and resettlement, but there are no concrete measures visualised or embodied in this White Paper which would result in making the trade unions a great deal happier about the situation. There is today a tremendous feeling of insecurity amongst workers. There seems to be no proper insight on the part of the Government into the real problem. Indeed it is becoming more and more apparent to many people, especially those in the city of Dublin, that our housing problem will be solved, but only at the expense of so many of our citizens emigrating to Britain. This is the view held by many of the working class.

The White Paper deals with redundancy [1469] payment schemes. These schemes are to be met by appropriate contributions from both employers and workers. I do not think the workers should be mulcted because of a situation brought about by the Government concluding a free trade agreement in advance of any proper policy to safeguard the situation at home. I think this is unfair. I think it is wrong in view of the fact that the workers are already paying heavily for social welfare benefits. To ask them to pay contributions towards a redundancy payments scheme is asking too much. They have no responsibility for redundancy. That responsibility rests on the Government. It is the Government who are creating the redundancy because of this new Agreement.

This is a problem that can only be tackled, in my opinion, through the medium of membership of EEC, should such materialise. Then and only then should the Government have considered establishing such a scheme. If the Government have to finance this scheme they will definitely impoverish this country. It is neither practicable nor possible to finance such a scheme by funds provided by one country alone. Only a joint fund is feasible in such a scheme. It will be interesting to see what the cost of the scheme envisaged by the Government will be. We were a little premature, I think, in taking such a drastic step. A less formidable, shall we say, agreement would have been much more advantageous because we could then have done things in easier stages. It was not necessary to have concluded such an agreement with such far-reaching consequences. The Taoiseach has asked for alternatives. We have said there should be greater parity for our Irish farmers with the British farmer. We believe that could have been achieved having regard to the concessions that have been granted. Naturally the Taoiseach says they concluded the best agreement possible. But we do not believe it was the best agreement. We regret the attitude adopted by the Fine Gael Party. The Leader of the Party made a magnificent speech opposing this Agreement. He clearly showed that the Agreement is wrong. The pity of it is [1470] that Fine Gael have not the courage of their convictions and will not oppose it.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins We do not believe they are capable of doing any better. The Deputy apparently does.

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell Zoom on John F. O'Connell I do not say the present Government, but I think it would have been possible to conclude a better Agreement without sacrificing so much, without sacrificing our economic independence completely. Although I think it would have been possible, the Fine Gael Party were wrong in announcing that they were going to approve the Agreement. I believe there was no choice but to reject the Agreement from which we have decided to dissociate ourselves completely.

Mr. Barrett: The reaction of the Government to the debate here is quite typical of a Government who realise that they are in difficulties. Not so long ago we listened to a speech by Deputy Davern in which he alleged that there was, if you please, a filibuster on the Opposition side of the House in respect of this discussion. What happened subsequently might give some basis to the allegation made by Deputy Davern, but we assert on behalf of all Opposition Parties in this Dáil that we are entitled to discuss as much as we wish and at such length as we desire this very important Trade Agreement which is before the House for discussion.

In discussing this Agreement from the Fine Gael benches, we realise that there is much upon which we can ruminate with sadness and much upon which we can speculate with a feeling of satisfaction. When I speak of ruminating, I refer to the fact that we in these benches were bred in the tradition that we should always bear in mind the close economic links long existing between this country and Britain, that we should always realise the special trading relations which have been developing between us, and that we should always realise the substantial measure of interdependence of the economies of the two countries. We [1471] have been doing that since 1922 when an even more historic Agreement than this was signed between the two countries. We on these benches have year after year been vilified as West Britons, pro-British, and various other things because we dared to realise the economic realities and the relationships that existed between the two countries. Year after year the people of this country were invited to subscribe to a policy which said: “Burn everything British except their coal,” a policy which was expressed from the bench occupied by the then Leader of the Government Party who exulted that the British market had gone forever and invoked the blessing of the Almighty on that fact.

It is a great satisfaction to us on this side of the House that we now have a document subscribed to by the present Leader of the Government which says: “Bearing in mind the close economic links long existing”— and surely the word “long” goes back at least as far as 1932 when Fianna Fáil went into power on the basis that if they were elected, they would teach Britain and they would whip John Bull —“between the two countries, the special trading relationship which has developed under the Trade Agreements concluded between them in 1938, 1948 and 1960, and the substantial measure of interdependence of the economies of the two countries...” These things are referred to in a Preamble to this Trade Agreement as if they were something which had never been realised before. It gives us the greatest satisfaction from this side of the House to tell Deputy Davern and anybody else who suggests we are engaging in a filibuster, that we are going to take every possible opportunity to point out to the country that at last the Fianna Fáil Party are subscribing to the policy which we have preached to them in and out of Government in this House since 1922.

The results of the Fianna Fáil policy are amazing. The Taoiseach in his speech yesterday explained very plainly that if this Trade Agreement is implemented, as obviously it will be, many Irish industries will go by the board. [1472] The expressions used by the Taoiseach were quite plain. He was talking of protection which supported inefficiency and high costs which this country can no longer afford. Could this country ever afford the protection and the high costs of which the Taoiseach speaks? I think the Taoiseach's realisation that we cannot afford that sort of protection is long overdue. We on this side of the House have been preaching to the Taoiseach day in and day out that that sort of protection was not the sort of protection which should be afforded to Irish industry. The sort of protection to industries over which the Taoiseach now waves the Sword of Damocles should never have been afforded. The truth is that it was not in 1964, 1965 or 1966 that we could not afford that protection. It never could be afforded; it should never have been afforded.

The Taoiseach says Irish industry must become fully mature and that the swaddling clothes must be cast away. That comes very ill from a man who went up and down the length and breadth of this country at every general election for as long as I can remember, boasting about the industrial development of this country, numbering on the fingers not of one hand but of 400 pairs of hands, the industries he had created, the economic growth for which he was responsible. Now, faced by the realities of the present time, which the Taoiseach should have foreseen, we find him coming in here saying we must take the swaddling clothes off Irish industry, that it must become fully mature.

If the electorate understood the Taoiseach properly and believed what he said at general election after general election during the past two decades they would have come to the conclusion that Irish industry was fully mature, that Irish industry was not the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes but that we had a strong, viable industry, thanks to the efforts of the Taoiseach. It is good that history should vindicate the people who told the nation that we of this Party were anxious that Irish industry should be fostered but that we were not anxious that every little twopence-halfpenny industry [1473] which could supply propaganda for the Fianna Fáil Party should be fostered simply because it was an industry or simply because those who were involved in it subscribed to the Fianna Fáil Party, both in thought and from their hip pockets.

The day of reckoning has arrived not alone for the Taoiseach but for those who received the protection the Taoiseach afforded, because the Taoiseach himself says in his cool, calm, ruthless fashion that certain industries must go by the board, that certain industries are doomed. But, far from giving any indication to any section of Irish industry which types of industry are doomed, the Taoiseach simply said certain industries would be destroyed because of dumping, because of subsidised imports of various things. What comfort will those industries get from this Agreement? Is it the cold comfort provided in Article XI, paragraph (3)?

If any industry in the territory of either party is suffering or is threatened with material injury as a result of the importation of dumped or subsidised products into the territory of the other, the latter shall, at the request of the former, examine the possibility of taking such action as is consistent with its international obligations to remedy the injury or prevent the threatened injury.

Did anybody ever hear anything more subjunctive? What will that do? It will examine the possibility of taking such action as is consistent with the international obligations to remedy the injury or prevent the threatened injury. Those of us who are members of local authorities and various other bodies where different Ministers are enjoined by statute and regulations to consult with local authorities will realise the absolute ineffectiveness of Article XI (3) in which the parties solemnly enjoin themselves. I do not like using clichés but that paragraph is not worth the paper it is written. It is a facade to satisfy the swaddling clothed industries which the Taoiseach now sees threatened.

The extraordinary thing is that the Taoiseach chides these industries, says [1474] they were abusing the protection given to them. The fact is, of course, that many of these industries had become integrated into our economy. They were part of it, whether they liked it or not, and whole families, many families depended on them, slender though their structure may have been, for their livelihood. Now they must fall in the course of the implementation of this Agreement.

I do not believe this Trade Agreement is really meant as a trade agreement between Britain and Ireland at all but is purely an exercise in the dismantling of tariffs with a view to our entering EEC. If certain industries suffer, if workers employed in them suffer as a result of EEC membership, there is a fund at the disposal of the international body to look after them. Here, the workers and the dependants of the workers engaged in these industries will now be thrown upon the State. I deplore the almost incidental way this highly important Agreement arose. Obviously it was incidental to the Taoiseach's visit to London last July to discuss the imposition of levies by Britain.

I do not intend to keep the House too long but I should like to comment on what I consider the misleading statements the Minister for Agriculture made in the House today when he said quite brazenly that it was not the intention there should be a free trade agreement in regard to agriculture. I would refer the House to Article I of the Agreement which says:

On and after 1 July 1966 the Government of the United Kingdom shall not apply any import duty to goods which, in accordance with Article II, are regarded as originating in, and are consigned from, Ireland.

That provision obviously refers to agricultural produce and obviously, in my submission, it was the original intention that the Free Trade Agreement should refer to agriculture. However, at page 206, Appendix VIII, of the document, Free Trade Area Agreement and Related Agreements, Exchanges of Letters and Understandings, we find that on the day the Agreement was [1475] concluded in London, including Article I, a letter was written by Mr. Charles J. Haughey to Mr. Frederick Peart as follows:

I have the honour to refer to Articles VII and IX of the Agreement signed today establishing a Free Trade Area between Ireland and the United Kingdom, regarding arrangements for imports of agricultural products, including imports of bacon, cereals and butter into the United Kingdom.

Having regard to the provisions of those Articles the Government of Ireland undertake that, in the event of the Government of the United Kingdom, after the consultation referred to in paragraph (2) of Article VIII or in paragraph (4) of Article IX, wishing to implement an arrangement of the sort referred to in paragraph (1) of Article VIII or in paragraph (4) of Article IX, which involves the regulation of imports of an agricultural product by means of a minimum import price system enforced by levies, they will be prepared to waive their right under Article I of that Agreement to duty-free access to the United Kingdom for the agricultural product in question, provided that Ireland is accorded no less favourable treatment than that accorded to any other country enjoying a right of duty-free access for the product to the United Kingdom, due account being taken of different grades, qualities and price levels of that product.

I have the honour to suggest that if the foregoing is acceptable to the Government of the United Kingdom this Letter and your reply to that effect shall be regarded as constituting an Agreement between the two Governments in this matter.

Plainly, it was the intention of the contracting parties to that Agreement on 14th December, 1965, that the Agreement should refer to agricultural produce. Plainly, something happened between the signing of the Agreement [1476] that day and the writing of the letter by Mr. Charles J. Haughey to Mr. Frederick Peart on 14th December. The House was entitled to hear from the Minister for Agriculture why there was such a fundamental departure from the original Agreement, why there was such a sudden departure from it. We can take it that the Agreement was signed on 14th December and the letter followed it.

We in Fine Gael regret that the Agreement took the form it did. The amendment which we have put down to the Government's motion expresses our concern with the inevitable effect of the freeing of trade on employment and emigration and deplore the fact that the Agreement as negotiated is unbalanced. Speaking at this late stage of this debate, there is no point in my traversing again the territory traversed in detail by the Leader of the Fine Gael Party. As a Party we have the satisfaction—belatedly acknowledged by the Taoiseach—that there is an inter-dependence of trade, that 72 per cent of our exports go to Britain and that we on this side of the House have nothing whatsoever to reproach ourselves with over the years, that our policy was the right policy. We can say to those who sit behind the Taoiseach today: “We told you so and we wish you had realised it sooner. We wish you had some appreciation of what we preached to you over the years.” If that had been acknowledged, I believe there would have been a much better atmosphere surrounding the talks in London in December.

While speaking in that vein, I do not wish in any way to detract from the efforts made by the negotiators and their advisers. Had the people on the other side of the House realised many years before they did realise it the facts of our economic life with Britain, there would be no need, at this late stage, to engage in the debate which we have had tonight.

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor I want to preface my remarks by referring to the contribution made to his House, and, indeed, to the nation, by Deputy Seán Dunne. Deputy Dunne proceeded to step up [1477] on the rostrum of extreme republicanism and from there, to the enthusiastic plaudits, and at times the near hysterical laughter of Deputy L'Estrange, stepped out of character and shrouded himself in ultra-republicanism.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange I did not speak at all.

Mr. Carty: Information on Michael Carty Zoom on Michael Carty He said the Deputy laughed.

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor His thesis was that he and his Party were the only people now left in the House who had this extreme national outlook which the nation needs. The nation does need such a national outlook.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange It is very little so far as the Deputy's Party is concerned.

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor Deputy Dunne, at the start, qualified his authority to the extent that he learned his extreme republicanism both at home and in school. I claim I am as good an authority as Deputy Dunne because I also learned my republicanism in school. I learned it from my grandfather, who contributed no small part of his time in confinement because of his Fenian ideas.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan I suggest the family history of Deputy Dunne or of Deputy O'Connor is scarcely relevant.

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor I agree, but the fact is the Deputy in question was allowed to get away with it. I bow to your wishes just the same.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan I wonder how the Deputy is going to relate what he is saying to the motion before the House?

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor That is what I am trying to do. The Deputy, as I say, with the enthusiastic plaudits of Deputy L'Estrange, proceeded to tear the Party which I represent to pieces. He said they had dropped the cloak of republicanism in spite of the fact that the country and the entire nation for 33 years had backed this Party because [1478] of the republican and nationalist outlook it held.

Mr. Norton: Information on Patrick Norton Zoom on Patrick Norton That is the reason they changed.

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor For a couple of short terms, this Party lost control. It was lost because of the Party who claimed to carry this ultra-republicanism at the time. Those different Parties have fallen by the wayside today. I believe that our country can be brought back on the rails on which it should be today——

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange The Deputy admits it is off them?

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay It is 33 years off them.

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor If we can revive the republican spirit and the nationalist spirit dormant in all our people, and very progressive in a very large number of them, we will be doing a great deal of good. Some of the people on the opposite side do not hold that view, but it is necessary. It is necessary in England and in every country of Europe because the nationalist spirit today can save a people and their country. The fact is that £65 million worth of extra imports arrived in this country during the past 12 months. Out of this total value of unnecessary consumer goods imported into this country, £11 million alone comprised foodstuffs, notwithstanding the fact that we are the most progressive and the best producers of food in the world today. It is one field in which we are second to none. Nevertheless, £11 million extra of foodstuffs was imported last year.

The Labour members are bewailing the fact, in decrying the efforts of this Government, that many of our people will be out of work and will enter the ranks of the unemployed. I believe the Labour Party have a high place to achieve in this nation if they organise their workers to buy Irish and particularly to sell the Irish material that is necessary to keep our nation going. The extra food and the extra consumer goods that were used over the past 12 months were really used in our cities and urban towns, in the [1479] places where labour was highly organised and which, if the power of labour were organised, could in a few short months reduce the value of imports that are crippling us at the moment by anything up to £100 million. It is the duty of the Labour Party and certainly of the trade unions to take that line of action and to devote their energies to seeing that their members and their people will both sell and buy Irish.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Government Departments do not do it.

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor It is a well-known fact that the processing industries in this country are using materials which are imported from South Africa and Hong Kong. These goods are handled by trade union members when the ships arrive here. This is a very serious matter and it is the duty of the trade unions and the Labour Party to see that this type of business does not continue.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey Should we strike?

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor I do not mean strike but I think effective measures could be taken, and should be taken, with regard to this matter.

Mr. Norton: Information on Patrick Norton Zoom on Patrick Norton Does the Deputy seriously suggest that the Labour Party are responsible for the surplus imports?

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor No. I am saying that it is the duty of the Labour Party to direct their energies to see that their members buy Irish and sell Irish.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan Order! Deputy O'Connor, to continue.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange What about the Minister for Transport and Power?

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey The Buy Irish campaign is as dead as the dodo.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange The Department of Posts and Telegraphs did not do it last year.

[1480]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan The Labour Party Deputies made their contribution and they might allow other Deputies to make theirs. Deputy O'Connor is entitled to speak.

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor I want to refer to an incident which was raised in this House previously. Deputy Corry and I entered a particular shop to buy some——

Deputies: Socks.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor I am stating the facts.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Are you wearing the socks?

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor I purchased some socks myself. I did not ask for any particular brand because I thought there was no necessity. I thought I would be supplied with Irish goods. The article was wrapped up, and when I was on my way home, I found it was an imported article. The fact remains that the Labour Party and trade unionism could correct that position.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey How?

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan I suggest that restraint should be exercised and Deputy O'Connor should be allowed to make his statement.

Mr. Norton: Information on Patrick Norton Zoom on Patrick Norton They are misstatements he is making.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan The Deputy can speak afterwards and contradict him.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey On a point of clarification——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan There is no such thing as a point of clarification. Deputy O'Connor must be allowed to make his statement within the rules of order.

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor I may be presuming a bit in trying to show Deputies where their duty lies. I am imbued with a [1481] spirit of nationalism and I think we have a duty to our people and to our nation. We can produce as good an article as anyone in the world and, indeed, in many cases a better article. I have known that from my own business. We have nothing to be ashamed of in the materials our industrialists produce.

Various speakers said our industrialists would suffer. We have 16 major industries in Kerry and about 30 minor industries. At one time or another, I have met all these industrialists, and not one of them is afraid of outside competition. They are already exporting. Deputy Ryan also said that no one in his constituency would suffer, and if we went through the country, we would probably find many other constituencies in the same circumstances. If that is the case, what are we shouting about here? Some industrialists will have to go. Any change or upset in trade or business must upset someone. In spite of all the shouting about the motor car industry, is it not a fact that Fords of Cork are expanding to the extent of £1½ million, and Dunlops are doing the same, in spite of the fact that people in this House are shouting that they are finished?

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): They were spending more in 1932 when you put them out.

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor I will go back to 1932.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan Order.

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor I will go back to 1922 or 1920.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan The Deputy, on the motion.

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor I will start from 1932.

Mr. Reynolds: Information on Patrick J. Reynolds Zoom on Patrick J. Reynolds Keep away from 1922.

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor I do not have to.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan I suggest that the Deputy should deal with the [1482] motion and not mind interruptions about '32, '22 or '12.

Mr. Norton: Information on Patrick Norton Zoom on Patrick Norton This is beginning to sound like Bingo.

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor I can understand why they cannot take it. From 1932 to 1937, the Opposition Parties at that time, who were the forerunners of the present Opposition Parties, decried every effort that was made for industry. They said we were intended to be an agricultural country.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange What about the Shannon Scheme and the white elephants?

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor A great number of industries were recorded in 1938 on the industrial register, and the cry then was that every harness shop and every cobbler's shop was registered as an industry. The harness shops and the cobblers' shops throughout the length and breadth of the country were giving very valuable employment. Today the members of the Parties whose forefathers decried those industries are shouting that our industries are going to fall by the wayside.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange We started the first Shannon Scheme.

Mr. Carty: Information on Michael Carty Zoom on Michael Carty The one and only.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay And the Carlow Sugar factory.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte It was a fair good start.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): Can the Deputy tell us how many were employed in Fords of Cork in 1932?

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor I cannot tell the Deputy that.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): It would be very interesting if he could.

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor We have been listening to the wailing of the Opposition about what is happening to our country, but today we have a people who can hold up their heads, and who are proud of the fact that they are Irish. Our people in foreign lands, in Britain and in other places, are proud of our country as it is today.

[1483]Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Singer got £1 million of the Irish people's money.

Mr. Carty: Information on Michael Carty Zoom on Michael Carty Who let him in?

Mr. Reynolds: Information on Patrick J. Reynolds Zoom on Patrick J. Reynolds Who let him out?

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor Deputy Dunne said that republicanism and nationalism were the sweat and blood, and bread and butter of our national economy. He said that if that were not republicanism, he did not know what was. I am in entire agreement with him. I want to address one remark to the Labour Party. I think that if the splendid body of trade unionism were organised up and down the country, our economic position could be adjusted. There is much talk about the country being broke, that there is no money. There is nothing wrong with our country. The money is still there, but the people have got into a rut and they are buying materials on credit. That cannot go on. That forces imports to a high level. They are buying not with money earned but with money they intend to earn in ten or 20 years' time. If we could get our people to crawl before they walk, and to walk before they run, this position could be adjusted. This country was on the flat of its back after the attempt at inter-Party Government, and it was raised again in a few years. There is no doubt it can be done today.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Where is the disparity in regard to “Let Lemass Lead On”?

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor He is leading on and he will be leading on——

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte This is a different story from the one you were telling in April.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan Deputy Harte will have to restrain himself.

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor He cannot take cracks.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor You do not want imported socks. Deputy Sweetman covered the Agreement by saying that we had really gained nothing on the agricultural side and that it was really a restatement of the existing position. [1484] In the next breath, he stated that £58 million extra worth of goods were imported last year from Britain. If it is an agreement on an agreed position on one side, surely it had to be the same on the other side. I cannot see that his contribution in this direction was helpful. Certainly if any steps can be taken to reduce imports, that would be the proper thing to do. Deputy Ryan bewailed the conditions facing the motor car industry and said that every bit of it would go. I do not think it has to go because motor cars have to be assembled in England and there is no reason why, if properly organised, the industry here could not be worked in the same way.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange The Taoiseach admitted it on television.

Mr. Norton: Information on Patrick Norton Zoom on Patrick Norton The Deputy should talk to Deputy Booth about it.

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor It is necessary that some of the attendant industries engaged in the motor car trade should go. I have a particular case in mind because I bought a car two years ago and inside one month the clutch was giving trouble. It was slipping into reverse and I took the car back but they refused to have anything to do with it and told me that I would have to take it to the place I bought it. I did this and some attempt was made to fix it, but after a while the driveshaft went and in the past month I had to get a replacement. That is the type of industry to which I refer. This was absolute negligence on the part of the assemblers.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange The Deputy was lucky he did not get the Irish socks that evening.

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor I am making a statement which I can back up because I have correspondence about it. Indeed, I even went to the trade representative in the country from which the parts were imported.

A Deputy: What make of car was it?

Mr. Carty: Information on Michael Carty Zoom on Michael Carty A motor car.

[1485]Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor If that is the type of business outlook imposed on the people, the sooner some of them go the better because that type of outlook should not be tolerated. I had to go back four times for different parts and those firms refused to replace any part.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte You put up the tariff barrier to protect them.

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor Some of them have to go if that is their outlook but I do not believe that all of them will have to go. Fords in Cork are expanding. They have complete faith in the future and in the country and in the working of this country. As I stated previously, there are 16 major industries in Kerry which are not afraid of the Common Market and they should speak for the rest of the country. We have some very big industries there and their attitude should be adopted by others in every part of the country. I do not believe that very many of our industries are going to fall by the wayside because of the free trade arrangements. I know that one factory in Kerry, in the boot trade, expanded their output out of all proportion. They have been working on limited quotas in Britain and all they want is to have the market open. That refers to the boot trade alone, and if they can do it, surely other factories in Dublin can also do it. I could go on forever, I suppose, on this but there are other speakers——

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte You would probably last longer than some of the industries.

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor I will make one appeal. A serious position is facing the country and we need the united effort of everybody in this House. If there is any spark of nationalism or republicanism, people should look at the green flag and carry that flag because it is the only flag that has any meaning. I am being very serious at this stage because so many have gone through so much in this country that there must be a bit of green left in everyone. Let us march forward as a nation and put the petty feelings aside because we are a great nation and people and all we want is leadership.

[1486]Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte That is what we have not got.

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor We have.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin Deputy O'Connor should be allowed to make his speech without this barrage of interruptions.

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor We have the leadership and we have the ability and the energy to devise ways and means, and I am making this appeal this evening. It is important for our people and for the country and we can raise ourselves to great heights but there is no point in slanging the efforts of the nation at the crossroads or elsewhere. We should try to get behind the green flag and march ahead.

Mr. Mullen: Information on Michael Mullen Zoom on Michael Mullen We cannot question the sincerity of Deputy O'Connor, having regard to his republican appeals, but I do not think it is good enough for him to say this because, having regard to his sentiments, we can see that like many of his colleagues, he has been mesmerised by the leaders of Fianna Fáil. It is cheek on the part of Fianna Fáil to suggest at any time that they are the sole owners of republicanism in Ireland. I do not want to go into the past but they are the very people who preached republicanism and then ran away from it. What Deputy Seán Dunne said today was right and it hurt —and I am glad it did hurt—a number of people, because the truth always hurts when it is expressed. There is no doubt that many things have happened which have been brought about at the instigation of the Fianna Fáil Government and any student of history if he stands back and has a good look at this Agreement, will say that it proves how completely. Fianna Fáil have let this nation down and that they have only woken up now to certain things. We know that this Agreement is now a fact and in consequence we have to make the most of it. Perhaps we will try to assist Fianna Fáil in getting out of the mess they have created. I hope that the time will not be too long before we get the opportunity of rectifying this Agreement as a [1487] proper representative authority from this country.

The Taoiseach said yesterday that he sat down at the conference table as an equal. It appears that this Agreement was accepted for the sake of accepting it. We all know as trade unionists that when an employer brings you in to a conference, sits you down and puts a bland smile on his face, what really matters is what comes out of it. Deputy O'Connor saw fit to take the Labour Party to task on the matter of buying Irish.

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor Selling Irish.

Mr. Mullen: Information on Michael Mullen Zoom on Michael Mullen He told us to educate our people to sell Irish. At least he was honest enough to admit that the Labour Party are the proper representatives of the people. He told us “Educate your workers”— the workers who have been mesmerised by Fianna Fáil for so long. Deputy O'Connor should address this plea to buy or sell Irish to the Fianna Fáil bosses. You cannot expect the worker in a shop or factory to sell Irish if his boss discourages him from doing so or does not afford him the opportunity to do so. We do not have to dwell on Fianna Fáil bosses because we can also consider ministerial action. What has Deputy Corry to say about CIE in regard to this matter of buying Irish? I am sure Deputy O'Connor knows, because he went to buy socks with him. Deputy O'Connor should have regard to the Ballymun scheme. Was everything brought in there Irish? The trade union movement in Dublin found to their horror that it was not.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin I am afraid the Deputy is getting away from the debate. He will have to relate his remarks to the discussion before the House.

Mr. Mullen: Information on Michael Mullen Zoom on Michael Mullen All right. Can any Deputy truthfully say he understands this Agreement?

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor Obviously, the Labour Party do.

Mr. Mullen: Information on Michael Mullen Zoom on Michael Mullen The Labour Party did not draw up this Agreement. We had [1488] evidence that even Ministers did not know what the Agreement contained. We had them reading their speeches prepared by the men who framed the Agreement. I do not think it is wrong to ask the people who framed the Agreement to explain it. Of course this is a unique case because those responsible for framing it are not Members of this House. Perhaps we could have had an opportunity of being dictated to and afterwards we could talk about this Agreement. I know confusion exists about the countries of origin aspect of the Agreement. Yesterday we heard the Minister for Industry and Commerce floundering about countries of origin. He said that this matter was so detailed that he would have to deal with it on another day. Our Ministers have not done their homework. They rushed into this and, as the song says, “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”

Let it not be taken that the Labour Party are against free trade. We have sufficient commonsense to realise that free trade is a must. However, we believe we rushed into this too quickly. We are putting the cart before the horse. We did not have the amount of preparation we should have had in order to undertake this exercise. If one is going to make an agreement of this kind, which will result in the elimination of some industries, surely it is not too much to ask that a proper plan be prepared beforehand to deal with such matters as the re-training of workers?

Yesterday the Minister for Industry and Commerce referred to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. He seemed to imply that Congress went along with this Agreement. That is not good enough. Congress, being the responsible body they are, recognise that this Agreement is a fact. They were not asked beforehand what kind of agreement they wanted. They issued a statement entitled “Free Trade Area Agreement—Observations by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions”. This statement went on:

The Economic Committee and Executive Council of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions today [1489] considered the terms of the Free Trade Agreement. Congress considers that the new situation created by the agreement requires an examination of the circumstances of the Irish worker and the consideration of the measures which must be undertaken to create new trends leading to the emergence of a more satisfactory social structure. Congress therefore proposes in a further statement to publish its observations on these matters.

They go on to make important observations, one of which is this:

The Government's responsibility, however, cannot be discharged simply by providing the existing system of grants and by exhorting Irish industry to avail of them. The Government itself as a corollary to entering into this agreement, must take positive measures to provide new industrial employment, by direct investment and by the direct establishment of new industries, as well as by new measures to promote industry by providing more services including research, marketing and representation abroad, and, perhaps most important, a higher level of general education, greater educational opportunity and adequate training both for industrial and agricultural occupations.

It is obvious we will hear more about this Agreement from Congress, who undoubtedly are the watchdogs of organised labour in this country.

This Trade Agreement is a reflection on the activities of the Minister for External Affairs who was responsible for it. Our Ambassadors abroad have not been doing the job expected of them in the matter of looking for better markets.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin That has nothing to do with this Trade Agreement.

Mr. Mullen: Information on Michael Mullen Zoom on Michael Mullen It has a lot to do with the Trade Agreement, Sir.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin It has nothing to do with the Trade Agreement before the House.

[1490]Mr. Mullen: Information on Michael Mullen Zoom on Michael Mullen We could make a trade agreement with any other part of Europe——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin We are discussing one particular Trade Agreement and Deputy Mullen may not wander all over the world.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Surely the Taoiseach dealt with alternative markets as well?

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully Is the Chair ruling that Deputy Mullen is not entitled to offer alternative ways of dealing with an Irish Trade Agreement?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin I am pointing out to the Deputy that we are discussing a Trade Agreement with Great Britain and that the Deputy might relate his remarks to it. His references to the Minister for External Affairs and markets abroad are not relevant and do not arise.

Mr. Treacy: Information on Seán Treacy Zoom on Seán Treacy The Minister for External Affairs is the author of this document. His name is signed to it.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin Yes, to this document which is under debate.

Mr. Treacy: Information on Seán Treacy Zoom on Seán Treacy The Minister's name is appended to the Anglo-Irish Free Trade Agreement.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): Surely it is in order to point out that the Minister for External Affairs, or the Government, instead of entering into this Trade Agreement with Great Britain, should have sought alternative markets in any other country in the world and not tied us to one country? I respectfully submit that that is in order.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin That would widen the debate unduly. The Chair is concerned with the Trade Agreement under discussion at the moment and Deputies might relate their remarks to that particular Agreement.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully That rule was not applied to Ministers or to anybody else until tonight.

[1491]An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin The matters referred to by Deputy Mullen were not discussed by Ministers.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully They were, of course.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey A Deputy spoke a few minutes ago about buying socks.

Mr. M.E. Dockrell: Information on Maurice E. Dockrell Zoom on Maurice E. Dockrell And about his grandfather.

Mr. Mullen: Information on Michael Mullen Zoom on Michael Mullen Earlier in the debate, Government speakers looked to the Labour benches and expected that alternatives would be suggested. This is what I am trying to do but I am not being allowed to do so. Very well. Lest there should be any further misunderstanding about this, let me say clearly that we do not suggest that the Government should legislate for industrial inefficiency. Having regard to all the talk so far from the Fianna Fáil benches about adaptation, we must point out that we are well aware that a considerable number of employers have not availed of adaptation grants. Nothing is being done about it. It is not the function of the workers to apply for an adaptation grant. However, the people who have neglected to apply for adaptation grants are the very people who made a lot of money out of Irish industry. They are the very people who continually refuse to give fair return to the workers they employ. I am satisfied also that those people will not lose, even if they are put out of existence now. Because they have capital, they are in the happy position that they can change over the capital even to a British combine. The average worker can change over only by going across and working in England or further afield.

We are thinking now—I am, anyhow—of the importance of this proposed manpower policy that was talked about and in respect of which nothing positive was done. The Parliamentary Secretary this afternoon spoke about manpower policy in a very vague way. He indicated that there would be legislation in connection with the carrying out of the manpower policy. There, I think, he hit the nail on the head. He [1492] certainly conveyed to me clearly and distinctly, that Fianna Fáil are the cause of a great deal of delay in the preparation of this manpower policy. When we bear in mind that the Taoiseach said that the first overtures in relation to this Agreement were made from our side, and made in 1963, we must surely conclude that Fianna Fáil have been neglectful in preparing a manpower policy. Furthermore, when we bear in mind that we had successive contacts with the British Government —the Taoiseach explained that he had another chat of some kind in 1964— it seems to me that the Parliamentary Secretary is so unfamiliar with things that he does not realise that a retraining scheme was introduced in England in 1964. We were in cahoots with England in 1963 and surely something could have been done in connection with the preparation of Irish workers for an eventuality of the kind that will undoubtedly come about as a result of this Agreement.

The Parliamentary Secretary said: “We pity people who are out of work.” We do not want pity: it is not good enough to be pitied when you are unemployed. I submit that the main advantage in this Agreement is for the big farmer and the cattle rancher if you like to put it that way. My simple knowledge of Irish history tells me that for over 600 years we had free trade with John Bull and that this country was a cattle ranch. The Irish people eventually decided to throw off this yoke, to conduct their own affairs and to get rid of John Bull.

I hesitate to say this but I remember as a boy running around the streets of Dublin delightedly listening to the slogans uttered and painted on the walls and shouted from the roof tops —Break the Connection with England; Burn everything British except their Coal; Sink the Boats that bring Food to England. What a transformation! I am satisfied that one of the factors that has panicked this Government into making this type of Agreement is the balance of payments problem. We have sufficient commonsense to realise that one of the greatest causes of the balance of payments problem was the [1493] 15 per cent levy by the British Government which represented a welching on an existing agreement. Have we any guarantee that they will not do the same again? I submit that they will do the same. I may be informed, in reply to that statement, that we can do the same. What effect would our action have? We may reconcile the balance of payments, as we possibly shall, by exporting more cattle to England but it will not give any more jobs to the people here and that is the consideration we must take note of.

I did not hear during any of the speeches from the Government benches what will happen when this Agreement gets under way, say, in 12 months' time, having regard to the interest of the working man and woman. With the opportunity to send more and more cattle to England, will the price of meat go up in this country? Will we be all right in respect of the price of vegetables and other foodstuffs? These are matters which we have got to take into consideration. Even now, we have people telling the workers, the trade union movement, to tread carefully, that the country cannot afford another increase in wages. I should also like to know from the Government, who undoubtedly are responsible for defending this Agreement, if, as a result of this Agreement, we shall be able to compete with Denmark? What will be the position about the exportation of butter? Shall we still have the situation that the wrapper on the lb. of butter that goes to England is the equivalent of a postal order? These are pertinent questions.

Yesterday, the Taoiseach spoke about efforts being made to go into the EEC but I think that what has to be borne in mind about our ever getting into the EEC is our ability to participate. I remember reading one time that we had applied and were hoping to get in as a result of the Taoiseach's visit but the news came back—no, we would not get in. I remember reading, shortly after, the results of another visit when it was indicated that the Taoiseach said, off the cuff, we were ready to participate in the European [1494] Community—and all without preparation.

I do not think it wrong even at this stage to ask the Fianna Fáil Government what will we do or when will we get those thousands of jobs promised on the head of the First and Second Programmes. Yesterday the Minister for Industry and Commerce said there should be greater co-operation between management and workers. This goes back to what I said in the beginning—we should set good example and, undoubtedly, good example can be set by Departments. There is not a great deal of co-operation between some Government Departments and the representatives of workers. If we are to get private employers to get “with it”, as Deputy Seán Dunne said this morning, we must set a proper example.

The Parliamentary Secretary, Deputy Flanagan, stressed the need to re-examine and assess our labour potential. I often wonder about this sudden realisation of important things of that kind. Surely we should have a set-up where the examination of a labour potential continues, but that is not so. There is not a single member of the Government in a position at the moment to give an accurate indication of the number of boys and girls between the ages of 14 and 16 years who attend the employment exchanges in Dublin seeking employment. I asked that such information be compiled, because of the fact that we allow our children to leave school at the age of 14——

Mr. Treacy: Information on Seán Treacy Zoom on Seán Treacy That would be very embarrassing.

Mr. Mullen: Information on Michael Mullen Zoom on Michael Mullen ——but the answer I received from the Taoiseach on that occasion, was that it was not worth the time involved in compiling such information. These boys and girls are all potential workers. These are the people who, in a few years' time, will be seeking employment but, undoubtedly, they will be offered jobs out of the 400,000 jobs the British Government announced they will require to fill in the next few years.

The Parliamentary Secretary also talked about the employment services [1495] in the hands of the Department of Social Welfare. If he or any other Deputy took the time off to address a group of trade unionists or unemployed workers—trade unionists whether they be employed or not—they would soon tell him what their experience has been of the employment services in the hands of the Department of Social Welfare. It would be a very good exercise and I say this quite seriously if the officials of the Department of Industry and Commerce and, in particular, the Parliamentary Secretary, were to pay a visit and see the modus operandi there it would be very worth while.

He also quoted from an OECD publication of October last and talked about training and manpower. He read out portion of it but he could have come closer to home, and have read out “Mother England retraining scheme”, or he could have said how much we will measure up to Mother England's retraining scheme.

There was talk earlier on, and Deputy O'Connor in particular spoke about the Buy Irish and Sell Irish campaign. I am sure Deputy O'Connor, and certainly the Ministers of the Fianna Fáil Party, are well aware that a Buy British campaign is being launched in England. They are also well aware of the amount of England interests in this country and that an Englishman can be as patriotic as an Irishman. We must also be well aware that the Englishman will not do business in this country unless it is worth his while and that English industrialists will not open up any type of business here unless they can find a way of putting their products into this country. Is that not a nice load to have to contend with when we take into consideration this Free Trade Agreement? If the Free Trade Agreement does nothing else, it will bring into bold relief who stands for what. We will, perhaps, be putting an end to a lot of the flag-waving indulged in in the past, and this conviction on the part of one Party, who hold themselves out as the only Party who should demonstrate this way or that way.

[1496] The Labour Party are pledged at all times—and there is no doubt about this—to look after the interests of the workers, whether they be organised in the trade union movement or not. I was glad to hear Deputy O'Connell acknowledging that, and it is also right that we should bear this in mind. One of the martyred Leaders of the Labour movement, a man whose execution we set about commemorating this year, James Connolly, said something we should also bear in mind, having particular regard to this Agreement. He said “Ireland without its people means nothing to me”.

Mr. M.E. Dockrell: Information on Maurice E. Dockrell Zoom on Maurice E. Dockrell I agree with a great deal of what the last speaker has said, and in fact, almost every word of it. In connection with this Agreement, I feel very frightened for the future of this country. I feel genuinely fearful that Irish industries will not be able to stand up to the eventual competition they will have to face when the full force of the competition of British industry is felt.

There are many aspects of this Agreement which I should like to discuss and which we in Fine Gael have mentioned. First, I should like to say to the Irish people that this is a most complicated document and that none of us, not even the Government, with all the facilities for examination and understanding of such documents at their disposal, yet know the full extent and meaning of it. Beyond what is in the Agreement is the interpretation of it and that is a matter about which there is considerable doubt in regard to many paragraphs. In some cases one would need to be an expert in the particular field of industry concerned to know the exact meaning. In another way one would need to be a lawyer trained in the interpretation of documents. Whatever the future may hold in the way of unemployment, the interpretation of this Agreement will give great employment to lawyers in the future. That is one profession that will benefit as it will be very difficult to know at first what the Agreement means.

We in Fine Gael were and are traditionally partly wedded to a [1497] system of free trade and I say “partly” because we were the Party that started the Shannon Scheme and as mentioned earlier, the sugar beet factories. We started protection of a number of industries. It is an historic fact that that process was increased and strengthened by a policy of high tariffs by the Fianna Fáil Government, intensified when they came into power in 1932. When we were in power in the two periods of inter-Party Government, we certainly did not attempt to take off any of those tariffs; they had come to stay as far as we were concerned. Some of the industries which were started gave very small employment and it was doubtful at the beginning whether they really benefited the country. In the long run, they did, for the most part, and although the Taoiseach made the extraordinary statement, coming from him, that the industries were inefficient and obsolescent, there are many Irish industries which are very efficient, or relatively efficient, and some that are absolutely efficient judged by any standards.

Many that are not up to the degree of efficiency required cannot necessarily be blamed for that because many Irish industries supply a home market of less than 3,000,000 people and not the wealthiest people in Europe and still less, the wealthiest people in the world. In addition, they do all the exporting they can. Only in the last few years has there been a great deal of exhortation to Irish industry to export. It is not every industry that can export; in the case of certain industries, it is virtually impossible for them to export to our nearest neighbour for various reasons or at best it is very difficult to sell to one of the most highly organised countries in Europe. It is a large market but they have many manufacturers of their own, highly skilled and with generations of experience. Yet notwithstanding the inherited skill of British manufacturers our industries must now try to gain a foothold. After all, Britain was once the greatest trading nation in the world and as recently as 1880, they sold more goods to the rest of the world than the rest of the world sold to each other. That is the trading [1498] nation which our industries are slowly going into full competition with. We are bound to meet very great difficulties in that connection.

The motor industry has been cited again and again. Tonight we had a Deputy on the Government side, Deputy O'Connor, who in order to justify this extraordinary volte face on the part of his Party and the manifestly difficult patches in the Agreement, and to justify what will happen, apparently inevitably, to the motor industry, said that he had got an Irish-assembled car which was badly assembled. The Government put up one of their members to speak who could not produce a better argument than that he got a bad car. That is said in relation to an industry which, according to figures that we got here today, employs something like 7,000 persons. It will be poor consolation to these people that, because of that badly assembled car, the industry was not worthy of support. I do not accuse the Government of seriously standing behind that. I could, but I do not. I do say that it shows the poverty of the argument when a Government speaker was driven to put forward that very poor excuse.

The period that will be regarded as the golden age of Irish industry finishes now. I do not know the extent to which employment will be affected. It is bound to be affected very heavily. Our whole economy will be affected. If the purchasing power of those persons who will be unemployed is taken out of the Irish industrial market, if the Government have to pay them money—the Government will not— the younger, more active, persons will go away, with all the heartbreak, all the hardship that that entails and we will be left the poorer for their going both financially and in terms of human companionship and of all that a thriving community can mean, the help, the entertainment that they give by their purchasing power and sometimes by their genius, and so on. That emigration will tend to come into operation and will have the effect of lowering our standards.

I have tried to understand this Agreement. I have heard it discussed in our own political circles and outside. [1499] It is a highly complicated, highly technical document. If I were asked to sum up why I am both afraid of this Agreement and why I think it is a bad Agreement, I would say that we went into conference with the British and we came out having given them a free trade area—because that, largely, is what it means—we have given them something which means that within a specified period, namely, ten years, they will have free access to the Irish markets, with only a few exceptions —and, in return, we are supposed to have got some agricultural concessions. In point of fact, farming people say to us that those concessions which we got are mainly illusory. Even supposing that we got everything which the Government Party, in the state of neareuphoria which surrounded the signing of this Agreement asked for, we did not get equality with the British farmer, and that is what really matters. We gave free access to our industrial markets. We put the English manufacturer on exactly the same level as our own manufacturers and we did not get our farmers put on the same level as the British farmer and we still have to pay 1/- a lb for every lb of butter we sell in England.

The English are tough horse traders. I do not blame our people who went across. I do not blame our officials. Probably, we did the best we could but we did not get very much and we gave away—maybe we had to—industrial concessions to Britain which are bound to put our people out of employment and we did not get commensurate gain for our own farmers. The equal and opposite of that was to make the Irish farmer the same as the British [1500] farmer. We did not get that. If I had to sum up my objections to the Agreement, I would put it as tersely as that. That is the fundamental. From that flow a whole lot of things which are details.

A Deputy said here tonight that it was the imbalance in the balance of payments which had made this necessary. I do not know. I doubt if it was just that. If so, if it had anything to do with the balance of payments, I cannot see that the Agreement eases the situation because as British imports into this country increase our indebtedness will increase and unless the agricultural concessions which we have got are a great deal bigger than we know they could possibly be, the balance of payments position is bound to worsen. Our industries—I was going to say such as they are—by that I mean that they are not as big as we would like them to be—are going through a process of manufacture and there are many man hours being worked in them here in Ireland. Those man hours will now be worked in such manufacturers in England and they will have to be paid for and that can only make the balance of payments position worse than it is. That is inherent in the situation. I cannot see anything that will help the balance of payments position in connection with this Agreement. I can only see that it will make it worse unless by some extraordinary miracle we increase agricultural exports enormously. I move the adjournment of the debate.

Debate adjourned.

The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 11 a.m. on Thursday, 6th January, 1966.


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