Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

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

Thursday, 6 January 1966

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 219 No. 10

First Page Previous Page Page of 3 Next Page Last Page

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 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 [1502] 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. M.E. Dockrell: Information on Maurice E. Dockrell Zoom on Maurice E. Dockrell Last night when speaking on this motion and the amendments to it, and its effects on Irish industry and agriculture, I said that, if I were asked to sum up my opinion of this very highly complicated and technical Agreement, I would say that we—“we” being the Irish Government—had handed over the Irish industrial market freely to British industrialists and had not got in return completely free access for our Irish farmers to the British market. Our Irish farmers have not been put on parity with the British farmer——

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

Mr. M.E. Dockrell: Information on Maurice E. Dockrell Zoom on Maurice E. Dockrell ——whilst the British manufacturer has been put on parity with the Irish manufacturer. That, to my mind, is the essential weakness of this Agreement.

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

Mr. M.E. Dockrell: Information on Maurice E. Dockrell Zoom on Maurice E. Dockrell We can talk about the details and we can talk about the interpretation of this Agreement, but the one fact emerges that this is an economic Act of Union. I know, as we all know, the tragic history of the 19th century; the Act of Union which started at the beginning of that century, with such high hopes, went out in the 1920s unwept, unhonoured and unsung.

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

Mr. M.E. Dockrell: Information on Maurice E. Dockrell Zoom on Maurice E. Dockrell Remember, it was started at the beginning of the 19th century on the part of many sincere Irish people who believed that unrestricted access to British markets would be to the benefit of the Irish manufacturer and who believed that, on balance, Irish agriculturists would [1503] make up for whatever possible losses might be incurred on the industrial front. In fact, we know that the industrial front was swept away, barring the linen trade, and a few other trades which, for various historical reasons, managed to survive and thrive.

Maybe in this case we will find, in relation to the man-made fibres mentioned in the Agreement, a big industry built up in them—I hope, indeed, that we shall—and an increase in our existing industry by many, many times. However, the question I ask myself is what is to prevent the British manufacturer doing the very same thing in Britain? Is this just something that has been handed out by the Government as a sop to us? Is it a case of: “Well, you have got these wonderful opportunities with the man-made fibres”; but, as far as I can see, so have the British manufacturers?

Good luck to our manufacturers in the struggle that obviously lies ahead in the field of textiles. I hope they will do very well in their exports, but they will want to do mighty well to make up for the losses we will sustain in other sectors.

We, as a Party, followed a policy of what I would describe as modified protection. We did not give indiscriminate protection to every little industry which sought it. The Fianna Fáil Government did the latter and now, after 30 odd years of that, there are many industries —this has been referred to by other speakers, but it cannot be emphasised too often or too strongly—which started up from not very auspicious beginnings, perhaps, but which for 30 odd years now have given employment. I am concerned in certain cases with the actual losses which will be sustained not by the manufacturers in those industries—some of them have made their money and very good money, too —but by employees by reason of the unemployment that will result therefrom and the general weakening of the whole body politic. We cannot afford to have thousands of people thrown out of work. Our social services will be hit. The contributions which would [1504] have come from those who are gainfully employed and increasingly gainfully employed have been counted on to enable us to give the necessary benefits for all our social service schemes such as they are. Will we be able to maintain those in the future?

These are all problems which this Agreement has thrown up to us. We on this side of the House feel that this thing has been rushed. We have not had time either as a Party or as a country to study the effects which will flow from this disastrous document, and I believe it is a disastrous document.

There has been a lot of talk, and rightly so, about the motor trade and the effect this Agreement will have on the future of the car assembly business in Ireland. There are a number of other trades which will be equally badly hit. I could name some of them but I think it would be very wrong for me to mention the types of trades. However, I can say that from a lifetime spent in the building supply trade, I can think of many firms who manufacture for the building trade who will be gravely affected. One of the difficulties of eventual unrestricted competition with very powerful manufacturers is that the smaller firms, even apart from the price, cannot carry the range that a vast manufacturing country like England can carry. Make no mistake, in spite of the fact that in our lifetime England has turned from being a first-class power to something less than that, nevertheless she is still one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful single power in Europe. There are only the United States and Soviet Russia at the moment who I would say are more powerful than Britain. That vast industrial capacity, not only potential but actual, is now to be put in full and unrestricted competition with our industries.

I know the Government are in a dilemma in regard to the EEC and EFTA and all that might come from association with either or both of those bodies or a mingling of those bodies. We understand that as a Party. That is why we have not given a categorical “no” to the idea of this Agreement, but we believe this Agreement has [1505] been far too hastily entered into and far too ineptly handled at Government level.

As I said last night, the British are amongst the most skilled horse traders in the world. They have been a great trading nation for many centuries, following, perhaps, in the tradition of another very skilful trading nation, the Venetian Republic, which enlarged itself by trade and almost by trade alone. The British have done that. There are no more skilled traders and entrepreneurs in the world. This is one of thousands of trade agreements they have made down through the centuries. Every paragraph of every agreement they have ever made is stored in what I might call the racial memory of English higher civil servants and the ministers of that country. Skilled as our own civil servants are, it is difficult for them to deal with people who have centuries of experience behind them, and it is still more difficult to deal with a great trading nation when we are not a great trading nation ourselves. That is the position the Irish Government were in at this juncture.

On this side of the House, we have always felt that the unrestricted protection which was afforded was not always the wisest course to follow. Now the wheel has come full circle and those in the Government benches are now going back in policy—not in words, but it is action and policy that count, and not words—on what they have done for 30 years and what, shall I say without being unduly political, they criticised us very severely for proposing. We have not the exhibition of the poacher turned gamekeeper but of the gamekeeper turned poacher which is a still more extraordinary spectacle to behold.

Practically everything that one can say at this stage of the debate has already been touched on in some way or other by another speaker. We have been told there is no politics in this. Of course there is politics in it—there is nothing else but politics in it. As Deputy Seán Dunne said, economics and politics are inextricably bound together and the Irish people have [1506] always known that politics and economics were bound together. Hence the dream of Irish patriots long dead that the factories and wheels would turn in Ireland only when we had our own Government.

I am afraid that as a result of what I might call the political aspects of this Agreement, as a result of the unemployment, the unrest, the disappointment which will be felt by many of our people, the feeling will become widespread that the Irish Government have let the people down and the people will turn to more violent measures than just opening their mouths to speak against the Government or of voting against the Government or passing resolutions. We have a long and tragic history of that sort of thing in Ireland and I am somewhat nervous of the future in that respect. However, I do not wish to dwell on the unhappy political aspects of the Agreement, though they are there. They are inherent in the Agreement and eventually they may emerge. Please God, they will not.

What can we do to help remedy the situation? There is not much that individuals can do. The full impact of this Agreement will not be felt for four or five years but then it will come suddenly as, in many industries, the point will be reached when it will be cheaper to import than to manufacture here. We must remember that many of our industries are affiliated with their counterparts across the water. As we already know, it will be cheaper, unfortunately, to bring in motor cars already manufactured in Birmingham or Wolverhampton or wherever it may be. That will apply to a large number of other industries which have connections with English businesses. Unfortunately those industries eventually will tend to close down.

I do not know what we can do. We can hope to develop certain industries and thus take up some of the slack which will be caused in employment because of weaker industries going to the wall. The workers' problem will be the same whether they are in a good thriving industry or in one which will not be able to stand up to competition. [1507] It is not defeatism to say that. With Britain's industrial size and strength, individual firms can employ first-class designers for packaging. They can employ the very best people to design their products and the British Government can maintain big design centres through which manufacturers can, if they avail themselves of the opportunities, get the very best technical advice. We have a certain amount of that in Ireland but it will be very difficult for us and will become increasingly so as the facilities we have lessen because, as some of our manufactures close down, there will not be the same work for design experts here as on the other side and accordingly many of these experts will leave.

Before I close, I should like to reiterate that we are bound to be very gravely affected by this Agreement and in their efforts to hide the facts from the people the Government have not been honest. It is not honest to present a measure of this importance to the House and try to pretend to the House, and through us to the people, that it is just an ordinary trade agreement which will be to our advantage. It is not to our advantage and it cannot be to our advantage. It will take all the skill, all the courage of our people to surmount the very great difficulties that lie ahead. This is one of the biggest decisions that have been made in this country during the past 160 years. We had the Act of Union, the Treaty and now we have this economic Act of Union. That is what it is and make no mistake about it.

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

Mr. M.E. Dockrell: Information on Maurice E. Dockrell Zoom on Maurice E. Dockrell It might as well be called that. It will close down factories. Even in today's paper—it may not have anything to do with this—we see a report of a situation in Wicklow, the effect of rationalisation. There has been hasty establishment of factories, the building up of hopes of employment in districts and then the rationalisation and closing down. That is a pattern which we shall get increasingly in the future. It is for those reasons that we tabled the amendment to the Government's motion of approval of [1508] the Agreement. The Agreement is unbalanced because we have not got the concessions in the agricultural sphere to make up for vital losses on the industrial front.

Minister for Finance (Mr. J. Lynch): Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch I should like to begin by assuring Deputy Dockrell that when we went to London—when I say “we”, I mean the Ministers and officials of our Government—we did not go with any inferiority complex, despite the Deputy's eulogies of the calibre, quality and skill of the British Ministers and civil servants. We had no air of inferiority going there and, having gone there, we knew that, man for man, whether at ministerial or official level, we were as good as any of the British negotiators and, from my observations later, many of ours were better. Let us not delude ourselves that we went hat in hand, taking whatever crumbs would come off the table of those skilled negotiators.

I cannot understand the attitude of Fine Gael. In the words of the last speaker, this is a disastrous Agreement—it will bring disaster to our economy, closure on our industrial front. If they feel that way, then why do they not come outright and vote against the Agreement——

Mr. Carter: Information on Frank Carter Zoom on Frank Carter Exactly—the man in the middle.

Mr. J. Lynch: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch ——rather than the shilly-shally way they are approaching the matter.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange We have not been shilly-shallying.

Mr. J. Lynch: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch There is an air of unreality in the contributions of many Deputies to this debate. Many of the Deputies who have spoken already have approached this debate as if we were still living in the economy of the 1930s, as if we were still living without any idea of free trade being, not only on the horizon, but immediately imminent. It must be realised that the policies of the 1930s and even of the 1940s must now change, having regard to the fact that all around us the nations with which we trade are rapidly approaching free trade in the [1509]blocs of which they are members. It must not be suggested that we are going to stand aside and leave ourselves in economic isolation and in economic desolation, without doing something about it.

Before I come to the more general criticisms of the Agreement, I might first refer to some important details of the Agreement that have not been adverted to so far by my colleagues. These are, to some extent, in the fiscal and monetary field. Article IV deals with fiscal charges. The essential purpose of this Article is to bring about the elimination of any protection on home-produced goods contained in fiscal charges. Fiscal charges as such are defined in paragraph (6) of Article IV. In addition to customs duties, they cover also other forms of taxation such as excise duties. An example of protection under Irish fiscal duties is the difference in the rate of excise duty on Irish whiskey and customs duty on Scotch whisky. Discrimination on home-produced goods can also arise, for example, where rebates of duty are available to home producers but not to importers. The United Kingdom have undertaken to abolish such discrimination and protective elements in fiscal charges by 1st July, 1968, the delay being for the purpose of enabling amending legislation to be introduced.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman Does that include subsidisation of transport for export? There is a petrol rebate tax in Britain for export. Would that be included under this Article?

Mr. J. Lynch: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch These are matters that are capable of being discussed under the Articles provided for consultation between the two Governments.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman I would have thought it would have been an obvious one to have discussed when you were there.

Mr. J. Lynch: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch We have agreed on our part to take similar action, either by one or more steps, between July, 1966 and July, 1971 or by ten equal deductions corresponding to the tariff [1510] reduction rhythm which has been agreed already.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman Do you have to give notice of what you are doing?

Mr. J. Lynch: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch Again, consultation will be necessary in these cases.

Another Article, Article XIII, deals with Government aids. This is one of the very important elements of the Agreement to which, I think, reference has already been made. Under Article XIII, we here are expressly permitted to continue the present Irish tax reliefs up to 1980, in the case of the country generally, and to 1983 in the case of Shannon, with tapering off periods. It is important to note, in this respect, that the EFTA Agreement negotiated by Britain some years ago with her other EFTA partners contains no corresponding provisions. In fact, corresponding provisions in the EFTA Agreement expressly prohibited this type of aid to exports.

Article XIV refers to public undertakings and, in particular, to the practices of such undertakings, and of central and local authorities, in favouring home-produced goods in placing orders for such goods. As the House is aware, there is a system extant in this country whereby certain preferences are given as matters of practice. Any such arrangements will have to be eliminated by the respective Governments, by the United Kingdom before 1st January, 1967, and we have undertaken to do likewise by the end of the transitional period in 1975. That, of course, is not, as some Deputies suggested, abandoning the Buy Irish campaign. There will, of course, be a patriotic duty on individuals and organisations to give their usual patriotic preference to goods of home origin.

Article XVI, on the question of establishment does not prohibit the maintenance or restriction of the rights of establishment but rather records that it is the general policy of both Governments not to impose such a restriction in such a way as to frustrate the benefits expected to flow from a Free Trade Area Agreement. Paragraph (2) of the Article provides for consultations to be held in seeking [1511] equitable and mutually satisfactory solutions to any complaint that a measure in force in either country was not in keeping with this general policy. The only measure of this nature in force in this country is the Control of Manufactures Act, which, as the House is aware, has already been repealed, with effect from 1st January, 1968. I might mention, in this regard, that the restrictions imposed on the purchase of agricultural land in the Land Act, 1965, are not affected by this Article.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman Does this Article bring the repeal of the Control of Manufactures Act into any earlier operation?

Mr. J. Lynch: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch No. The other Article of a fiscal and monetary nature to which I think I ought to refer is Article XVIII which deals with balance of payments difficulties. Under this Article, it will not be permissible in future to impose levies for the purpose of meeting balance of payments problems but quantitative restrictions, having regard to each country's other international obligations, will be permissible. There is a specific waiver in respect of the import surcharge and the import levies the British and we have recently introduced.

Some reference was made to the absence of a social fund as in the case of EEC. I think it was unrealistic to suggest that such a fund is proper to a Free Trade Area Agreement. In fact, there is no such fund under the EFTA Agreement. Such a fund, is, of course, proper to a Common Market because in the Common Market that exists, there is power to rationalise and regionalise production of certain commodities. This EEC Agreement envisages that in such rationalisation of production, the manufacture or growing of certain commodities, industrial or agricultural, as the case may be, can be done in different regions and, indeed, in different member countries, therefore, involving in such cases, migration of workers. It was for such purposes as this that the European [1512] Social Fund was established in the first instance.

When we applied for membership of the EEC, we had studies undertaken as to how we could participate in this Fund. When our application for membership was suspended that study was continued by an inter-departmental committee on the basis of preparing outlines or recommendations for legislation to deal with the situation we are now about to face. These studies have led to the redundancy and resettlement schemes, the details of which are now being discussed with management and trade unions, preparatory to the introduction of legislation.

In the debate on the Free Trade Area Agreement, Fine Gael have nailed their colours, to the exclusion of everything else, to the EEC mast. They have based their assumptions on premises which I think are not valid. I should first like to refer to the allegations that have been made that no attempts were made to make contact with the EEC to see whether some workable arrangements which would be of advantage to us could be come to with the EEC countries. There was a series of meetings, as the Taoiseach mentioned, in 1963 and 1964, at both ministerial and official level. On 29th November, 1963, the Minister for External Affairs, with a full official team, met members of the Commission of the European Community and discussed in great detail just the type of things Fine Gael suggested should have been discussed and were not discussed. On 1st December, 1963, there was a meeting at official level.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman Was that not while the discussions were current, and you have done nothing since?

Mr. J. Lynch: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch I am telling the House what has been done.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman Perhaps I had better listen and I might learn that the Minister is making a liar of the Taoiseach.

Mr. J. Lynch: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch I am recording the facts.

[1513]Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman The Taoiseach gave different facts.

Mr. J. Lynch: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch I have sat here for several hours without interrupting any Deputy. The debate so far has been conducted in a reasonable fashion but, for some reason, whenever I get up to speak, there is a barrage of interruptions. I try not to be offensive, but to be as factual as I can.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman The Minister is never offensive.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan It is the practice that every Deputy is entitled to speak without interruption. The Minister is a Deputy and he is entitled to speak without interruption.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman Very often interruptions are useful to the speaker.

Mr. J. Lynch: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch Sometimes they are useful to break the sequence which the speaker is trying to follow. Therefore I will have to delay the House that much longer by going back to the beginning of the sequence. I have referred to the meeting on 29th November, 1963, at which the Minister for External Affairs was accompanied by a full team of top officials. I have also referred to the meeting on 1st December, 1963, at official level. There was another meeting on 13th March, 1964, with the Commission, at official level with top officials. There was a meeting on 26th January, 1965, at which the Minister for Agriculture attended with senior officials. There was another meeting on 27th January, 1965. I mention them in passing because of the allegations made in the House by Fine Gael spokesmen, and outside in articles which categorically stated that there were no ministerial meetings at all to explore what alternative there might be to full membership of EEC which would still be of advantage to us.

In his press conference on 20th December, 1965, Deputy Cosgrave said:

Before attempting to negotiate an Agreement that will tie us more closely to Britain, on whom we are [1514] already excessively dependent, the Government should at least have explored the possibility of an arrangement with the EEC under which we might have secured new outlets in that market without losing access for key products to the UK market. This the Government made no attempt to do, preferring instead the easier task of negotiating an Agreement with Britain on terms that are markedly to Britain's advantage.

Admittedly, the White Paper which dealt with the contacts that were made with the EEC was published on the same afternoon as Deputy Cosgrave's press conference, but nevertheless Deputy Cosgrave and other members of his Party have repeated that point of view—notwithstanding the categorical statement made by the Taoiseach to the contrary when he opened this debate.

I do not think it necessary for me to repeat the points made in the White Paper in this respect, nor what the Taoiseach said, but I may be able to amplify these matters to some extent. The main obstacles to our securing new outlets in the EEC are threefold: (1) the common external tariff with which the tariffs of the individual member countries are in process of being aligned; (2) the protective effect of the measures, principally variable import levies, built into the common agricultural policy arrangements which cover most agricultural products in which we have an interest; and (3) so far as products not covered by the common agricultural policy arrangements are concerned—mutton and lamb being a case in point—the national import regimes applied by individual member countries in which quota restrictions figure prominently.

Since the effect of the suspension of consideration of our application of July 1961, for entry to the Community was to exclude us temporarily, at any rate, from membership, any interim link with the Community would have had to take the form of association which, in the wording of the Rome Treaty would consist of an “agreement creating an association embodying reciprocal [1515] rights and obligations.” To overcome the obstacle presented by the common external tariff, association would have had to be based on participation in the Community's customs union, as in the case of Greece.

Deputies are all aware of what the customs union means. In any association we would join, we would have the same customs regime as member countries of that association. This would involve commitments on our part to abolish over a fixed period our tariffs on Community goods, that is, tariffs on goods exported from the EEC, and at the same time, to align gradually our tariffs on imports from third countries with the common external tariff. In other words, instead of maintaining the preferential tariff we had as against Britain, we would have had to apply to goods entering this country from Britain the common external tariff which British goods entering the Common Market face at the present time. Both of these commitments would have conflicted with our obligations under the Anglo-Irish Trade Agreements under which we are obliged to accord to British goods free entry in certain cases and preference where duties are chargeable.

The assumption underlying the case made by Fine Gael seems to be that there is, or was, some possibility of negotiating some arrangement with the EEC in relation to the common external tariff which would have permitted of the maintenance of some at least of Britain's preferential rights in the Irish market and in return we would have been able to preserve access to the British market for our “key products,” to use Deputy Cosgrave's term.

Of course, Deputy Cosgrave is repeating words used in newspaper articles submitted by a Fine Gael Senator last year. In one of these articles, it was stated that “there was at least a remote chance of some kind of arrangement with the EEC similar to that which Austria is currently attempting to negotiate, under which we could be associated with the Community [1516] while retaining our special relationship with Britain”. I will deal in a few minutes with the suggestion that we could have done something on the same lines as Austria. In fact, since I have mentioned it now, I might as well deal with it now.

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

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman You must not say even that.

Mr. J. Lynch: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch I am glad that I evoked a “hear, hear” from Deputy Dillon. Fine Gael have been parading Austria both inside and outside the House as an example of what we ought to have done in relation to forming some kind of association with the European Economic Community. They must know that there is very little in common between our position and the case of Austria vis-à-vis the Community. Austria, as we know, is a country surrounded on all sides, with the exception of its boundaries on the south-west, by Communist bloc countries, and naturally has a substantial volume of trade with these countries and at the same time has a peace treaty with the Soviet Republic. Austria, however, is very much a western country ideologically and politically, and is a Christian country, and it is only natural that the EEC countries would wish to have her remain so.

On that basis alone, comparing the position of Ireland and Austria, can anyone seriously suggest that we would have as strong a case in going to the EEC for some form of association, as Austria has? Austria wants association with the Community that would permit it to maintain free entry for certain products from eastern countries so as to hold on to her trade outlets in the Communist countries. The suggestion, apparently, is that we should have sought association with the EEC on similar lines on a basis which would permit us to maintain, to use a Fine Gael expression, “in some degree our special trading relationship with Britain”, and, again to use a Fine Gael expression, “to give us a degree of access to the EEC and UK markets simultaneously”. Even if we could [1517] ignore the political and ideological considerations to which I have already referred, I do not think there would be much prospect on those grounds alone.

Let us examine what the economic considerations are vis-à-vis ourselves and Austria. Ireland imports 16 per cent of her requirements from the EEC; Austria imports nearly 60 per cent. Remember, too, the disparity in population which will increase considerably the volume represented by these percentages. Ireland's exports to the EEC represent 11 per cent of her total exports, whereas Austria's exports represent 46 per cent of her total. It is clear, therefore, on economic grounds alone, that Austria can make a much stronger case for special treatment by the EEC. Nevertheless, the fact is that Austria is still seeking special treatment and, so far, there is every indication that any association which Austria will be able to arrange with the Community will have to be based on the acceptance of the Community's common external tariff. The experience of Austria confirms what was stated in paragraph 128 of the White Paper, the paragraph dealing with the consideration of the alternatives suggested by the EEC. In this paragraph, on page 41 of the White Paper, it is stated that:

there was no possibility of a bilateral exchange of preferences, except within the framework of the Community's customs union, participation in which would involve the application of the Community's common external tariff to imports from third countries.

These third countries would include Britain.

It might be noted also that the relief that Austria is seeking from the need to apply the EEC common external tariff to third countries is a limited relief. It is most unlikely that Austria will succeed in having her trade with her EFTA partners exempted. This represents only about one-third of Austria's total trade as compared with three-fifths for Ireland's trade with Britain, that is of her total trade. If Austria secured relief in respect of all [1518] imports from Europe it would account for about 10 per cent of her trade and we need only contrast this with, say, a percentage of about 50 per cent of the trade for which we would be seeking exemption if Britain's imports to Ireland were to be given special treatment. Can there be any reasonable grounds for believing that the EEC, which is already enjoying a preferential trade balance with this country, would value so highly an arrangement with us which would still preserve substantial privileges for Britain, and would go out of its way to negotiate such an arrangement with us and, therefore, give us attractive advantages in return and, into the bargain, give Britain advantages in what would be part of the Community's markets?

Some Fine Gael speakers appeared to suggest that Austria was now home and dried as far as negotiating this special relationship with the EEC was concerned. In fact, the latest report available to us from Europe Agency, which is the authoritative source for information in these matters, is:

The negotiations are in fact at a point of deadlock for all these matters.

“These matters” are tariffs, trade and agricultural questions.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon Everything else is at deadlock, too, so long as the General stays at home.

Mr. J. Lynch: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch The Austrian negotiations have been conducted continuously, notwithstanding the situation between the Five and France and, notwithstanding that, this is the latest report available.

Deputy T.F. O'Higgins talked of the relationship between Eastern and Western Germany as an example of what we might have done. How naive can one get in this debate? Everyone knows there was a special let-out written into the protocol of the Rome Treaty in the first instance, which was a sine qua non as far as Western Germany was concerned, to allow her trade with Eastern Germany to continue. It would be foolish in the [1519] extreme to assume that the German arrangement, for which there were very compelling political reasons, would have in any way influenced the Community's view towards an application for some association by this country, especially having regard to our trade with Britain which would have obviously created serious problems for the Community.

I do not think I need go into any more detail about these matters. It is obvious the examples quoted are not real examples and are not capable of being followed up by us. I could sum up by saying that the answer to this suggestion by Fine Gael, and particularly the point made by Deputy Cosgrave, is that the Government have in fact explored the possibilities of an arrangement with EEC and have found no worthwhile trading advantage of negotiability which would at the same time permit of the preservation of our access to the British market.

One of the next points made by the Fine Gael speakers, and indeed in the press statement issued by Fine Gael following their press conference on 20th December, was that the safeguard clauses in the Free Trade Area Agreement we negotiated were not as good as the corresponding clauses in the EEC Treaty. I should like to quote the Fine Gael statement, which is to this effect:

Fine Gael had called for provisions in the Agreement similar to the EEC Rome Treaty which would enable the Irish Government to reduce the threat to industry and employment resulting from the freeing of trade. The clauses in the Agreement purporting to provide such safeguards after 1970 were quite inadequate.

I need not quote any more. I should like to compare specifically what is provided in this respect in the Rome Treaty with what is provided for in the Free Trade Area Agreement. In the first place, I might mention that the specific provisions in this respect in the Rome Treaty are contained in Article 226. It is not a long Article but it is not necessary [1520] for me to quote it except to say that the safeguards which may be employed can be employed only during the transitional period and that they must be such as are approved in advance by the Commission of the Community. In other words, no member country can take unilateral action until such time as the Community has examined its application and determined the extent of the action which may be taken. Then it permits action only for a limited period. What is more important—again contrasting with the provisions in our Agreement to which I shall refer in a minute—there is no provision in the Rome Treaty for extending the application of these safeguards beyond the transitional period. In our Agreement there is provision for the unilateral imposition of safeguard measures for a period of 18 months; in other words, without any consultation. There is no corresponding provision in the Rome Treaty.

The Treaty does not provide or contemplate the permanent exclusion of any products from free trade between member states. We have very reasonable provision for such exclusion. The Rome Treaty contains no provision for safeguard measures after the transitional period, while the Free Trade Area Agreement provides specifically for the possibility of such measures. So much for that part of the Fine Gael criticism based not on the White Paper but on knowledge of what was contained in the Agreement and what was contained in the Rome Treaty.

I should like to come now to the criticism that the balance of the Agreement is in favour of Britain. On the agricultural side, many of the existing uncertainties for outlets of our produce have been removed. We are guaranteed under the Agreement unlimited access to the British market in some cases for agricultural products and in others, where other traditional suppliers to Britain, including Commonwealth countries, have to be taken into account, we are guaranteed access on terms equal to the best available even to British farmers themselves.

On the industrial side, the principal [1521] advantage is that all remaining United Kingdom protection against us is now being removed and at once, on 1st July, with the single exception of cotton, for which a separate agreement was being negotiated in any event without reference to the Free Trade Area Agreement. Even that separate Agreement improves the terms on which our cotton exports can enter the British market at present. The removal of these United Kingdom duties will undoubtedly facilitate the export of new industrial products, exports which hitherto have been discouraged by the existence of these remaining tariff obstacles.

I might say in passing that it is not generally realised that already and for many years past up to 70 per cent of our industrial imports from the United Kingdom come in free of any tariff or quota restriction whatever. That is something which ought to be taken into account in considering this Free Trade Area Agreement.

Having mentioned the advantages on the agricultural and industrial side, I should like to refer briefly to the corresponding obligations we have undertaken on the industrial side. These have been spelled out so often it is hardly necessary for me to repeat them again: (1) the removal of restrictions over a nine-year period with a right of review on 1st July, 1970, for any sensitive sectors of our industry; (2) the complete exclusion from the obligations of the Agreement of a wide range of goods including industrial goods processed from fruit, milk, vegetables and fruit; (3) the extension of the transitional period of five years for some categories of goods and then the further exclusion from free trade of a quantity of goods in value not in excess of three per cent of goods imported from Britain in the year preceding review—so that, again, will embrace quite a wide range of Irish manufactured goods which would be free of the obligations of this Agreement. How, therefore, can anybody seriously suggest that the balance of advantage, even on this basis, lies with Britain?

Other positive advantages for industry [1522] are the removal of uncertainty surrounding our external trading arrangements which has inhibited the forward planning of investment and production over the past few years. This advantage is expected to be reflected particularly in the establishment of new industries, some of which, no doubt, have been held back pending clarification of trading arrangements with our principal export market. Indeed, I am personally aware of a number of these particular industries.

When assessing the balance of the Agreement, I think it is necessary that we should look at its provisions in terms of trade both ways. The resultant growth of trade will be the measure of the value of the Agreement to both countries but the expansion of British exports to Ireland will depend on our capacity to import them or, in other words, will depend on the additional income generated by the Agreement in Ireland.

It is estimated that for every £1 million worth of exports, there is generated in Ireland about £1? million of additional income within the economy. This relationship demonstrates the extent to which the trading advantages which Britain will gain from the Agreement are directly dependent on counterbalancing benefits that will accrue to the Irish economy. Clearly, therefore, far from the suggestion of Opposition speakers that Britain will gobble us up, even in a negative way, is it not in Britain's own interest that any trading arrangement between the two countries should be reasonably balanced and such as will afford a reasonable prospect of growth in the Irish economy and so a reasonable prospect of growth of British goods on the Irish market and vice versa?

Any serious criticism of the Agreement must also take into account the consequences of not concluding it or any Agreement and that means allowing Anglo-Irish trading relations to continue to be governed by the Trade Agreements of 1938, 1948 and 1960. This would simply be a matter of the status quo, involving no new obligations but nevertheless involving also [1523] the continued erosion of what advantages our agricultural exports enjoy.

The advantages of a new Agreement would clearly be denied to us but, at the same time, not only would they be denied to us if we did not make this Agreement but we would not avoid the obligation to continue with the reduction of protection. Again coming to the point I made earlier on about the unreal air of some of the contributions made, this is an obligation which the external trading environment in which we live imposes on us, whether or not we join any association, of continuing to reduce our tariffs and making ourselves more efficient.

Incidentally, Deputy Corish said in his speech two days ago that nothing was heard about tariff reductions, about freeing of trade, until 1960 and, even after 1960, nothing was done about taking steps towards a lowering of tariffs, notwithstanding that the 1960 Anglo-Irish Trade Agreement contained specific provision to that effect. I immediately challenged him but he continued his assertion that nothing was done. Since then, I took the trouble to check how many reviews of tariffs were undertaken by the Industrial Development Authority as a result of the provision in the 1960 Agreement. I find that there were no fewer than 19 such reviews—in many cases, of important commodities. Let me take some examples—leather, breakfast foods, bread, textile floor coverings, wooden furniture, and so on. Of these 19 reviews, ten resulted in the reduction of tariffs already in existence. No change was recommended in two cases. A reduction recommended in one case was not implemented because it coincided with the imposition of the British 15 per cent surcharge. In another case, the replacement of a quota by a duty was recommended. One case was withdrawn by the British Board of Trade. So much for Deputy Corish's assertion that nothing was done from 1960, when the 1960 Agreement was implemented, about tariff reductions.

Coming to the balance of the Agreement again, the outstanding fact in [1524] our external trading environment is that countries to which we sell over 80 per cent of our exports are rapidly completing free trading arrangements between themselves—the six Common Market countries, within their own community, and the EFTA countries, within their Free Trade Area Agreement. Therefore, it is an illusion to think that merely by standing aside, we can preserve the status quo.

The principal factors that force us to participate in this movement of freeing of trade, whether unilaterally or as part of a free trade group, may be summarised in this way: (1) a satisfactory rate of growth in the economy, with all that implies in the way of raising living standards and increasing employment depends largely on the expansion of the industrial sector; (2) because of the conditions of competition we have to meet in our principal export markets which will reach free trade by 1967, we cannot expect to achieve the necessary expansion in industry unless our exports are fully competitive; (3) we cannot expect to bring about the necessary degree of competitiveness without a substantial further lowering of protection in the period up to 1970 and the choice has been to do this either unilaterally or as part of a free trade area arrangement where we could get reciprocal advantages; and (4)—and perhaps more important—if we did not face up to this challenge, in addition to incurring the penalty of economic stagnation we should expose ourselves to having to face much graver burdens at a much quicker tempo whenever the opportunity would present itself to us of joining the wider EEC.

The real comparison, therefore, is not between the advantages we obtain and the obligations we assume under the Agreement. A substantial proportion of these obligations in the way of tariff dismantlement would, in any event, have to be undertaken unilaterally. The real balance is between the advantages we have gained—and which are immediately operative as of 1st July—and the obligations which will remain, say, after 1970 and which [1525] are likely—and I repeat this—very likely to be absorbed in the more extensive obligations we shall have to take on as a member of an enlarged European community.

I should like to refer here to the gloomy forebodings of the Labour Party that this Agreement would cause widespread unemployment and create industrial graveyards, to use the words of one of their Deputies, throughout the towns of this country. I wonder why the Labour Party, who pride themselves on being more akin than any of us to the working man, of having his interests more at heart, and who say they know more about the potential capacity of Irish labour, should write those people off as a bunch of ne'er-do-wells and nincompoops. Irish labour and Irish management can do as well as their counterparts anywhere else. To be more specific, as the House is aware there has been an annual review of the progress made under the First and Second Programmes for Economic Expansion, particularly the annual review of the targets set out in the Second Programme for industrial output and industrial employment. A Labour Deputy asked me a question in the House on 16th December last as to what the revised estimates were, particularly in view of the Free Trade Area Agreement coming into force. The review which was conducted recently in association with management and the trade unions— and which incidentally has not yet been commented upon by the NIEC—indicates that, far from there being reduced employment, the figures for both industrial production and industrial employment in transportable goods have had to be revised upwards.

As I said at the beginning, the debate ought to be conducted in the atmosphere of the reality of the conditions in which we live. The Agreement must be debated against the background of our possible membership of a wider economic community or, at any event, in the certain knowledge that free trade is coming, that tariffs are being reduced all round us, not only by our trading partners in Europe but in the United States and [1526] in other parts of the world. These tariffs will be, as between EFTA and EEC countries, at nil in 12 months, and then there follows fast on the heels of that the Kennedy round which will seek to reduce tariffs between the EFTA and EEC blocs and the rest of the world by 50 per cent. Surely we cannot live in a cloud cuckoo land and ignore these trends all around us. I do not think we should stand aside and ignore what has happened, dig our heads in the sand and let our industries be wiped out and our economy submerged. I say that our industries would be wiped out even if we maintained our high protective tariff element in this country because, as between Britain and her EFTA partners, with tariffs being reduced, there is inevitably the urge to become more and more competitive in order that the industries in their respective countries can hold their own with their competitors in the same trading blocs. The more competition there is and the more efficient these industries become the better they will be in a position to export to countries like ours which might continue to be protected by high tariffs and, therefore, effectively eradicate the far-fetched idea that protection is an answer to everything.

It is obvious we would have had to continue the reduction of our tariffs at some level in any event. We had undertaken this, I think, with the approval of the House and the country, as an exercise to ensure our economic survival, apart altogether from the immediate objective of preparing ourselves for membership of the EEC. Now we are getting reciprocal advantages for the exercise we had already undertaken.

I do not want to go into any detailed comment about complaints that this Agreement was conducted without full disclosure, as we went along, to the Dáil. As Deputies opposite are well aware, no negotiations could be conducted with any country except on the basis of complete confidence and it is ridiculous and illusory to suggest that we should have kept the House informed as we went along and, particularly, that we should have had a full debate here [1527] before the Agreement was finally negotiated. It is obvious that that would have weakened our hands considerably at the negotiating table when the crunch points would have to be met.

Deputy Cosgrave referred in particular to a speech I made in London when I was invited by the Corkmen's Association to address them and when I referred to the Agreement in certain terms. What I said then was I thought that the conclusion of this Agreement would give us greater economic freedom than we now enjoy and in particular would enable us, with a freer hand, to negotiate trading arrangements with other countries. That is, in fact, so. I made that assertion in reply to allegations made by no less a person than the Fine Gael Senator, Senator Garret FitzGerald, when he spoke in the Seanad in July during the course of the Finance Bill just after our return from London from the second round of ministerial talks. Senator FitzGerald said we were tying ourselves to the sick man of Europe. I said then that the successful conclusion of the Agreement would give us greater freedom than we now have, and that is a fact. It is very funny to contrast the suggestion of Senator FitzGerald that we were tying ourselves to the sick man of Europe with that of Deputy Dockrell who has just said that Britain is now the most economically powerful country in Europe. Sick or powerful I do not know which—it is up to Fine Gael to decide.

We still have people, of course, talking about selling our sovereignty but the hard working farmers, the great bulk of our industrial workers, exporters and manufacturers, who have invested their money in this country, have welcomed this Agreement. The great majority of our people have welcomed it and I think those Irishmen and women are as good as those who bleat about sovereignty. All these people have welcomed the Agreement as an opportunity and a challenge. I believe if we, as a Government, had not taken the initiative we did, then we could have been accused of prejudicing [1528] our political and economic sovereignty. This Agreement is now effective and when the debate is over, I hope it will cease to be a political plaything and that we will get on with the job. I think the great majority of our people will no longer tolerate dilatory or obstructive tactics in economic matters generally or in industrial relations in particular. We have always claimed that the Irish nation, given an opportunity, can work as hard and as well as any in the world. I think this Agreement gives us the opportunity and the challenge. Now is the time for us to prove our claim.

Mrs. Desmond: Information on Eileen Desmond Zoom on Eileen Desmond During this debate there was an obvious desire by a few Deputies to represent the action of the Labour Party in opposing this Agreement as the action of an irresponsible Opposition Party never likely to assume the position where it would have to operate its own policy or, shall we say, provide an alternative. We are represented as a Party bent at all costs on the political game and anxious to put ourselves in the position in which we could come along some time in the future and, speaking as ordinary Deputies, tell our constituents: “There is the Free Trade Agreement for you. We told you so.”

That is not the case. We in the Labour Party examined this Free Trade Agreement as fully as possible in the short time at our disposal to see, first of all, if the balance of advantage, or a fair proportion of the advantage, was in favour of the Irish people and, unlike the Minister for Finance, we decided conclusively that it was not. We also examined it from the point of view of what it would mean to Irish people in terms of employment and emigration, in terms of a more equitable distribution of the nation's wealth among all our people, which is one of the primary objectives of our Party, and we found this Agreement was a positive hindrance to the achievement of these objectives. We found it would result in increased unemployment, not, as the Minister for Finance has said, because of the feeling that the Irish worker was not competent, given a fair opportunity, to compete with his [1529] counterparts elsewhere. Our precise case is that he is not getting a fair opportunity under this Agreement. We decided the price we are paying is far too high in view of the few concessions we are getting and we felt obliged to oppose the Agreement and vote against it in this House.

This Agreement was negotiated and signed on the assumption that it would be absorbed by our becoming members of EEC or EFTA or, as the Taoiseach said, a combination of both in the next two or three or four years before the hardships that will ultimately result from it for the people of this country become evident, before its shortcomings appear. In the past few years, the Taoiseach has repeatedly forecast the probable date on which we will become members of one or other of the trading communities that exist in Europe. He has done this with such monotonous regularity and misguided optimism that we can be pardoned for not being swayed by any of his forecasts. We accept that free trade is very likely, if not inevitable, in the not too distant future and that preparations must be made if we are to survive under its conditions as members of any of these associations. In recommending the Agreement to the House, the Taoiseach said much valuable time had been lost and that we must lose no more time in getting on with the job. If time has been lost, that is the fault of the Taoiseach himself and if we must no longer continue to foster, to use his own words, high-cost, inefficient and obsolescent industries, such industries exist only because they were fostered and nurtured by the Taoiseach as Minister for Industry and Commerce down through the years.

The Taoiseach now seems to have embarked on some sort of panic preparations for entry into EEC but surely he cannot expect us, nor can the Minister for Finance, despite what he said just now, to accept irrevocably that we had no choice other than to negotiate the Agreement that has been made. The Taoiseach and the Minister for Agriculture went to great lengths to tell the House that this Agreement is binding and permanent with our highly [1530] industrialised neighbour across the Irish Sea. The Taoiseach says his Government sat down as equals with the British Government and he was at great pains to impress us that this was so. Of course they sat down as equals and I think any man in the street could sit down as an equal with any Minister in the Fianna Fáil Cabinet. There was no need for them to feel inferior but in any Agreement such as this where the balance might be in favour of one side or the other, we can very easily estimate in whose favour it is. We do not believe that Britain acts charitably towards this country. All the safeguards for the British economy are enshrined in this Agreement and no safeguards for us.

Perhaps we are all inclined to make sweeping statements—indeed, they have been made ad nauseam in this debate—but in the very short time at our disposal there was not much else we could do. There was no opportunity to go into great detail but in any case the aspects of the Agreement that have been discussed are its most important assets. We are guaranteed a market for 638,000 head of store cattle in Britain each year. Our case— and it has been said before—is that this market was already there, even if the Minister for Agriculture never had any consultations with his British counterpart. The only snag is that in making this permanent Agreement if prices paid by other countries exceed the prices we obtain in Britain at any time, we are tied and committed to export this quantity of store cattle to Britain at the market prices obtaining in Britain at that time. However, being charitable, we place this on the credit side.

The shortening of the waiting period for cattle exported to Britain to enable them to qualify for deficiency payments is certainly an improvement and must result in higher prices for cattle for a percentage of Irish farmers and also in a greater turnover in cattle. We may put this on the credit side also. Similarly, we regard the guaranteed minimum payments for 25,000 tons of carcase beef and 5,000 tons of carcase lamb as on the credit side, [1531] although in this case the 25,000 tons represents only half what the Taoiseach estimates Irish farmers will have to sell by 1970. The sting in this Agreement, and we cannot overlook it, despite the Taoiseach's protestations about sovereignty, is that when these deficiency payments become operative, the British can tell us what to do with them. The Labour Party cannot stand by the British dictating to us in any way.

This is the kernel of our case—it is not likely that any of these benefits will accrue to the small farmer of this country. That is reminiscent of Fianna Fáil policy towards the farmers down the years. Any benefits that have been provided have gone to the bigger farmers. The big farmers have got more. The small farmers have got little. Bacon, butter, sugar, dead meat in excess of 25,000 tons of carcase beef and 5,500 tons of lamb are all subject to restrictions. There is no free trade so far as the products of the small farmer are concerned and on which the small farmer depends for his livelihood.

Another point on which we do not agree is with regard to the broiler industry. The difficulty is that if we increase our exports of broilers significantly and increase our export of turkeys beyond a figure of 3,000 tons, we must consult with Britain with a view to allowing imports of these products from Britain. I am hoping that that will not dampen our hopes of securing broiler industries in various places throughout the country. We had hoped to get a broiler industry in a town in Cork in the near future. I hope this will materialise.

In terms of pounds, shillings and pence, there is another matter which we cannot afford to overlook. The view has been expressed by Professor Dovring, Professor of Agriculture in Illinois University, in a report entitled “Problems of Manpower in Agriculture”, to the OECD, that in relation to farm incomes a decline is evident in agricultural prices relative to other prices; that a trend in this direction has been evident in the United States [1532] and other highly developed countries for a number of years and is expected to become more general in Western Europe, including Britain, during the 1960s. In view of the fact that any gain which we may get from this Agreement is on the agricultural side, that is something we cannot forget. I hope the estimate made by the Minister for Agriculture of a £10 million gain for agriculture materialises.

Another matter in connection with this Agreement which strikes me as peculiar is that we feel free to guarantee to Britain a market for a total of 38,000 tons of fish per annum. That seems ridiculous in a country whose fisheries are not nearly developed to the full. Instead of guaranteeing Britain a market for 38,000 tons of fish, we should have been expanding our own fishing industry, safeguarding the home market and developing exports.

The benefits accruing to this country from this Agreement are few. It is the big cattle rancher who will benefit On the whole, we feel that the benefits to be derived are totally insufficient and inadequate recompense for the general upheaval that must take place in industry. Despite the complacency displayed by various Ministers, that upheaval in industry is inevitable in the next four or five years, particularly if the Taoiseach's forecast that we will be in one of the western European trading groups within that number of years is correct. All our industries will be exposed gradually, but very surely, to the full blast of competition from industries which enjoy a home market of over 50,000,000 people. Any Irish industrialist will tell you that in order to expand exports at the present stage of development a fairly good guarantee of a home market must be in existence as a base. Without that, industry cannot hope to survive. These are the words of the management of an Irish industry to whom I have been speaking recently.

Irish industrialists find that they cannot compete on the home market with industries which the Government have helped to set up by grants, exemption from corporation profits tax, [1533] income tax and rates, established primarily for export but allowed to sell their products on the home market. The escape clauses with which the Agreement is adorned will be freely availed of. It is extraordinary that the Government should have so much confidence in Britain honouring the Agreement. What will happen if one of the negotiations which inevitably will take place results in Britain not settling even for the fall back positions of which the Taoiseach spoke? I am surprised at the Government expecting Britain to honour this Agreement in view of the history of Britain as to the honouring of Agreements and in view of the Government's failure to honour agreements made in respect of Irish industry. In 1960, a firm manufacturing pottery was set up in Kilrush, Clare, primarily for export. An agreement was made involving that firm and Carrigaline Pottery, to the effect that 100 per cent of the products of the Kilrush firm would be for export for a period of three years, and after three years, consultation would take place in order to explore the possibility of allowing five per cent of its goods into the Irish market. No such consultation took place. Early last year, before the Trade Agreement was negotiated, the Carrigaline Pottery had letters from Ceramics Ltd. and from An Foras Tionscal informing them that £45,000 worth of the products of Ceramics Ltd. would be launched on the Irish market annually and that, in addition, accumulated stock valued at £50,000 would be sold this year. That agreement was not honoured. An agreement negotiated between the IDA and Carrigaline Pottery was not honoured. Naively, the Government accept that the Agreement now made with Britain will be honoured by Britain.

We can envisage this Agreement resulting in mass unemployment. We are very dubious about the three per cent escape clause, the fact that we can exclude from the operation of the Agreement for all time a quantity of goods in value not in excess of three per cent of goods imported from Britain in the preceding year. We feel that that is not adequate. I envisage [1534] considerable difficulty in selecting the industries from which the goods of a value not exceeding three per cent will be drawn. I can envisage—I hope I am wrong—industrial unrest as a result of it.

We are not suggesting that the Irish worker is in any way inferior to his counterpart abroad. We are suggesting that he is not getting equal opportunities with his counterpart abroad. I have no doubt that this Agreement will result in wholesale uprooting of Irish workers, and uprooting nowadays is not a pleasant thing for anybody. We have been told that the Government have a manpower policy, have arranged for redundancy payments and will provide a system of retraining. Retraining for whom? That will not be enough to compensate the displaced Irish worker. That will not solve anything for him.

We all know Irish workers in industries throughout the country who are carrying huge mortgages on their houses. Indeed, some have built houses and cannot now get loans sanctioned to pay for these houses. There have been no loans available over the past six months. What happens if these workers cannot sell these houses? The Taoiseach and other Fianna Fáil speakers have agreed that there will be unemployment in some areas; they say that the loss of that employment will be compensated for in other areas. What will happen if there are no opportunities for employment in particular areas? What will happen if the Irish worker is saddled with a home of which he cannot get rid? These questions have not been answered at all. There are others we could ask had we had more time in which to examine all this. Our fear is that there will be no employment forthcoming for the Irish worker and the only future for him will lie in Britain.

Despite all the Taoiseach's blowing about this Agreement, he admits that the problems of industry cannot be foreseen and estimated. On the other hand, Deputy Corry has told us that he examined all the industries in his constituency and found that none of them will be hurt. It is a pity, I think, that the Taoiseach, before signing this Agreement, did not give Deputy Corry [1535] the job of examining every industry in the country; he would then have been in a position to come in here and tell us that none of them needs to worry.

We have, of course, made up our minds in relation to these matters and we are not likely to be misled by what Deputy Corry and the Government Party say about this Agreement. We have made up our minds. It is our considered opinion that this Agreement will result in mass unemployment, consequent emigration, and a more inequitable distribution still of the wealth of the country among our people. We have, therefore, no hesitation in opposing this Agreement and we have no apology to make to anybody for walking into the Division Lobby to vote against it.

Deputies Dillon and P.J. Burke rose.

Acting Chairman (Mr. James Tully): Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully Deputy Dillon.

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke Zoom on Patrick J. Burke This is two to one.

Mr. Andrews: Information on David Andrews Zoom on David Andrews I have been waiting here since 12 o'clock.

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke Zoom on Patrick J. Burke I waited seven hours yesterday and three the day before.

Mr. Reynolds: Information on Patrick J. Reynolds Zoom on Patrick J. Reynolds The Deputy is good-looking and we like looking at him.

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke Zoom on Patrick J. Burke I will not stand in Deputy Dillon's way.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): On a point of order, the same order has been followed throughout the debate. There has been no change.

Mr. J. Lynch: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch That is what is wrong with it. It is two to one.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon “The British market is gone forever, thanks be to God”. The Leader of the Opposition said here very aptly that the zeal of the convert is often embarrassing. I have been watching the faces of the Fianna Fáil Deputies as their leaders have passed through their transports of joy over the achievement of free trade and unlimited [1536] access to the British market and the only thing that I could think of was the faces of the Muslim supporters of the Mad Mullah, had he announced his intention of joining the Jehovah Witnesses. But it would be a strange thing, indeed, if the observers of the political scene in Ireland, who regard themselves as so sophisticated, should have had it to tell that, because Fianna Fáil have come to their senses, this Party should be expected to vote for a reimposition of their insanity. We are delighted they have come to their senses, but, in their release from the insane asylum in which they have dwelt so comfortably for the past quarter of a century, we do not want them to go berserk altogether. Surely it is in order, and not contrary to public policy, that, in welcoming them home from their protracted sojourn in an economic mental hospital, we should exercise some restraint upon them by telling them that, in the initial stages of their freedom. It is customary to be in before 12 o'clock at night and that alcohol is still intoxicating.

I was listening to the Taoiseach on Tuesday. He wound up his speech, in all modesty of course, by speaking of the swaddling clothes that he had provided for Irish industry. His biblical description of his own functions in the public life of Ireland, I thought, reflected credit on his modesty and humility. He never seemed to have heard that, before his name or that of his Party had ever been heard of in Ireland, there were boots made in Ireland; there were woollen textiles made in Ireland; there was beer made in Ireland; there was whiskey made in Ireland; there were biscuits made in Ireland. There were sugar factories functioning in Ireland. There was milling proceeding. There were clothing industries operating. The name of Balbriggan was not unknown in the hosiery industry. The Electricity Supply Board had begun to function on the Shannon, though we did not think much of it then.

I readily concede that the Taoiseach provided what he calls swaddling clothes for some of the industrialists but, to me, they looked more like mink bikinis. The difference is, of [1537] course, that the cost of the mink bikinis has long since been written off by those who wear them, but the working man, who went in to furnish the mink bikini when he was young and vigorous and ready to be trained to any art or craft to which he was called to earn his living, is now 45 or 50 years of age; he has no mink bikini and he is a bit too old for swaddling clothes. He is told, in the poetic words of Deputy Seán Dunne, that he will be invited to retrain himself. Some of them are inclined to ask, and with reason: “For what? Is it to milk cows when I am 50 years of age?”

Does anyone doubt in this House that one of the consequences of this Trade Agreement will be that there will be a number of middle-aged men with families, perhaps at the most expensive ages, left unemployed? Does anyone doubt that the provision we have at present made for them is inadequate? What reassurance have we that there will be effective provision made for them? What certainty have we that it is surely possible to make effective provision for them? I remember ex-Deputy McGilligan of this House once saying— I am glad to be able to put it on record that he had two great qualities, one, perhaps one of the finest brains in Europe and, two, an intense and deep compassion for the circumstances of the working man——

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke Zoom on Patrick J. Burke He said he was not concerned with the unemployed of this country. That is on the record.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman Do not speak untruths.

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke Zoom on Patrick J. Burke That is on the record.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman It is not on the record. The Deputy should tell the truth.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange One million people have emigrated since 1932.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon Surely Deputies will let me deal with Deputy Paddy Burke. If I cannot deal with Deputy Burke at this time of my life I shall never be [1538] able to do so. I want to say that if Deputy Burke made that statement advisedly, he is displaying a reckless indifference to the truth which would reflect discredit upon a liar.

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke Zoom on Patrick J. Burke I shall bring in the record.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon The Deputy can parse that observation and when he is finished reading it, he may understand what it means. The statement which Deputy Burke credited to Deputy McGilligan was never made and the records of this House are there to prove it. That man to whom I have referred had, in addition to this distinguished quality of mind, an intense compassion for the working man. I remember his saying here in Dáil Éireann that he would never again consent to a scheme which imposed on people in middle age the obligation to retrain for different employment from that in which they had spent the best years of their lives acquiring a skill. If the national interest demands that their lives be disrupted, then the national interest must be prepared to bear the burden of carrying them at their full wages for the rest of their days, if they so desire. That we shall be faced with a substantial burden of that character as a result of this Trade Agreement there can be very little doubt.

I want to speak a word of reason to both sides of the House. I do not believe that the Government of Ireland drawn from any Party in this House went to London for the purpose of selling this country to the British Government. I do not doubt that the Ministers of the Fianna Fáil Government did their best in London, but it was a very bad best. That is exactly what I would expect from them. If I thought they were capable of doing a good best, I would have supported Fianna Fáil. It is because I think they are incompetent, because I do not think they understand the vital interests of this country, and because their own history demonstrates those facts that I have consistently opposed them.

On the other hand, let us not get this whole problem out of perspective. Our Government did not go to London to [1539] dictate armistice terms to a conquered nation. The process of negotiation of a Trade Agreement is that if you want to take, you have got to give. This is an agreement, not an ultimatum. I would describe the whole of the Government publicity relating to this Agreement as an obscene fraud. It is the exaggerated claims and the brouhaha that have gone on about this Agreement which justify the description of an obscene fraud.

The Minister for Agriculture came in here yesterday with a carefully prepared brief which he intended to read for our edification and which he attempted to read. If he read it, he would have made the good speech I expected from him, because he is no daw. However, as we all know, he made the worst speech he has ever made since he came into Dáil Éireann because when he departed from the brief so carefully prepared for him by the extremely able assistants that he has—and I speak from personal experience—he floundered into admissions and concessions which reveal the fact that what Sir Harold Woolley said is perfectly true, that when you come to read and study the agricultural sections of this Trade Agreement, they amount in substance to a confirmation and a codification of the Irish position in the British market for certain Irish agricultural products as it at present exists.

What have we got for agriculture under this Agreement? Some very valuable things which were secured in the 1948 Trade Agreement and, do not let us underestimate it, we have the precious link between the price paid for Irish store cattle resident in England for two months and the British-bred cattle at the point of slaughter. That was first conceded in in the 1948 Trade Agreement and it is now confirmed. However, the Minister for Agriculture says that over and above this we now have unlimited access to the British market for Irish store cattle. Did you ever hear such tripe from a rational man? In the name of commonsense, for what do we want unlimited access to the British market for store cattle if not to sell [1540] them to the British farmer? Is it to race them at Aintree or to send them round the course at Epsom? We have access to the British market for as many store cattle as the British farmer will buy. What is important is that when he comes to the Dublin market to buy them and reckons up: “What profit can I make on them?” he says to himself: “If I keep these cattle two months in England I will get as much for them as if they were bred in Westmorland or Dorset, Scotland or Wales.” Do not let us underestimate the value of that concession; do not let us decry the fact that that concession we secured in 1948 is continuing. But do not let us vitiate it by fraudulent claims for this document that cannot now or ever be justified.

It is monstrous for a responsible Minister for Agriculture to get up in this House or tell the Sunday Independent that this will mean an appreciation of £6 per head for store cattle when everyone who has any knowledge of rural Ireland knows that the price of cattle fell in the past ten months by £10 a head. If they do not come back £6 on what they were last December, we might as well fold up altogether. I have told the House there were people paying for conacre throughout the country who had bought cattle in the spring and sold them in November, for the want of grass, at less than they had paid for them, and they still had to pay the conacre rent. If the price of store cattle has not gone up by £6 by next spring without any Trade Agreement, the cattle will go up the spout and all the farmers in the country will go up after them.

I was looking at pictures of the effects of drought in Bechuanaland, in parts of Rhodesia and other regions of Africa, of cattle dying of starvation by the roadsides. If we could not depend on a good spring coming round here, we also could see pictures of cattle dying of starvation after they had finished eating the bushes. I do not apprehend that happening, but it is obscene fraud for the Minister for Agriculture to pretend that things are attributable to this document which in fact never were.

[1541] This has been a very remarkable debate and some of the finest speeches I have listened to in Dáil Éireann in a long time have been made in the course of it. I do not deny that the Taoiseach, in introducing his case for this Agreement, had prepared a skilful document and he read it skilfully, making out the best case that could be made for the Agreement that he commended to us. I do not think any side of the House will challenge me when I say the Leader of the Opposition spoke better than ever before in his criticism of it. I hope Deputy Corish will not think it amiss if I pass over his contribution to speak of the contribution made by Deputy Seán Dunne. I have been 34 years a Member of the Dáil and it is not easy to impress me or to move me by political oratory, but when a man of Deputy Seán Dunne's bulk can address this House in a monotone for 20 minutes and say all he managed to say as he said it, I shall not forget it all the rest of my life.

This morning when our proceedings were resumed, Deputy Dockrell made a very remarkable speech, in the course of which he said this is an economic Act of Union. He recalled that 160 years ago the Act of Union was enacted in this city and there were lots of well-intentioned men who believed it would serve the interests of our people. In the subsequent 160 years, we have learned what a fearful delusion these men laboured under and how aptly did Grattan and Flood criticise it and how they were vindicated by its results. Deputy Dockrell said that three great events happened in the past 160 years —the Act of Union, the Treaty and now this Agreement. There was a lot of truth in what Deputy Dockrell said but I shall go further. There were five great events—the Act of Union; the Land War and its victory; the concession by the British Government in the Home Rule Act, of the recognition of the right of the Irish people to govern their own country; the Treaty and the Agreement we now have under consideration.

I wonder if Deputies feel the presence of the ghost of Castlereagh. He would not have been welcomed in this House when he was fit to come himself. [1542] It is an odd thing that his ghost should walk here, smiling sardonically and contemptuously, at the invitation of Fianna Fáil. This is not a free trade Agreement. It is not a free trade Agreement for the reason Deputy Dockrell gave today. With extraordinary penetration, he put his finger on the heart of this matter when he said this Agreement gives the British industrialist equality in Ireland with the Irish industrialist. Who will claim that this Agreement gives the Irish farmer equality with the British farmer in Great Britain? I make no concealment of the fact—I am freer to speak, now that I have shed some of my responsibilities—that the land and those who live on it have always been closest to my heart.

If this Agreement gave the farmers of Ireland access to the whole system of price supports and to the enduring and unrestrained affluence of the farmers of Britain, I would have found it hard to utter words of criticism in this house and I believe Irish industry would have discovered that the fastly expanding market that would have been available on the home front through giving our farmers the affluence that such equality would have brought would have amply compensated them for any challenge British industry in Ireland would have involved them in. But this Agreement does not give that kind of free trade and it never will give that kind of free trade.

The Minister for Finance today got quite indignant when he recalled that Deputy Dockrell had said: “Beware when negotiating with Great Britain”. The British are at it as long as the Venetian Republic and their ability is still beyond belief. The Minister for Finance took that as a reflection on his intelligence and on that of those who went with him. It was nothing of the kind. I shall remind the House that when Sonny Liston entered the ring with Cassius Clay and confidently predicted he would have Clay eliminated in the twinkling of an eye, it was Sonny Liston who was carried from the ring. When Gene Tunney challenged Jack Dempsey, he did it with trepidation, vigilance and circumspection [1543] and it was Jack Dempsey who was carried from the ring. It is those who go swaggering into the presence of the old hand, confident of their ability to meet and master him, who get carried from the ring.

Would that our Prime Minister had the guile and wisdom of the Prime Minister of France. He did not exclude England from the Common Market because he was afraid of that combination. He did not exclude England from the Common Market because they were an island. He did not exclude England from the Common Market because they were Anglo-Saxon. He excluded England from the Common Market because, for the first time, the French civil servants met in Brussels the British civil servants and they said to themselves, and rightly so: “Up to now we are the masters of the situation. If those bucks get in God knows who will come out on top.” Should we not admire them.

I remember speaking to my own Taoiseach, when I was negotiating in 1948, on behalf of agriculture, and saying: “We have an old warrior in here and he is like the Rock of Gibraltar. You could not knock a chip off him.” He was advising the British Minister for Agriculture. As Deputy John A. Costello will remember, we had to invoke the aid of Sir Stafford Cripps before we could shift this old warrior. We never underestimated and we never flagged in our admiration of his loyalty, tenacity and devotion to the Minister and the Government he served.

I think it was the Minister for Agriculture, yesterday, who spoke of some ambiguity and uncertainty relating to the 5/- differential that was in the 1948 trade agreement. Let us just put this on the record. Yes, in the text there is an ambiguity but the then Taoiseach, Deputy Costello, when we were negotiating, will remember me asking Sir Stafford Cripps: “Does that mean 5/- a cwt differential or not?”“Yes”, he said, “that is what it means”. It is perfectly true and if the Minister for Agriculture asks his officials, if he has not already asked them, he will discover that within one month [1544] of our coming home from London I got a letter from a high British civil servant saying that he proposed to interpret the matter in this way—that the extra 5/- awarded would be 8/-. I said: “Let there be no comment made on that letter. Send it to Mr. John Dulanty in London and ask him to go down to the Treasury and show it to the Chancellor and ask him whether that is a true record of our agreement.” The Chancellor's answer was to tear the letter up, throw it in the wastepaper basket with a request to Mr. Dulanty to tell Mr. Dillon to regard the letter as never having been written because we knew when we made the Agreement that we were dealing with a man whose word was better than his bond. Mind you there were good negotiators then.

I believe the British Government are friendly to this country but I do not believe they carry that friendship to the point of betraying the interests of their own people. I think they fought hard in this context to defend their own people's interests and they have admirably succeeded. Let it be truly said here today that it is nonsense to pretend our Government had not difficulties to grapple with. They certainly had and if they had come home and told us frankly that they did the best they could in all the circumstances, I think they could have averted a good deal of the criticism they have drawn on themselves.

It is true that we have a quota for bacon but it is also true that in Annex F of the Trade Agreement of 1948 we had unlimited access to the British market for bacon, fixed at a price of 225/-. Let us reckon what that price means, in terms of money, in 1966. It is 409/- per hundredweight. Now, I know that the conditions are not the same. I know that the British Government were buying bacon then they are not buying now. I know that there was a subsequent pigs and bacon agreement made in 1951 because I made it. It lasted until 1956. Times change, circumstances change and we must change with them. If we are to make comparisons let them be true comparisons. Then, we can judge the facts on their merits and not on fraud.

[1545] It is true that we have got a licence to supply the British with an extra quantity of butter. The figure mentioned in the 1948 Trade Agreement was 20,000 tons but there was an important additional phrase “or more if available”. It is true, when I made that Agreement in 1948, I could have got for that butter the equivalent of about 550/- per hundredweight but our Government decided it was proper to give our own people unlimited supplies before we sold any of it at all. It is true, in that context, I said to the farmers of this country: “You are now getting ½ to ¼ per gallon for milk. Drop the guarantee for milk and we will give you the current milk price with the assurance that you will never get less than a 1/- in terms of 1948 prices. You will get anything over and above that which the market gives.” Do you understand what that means in 1966 prices? That was a guarantee of a minimum of 1/10 a gallon but in the meantime the farmers of this country could have got in the days of scarcity that then obtained the equivalent of 2/9 or 3/- per gallon for their milk. That is ancient history. What is the use of going into all those questions now?

We have got an increase in the quota for butter. If they had come back and said to us, honestly and truly, that this makes no difference to the dairy farmers of Ireland but that the burden of the dairy subsidy on the Irish Exchequer would be substantially lightened I would have said: “That is an honest and true statement and I am glad they were able to get that relief for the Exchequer but it does not matter a damn for the farmers of Ireland.”

The farmers of Ireland get a guaranteed price for milk and Bord Bainne has to sell butter anywhere it can. If they sell it in England the burden is lighter on the Exchequer. If they sell it in Persia or Peru, where we can sell all the butter we can produce, the price is lower. It is true that one-third export subsidy is levied on the price of milk. I doubt if that levy can long continue. In fact, the benefit of this increased export quota to the British market is in relief of the Irish Exchequer just [1546] as when we come to this sensational undertaking by the British Government to pay a non-existent support price for carcase beef exported. There was no support price paid in the past seven months because the world price was higher than the support price fixed. During the last weekly or fortnightly period there was a support price paid of .408 pence per lb. When you come to measure that today what does that mean to the Irish farmers? It means a substantial relief to the Irish Exchequer even when meat becomes cheaper again. In so far as it relieves the Irish Exchequer, I am glad to know it, but let us tell the farmers the truth. Do not let us attempt to sell them this Trade Agreement by fraud.

People will say to me: why then do not Fine Gael vote against this Agreement? I asked myself that question, as every responsible Deputy must ask himself that question. What if we did? The 1948 Trade Agreement and the 1938 Trade Agreement have been abandoned; they are gone. This is the substitute. It is incorporated in this Agreement with the British Government that the other two are gone. In the 1938 and the 1948 Trade Agreements, we had the right to fix notice on the British Government of six months that we intended to abrogate those Agreements, and at any stage the British Government could have said to us: “This day six months the 1948 Trade Agreement ceases to function.” We had a corresponding right with them.

We must have some Trade Agreement and this Trade Agreement includes the precious asset of the link between Irish cattle and the guaranteed price in Great Britain. Frankly, I am too long absent from the Department of Agriculture to give the House any serious appraisal of the value of the concession in regard to carcase mutton and lamb. When I was there, the French market for lamb was sufficient to stabilise the price of carcase lamb but I do not know whether that is true any more. It is certainly true that the 1948 Agreement stipulated a period of residence of two months for Irish store cattle before they qualified for the price [1547] support. I remember when the British Government unilaterally pressed upon us an increase to three months and I think there was some trifling reduction in the differential. I was full of apprehension that this would make some vital difference to the value of store cattle, but I never could discern that it made the slightest difference at all.

The plain fact is that store cattle were never higher than they were last May and June. I am sure it is a welcome fact that the period of residence is reduced from three months to two but if you ask me, I do not think it matters a damn. I often used to ask myself how in the name of God they ever enforced this regulation. I believe it was made originally to ensure that Irish store cattle were bought by British farmers and transferred to their land, and not bought by a butcher and brought from the sales ring to the butcher's shop. It was meant to ensure that after the British farmer bought the cattle in an English sales ring they were brought to a British farm. I could never make out how they enforced that regulation. When it was three months it never made any difference and I do not believe the reduction will do so either.

I want to put this consideration to the House. Are we seriously proceeding to examine this Trade Agreement—and to consider whether we will approve or reject it—in vacuo? Because if we are, we are all cracked. This Trade Agreement is a very small item in a very large picture which constitutes the economic future and hopes of our people. If anyone imagines that the approval of this Trade Agreement will open out the broad high road to prosperity for our people, they are insane. A sword of Damocles is hanging over the heads of our people today.

“Cybernetics” is a new word that has been coined to cover the whole field of thought, at the core of which stands automation. We are a very, very, very small political and economic unit in the world. As certainly as we are in this House today cybernetics and automation are going to wipe out in the [1548] world in which we live employment for the unskilled man. In ten years' time, an unskilled man and woman in the markets of the world will be no more able to earn their living than a stray dog. That is a terrible thing to say. When I was young, I knew men and women who could neither read nor write and they were greater ladies and gentlemen, and more highly educated citizens, than hundreds of the skilled operatives who are earning £30 and £40 a week in Birmingham today but they had no skill for modern civilisation. They had the culture, the distinction and the charm of a highly civilised people. They could not survive in ten years' time.

I may survive the next ten years, but I will not survive many decades, and cybernetics will have damn little effect on me but they will affect my son and to a far greater degree if, under God's Providence, he should be blessed with a family, they will affect them, unless we provide out of our own resources, in this country, not skyscrapers with Chinese hats, not elaborate office buildings with wall to wall carpeting, not luxury flats set at £120 per week, or hotels to accommodate those who can afford to pay £50 a day, but schools and the personnel to man the schools, and the equipment to enable that personnel to spread their knowledge and impart it to the rising generation, and homes to keep the families together to correct the loathsome and detestable centrifugal tendencies of the society in which we live today which have shattered homes and scattered families. Unless we can provide the means for them to attain their health and strength and to develop their qualities, we are condemning our people not to be the hewers of wood and drawers of water — there will be no wood to be hewn and no water to be drawn—but to be the stray dogs of the world, unable to make and hold their place either at home or abroad in the world in which they have to live.

It is because I see in the Government a complete obliviousness to these facts that I am filled with apprehension when I hear of Trade Agreements being the solution to all our difficulties. I know our Ministers [1549] come in here and say: “We have approved more schools, more houses, more work of this kind than any other Government”. I am not looking for the approval of plans; approvals are very easy to issue as long as you have paper and ink in the Department to issue them.

What is the use in telling the Christian Brothers in Monaghan that they have the approval of the Minister for Education to erect a new secondary school if the bank manager says: “We have not got a penny to lend you wherewith to build it”? And when they say: “You have not got a penny to lend us who have dealt with you for a hundred years, with whom we have had one thousand debts when we were poorer and our people were poorer, and never defaulted on a penny?”, he answers: “We have not got it because the Government have it. Whatever we had to lend the Government have borrowed.” Why do you think we have suddenly seen the sale of lumps of an Irish bank to a British consortium and the withdrawal of the Irish banks into the exclusive sphere of Irish bank circles? Ask yourself some time has it anything to do with the maintenance of the lending ratio prescribed in London as compared with the lending ratio accepted in Ireland today. We are turning our eyes away from the things that really matter. We have got an adverse trade balance for the 12 months ended 30th November of £153 million. We are going to have an adverse balance of payments this year of £50 million sterling. The banks in this country are now being required to channel all the available credit that they can mobilise into the hands of the Government who cannot meet their bills from any other source.

Let us pause here for a moment. Now is the time and this is the occasion on which to examine these fundamentals. It is all cod to be talking about the joint stock banks lending their customers money. That is all blah. The joint stock banks are the machinery devised by society for the administration of the credit of the Irish community. That is their function and the only reason it is left in the hands of the [1550] joint stock banks is that empirically in a free society we have learned that that is the best way it works. Theoretically, you can argue that they all should be made subject to the Government. Anyone who has tried that has lived to regret it. The credit of this community is being sucked off by the Government to the detriment of the essential services to which I made reference earlier on.

Some of the more foolish supporters of the Government are dazzled by the fact that the First National City Bank of New York is going to set up offices here, that the Bank of Newfoundland is going to set up offices and that the Bank of San Francisco is going to set up offices here. Go and ask the First National City Bank why. You will not have too long to wait because they are go-ahead, energetic, tough operators. They facilitate land speculation and they will facilitate anything that returns a fast “buck” and they will tell you: “If there is anything going in this way we want to share it,” but I wonder if the Christian Brothers go in to borrow money for 30 years to build a school to educate poor children, will the red carpet be put out in the Bank of San Francisco for them. We will be told by the Government that there is foreign capital flowing into the country. It is flowing into the country to buy out the ground from under our feet; flowing into the country to do with gold what fire and steel failed for seven centuries to do. We used to talk about beating swords into ploughshares but there is a new modern development which we had not heard about until Fianna Fáil facilitated its discovery in this country that is beating currency into swords and achieving with gold, or even with silver, and now with promissory notes, what steel had failed to achieve before.

It is a strange, strange world in which we live if we are fated to see a generation conquered with paper and silver when hunger and starvation and fire and sword had failed to beat their fathers down. This Trade Agreement is going to destroy a great many of the mink bikini industries. I am not worried about the gentlemen wearing mink bikinis but I am worried about [1551] the people who work for them. I am proud to remember that it was at a Fine Gael Árd Fheis three years ago that we first raised this issue and said that there is no programme of economic expansion, first or second, any good to us that does not show us where provision is to be made for the redundant workmen or the man who loses his job. The boys in the mink bikinis will look after themselves—they have it salted away—but it is the men who work for them whom we must consider.

Now I am going to say something that will shock my colleagues, but they are not responsible for me any more. What maddens me is that it will bring some comfort to the Deputies who sit opposite and will enrage those sitting on my right. The fact is that one of the greatest threats afflicting this country at present is the reputation it is acquiring for labour relations. There was a recent survey made by OECD, and I know unfortunately it coincided with our transport dispute and our building dispute, but in the statistics which it threw up, it showed Ireland as having the worst labour relations in Europe. I have employed men all my life, either personally or as a Minister of State. I have dealt with the leaders of the Irish trade union movement. I have dealt with some of the toughest. The tougher they were, the easier they were to deal with. It took you time to make the agreement. Here is something a great many employers in this country forget. They had to say to you: “Do not forget we are working for the men. We are not their bosses. We think the draft agreement we have negotiated is a good one, but they have got to agree with us.” Here is something vital to what I am going to say. I have known cases in which trade union men have come back to me and said: “We think this is right and you think this is right, but the men will not take it. If we go back and tell them they must take it the only result will be that we will get the sack and they will send you somebody else.” Too many employers forget that. But when there comes a time that there is an agreement and it is approved and the trade unions go berserk and repudiate [1552] the agreement, it is time for labour to examine its conscience.

I am going to prescribe the remedy. I do it with full respect. There are too many trade union leaders in this country who have not taken example by me. Europe is littered with old warriors who believe themselves to be indispensable, with tragic consequences for Europe. The trade union movement of this country is getting littered with good, decent men who are living in the 19th century.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan I do not like interrupting the Deputy but he seems to be widening the scope of the debate somewhat.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon A Trade Agreement affecting the whole future economy of this country? This was injected into this discussion by the Leader of the Government, who said that labour relations were at the heart of the whole problem. However, I only want to make this point. I know distinguished leaders of the trade union movement who are so far living in the 19th century that, when their union wanted to give them a salary which was not a quarter of what their responsibility would entitle them to, they protested on the grounds that it was monstrously excessive compensation. The trade union had to say to them: “Go out of the room and we will fix your salary. Come back and take it. Be glad to get it and say nothing more about it.”

The evil of that is this. This old-fashioned man has the idea that no man is worth more than £1,000 a year, pace a certain distinguished gentleman now in residence in another place, and not at £1,000 a year either. He gets that into his head and applies it to himself. When he has a district organiser—a man in a most responsible position, who ought to be educated, able and in a position to command and direct—he applies it to him and says “If the boss has only £1,000 a year, £600 is too much for him.” What is the result? Half the trade unions in this country are trying to live on slave labour. American trade unions and British trade unions are wakening up to it. Trade unions all [1553] over the world are recognising that their organisations must be brought up to date. The only men to do it are men who are born into this century and who understand the complications of labour relations today. It is true that a great deal of the responsibility for bad labour relations devolves on the employers of this country. But you cannot make labour relations good with trade union men who themselves are living in a century in which nobody else except themselves is living at present.

Let us not delude ourselves. This Trade Agreement is substantially what Sir Harold Woolley described it to be so far as it affects agriculture. It is going to cause a great deal of unemployment and economic dislocation. It will wipe out a lot of the mink bikini boys and wreak considerable hardship on many working men who trusted Fianna Fáil when these industries were started. This Trade Agreement and its authors are not the fount of Irish industry and never were. Irish industry— and the kind of Irish industry that is going to survive—was here before Fianna Fáil was ever thought of.

This Trade Agreement will not resolve all our problems. I have tried to indicate what it can do. As far as it preserves the precious asset of the agricultural community of this country, we could not in conscience vote against it. It is fraud to call it a free trade agreement. There is no equality because the British industrialist is free to function here on terms of equality with our industrialists but the Irish farmer is not so free to compete with the British farmer in Great Britain. No matter how this Trade Agreement turns out, it is not going to open up the highways to progress and prosperity this Government would seek to persuade us it will, unless we have a better Government than Fianna Fáil are ever likely to provide and unless the trade union movement undertakes to reform itself and to shoulder the burden consciously of educating Victorian employers in this country into a realisation that they must bring themselves up to date.

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke Zoom on Patrick J. Burke I have been listening to the negative approach of Opposition [1554] speakers to this debate for the past few days. Apparently, they do not want any agreement at all. They are not concerned with the workers of this country or our survival as a nation. I listened to Deputy Dillon, the man who had such little faith in Irish industry and who would not be seen dead in a field of wheat or beet.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Just as the British market is gone forever. There is very little wheat or beet being grown now.

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke Zoom on Patrick J. Burke That was the attitude. The people who are criticising us for——

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange ——selling the country to Britain——

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke Zoom on Patrick J. Burke ——selling the country to Britain, and all their other allegations, are the very people who sold our transatlantic jets when we had an opportunity of developing that project. Furthermore, while they were in office from 1948 to 1951 and from 1954 to 1957, they permitted the importation of goods with a view to reducing the cost of living, so much so that I had to send telegrams to the then Minister for Industry and Commerce asking if he was dumping British goods on the Irish market and pointing out the plight of hundreds of workers who became unemployed in Lucan and in other parts of County Dublin.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange You will keep the Post Office busy, so.

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke Zoom on Patrick J. Burke I shall sit down and listen patiently to Deputy L'Estrange if he will make a speech. He is like a corncrake squeaking there all the morning. These people tell us they are interested in the Irish worker and in what the Irish worker stands for. When the Irish workers had to leave this country in their hundreds in 1956 and 1957——

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange They are going in their thousands now.

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke Zoom on Patrick J. Burke ——and when this country was at its lowest ebb, the then Government, instead of trying to do [1555] something or to bring about an agreement to save our workers, left this nation with an unbalanced Budget and cleared out. It irks me to have to listen to the rot I have been listening to from some Deputies opposite for the past three days. Our Taoiseach was the first man to raise the standard of living of our workers by his industrial policy when he was Minister for Industry and Commerce. He created employment for our workers and is responsible for the better conditions they enjoy today. We are suffering from a recession at the moment but it is a fact that while the Taoiseach was Minister for Industry and Commerce he succeeded in doing more to uplift the Irish worker than any workers' leader ever did.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange What about the late James Larkin?

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke Zoom on Patrick J. Burke We heard some Labour Deputies speak yesterday and the day before that. They try to give the impression that nobody is concerned at all with our workers, good, bad or indifferent, except the workers' representatives. We are a Party concerned with the well-being of every section of our people, irrespective of class or creed, and we owe no apology to anybody for it. We will not sabotage the interest of the Irish people and sell them down the Swanee for any Agreement. For at least the past 22 years, I have been concerned to protect the interests of our workers and of our people as a whole. If, by any chance, especially in the motor trade, there is redundancy, I, as a member of the Fianna Fáil Party, shall strive with my other Parliamentary colleagues in the county to secure that alternative employment will be given to the people involved or at least that compensation worthy of their years of service will be given to them.

No Bill ever went through this House that was perfect. We have had to amend Bills time out of number. If, in the course of time, we find that the terms of this Agreement are not what we anticipated, not one of us will stand for anything except what we believe to [1556] be in the interest of our people. This is 1966, not 1920 or 1922. We were anxious to get into the Common Market and were disappointed that our application did not succeed. There is a different outlook in the world today. Nations are trying to co-operate with each other. Six countries in Europe have succeeded in coming together in the common interest. That is a new political and economic trend in the world. If we do not wish to accept these trends in Europe is it our desire to be left isolated?

Last night, I listened to Deputy O'Connell speak for one hour and during all that time he made no constructive criticism in relation to the Agreement. Every country is anxious to have a Trade Agreement. I do not want to mention the names of the countries but it is a fact that all the countries want to trade with one another and it is the ordinary civilised practice in the world today. However, to judge by what we heard yesterday evening, one would think that nobody in this country was concerned about anybody except the saviours of the workers over there. Then we heard Deputy Dillon tell us today what he would do. He spoke about the poor farmers of Ireland and the poor workers of Ireland and the workers in ten years' time and what will become of them. We have tried to educate our people and we are spending money to that end. I assure the House that if this nation could afford it I would agree to the expenditure of three times as much money on the education of our people and on fitting them to face the world.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange There is not the price of a bag of cement now.

Mr. Foley: Information on Desmond Foley Zoom on Desmond Foley Did the Deputy think that up himself?

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke Zoom on Patrick J. Burke Is the corncrake at it again?

Mr. Clinton: Information on Mark A. Clinton Zoom on Mark A. Clinton For Deputy Foley's benefit, Deputy L'Estrange did not get it from anybody.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling Zoom on Joseph Dowling Steady up there, lad.

[1557]Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke Zoom on Patrick J. Burke Some very flowery speeches were made and they were all speeches consisting of destructive criticism. There was nothing constructive about them: we were selling out to Britain, we were doing this, that and the other. I would ask the Deputies who criticised the Government in relation to this Agreement if they want Ireland to be cut adrift economically from every other country.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange No—Fianna Fáil wanted that for 30 years.

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke Zoom on Patrick J. Burke It would seem that Fine Gael and Labour wanted to achieve the complete isolation of this country when they sold our transatlantic jets. I know the policies of both of those Parties because they are against the national interest.

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell Zoom on John F. O'Connell Nonsense.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange What about Deputy Aiken?

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke Zoom on Patrick J. Burke I did not interrupt Deputy O'Connell last night, although it is true that I thought he might have sent a telegram at the time the conference was proceeding: it would have been a great help had he done so.

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

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke Zoom on Patrick J. Burke We are up against dishonest criticism. Fianna Fáil will always put the interest of this nation before anything else. That is what we have done and what we shall continue to do. In 1955, 1956 and 1957 there was no such thing as an effort to bring about a Trade Agreement when the trade balances were on the wrong side, as they are now, too, and I am not denying it.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange They are £50 million worse now.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin Deputy L'Estrange has no licence to interrupt every Deputy who gets up to speak.

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke Zoom on Patrick J. Burke The leaders of the Fianna Fáil Party have done their [1558] very best to bring about a situation whereby our adverse balance of payments position will be rectified. Even if our balance of payments position continues on the wrong side, the speeches of hypocrisy made on the other side of the House will be of very little good to the man in the streets of Dublin, of County Dublin, or even of the towns in every other Deputy's constituency.

We must consider what are the best improvements we can bring about. What are the best means we can consider, from the national point of view, to bring about a proper balance of payments and not an adverse one such as we have at the present time and such as we had in 1955, 1956 and 1957? We know it took us about four years to get it back in 1957, when there was hardly a bob stirring when we took office. It took us until about 1960 to get things any way reasonable at all and we do not want that to occur again.

If there was one Deputy, even Deputy Dillon—who I admit is a wonderful orator and can speak with dramatic effect—who made one constructive contribution to this debate, I would have said “hear, hear” but, unfortunately, it was all idle criticism. It is easy enough to criticise and be destructive about it; it is easy enough to say somebody has done something he should not have done, and criticise him for it, but it is another thing to advance some alternative for the benefit of the Irish people whom we represent here in this sovereign Parliament. From that point of view, it was a completely negative approach from the word “go”. None of us says it is a be-all and end-all Agreement. No Agreement can be perfect; there is nothing perfect in this world. We are not supernatural beings who can produce perfection. Human beings may err unwittingly but, at least, they will make amends afterwards.

If this Agreement about which there is so much talk is not to our satisfaction, it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that we may go along and ask for amendments. That is only natural and every country in the world has done it. Britain came along, while [1559] we were doing reasonably well on the British market, and imposed a 15 per cent levy on us and other countries because of her economic situation——

Mr. O'Hara: Information on Thomas O'Hara Zoom on Thomas O'Hara And she would again.

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke Zoom on Patrick J. Burke I agree with Deputy O'Hara, but, if she can do that and if we are in the same free position here as a free country able to do anything we think for the benefit of our people, we should be able to do likewise. As the Agreement stands, what I have read about it and even taking into account the criticism I have heard of it, I believe it a very good one. If, in the course of five or six years time, we enter into the Common Market, it is still a very good thing to have secured this Agreement with our nearest neighbour because, had we been accepted for membership of the Common Market a few years ago, we would have had to do these things.

We have industries which are able to sell to all countries throughout the world. Some of those are industries which were started only a few years ago. There are industries in my constituency, which is also Deputy Clinton's and Deputy Foley's constituency, exporting all over the world and competing internationally.

Deputy Dillon spoke about the Act of Union. What brought about the Act of Union was the jealousy of the then British Prime Minister and Government. They were jealous of the position which existed here, even with their own people within the Parliament of the day, because Irish industrialists were competing internationally and beating British products all over the world. I have enough faith in the Irish people to know that, even in adversity, they were always all right.

I remember listening to my grandfather relating a story about the position during the Famine when they were refused food in the West of Ireland, from where I came. Evidently when an English Protestant came along and was distributing Indian corn, he told my grandfather's mother she could not [1560] have it unless she changed her religion. She went home and the family started eating raw turnips before she could boil them. That generation survived such adversity. I have sufficient faith in our Irish industrialists and workers to realise that, given a chance here, we could become the greatest country in Europe.

We are up against one problem at the moment, that is, that our trade balance is on the wrong side and we have taken steps to rectify this situation. If it is a mortal sin, according to the Labour and Fine Gael people, if it is wrong for our Government to try to rectify our adverse trade balance, then I plead guilty, but I plead guilty on behalf of the Irish people. One thing concerns me here and it is this. Will the Deputies consider seriously the position of this nation, or are they more concerned with political kudos for their own Party? It is a serious position that while dealing with an Agreement of this kind, people get up here to make cheap jibes. I was never concerned during my time in this House with making cheap jibes or attacking anybody personally. I never believed in it. This practice of making cheap jibes in all the speeches from one side of the House to the other amounted to one thing: “We do not want anything; we do not want an Agreement; we do not want aeroplanes; we do not want airlines; we do not want any coalmines; we are able to look after the Irish workers and we do not want anybody else to come in.”

Prior to the 1948 election, when we were trying to encourage the tourist industry to help us with our balance of payments at that time, a member of the Labour Party told us we were creating white elephants in that we were encouraging foreigners to come in here and eat the food we should give to our own workers. We were defeated in 1948 and, of course, the misrepresentation was shocking during that period when the other Parties told a lot of untruths and when their propaganda machinery was extra good. One of the men concerned became a Minister and went down to open Butlin's Camp. Butlin's Camp [1561] had already been under way when the inter-Party Government came into office. The man who made the statement in the benches here went down to Butlin's as Minister, opened the camp and said the tourist industry was wonderful, that it was worth £27 million to the country at that time. Two months earlier he did not want foreigners in here eating our food. How can one expect progress when people say——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin The Deputy is getting away from the Trade Agreement.

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke Zoom on Patrick J. Burke I crave your indulgence; I am replying to criticism made about the Trade Agreement and discussing the inconsistencies of the Opposition. If they discussed the Agreement and said they did not believe in this part or in that, that they could have done better here or there, I would clap them on the back. I would almost award them medals because that would be something new —to get constructive criticism.

Mr. O'Hara: Information on Thomas O'Hara Zoom on Thomas O'Hara Has the Deputy plenty of medals?

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke Zoom on Patrick J. Burke I shall give you one when I get one. I do not want to delay the House and on some other occasion I shall give the exact quotation of a previous Minister for Industry and Commerce on his attitude towards the unemployed. Deputy Dillon spoke about labour relations but nobody went as far to meet the workers of this country and establish good employer-labour relations than the present Taoiseach.

Deputies: Hear, hear.

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke Zoom on Patrick J. Burke I have been associated with labour relations for nearly 30 years. Sometimes we succeed and sometimes we fail. I was associated with the introduction of the Industrial Relations Act and anxious that it should ensure as much freedom of negotiation as possible so that the workers and employers could meet and evolve good relations gradually. One cannot expect miracles overnight. It is only natural when the standard of [1562] living is going up that John Jones will want as much money as Paddy Murphy. That applies all over the world. While statistics may be true, sometimes facts are different. The good relationship that exists between the trade unions and many employers is something to be proud of. In certain areas relations between workers and employers are bad but the responsibility is not all on the one side. In my dealings with people for a long number of years, I have discovered that it takes two to make a row. It is the present Taoiseach who laid the foundations for the development of good industrial relations as Minister for Industry and Commerce. When disputes arose, he even intervened himself or, later, got his Ministers or Deputies to do so. Deputy Dillon, it seems, was going to be the saviour of industrial relations. He is entitled to his opinions; I would die to defend his right to say anything he likes. That is democracy. I can criticise him and that is also democracy.

We are not anti-anybody. We are national, first, last and all the time. We are only concerned to do anything we can in our time to better the position of our people. We may have another opportunity of going into the details of this Agreement and should any hardship arise as a result of it for the people I have the honour to represent in County Dublin, I shall stand up here to defend them. That is what I am here for and that is why the people have trusted me for so long. We are doing what we believe to be the right thing, notwithstanding the pressure groups that have come to us concerned about their own petty affairs, underestimating the intelligence of the people they approach and thinking that we are not concerned with anything but our own political views. This is our own country and anything we can do to make it better will be done.

This is a good Agreement. It is an Agreement that is going on for quite a long time——

Mr. O'Hara: Information on Thomas O'Hara Zoom on Thomas O'Hara Since 1948.

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke Zoom on Patrick J. Burke Anything that has [1563] been done by the Taoiseach and his Ministers has been done on behalf of the Irish people and any possible gains have been secured so that we may have a better nation in the future and so that we may successfully deal with a very vital problem and one that is of vital concern to Britain also, the problem of the balance of payments.

Mr. T. O'Donnell: Information on Thomas G. O'Donnell Zoom on Thomas G. O'Donnell I have sat through most of this debate and listened to the various speakers and I have no doubt whatever now that the Fine Gael attitude to this Agreement is both logical and realistic. As a Party who always recognised the economic interdependence of the United Kingdom and this country, we decided not to vote against the Agreement, but, as a responsible Opposition Party, we deemed it our duty to examine the Agreement in detail and make a critical appraisal of it. It is regrettable that the Taoiseach and his Ministers have endeavoured to mislead the people into believing that the Agreement is the most wonderful thing that has ever happened and that as a result of it all our economic social problems will vanish almost overnight. This type of batantly dishonest propaganda will serve no useful purpose.

I think the television interview given by the Minister for Agriculture on his return from London was the worst possible thing that could have happened because now that the Agreement has been discussed in detail, the original assessment of it by the Minister for Agriculture has been proved to be completely exaggerated. The Minister, deliberately or otherwise, tried to convey the impression that this Agreement means unrestricted entry for all our agricultural exports and a great increase in prosperity. Of course, we now know that that is not the case at all.

Looking at the actual details of the Agreement, particularly those which, perhaps, affect my constituency, we find that it offers no security of access to the United Kingdom for agricultural products, other than store cattle and lambs. In so far as bacon is concerned, [1564] the position remains unaltered. In so far as the dairying industry is concerned, which is the most important arm of our agricultural industry, the concessions gained are very small indeed. We find that the British Government have undertaken to increase the quota for Irish butter from 12,900 tons to 23,000 tons. In fact, in 1965, we exported approximately 19,000 tons of butter to Britain, so the net effect of this new Agreement will be to increase our exports of butter to Britain by approximately 4,000 tons.

I observe from paragraph 45, page 20, of the Government publication on the Free Trade Area Agreement that this quota is for the year 1966-67. It does not mean that the quota of 23,000 tons will operate for an indefinite period. It means just for one year. So that the uncertainty which has always surrounded the export market for butter in the United Kingdom still remains. It is stated in paragraph 45:

If imports of butter into Britain continue to be subject to quantitative restriction in subsequent years, there will be annual consultations between the two Governments and the British Government will aim to provide reasonable opportunity for growth in the new basic quota and to take into account the Irish plans for increased output of dairy produce under the Second Programme.

That is all very vague and gives rise to further uncertainty regarding the future of our butter exports to Britain.

It is stated in paragraph 46 that the British Government will hold prior consultations with the Irish Government for the purpose of reaching agreement on the character and substance of any such arrangement. The paragraph goes on to say:

This will have to provide opportunity for imports into Britain no less favourable than those under the existing arrangements.

I cannot understand why, instead of being developed into two full paragraphs, there was not a simple statement to the effect that a quota of a minimum of 23,000 tons over the next five years would be accepted. If that [1565] had been done, it would have been a step in the right direction.

When the concession in respect of butter is analysed against the background of the recent developments in the dairying industry, it is quickly realised that this concession will not have any very big effect on the dairying industry. All the emphasis in the dairying industry, all the talk about rationalisation of the creamery industry, has been aimed at diversifying milk into products other than butter. This increase of 4,000 tons in the quota for next year will not put one penny into the pockets of the dairy farmers and will not provide employment for one more worker in the dairying industry. As representing a constituency where the main industry is dairying, I want to express my disappointment in so far as this Agreement relates to that industry.

The reduction in the waiting period for store cattle from three months to two months will make very little difference and is not of very great advantage. As has been shown, when the period was increased on a former occasion from two months to three months, it did not alter the situation very much.

In so far as agriculture is concerned, this new Agreement does not contain any revolutionary proposals. It will not release any new dynamic leading to a new era of expansion in our major national industry. As has been mentioned by other speakers, Sir Harold Woolley, of the British Farmers Union, correctly summed up this Agreement when he said that it merely confirms our existing arrangement and, perhaps, effects some minor improvement.

In so far as the industrial implications are concerned, the Minister for Industry and Commerce said yesterday that it was not possible at the moment to state with any degree of certainty what industries would expand and what industries would be adversely affected. Until such time as proper examination has been made of our various industries, it is difficult to estimate the effects of this Agreement on our industrial arm with any degree of accuracy.

What is most important now and what is most urgent is that no time [1566] should be lost in introducing whatever measures may be necessary to offset the disadvantages to our industry which may come from the freeing of trade. In particular, we have to make sure that safeguards will be introduced against dumping and that provision will be made for redundancy and to enable our industries to gear themselves for greater competition—all those measures which were suggested by the Leader of this Party, Deputy Cosgrave, on Tuesday, such as tax concessions, and so on, which will enable our industrialists to accept and to tackle this new challenge of competition.

This debate has been marked by gross exaggeration on the part of the Government and Fianna Fáil speakers and exaggeration in the other extreme on the part of some speakers from the Labour Party. Quite honestly, I do not think this Agreement will open up a new era of expansion. Neither do I think that this Agreement will lead to mass unemployment and emigration. In fact, I think that if the Agreement is approached objectively, it will be found that there are certain minor advantages for us in it; I am of the opinion that the advantages are outweighed by the disadvantages. In the interests of national unity, however, the Fine Gael Party will not vote against the Agreement. Indeed, it behoves all Parties in the House to pull together to make the best maximum use of whatever advantages the Agreement may have in order to offset the disadvantages.

Mr. Andrews: Information on David Andrews Zoom on David Andrews I intend breaking with the debating traditions of this House by being brief.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully On a point of order, are the Labour Party not being considered for a further speaker?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin I should like to point out to the Deputy that the Labour Party are certainly being considered and they have had a bigger proportion of both speakers and time so far than any other Party. For that reason I am now calling on the main Party whose contributions have not been in the same proportion as those of the Labour Party.

[1567]Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully I am not challenging the action of the Chair, but I just want to make it clear for the record that the Labour Party are the main opposition to this and the Party have been passed over twice. Fine Gael speakers have been called twice in preference to a Labour Deputy. I have nothing against Deputy Andrews.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin I might point out to the Deputy that eight Labour Deputies have intervened in the debate, ten Fianna Fáil and ten Fine Gael. I cannot see how Labour can complain.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully They are a separate Party and they are entitled to a separate voice—eight against ten.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin They have had a higher proportion of speakers so far than any other Party.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully Proportions do not count.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin They do, and the time factor has also to be considered.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully We will have to take the matter up elsewhere. I have no objection to Deputy Andrews and I am sorry for interrupting him.

Mr. Andrews: Information on David Andrews Zoom on David Andrews As I said, I intend breaking with the debating traditions of the House by being brief. In that context I should like to pay tribute to Deputy Mrs. Desmond. I thought her speech succinct and pithy and to the point. I do not agree with what she said, but I liked the way she said it.

The Labour Party amendment comes as no great surprise to me, with all its vagueness and generalisations. The Government would, of course, prefer to get better terms than they have got in this Agreement for agriculture, and still better terms for industry. Remember, however, that there are two sides to every bargain and, in all the circumstances, the Agreement has done very well for our country. Incidentally, it is worth nothing that Labour in our country show very little solidarity with their British counterparts in their assessment of the present Pact.

[1568] Before this Agreement was finally concluded, many people, including Republicans and Republicans of the Old Guard, feared we were selling out on our national identity and that our independence would be in some way compromised. They feared this House would become something resembling a provincial parliament rather than a sovereign assembly. It is quite clear now from the Agreement that these fears are totally unfounded. This is a reasonable business deal. No business deal is of any value unless both sides to the bargain get something out of it. An Opposition Deputy mentioned that any international agreement involves a lessening of the liberty of the countries concerned. May I suggest to the Deputy that he is confusing liberty with licence. Parties to an agreement have the liberty to negotiate an agreement that gives them the licence to deal with one another in a particular manner. That, I think, is the point the Deputy missed.

There are tremendous tasks facing our country at this juncture and, in my view, the Labour Party could make a useful and substantial contribution in helping to bring these tasks to a successful conclusion if, instead of tabling this type of amendment, they applied their minds, in the light of their professed philosophy, as inheritors of the traditions and teaching of the great James Connolly, to a critical examination of the way in which we on this side of the House are carrying out our tasks. We, in Fianna Fáil, are the inheritors of the republican tradition. What does the Labour Party inherit? Right now it is becoming more and more difficult for anyone to answer that question.

Another very important aspect of this Agreement, and in relation to future agreements, is the present condition of our industrial relations. Why can the Labour Party, whose clear function it is, not devote themselves to some solution of the trade union problem in this country? Nobody believes that these unions act through malice; they are the inheritors of out-of-date practices, out of date laws. I believe deeply in unions, but they must be responsible unions. Could the [1569] Labour Party not devise some parliamentary measure to remedy the present situation? Could they not propose to the Government that, if necessary, the Constitution should be amended to enable just one union in State or semi-State bodies instead of the multiplicity of unions that we have at present which, by their very multiplicity, cause nothing but confusion? I have said they are not motivated by malice—they are the victims of circumstances.

Now, if the Labour Party do not want to go as far as I have suggested, could they not propose legislation to remedy what is becoming an intolerable and disastrous situation? Do they, or anybody else, think we can avail of whatever advantages there are in this Agreement by fostering the miserable reputation we have among the other nations of the world as a nation of strikers? How can we hope to attract foreign capital to our country while the present situation continues?

I should like the House to accept the latter part of my contribution in a spirit of constructive rather than destructive criticism. I am making a plea for all-round co-operation. Such co-operation will make it much easier for the Government to take whatever rational actions are necessary. The assurance of such co-operation from all sectors, but more particularly from the Labour Party, will ensure the success of this Agreement. Indeed, it would be an excellent thing if special actions could be taken as a result of initiative on the part of the Labour Party.

One finds it difficult to analyse the Fine Gael attitude. They have condemned the Agreement out of hand. Simultaneously they have indicated that they are willing to vote for it. It is difficult to rationalise their point of view. This much, at least, can be said for the Labour Party; they have come out clearly against the Agreement.

As one of the so-called younger generation in political life, this Agreement represents to me a great and substantial challenge to our country leading to ultimate entry into Europe. Are we to be excluded in the future from any share in a market of 180 million [1570] people? These are the figures in the last census in 1963 for the EEC group. Are we to be excluded from the EFTA market of many more millions? Is Ireland to remain in isolation outside Europe? The answer to these questions is clear.

The Agreement has also another very important function in that it allows us time in which to test the efficiency of both our industrial and our agricultural sectors. Indeed, it allows us time to make these sectors more efficient. In the last analysis it will test our capacity for hard work within the present limited market, before we finally enter into the greater entity.

There is one matter to which I should like to draw the attention of the Minister for Industry and Commerce in relation to Article XV of the Agreement. This Article deals with restrictive trade practices. In this respect I am rather concerned that with the gradual reduction in Irish tariffs, larger British manufacturing plants with their bigger production capacity and with the attendant lower cost unit of manufacture may overshadow and curtail their Irish subsidiaries. In the constituency which I represent there are a number of firms whose backs may go to the wall. I do not suggest that they will become defunct but I should like the Minister and his civil servants to keep this matter under constant review.

It has already been stated that the officials who drafted this Agreement did a first-class job. I agree with this point of view. Finally, in keeping with what I have said in relation to brevity, I should like to say how pleased I am at the prolongation of this debate. There was a lot of public criticism on the Prices Bill that back bench Deputies did not speak. This extended debate, however, has performed a valuable function in that it has enabled us to express our point of view.

Mr. Pattison: Information on Séamus Pattison Zoom on Séamus Pattison The two previous Fianna Fáil speakers, Deputy Burke and Deputy Andrews, have dealt with the present labour unrest in the country, and Deputy Burke, in particular, showered praise and blessings [1571] on the Taoiseach for the great part played by him in the promotion of labour relations. I should like to remind the House that the Taoiseach has done more in his time to jeopardise labour relations and to promote labour unrest than any other person by virtue of the policies which he and his Government have pursued. I need not go as far back as the wages standstill orders, the White Papers and the various other proposals by the Fianna Fáil Government to control wages. We in the Labour Party, three or four years ago, forecast this position, this unrest which would come about as a result of policies pursued by the Government at that time. In regard to the introduction of the turnover tax, for instance, every speaker from these benches said at that time that that would lead to large-scale labour unrest as a result of a steep rise in the cost of living. We told them then and we repeat here today that those policies are the chief cause of the present unsatisfactory position.

That labour unrest exists also because people cannot be guaranteed constant and continued employment. If they are in employment and they cannot be guaranteed that employment for any period of time, they are inclined to get as much out of it as they can while they are working in order to save up for days of unemployment or in order to save up for the emigrant ship to take their wives and families across to England. The workers are also in a state of unrest if they cannot look forward to an adequate pension or adequate benefits while out ill. Those are the primary causes of labour unrest. If they cannot provide adequately for the future, and indeed for the present, there will be, as there is at the moment, labour unrest.

It is the duty of the Government to put these things right. This country enjoyed comparative quietness on the labour front up to a few years ago when the spark was set off. The turnover tax was the spark which led to this state of affairs over the last number of years. It is now incumbent on the [1572] Government to initiate policies which will put these things right.

We have now almost completed the third day of this debate. Like Deputy Andrews, I am pleased that the debate should go on this length of time. The Agreement before the House requires detailed and close examination and criticism, especially when we consider the reasons for its introduction. It is a panic measure taken by the Government to get out of the difficulties in which they found themselves earlier in the year. Therefore, it requires very careful and critical examination. It has been quite definitely established by speakers from every side of the House that the Agreement will lead to unemployment. There are some safeguards against unemployment in the Agreement but we on this side of the House feel they are too few and totally inadequate. I believe also that were it not for the action of the Labour Party in speaking against this Agreement before it was signed, even these few small safeguards would not have been embodied in the Agreement.

It would help us in the consideration of this Agreement if we had fuller details of the manpower policy. We have just a broad outline of what is proposed and in this debate that leaves us at a disadvantage because we need more detailed knowledge of the proposals.

The unemployment which will inevitably be caused by the Agreement will be of a gradual nature. That kind of unemployment is more deadly than sudden large-scale unemployment. There could be a gradual process in which three men are let off this month, three more in six months, half a dozen six months afterwards—a kind of creeping unemployment which is more dangerous because when it is happening, it is too small to take action about but when, at the end of a period, it is found that 200 or 300 men have lost their jobs, it is too late to do anything about it.

The proposals in regard to manpower have, like this Agreement, been made in a hurry by the Government. That is another reason why there will need to be very careful examination of the proposals when submitted. In [1573] my opinion, the Government were depending on getting into the EEC and having available to them the fund in that Community provided to deal with manpower troubles. Having found they could not get into the EEC for the time being and that therefore this fund would not be available to them, they had to take hurried action to create a manpower authority to deal with the problem of unemployment and consequent emigration.

There has been gradual rationalisation of industry within the country but in the future we can expect British industry to figure in the rationalisation process. One example would be the flour milling industry. We had quite a number of small mills closing down and production being concentrated in the bigger mills. Rationalisation of that industry within the Agreement might mean that smaller units would close down or be gradually taken over in take-over bids even to the extent of their ultimate absorption in bigger units of the industry in Britain. That is the kind of rationalisation I fear. Is there anything in the Agreement at all to stop the drift of agricultural labourers from the land? If we could only prevent this drain, we would be accomplishing something but I am afraid the Agreement will serve only to accelerate the flight of agricultural labourers.

We oppose this Agreement because we feel the Government have not created the environment necessary for free trade. All we have here is an environment for protected trade. The environment necessary for free trade does not mean only modern factories and working conditions. It means a lot more than that. I give the Government credit for the various inducements they have offered to industrialists to gear themselves for freer trade by way of technical assistance, adaptation grants, tax remissions and other benefits, including the Design Centre at Kilkenny. Unfortunately, I fear our industrialists have yet to be educated to avail themselves of all the inducements the Government have offered. I have spoken to quite a number of major industrialists throughout the country about the Kilkenny Design [1574] Centre and the cynical opinion of many of them on this project surprised me. I urge the Government to point out to such people the importance of such a centre. It can be of incalculable benefit to our own distinctive design of our own goods. Our workers can produce the goods and this centre can produce the designs but we must get our industrialists to avail of the service.

While these measures ought to go a long way in creating an environment for free trade, they do not go far enough. There is a particular sphere which has not been considered by the Government. I pose the question of how a worker is supposed to give of his best if he is compelled, with his wife and family, to live in one or two rooms in an attic, to prepare meals there, to eat there, sleep there and live there. How can he give of his best in his working hours? How can he produce as much as a worker in England, who has probably a modern home and adequate housing facilities? How can a worker, who has to live in a condemned house, give as much in his work as a worker who has the fortune to have adequate housing facilities? The Government must tackle this problem of housing immediately. It will more especially be felt if the manpower policy is all we hope it will be. Housing will be a big factor in the administration of that policy.

The same can be said in regard to the health services. How can a worker who is not adequately provided for in regard to health services give of his best as against a worker in Great Britain who has adequate facilities and a good health scheme? Only last week a worker came to me and complained that he had been out sick. He was a key man in the factory in which he worked. He got flu and he was out from work for a number of weeks. He had a medical card and he went to his doctor. The doctor gave him a bottle of something which the man told me was coloured water—I do not know very much about that. He was out for nearly two weeks taking this bottle and he had to go to a private doctor then. The private doctor prescribed a very expensive drug for him which he had [1575] to buy. That expensive drug cured him overnight and he was back at work the next day.

I do not blame the dispensary doctors. Those people are forced to keep prices down and not to have expensive medicines in their clinics. They must get the cheapest kind of medicine and anything will do. The whole thing is to keep down the cost of the health services. There are to be no expensive drugs and no expensive medicines. If we want to prepare our workers for freer trade and to compete on a level with workers in Great Britain, we must provide good and adequate health services and give them all the treatment, specialist if necessary, they require, not alone for themselves but for their families.

The same can be said of the field of education. The argument for improvement in education is quite obvious here. Our producers in this country, the workers who will produce the wealth of this country, must have adequate facilities to improve themselves. Here again is where the manpower authority will be tripped up if this facility is not provided. There are long waiting lists in schools of technology and even the rural vocational schools find it hard to accommodate all the pupils who are coming to them. The Government, under those three headings of housing, health and education, must provide immediate and effective remedies. I feel that if we had this environment in this country, we could confidently face the hazards of this Agreement but because we have not the environment, and the Government have neglected to create that environment, we are opposing this Agreement.

Mr. Moore: Information on Seán Moore Zoom on Seán Moore I shall be very brief on this matter but as a new Deputy, I should like to say that I was astounded by the attitude of the Fine Gael Party to this Agreement. They have come in here and have spoken during the last two days on this Agreement. They have all described the Agreement as something evil but even so they are quite prepared to compromise with evil by voting for [1576] it. The Labour Party were perhaps much more honest about it. They made it clear they had not enough time to study the agreement. I would say their speeches have borne that out. At the same time, they were a bit more direct about this. They were against this and they were going to vote against it. It almost seems there is some filibustering on the part of Fine Gael to drag out this debate as if they changed their minds after having seen the action of the Labour Party.

There is just one other matter I want to refer to on the Fine Gael attitude, that is, some magic figures which have been mentioned. One man shouts 1922 and another says 1948 and then Deputy L'Estrange says “hear, hear”. That is the total contribution. We know and every serious-minded member knows that the winds of change have been blowing almost at gale force, and unless we want to go on always regarding ourselves as the poor relation of Europe, we have got to stand on our own two feet and put things in order as the Taoiseach has planned. We have been hearing the Jeremiahs wailing that many workers will lose their jobs but here is a man, the architect of our industrial revival, who planned since 1932 that we should have a strong industrial arm to the economy, despite the opposition, very often, of Fine Gael. I made a resolution not to go back any further——

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte It would be advisable not to.

Mr. Moore: Information on Seán Moore Zoom on Seán Moore ——but I hold the Fine Gael record up for consideration. Deputy Harte says it is advisable not to. I am tempted now to refer to one thing, that is that when Seán Lemass tried to establish a good air service for the State, the Fine Gael Government knocked it down. I knew a man who worked in the airlines. He did not want much from life but just to live here and rear his family. As a result of their action, he was forced to emigrate and his bones now lie in Pakistan. This was done through the conniving of the Labour Party. I will not go back any further because it is tomorrow we have got to pin our [1577] hopes on and to think of. We have got to think of the youth of this country. We do not regard our youth as being in any way inferior to British youth, Swedish youth or Danish youth because we believe, under the leadership of Seán Lemass, we can build this country up so that we can go in and become as great as Denmark, a much smaller country than we are, or Holland. We have to try to get Fine Gael and the Labour Party to throw off this terrible inferiority complex that we Irish are doomed and that our workers are doomed because we cannot stand up to competition.

The last Labour Party Deputy who spoke said the English workers had the advantage because they were so much better housed. Does he realise what he was saying? Does he realise the gigantic problem of housing they have in England? He said the man in England was better able to work because he was better housed. Their housing situation is no better than ours. It is probably very much worse.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte They have an increasing population but we have a decreasing one.

Mr. Moore: Information on Seán Moore Zoom on Seán Moore We also have an increasing population. The Deputy does not need to take my word on this. He can get the official statistics. It has been said that the Taoiseach threw this suddenly on us, that it was kept secret and all that kind of thing. If they take the trouble to read any of the speeches made before this Agreement, they will find the Taoiseach warned us we could not go on for ever sheltering behind tariff walls and that we had got to face the cold winds of reality, go out there and build our country the same as anyone else. He offered at one time to pay the cost—the offer is still open— to any firm who wanted to have an investigation of its costings. The Government would pay part of this expense. Adaptation grants are available. The Institute for Industrial Research is there for firms who want to have their goods tested. These are the things the Taoiseach and the Fianna Fáil Government have brought into being. They have given back faith to the people.

[1578] I believe in this Agreement. It does not give everything, but no Agreement could give everything. This Agreement paves the way for us to go into Europe. Everyone knows we are going into Europe. About 200 years ago, John Donne said “No man is an island,” and a political entity cannot remain as an island. Even the United States dropped their isolationist policy long ago because they knew the world had shrunk and that we have to live together. We must build up our economy to keep our people at home, and stupid suggestions that the Fianna Fáil Government have signed an Agreement which means mass emigration are absolutely ridiculous when regard is had to the record of the Government.

When this Agreement comes into operation, there will be difficulties, but it is the task of the Government to see that no worker is displaced because of it. We in Fianna Fáil believe that the State has a duty to make sure that no man will suffer. The whole resources of the State must be availed of to ensure that not by any action of the Fianna Fáil Government will one man be forced to emigrate. The Agreement also applies to education because, if we are to meet the challenge of Europe, we must ensure that our artisans are as well trained, at least, as their counterparts. I hope that in the next Budget there will be a lot more money for vocational education.

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

Mr. Moore: Information on Seán Moore Zoom on Seán Moore The suggestion which has been made that this will lead to mass closure of existing industries is absolute piffle. The Taoiseach has said that no existing industry, no matter how small or inefficient it may now seem to be, will be written off before in each case the possibility of its reorganisation has been examined. The fears of many workers are being played on by Opposition speakers and by outside pressure groups who have been holding meetings, circulating pamphlets, and coming to the House to interview us and point out the terrible thing [1579] that will happen because of this Agreement. I met one pressure group last night and I asked them had they read the Agreement. They admitted that they had not read it. It is not a very easy Agreement to digest at one go but if these people were sincere, they would at least take the trouble to read it.

Most speakers have mentioned the great need there is for an improvement in industrial relations. I am at one with Deputy Cosgrave in this regard, and with Deputy Andrews and other speakers who mentioned it, because we can no longer afford the luxury of having the worst industrial relations in the world. Labour speakers blamed this on the Government, but it is a fact that in recent times there have been several big strikes, not against the Government, whatever Government were in office, but against the trade union authority. One of our biggest transport strikes had nothing to do with the Government. It was against the trade union movement and it resulted in the formation of a breakaway union. It was a row amongst the unions. I am not gloating over this fact, but if we are to have proper industrial relations, we must examine the cause. I am glad to see that even in the past few days, black as they looked, the trade union movement have realised that there must be an improvement in our industrial relations.

Mr. Kyne: Information on Thomas Anthony Kyne Zoom on Thomas Anthony Kyne Tell us about it. What would you do? What is your answer?

Mr. Moore: Information on Seán Moore Zoom on Seán Moore I am trying to give the answer.

Mr. Kyne: Information on Thomas Anthony Kyne Zoom on Thomas Anthony Kyne I am waiting for it.

Mr. Andrews: Information on David Andrews Zoom on David Andrews Legislate, is the answer.

Mr. Kyne: Information on Thomas Anthony Kyne Zoom on Thomas Anthony Kyne Is it?

Mr. Moore: Information on Seán Moore Zoom on Seán Moore I will quote Deputy Cosgrave who said we should sink our sectional interests and think of the common good.

Mr. Kyne: Information on Thomas Anthony Kyne Zoom on Thomas Anthony Kyne When Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil join together, we will expand.

[1580]Mr. Moore: Information on Seán Moore Zoom on Seán Moore You join with them.

Mr. Kyne: Information on Thomas Anthony Kyne Zoom on Thomas Anthony Kyne You are quoting Deputy Cosgrave. Who else are you quoting?

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Harold Wilson.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Brother Harold Wilson.

Mr. Kyne: Information on Thomas Anthony Kyne Zoom on Thomas Anthony Kyne Comrade Harold Wilson.

Mr. Moore: Information on Seán Moore Zoom on Seán Moore Education will play a bigger part in our developing economy, and as I said before, I hope that in the next Budget we will see——

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange The turnover tax increased.

Mr. Moore: Information on Seán Moore Zoom on Seán Moore ——ample accommodation made for big expenditure on vocational education and the public library service. Unless we get the know-how for our young apprentices and tradesmen, we cannot face the future and compete with European nations. Our craftsmen must be at least as good as their counterparts in the other nations. About two years ago, there was an international conference of trade apprentices and the Irish boys did very well indeed in the more traditional lines, such as bricklaying and carpentry, but we noticed that the Japanese and Germans were better equipped than our boys in the more mechanical lines.

Deputy Cosgrave mentioned the great need for industrial development to be given a very high priority in town planning legislation. In parts of the country it is very frustrating because when industrialists want to establish a factory, they find objection at local level and the factory is held up. Very often they go elsewhere. This may sound as if it is a small point but it is terribly important. When this Agreement comes into operation, we will have an all-out drive to put this country on a level with its European counterparts, and I believe that under the leadership of the Taoiseach, we will accomplish this.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte I listened with great interest to Deputy Moore. I do not like to take up something a Deputy said and throw it back in his face when he has not an opportunity of [1581] denying it. Deputy Moore apparently is of the opinion that most Opposition Deputies who have spoken have not taken the time to read this Agreement and the views of outside authorities as well. If he were on this side of the House listening to some of the speeches, not alone of the backbenchers of the Fianna Fáil Party but even of Ministers, he would be more convinced that they did not take time to read it. Even the Minister for Finance was asked questions this morning about certain detailed matters affecting the Agreement and he could not answer them. I do not wish to reflect on the integrity of the Minister for Finance and I feel it is only right that I should say that the most constructive and detailed speech made from the Government benches was made by the Minister for Finance and the only Minister who dealt with the Agreement and with the Agreement only was the Minister for Finance. Even the Taoiseach went rambling from EFTA to EEC and he never at any stage discussed in detail the Agreement which this House has been discussing for the past three days.

Mr. Moore: Information on Seán Moore Zoom on Seán Moore That is not right.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Read his speech.

Mr. Moore: Information on Seán Moore Zoom on Seán Moore I listened to him.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte I was listening to him as well and I was paying attention to the expressions on the face of Fianna Fáil Deputies when he was speaking, and if the gloom on their faces was any reflection of their thoughts——

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley Zoom on Florence Crowley The Deputy is being a psychologist now.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte You would not need to be a psychologist. I do not want to be uncharitable to Deputy Crowley and I hope he has an idea of what I am referring to, but if he pursues this line of attack, I will not refrain from answering him. I will be charitable at this stage.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan The Deputy, on the motion.

Mr. Kyne: Information on Thomas Anthony Kyne Zoom on Thomas Anthony Kyne Exactly, and time it was said.

[1582]Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Last night I had a discussion with a doctor friend who told me that he knew the Taoiseach exceptionally well. I do not know what the gentleman's politics are, but, having discussed this Agreement into the early hours of this morning, I was left with the opinion that if we could know the innermost thoughts of the Taoiseach, he would freely admit that he was misled by another person who is in a higher position in this country today. What does this Agreement mean? What is in this Agreement for our people? Is it the free trade that has been commonly referred to as such by Fianna Fáil speakers? Is it really free trade? Deputy Andrews nods his head in assent. Does Deputy Andrews agree that the British industries have complete access to Irish markets?

Mr. Andrews: Information on David Andrews Zoom on David Andrews The Deputy is speaking and I have no intention of subjecting myself to a cross-examination by him. I do not wish to interrupt him.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Silence is golden.

Mr. Andrews: Information on David Andrews Zoom on David Andrews That is what I am doing, I am remaining silent.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte I will answer the questions for the Deputy. In a few months' time British industry will have three million more customers. Irish agriculture has not got the same advantage on the British market and agriculture, whether the Fianna Fáil Party like it or not, is the first and the only industry this country has got or will ever have. We hear glorious speeches such as that made by Deputy Moore about getting our feet on the ground and making our nation's economic standards equal to or better than those of other nations in Western Europe but Deputy Moore needs to be more realistic. We are a poor nation and will always be a poor nation. The only way in which we might improve our position is to get rid of a Fianna Fáil Government which has been on the wrong path for the past thirty-five years.

Let us examine the position that existed in this country before 1932. I was in conversation with a Northern [1583] Unionist about a month ago—in actual fact, on the day the Taoiseach signed this Agreement in London—and he asked me what I thought about this new Agreement which was then being referred to as free trade. My reply was that he must know as much about it as I did because he got his information from the same source as I did, and he probably read more newspapers than I did. This was a secret Agreement up to last weekend. The only people who talked about it in any great detail were Fianna Fáil Ministers who were trying to put a facade on it which has been described as the nearest thing to a word which is unParliamentary.

Let us return to 1932 and examine the Trade Agreement in the light of the situation which existed prior to the Economic War. When the late W.T. Cosgrave set up Government, we had full access to the British market and when the spokesmen of that Government and their supporters talked commonsense, we know the co-operation they got from the predecessors of the people sitting opposite to me today. We know what answer they got. It was not co-operation, Deputy Moore.

Mr. Moore: Information on Seán Moore Zoom on Seán Moore This is 1966, not 1932.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Yes, it is, but do not forget the past. Your heritage is in it——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan May I point out to the Deputy that there is no reason for singling out any particular Deputy and addressing remarks to him? The Deputy should address the Chair.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte I submit to your ruling, Sir, but I would like to point out that it has not been the practice in this debate.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan It has never been the practice to address any particular Deputy in the House, but the Chair.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Well, I will continue. [1584] When Éamon de Valera took over the reins of office, the first major issue which he tackled—and I will admit freely that possibly he was right in his thoughts but very immature in his timing—was to refuse to pay the land annuities to Great Britain. At the time Deputy Lemass said they would not pay the land annuities because by law and by right they were entitled to withhold them. I will give the reference to that if anyone wants it. The British Government retaliated and put an embargo on Irish livestock which represented 75 per cent of our agricultural exports to Great Britain. In other words, 75 per cent of 80 per cent of our total exports. What happened then? Deputy Lemass said: “Fair enough; you put an embargo on livestock and we will put a tariff barrier on your imports”. The saviour who used be but is seemingly forgotten about today by the backbenchers—and the wonder is that someone has come along to take his place—announced that from then on foreign industries in this country would have to have 51 per cent Irish capital.

We were then in isolation and for the first time in this State, from 1922, we had established beyond doubt an economic border between the Six Counties and the Twenty-six Counties and I defy contradiction on that. The Party who took over the reins of office on the promise that they would unite the country had then established beyond all doubt that between the Six Counties and the Twenty-six Counties we had an economic border for the first time. Deputies can deny that if they wish and any Deputy who has not yet spoken can take a note of it and reply to it. I was born within a half a mile of that Border and that Border I am told, because the position existed before my birth, was, between 1922 and 1932, nothing but a political inconvenience to both Nationalists and Unionists. But your Chief, the man who blew the trumpet, beat the drum and waved the flag whenever this Party were realistically evaluating the British market, appealed to the loyalties of the Irish people who were still suffering from the hangover of a battle with Great Britain. Throughout our history [1585] one phrase recurs: “a stepping stone.” When I use that phrase, there is not a Deputy but does not know to whom I am referring. No leader of this Assembly ever took greater advantage of that stepping stone than its present leader, Deputy Seán Lemass.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan The Deputy is still addressing the opposite side of the House. It is quite irregular.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte It may not be in order, Sir, but it seems to be the habit of the House.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan The Deputy is incorrect again. The Deputy is challenging my ruling. It is not the habit of the House.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte I submit to your ruling, Sir. This Agreement vindicates the wisdom and foresight of the leaders of the Provisional Government of this country. Last Saturday night the Fine Gael Party honoured four great statesmen who played their part in the building of this nation. They honoured Dick Mulcahy because he kept law and order in this country when it had to be kept. They honoured Paddy McGilligan because he built industry and established the foundation for industry here. The previous speaker said there was one man who had put industry here into swaddling clothes. We had industry here before Fianna Fáil was ever heard of. The sooner we get rid of them, the sooner we will have good, healthy industry here again. We honoured Michael Hayes for making parliament parliament in the days when the Deputies now sitting in the Government benches were, in the words of Deputy Ryan, “afraid to come into this House in case they might dirty the seats of their pants”. When parliament ceases to be parliament, democracy ceases to be democracy.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling Zoom on Joseph Dowling On what section of the Agreement is that?

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte I relate this to the Agreement in the same manner as the Taoiseach and Deputy Moore related their remarks to the Agreement. We also honoured General Seán MacEoin [1586] for his part in Irish history. But we could accord them no honour greater than that accorded them by the signing of this Agreement. The Taoiseach says this must be a good Agreement because it takes us out of isolation and prepares us for entry into EEC or EFTA or a combination of both. He tells us that, if we did not do this now, we would be too late. The Labour Party rightly point out that we are being rushed and that Irish industry has not sufficient time to adjust itself to the outside world.

If this Agreement is good in 1966, surely it was much better in 1922, 1932, and 1938? If the men who tried to adopt that viewpoint democratically had been allowed to build up this nation, what kind of nation would we have here to-day? Would we have to listen to the previous speaker appealing to Irish industry to get its feet on the ground and build up this nation into one economically as good as any other in Western Europe? In 1922 the plenipotentiaries returned and said: “We wanted more, but this is all we could get.” Were they not in the same position then as the Government are in today when the Taoiseach comes back and says: “We might have got more, but they would not give us more? This is the best we could get.”

Fianna Fáil ask us why we do not vote against the Agreement. Is it not much easier for us to vote with the Agreement than for the Minister for External Affairs to vote with it—the man who is on record as saying: “The British market is gone and gone forever, thank God”? I do not wish to be political, but I cannot help it. Some time ago a pal of mine told me he had read a pamphlet concerning Tammany Hall in America. It is noticeable that most of the hierarchy of the Tammany Hall Committee were Irish. The nearest comparison the writer of the pamphlet could get to it was the Fianna Fáil Government in Ireland.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling Zoom on Joseph Dowling What is the name of the pamphlet?

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte I do not remember it offhand, but I will get it for any Deputy who wants it.

[1587]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan I suggest the pamphlets before the House should become the subject of the debate.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte I have read this Agreement. I do not propose to discuss industry, because industry does not affect a Donegal Deputy. However, I propose to refer to agriculture. The Minister for Agriculture told us he now has an agreement which allows 638,000 store cattle into Great Britain. In reply to a question, in volume 53, column 1021 of the Official Report Deputy Dr. Ryan stated that the number of cattle exported to Great Britain prior to 1932 was 750,000. That is 112,000 more than the Minister for Agriculture has got in this Agreement. After 35 years we are told we have a guaranteed market for 638,000 cattle, despite the fact that in the year 1931 we exported 750,000 cattle. Is it not ludicrous to think we are now exporting fewer cattle to Great Britain than 35 years ago?

Is it not ridiculous that before the main Opposition Parties had an opportunity to examine this Agreement, when all sorts of issues were being put forward by civil servants who were forced into that position by Government policy, excuses were given to members of this Party and, I expect, to members of the Labour Party, when they were asked for a copy of this Agreement, that, because of printing difficulties, they could not get it out. The British newspapers had it a fortnight before members of this Assembly had it. Is that democracy? Did that give the Irish people or the main Opposition Parties an opportunity to examine and discuss it among themselves or in their own groups? I venture to say that, in all probability, certain prominent members of the Fianna Fáil Party who are not Ministers or Parliamentary Secretaries got advance briefings of it. But this I am certain of, that the Taoiseach, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Agriculture painted a very rosy picture of what it is all about.

The first time, as far as I recall, the Minister for Agriculture spoke on the Agreement he said that store cattle [1588] would increase by as much as £7 per head. I know as much about store cattle as the Minister for Agriculture. If the price of store cattle in the months of November and December would increase by only £5 or £6 per head in the month of April then there would be very few people buying store cattle in the month of November. This is a seasonal drop in the price of livestock and the Minister for Agriculture, Deputy Haughey, has codded nobody when he tells us that the price of store cattle will increase, due to this Agreement, by £5 or £6. Such tactics reflect his anxiety to project a better image of the Agreement which they thought they got and which now appears, on second thoughts and on second reading, to be a shambles of the 1938 and 1948 Agreements put together.

If any Deputy wishes to look back over the records of this House and to examine the trading figures with Great Britain prior to the Economic War he will note that they were more advantageous to this country then than they are at the present moment—and then we see the naked truth; then we see what this Agreement will do for Irish industry and Irish agriculture. I venture to say that even members of the back bench of Fianna Fáil are at this stage wondering what happened to the glossy picture which the Minister for Agriculture, in particular, painted of the new Agreement when he first came back and told us that the agricultural community would benefit by £10 million per annum. Where will this £10 million come from? Has anybody ever told us how he arrived at a figure of £10 million? Nobody in the Fianna Fáil benches has told us, but we would dare to guess that he had the same calculation as the Taoiseach, Deputy Seán Lemass, had when he announced in Clery's Ballroom in 1957—100,000 New Jobs; Get Your Husband back to Work; Bring Your Sons and Daughters back from England—and, before the 1965 General Election, we heard— Prosperity is Here; Do Not Change Horses in Mid-Stream: Let Lemass Lead On. Lead on where? Lead into a situation where we now find ourselves [1589] overnight in a credit squeeze? Lead us into a situation where, if any small businessman in rural Ireland wishes to have increased accommodation through his local bank, the bank manager refuses to give it to him, not because he distrusts him but because he has not the capital to give to him—why? Because the Government tell the banks to lend no more money—why? Because the Government want the money themselves—for what? To pay for their own mistakes, the blunders and bribery of the 1963 by-elections in Cork and Kildare.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan The Deputy is travelling very far from the Agreement. Does the Deputy admit that he has travelled very far?

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte I do not wish to dispute the ruling of the Chair but I would respectfully point out that yesterday the Taoiseach's son took us back and gave us a lecture on sixteenth century history.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey He does not know anything about the twentieth century.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan Deputy Harte considers that a bad lead. Deputy Harte does not wish to follow a bad lead.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte It was you who said it, not I. However, I submit to the ruling of the Chair. In any case, as a Party, we have examined this Agreement and we can truthfully, and individually and collectively say that it is not a good Agreement. We can also state, as a Party, that our heritage, our tradition, is free trade with Great Britain to a very large degree. Therefore, on that basis, we do not propose to vote against the Government's Agreement other than to vote for our own amendment.

Certain Deputies may try to distort or confuse the situation which the Fine Gael Party are in at the moment. Let me remind Deputies on the Government Benches that no Party have been more consistent in thought or in deed in this Parliament since the foundation of the State, politically speaking and economically speaking, than the Fine [1590] Gael Party. We may have told our political lies; we may have coasted out of individual difficulties but no Deputy opposite can look up the record of any major debate which took place in this Parliament and point out to this House that any prominent member of the Fine Gael Party ever advocated any other way of trading with Great Britain, any other basis for a sound economy for this country, any other political relationship with Great Britain, than the right to be free, the right to control our own destinies while, at the same time, being friendly with what was then described as “our old enemy.”

In the past five or six years, beginning with a promise of 100,000 new jobs, we have had different agreements, Bills, one thing and another proposed by this Fianna Fáil Government Party. We had the Five Year Plan which was changed to the First Programme for Economic Expansion and then dropped like a hot cake prior to the 1961 general election and re-introduced, painted with all the cosmetics that go with political public relations, and called the Second Programme for Economic Expansion. We have had a new system of taxation, the turnover tax, which was introduced in this House and described by the Ministers proposing its adoption as being a system of taxation which the people would not have to pay, that industry would carry it, that business premises would not pass it on to the consumer, and we know the result. We know the difficulties the Government then found themselves in. We know they found themselves in a position that they must contest two by-elections. We knew, the people knew but, best of all, Fianna Fáil knew, that after they contested those two by-elections around or about the date the Labour Party moved the writ to fight the by-election in the city of Cork, their political destiny had reached the end, that they had had it.

The Taoiseach then announced, or jumped on the bandwagon, and announced the ninth round increase—“stand back lads, share the cake of prosperity, go off on a honeymoon.” Those were the expressions used by [1591] Fianna Fáil speakers only four years ago. Then the Ministers for Justice came into this House and gave an increase of £1,500 a year to the judiciary who were then in receipt of £4,500. I am not against the judiciary or anybody else getting an increase but I am against getting an increase the Government cannot afford.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan What has an increase to the judiciary to do with this debate?

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte I submit I am still in order. We now find that all the schemes put forward by the present Taoiseach who has lost the mythical figure, the long, dark shadow, and who beat the drums to get his supporters to back him, the man who said——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan The Deputy is travelling very far from this debate. If the Deputy intends to introduce any names into this House, I will see that he travels very carefully.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte The Taoiseach has made so many excuses for the loss which I have just tried to explain and found myself using unparliamentary language. To try to overcome these failings he has brought in more Acts to this House, telling us that prosperity is just around the corner. They have all failed and this new Agreement is nothing more than a blind across all his failures to try to keep the people talking of the economic difficulties in this country at the moment. It is not a free trade. It is a plain Agreement with Great Britain, an Agreement which is only a wind down over ten years to the situation which existed prior to the economic war.

We have been living in this country, or rather the Government have been making us believe we have been living like the Beverly Hill Billies. That comes to an end like every good thing that may last a long time but will not stay for ever.

The Fine Gael Party are married to the idea of free trade with Great Britain. At long last we rejoice in the fact that Fianna Fáil have, at long last, [1592] reached political maturity. We could rub in salt to the wounds and if we were in Government, we could expect nothing better than the Fianna Fáil Party to rub salt into our wounds, if we had wounds to rub salt into. But, whether it is an opportunity for a Deputy on this side of the House to speak on a certain line of thought, whether it is an opportunity for a member on this side of the House to speak on a different line of thought, the fact still remains that Fianna Fáil have changed so much in the last 45 years that the only two cogs left in the full wheel of circle for Seán Lemass to employ—and I say this lest, perhaps, future generations of this country may be misled as has the generation to which I belong—are, No. 1, he should now appoint a committee to examine who was right and who was wrong, politically and economically, since we gained our independence. Having done that his final one is to abolish the Fianna Fáil Party because they are nothing now like what they were when they were first created. That would be an expression used by that mythical gentleman I referred to earlier.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan I fail to see what all this has to do with the motion before the House. I shall have to ask the Deputy to resume his seat.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte The Taoiseach, when speaking yesterday, said: “We see this as a definite advancement towards economic and industrial expansion and it must be good for the country”. Surely it would not be impertinent for me to say if it was good for the country in 1966, it must have been a lot better for the country in 1922.

The Minister for Finance said this morning “Free Trade is imminent and we could be late if we delayed”. How long have we delayed? Is it not true that we have delayed for the last 45 years but Fianna Fáil are only now seeing the forest for the trees.

In Volume 53 of the Dáil Debates, at column 2108, a Deputy, who is still a member of the Fianna Fáil Party and whom I shall not name but for any person who wishes to find his name, I have given the reference, said:

[1593] The idiot of a farmer who stuck to it——

(meaning the production of beef for the British market)

——is in a bad way now.

He continued, at column 2109 and said:

The sooner the farmers in this country realise those matters the better.

Those are the words of a Fianna Fáil back bench member who purports to have an interest in the agricultural field. While they are stupid remarks they typify the thinking then, the present view points to the Fianna Fáil Party who believe in nothing else but Fianna Fáil and who have also put Fianna Fáil in front of national interests——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan There is not a word about Fianna Fáil in the motion.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Well, the Government. I shall conclude by quoting Mr. Lemass.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan The Taoiseach is the proper reference.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte The Taoiseach, Deputy Lemass, said in volume 53 at column 2536:

What good are British pound notes to us? We will teach our people the lesson that there is no security based on an export market.

Surely that is now ironical.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey This Agreement under discussion at the moment is a Government Agreement which was negotiated by the Government and signed by them before it was presented to the House. One wonders what purpose this debate serves. We are now committed to the terms of this Agreement, good or ill, but we in the Labour Party feel it is essential for the workings of democracy that the people should fully realise what the implications of the Agreement are and will be for them. The Government, having negotiated this Agreement, now ask all Deputies to endorse their action. I can assure the Government that it is not the intention [1594] of the Labour Party to give them the green light to close down industries on which millions have been spent in order to establish them as a matter of Fianna Fáil policy. It has not been denied, but rather admitted openly by the Taoiseach, that this Agreement will result in a considerable loss of employment. We realise that, nobody knows, or seems to know, how many industries will be affected or how many workers will be put on the emigrant ship or on the employment exchange as a result of it. We have no accurate or even approximate estimate of the number of livelihoods this will affect.

In a television interview, the Taoiseach said he could not say how many industries or how many workers would be affected by the Agreement. On the other hand, the Minister for Industry and Commerce and his Parliamentary Secretary are not able to tell us, although this Agreement has been in the process of negotiation for a considerable time, when redundancy payments will be introduced or how far we have gone with the so-called manpower policy. That is to be expected from a Government that so blatantly misled the people in the past when they invited them back from England and elsewhere to take up the mythical 100,000 jobs. We have some slight indication —although I doubt the accuracy of it—in the White Paper on the Free Trade Agreement which, on page 49 paragraph 153, states:

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

That is approximately seven per cent. Turning over the page, in paragraph 158, one finds it stated that:

It is questionable, therefore, whether a free trade area relationship with Britain will involve consequences for Irish industry different from the earlier expectation of complete free trade by 1970 in an enlarged EEC.

[1595] We can at least anticipate that 10,000 will be affected and I think that is a very conservative estimate. When you add that to the shortage in the projected number of new jobs offered in the Second Programme for Economic Expansion, to the shortage of 87,000, not only have we not got the 100,000 new jobs but it is likely we shall not have the 100,000 old ones. That will be one of the offsprings of this Agreement which was signed, sealed and delivered before it was placed before this Assembly. Yet, the Government expect responsible Deputies to endorse their action.

We know from what I have said the grave hardships that this Agreement will impose on a number of people but I see nothing being done by the Government to offset these hardships. All we have is a vague— they specialise in being vague; there is no doubt about that—reference by the Taoiseach that for every industry that goes, four or five will spring up. Four or five what? And where, And when? And how?

Under the Agreement I believe the position is, that if a foreign industrialist comes here to establish an industry, the Government are prohibited by the terms of the Agreement from giving any financial assistance to that industrialist to establish a factory here, but there is nothing to debar the Six-County Government from giving financial assistance by way of grants-in-aid to such an industrialist. I should like some Government spokesman to deal with that matter. This is another offspring of the Agreement that the four gallant Fianna Fáil men brought back with a fanfare of trumpets— probably obtained from the Garda Band—to tell the workers that prosperity was now here and that we had no further ills.

As the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry and Commerce asked yesterday, what if some workers go to the wall? If some 10,000 go to the emigrant ship or the employment exchange, what did it matter? This is the kind of thing we are getting from Government spokesmen, [1596] people charged with responsibility for the welfare of the citizens. Yet Fianna Fáil and the Government expect that members of the Labour Party would endorse their action in this House.

We are told at this stage that there was no alternative to this Agreement, that this was the only possible thing to do and that this is where the prosperity and the welfare of the Irish people lie. It may be true that there was no alternative. As a result of the policy that had been pursued by the Fianna Fáil Government, that brought this country to the brink of bankruptcy, a situation now exists where a few short weeks ago the Taoiseach announced in this House that it was necessary to withdraw money that they had anticipated spending on education and health. Possibly this Agreement represents another hairshirt that the Irish people are asked to wear because of the policy pursued by Fianna Fáil Governments. Possibly that is the reason why they could see no alternative. They had got so far into the mess that they had to find something to distract the attention of the people away from the sorry plight in which they now find themselves. If it entailed the sacrifice of a few thousand workers here or there, what did it matter?

We in the Labour Party have many doubts as to the wisdom of entering into this Agreement. We are responsible for this debate being held so as to ensure that there is not another sleight of hand trick played on the people, that the people will get some chance to realise what is involved in the action of the Government trotting over to London and coming back with an Agreement, signed, sealed and delivered, which can have very serious consequences for the ordinary people of the country.

We hear a great deal of talk about industries that will boom and prosper. Some industries will undoubtedly prosper. The Minister for Agriculture and his colleagues maintain that agriculture will benefit by £10 million per annum under this Agreement. The Minister is rather vague as to where [1597] the £10 million will come from, just as Fianna Fáil and the Government are very often vague about things that are to come but which never arrive, such as the 100,000 new jobs.

I am not very familiar with agriculture. I am city born and bred. A great deal of play is being made about store cattle and about the dead meat trade. I wonder if there are not a few flaws in that part of the Agreement which is being heralded as one of the greatest achievements of the Agreement. What will be the effect on the dead meat trade when store cattle are being exported in unprecedented numbers on the hoof? What quantity will be available for those engaged in the meat trade for slaughtering and export as carcase meat?

There is another question in regard to the dead meat industry to which we should get an answer. What will happen the markets that have been built up in European countries other than Great Britain over the last number of years? I am in a position to know that approximately 60 per cent of the product of some of our largest dead meat factories goes to European countries other than Great Britain. These factories have spent a considerable amount of time and money in building up these markets. In very recent years they have begun to make an impression. What now? That goes. All the eggs are in Britannia's basket. This is the type of thing that the Government have the audacity to ask Deputies to endorse.

This Agreement is, as I have said, a Fianna Fáil Agreement. They made it. They negotiated it. They are now, prematurely, trying to take credit for the pseudo benefits that will flow from it. We want it to be made known and we want to impress on the people's minds that this is a Fianna Fáil Agreement and that they must accept, for once, the responsibility for what will flow from the Agreement. We are determined in the course of this debate to pin that responsibility very definitely on Fianna Fáil and on the Government. It is your Agreement. You made it. You must accept responsibility for it.

[1598]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan I had nothing to do with it. The Deputy said I had.

Mr. Barry: Information on Richard Barry Zoom on Richard Barry I thought the Deputy made it very clear that it was Fianna Fáil who made it.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey There is one comment that should be made. We in the Labour Party have made our attitude very clear by our amendment to the motion moved by the Taoiseach and by our contributions to the debate. There is nothing ambiguous about it. It is consistent with the policy of our Party. It is regrettable—I think this should be said—that the members of the Fine Gael Party who made so many excellent contributions to the debate and pointed out in no uncertain manner the flaws in the Agreement did not have the conviction to vote against it and let the Government accept, as they should accept, the full responsibility for making it.

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley Zoom on Florence Crowley If I were asked what was the most pertinent question posed by the Taoiseach to the Opposition Parties, I would unhesitatingly say that it was the question asking them what alternatives they could put forward, if they did not approve of this Agreement. This Trade Agreement was freely and independently negotiated with the British Government. It was skilfully and adroitly brought to a conclusion by the pragmatic ability of the Taoiseach to see things as they really are, instead of living in the clouds, and to assess accurately the existing economic situation.

For the past three days I have sat here listening in vain for alternative suggestions from the Opposition Parties, the alternative suggestions they propose in our present economic circumstances. Like my colleagues in Fianna Fáil, I came prepared to listen diligently and patiently to concrete proposals put forward by the Opposition. Perhaps I was a little naive in thinking the Opposition would have concrete proposals to make. I have listened for so long now that I have reached the stage of feeling tired of the spurious promises and the Utopian schemes for the furtherance of our country's economic growth. Again, [1599] perhaps naively, I was hoping for too much.

Deputy Corish said that this Agreement is one of the most vital things that have been done and one of the most vital decisions with which this country has been confronted since its emergence as a nation. Having heard that statement, I anticipated at least that the nucleus of some original and objective proposals would be given birth to during this debate. I hoped in vain. It is no part of my function to point out to Opposition Deputies the harsh economic and political set-up in Europe, a Europe which is rapidly and aggressively moving towards an integrated bloc, a bloc which has no notion of waiting for either Fine Gael or Labour to make up their minds as to what is possible and what is feasible in this integrated European bloc. In the meantime, of course, neither Fine Gael nor Labour can stem the rapidly with which Europe, and, indeed, other countries outside Europe, are charting their economic course towards this particular form of integration.

Let me put it in a slightly different way. In my opinion it is the duty of the Opposition, an Opposition which may have ambitions to lead the country some day, to put lucidly and authoritatively, and without any contradictions, a positive, practical and realisable alternative policy. What do we get? We get a suggestion of some form of association with EEC, which the Taoiseach, with complete justification, described as a foolish proposal. We search in vain for some concrete and objective proposals for the implementation of such an association. So far, I have heard no suggestion with regard to implementation put forward by any of the Opposition speakers. It is irresponsible and politically immature to carry on as the Opposition Parties have been carrying on, especially the Fine Gael Party. Their attitude shows the utter vacuity of policy existing in the Fine Gael Party at the moment.

Mr. O'Hara: Information on Thomas O'Hara Zoom on Thomas O'Hara Would the Deputy comment now on the 100,000 jobs?

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

[1600]Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley Zoom on Florence Crowley I wish they would for our edification indicate how they propose to implement this proposal of associate membership with the EEC. It was, I think, Deputy T.F. O'Higgins who referred to the case of Austria. He rightly stressed that Austria is at the moment strenuously seeking associate membership with the European Economic Community.

Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins Zoom on Seán Collins What about the time the Deputy was seeking active membership of Fine Gael?

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley Zoom on Florence Crowley We will leave Lord Carbury now on his own side.

Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins Zoom on Seán Collins That is not answering the question.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin The question does not arise.

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley Zoom on Florence Crowley Deputy T.F. O'Higgins, and the economists who presume to advise him, should be aware of the very rough passage Austria is getting at the hand of the EEC countries. Austria is receiving very, very scant regard from these EEC countries. Furthermore, I believe that, if Austria could now withdraw with some dignity, she would not hesitate to do so.

It is clear that Deputies on the Opposition benches have no clear concept of what associate membership of EEC entails and Deputy Cosgrave is to be indicted as leader of what should be a responsible political Party for showing no clear appreciation of what the realities of associate membership of EEC mean. Every responsible and informed Deputy is fully aware that full membership of EEC is not easily achievable. My own observations lead me to believe that, while the French Government continue to reject this supranational structure, which is inherent in and intimately part of the Rome Treaty, no negotiation based on quick integration is possible for quite some time. The view has been put forward that President de Gaulle's eclipse in the French Presidential election——

Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins Zoom on Seán Collins I thought he won it.

[1601]Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley Zoom on Florence Crowley ——would perhaps hasten the French commitment to what the architect of the Rome Treaty, Jang Monet, held to be its most vital clause. I do not wish to detain the House by discussing the merits or demerits of this opinion, but I hold it is a valid conclusion that any eventual agreement between the EEC partners will not be quickly achieved. It is, therefore, also valid to conclude that the Opposition Parties here show a surprising ignorance of the situation as it exists.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish Does the Deputy think we shall get in by 1970?

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley Zoom on Florence Crowley The Labour Party have their own economists to enlighten them.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish We have not 30,000 of them. Will the Deputy give us his opinion?

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley Zoom on Florence Crowley I shall give it to the Deputy if he listens.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish Does the Deputy think we will get in by 1970?

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley Zoom on Florence Crowley Will the Deputy listen?

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish I thought he was getting away from the subject. That is why I asked him.

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley Zoom on Florence Crowley One can understand the anxiety and dismay of many of the supporters of the Fine Gael Party who cannot find it in their hearts to believe that Fine Gael would come out so strongly and vehemently against this Agreement and then suddenly decide to vote with the Government on it.

Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins Zoom on Seán Collins We did not.

Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins The Deputy should not presume so far.

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley Zoom on Florence Crowley The Fine Gael Party are not opposing it. Obviously you have not got control over what your speakers are saying because the last two speakers I heard from the Fine Gael benches explicitly said they do not intend to oppose this Agreement.

[1602]Mr. Barry: Information on Richard Barry Zoom on Richard Barry That is a different thing from voting for it.

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley Zoom on Florence Crowley It is a negative vote for it. I would go so far as to say that the Fine Gael Party, despite all the pious supplications and what I would call hypocritical statements cannot cloak the fact that they are politically bankrupt and bereft of any concrete proposals as an alternative policy to this trade agreement.

Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins “Bankrupt” is a dangerous word to use nowadays.

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley Zoom on Florence Crowley I wish to quote from that very responsible business magazine, to which I see this month Deputy Sweetman is a contributor, Business and Finance, whose political correspondent says with much more wisdom than members of the Fine Gael Party:

This is a good agreement from the Irish point of view. It is an agreement of opportunity, and the people will become more and more aware of this as the ten years of movement from partial free trade evolve.

He goes on to say in what I consider to be a very balanced assessment of the trade agreement:

The British Farmers Union were in little doubt about it. The Agreement is a stinker as far as they are concerned.

That is the greatest compliment that can be paid, that the British farmer sees the advantages that the Irish negotiators have gained on behalf of the Irish farmers. Deputy Corish had previously informed us his Party would take no responsibility for the signing of this trade pact. I should like to ask Deputy Corish for what will his Party take responsibility?

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish Quite a lot of things, but not for that.

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley Zoom on Florence Crowley They have not given us one little germ or glimmer of an alternative to the proposal. Opposition without responsibility is the slogan of the Labour Party, and we can say that no Party exploits it more irresponsibly or more ruthlessly than they. All the [1603] well-worn clichés and shibboleths that are the Labour Party's stock-in-trade have been politically bounced here in this debate.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish The Deputy wore his out.

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley Zoom on Florence Crowley To sum up, both from the Fine Gael side and the Labour side, what alternative proposals have we got? I would say the answer is “None”. For the first time in this House I am provoked into rejecting vehemently and trenchantly and with all the words that I can command Deputy Treacy's damaging offensive against the Irish workers. He paints a picture of us as a nation of industrial workers utterly incompetent, so completely unskilled as to be incapable of competing with our counterparts under free trade conditions.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish Is that a quotation?

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley Zoom on Florence Crowley Roughly. Not alone that, but he indicted Irish industrialists and salesmen as people of little or no initiative and, to quote, he said that British supersalesmanship would bury us, that we would have throughout the country industrial graveyards for our workers. If that is Deputy Treacy's attitude towards the Irish workers——

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish It is not towards the Irish workers.

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley Zoom on Florence Crowley The industrial graveyard in this country?

Mr. H. Byrne: Information on Henry Byrne Zoom on Henry Byrne As a result of this Agreement.

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley Zoom on Florence Crowley I am confident in the Irish workers' ability to rise to the occasion and to overcome any disadvantages which Deputy Treacy put forward. I have complete confidence in them and I would say that the only tombstone to be erected in this industrial graveyard may be Deputy Treacy's own tombstone as a result of his assessment of the Irish worker.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish We shall see at the next general election.

[1604]Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley Zoom on Florence Crowley I should like to put forward to the Minister for Industry and Commerce the idea which I mooted when speaking on the Taoiseach's Estimate of appointing a professional sales force possibly under Córas Tráchtála to go into the British and world markets——

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish Why?

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley Zoom on Florence Crowley To sell our products.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish Why?

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley Zoom on Florence Crowley What are salesmen for?

Mr. H. Byrne: Information on Henry Byrne Zoom on Henry Byrne If this Agreement is all right they do not want them.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish The Deputy was criticising Deputy Treacy because he said we did not have what the Deputy is proposing now.

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley Zoom on Florence Crowley I said the policy is there.

Mr. H. Byrne: Information on Henry Byrne Zoom on Henry Byrne Deputy Treacy said it was not.

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

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley Zoom on Florence Crowley We need a sales force to go out into these world markets to ensure that Irish goods are presented and marketed in the proper way. I am sure there would be substantial increases in Irish exports if we had this type of dynamic sales force.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish Hear, hear!

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley Zoom on Florence Crowley From all the discussions I have had with people in my constituency, industrialists, workers and farmers, they are all delighted at this stage that they did “Let Lemass Lead On”.

Mr. Jones: Information on Denis Francis Jones Zoom on Denis Francis Jones I should like to draw the last speaker's attention to the terms of the motion before the House to which two amendments have been moved. It is in the light of these amendments that we are conducting this discussion this evening. Since the [1605] debate opened, we have been concerned with the factual situation that an Agreement has been signed on behalf of this country and the amendments do not allow of anything else beyond expressing our disappointment with the Agreement which has been negotiated. Our amendment is:

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.”

As already expressed by other speakers on this side of the House, this Agreement recognises a fact which has been there for a long time as part of the history and the Taoiseach came into the House and related the background against which he negotiated this Agreement. It surely is not the duty of Fine Gael, as an Opposition, to suggest any alternative to a fact which has always been the keystone of thought in this country—that our geographical nearness to Britain has always made Britain our best market. It is something that neither history nor geography will change.

The Taoiseach referred in his opening statement to the conditions in which he decided to negotiate this Agreement and gave reasons which took him back to 1963. I suggest that the background to the negotiations culminating in this Agreement can be found in the situation which existed in this country at that time. The negotiations were born of necessity because of the imposition of the British levies which created difficulties for this country—a danger of unemployment, a danger to our financial stability, [1606] a danger to the progress of the programmes the Government wish to see implemented. The fact that our trade relations with our largest market were being interrupted was the dominant consideration which sent the Taoiseach to London in an attempt to deal with the situation.

When the Taoiseach was speaking of the dangers and the lost opportunities for this country either by way of delay in implementing the Agreement or in the negotiations leading up to it, one could not help thinking of the great pity it is that the recognition of that fact has had to wait for so long. We could have over the years accepted the situation we are now prepared to accept and which is now put before the House as something with which everyone should agree—that access to the British market must be the dominant consideration in this country in the future. Access to that market has been available to us throughout the whole period of which the Taoiseach spoke, the great pity being the years we wasted and the opportunities we lost. Otherwise, our economy might now be in a better position to face the challenges which the 60s are bringing and which the 70s will bring to this country. Of that there is no doubt.

Britain is now being recognised as our largest export market. As Deputy Dockrell said, here we have proposed an economic union which gives to a nation of more than 50 million people —with long traditions in the manufacturing industry, with a large and valuable supply of native materials, with the techniques that have been built up and directed towards the world markets which she controls — open access to this small market but which to her is a very valuable one. The year 1966 has not changed the geographical facts in relation to these two countries. What has changed is the philosophy of the Government Party. I can do no better than read from the White Paper, at page 56:

Britain will continue to be the principal outlet for most agricultural exports in which Ireland has an interest. It follows that a primary objective of Irish external trade [1607] policy must be to secure satisfactory access for Irish agricultural exports to the British market.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish They talk about getting into the EEC.

Mr. Jones: Information on Denis Francis Jones Zoom on Denis Francis Jones I should like at this stage to say in regard to this document, its various annexes and the pages with which it is prefaced, that it is the Government's presentation of the answers in regard to all these problems. It is a political painting of the advantages they believe to be available from this Agreement. Nobody will find fault with the Government colouring their presentation of the Agreement in the most favourable light in which they can colour it. It is something with which we do not disagree because, as Deputy Dillon said today, this is a valuable document for our agricultural community in the sense that it continues agreements negotiated previously which have provided outlets for our agricultural produce to our nearest neighbour. That is one of the main reasons why we do not advocate complete rejection of this Agreement.

In speeches here we have pointed out the weaknesses which we believe are inherent in the Agreement. I think it was the Minister for Agriculture and the Taoiseach who referred to this Agreement as being a lasting Agreement, in so far as trade between the two countries is concerned. It is no more lasting and final in this respect than any of the Agreements which have ever been concluded between countries negotiating trade matters. It is no more lasting and final than the discussions which have taken place in the EEC area, the EFTA area or any other trade groups and blocs throughout the world. I am as sure as this Dáil is debating this Agreement here today that in future times an Irish Parliament will still continue to debate Agreements which it may enter into, freely, with other trading partners in the European bloc or any other bloc with which it may be associated.

It was mentioned here this morning that it would repay one to read the [1608] debate which preceded the Union in this country in 1800. When one reads that debate even at the present time, one sees in it sentiment expressed which might be held at the present time to be even patriotic. There was placed, equally so, before that Parliament at that time the advantages which it was held out would accrue to the Irish nation by integration of its economy with the economy of the dominant party. Just as equally as that Agreement was not the final one and as people are constantly reminded in this city by that statue up in Parnell Square that: “No man may set bounds to the onward march of a nation,” neither will this be a final boundary in so far as the country is concerned.

One thing we have learned quite recently, and learned to our cost, is the fact that Agreements are not sacrosanct. When it suited Britain she very easily cast aside in her difficulties Agreements which were voluntarily entered into. It would be foolish on our part to think that if the same happened again this Government now in office in Britain, or any other, would not just as easily use the opportunity, if it so suited them, to serve the interests of their own people first.

This is one of the probabilities and possibilities which must always be remembered in regard to these Agreements. Even the Minister for Agriculture spoke of the possibilities that might arise in regard to the exclusion, for instance, of store cattle. Of course there could be that possibility. Nobody can ever exclude possibilities arising, but the probabilities of the case, I am afraid, would rule out the British being so foolish as not to require, for instance, the importation of our store cattle to supply their needs. There is no nearer source of supply to them from which they can draw adequately their needs in this respect.

The previous speaker referred to a Fine Gael absence of constructive policy or alternative policy in regard to this Agreement. As I have stated in so far as this Agreement is concerned, there is a recognition that there is no question of any alternative inasmuch [1609] as it is and always has been a keystone of the policy of this side of the House. The Government Party and Government speakers, rather than present a political picture of how well this Agreement looks in their eyes, might have dealt with this on a factual basis, and we might have heard from them some of the advantages, and, equally, the disadvantages which there are without trying to colour them with political tint. If they feel criticism of this Agreement is imposing an obligation on them to make this type of speech here, then the only thing one can conclude about it is it is not as good as they feel it to be.

I think that has been admitted by the Taoiseach, the Minister for Agriculture, the Minister for Industry and Commerce and the Minister for Finance. We readily concede that the Irish team of Ministers and officials who went to negotiate this Agreement did the very best they could, that they obtained what they were able to obtain from a team of negotiators who have a long tradition in this matter. I believe they sought, and I give credit to the team for seeking, so far as they could, any advantages for this country that it was possible to obtain but, again, we must recognise here that we were seeking an Agreement from need and Britain was negotiating an Agreement by choice.

In this matter of assumptions, one wonders how it comes about that in this White Paper certain assumptions are accepted by the Government and certain other assumptions are rejected. In paragraph 156 on page 50 of the White Paper, the quotation occurs: “While certainty is impossible in this regard,”—that is in regard to Ireland and the EEC—“the balance of probability on the available evidence is that in the post-1970 period membership of the Community will have been achieved.” I presume that this was not inserted in this document without some thought and that it has a factual basis. One would ask, at this stage, what “post-1970” is in this respect? How long after 1970 is it thought Ireland may get into the EEC? The previous speaker gave it [1610] as his opinion that conditions for getting into EEC are difficult to fulfil and membership is not easy to obtain. Surely the Government in presenting this White Paper must have some indication. Reading this document, I believe it is deliberately left vague because there is no question of taking it any further than 1970. If you like after 1970—and that can run for many many long years.

Again, in paragraph 157 we have the extraordinary statement, to my mind, that:

It has been represented that in a Free Trade Area there will be more severe competition from imports from Britain particularly after 1970 than would be the case in an enlarged EEC including that country.

It goes on to say:

...views have been expressed that the home market and exports would grow more slowly after 1970, that the previous rate of growth of manufacturing industry would not be maintained between 1970 and 1975 and that the growth of employment in manufacturing industry would be halted and might even fall slightly after 1970.

I presume that if these views were found worthy of inclusion in a White Paper issued by the Government it means that an appraisal of that situation was made by some responsible authority to merit Government attention. We heard nothing about them here but the opening sentence of paragraph 158—a short sentence— reads:

The Government reject these conclusions.

How is it that the Government on the one hand can make their own assumptions and on the other hand reject assumptions made by some other independent person with whom they evidently do not agree? The Government, as stated in paragraph 159 accept:

...that there are adequate grounds for the views that (i) the home market will grow more slowly after 1970 than in the period 1960-70 and [1611] (ii) the rate of growth of exports will be lower after 1970...

Again, in this instance in this document the Government might have justified their reasons for such thinking. If this White Paper is to be of benefit to Deputies who have been trying to debate this intricate document here for the past couple of days, and will continue to debate it, as the country will continue to debate it, we are entitled to know the basis on which the Government made that statement.

Paragraph 160 is more favourable inasmuch as it states:

Recent population projections which forecast, on certain assumptions as to emigration, a population growth of 100,000 in the period 1966-71 and 180,000 in the period 1971-76, point to a growing home market in this period, which will gain added buoyancy from rising agricultural income.

Here, again, in this document the Government find solace and comfort in the projections which seem to favour their case. I do not find fault with that but I believe it is a political presentation of views which Ministers wish the people to believe are founded on fact.

In paragraph 162 the Government refer to industries that will be attracted by adequate supplies of manpower. This has been referred to by various speakers already. One does not want to be too pessimistic in regard to this position but where are the adequate supplies of manpower to come from? Will they come from unemployment in other industries which will suffer as a result of the blitz which may hit them? Are those adequate supplies of manpower to be available from this projection of population increases coming in the decade 1970-80?

In the next paragraph reference is made to the fact that account must be taken also of the contribution made by agriculture-based industries. Again, in a debate such as this Government spokesmen have an obligation to tell [1612] the House what agriculture-based industries they will employ these people in who are displaced in industry. An old canard that used to be hurled at this Party in the past was that we supported an improvement in relation to the British market, that we were in favour of the ranchers and the bullocks. If that is to be the result of this Agreement one fails to see where these agriculture-based industries will arise.

Undoubtedly it would be a good thing for this country if more industries based on our basic raw materials produced by agriculture, which is our main industry, were to be used and if there were more processing of them here rather than to export beef on the hoof. There might then be some hope for that type of employment. More should also be based on fisheries on the western and southern seaboards or on vegetable production, and even such a cinderella as the apple industry and we might look forward, perhaps, to some employment for more people. I shall return to that matter later.

I notice that in the introductory part of the White Paper, in the presentation of the Government's case, there is a new philosophy for the Government Party, a philosophy born of necessity and not of expediency, I take it. In paragraph 176 the Government state:

The Government are alive also to the possible effects of a free trade area arrangement on the employment of workers in the weaker areas of industry.

They go on to state that special measures are being taken to retrain these people for employment in expanding industries, to make special payments to workers who have to seek alternative employment and, finally, to minimise the difficulties which individual workers may encounter. The final portion of that statement is significant: “changes which are inevitable and which are necessary for economic progress.”

This is a realistic appraisal by the Government as to what is liable to happen. One may praise them for being realistic in respect to it and for [1613] being realistic in setting it out here, but certainly so far as the Government Party are concerned, it is a philosophy to which they will have to become accustomed, in the sense that the change for them must surely be something that is new and I am sure, to a large number of Deputies, unwelcome. Of course, the fact that it is unwelcome would not make it more unpalatable. We must face this fact in the future, and it is just as well the Government say so boldly now, that there will be this upset in employment and we will have to take steps to deal with it, that workers' lives will be upset and that the community must be prepared to make some provision for dealing with the type of situation which is likely to arise.

On this matter Deputy Dillon referred today to the people who have made an investment of capital in industry. The State may do something to compensate them but for those who have worked for years in industry and who now have commitments, family commitments or otherwise, the prospects must be much harsher. In this connection, the outlook in regard to re-training should certainly have been given much more prominence in this debate. I hope that we will have some indication from the Minister for Education before this debate concludes, in view of the publication of “Investment in Education,” what projects he has in mind for younger workers, not to mind the older workers. Younger people will have to face a different type of era and a different climate from that to which their fathers turned their minds some 30 or 35 years ago.

Some of the traditional industries to which their parents turned will undoubtedly have vanished and one would like to think that the type of training which we should be able to give young people in the future would fit them to work as a skilled force for the type of industry that might be attracted here, and equally that we would have young people of such a calibre that having been suitably trained, they would be capable of the highest degree of management and be [1614] able to initiate for themselves or others schemes for industry which would provide not alone a return for themselves but remunerative sources of employment for some of our own people.

At this stage I should like to refer to my own constituency, West Limerick, a constituency of small farmers. I should like to have heard from the Minister for Agriculture what benefits small farmers in my constituency will get from this Agreement. There is not much point in telling us about this question of store cattle, and the opportunities, because the small farmer with 12, or 35 or 40 acres, or the man who is able to carry ten, 15 or 20 cows is going to be concerned with the old tradition and what was always the basic industry of the area, the dairying industry. When he has calves, he has not got the land on which to keep them and he has to dispose of them. He does try to make a living from dairying and by rearing pigs, and latterly we have had this question of broilers and poultry generally. I have not heard anything which would lead me to think, for instance, that the farmers are going to get anything extra for milk. Indeed, in the exchange of letters on this Agreement in regard to butter, it is very noticeable that while there was in other portions of the Agreement the question of subsidisation or a link price being obtained by British farmers for stock, there was no question of any link price so far as dairying products were concerned. The extraordinary thing is that the Minister for Agriculture did secure the right to pay a subsidy here on the export of dairying products. The dairy farmer will continue to provide one-third of that subsidy and the taxpayers will provide the further two-thirds in order to ensure that butter will continue to be available on the British market.

I understand from reading the Agreement that consultations will take place in regard to butter quotas in the future. One thing in it at the moment is a quota which takes us up to 1967, but does not pass it. When the Minister for Agriculture was speaking yesterday and when he referred to the benefits in the Agreement, for [1615] instance, in regard to the increased quota for butter, he might have referred to the connotation in this Agreement in regard to the targets being set in regard to the dairying industry in the future and the projections which are being made. The country would have appreciated the fact that he had referred to the dairying industry and his plans for the industry and this question of rationalisation and what it means for the dairying industry and also what it means for the co-operative dairy societies which represent the farmers' interests in the dairying counties at present.

A new philosophy in regard to larger units seems to be growing up. This is not alone in regard to land—one Minister of State has often given voice to it in this House and outside, that the more viable unit of agricultural economy is the larger farm, but it seems now to have moved into the various State Departments. We seem to think that the future salvation of our economy whether industrially or economically is to be found in larger units. I wonder is this an indication of Government thinking as far as the countryside is concerned? Are we projecting our minds so far ahead that we are inclined to think the countryside may become denuded of its population, or are we prepared to consider that we ought still to encourage our people to maintain themselves on the land as the true vocation of an agricultural people? I would have liked to have heard the Minister for Agriculture on this matter. The basic fact will always remain that you cannot have exports of stores and beef from this country if you have not a thriving dairying industry as well. That is a basic fact of our agricultural life with which we will always have to live.

In the exchanges and understandings which are portion of this Agreement, the question of subsidy being paid on exports is one that may be the subject of consultation by the Parties to the Agreement. I want to know if I am correct in that interpretation. Can there be interference with our butter quota, for instance, if it is regarded as [1616] being a subsidised export to the British market?

I would also refer to another fact that the Minister for Agriculture yesterday dismissed very lightly indeed, that in regard to the payments to be made for our agricultural products, the link price obtainable by British farmers is to be the subject of consultation with the British Government. The Minister posed possibilities yesterday. I can pose a possibility which is perhaps even more fundamental in regard to store cattle. Could it be that the British Government want to be able to tell the Irish Government how they feel these subsidies should be used in order to promote the type of growth of agricultural produce which they think would be best for the British market? Surely that is one of the matters that must have been given thought to? The House is entitled to learn whether that means anything that might be in any way detrimental to our freedom of action in regard to the utilisation of such payments as we might obtain.

The majority of our farmers are small farmers. They will not be concerned with the mechanics of large numbers of store cattle. They will be concerned with the smaller numbers they can keep for a short time on their small holdings. The Minister for Agriculture made an assessment of the benefit in money values this Agreement would bring to agriculture. Is it beyond possibility that the Minister, or some other Minister on his behalf, would be able to say how much of this £10 million he alleges will be available will find its way directly into the pockets of the small farmers and not into the pockets of those with large amounts of land who can afford to keep for a period a large number of cattle for export to Britain? These are some of the things the Minister for Agriculture should tell the people in regard to this Agreement.

There is one other point in regard to this question of store cattle. The Government have committed themselves to ensuring as far as they can that 638,000 head of store cattle will find their way into the British market. [1617] Is this irrespective of the price of cattle on other markets with which we sometimes trade? Are we committed to supplying cattle to the British market as a first priority, or may our farmers send, through traditional channels, their cattle to other markets if a higher price is obtainable for them there? Again, that is a very pertinent question and one about which I think the Government should inform dairying and cattle interests.

The question of support prices has already been mentioned, and I do not want to labour it. The fact, apparently, is that support prices were payable during only one or two weeks of the past seven months. We will have to look elsewhere for this valuable increase in agricultural income with which the Minister for Agriculture was concerned when he spoke. Is there an outlet for agricultural produce by way of processing? If so, are the Minister and the Government prepared to assist industry here to enter into that type of activity in the future, seeing that it will be necessary to provide outlets for industry, other than those they have been used to? Will there be grants available to the agricultural community to engage in that type of promotion such as those made available to manufacturing industry over the years? This is something that might prove valuable to the rural community, particularly those who live on small holdings. They could, through co-operative movements, obtain for themselves a better livelihood than they have today.

In that connection I might refer to the recent speech of the general manager of the Sugar Company in West Cork where he praised the co-operative efforts of the farming community there in providing for themselves an outlet for crops they can produce as well as providing employment for a number of young people in their home area. It is not beyond the bounds of all possibilities that these are matters to which we could successfully turn our attention and that we could provide ourselves with a useful outlet for production on the farms and a useful, even if a small, [1618] outlet for our younger labour force coming along.

I confess that one of the things that surprise me in this Agreement is the import of tomatoes. Not that we are able to supply our own needs in that respect but I am surprised because since I came into this House I have taken some interest in the Gaeltacht areas. We have given some aid to the Gaeltacht to erect glasshouses for the production of tomatoes. I am surprised that even such a small amount as 850 tons of tomatoes can be imported into this country during the control period and that, at other times of the year, tomatoes can come in here freely. I was surprised because the growing of tomatoes was an outlet which we felt ought to be encouraged amongst our people, particularly in those areas where the land is not so good and where opportunity is not so vast.

Equally, as was mentioned by Deputy M.P. Murphy and Deputy Mrs. Desmond, there is the question of the importation of fish. One of our problems in regard to the Gaeltacht, and a shrinking Gaeltacht, is the fact that the life of the people there, in rather harsh surroundings, is one of few industries and that their opportunity for earning a living there is rather confined. In our climate, tomatoes do not ripen early. They would be of late vintage, in any case. With our home industry competing with imported tomatoes, it is rather expecting too much that, small as it is, it might even survive. Equally so in regard to this question of fish.

Attempts were being made, and I think successfully made, although perhaps not as fast as we would have liked, to encourage the growth of the fishing industry and our people's undertaking this type of vocation. There were schemes of training for young men and incentive schemes for trawler-owners. It is rather a pity, in the light of the improved attempts to encourage this industry and particularly in so far as the areas where this industry is located are concerned, that there should be any such thing as an importation of what I would regard as rather large amounts of fish. It is not the amount, perhaps, but we shall [1619] be competing against people who have been canning fish over a long period and who will perhaps be better able to present it in competition with our people. For that reason, I am sorry to see in the Agreement that this type of import is being allowed.

We have been trying to encourage people to lay down orchards. I know, and very many other Deputies know— certainly Dublin Deputies know—that there are only a number of areas in this country where apple-growing can successfully be undertaken. Our climate does not help us in this matter and, in other cases, our soil does not help us. However, where it does, and where the industry has been engaged in, the importation of quantities of British apples at the periods when they will be imported will not be conducive to any further expansion in so far as trying to encourage people to lay down orchards is concerned. These are only minor matters in a large economy but they are very important matters to the small-holder. They are very important factors in so far as the economy of the small man is concerned who engages in such sidelines to help his ordinary economy.

Before I leave the subject of fruit, I want to mention sugar. The Deputy for South-east Cork, Deputy Corry, has taken time off here in each debate to point to the sins of the inter-Party Government in regard to an import levy which the British imposed on sugar. I do not know whether he read this Agreement fully but he might read paragraph 29, page 217, in regard to sugar:

The provisions of the Free Trade Area Agreement do not affect the United Kingdom sugar surcharge levied under the United Kingdom Sugar Act, 1956, which may continue to be applied to imports from Ireland.

I just mention it because at this stage he might perhaps forget to ride his favourite hobbyhorse and find on this occasion that he can transfer his attentions to his own Ministers who, with all their good intent—and I do not doubt it—were not able to get rid of that imposition.

[1620] I want to summarise by saying that this Agreement is accepted by us for what it is, namely, an international instrument that has been signed by an Irish Government and brought home and put before the people. We accept it as being not more than it is. We do not accept all the rosy pictures that are painted of it. We believe it has got its weaknesses. We believe these weaknesses will be capable of remedy in future stages. We do not believe it to be final until the last word is spoken in regard to negotiations so far as the interests of this country are concerned. Opportunities will present themselves to the legislators in this House, if not in the immediate future, at some later stage to be responsible for the conduct of affairs here, and again have to negotiate in regard to our trading arrangements with partners abroad.

One of the important things is that we should recognise the area of difficulty which will be presented to the country in regard to the implementation of this Agreement, a factual type of disadvantage, in so far as the employment of people in certain industries is concerned. It was politically courageous of the Minister for Industry and Commerce to say here in this House that areas of employment would shrink in parts of the country and grow in others. How large the shrinkage and how large the growth? Only time can dictate that. But in the Ireland of the 70s and 80s and, particularly between 1970 and 1980, there will be presented to the younger people, who will have had time to forget the type of volte face which has now occurred on the part of the Government Party, a complete turnabout whereby the Taoiseach, in what I might call his last political testament, recognises the facts of life, as he said, and has been participated in here by the Minister for Agriculture as well, the facts of life, the geographical hard facts that we are not 500 miles out in the Atlantic Ocean, that we live here on the western fringe of Britain and that the British market is now being recognised for what it is. There is also the hard fact that we have lost out over 30 years when we could have used our endeavours to perfect our [1621] economy and improve our agricultural industry. The fact is that the Government could have initiated a better economy in so far as this country is concerned, which would have provided better opportunities for the education of young people.

Those are the kind of thoughts the Government must concern themselves with. It is not enough to come in with this Agreement at this stage but, having presented it here, as it has been presented politically—and I do not in any way find fault with the Government for doing so—this should be matched equally with the type of determination that the disadvantages which will certainly accrue from it are not laid aside easily, that we cannot afford to gloss them over, that this debate will end but, in so far as the country is concerned, we will have to live with this Agreement. The people will have to live with it until something better can be negotiated. In that type of approach lies a more sure salvation as far as the country is concerned.

There is not much use in harping backwards and forwards in regard to the matter now. It is an accomplished fact. From it surely we have a lesson to learn. We have a lesson to learn that nothing is sacrosanct. Nothing remains, everything changes as we move ahead into the future. I might recount here this evening that the Fianna Fáil Government have, by the very terms of this Agreement, now acknowledged the fact that they were politically wrong for so long and acclaim the benches opposite for speaking in favour of it. They were wrong previously and may be wrong again in regard to it.

We should not try to appraise it for more than it is. Certainly, we on this side of the House do not appraise it for less than it is but rather as a continuance of the opportunities we felt were always available in these markets. We will live with it and we will work with it. We tried in this debate to point out its weaknesses so that, if possible, it might be improved in any negotiations which might take place subsequently. We have pledged [1622] ourselves that if the Irish people allow us we certainly will not write it down as the last word in Anglo-Irish relations.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries (Mr. Lalor): Information on Patrick J. Lalor Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor Quite honestly, I must confess that I have had a certain amount of sympathy over the last few days with the Deputies on the other side of the House who have been endeavouring, in a futile way, to belittle this Agreement. Indeed, their efforts could scarcely have been more futile in view of the outstanding value of this Agreement, especially for the agricultural community.

Deputy Jones asked the rather amazing question as to why the Government speakers did not seem to go out of their way to specify and spell out what the individual advantages were. I feel the Government speakers have been so doing but the efforts on the other side of the House in endeavouring to downgrade or to belittle those particular advantages, apparently, have had that effect. Deputy Jones dealt with a particular area in his own constituency—the west Limerick area—as if it were an area comparable with the whole western region, for which I have certain direct responsibilities. He asked in what way this particular Agreement could be of benefit to the small farmers and instanced the case where any benefits which could accrue to the store cattle trade would not be of any great benefit to the small farmer.

The very same accusation was made in connection with the heifer scheme, in so far as that was a scheme which was to benefit the big fellow only. It was alleged that the small farmer, who would appear to be carrying as many cows as he could, could not possibly benefit but we saw how it did over the past couple of years in relation to the increased prices for dropped calves and young heifers. In the very same way, the increase in store cattle prices automatically means benefits all round and, in actual fact, with special reference to the small farmers. Up to this, Irish farmers have had to operate their [1623] farms and plan their production under the shadow of insufficient export markets. As much as one half of the production of all our farms must be exported and so the agricultural industry has been particularly dependent on export outlets.

That is one of the problems that have been faced by the Department and the Government for quite a long time. The implementation of the expansion plans for agriculture under the Second Programme for Economic Expansion could be assured only if an adequate and secure export outlet was available. The increased benefits of the Free Trade Area Agreement provide us with this increased outlet. This outlet is now available for the small farmer and the man engaged in horticulture and for the fisherman and they can all go ahead now and increase their output in the knowledge that the market outlet is available.

The assurance of unrestricted access for our store cattle, sheep and lambs and the effect of the reduction from three to two months in the waiting period they must spend on English farms, must be of the greatest benefit. It means better selling prices for Irish farmers. The average store bullock will put on an average of about a half-cwt. in the extra month and this means that half-cwt. can be put on the beast on this side and, at current prices, it is fair to say that the value of the beast can be assessed as from £3 10s. to £4 10s. higher than at present.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay That is a very serious reduction. The Minister for Agriculture said £5 to £7.

Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor I am talking about the average beast. It is quite possible that it will be £5 to £7 on a good beast.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay I am sure he was taking an average also.

Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor In the case of sheep and lambs the reduction of one month here represents a greater proportion of the animal's life and should give a tremendous fillip to store sheep and lambs. The extra weight that a store [1624] lamb can put on in a month could reasonably be expected to increase the total weight of the animal to the extent of an average of about £1 per lamb.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange They are down £1 this year.

Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor Our proposal is to get up the lamb prices by £1. The extension of the deficiency payment scheme to the 25,000 tons of Irish carcase beef and 5,500 tons of carcase lamb is certainly a major development. In view of my special concern for the western area I am particularly gratified by this extension of the deficiency payments scheme to carcase lambs. The quantity of 5,500 tons represents close on a quarter of a million lambs and obviously that is a very substantial amount. The other day Deputy Lindsay wondered if the Agreement would be of any great benefit to the western region. I make the point that this benefit in the carcase lamb trade means quite an appreciable gain in view of the fact that the general overall increase in sheep numbers in an area which contains half of the sheep population of the country, namely in the 12 western counties, must bring great benefit to the western area.

Mr. O'Hara: Information on Thomas O'Hara Zoom on Thomas O'Hara It is an area very hungry for lime and phosphate.

Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor We are endeavouring to help small farmers in that area as much as we can under the advisory services and we are trying to get a marked improvement in that connection. Coupled with the improvements secured for store sheep—the reduction in the waiting period and abolition of the ¾d. per pound differential in favour of the British home bred sheep -this should make quite an appreciable difference and benefit the sheep farmers to a greater extent in its own way in that particular part of the country where it is most needed than it would benefit the cattle man. There is no need to labour the point that the store trade in cattle, sheep and lambs is the backbone of our export trade.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay Hear, hear!

[1625]Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor That is generally accepted. In 1964 it represented £43 million of our total exports to all destinations which were valued at £217 million. The improvements now secured for the store trade must accordingly be of fundamental importance not only to the farming community but to the national economy generally. If we see such a high proportion of the trade being carried on in this way and if we visualise two-thirds of the whole export trade in agriculture being concerned the Agreement must be of tremendous benefit to the economy of the State.

As a result of the Agreement there is no doubt that farmers can look forward to an ever-increasing demand for stores. The reduction in the waiting period enables British farmers to have a greater turnover of stock thereby improving the demand and actually helping the British feeder to step up his turnover in turn. In that way it will put a greater proportion of the subsidy into the pockets of the Irish farmers and provide for greater flexibility in business between those engaged in the trade on both sides of the Irish Sea. In general, therefore, it can be said that it will have a great effect in strengthening the store market in this country.

I should like to refer to one further matter in connection with the store trade. Yesterday, Deputy Sweetman made an effort to cover up what can only be described as the appalling ignorance of the arrangements applying to the store trade disclosed in the statement issued by Fine Gael on 20th December last. He made a rather feeble effort to maintain that the waiting period of two months had first been secured by the inter-Party Government in 1958.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): 1948.

Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor 1948. In fact, the position is that that two months waiting period had first been secured by a Fianna Fáil Government in 1941 and that was seven years before the 1948 Trade Agreement was negotiated. He also argued that the 1960 Trade Agreement was the first Agreement to refer [1626] to the waiting period of three months. This is just another quibble. The fact of the matter is that the waiting period was increased with effect from 28th March, 1956. It was increased under the inter-Party Government. Nothing that Deputy Sweetman can say can change that.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): And confirmed in a negotiated Agreement in 1960.

Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor It was increased in 1956 and it has been claimed by the Fine Gael Party that it was introduced and was first mentioned in 1960.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): But confirmed in a solemn and formally negotiated Agreement in 1960.

Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor The follow-up of Deputy Sweetman's claim was the further claim that it had not any effect. There is no doubt that this arrangement of 28th March, 1956, was the subject of an exchange of letters and I have seen copies of these letters between the British Minister for Food, Mr. Amery, and the Irish Ambassador in London acting on the instructions and at the dictate of the Minister for Agriculture at the time, Deputy Dillon. It is wrong that Deputy Sweetman should endeavour to confuse the position in that regard. There is no doubt at all about the basic and important fact that 28th March, 1956, was the date on which the waiting period was increased from two months to three months and that it was done by a Fine Gael Minister for Agriculture.

I should like to inform the House of what happened to cattle prices after this unfortunate arrangement which was entered into in 1956. In the six months, April to September, 1955, the average price of store bullocks in Dublin was 140/- per cwt. Then the British guaranteed price was increased by 12/4 d per cwt in March, 1956, and it would be normal to assume that we would be able to command a price of 150/- per cwt in the following six months. This did not happen. As a result of the giving away of what we had at that time by the then Minister for Agriculture, the average price of [1627] store bullocks in Dublin in the six months April to September, 1956, was only 111/- per cwt, a price which proved to be in the region of 40/- less than the market price we would have expected at that time. How, then, can Fine Gael maintain that the increase in the waiting period at that time had no effect on store cattle prices?

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): Why did not you get it back in 1960?

Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor Why, then, now when we have got it back, do Fine Gael endeavour to say that the decrease in the three months to two months will be of no significant advantage? Efforts of this nature should not be made in this House to downgrade and belittle what has been done.

Deputy Dillon seems to contend that the 1948 Agreement gave us as much as we now have got in the Free Trade Area Agreement. Nothing could be further from the truth. Agricultural products were dealt with only in the Annex to the 1948 Agreement, which was expressed to operate for a four year period and related entirely to bulk purchase by the British Ministry of Food, which ceased to function before many years had elapsed. No assurance whatever was included about long-term access to the British market and even the price-link between our stores and British beef cattle, of which Deputy Dillon boasts so much, was expressed in loose terms which gave Britain the legal right to increase the price differential provided only the increase was not “excessive”. These may seem strong words but they must be said at this time.

Deputy Dillon attempts to explain this away by referring to what the late Sir Stafford Cripps may have said or done subsequently but the fact remains that the provisions of the Annex to the 1948 Agreement remained unamended during the four years for which that Annex lasted. Indeed, it was not until 1953, under a Fianna Fáil Government, that an Agreement was made with the British Government which not only removed any possibility of an increase in the differential but, in fact, reduced it to 4/6 per cwt.

[1628] It would be wrong for me, and I am not endeavouring to do so, to belittle the 1948 Agreement, which was probably as good as the then Government could have got at that time. However, it should be clearly understood that the Agreement made no provision for trade under normal conditions when bulk purchasing which was in operation at that time had ended.

Deputy Jones spoke about butter. The basic quota has been increased from 12,905 tons to 23,000 tons. While we had been getting some supplementary allocations from Britain on top of our basic quota, we had no legal or other right to those allocations. If at any stage Britain had too much butter, we would be placed in an impossible position if our butter exports to Britain were confined to that basic figure. The situation would have been disastrous for our dairy industry. This weakness in our position has now been completely eliminated.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay For how long?— until 1967.

Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor The point is that we have been given this assurance and there is no reason to believe that the assurance does not last on a permanent basis.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay There is no assurance in the Agreement.

Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor It is written into the Agreement——

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): Until March, 1967.

Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor ——that the basic quota is 23,000 tons, with the prospect of having that basic quota increased after a period.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay Or reduced.

Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor There is no mention of a reduction.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay There is no mention of an increase either.

Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor In relation to our increased output, provision is made for increasing the basic quota.

[1629] The improvements in regard to the butter quota and the general assurances with regard to access which, of course, apply to other dairy products such as cheese, milk powder, cream, condensed milk and chocolate crumb, are of the greatest importance and value. They affect an export trade which was worth over £15 million in 1964 and which can be expected to expand substantially in the years ahead. We are fully appreciative of the fact that small farmers are greatly dependent on the monthly milk cheque. They now have a new degree of security as a result of the Agreement and there is every reason to believe that the increased scope for expansion of this vital industry will be of tremendous benefit to the nation.

Before I leave the subject of dairying, I should like to refer to some other remarks made yesterday by Deputy Sweetman. Having been caught out in connection with the inaccuracy about the waiting period in his Party's press statement, one would have expected that Deputy Sweetman would have taken the trouble to check his facts on other matters. Yet, we find him making equally inaccurate statements when speaking yesterday in regard to dairy products. He said that the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries had claimed to have got exactly what he had asked for in the case of the butter quota. The Minister was referring to the butter quota for 1966/67 and what he claimed was perfectly correct. He asked for 23,000 tons and he got it.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay Until 31st March, 1967.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan Order. The Parliamentary Secretary should be allowed to speak without interruption.

Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor I come now to Deputy Sweetman's big blunder. He went on to talk about the cost of the support on exports of dairy products and he maintained that the crucial thing was that the Government should have insisted on the British deficiency payments being applied to our exports of dairy products. All our problems in [1630] relation to dairy products would be solved, in Deputy Sweetman's opinion, if only we got the British deficiency payments. I am afraid that, despite what Deputy Sweetman thinks, the matter is not so simple as that and cannot be solved as easily as he suggests. Even if we were to get the British to agree to apply, as Deputy Sweetman suggests, their deficiency payments to all our exports of dairy produce, we would be no better off, because there are no deficiency payments on dairy products in Britain.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor There are no deficiency payments in Britain on dairy products.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): It would have been good business to try to get some.

Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor Deputy Sweetman's statement goes to show the Deputy's knowledge, or lack of it, of the conditions under which our dairy produce has to be sold in Britain. And the Deputy's knowledge seems to equal that of his colleagues, incidentally.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange They know as much as the Parliamentary Secretary does.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay This monopoly of knowledge is interesting.

Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor With regard then to our exports of fish to Britain, so far from our exports of fish to Britain being restricted in the interests of orderly marketing, the position in future will be that there will be no import restrictions at all on our fish into Britain. Deputy Jones dealt with this matter when he was speaking. Not alone will there be no import restrictions under the Agreement but there will not be any restrictions either in the context of an international commodity agreement or in any other context. As well as that, we have reserved the rights to protect our fishing industry.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish Before the Parliamentary Secretary finishes with dairy products, would he tell us what the increased quota will cost the Irish taxpayer?

[1631]Mr. O'Leary: £2 million.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay Would the Minister for Agriculture care to laugh now?

Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor We do not have to sell elsewhere.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish That may be so, but what is the figure? It must be a simple calculation.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey It is £2½ million.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan Deputies had better make their calculations by way of speech rather than by way of interruption.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey Not one of the Deputies opposite knew there were no deficiency payments on dairy products. Do not try to bluff. The Deputies opposite thought there were deficiency payments on dairy products in Britain and there are not. Admit it.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan Order! The Parliamentary Secretary.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish There is a figure and the Minister must know what the figure is.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey Have you stopped beating your wife yet?

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish Do not be so childish.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay When I hear that expression by the Minister, I can understand why the Minister was clattered with a placard in London.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey The Deputy was clattered himself once.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay But not by the Minister.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan I must insist on the Parliamentary Secretary being allowed to speak. Interruptions are disorderly, no matter where they come from.

Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor The question asked by the Leader of the Labour Party is naturally a difficult one to answer. The point is that, if we did not have [1632] this access in Britain for increased butter, we would have to try to find an outlet in some other market.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish I understand that.

Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor As the price would be lower, in actual fact we are saving money by increasing our quota to Britain even if we have to subsidise.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish What is the increased subsidy?

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey It is £2½ million.

Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor Basically, there will be no difference.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish The Parliamentary Secretary does not know what extra subsidy we will have to pay.

Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor It cannot be figured out yet.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange He does not know what it will cost the taxpayer.

Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor As I say, we have reserved the right to protect our fishing industry. The duty on smoked fish has been doubled. That is because we have in mind the development of fish-smoking here. Export markets for our fish are now secure beyond all doubt and we are, at the same time, in a position to protect our home market. Our fishermen can accordingly increase their catches in the confident knowledge that adequate markets are available. That, I think, answers the case made by Deputy Jones and also the case made by Deputy Mrs. Desmond earlier today.

Deputy Jones raised the question of tomatoes. He inferred we had given permission for increased imports of tomatoes from the United Kingdom. In view of the importance of tomatoes to our horticultural industry and, more especially, in view of their importance to the growers in parts of the west, it was vitally important that we should protect all those concerned. On the other hand, we have unrestricted access to the United Kingdom market for our production. We already have a sizable export trade in Irish tomatoes to Northern Ireland, including some [1633] exports across the Border from the Donegal area. I confidently look forward to a steady expansion of this trade as a result of this Agreement. During the control period there is a restriction on the importation here of tomatoes. I do not know if Deputy Jones missed the point but there is an import duty of 4d per lb. during that particular period on imported tomatoes.

During the course of the debate, Deputies on the opposite benches, in referring to the Agreement relating to Trade in certain Agricultural and Fishery Products, pointed out that most of the Articles in the Agreement involved undertakings by our Government and they sought to establish that the Agreement should also include a large number of undertakings by the British. They maintained there were no undertakings by the British Government corresponding with ours. It would appear that these Deputies have not studied the Agreement very closely. Under the Free Trade Area Agreement, we have retained the right to protect quite a large number of agricultural, horticultural and fishery products. These are all listed in Annex A. In the other Agreement, that is, the Agreement relating to Trade in certain Agriculture and Fishery Products, we have in turn undertaken certain commitments which, in the main, merely continue the status quo for the existing volume of trade. Britain, on the other hand, has no similar list of protected products such as we have in Annex A to the Free Trade Area Agreement.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish Cereals.

Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor No, they have none.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish There was a restriction on exports of cereals from this country to Britain. I know we will not be selling them any but the restriction is there.

Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor I shall be dealing with that. Surely Deputies on the other side are not suggesting that Britain should have restricted the import of a large number of products so that we could have some undertakings from them by [1634] way of supplementary agreement. The few products in respect of which Britain has restrictions are products like bacon, butter and sugar. They are already dealt with, and the cereals mentioned by Deputy Corish are also dealt with and are the subject of special provisions which adequately safeguard our position in that regard.

Mr. O'Hara: Information on Thomas O'Hara Zoom on Thomas O'Hara Did you ever think of eggs, poultry and turkeys?

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey Another man who has not read the Agreement.

Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor All matters were thought of. They are specifically mentioned. I am satisfied that the Irish farmer himself is satisfied that the provisions of the Free Trade Area Agreement gives him substantial and concrete new advantages. The new position certainly constitutes a much firmer and more lasting basis than we have hitherto had for the development of our agricultural production and exports.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay With quantitative restrictions.

Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor The opportunities for development and expansion are now available and I am sure that our farmers and fishermen will make the most of them. This applies to all our farmers, both large and small, and covers the full range of agricultural, horticultural and fishery products. Particular care has been taken to provide for the products of the small farmers—milk, pigs and especially horticultural products with their high employment content. The framework for a great expansion of our agricultural output has now been erected and I am confident that in the years ahead, this expansion will certainly take place and will be to the lasting benefit of the Irish farmers and the Irish people generally.

Mr. H. Byrne: Information on Henry Byrne Zoom on Henry Byrne I am quite sure that in the few days that have passed everything that could possibly be said for and against this Agreement has been said, and I do not want to take up the valuable time of the House in repeating all the things that have been said. We [1635] as a Party have made it quite clear what our feelings are in connection with this Agreement, but we think it only proper that every member of this Party should record his disapproval of it.

We have valid reasons for registering that disapproval. We are not opposing this Agreement for the sake of opposing it, for the sake of providing opposition to it. We sense a danger here that, as a result of this Agreement, irreparable damage will be done in connection with the availability of employment in industry. I agree that this is a very complex and difficult Agreement to analyse. In fact some of our greatest economists are not as yet satisfied whether it is good or bad. One of our most prominent economists has clearly stated that this is probably one of the greatest gambles that this nation has ever taken. In that context and accepting, or partly accepting, his view, it would be ridiculous for the Labour Party, committed as we are to a particular section of our people, to gamble away the right of these people to live, to accept a situation that would bring uncertainty into any Irish industry with the possibility of extensive laying off of men. It is in the light of this uncertainty that we register our complete disapproval of this Agreement.

If we were to get an assurance from the Taoiseach and from the Ministers who participated in this trade arrangement that nothing in this Agreement was going to damage employment here or weaken our hand in regard to employing Irish people at home, our approach might be very different. We believe that danger is there and nothing has come from the Taoiseach or the other members of the Government who participated in the negotiations to allay those fears. Therefore our approach to this Agreement must remain unaltered.

In connection with agriculture, about which much has been said, we are no more blind than any other political Party here, but we can see nothing in this arrangement that is spectacular in the field of agriculture. [1636] Every Deputy who has spoken knows very well that irreparable damage has been done to agriculture in the past ten or 15 years. Most rural Deputies must know that the great majority of our farmers are caught up with moneylenders, banks and financial racketeers to such an extent that the farmers, or the sons who will follow them, are most unlikely to extricate themselves from the perilous financial situation in which they find themselves. That is a factual statement and it is not playing politics.

We know of nothing in this measure that will give the shot in the arm to agriculture that agriculture deserves. We are not suggesting that anything in the Agreement will worsen the situation as regards agriculture. It may well bring a slow process of improvement but too slow, we would think, to give the benefits to the farming community which they have been denied so long. It must be remembered that all other sections of our people received increases, whether they were sufficient or not, to help them keep up with the cost of living, having regard to ever-rising prices and ever-rising expenditure. There was a complete disregard over the years of the farming section of our community. Whatever the glib-tongued speakers of the Government might say to offset that factual statement, we are still entitled to have our own way of looking at the situation which I believe is the right way.

I am not at all impressed by the approach of Fine Gael to this issue before the House. They did afford very constructive criticism of what they saw in this Agreement. They have said things with which we, in the main, would agree but it is appalling that a Party should criticise a measure to the extent that they have criticised it and, at the same time, indicate to the House and to the nation that they did not intend to oppose it. It reminds me of a man trying to gamble with a two-headed penny. If this Agreement in any circumstances should prove to be a good one, they will be in a position to say: “We did not oppose it”, but if it turns out to be bad for the nation they can say they were not in favour of it. In any [1637] case, we would prefer that they lined up one way or the other—voted with the Government or, if the Agreement is as bad as they have led us to believe, voted against it. They have a definite responsibility to vote against it for the reasons given by the many Deputies who spoke from these benches.

In spite of what the Parliamentary Secretary said a few moments ago, we are not doing a service to the nation if we continue to subsidise butter for the British housewife. Sane mathematics must prove that this butter arrangement, by its very nature, must be a further imposition on the Irish taxpayer. All Deputies, from whatever side of the House they come, must accept that as the truth. Deputy O'Connell from these benches said it may cost up to £2½ million a year. I am not prepared to say what the statistical implications will be but certainly it will be a heavy imposition on our taxpayers.

Taking a generous view of the entire Agreement, complex though it may be, it is only reasonable to assume that if British industrial goods can flow in here in unrestricted volume, the uneasiness and the fear in the minds of employers and employees from Cork to Donegal will be justified. I speak for a constituency where these fears are rampant. I instance the worsted and woollen mills in the town of Portlaoise. I have had an assurance from the manager of that firm that he can see no way out for the industry, that it will die in the next five years. That presents an appalling picture and, as we know, it is a definite possibility.

The Government have said that the Labour Party have not produced an alternative to this Agreement. Our alternative is that the Taoiseach give an assurance that employment in industry will not be damaged. It would be very easy to meet us over this Agreement if we were given the assurances sought by Deputy Corish. However, they are not forthcoming. I trust our approach to this has been an honourable one. I trust it is an understandable one both to the House and to the nation. We are not half as ridiculous in this matter as Fianna Fáil would have the House believe in recent times. [1638] We are as competent to deal with the implications of this very serious arrangement as anyone else. All I have left to say is that we have rigidly opposed this Agreement for the reasons outlined by speakers from these benches.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): The Free Trade Agreement between this country and Great Britain was signed in London on 14th December and as from that date it became a binding international agreement, not requiring approval or ratification either by this House or the British House of Commons. That is the first thing I should like to have clear—that irrespective of whether this House approves of the Agreement or rejects the motion of approval, the Agreement is binding between the two countries. Even if there were a change of Government in the morning the Agreement is still binding until it is rescinded by mutual agreement between the two countries.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish It does not have to be rescinded mutually.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): It would have to be rescinded mutually to be rescinded lawfully.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish There is a period of notice.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): We are told this is a lasting Agreement for all time.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish I wonder if Deputy Lindsay thinks I am right.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay I think so.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): The point I wish to stress is that, irrespective of what happens here, the Agreement is lawful and binding. The object of the Government in going to London was to negotiate an Agreement under which this country would abandon its protective tariffs on industrial goods, under which industrial articles and objects could come into this country eventually free of tariffs. In exchange for that, it was hoped to get a favourable market for our agricultural produce. From that, it would [1639] appear that the Fianna Fáil Party at last accept as a fact that our economy is predominantly an agricultural economy and that the British market is our only market for all practical purposes. In the course of his speech recommending the Agreement to the House, the Taoiseach stated:

The idea to negotiate this agreement sprang from us because we thought it was in the country's interests.

In another part of his statement he said:

Countries like Ireland which still are and always will be largely dependent on agricultural exports of one kind or another....

That is a significant statement: “Countries like Ireland which still are and always will be largely dependent on agricultural exports of one kind or another....” It is implied in that reference that this country still is and always was largely dependent on agricultural exports of one kind or another. The Taoiseach referred to Great Britain as our principal export market and as our principal customer. Let us couple these statements with the Preamble to the Agreement which states:

Bearing in mind the close economic links long existing between our 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....

I suggest that anybody listening to the statements I have quoted from the Taoiseach and reading the Preamble to the Agreement could scarcely believe that the Taoiseach is the Leader of the Fianna Fáil Party which, in the early 1930s, were feeding the unfortunate people of this country with statements such as: “The British market is gone and gone for ever, thank God”: “We could get on well if every damn British ship was at the bottom of the sea”: “Burn everything British except their coal”. That was the sort of policy preached by the then Leader of the [1640] Fianna Fáil Party, by the present Tánaiste of the Fianna Fáil Party and by many Ministers of the present Fianna Fáil Party.

At that time, not alone did they preach an isolationist policy but they also disparaged and ridiculed agriculture. I remember when I first took an interest in or notice of politics early in the 1930s. I got the impression that according to the Fianna Fáil Party a person who had a few bullocks should be ashamed to own them. It was a crime to have cattle. It was a crime to farm in a proper way. That was the sort of doctrine they then preached and that was the sort of doctrine they then appeared to get away with. The tragedy of it was that in those early 1930s, immediately before the war, when this country should have been preparing to take advantage of a second world war, which it was apparent to everybody was coming, the farmers of this country were being made bankrupt. The land of this country was being denuded of its cattle. Generally speaking, when the war came in 1939 we were completely unable to cash in on it successfully and to reap the benefits that a prosperous, thriving agricultural community here would have and should have reaped from it.

At any rate, it is good to see even after 34 years the Fianna Fáil Party accept the policy that the Fine Gael Party have always stood for, that is, that our economy is primarily an agricultural economy, that the bedrock of the economy in this country is tied in with the land, what grows on the land and what is reared on the land. They appear to accept the Fine Gael policy that the British market was something that should be exploited in the interest of the Irish people and exploited to the full and that where we could, economically, develop our industries here, we should do so. Mind you, the Fine Gael Party and their predecessors in the 1920s believed in a sound agricultural and industrial policy.

We introduced the Livestock Breeding Act before the last shots of trouble had died down in order to [1641] improve the livestock of this country, and in order to qualify them for the British market. That was in 1926. In the same difficult period we established the sugar factories. I make no apology for referring to the sugar factories again because such industries should have been developed in this country from the beginning instead of being decried and derided as something unprofitable or not worthwhile.

So much for the background of this Agreement and the history of the Party that introduced it. If I were one of the young men recently drafted into this House as Fianna Fáil Deputies, I would be very ashamed indeed to listen to the speech made by the Taoiseach in introducing the debate on this Agreement and to be reminded of the carry on of himself, his Ministers and his predecessor in the 1930s. I think it is something that the young people of this country should be reminded of.

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

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): They should be reminded of that freely and often just as it took the death of the late W. T. Cosgrave to bring the Fine Gael Party largely before the people and what they did for this country. It takes this Agreement to afford us an opportunity of going back and reminding the young people of this country what the Fianna Fáil Party and the Fianna Fáil policy did to damage the economy of this country in the 1930s.

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

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): The Taoiseach and his Party have for some years back been waiting for something to turn up, for something to happen and for something to solve all our ills. I entered the Seanad in 1961 and in 1962 we heard of the Common Market. We then had the Common Market for breakfast, dinner, tea and supper. We had it on the introduction of every Bill introduced to equip us for the Common Market, which was just around the corner. We were asked to suffer anything which was unpalatable [1642] for the sake of our entry into the Common Market. That was the position in 1961 and in 1962.

Then, in the middle of 1963, when it became apparent that the Taoiseach's forecast that we were to get into the Common Market by 1st January, 1964, was at an end, the Taoiseach tells us that he thought of the Free Trade Agreement with England. That was in 1963. If he thought that he kept it a great secret. He fought, between 1963 and 1965, a number of by-elections and if he thought that the negotiation of this Agreement on those terms was something that would enhance his popularity in the country, he should have mentioned it.

I will go further. He fought a general election in April of this year. We were told about many things in the campaign leading up to that election just as we had been told on the eve of the Roscommon by-election about the drainage of the Shannon. We are told now that that is something that it will take years to bring about, and that the reference to the drainage of the Shannon on the eve of the Roscommon by-election was a reference to the preparation of the plans, etc.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange 52,000 letters.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): However, there was not one solitary word about a Free Trade Agreement, or any new Agreement with Britain, during the campaign in the early part of 1965. I say that it was the bounden duty of the Government to tell the people that they proposed to negotiate, if they could, a Free Trade Agreement with Great Britain. I think it was something that was their duty, something they were bound to do, and something which they neglected to do. I believe this Agreement was negotiated in a panic. I believe the Taoiseach and his Ministers accepted from Britain whatever terms were available.

In support of that statement, I should like to refer to another statement which the Taoiseach made introducing and recommending this treaty to the House. He said:

[1643] It is necessary to reiterate that it is our firm intention to join the EEC as soon as it becomes possible on whatever terms may be available.

Those are weak words. Those are words which do not equip a man to be a strong bargainer. He says he is going to join the EEC on whatever terms are available. I believe he went to England to negotiate a free trade agreement and that he accepted whatever terms were available.

I should like now to deal with this treaty and try to find out how it succeeded in attaining the objects which its negotiators set out to attain. As I said, the object of the Government was to abandon over a period of ten years, to dismantle over a period of ten years, our protective tariffs on industry and industrial exports and, in return, to get a favourable market for our agricultural produce. I shall deal with the industrial aspect of the treaty first because it is clear, and very clear, that protective tariffs are, generally speaking, to be dismantled over a period of ten years, and, broadly speaking, British manufactured goods are to be imported here free of duty, first at a lower rate of duty and eventually duty-free by 1975.

The Government, as such, in the same period are to abandon their Buy Irish campaign and, whether the Ministers who spoke here like it or not, that is exactly what this treaty means. I listened carefully to the Minister for Finance speaking this morning and he confirmed that within a few months the British Government will abandon in favour of us their preference for the use of British manufactured goods in Government Departments there, and our manufactured goods will be equally as acceptable as Britain's. In return we are to do the same. We are to abandon our preference for Irish manufactured goods in Government Departments and State-sponsored bodies. Right well then will Deputy Corry have reason to complain about what CIE are doing and the type of foreign goods they are buying.

That is a significant step for the [1644] Government to take, because I fail to see how the Government can come into this House and exhort the private citizens of this country to show a preference for Irish manufactured goods if they, in a solemnly negotiated document, recorded as an international Agreement, abandon their preference for such goods. It will not be good enough for them to come here, or spend money on advertising, exhorting people to buy Irish goods because the people will say to them in return: “We will follow your example.”

Another very significant concession conceded by this treaty is on the question of quantitative restrictions, or protective tariffs, for the purpose of remedying a balance of payments crisis. Under the 1948 Agreement, if we had a balance of payments crisis here we were entitled to impose levies, or tariffs, or quantitative restrictions, call them what you like, on British imports in order to cure our balance of payments difficulties. Under the 1948 Agreement, the British Government in similar circumstances had not the same right. In other words, no matter what the balance of payments situation was in Britain, she had not the right to depart from the terms of the 1948 Agreement by imposing quantitative restrictions or levies, or tariffs on our produce. There can be no doubt about that.

To give a simple illustration of that, under the 1948 Agreement, the action of the British Government in imposing the levies last year was against international law and against the 1948 Agreement. They did it. I admit, but it was wrong. One would have thought that when our Ministers went over to negotiate this Agreement, they would have solemnly restated the position regarding balance of payments difficulties as enshrined in the 1948 Agreement. But what did they do? They accepted as a fact the right of the British Government in the future to impose levies, thereby accepting the levies imposed by the British Government a few months ago as having been legally imposed. Certainly, they say to the British Government: “In the future you can do it and you need not [1645] blush.” No decent British Government could have imposed the levies last year without blushing because they were doing it in contravention of the solemn Agreement entered into by two sovereign States in 1948. In the future, however, they are to be entitled to do that.

Perhaps it is no harm to labour this a little. Under the 1948 Agreement, we had the right to cure our balance of payments difficulties by imposing tariffs or quantitative restrictions: Great Britain had no such rights as against us and, as Deputy Cosgrave stated, the point behind that was simple. Any such steps that we might take to cure our balance of payments could not possibly do any serious damage to the British economy, but, on the contrary, substantial measures taken by the British as against us to cure the British balance of payments difficulties could ruin us. The people who went over from the inter-Party Government in 1948 were shrewd enough and farseeing enough to see that and guarded against it, at least as best as they could. It is therefore a tragedy to think that the Government have now accepted the right of the British Government to damage us in that way.

The Taoiseach, when asked whether this Agreement would cause some factories here to close down, stated that he feared that some factories would not survive and when he was asked to specify what factories would survive, said he could not do so. Statements like that are calculated to damage Irish industry. I wonder will statements like that affect the investment of capital in industry. I wonder will people now be as free or as anxious to invest capital in industry, having regard to the statement made by the Taoiseach that some of these industries may close down but he is not in a position to say which of them will.

It was the duty of the Taoiseach, and his Government and their advisers, to investigate Irish industry before entering into this Agreement in order to see what harm would be done and where it would be done. When our Ministers went over to England to negotiate this [1646] Agreement, they were prepared to concede something on the industrial front. You cannot have it both ways; you cannot have every post a winning post. As I say, they went over prepared to concede something but what I blame them for, and blame them very much for, was for failing to gain sufficient compensation on the agricultural front for their losses on the industrial front. Deputy Dillon and other speakers from these benches stated that this Agreement does nothing more than codify or schedule the 1948 Agreement, as amended. That is the opinion of this Party, that substantially speaking, this 1965 Agreement does nothing more than codify or schedule the provisions of the 1948 Agreement as it is amended.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish In agriculture.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): In agriculture. I am dealing with the agriculture aspects of it now. As I said, that is our opinion but we can get corroboration of that opinion. The President of the British Farmers Association is a gentleman named Sir Harold Woolley. I do not know what his views are on British politics but being President of the British Farmers Association, I believe that he would be conservative in outlook because, by and large, the British farmers are conservative. Therefore, one would think that he and his association would approach this Agreement with a critical eye, would read it with a view to ascertaining if anything worthwhile had been given away from the British farmer. After considering it, in conjunction with his association, Sir Harold Woolley says that it merely codifies the provisions already there.

I have not heard the Minister for Agriculture, or his Parliamentary Secretary, or any of the speakers from those benches, quoting the President of the NFA as saying that this Agreement is all that could be desired from an agricultural point of view. Indeed, I think that when the President of the NFA was asked whether he was influenced by this Agreement in calling off the rates boycott, his answer was: “Not to any appreciable extent”. That, I think, confirms the views expressed [1647] from these benches and by the President of the British Farmers Association. From the agricultural point of view, the Government claim that this Agreement represents a gain all the way and the Parliamentary Secretary, Deputy Lalor, speaking a short time ago spent a considerable time impressing on the House the great benefits that free access for store cattle into Great Britain would confer on the Irish economy. One would think from that, and from the remarks of the Taoiseach, that the British Government had to be persuaded to accept 638,000 store cattle per annum from this country. Such is not the case.

As I understand the Agreement, we imposed no obligation on the British Government to accept 638,000 store cattle from us; on the contrary, this Agreement imposes on us an obligation to deliver to Great Britain 638,000 store cattle. That is a very different thing. It is as easy to sell store cattle to the British as it is to sell fur coats to the Eskimos. They want store cattle and cannot get them anywhere else. They have asked us to undertake to deliver to them 638,000 store cattle, being the number of cattle we sold to them in 1964. Admittedly, that was a good year; but there were better years during the inter-Party Government period when we sold and delivered more than 638,000 store cattle to England.

Under Article IV of the Agreement, do we improve one iota on the price we are getting for those cattle? We do not. We are getting the same price as we got in the 1948 Agreement when, for the first time in our history, the price paid to the Irish farmer for cattle was linked to the price paid to the British farmer for British cattle. Admittedly, it is a fact that under this Agreement, our cattle will qualify for British subsidies and deficiency payments after being in England for two months, whereas heretofore they would have to be there for three months. But, notwithstanding the slick arguments of the Minister for Agriculture, I want to put on record once again that the first time it was set out in a formal Agreement between this country and Great [1648] Britain that Irish cattle would qualify for British deficiency payments after two months was in the year 1948. I defy contradiction of that.

The Minister for Agriculture has stated that there was a provision arrived at informally in 1941 under which cattle qualified after two months. I shall make him a present of that. In 1948, the whole cattle trade between the two countries was in the melting pot again and we were negotiating a formal Agreement. Our Ministers held on to the two months and insisted it be written into the formal Agreement. Again, the Minister for Agriculture said in 1956, during the last year of the inter-Party Government, the term was increased from two months to three months. That may be. I think it had something to do with the fact that we were not clear of bovine tuberculosis here. There was also some adjustment in the price. Another Agreement was negotiated between the two countries in 1960. If what we did in 1956 was not correct and would not have been done by the Fianna Fáil Government, they had an opportunity in 1960 of rectifying that and getting the period back down to two months. But they did nothing about it. They accepted the two months and, again for the first time, the period of three months was solemnly written into the formal Agreement.

Therefore, I want to present to this House the clauses of this Agreement dealing with the store cattle position as being an exact replacement of the 1948 Agreement. I defy contradiction of that. The only thing in it now is that we are tied to deliver 638,000 store cattle to Britain and to accept the British price for them whether or not we can get alternative markets on the Continent or elsewhere at a higher price. Again, I defy contradiction.

There is another very important aspect of this Agreement on the agricultural side to which I should like to refer. It is the provisions of Article II on page 182 under which the British Government agree to pay to the Irish Government deficiency payments in respect of carcase beef and lamb— 25,000 tons of carcase beef and 5,500 tons of lamb. The British Government [1649] agree under the provisions of that Article to pay deficiency payments in respect of that carcase beef and lamb but they do so on condition that the money paid by them to the Irish Exchequer will be used or appropriated by the Irish Government only with the agreement of the British Government. Again, there can be no doubt about that because paragraph (e) of Article II reads as follows:

The sum so paid shall be applied by the Government of Ireland to such purposes and in such a manner as may from time to time be agreed by the two Governments after consultation together.

For the first time in modern history, we concede to the British Government the right to come to this country and tell us how to expend our money and how to run our agriculture.

The Minister for Agriculture, in dealing with this provision, brushed it aside lightly. He did not spend 30 seconds replying to the point. He said the only purpose of it was to avoid payments twice on the same animals. If that is what is meant, why was it not written into the Agreement? Why did we agree on behalf of the Irish people to submit our proposals for the expenditure of this money to Great Britain before expending it? The Minister for Agriculture treated this provision as if we were getting this money for nothing. Reference was made by some of the Deputies behind him to Marshall Aid. There is no comparison between this payment and Marshall Aid. We are not getting this payment for nothing. We are getting this deficiency payment in exchange for our agreement to admit into this country British manufactured goods free of duty. We are getting it in exchange for valuable consideration.

I claim on behalf of this Party and indeed on behalf of this country that, having got it and having earned it, we are entitled to do what we like with it and it is an insult to the Government, an insult to the country and an insult to the farmers that we should have to seek direction from any outside source as to how we should expend it. The sum involved is not very large but the principle is substantial. [1650] This deficiency payment on carcase beef and lamb was, for all practical purposes, not paid in England during last year. It was paid only in one week out of 35 and, again, that is something that cannot too often be emphasised because it explains how little there is in this Agreement for agriculture beyond what was in the Agreement of 1948.

Now, I should like to come to the question of butter. I wish the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture were here and that the Minister for Agriculture who came in here, as I say, to guide him, were also here. Speaking yesterday, Deputy Sweetman explained that under the 1948 Agreement, our quota for the export of butter into Britain was 20,000 tons or more. Under this new Agreement, we are entitled to export to Great Britain 23,000 tons for the year ending 31st March, 1967, and thereafter we take our chance and the whole matter will be reviewed. If words mean anything, the Agreement means that the quota may be increased or may be reduced. Deputy Sweetman said yesterday, and I intended to repeat it today, that that 23,000 tons of butter will cost the Irish taxpayer something between 1/- and 1/6d per lb in order to get the British consumer to eat it. We accuse the Minister for Agriculture of failing to get some relief for that subsidy of 1/- to 1/6d per lb which we have to pay. We suggest, as Deputy Sweetman did, that he should have done it by way of getting a deficiency payment, from Great Britain. Of course, it does not matter whether you call it a deficiency payment, a price support, a bonus, a bounty, or whatever you may call it, so long as it means that money is coming from the British Exchequer in relief of the Irish taxpayer.

The Minister for Agriculture sent his Parliamentary Secretary in here today and sat beside him to ridicule Deputy Sweetman and to endeavour to score a cheap political debating point over him by saying there are no deficiency payments in England in respect of dairy products. He is welcome to that cheap debating point because it is no more than that. There may be no deficiency [1651] payments known as such but price supports are payable in England in respect of dairy products, which amounts to the same thing. I do not care a hoot whether he called it a deficiency payment or a price support or a bounty or a levy or a subsidy, or whatever you might call it, but, whatever it is, he should have looked for it and tried to get it. According to his own words, he got everything he looked for in the dairying sector.

Now, I might deal with bacon for a very short time. Under the 1948 Trade Agreement, we secured a quota in the British market for Irish bacon amounting to 27,000 tons or more, if available. Since then, we have had the First Programme for Economic Expansion and the Second Programme for Economic Expansion and one would think we would require a much bigger quota. But the present Minister for Agriculture comes back with a quota, hard and firm, at 28,000 tons—when the quota in 1948 was 27,000 tons or more. I do not think that is anything to boast about. I do not think it took any tenacious bargaining to secure that, any more than it took any great tenacity to get the British to accept 638,000 store cattle.

I am speaking as the representative of the constituency of County Cavan, a constituency of small farmers, a constituency of mixed farming, a constituency of farmers who keep a few cows, who keep a sow or two, who rear and fatten a few pigs and who keep chickens and rear turkeys. I cannot see anything in this Agreement that was not in the 1948 Agreement for any of these categories.

I have dealt with the cattle. The Cavan farmer keeps cattle. I say that under that Agreement he has got nothing more than was guaranteed him in precisely similar terms in the 1948 Agreement. For his butter, he has got nothing more whatever. He will still, if he exports the butter, have to contribute to the 1/6 in the lb that the British public will have to be paid for eating it. I have told the House about the bacon. The quota is really smaller under the 1965 Agreement than it was under the 1948 Agreement because in [1652] 1948 it was 27,000 or more, if available, and now it is a fixed 28,000 tons.

Now we come to the poultry aspect. The Cavan farmer was always interested in keeping poultry. In the past few years, notwithstanding the activities of the Minister for Finance, the Cavan farmer was branching into the broiler business, putting up broiler houses, and so on, notwithstanding the fact that the recent Finance Act made him liable to income tax. But, under this Agreement, the broiler business and the turkey business are killed because it is solemnly stated in the Agreement that if our export of broilers or turkeys to Great Britain becomes significant—or, in blunt language, if it becomes worthwhile— we will then have consultations with the British Government with a view to allowing British farmers to import into this country broilers and turkeys. That is free trade in agriculture in reverse. We never intended that there should be free trade in agriculture. The idea was free trade in industry, in exchange for preferential treatment for Irish agriculture. It is as simple as that, and I think that is a fairly accurate summary of it. But, here in the broiler business and the turkey business, we are giving to the British the right to import their broilers and turkeys in here.

We have heard questions here during the day from some backbenchers and others as to why we propose to vote for this Agreement. We do not propose to vote for it but we shall not vote against it. We shall not vote against it because it contains the provisions favourable to agriculture which the 1948 Trade Agreement contained, but nothing more. We are rather disappointed with this Agreement. We think the Ministers who went over to Britain made a mighty bad bargain, coming back here boasting about getting the British Government to buy store cattle, boasting about getting the same quota in bacon as we got in 1948 and boasting about getting a couple of thousand more tons of butter sold than the British market accepted last year. This is a long term Agreement. There is nothing in it to boast about as far as agriculture is concerned, [1653] and there is a lot given away on the industrial front.

We are accepting this Agreement with reluctance, and we are abstaining from voting against it with reluctance. We are not opposing it because, for the first time, a leader of the Fianna Fáil Party has put his name to a document confirming his acceptance of the policy advocated by this Party for the past 45 years and because the agricultural provisions of this Agreement are the provisions of the Agreement negotiated by Deputy Dillon, as Minister for Agriculture, Deputy John A. Costello, as Taoiseach, and the other Ministers of the inter-Party Government in 1948.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling Zoom on Joseph Dowling At the outset of this debate, I did not intend to speak but several of the Opposition speakers have been making points which prompted me to make some contribution. The debate has gone on with monotonous repetition over the past few days and there is very little which can be added to the comments already made.

I stand here today as one of the free-born Irishmen to reach maturity and I was appalled to think that the members of the Fine Gael Party attempted to introduce Civil War sores into this debate. Young men of my generation in my Party had hoped to come here and discuss the problems of the 1960s, work for the 70s, and plan for the 80s but the Fine Gael Party are living in the 20s.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Have Dev for the presidential election in 1987!

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling Zoom on Joseph Dowling We hope they will be more enlightened in the future and that they will take a realistic view of the problem rather than living in the past, as they have been doing for the past two or three days. Most of the Fine Gael speakers have gone back periods of 44 years, and some even further. One of the greatest contributions made by Deputy Byrne of the Labour Party was when he summed up the Fine Gael attitude in this debate by saying that they would not vote against it because if it were a success they would say they supported it, but if it were a failure, they would say they did not.

[1654]Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Fianna Fáil did the very same thing in 1948.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling Zoom on Joseph Dowling Fine Gael, if they are not prepared to vote against it, have had no conscience in this debate. According to them, there is nothing good in this Agreement but they end up by saying there is something in the agricultural sector. If they had any conscience at all, they would do what they thought was right.

It would be easy for me to interpret the meaning of “politician”. I did not understand it until this debate was under way. I now understand it fully from some of the interpretations put on it. The nation must be happy tonight that the power is in the hands of the Fianna Fáil Party, having listened to some of the Fine Gael and Labour speakers over the past couple of days. It is well known that politicians are always prepared to criticise——

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins I thought the Deputy did not know what a politician was?

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling Zoom on Joseph Dowling Any person with little intellectual effort can pour out destructive criticism, as has been poured out during the course of this debate. It is a different thing to criticise constructively or suggest improvements but not one single improvement has been suggested by the Fine Gael or Labour Parties. A person who offers constructive suggestions and remedies is at least aware of some of the difficulties. But there are the gossiping scaremongers and slanderers, people who indicated we were traitors because this Agreement was signed and such were the contributions made by Fine Gael and Labour speakers. They will not vote against this Agreement, although according to themselves, we have sold the country.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange The Agreement has been signed since 14th December.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling Zoom on Joseph Dowling They should record their decision against it if they have any conscience. It is quite evident that not one single member of the Fine Gael Party has any conscience.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange We will certainly vote for our amendment.

[1655]An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin The question of voting will come up later on.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling Zoom on Joseph Dowling The people of Ireland are interested in what has been said today, and during the past few days, but not what was said years ago. It is unfortunate that men like Deputy Collins should come in here and make vulgar comments in this House. It is a reflection on his Party.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange He has a proud heritage. He can stand up here or anywhere else.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling Zoom on Joseph Dowling He is still living in the past. We live in the present and plan for the future and that is how we will continue.

I shall not comment on any statements made by any other Fine Gael speakers; some of them were too stupid for comment. On the Labour side last night, we heard Deputy O'Connell pouring out the Labour policy. I am grateful for his statistics indicating that employment in the motor industry had increased by 1,600 between 1961 and 1965. What did he say? He said that the Taoiseach had done nothing to halt the expansion of this industry. Why, he asked, had the Taoiseach allowed the men to be employed? He wanted them sacked before they began work. That was his contribution. Only yesterday we saw that the motor industry is still expanding in certain sectors and will probably continue to expand where men of imagination are in charge——

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange They will not live on imagination.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling Zoom on Joseph Dowling ——and where there are men with ability to plan for the future.

Mr. Casey: Information on Seán Casey Zoom on Seán Casey Deputy Healy wants to say something to you about Fords of Cork.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling Zoom on Joseph Dowling The point is that Deputy O'Connell indicated that it was Labour Party policy that industry should be prevented from developing. It is well that his Party are not in power as perhaps a good many industries [1656] would be stopped. I worked in Aer Lingus in 1948 when the hatchet fell and I saw men dispersed to various parts of the world because there was no employment as a result of Fine Gael policy.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange What about the Garda Band? They got the hatchet.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling Zoom on Joseph Dowling That was mentioned last night, and so were university professors, by Deputy O'Connell, but I am well aware of the position in 1948 and of the industrial destruction and national sabotage of that time.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling Zoom on Joseph Dowling Yet these people talk about the great effort——

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange There are 160,000 fewer people employed today.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin The Deputy will have an opportunity of making his own statement. Deputy L'Estrange should allow Deputy Dowling to make his speech. The previous speaker was not interrupted and I cannot understand why Deputy Dowling should be subjected to this barrage.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Because he is stating things that are not right.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling Zoom on Joseph Dowling In my constituency there was a close-down of a heavy engineering industry at that time. That was in keeping with the Fine Gael attitude through the years. On one occasion a member of that Party and a former Minister for Industry and Commerce stated that it was not the duty of the Government to provide work for the people. That was their outlook then and in 1948 when they sent people packing. Members of the Labour Party and of Fine Gael had to go.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange 300,000 went in the past six years.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling Zoom on Joseph Dowling Our experience over the past years, particularly in the field of industrial expansion, leaves us with a proud record. We can look back with pride and look forward with confidence because we have confidence [1657] in the future, in Irish workers, planners and industrialists. We know they can make the grade, notwithstanding the attacks made on them from time to time and the efforts to terrorise our workers by many politicians and vested interests in relation to this Trade Agreement. The Labour Party have tried to terrorise our workers and so have Fine Gael, because of their alleged deep concern. There is no need for concern. The nation is in the safe hands of the man who developed the industries of this country. I am quite sure the people have absolute confidence in him. This was shown last April. I am sure he will not let them down in the future. He has never done so in the past. He will not desert them or sabotage established industries.

No doubt in the future when many of the industries that will result from this Agreement are established, the Labour Party will try to take credit for them as they have done in the past. But their action tomorrow or tonight, or whenever the division comes, will indicate how they stand. They have no confidence in the future nor in the Irish workers or industrialists.

Much has been said about the manpower policy by members of the Labour Party who, above all, should be aware of the efforts to produce such a policy because they have been consulted. The employers have been consulted and the Minister's Parliamentary Secretary is awaiting the comments of the trade union movement and the industrialists. The question of redundancy has been raised again. We faced that problem a few years ago in CIE and we are not afraid of those problems. We can face them in the future as in the past and I am sure we shall win, despite the Opposition of Fine Gael and Labour. No doubt many problems will arise but we have faced greater problems before and I am sure that the resettlement of workers and associated problems will be solved with all other aspects of manpower policy that have been mentioned here. Unfortunately, some members of the House who should be aware of these problems have overlooked them.

[1658] The uncertainty of the situation has been removed. Industrialists and farmers now know they can plan for the future and will do so. This nation is on the march and we are going to establish a national economy stronger than ever before. In this world of ever-changing conditions and markets, it was necessary to recast our trading agreements and it may be necessary again, perhaps on many occasions. Now, after examination of the free trade situation on a much broader scale, we are prepared to bring about a situation in which we shall reap benefits when we enter EEC or some other free trade organisation in which we may participate.

We can condition ourselves to the new situation and industrialists and workers alike will reap the benefits of free trade. We shall be prepared for that situation to an extent which would not have been possible if we accepted some of the advice thrown out in the past few days. The signing of this Agreement has given us the advantage that we can examine in greater detail the implications and problems of free trade confronting other members of free trade organisations on a broader scale. I am sure industrialists, farmers and workers will reap great benefit from the foresight and ability shown by the Government in doing what they have done in the last few months.

An effort has been made to terrorise the workers. The Labour Party should be thinking in terms of offering suggestions for alleviating the distress likely to be caused by any industrial disruption. Instead, they choose to speak in terms of jobs gone and more for the emigrant ship. At no time have they offered a single suggestion that would be for the benefit of the workers. The only sensible point put forward by them was that made by Deputy H. Byrne when he said that he could not make head or tail of the Fine Gael mentality in not voting for or against the Agreement, that they wanted always to be on a winner. The Labour Party is on a loser and now they know it. The Labour Party had an ideal opportunity to establish themselves [1659] in the eyes of the people by a constructive approach to this problem rather than a destructive one. Their approach will not gain them any support. In future they will be treated with the contempt they deserve.

As I have said, there are defects in our industrial set-up which must be remedied. Labour-management relations must be improved. Possibly something is being done in that connection but the efforts have not been sufficient. One has to read the papers to know what the efforts are. There are some good men and there are some who are not so good. Labour-management relations must be changed. There must be better understanding. In the last few days, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, Dr. Hillery, has endeavoured to make some sort of rapprochement to bring the parties together with a view to ironing out the situation that has been developing for some considerable time. Great credit is due to the Minister. It is not the first time that the Minister for Industry and Commerce has brought about a situation which alleviated distress among workers and helped the development of better understanding between labour and employers.

We are conscious of our responsibilities and confident that we can tackle all the problems that confront us. We are confident that in the future we will lead this country to the prosperity it deserves. We will see that the workers get the concessions they deserve and the standard of living to which they are entitled. That can only be done by an expansion of industry in a manner never before achieved.

Undoubtedly, there are defects in management. Management has been appalling in some cases. Some managements should pull up their socks. In very many cases the rejects and misfits of the medical and other professions are thrown into industry and impede progress. Efficiency in industrial management is just as desirable as efficiency in trade union and other sectors. Technical and planning personnel and managerial supervisors need to be experts in order that industry [1660] may meet future competition. I am confident that we can and will meet that competition successfully.

In conclusion, I should like to say that there is one word that spells success, whether Parties vote for or against this Agreement or do not vote at all. Now that the Agreement is signed, national cooperation is the answer to any problem we may have There must be national cooperation between Parties, politicians, industrialists, workers, trade unionists. It is only on the basis of national cooperation that we can proceed at the pace which is necessary and desirable. Undoubtedly, there will be sabotage on the way, just as there was before. I hope that on this occasion there will be a balanced outlook and that all Parties. irrespective of the way in which they vote on the Agreement, will participate in national cooperation and bring about a situation which will do credit to the workers, to industry and to the country as a whole.

Mr. O'Leary: Our Party, in opposing the motion before the House, did so, not to gain political advantage or because, being an Opposition Party, it is our job to oppose practically every measure, but after deep deliberation in the time available on the propositions involved in the Agreement and the effects of it that we can visualise.

Since the first intimation was given to the country at Dublin Airport to an unknown reporter by the Taoiseach, the country has not had much information to go on in relation to this Agreement. History does not record the name of the reporter but presumably his interview with the Taoiseach will be worth something yet to historians.

The fact is that our Party all along in relation to this Agreement were concerned about the employment position and about our industrial development. Indeed, our concern was expressed by our Leader on more than one occasion and was summed up in our annual conference resolution of last October on the matter.

There has been surrounding this Agreement over the period during which the negotiations have been going [1661] on, roughly the nine months before the announcement was made at Dublin Airport, an extraordinary degree of secrecy as to the nature of the negotiations and the factors involved in them. We noticed here in the important economic debate in this House in the last session that the Taoiseach was careful to avoid any mention of free trade in reviewing the economy at that time and the prospects for the future. The opportunity was not taken at that stage to keep the House informed or to give us some adult status in this decision-making on a matter of such importance. There was no reference made to it. Ample opportunity was taken by the Taoiseach and other Ministers in that debate on the economy to deal with the credit squeeze. The Taoiseach used the language of advance and retreat to which we have become so accustomed. There was no mention of the Trade Agreement negotiations, possibly the most important negotiations that this country's Government have been engaged in for many years. From first to last, an attempt has been made to limit discussion on the Agreement.

We pointed out at the start of this debate that we wanted this debate to take place during the coming week. It was neither our intention nor our desire that the debate should take place at this time. As Deputy Corish said at the outset of his remarks, we did not feel the people had sufficiently absorbed the implications of the Agreement. Whilst the strategy of a responsible Opposition Party before this Agreement was signed would have been to bring this debate to the floor of this House, go into the details of it and the attitude of the Government in endeavouring to make it, immediately it was signed, that responsible Opposition Party would seek to delay the debate on it. There is no inconsistency in that. In fact, the very consistency lies in that, that whereas beforehand our policy would be to alert the people to the direction in which the Government were going, once the Agreement had been signed, our job would be to give the people as much time as possible to digest and understand the implications of the Agreement. It was [1662] noticeable that, whereas before this Agreement was signed, the Government were reluctant to give time here for a discussion of the matter, their attitude changed to something bordering on almost unseemly haste immediately it was signed. We owe it to the Christian tradition. I suppose, that Christmas intervened; otherwise, they would have had the debate on this Agreement on Christmas Day. As it is, they went as near as possible to that by having it on 4th January.

It has been our deliberate policy in this debate to go into every aspect and, as far as possible, to use the only forum available to us to highlight the defects in this Agreement. It shows a very poor understanding of democracy, and how it works, for the Taoiseach to suggest more or less that an Opposition Party in a situation like this is there solely to make political capital. Others of his backbenchers took the attitude that we were practically committing national sabotage in opposing this Agreement. In fact, we have a job to do, a job which may not be remembered next year but which will certainly be remembered in the years after because this Agreement, if it does not achieve an undesirable sensational interest next year, or even the year after, will certainly become more and more important as the years go by, and the names of those who voted for it, or who abstained, will be remembered.

There may be many anonymous Deputies in the other Parties here who do not speak very often and whose only action may be to cast a vote; that vote, their names and their constituencies will be remembered when people begin to examine in the years ahead the full implications of this Agreement. Even if their constituents are not vitally interested in the Agreement at the moment, their interest will be aroused by events in the future. If Fianna Fáil Deputies, looking over their constituencies, are satisfied that the industrial concerns in those constituencies and the economic interests of those constituencies will benefit by this Trade Agreement, or even, indeed, if they are not satisfied, no constituents will be able to warn them at the moment of [1663] the consequences because, to my way of thinking, there is not much political capital of the kind mentioned by the Taoiseach since the Agreement has been obfuscated by so many exaggerated claims and so much inaccuracy that the people as a whole have lost interest in it. We do not see much political capital accruing to us because of our stand in this debate, but we are vitally concerned, as a serious Party with serious obligations to the working people of the country, to play our part so far as the strength of our 22 Members allow us.

In the events leading up to this particular Agreement, the Agreement was mentioned on at least three occasions in the British House of Commons. Here, in this Parliament, we could not get any discussion on the matter. The Taoiseach did not avail of the opportunity afforded him in the debate on the economic situation during the last session to raise the issues involved in this Agreement. But any reasonable man would admit that the Agreement involved economic consequences for this country. Possibly the only people in this island who were aware of every step of this Agreement, of each proposal and counterproposal, were the Unionists in Stormont, an administration which Fianna Fáil have been courting lately, Ministry by Ministry. That administration, elected on the most shameful basis, was well aware of all the elements in this Agreement from first to last. Knowing that, we can well understand how false and how dishonest it is to say that the representatives of the Irish people went to Westminster in a spirit of equality, bargaining as colleagues with the British Government.

The material involved in this Agreement needs far more careful analysis than that given it by the Ministers responsible and by the Taoiseach himself. The Minister for Agriculture has gone on record as making astronomical claims as to what this Agreement will mean to the Irish farmer. His father-in-law, the Taoiseach, has made claims of the same high order. He has spoken of factories in the way in [1664] which one would talk about mushrooms, five factories springing up overnight for every one that closes. He has spoken of some mysterious foreign company coming in to save the vehicle industry. His attitude to the vehicle industry is very like the attitude of the Irish poets of the 18th century: someone will come from across the water to save the day.

The White Paper published is different from the normal type of White Paper we are accustomed to receive. Several of the alternatives it proposes are nothing but deliberate Aunt Sallys. It does not set out to give us an honest and complete version of the events leading up to this Agreement.

It is just not honest on the part of the Taoiseach to say that our Party, or anybody opposed to this Agreement, are filled with a spirit of national inferiority, that we do not realise the marvellous revolution that has come about and that now puts Irish industry in the position of facing competitors. The fact is that, in our reading of the Agreement, we are a bit more realistic. Our Party are more closely in touch with our industrial potential. We have been asked to pose our alternatives; if we oppose the Agreement, then we must give the alternatives.

The Labour Party have no desire to wipe Europe off the map. It is on the map. It is on the map that free trade is something gaining force in Europe, even though Europe is divided into two blocs. The alternatives posed by the Taoiseach are not strictly the only available alternatives. The alternative he poses as between acceptance of the present Agreement and complete isolation, acceptance of the present Agreement with rising living standards and industrial development, or, on the other hand, a position amounting to stagnation and the lowering of living standards—these are not the only alternatives. Indeed, Deputy Dowling's speech just now would be more proper to the market place than it was to intelligent discussion in this House.

The Taoiseach treated us to this physical force economic language to [1665] which he has lately become addicted. We retreat and advance. The British negotiators retreated. We, on the other hand, advanced. It took a great deal of time before the British retreated from the positions they held. That may be good enough for Fianna Fáil Deputies out at Dublin Airport, who will receive good news anyway and who must, because of Party affiliation, receive it, but it is not good enough for any Deputy coming into this House to hear facts in a serious situation.

One can appreciate the difficulties under which the Fianna Fáil Party laboured in supporting this Agreement. It was more important to them than possibly for other political groupings in this country to prove that this present Agreement was a novel thing, was something that was absolutely tied to the European venture, something connected with previous applications to the EEC. It was extremely important to prove that it was not what we think it is, reabsorption into the UK economy.

The Fianna Fáil Party had a republican tradition and they represented the best of the radical elements in this country in previous years. It was important for the Fianna Fáil Party to prove that it had nothing to do with a capitulation to a stand taken by a previous Party and by a previous movement in our political history. One can understand the reason why a Fianna Fáil Government should be so anxious to prove that this was a step of the modern order, this movement back into reabsorption into the British economy. One does not have to weigh one's case too heavily in the year that we are in, but one can refer to history for our previous experience of absorption into the British economy and what that entailed.

We have said that the balance of this Agreement was in favour of Britain. We have said that there were no great gains for agriculture as a result of this Agreement, and we have said we do not see this Agreement affording expansion in employment. Anyone who is not blinded by a Party Whip will accept that these are reasonable deductions to make from this Agreement.

[1666] The de facto agricultural position is preserved in this Agreement, and if the waiting period for cattle has been reduced, that was reduced before. If we look to this Agreement as being one which gives us advantages in agriculture that compensate for the undoubted risks that were taken in the industrial sector, I do not think that those benefits, those marginal improvements that we have gained in agriculture, really counterbalance what we have lost in industry. In relation to one gain that we have made in agriculture, the British deficiency payment, this Agreement contains no clause that says that in relation to these deficiency payments the policy of the British Government at the moment will continue in being forever in respect of agriculture. In fact it is quite possible that this will be one element of British domestic policy that will be changed in the years ahead. The Conservative Party decision of earlier this year should remind us of that. In the last session I asked the Taoiseach this question, and he admitted that this was possible at all times. Therefore, if there are a number of gambling points in this Agreement, this is one of the major gambling points involved.

The waiting period for cattle is reduced, so that our balance of payments position will be improved. However, that improvement and the improvement in the cattle trade does not give us, even in agriculture, any possibility of even holding the employment that we have at the moment in agriculture. Again, nobody looking at the number in agricultural employment, looking at the numbers leaving agriculture, in excess of what even our Second Programme contemplates, will agree that the improvement in the cattle position will hold the present population on the land in the future.

Even more unsettling in this connection is that over the past year, 1965, the price of cattle has seldom fallen as low as the British guaranteed price, except for a short period in 1965, a matter of weeks. Therefore, unless the British Government substantially increase their deficiency payments to their own farmers, it is doubtful if any of the payments made will be made because the world price [1667] is continuing to rise for this commodity; the continental trade is quite buoyant and could take perhaps even more than we are at present giving them. In fact, this could be one of the casualties we anticipate because of this Agreement. The commitment to give the figure to which we are committed, at least 638,000 store cattle and 25,000 tons of carcase beef, will have some effect on our continental trade which we had been building up.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan Nonsense.

Mr. O'Leary: We shall wait for the Minister for Justice to prove it is nonsense later on. These are the gains we have made in agriculture against the disadvantages that will arise for industry. The butter quota cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be shown to be an extraordinarily big increase. Even under the old system, we have been approaching to within a couple of thousand tons of what we are now given in perpetuity. We do not wish to labour the point in this regard. It is symptomatic of the general Government decision to refuse to argue the facts, to come out with the facts on this Agreement, that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries refused to give the figure of what the expansion of the butter quota would mean in extra taxation. The Federation of Irish Industries and employers generally expressed the opinion before this Agreement was signed that if it was to deserve support, the gains we would have to get in agriculture would need to be overwhelming to compensate for the damage our industry would suffer.

I do not think the gains we have received in agriculture under this Agreement can be described as overwhelming. Very marginal indeed is a correct way of describing the gains we have had in the agricultural section. Agriculturally, this is not a free trade area. The Minister for Agriculture yesterday said that Irish agriculture could never survive in free trade conditions—that it needed this type of protection. The logic of that escapes me. I do not know which is the more tender now in the Government mind—Irish [1668] Industry or Irish agriculture. It seems as if the Minister for Agriculture is setting up a new protective régime, one for agriculture. He says the British have been very kind to us in this respect. Have they, when we recall that their own agriculture is feather-bedded, subsidised, paid for by the taxpayers? Is it all that generous on their part, in the circumstances, to allow us this protection?

On the industrial side the man-made fibre industry is that most quoted as benefiting from this Agreement. Unfortunately, the undoubted benefits that will arise for this industry have been overestimated and the figures greatly inflated. I admit there will be benefits but a figure of £10 million has been churned about without mention of the fact that this entails the elapsing of a number of years, that certain measures will be required before the benefits can be realised and that it is all very problematical in view of the type of management we have in a great deal of our industries.

In exchange for all the agricultural benefits, we throw open our hitherto protected market and take on British industry in a free for all fight in perfect competition. As other Deputies mentioned during the debate, the competition is extremely imperfect between an industrial giant like Britain and a small country like ours. The Taoiseach may claim, as he did at the outset of the debate, that he brought forth Irish industry from the swaddling clothes stage. He may go down in history as having dismantled what he created and disposing of it.

The employment position will not be affected immediately by the Agreement. The effect will be felt in the years ahead, probably about 1970. One of the protective clauses gives the protection that where employment is affected, Irish goods may be exempted from further tariff reductions provided the total value of the excluded goods is not more than three per cent of the total value of British goods exported to Ireland in the preceding year. There is also the clause that where there is heavy unemployment, quotas may be imposed on imports for up to 18 months to hold them at their previous [1669] level. It must be remembered that there is a clause also which says that if the British Government agree, industries with heavy unemployment may get tariff reduction extension for five years. It must be realised that this will really not give us the protection necessary in the circumstances because there is a run down in agricultural employment far in excess of the figure predicted in the Second Programme. The slow down of improvement, of expansion, which will come after 1970 will not take up the slack created by this redundancy.

The 1971 review must be carried out in company with the British Government. We must remember in this respect that in the 18 months clause it will not be simply enough for the Parliamentary Secretary dealing with manpower to forecast or merely to think there will be unemployment: it must be proved before we approach the British Government on this aspect. One wonders what in fact happens to our policy of grants, tax reliefs and subsidies to Irish industries which will be affected by the Agreement. Fifteen years to go from 1966 and then our attitude on these inducements to industry to expand over a period of years will have to stop. Corporation profits tax, one of the main instruments used by the Taoiseach and his Government, and all the other tax inducements will have to cease and anything that would affect what, in the British Government's view, would be unfair competition will have to come to an end.

In that situation, one wonders what will be the fate of some of the British branch factories here set up initially merely to cater for this home market. Many of the results flowing from this Agreement cannot in their totality be seen at this time: we can merely conclude from clauses in the Agreement what in fact is likely to happen. Arising out of it, one may wonder what will happen to the expansion of the State industrial sector in our employment, a more important element here in the provision of employment, relatively, than in Britain. How will a future Irish Government have the power to expand the State arm with the lessening of control we will have as a result of this [1670] Agreement over our own market? Any State industry at the beginning must have some form of control over the home market to help it expand in its formative years.

What will happen, as a result of this Agreement, to the unfortunate Buy Irish campaign? I do not know if the staff of the Buy Irish committee have been informed of what is in store for them but there are clauses which will bury that campaign very quickly. One may look forward to the absence of the embarrassing disclosures we have had in recent months by different Departments about their purchases of non-Irish goods because in future they can point to the Free Trade Agreement for their defence. Presumably it will save this House a lot of the time we have had to spend in the game of chasing the Departments who were not buying Irish.

Again, the British, with their older industrial traditions do not need, as we do, a new industrial nation, to urge on our people the necessity to buy home manufactured goods. The control of Irish industry, of which we have been having less and less in recent years, will, of course, pass more steadily and quickly out of our hands as this Agreement begins to take effect and one may ask—I appreciate it can be said it will not be necessary—if higher taxation will be required in the years ahead, arising out of the Agreement. One cannot rule out the possibility of extra taxation being needed to relieve the many casualties arising from this Agreement.

Now, to say that it amounts to lack of patriotism and to ascribe lack of patriotism to those who are genuinely worried about the competitive position of Irish industry under this Agreement or to those who are, shall we say, more realistic about Irish industry, is utter nonsense. Those who say that Irish industry is strong and go ahead should examine the CIO reports, which were the most expensive exercise we have had in recent years on the actual state of Irish industry. It would be far better to examine those reports than say that we are suffering from an inferiority complex [1671] and a lack of patriotism in our attitude towards this Agreement.

It is pretty chastening to read through the CIO reports for those who expect tremendous results from Irish industry in the years ahead and for those who contend that we are up to the standard of other countries with regard to free trade competition. The final CIO report referred to all the other twenty-two reports and it remarked that very few firms appear to be interested in export markets. There was lack of interest in export markets. There was a lack of knowledge on export markets. They remarked on the inefficiency of management and the state of equipment in regard to particular industries. Indeed, on such an analysis and in the short period ahead of us before we move towards freer trade it is hard to understand where the confidence of some of the Deputies who think Irish industry is up to this competitiveness comes from and on what it is based.

The CIO reports recommended co-operation to ensure rationalisation of production and increased specialisation, etc. They remarked on the external association of much of Irish industry with Britain. They remarked in the case of wireless, chemicals, electrical equipment and the foundation garment section of the ready-made clothing industry that rationalisation and improvement was much more difficult because of their connections with foreign firms. Indeed, we can see this difficulty repeated in the present Agreement.

When the CIO had gone through the whole exercise they had to report that very few industries had any development plans on hands. This was merely in regard to development plans on hands but as you know quite a period of time may elapse before the actual making of a decision and before we can actually see the fruits in increased employment and factory space. In previous years the Taoiseach and some of his Ministers spent quite a time going around the country exhorting Irish industry to prepare for Europe but very few industries have actually equipped [1672] themselves for entry into the Common Market. They have not prepared themselves in readiness for freer trade conditions. If the Taoiseach and his Government came to the conclusion that nothing but an exercise as drastic as the present one was the only alternative to buck up Irish industries it was an extremely drastic one.

We were told in the CIO reports that in the chemical and the steel industry 50 per cent of the plant was out of date. We were told that in the printing industry much of the machinery was very old. Government assistance which was so lavishly extended to various industries appears to have been unavailed of only in cotton and steel wool production. There is a considerable amount of old and out-of-date machinery in the cotton and steel wool industry, the make-up industry like shirts, the ready-made clothes, gowns and men's outwear. It was discovered in the course of the Report that in the shirt industry one third of the stitching machines were over 20 years old.

Mr. O'Hara: Information on Thomas O'Hara Zoom on Thomas O'Hara Were they hairshirts?

Mr. O'Leary: They may have been. We will need those in the future. Much of the machinery was also obsolete in the cotton and knitwear industry and much of the cotton industry had extremely out of date looms still operating to the amazement of the staff and management. The furniture industry is scattered around the country in old and unsuitable buildings. In fact, the CIO Reports in one sense were amusing but it is a wry amusement. It certainly is amusing having regard to some of the problems confronting Irish industry. They discovered that in the furniture industry, there were hand soldering techniques. That is the kind of equipment we have in this country but Deputies in the Fianna Fáil benches have come here ignorant of the facts. They think we are able to meet competition with Britain, Europe or anyone else who comes in afterwards. No amount of Party loyalty should blind conscientious Deputies to the facts.

The footwear industry is far from satisfactory. Fianna Fáil Deputies [1673] would do well to return to these CIO Reports instead of giving us chunks of the advertising campaigns of the Fianna Fáil Party in recent elections. The position with regard to our industry has not changed very dramatically to date and I suppose it will not change very dramatically tomorrow, despite the ten per cent reduction. It is clear that the casualties in the inefficient Irish industries, because of our failure to face the facts of modern industrial life, will be the unfortunate operatives in those factories and industries.

We hear there is a manpower policy in gestation. The Parliamentary Secretary, Deputy Seán Flanagan, yesterday, protested he was doing a great deal of work in relation to manpower policy. It is not unfair to remind him that the problem of freer trade, which will show up the undoubted problem of retraining and dislocation of industry, has been with us for some considerable time. Although he may be working very hard in 1966 it is ridiculous to be talking about working very hard on a manpower policy when we still do not have one. One could be cynical about this and say that probably a great deal of his problems will disappear in the boat train to Manchester and to other places while he is still talking about the manpower policy.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan We will have it very shortly.

Mr. O'Leary: Well, we will want it very shortly because we have quite some problems in relation to this manpower policy. There are some other problems consequent on this Agreement. There is the problem of people leaving agriculture and looking for work in other jobs. School leavers will be looking for jobs, while some industries will be going to the wall as a result of this Agreement. These problems must be tackled by this manpower authority in a little less than five years. If after that period the Fianna Fáil Government have tackled those problems successfully, the Parliamentary Secretary, Deputy Seán Flanagan, can stand with some pride in the position normally occupied by the Taoiseach.

[1674] The fact is that there is a huge task before this manpower authority. The Fianna Fáil Government have been in office during the immediate period in which this European idea was gathering force, and their answer in 1966 is that they are now practically on the eve of —I was going to say “destruction”— the preparation of this manpower policy. The size structure of Irish industry will not help them, but will be an added problem. One half of our 3,106 manufacturing industries have less than 15 persons on their payroll and rationalisation will make that figure look peculiar. It will show that we have some problems of rationalisation in looking for an industrial complex of this elementary nature. One-tenth of our established industries only top the 100 mark on their payroll.

There is the problem too that certain skills will become obsolete and job-training will be necessary. That problem must be tackled successfully in a little over five years. There must be job training and retraining, and workers coming from agriculture will need special training. The problems of industry itself involved in this Agreement, and the problems of the vehicle building industry, will also have to be looked after in the years ahead.

We take it from this Agreement in political terms that the Government Party are now a class Party. In the past the Government Party said they were for the workers, the employers and the farmers, big and small. They were the Party of the Republic. At the moment a breakdown of their support would show that the people they represent in this Agreement are big business people and big farmers. Not next month or next year, but in the years ahead it will be seen that this Agreement will benefit solely those particular classes and, as such, the political Party who signed this Agreement will be seen for what they are.

Let there be no mistake about it. This Party were not thinking of next month or next year when we decided to vote against this Agreement, but of the overall implications arising from it, what it will mean to this country, what it will mean to our potential support, [1675] and where we stand in this argument. The Government Party have seen that a policy of inducing private enterprise to bolster our economy has not worked. They have seen that the result of all their inducements to private enterprise to come forward with them in this adventure of the industrialisation of the country has not brought the employment which was promised initally.

Their solution to the problem is one which other Irish Parties have adopted in the past—absorption in Britain. In fact, the more we look at the carpetbagging that has gone on in Europe, the more we realise that the road to Brussels led to Westminster. They say they have a manpower policy in 1966, but I do not think the Fianna Fáil Party realise—and they probably do not care—that in the years ahead the position of the trade union arm of the Fianna Fáil Party, the Labour element like Deputy Dowling, Deputy Moore and Deputy Wyse from Cork, will become as anachronistic as that of the Labour element in the old Irish Parliamentary Party.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan The Deputy is so intelligent.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully I am glad the Minister realises it.

Mr. O'Leary: I see that the Minister has one talent, that of observation. The Parliamentary Secretary, Deputy Seán Flanagan, did not inspire confidence in me that he appreciates the problems which anyone of intelligence or any person who has worked in the trade union movement would realise are involved in the matter of employment.

A factual position arises from this Agreement. Britain will now govern this entire island much more effectively than she did at any time in the past. Her troops are now in the Six Counties. Some people in Dáil Éireann are mesmerised by her. She will not have the expense of running this part of the country. We will do it ourselves with delegated powers from West-minister. In fact, the implication of this Agreement is that we are back to [1676] the position pre-1922 as regards control of our economy, or any attempt to set up an independent Irish economy. Free trade will go ahead in Europe in one form or another, but how our industries are to become more efficient in the years ahead should be left as much as possible in our own hands. If tariffs are to be reduced, that should be done with a realisation of the implications in the case of each industry. It should not be done in the blanket way in which it is done in this Agreement at five year intervals.

We say that the Agreement, which has been attended with so much secrecy by the Government Party, and which was finally produced before Christmas, does not give agriculture the miracles which many of its propagandists were talking about before it was signed. It involves much danger for our industries and it signifies the end of the independent adventure which this country embarked upon, even with Partition, in 1922. In fact, it will be seen in the years ahead as the end of the creative period of Fianna Fáil Government, a Party now exposed as a class Party, the friend of the big industrialist and the big farmer who are shedding what was hitherto their main support, labour. For these reasons our Party tabled our amendment lest there be any confusion about our purpose, and where we stand in regard to this Agreement, we are ready to go into the Division Lobbies and vote against it.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins At this stage of the discussion, it is not possible to break fresh ground. Possibly everything that can be said in favour or in criticism of this Agreement has been said by now in one form or another. I dare say there are very useful quotations that some of the Deputies opposite might not like to hear but I do not propose to use them. The claim has been advanced that this Agreement is as good as could be obtained. I am not in any way wronging the Fianna Fáil Party when I say that that is the attitude they take up with regard to this Agreement, that they could not have done better, that they have done the best they could. I am prepared to [1677] accept that this Agreement is probably as good as Fianna Fáil could have obtained but I do not agree that that necessarily means the Agreement is a good one, or that another team of negotiators might not have done a better job.

Whether it is good or bad, the fact is that the Agreement has been concluded. The view of the Fine Gael Party is that it is unrealistic not to recognise that fact. The Agreement was concluded on 14th of last month and it then became a binding international Agreement. I do not believe that should have been done. I do not believe it should have been signed in face of the demands that had been made for a prior discussion in this Parliament. It was the duty of the Government, knowing as they did that there was a strong feeling, not only in this Party but I believe also in the Labour Party, that the terms of an Agreement with an alteration as radical as that proposed in this one, to have it discussed either generally or in detail and, if you like, in camera by this House before the Agreement was signed. That was not done: the Agreement was signed and it has become a binding international contract and it will remain so whatever way the vote goes in this House.

As a Party with a reasonable expectation of forming a Government, we are expected, and I think rightly expected to act rationally and responsibly. In those circumstances, were we to vote against the approval of this Agreement, then logically our vote must be considered a repudiation of this Agreement and must be considered as an earnest of our intention when elected to Government to repudiate this Agreement. What would repudiation of this Agreement mean in terms of Irish trade and economy? Remember this Agreement specifically cancelled the existing trade arrangements between this country and Great Britain. If we were unilaterally to cancel out or repudiate this Agreement, we would then be left with no Agreement whatever because the Government in their drafting of this document, or in the joint drafting of it, have provided in one of the Articles [1678] that the existing Trade Agreements are cancelled out.

Even in internal matters, reasons of prudence obviously dictate quite frequently that abrupt, radical reversals of policy should not take place. That is equally true and equally as valid in international agreements and were we to adopt a position, an agreement having been concluded by an Irish Government, that a change of Government here was going automatically to mean that that Agreement was going to be repudiated and have nothing in its place, then there would not be anything left except a feeling of bad faith in so far as the people of this country are concerned and are regarded by our neighbours across the water. I do not think it is right that we should allow any suggestion of bad faith on our part to be made.

Those very briefly are the kind of reasons why we in the Fine Gael Party, while we have our criticisms to make of this Agreement, while we feel it was a very bad bargain that was struck by the Fianna Fáil Party, nevertheless feel obliged from a realistic, practical and responsible point of view not to vote for the non-approval of this Agreement. I think it was the Taoiseach who used the phrase that the Agreement was a fact of life. It is a fact of life but there are others as well, and the fact that we accept this Agreement in the sense that I have spoken of does not by any means indicate that we believe it is the best Agreement that could have been made. It does not by any means indicate that we believe it is even a good Agreement. Certainly it does not indicate that we have imposed on ourselves any vow of silence with regard to this Agreement, or imposed on ourselves any discipline not to point to the flaws and faults in the Agreement as we see them.

The examination and investigation made of the Agreement by speakers from these benches, particularly the examination made by Deputy Liam Cosgrave, shows our determination to give as ruthless and as searching an examination as it is possible to do. We have made it clear in the speeches [1679] we have made in the course of this debate that we regard this Agreement as an unbalanced Agreement, an Agreement brought home by the negotiators who did the job for this country, the balance of advantage of which is in favour of the United Kingdom rather than of Ireland. I do not want to go into precise details because, apart from anything else, I do not think we can do anything more at this stage than estimate the likely effect of this Agreement, balancing advantage against disadvantage, balancing the English position against the Irish position.

However, it has been estimated that at the end of ten years, Great Britain is going to gain something between £50 million and £75 million annually as a result of this Agreement. I do not think there is any member of the Fianna Fáil Party, any member of the Government, no matter how brassy his neck, will make the claim that the financial advantage to us, taking agriculture and industry together, is going to be even half of the estimated advantage to Great Britain. It is quite clear, and it is accepted even by the Fianna Fáil Party, that the balance of the advantage in this Agreement lies with Great Britain. I do not think that is good enough. I do not think any team of negotiators who come back to our shores with that story on their lips can claim they have done a good job for this country.

Frankly, one of the things that worries me in connection with this Agreement is that we appear under it to be obliged for all time to keep that balance of advantage in favour of the British. There are provisions regarding various matters in the Agreement, one of which deals with consultation between this country and Great Britain. This is dealt with in Article XXIII, which provides that representatives of each country shall meet once a year, or at any time at the request of either, to supervise the application of the Agreement. I do not like the idea of British Government representatives being entitled to supervise what we are doing here. However, there is reciprocity and we have as much right [1680] to supervise the implementation of the Agreement.

Later in this particular Article XXIII, at paragraph (3), it is stated:

Should either party consider that an obligation under this Agreement has not been fulfilled or that any benefit conferred upon it by this Agreement is being or may be frustrated or that any cases of special difficulty have arisen or may arise, or that a change in circumstances necessitates or may necessitate a variation in the terms of this Agreement, the other party shall on request enter into consultation immediately with a view to seeking an equitable and mutually satisfactory solution which preserves the balance of the Agreement.

That is the key phrase in this Article. Whatever consultation is entered into, whatever difficulties may arise, whatever dangers threaten here, as far as we are concerned, we are obliged under Article XXIII, paragraph (3), in whatever negotiations we carry out to try to remedy the situation to preserve the balance of the Agreement, which, as I say, is weighted heavily in favour of Great Britain. It gives a balance of advantage, fiscally speaking, to Great Britain of at least two to one, and possibly more. That is the balance the Irish negotiators have tied future negotiators to preserve for all time or for as long as this Agreement remains unrevised.

The Agreement requires revision. I hope in the course of time, with a change of Government, it will be possible to revise it. I hope that is one of the clauses that will go out of it on a revision and that we are not going to act in such a manner that, no matter what changes there are in our circumstances, no matter what hardship may be caused here even by the operation of this Agreement, we will be obliged to carry on and limit our negotiations in that way so that the balance of the Agreement is preserved.

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

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins I am glad Deputy Casey has succeeded in getting [1681] the Fianna Fáil Party to take a bit more interest in the proceedings. I was dealing with the manner in which the Irish negotiators under this Agreement have tied the hands of future negotiators under Article XXIII, which obliges them, irrespective of any difficulties we may meet in the future, to preserve the balance of the Agreement in favour of Great Britain. At this stage of the discussion, even the most enthusiastic Fianna Fáil supporter is beginning to see that this Agreement is not all that they expected it would be. They are beginning to see that, in fact, as far as benefit and gain to this country is concerned, there is very little to shout about in this Agreement. I think they are beginning to see that while, on the one hand, there is very little to shout about so far as benefit to us is concerned, on the other hand, their Government have taken very great risks with the future of this country. The advantages which have been gained, so far as we are concerned, have been dealt with by most speakers.

I think that when criticising the Agreement, it is fair to point to whatever advantages are there. With the exception of one, in particular, on the industrial front. I think that whatever benefits exist under this Agreement must be regarded as in the agricultural sphere. The greatest benefit that Fianna Fáil can point to is the fact that there is to be guaranteed access to the British market in the future for cattle, sheep and lambs on the hoof. I wonder, though, when that is examined, if there is really any great reason for rejoicing. Is it not a fact, and will any Fianna Fáil Deputy deny this, that all that is being done there is that some words which could have been used to limit that access have been removed from the trading relations between the two countries? The particular words regarding “orderly marketing” have gone. But, in fact, as far as I know, and I do not pretend I am an expert in this field, the provision regarding marketing which might have been invoked for the purpose of preventing access to the British market for our cattle in the past has never been invoked, has never [1682] been applied by the British Government, so that when there is talk now about guaranteed access for cattle, sheep, and so on, we are in exactly the same position as we have been up to now except that some words that were there have gone.

Let us look at this provision from the British point of view. Is it not clear that England wants to buy our cattle, wants to buy our livestock? If she could get them elsewhere cheaper, there is no reason why she would not do it. Great Britain is looking after herself. She wants to buy our cattle and, under this Agreement, we are obliged to give a guaranteed supply of 638,000 head of cattle each year from now on. We must do that; otherwise we default under the terms of this Agreement. In addition, we must supply annually, and guarantee the supply, 25,000 tons of carcase beef and 5,500 tons of carcase lamb and, if we do not keep to our bargain, if we do not keep to the guarantee written into this by us for the supply of that quantity, then the provisions of Article 5 of Appendix 2 come into play. Article 5 provides:

If, in any calendar year, the number of store cattle imported into the United Kingdom from Ireland falls below 638,000 head, or if, in any United Kingdom fatstock year, the quantity of carcase beef and carcase lamb so imported is less than 25,000 tons and 5,500 tons respectively, the two Governments shall consult with a view to taking such measures as are practicable to meet the situation.

So there you have the situation that we give an absolute guarantee as to the amount we will export annually. We have to export that to Great Britain even though it may suit us better to export it elsewhere or to export a certain amount of it elsewhere and possibly get a better price. We shall have to turn down the better price, if that situation arises, in order to export it to Britain and, if we fail to do it, the English have a right to a say in what measures are to be taken here to remedy the situation. That is so far as what is regarded as the big gain under this Agreement is concerned.

[1683] There is, of course, the question of the waiting period for store cattle and sheep: that has been dealt with by several speakers. I think it is generally agreed it will not make any great difference. It did not make any great difference when it was increased and it did not make any great difference when it was reduced. Then there are the questions of the deficiency payments and the increase of the butter quota. So far as we are concerned, that is what we are getting out of this Agreement.

The balance of the Agreement, is, as I say, entirely in favour of the British. What do we get in the industrial sphere? I think, again, there is general agreement that the only benefit of a substantial nature to us industrially is in connection with the textile firms manufacturing goods containing artificial man-made fibres. In fact, up to the present, this is the only substantial section of Irish industry which is deprived of access to the British market and, under the arrangements which have now been made, we shall get access in respect of this particular sector of industry. That is an improvement and a benefit on the industrial front but are there any others to offset the gains that the British have made industrially? I have seen an estimate of the value of this particular benefit to us put at something in the region of £2 million to £3 million in the early years, possibly rising to £10 millions in ten years' time. As against that, the estimate given of the value to the British of opening the floodgates here to British manufactured goods, in a ten-year period, has been put at £50 million to £75 million annually. From the point of view of unemployment, I think this Agreement contains most danger so far as we are concerned in industry. In time, admittedly the period will be gradual—it will take ten years to do it—the Irish market will be completely open to British competition.

I said that this Agreement is a fact of life and that there are other facts of life. Another fact of life is that for many years past successive Governments in this country have operated a [1684] policy of protection for Irish industry. A high tariff wall has been erected and that, also, is a fact of life. It is a fact of life that should have been particularly clear to the Fianna Fáil negotiators because they have always claimed they were the champions of the policy of protection of Irish industry. They were proud of the tariff walls and tariff barriers that had been erected. How are they facing up to that fact of life here? It is clear that, ultimately, with the strength and force of British competition on the industrial front, there will be a dislocation of employment, that people will be put out of work as Irish industries will have to close down.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce admitted quite frankly in this House recently that, so far as the motor assembly business was concerned, we can virtually wipe it out under a free trade arrangement. There are other industries likely to be affected as well. In that situation, what safeguards exist in this Agreement as far as employment is concerned? They are dealt with in Article XIX of the Agreement and this, as I read it—and I should be glad if the Minister would correct me if I am wrong—enables us to take some steps, provided certain conditions are fulfilled. Several conditions must be fulfilled. There must be an appreciable rise in unemployment and that appreciable rise in unemployment must be in a particular sector of industry. It must be caused by a substantial decrease in demand for a domestic product and, in turn, that increase in demand must be caused by increased exports. There are four things which must exist before we can take any steps, under Article XIX, in relation to unemployment. The Minister shakes his head but——

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery How can increased demand be caused by increased exports?

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins From the other country. Let us read it:

If in the territory of either Party——

(a) an appreciable rise in unemployment

[1685] That is the first condition—there must be an appreciable rise——

in a particular sector of industry or region

That is the second—it must be in a particular sector of industry or region

is caused by a substantial decrease in internal demand for a domestic product.

That is the third condition. It must be caused by a substantial decrease in internal demand for a domestic product and

this decrease in demand is due to an increase in imports from the territory of the other.

That is the fourth condition.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery Imports and exports.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins It is exports from one and imports to the other. The point I am making is that all four of those reasons must exist, and must exist together, before the steps which can be taken under Article XIX can be put into effect.

If, for example, a moderate amount of unemployment is caused in several different sectors of industry and even though the total of that unemployment, which is caused over a wide field, amounts to what any of us, or even the British, might regard as appreciable unemployment, even in that circumstance, we are not entitled to operate the provisions of Article XIX, because the appreciable unemployment must be in a particular sector. So, if you have moderate unemployment caused over a number of sectors, totalling between them appreciable unemployment, still we cannot do anything about it. If general economic malaise is caused as a result of the weakening in our industrial effort here by reason of this Agreement, in turn causing unemployment, again we cannot do anything about it under Article XIX. Those four conditions must exist and are conditions which are conditions precedent to any part of the remedies in Article XIX being brought into play. What are the remedies if we do? We can have a period of 18 months to limit imports by quantitative restrictions. [1686] We can do it for 18 months only unless we get the permission of Great Britain.

I do not know if it is necessary to say anything further with regard to the failures—and I do regard them as such—to do anything more either on the industrial, but even more particularly on the agricultural front. As I understood references made by Fianna Fáil spokesmen on what benefits are likely to accrue to us in the agricultural sphere as a result of this Agreement, their attitude was: “We got everything we asked for; we got everything we wanted.”

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish The Taoiseach said we got as much as we could.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins That possibly is another way of looking at it. I was going to invite the Minister to tell us did we get everything we asked for.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery Deputy Corish is dealing with that question now.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins I am prepared to agree that we probably got, under this Agreement, everything Fianna Fáil could get.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery Removal of the tariffs was decided on on the basis of what was good for us and this was done in the context of the Agreement, under which we got many concessions.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins I am talking about agriculture. In the agricultural sphere, I understood that the Fianna Fáil attitude was that we got everything we asked for.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery The Taoiseach explained to Deputies that this was a negotiated Agreement.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish The negotiators were not too hot.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery I am sure the same is being said in the House of Commons to their people.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins We are entitled to be told by the Minister, particularly the Minister for Industry and Commerce, [1687] what efforts were made by the negotiators to get rid of the British import levy. I think the Fianna Fáil Government and every Party in this House say that, under existing agreements, the British were not entitled to impose those levies against us. Our negotiators went over to negotiate a new Trade Agreement. They have come back, having negotiated that Agreement, and the levies are still there. Apparently they will remain. What efforts were made by the Government to get rid of them? I do not know whether the Minister, when speaking here, dealt with that but, if any efforts were made, they were failures because the levies were still there. Fianna Fáil were unable to get rid of them.

I should like to ask for some explanation regarding a number of matters in connection with the Agreement and a number of matters connected with the White Paper. We have been told that anyone who criticises this Agreement should be prepared to put forward alternative suggestions. A number have been put forward because it is possible to think of other Agreements which might have been made, other efforts which might have been made to secure arrangements of one sort or another, which certainly would be vastly different and, possibly, very much more beneficial than the product of these negotiations.

The White Paper issued in connection with the negotiations discusses the question of alternatives to some extent and in Chapter 6, paragraph 120 we find this:

The long term objective remained membership of the EEC. It was assumed that this could be achieved by 1970.

Is any member of the Government prepared to tell us why this assumption has been acted on? We are told that was the assumption. “It was assumed that this could be achieved by 1970...” I take it that what that means is that that assumption coloured the attitude of the negotiators in being prepared to accept an Agreement of this sort and [1688] that assumption allowed them to nerve themselves to come back with an Agreement of this sort. But are any of them prepared to tell us why that assumption was made? On what was it based? There is simply that vague, loose comment in the White Paper without any explanation, simply that it was assumed this could be achieved by 1970.

In the next paragraph, paragraph 121, we are told in the final sentence:

Agricultural trade was expected to show a trend towards greater regulation of imports by individual countries and trading groups.

This is in the context of EEC. Who expected that? What reason had they for expecting that. We are not told about it.

Turning to paragraph 128 we see:

In the discussions with the EEC the Government explored the possibility of interim reciprocal arrangements which would provide counterbalancing advantages in the Community Market in return for reductions in Irish industrial protection.

What about telling the Irish Parliament about that exercise in exploration? What in fact was done? We are told the possibility was explored. How was it explored? What work was done? Which of the Ministers, if any, went to Europe to discuss this matter more fully and explore it?

In paragraph 128, it goes on to say: It was clearly established, however, that there was no possibility of a bilateral exchange of preferences, except within the framework of the Community's customs union, participation in which would involve the application of the Community's common external tariff to imports from third countries.

How was it clearly established? Are the Government prepared to tell us? Then there occurs this extraordinary statement:

It was clear also that there was no disposition on the part of the Community to agree to any modification of obligations in relation to the common external tariff which would enable Ireland to maintain the tariff [1689] preferences to which Britain was entitled under the Anglo-Irish Trade Agreements.

I think we are entitled to know how that assumption was made. We are told “It was clear there was no disposition...” If I may get into the Minister's field, what thermometer was used to test the height of the disposition? We are not told. Was any effort made, if there was no disposition to meet us on this, by the Government to alter the views there so that a disposition in our favour would result as a consequence of negotiations and hard work which should have been done by the Government? What steps were taken?

We are asked to believe that Fianna Fáil are endowed in some way in not only being able to look into the hearts of the Irish people but apparently into the hearts of the Europeans to find out precisely what their dispositions are towards us and how far we are able to get with them in negotiations, but we are not told what precise operation was undertaken, if any.

Again, in paragraph 130 of the White Paper it is stated:

It has been suggested that, notwithstanding the obstacles to the negotiations of trading advantages with the EEC some form of association with the Community should be established. The discussions which took place with the Community, however, gave no ground for believing that any such link would be negotiable.

What does that mean, if anything? It means the Government did not even think it worth their while to start negotiations, that because of the discussions that took place they decided it would not be possible to negotiate. Are the Government seriously telling the House they have done their work in relation to possible EEC links when we have in their own White Paper an implicit admission of that sort? It seems the Government did not think it worth while to try to negotiate. If they did, why not tell us and say at what stage did they decide to throw in the towel and discontinue negotiations? Would the Minister for [1690] Industry and Commerce tell us if it is claimed that they even began negotiations? I do not think it is.

If we look at paragraph 133, we see it deals with the possibility of withdrawing Ireland's application for access to the GATT, in which event we would be left a free hand to offer increased tariff preferences to Britain on a scale over and beyond that permitted by the GATT, while retaining the existing level of tariffs on imports from third countries. It then says:

Britain as a contracting party to the GATT would not, however, have the same freedom to join in an arrangement which conflicted with GATT rules.

Again there is no information as to how far along that road we could have come or how far Britain would be restricted. There is simply an easy, vague phrase saying that Britain would not have the same freedom and apparently, because Britain would not have the same freedom, the possibility is dismissed completely as an alternative solution. Even in the Government White Paper possible alternatives are put off. The White Paper is extremely vague in a number of respects and extremely loose and the Dáil, having eventually got this matter before it, is entitled to more detailed and precise information than we have been given.

The Agreement provides, in Article I (5), for a review after five years. Here, again, it seems to me that our negotiators have not, may I say, done brilliantly. The Article provides:

During the year beginning 1 July 1970 the Government of Ireland may conduct a review on the question whether any difficulties analogous to those specified in paragraph (1) of Article XIX... have been caused or are threatened.

Article XIX, we remember, is the one dealing with appreciable unemployment in a particular sector of industry. If difficulties analogous to those specified in that Article occur, the parties shall jointly consider whether they can be dealt with by action in accordance [1691] with that Article XIX. Then it goes on to say:

If the Government of Ireland then conclude that the difficulties are so exceptional—

I am assuming that this does not apply to unemployment difficulties because that matter is dealt with specifically in Article XIX, but there may be difficulties of one sort or another, such as balance of payments problems, or something of that sort—

that they cannot be dealt with by such action, they may exclude the goods in respect of which the difficulties exist or are threatened from the application of this Article, Article IV or Article VI, provided that the number of goods so excluded shall be few—

We are not told how agreement will be reached as to what is to be regarded as “few”. That is left loose, vague and uncertain. However, the goods excluded must be few. The Article goes on to say:

and shall not account for more than 3 per cent by value of total imports into Ireland from the United Kingdom in the immediately preceding year.

The difficulties have to be exceptional and it is clearly set out in the Agreement that this particular remedy can only be applied provided the goods are few in number, without defining what “few” is, and do not exceed a particular percentage.

Again, with regard to Article IX, which deals with dumping, I should like to ask the Minister for Industry and Commerce, in whose bailiwick this would be, just what is intended by this Article. Am I right in assuming that paragraph (1) is intended to deal with the case of one of the contracting parties dumping in the territory of the other, or just what does it mean? Am I right in taking it that paragraph (3) is intended to deal with the situation arising where a third party not a party to the Agreement, some third country, dumps in either the British territory [1692] or Irish territory to the detriment of one or the other?

With regard to paragraph (3) there, assuming some third country dumps on the English market products for which we are entitled to expect a market and by that dumping cuts out the benefit which Ireland is entitled to expect by reason of access to the British market, is the position that in that case we can require the British authorities to take action under Article III?

It seems to me, here again, that the whole position is being left completely in the air, that there is nothing firm, nothing hard, nothing concrete about it. All we can do is to ask them to examine the possibility of taking such action as is consistent with its international obligations to remedy the injury or prevent the threatened injury.

The question has been asked already and I should like to get an answer to it, in connection with Article XIV of the Agreement dealing with public undertakings, particularly paragraph (1) (b) of that Article, if the effect of this is to preclude in future any Buy Irish campaign being initiated in this country because Article XIV (1) (b) precludes any new practice being introduced into the activities of public undertakings which

would involve trade discrimination on grounds of nationality in such a way as to frustrate the benefits expected from the removal or absence of duties and quantitative restrictions on trade between the territories of the parties.

It does seem to me that the effect of that must be that, whatever about the present Buy Irish campaign, we will not be entitled to initiate another Buy Irish campaign in future.

I was going to refer to some of the remarks made by Deputy Dowling but in his absence, it might be better to leave that over. I do want to call attention to one remark which he made which I thought was rather significant. He said that in the future— this was referring to Fianna Fáil—it would lead the country to the prosperity it deserves. In the future, the Government would do that. It made [1693] me ask, what about the present and what about the past? If it is conceded now, even by only a Fianna Fáil backbencher, that this country has not under a Fianna Fáil Government achieved the prosperity it deserves, what have the Fianna Fáil Party been doing for 28 out of the past 34 years, because they have been in office for that period and surely at the end of that period it is not sufficient still to talk about getting grass tomorrow? The Irish people are entitled to expect concrete results today.

Many speakers have dealt with other aspects of this Agreement and I have endeavoured, possibly not with any great success, not to cover too closely the ground that has already been covered by other speakers. Generally speaking, we have made it quite clear, I think, that we do not regard this as a good Agreement. We have, I think, made it quite clear that there are, in our view, many defects and weaknesses in the Agreement; that there is scope, and very great scope, for revision of the Agreement in the future. I want now to express the hope, because I expressed doubt previously, that I am wrong when I feel that one of the Articles in the Agreement will tie the hands of future negotiators to preserving the imbalance that exists under this Agreement. Article XXIII seems to imply that, whatever negotiations may be undertaken to iron out difficulties that may arise, the obligation will be on us to preserve the existing balance, a balance which, as I say, is a balance of advantage against us and not in our favour.

Mr. Fahey: Information on John Fahey Zoom on John Fahey Earlier I had no intention of intervening in this debate, but now, since so much time has been given to it, it is only right that I should make my views known. First of all, I have a certain sympathy with Opposition Deputies faced, as they are, with the difficult task of trying to put a damper on public enthusiasm as a result of this Agreement.

The Agreement is now an accomplished fact. It has been signed and sealed. It has been hailed and applauded by all sections of the community. [1694] No matter how long Opposition Deputies talk, and no matter what misrepresentation they indulge in, they will find it rather difficult to blind the public to the advantages in this Agreement. Indeed, it is obvious from the reception given to this Agreement that the people have more faith in those who represented the country in the making of this Agreement than they have in the representatives on the Opposition benches. We appreciate, of course, that Opposition Deputies are trying to gain some political popularity. I honestly think they are going the wrong way about it. It would be much better if they accepted this Agreement for what it is, namely, a good Agreement, and have faith in our people to meet the challenge, because challenge it is, but it is also a challenge that brings with it great opportunities.

I represent a mainly agricultural constituency. From the point of view of agriculture this Agreement is a godsend. It will put our farmers on their feet and, at long last, it will help to bring their incomes more in line with the incomes of those engaged in industry. Everyone will agree, I think, that both farmers and farm workers are entitled to that. An expanding agriculture goes hand in hand with an expanding economy. There is no doubt whatever but that agriculture is the backbone of our economy and the people as a whole should welcome what this Agreement holds for agriculture.

On the industrial side it represents wonderful opportunities for expansion and wonderful opportunities, therefore, to provide full employment for our people. That has always been the desire of this Government. It is because of the Government's efforts that we have now reached a stage in industrial expansion in which we have to look for new markets abroad. Where should we look but to the country which is nearest, the country in which there is a demand for our products——

Deputies: Hear, hear!

Mr. Fahey: Information on John Fahey Zoom on John Fahey ——namely, Britain. I cannot understand why my colleague, [1695] Deputy Treacy, and the other members of the Labour Party should try to paint such a picture of despair. They have shown beyond all shadow of doubt that they clearly have no confidence in the workers of this country.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish Deputy Treacy never inferred that.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery Take your medicine now.

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

Mr. Fahey: Information on John Fahey Zoom on John Fahey It is worth recording that every industry set up here in the last 10 years has been set up without protection. A number of them are competing successfully on the export market. In my own town of Clonmel three new industries have started within the last few months with a view to exporting and we have had inquiries from at least five other firms from abroad, firms interested in setting up industries in Clonmel. All this is as a result of the advent of free trade.

Deputy Treacy made great play about the difficulties of the boot and shoe industry. In Clonmel the industry has provided good employment down through the years but it has had difficulties and in the last few months there has been redundancy. Workers have been laid off. But that redundancy took place long before this Agreement was even thought of. I do not think this Agreement can be blamed for that redundancy. This Agreement provides protection for any industry that may find the going too tough.

As a newcomer to this House, I am disappointed to find Opposition speakers so inclined to look back to something that happened or was said in the 20s or 30s when entirely different conditions prevailed. We should, I think, all look to the future, look ahead instead of harping on the past. I should be very interested to hear what alternative the Opposition have to this Agreement. So far no constructive alternative has been suggested.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish A better Agreement.

Mr. Fahey: Information on John Fahey Zoom on John Fahey I have not heard it.

[1696]Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish Do not give away so much in return for so little.

Mr. Fahey: Information on John Fahey Zoom on John Fahey I am reminded of the pop song: “We live in a world of our own.” That is what Opposition Deputies would like us to do.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish Are they the Beatles or the Rolling Stones?

Mr. Casey: Information on Seán Casey Zoom on Seán Casey I am at a loss to know what Deputy Fahey means when he asks what alternative is there. He is, apparently, addressing the Labour Party and he obviously expects the Labour Party as a minority Party to provide the Government Party with a blueprint for a remedy for all the ills from which the country suffers. That is not our job. We regard it as our job constructively to examine and criticise any measure that comes before this House. I think I might bring the House back to reality in this respect.

I had no deep-rooted Civil War politics. I was born in the year 1922 and in growing up, I experienced as a schoolgoing child the political life of the Fianna Fáil Party and the Blueshirts. I knew exactly what was happening. I was politically educated in that climate although I was not aligned politically, thanks be to goodness, with the Blueshirts or the Fianna Fáil Party. However, I can never forget that my schoolgoing education was this, if I knew anything at all about politics, that the Fianna Fáil Party preached the gospel of self-sufficiency and—perhaps I misinterpreted them—that we should build a wall around Ireland, that we should have nothing to do with anybody else, that we had a self-sufficient economy in Ireland. The present Taoiseach was one of the leaders in that campaign, and the Minister who is listening now was possibly only a schoolboy like myself at the time, but I am sure that is where he got his gospel and his bible.

Mr. O'Hara: Information on Thomas O'Hara Zoom on Thomas O'Hara He was reared in a different school.

Mr. Casey: Information on Seán Casey Zoom on Seán Casey I would not know that. Can anybody condemn me or people of my age group, including some of the Fianna Fáil Deputies here tonight [1697] who were brought up in that political and economic climate that we should have nothing at all to do with Great Britain, nothing to do with Europe or the world at large? That is the gospel that was preached by the man who is now President of this country. All we had to do was accept his gospel and follow it up. He had some queer ideas but so long as we followed him we could live happily ever after. Our farmers and our farm labourers would be happy. Our factories would go ahead. We were told it was unpatriotic to buy British goods: burn everything British except their coal. You remember that slogan.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery That was Dean Swift.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish He coined it but the Deputy's Party adopted it.

Mr. Casey: Information on Seán Casey Zoom on Seán Casey Every backbencher in the Fianna Fáil Party knows, and none of them knows better than Deputy Healy, that they were quoting that slogan at that time. In spite of that, I must now accept Deputy Healy's advice and that of the Government he supports that there is now no future for this country unless we go along with Britain and sign this Trade Agreement.

Mr. Gallagher: Information on James Gallagher Zoom on James Gallagher It is signed.

Mr. Casey: Information on Seán Casey Zoom on Seán Casey Therefore, when Deputy Healy advises me and my constituents that there is no future unless we sign this Agreement, I am entitled to examine it.

Mr. Healy: Information on Augustine. A. Healy Zoom on Augustine. A. Healy I never said that.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish “It was not me, it was the other fellow.”

Mr. Healy: Information on Augustine. A. Healy Zoom on Augustine. A. Healy I was the one mentioned.

Mr. Casey: Information on Seán Casey Zoom on Seán Casey I think I am entitled to examine the Agreement which has been signed on behalf of my constituents and which Deputy Healy advocates should be signed on their behalf, and we both represent the same people. I am entitled to examine this Agreement.

Mr. Healy: Information on Augustine. A. Healy Zoom on Augustine. A. Healy That is what you have been doing here over the last three days.

Mr. Casey: Information on Seán Casey Zoom on Seán Casey Does Deputy Healy feel [1698] that as regards the workers in the motor assembly industry in the Ford factory, we made a good Agreement?

Mr. Healy: Information on Augustine. A. Healy Zoom on Augustine. A. Healy I do, without any doubt.

Mr. Casey: Information on Seán Casey Zoom on Seán Casey I will take the political risk of saying this, that in ten years' time there will be nobody working in the Ford factory in Cork, and Deputy Healy knows that.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Casey: Information on Seán Casey Zoom on Seán Casey Deputy Wyse knows that also. Deputy Wyse, at a private meeting to which Deputy Healy was not invited, made that prognostication.

Mr. Healy: Information on Augustine. A. Healy Zoom on Augustine. A. Healy Why are they spending £1,500,000 extending the factory?

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

Mr. Casey: Information on Seán Casey Zoom on Seán Casey Because they are whistling going past the graveyard. During the last general election we all had to go to the hustings and there was absolutely no mention, good, bad or indifferent, of a Free Trade Area Agreement between ourselves and Great Britain. Not once was that subject mentioned by any member of the Fianna Fáil Party during that election. There was no mention at any time, not even an indication, that in future there would be anything on the lines of a Free Trade Area.

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor We will mention it at the next one.

Mr. Casey: Information on Seán Casey Zoom on Seán Casey The Deputy has his own troubles in Kerry. The point I am trying to make is that the issue now before the House was not before the people at the last general election and Deputies now supporting the signing of this Agreement which, to our mind, is a betrayal of everything we stand for, have no authority from the electorate to do so. They should have consulted the people about it. We say further that in bringing this Agreement so quickly before the Dáil, on 4th January, the Government have not given the electorate an opportunity of briefing their representatives.

I should like to say that in a certain [1699] hotel in this city today there was a group—I do not speak for them—who had a point of view to express and, as any democratic group might do, they endeavoured to lobby Deputies who have, after all, an opportunity of speaking and voting here. I know nothing of this group and I am certainly not advocating their case. The reason I mention it is that they were brushed aside on instructions from Fianna Fáil Deputies. I do not think that is right. If they had some cause to plead they were entitled to be heard, particularly by the Party who knew that whatever they decided would be carried in the House. Deputy Healy appears to be getting very cross and he is taking notes.

Mr. Healy: Information on Augustine. A. Healy Zoom on Augustine. A. Healy I did not write one word—not one word.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish You should.

Mr. Casey: Information on Seán Casey Zoom on Seán Casey The case we make is that all industrialised centres like Cork will lose out in this Agreement.

Mr. Gallagher: Information on James Gallagher Zoom on James Gallagher The Deputy does not believe it.

Mr. Casey: Information on Seán Casey Zoom on Seán Casey I ask Deputies Healy and Wyse to address themselves to these factors. Is it not a fact that, irrespective of how the farming community benefit—many farmers in my constituency say they will not—we have been sold out? I do not mind saying that the Ford factory in Cork will not, at the end of five years, employ half the number of people now working there. In ten years there will be nobody working there and Deputy Healy knows it.

Mr. Healy: Information on Augustine. A. Healy Zoom on Augustine. A. Healy Ochón agus ochón.

Mr. Casey: Information on Seán Casey Zoom on Seán Casey Deputy Wyse knows it too. That is the situation. What will happen in the Dunlop factory in Cork? This Agreement gives the British Government concessions in respect of imports of cars and of tyres and if we follow that to its logical conclusion we shall find that it will be cheaper in the future for Fords, who have a factory at Dagenham, to import cars fully assembled, with tyres on them, and sell them more cheaply than they [1700] can do now. Deputies Healy and Wyse must have read all about it and must accordingly have come to the same conclusion I have come to—that this is a complete sell out for the hundreds of workers in the Fords and Dunlop factories in Cork.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish The motor car assembly industry will be replaced by imports. Is that not what the Taoiseach said on television?

Mr. Gallagher: Information on James Gallagher Zoom on James Gallagher I do not believe that entirely.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin Deputy Casey does not require any help.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman Would you please look to your left when you say that?

Mr. Casey: Information on Seán Casey Zoom on Seán Casey I can tell the House what the Taoiseach said on television. When questioned about the car assembly industry he admitted—he had to—that it was bunched, bunched like he said the British market was years ago. He said there would be great employment subsequently in the distribution of the cars imported fully assembled.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange And washing machines.

Mr. Casey: Information on Seán Casey Zoom on Seán Casey He said there would be tremendous employment to offset the disemployment in the assembly industry. I leave that to the imagination of Deputies.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish The Taoiseach said that the motor car assembly industry would receive licences to import cars on condition that they would provide employment in the distribution of the cars.

Mr. Gallagher: Information on James Gallagher Zoom on James Gallagher Thank you.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman We are not allowed to restrict the issue of import licences under this Agreement. That is the difference.

Mr. Casey: Information on Seán Casey Zoom on Seán Casey The compensation in this Agreement for the hundreds of workers in Ford and Dunlop who will be disemployed is that the farmer may at some distant date benefit somewhat. That is tremendous consolation for the fellow working in Fords. He will be [1701] told he is being paid off but not to worry about it because the farmers will benefit. He can go down to his corporation house, to his wife and six children, and tell them at some dim, distant date some farmer in Ballyvourney will benefit from this Agreement. I should not like to be the man going home with such a story. Some joker out in Ballyvourney whom he never saw will benefit. Of course, we all know there is nothing in the Agreement to show that the farm worker will gain anything at all. God knows, the farm worker has not had [1702] the best of life down through the years and consequently the number of people working for farmers has been diminishing over the years. I feel, and I propose to deal with it in the morning, that as far as the Labour Party are concerned, as far as the people we represent are concerned, the entire Agreement is a sell-out, a contract with which we could not agree.

Debate adjourned.

The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 9.30 a.m. on Friday, 7th January, 1966.


Last Updated: 27/02/2015 10:31:12 First Page Previous Page Page of 3 Next Page Last Page