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

Friday, 7 January 1966

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 219 No. 11

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

That Dáil Éireann approve the Agreements, Exchanges of Letters and Understandings between the 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:

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.)

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

“is of opinion that the Agreements, Exchanges of Letters and [1704] Understandings between the Government of Ireland and the Government of the United Kingdom which were signed in London on the 14th day of December, 1965, copies of which have been laid before Dáil Éireann, represent a balance of advantage to the United Kingdom in that they do not provide adequately for agriculture and will lead to a reduction in industrial employment and an increase in emigration.”

—(Deputy Corish.)

Mr. Casey: Information on Seán Casey Zoom on Seán Casey When the House adjourned last night, I was at the point of concluding with this exhortation. I felt, in respect of the motion before the House governing this Agreement, that it behoved every Deputy to ask himself, on behalf of the constituents of the area which he represents: “Where does the advantage lie for my people?” Whether we come from cities or rural districts we will have to ask: “What advantage is there in this Agreement for the people I represent?” I must certainly say, addressing the question to myself, and I am sure my colleagues from the city of Cork must agree with me, that we see nothing in it. We see a lot of confusion, a lot of apprehension and a lot of unrest. In other words, the industrial workers in the city of Cork are asking themselves: “What am I going to get out of this? Does it mean more security in my job or does it mean there is a very good chance that my job will not be there at all in five or ten years' time?”

I advise my Fianna Fáil colleagues, who represent Cork city, to please stop, think and ask themselves: “What does it mean to the car assembly industry in Cork? What does it mean to the tyre industry in Cork? What does it mean to the boot and shoe industry in Cork?” It may be all very well for other Deputies to say that there is, in the long run, an advantage to the farming community. If that is so, I should like the Minister for Finance, Deputy Healy or Deputy Wyse to go down to the industrial estate in the Marina, to Fords or Dunlops or go up to the Lee Boot and Hanover Shoe Factory and explain that to the workers there. [1705] If they think there is no disadvantage to the workers in these industries they should get up and say so now.

Mr. Healy: Information on Augustine. A. Healy Zoom on Augustine. A. Healy I said so.

Mr. Casey: Information on Seán Casey Zoom on Seán Casey They should keep on explaining it and not carry on with these promises that in the long run it will be to the advantage of everyone, because the workers in Cork, like the workers throughout the length and breadth of the country, remember the rosy prognostications of the Government Party in the past. They remember them quite well—and I am sure Deputy Healy remembers, because he was one of its greatest advocates— the 100,000 new jobs——

Mr. Healy: Information on Augustine. A. Healy Zoom on Augustine. A. Healy I never said a word about it.

Mr. Casey: Information on Seán Casey Zoom on Seán Casey ——that were to be created. Obviously Deputy Healy has a very guilty conscience, which I appear to be pricking, because otherwise he would not interrupt me. The people of Cork remember Deputy Healy, the Minister for Finance, and other Fianna Fáil spokesmen, trotting up and down the streets of Cork saying: “In ten years' time, we will have 100,000 new jobs” and those who got their Intermediate and their Leaving Certificates and their degrees from University College, Cork, since then, know where the 100,000 jobs were. They were in Birmingham, Coventry and Dagenham. I say to the House in regard to these rosy promises and prognostications of the good that will flow from this Agreement—we heard it before.

We in the Labour Party, having examined the Agreement dispassionately on behalf of the people we represent, have no hesitation in recommending our amendment to this motion. Our amendment, as everyone knows, is designed to show that having examined the Agreement, we feel the advantage is with Great Britain in the signing of the Agreement, that our negotiators did not get in the Agreement what we feel any reasonable negotiators should get, and that the negotiators on behalf of the United Kingdom successfully negotiated it to [1706] their advantage. All that will flow from this in the long-term so far as we are concerned is less employment and more emigration. Because of that the Labour Party are taking the responsible attitude not only of speaking against the Taoiseach's motion but of voting against it as well.

Mr. P. Byrne: Information on Patrick Byrne Zoom on Patrick Byrne I will be quite brief in this intervention because much of what I wanted to say has been said already. I just wish to refer to two aspects of the Agreement. Before doing so, I should say, of course, that I share the sentiments of my colleagues on the Fine Gael benches in regard to the Government's change of heart on the question of foreign trade. I welcome Fianna Fáil's conversion to an acknowledgment of the importance of foreign trade as much as anyone else. On previous occasions I adverted briefly to an early recollection of mine, on the advent of a Fianna Fáil Government back in 1932, of the closure of Gallaher's tobacco factory on East Wall Road within three months of Fianna Fáil taking office, when 400 people were thrown out of employment because the factory was controlled in Northern Ireland and did not comply with the Fianna Fáil Control of Manufactures Act. It was thrown overboard along with all the rest of the economic doctrines which constituted the Fianna Fáil bible in those days. However, that is past history and we can rejoice in their conversion to a more sane approach to national economics, and try to overlook the high price that has been paid.

The two matters to which I wish to refer are the question of dumping, upon which we are promised early legislation, and also the position of the motor assembly trade about which Deputy Casey spoke. I feel that Government spokesmen are being less than honest with the House in regard to the matter of dumping. Dumping in the old-fashioned sense of the term, the selling of goods at scrap prices on our markets, is a bogey that can be guarded against. The difficulty which will confront Irish industry right from the initial stages after this Agreement [1707] comes into operation next July, is not so much crude dumping of the old-fashioned kind, but a more refined form of price cutting, selling at ten per cent or 15 per cent less than the Irish manufacturer's price, or ten per cent or 15 per cent less than the real economic cost. That sort of thing cannot be prevented because it cannot be proved.

We have to admit that quite a lot of the expansion in Irish exports in the past few years has been made possible by this very device. Irish manufacturers who enjoyed a protected home market upon which they were able to recover their manufacturing costs might have a certain slackness in production. Their factories might be kept going catering for the home market for four days a week, and in those circumstances it was quite easy for them to operate on the fifth day and sell their goods abroad. Their overheads having been recovered on the home market, the extra income from the production of the fifth day sold abroad at less than the economic price was so much grist to the mill. If the workers were kicking their heels for four days, and if you kept the factory going for a fifth day, you were not adding substantially to your costs but you were increasing your income. We have to face the fact that quite a lot of our Irish exports were made possible by the use of that device. If the British manufacturers choose to engage in the same procedure, to my mind it will be quite impracticable to try to stop them from doing so. Therefore I suggest that the Minister in his approach is divorced from reality. I suggest that the impact of the Agreement might well be far more serious than the Government spokesmen are prepared to admit.

The Taoiseach was much franker in his statement of the position. It was an amazing thing to sit here the other day and listen to Deputy Seán Lemass speaking of—and I quote his exact words—“high cost, inefficient, obsolescent industries.” The Minister for Industry and Commerce indulges in vague generalities and clichés when he says industry must make itself more competitive and that there must be a [1708] change in their mental attitude. As many speakers have pointed out, the majority of these small industries have so far shown little indication of any ability to adapt themselves to change. In my view, they are quite unable to do so. I can speak from some personal experience about one case in point, a small factory in the midlands which has a monopoly in the manufacture of a certain commodity widely used in this country. They have a complete monopoly by reason of the fact that there is a prohibitive tariff on the imports of similar goods. I know of a factory owned by their main foreign competitor—they are not really a competitor because they cannot get behind the barrier but they will be able to do so—which is owned by ICI in England. ICI is so diversified that nobody will be able to identify this particular product. In one eight-hour shift this company can produce as much as the small Irish factory can produce in one year. That small Irish factory can never cope with that kind of competition. It will be a damn good job for the Irish consumer when that factory goes out of production because their product, relative to that of ICI, is inferior and far too pricey. It is one of these industries that should not have been created.

It is employing about 40 people and we have to acknowledge that fact and face up to our obligations to these 40 people, most of whom are girls. Perhaps our obligation to them is not as great as it is to the eight or ten male employees but there is an obligation there which I do not think the Government are facing up to. It is true that this Party adopted a far different attitude to the proposal to enter the European Economic Community, by reason of the fact, as Deputy Cosgrave said the other day, there is in the provisions of the Treaty of Rome a stabilisation fund and various compensation measures which would enable displaced workers to be generously compensated. There is no such provision in this Trade Agreement and the Government's failure to face up to this problem so far is something which is causing a lot of worry.

That leads me to the position of the motor assembly trade because it is a [1709] typical case in point. It is a trade which directly employs 4,000 people and in the fringe industries employs another 2,000. There are 19 motor assembly plants and of the 4,000 people directly employed, I estimate that about 1,000 are constituents of mine because there are two of these large plants in my constituency. I am personally acquainted with quite a number of these workers, some of them are good friends and supporters of mine. They are very worried indeed. These are semi-skilled men; they are not tradesmen in the conventional old-fashioned sense of the term. They are not members of the craft unions. They are earning a basic wage of about £15 to £16 a week in the Dublin area at present.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce speaking about the motor assembly industry the other day said that the industry had about seven years to adapt itself to the change. It is of course a truism to say that the motor assembly industry “has had it”. That is common knowledge. I believe that the Minister in his statement that the industry has seven years to prepare for obsolescence perhaps overstates the position. It is true that the tariffs will not be removed entirely for seven years but I consider that if any one of these assembly plants, say in two years' time, is faced with the introduction of a major change of model in their parent company—say, the Austin people bring in a completely new model—they might well find it quite uneconomic to jig up—that is the term —for the assembly of that model which would remain current for a number of years. It does certainly seem to me that the crisis situation might well be upon us, for individual plants if not for all, much sooner than the Minister calculates.

The Committee of Industrial Organisation made a pretty thorough survey of this trade and it is very clear from skimming through their report that the employers have little or no real incentive to prepare adaptation plans or alternative plans for the carrying on of their factories, by reason of the fact that they will continue to make the same profits as they are earning at [1710] present merely by acting as wholesale dealers for their British principals. In fact it might be the case that they will make more profit out of wholesaling their cars under their exclusive agency terms than they are making from assembling them at present. These are tough ruthless business men whose god is profit. They are accustomed to a tradition in this trade of hiring and firing without any regard to humanitarian considerations. The CIO pointed out that rather than work overtime to get out of production crises in the past the custom of the trade has always been to hire men and fire them as soon as they can possibly dispense with them. That is an indication of the tough type of trade it is.

I would go further and say that some of them are people who may well have little or no sense of national responsibility. That is the worrying feature of it. They probably could not care less. Certainly, they have not taken their workers into their confidence. They have made no announcement of their adaptation plans. It is also quite clear they have not taken the Government into their confidence. I believe they have no plans at all for carrying on the employment of their workers. Admittedly, these men are not acknowledged tradesmen or members of a craft union. I have heard it said they will be able to find employment in the expanded set-up which, it is hoped, will develop in the industrial field.

As far as light engineering is concerned—boiler making, plate laying and that sort of thing—I am convinced that much of that type of light engineering work in the new set-up is going to go to Belfast, where they have very big plants and an established tradition in the engineering trade. I feel they are going to knock our light engineering plants for six. Since they are so close at hand, to Dublin at all events, they would be well able to undercut, and I think there will be a general recession in this field.

Therefore, it behoves the Government to step into this situation, to call the employers together and tell them bluntly that they and this House [1711] are concerned about the prospects confronting these men. Equally, it behoves the trade union movement to see if it is possible to fit these men into the craft unions. It is amazing the class distinction that exists within the trade union movement and the lack of co-operation which clearly exists between certain types of workers—the snobbish approach the craft unions can adopt towards those with lesser skills. It seems to me that the members of the National Union of Vehicle Builders might well be out on a limb in the situation I have spoken of.

I do not think there is very much more to say on that question of the assembly industry except to appeal to the Minister for Industry and Commerce to come down out of the clouds. I doubt if the Minister, with his admirable traits of character, is tough enough for these types of employers in the motor assembly trade. I think they could pull the wool over his eyes. They are tough and ruthless. Their god is profit. Some of them have no sense of their national obligation. The Lord knows they have made ample profits out of the industry in the past. It is time now to call them to heel.

Mr. Healy: Information on Augustine. A. Healy Zoom on Augustine. A. Healy This debate is continuing in a rather unreal atmosphere. Everybody expected that the Opposition Parties would criticise and find fault with the Agreement. It would have been most unexpected if they had congratulated the Government on their achievement. But they have been continuing for four days repeating themselves over and over without suggesting any real alternatives. I do not think they can say it is not their business to do so. The best they could suggest was that they could have got a better bargain. That is a matter of opinion. But, since they were not the negotiators, surely they should point out where they could have done better?

Opposition speakers have been speaking with divers tongues. On the first day of the debate I heard a member of the Front Bench of the chief Opposition Party make a weighty speech full of wisdom. He said we had got nothing from the British in [1712] this so-called bargain, that everything was weighted in favour of Britain and that they had mesmerised the Taoiseach. But almost in the same breath he said Harold Wilson was playing for the Irish vote in his constituency in the general election that would certainly take place in Britain in the next few months. If he were playing for the Irish vote in his constituency, surely he would be trying to please the Irish in Liverpool and he would not do that by driving a hard bargain.

What struck me about the speeches from the Opposition was their note of pessimism about the future of the country. Invariably, things were going to be bad, workers sacked, the British or somebody else would take over our economy, there was no future and nothing would succeed. I was disappointed and rather amazed at the attitude of a Cork Deputy who knows better than to speak here about the future of industry in Cork and paint a gloomy picture about all those who have to emigrate and give up their council houses. It is perfectly obvious to anybody from Cork that there is a tremendous expansion of industry there at present. The industry most in jeopardy, we are told, is the motor industry. Yet the Ford factory in Cork are spending £1,500,000 on a new building, which is two-thirds complete, and Dunlops are spending £1,000,000. Surely nobody will believe they would be so foolish to spend such huge sums of money on an industry whose future is in jeopardy?

I should like to draw the attention of Deputy Casey and other Deputies to the tremendous possibilities there for the other Cork industries. When I say “Cork industries”, I do not mean it parochially for Cork. The Sunbeam Wolsey factory, according to today's papers, will spend £800,000 in buying new machinery and they are putting the money into Tullamore and other places far away from Cork. The future, to my mind, was never so bright for the industrial workers of Cork and for the country generally. I think, also, that those who are interested in these matters should have a look at the stock market which is a rather sensitive barometer of what [1713] industrialists think of the future of industry in this country. It will be found that, since this Agreement was signed, the stock market has behaved very buoyantly indeed. Therefore, there must be no lack of confidence amongst industrialists as to the future of the country's economy.

I am sorry to have to say that I think some of the Labour speakers I heard are completely out of touch with reality. I heard them speak here about the Act of Union, comparing 1965 with the Act of Union which took place in 1801. There was talk of selling out the country and of making the position worse than it was before 1922. Anybody who would believe in that pessimistic tone is either completely immature or out of touch with reality. At the time of the Act of Union there was no League of Nations, there was no United Nations organisation, there was no GATT and there was no EEC. At the time of the Act of Union there was no co-operation between nations. Each nation depended on itself.

Nowadays, the world is drifting towards a situation where the nations are co-operating. They are behaving as they should behave and are coming into one big organisation or one Parliament. To think that in 1965 any country would behave as it might have seen fit to behave in 1840, for instance, is completely unreal.

There was mention of a change of heart and of the conversion of Fianna Fáil. The Deputy who has just sat down even spoke about Gallaher's factory going away from this part of the country in 1932. He omitted to say that in 1932 Fianna Fáil restored the 1/- that had been taken from the old age pensioners around that time.

In spite of tremendous opposition from the political Parties opposed to Fianna Fáil—the country's industries which were established were sneered at for 20 years afterwards as being backyard industries that could not possibly succeed—it is interesting to note that those industries are now having as defenders the very people who opposed their setting up. Fianna Fáil need make no apologies for protecting [1714] those industries until they were able to stand on their feet. They did that very successfully and few fell. In spite of those that may have failed, very many industries were a credit to the country and succeeded against all competition from outside.

I consider that this is a very good Agreement. Far from Mr. Wilson's mesmerising the Taoiseach, I am sure, generally speaking, that the people of the country are in no way influenced by what has been said in this House by certain pessimistic speakers. The vast majority of the people are very well pleased with the Agreement. They are very satisfied also, that, at the last election and at previous elections, they elected men in whom they had confidence. For at least 20 years I have been hearing some opponents of the Government say that Fianna Fáil duped the people, made fools of the people, made false promises to the people. Such remarks are a sad reflection by those who uttered them on the intelligence of the Irish people. It was also foolish to think that they can be fooled all the time.

The fact is, of course, and it is just as well to face up to it, that Fianna Fáil have had the confidence of the people, generally speaking, for the past 30 years. On the two occasions when they gave the others a chance, they had every reason to regret doing so. This time, I think they are satisfied that their negotiators made a good bargain. Many people I know in Cork are looking to see what England has got out of it, because it seems too good to be true. Our negotiators should be congratulated on the work they have done. If we come here in five years or ten years' time, unlike Deputy Casey and other pessimists, I am certain we shall see the country very much more prosperous than it is today and in no small measure that will be due to the Agreement that has just been signed.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange No matter what Fianna Fáil speakers may say in this House, or outside the House, the fact is that this Agreement marks a decided and a radical change and departure from Fianna Fáil policy as we have [1715] known it for the past 30 years. As far as I am concerned, the Government are welcome to whatever propaganda benefit they can derive from the present Agreement. Let there be no doubt about it, at the present time they need to bolster up their waning fortunes and to keep the people's minds off the real and pressing problems that confront them in Ireland today.

Propaganda has kept Fianna Fáil in office for a long number of years. They must throw dust in the people's eyes. They must pull the wool over the people's eyes. They believe that if the people are promised pie in the sky in the propaganda sheets, in the Irish Press, on the radio and on television they may forget the credit squeeze, the housing shortage and the depression we are experiencing today.

Listening to the Taoiseach speak here on Tuesday last one would think he was elected to power for the first time last April, when, in fact, we all know he has been in office for, I think, 27 of the past 33 years and that he, and he alone, is responsible for the plight of the country today. It is a long time since I first heard the Taoiseach state that we are breasting the hill, that the next year may be difficult but that if the country will give them another year they will be over the hill. We have been listening to that type of thing from the Taoiseach for the past 30 years.

We are entitled to ask what is in this Agreement. It is all right for Deputy Healy to come in here and to talk about deep tones of pessimism and to say that we are pessimistic. In present circumstances optimistic speeches are of no use to the people today: they want a bit of realism. Compare what we read in the Irish Independent of today with the optimistic speech just made by Deputy Healy. Then it will be realised that his approach will be of very little use to the people. Here is what I read in this morning's Irish Independent under the heading “Sharp Rise in Number of Unemployed”:

The total registered unemployed on December 31st was 63,714, [1716] which was 7,310 higher than December 17th, was 4,638 above the most comparable date—January 1st, 1965—and 5,101 higher than January 4th, 1964.

What will these people get out of this Trade Agreement? Deputy Healy spoke of the expansion of industry in Cork. The inter-Party Government were responsible for bringing Verolme to Cork, which has brought £12 million into this country. He mentioned that industries were established in the face of fierce opposition from Fine Gael. That is completely untrue because those on this side of the House, the first people to start the Shannon Scheme and the first of our beet factories—although they may have been called white elephants at that time——

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor At 21/- a week.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange I cannot understand Deputy O'Connor's type of nationalism. When he spoke here the other day about the Buy Irish campaign, he should have addressed his remarks, first of all, to the Department of Posts and Telegraphs, or to the Department of Transport and Power. When he stated he could not get Irish socks, he blamed the people for it and then when he purchased a car in Ireland which did not give him the service it should, he said the sooner the people who produced that type of car go to the wall the better.

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor I do not intend to deny it.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange But, at the same time, it was a very funnty type of argument to put up.

Deputy Healy asked: what will England get out of this Agreement? Unfortunately, it would appear they will get a million of our Irish workers, as they have got under Fianna Fáil since 1932. 1,100,000 emigrants were driven from this country. As we have already stated, this Agreement is unbalanced. The concessions are all on one side.

It might be no harm to say, of course, that this Agreement, as far as [1717] agriculture is concerned, vindicates those who built up our country and who were condemned so vigorously by the Fianna Fáil Party in the past. They are those on our side of the House who were dubbed as being pro-British because they believed, in the past, in the improvement of the British market. They believed in co-operating with our neighbour and they believed it was the best market. I remember taunts thrown at Deputy Dillon on this side of the House as being Minister for Grass when he dared to say, after the 1948 Agreement, that we must improve the land of this country to increase our exports as we were, to a large extent, dependent on the British market as one of our best markets.

As far as agriculture is concerned, no matter what the Minister for Agriculture may say, we are back to where we were in 1932 but, unfortunately for us, the Six Counties and the rest of the world have made wonderful progress since then because they had sane Governments. Let us remember this— and it is very important to remember it—that up to 1932 exports from Northern Ireland and the Twenty-six Counties increased at much the same rate. What has happened since then? Total exports from the Twenty-six Counties in 1964 were £222 million but the total exports from the Six Counties in 1964 were £425 million, because they adopted the same policy from 1932, the belief that you must live by exports and that you have to live by exports. Six small little counties in the north-east of Ireland are exporting over twice the amount exported by the Twenty-six Counties. Then, we talk about the wonderful progress we are supposed to have made in this country under the Fianna Fáil Government.

We are told, of course, we should not go back to the past, but remember the temptation is bound to be there because, when we talk about this Agreement, the 1938 and the 1948 Agreements, we must remember what was said by Fianna Fáil in the past. They told us, as has been stated here on numerous occasions, that the British market was gone for ever, thanks be to God. This Agreement abandons, I [1718] hope, for ever, the isolationist policy of Fianna Fáil and the man who is now traversing the world and will not stay for a week in the small little country he once advocated we should stay in, is telling Vietnam, Russia, China and the rest of the world how they should manage their affairs.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling Zoom on Joseph Dowling And Germany.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange But, in any case, he said if every ship on the sea were sent to the bottom of the sea, we could do without England and the rest of the world. If every ship on the sea had been sent to the bottom of the sea, he could not have his little trips all round the world he is having at the present time.

Mr. Cunningham: Information on Liam Cunningham Zoom on Liam Cunningham He travels by plane, which you people scrapped.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Has Deputy Cunningham read today's paper?

Mr. Cunningham: Information on Liam Cunningham Zoom on Liam Cunningham The Deputy's Party put them to the bottom of the sea.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Deputy Cunningham's Party are throwing 7,600 more people on the unemployment scrap-heap.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan This is a fair day speech.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan Now Fianna Fáil are cooking the unemployment figures.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange It was interesting to listen to the new convert, the Minister for Agriculture, when he spoke about agriculture. He said that he who knows not and knows that he knows not, could be a wise man. The Minister for Agriculture could even be the leader of the Fianna Fáil Party at some time, but he who knows not and knows not that he knows not is either a fool or a knave. But, at the same time, he is not as well up in agricultural figures as he makes out to be. The Minister for Agriculture came in here and told us we would make £10 million. When he was asked to break that down, he refused to do so and stuck to his script.

[1719] I remember the man who is now Uachtarán of this country when he spoke in County Longford——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan The President should not be brought into this.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange He was an active politician——

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish He was the Taoiseach at one time. Surely ex-Taoiseachs can be quoted.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan He is being quoted as President.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange ——a leading light in the Fianna Fáil Party, still very well known and who intends to stay in politics for a number of years still. He stated at one time there was no further use for cattle. He even went so far as to advise the people to keep bees, that he had been told on good authority that Egyptian bees were the best, that we should eat more honey and drink more milk. Now, with our adverse trade balance of £153 million, the realist we have now as Leader of the Fianna Fáil Party would look very well, himself and his Ministers, with a couple of thousand swarms of bees under their arms, trying to do away with our adverse trade balance.

We are told this is a wonderful Agreement and I suppose we will be told, as we were told in the past, that we whipped John Bull, left, right and centre. It might be no harm to quote what the very same man said a few years ago, in Volume 71, Column 45, of the Official Report:

... I wished, like a number of other Irishmen, that Ireland was 500 miles farther out in the Atlantic Ocean or, alternatively, was between Britain and the Continent.

At that time we had no use for Britain and wanted to be far away from her and get markets on the Continent or anywhere else. The wheel has turned full circle.

Mr. Davern: Information on Donal Davern Zoom on Donal Davern And the Deputy advocated that nobody should sell land to the Germans but he was the first man to sell it.

[1720]Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Anything I sold, I bought in my day and I often found it hard to pay for it, but I put it all together and I was offered a good price for it. It was sold to an Irish firm. I ask the Deputy to go to the Minister for Justice or the Minister for Lands and find out whether the firm to which I sold the land paid five per cent or 25 per cent stamp duty on it. That is the test.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin This does not arise on the Free Trade Agreement.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange But if somebody makes a personal allegation, I am entitled to reply to it. I broke no law and I did not rob a bank. I bought a farm as good, or even better, thank God.

Mr. Davern: Information on Donal Davern Zoom on Donal Davern I am delighted to hear it.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange It was one of the best things that ever happened. We hear much of Fianna Fáil seeking publicity because of this Trade Agreement. and claiming it is such a good Agreement. If a blackguard stuck a dagger in a girl's breast and later gave her a blood transfusion and later took out the dagger and then appeared before the judge, I wonder what he would get. He would get about two years in jail. The present Government stuck a dagger in the heart of Kathleen Ní Houlihan in 1932. They may have given a blood transfusion with the 1938 Agreement and taken out the dagger with the 1948 Agreement. Then they want us to throw up our eyes to heaven to say what a wonderful Agreement it is.

It must be hard for Fianna Fáil to realise that they have now swallowed every promise they made. If Deputy Cosgrave, Deputy Dillon and Deputy Sweetman had gone to London with their colleagues and secured this Agreement, Fianna Fáil would say that we had sold the North, that we had sold our physical freedom, that we had delivered the Irish people into the slavery of the base, bloody and brutal Saxon. We are now back where we were in 1932, with the difference, let [1721] it be remembered, that in 1932, we had free entry for goods into the British market, unrestricted by any conditions such as are in a document like this Trade Agreement. The full extent of the restriction is only becoming apparent now.

In that context I want to quote the former Deputy Dr. Ryan as reported at column 253 of volume 71 of the Official Report when he said

The British market was a free and open market up to seven or eight years ago.

He admitted that in 1938. I should perhaps also quote the present Taoiseach as reported at column 166 of volume 71 when he was Minister for Industry and Commerce. He said:

Up to 1932 Great Britain was a free trade country. The agricultural produce of all countries had free entry to the British market and, in fact, the greater number of industrial products had similar unrestricted entry into that market.

We cannot say much for this Agreement. Both Dr. Ryan and the Taoiseach admit that there was free entry up to 1932. Why are Fianna Fáil now trying to fool us and tell us that for the first time we have free access to the British market when, according to their own words, we had it up to 1932? We are also told by certain Fianna Fáil speakers that this is the first time we had free access to the British market, but at column 168 of volume 71 of 28th April, 1938, in reference to the Agreement negotiated by Fianna Fáil, the present Taoiseach said:

Articles 1, 2 and 3 of this Trade Agreement secured for our producers again free entry into the British markets.

According to the Government speakers this is a marvellous Agreement and a great advance on anything achieved in the past. We heard the Taoiseach telling us about the great man Mr. Wilson is. The Taoiseach seems to have been mesmerised by Mr. Wilson and he told us he was a very good fellow. I suppose the next time [1722] the Taoiseach goes over they will have a party and they will sit together with the Union Jack wrapped around them, or perhaps sing “Rule, Britannia”. No doubt Fianna Fáil have changed very much.

There are very doubtful advantages for agriculture in the Trade Agreement but in the case of industry the reverse is true. The Fianna Fáil speakers remind me of lines in a poem by Southey:

But what good came of it at length? Quoth little Peterkin, “Oh, that I cannot tell,” said he, “But ' twas a famous victory.”

We are opening the entire Irish industrial market after a certain number of years to the full flow of industrial products from the most efficient industrial producer in the world.

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor Deputy Ryan has no fear for the industries in his constituency.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange I only wish you were right. The Taoiseach has said we must put up alternatives. Would there be anything wrong in making a temporary Agreement with the British Government for a definite time? Let us take our trade with Britain in 1964 when we sold them £160 million worth and Britain purchased from us £129,774,000, a difference of £30 million. We are a small nation while Britain is a large and mighty one. Why could our Government not say: “Our adverse trade balance is £30 million and our people cannot afford that; we are prepared to make a barter Agreement with you. We are one of your best customers: purchase another £30 million worth from us in the next few years and we will then go about making a Trade Agreement with you.”

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor The Deputy said that we sold them £160 million worth and that they bought £129 million worth.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange We exported to Britain £129,774,000 worth.

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor That is what you said they bought from us.

[1723]Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan We should send Deputy L'Estrange to Britain.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange We sold £129,774,000 worth to Britain.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan The Deputy has it right now.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange I am sorry; I suppose I used the words “import” and “export” wrongly. There is an adverse trade balance as far as we are concerned of £30 million odd. Would it not have been better if we had gone over and made even a barter agreement? Remember that in Volume CXII——

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan What year is that?

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange I am not certain. ——Deputy Lemass advocated something similar then. He said that we had an adverse trade balance with Britain at that time and there was no reason why we could not have made in 1948 an Agreement with Britain that she would purchase more from us until we got on level terms and then made a better agreement.

In this Agreement, in certain details, the Government have gone beyond what prudence would dictate. I believe that Fine Gael would not have signed this Agreement. We would have looked for a much better agreement. As many speakers have said, Britain has not been generous. Britain is a business nation. She has driven a hard bargain and in this Agreement Britain has everything to gain and very little to lose, while we have a lot to lose and very little to gain. We have cattle, sheep and meat to sell to Britain that Britain cannot produce at home. Let that be remembered. An industrial country can build huge factories on a small acreage of land and develop industrial production but cannot produce store cattle. Britain was dependent on our store cattle and could not get store cattle from any other country in the world. There is no reason why we could not have struck a much harder bargain. Britain is crying out for store cattle and could not import them from any other part of the world. Britain could not import store cattle [1724] from Europe because of foot and mouth disease. She certainly could not import them live from Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the Argentine. The cattle would be dead before they would arrive in Britain. Britain is dependent on our cattle. We could have struck a harder bargain than we did.

We are told that this is a Free Trade Agreement. It is not a Free Trade Agreement as far as butter is concerned. It has been pointed out by previous speakers that in selling butter to John Bull, we have to put a 1/- or ? postal order around each lb. of butter and that it was costing us £112 per ton to subsidise the British people to eat our butter.

Another very bad provision in this Agreement is the fact that we must first send to Britain 638,000 stores, even if continental countries are prepared to pay us much more than Britain is paying us. If the Germans or the French offer us £10 to £15 a head more for our cattle, we must first supply Britain with 638,000. When people speak about the wonderful achievement that is, they should remember that in 1956 we exported 650,000 store cattle and that in 1927, we were exporting over 700,000 store cattle to Britain.

To many people this Agreement looks like a complete and voluntary sell-out of our limited economic independence. We have the situation now where England has all the industry and employment opportunities and Ireland becomes a ranch once again, supplying unprocessed food to Britain. This applies particularly to the cattle trade. This is something which the present Uachtarán would not agree with if he were active in politics. It might be no harm to quote what he said at column 447, volume 71:

I think it would be a disaster—a national disaster—if we were to go back simply to grass, and if I thought—though I think on the whole the Agreement is satisfactory and there are things in it I want— that we were going back again to grass, simply going to be a ranch [1725] and maintaining only the people a ranch could maintain under world conditions, then I would prefer to scrap that Agreement and that my name never appeared to it.

No matter what anybody has stated, in this Agreement we are going back simply to grass and are becoming a ranch again to supply cattle and sheep to Britain.

Let us remember that a Trade Agreement with a number of countries, such as would be involved in the Common Market, is one thing and that an arrangement with a country which already dominates us to an undue extent is a completely different thing. In my opinion, it is economic suicide in our present circumstances.

I should like to quote from Dr. Labhras Ó Nualláin, Lecturer in Economics in University College, Dublin. Speaking about free trade, he said:

A proposal of this kind is a confession of defeat and despair. Integration with other countries of Western Europe is one thing, a desirable objective and one which I believe will eventually materialise. Integration with one country, and that country being Britain, in the present state of our economic development might lead to prosperity for a few, perhaps, but also to continued economic stagnation and to a further depopulation of Ireland and the crumbling away of the Irish nation. We could expect from economic integration with Britain alone a further draining away of our resources of capital, labour and enterprise, leaving Ireland a sucked out orange, dry, useless and unattractive.

This Agreement can be described as something that may mean prosperity for a few but any Government should be interested, not in a few, but in all the people of the country.

There is nothing in this Agreement for the small farmer, the backbone of the country, and who, we have been told by Fianna Fáil speakers on numberous occasions, were the people who returned Fianna Fáil to power since 1932. On numerous occasions in the [1726] Seanad Dr. Ryan has boasted of the fact that the small farmers of Ireland stood loyally by Fianna Fáil. They have been badly let down in this Agreement. There is nothing for the poultry keeper or egg producer, very little for the pig producer. There may be something in it for the rancher and the large farmer but there is very little in it for the small farmers of Donegal.

Mr. Cunningham: Information on Liam Cunningham Zoom on Liam Cunningham There is something in it for them.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange I should like to see what it is.

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor And for the Kerry small farmers.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange I cannot see what it is.

Mr. Cunningham: Information on Liam Cunningham Zoom on Liam Cunningham That does not prove anything.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange The signing of this Agreement shows the full impact of the Fine Gael constructive criticism of the Fianna Fáil Party for the last number of years. Let there be no denying the full flight from their policy of recent years. Fianna Fáil now realise that industries are not white elephants and that calves are not born to be slaughtered. They have been giving a grant of £15 per head to have them reared.

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor What about old age pensioners?

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Fianna Fáil now believe in co-operation.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan This is a well-worn record.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Will Deputy O'Connor tell me how much better off was the old age pensioner last year, having regard to the depreciation in the value of money, than he was in 1931?

Mr. Cunningham: Information on Liam Cunningham Zoom on Liam Cunningham The Deputy should stick to the Trade Agreement. He is good on it.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange 1/- per week.

[1727]An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin The question of old age pensions does not arise. Deputy L'Estrange should be allowed to speak. The Deputy has already spoken.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Fianna Fáil now believe in co-operation, co-operation with the North and with Britain. We are delighted at their conversion, but it has come 30 years too late. It is a pity they did not believe in co-operation years ago. Had they done so many of our young people, who died in the last ten, 12 or 20 years, would be alive today.

We welcome this type of Agreement, or any Agreement which shows that we want to co-operate with our people in the North and with Britain. At the same time, we do not believe in selling our industrialists down the river, as will happen under this Agreement. I believe much better advantages could have been obtained for our industrialists. The Minister for Justice shakes his head. But why not? Last year we purchased £30 million more from Britain than they took from us. Surely, it should have been possible to point out to them that we are a small, depressed nation, that things are not going too well at the present time, that we took £30 million more worth of goods from Britain last year and the least they could do is to purchase £30 million worth of goods more from us this year. Had that been done we should have been in a position to argue on equal terms. The Minister for Finance, and other Fianna Fáil speakers, said they had not gone hat in hand but if they did not, they certainly came back with their tails between their legs and with a very bad Agreement.

It has taken 30 years to teach Fianna Fáil a sane policy, to see the foolishness of their past economic policy and their hair shirt policy of the 30s. They have now been taught political maturity, but, unfortunately, the country has suffered in the process of their learning. Of course, the members of Fianna Fáil and those associated with them did not suffer.

During the general election campaign in 1961, the present Taoiseach [1728] said we would go it alone. Now he says he is not prepared to go it alone; we will hang on to Britain's coat tails and, if Britain gets into the EEC, we will go in with her. We remember, too, that the present Uachtarán was against free trade.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin I do not think the President should be dragged into the debate.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange I will say “A venerable gentleman who is still active in politics and who intends to stay in politics.” On one occasion, speaking about free trade, he said the law of the jungle prevailed both within the State, concerning the individuals in the State, and between one State and another. We are the junior partner in this Agreement and I do not think we will come out of it very well if the law of the jungle prevails. He said further——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin He was not speaking as President. He made that statement as Taoiseach or as a Minister.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon On a point of order, the Leas-Cheann Comhairle will not forget that the President was nominated at a Fianna Fáil convention. His nomination to the Presidency of the State was announced at the Fianna Fáil Árd Fheis.

Mr. Norton: Information on Patrick Norton Zoom on Patrick Norton Very bad taste.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon And, that being so, he is in politics by his own election.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin The Deputy is entitled to quote him either as Taoiseach or Minister, but not as President.

Mr. Norton: Information on Patrick Norton Zoom on Patrick Norton Has he actually given back his Party membership card?

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange At any rate, he stated on the same occasion that a free trade policy was one for which we did not stand:

We saw it in operation for the greater part of the nineteenth century and for the beginning of the twentieth. The people revolted [1729] against it, and a national policy was set up.

Where is the national policy now? It seems to be dead and buried along with a great many other policies. He further stated:

The people set out not merely to seek political freedom but to get economic freedom.

There is nothing about economic freedom now. It is forgotten. We are tied to the British and the subsidies being paid cannot be dispensed with unless and until there has been consultation with the British Government.

In order to get economic freedom they based their policy mainly on protection, because it was the only policy that would enable them to have any measure of real freedom.

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

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

That is what he had to say about free trade. But he was proved wrong in his arguments in relation to that policy when he spoke about depopulation because we all know that, under Fianna Fáil, we now have only 2.8 million people in the country. We know that 1,100,000 emigrated since 1932. However, according to him, we will now have further depopulation. If that is proved to be accurate, our villages and small towns will be wiped out and in a short time the countryside will resemble a desert.

We have always believed in the desirability and the inevitability of a movement towards freer trade. We believe our position and the conditions necessary for economic survival would be bettered by membership of EEC, even by associate membership along the lines being sought by the Austrian Government at the moment. We believe [1730] that closer relations with Europe have other attractions and would reduce our over-dependence on one country. We all know there is safety in numbers and, within the EEC, we would enjoy, with other small nations the protection of the Community. We would enjoy, with other small nations, ticularly the benefit of the stabilisation fund which was dealt with earlier to day by another speaker.

This Agreement will simply result in the absorption of our small economy in a larger one. The gentleman to whom I referred earlier said on numerous occasions that political independence without economic independence is an illusion. The Party on the opposite benches have heard that at numerous Fianna Fáil meetings. We regret, as we are entitled to regret, the fact that the Government have made no effort to negotiate an associate agreement with the EEC, an agreement which would and could take account of our special relationship with Britain but, at the same time, opening up new markets to our farmers and industrialists. Instead of doing that the Government have tied themselves hand and foot. We must first sell 638,000 head of store cattle to Britain before we sell to any European country. Fianna Fáil have allowed relations with the EEC to stagnate since the breakdown in the Brussels talks three years ago. They have made no attempt to secure an agreement for Ireland. The Minister for External Affairs, who should be busying himself along these lines, attending to this very important business, is occupied elsewhere.

If the Agreement is so good, why has there to be such an effort made by the Fianna Fáil Party to sell it on radio, television and in Government-sponsored newspapers? They concentrated mostly on the economic aspects of the pact and tend to obscure the wider and more permanent implications.

The emphasis up to the present has been on what we are supposed to get out of the bargain. That is what we are told it is, a bargain, rather than what has been given away in the name of our [1731] people by the Fianna Fáil Government and without the people's approval. There was far too much secrecy about this. The Taoiseach admits that three years ago the idea of making a free trade agreement with Britain pending developments in EEC was first put forward to the British Government by us. Did he tell the Irish people that he was putting it forward, the people from whom he has to get a mandate? It must be remembered that he, just as every other politician, is a servant of the Irish people. He also said on the same occasion that he had discussed this question with Mr. Wilson in November, 1964. There was a general election held six months after that. If he thought that free trade would be good for this country, was it not his duty and his responsibility to go before the Irish people and to say to them: “I am negotiating a free trade agreement with Britain. I believe it will be in the interests of the Irish people. I want a mandate from you and I want to put all the facts before you?” He did not do that at that time because we all know that if he did he would have got a different answer.

A tremendous effort has been made to sell this Agreement to the Irish people. Farmers are being dazzled by the prospects of better prices. Even the Minister for Agriculture has told us they are going to get £10 million more. We are told there is a bigger quota for butter. Why call it a Free Trade Agreement? Did anyone ever hear of a Free Trade Agreement with quotas? On examining this Agreement closely we have to say we see nothing in it for the small farmer. We see nothing for the farmer who produces poultry and eggs. We see nothing for the man who produces milk and who is selling it in this country at the lowest price in Europe. We know what the wife of the small farmer who rears turkeys got for them this Christmas. Some people were lucky enough but others, unfortunately, had to sell them at 1/6d or 1/- a lb., or at less than one-third of the cost of production. There is nothing in this Agreement to improve their lot [1732] or to help to keep these small farmers on the land of Ireland.

When we speak of Trade Agreements we should give credit where credit is due. If we do that, then we must admit that the 1948 Trade Agreement was the second best agreement ever signed in this country. I have no hesitation in putting the 1921 Treaty first because it was the stepping-stone to all we have in this country today. Deputy Davern condemned us yesterday for not voting against this Agreement. Fianna Fáil did the very same thing in 1948. We are prepared to be national-minded. We know that the country is in the dumps and let us admit that if this Agreement had not been signed, then there would be no agreement when the other one had lapsed. If this was not ratified, we could have chaos in the country and those who are investing money here might be inclined to withdraw it. We do not want to do anything that might interfere with our economy. We do not agree with this pact. We think it is unbalanced but, at the same time, we do not intend to go into the Division Lobbies——

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor Is your whole argument not against the investment of money? Every industry was going to suffer.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange I cannot follow the Deputy's Kerry accent. Let us examine the 1948 Agreement and compare it with this Agreement. We all remember that in 1948 there was the lowest number of cattle, sheep and pigs we ever had in living memory. The people of England were rationed to two ounces of meat per week. When there was a change of Government the then Ministers, Deputy James Dillon, Deputy John A. Costello, ex-Deputy D. Morrissey and the late Deputy William Norton, went over to England and negotiated that Agreement. Having very little underground wealth, coal, steel and ore, as Deputy Dillon has often said, every one of us depends for his prosperity on what our farmers and workers are able to get from the land and export abroad. It is essential to get the money to buy the raw materials to keep the wheels of industry turning [1733] and to pay our way. That Agreement was negotiated in 1948 and for the first time in the history of this country we were allowed to get deficiency payments for our cattle that were being brought to the British farmer. There is very little improvement in this with the exception of the payment which may or may not accrue to us on beef and lamb. In the last eight months of 1965 in only one week was the deficiency payment made on beef.

Immediately after that Agreement, what happened? There was such an improvement in agriculture that cows went up from the £1 at which they were being sold in 1947 to as high as £30 each. The price of three-year-old cattle increased from £30 to £60 and £70 in many cases. The people who negotiated that Agreement had the wisdom and the foresight to include in it a clause that every increase the British farmer got for his livestock was passed on to us. There was a differential of 5s per hundredweight but practically every increase they got was passed on to us. Every increase the National Farmers Union fought for and secured for their farmers was passed on to us, and it is on that account——

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor They threw in the sponge and got out.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Who threw in the sponge?

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor The Government.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange They certainly did not. They got all these advantages for us and they did not sell out industry. The Deputy knows that as well as I do, and he also knows that if farmers are selling cattle at £60 or £70 over the past ten, 15 or 20 years it is because of the Agreement negotiated in 1948. The arch-patriots of the Fianna Fáil Party have always said: “England's difficulty is Ireland's opportunity.” England was in difficulties recently because she could not get store cattle. It was our opportunity. Did they make any use of it?

During the war, after the signing of the 1938 Agreement, Britain was in difficulties. Her ships were being sent to the bottom of the ocean, her people [1734] were rationed to two ounces of meat a week, yet the arch-patriots of Fianna Fáil, who had then an opportunity of going to Britain and demanding a fair price for our beef and mutton, refused to do so. They gave to a Britain on the verge of starvation our cattle and sheep at give-away prices. It was not until the Agreement of 1948 was signed that the farmers of Ireland got a chance, that they began to have confidence in a Minister for Agriculture.

At that time our farmers, for the first time in many years, had confidence that they could go ahead and plan their economy with the assurance that for their increased production they would have a ready market at a fair return. They have had that fair return in respect of their cattle and sheep from that date. There was nothing in the 1948 Agreement affecting our industries. There was nothing in it that would close down some industries as there is in this Agreement.

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Timothy O'Connor Zoom on Timothy O'Connor Yet the people immediately afterwards threw you out of office.

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

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Ireland has often excommunicated some of those who served her best and crowned those who served her worst. The Minister for Agriculture told us of the wonderful improvements this Agreement would provide for agriculture. He said it was worth at least £10 million a year. We asked him to give us a break down of that but he refused.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan It is obvious.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange With the exception of the carcase subsidy and the Exchequer relief through the beef subsidy, the Agreement merely continues what we had. Let us find out what the British have to say about it. If any concessions were given to the Irish farmer, the British are the people who would cry loudest and condemn their Government for giving away concessions, just as we are condemning the Government at the moment. Here is what the Chairman of the National Farmers Union in Britain, Sir Harold Woolley, had to [1735] say, as reported in the Irish Independent of 17th December last.

After a meeting of his council in London, he said that as a result of representations made by the union during the negotiations, the Irish had merely confirmed their position in the British market for a wider range of commodities.

Note the word “merely”. In other words, there was no change from the Agreement negotiated in 1948 by Deputies Dillon, Morrissey and others. The present Agreement merely confirms the 1948 one. That is far from what we are being told by Government Deputies and supporters. The British farmers are affected by this Agreement and if their pockets were hit by it, if the shoe pinched them, the chairman of their organisation would have told all about it.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan He would have been fired by his organisation if he had said anything else.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange In Ireland you may be in organisations and tell as many lies as you like and you will get away with it. You will never be fired by the Irish people as long as you are able to throw dust in their eyes. We have heard a lot in the last few days about nationality, about the Buy Irish campaign. When this Agreement comes into operation they cannot advocate the buying of Irish.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan That is nonsense.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange It cannot be advocated by the Government. Perhaps they can get their men to do it down the country, which is another thing altogether. Fianna Fáil Deputies should tell the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs and the Minister for Transport and Power to buy Irish. Deputy Ryan and Labour Deputies got information during the year that these Ministers were buying goods from abroad, were placing contracts abroad. That able old warrior, Deputy Corry, the other day showed that out of 26 ships 23 were sent outside the country for repair. That is a scandalous state [1736] of affairs. Deputy O'Connor should speak to the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs and the Minister for Transport and Power and tell them to place their orders for Irish goods. Had they been doing that we might not have had an adverse trade balance with Britain in 1964 of £30 million. It might be no harm here if we try to find out what monopoly of nationalism Fianna Fáil have. They may have had it in the past but they have damn little since the signing of this Agreement. The 1921 Treaty was the best Agreement we had. It was the stepping stone to everything we have got today and Deputy Brian Lenihan——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin The Minister for Justice.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange The Minister for Justice would not now be sitting where he is if it were not for that Agreement. Neither would An tUachtarán be where he is, in the Park——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin I have told the Deputy that the President may not be dragged into debates.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange At any rate, all those people would not be in their positions today if it were not for the 1921 Agreement. Because of it, the Fianna Fáil Government were able to go to Britain and negotiate this Agreement. Unfortunately, a perverted type of history has been allowed to be taught in the schools and it was not until the death of W.T. Cosgrave that it was brought home to the people that it was not Fianna Fáil but another Party who built up this country. Unprejudiced historians without jaundiced eyes will in future give credit where it is due. Mr. Haughey——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin The Minister for Agriculture.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange The Minister for Agriculture, addressing the House on the Agreement, said the farming community needed better incomes in the widest possible sense, to be followed by better processing and better marketing. He said it was his intention to provide them with the necessary tools [1737] to give them better incomes. What tools has he given to the farmers? He has been Minister for Agriculture for more than a year and he must know that the tool most needed by farmers is credit. Farmers cannot go to the Agricultural Credit Company. Farmers need a fair return for their labour which they are not getting and thus they will not be in a position to use this Agreement as it should be used. Rates, wages, the cost of living and the turnover tax all hit the farmers to the extent of £4 million last year. When the Minister for Agriculture speaks about tools he knows that the price of cattle has fallen by between £8 and £10 per head, that the price of sheep has fallen by between £1 and 30/- per head. Farmers in the west who sold ewes had to do so for £3 per head less than last year.

Where are the tools? The farmers' income last year was down by at least £8 million. During the last fortnight, figures were published showing that the average income of a farmer and his family during 1964 was £7 4s. per week and in the west of Ireland the average income of more than 60 per cent of the farmers was £200 per annum. In the name of God, how could any man keep a wife and rear a family on that amount? The Minister for Agriculture had the audacity to say he had given, is giving and would give them the tools to make full use of this Agreement. The farmers have been in the front line of many wars in this country, national, social and economic, and when the call came, they always answered it. They represent 35 per cent of our people. In 1959, they got 29 per cent of the national income and last year, under Deputy Haughey, the Minister for Agriculture, it is reckoned they got 19 per cent of the national income. They are the people, we are told, who are, have been, and will be given the tools. Why try to fool the people? Would it not be much better to tell them the truth, that they have not got the tools? They have been neglected; they have been let down; they are the Cinderellas, and it is no wonder they are leaving the land.

The Minister for Agriculture also [1738] spoke at length on the price advantages in relation to livestock. When discussing the Trade Agreement of 1948, Fianna Fáil did not believe that a better price for cattle would bring prosperity to agriculture. I quote from volume 112, column 2329 what Deputy Allen, the Lord have mercy on him, who was the Fianna Fáil spokesman on agriculture, said:

Getting a better price for cattle is not going to bring great prosperity to agriculture. That is merely a temporary thing. We are getting a good price at the present time because of famine conditions all over the world.

And this despite the fact that prices have doubled since then. He continued:

That is the only reason why we are getting these prices. Coming down to fundamentals, it is tillage done on the small farms which will bring the greatest prosperity and keep agriculture prosperous. Tillage will do more for agriculture than will temporary increased prices.

That is what counts. Let us go back to the policy of the late Deputy Paddy Hogan when he said: “If we want to make a success of this Agreement, we must advocate the policy of one more cow, one more sow and one more acre under the plough.” Deputy Dillon has always preached the same policy. We want to improve the land of Ireland. We want to fertilise it and get from it the maximum acreage of wheat, oats and other crops. I am surprised that there are not some Fianna Fáil speakers throwing something they are supposed to have said across at me.

The Minister for Agriculture also said that we want better farming in the wider sense. Unfortunately, we are getting the worst farming, in its narrow sense. We are told about the wonderful opportunities there are for our people, but the people are not here. Let us remember that tillage is more than important. If we are to make proper use of this Agreement, we must grow our own crops instead of having to import them. I notice a young Deputy has just entered the House and [1739] he might be interested in tillage figures. It might be no harm if the country took a lesson from this to see what is happening.

In 1954, when Deputy Dillon, who is condemned so often in this House, was Minister for Agriculture, there were 586,368 acres of wheat. How many had we in 1964? We had 188,600. That should be borne in mind when you are talking to the Fianna Fáil cumainn. There was a reduction of 397,768 acres of wheat in 11 years. That is where Fianna Fáil policy is getting us. We had to import £14 million worth of wheat during the past year. Would it not be much better if that money were used to import raw materials for our industries to give employment to the people in their own country? The acreage under wheat is down by 397,768.

Now let us come to oats. In 1955, when Deputy Dillon, who is so often condemned in this House, was in charge of agriculture we had 545,144 acres of oats in this country. That gave employment to farmers, their sons, agricultural labourers, people who owned and sold tractors and the people who had to repair them. It also gave employment to garages selling and repairing tractors. In 1964, under this wonderful Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Minister for Agriculture, the acreage under oats was down to 281,200 acres, a reduction of 363,944.

Now, let us come to potatoes. Pigs are fed on potatoes. Good wheat is used for our own people but bad wheat and potatoes are fed to our pigs and our cattle. Therefore, potatoes are important. In 1955, we had 285,622 acres of potatoes; in 1964, we had 173,700, a reduction of 111,922 acres of potatoes. That is under a Minister who tells us that he is providing our people with the tools to make full use of this Agreement. What an awful prospect in an agricultural country.

In 1954, we grew 74,017 acres of beet; in 1964, we grew 72,000 acres. In 1965, under the leadership of the man who is giving our people the tools, and the capital and gearing them to enter EEC on level terms with Britain and the rest of Europe, this [1740] figure is reduced to 66,000, a total reduction of 8,017 acres in relation to beet.

Some Fianna Fáil Deputies have been holding forth on the wonderful Agreement, pointing out that we will export so much sugar in the next few years. As things are, we will not have enough beet to produce sugar for ourselves. We certainly have not enough barley, oats or potatoes to feed our increased livestock. Instead of growing them all on the land, as we should have been doing, we had to add further to the adverse trade balance and import what we should have been growing ourselves. That would have been giving employment to our own people here.

Under Fianna Fáil policy the only role we can play is that of cattle rancher for Britain. There is no question that this Agreement, rightly or wrongly, has caused quite a lot of apprehension and distress amongst our people. They feel there is a sword hanging over their heads. They are like Mahomed's coffin. They are faced with uncertainty. I can tell those people that even on today's paper there is a further increase of 7,000 in the unemployment figure. Those are desperate figures to face.

Industry has got a very bad deal. There has been a complete sell-out. The 1948 Agreement gained us advantages go leor for agriculture but there was no sell out as far as industry was concerned. There are all gains in this Agreement on the one side, and all losses on the other. Northern Ireland and Britain will be the big shots in the future and, unfortunately, we will be the customers. We had tariffs and quotas to protect Irish workers over the years. I sincerely hope that this Agreement will not press unduly on any section of the community but I am afraid it will, especially on those who, during the past 30 years, have put their sweat and money into Irish industrial development.

The Taoiseach has said that the motor industry which employs over 5,000 people is in jeopardy. The aim of Fine Gael is to provide employment for our own people in their own country. The yardstick by which any [1741] Government should be judged on this or any other Agreement is the number of men and women living in their own country, earning a decent respectable living in their own country. I believe this Agreement will throw thousands of Irish workers on the dole, and that we will have more emigration added to the 300,000 who emigrated since 1956, and the one million who emigrated since 1932. I believe we should have more factories based on the raw materials we have at home. I believe more cattle and more sheep should be slaughtered at home. We have got a very slight concession in this Agreement, but it is not enough. We should have held out and said to the British: “We will give meat but we want employment for our own people at home in processing cattle and sheep, and we will send the processed meat to you.” Even if we did get a small concession, it is too small.

Under the Agreement we get a paltry extra allocation of 1,000 tons of bacon, bringing our quota to 28,000 tons. Denmark, which is not making any move towards a Free Trade Agreement with Britain, has just been given an extra allocation of 11,260 tons, bringing their total quota to 300,000 tons. That country, which is one quarter the size of this country, is exporting over ten times as much bacon as we are exporting to Britain. Denmark now tops the list of exports of bacon to Britain with 300,000 tons; British home suppliers are second with 233,000 tons; Poland is third with 50,000 tons; and we come in a poor fourth with a miserable 28,000 tons. As a matter of fact, we have 4.5 per cent of British imports of bacon and Denmark has 47 per cent. Surely if Denmark could get an extra quota of 11,000 tons, our Government should have done something to get more than an extra 1,000 tons for the Irish farmers who produce bacon.

We all know that our marketing system is antediluvian and will have to be changed. We must have more aggressive salesmen abroad from all our industries to make full use of this or any other Agreement. There is no denying that we should have done [1742] much better. We are entitled to much more than one-tenth of the quota of bacon allocated to the Danes. No matter what is said by the Taoiseach, or by the Minister for Agriculture, either he or someone else fell down on the job because the Danes got an extra 11,000 tons under his nose, bringing their quota to 47 per cent of British total imports. The difference is that the Danes have had a businesslike Government since 1932 whose eyes were on business instead of playing politics. They have a good marketing system and the proof is there now. Remember that before the 1938 negotiations took place, we were allowed to export 29,000 tons of bacon to Britain.

No matter what the Taoiseach or the Minister for Agriculture said, this Agreement will not cure all our ills. It will take years to repair the damage that has been done to the farmers of Ireland by the Fianna Fáil policy of high taxation, high rates, and poor prices for agricultural produce. I told the House already that the acreage under tillage has fallen sharply. As yet, the Minister has made no announcement about next year's wheat. Such an announcement should have been made a month or two months ago, so that the farmers could plan ahead. If we are to make full use of this Agreement, the Department of Agriculture should awaken from their slumbers and announce today or tomorrow what the farmers will get for wheat this year. It will be too late to do that in a week or a fortnight's time.

About 200,000 farmers have been driven off the land of Ireland in the past 20 years, and in the Second Programme for Economic Expansion, published by Fianna Fáil, it is envisaged that a further 69,000 farmers will be driven off the land of Ireland in the next six years. We were not told yesterday or the day before, by the Taoiseach or the Minister, whether this new Agreement will make any difference. We were not told whether it will be 69,000, 100,000 or only 20,000. We are entitled to be told these facts. It is a well-known fact that unfortunately in Ireland thousands of farmers are not equipped and have not got the [1743] money to take advantage of this Agreement. If the Government had done their duty during the past few years, they would be in a position to take full advantage of the Agreement. Active and courageous measures will have to be taken at once to put the agricultural producer in a position to avail in full of whatever benefits there are for our farmers in this Agreement. The benefits are very small for the small farmers, and there are some for the big farmers and the other ranchers. I think we are moving in the wrong direction, because the small farmer, who is supposed to be the backbone of the country, is entitled to justice, and he does not seem to be getting it in this Agreement. I suggest to the Government that one of the first things that should be done, if the small farmer is to be kept on the land, is to have a complete derating of any farm under a value——

Acting Chairman (Mr. Cunningham): Information on Liam Cunningham Zoom on Liam Cunningham The Deputy is departing from the motion.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Something like that should be done to put them on a par with the farmers of Britain and Northern Ireland, because it is hard to expect us to compete with the farmers of those countries when we have to pay high rates and high taxation. The farmers will have to be properly equipped. The Minister has said that he intends to give them the tools. One of the principal tools that should be given to them is money. They should be given interest-free loans to put them on their feet and enable them to get the maximum advantage out of this Agreement.

Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins Zoom on Seán Collins They have not got the money.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange According to the Taoiseach, opportunity is knocking at the door and we must go out and welcome it.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan Hear, hear!

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Unfortunately many of us are not in a position to rise to [1744] the occasion, due to Fianna Fáil mismanagement of our affairs. We have an adverse trade balance of £153 million, and we have a deficit in our balance of payments of £50 million, due to bad government. Are we in a position to grasp the opportunities we are told are there? Where are those opportunities for an already overtaxed people who will be paying £225 million in taxes this year, for the ratepayers who will be paying £30 million in rates this year, despite the fact that about the year in which the Minister for Justice was born, they were promised complete derating? Remember that we are talking about opportunities for people who have become like punch-drunk boxers.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan That is the way I am.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Due to our high taxation, they are losing initiative and losing confidence in the Government. The nation is bleeding to death. We heard a lot from Deputy Moore and Deputy O'Connor last night about confidence in the future. We all have confidence and we all want to see our country triumph but what the people want are the facts, to be told the truth, and it is time you told them the truth and stopped fooling them. With all the talk about using this Agreement to the full, we should remember that in Ireland today there are 158,100 fewer people in employment than there were in 1952. If any Deputy says that that figure is wrong, I can give him the information given to me one month ago. In 1951, there were at work in Ireland——

Acting Chairman (Mr. Cunningham): Information on Liam Cunningham Zoom on Liam Cunningham The Deputy is introducing matters which are more appropriate to Estimates. It is in order to refer to these matters but not in such detail as the Deputy is now doing.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan His whole speech is more appropriate to a fair-day meeting.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange It is said that opportunity is knocking at our door and we must go out and welcome it, [1745] but there are 158,000 fewer employed now than in 1951 and how can we welcome it when we have the lowest population, of 2.8 million people, we ever had? How can we say that the farmers are geared to meet it when there are 200,000 fewer employed on the land today than there were 20 years ago? A Government should be judged by the number of boys and girls working and living at home in their own country. What is in this Agreement for the small farmers in the west? Unfortunately in the west today, the people who had 20 or 30 acres of land, who should be producing and exporting, have turned the key in the door and have gone abroad. That is due to Government policy. Is there anything in this Agreement that will attract them back from England? What we want to see are more people on the land and in industry. We want to see more people on the land, to see smoke swirling out of the chimneys and to hear the patter of little feet and not to see the locked doors we see today.

The opportunity is not there today. I doubt if those who have gone to Britain will throw up their hands and say: “A wonderful Agreement has been signed by the Taoiseach, and we will rush home to take the key out of the door and get wives for ourselves. We will return home and we will increase production on the land”. I think we are also entitled to ask the Taoiseach, as free trade will mean lowering taxes and duties, and the lowering of the tariff walls, where he intends to get the extra money. We will be losing £20 million or £30 million and does he intend to increase the turnover tax or income tax? In conclusion, we are starting a new year——

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully That is the fourth time.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange It is not; I never said it before. I defy contradiction on that. Look at the record. I will give £10 to the St. Vincent de Paul Society if I said it before. I want to say that we are starting a new year which is a very important one for us. We have this new Agreement which is very important [1746] to this country and I believe that this is the year in which we may sink unless people are controlled and are prepared to work in the interests of the country. This Trade Agreement will not be worth a farthing to us unless we are prepared to put an end to the bickering and to the industrial disputes which strangle the economic life of the country. We require a period of stability, harmony and co-operation at home—we have it abroad now, we are told—to achieve our targets, social as well as economic.

Now that the Taoiseach has embraced Harold, perhaps management and workers could embrace one another and come to a proper agreement. Everybody must work harder in the future if we are to gain any advantages from this Agreement. We must produce a bigger national cake and we must look only for our due share of it, and no more and no less. No group or sector of the economy should be entitled to look for more than its just share. Let us remember that the naked truth is that we are pricing ourselves out of markets and if this policy continues, our own industrialists will not be able to hold even the Irish market when tariffs are reduced or abolished.

It is time that a national campaign to bring this warning home to everybody was launched. We are slowly but surely committing hara-kiri, and it is the Government's duty to give a lead in controlling the economy to balance all factors one against another. They are the people who should know all the facts and it is their duty to help the people to get the full advantages from this Agreement. They must give the lead but the more we look at the sad history of this country for the past few years, the more we realise that the Government are responsible for many of the ills we have today. They are going this way today and that way tomorrow. They have given labour its head——

Acting Chairman: The Deputy is now out of order.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange I am saying, and it was stated by many others, that if [1747] we are to get the full advantages from this Agreement——

Acting Chairman: Introducing the Agreement after half a dozen sentences does not put it in order.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange I want to say, and I think I am entitled to say, that industry must be saved, must be kept viable under this Agreement, and the Government must lead and must, if necessary, force the employers and the unions to accept changes, in their own and in the national interest. It would be a good idea for each and every one of us if they did that immediately.

Minister for Justice (Mr. B. Lenihan): Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan I do not intend to follow Deputy L'Estrange down the highways and byways of past Trade Agreements and past emotional upheavals in his life from his earlier days in politics—I have had a certain acquaintance with them over many years—because this debate should be concerned with the very practical business of the Free Trade Agreement which has been concluded by the Government, in what way it benefits us and how we are to make the most out of it as a nation in the years ahead. Too much time, apart from Deputy L'Estrange's speech, has been spent on not alone going back to the Trade Agreements of 1948 and 1938 but back to the Treaty and to the Act of Union and, on one Labour Deputy's part, to the Treaty of Limerick——

Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins Zoom on Seán Collins Did the Minister hear Deputy Noel Lemass? He went back to the time of Brian Boru.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan ——which have nothing to do with the facts of life in 1966.

The main theme with which the Government were concerned in initiating these negotiations with the British Government was to take cognisance of the facts of life as this Government saw them last year and to try to achieve some measure of stability by way of a Free Trade Agreement with our largest customer so as to ensure that by so consolidating our position we would have taken the first step, which both [1748] the Fine Gael Party and we agree as being the desirable objective, the first step to Europe with the European Economic Community.

There has been a certain amount of pessimism from various Opposition speakers. This is not in accordance with the mood of a country seeking to expand its exports, first to Britain and later to Europe. I am certain that in voicing this attitude of pessimism both Labour Party and Fine Gael speakers are completely out of tune with the country today. As Deputy Healy said, one barometer alone— probably the most important barometer of economic affairs in any country—the Irish stock market proves them to be completely wrong. Since the signing of this Agreement, the stock market has shown itself to be buoyant and we have an appreciation of shares in every sector. Indeed, it appears both in industry and agriculture there is recognition of the fact, as the Taoiseach said, that this Agreement presents an opportunity to us to show our skills on the market adjacent to us and to train ourselves to be so competitive in that market that we can achieve greater progress in the wider market of the EEC. This, of course, is in accordance with the changed population picture at present, which is another barometer of where a country is going. The population increased projection for 1970 is of the order of 100,000. That would provide a bigger home market from which our industries could expand into export fields.

We have here in regard to agriculture for the first time—despite the Treaty, despite the 1938 Agreement and despite the 1948 Agreement— spelled out absolute freedom of access for our agricultural produce on the British market without any hindrance from the British Government. Under previous Agreements the British Government could, when they wished, in the interests of orderly marketing and after consultation with us, impose restrictions on the sale of our agricultural produce on the British market. In fact, since the British Government linked up with EFTA in 1960, our position under these previous Agreements has been completely eroded. [1749] First in 1960 and later in 1963 we had our position in regard to bacon and dairy produce whittled away by reason of Britain's action in order to allow Denmark, one of her EFTA partners, a satisfactory price on the British market.

Mr. Clinton: Information on Mark A. Clinton Zoom on Mark A. Clinton It was because of the Fianna Fáil Government's failure to develop the industry over the years.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan Until the signing of this Agreement, there was nothing any Irish Government could do under the 1938 Agreement and the 1948 Agreement to prevent Britain giving special concessions to her partners in EFTA or any other organisation to the detriment of Irish agricultural exports. The fact is that, due to Britain's involvement in EFTA and GATT and the increased subsidisation of her farmers, which commenced during the war years, the total effect of all these various factors has been to whittle away whatever advantage Irish Governments gained in the 1938 Agreement and the 1948 Agreement. We have spelled out in this Agreement absolute freedom of access in regard to beef and lamb, live or in carcase form, to any value and to any quantity, without any hindrance or any imposition from the British Government “in the interests of orderly marketing”, which was the phrase used in previous Agreements, or in any other interest.

Much was made of the fact that in regard to butter and bacon there is not absolute free trade, in that quotas still apply. The quota system in regard to butter is precisely what we want. We do not want complete free trade there because it would represent a greater burden on the Irish Exchequer. What we want is diversification of dairy products into chocolate crumb, cheese and cream products. We do not want a larger quota of butter which would have to be sold on the British market at the expense of the Irish Exchequer. We were delighted with the quota of 23,000 tons for the next two years, with a growth factor for increased production in the following years. We do not want abolition of the quota system so long as the quota is of a substantial kind to cater for our planned growth.

[1750] The same applies to the bacon quota. It represents what our planned output from pig-curing establishments is likely to be in the coming year and there is also a growth factor. However, in regard to the field of livestock and dead meat there is no limit of any kind. Absolute access is guaranteed to us. This is in accordance with the most important target of the Second Programme for Economic Expansion, which is to raise cattle output by over 40 per cent between 1960 and 1970. Substantial progress has been made already in the achievement of this target. The total cattle population, which in 1964 was somewhere under 5,000,000, is now close to 5,400,000— an increase of practically 500,000 in total cattle stocks last year compared with 1964. The carcase meat industry generally is showing similar improvement. This is an industry that was a small one ten years ago and practically non-existent before that. It has grown up in the post-war period to the extent that total processed meat exports last year were in the region of £35 million. Indeed, one single figure emphasises all I am saying in that the total exports of carcase beef and lamb to the United Kingdom market since 1955 have doubled in the past ten years from 15,000 tons to close on 30,000 tons. That is to the British market alone. In respect of the Continental market, what was an unknown market ten years ago has been transformed into a substantial and expanding market.

It is precisely in this field of processed foodstuffs that the greatest expansion for Irish employment lies. Male employment is largely the category which finds work in these meat processing establishments. We have here a direct encouragement to these meat processing establishments to go ahead. For the first time a floor has been put into what was heretofore a rather up and down market, where risk appeared to be an endemic part of the business. We now have, so far as meat processing establishments are concerned, a guarantee that 25,000 tons of beef will benefit from the British deficiency payments system and 5,500 tons of lamb. This will put a floor into the meat processing industry and undoubtedly [1751] mean considerable expansion in the industry as well as an expansion in male employment.

That, I feel, entitles the Government to make the claim that the benefits for agriculture in this Agreement are quite substantial. While no detailed figures can be given, the Minister for Agriculture put the figure for increased income at £10 million in respect of agriculture for the coming year. I think that is a conservative figure. If one links up with what I have just stated in regard to the carcase meat industry the fact that Irish stores will now command a much better price by reason of the reduction of the waiting period and the elimination of the differential in regard to store lamb, and associate with it the fact that there has been a substantial build-up in livestock numbers in this country over the past 12 months, I can see in the coming year a considerable rise in exports under these headings. It is my view that the Minister for Agriculture was quite conservative in his figure of £10 million as the increase under this head next year. The figure is quite likely to be more.

Mr. Barry: Information on Richard Barry Zoom on Richard Barry Would the Minister state, at this juncture, how he has come to that conclusion?

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan For the past ten minutes, I have concerned myself with spelling out facts which would indicate to any limited mind that the advantages gained under this Agreement must mean specific benefits to the Irish farmer in the form of increased income. I do not have to spell out the elementary fact that if a certain period in regard to store cattle is reduced from three months to two months, it will mean an immediate advantage in the price of store cattle to the Irish seller on the British market and is bound to reflect itself back to the initial stage of calf production. It is so elementary that I do not think it necessary to explain it.

The other factors I have just mentioned in regard to agricultural gains will bring substantial benefits to the farming community next year and in [1752] the years ahead. We have here an Agreement in regard to agriculture that accords one hundred per cent with what we sought and accords with the targets we spelled out before the Trade Agreement in our Second Programme for Economic Expansion. The increased output which we envisage in regard to cattle, sheep and lambs by 1970 and for which we had planned in the form of incentives and aid to our farmers means that this outlet is guaranteed and in some respects a basic minimum sum is to be financed by the British Government. This is precisely what we wanted. This is the first time we have got this absolute guaranteed right of access without any hindering.

Some people seem to think that we always had this right of access in regard to cattle, sheep and lambs. We have been asked in what way this Agreement represents a gain for us in this respect. People who make this remark and who think, in a blind fashion, that we could have gone along forever with our access for cattle, sheep and lambs without any let or hindrance, do not appear to realise that in 1964 the British Government very seriously set about negotiating a multilateral arrangement in regard to cattle, sheep and lambs whereby various other countries would participate in the selling of them on the British market to the detriment of our country which had always got a substantial priority advantage on the British market. A few years earlier, she had done that, to our disadvantage, in regard to pig and dairy products. The British Government did not succeed in 1964 in achieving that situation but the warning light was there for us. The British Government or any other Government do not owe us a living. They do not like us for the colour of our eyes or for whatever virtues we may possess. They could quite easily have concluded a multilateral arrangement in regard to beef and mutton and lamb to our disadvantage because there was not any guarantee. That is no scare; it was an actual cold, calculated effort in 1964 to reduce the dependence of the British on Ireland for their meat products, live and dead, as they had [1753] done in regard to dairy and pig products a few years earlier. Prior to the signing of this Agreement, we had no guarantee that our privileged position in regard to cattle, sheep and lambs would continue. We have it now, spelled out in this Agreement, forever, and without any strings attached as far as these particular products are concerned which means that the Irish farmer can produce ahead in the future secure in the knowledge that the market is there.

I mentioned earlier that the important aspect of this Agreement, the basic aspect of it, indeed, is that it represents the first step we have taken into Europe. Some three or four years ago, the Fine Gael Party, in particular, were completely pro-European, backing the Government in their efforts to get into the EEC, indeed, outbidding the Government in their enthusiasm for European unity and for entry into the EEC. Here, we have a deal which, in regard to industry, is much better than any deal we could have got in respect of membership of EEC. If we had secured membership of EEC two years ago, all of our industrial tariffs would have had to be dismantled by 1970. We are now getting an extension to 1975 and, by virtue of this Agreement, we should be able to carry that into arrangements concerning our entry into Europe: that would be our bargaining point. Once we have established that point, until 1975, we should be in a stronger position in regard to whatever arrangement is reached in Europe.

Two years ago, we should have had to have absolute free trade in industrial products by 1970. We have the extension of the ten-year period from 1975 until 1980 in the event of certain difficulties. We have the unilateral protection allowed by an Irish Government where an industry is in difficulty to put on immediate tariffs or quotas for 18 months. We have the exception clause where industries are in difficulties for the next five years of up to three per cent exports to Britain. We have the safeguards where the Government can come to the assistance of an industry which may be hit by unemployment, which were not contemplated [1754] when our application was made for membership of EEC.

I come now to something that worried us in our EEC application. The Irish Government can unilaterally take action to prevent dumping on the Irish market of products coming from Britain and we shall have legislation to spell out these anti-dumping provisions shortly. In the Treaty of Rome, there was a very lengthy consultation procedure which had to be followed before the adoption of any anti-dumping provisions. The Irish Government can now, on its own initiative, adopt the necessary anti-dumping provisions where it is satisfied it is threatening an Irish industry.

Therefore, what we have here is a deal with our biggest customer which enables us to equip ourselves for the inevitable entry into the EEC on much better terms than the terms which we were seeking, by joint agreement of the two main Parties of this House and the support of the Irish people some years ago when we were trying to get into Europe. This will enable us to get into Europe in a much better way, by preparing ourselves over a long period and by having a number of safeguards. Above all else, it means that nobody can turn their back on us. If Britain goes into Europe, we must go as well and this is a most important guarantee which would not have been there in the absence of a Free Trade Agreement of this kind.

As I have said before, it is well to bear in mind that the world does not owe us a living and that neither the British nor anybody else love us for the colour of our eyes or for any virtues we may possess. This is a hard business-like world. The prospects cannot be ignored that if we had not concluded this Agreement we might have certain difficulties in getting into Europe at all. Again, that is a fact of life that must be faced up to. In the sort of world in which we live, not alone between individuals but between nations, it is a business rat race. The necessity is to produce competitively and export competitively. This is the type of world in which we live, and it is just on the cards that if we had not [1755] concluded a Free Trade Agreement, the British Government could have gone on blithely into Europe and we could have been left behind altogether. This Agreement guarantees that we cannot be left behind. If there is to be a European deal, we cannot be left behind. We must go into Europe if Britain goes in as well.

On the aspect of agricultural policy, some points have been made that the agricultural deal in the Trade Agreement does not represent free trade. Agriculture nowhere is represented by a free trade situation. In every country in the world, agriculture is managed in one way or another. There are no agricultural provisions at all in the EFTA Agreement and, indeed, in the case of EEC, the agricultural provisions have not yet been worked out. Any suggestion that we can have the best of both worlds, by retaining our existing trade advantages with Britain and, at the same time, working out some deal with EEC, is completely illusory.

We are all aware of the European trends in the past few years since the French and British Governments had their differences. We are well aware of the positions of the French and other Governments and it is quite evident that any deal by us in the present climate of the EEC, while at the same time seeking to maintain our status with the British market, is just out of the question and not a realistic situation. We probed that out last year and the year before by diplomatic probings and it was just not on the cards at all. The Taoiseach said the other day there had been some suggestions by some Fine Gael publicists, Senator Garret FitzGerald and others in the House, who sought to say we could have the best of both worlds in some fashion. The vague idea is being thrown out: “Why did the Government not seek to establish some arrangements with EEC and still retain its position on the British market?” It is not for the beauty of our eyes that Agreement was negotiated. There was absolutely no prospect of our keeping our status with Britain and, at the same time, making [1756] some deal with Europe. It is completely unrealistic to fool ourselves that we can go around, and by knocking on the door, get such fantastic advantages, retain the British market while, at the same time, getting some concessions under the EEC situation.

Mr. Clinton: Information on Mark A. Clinton Zoom on Mark A. Clinton What about Austria?

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan The Austrian situation has not been reached. Over the past three years, anybody who examines developments in Europe can see that EEC has become much more hardheaded about arrangements and the economic advantages which appertain to any particular country.

Viewing the situation in a rational way last year we realised we were in a situation where our agricultural advantages and, indeed, our industrial advantages in regard to whatever industrial exports we made to Britain had been gradually wiped away by Britain's membership of EFTA and GATT. We had to face up to the situation that Britain might make some deal with Europe while we might just be regarded as a poor relation supplying the British market and no more. We were faced with a situation where we could have been left out in the cold. Well, we have got our leg in here on the British market. We have got a guaranteed free trade deal with her and it means that if she goes into Europe, we go in too. That is now spelled out, written down and the lines of policy have been laid out. Above all else, we can say here that, as far as agriculture is concerned, this agricultural policy is precisely along the lines envisaged by us in our Second Programme for Economic Expansion. In any deal, of course, there will be a certain amount of give and take. We have gained on the agricultural front. We have also gained in certain fields of industry.

I am not at all pessimistic about the industry which stands to gain most from this arrangement, that is, the textile industry. According to the CIO Report, and anybody who knows the facts of life in regard to the textile industry in this country knows that this is one industry which has equipped itself for freer trade. It is one industry [1757] which is realistic and has, in the past two or three years, formed major organisations within itself and which is participating in strong exporting business to the British market. Those industries who have geared themselves best for a free trade are those who will benefit most from this Agreement because the most limiting factor—certainly in the textile trade—has been the man-made fibre duty imposed over a long number of years, amounting to at least 20 per cent and, in some cases, over 20 per cent, on any articles going into Britain containing a percentage of man-made fibre. This duty now goes from next July so that from then on the Irish textile industry is assured of complete freedom of access, without any duty, quota or restriction, to the British market. The duties which were there and so restrictive in regard to man-made fibre will be removed from next July.

That is an industry about which I am tremendously optimistic. Deputies from Cork will be aware of firms in their own county. I am aware of firms in my own area and other members will be aware of firms who might make substantial progress towards equipping themselves and making themselves more efficient. These are firms who will continue to expand under the elimination of the man-made fibre duty. There are a number in the pipeline already and, if it gives any pleasure to the Fine Gael and Labour Deputies, the Minister for Industry and Commerce will be announcing substantial projects in the months ahead. These are projects which, during the period of uncertainty prior to the signing of the Agreement, were held up. Now, with the absolute right of access guaranteed for every industrial project from next July, a number of these projects will be finalised and will be made public in the course of the months ahead. As I have said, a number of them are already in the pipeline and a number of substantial investors will come here secure in the knowledge—despite what is suggested to the contrary—that our grants and loans are available and will continue to be available for the establishment of such industries.

These people will come in here, [1758] secure in the knowledge that the 100 per cent income tax and corporation profits tax exemption incentives are being allowed to continue under this Agreement because legislation has been passed by Dáil Éireann to implement them. Until 1980, the tax incentives will continue in the form of the 100 per cent remission of income tax and the corporation profits tax. A new drive will be initiated by the Industrial Development Authority on the basis that we can guarantee firms anywhere in the world that they can come here and set up their factories, make use of our grants and loans and, from next July on, can be certain that they will have absolute freedom of access to the British market in addition.

Mr. Barry: Information on Richard Barry Zoom on Richard Barry Can the Minister say now that the town of Fermoy has a better chance of getting a factory than it had up to now?

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan I would have every confidence in the future of a town 20 miles from Cork Airport and enjoying a privileged position in that regard. I wish many towns in my constituency were equally privileged.

Mr. O.J. Flanagan: Information on Oliver J. Flanagan Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan Yet the Minister would not use Fermoy pencils in his office.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan I have them; I can produce them for the Deputy— Faber-Castell, and nothing else.

Mr. O.J. Flanagan: Information on Oliver J. Flanagan Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan That is a change, like the British market.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan Order.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan It has been mentioned that in some way Fianna Fáil are departing from their policy of the past in regard to industry and that we are now proposing over the next ten years to move into free trade conditions and that this implies that we are turning our backs on the protectionist policy. Protection was never intended by Fianna Fáil, or by its architect, the present Taoiseach, to be a permanent device in the Irish economy. It has been adopted by every country in the world in its own time. The United States, after declaring independence, [1759] adopted protection. The British Government before it achieved its strength in the race was also a highly protectionist economy. Going back to the time of Adam and Eve, protection was adopted at some stage of every nation's development.

We adopted it and we make no apology for it, or for the fact that protection has never been anything more than a temporary device to get industries going. When they are going under protection, industries are expected to make themselves efficient and competitive. This has been the pattern of history for hundreds of years. We needed protection in the 1930s and 1940s but our industries have now reached a stage where the best of them —I do not say all of them—have made themselves efficient, have made use of the grants given and have adapted and equipped themselves properly for the economic race of today. The best of them, nurtured by protection in the early stages, will be well able to survive the removal of protection and make use of the markets now opening up to them.

That has been the pattern of development since 1932 when we initiated the industrial drive and used the device of protection to get it under way at that start. At present it is essential, if we are to expand industry as well as agriculture, to seek a broader base for our markets. It is obvious, and has been for some years, that we have now reached the stage of industrial development when we must seek external markets as our home market of some three million in the 26 counties, even if now enlarged to four million in the 32 counties, would not still be sufficient to absorb the output needed to sustain a growing labour force in industry. We want more jobs, more industrial employment, and this is an elementary follow-on from the fact that there has been less employment on the land. If we are to have more employment in industry, we must seek a broader base for industrial exports. It has become quite evident in recent years that the old policy must be, as it has been, and must be to a greater extent, directed towards [1760] achieving a greater volume of exports. We are guaranteed an unlimited export market of some 60 million to 70 million people in Great Britain from next July on without any hindrance.

Mr. Reynolds: Information on Patrick J. Reynolds Zoom on Patrick J. Reynolds Is Britain not guaranteed the same thing in our market?

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan That is something that is to be done gradually over a period of ten years, with a ten per cent reduction each year, whereas we get our benefit immediately from next July.

As regards our position vis-á-vis the British export market, we are being allowed to stagger the reduction of our tariffs over the next ten years with other safeguards I mentioned earlier, but we shall have free access for our industrial products to the British market from next July without tariffs or quotas.

Mr. Reynolds: Information on Patrick J. Reynolds Zoom on Patrick J. Reynolds Would the Minister not agree that this will lead to unemployment in Ireland?

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan My whole argument is based on the fact that this agreement will mean increased employment in industry. Provided the Industrial Development Authority go out in an aggressive drive to attract new industries here, we shall have more industries here after that than those we may lose and I do not commit myself to saying that we are going to lose any. For instance, the system of dealing with textile products will mean that the industry can absorb more. Certain industries will go to the wall but that is one of the facts of life and for every one that does go to the wall, there will be two or three or four or five others that will come in and take advantage of the facilities we offer here in respect of skilled manpower, proximity to the British market, tax incentives and grants and loans.

In the changing field of industrial development, I have no doubt that we shall have not fewer but more people employed in industry in the years ahead. That must be the basis of economic prosperity, to absorb more [1761] people in gainful employment in industry because, inevitably, you will have fewer employed on the land. Our target is to expand industrial employment by 86,000 and that target as well as the target for cattle will be achieved by means of the policy I have mentioned.

Mr. Barry: Information on Richard Barry Zoom on Richard Barry We sincerely hope you are right.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan I am confident I am right. It would be a mistake if the Fine Gael views or the Labour Party views were to command widespread support because the biggest impetus to progress in any community is confidence and optimism. If we go about like Deputy L'Estrange saying “Ochone, it is terrible,” lamenting the fate of Cathleen Ní Houlihan, we will not achieve any progress in the years ahead. It is precisely that sort of attitude of mind, and only that, that can bring us down in the years ahead. What we heard from Fine Gael and Labour speakers in this debate showed nothing but pessimism, lack of confidence and faith in the country.

I have every confidence that our farmers will rise to the opportunities here and that most of our industrialists, who were nurtured under protection, will rise to the occasion now that the challenge is thrown down and equip themselves for the market opening to them. I believe that more outside investment will come in, now that the doubts and fears have been removed and investors and entrepreneurs from abroad know where they stand. That, I take it, is also the reason why Fine Gael are not opposing the Agreement. They realise that this Agreement opens the door, clears the decks and makes the picture plain as far as the expansion of agriculture and industry in the future is concerned.

I said earlier that we must be concerned with the facts of life. There is no point in fooling ourselves or thinking that the world owes us a living. It does not. On the facts of life as they present themselves in 1966 or as it appears they will be by any reasonable forecast in the years ahead, this represented [1762] the right deal for us in our circumstances—to secure a foothold in the British market and make certain we had that market guaranteed to us. The only thing we yielded on was the gradual elimination of tariffs over the next ten years and hemmed in by a number of safeguards to protect particular industries. That, on balance, represents a favourable Agreement to us as a country.

That has been the view of representative organisations throughout the country. The major national newspapers have backed this Agreement. I do not say it represents the be-all and end-all, or anything of that kind. The major organs of public opinion have backed it in a cautious, guarded fashion. I would suggest that this House should back it in a similar way, recognising that it does not open up any bonanza to us but does spell out the opportunities that lie before us, does spell out in definite form the way in which this country will go ahead in the next few years, so that people can plan ahead for expansion knowing that the facts, as far as they can be forecast, are contained in that document, particularly when taken in conjunction with the Second Programme for Economic Expansion.

The country knows where it is going. The key to prosperity is there, even though it does not guarantee prosperity. It is up to us to make use of the opportunities now being opened up to the country as a whole. I have every confidence that the various sectors in industry and agriculture will make every use of the guarantee we have got of these particular markets.

With the support of the major newspapers and organs of opinion, with the support of all the responsible voluntary organisations, all the business organisations, all the farming organisations, who have also come out and endorsed this Agreement, not as representing the be-all and end-all, but as representing a good deal, a fair deal, a reasonable deal, on balance, the best deal that could have been got, with the support mobilised of the organs of public opinion, of the responsible voluntary groups in industry and agriculture, [1763] with the support of the Government, with the grudging support even of the Fine Gael Party, I feel we can carry this through as a national endeavour which must be followed up by every section of our society in the years ahead.

I would agree with what Deputy L'Estrange wound up with. With 95 per cent of what he said, I disagree, but I would agree with the five per cent at the end. I think he is correct that the onus now lies fairly and squarely, not on the British Government or the Irish Government, but on our own people. That includes every one of us—administrators, politicians, leaders in industry and in agriculture, trade unionists, tradesmen, workers of every kind, farmers of every kind, big and small. The onus lies on every one of us to make use of this Agreement and to make sure that sectional strife and arguments about who should get what and who should not get what are futile and can have no place in the years ahead. The sooner we get together as a people in this respect, the better. The sooner there is an attitude of responsibility and the facts of life are known and from top to bottom, from the man running industry to the man on the shop floor, it is realised that the world does not owe us a living and that all we can do is get the prosperity we can get by the sweat of our brow and the skill of our brains, the better. Involved in that must be the recognition that if we do not export more by the sweat of our brow and the skill of our brains there will be less for all of us to pull out of the national cake. This is the essential lesson which is so pertinent to the present week in which we are, having regard to industrial unrest and all the rest of it. This is the message that must be listened to for the years ahead if we are to make use of this Agreement, which we have honourably signed as a sovereign state with another sovereign state, to make more prosperous the country which will increase in population by 1970.

We can only achieve these aims if there is general abjuring of selfish [1764] objectives, general recognition that it is not this or that section that counts— trade unionists, farmers, professional people or business people—that it is the whole country that counts and that the less shouting there is for sectional aims and the less attention there is paid by sectional groups to selfish sectional aims the better. The sooner there is recognition of the fact that each of these groups owes not alone a duty to its particular members, but a wider duty to the country as a whole and the sooner that sort of message gets through to every part of the country, the sooner will we have the prosperous country which we all feel we can achieve knowing the facts contained in the Agreement and what we can get as a result of the Second Programme for Economic Expansion now accepted as Government policy.

Mr. Norton: Information on Patrick Norton Zoom on Patrick Norton I do not flatter myself that at this stage of the debate anything I can contribute will add new light to what has already been said but, in order to clarify one or two points and to make clear my personal attitude with regard to this Agreement, I should like to make a short contribution.

I do not disagree with the Trade Agreement in principle. I do, however, take grave exception to the manner in which the Government have conducted the whole negotiations from start to finish. They deliberately waited until this House had recessed for the summer before any mention whatsoever was made that these negotiations were on the way. By their lack of discussion and consultation on such an important question, the Government treated this House and the country at large with contempt and it is because of this that I feel strongly compelled to vote against this Agreement.

Slyness is, unfortunately for Fianna Fáil, no substitute for shrewdness. The Government should have and could have used with advantage all the help, advice and support of all sections of this country. Their actions were unworthy, unnecessary and regrettable.

Nor do I think it is good enough for the Taoiseach to say that they sat down [1765] as equals with the British Government in London. Of course, they sat down with the British Government as equals. When the inter-Party Government repealed the External Relations Act, we made them equals. The credit for that lies on this side of the House, not with the Government side. We established a genuine republic and did away with the mythical Fianna Fáil republic and made them equals. They should remember that.

As regards the Agreement itself, to me it is as unpleasant as a visit to the dentist. Unfortunately, it is as inevitable and as necessary. I do not, honestly, see that the Government had much choice in this matter. It is my personal belief that Britain and the EFTA countries will join with the EEC within the next decade, probably before the full period specified in this Agreement is complete. If Britain does decide to join the EEC, our choice is made for us. We too must join. To think otherwise or to try to act differently would be economic suicide. It is because of my belief regarding the inevitability of our joining the EEC that I regard this Agreement as in the long-term interest.

I am well aware of the challenge it presents to our industries, of the difficulties it will create, of the reorganisation that will be necessary and of the general upheaval it will cause to our economy, but this is something we have to face sooner or later. Postponing the evil day when we must face free competition will not make that competition any easier.

I regard this Free Trade Area as a swimming pool. Heretofore we have sat on the edge of the pool, the more daring of our firms dangling their feet in the water. Now all our firms must learn to swim. The water may be cold and many of them will not like the idea but, if we are to survive, learn to swim they must. In this situation surely it is better to go into the shallow end of the pool by joining with Britain now and learning to swim as best we can, than wait to go into the deep end with the EEC countries.

In the eighteenth and nineteenth [1766] centuries, America was being colonised by people from the various countries of Europe. It was a time of upheaval, of expansion, of challenge. Gradually, the various nations were absorbed and consolidated to become the people of a great nation, the United States of America. The only people who were not able to compete were the Red Indians. They opted out of the economic race with sad consequences for themselves. Today, Europe is in a somewhat similar position. The need by large industries for bigger and bigger markets is exerting pressure and the various nationalities are slowly coming together. We are, I believe, and hope, on the threshold of the United States of Europe. Unless we in Ireland wish to become the Red Indians of Europe, we must be prepared to accept the changes necessary to secure our future.

I do not believe that all our industries can survive, nor do I believe that we should rebuke ourselves on this account. Some industries were started in the 1930s in conditions which were far different from those that exist today. Then, in a world in which unemployment and hunger were the public enemies of the day, we were anxious to provide jobs and we started out to secure all the industries we could. Unfortunately, some of them were not soundly established, but they nevertheless provided employment for many of our people. They kept our workers from emigrating. They gave us experience. They gave us the opportunity to find our bearings.

Today, however, it is obvious that the winds of change are blowing over the sort of economic world in which we have lived for the past 40 years. The protective tariffs behind the shelter of which we developed our industries are about to be dismantled and, when they are dismantled, we shall be exposed to the icy blast of free trade. If we hope to survive, let alone expand and prosper, we must change our thinking in many respects. Management can no longer go on thinking in terms of an Irish market but, rather, in terms of a market which will embrace the whole British Isles. Outdated equipment [1767] and methods will have to go. Higher productivity and greater efficiency are more essential now than ever before. Labour, for their part, must be mindful of the problems of management and must moderate its demands to those which the traffic will bear. In my view, this is not a time to kill the goose which lays the weekly wage packet. Both sides of industry, labour and management, should be conscious that they are facing the same problem, the problem of keeping our factories operating and our workers gainfully employed.

That word “gainfully” reminds me of part of this Agreement which I do not like. I refer to the export of butter. The export of butter at a subsidy of 1/7½d per lb., so that it may be eaten by the British, does not in my view represent gainful employment. At that rate of subsidy we could export almost anything. It appears to me that the long-term plan should be to produce butter at a lower cost. I should like to hear of some positive approach by the Government to this aspect of the matter. Our Minister for Agriculture is greatly given to speeches and plans. Perhaps in the near future he would give us both. Perhaps he would give us the benefit of his distilled wisdom on this aspect of the Trade Agreement.

Besides protecting our industry, the tariffs also provided revenue. What will the effect of these reductions be on our revenue? Is there an estimate of the amount involved? How much revenue will be lost in the first, second and third years? So far the Government have not seen fit to make any comment on this or give us any guidance whatsoever in relation to this matter. In their handling of this situation, I believe the Government should have been, and could have been, more forthcoming in this House. They come in here and appeal to our patriotism and our loyalty and they ask us to co-operate. Nevertheless, their entire method of conducting the negotiations lay in refusing to give this House any information. I regard that as petty. I think patriotism lies as much in these benches as it does in any other benches.

[1768] We are all patriots at heart and the Government would do well to be less shallow and mean in their approach. Without giving away any budgetary secrets, they could have given some details of how our finances will be affected by this Agreement. I object to the cloak-and-dagger attitude of the Government and that is why I shall vote against this Agreement.

Speaking the other night in this House, that gentleman—if I may use the word loosely—Deputy Corry, used the opportunity to once again try to slander his betters who are no longer here to defend themselves. He complained about the sugar agreement. I understand that the provisions of that agreement, which my late father signed when he was Minister for Industry and Commerce, remain in force under this particular Agreement. The provisions which Deputy Corry came in here and attacked have not been changed. It is a pity Deputy Corry did not spend the two hours he spent in the Library looking for slanderous comments to better advantage by reading the Agreement and studying what is in it. Of course, he is now such a megalomaniac that he is not happy unless he insults the Opposition and at least two or three Ministers in any speech he makes in this House. It irritates me that this man should come in here and make these speeches for the benefit of his supporters in Cork, and then go outside sneering in the corridors, glorying in his own cuteness in pulling the wool over the people's eyes. I could go further and say very harsh things about him, but I shall not do so.

In respect of the challenge, which the future undoubtedly holds for all of us, I believe that, if we act as a united team, we will overcome the difficulties confronting us and we will survive. If, however, we dissipate our energies in wrangling among ourselves, then there will be many other wiser people elsewhere only too anxious to take our place. We could do well to remember that.

Mr. O.J. Flanagan: Information on Oliver J. Flanagan Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan It is very doubtful if there is anything that can be said now that has not already been [1769] said in this debate. However, I want to avail of this opportunity to tender my congratulations where I think congratulations should go. If anybody deserves to be congratulated, it is Mr. Harold Wilson, because the signing of this Trade Agreement with the Irish Government will help considerably, I believe, to ensure his success at the next British general election. Again, congratulations are due to Captain O'Neill because this Agreement will, in in my opinion, be a considerable asset to many of our fellow-Irishmen in the Six Counties. If anybody deserves sympathy, it is the Taoiseach. He deserves sympathy because of his failure as a negotiator. He deserves sympathy because he has seen the build-up of Irish industry here and now he has played a leading part, in my opinion, in accelerating the downfall of that same industry. I sympathise, too, with the industrial workers. The workers engaged in industry here will find that this Agreement will cost thousands of them their jobs and their livelihoods.

This is an important issue. It is an issue which will have very serious consequences on the future of this country. I do not know if any Deputy has already appealed to the Taoiseach to have a general election on this issue and on the merits of this Agreement. If they have not done so, then I do so now. I appeal to him to consult the people. Ours is a democratic government. I appeal to him to consult the farmers as to what they think will be the benefits for them of this Agreement. I appeal to him to consult the workers as to what they think will be the disadvantages to Irish industry. I appeal to him to consult the management of industry here. The most democratic way in which to have that consultation is for the Taoiseach to consult the Irish people. This is the date on which in 1922 the Treaty was passed by Dáil Éireann by seven votes; this is the most important national issue that has come up for discussion in Dáil Éireann since that date. It is as important as the Treaty from the point of view of the people and if the Taoiseach wants to do his duty in a democratic way and if he is [1770] anxious to consult the people before the Irish nation is committed completely to this Agreement, he should submit this to the people at a general election.

When I saw the Taoiseach and his Ministers on television returning from London after the signing of this Agreement, I was expecting them to be dressed in sackcloth but there was no evidence of that. I have always admired Fianna Fáil for their high degree of public brazenness. Only they could get away with it. They tell us here, in the words of the Minister for Justice and in the words of the Taoiseach and other Ministers who have spoken over the past three or four days, that the future of this country now depends on Britain and on the British market, notwithstanding that they devoted the best years of their lives to bringing about the destruction of the British market. Ireland today would perhaps be one of the most prosperous countries in the world—certainly I believe that our prosperity in relation to agriculture would be even superior to that of Denmark—if Fianna Fáil had done in 1932 what they are doing now.

When we see the Taoiseach and other Deputies of the Fianna Fáil Party parading through the benches of this House and speaking in high and glowing terms about the British market, we cannot help commenting on what a wonderful change has taken place. They must be congratulated on their conversion to the idea of the great value and usefulness of the British market. I am glad this has been the outcome of many long years of experience of that Party. I do not deny and I shall never deny that I am a believer in the British market. I am a believer in close co-operation with Britain. I am not so foolish as not to realise that if another war ever takes place Ireland must look for its security and safety both to the United States and to Britain. Fianna Fáil have educated themselves after a very long period in which they almost plunged Irish agriculture into disaster.

When listening to the speeches on this Agreement my thoughts went back to the late J.H. Thomas. I am sure that when the documents were being signed at No. 10 Downing Street he [1771] was doing spring leaps in his grave. We find those men who devoted all their energies towards saying “The British market is gone and gone forever” and “Burn everything British except their coal” now saying that our prosperity depends very largely on trading between this country and Great Britain. I say without the least fear of contradiction that if we never had to have an economic war in this country, if we never had to have tariff barriers between here and Great Britain, that if we always had the closest possible link between Ireland and Great Britain, we would be enjoying a very high degree of prosperity today. We are an agricultural country of three million people within a stone's throw of Britain where there are 53 million people. We have been looked upon as a vegetable garden for feeding the millions of British people. All that was needed for us to reap the benefit of that situation was a little bit of sanity, a high degree of commonsense, and an effort on the part of Fianna Fáil to realise that Britain was our best customer, our nearest neighbour, the best pay and the most convenient market in the world for our exports.

I suppose it is better late than never that Fianna Fáil have been converted to Fine Gael's policy in that regard. I have been waiting all morning to hear some Fianna Fáil Deputy ask why we are not voting against this Agreement —since we criticise it as not being good enough—but it has not been asked. I presume it has been asked within the past three or four days. Fine Gael have always believed in close trading with Britain and in the British market, while Fianna Fáil decried it and tried to ruin it with great effect. Why now should Fine Gael vote against Fianna Fáil simply for the purpose of voting against them when we see that Fianna Fáil have come to our way of thinking in relation to the importance of the British market? Another reason why Fine Gael are not voting against this Agreement is that if we did vote against it we would be standing for its complete rejection.

We know there must be an agreement with Britain in the interests of [1772] the farming and industrial communities and of the economy in general, and because we know there must be an Agreement and that any Agreement is an essential part of our economy, we fully agree with the principle of Agreements with Britain but we feel this Trade Agreement is a bad one. Not only is it a bad effort but it is also a very feeble one. We know from experience that Fianna Fáil have never been good negotiators with the British. We can recall the occasion during the past couple of years when Deputy Smith as Minister for Agriculture went over for important trade talks. He came back with less than he had when he went.

Let us recall also the other talks that have taken place between Fianna Fáil Governments and British Ministers and compare them with the talks between Cumann na nGaedheal and inter-Party Government Ministers. I respectfully put it to the House that the Agreement of 1948 has been responsible for putting millions of pounds into the pockets of Irish farmers, that the livestock industry, and the cattle export industry particularly, would now be non-existent were it not for the 1948 Agreement successfully negotiated with the British.

I should like to know under which article of this Agreement will a penny-piece arrive, by what means it will arrive. I shall be most surprised if anybody can tell me how or where. Can anyone estimate the immediate effect this Agreement will have on our efforts to raise the standard of living in rural Ireland? Has anyone in Fianna Fáil been bold enough to tell us that this Agreement will not be responsible for creating unemployment? Can they tell us how, as a result of the Agreement, a single person in this country will be better off in 12 months' time?

This Agreement is a hoax from start to finish and I would welcome an opportunity—the Taoiseach is too cute to give it—of asking the people of Ireland to judge its value in pounds, shillings and pence in a general election. There is nothing in this Agreement not covered in the 1948 document. The Taoiseach has been speaking loudly about free trade and [1773] telling the people that for some years past he has been in touch with the British Government on this question. We must bear in mind in this context that last April we had a general election. Why did the Taoiseach not tell the people that if Fianna Fáil were returned to office he would immediately negotiate a Free Trade Agreement with Britain?

I venture to say that in none of the speeches I read by the Taoiseach or his Ministers — most certainly the speeches made in my constituency— did I see a single line attributed to the Taoiseach in which he said there would be free trade arrangements between ourselves and Britain. It is another example of Fianna Fáil's procedure. The moment a general election is over they proceed to plunge the country into some most unexpected problem. We had it in the case of proportional representation and on many other issues.

That is why I submit the Government are not sincere or serious in relation to this Agreement which is now being boosted by the Fianna Fáil Party, by certain sections of the Press, by radio and television in an effort to create the impression that this is an Agreement which will bring benefits to all sections. I should like to hear from the Government what they have done with their policy of isolation which they have been preaching for years. Do they now realise we cannot live alone? In contrast to the speeches made by Fianna Fáil Deputies in the past few days we may recall speeches of the past and let it be borne in mind by the vast majority of our people that we would have been sunk years ago if it were not for Britain.

We can see the vast amount of employment given to workers from practically every family in Ireland in Britain and the amount of money that comes into Irish homes from the wages earned by Irish workers in practically every town and village in Britain. There are many reasons why Ireland and Britain should have the closest trading relations, the first being the natural one, our geographical situation. It suits Britain to trade with us, [1774] but in the long run we have nobody else with whom to trade. It is like an individual criticising his neighbour. Our geographical situation dictates that since Britain is our most convenient outlet we must trade with her. To suggest that we in this small island of three million people could exist without Britain is the height of nonsense. We are dependent on England for every move we make in this country. I am very glad to see, even at this late hour, that there are many speakers now from Fianna Fáil, commencing to realise that, and some of them commencing to profess it and to make it known.

I believe that in this Agreement we have lost a wonderful opportunity and a great chance. When those discussions were arranged, our Government should have been better men for bargaining, should have got better concessions, more guarantees and even more security than they have in this Agreement. As a matter of fact, any good agreement is judged by its value in £ s. d. No wonder the British Farmers Association commented favourably on this Agreement. They came best out of it. Let no man in this House think anything else. The big weight of advantage of this Trade Agreement goes to Britain. Does anybody think anything else or is there any reason why he should? Who is the major bargaining power? Was it the small island of 3,000,000 or the great power of Great Britain with its 52,000,000 people?

When the British Ministers met to discuss this Agreement with the Taoiseach and the Irish Ministers, the solution to the whole problem was that we here in this country knew we cannot live or exist without Britain. The Taoiseach and his Ministers went over, their hats in their hands, to collect the crumbs that fell to them from the table and they were glad to take them. I feel that Fine Gael or an inter-Party Government would have made a much better Trade Agreement for the future of this country, based, first, on the principles of 1948 and its successes, and secondly, on the fine tradition of loyalty to the British market that has always been displayed by the Fine Gael [1775] Party. Then we find that men like Harold Wilson and the British Minister for Agriculture are no fools in relation to Irish politics because most of those Members of Parliament, when one meets them from time to time, seem to know so much about activities in this country that they would surprise many of us.

They must have known, and still know, that the men who were over sitting around the table with them as bargainers for the Irish people were the very people who sought for decades to destroy the hopes of success in the British market. The Irish delegation were not competent, were not qualified and did not go over realising the historical importance and background associated with the great value and financial benefit which the British market would be to this country and that they took whatever they were offered. They were not in a position to do any better. They have proved bad at bargaining abroad on behalf of our people whilst the very opposite can be said of the Opposition who had the opportunity of negotiating Trade Agreements abroad.

I want to come to what I consider to be a very important part of this Free Trade Agreement. There is no doubt about it but that this trade agreement, in its present form, whilst applauded in Britain, applauded by Fianna Fáil and taken very cautiously in this country by those engaged in agriculture and industry, must mean unemployment. It must mean more emigration and must mean a greater flight from the land. In other words, the main provisions of this Agreement spell economic disaster for this country. I want to make a reference, if I may, to how and why this Agreement will lead to unemployment.

We have industries in this country which will not be able to stand the test, which will not be able to compete and which cannot possibly compete with imports from Britain, imports which will come in in small quantities after 1st July, and in unlimited quantities in ten years' time. Those small industries, of which the present Taoiseach [1776] is the father, in my opinion, are all facing a complete wipe-out. I am sorry for that. I have been a believer, and still am a believer, in Irish industry. I like to see Irish industry survive because we must have in many spheres, particularly in textiles, not alone the best that can be produced in these islands, but the very best that can go into any market in the world. That is why I am glad to see that special mention has been made of the textile trade in this country.

I feel that congratulations should go to all those engaged in the textile trade who were fortunate enough to foresee some time ago what now is happening. When you have men of the foresight of Mr. Declan Dwyer and the board of Sunbeam Wolsey, and the board, present and past, of Salts (Ireland) Ltd., of Tullamore, who have geared themselves up to meet any crisis, there is great hope for the textile industry. Every industry in Ireland is not fortunate enough to be blessed with the same type of men as we have engaged in the textile industry. I venture to say that with free trade in the morning, the Irish textile industry can stand on its own feet at any time, not alone in the British market but in the USA. Canada or any other part of the world where Irish textile products are sent. I am convinced there is great hope for us, whilst we can stand on our own feet, as I believe we can, in relation to the textile industry, and that there must be great hope for industries which can stand on their own feet, and which must stand on their own feet. I appeal to the Government, in the case of industries less fortunate than the textile industry, to give them some assistance either by way of technical help or financial assistance to enable them to stand on their own feet like the textile industry.

Some people are now wondering what is likely to happen to all these industries. I am sure there is great anxiety amongst workers, and their wives and children, who are employed in this industry. Some people may be critical of the Industrial Zone set up some years ago at Shannon Airport. I was very glad and happy to read in this [1777] week's External Affairs News Letter a reference to the production of one firm at Shannon. This firm are engaged in piano manufacture at Shannon and they export 97 per cent of their output. They now manufacture one out of every four pianos sold in Germany. I have heard the Shannon Industrial Estate criticised in this House from all sides, but I have never criticised it because I have always had faith in it, and belief in it. Great credit is due to those responsible for giving employment in this firm mentioned in the News Letter and supplying to a great country like Germany one out of every four pianos sold there.

When we consider a successful industry such as this and the textile industry, it must follow that there are many other industries that could succeed too. I have faith, and belief, and confidence, in the people engaged in Irish industry. I believe we can compete with the best. I believe that our products will be bought. All our industries need is to be geared up, but the big problem is that they are beginning to be geared up too late, and that is where I fault the Government. They should have been devoting more time to letting the people know that a free trade arrangement between Britain and Ireland was coming. They made prophecies from time to time, but never with any degree of certainty until the announcement of this Trade Agreement.

It must come to pass that under-equipped small industries, with no big sales organisations in Britain and on the Continent, must fall in free trade conditions between ourselves and Britain, and whatever they produce for our own home market, for our own three million people, at the end of a ten-year period I venture to say Britain will be cute enough, and clever enough, and successful enough, to wipe them out completely. These are our people, and I fear for their jobs and for their future.

The Taoiseach or the Minister for Justice did not tell us what employment will be provided at home for all those who will lose their jobs in industries that are not fully geared to [1778] meet the very keen competition that will flood in upon us from Britain. It will not do to tell the workers in industries and factories which are closing down that they must be patriotic, and that they must have a sense of duty and pride. That will not do. Nor will it do for the Government to put their thumbs in their teeth when they are asked by the trade unions and the workers what arrangements they have made to put into employment the thousands of workers who, in my opinion, will be displaced as a result of their free trade arrangements for industry.

I see in the papers this week that the unemployment figure has increased by 10,000. What will be the figure in time to come, unless the Government seriously consider all aspects of the employment position? I am convinced that the economic benefits attaching to this Agreement are far greater for Britain than they are for this country. Britain is not concerned with an unemployment problem. Britain is not concerned with obtaining markets at profitable prices for her produce. Britain is not concerned with survival. She has a healthy agricultural and industrial economy, and a population to consume what she produces, as well as her markets abroad. We have nothing. We have not even the population to consume a fraction of what we produce. Our population is diminishing and dwindling. Our marriage rate must be one of the lowest in the world. There seems to be a flight from the land. We seem to have perhaps the most disturbed industrial relations in the world. For some time past the order of industrial activity here seems to have been the use of the strike weapon.

I thought that a trade agreement between ourselves and Britain would give security of employment to our workers, guaranteed markets and prices for farmers, and a general all-round guarantee of profitable markets for every single item we produced. That is not so. Ireland is depending more on Britain every day, and this Agreement, made recently by the Taoiseach and his Ministers, makes our dependence on Britain greater and [1779] greater. We heard from the Minister for Justice this morning that if Britain goes into the Common Market, Ireland must follow. We cannot close our eyes to the fact that we are tied tightly to Britain's apron strings and that the knots are now being tied tighter by this Agreement. There are many national-minded people who think this is wrong but I am inclined to disagree with them. I do not profess to condemn Britain, or trading or negotiating with Britain, but I am sure that when the commemoration ceremonies for the 50th Anniversary of 1916 take place, many of those who will be making speeches will be blushing. I believe it is a good thing that we should be tied closely to Britain but that is a personal opinion on my part. The closer we are tied the less chance we have of sinking completely. I am convinced of that, particularly because of the tremendous failures we have had over the past 40 years. As I said, many branches of industry will survive and many will meet with disaster but I ask the Government to assist industries such as the boot and shoe industry. I do not know if any reference has been made to industries which are likely to meet with disaster. The boot and shoe industry is one that is going to be very seriously hampered by this Trade Agreement. I said I was not afraid for the textile industry but I am afraid for this industry. There are a number of footwear factories in my constituency, in Edenderry, Birr and just outside Carlow, which are employing a number of my constituents. I dread to think what is going to happen to the managements and to the workers associated with the footwear industry. I hope before long we will hear something from the Government about the possibility of something being done for such industries. At the end of ten years there can be a flood into this country of boots and shoes made in Britain and I am afraid that appealing to the patriotic feelings of our people will not be enough if they can buy footwear, which has been made in England, cheaper and which they consider to be of a standard equal to that of the home product.

I venture to say that when that day [1780] comes, Britain can dump unlimited supplies of footwear into this country and our shoe and boot factories will not have a hope in hell of competing against them. Appealing to people to buy Irish will not be enough because the Irish will buy what they consider is the best at the cheapest possible rate. Without action on the part of the Government, this could result in the closing down of every boot and shoe factory in the country. That is why I appeal to the Government to take the necessary steps under this Agreement, whether after 1st July or at the end of the five year period, or whenever it is, to ensure that there will be employment in the industry. The first industry to be protected and catered for must be the footwear industry. The Government may say that there are other branches of industry which deserve prior attention. That may be so but it is up to every Deputy to speak for his own area. I am convinced that this Trade Agreement spells disaster in capital letters for the entire footwear industry.

Mr. P.J. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan What about Article XI?

Mr. O.J. Flanagan: Information on Oliver J. Flanagan Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan That is what I am asking about.

Mr. P.J. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan There is provision in that.

Mr. O.J. Flanagan: Information on Oliver J. Flanagan Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan I know that nobody is more with me in this than Deputy Lenihan. I have always appreciated, even before he came into this House, his efforts to promote industry. He has done a good job for industry and it is a pity that there have not been more active men in industry, having the same spirit for the promotion of industry, as the Deputy. Industries with which he has been associated from time to time have provided employment for many of my constituents on the Westmeath border. However, it is not that which prompts me to pay him this compliment. A Deputy of his experience could contribute much around the council table and be of immense value in determining what industries deserve a measure of protection under the Article to which I have referred.

[1781]Mr. P.J. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan Thank you. Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes.

Mr. O.J. Flanagan: Information on Oliver J. Flanagan Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan I hope the footwear industry will be one of the first industries to be looked after in this respect. There are other industries which will be seriously affected. There is the motor and vehicle assembly industry which provides considerable employment. We also have such firms as Dunlops and other firms engaged in the tyre and shoe business which give very great employment. We also have industries engaged in leather, pottery, hosiery and a wide variety of engineering goods, I feel that industries of this kind are going to be very seriously hampered by this Agreement. I hope the Department of Industry and Commerce are already taking the necessary steps under the Article in the Agreement to provide support for those industries in order to guarantee against loss of employment.

If I were asked what were the advantages in the Agreement, I would have to say the only advantage I see in it is the one in respect of the textile industry. I am glad of that advantage and welcome it. I am convinced our textile industry can stand on its feet and compete with the best in the world.

A good deal has been said, particularly by my colleague, Deputy L'Estrange, in relation to the benefits under this Agreement to the farmers. I cannot see how there is any benefit to the farmers in this Agreement. They are going to get nothing more than they have — nothing more in £.s.d. Under the Agreement we are guaranteed access to the British market for cattle, sheep and lambs on the hoof. Reference was made to that this morning by the Minister for Justice. Have we not had that position for the past 30 years? Where is there any advantage in repeating what already exists?

On the question of the shortening from three months to two months of the period during which Irish unfattened animals must remain on a farm in the United Kingdom before they qualify to be paid the full regulated price, that will be of no advantage either. It is not worth a twopenny [1782] damn to the Irish farmer. Can anybody, from the Taoiseach down to Deputy Corry, tell me how that is going to be of benefit to the Irish farmer? It may or may not be of financial help to those engaged in the shipment of livestock—I do not know —but, as far as £.s.d. into the pockets of the farmers is concerned, I cannot see how it will be of any benefit whatever. Fianna Fáil will have to talk about some benefit better than that one.

Several Deputies referred to the butter quota. I cannot understand the Minister for Justice on this. I cannot understand how you can have free trade and quotas at the same time. The amount of Irish butter which Britain will allow to be sold on her market has been raised from 19,000 tons last year to 23,000 tons this year. What great advantage is there to crow over in that, particularly when it is remembered that the Irish Exchequer must pay a subsidy of 1/6d on every lb of butter exported? The Irish taxpayer has to buy a postal order for 1/6d in which to wrap every lb of butter sent to Britain.

We are making the British housewife a present of that in order to enable her to buy Irish butter at a cheaper rate, while many people at home are unable to buy Irish butter at all. There seems to be an extraordinary blunder here. We are paying the British 1/6 per lb for eating our butter. The butter is being sold at 2/9 per lb in London, Manchester and elsewhere. Yet the same butter costs 4/7 per lb in Ireland. I could never understand that. This Trade Agreement makes that arrangement more secure. Thanks to Fianna Fáil and the Minister for Agriculture, we will still have to pay a subsidy of £112 per ton on butter exported to Britain. The Irish taxpayer will have to write a cheque for £112, with our compliments and good wishes, in respect of every ton of butter we export. I would love to hear them explaining that at the church gates or in the towns and cities. Butter costs 4/7 per lb here. It is sold in Britain at 2/9 per lb. Yet with every pound we export, we send a postal order for 1/6 to the British housewife—good luck [1783] to her—in order that she can enjoy the flavour of Irish creamery butter.

Was the Taoiseach at the conference table for that? Was the Minister for Agriculture? Was the Minister for Industry and Commerce there? Was the Minister for Finance there? I am completely alarmed that something has not been done in regard to this butter problem which usually crops up here and the subsidy which the Irish taxpayer must continue to pay.

Having dealt with butter, cattle, sheep and lambs, where are the safeguards? I see no safeguards there. Where are the advantages? I see no advantages there. I see disadvantages. I most certainly see not even the benefit of a threepenny bit to anybody engaged in agriculture.

There is one safeguard in the whole Agreement, that is, the safeguard the Minister for Justice was good enough to direct to my attention. It is a very good safeguard. That safeguard alone must justify those of us in Fine Gael for not voting against this Agreement. But I feel that this safeguard, such as it is, does not go far enough, is not effective enough, is not concrete enough, is not sufficiently explanatory. Before I comment further on it, I should like to hear what the trade union people think of the safeguards in this Agreement. Are they sufficient? Are they strong enough? Have we sufficient liberty to safeguard the employment of workers in Irish industry. I should be very anxious to see what the trade union movement have to say on that. In my opinion, it is something in the right direction but is not sufficiently tight.

I can foresee many industries in different parts of the country having to meet the extraordinary position that goods will be dumped in this country. I can see endless trouble and the Minister going to and coming from London. I can see endless trouble with the trade unions and endless trouble in the homes of the workers when this most unpleasant state of affairs arises.

I do not know if there is anything more in this Agreement than what we have been told. Where there is heavy [1784] unemployment, quotas may be imposed on imports for 18 months. If the British Government agree, industries with heavy unemployment may get an extension of the period of tariff reduction for five years but each case must be examined on its merits. I can see trouble in my constituency about this. What will happen if the British Government say they do not agree that a serious unemployment problem exists? Our Minister will go to London and say, in effect: “Here is an industry in which hundreds of workers will be forced out of employment as a result of your dumping in this country.” But the Trade Agreement clearly states that, if the British Government agree, industries with heavy unemployment may get an extension of the tariff period. What happens if the British Government do not agree? Surely that is a very great advantage to the British? They have nothing to do except to say: “We do not agree. Go back home, man. We do not agree that our dumping in relation to industry is as serious as you say. Go back home.” The Agreement is there and now there is nothing we can do about it. I hope we shall hear more about this. I am sure that every branch of Irish industry is examining this clause at the moment because, as it stands and as I read it, the British Government must agree and must approve of it: otherwise the concession for the extension of the tariffs will not be permitted. I most certainly can see very serious consequences in that regard.

We have often advocated the setting up by the State—and I think very recently we have dealt with it—of industrial areas and industrial zones. I am not satisfied that the Taoiseach or the Minister for Industry and Commerce has given the country sufficient information as to how they stand in relation to the establishment of State or semi-State industries. I venture to say that quite a number of people must be worried about this. If private enterprise has fallen flat in regard to an industry, if we see and know that such an industry is essential from the employment point of view and that raw material in a particular area may be an essential consideration, if we decide to set up a semi-State body [1785] and a board to run an industry in this country, I wonder if such is permitted under this Trade Agreement? I should also like to know the position in relation to any further industries which may be set up by a State board or by a semi-State body or even by the board who are so efficiently managing the industries at Shannon Airport. That is a very important matter. It is so important that it deserves the very serious consideration of this House and of the country.

As I said earlier, I have been a believer in the industries that have been set up at Shannon. I continue to be. I have visited the Industrial Zone and I have no reason to have anything but the greatest admiration for the skill, efficiency and, above all, the employment I have seen. If I see men working in a factory, that satisfies me that that, in itself, is serving a useful purpose. I should like to see the Shannon industries develop. I know these industries are all for export but I do feel, as time goes on, there may be other activities to which this board could very usefully devote its energies in relation to the establishment of industries. Some provision should be made to permit State or semi-State companies to enter into the industrial field where private enterprise has failed.

One other point I feel deserves mention here is the Buy Irish campaign. We have conducted a most successful campaign which has had very good results in relation to the buying of Irish goods. Quite an amount of money has been spent on sponsoring and fostering the Buy Irish campaign. When this Agreement is in full swing or when England can dump in here whatever goods she wants, when we have free trade between the two countries, does that mean the end of the Buy Irish campaign? That most certainly means that the amount of money already spent on the organisation at present in existence is also gone under this Agreement. There will be no discrimination, on the ground of country of origin, between Irish and British goods. Does that lead me to believe that when, as a result of this Agreement, British goods [1786] come in unlimited quantities into this country, there is to be no discrimination in relation to the origin of the goods and the merchant will no longer be in a position to put up in his window “Buy Irish” in preference to the British goods? According to the Agreement, I understand the origin of the goods cannot be questioned and there is to be no discrimination whatever between them. Therefore when the Irish Ministers went over to Britain, one of their achievements was the making of the coffin for the Buy Irish campaign. Back they came, and the speeches made by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, by the Taoiseach and indeed by all of us who are anxious to promote the buying of Irish goods have fallen completely by the wayside because when this Free Trade Agreement is in operation, according to the arrangement between the two countries, that is the end of our Buy Irish slogan.

I do not know what are the political implications involved in this Agreement. Listening to Deputies speaking of the political implications involved, I should like to know what they really mean. I say—and I say it here exactly as I would in my own constituency— the time has now come when we can no longer be like the robin hopping from branch to branch. If another war comes—God forbid that it should—we have not got any very great choice as to where we shall stand. Our stand, naturally, must be on the side of those who stand for freedom and liberty, as against those who are opposed to those ideals. Therefore, linking ourselves economically with Britain would not have any great political implications on our future because commonsense would tell us that our place, in the event of any world disturbances, would be on the side of Britain and the great United States. We have no other choice.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish If France goes to war, what do we do?

Mr. Coogan: Information on Fintan Coogan Zoom on Fintan Coogan Take French leave.

Mr. O.J. Flanagan: Information on Oliver J. Flanagan Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan I have always been a great believer in the closest possible links with Britain.

[1787]Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange You are not alone there.

Mr. O.J. Flanagan: Information on Oliver J. Flanagan Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan I am now in very good company. I was looking around me here this morning and the two members who sat longest in the House during this debate were Deputy Everett and myself. I was wondering what was crossing Deputy Everett's mind after his long experience as a member of this House because no man has the experience of Deputy Everett, having listened to the debates here since the establishment of the State. No man has heard the British market being murdered a thousand times over more often than Deputy Everett and, indeed, myself, for the past 23 years.

However, it is very refreshing and does one good to see what we could describe as the extraordinary conversion. I am glad I have lived to see the day when Fianna Fáil — and every Fianna Fáil TD without exception because none of them has objected to this Agreement — is now a greater advocate of the British market than any Deputy in Fine Gael ever was. I am glad that has taken place. May I say that the Fine Gael Party have contributed generously to that conversion of Fianna Fáil? I hope the next Fianna Fáil speaker will give us a little credit for what we have achieved by our display here of commonsense and intelligence in that we have brought Fianna Fáil around to our way of thinking, something we thought impossible. I welcome that conversion and I hope the new converts to the British market will give it the respect it deserves.

Looking at the motions set out in the Order Paper reminds me to recommend highly to the House the motion of Fine Gael. This Party, as the motion states, is concerned with the effect of free trading on employment and emigration and it 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. That sums up this Agreement.

Whenever the opportunity arises it will be the duty of Fine Gael to seek immediate consultations with the British Government with a view to [1788] putting right the imbalance clearly evident in this Agreement. If anybody is to be congratulated on it, it is the British Government. They have most successfully wiped the eyes of every Minister who was in London. I do not wonder that many British interests are highly pleased by the Agreement, as victory has gone to Mr. Wilson. He will not have the responsibility of dealing with our unemployment situation or of providing the 1/6 per lb for the butter he will be eating. We must pay it. He will not have to deal with the industries that would be seriously affected by British dumping into this country. Mr. Wilson and the British people stand to gain: it is a good Agreement for them but, in my opinion, has no advantages for Ireland. I venture to say that this time next year or in two years or three years— please God we shall all live to see it— nobody in Ireland will be a penny richer as a result of this Agreement which is so loudly acclaimed by Fianna Fáil.

I prophesy this Agreement will bring disaster and destruction to many branches of agriculture and a complete wave of disaster to Irish industry. Whenever the next Government take office they will have a great task in endeavouring to correct the irregularities in this Agreement into which the British have gulled the Taoiseach and his Ministers. It is most inappropriate that in 1966 the Taoiseach should go to England to sell this country completely to the British because this Agreement is a complete sell out, industry, agriculture, exports and way of life. As has been said by every speaker here, the weight of advantages is certainly on the British side. We do not blame them for that. They are hardheaded, experienced, and shrewd businessmen and naturally if they meet a few Irishmen whom they can blindfold, hoodwink and talk into something, disguising their own advantages and mesmerising our representatives, they will do it. That is what happened. I should like to see what would happen in this House if Deputy J.A. Costello as Taoiseach had come back with this Agreement or Deputy Dillon, or Deputy Cosgrave, the present Leader [1789] of Fine Gael. I venture to say none of them would be allowed to speak in the House. There would be shouts from everyone: “You sold the country. You are wrapped up in the Union Jack.”

I can remember an occasion on which I think the Ceann Comhairle had to call in an usher to restrain Deputy Smith when everybody in the House thought he would have a heart attack because of the violent manner in which he and the Minister for Local Government were screaming at Deputy Costello and Deputy Dillon that they were harming the country, that they were not good Irishmen. Where is the sell out today? Must it not be honestly admitted, as has been said here already, that they have remade the founder of the Party, altered his ideas, trampled on their so-called principles and have now sold out lock, stock and barrel to the British? I should be greatly surprised if an effort is not made to fly the Tricolour with the Union Jack over this House. Why not do it decently? They allowed the British to wipe their eyes but Mr. Wilson would not wipe Deputy Dillon's eyes and the British Premier did not wipe Deputy Costello's eyes in 1948 or Deputy Norton's eyes or Deputy Morrissey's when he was Minister for Industry and Commerce.

Whatever concealed advantages are in this Agreement one advantage that can be seen now and always is the financial benefits that flowed from the 1948 Trade Agreement that put millions into the pockets of Irish farmers.

I make this very genuine appeal to the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs who is representing the Government here at this moment to ask the Taoiseach, in the name of democracy, now that he has succeeded in selling us out completely to Mr. Wilson and has been responsible for giving Captain O'Neill in the Six Countries a terrific degree of security and prosperity to tell us on which side of the House the republican Party is. The North stands to gain more than we do out of this Agreement. Maybe that is what was arranged. We do not know. Maybe in [1790] the little talks going on between Captain O'Neill and the Taoiseach this sell-out to Britain was discussed. The fact of the matter is that there has been a complete sell-out. We stand to gain nothing; Britain stands to gain all. If anybody can tell me after this Trade Agreement in what part of this House the republican Party is, I should like to know.

Mr. Larkin: Information on Denis Larkin Zoom on Denis Larkin Both of you.

Mr. O.J. Flanagan: Information on Oliver J. Flanagan Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan This is an extraordinary somersault on the part of Fianna Fáil. Some members of that Party who would have looked down their noses at the mention of England or anything connected with the Empire are now the key advocates of the closest link, the closest co-operation and the closest possible identity with Britain. I congratulate them. I think they deserve to be congratulated. I welcome all these new converts. While the Taoiseach and the Minister for Agriculture, Mr. Haughey, and the Minister for Industry and Commerce, Dr. Hillery, and the Minister for Finance, Mr. Lynch, did not return from England in sackcloth, I am sure all the Fianna Fáil Deputies this week-end and next week-end will go down to their constituents and appear before them in sackcloth and will strike their breasts and say, “Mea culpa, mea culpa” and beg the forgiveness of their constituents for all the harmful and rude things they have said about the British market over the past quarter of a century.

I am sure that the loving, warmhearted Irish people will forgive them and will admire and appreciate them for at last taking a leaf out of Fine Gael's book and accepting that the steps that were taken by Cumann na nGaedheal, by Fine Gael and by the inter-Party Government to bring about close co-operation between this country and Britain were wise and good and will believe that in future they are all going to be good boys, that they will be silent so far as the British market is concerned. I am sure these Deputies will ask the people's forgiveness for selling Irish industry, for selling Irish agricultural [1791] workers and allowing Mr. Harold Wilson to wipe their eye.

I do not see any benefits accruing to us from this Agreement. I can see that we must have an Agreement, that there must be an Agreement there. This Agreement is a feeble effort. It has been a failure. Sooner or later it will have to be replaced by an Agreement which will give the balance of benefit to this country and will not give the balance of benefit to Britain, as it was given by the Taoiseach and his Ministers last month.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. J. Brennan): Information on Joseph Brennan Zoom on Joseph Brennan I can assure the House that I shall be very brief because there are many others who wish to speak and I have no intention of going over ground that has been covered very extensively and comprehensively in the past few days. I had no intention of speaking but to sit here and not be provoked to say something is rather difficult. The inconsistencies in all the speeches from the other side of the House would be too numerous to mention. The last speaker, having described the Agreement as a disaster, a complete sell-out, then congratulated the people who made it on their conversion to the same way of thinking as Fine Gael, which would seem to indicate that they wished to sell out and that they would be in favour of it, despite the fact that it is alleged to involve untold disasters for the country. Of course, that will all be taken with a grain of salt.

I, in accord with the farming community of the country and with the well-established industries which Fianna Fáil have set up over the years, feel that this is a good Agreement. It is good for many reasons. Anybody listening to Fine Gael speeches and trying to analyse them must discover that they also say it is a good Agreement, if one applies a little of Euclid to the argument that it is only a continuation of the 1948 Agreement.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange As far as agriculture is concerned.

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan Zoom on Joseph Brennan The 1948 Agreement, we are told, is good. Therefore, [1792] this Agreement is good. The previous speaker said that the 1948 Agreement put millions of pounds into the pockets of the farmers and in the next breath, said that this Agreement will not mean one single penny to anyone, although, according to him, it is a continuation of the 1948 Agreement. This is absolute nonsense that one hears from people, probably from the lack of something better to say, who are not even opposing the Agreement, who criticise it in the extreme, using superlatives to condemn it but who know perfectly well that it is an Agreement which must be regarded by every economist, examine it as he may, as an Agreement that puts us in an improved position vis-á-vis the British market or any other market that is available to us. It spells out security for the foreseeable future for agriculture and merely does for industry in this country what it inevitably had to face sooner or later and for which it was already being prepared.

The allegation that somebody is converted to something makes me smile. The previous speaker referred to older Deputies who would remember the things that Fianna Fáil used to say about the British market. We all remember what we used to say and had to say at a time when the land annuities were neither legally nor morally due and Fine Gael drove some of their best colleagues to prompt the British to put a tariff on our agricultural exports to Britain in order to recoup themselves for the loss of the annuities that we were withholding at the time and we engaged in an economic war where the survival of the fittest was the rule of the day and where we did have to slaughter calves to keep down the cattle population. All is fair in love and war. It is part of what we had to do. A bishop who said that the land of the O'Donnells would not be the first to surrender knew what we were up against. We had to stand on our own feet, uphold our diginity and the prestige of this country and the very men who fought such fights as that, just like the men of 1916, left us in a position to stand on our own two feet and make such an Agreement as this on equal terms with England or any other country.

[1793] I can easily visualise the inferiority complex that affects even the intellect of every individual on the opposite side, who can see nothing but a Lloyd George whenever they go to negotiate something and feel that they must come back hoodwinked and bluffed. We are living in a new atmosphere and in different times. If a country has gained sovereignty, that sovereignty must be expressed in terms of ability freely to negotiate even with people who were our enemy and if the climate of relations has improved it is due to the fact that we paid dearly for putting ourselves in a position where we have the ability and now the prestige and the sovereignty to make agreements.

Who is converted? I remember hearing in this House, and before I came into this House reading reports, of the efforts that were being made at the time when the Taoiseach, Seán Lemass, then Minister for Industry and Commerce, set out to give this country an industrial arm with a foresight, which was not then believed in by a single member of the Opposition. They mocked and jeered at what they described as the “back lane” factories which were given protective tariff walls and bemoaned the lot of the Irish people who were being compelled to buy home-produced goods which, they alleged, were inferior and incapable of competing with the goods imported from the bigger manufacturers abroad.

The same people are now crying out about industry being endangered. I remember Deputy Dillon saying that Fianna Fáil would put Aspros on a string and call that a factory: he was insinuating that it was the duty of the country to produce agricultural goods and not manufactured goods. Those were the days in which Irish industry got its feet firmly on the ground. Any person, no matter how elementary his knowledge of industry may be, must have foreseen that it was inevitable, if we were to continue raising the standard of living to the point at which we could cater for an increasing population, that we would have to export, and exporting means [1794] that industries must become efficient and capable of exporting.

Our industries today are not afraid of competition from any quarter, except perhaps those countries in which low wage rates are paid, countries which, if they had free access to our market, could dump goods here at uncompetitive prices. Britain is not paying slave wages in the industrial field. We should be capable of competing with people who are paying wages as high as those we are paying and, in many cases, higher. The only thing we have to ensure is that we are equally efficient and equally competitive. That is a position into which we will have to get sooner or later and now is as good a time as any to prepare for it.

Any person, here or elsewhere, who thinks that Irish industry can continue indefinitely to be sheltered by protection and, at the same time, expand and export to other markets, must either not understand the rudiments of industrial expansion or else pretend he does not understand them. I see nothing to worry about. As has been pointed out here repeatedly, if the rhythm of tariff reductions exposes some of our industries to more serious competition, certain steps will have to be taken to enable those industries to face that competition. Provision is made in this respect. Already we have to do something with regard to exports when we found ourselves faced with the temporary British surcharge. Our manufacturers did not for one moment baulk at the difficulties they had to face when this surcharge was imposed. More power to them.

When the history of this century comes to be written impartially for the benefit of future generations, the one man who will find a proper place in the annals of the industrialisation of this country will be Seán Lemass. He must at times be amused by the criticism of himself for exposing industry to competition, or doing something which, it is alleged, will impede the progress of this country. I commend his foresight in encouraging, fostering and sponsoring industries here of a type which many people, and certainly most of the present main Opposition, said we were not capable of supporting [1795] but which ultimately proved to be industries that could succeed, and did succeed. That in itself is ample evidence of the foresight of Seán Lemass. The House owes it to him to pay tribute to the years he devoted and the battles he fought in the interests of establishing, promoting and expanding industry here. I would back his opinion at any time in relation to our future industrial development against that of any other man.

I do not believe that any Deputy, whether he be Labour or Fine Gael, believes for one moment that this is anything but a good Agreement. In it I see long-term security. I predict that those who most vehemently oppose it now will a few years hence say: “Oh, we knew it would work out all right if things went the right way. That is why it has succeeded.” There will be few to criticise it. I suppose that is why we have had such a flimsy effort here at opposition. Does anybody believe in the speech we have just heard from Deputy O.J. Flanagan? Does anybody pay serious attention to that kind of thing?

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange 17,000 people in Laois-Offaly.

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan Zoom on Joseph Brennan “We have sold out to the British.”“We are faced with disaster.”“This spells ruination.” An opposition speech, if it is to be constructive and logical, must be serious. Some reason must be introduced into it. I do not think it matters a hoot what Deputy O.J. Flanagan says because no one will take it seriously anyway.

There were many people who did not approve of those who signed the Proclamation in 1916. There were many who did not think much of them. But the signatories of that Proclamation foresaw an Ireland in which we would be free to do what we liked, even in regard to those with whom we were then going into combat. Those who tried to tell us that, because we fought for our independence, we should now refuse, having got a measure of independence, to use that independence as the dignity of that independence permits in order to make [1796] agreements are digging with the wrong foot. I see many good features in this Agreement. It is designed to improve our trading relations. I see no dangers in it.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange I hope the Minister is right.

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan Zoom on Joseph Brennan That is my candid opinion. Access to the British market is given to us immediately——

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange We had it already.

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan Zoom on Joseph Brennan —— without let or hindrance, even to the extent of enjoying the price support applied by the British to their own agricultural produce. The rhythm of the imports from Britain here will give us sufficient time to prepare for any impact they may have. We have been permitted to exclude certain goods which we thought could not stand up to free trade. There are no political commitments or ties. We are free to sell in any market we like.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Oh, no.

Mr. Reynolds: Information on Patrick J. Reynolds Zoom on Patrick J. Reynolds Not now.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange We must first, for example, supply Britain with 636,000 stores.

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan Zoom on Joseph Brennan Those who manufacture goods can compete in any market they wish to supply. Fine Gael hoped this Agreement would give them something to talk about and they suggested we were confining ourselves to some particular market and precluding our entry to others. Ultimately when they discovered these things did not happen, they had a long discussion.

Mr. Reynolds: Information on Patrick J. Reynolds Zoom on Patrick J. Reynolds Read the Green Book.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange It is wrong for a Minister to make such a comment.

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan Zoom on Joseph Brennan They could not agree to oppose it in the House, and one of the Labour speakers said they had not the guts.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Fianna Fáil opposed the 1948 Agreement.

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan Zoom on Joseph Brennan I am talking about this Agreement. They said they could [1797] not see any good in it—although privately they did—and they decided to attack it, right, left and centre, in the House. That inconsistency is not easy to explain. One finds a member of the Fine Gael Party standing up in the Front bench and saying that every time we sell a pound of butter we send a postal order for 1/6d with it to the British housewife. That is what they would like the people to believe. The creameries of this country know perfectly well what the position is in relation to butter and nothing Deputies opposite can say to misrepresent the position will change their minds. They know we must subsidise our exports of butter in order to enable the exports to take place, and what is the good in trying to pretend otherwise? It would be just as sensible to talk of the days when the people opposite imported butter when they were the Government.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Fianna Fáil imported it in 1946 and 1947, Danish yellow butter.

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan Zoom on Joseph Brennan Dillon's yellow butter. It may be that the circumstances at the time made it necessary for the Deputy's Government to do it, but why should they talk about the subsidisation of dairy products which is necessary in order to ensure that our cattle population will increase? Do they think they will get any support for that argument from the agricultural community?

(Interruptions.)

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan Zoom on Joseph Brennan Deputy L'Estrange can go up to Donegal and bluff a few people but he will not do it here.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange There were 250 active men and women present that night. They see a change. We are proud of that.

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan Zoom on Joseph Brennan The young ones must not have published their names. I read the supplied report.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange That is completely wrong. I supplied no report. There were three reporters present.

[1798]Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish Give the man a chance. He is the only Minister who did not read his speech.

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan Zoom on Joseph Brennan Every Deputy must have regard to the effect that any action taken by the Government will have on his own constituency. I am very pleased at the improvement which is bound to ensure in the sheep trade as a result of the better conditions for the export of store sheep or carcase lamb. This is very important to the western seaboard, particularly to Donegal. I am very glad also that as the main tweed manufacturing county in Ireland, Donegal is facing a bright future under this Agreement in regard to the textile industry. These are two important factors, apart from anything we may say here for or against the Agreement, about which I am personally happy and which will be of the greatest possible benefit to the people of my county.

I do not think it necessary to emphasise—even some of the Fine Gael people have said this outside the House—that we cannot improve our standards, or support an increasing population without access to foreign markets and without exporting. Exporting our manufacturing goods essentially means getting away from protection on the home market. This is what I did not quite understand in regard to the Labour approach to the Agreement, when they expressed, as the last speaker did, a fear about thousands and thousands being thrown out of employment in industry.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange There are 7,700 gone since the day the Agreement was signed, according to today's paper.

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan Zoom on Joseph Brennan The whole question of a better manufacturing industry in this country is bound up with the ability to export. That means that the industry must be efficient and be able to compete with others. We can do it, and industry has spoken and said it is not afraid to do it. What would be the position of industry 30 or 40 years ago? First of all, there was none. Those were the days when Fianna Fáil were accused of establishing backlane industries, protecting inferior [1799] industries. Those were the days when industry began in spite of Fine Gael.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan Zoom on Joseph Brennan There are many things one could talk about that are best forgotten.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange We can look back on the past with pride.

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan Zoom on Joseph Brennan We can. The people who have the same attitude towards Britain are the very same people who were shouting the same things in days which will be commemorated this year.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Fianna Fáil are starting off well by selling out the country.

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan Zoom on Joseph Brennan It comes ill from that side of the House to be talking about selling the country.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange “The British market is gone and gone for ever, thanks be to God.”

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan Zoom on Joseph Brennan The days of the “damn good bargain” and the days of submission to threats are gone. We make bargains on the basis of equality with others. We stand on our own feet. We know that we make them for the betterment of the country. We used the dignity of the freedom for which we fought and won to make this Agreement. Nothing that can be said from that side of the House can take from the reputation they have in regard to bargaining which will besmirch their record for future generations. I am annoyed listening to people making silly statements that are not supported by anything that can be reconciled with the past. We have achieved a good Agreement and we have been able to make it on the ground of equality.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Fianna Fáil can thank this side of the House for the fact that they are even governing the country today.

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan Zoom on Joseph Brennan We are happy to know that we have gained security for our agricultural produce for the future, [1800] that we have put our industry in the position where it is capable of withstanding competition and that we have finally reached the stage, which we inevitably had to reach, of exporting and being able to face competition from imports. These are things in the Agreement which highlight its worth and extol those who negotiated it. They did a good job.

The very word “agreement” means give and take and in this Agreement most of the taking is on our side. We get free access immediately for our agricultural produce and participation in British supports to a valuable extent. On our side, the removal of tariffs has been fixed during a period of ten years, giving us a chance, ample time, to prepare for the competition that will come. We have been allowed to exclude certain items which would not be able to stand up to competition and we are permitted to continue protection for certain items. The national sovereignty is in no way affected. If anything, the climate in the relationship with our fellow Irishmen across the Border has been enhanced and the old bigotry that has done so much harm has been dealt another blow. This has opened a new door to increased and continued development and prosperity in this country. It is a significant Agreement which will be judged better in retrospect, one which will reflect on those who negotiated it the highest possible praise and give to them a reputation in our history as being the team who negotiated a satisfactory Agreement with Britain outside the old Lloyd George climate.

Mr. Larkin: Information on Denis Larkin Zoom on Denis Larkin I rise to support the Labour Party amendment, and if I had any doubts on the matter, they were dissolved by the contribution of the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, speaking without a brief, because his arguments, or lack of argument, would not convince anybody inside or outside the House that there is any value in the Agreement. He reiterated a number of points which have been coming from Fianna Fáil Ministers, notorious for making statements at election times which subsequently are proved incorrect.

[1801] Not so long ago we had, in one of these statements, the promise of 100,000 new jobs. Fianna Fáil claim to have been responsible for the industrialisation of the country and today the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs supported that claim. When he opened the debate, the Taoiseach spoke about lazy industrialists. According to the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, it was the Taoiseach who established these industries over the years. The Taoiseach did not think it worthwhile to name the lazy industrialists who were not doing their job. I agree there are many lazy industrialists who are not doing their job, who, behind a barrier of protection for years, have not been doing the job entrusted to them, have not been improving their competitive position or providing decently remunerated, secure employment for their workers, many of them being staunch supporters of Fianna Fáil.

There is one significant feature about the debate and to some extent it may be a welcome factor. Though there have been cracks and repartee across the floor of the House, the debate revealed a union of souls between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, long awaited, long anticipated and, we hope, in this year when we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising, nearly realised. Now and again in moments of heat, the old sores are still opened across the floor of the House but there now seems to be hope that they will be finally healed. While there has been a lot of criticism of the Agreement from the Fine Gael benches, they have made it quite clear they will not vote against its adoption.

The method by which the Agreement reached the House is a matter of interest to us in the Labour Party and to many people throughout the country. During the course of the debate it transpired that Ministers of the Fianna Fáil Government as far back as 1963 had seriously considered the possibility of exploring free trade channels with Britain.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully November, 1964.

Mr. Larkin: Information on Denis Larkin Zoom on Denis Larkin It was probably being [1802] considered before that time. Fianna Fáil are past masters at keeping to themselves information which they do not think the electorate, the ordinary people of the country, should know before an election. We had a general election a few months ago and during the course of that campaign Fianna Fáil gave not the slightest indication that they had started along this road with Great Britain, demonstrating quite clearly that they were afraid to tell the truth to the Irish people. Possibly they feared that the Irish people would not think of discussing the prospect of free trade arrangements with Britain at a time when they had an opportunity of exercising a choice.

This is not the first time Fianna Fáil adopted tactics of that kind and I do not think it will be the last time because here they refer to as a Free Trade Agreement, one which imposes certain restrictions and certain limitations on the agricultural industry, while at the same time exposing the industrial side of our economy to increasing competition. We have been repeatedly told here the number of store cattle which may be exported to Britain. We have been told not only that, but also the number which must be exported. I read in one of the morning newspapers yesterday that Britain was in trouble with Denmark, one of her partners in the EFTA, because Britain was exporting cattle to West Germany. I wonder if Britain is taking advantage of the availability of Irish store cattle and the fact that Ireland must export a certain number every year to Britain to have an advantageous deal with West Germany? Would there have been a possibility, in the absence of the provision in this Agreement for export of Irish cattle, of Irish farmers exporting cattle to West Germany? Certainly they could not do it now unless they first of all supplied Britain with the 634,000 head.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully It is 638,000.

Mr. Larkin: Information on Denis Larkin Zoom on Denis Larkin Well, I do not think we will quarrel about 4,000. I do not claim to be an agriculturist. Yet, we are told by the experts in agriculture in this House, without this Agreement, [1803] in existing circumstances, the farmers could sell 638,000, or, in fact, more, to Great Britain without any difficulty. The Ministers, of course, tell us that the benefit is there and Britain must take them up to that number. That, of course, could be a benefit if and when the situation arose where Britain had a surplus. Is that likely to take place in the circumstances of the development of the British economy? If Britain develops, substanially and successfully, she will probably still need more cattle than she could produce and the farmers might well consider that they would be reasonably secure without this Agreement.

There is another aspect of this matter. Again, without any agricultural knowledge, but with sufficient knowledge gained from listening to the debates in this House from time to time, from the point of view of employment—and that is the aspect of the Agreement with which the Labour Party are concerned—the least rewarding is the store cattle trade. It is also the least rewarding from the point of view of enabling Irishmen to provide for their families and enjoy a decent standard of living.

The store cattle trade is very valuable from the point of view of the balance of payments. We appreciate that in the present difficulties. These difficulties were not mentioned, or even hinted at, six or seven months ago when the Taoiseach, Deputy Lemass, and his satellites, were occupying full page advertisements in the newspapers, were appearing on television, were having meetings all over the place, and when everything in the garden was lovely. There was no great indication, at that particular time, that a fall-off, whether temporary or otherwise, in this particular trade, would have such catastrophic effects as it has had in recent months. We will agree, from the point of view of the balance of payments, that any Agreement which provides for some security in that way is valuable but, again, it is not the most rewarding.

The Minister for Agriculture, a very competent Minister in his own view, was unable to boast very loudly about the other aspects of the Agreement [1804] under the heading of agriculture. The carcase meat trade shows some improvement. It is certainly not such a marvellous thing and the efforts of the Government and the Ministers negotiating this Agreement are not very rewarding in this regard. I do not think that anyone, in normal circumstances, would feel that the Minister for Agriculture would deserve a medal for his efforts in relation to the export of bacon. We were told both in the Agreement and in the House that the turkey export trade would not only disappear—it has been valuable to small farmers on previous occasions— but that it could, under this particular Agreement, reach a point where consumers in this country would be buying poultry from Great Britain.

Mr. Creed: Information on Donal Creed Zoom on Donal Creed They will be doing so very soon.

Mr. Reynolds: Information on Patrick J. Reynolds Zoom on Patrick J. Reynolds That is what is conveyed in the Agreement.

Mr. Larkin: Information on Denis Larkin Zoom on Denis Larkin I think that is a wonderful thing. Ireland has always prided herself on being able to produce poultry. There are some good spots in this Agreement. Nobody wants to deny those or to take credit from them but the Minister for Agriculture says that as a result of this Agreement we can now buy turkeys from Britain. The Taoiseach used the term “opportunity knocks”. He must be a viewer of Ulster Television. They have a programme called “Opportunity Knocks”, conducted by Michael Miles, on which people are asked a few simple questions. The announcer always makes sure they have the right answers so that when they have they get a key and can open a box.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish That is “Take Your Pick”. You have them all mixed up. “Opportunity Knocks” is Hughie Green's programme. You have got to sing a song and you might win.

Mr. Larkin: Information on Denis Larkin Zoom on Denis Larkin My apologies. The same principle is involved. Somebody is being persuaded he is getting something for nothing.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish The box is opened and there might be nothing in it.

[1805]Mr. Larkin: Information on Denis Larkin Zoom on Denis Larkin There is no doubt that the master of gambling in this House and in the Government for many years back has been the Taoiseach. He has been lucky on many occasions but sometimes he has been unlucky. I do not think he knows whether, in the years ahead, his gamble will come off. That is one of the matters about which we are particularly concerned. We admit from these benches that there is some improvement from the point of view of agriculture, but speakers who are better acquainted with the subject than I am have pointed out that the improvement under that heading is not as great as it should have been, certainly not as great as it could have been if our negotiators had not been mesmerised by their opposite numbers.

We in the Labour Party are concerned about the general development of the economy, both in agriculture and in industry. We are concerned about the position of the agricultural community and those who make up the agricultural community, whether they be medium sized or small farmers. We are primarily concerned with those who draw their normal week's wages from agriculture or rely on the production of the small farms to provide them with a reasonable living. The numbers of such persons are declining each year. They are declining by some thousands each year. We have to look at the opposite side of this coin to see whether the gain in this Agreement will maintain in agricultural employment the number of people who are at present employed in it.

I do not think that even Fianna Fáil spokesmen have advanced the thesis that the number of people at present engaged in agriculture will continue at that level even with the agreed improvements so far as agriculture is concerned. Even Fianna Fáil spokesmen, I think, have admitted that there will be a decline year by year, so the gain in trading conditions for the agricultural community will be shared by a smaller number of people. Fianna Fáil may have quite a number of large-scale ranchers supporting them and any immediate gain in that sector will go to a great extent to the ranchers who support Fianna Fáil. The Government [1806] are very conscious of agreements that affect the people who at least temporarily support them.

So, we have in agriculture an admitted gain, but I do not think that in a general way it will help in our balance of payments problem. We have, at the same time, the problem that there is a decline in the number of people engaged in agriculture. The Taoiseach said that this Agreement is a prelude to our going into the EEC. Our application has been made, and it has been stated that if and when Britain's application is accepted, because of our proximity to Britain, Ireland will continue to have a large trading agreement with Britain, and willy-nilly will go into the EEC with Britain. The Taoiseach referred to that circumstance in his opening address, but we are dealing with the Agreement. What does the Agreement provide, not just for industry, but for those who make their livelihood in industry?

So far as one can judge there are a number of industries that are bound to be affected in the years that lie ahead by a reduction of the tariff walls. A number of those industries will be affected and the employment of the workers in them will also be affected. It might be no harm just for a moment to think of one or two industries that are likely to be affected. The boot and shoe industry is likely to be very seriously affected, and employment in that industry is likely to be affected, by this Agreement and the reduction of the tariffs. The Minister for Posts and Telegraphs told us about the wonderful things in store for industries using man-made fibres and those engaged in tweed weaving. He did not mention the workers engaged in the woollen and worsted industry. Perhaps they slipped his mind, because it is anticipated that a reduction in tariffs will have a very serious effect in the years that lie ahead on the workers in it.

There is also the motor assembly industry. I do not think even Fianna Fáil were quite clear on that matter because the CIO report indicated that for the next three or four years, unless there is a catastrophic change, there may be some increase in that industry [1807] arising from an estimated increase in the number of motor cars on the Irish roads. Of course the number of motor cars on the Irish roads may not increase to the figure estimated unless the economy of the country recovers from its present difficult situation. Leaving aside the present financial difficulties which have been referred to in this House on more than one occasion, it was estimated that the number of motor cars on the Irish roads would increase from 46,000 at present to about 60,000 in 1970, and that the number of workers in that period would show some increase, but after that period even though the number of cars might continue to increase at the same ratio, it was estimated that because of the effects of this Agreement, and the reduction of tariffs by ten per cent per year, the number of workers in that industry would be reduced: that whereas the numbers might go from 5,000 to 7,000 at first, after that they would come down. It is estimated, fairly reliably because it is based on costs, that the number will go down below the number at present employed in that industry to around 3,000. I think this industry was established by Fianna Fáil and it has given quite a lot of employment.

There are also the industries like those engaged in food processing and in the manufacturing and processing of chocolate, sugar, confectionery, etc. Again, we are primarily concerned with the workers in this industry and while the prognostication is that they may continue providing around the same level of employment in the years that lie ahead they will still be open, as the tariff barriers come down, to the type of competition referred to in one or two Articles of the Agreement, competition from larger undertakings in Britain. I am not referring to the question of dumping of low cost goods, nor even to goods which would be subsidised or have price supports, but to goods of the same nature and size as those from similar undertakings in Britain. The workers in this industry and in other industries could be faced with the situation that the unit cost of production in Britain would be lower and, therefore, goods could [1808] come in and be sold on the Irish market at prices lower even than those at which the very efficient factories here can produce them, because of the relatively small size of those undertakings.

There is also the problem arising from dumping and our fear is that the Agreement has no great safeguards about dumping. In Article XI which is headed “Dumped and Subsidised Imports”, section (1) reads:

Nothing in this Agreement shall prevent either party from taking action against dumped or subsidised imports consistently with its other international obligations.

These obligations are contained in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. Deputy Tully will probably be dealing with this. Having read them, I may say that I am fairly satisfied that they do not give the type of protection that workers affected by dumping would require. Section (3) of the same Article says:

If any industry in the territory of either party is suffering or is threatened with material injury as a result of the importation of dumped or subsidised products into the territory of the other, the latter shall, at the request of the former, examine the possibility of taking such action as is consistent with its international obligations to remedy the danger or prevent the threatened injury.

Most people engaged in trade, like most people engaged in industry, are not in it for their health, whatever lofty sentiments they may express from time to time. They are in it for the profit they will make and if an importer finds it possible to import a considerable quantity of cheap goods, put them in a warehouse, and then sell them to retailers and these goods eventually appear at dumped prices, that importer will do it. There is nothing in this Article that makes provision for controlling imports in such a way as to prevent that happening. We know that in past years on more than one occasion goods appeared in the shop windows in this country at half or one-third the price those goods could be manufactured for even [1809] by efficient industry in this country. By the time the complicated administrative machinery was set in operation hundreds of workers were out of employment. This Article provides that you can utilise the machinery under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and if you are threatened, the procedure, as I understand it, is that the Minister for Industry and Commerce of the day will start to collect information and will make representations to his opposite number in Britain. I am no great critic of the Civil Service and I think there are very many excellent people in that service, but the Civil Service machinery for this type of thing would inevitably be slow, burdensome and complicated.

The effect would be that by the time workers could make their complaints regarding their employment being affected by dumped goods they would find that they were joining the ranks of the unemployed even before an investigation was carried out on this side, leaving aside the question of discussions on the other side. This is the type of problem with which the Labour Party are concerned. It may not concern Fine Gael very much; they may talk about it but they are not prepared to make an issue of it and show their disapproval by voting against the Agreement and in order to demonstrate that they very much care about people affected in this way. I know that many of their members would be concerned but the Party has spoken.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay Deputy Cosgrave devoted a considerable amount of his speech to the question of dumping.

Mr. Larkin: Information on Denis Larkin Zoom on Denis Larkin With all respect to your Leader, Deputy Cosgrave did devote a considerable amount of his speech to dumping but he read that Article and other Articles. I am not criticising Deputy Cosgrave personally but I am saying that the Fine Gael Party read that Article and they have no motion down disapproving of the Agreement. There is another problem in relation to Article I, which is headed “Import Duty”, section (1) of which reads:

[1810] On and after 1 July, 1966 the Government of the United Kingdom shall not apply any import duty to goods, which in accordance with Article II, are regarded as originating in, and are consigned from, Ireland.

Section (2) goes on to refer to the periodic reductions of the tariffs, ten per cent in July 1966, and so on.

Paragraph (5) of Article I is worth reading. It states:

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, but of a more permanent character, have been caused or are threatened as a result of the operation of this Article, Article IV or Article VI. If the Government of Ireland are satisfied in this review that such difficulties exist or are threatened, the parties shall jointly consider whether they can be dealt with by action in accordance with paragraph (3) of Article XIX. If the Government of Ireland then conclude the goods in respect of which ceptional that they cannot be dealt with by such action, they may exclude the goods in respect of whchi 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 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.

That looks very nice on the face of it. But this review is to take place in 1970. What will happen to the workers put out of employment by the tariff reduction of 30 per cent by 1968? There is no review there. There is no use saying to them there will be a review in 1970. That will not be much comfort to their wives and families. These workers may be employed in a factory owned by one of the lazy industrialists to whom the Taoiseach referred, or else in a small factory genuinely doing its best but located in one of our small towns and affected [1811] by transport costs to the east and south coasts. The review in 1970 will not be much good for those industries. By then they will be gone.

Those are the problems the Labour Party had in mind when they put down the amendment. They felt the Government had not taken sufficient action in advance to safeguard workers' employment to the extent necessary. It is estimated that between 1965 and 1970 there will be an increase of about 18,000 in industrial employment, a decrease of about 3,000, leaving a net increase of 15,000 to offset the reduction in agricultural employment of thousands every year. The Taoiseach should have brought in plans to provide employment for the 100,000 he spoke about some years ago. As far as I can see, he has no plans to provide employment for the workers who may be affected by this Agreement. He has talked about how necessary it is for employers to do this and that. In nearly every industry surveyed during the course of the last year, there has been a substantial increase in productivity by the workers and, goodness knows, little enough many of them got for it. The increase in productivity in the farming community has been phenomenal as far as the workers are concerned. What have they got? The members of the Agricultural Wages Board should be ashamed to expect workers to rear families on the wages provided. Will the remaining workers in that industry benefit to any substantial extent from this Agreement?

We are told there will be a reduction in employment unless something is done. I hope we will do better than in the current year. At 3rd December, 1965, the total number on the live register was 54,816 as against 54,182 in 1964 and 50,465 in 1963. That is not a good augury for this Agreement. We have the same story on 10th December and 17th December. The latest figure, for 31st December, 1965, is 63,714 as against 59,076 for 1964 and 58,613 for 1963.

In the years ahead the industries employing many of our people will be faced with substantial tariff reductions [1812] likely to cause further unemployment. One of the problems of discussing this Agreement is that we are discussing something already signed and that will come into operation. All we can do is express our views on it and enjoin on the Government that, as the authors of this Agreement, they have a responsibility to ensure that steps are taken to provide that the workers will not suffer as a result of it.

If there is any benefit at all to be derived from the Agreement, I am sure the Government will extract every ounce of credit for it. They are masters at it. We just want to put them on notice that aside from their preaching —and they have been joined to some extent by some of the members on the Fine Gael benches—at the workers of this country, it is their job to start to do the job they were elected to do, and so far, they are falling down pretty miserably on it. It is a good thing to see spokesmen of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael agreeing basically on a number of matters. From a broad number of aspects of this matter which have been discussed, it would appear that there may be some hope for a different atmosphere between these sections of the movement. I do not propose to talk in terms of betrayal of this, that or the other. This country has been notorious down the centuries for the flaunting of accusations of betrayal of this person, that cause and anything else—people, Parties and individuals.

This is a Free Trade Agreement, with restrictions. Possibly, it has certain political implications, too, in a broad way, in so far as it has been made by the Government with a view to participation, if and when they can, in the EEC. As everybody in this House knows, membership of the Common Market is not confined solely to an economic agreement. There is a much wider and much deeper significance to it. Whether this Agreement will continue to exist in the years that lie ahead, whether circumstances will, at some stage, alter this Agreement which has now been signed as forever, thus making it operative for only a temporary period, we can only speculate at this stage. The Government who [1813] signed this Agreement have committed the workers of this country engaged in agriculture and in industry to certain future risks and possibilities. The Government have a responsibility to ensure that all possible steps will be taken to prevent any harmful effect to the workers and to ensure that, where workers become redundant, adequate provision will be made for them.

In that connection, I want to make this remark. There has been a lot of talk about the re-equipment of industries, the re-training of workers, and so on. There is one basic fact which we must all take into account. We may talk about the re-training of workers after displacement but we must bear in mind that the workers are not mere ciphers. Many of them are fathers of families and almost all of the remainder are members of a family. They have established social and family connections in the place where they are living.

It would be unrealistic to think that workers would readily agree to be transferred from one part of the country to another if work locally folded up and there was an opportunity in another part of the country. It was found in the past, in the case of the linen and cotton textile industry, that workers employed in Cork would prefer to work in the same industry in Britain than to work in the industry in Drogheda or Dublin and that the workers in the midland countries would rather do the same thing. The human factor, the social factor, has to be taken into account. Whenever it may be desired to transfer workers from one place to another, it must be remembered that they cannot be treated like cattle. You can transfer a heifer from one field to another and, provided the grass is all right, there will be no more about it.

Mr. Creed: Information on Donal Creed Zoom on Donal Creed The heifer does not complain.

Mr. Larkin: Information on Denis Larkin Zoom on Denis Larkin All they are worrying about is how much per lb they will get when she is sold on the market. The people will eventually be the judges of the benefits or otherwise in this Agreement for the ordinary working [1814] people of this country. Since this Government came back into office, they appear not to have done very much for the workers. Deputy J. Lynch is now Minister for Finance and has moved into a rarefied atmosphere and his colleagues find it very difficult to get any money from him for work that is urgent and necessary. In the course of his speech, he said that we, in the Labour Party, feel that the Irish workers are not capable of competing with their opposite numbers in other countries and that the Fianna Fáil Party feel that that derives from some inferiority complex on the part of the Labour Party in respect of the Irish worker. Let there be no misunderstanding about it. The Labour Party are quite convinced that the Irish worker, given the education and training, is second to none in any part of the known world. By and large, however, our workers, in too many of the industries we are concerned with, start off with too many handicaps—an inadequate, insufficient education and no desire on the part of their employer to give them an adequate opportunity of training when they go in as young boys and young girls.

There are thousands of youths and girls going to work in factories in various parts of the country and even though, in some cases, the employers are required, under joint labour committee legislation, to train the workers, it happens in many cases if the employers get them to do a job to their satisfaction, they leave them at that particular job and will not bother to train them any further—and this is not just a statement from the Labour Party. Anyone who has had any experience will testify to the ability of the young men and women of this country to do a good job, given the proper training, the proper opportunities and the proper conditions of work. Whether the people be British—and I do not know where many of the industries in Britain would be today without Irish workers — Germans or Americans — and, God knows, the United States of America owes enough to the ability of the Irish race—they all recognise the ability of Irish workers. Possibly the Minister for [1815] Finance was suffering from one of the delusions that Ministers for Finance frequently suffer from — the delusion not too many months ago that everything in the garden was lovely but, a few months later, everything was the other way around. I am sure that, on reflection—because it was not his attitude when he was Minister for Industry and Commerce—he will once again agree that they are not his views and that they do not represent the views of his Party.

I shall conclude by indicating again that, for the reasons advanced by my colleagues, and in a small way by myself, the Labour Party are supporting the amendment in the name of Deputy Corish.

Mr. Creed: Information on Donal Creed Zoom on Donal Creed I intend to make my comments very brief because I have no intention of retracing the ground already covered here during the past two or three days. I rise to speak of my great interest in one of the major industries in this country, agriculture. I have not heard from any Government speaker here within the past few days anything in connection with what I could describe as the dying dairying industry. At the present time there is great unrest amongst dairying farmers. I have before me a report on a pilot area in my own county. This is after an extensive survey of a portion of the constituency I represent here in Dáil Éireann and I should like to inform the Minister for Agriculture of its contents. I am sorry he is not in the House now to listen to this report.

The main lines of farming in this district which have been the subject of a survey by his Department's officers are dairying and pig keeping. In this pilot area there are 375 farms and the average size of farm is 50 statute acres. I find it alarming, in this year of 1966, that the average income from a 50 acre dairying farm in this district is £320 per annum. Surely this must be of interest to the Minister and to the Parliamentary Secretary who spoke here yesterday and who said he was responsible for and interested in the farmers along the western and southern coasts.

[1816] What I find still more alarming is the classification of farmers by age in this district. Under 20 years of age, there is 0.5 per cent engaged in agriculture in this district. From 20 to 30 years of age, there is 10 per cent; from 30 to 40 years, there is 17.5 per cent; from 40 to 50, 20 per cent and so on; and over 70, there is 7 per cent. That document alone is a clear indication of the fading out of this industry.

During the discussion on this Free Trade Agreement, I have heard quite a lot of capital being made from the opposite benches of the fact that they have a market for 638,000 store cattle in Britain. I should like to inform the Minister for Agriculture that the store cattle trade in this country depends largely on the dairying industry because, if the dairying industry does not flourish, store cattle cannot be provided.

I present this document—which was to have come before us at a county agricultural meeting to be held today, at which, were it not for this debate, we would have been present—to the Minister for his examination. I cannot see, for the life of me, that an income of £320 per annum from a 50 acre farm is an inducement to any young farmer in that district to get married and bring up a family.

Deputy Larkin touched on a very important subject, that is, the poultry industry. During the Mid-Cork by-election, and the general election which followed, we heard a lot of talk in my constituency of Mid-Cork about a broiler industry which was supposed to be built up in Bandon. Deputy Crowley spoke here yesterday and I am sorry I was not in the House at the time because, during the by-election to which I have referred, he made quite a lot of capital out of this broiler industry. That is over 12 months ago and, since then, we have heard nothing whatsoever about it.

I am conversant with the problems confronting the dairy farmers because I have the practical experience in that I am a farmer myself. In the past we had a situation where dairy farming was substituted by pig rearing, poultry keeping, the broiler industry and so on. I would not say the poultry industry [1817] is dying; I would say it is completely dead. As Deputy Larkin has said, it is quite possible we could have English turkeys in our ovens next Christmas. That is what it looks like to me.

If I may refer back to the £320 income I have mentioned, it is quite possible that a holding of that size, 50 acres, would be subject to a rate of anything between £50 and £60, depending, of course on the valuation. Unless something is done, and done immediately, this industry will die out completely. We all know the small farmers of this country are the backbone of the country.

I feel it important that we should examine the conditions obtaining at the time this Agreement was negotiated. To be frank about it, I feel the conditions and circumstances prevailing at that time were very favourable to our negotiators because I notice that in the debate on the Queen's speech in the House of Commons recently a prominent member of the Labour Party in England stated openly in the form of an appeal to Mr. Wilson, to stop using Ireland as a reservoir of cheap food and cheap labour and that this had been the position for too long. He appealed to Mr. Wilson, his boss, to drop this attitude and to come to a permanent trading agreement between the two countries. That was widely published in the papers and every Deputy here should be aware of it. It is a terrible situation when a prominent member of the British Labour Party appeals to his Prime Minister to stop using this country as a reservoir of cheap food and labour. I feel that in a situation where the Labour Party in England, with a very slender majority, now faces a general election within the next three or four months and with Irish emigrants forming a large part of the British electorate, there should be a great advantage to our negotiators, sad though it may be that so many of our people are over there due to Fianna Fáil Governments down the years.

Apart from the advantages or disadvantages of the Agreement, we in Fine Gael have made our position [1818] quite clear. We have always advocated trade with Britain because of our close proximity to Britain. We have pointed out in this debate the portions of the Agreement we do not agree with. On the opposite side, it has been said that the pessimistic view we have taken and our expressed anxiety for industrial workers are unwarranted. We have cause for anxiety in that connection. In a television interview, the Taoiseach said that even if some industries went to the wall, where one would go five would spring up. I listened very carefully to the Minister for Justice and he had not the same “neck” as the Taoiseach. He began by saying two industries would replace the one that goes. He managed to stretch that out to five later when reminded of what the Taoiseach said.

Whom does the Taoiseach think he is codding? Are we to accept that in the same spirit as the 100,000 new jobs offered in the 1961 general election or in the same spirit as we were asked to accept in the last general election the slogan: “Let Lemass Lead On” and “Do not change horses in midstream”? Lemass has led on and the country has faced a very serious financial and economic situation. As a member of a local authority, I find that about 100 workers on our cottage repair gang are now idle as a result of the shortage of money, strange as that may seem, after an election in which we were told everything was rosy. We could not get the money to provide work for these men in Cork County Council. That is a very serious situation. We have enough redundant workers without the effects of the Free Trade Agreement being added on.

Our attitude to trade with Britain is well known to members of this House and to the people. I welcome the change of heart in Fianna Fáil even at this late stage and even though for the past 30 years, they could not see eye to eye with this Party and realise that our best customers were the British consumers. I heard much from the Government side about the advantages of this Agreement but I should like to know from the Minister for Agriculture what is in this Agreement over and above what was in the 1948 Agreement. [1819] I heard about the extra quota for butter but I seriously think we shall not need that if our dairying industry is allowed to die as it is dying. The extra quota is no advantage to us in view of the heavy subsidy which the Exchequer must provide to the English consumer.

The Minister for Agriculture said this was the best Agreement for this country ever reached. In the same breath he said he hoped it could be a good deal better. I should like that to be further clarified. He said they got what they asked for and yet hoped it could be better. If British manufactured goods have unrestricted entry to our country, those goods will reach the retail counters and it will not be sufficient to appeal to our people to buy Irish because our manufactured goods will not be in a position to compete with them. In the constituency of Mid-Cork my greatest problem is to find alternative employment for small shopkeepers and business people deprived of their living because of supermarkets in small towns and villages. That is a detrimental development. The livelihood of people who lived out of small businesses is gone and without taking into account the results of this Trade Agreement it is a problem to find work for those people.

I have said all I intended to say. I hope the Parliamentary Secretary here will note what I said about the dairying industry and that whoever replies on behalf of the Government will deal with that point. The dairying industry is in dire need of immediate attention and if it does not get that attention it will die just as the poultry industry died. I hope that there will be some concessions given to the dairying industry, on which, as I have said, the store cattle trade depends.

Mr. Egan: Information on Nicholas Egan Zoom on Nicholas Egan I intend to be very brief because I think the debate has been dragged out far too long already, due, no doubt, in large part to the unnecessarily long speeches of many Deputies.

The most outstanding feature of this Agreement is that it has been accepted and approved generally by the people of the country. The farmers have [1820] acclaimed, accepted and approved it as an instrument which will give them great opportunities for expansion and prosperity. Industrialists have accepted it. Despite what many Deputies on the Opposition benches have said, they have largely accepted and approved it, first, because it has abolished the British imposts and will give free entry to the British market for all our manufactured goods and, secondly, because Irish industrialists recognise that the free trade idea is spreading rapidly and, if it has not already been established, it is only a matter of a very short number of years before it will spread through the whole of western Europe.

As a farmer, I should like to deal briefly with some of the beneficial provisions for agriculture contained in the Agreement. The reduction from three months to two months in the waiting period in Britain for store cattle, sheep and lambs in order to qualify for the fat stock payments will undoubtedly give a great impetus to the production of store cattle, sheep and lambs here. It does not take much of a farmer to appreciate the difference in the cost of feeding store cattle, sheep and lambs for two months instead of three months. I was amazed to hear people, who I thought had a good knowledge of agriculture, saying that this does not matter twopence. Any man who ever owned or fed cattle knows there is a great deal of difference between having to feed them for three months instead of for two months.

Mr. Clinton: Information on Mark A. Clinton Zoom on Mark A. Clinton Would not they be putting on weight for the extra month?

Mr. Egan: Information on Nicholas Egan Zoom on Nicholas Egan They would, but they would have to be fed and a farmer could have other cattle putting on weight in their place and could be selling them every two months instead of three months. This will undoubtedly prove a tremendous attraction to the British store feeder. It will accelerate the sale and export of store cattle from this country by over 30 per cent. That is simple mathematics. Anyone who cares to carry out that simple exercise will see that it will increase the price of store cattle here by reason of the fact that British feeders will have to [1821] keep them for only two months instead of three. That is a very simple fact and a very simple figure.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay By how much?

Mr. Egan: Information on Nicholas Egan Zoom on Nicholas Egan This arrangement is bound to have a far-reaching and beneficial effect on the production of store livestock here and on the price. There is no doubt at all about that. All the farmers know that. Every dealer and exporter in the country knows it.

The extension of the British deficiency payments to 25,000 tons of carcase beef and 5,500 tons of lamb is an entirely new departure which is very welcome to us. It is bound to give a tremendous impetus to the dead meat industry here, an industry which, apart from being of tremendous benefit to the farmers, has a very high labour content as I am sure members of the Labour Party and the Fine Gael Party appreciate.

I am not a dairy man; I am a midlander. However, the dairying industry has been spreading rapidly throughout Laois-Offaly in the past five or six years. I realise and appreciate that the increase in the butter quota to 23,000 tons will be a boon to the dairying industry. Why should it not be? The dairying industry is a most important sector of agriculture.

I think it was Deputy Flanagan who ridiculed the idea of the increase in the butter quota and went on to make the fantastic statement that a 1/6 postal order was enclosed with every lb of butter exported from this country to England in order to give a present to the English housewife and encourage her and her family to eat it. That is utter nonsense. Anyone who knows anything about the dairying industry and about butter exports knows that it is necessary for the State here to subsidise butter exports in order to help the dairying industry and in order to ensure the sale of our butter on the British market in competition with Danish butter, which can be sold there at a lower price than ours. Although the Danish butter is not directly subsidised, the Danish farmers are able [1822] to supply butter at a lower price to the British market because indirectly they are very much heavily subsidised and supported by what might be called invisible supports and invisible subsidies, which put them in a position to supply butter at a lower price than ours. What is wrong with our subsidising our dairying industry, directly, more openhandedly and more frankly, in order to enable our surplus butter to be sold on the British market? Are we to let it all go down the Suir or the Shannon, or what are we to do with it?

The same Deputy went on to compare the price of Irish butter in England and the price generally of butter here and across the Border and suggested that our price should be reduced to the British price. Is he suggesting that we should also reduce the price of milk? I do not believe any other Deputy in the Fine Gael benches would subscribe to that. Do any of them suggest we should reduce the price of milk? Is that not what it would mean? Deputy Clinton knows that quite well. He would be a foolish man, indeed, who would make such a foolish suggestion. As everyone knows, the price of butter here is based, and rightly so, on the economic price for milk to the dairy farmer. If the price of butter is reduced then one must also reduce the price of milk to the dairy farmer. I trust the Corkmen, the Tipperarymen and the Limerickmen will take special note of that.

So far as agriculture is concerned, this Agreement, in my opinion and in the opinion, I think, of 95 per cent of our farmers, and not just the ranching farmers, as stated here by some Deputies, will lead to great benefits for Irish agriculture. Time will prove the truth of that. Is it any wonder then that it has been acclaimed enthusiastically by the farmers and the farmers' organisations—the NFA and the ICMSA?

As far as industry is concerned, surely we have to face facts here. Free trade is coming all over Western Europe. It is only a matter of time until the whole of Western Europe will be a free trade area. Surely it is only [1823] commonsense that we should prepare ourselves and our industries to meet that situation. Is it suggested we should wait? Some Labour Deputy asked what the hurry is. Some Opposition Deputies went so far as to admit that free trade is coming and we would have to face up to it sooner or later. When should we face up to it? Is not now the time? Should we wait until we are presented with a fait accompli at which stage we could easily be wiped out altogether without ever having got properly started, perhaps, because everyone else would have started the race before us. Surely it is only commonsense and economic wisdom, when we know that it is inevitable, to prepare for this free trade situation.

During the last few days, I have listened to a great many pessimistic speeches from the Opposition benches, speeches which stressed and emphasised what they alleged would be the detrimental effects of this Agreement on Irish industry and Irish employment. Surely, and I put this particularly to the Labour Deputies, we are not now losing faith at last in the capacity and ability of the Irish worker and Irish management to face up to competition from other countries. Surely we have sufficient faith in our Irish workers, in Irish management and in Irish industry generally to believe that they will put articles on the market here as cheap as, or cheaper than, similar articles coming in from countries from which we are divided by the seas. Surely we still have faith in the patriotism of our people, that patriotism which will urge them to support Irish industry, Irish management and the Irish worker. Surely we have not lost that faith. Surely the Irish people are as patriotic today as ever they were. Surely, when they are confronted with a situation in a particular industry which may spell danger for Irish workers and Irish industry, they will face up to that challenge and that patriotic instinct the Irish people have always had will surely assert itself again.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay Then there must be an ordeal contemplated.

[1824]Mr. Egan: Information on Nicholas Egan Zoom on Nicholas Egan We have our patriotism, most of us at any rate.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay It is all in Fianna Fáil.

Mr. Egan: Information on Nicholas Egan Zoom on Nicholas Egan We must face the fact now of free trade in Europe and, in facing up to that situation, we must find some way in which to end this epidemic of strikes which has plagued us here in recent times and which, if continued, will ruin our industry and, indeed, the whole economy of the country. Let us be men enough in every Party to acknowledge that.

I said I would be brief. In relation to strikes, I want to congratulate the NFA on their patriotic attitude in abandoning their campaign to withhold the rates.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte I do not think they have abandoned it.

Mr. Egan: Information on Nicholas Egan Zoom on Nicholas Egan I want to congratulate the leaders at the top, the leaders at county level and the members of the organisation generally on the fine example they have set. It is an example that could and should be followed by other organisations and unions in the country. I hope it will.

Mr. Everett: Information on James Everett Zoom on James Everett I desire to register my opposition to this Agreement. In my 43 years in this House, I think this is the most serious motion that has ever come before the House. I realise that the Taoiseach, after 30 years of trying to build up a tariff wall to protect Irish industries so that they might provide employment, has now, by a single stroke of the pen, decided with a British Labour Government to deprive many Irish industries of the tariff protection they enjoyed for the past 30 years. I am sorry the Taoiseach is responsible for that. I am satisfied that he, more than any other member of this House, recognises that this Agreement is not all that the Fianna Fáil Party say it is. I admit there will be a benefit to the ranchers and, in the years to come, when I shall be no longer here, I prophesy that this country will see once more a repetition of the nineties when the unemployed, the landless men and the small farmers [1825] will do what they did before, insist that the land is for the people and the bullock for the road.

I am surprised that the Minister for Justice today made an argument for this Agreement on the basis that the British Government would get into the Common Market. There is no guarantee that Britain will get into the Common Market. Surely the Minister must know that members of the Common Market have publicly stated that if Ireland is granted any concessions, it will only be as an associate member. Notwithstanding that, we have the Minister for Agriculture, an infant in politics, praising Mr. Wilson and talking about the great regard Mr. Wilson and his wife had for the Republic of Ireland. Does he remember that it was the Wilsons, the Attlees, the Callaghans and the Brownes who imposed the Government of Ireland Act on us and denied us the right to have a Parliament for the whole country? Does he forget that the same gentleman, when it suited him, broke a previous Agreement and imposed a 15 per cent levy upon exports from this country?

We are told the wonderful fact that farmers will be able to export so many extra tons of butter. In our day we were always told that charity begins at home. I would prefer to see that butter going to the widows, orphans and old age pensioners here. We often come across advertisements in the newspapers and on the radio: “You do not know the taste” and “You cannot tell the difference”. There are thousands and thousands of the children of lower paid workers who eat margarine, who do not know the taste of butter because it is so dear. We prefer to send it at a cheap rate to workers in England earning £20 and £30 a week.

There was a flourish of trumpets when Mr. Wilson, with all sympathy, sent us back what were supposed to be the remains of the Irish patriot, Roger Casement. There are a large number of my former constituents who are now living in Wilson's constituency in Liverpool and he did not carry the support he expected from them, so he comes along and pretends to be sympathetic [1826] to Ireland by making this Agreement. Unfortunately, the Government have accepted the terms dictated by these people who have no love for Ireland. I have had contact with the Callaghans, the Morrisons and the Attlees and I know they have no love for southern Ireland, even the late Herbert Morrison with whom I had an interview when he was over here. I am surprised that some of the old stagers in the Fianna Fáil Party should accept this compromise merely for the sake of achieving associate membership of the Common Market.

There has been talk about protection. I am concerned with a very important industry in my constituency, the Arklow pottery. Dumping has gone on quite recently, but what will be the position when British monopolies are allowed to dump here? The Arklow industry has defeated the British in their own market by supplying a superior article at a cheaper price, but when these monopolies get the right to dump here, I am satisfied that in 12 months' time a large number of men in that industry will lose their employment.

When the Taoiseach was asked if he thought England would maintain the Agreement in the event of an emergency, he said he thought they would. We must judge by our past experience. I believe this Agreement will knock hundreds of men out of employment while it will be of no great benefit to the small farmer who will have to bear the burden when creameries will not give him an increase in the price of his milk. The Ministers opposite then hope that this Party or some other Party will not play politics in this regard. We know that the Fianna Fáil Party will take advantage of any situation that suits them. I do not make a charge against any member of the Government in regard to these negotiations. They did their best but it would have been better if before signing that Agreement, they came back here and got the authority of the people to accept it. They had no authority from the people to sign this Agreement. I only hope that I shall prove to be a false prophet, that people in industry will not lose their employment, that [1827] ranchers will not be the only people to get any benefit from these provisions, and that the rural areas will not be further depopulated. The position will be more serious. I hope it will not happen but I have to say that I regret very much, in the evening of my political life, to have to come in here and oppose an Agreement of this kind because I am satisfied it will bring misery, hardship and insecurity to a very large section of the people of this country.

Mr. Reynolds: Information on Patrick J. Reynolds Zoom on Patrick J. Reynolds The truth can never catch up with a lie well told and often enough. That must have been in the mind of every Fianna Fáil Minister, from the Taoiseach down, who was interviewed on television, radio or who gave a statement to the newspapers on the effects of this Agreement. They felt that if they could convince the people of the country this was a good Agreement, the truth would never catch up on it. I believe that is the reason why we have been here since Tuesday discussing the Agreement, why, for the first time since I became a Member and probably for the first time in the memory of many Deputies, we had to sit on a holiday of obligation. In spite of what we say from these benches or of what is said from the Labour benches, the Agreement is signed, sealed and delivered and we must accept it and work within it.

One would be inclined to say it is therefore pure waste of time discussing it, other than to register our protest as a Party and our individual protests as Deputies. I do not think we were treated very fairly by the Government in this matter. The Agreement was signed on 14th December last. It is issued in a document of 270 pages. We received it a week later and began to debate it on 4th January. That gave us a mere 14 or 15 days to examine it. Christmas intervened and, boiling it all down, we had an unbelievably short time in which to examine it, to take the “whens”, the “wheres”, the “whys” and the “hows” out of it. When we do that, there is damn all in it but it takes a considerable length of time to digest.

[1828] Having read it and listened to the speeches from Ministers and Deputies on the Government side, I asked myself what is in it for the people of my constituency. I rather doubt if there is anything in it. Some days prior to his speech during this debate, the Minister for Agriculture issued a statement to the Irish Times saying that the two to three months waiting period in respect of store cattle would mean £3 million to £5 million extra for the people producing stores. That would be equivalent to between £5 and £7 per head. In the Sunday Independent the next day, he stated that the stores would only gain £5 or £6 per head. When he spoke here during this debate he made no reference to it. Therefore, one is entitled to doubt all of the Minister's statements.

Taking his figure of an appreciation in value of £5 or £6 per head, would the Minister for Agriculture then tell us what he is basing this increase on? Is it on the price received for cattle last April, May or June or on the price of cattle at the end of the year, in October, November and December when the bottom fell out of cattle prices? If he is basing it on the former, we shall be all glad. If, however, he is not basing it on the prices paid last spring, the cattle trade will go up the spout and we will go up after it.

Let us now take the question of butter. There has been a tremendous amount of loose talk about the price of butter. In the 1948 Agreement, negotiated by the inter-Party Government under the leadership of Deputy John A. Costello, ably assisted by Deputy Dillon, we could sell to the British market 19,000 tons of butter per year or more if they required it. Under the present Agreement we can sell 23,000 tons, an increase of 4,000 tons per year. The negotiators of the 1948 Agreement had an entirely different outlook from that of today's negotiators for the reason that until 1946 the people of this country were allowed a ration of only two ounces of butter per week and that was after 14 successive years of Fianna Fáil Government. If I were on the Fianna Fáil benches, I should feel ashamed to speak about agriculture.

I was highly interested today to hear [1829] the contribution of the Minister for Justice who represents the same constituency as I represent. He preached about the facts of life but we on this side were only interested in the facts of this Agreement. It made one recall a booklet issued some time ago in this country, disseminated outside, which was called Facts about Ireland. It was an incomplete document but no more incomplete than the speech today of the Minister for Justice. He said their reason for not looking for a greater quota of butter was that the Exchequer would have to subsidise it by 1/- to 1/6d. per lb. He went on in the very glib way of which he is capable, being a lawyer, and made a damn good job of it but he missed a few points.

He told us the Agreement provided for an increased market for cheese and chocolate crumb. He did not say these commodities would not be subsidised but neither did he say they would. Let us examine the situation. We are losing substantially on exports of cream, cheese, chocolate crumb and the other commodities sent out by An Bord Bainne. Six million gallons of our milk are exported in the form of cream at a subsidy of 3d a gallon; 25,000 gallons of milk are exported in the form of cheese which demands a subsidy of 5d to 6d a gallon. That is the amount we are paying to the people of England to buy our cheese. In the form of chocolate crumb, 30,000 gallons of milk are exported annually carrying a subsidy of between 4d and 6d a gallon. Powdered milk carries the greatest subsidy of all. In that form we export 20,000 gallons at a subsidy of 6d a gallon. Those are the facts and, in my opinion, it was a pity the Minister for Justice did not go the whole hog and tell the whole story. I should like it to go on the records of this House as having been completed by me, a Deputy representing the same constituency.

The Agreement of 1948 gave us a quota of 27,000 tons or more of bacon. The Agreement of 1965 gives us an increase of 1,000 tons, which puts the figure at 28,000 tons per year. Our negotiators in 1948 had the difficulty that up to 1946 if an Irish man or woman wanted to buy a lb of bacon [1830] in this country, they had to take their place in a queue outside the grocer's shop. That was after 16 successive years of Fianna Fáil Government. When our people negotiated for 27,000 tons, they were quite satisfied that the producers in this country would not be able to supply it when the home market was supplied. There is one little point which I consider worth mentioning here. From memory, in the 1948 Agreement, the price per cwt was 225/-. I do not think there is any mention of price in this Agreement. If there is any mention of it, I have failed to find it in this document. If there is anything about price in this, I do not think it would be a wrong calculation, on my part, to suggest that that price, if it were to keep at par with the 1948 figure of 225/- should run to a figure of 400/- per cwt.

Deputy Larkin pointed out today that it is embodied in this green book we got, to which I must refer, that we are in a position to import turkeys from England. Do we not in all honesty and justice say to ourselves: “Is that not putting our whole agricultural system in reverse gear?” There are a number of small farmers in the constituency I represent, Roscommon and South Leitrim, who were dependent, up to a few years ago, on the sale of poultry, eggs and turkeys at Christmas. Those people today no longer have any market for their poultry, eggs or turkeys. I should love some Government speaker, who comes after me, to tell me what is to become of those people? What is their future except emigration? Emigration has hit that area very hard and from memory, I think Leitrim has the highest percentage rate of emigration in the last census, followed closely by Mayo and next by Roscommon. I can see no future there except that the percentage of emigration will be still higher. I do not want anybody to misunderstand this statement. More people will not leave because if they did there would be nobody left but the percentage rate will be higher in the next five years than it was in the past five years. That is not a very great achievement for any Government Party.

[1831] There has been a tremendous amount of loose talk and the phrase “swaddling clothes” was used. It was used with reference to industry. It was first used in the debate by the Taoiseach; it was mentioned a few times from these benches; and it has been mentioned since a few times from the Government benches. If there are industries in this country that are wearing swaddling clothes, surely there is nobody to blame for that but the Fianna Fáil Party. Mind you, some of them are wearing damn good swaddling clothes and the people who are paying the piper for them are the consumers of this country.

I was highly amused by the intervention of the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs. He came in here and anybody listening to him from those benches would think that we did not contribute anything to the industrial section of this community. I want to say this. Long before Fianna Fáil ever existed, there were boots manufactured in Ireland, there were woollen textiles manufactured in Ireland, there was beer made in Ireland, there was whiskey made in Ireland and there were biscuits made in Ireland. The sugar factories were also functioning in Ireland. Mind you, when we started their operation from this side of the House, in my late father's time, in the late W.T. Cosgrave's time and that of other members of the old Cumann na nGaedheal Party, the reference made from that side of the House was that the Deputies representing the then Government Party were trying to sweeten their own constituencies. Those debates are available in the Library and I suggest that some of the younger members of the Fianna Fáil Party might read them.

Hosiery was manufactured in Ireland in those days. The Electricity Supply Board had begun to function and I do not think it necessary for me to restate the reference to it made by the then Opposition, the Fianna Fáil Party. It is no harm to refresh the minds of the younger members of the Fianna Fáil Party on these matters. The Taoiseach said—not, I think, [1832] in this House but somewhere else because I remember reading it—for every one industry that closed, five would open. Mind you, he made sure not to say which would close or which would open. I am strongly of the opinion—I hope I am wrong but I rather doubt it—that every one that closes will continue closed. I rather doubt if there is anything in this Agreement to open them.

The representatives of a number of towns in my constituency, Mohill, Boyle, Strokestown and Elphin, have been hammering at and battering on the door of the Department of Industry and Commerce for the past number of years in an effort to get some type of industry for them. Would any Government speaker who follows me tell me what hope is there now under this Agreement of those towns ever getting any type of industry? Certainly, from my simple analysis of the Agreement, my view is that their hopes are completely finished. I will admit that one town in my constituency, Carrick-on-Shannon, has two small industries. I may say here and now that were it not for the introduction of the Undeveloped Areas Act by the inter-Party Government, they never would have had any industry.

We also have a problem in that constituency in relation to Arigna coal. For a long time we have been trying to get the Department of Transport and Power to erect another power station in Arigna. From 1st January, the price of Arigna coal delivered to Cement Ltd. has dropped by 8/- a ton. It is highly amusing when one looks at the papers and sees the profits made in the current year by Cement Ltd. Their increased profit over last year is £246,705, and they still have to reduce the price of Arigna coal by 8/- per ton. One is inclined to ask: why was it reduced? It was reduced because the British market is dumping coal at a cheaper rate than we can produce it in Ireland, and our seams are not as thick as theirs. I can see the same thing happening in other industries, and it will happen much faster and sooner than we think.

One thing that strikes me as rather [1833] peculiar about this Agreement is that it comes into operation in July, 1966. Is it not rather peculiar that we will have local elections in June and that we will have a Presidential election in June? Will we not have every Fianna Fáil man, woman and child on all the butter boxes available at every church gate in June telling the people about the advantages of this Agreement? Is that not the reason why the Agreement is coming into operation in July, so that the Fianna Fáil Party can cod— or try to cod—the electorate again? I honestly think they have done that too often.

One cannot help recalling what was said by that Party in the 1920s when they failed to take their seats in this House. Their attitude was: “No, we will not associate with Cumann na nGaedheal; they are a tainted Party.” In the 1930s they told us to burn everything English except coal. One also cannot help recalling that in the 1940s, they told us they were giving a monopoly to CIE. That issue was lost in this House by one vote but it was an issue in the general election. We voted against a monopoly then and today we see in the papers: “Grim warning for CIE: No more money from the State.”

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan That does not seem to be relevant to the motion.

Mr. Reynolds: Information on Patrick J. Reynolds Zoom on Patrick J. Reynolds It is quite relevant.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan I am afraid it is not.

Mr. Reynolds: Information on Patrick J. Reynolds Zoom on Patrick J. Reynolds This statement appears in the paper: “Grim warning for CIE.”

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan The fact that it is in the paper does not make it relevant.

Mr. Reynolds: Information on Patrick J. Reynolds Zoom on Patrick J. Reynolds I do not think there is any other issue I want to raise. We find again from today's papers that there is a sharp rise in the number of unemployed. The total on December 31st was 63,714 which was 7,310 higher than on December 17th, and 4,638 above the figure for January 1st, [1834] 1965, and 5,101 higher than the figure for 4th January, 1964. If that is what this Agreement gives us. I believe the Fianna Fáil Party should examine their conscience again.

Mr. P.J. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan I feel like the labourer at the eleventh hour. The attack on this Agreement has been individual and varied. It reminds me very much of guerilla bands attacking a sound and well-held position. In this apparently leaderless attack, there were two leitmotifs and two running themes right through. There was a great endeavour to show that all the shining virtues were on the other side: patriotism undefiled, flowing from the fount of Tone and watered by the Fenian springs. There was purity of intention with no sectional interests to overcome the common good—virtue shining through: angel choirs and vestal virgins. Despite all that, they were the strong, hard businessmen, well able to make a bargain and knowing the right time to make a bargain. They were strong and tough. They were the better negotiators than we were. They knew when to hit. You got the whiff of grapeshot and a sight of Cromwell's Ironsides. They had a tender care for the aged, the poor and the infirm and a burning desire to lead us into Europe like Don Quixote charging against the windmills in Spain. They had the courageous leadership. They had all the virtues. They were like the boy in Longfellow's poem who was attracted by the mountain shine—not the moonshine—and carried a banner with a strange device, Excelsior.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan I thought we were discussing the motion.

Mr. P.J. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan That is that side and this is the other side. We on this side had no virtues at all.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte That is a terrible admission.

Mr. P.J. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan We were the super-optimists, the chancers, the gamblers. We knew absolutely nothing and we had no sense of timing. That is why over there was heaven and this was hell.

[1835]Mr. McAuliffe: Information on Patrick McAuliffe Zoom on Patrick McAuliffe I wonder where is the chairman?

Mr. P.J. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan This side is in the darkness and on the other side is shining a beautiful, heavenly effulgence.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan The Deputy should forget the heavenly regions.

Mr. P.J. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan What are the facts about this Agreement? The existing Trade Agreements did not adequately secure our position because on the agricultural side, our market sharing arrangements were gradually weakening our position. They could be 20,000 tons this year and 18,000 tons next year. On the industrial side, our preference position in the British market being eroded, because of England's commitments to EFTA and to GATT, with the result that possibly by 1967 we would find ourselves without our preferential position, the necessity for making the Agreement arose now.

In regard to the Agreement, as far as the agricultural side is concerned, I do not propose to say anything, as enough has been said about it already. All I can say is that whatever we have got is plus. Even though it may have regularised the existing position, it has done that which I hold existing Agreements did not do and that is protect us. On the industrial side, where we were negotiating with a stronger force, what we naturally looked for in the Agreement were some forms of protection for those industries which are not strong enough to face competition. We will get immediate entry for our goods into Britain—that is included in Appendix XI—and quite a substantial amount of goods which had not got this entry before will now have free entry into Britain from July 1st. All this is simply a negative approach to the industrial position. An important point to remember is that Britain is already importing 70 per cent of her goods free of duty into Ireland. The other 30 per cent will be gradually phased over the next few years.

As regards protection, the biggest need is to protect industries in regard to dumping and that is well spelled [1836] out in the Agreement. The only thing we have to watch is that when we come to provide the necessary legislation we must make sure that we cover it there. There are plenty of examples to guide us in this such as the Canadian Acts. Article XVIII deals with the balance of payments difficulties and Article XIX deals with difficulties in particular sectors. The positive approach to all this is to make Irish industry competitive. The Government have played their part in the last few years to do this. You have the CIO reports, the Adaptation Councils, grants for modernisation and technical assistance grants. There are industries, and everybody knows them, which, by availing of these grants, by mergers, by consolidation and by making common market arrangements and common market research, have succeeded in bringing themselves into a competitive position. They are quite capable of standing on their own feet by 1970 and there will be several other industries which will have availed of these grants and arrangements by then. It is up to others to do the same by way of physically adapting their plant and, as the Minister for Industry and Commerce said, by adapting their mental approach to the fact that they have to be really competitive by 1970.

It is quite clear that we are not sufficiently cost conscious. We have got to be cost conscious and once we have got that into our minds our industrial relations might improve. I am not blaming this on one side or the other. Management and workers must become far more sophisticated and have a far more adult approach to labour relations and they must be able to sit around a conference table and argue what increases there should be arising from the increase in the gross national product.

We have been hearing about the industrial colossus which will invade Ireland and fears have been expressed that our industrialists might not be able to meet this colossus but the colossus might meet a Finn Mac Cumhaill sucking his thumb and get a great disappointment. Another point is that not alone will we be ready to meet competition by 1970, I hope, but while [1837] the British have access to a market of 3,000,000 people we will have access to a market of 60,000,000 from July 1st, 1966 and it really amounts to good factory management and hard selling. Let us stop looking at the negative aspects and look at the positive ones. You may produce goods if you like but you have to sell them and with hard work and good selling you will get there. We will win on that. That is the way we should think instead of adopting a wailing, Cassandra-like attitude to this Agreement. This Agreement was designed to make Irish industry more efficient and ready by 1970 and gives us the opportunity of a bigger market.

Another point is that there are many industries negotiating at present to start in Ireland. I have not got this information officially but I know it for a fact. They were held up pending the outcome of these negotiations but they are carrying on. Any industry that comes in after the signing of this Agreement will be a thoroughly competitive and viable one. It will have to be, because the people know what is in front of them. These people are not fools and if they are going to invest money in industry they know it will have to be completely efficient. That will be the proof of the pudding. There is no point in hiding the fact that some industries will go but then for every one that goes you might have two or three more.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Five.

Mr. P.J. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan I do not know the number but there are industries in the pipe-line. The point I want to make is that any industrialists that come in after this Agreement will be coming in with their eyes open.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan Zoom on Stephen Coughlan If they come.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte They will replace the mink bikini industry.

Mr. P.J. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan It simply gives security to producers and investors and they will know where they are going. It is simply a signpost.

[1838]Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Does it give Irish agriculture free access to the British market?

Mr. P.J. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan The Deputy will not drag me into a discussion on agriculture. I am dealing with a subject about which I know something.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan Zoom on Stephen Coughlan The Deputy is well bogged down now.

Mr. P.J. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan In a country such as ours we must aim to reach price level stability by 1970. If you have stable prices you will be able to have an increase in wages. This is a most important thing. You will also have a stable cost of living, an increase in the variety of goods, and life will be richer and better. Provided we are able to grasp our share of the English market to which we are entitled——

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte That is the big thing.

Mr. P.J. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan If I were a salesman with a good product and with a good range of samples, I would not mind tackling the British market. The Deputy should read Appendix XII. By 1970 we should be ready for the Common Market and I hope that we grasp the full implications of that. We will then have to submerge our sovereignty to some extent. Deputy Ryan was very hot on this subject. We have certain rights now in regard to dumping and that is a mark of sovereignty.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish There is no Appendix XII.

Mr. P.J. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan Sorry; it is No. XI.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish You were looking at No. XII.

Mr. P.J. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan No, there is No. XII.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): What was the Deputy reading from?

Mr. P.J. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan I may have quoted Appendix XI. Our Labour Party will be happier, I am sure, with the European Social Democrats than with Harold Wilson's Labour Party.

[1839]Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish He did a good job for his own country in this Agreement.

Mr. P.J. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan You tried to make out that he wanted to get the Irish vote. If he drove a hard bargain, would he get the Irish vote?

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish We never referred to the Irish vote.

Mr. P.J. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan The other side did. This is not the first time we were in a common market. I hope EEC and EFTA will become one and that we will get into it. It would provide a bastion for the preservation of our European cultural heritage. Let us cast our minds back. We were there a thousand years ago. We were there at the Court of Charlemagne, in Bavaria and in Lombardy. When we come back there again I hope we will give a good account of ourselves. I should like to finish on that note. We can look backward as well as forward. Sin deireadh an chláir.

Mr. Spring: Information on Daniel Spring Zoom on Daniel Spring In discussing this Agreement, we are told by one side it is heaven and by the other it is hell. Where do we stand here? People I have met in this city during the past few days are asking why the Tánaiste and Minister for External Affairs, Deputy Aiken, has not taken part in this debate. People tell me there is some split in the Fianna Fáil Party at the moment over this Agreement.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Spring: Information on Daniel Spring Zoom on Daniel Spring This is an important debate and the Minister for External Affairs should take part in it. It is commonly rumoured in the corridors of this House that there is some left wing in the Fianna Fáil Party and the Minister for External Affairs is going a different way from the Taoiseach and his Ministers.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Spring: Information on Daniel Spring Zoom on Daniel Spring I have heard it said in the House that the members of the Fianna Fáil Party have been very quiet for the past few days.

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley Zoom on Florence Crowley The Deputy must not have been in the House long.

[1840]Mr. Spring: Information on Daniel Spring Zoom on Daniel Spring Long before you, and I did not get in by the back door either. I am here since 1943. I came in before you were in Fianna Fáil.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan I know the Deputy has something to say on the motion.

Mr. Spring: Information on Daniel Spring Zoom on Daniel Spring I think of the good old days when all of us were supporting Fianna Fáil. We heard the war cries from a person now occupying a high office in this country who came down to Kerry when I was a young lad and, addressing the people of Tralee, said: “Give me Republican Kerry and Republican Galway. If I had a few more counties like them, I need never address a public meeting before any election.” That was back in 1927, 1928 and 1932. At that time Fianna Fáil won three seats out of four in North Kerry and two seats out three in South Kerry. Therefore, Fianna Fáil had five seats out of seven there from 1926 until a few of us entered the field in 1943. Now in Kerry they have only three seats out of six and, by all accounts, they were damn lucky to get the second seat in South Kerry on the last occasion. It was a photo finish. That is an indication that the Republican Party, as Fianna Fáil were then, have now lost the confidence of the people of my county.

We heard the old slogans, which I probably believed myself, “Thank God the British market is gone forever” and “Burn everything British but their coal.” During this debate we had a Deputy from my county lecturing us that we should advise trade union members that they could play a very important part in saving the present situation by buying Irish-produced goods. This individual played an important part in turf production during the emergency. By all accounts, he appointed himself an organiser to try to get increased prices for the turf producers and distributors. While he was doing that, he arranged to bring in a cargo of coal to the nearest port to his home town.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan I do not think the Deputy is speaking anywhere near the motion.

[1841]Mr. Spring: Information on Daniel Spring Zoom on Daniel Spring Reference was made to us as trade union officials and members.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan It has no relevance whatever.

Mr. Spring: Information on Daniel Spring Zoom on Daniel Spring It is no harm to say that people should be consistent. You cannot start giving lectures to those in a position to reply. The first thing you should do is put your own house in order.

We have to consider this Agreement on its merits. We have to consider all the statements made by different politicians over the past 40 years. I do not want to dig them up. However, if you read them, you will find some of them have not been a bit consistent.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan The consistency of politicians is scarcely in question now.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon That would be a great relief to the Fianna Fáil Party.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan It would be a relief to me, too.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon Unfortunately, Sir, the rules of order of this House were not drafted for the convenience of the Fianna Fáil Party.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan They were drafted by politicians anyway.

Mr. Spring: Information on Daniel Spring Zoom on Daniel Spring Deputies have produced the Official Report and quoted speeches by some of the present Ministers in 1932, 1933, 1936 and 1937. Not so long ago they were making the same statements: they were the Republican Party and the salvation of the country was in their hands.

We have to assess this Agreement on its merits. We know ourselves that industries have been built up since we got native government and have been protected by tariffs, and so on. Are we prepared to meet the consequences of British goods coming into this country? We may not feel their impact this year or next year but, from the fourth year onwards, we shall feel their impact and that is what worries me. Only for the protection that some of our industries [1842] received over the years, they could not compete with goods from a highly in-have survived. Now we ask them to dustrialised country. It is stating the obvious to say that our country is not industrialised and that our chief industry is agriculture. I hope that what I say will not happen but when we reach the third or the fourth year after this Agreement becomes effective, I fear that our workers will suffer.

The previous speaker said that we have certain proposals and that our industrialists will fare far better under the Agreement than the farmers. Might I ask what will happen when the ten-year period expires? Surely there is a big danger to our economy when British-produced goods will flow freely into the country? Then we shall be right in the midst of trouble. Under the Agreement, we have a guaranteed market for a certain amount of our goods and produce but as soon as we reach the tenth year, I would say we are heading for very poor times and I hope that my prediction is not correct. For the past 25 years, there has always been a market in Britain for all the cattle we could produce.

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

Mr. Spring: Information on Daniel Spring Zoom on Daniel Spring Many years ago, at a meeting in my county. I proposed that a subsidy should be provided in respect of our heifer calves and I was laughed at. We were told that the only alternative was to increase the cattle population. What is the position now? Over 80 per cent of the farming community in my county are small farmers. It is surely a poor outlook for the small farmers of my county, and those of other western seaboard counties, when, in the past few days, we had the spectacle of the small farmers in my county queueing up to sign for the dole. That is an indication that very little prosperity lies ahead. Thirty-three years after the introduction of the dole to this country, we are now proposing to give it to our small farmers, which indicates that they are finished. The Government are doing it to help the small farmers to support themselves and their wives and to rear their families. It is a shocking and disgraceful thing——

[1843]Mr. Barry: Information on Richard Barry Zoom on Richard Barry I agree.

Mr. Spring: Information on Daniel Spring Zoom on Daniel Spring ——that our small farmers in certain counties are asked to demoralise themselves by signing on for the new dole. That is the most disgraceful thing ever introduced in this country—and then the Government will tell us that the farmers were never better off. These were the cries we heard prior to 4th April last——

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan Zoom on Stephen Coughlan Let Haughey lead on.

Mr. Spring: Information on Daniel Spring Zoom on Daniel Spring “Let Lemass lead for one more term.” Who will lead afterwards? Will it be the Minister for External Affairs or the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries?

Mr. Coogan: Information on Fintan Coogan Zoom on Fintan Coogan The Minister for Fish and Chips.

Mr. Spring: Information on Daniel Spring Zoom on Daniel Spring That is probably what is wrong in the Fianna Fáil Party at the moment. There is probably a difference in thinking and who knows who will lead the Party in the future.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan Zoom on Stephen Coughlan They have no ambitions at all over there on the Government benches.

Mr. Coogan: Information on Fintan Coogan Zoom on Fintan Coogan Someone would want to lead them.

Mr. Spring: Information on Daniel Spring Zoom on Daniel Spring We are told that our farmers were never better off and yet, in my county, farmers with valuations of £10, £15 and £20 are queueing up at the employment exchanges to know if they would qualify for unemployment assistance. It would be far better if the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries would give some guarantee to our farmers in relation to prices and thus enable them to support themselves, their wives and families on their holdings rather than to demoralise them in this way.

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

Mr. McAuliffe: Information on Patrick McAuliffe Zoom on Patrick McAuliffe The Presidential election is coming.

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

Mr. Spring: Information on Daniel Spring Zoom on Daniel Spring The whole danger I see in this Agreement is that it may [1844] cause the disemployment of a large number of our people. Our neighbours in the Six Counties had access to the British market all the time—one could actually call it free trade—and yet there is more unemployment in the Six Counties than in any other six counties in this country. What will happen to us after next July when we enter free trade? Irrespective of what Government are in office in England, they are Englishmen and they will negotiate to the best of their ability to the benefit of their country. We in the Labour Party think Britain has got the best of this bargain and that is why we oppose the Agreement.

Mr. Burton: Information on Philip Burton Zoom on Philip Burton This Agreement has been discussed since Tuesday last and it was introduced and praised very enthusiastically by the leaders and members of the Fianna Fáil Party. It has been lauded very highly for the benefits it will confer on the country, especially on agriculture.

We had Agreements with Britain before—the 1948 and previous Agreements—which were satisfactory, without selling or giving away anything of our nationality or freedom. This Agreement is vastly different because we have finished up by giving the advantage to Britain in a very big way and, even if all those big advantages were to accrue to agriculture, which unfortunately is not true, the agricultural community would be fully entitled to them because agriculture has been in the front line trenches, not alone now but in the years gone past, through the mismanagement of the Fianna Fáil Party, whose policy it was to keep them there because they were going to industrialise our country. However, if it were a fact, it would be high time that agriculture got a little compensation—and we might call it restitution—for what it went through over the years, due to Fianna Fáil policy.

This Agreement is supposed to increase cattle exports to 638,000 head, increase our carcase meat trade to 25,000 tons and lamb to 5,500 tons. These quantities would be entitled if the occasion arose, to deficiency payments which, as a maximum, would be something like £1¼ million. It will not [1845] happen, of course; but, if it did, that amount could not be expended by our Government here without the prior permission of the British Government. It is an extraordinary state of affairs that, in 1966, John Bull has to be considered before that deficiency payment of £1¼ million is disbursed.

In agricultural industry, however, there is more than cattle. This has been referred to already by my colleague, Deputy Creed, and other speakers here. There is the dairying industry in which we, in the south, are very interested. My own constituency is mostly a dairying and tillage area and milk is produced there to provide a living for most of the people but, unfortunately, the price received by the producer at the moment is practically the lowest in Europe. Last year, in order to encourage the production of high quality milk, the Minister for Agriculture granted a payment of one penny as an incentive. Unfortunately not everyone was capable of getting the benefit of that penny. The highly-geared farmer with capital was in a position to equip himself so that he could get this increased payment, but, the small farmers—and we must remember there are more small than big farmers—have not the necessary capital to gear themselves to the point at which they will have higher production and better quality milk. Most of the milk is produced by family cheap labour.

In a recent survey, the national average income of those engaged in agriculture was something like £7 4s per week, which is subject to correction. I was rather amazed to find, on looking through the document my colleague, Deputy Creed referred to earlier—a survey carried out by officials of the Minister for Agriculture —that the income is as low as £2 a week. It is no wonder farm labourers are leaving the land. Unfortunately, many of them have already gone because agriculture is not in a position to pay them the wage to which they are entitled. The point is now being made that this Agreement will put farmers in a position to improve their business and their workers. Of course, there is not a word of truth in that. It [1846] is a case of “Live horse and you will get grass”—something might turn up.

There is also another category of farming, tillage, which meant a lot to our economy over the years. The returns from the Statistics Office for the acreage of tillage under dry crops was down by 40,000, which included wheat, and this showed the biggest decrease of 12 per cent. There was also a drop in the acreage of barley and oats. Of course, as we know, the biggest drop of all was in sugar beet which was such a help to our economy. Furthermore, there was a substantial drop in the potato acreage of something like 10,000 acres, again subject to correction. It is a rather extraordinary state of affairs that there seems to be no relief provision for any of those crops under this new Agreement. They must struggle on and do their best.

In support of that, I shall quote the Irish Farmers' Journal of October 16th, under the heading “Forecast of Further Drop in Tillage Acreage”.

The only thing that can hold up the acreage of cereals and beet this year is the credit squeeze. It makes it too difficult for farmers to switch quickly to cows or dry stock. This comment came from Bernie O'Neill, chairman of the Beet Growers' Association, when he told their annual general meeting that it had been a disastrous year for tillage men in general and wheat growers in particular.

He said that we could look to further reductions in tillage acreage in the future, as no man could plough back into the land what he hadn't taken out of it.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan Zoom on Stephen Coughlan Was that Deputy Corry?

Mr. Burton: Information on Philip Burton Zoom on Philip Burton No, but I daresay he was present. That was a rather significant statement from the chairman, Mr. O'Neill, of the Beet Growers' Association. He was stating the truth.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan Zoom on Stephen Coughlan Did they say anything about building more labour exchanges for the farmers?

[1847]Mr. Burton: Information on Philip Burton Zoom on Philip Burton I suppose that will come later. The substance of the speech was that tillage counties or parts of counties interested in tillage will be getting out of it because there is not an economic price for their produce. This is aggravated by the inclemency of the so-called summer and harvest weather. I believe this was a significant statement about a matter that will undoubtedly affect our economy because if we cannot produce cereals, sugar beet and potatoes at home, it will, I suppose, turn out like the case of the turkeys; they will come over from England and consequently there will be more unemployment in agriculture. More people will have to go into the towns where unfortunately they do not readily get employment now and the next thing will be that they will go to Birmingham.

This Agreement does not confer any benefits on the farmers. To believe otherwise is wishful thinking. Things must improve very much before the farmers can get anything extra from the national cake. Deputy Corry, one of my colleagues in the constituency, said earlier in the week that he had made a survey of the industries in his constituency and he was glad to find they would not be affected.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan Zoom on Stephen Coughlan What about the steelyards and Mallow CIE?

Mr. Burton: Information on Philip Burton Zoom on Philip Burton It was a rather extraordinary statement and the Deputy should have given it more thought and consideration before he made it. He need not go very much farther than the steel industry which is very near him where we had 180 disemployed prior to Christmas. He referred to that himself in the papers as meaning a very bleak Christmas and he connected that with the Buy Irish campaign in which seemingly all the patriotism should come from individuals and households, while the State and semi-State companies could go over to John Bull and buy corrugated iron which was manufactured beside them. That is what is causing the unemployment.

I agree with him to that extent but I do not agree that the industries in [1848] the constituency will not be affected. Of course they will. While in this House we must be concerned with the over-all national picture, as Deputies we must be concerned primarily with what happens in our own constituencies. In my own home town, there is a family hosiery business built up over the years on the people's initiative and undoubtedly, not alone in ten years but in three or four or five years, that little industry will feel the full blast of hosiery imports from England and there will be unemployment as a result. Deputy Corry did not discuss the matter with those people. It is wishful thinking on his part to say that industries will not be affected.

Of course we will be consoled, I presume, by the statement of the Taoiseach and others that where one industry closes down or collapses, five more will spring up like mushrooms. We all know very well that will not happen. I am terribly concerned about those industries. In latter years we were all concerned in rural Ireland especially when we had to go looking for industries. At one time we sent a team to Germany from our own town and district to investigate the possibility of inducing manufacturing concerns, preferably some heavy industry for male employment, to come to our town where they would have a free site and other necessary facilities. While they got all the promises in the world from some and others said they would review the position and that we would hear from them later, nothing has materialised.

My point is that if under this Agreement an existing family industry is going to fall by the wayside, how can we induce anybody else to come into rural Ireland?

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy Zoom on Robert Molloy What are they doing in these factories?

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan Zoom on Stephen Coughlan Straightening bananas and making bulls' eyes.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy Zoom on Robert Molloy What kind of hoisery is being made?

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Burton: Information on Philip Burton Zoom on Philip Burton Despite all that has [1849] been said here about the benefit this Agreement will confer on Ireland, I predict a very bleak time ahead for rural towns.

Mr. Barry: Information on Richard Barry Zoom on Richard Barry That is true, unfortunately.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Villages will be wiped out.

Mr. Burton: Information on Philip Burton Zoom on Philip Burton Under this Agreement, vested interests with bigger supermarkets than we have already will take over the country, to the detriment of family businesses and local traders. Again as a result of the Agreement, local traders will have to face higher taxation. The duties which will be taken off after July will have to be made up and the obvious way is by increased taxation. The people in small towns will be running out of them because there will not be a living to be got in them.

On one occasion my colleague, Deputy Barry, and I asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce, by way of Parliamentary Question, if he would state the opinion of the Government in relation to supermarkets. Speaking subject to correction, I think the answer was, substantially, that they were good for business.

Mr. Barry: Information on Richard Barry Zoom on Richard Barry Yes, that is what he said.

Mr. Burton: Information on Philip Burton Zoom on Philip Burton That is what the reply amounted to. They might be good for vested interests but, unfortunately they are not good for the people who were born and bred in small towns and developed businesses which, while they might not be very big, provided a livelihood. These people will be deprived of that livelihood and they will take to the emigrant ship.

Fine Gael have always favoured freer trade relations or closer trade relations with Britain, with the overriding consideration that they reserved the right to investigate the possibility of getting better markets than the British market in continental Europe. Unfortunately, under this Agreement. that opportunity will no longer be available.

[1850]Mr. McAuliffe: Information on Patrick McAuliffe Zoom on Patrick McAuliffe I shall be brief but I should like to join with Deputy Burton in expressing in a few words our great regret for the fact that our fellow Deputy from Cork-East mentioned certain industries in that constituency in respect of which he had a guarantee from the managements that they would not be interfered with and were in no danger under the Agreement. I should like to ask this question: What will become of the industries Deputy Corry referred to here? We should like an answer on this. We are chiefly interested in the towns of Cobh, Midleton, Youghal, Fermoy, Mallow, Kanturk, Charleville and many other towns where small industries have existed and have tried to survive over a long number of years. Some of us are led to believe by the managements of the industries concerned that, despite Deputy Corry's claim, these industries will be seriously affected as a result of this Free Trade Agreement.

That will represent a loss in itself. The proof is that at the moment, as the previous speaker pointed out, there are roughly 200 men unemployed in the town of Cobh who were laid off by Irish Steel during the past three months. Deputy Corry, a member of the Government Party, knows that. I am fully convinced that Deputy Corry came in here and made that statement for one purpose only, that was, to try to convince the people of Cork that everything was rosy in the garden. We know that he is a bit of a disturber in his own Party at times. I have in my possession a copy of the Cork Examiner dated back to 1926, when Deputy Corry was a problem at the time Fianna Fáil entered the House.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin It does not seem to have any relevance to the motion before the House.

Mr. McAuliffe: Information on Patrick McAuliffe Zoom on Patrick McAuliffe I have a photograph of Deputy Corry being led by the hand——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin What Deputy Corry did in 1926 does not seem to have any relevance to the Free Trade Agreement.

[1851]Mr. McAuliffe: Information on Patrick McAuliffe Zoom on Patrick McAuliffe Deputy Corry made a statement that as far as industries in Cork were concerned, they were quite safe under this Agreement.

Mr. Barry: Information on Richard Barry Zoom on Richard Barry He never consulted the management of any of them.

Mr. McAuliffe: Information on Patrick McAuliffe Zoom on Patrick McAuliffe He never consulted the management of any of them, and as far as we are concerned, as Deputies for that constituency, it is our job and our duty to point out to the people the danger of this Agreement and what will happen as far as industries are concerned. I make that point now.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon I should love to see the photograph.

Mr. McAuliffe: Information on Patrick McAuliffe Zoom on Patrick McAuliffe I will show it to the Deputy.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon I should like to see it for old time's sake.

Mr. McAuliffe: Information on Patrick McAuliffe Zoom on Patrick McAuliffe Deputy Spring made one very important point, that is, that despite everything that is being said at the present moment about the prosperity of the small farmer, the clearest indication that the Government now realise that the small farmer is fast disappearing, due to the fact that his income is practically nil, is the introduction of a special system of unemployment assistance for small farmers on the western seaboard and covering portion of Cork county. That is a clear admission by the Government that they realise the position in which the small farmer is placed and the difficulty he experiences in trying to exist on a small holding at present. As years go on, the position of the small farmer will become even worse.

We should like to have a guarantee from the Government as to what is to happen the small farmers and also as to what is to happen the business people in many towns in rural Ireland. The Government have completely forgotten the old slogan of the Republican movement under the leadership of certain people. I want to quote and put on the records of the House what I think is the greatest statement ever made, which was made by a good [1852] Corkman and a good Irishman, the late Terence MacSwiney, when he addressed a Sinn Féin conference in Cork in 1919. I quote:

We in the Republican movement expect to do great things for the Irish people but I will give you no guarantee whatsoever as to the use that will be made of that freedom by those who come after us.

Freedom is misused at the present time. It was misused by those who went out under the banner of republicanism and completely forgot that policy in a very short time.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan Zoom on Stephen Coughlan Fifty years ago this week—a great memorial.

Mr. McAuliffe: Information on Patrick McAuliffe Zoom on Patrick McAuliffe The spirit of republicanism and nationalism has fast disappeared from Fianna Fáil. They have failed the people of those days 30-odd years ago. The younger generation are more enlightened than the people were 30 years ago, and if and when the opportunity arises, Fianna Fáil will get their answer from the Irish people as far as this Trade Agreement is concerned.

Mr. L. Belton: Information on Luke Belton Zoom on Luke Belton I was very glad to hear the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs saying here today that he saw no reason, when we had gained our independence and established our sovereignty, for refusing to trade with our former enemy. We on this side of the House could not agree more with him. We welcome this change but we regret that it is so belated because this is the policy the Fine Gael Party have advocated for many years and which was denounced and rejected by the present Government Party.

I shall not attempt to discuss the position of agriculture under this Agreement because, first of all, I am not competent to do so and, secondly, because it has already been dealt with by many other speakers on this side of the House and on the Government side of the House. However, from the little knowledge I have of agriculture, it is obvious to me that even the Government Party Deputies did not rejoice over this Agreement; as far as I [1853] could gather from their remarks, the Agreement will mean a very small gain.

I am mainly concerned with the consequences of this Agreement on industry because the constituency I represent is, in the main, a working-class constituency. I am wondering how many of our industries will be able to stand up to the competition from their British counterparts. If they are not able to stand up to that competition, then they will inevitably fold up, with consequential unemployment for many of our people.

One industry about which I know something is the liquor business. There is one company in Britain with a capital of no less than £350 million with, perhaps, an equal sum in reserve. Our distillers would not have more than about £5 million. If they are to try to compete against the British distillers it will be a very uphill fight. Guinness, the major brewery here—not in their stout trade but in their other trades—will face competition ten times their size. It will be very severe and very keen competition.

In Dublin, the building industry is one of the main industries. Most of the accessories, such as locks, nails, door furnishings and fittings, are turned out in greater numbers in Britain than they are here. I am apprehensive as to how we will compete against the British when they have free access to our market. For us to catch up with the British in this field and to carry the wide range they carry there would need to be a huge injection of capital to enable us to compete successfully against them.

Another industry, which has been mentioned several times and which, we are given to understand is in a serious position is the motor assembly industry. That industry gives good employment in Dublin. If it were to fold up there would be serious repercussions. I think it was Deputy Reynolds who said that, within a fortnight of this Agreement being signed, there was an increase of 7,000 in unemployment. Judging by today's papers 2,000 more in the building maintenance trade are under notice. It is said that eventually 100,000 may be affected. If the figures [1854] revealed in the last fortnight are any indication of the trend of events, then I do not think any Deputy could feel otherwise than apprehensive about the implications on industry of this Trade Agreement.

Mr. O'Hara: Information on Thomas O'Hara Zoom on Thomas O'Hara I believe that the Taoiseach and his Party should have told the people on the occasion of the last general election that it was their intention to sign a trade agreement with the British. That was their duty. They did not do so and I believe they did not do so because they were afraid. The very least one would have expected is that the Taoiseach would have consulted the people when he had the opportunity to do so. It is quite plain to me now that, because of the record behind him and his predecessor, a record of going around the country for more than 30 years denouncing everything British and deploring the fact that the people on this side of the House always advocated an increased outlet on the British market for our agricultural produce, he was afraid to take the rightabout turn before the people; he knew that, if he did, it would be too much for his own supporters to swallow. At the moment there are only two Fianna Fáil Deputies in the House, one of them being a Parliamentary Secretary.

Mr. Barry: Information on Richard Barry Zoom on Richard Barry They are asleep.

Mr. O'Hara: Information on Thomas O'Hara Zoom on Thomas O'Hara The Minister for External Affairs has been conspicuous by his absence. Indeed, when he was listening to the Taoiseach the other day, I thought he looked as if he needed a tonic. Rumour has it that the Fianna Fáil Party are split and, judging by the empty benches opposite, it would look as if the rumour is not without foundation. I cannot understand the attitude of the Government Party in not coming in here to discuss this Agreement.

Mr. J. Gibbons: Information on James M. Gibbons Zoom on James M. Gibbons They do not know what they are missing.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange The Minister for External Affairs has been missing a lot for a couple of years now.

[1855]Mr. Coogan: Information on Fintan Coogan Zoom on Fintan Coogan And Fianna Fáil missed the bus in London.

Mr. O'Hara: Information on Thomas O'Hara Zoom on Thomas O'Hara The Taoiseach told us a few days ago that it was his intention in 1963 to go ahead with this Agreement, but he never mentioned it at election time. He could not go around the country and say, as he said a few days ago: “This British market is a wonderful market”, because he had been saying the reverse of that all his life. It would be too much of a pill for the people to swallow in one gulp and he was afraid of his life to tell them.

Subsequently when he did go across to England he had behind him the ghost of a £50 million trade deficit. That was a very embarrassing position to be in and a very bad bargaining ground on which his Ministers and himself found themselves. Apart from the balance of payments problem there were all the other problems that are still around us, strikes and one thing and another in the various Departments of State, including Local Government. Even the Parliamentary Secretary's Department sent out a circular letter telling Deputies and Senators not to submit new proposals as there was no more money to spend on them. I got such a letter and I am sure other Members of the Oireachtas got it, too.

Mr. J. Gibbons: Information on James M. Gibbons Zoom on James M. Gibbons There was more money allocated this year than ever before.

Mr. O'Hara: Information on Thomas O'Hara Zoom on Thomas O'Hara There was no money to pay housing grants and a thousand other things. There was also the fact that our Minister for finanace and some of his advisers went to New York and to several other parts of the world to borrow money which, as far as I know, they have not got yet. It was with that ghost also at his heels the Taoiseach went over to London to sign the Trade Agreement. Those were the circumstances in which these documents were signed, documents that have been circulated with all the ballyhoo of which Fianna Fáil are capable in order to try to smother the fact that there is nothing extraordinary in this Agreement.

[1856] Certainly there is nothing extraordinary in these provisions for the hard-pressed people that I and other Deputies from the west of Ireland represent. The Parliamentary Secretary, Deputy Faulkner, stated here yesterday evening that it would be of great benefit to the sheep and lamb industry. We cannot press buttons and produce sheep and lambs in a matter of months. It will take quite a long time to get increased production of sheep and lambs. This is the Fianna Fáil policy: live horse and you will get grass.

Mr. J. Gibbons: Information on James M. Gibbons Zoom on James M. Gibbons The Deputy ought to check up on his sheep figures and he will get a surprise.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Check up on the figures before the 1948 Trade Agreement—down to 2,000,000.

Mr. O'Hara: Information on Thomas O'Hara Zoom on Thomas O'Hara I travel very frequently, in the course of my business, not only around my own county but all over the western counties, and I know how things are. There are hundreds of closed homes as a result of the policy of Fianna Fáil and I do not think this new Trade Agreement will bring the people racing back across the water to enjoy this alleged prosperity. Of course, we had to listen to some wild tales from the former Taoiseach. We were going to import Egyptian bees for the production of some extraordinarily rare type of honey. He said we had the milk and all we needed was the Egyptian bees to provide the honey. I do not think the Egyptian bees ever came into the country but certainly we were stung from somewhere and I think it was from the far side of the House.

One would have thought that the main objective of the delegation that went to London would have been to refer to this 15 per cent levy, five per cent of which was removed some time ago, but we hardly heard a word about it. All the people here were shocked. Industry was shaken to the very foundation and the agricultural community were also shocked when this levy was imposed. The Taoiseach himself was so shocked that I believe he got on the phone to London. He used strong [1857] language at the time about not being able to depend on arrangements that one might make with the British. That is my recollection of what happened.

The Taoiseach and his Ministers were very strong in their criticism of the British and went so far as to say that they could not be relied upon. In the space of a few months, the Taoiseach has changed. The Taoiseach and his Ministers are now prepared to come into this House and pledge their word here to us and to the Irish people that these gentlemen who broke their word before are now jolly good fellows. I have some experience not of the British politician but of the British businessman. My late father and I sent hundreds of thousands of pounds across the water to the principal cities of Great Britain. When one is reared in that tradition and when one knows these people as I do, one is in a better position to speak about them here than others, and particularly those who have spoken from the opposite side.

I can say of English and Scottish businessmen that I have found no more honest people, no more honest traders, than I found across the water. Their word is their bond and their cheque is as sound as the name of the bank it is drawn on. My experience and that of my late father, before the Fianna Fáil take-over of office, was that we were able in the west of Ireland to buy from our neighbours eggs, poultry, including turkeys, potatoes and other things and export them across the water. In this respect, I should like to tell this story about when Fianna Fáil took over office, and if there is anybody on the other side from the Department of Agriculture, he can look up reference No. W. 194.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin The Deputy is being irrelevant. This has nothing to do with the Free Trade Agreement.

Mr. O'Hara: Information on Thomas O'Hara Zoom on Thomas O'Hara It has a lot to do with the approach of the Fianna Fáil Government at that time.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin The Deputy may not pursue that subject; otherwise he will have to sit down.

[1858]Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Yesterday the Taoiseach's son gave us a history——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin Is this a point of order?

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Surely if the Taoiseach's son was allowed——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin That is not a point of order. Deputy O'Hara is in possession.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy Deputy O'Hara was dealing with trade between Ireland and England.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin What he was saying has no connection with the subject matter before the House.

Mr. O'Hara: Information on Thomas O'Hara Zoom on Thomas O'Hara During the debate we have heard nothing about eggs or turkeys. That market was wrecked by Fianna Fáil.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin As a result of the Agreement?

Mr. O'Hara: Information on Thomas O'Hara Zoom on Thomas O'Hara Nothing has been done in that respect by the Agreement.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin The matter referred to by the Deputy is irrelevant. We are discussing the Free Trade Agreement.

Mr. O'Hara: Information on Thomas O'Hara Zoom on Thomas O'Hara In which there is no reference to eggs or poultry. The Minister for Agriculture kept very close on that subject. We have better knowledge of these things than the Minister has.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Deputy Corry was allowed to talk about buying socks.

Mr. O'Hara: Information on Thomas O'Hara Zoom on Thomas O'Hara We shall get away from the wild statements.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy I was very interested in the transactions with Britain to which Deputy O'Hara was referring.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin Deputy O'Hara then will get an appropriate opportunity to tell the Deputy all about it.

Mr. O'Hara: Information on Thomas O'Hara Zoom on Thomas O'Hara I am afraid that under this Agreement you will not see any mile-long queues of lorries from all [1859] parts of the country at the North Wall, laden with turkeys, eggs and other farm produce bound for England. Fianna Fáil have thrown away that business and they should be ashamed of it. It is surprising they did not take the Minister for External Affairs with them to London. Of course he was the man who said he would like to see sunk every ship that went across the ocean. They would have been ashamed to take him with them. I am not surprised he did not go.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte They could not find him: he is lost.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange He is sulking.

Mr. O'Hara: Information on Thomas O'Hara Zoom on Thomas O'Hara It must be borne in mind that quite a number of people will suffer as a result of this nonsense. I will suffer very seriously. Deputy McAuliffe had similar things to say about the people of West Cork. He said that as a result of the Agreement, the small farmers in the south-west and the west will suffer, despite all the assurances of the Minister for Agriculture who comes down from time to time to tell us of the prosperity we can look forward to. I am very pessimistic when I think of the other promises of Fianna Fáil, including the 100,000 new jobs we were told about.

I am not concerned about new industries in the west because none was established there. We were promised great things under the Undeveloped Areas Act. The man responsible for it was the present Minister for Finance, then Parliamentary Secretary, who I have always found to be honest and sincere in his intentions, anxious to do everything he possibly could. Unfortunately we had not, as a result of his honest efforts, any great success as far as industries in the west are concerned. Ballaghaderreen, Charlestown, Swinford got none; there was a little in Kiltimagh; and Ballina got an industry which may go to the wall. Of course we are not allowed to discuss these things. In the field of industry, we do not have a lot to lose in the west.

What worries me in this respect is the possible loss of our old-established [1860] industries, many of them in existence long before we achieved native government. I am thinking of one in my own town of Foxford and there are others, probably smaller, in other towns in the county. I have been told by senior staff members of the woollen mills in Foxford that they are very worried about their ability to compete against the big combines. If that industry does not not only survive but thrive, it will be a sad day for the people of that town. We had an old-established industry in Ballina which had to close down. In the flour-milling industry there, quite a number of people were employed. Those people were, for economic reasons, forced out of business as a result of mismanagement, in my opinion, on the part of the Government and dwindling population. They have gone out of business and their workers have cleared off. The majority of those workers have gone over to England with consequent serious loss to the town and the district. It is a hard thing for those workers to pull up their roots, pack their bags, break up their homes and bring their wives and families over to Birmingham. They have to try to get a flat somewhere. They are perhaps 40 to 50 years of age and they find it hard to pack up and leave the country. I do not think Fianna Fáil are a bit concerned about those people at all. My attention has been drawn to the fact that there is only one Fianna Fáil Deputy in the House, apart from the Parliamentary Secretary.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte They are all looking for the Minister for External Affairs. He was last heard of playing a tambourine in Barcelona.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin Deputy Harte should conduct himself.

Mr. Coogan: Information on Fintan Coogan Zoom on Fintan Coogan It is very hard to do so.

Mr. O'Hara: Information on Thomas O'Hara Zoom on Thomas O'Hara I could not help noting that the people opposite have been asking us on this side of the House not to be digging up the past. There is a certain amount of temptation to do so because so much deceit and fraud was practised by the people [1861] opposite in the past that it is necessary, in my opinion, to bring it to the notice of the people outside. I got the impression, prior to the signing of this Agreement, that some people, quite innocently through reading the Irish Press, thought the Agreement to be all right. I believe that if this Dáil meeting of the past few days has done nothing more than to bring both points of view to the notice of the people, it has done a good day's work. I am very convinced that when the Party opposite come before the people at the local elections during the year, it will be all waiting for them. We will not be afraid to tell it, please God, if we live till then. The people will know a little more then about Fianna Fáil than they did in the past.

There is one matter I regret I have to refer to, that is, the attitude of the Labour Party here. Some of their speakers have been critical of our action. I can safely say some of my best friends in this House are in the Labour Party. They are very close friends of mine and I do not really like to say anything to hurt their feelings. They are quite naturally at the present time very perturbed and worried about the position of the motor car industry and they are worried, and naturally so, about certain other industries in this city and out of it. The majority of the Deputies in the Labour Party are from the eastern and southern counties and are very decent men. Indeed, taking them, by and large, from their leader right down, I have nothing but the greatest respect and admiration for them.

They seem to be trying to take a different line, or trying to put us in a spot, in connection with the attitude of the leader of our Party and the attitude of all Deputies here on this side of the House in connection with this Trade Agreement. We have talked over all this; we have made up our minds in our own way; we have discussed the Trade Agreement and we have taken our stand on that. The Labour Party, for the time being, seem to be very bitter and very hard on Fine Gael in their criticism. I think one of the best speeches I heard was that of [1862] Deputy Everett. I was delighted to hear him as he is one of our senior Members. He related some of the old things that happened. I was delighted to see him in such good health and in such good form. I feel bound to say this. I do not think Fianna Fáil would be sitting on the far side of the House but for the statement made by Deputy Corish before the general election.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully Not again.

Mr. O'Hara: Information on Thomas O'Hara Zoom on Thomas O'Hara He said he would have nothing to do with another Coalition or inter-Party Government. That is something that caused a lot of unease in the country at the time.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin It has nothing at all to do with the debate on the Trade Agreement before the House.

Mr. O'Hara: Information on Thomas O'Hara Zoom on Thomas O'Hara I was just saying if there was anything wrong about the Agreement now, that statement helped it.

Mr. Treacy: Information on Seán Treacy Zoom on Seán Treacy Deputy Corish said what he said with the full approval of the Labour Party, and no regrets.

Mr. O'Hara: Information on Thomas O'Hara Zoom on Thomas O'Hara I want to say this much. If they want to put us in a spot, they are in a worse spot in regard to that statement. I know this has been a pretty dragged out debate. I am sure it is wearying for the Leas-Cheann Comhairle, the Ceann Comhairle and for all Deputies, listening to us so long. It is very hard for Deputies to be relevant in their remarks at this stage.

Mr. Barry: Information on Richard Barry Zoom on Richard Barry I have no doubt, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, you will be quite pleased, and so will every Deputy in the House, the people in the officials' benches, the people in the press gallery and the Distinguished Strangers' Gallery to hear from me that I propose to finish in five minutes. I just want to say that the discussion which has been going on for the past few days—it started at 3 o'clock on Tuesday and it is now almost ten to seven on Friday —has been enlightening in the extreme. If I were at home in Cork, I would have in front of me, not the Irish Independent, but the Cork Examiner. I have the Irish Independent[1863] in front of me now of today's date, 7th January, 1966, and written across the front of it there is a heading “2,000 to get sack”. Is that more important to you, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, all the Deputies here and all the people in the different galleries, than telling us that we have got the best of this Trade Agreement that was signed by the Taoiseach in our name in December, 1965?

In my opinion, any Trade Agreement, no matter who it is signed by, or what the contents of the clauses in it are, if it does not give some better opportunity to the people on whose behalf it is signed, is a bad agreement. If we consider this in a calm and cool way, however, I think most Deputies will agree that this is not a good Agreement. I want to say that I consider there are in the Fianna Fáil Party and the Labour Party quite decent, respectable and intelligent Deputies. I have no doubt that all the Deputies in the Fine Gael Party are responsible people. What is the purpose of this debate which has been going on for two days longer than anticipated? The Irish Independent gave us the answer today. If you read the second heading of that paper you will find it says: “Decision may affect 100,000”. The 100,000 is rather significant. This means 100,000 out of employment. It is not many years ago that the leader of the Fianna Fáil Party said that the policy he was proposing would give 100,000 more people jobs. It is nostalgic to look back to just a few years ago. One hundred thousand more jobs! It does not do me any good to stand here in Leinster House, as a representative of the Irish people, and say that in a boastful fashion. It is a pity.

Deputy Corry is a colleague of mine and I have great respect for him. On Tuesday night I listened to him talking about the benefits in this Trade Agreement for the people in the North-East Cork constituency. He said he had consulted all the industrialists in Midleton, Youghal, Fermoy, Cobh, Mallow and Kanturk, but the truth is he did not consult anyone. What he [1864] said was recorded here and published in the papers the following day. He said that in his opinion, having consulted these industrialists, there would be 5,000 more people in employment in North-East Cork as a result of this Trade Agreement of 1965. It is a pity that any Deputy who represents the people of this country should come in here and make such a statement to mislead his people. Even though Deputies of the Fianna Fáil Party, the Labour Party and the Fine Gael Party may have their shortcomings, at least when we speak in this House in the name of the people, we should be straight and honest.

The plain fact of the matter is that in the North-East Cork constituency, as I find it now—including the towns of Youghal, Cobh, Midleton, Charleville and Kanturk—as Deputy Burton said, there will be 5,000 fewer people employed. Where do we go from there? I said I would not delay the House more than five or six minutes, but I feel I have a duty to the people I represent to say I hope Deputy Corry is right, but I feel he is wrong. I am an auctioneer in a small way, among other things, and I think it right to say— and it does not give me any pleasure to say it—that this country is not on the verge of bankruptcy but is, in fact, bankrupt. The Leas-Cheann Comhairle looks at me as if to indicate that that is irrelevant to the motion dealing with the Agreement, but I have said I am an auctioneer in a small way and if, as an auctioneer, I were instructed tomorrow by the Taoiseach to sell this country, I do not think I could. If I advertised it for weeks on end, and if I were to pay for those advertisements, I think I would be bankrupt.

Those are the simple facts of the case and here we find ourselves now, with a Free Trade Agreement that has been hailed by all the papers, daily, weekly and monthly, as being the best thing since the Treaty. We see a headline in the Irish Independent:“2,000 to get the sack”. I honestly believe and accept that the Taoiseach in his own way is honest in his view of this Agreement. So are the Ministers who went with him: the Minister for Finance, his [1865] son-in-law, the Minister for Agriculture, and the others. What really happened was that when they were talking to Mr. Wilson and his colleagues in London, they thought they had a mandate from the Irish people to sign what they liked.

Before Christmas here in the Dáil, many questions were asked to try to get some indication of the terms of this Trade Agreement. No matter how the questions and supplementary questions were couched, they failed to elicit any information on what was happening in London at the time. Now we see in the papers: “2,000 to get the sack.” When the Minister for Justice was talking earlier today, I asked him—in a rather rude way perhaps; by way of interjection in any case—how he concluded that the Irish farmers will get an extra £10 million this year. His answer was that if I had been listening to him for the previous ten minutes I would have understood. I did listen to him, and I want to assert now in a most emphatic and categorical way that in my view— and I think this should be said, and made very clear—in the next 12 months the Irish farmers will not get £1 more in their income, never mind the £10 million that has been mentioned.

If, as the Taoiseach and the Minister for Agriculture said, the Irish farmers will benefit from this Agreement, it should be stated how that money will get into the Irish farmers' pockets. I hope the Minister for Agriculture is right; I hope the Minister for Justice was right today; but I still think they were talking in mythical terms. Let us get finished with it. So fas as I am concerned, this is rather tragic and nostalgic. This is the 7th January, 1966. The Agreement was signed on 14th December, 1965. We see a national daily paper today with the headline: “2,000 to get the sack. Decision may affect 100,000 people.” Where are we going from there? Are we going to be honest with ourselves and say we are not fit to govern the country? I am going to make a bet with you, Sir, that in six months there will be a general election and a change of faces here.

[1866]Mr. McLaughlin: Information on Joseph McLoughlin Zoom on Joseph McLoughlin : In my constituency the small farmers who mainly comprise it have gained practically nothing as a result of Fianna Fáil administration during their term of office. After a close examination of the Free Trade Agreement, we discover that it embodies nothing new, that it merely embodies what was in the 1948 Trade Agreement. I wonder what are all the headlines and blowing of bugles about, or what are we to boast about in regard to this Agreement. We are obliged to supply 638,000 cattle to England but we did that in 1964, and we also did it in 1948. What is there to boast about as far as those figures are concerned? Today in my part of the country, the cattle trade is poor due to the credit squeeze and because the banks have refused to put money into circulation which would be used by enterprising people to buy and sell cattle. The terms of this Agreement do not mean any immediate relief for those people.

The poultry industry, for instance, is not mentioned in this Agreement. In times gone by, the housewife was able to pay for her housekeeping from the poultry kept on the small farms in my constituency. That meant money going to the shopkeeper and it meant employment for other people, because, as Deputy O'Hara said, you had a fleet of lorries travelling to the city on various mornings of the week. That business has gone; yet Fianna Fáil will tell us about the great prosperity that is about to come our way as a result of this Agreement. In 1948 we exported 20,000 tons of butter to England but in 1967 23,000 tons will have to be sent. Year in year out, we have been stressing the necessity for manuring land, the necessity for improving our herds, and the other factors which contribute to increased milk production, and it is surprising to think that we will be sending only 3,000 tons of butter more in 1967 than we sent in 1948. That is not something which warrants boasting.

We must also remember that the British can either increase or reduce that if they wish. At the same time 1/9½d. is given by the producer to England to supply a lb of butter to [1867] the English housewife. In view of what the farmers have gone through, it is a sad case that in 1967 we have to subsidise butter to this tune in order to get rid of it. It would be a difficult thing to explain to people producing milk and having large supplies of butter in the creameries why we have to give 1/9½d. to England to have a lb of our butter sold in England. Our own hardworking people have to pay 4/9d. a lb. When we have to do that, there is nothing to boast about.

As far as the ordinary person can see, industry is not in for a good time. In the past we have been struggling to have industries set up in the constituency from which I come by sending deputations to Departments or anywhere else that we thought would be of use. Recently we were with the Forestry Division and met officials from that section and other officials, but no encouragement was given to us to set up an industry, despite the fact that we are providing thousands of acres for forestry. Yet when an industry is to be established, it is to be established perhaps 100 miles away from County Sligo or County Leitrim. That is the picture as we see it.

Every day of the week, you will meet young men at the local railway station going to England. We who travel to Dublin discover often that we are in the company of a husband and wife and their children who are going off to England because there is no employment here. By the look of things, there will be even less employment and more homes will be closed. Unless a watchful eye is kept on this problem the position will worsen. We should also bear in mind that the people about whom I am speaking are paying highly for the concessions they are getting. The few small industries in my constituency have been employing girls at a small wage and when they have paid for their clothing and so on, there is not much left.

Sligo is on the main route to the North, but it has got very little in the way of industry. A few small industries were established, and one of them closed up a few years ago. In 1951, [1868] we had 1,217,100 employed, and in 1964, the figure was 1,059,000 a drop of about 158,000 people. What will happen if further industries have to close? Where will our boys and girls go to work except in the English cities? Fianna Fáil boast about our prosperity. Were it not for the money coming home from our boys and girls in England, more homes would be closed. We hear a lot of talk about tourism and the money it is bringing to this country. It is coming in the pockets of boys and girls who would come home if there was never a word about tourism. The big hotels may get the people they are after, but the boys and girls about whom I am talking would come home if there was never a line in the papers about tourism, because they love their homes. We should provide employment for them at home instead of forcing them off. I meet them when they are home and they ask me if there is a chance of a job in this country. I tell them we would be delighted to have them if employment could be provided for them.

I could go on talking for a long time about this Agreement, but I would be only repeating what has been said by other speakers. I could deal with bacon and poultry. One statement rather surprised me. That was the statement that for every industry which closed down, five would spring up in its place. They have been very slow to spring up in the past. As I mentioned, we have been seeking industry for years and the devil a one has sprung up. Saying that five industries will spring up for every one closed is a very rosy prospect, but I doubt it very much.

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

Mr. Clinton: Information on Mark A. Clinton Zoom on Mark A. Clinton It was around this time last evening that I heard Deputy M.J. O'Higgins say that at that stage it was not possible to break new ground in this debate. If that was true yesterday evening, it should be doubly true this evening. Nevertheless, before the debate concludes, it is only right [1869] that most Deputies should express an opinion on this Agreement. It is an extremely important Agreement for the country, and the people should know where their public representatives stand on it.

Many things have been said about this Agreement, and that is only right. Most of us would go so far as to say that a comprehensive review of the trading arrangements between this country and Great Britain was long overdue. But, now that that review has taken place and an Agreement negotiated and signed, I believe there is widespread disappointment, dissatisfaction and even apprehension at its outcome and effects on certain sectors of the economy.

I am puzzled to understand how the Taoiseach could sit down with his opposite number in the British Government and negotiate an Agreement such as this—urgent as that was— without insisting, as a prior condition to the discussions, that the existing British levy, which was imposed in absolute violation and breach of existing trading arrangements, be first removed. That should be insisted on as an earnest of the intention of the British Government to keep whatever new Agreement might be negotiated. However, there appears to be no suggestion that the British Government were asked to remove this levy before negotiations started. That was starting on a very bad foot. It is remarkable that throughout this debate not one Government Deputy has referred to this British levy. Many speakers from those benches stated that from now on our industrial products would have free access to the British market without restriction or imposition of any kind. Of course, that is not true. Unless the British Government decide to remove this levy before July next —and there does not seem to be any indication that is going to happen— our industrial products will still carry that ten per cent.

We have been asked what better we could have done. We have said, and given it as the opinion of this Party, that it should have been possible, as one alternative, to get some sort of a [1870] limited trading arrangement with the EEC. That suggestion was scoffed at by the Taoiseach and various other speakers from the Government benches. It has been scoffed at without producing any evidence whatever that a real effort was made to do this. At least, we produced the evidence that Greece succeeded and Austria now look like succeeding in getting some such agreement. But we have no evidence from the Government benches, except hearsay or an expression of opinion, that that was not possible.

Some of us also felt it should have been possible to get a more limited agreement with the British to give us greater access for our agricultural produce while, at the same time, not throwing the Irish market wide open to British industrial competition. It is remoured that, at one stage, the Taoiseach was on the point of returning home without signing the Agreement. It is a great pity he did not do that. It is a great pity he did not come back here and come into this House and tell the people he could not see his way to sign this Agreement. He could then have the situation debated and he could perhaps point out where the shortcomings were, and perhaps be helped by the Deputies in this House. I believe he would shortly be recalled and offered an Agreement much more advantageous to this country. But he made that decision and that Agreement is signed and we now have to make the best of it.

I do not want to be put on record as saying that I see no advantages in this Agreement. There are certain limited advantages. The only reason I could find even partial pardon for the Taoiseach for signing this Agreement is becasue of his apparent conviction that this country will gain membership of the EEC before 1970. If we do not get into the EEC before 1970, this will then be a very unfacourably balanced Agreement. The entire balance will go over in favour of Britain after that time.

In the short term, I see certain advantages in this Agreement. The disadvantages will not appear immediately. What were we setting out to solve [1871] and what are our difficulties? What are the difficulties confronting us at the moment? I think our greatest concern should be for the large number of people we have unemployed and the large number of people emigrating. There are many other things for which we want to find money as well—housing, schools, health services, and so on. However, I think first of the unemployed and those who have to emigrate.

At the present time, we have nearly 64,000 people unemployed and we have approximately 25,000 people emigrating annually. That figure has perhaps gone up. Anyhow, altogether, we have in the region of 100,000 people in this country at the present time for whom the economy is not able to cater. If we are making an Agreement and trying to ensure that such an Agreement will help to solve our problems, surely that is the first problem that should concern us.

I want to say quite frankly that I see nothing whatever in this Agreement that will either solve the unemployment problem that we have or provide additional employment opportunities for our people. The Taoiseach gave it as his opinion that opportunity now knocks. The Minister for Industry and Commerce also expressed the view here yesterday that he could now expect and see that we would have industrial establishment here at an accelerated pace. How he works that out, beats me. He says we have got a much wider market for our industrial products and that this, in itself, will be an attraction to people who come here and set up industry.

We have guaranteed access. I want to know what the difference is between the access that we had up to the present and what is described as guaranteed access.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange None.

Mr. Clinton: Information on Mark A. Clinton Zoom on Mark A. Clinton The only limitation I am aware of was a limitation that the Government of the time allowed to be written into the 1938 Agreement and that was this limitation in relation to goods containing man-made fibres. [1872] That has been removed and it is estimated that after the lapse of a period of some years, it may be worth £10 million to this country. What is the estimate of the loss that this country will suffer, first of all, in import duties on British goods—what is the estimate of the loss in cash and in employment?

I was on the subject of the establishment of industry and I do not want to leave it. This agreement to open our industrial market to British competition is absolutely and entirely premature. The Taoiseach said yesterday that valuable years had been wasted— those were his words—through this system of protecting industries for too long. That, my view, is an expression of failure. It is an expression of failure that we have not got down to the job of attracting and establishing sufficient industry here to provide employment for the people who have been leaving the land in such numbers.

It was said in the Second Programme for Economic Expansion that we would provide 8,000 new jobs each year in industry for people leaving the land. Since 1951, I estimate that we have provided in industry approximately 3,500 new jobs per annum. That is a statistic that proves failure because I do not see where else the people will be employed if they are not employed in industry. We have at the present time—the last year for which we have statistics, 1964—158,100 fewer people at work than we had in 1951. That is a shocking state of affairs. It is with that situation in mind that any Agreement should be decided upon with any outside power.

I know, from my experience of trying to help people to come in here to establish industry, what a job it was to get through the Industrial Development Authority and An Foras Tionscal. We should have done what they did in the North of Ireland. We should have built the factories and leased them. We put every obstacle in their way and we have failed completely. I know that many of the smaller industries, when confronted with the mammoth, long-established British industries, will be wiped out.

People talked today and yesterday evening about patriotism and the grit [1873] and the guts of our people. Government speakers would not be talking like that, were it not that they are perfectly aware that these people will be called upon to face hardship and to overcome an ordeal. We had other Deputies from the opposite side talking about buying Irish as one great way out of this difficulty. Everybody knows it is written into this Agreement that we can no longer operate this Buy Irish campaign. Only for a limited period will we be able to give the proposers of industry here anything like tax concessions, grants, etc. After that, British industry takes over here in a big way. British industry is so big, so specialised and has such an enormous home market that there is no doubt they will come in here and wipe us out in many cases. There is, perhaps, some little significance in the fact that two Fianna Fáil Deputies have not yet spoken. One is Deputy Booth and the other is Deputy Gallagher. They are both people in business here who probably know the way in which their own industries are likely to be affected by this Agreement.

I had a number of people in with me a couple of days ago, people who live in my constituency and who are working in the car assembly business. I do not want to give the impression that it is the car assembly people only who will suffer—because I can foresee many similar industries going under—but the view the people in the car assembly business expressed to me was that no Government have the right to make a decision that tells them “you will lose your job.” No Government have the right to commit an act of that sort unless they are able to say: “We are putting you out of a job today but we have this to offer you tomorrow.” These people are very upset. They have family responsibilities. The statement has been made and admitted here in this House that those people will lose their employment. But have any Government agency gone into those industries since that announcement was first made and said: “Look, do not worry; we will provide you with alternative employment; we will train you for alternative employment and, if you are not capable of being trained [1874] for alternative employment, we will compensate you”? Those people are entitled to receive that sort of assurance. I do not think an Agreement such as this should have been concluded until we were in a position to tell those people, who will inevitably lose their employment, how they will be treated afterwards.

I should like whatever Government speakers there are still to contribute to indicate to me what will induce additional industry into this country at the present time, what new market have we got and what new facilities have we got? Is it because people might come in here, knowing they were able to wipe out our own small industries because they had a bigger arm somewhere else? I see a much greater danger of industries here, with a British base already, deciding to close down the unit here and supply from Britain. We will reach the point very soon where we will have no attraction to offer in this country for people proposing to establish industry here, except a pool of labour and that, unless there are big changes, will be a pool of unskilled labour, a pool of labour which will not be fitted to take its place in industry as it should. The only advantage in this Agreement from the industrial point of view—and it has many disadvantages—is contained in the portion of it relating to man-made fibres.

We pass then to the other side of this Agreement, which has been described by every Government spokesman as the greatest thing that ever happened and, that is, the agricultural aspect of it. What have we got in agriculture and how does it compare with what we got in 1948? I hold there is very little difference in what we got in 1948 and what has been received under this Agreement in Irish agriculture. The only additional benefit really one can see is that we now participate in the deficiency payments, when they are paid, on store cattle, store lambs and on a limited quantity of carcase beef and lamb. If I may make a correction there—we had store cattle, but the waiting period has been reduced. Now a figure has been put on the value of [1875] that waiting period by the Minister for Agriculture. He says, as a result of the reduction in this waiting period, store cattle will improve by £5 to £6 per head. That is making a very extravagant claim for the reduction in this waiting period. My own feeling is that it will make little or no difference. We have and had, in my opinion, free access to the British market for store cattle, sheep and lambs always. There has never been any restriction in operation. Apparently the power is there under the 1948 Agreement, for the purpose of orderly marketing, that this restriction could have been imposed.

I say the British still can impose anything they like. When the Taoiseach was trying to explain and apologise for the shortcomings of this Agreement he said they were confronted in these negotiations by a highly skilled, highly experienced team of negotiators from the British side. He described their ability in making this type of Agreement and I think he could just as well have referred to their ability at breaking such Agreements. The British people will adhere to this Agreement as long as it suits them, as long as it is expedient for them to do so and they have agreed to guarantee us, as they say, free access for store cattle, sheep and lambs because it suits them to do so, because there is no place in the world at the present time where they can get store cattle of the quality and as disease-free as they can from here. It is simply because the British farmers and feeders want our stores and not that the British Government were giving us anything on a plate.

It has been said that because of this guaranteed access, the whole outlook of Irish farmers regarding cattle production will change. I do not think it makes any difference to the Irish farmer that we will now be able to participate in the deficiency payments on beef. We have been getting these deficiency payments when they had to be paid over the past 18 months or so and it is something much smaller than it sounds. Only in two very short periods in the past 12 months were any deficiency payments in Britain. The expectation is, [1876] with the shortage of cattle on the Continent and elsewhere, that in the coming year there will be probably little or no deficiency payments.

In 1948 the butter quota was 20,000 tons and more, if more was available. We have now secured a quota of 23,000 tons which, in my view means no change because 20,000 tons and more, if available, is at least equal to 23,000 tons now. Somebody seems to be amused at that statement; I see nothing amusing in it; it is a fact. Since 1948 through the failure of the Government to exploit the opportunities and advantages of that Trade Agreement we lost our place as suppliers in the British market because the Government had no interest or confidence in agriculture.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne Sir, some noise is being made by people who are not in the benches—I think they have gone now.

Mr. Clinton: Information on Mark A. Clinton Zoom on Mark A. Clinton We lost our place in the British market as suppliers of butter and we were down to 12,500 or 13,000 tons but, because of the scarcity on the British market, we were offered extra and in the past year we supplied 19,000 tons of butter. Where is the advantage here that we should shout about? It is a question of whether we should not have got some assistance because of the fact that we have to pay at least 1/-a lb. on the butter we export. I admit this is not an easy problem because the British can buy butter at this sort of competitive price from other sources and that is the result of highly subsidised agriculture elsewhere. I think it was the Minister for Agriculture who said there was no support for butter in the British economy or for milk. That is quite wrong; perhaps he may have said that there was no deficiency payment and that is true. There is no direct deficiency payment but the price for liquid milk is much better there than it is here and they have many other built-in supports by way of greater grants for farm buildings, grants for silage, calf subsidies, ploughing up subsidies and so many agricultural subsidies that one can never say that there is no support for milk or [1877] butter in England. The British people are not interested in the British farmers in regard to butter because they make practically no butter and their milk supply goes into cheese and chocolate crumb.

The Minister for Justice today said that in negotiating this Agreement they had got one hundred per cent of what they sought for Irish agriculture. Obviously, we did not seek enough. Negotiations of this kind are hard bargaining and we made a bad bargain. He said they got all they looked for. Were they afraid that if they got a greater quota of butter the subsidy would be more than they could pay? Had they the same consideration in mind when negotiating the bacon quota? In 1948 we got a bacon quota of 27,000 tons and more if available; we have now got 28,000 tons and that represents all we looked for. I know that in the present state of pig production here we will find it difficult to supply these quantities and again that is a reflection of the Government's interest in agricultural production over the years. It is undeniable that in the west of Ireland, we are producing half as many pigs as in 1929. That is the progress that has been made.

The question of broilers was raised and the Minister for Agriculture, to my amazement, said there was no limitation on the development opportunities we now had for broilers and also for turkeys, while, of course, it is written into the Agreement that this cannot happen. Immediately any significant development takes place in the broiler industry, we must consult with the British and give them free access for their broilers. In my view the broiler and poultry industry is killed forever and any possibility of any significant development in this sector of agriculture is gone. Let us not try to cod the people. The British have safeguarded themselves in this matter. They have ensured that no development regarding broilers such as that envisaged some time ago in the Bandon area of County Cork will ever take place here. It is well known that about four broiler-producing units in England will produce [1878] about 60 per cent of British needs in broilers and we can easily see what is awaiting us if we develop our broiler industry.

Another matter that the Minister for Agriculture proudly boasted about was the opportunity we had for the development of the fishing industry. That is another of these chancy, semi-dishonest statements. Everybody knows that we were not short of a market for fish. I know, and most Deputies know, that no less than 22 countries were looking for Irish fish but we failed to produce it. We failed to develop a fishing industry that would supply these markets.

The Second Programme for Economic Expansion estimated that landings of fish would be doubled in the decade from 1960 to 1970. The records for the first four years of that period show that landings declined. It is a dishonest claim to make for this Agreement that we have got the new market that we required before we could develop our fishing industry.

Personally, I am sorry the Taoiseach, when he had more or less decided to come home without signing an agreement, did not do so. Today we have a situation where there are 100,000 people not catered for. The front page of today's paper has a banner headline “2,000 to get sack”. At the bottom of the page, there is a report headed “Inquiry into Shoe Factory Dismissals”.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling Zoom on Joseph Dowling What paper is that?

Mr. Clinton: Information on Mark A. Clinton Zoom on Mark A. Clinton The Irish Independent. I am sure it is in the Irish Press as well. The report says:

A Board of Inquiry is sitting at the Edenderry Shoe Co. premises today to discuss the decision of the factory management to dismiss 59 workers. The factory, which specialises in women's fashion shoes, exports most of the products.

The workers, 43 women and 16 men, are under dismissal notices since before Christmas. The decision to dismiss them is linked with the Free Trade Agreement and a recent [1879] statement of a reduction in the factory output.

That is just another example of the type of business that will suffer when we open our market here to British industry.

Since 19th December, there has been an increase of 7,000 in the number unemployed and it is obvious that that is not unconnected with the signing of this Agreement. Every page of today's paper contains reports of strikes, lock-outs, disputes and loss of employment. This helps to indicate the present state of the economy. It indicates the failure of the Government over the years to set up some sort of decent labour relations. If this continues we will have chaos. It is the responsibility of everyone who speaks in public to refer to this matter.

Various wage agreements were negotiated and it is obvious that these wage agreements and the things that followed them have been so hopeless in their effects that there is industrial chaos at the present time. There is nothing in this Agreement that I can see that will relieve that situation. My colleague in County Dublin, Deputy Burke, said yesterday that he cannot see anything in this Agreement that will do harm to the people in his constituency. I hope he is right. Already, people who are affected and who are likely to be affected in the near future are coming, knocking at my door, and asking what will be done about it.

Deputy P.J. Lenihan said today that we were free to send our cattle, our livestock, our industrial products, to any part of the world. He did not seem to know that we were first obliged to supply to the British market a minimum of 638,000 store cattle and 25,000 tons of carcase beef and that it was only if we had quantities surplus to those amounts that we could explore other markets. If the statistics are right, we will have surpluses of cattle and beef over these amounts and can continue to develop markets other than the British market. It is more and more important that we should try as far as possible to reduce our dependence on this single market. [1880] We have tied our economy to the British economy at the present time. Undoubtedly, Britain is our biggest and best market and we should do everything we can to improve our position in the British market but we should not lose sight of any opportunity to expand in other markets.

The Taoiseach said that he saw this Agreement as the only way in which we might eventually gain entry to the EEC. That represents an extraordinary change since the time we were told in this House that if Britain did not get into the EEC, we would go it alone. The Taoiseach has changed his mind since then and now says that there is no possibility of our ever getting into the EEC unless through our association with Great Britain. He hinted that perhaps we would now proceed to try to get into EFTA but I think we are going to do that only if and when the talks which have been initiated by the British Premier between the countries look like succeeding and look like bringing about an association between those two blocs. He said it then might become a matter of urgency for us to gain entry into EFTA.

It is not quite clear to me as to whether, if and when we get into EFTA, this Agreement that has now been made with Britain completely falls and whether all our obligations and Britain's obligations disappear because of our gaining entry to EFTA, but the impression I get is that it does. I sincerely hope that the Taoiseach's forecast that we will gain entry to the EEC by 1970 proves to be correct. If that gamble comes off, and I describe it as a gamble, it will deliver us from the worst effects of this Agreement. It may be that the Taoiseach does not himself look upon it as a gamble and that he would describe it as a calculated risk worth taking.

In the short term, this Agreement has certain advantages for this country. In the long term, we will lose out heavily on it. These are the assessments. They are not my assessments. They are the assessments of people better qualified to assess the situation. The assessment of the situation is that [1881] this deal with Great Britain will be worth to Britain anything in the region of £60 million to £100 million at the end of ten years and that this country will not gain a fraction of that amount but it does appear to give us an opportunity to develop with a greater degree of confidence the agricultural sector of our economy. I only hope that the new quotas, which are little, if any, better than those we secured under the 1948 Agreement, will not be lost again through neglect of the industry and through failure on the part of the Government to take sufficient interest in the industry to get the required production.

On the question of participation in the deficiency payments, it is not clear, apparently, to everybody what will happen to these deficiency payments if, and when, we get them. The British Government will have their say in how this money will be spent. No Government speaker so far has given us his impression as to how the money resulting from participation in the deficiency payments will in fact be spent. Will it be given back to the dairy farmers in an increased price in their milk? In what way is it intended to support and stimulate production? We are not on level terms with the British agricultural producer. It is one of the great pities from the point of view of this Agreement that more was not done to put us on a level with the British producer. Their farmers are supported by a large industrial empire and, with that well-established industrial empire behind them, they will be allowed to come in here and compete against our weak and unprepared industries. I believe the Irish economy will suffer. As I said, I hope we will be delivered from the worst rigours of this Agreement by succeeding in getting into the EEC before we realise how unbalanced this Agreement really is and before our people are asked to suffer the worst rigours of it.

Mr. Lyons: Information on Michael D. Lyons Zoom on Michael D. Lyons This debate has been long and protracted but it has certainly been well worthwhile. This Agreement is very important and will be for many [1882] years to come. It has been said that it is the most important measure since the Treaty. I agree. The Agreement has been assessed by various speakers, for and against. Is it as good as could have been got or is it as good as the Fianna Fáil Party try to make out? With the other speakers on this side of the House, I believe it is not as good as it could be and not as good as it should be. However, nothing can be done about that at the moment. It is signed, sealed and delivered. All we can do now is talk about the lost chances, if chances were lost. We believe they were.

There is nothing in this Agreement that will help any small farmer, whether west of the Shannon, or anywhere else, to stay a day longer on his holding or to produce more—nothing whatever. Some of the ghosts that haunt the rafters of this Chamber must be smiling, some of them sardonically, when they remember the things that were said on the Fianna Fáil benches in the past about the British market. Many of the people down the country must be smiling ruefully, the people who went through the rigours of past years and who saw the chances that are now being availed of lost and chances missed of building for ourselves a place in the British market, a place that was allowed to go to other people in Europe and elsewhere.

There is no satisfaction in saying these things, but it is only right that, in a debate of this kind, the truth should be told. Thirty years late it is seen that the British market is our best market, and will be for some years our only market. It is no great satisfaction now to remember the wasted years. What was the rush recently? Why the degree of haste in negotiating this Agreement at this moment? I agree with other speakers that the untold millions we are supposed to gain under this Agreement in this or any other year are mythical millions. Even though there may be a rise in stock prices in the immediate future, the Minister for Agriculture must realise that the only reason for that rise will be the scarcity of good cattle in the country. Good cattle are scarce and will remain scarce for some time.

[1883] It must be borne in mind that the heifer scheme, designed to increase the cattle population, has resulted in a number of stock being of a far lower standard than we were breeding heretofore. Everybody knows that every kind of heifer was used for breeding. Indeed, some of the bulls used were open to question too. The result will be a smaller number of good cattle coming on the market in the spring and early summer. That will mean that our balance of payments will continue to be unsatisfactory for a much longer period than even the Government anticipated. In regard to the credit squeeze, and all the other squeezes resulting from it, the sooner the balance of payments situation rights itself the better it will be for the nation. I fear the improvement will be slow because I fear that some of the other mistakes made by the Government in the past will cause a little more travail and a little more confusion.

The other day a man, who seemed to know what he was talking about, told me that one of the reasons for the speed with which the Government entered into these negotiations was that they found themselves in a cleft stick as a result of their policy of supporting industries here, with the help of the taxpayers' money, which were not proving economic, that they found themselves in the position in which they had not money to pay any more of these people anxious to establish industries. But, even if they had the money, the industries would not prove worthwhile.

That is the picture I have been given and it seems reasonable enough. Today the longest train that ever came from Westport came up the line crowded with emigrants from the west going across to Britain where they had to make their own trade agreement long before the Taoiseach or anybody else ever thought about it. To survive they had to make an agreement, whether they liked it or not. This country had to make this Trade Agreement signed by Fianna Fáil in order to survive and, I suppose, there was no alternative.

I can only hope that the Agreements [1884] can give results that will be to the betterment of every farmer, small or large. I also hope that the fears in the minds of other Deputies here that there will be widespread unemployment in industry are groundless. If at the end of a year the Dáil discusses this again, we shall be able to assess whether the negotiators made a good bargain or whether they were capable of undoing the damage that was caused by their mistakes in the past.

Mr. Kitt: Information on Michael F. Kitt Zoom on Michael F. Kitt I do not intend to delay the House too long. The previous speaker says this debate has gone on longer than that on the Treaty and that it was as significant and as important as that debate. The Treaty debate lasted only two days and this has now gone into its fourth day. Therefore, I shall make just a short contribution to the debate.

I do not know why this discussion has lasted four days because from my excursions through my own constituency and from listening to the opinion of the man-in-the-street on this Agreement, I would say they all seem to be satisfied that it is a good Agreement, both for agriculture and for industry. Some speakers have said that the Common Market would be a still better arrangement, but the ten-year transitional period of this Agreement will possibly help us to get into the Common Market quicker than might otherwise be the case.

Any Deputy who goes down to the Dáil Library and reads the editorials in the provincial papers—I have read some of them—will see that there has been full agreement among these provincial papers that this is a good Agreement as far as we are concerned. Opposition speakers have said there is nothing in this for agriculture. Why are the Northern Ireland farmers, the Scottish farmers and the British farmers so perturbed, as is evident from the pronouncements they have made, if there is not something good in this for us?

Apart from the agricultural, industrial and economic advantages which this Agreement is to bring to the Irish nation, the most important and significant advantage—and I say that [1885] future generations will thank the Taoiseach and the Ministers who made this Agreement for us—is in the political field. This was not a secret Agreement such as was signed in 1925 when the Six Counties was sold away. It was an agreement made in the full light of day. I believe this agreement will hasten the day—and I think all right-thinking people will agree with me—of the reunification of our country. If there is free movement of peope and goods across the two divided parts of our nation, the Border can be only an imaginary line. We have made great strides to reunify our country. It was not the fault of my Party that it was divided.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte The Deputy's Party established it.

Mr. Kitt: Information on Michael F. Kitt Zoom on Michael F. Kitt I am speaking to the Ceann Comhairle. We are celebrating this year the fiftieth anniversary of the Rising of 1916. I believe it is a good thing that this debate has gone on till the eleventh hour and we shall stay here and debate it with the Opposition Deputies for as long as they like. I believe future generations will thank the Taoiseach and his Ministers for having signed this Agreement. It is something that will help us to achieve a reunited nation with the Tricolour flying over the whole Thirty-two Counties.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan “Wrap the Green Flag round me”.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay That has nothing to do with the Agreement.

Mr. Kitt: Information on Michael F. Kitt Zoom on Michael F. Kitt It has a great deal to do with the Agreement. Agriculture, industry and economics are in this but there is also the political idea in it. Everybody knows that if there is free movement of people and goods all over the country, it is a stepping-stone——

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte That is the word the Deputy wanted to use. Forty-five years too late they are using the stepping-stone.

[1886]Mr. Kitt: Information on Michael F. Kitt Zoom on Michael F. Kitt A stepping-stone that will——

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte That is the word they should have used 45 years ago.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Kitt: Information on Michael F. Kitt Zoom on Michael F. Kitt I am glad I have got the Opposition Deputies going. This is the stepping-stone we have to put back to undo the wrong that the Deputy's colleagues did in 1925——

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay That is untrue.

Mr. Kitt: Information on Michael F. Kitt Zoom on Michael F. Kitt ——when they signed a secret agreement behind the backs of the Irish nation.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Wrap the Union Jack round yourself.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan I shall have to use the powers vested in me if Deputies will not conduct themselves.

Mr. Kitt: Information on Michael F. Kitt Zoom on Michael F. Kitt This stepping-stone has been put back now by the Taoiseach and by our Ministers. I hope we shall all settle down now in this New Year, the fiftieth anniversary of the Rising, and work in peace and harmony so that we can achieve the reunification of our country.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay Sláinte agus saol agat.

Mr. Donnellan: Information on John F. Donnellan Zoom on John F. Donnellan I intend to be very brief, but I wish to make reference to a few of the remarks made by the last speaker. He said this Agreement will be of political significance to them. That is the general idea of it, that it will be of political significance to Fianna Fáil, that it will keep them in power for a few more years. At the beginning, the Taoiseach set the headline and the 70 odd Deputies behind him——

Mr. Carty: Information on Michael Carty Zoom on Michael Carty Seventy?

Mr. Donnellan: Information on John F. Donnellan Zoom on John F. Donnellan I said 70 odd. They echoed him in parrot-like fashion.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy Zoom on Robert Molloy What about Garret's parrots on that side?

[1887]Mr. Donnellan: Information on John F. Donnellan Zoom on John F. Donnellan They said the Agreement would benefit both the agricultural and industrial spheres. Those fellows who sit over there, or who should sit over there, spend half the time asleep and the others who do not sit over there fall asleep outside the door. Deputies represent both the agricultural and the industrial fronts here and I, therefore, do not see why the 72 Deputies over there should fall into step behind their Taoiseach on this Agreement.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Where is the Minister for External Affairs? He is not in step.

Mr. Kitt: Information on Michael F. Kitt Zoom on Michael F. Kitt Deputy Donnellan should be allowed to speak without interruption.

Mr. Donnellan: Information on John F. Donnellan Zoom on John F. Donnellan Deputy Molloy is inclined to interrupt me. I did not hear him make a contribution so far. There have been five speakers from this side of the House and only Deputy Kitt from the Government side. Have they run out of wind?

Mr. Carty: Information on Michael Carty Zoom on Michael Carty Thank God, the Deputy has enough for all of us.

Mr. Donnellan: Information on John F. Donnellan Zoom on John F. Donnellan I have. I do not think the Deputy will ever have as much. When the Agreement was signed in London last month, we were led to believe it would help agriculture and that it would do no harm to industry. The first announcement we had of the fact that the Agreement had been signed was when Mr. Lemass was interviewed——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan Would the Deputy please use the proper references?

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins He wants you to say “Taoiseach” instead of “Mr. Lemass”.

Mr. Donnellan: Information on John F. Donnellan Zoom on John F. Donnellan It is only a technical error.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan The Deputy had better not answer back to instructions from the Chair.

Mr. Cunningham: Information on Liam Cunningham Zoom on Liam Cunningham And that includes the front bench.

[1888]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan I wish the front bench would conduct itself. There has been a constant stream of interruptions.

Mr. Donnellan: Information on John F. Donnellan Zoom on John F. Donnellan The first we heard of it was when the Taoiseach was interviewed by a Telefís Éireann reporter in London. The Taoiseach was explaining the Agreement and all of a sudden the camera was taken off his face and put on the smiling countenance of the man who was interviewing him as if he were representing the Irishman in London and showing how happy we were because this Agreement would make us all rich. However, this has been debated at length. I should like to point out that between the signing of the Agreement and the beginning of the debate here we were given very little time to read the document and find out what it was all about. I am sure Deputies on the Government benches must admit the Agreement does not mean plain sailing. I do not say it is a bad Agreement in all aspects. There is a certain number of good points, just as everybody has his virtues, even those on the opposite side of the House.

Fianna Fáil Deputies have been telling us the Agreement will benefit both agriculture and industry. I am sure that Mr. Wilson, Mr. Peart, Mr. Jay and the other British negotiators have not changed very much from the Englishmen we knew, as our oppressors in the past and whom Fianna Fáil Deputies now claim to have oppressed in turn. We have been led to believe that those who negotiated on behalf of the Irish Government got the better of their English counterparts. If they did, and I know they did not, it was the first time in their lives they did. The only reason they got what they did was that the British wanted our store cattle.

The Minister for Justice today said that the negotiations were so successful because the Irish deputation were so good looking and smiled so much. He said that was very strongly in favour of the Irish people and Government. I say that by signing this Agreement the Fianna Fáil Government [1889] and Party have gone completely against their past principles. Their idea in the past was to foster small industries. If one factory closed down, their policy was to open five. In my constituency and throughout Connacht there are many more factories closing down than opening. When Deputy Kitt spoke it is a wonder he did not refer to the Tuam beet factory and to the letter published in the local newspaper recently telling the farmers in the Tuam area how to grow beet. As I have said, it has been the policy of Fianna Fáil to foster small industries and they have had limited success. By signing this Agreement they have sounded the death knell of most of these industries. There will be wholesale dumping which will wipe out the chances of all our small industries and Deputies on the other side know that very well.

Mr. Cunningham: Information on Liam Cunningham Zoom on Liam Cunningham Why does the Deputy not vote against it?

Mr. Donnellan: Information on John F. Donnellan Zoom on John F. Donnellan You never know what I might do. Though the Taoiseach, according to himself, has been negotiating for a Free Trade Area with Britain since 1963, since then there have been five by-elections and one general election——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan I do not see what that has got to do with the motion before the House.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte If Fianna Fáil had not been returned, we would not have this Agreement.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan It has not the slightest thing to do with the motion.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Surely it is relevant for a Deputy to make the case that if the Government had been negotiating for two years and had faced five by-elections and one general election in the meantime, it would have been reasonable to tell the people about it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan The Deputy possibly misunderstands the line Deputy Donnellan was taking.

[1890]Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Possibly the Chair does not understand it.

Mr. Donnellan: Information on John F. Donnellan Zoom on John F. Donnellan During the last general election and the five by-elections, the Government did not at any time indicate that they were negotiating a free trade agreement with Britain. Therefore, they have not only deceived the people but their own supporters. All their lives they have been told lies by Fianna Fáil. Fianna Fáil policy, if there was such a thing in the last general election, did not mention anything about a Free Trade Area. They painted a rosy picture in preparation for those elections, of the industrial and agricultural growth under Fianna Fáil administration. I wonder when the next election comes, whenever it may be, what will be the picture proof of their progress, and I mean picture proof. I would also suggest another idea to them: instead of using the Tricolour as a background on their literature, they should use the Union Jack.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte It would mean the same thing to the Fianna Fáil Deputies.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte He beat you before and he will do it again. He gave you a shaking in December, 1964.

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

Mr. Donnellan: Information on John F. Donnellan Zoom on John F. Donnellan The negotiations with regard to this Trade Agreement, over the past few years, were shrouded in secrecy. The first we heard about the Trade Agreement was last July or August when we were in recess, when they would not have to face the wrath, I presume, of the Labour Party, and certainly the Fine Gael Party. My personal opinion is that all sections of the community should have been notified or should have got some indication that this was happening. The trade unions, the NFA, all business organisations and all Parties in this House could have helped and I am sure, with the co-operation of all, we would have had drawn up an Agreement which would have been much more beneficial to all sections of the community rather than this makeshift one.

[1891]Deputies: Hear, hear.

Mr. Donnellan: Information on John F. Donnellan Zoom on John F. Donnellan The Government are elected representatives of the people. They have been elected to govern the country, not to sell it, and quite a bit of what many Irishmen fought hard to achieve has been signed away by this Trade Agreement. As far as agriculture is concerned we are led to believe that the fact that the retention period for Irish cattle has been reduced from three months to two months will be highly beneficial to the Irish farmers.

Mr. Cunningham: Information on Liam Cunningham Zoom on Liam Cunningham So it is.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Maybe it is. Tell us how.

Mr. Donnellan: Information on John F. Donnellan Zoom on John F. Donnellan In 1948 when the other Trade Agreement was signed, the retention period was also two months and it was not changed to three months until 1955.

Deputies: Who was in power?

Mr. Cunningham: Information on Liam Cunningham Zoom on Liam Cunningham There was no food subsidy at the time.

Mr. Donnellan: Information on John F. Donnellan Zoom on John F. Donnellan There is no difference in the Trade Agreement as far as cattle are concerned. The important thing, which was started in the 1948 Cattle Trade Agreement, was the price link between the British farmers and the Irish farmers. There is not much point in our selling one million store cattle in England in the coming year if the price is down. We all know that the price of cattle has dropped by approximately £10 per head in one year. Any Deputies who are farmers, or any Deputies who know anything about farming will only have to go out to a fair, or the new cattle marts, to find that out. I speak for the farmers of the west of Ireland. When the farmer had to pay his rates, he sold a beast or two to do so. He will find he has to sell more this year to pay the same amount of rates or, may I say, slightly increased rates.

We hope that this lamb carcase allocation to us will improve the sheep trade. May I say this? We got the same price ten years ago, and 12 years [1892] ago, for our sheep as we are getting today—exactly the same price. I do not want to keep this going on all night. As a matter of fact, I do not think I could because I have not got the——

Mr. Cunningham: Information on Liam Cunningham Zoom on Liam Cunningham The Deputy has not got the message.

Mr. Donnellan: Information on John F. Donnellan Zoom on John F. Donnellan In conclusion, I think this Trade Agreement is of more political significance to the Deputies over there than it is in hard cash to the business people, the farmers, the labourers and the workers of this country. There is another thing about this. This Agreement was made at the most opportune time in the world. It will help them to forget the credit squeeze.

Deputies: That is good.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy Zoom on Robert Molloy I am afraid my standing up here is not actually an answer to the challenge of the previous speaker, Deputy Donnellan. I am disobeying the orders of the Whips of my Party.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Do not admit that.

Mr. Donnellan: Information on John F. Donnellan Zoom on John F. Donnellan They will expel the Deputy if he does.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy Zoom on Robert Molloy I shall not delay the House very long with my contribution. There were so many speakers on the Fianna Fáil side of the House waiting for hours to get in that, as Deputy Kitt has said, we could keep the debate here all night and all night tomorrow night, if necessary.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte That is what the Deputy is paid for.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy Zoom on Robert Molloy Several references have been made here, with regard to this Trade Agreement, to the statement by the leader on this side of the House, at one time: “Burn everything British except their coal.” An awful lot was made of this by the Opposition speakers. During the Thirties, we had a very sensible leader who set up a protection barrier to help the little industry we had in this country. He did this to give us a mantle under which we could [1893] build up our existing industries and start new industries and we now have a large number of good industries in this country. It would be a great mistake to continue working behind those barriers and not to let our industries stand on their own feet. Economists for two hundred or three hundred years have been arguing this question of protection as against free trade. We have very little choice in this country today because free trade is accepted by all our traditional markets. They are all moving towards free trade. We had to do something about it to make sure that we do not lose our traditional markets. We hope our industries will continue to expand in the years that lie ahead. There is no use going back to 1922. Indeed Deputy Dockrell went back as far as 1880.

A Deputy: Deputy Noel Lemass went back to the sixteenth century.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy Zoom on Robert Molloy This Government are legislating for the future. I stand here as an elected Deputy and I have every confidence in the Taoiseach and the Ministers who signed this Agreement. I come from the west of Ireland, from the same county as Deputy Donnellan. I am behind this Agreement and I feel the future of the country lies in it.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay Will the Deputy tell that to the factory workers in Galway?

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy Zoom on Robert Molloy I live in my constituency.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay I hope all the factory workers, who are living in the Deputy's constituency, will continue to live there.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy Zoom on Robert Molloy There is one aspect of the agricultural side of this Agreement to which I should like to refer. Some Deputies mentioned there was no benefit in this reduction of the waiting period by one month. If you take one store bullock—and I would ask the farmers on the other side of the House——

Mr. Donnellan: Information on John F. Donnellan Zoom on John F. Donnellan You would not recognise one.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy Zoom on Robert Molloy I stood in the fair-green in Galway selling bullocks when [1894] you were a young lad trotting down to the little national school. A store bullock will put on, on average, a half cwt in one month.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Where were you grazing him?

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy Zoom on Robert Molloy This reduction to two months gives the farmer a chance to leave his bullocks for another month's feeding.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy Zoom on Robert Molloy In this extra month's feeding these bullocks will gain a half cwt, on average, per animal, and bring in an extra £3 10s. or £4 per animal, which I reckon would bring in £2½ million straight away. I am sure the farmers on the other side of the House will not object if I read an entract from a statement made by the President of the National Farmers Union in England. He said:

...that the Union deplores the provision which put Irish farmers on a par with British if market sharing agreements were concluded. The Union has always opposed the idea that overseas suppliers should be given a predetermined share of the British market over a long period.

He also stated that British farmers were not at all happy about the extension of the British deficiency payments to Irish carcase beef and he described the new arrangement “as a dangerous precedent”.

(Interruptions.)

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin If Deputy Donnellan wishes to remain in the House, he must cease interrupting.

Mr. Coogan: Information on Fintan Coogan Zoom on Fintan Coogan It is very hard to listen to that.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin If Deputies cannot listen they have a remedy.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy Zoom on Robert Molloy Surely this is proof that this Agreement must have some advantage for agriculture if the British farmers do not like it.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte What is the advantage?

[1895]Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy Zoom on Robert Molloy Reference was made to the fact that a hosiery factory in Cork will close down because this Agreement was signed. The Deputy did not give the name of the factory. He mentioned it without referring to anything specific. He talked vaguely about the factory closing down and causing unemployment. The hosiery business is one industry that will benefit 200 per cent from this Agreement. This country has always depended on agriculture and the woollen industry, and anyone who has read economic history knows that the woollen industry has been a major industry in Ireland for the past hundreds of years.

We now have an Agreement, signed by Irishmen, elected by the Irish people—a hell of a difference from the treatment which Irish industry got when this country was governed by Westminster.

Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins Zoom on Seán Collins Is the Deputy mixing up man-made fibres with woollens?

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy Zoom on Robert Molloy If the Deputy has any knowledge of the textile industry, he should know.

Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins Zoom on Seán Collins A damn sight more than you.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy Zoom on Robert Molloy The woollen industry of years ago is the man-made fibre industry of today.

(Interruptions.)

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

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy Zoom on Robert Molloy Our textile goods went into England despite the duty on our goods going into that country. We now have free access to the British market.

(Interruptions.)

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin Deputy Harte should cease interrupting.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy Zoom on Robert Molloy I said I would be brief and I will be brief. I should like to add my voice to the voices of Deputies on all sides of the House who appealed for industrial peace.

Mr. Coogan: Information on Fintan Coogan Zoom on Fintan Coogan For the benefit of all Deputies in the House, I should [1896] like to remind them that the young Deputy who has just spoken comes from the same constituency as I do, the city of Galway. He talked about bullocks. I do not know where he sees bullocks except at a fair on a fair day. He talked about a hosiery business in Cork, but he avoided what is most important so far as his constituency is concerned—the three factories that have been closed down in our town, and I will name them: Potez, Lydon's woollen mills and the Galway Foundry. I am surprised the Deputy did not touch on the Lydon woollen mills since he is in that business.

Fifty years ago a group of young men went out on the streets of this city to fight for an Irish Republic, to fight for freedom, and to fight for fair play for our citizens. Within a few years we had a Treaty. God bless those who gave us the freedom we have to stand up here tonight, the Collins's and those whom we can hold in great reverence.

During the past few weeks the Taoiseach and his Party accompanied by mass television went over to Britain. We had it for breakfast, dinner and tea; the Taoiseach going up the gangway of the plane, coming down on the other side, going into Downing Street and coming out smiling. The people were saying he went on a mystery tour. They are as wise now as they were when he went. They say it was a joyride. He came back with 95 pages of “yes” and “no”. There is a lot of legal jargon which states “whereas”, “we may”, and “we may not”. Not all Deputies may be able to explain all this to the people down the country. I do not blame Fianna Fáil Deputies for having sat down and not had a good word to say. I congratulate Deputy Molloy on having had the courage to stand up, but at the same time he surprised me because he did not refer to the things that are nearest to the bone of his constituency.

In this Agreement we get little or nothing. If we do get a little, we will not oppose the little. Let me remind the House that trotting out the word “treaty”, since this is only an Agreement, [1897] is just trying to confuse the people. They should not think that the people will swallow that. So far as I can see, the delegation that went not only missed the bus but came back as they went, hat in hand. We are entitled to assess the merits and demerits of this Agreement. I see that we are to export thousands of lbs of butter and pay John Bull £50 a ton to eat it, while on our television we are urged to “eat more margarine”. Would it not be more sensible to give a lot of that butter to the old people instead of filling John Bull, the man you hated for so long? Of course Fianna Fáil would not tell the people they would do that. If we had an increase of £10 a head in the price of cattle tomorrow, Fianna Fáil would be claiming that they got it but surely we would only be back to the price we got in the last Agreement.

This is only a continuation of Agreements already entered into. It is the same as we got in 1948 and nothing more. I discussed this Agreement with some businessmen and some industrialists in my town—not that we have a lot of them—and they expressed grave concern over the fact that the big English cartels will be flooding the market here with goods merely for the purpose of pushing out any little industry we have. Once that is the position, we will be John Bull's best customer, John Bull's other island, and we will be officially described as the “British Isles”. Already we have cross-Channel supermarkets coming in and as a result small shopkeepers are going out. Now we have the Scottish banks taking over the country. Where is it going to end? It is being said in the country that Fianna Fáil have sold us out, hook, line and sinker. If Fianna Fáil were over here, they would be saying that, if we were in the same position. We have seen the hasps being put on the doors of many houses in my constituency where men and their families have gone to Birmingham or Coventry. Are we going to see the same in relation to the few industries that are left?

In the next few months we are to have the 1916 Commemoration celebrations throughout the country and we [1898] are entitled to ask ourselves whether the sacrifices made by these young men at that time were in vain. I am afraid the Party opposite will hang their heads in shame and they should do so because the people are realising that the purpose of this is to try to build up a tottering Party. Throughout this debate, we have had not one mention of Partition and I challenge any Fianna Fáil Deputy to contradict that. Has it become a dirty word among you or are you afraid to mention it? Then you have the cheek to talk about the Treaty. As far as Fianna Fáil are concerned, not only have they betrayed the living but they have also betrayed the dead, but that is all that could be expected from them.

Mr. Gilhawley: Information on Eugene Gilhawley Zoom on Eugene Gilhawley It has never been my form since I came into this House to deal with any question except in an objective way so far as my constituency is concerned. I might be pardoned if I depart from that practice tonight. Deputy Molloy referred to the alteration in the waiting period for store cattle. It is unfortunate that he is a western Deputy because we in the west are, in effect, losing £7 per each beast we export, due to inefficient handling and transport delays. We made a great effort to get a cattle boat from Sligo port to Glasgow and to Birkenhead and the people concerned put down some thousands of pounds but the Government would not give a grant. Due to delays and the time lost through sending cattle through Dublin port, it has been estimated that we lost £7 per beast. As I say, we have made every effort to get facilities and a grant. We were told to form an association and an association was formed which collected sufficient money but then the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries said they could not give a grant.

A colleague and friend of mine on the opposite side referred to an Agreement in 1925 and I felt prompted to ask where were the opposite side in 1925, or what effort were they making then to get this country on to a solid basis? We were trying to build a country from the ashes created by the side who are now Government. The [1899] Taoiseach said that we would want to face realities but it is a pity that realities were not faced in 1922. If they had been faced then, we would be in a better position today. The people who went to Britain recently to negotiate this Agreement got the opportunity to do so because of Fine Gael and because Fine Gael alone were responsible for putting them into that position. Apart from the fact that we built up the country from the ruins created by the opposite Party, the next biggest thing the Fine Gael Party did was to make Fianna Fáil a responsible Opposition and later the Government, that is, from the democratic point of view, and the establishment of democracy in this country.

The average farmer in my constituency has from 20 to 30 acres. Every farmer there is wondering what this Agreement will mean for him. The benefits to be derived from it— an Agreement heralded with a fanfare of trumpets—are now being assessed in a logical and mature way. The benefits that first appeared on the surface are now not so evident at all. It would now appear that the Agreement falls short of the essential requirements of the west and north-west in both the agricultural and industrial fields.

As far as we are concerned, the export of store cattle has always been, and always will be, the chief source of revenue of our people, especially the small farmers. Indeed, it is responsible for the main economy of the small farmer there. We are very apprehensive about this Agreement. I do not say it is a bad one, but I would not like to say it is a good one. Personally, I believe our negotiators made the best of a bad bargain, but we are still apprehensive about it.

We are told there is a guarantee for an export of 630,000 store cattle, but in 1957, when the inter-Party Government left office, the export of store cattle was in the region of 700,000. There is no benefit there. To be fair, the 1948 Trade Agreement could be terminated on six months' notice. Under this Agreement the six months' [1900] notice has gone. We have a guarantee of numbers, but we have no guarantee of price. I established long ago that we in Sligo have lost about £1 million per year because of disagreement over the provision of drainage and the failure of the Government to recognise our difficulties. I estimate we are going to lose a further £140,000 because they will not give us a grant for a boat for the export of cattle from Sligo.

We in the north-west are apprehensive about the carcase beef trade. We have always exported our store cattle to England on hoof. We do not see any future in the north-west for carcase beef. Processing of carcase beef may provide increased employment, but there will be loss of other employment to offset that. The cattle industry is the only industry that can stand on its own feet without subsidy. It has done so all down the years in the west and north-west. It is an industry which should be carefully nurtured and not interfered with. Store cattle from the west can compete with the produce of any other country in the world on the British market if left alone.

I shall not refer to butter because that has been already dealt with. If we have an increased tonnage of butter for export, it is the Irish taxpayer who will have to pay for it.

I should like to refer briefly to industry, in respect of which the provisions of the Agreement would require detailed study before I could pronounce judgement on them. However, it is clear that the reduction of protection will involve for our industry the loss of the home market to foreign competitors. I see no additional opportunities for industry in the north-west. In fact, in recent years, ever since the Undeveloped Areas Act was enacted, we have lost three of our main industries, with consequent unemployment of about 1,000 workers. Some of those people, especially in Sligo town, married, set up homes and had families. They thought they had secure employment, but they found themselves out of work overnight. There was no chance of retraining them as we are proposing today.

The industries in my constituency [1901] will hardly measure up to the standard required without protection. I hope what I am saying is not true and that they will measure up. A couple of years ago, when the differential in the grant between the undeveloped areas and the rest of the country was removed, I forecast it spelled doom for industry in the west. I am still of that opinion. I am of the opinion now that this Agreement is going to finish any possible development of industry in the west.

I am not a doleful Willy, crying about the west of Ireland, but I can see what is happening and it would be only right for me, as a Deputy, to point it out. I hope our industries will be able to measure up to competition but I fear for them. I think this Agreement will have very serious consequences for us. I have heard and listened too often to prophecies from the present Government. I have heard them project images all over the country, especially in respect of the west of Ireland, but they were all pious platitudes. Nothing came as a result of them. Actually, when they came up to the edge of reality, so far as I know, the images broke down every time and it is no wonder, therefore, that I or any Deputy from the west of Ireland must be at least sceptical about this Trade Agreement. I hope it will be a success. I believe our negotiators did the best they could. I shall not criticise but I think the Agreement has fallen a bit short of what we should like to see in the west of Ireland and, in so saying, I sincerely hope that time will tell that I am wrong. However, I must say I cannot see it doing any good for agriculture in the west of Ireland.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Henry Kenny Zoom on Henry Kenny In the course of his remarks, Deputy Kitt commented on the fact that this debate has gone on for four days, much longer than any previous debate in this House. If the debate had not continued for the past four days the people of the country would know very little about the Agreement because, as far as I know, this Treaty was born in secrecy. The most remarkable thing about it—when the talks were first initiated by our [1902] officials and, lastly, by the Taoiseach, the Minister for Industry and Commerce and the Minister for Agriculture —was the curtain of secrecy that enveloped the whole operation. In the Sunday Times of 12th December, 1965, there is this comment:

The most remarkable thing about the Treaty to date is the secrecy which has surrounded the talks. Few people in Britain are expecting it, and few people in Ireland know what to expect of it. The cordon surrounding officials has produced strange plot theories on both sides, amounting, in the end, to much the same suspicion; that birthright is being wilfully sold.

The pattern emerging from the negotiations is a straight interest-swap: Irish agriculture for British industry. It is, however, somewhat difficult to understand how the Irish farmer, whose products already have free entry into Britain, could benefit from a free trade area. The anomaly stems from the 1938 trade Treaty in which the Irish had their cake and ate it: agricultural products had free entry into Britain, but sections of Irish industry remained protected.

We want to analyse this Treaty and to clarify the situation to see if the birthright of Irish industry and Irish agriculture is being sold or has been sold. We can do absolutely nothing at all about it now because this Treaty has been signed, sealed and delivered by the Fianna Fáil Government. Now, if benefits accrue from this, they will reflect benefit on the Fianna Fáil Government for having implemented this Treaty. But, if benefits do not accrue from it, they will say that the people in Ireland were a party to it. I do not think that anybody is a party to this Treaty, for good or ill, except the Fianna Fáil Government.

Nobody will know, until ten years' hence, whether this sell-out of Irish industry which has been mentioned will or will not happen but in my opinion it is a sell-out of Irish industry on the 10-years' instalment plan and henceforward, every year that passes from 1965 to 1975, we shall lose through industry. Unemployment will mount. [1903] Today, on the front page of the Irish Independent, we read the headline: “2,000 More to get the Sack” and the dismissal of these people will affect 100,000 more. If we start off on the very first day with 2,000 sacked, what will the rate be in ten years' time? Nobody will know that until the ten years have passed but in my opinion we are in for a state of chaos in employment.

If the debate had not lasted for these four days, the people of the country would not know the full position. Each section of the Agreement has been examined. Every clause and section has been gone into and that will all be published in every paper and the people will know what is in the Agreement. I do not think we were wrong to have this debate for as long as four days. Everything has been clarified but nobody knows now what the result will ultimately be. Usually, when Fianna Fáil negotiate treaties, they make a hue and cry, a song and dance about the benefits. As far as can be realised, this Treaty, for agriculture, is just a re-writing of the 1948 Anglo-Irish Trade Agreement. England wanted our store cattle and now they have got a definite number. What will be the result if the price of cattle should rise on the international markets? First of all, we must supply the quota to Britain. If we have not that quota, we must get it and, until it is filled we cannot benefit from possible increased prices in other markets.

Coming, as I do, from Castlebar where there is an old-established industry, the bacon factory, I would point out that this Treaty does not benefit that industry in any way more than it benefited under the 1948 Agreement. The Minister for Agriculture made a great song and dance about the bacon quota which is now fixed at 28,000 tons. The position already was that in 1948 the Government of the United Kingdom undertook to import bacon from Ireland at an annual pre-war rate of 27,000 tons, or more. The Minister for Agriculture takes it upon himself to shout about 1,000 extra tons. [1904] If he had gone to the trouble of looking at the 1948 Agreement he would notice that the Government of the United Kingdom undertook to import bacon from Ireland at the annual pre-war quota of 27,000 tons, or more if it was available. Without this Agreement at all, we could export more than 27,000 tons of bacon to Britain if we had it available. I do not think it will ever be available.

We can ask ourselves, also, whether or how this Treaty will benefit the small landholders in the west of Ireland. I do not think it will benefit them at all. As a matter of fact, on 3rd January of this year, a new introductory unemployment assistance payment was brought in for the smallholders in Mayo, Sligo, Donegal and all the rest of the counties along the western seaboard. Remarkably and significantly enough, the numbers of those people who now draw the dole will not be in the statistics of unemployed. How would they be described? Are they unemployed? Are they only getting this help from the Government so that they will exist? That is an indication that the small farmers of the west will have no employment and that those small industries now in some of the western counties will go by the board.

The Minister for Agriculture stated there would be an increase of from £6 to £10 per head in the price of store cattle. It is easy to increase prices now because the prices of cattle have dropped to such an extent that most farmers who had store cattle were ruined over the last summer. From what period or from what price will this increase be based? Will it be the price of last July, when the prices of cattle were high, or will it be an increase of £10 on the present reduced price? It is very ambiguous and if the people who rear store cattle do not get an increased price on last July's figure, then they will go to the wall, too. Remember, money is not available now. Those unfortunate people who have bought grazing land have gone to the bank for the money to purchase cattle and they will go to the wall, too, if something positive is not done.

The benefits in this treaty have been [1905] exaggerated by the Fianna Fáil speakers. There can be no doubt about that. Our industrial products will have free access to the 60 million people in the British market but their products will come in here to swamp our three million. Nobody can suggest that the Irish industrialist will be able to cope with an industrial giant like England. What is the picture? What will happen industry here? One or two old established industries will survive and the rest will go to the wall. The picture we now have of unemployment here will be much greater in the succeeding years. Let me say, before I conclude, that this Agreement shows that the Government have forsaken every principle they had. We have mentioned this before. When they came before the people in the Thirties, they mentioned the usual slogan, that they could do without the English market. Now they have completely reversed their principles and say that this is the best Agreement ever signed by an Irish Government.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne By a Republican Party.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Henry Kenny Zoom on Henry Kenny That is a forsaking of all their ideals. They have completely let down their supporters. They have completely let down their former leader who now has a position superior to none in this country of ours. Nobody will know how this Agreement will go but we can have our opinions and, from the opinions expressed here today and over the past three days by speakers on the Government side, it will be a wonderful test and interesting to see are they exaggerated, are they false or will this Agreement prove to be beneficial to the country.

Mr. Fanning: Information on John Fanning Zoom on John Fanning There has been some applause but the points to which I have listened are a lot of tripe. The previous speaker talked about the price of cattle being low. Cattle prices are as good as they were three months ago——

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Six months ago. Is it not a seasonal increase? I bought more cattle than you have ever seen.

[1906]An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin I would remind Deputy Harte that I will have to ask him to leave unless he cease interrupting.

Mr. Fanning: Information on John Fanning Zoom on John Fanning There has been a lot of talk that this Agreement is no good, that it is not a good one for the farmers. Only last Monday I was at a mart selling cattle and there were some Fine Gael people there, all smiles and saying this is a good thing at last.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): That was last Monday.

Mr. Fanning: Information on John Fanning Zoom on John Fanning It is wrong for any young man to stand up here and go back to 1932 and indeed before that. When you founded the State, it was a sad situation that the only people well off in the country were the old age pensioners, and you had to take a shilling from them. I will go back as far as you want to go back—they were the rich people, the old age pensioners. You said that would put the country right.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan Zoom on Stephen Coughlan What about all the lads you executed?

Mr. Fanning: Information on John Fanning Zoom on John Fanning We heard a lot about the slaughter of calves. To my mind the 77 executed were a greater loss than all the calves ever slaughtered. If you want it now, you can have it. We say some of the replacements over there are a far cry from their predecessors, and they were the worst offenders in this House during this debate.

(Interruptions)

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin Deputies might allow Deputy Fanning to make his speech.

Mr. Fanning: Information on John Fanning Zoom on John Fanning We have heard a lot of talk here about the dairy farmers. If there is a relief, it is a relief for the store cattle trade and, as far as I know, every cow which calves will be a store beast in two years' time. Will that be a help? Here we have an official cry from Fine Gael. I admire Labour because they will vote against it but they do not seem to have much faith in the industrial workers. To my mind, the [1907] workers are good but industries will have to improve and it is about time they did. It is about time protection was called off.

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

Mr. Fanning: Information on John Fanning Zoom on John Fanning I have no doubt that our workers are as good as anybody and produce as good an article as anybody. We in the farming community have had to improve in the past five or six years. We had to improve on the qualities of our milking machines to produce good, clean milk so that the product going on the market would be first-class. I remember as a young fellow at the fair in Thurles during the Second World War, when a second election was called and I heard farmers there saying: “We will still vote Fianna Fáil.”

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte They are the type of people who support you.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan Zoom on Stephen Coughlan They will want IRA pensions.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Now the Government speakers are wrapping the Union Jack around them.

Mr. Fanning: Information on John Fanning Zoom on John Fanning People of the Deputy's name were more associated with these things——

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Nobody belonging to me was ever associated with them.

Acting Chairman (Mr. Cunningham): Information on Liam Cunningham Zoom on Liam Cunningham Would the Deputy confine himself to the Trade Agreement?

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan Zoom on Stephen Coughlan Instead of the fair at Thurles.

Mr. Fanning: Information on John Fanning Zoom on John Fanning It is very hard to do so when for the past four days speakers did not confine themselves to it. As far as I see it, the big worry Fine Gael have is that if we produced, we could not sell. Now we can produce as much as we like because we have a market for it.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte We always had it.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Fanning: Information on John Fanning Zoom on John Fanning I have heard the question asked: “Why did we not look [1908] for markets elsewhere,” but the former leader of Fine Gael at one time, when the Germans and Belgians came over to buy our cattle when we could not sell them in Britain, said we had fly-by-nights coming over.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange That was at the time of the Broy Harriers.

Mr. Fanning: Information on John Fanning Zoom on John Fanning I suppose any man is entitled to make a mistake or a wrong statement——

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte But he should be man enough to admit it.

Mr. Fanning: Information on John Fanning Zoom on John Fanning Have we not admitted it? I heard a Deputy on the opposite side speaking about the egg industry and saying it was lost, but if you could carry this country on the sale of eggs, it would be a poor day. It could not be done. He also criticised us on the ground that there was no price for agricultural produce but I remember when Fianna Fáil came in in 1932 we were hawking samples of barley and offering it at 10/- a barrel and could not get a buyer. Who made the change?—Fianna Fáil.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Now you have gone back to where we were.

Mr. Fanning: Information on John Fanning Zoom on John Fanning We advocated the growing of wheat and beet and Deputy Dillon said he would not be found dead in a field of wheat or beet.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte I would support that yet.

Mr. Fanning: Information on John Fanning Zoom on John Fanning Would you?

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Would you say we should grow wheat?

Mr. Carter: Information on Frank Carter Zoom on Frank Carter Would the Acting Chairman ask Deputy Harte to restrain himself?

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Fanning: Information on John Fanning Zoom on John Fanning The Opposition now say this Agreement is a bad one, that it is the same as the 1948 Agreement. If this is a bad one, then so was the 1948 Agreement. They must decide one way or another; they cannot be on both sides of the fence.

[1909]Mr. Governey: Information on Desmond Governey Zoom on Desmond Governey After four days of debate, I do not want to delay the House but certain points have arisen regarding this Trade Agreement on which I should like a little information when the Taoiseach is replying. In particular, in regard to housing grants, we have a clause about the use of Irish materials——

Acting Chairman: I am afraid this does not arise. These are matters which would be relevant to the debate on the Estimate for Local Government. We cannot go into such details on this occasion.

Mr. Governey: Information on Desmond Governey Zoom on Desmond Governey If the Chair will pardon me, will this Agreement not be contravened where people at present getting grants are encouraged to use Irish material for building and reconstruction of houses? I should like to know how this condition will operate in the Free Trade Area?

Acting Chairman: There is nothing in this Agreement for or against——

Mr. Clinton: Information on Mark A. Clinton Zoom on Mark A. Clinton There is something in the Agreement.

Acting Chairman: A detailed discussion on that matter is out of order.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan Zoom on Stephen Coughlan The Deputy can ask the Minister for Local Government.

Mr. Governey: Information on Desmond Governey Zoom on Desmond Governey So long as I get an answer, I do not mind. Taking Irish goods in general, will manufacturers of these goods who are supplying materials for building purposes not be affected by the Trade Agreement? In that case will this clause have to be withdrawn? Article IV of the Agreement on page 67 says:

Neither party shall—

(a) apply directly or indirectly to imported goods any fiscal charges in excess of those applied directly or indirectly to like domestic goods, or otherwise apply such charges so as to afford effective protection to like domestic goods;

I should like clarification on that point. No matter what we say here and no matter what has been said in the [1910] past four days, this Agreement has been signed on behalf of the Irish people and I want to add my voice to the voices of others who have spoken. When the Taoiseach was asked by the leader of our Party to recall the House to discuss the Agreement, he refused to do so and we were left completely in the dark practically until the Agreement was signed. This Agreement may affect the livelihood of many of our people, and especially our industrial workers in the future.

I am not yet convinced, and I have as high a regard for Irish industry as anybody, that there are not industries which, when the tariffs are completely withdrawn and they come up against the highly organised competition of British industries will—I fear I would not be truthful if I did not say this— certainly go by the board. For years it has been the policy of the Government to protect these industries but I do not believe that even some of those that have got protection will stand up to the competition of the giant industrial concerns of Britain. Regardless of what may happen I hope our people will give preference to Irish goods, no matter what the Agreement holds, in the interests of our own economy.

Take, for instance, the motor assembly industry. What will become of the numbers who will be thrown out of employment? I know I will be told that they will have to be looked after, that we have a manpower policy. It was rather late in the day for a Government of a Party that had ruled this country in practically unbroken succession since 1932 to decide to do something about a manpower policy within the year preceding the signing of the Agreement with Great Britain. I hope that even at this late stage the Parliamentary Secretary will be successful in regard to this project. Having regard to the limitation of the period and what has happened within that 12 months, I would not wish to have the task that he has on his hands.

Article XI of the Agreement deals with dumped and subsidised imports. I wonder if there is sufficient protection in that Article to safeguard Irish manufacturers against imported goods being [1911] dumped on this market. If some big industrialist should take the opportunity of dumping inferior goods on the Irish market, by the time the proper authorities here had got notice, by the time the Department and the Ministers became aware of the fact, the damage would be done and hundreds of people might be put out of employment. I should like to be assured that there is sufficient safeguard in the Article. Personally, I do not believe that the Article provides a complete safeguard and I am of the opinion that dumping may occur and it will be too late to take action when the damage has been done.

The Government have handed over an open market here to British industrialists and the British market is open to us. I hope and trust that we here will be able to compete in that market.

A great deal has been said in this debate about the farming community. Irrespective of what we have heard in this House from the Minister for Agriculture as to the increases that farmers will get for cattle as a result of this Agreement, I am not convinced. One would gather from the speech we heard that every farmer will be disappointed if he is not a millionaire by the end of 1966. The farmers have not got free access to the British market whereas the British industrialists have free access to the Irish market. That is one instance in regard to which the Agreement is unbalanced.

Irish agriculture has not had the advantage that British farmers have had. There is a quota for cattle, carcase meat and dressed beef. Therefore, irrespective of what the Minister for Agriculture may have said in this House, I am still not convinced that the Irish farmers are getting the great deal from this Agreement that the Fianna Fáil Party are telling the country and the House that they are getting. I hope I am wrong. I hope the farmers will benefit by the Agreement.

I could go on but I do not want to delay the House. In conclusion, I want to say that I should like to be convinced that Irish industrialists are safeguarded against dumping. I should like also to be convinced that the farmers [1912] are getting the deal that we have been given to understand by the Minister for Agriculture they are getting.

While being critical of certain parts of the Agreement, I feel that the Taoiseach and his Ministers tried to do the best they could. I find it very difficult to resume my seat without reminding the Party opposite—and I do not like going back on what they have been reminded of already—that in days gone by they thanked God that the British market was gone and gone forever. We have the British market and are glad to have it now. One cannot live without one's neighbours. At the same time I hope that our Buy Irish campaign will be successful and that the people of this country will, first and last, give preference to goods manufactured here.

Mr. T. Dunne: Information on Thomas Dunne Zoom on Thomas Dunne I do not propose to detain the House very long. In my view we have not gained anything in this Trade Agreement which will benefit agriculture. This Trade Agreement contains nothing that was not already incorporated in the 1948 Agreement. Take, for instance, butter. In the 1948 Agreement this country was allocated a quota of 20,000 tons of butter per year, or more if it was available. Under this Agreement, the allocation is 23,000 tons, subject to review.

A great deal has been said about the great British market for store cattle and that prices are already rising. I should like to remind the House that this Agreement does not come into effect until July, 1966 and that there is at the moment a seasonal increase in the price of cattle which is only natural at this time of the year.

I am glad to see that Fianna Fáil have now changed their mind about the British market. It is not so many years ago that they thanked God that the British market was gone and gone forever.

The Irish market has been thrown open to British industrialists who will certainly avail of the opportunities thus presented to them. I find it hard to believe that many of our industries will survive. I would be fearful about factories such as Erin Foods in my constituency. In today's Irish Independent[1913] there is a report the heading to which is “Enquiry into shoe factory dismissals,” which states that 43 women and 16 men are under dismissal notices since before Christmas and that the decision to dismiss them is linked with the Free Trade Agreement and a recent statement of a reduction in the factory output. That is an instance of an industry already affected. How many industries will be affected after July 1966?

I was glad to hear Deputy Fanning stating that the people of this country returned Fianna Fáil to government even during the economic war, even when the price of cattle was bad, but I should like to remind Deputy Fanning that it was not because of the price of cattle but because of the free beef which was obtained from the calves whose throats were cut.

Acting Chairman: Deputy Tully, concluding on the Labour amendment.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully Sir, this debate has gone on now for four days. The first or second day it appeared as if certain members of this House, particularly members of the present Government, were very anxious that the debate should finish on the second day and an ultimatum was issued that, if we were not prepared to agree to conclude the debate at a reasonable time on Wednesday evening, it would be adjourned until after the 25th of the month, not to the 25th, when the Dáil would re-assemble. We made it very clear that we wanted to have the debate fully concluded even if that meant carrying it over until after the 25th. Eventually the Taoiseach, I think with the idea in his mind that the offer would not be accepted, said he would be prepared to agree that we should do something unprecedented almost in this House, namely, sit on a Church Holiday and, if necessary, sit again today. I am very glad that not only did we sit yesterday, even if it was a Church Holiday, but that we also sat today and used all the time available.

The debate on the so-called Free Trade Agreement has done more, I think, to show the people what, in fact, the Fianna Fáil Government bought [1914] for them in London before Christmas better than anything else could do. Certainly, in the years to come, they may be called a lot of things but no one will ever accuse them of being Santa Claus.

We, in the Labour Party, put down a motion expressing dissatisfaction with the bargain. We also expressed our intention of voting against the Agreement. We did this because we believe that the debate on this Agreement is almost as important as the debate which ended on this night 44 years ago. I believe, and my Party believe, that it is necessary not only to express in this House our opinion that the Agreement is a bad one but also necessary to express, by way of vote, our disapproval as a Party of the Agreement.

Frankly, I am amazed at the attitude of Fine Gael. I want to make it very clear that Fine Gael are perfectly entitled to make their own decision, as they did, on this matter. In passing, I should like to point out that it has become the habit of certain people, including both members of the Government and members of the Press, to refer to the leader of Fine Gael as the Leader of the Opposition. There are two Opposition Parties in the House, Fine Gael and Labour. Deputy Brendan Corish is the leader of the Labour Party. In view of the fact that the Labour Party are the Party challenging this Agreement I claim that, in this debate, Deputy Brendan Corish is the Leader of the Opposition and I should be very grateful if those referring to this matter in future would remember that calling the——

Acting Chairman: The point the Deputy is discussing now is not in order. A dispute as to who is Leader of the Opposition should not enter into a discussion on the Free Trade Agreement.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully I do not wish to challenge your ruling, but I should like to point out that I am replying for my Party to the debate which has taken place here over the last four days and I consider it a little harsh of the Chair to start picking on points before I have made the actual point I want to make.

[1915]Acting Chairman: The Deputy has talked for some minutes about this and the Chair is pointing out that he is not in order.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully The position is that we, as an independent Party of which Deputy Corish is the leader, are challenging the Government on this decision. During the earlier part of the debate I was amazed to find certain ulterior motives given by Deputy Ryan as to the reason why we had taken this particular decision. I want to make it quite clear to everyone that we are voting against this Agreement for one reason, and one reason only, and that is because we think the Agreement is a bad one. When we talk about this Agreement vis-à-vis previous Agreements people tend to try to argue that, if this Agreement is a bad one, then the 1948 Agreement was also a bad one. At least one member of the Fianna Fáil Party made that point tonight. I should like to point out that this Agreement, as far as we can read it, simply repeats, as far as agriculture is concerned, almost the entire 1948 Agreement; but, in addition, it gives away under the heading of “Industry” quite a substantial amount which continued to be protected under the 1948 Agreement.

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

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully That is, I think, a very important difference and anybody who tries to compare and argue that, because we consider this Agreement a bad one then the earlier Agreement was also a bad one, just does not know what he is talking about. The extraordinary feature of the earlier part of the debate here was the number of people prepared to give free advice on the economic state of the country and who tried to infer, in particular, that the economic state of the country now and inside the next few months was not and would not be as a result of this Agreement but because the trade unions and trade unionists were not pulling their weight. Anybody who suggests that has a colossal cheek. They are suggesting, in fact, that all the employers in the country are fair, reasonable people, who never make a [1916] mistake or never do anything wrong. I would be the first to admit that the trade unions and trade unionists have made mistakes from time to time. We must remember, however, that if a row takes place, and if we have people unemployed and out of work, and if we have, as a Minister said yesterday, the danger of industries closing down, it is not because trade unions and trade unionists are unreasonable; it is simply because there must be a damn good reason why the row has been kicked up.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry and Commerce, Deputy Seán Flanagan, repeated something the Taoiseach said in his TV appearance the Thursday before Christmas. He said that certain industries would, of course, close down. He was quite honest about it. But he went much further than the Taoiseach because he went on to say that, if they were closed down, that was something we just could not avoid; if they were to be closed down then they were going to close down and, after all, he and the Government would eventually get round to a manpower policy and the people affected would be retrained. For what? Where is the alternative industry being provided? By what stretch of the imagination does the Parliamentary Secretary think that we can, at the present time, set up in this country further industries which will immediately absorb the unfortunate people who will lose their jobs because of the fact that we have now got what the Government choose to call a Free Trade Agreement with Britain?

I should like to make this final point in regard to that particular aspect. Deputy Flanagan, fortunately for himself, never had the necessity to go to his employers at six o'clock in the evening and receive his card telling him his job had terminated. If he were a person with five or six or maybe more children and a wife to support and got his card with no prospect of further employment, he would then know what it meant to find himself out of a job whether it was the Government or the employer who had blundered.

We know, of course, that the Parliamentary [1917] Secretary has great plans for setting up industries. He said that people may have to move from place to place, that they should have no objection to that. It reminded me of a few weeks ago out in Brussels when a spokesman for the EEC pointed out to a delegation from this country that, of course, there was no unemployment in the EEC because a person, say from Berlin, who would be out of a job could get a job in Brussels, Paris or somewhere else. The Parliamentary Secretary's approach was exactly the same: “What have these fellows to complain about? After all, there may be a job one hundred miles away.” The fact that these people have built a home for themselves, are trying to pay for it, and are up to their necks in debt trying to keep their home together, did not seem to enter into Deputy Flanagan's mind. There was a job somewhere else for them. Like the snail they can get into their box and move off. It is about time the people who are taking on the responsibility of looking after the manpower of this country who will become redundant realised, first and foremost, that these people are human beings, that they have dignity, that they have rights and that they are entitled to be treated as human beings.

The one thing that really surprised me about this whole Agreement is the number of extraordinary statements made by Government spokesmen. First of all, there was the statement made by the Taoiseach—he did explain it afterwards and maybe it is unfair to quote it here—that for every one factory that closed five more would spring up. I think he explained afterwards that he was just joking. He must have been joking. However, the Minister for Justice today said it would be two for every one. Subsequently when he was challenged and told the Taoiseach had mentioned five, he said: “Yes, five for every one.” Whom do they think they are codding? Do they imagine the ordinary people, who are aware of the desperate efforts that have been made over the years to keep industry going against foreign competition, even with the protection of tariffs, will be able to survive and that new [1918] factories will be able to start and survive on what will soon be a completely free trade basis? The one thing the people are entitled to in these circumstances is honesty. They should be told the truth. It is most unfair that they should try to describe through rose-coloured glasses what is going to happen.

The Minister for Agriculture, I understand, was originally talking about an increase of £35 million in agricultural income for the next year, He toned that down a bit. He is now down to only £10 million, and maybe with a little bit of encouragement he will start going up again. The Taoiseach, when he was opening this debate, paid tribute to the Ministers who were with him in London and said the Minister for Agriculture had fought tenaciously. I have no doubt at all the Minister for Agriculture did, but he did not get very much for his fight in this case because it appears that what he has got is almost a replica of what was in the 1948 Agreement with this exception which the Fianna Fáil Government are claiming as being something wonderful, that after a hard battle they won from the British Government the right to put 638,000 store cattle into Britain every year which is, in fact, a promise from this Government and from this country that they would not go under 638,000.

Again, are we supposed to be fools and are we supposed to accept this thing and not be able to read into it that instead of getting a concession, as the Government say, we are giving the solemn guarantee that no matter who is prepared to pay a higher price for our store cattle we will not sell them? We must give them to England. I would be the first to admit that the British market has been of invaluable assistance to this country down through the years. Whether we have quarrelled with Britain or not, no matter what way we look at it, Britain has been our best customer. We have not been a bad customer for her either. Despite the fact that we had a tariff barrier, she sent a substantial quantity of goods in here. Go around anywhere there is a supermarket, particularly the British-based ones, and you will find [1919] that wherever possible they will plug the British article. What will happen now? Will we not find that these stores and many others like them will be absolutely swamped with British-produced goods? Do not let anybody tell us we are still going to be patriotic, that we are still going to wrap the green flag around us and everything will be all right. That was not true of Government Departments, one of which sent across to Scotland at the height of the Buy Irish campaign and brought back materials to this country to the detriment of Irish workers. I will say this for the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, that when it was brought to his notice very forcibly in this House, he changed the situation and bought Irish-made materials which his predecessor had been importing for over 12 months from a British manufacturer. There are a number of other Departments that could be quoted in this connection. There was the extraordinary situation, of which Deputy Ryan had to complain, that Galway County Council had bought concrete lamp posts in England, despite the fact that it is laid down in the regulations that a preference must be given by local authorities to Irish materials. The Minister for Local Government said that the material produced here was not the right type, that they were getting a better type in England.

Under this Agreement—and if anybody wishes I can quote chapter and verse—arrangements are made that in future, from a certain date there will be no right for local authorities or any other such people to give preference to Irish manufacturers. It will be a crime against the Agreement if they do. They can be hauled up and asked why they did it. Is that not a nice state of affairs in an underdeveloped economy such as this? We have seen the disgraceful situation that despite the fact that we are not able to have full employment, have never gone near it and in the last couple of months have had a steadily climbing unemployment figure— there was a figure of 67,000 in one week—we are told that they are going to take away the little protection we had. Even if it only [1920] gave employment to a couple of hundred people, at least it kept that number of people at home.

It is not fair to say that our Ministers went to Britain deliberately to sell out the Irish nation. I do not think they did. I am quite positive that according to their lights they did the best they could but they were just not good enough. The British Government had too many heavy guns for them and the result is the puny effort we have before us now which offers us the bare scrapings as far as agriculture is concerned and under which we lose everything in industry.

Some Deputies have said that Irish industries cannot survive the terms of this Agreement and others, including Deputy Corry who could survive anything, that they will. I do not believe that industries which have been in operation for some time and have been exporting and have not had to get an injection of capital from the Government in the past couple of years will be too badly affected. As a matter of fact, it is my opinion that many of them will hold their own. But industries that have been operating behind the tariff wall and those that have been getting subsidies, whether they were tariff protected or whether the subsidy was direct, cannot survive under conditions of free trade for industrial goods between this country and Britain.

My opinion in that respect is based on two reasons. One is that at the present time such industries are getting it hard enough to exist. Secondly, when the great British manufacturers who have been so long established in industry get their sights on what to them might be considered a small target of three million people, they will be able to outsell our industries on their own doorstep. Do not let us believe that dumping will not be permitted in accordance with the terms of this Agreement. Article VI of the GATT Agreement defines dumping and says that the products of one country introduced into the commerce of another country at less than their normal value and which constitute a threat to the industry of the receiving [1921] country can be stopped or slowed up by putting on a tariff.

In our case this cannot be done until we have reached a situation in which there is serious loss of employment, the danger of a closedown and this, of course, cannot happen until quite a substantial amount of this type of goods has, in fact, got into the country and, by the time the Government get around to discussing the situation with the Government of Britain, I feel sure the same thing will have happened as happened some years ago in the case of a certain garment when a firm, supporters of the Government, were allowed to buy up a considerable quantity of the commodity and then a tariff was put on to stop more of the material coming in.

That situation can happen all over the country because of the fact that the arrangement under the Agreement is so long and so detailed it will be impossible to stop the situation occurring until it has gone too far and harm has been done. The result will be that thousands of workers may be out of their jobs before those steps can be taken. The loss of employment which can thus be caused to a small country like this is most serious under a number of headings. First of all, the person who loses a job will be entitled to unemployment benefit for six months. That will fall directly on the State. The loss of his stamps for that period will fall on the State. The loss of the income tax which so many workers are contributing so unfairly under PAYE will fall on the State.

No matter how one looks at it, if there is substantial unemployment, more than there is at the moment, it will leave the Department of Social Welfare and the Department of Finance in a perilous state. Before putting their signature to this Agreement, therefore, the Government should have considered all those factors. It appears to me amazing that sensible men such as they are, particularly the Taoiseach, who was the architect or the chief mover in giving protection to industries, should take this step which now, according to the Government and Fine Gael, cannot be backed down from.

[1922] The cost to the State of what will happen as a result of this Agreement is something which everyone of us will have to worry about. That is why the Labour Party have put down the amendment. I do not agree that because the Agreement has been signed it is the end of the world. We in the Labour Party do not agree that if it were defeated in the House it would mean the end of the world. The change does not take place before 1st July next. To my mind, it would be a good thing if the Government were shown here tonight that the people of the country did not want what they signed for, that they want the Government to go back and have another go or, alternatively, have somebody else replace the Government who would go and try to make a better bargain.

What surprises me most of all is the phrase which allows the subsidies on carcase meat. It allows the Irish Government to spend that money only after consultation with the British Government. I think it is scandalous to include any such condition in any Agreement between this country and Britain. I can see no reason why a country with autonomy, including fiscal autonomy, would allow another nation to say how money given in that way should be spent in the way the other country said it should be spent. Somebody mentioned Marshall Aid. Marshall Aid was a handout and this, on the other hand, is something we are earning. It is something we hope to get in respect of stock we shall supply to the British market and it appears to me as if the Government have taken leave of their senses to allow the British Government to say how this money would be spent. It might be that the Government here would not apply it in the ways which the people of this country would like. The Government can say: “Do not blame us. The British Government would not let us do it”. It is just too bad it should be allowed.

While on that point I should like to deal with the question of the reduction from three to two months in the waiting period in respect of store cattle. Here we do not seem to have got the [1923] right end of the stick. This may have a slight effect on the price of store cattle. It may be true that because they will be held here for one month longer, we should be entitled to a higher price, but as Deputy Dillon said, it is quite true that in view of the low price operating for store cattle for some time the price must go up. When the time was increased from two months to three months, I honestly believe the effect was slight. I believe the effect of the change back to two months again will be very slight.

There is another thing that surprises me. It often makes me wonder when I think that the price of cattle on the British market decides whether our balance of payments is on one side or the other. Is it not extraordinary that with all our talk we are still depending on that one item and that the balance of payments, which this year has turned out to be so adverse, is mainly because of the price of store cattle on the British market? Is this, then, a means to get a few bob extra or are we about to sell down the river practically all our industries for the purpose of getting a few shillings extra on store cattle to try to help our balance of payments?

We have heard a lot about this being a preparation for membership of the EEC. The Taoiseach stated that this idea was in his mind since 1963. In fact, the discussions were going on since November, 1964. Despite the fact that he did not remember it in the by-elections or the general election and not one mention of it was made to anybody or any Deputy in this House, I am convinced the main reason why there was indecent haste to have this Agreement signed was that the Taoiseach realised the people of this country were getting sick to the teeth of him, his Government and their credit squeeze.

I spoke to a number of farmers in my constituency. A substantial number of my supporters are members of the farming community. Their first comment, when the Free Trade Agreement was mentioned was: “Would there be any possibility of having some arrangement made whereby we could get a few pounds with which to carry [1924] on? We have not got the money now. We cannot get it from the bank or the Agricultural Credit Corporation. We are living from hand to mouth.” Would it not be a good idea if an effort were made to try to put some money into their pockets? Do not let anybody get the idea, if there are a few shillings to be got for store cattle, that that will mean a lot more for the majority of the farmers in this country.

Mind you, the farmers of this country were not reared on £10, £15 or £20. It appears some members of the Government think that if they are able to put something like that into their hands they will go cheering and shouting around the place. They will not. Because of the hard work and the difficulty of making ends meet they want something more than that. I cannot understand why an attempt was not made to get some kind of deficiency payment from the British Government on butter and bacon. That is the way money could have been put into the pockets of the small farmers. Let nobody tell me that the British Government do not pay deficiency payments. Of course, they do not but they subsidise every step of the way. The result is that the British farmers are much better off as a result of the subsidies they get.

It would not have been amiss for our negotiators to ask for some money on our bacon and butter exports. It rankles when you get people in this country, as Deputy Everett said, who as a result of advertising, do not know the difference between butter and margarine. Of course, they do not because they never eat butter. They never had the price of a pound of butter. Would it not be a better idea if something could be done to help the small farmers? Would it not be something to tell those people who have to struggle on with their bread and spread that we were not wrapping up our butter in postal orders and sending it across to Britain?

Deputies: Hear, hear.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully The Taoiseach said that this was an exercise for preparation for entry into the EEC. He said the EEC membership was coming [1925] at any rate. I cannot understand that. The EEC have no application before them from this country nor have they for some time. The EEC have made it plain that they would not consider an application for membership, or association, from this or any other country in Europe at the present time. They allowed Greece in. Austria are having quite a lot of trouble because they are not getting the concessions they were looking for. No other country will be considered as far as membership is concerned. The EEC have made that quite plain. If they have not made it plain to the Taoiseach they have made it plain to members of this House, who were in Brussels, that Ireland on her own would not be welcome. I know the Taoiseach has been shouting around Europe that we were prepared to go it alone. Mind you, that tune has changed.

Now we are trying to get close enough to Britain so that if Britain is finally accepted we will ride on her piggy-back into the EEC. That is the only way we can get in. I cannot understand why the Taoiseach insists that Britain is on the point of going into the Common Market and that as a result Ireland will go in. That is not correct because there are so many eventualities. First of all, General de Gaulle must be satisfied. General de Gaulle is no fool and I consider he is perfectly right in his stand. First, France is not prepared to supply cheap agricultural produce to the Common Market countries and, secondly, General de Gaulle does not believe, as do some people in this country, that we should hand over our nationalism, that we should forget all about it and anything else, except the fact that we are Europeans. If General de Gaulle allows Britain in, there is no guarantee that they will be satisfied with the conditions offered to them.

We are dismantling our protection and preparing to remove all tariffs in the hope that Britain will get into the Common Market and that we will get a piggy-back ride in with her. Deputy Corry commented on a previous Trade Agreement. He tried to suggest that Deputy Dillon knew nothing about it. [1926] He blamed the late Deputy Norton for certain things that happened. God bless Deputy Norton, he was an excellent member of this House and he did a great deal of good. Deputy Corry seems to think, when he is dead, it is good enough to have a dig at him. I would not mind if there was any foundation for this. If Deputy Corry took the trouble of looking up that Agreement he would find, on page 217, paragraph 29 of the Agreement that the reference in it is still carried forward in the present Agreement. Therefore, it appears as if Deputy Corry wanted to have a go at somebody who was not here to answer him. Unfortunately, Deputy Corry is not here tonight. I have no doubt that he had important things to do in Cork.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne He is never here when something unpleasant is said about him.

Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins Zoom on Seán Collins He is in some hole or catacomb.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon His absence is welcome in any circumstances.

Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins Zoom on Seán Collins He will be here when the bell rings.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon He is a great old warrior all the same.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully I would not condemn everything Deputy Corry says but when he makes a charge against a colleague of mine who is no longer with us, I feel, when I know the circumstances, I should not let the opportunity pass without giving the full facts. I should like the Taoiseach, when he is replying, to comment on this, if he has time.

The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass Zoom on Seán F. Lemass It will be “if.”

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully I am very glad that is the situation. Is it correct that there can be an objection by the British Government if we assist foreigners in this country to start industries? If that is so, can the same objection be made if Northern Ireland or the Six Counties assist the same foreigners or similar foreigners to start industries?

[1927]The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass Zoom on Seán F. Lemass That is utter nonsense. There is nothing about that in the Agreement.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully I should be very glad if that went on the record of the House. I am quite sure the Taoiseach knows what he is talking about but, just in case he does not, I should be very glad to have it on record. I was surprised by the fact that there is a guarantee in this Agreement with regard to the right of the British Government to export to this country certain products which we should be able to produce ourselves. After all, if our industries were being dismantled there was no reason why we should not make an effort to try to hold on to something with which we should be able, and could be able to compete. I refer particularly to fish imports. The facilities are being left there and they will be entitled to send to this country the same amount as they always sent.

I refer to the latter part of the Agreement as the give-away section. For instance, Appendix III, Article 2 says.

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

I do not know where the Minister for Transport and Power is. I missed him during the debate. I hope he is not unwell.

Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins Zoom on Seán Collins He is hanging around tonight.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully He is at the door. I am glad to see him. I do not know if he has looked at this part of the Agreement, because Monaghan in particular, Cavan, and parts of Meath, have gone into the broiler chicken industry in a big way, and they will not be glad to know that if they expand their industry in the British market the English Government can reverse the proceedings. The same thing applies to turkeys. Article 3 states:

If at any time exports of turkeys [1928] ...from Ireland to the United Kingdom—

(a) in the case of dead birds which are ovenready, develop to a significant extent; or

(b) in the case of dead birds increase significantly above the level of 3,000 tons a year;

then in either case the Government of Ireland shall consult with the Government of the United Kingdom with a view to providing facilities for the import of dead turkeys into Ireland from the United Kingdom.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon They need not worry about the turkeys. They are wiped out already.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully They will be wiped out now after this comes into operation. I am amazed to find an Irish Government handing out the fringe benefits which have been attached to agriculture for so many years. If the amount exceeds a certain figure the British can send their exports here, but there is not any provision for a change. If, for example, in one year it happens that the British Government have cause to complain under this heading then, as long as Ireland is Ireland, and Britain is Britain, they can send as many turkeys and broiler chickens here as they like, and there is nothing we can do about it.

Mr. Barry: Information on Richard Barry Zoom on Richard Barry I do not like to interrupt the Deputy but will he ask the Taoiseach what became of the broiler factory in Bandon.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully I will let him answer that himself.

Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins Zoom on Seán Collins That by-election is over.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully The position is the same in regard to fish. Article 4 states:

The Government of Ireland shall as a minimum maintain opportunities for the import each year into Ireland of 11,000 hundredweights of fish, fresh (live or dead) chilled or frozen...of United Kingdom origin.

[1929] Article 5 states:

The Government of Ireland shall as a minimum maintain opportunities for the import each year into Ireland of 27,000 hundredweights of filleted fish and pieces thereof, smoked... of United Kingdom origin at a rate of import duty not exceeding 2d per pound.

Article 6 states:

The Government of Ireland shall as a minimum maintain opportunities for the import each year into Ireland during the control period 7 May to 31 October of 850 tons of tomatoes... of United Kingdom origin. The pattern of licensing for such imports shall follow that which has operated in recent years. Imports during the period 7 May to 31 May shall be free of import duty and the rate of import duty chargeable during the period 1 June to 31 October shall not exceed 4d per pound.

It is the same in the case of apples. At least in the case of apples no one can be tipped off to rush apples in quickly and get away with it, as appears to have happened recently. Article 7 states:

The Government of Ireland shall allow imports of apples... of United Kingdom origin—

(a) free of quantitative restrictions;

(b) during the months March to July inclusive free of import duty; and

(c) during the months August to February inclusive—

(i) as to 3,000 tons of such apples, at a rate of import duty not exceeding 1d per pound; and

(ii) as to any further imports of such apples at a rate not exceeding 2d per pound.

The same thing applies to cereals. Article 8 (2) states:

If the demand for cereal seed in Ireland declines, for example on account of a fall in cereal acreage——

[1930] We have got that——

——it may be necessary, in the consultation provided for in Article XII of the Free Trade Area Agreements, to consider the question of reducing opportunities for the import of such seed of United Kingdom origin into Ireland in proportion to the decline in demand.

That is one little safeguard for us which the Minister for Agriculture must have got when he was fighting tenaciously. Perhaps he knew that the growing of cereal was at such a rate that he had to do something about it. The same thing applies in regard to other things: 6,000 tons of malt is the minimum, and 3,000 cwts of perennial and Italian ryegrass certified seed. Again the Minister for Transport and Power will have something to say about this. Article 11 states:

The Government of Ireland shall as a minimum maintain opportunities for the import each year into Ireland of fishcakes, fish sausages, prepared meals containing fish and other prepared or preserved fish and fish products of a similar nature of United Kingdom origin to a value of £6,000 c.i.f. at a rate of import duty not exceeding 1d per pound.

We go on, and on, and on. This is the give-away section. These are the things we are giving to John Bull in case their economy may be affected by what we are doing.

I did not notice it, but the Taoiseach and his friends going to Britain, must have been wearing long beards and red cloaks. The big problem about all this is that the Taoiseach and his Ministers went to Britain having prepared over a long period what he calls a free trade agreement but which, is fact, certainly does not give free trade in agriculture, and gives one-way free trade in industry. We fear that there will be widespread unemployment. If the Taoiseach and his Ministers had made any effort to ensure that some little reciprocal agreement would be given that might protect us, I am sure when that was explained the Taoiseach would have had the sympathy of the House, but in view of the fact that the traffic [1931] seems to be all one-way, we feel that the Agreement should not get the approval of Dáil Éireann.

For that reason, we in the Labour Party are voting against the Agreement, and we make no apology to anyone for doing so. We feel that when the Agreement has been fully considered, fully inspected, and fully read by those outside the House, the same decision will be reached. While some people, when the announcement was made, felt that they were getting something, the number of such people is getting fewer and fewer. I was surprised to hear Deputy Fanning say that he met some people at a fair who said: “Now we are getting something. This is something for us.” Obviously they were not very bright, but, of course, he explained that was a few weeks ago. If he talks to them next Monday I am sure he will get a different answer.

I suggest to the Taoiseach that this Agreement should not have been signed. Not only does it tie this Government, but it ties the Governments of this country in perpetuity. That is an action which should not have been taken. Therefore, we in the Labour Party believe that the only sane decision the public representatives in this House can take is to vote against the Agreement in this House, and we are voting against it.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan Handicapped as we are by the Minister for External Affairs who busies himself with the Afro-Asian groups, and with affairs that always seem to be 5,000 miles away, Fine Gael have been campaigning for at least three years for an international agreement to protect our trade and see that we are kept “with it” in this situation where the freeing of trade is progressing all over Europe. We have the EEC and EFTA and now Britain is moving closer to Europe. Therefore, my Party, while feeling that the Agreement was not everything that could have been got, and feeling that the Government had not done as good a job as the people would wish, are not voting against this Agreement. At the same time, we are ready to point out [1932] the deficiencies in the Agreement, the things that should have been secured and have not been, and the mistakes that have been made. We feel that if we had had the opportunity to negotiate such an Agreement we would have done a better job. I propose to try to tell the House why such is the case.

We have been regaled by statements from the Minister for Agriculture and these have been so extravagant and so impossible that there is only one question before us, whether or not the Minister for Agriculture is a genius, who deserves the best of every Irish man and woman, or a political bombast and a fraud. That is the choice because his statements have been so extravagant that we must accept that if they are true then he is a genius and has exceeded all the things we would expect from a man in his position.

I should like to deal with the claim by the Taoiseach that this is a permanent Agreement. There is no such thing as a permanent Agreement in international law and there is no penalty for infringing an Agreement. The only penalty there can be is force. Everybody knows that because of the size of our economy we can never use force. In the 1930s there was such an idea but surely that idea has passed and people realise now that there can be no question of force. This Agreement is not a permanent one. It can be infringed by Britain any time they decide to do so. Let us remember that the 15 per cent levy, which was reduced to 10 per cent and is now continued, was applied to us in direct contravention of the 1948 Agreement. When Britain placed a quota on us, recommended by GATT, she again infringed the 1948 Agreement. There was no penalty except the use of force and the only force Ireland could use would be an atomic bomb and, thank God, we have not got that.

There is no need for a breach in the future because written into the Agreement there is power for Britain to impose levies in its balance of payments difficulties. The effect of such levies imposed bilaterally would have, as it were, 40 times the effect on our economy as they would on the British economy. Why should this tiny economy have to give the power to [1933] Britain to impose levies on us, as they have already done? Why did we not succeed in having ourselves excluded from this? I think we could have so succeeded. If we had succeeded, it would have been an inducement for industrialists to come here from abroad. I believe that this levy, serious as it is in its financial implications, difficult as it is for exporters, is far more difficult inasmuch as it implies to industrialists wishing to come here and export to England that the levy can be applied. There is provision for its application. This is one of the most serious factors preventing industries from coming here.

Let us consider the claims of the Minister for Agriculture that this Agreement will be worth £10 million for the Irish farmers in the first year. I would have wished that the Minister for Agriculture or the Taoiseach had been more particular on this matter. I should like to know where the money is coming from. If a Minister makes such a statement, the House is entitled to have that information, to know that there will be so many millions from one item and so many from another. It is not sufficient to say that this is worth £10 million.

The Minister boasted about the relatively small quantity of beef and lamb for which there will be an Exchequer payment from Britain to the Irish Government. Deputy Tully mentioned that there is now to be consultation about how this money will be spent. The British Government will ensure that it is not spent in any way that will affect their trade. It can operate to ensure that the beef factories here will not get the full benefit of this money and to see that the farmers do not get the full benefit. Last year there was a heavy export of beef on the hoof to Britain. The people who bought it were in a position to pay 2d or 3d deadweight more than the Irish factories. This was because of the disposal of the offals and the multitudinous uses that can be made of them in a huge economy such as that of Britain and because of the factories set up near the main factory. This money may be used to help the Irish factories but it will never reach the Irish farmer. We must face that fact [1934] and also the fact that the payments for last year in respect of deficiency, or subsidies, were, for one fortnight, .4 of 1d. in the pound.

If Britain is moving nearer to GATT, it will be incumbent on her to dismantle deficiency payments. If we get any of these payments in the short term, certainly in the long term we will get none of them. When Britain abolishes these deficiency payments they will not be there for us, yet this is based on the British fatstock subsidy scheme. The Minister for Agriculture said that this Agreement gave access to Britain for all agricultural products and I quote him from the Irish Times of January 6th:

Britain had now given up the right to regulate imports from Ireland except only in the context of an international commodity agreement covering all the major suppliers of the product including British producers themselves.

The Minister for Agriculture is noted in political circles for being a “slick chick”. Further down the report continues:

The solution arrived at was the letter in which we agreed that in certain circumstances we would be prepared to grant a waiver from our right of duty free access so as to enable the UK to introduce a minimum import price system. The question of the introduction of a minimum import price system could arise only in the context of an international arrangement.

What is the difference between the words “agreement” and “arrangement”? Let us turn to the Minister's letter. I quote:

Having regard to the provisions of those Articles the Government of Ireland undertake that, in the event of the Government of the United Kingdom, after the consultation referred to in paragraph (2) of Article VIII or in paragraph (4) of Article IX, wishing to implement an arrangement of the sort referred to in paragraph (1) of Article VIII or in paragraph (4) of Article IX, which involves the regulation of [1935] imports of an agricultural product by means of a minimum import price system enforced by levies, they will be prepared to waive their right under Article I of that Agreement to duty-free access to the United Kingdom for the agricultural product in question, provided that Ireland is accorded no less favourable treatment than that accorded to any other country...

That means that all the talk of the Minister for Agriculture is as straw in the wind. At the stage when Britain is moving closer to Europe, the stage when she will have to implement the GATT reference, as she will, our access is no longer there, and everything we had in the 1948 Agreement is in danger and we will get no better treatment than any other country. Yet we are the people who traditionally supplied that country with her stores, traditionally supplied her with many of her agricultural requirements, and we are the country closest to her in the agricultural trade.

I want to know is the Minister for Agriculture prepared to say, or is the Taoiseach prepared to say on his behalf, there is no difference between the two words “agreement” and “arrangement” and that when he claims he has duty-free access letter No. 1 means nothing? If you read the Irish Times— the Official Report is not, as yet, available but I am sure the Irish Times have recorded the matter correctly—you will see he has given away everything in the 1948 Agreement and all we await now in a movement closer to Europe is the removal of benefits we have long enjoyed.

Deputy Sweetman dealt at length with the question of butter. The situation is that it was unlimited under the 1948 Agreement. We could send as much as we liked. The same applied to bacon. The phrase “or more if available” was included in the phraseology of both Agreements. We are now limited in respect of both butter and bacon. The prognostications of the amount of butter we will have to export suggest that by 1968 we will have too much butter again. We will have [1936] to go to world markets to sell it at greater losses. Yet this is the Agreement lauded by the Minister for Agriculture as the greatest thing that ever happened for Irish farming. The figure of 23,000 tons is nothing more or less than the projection of what butter we will have available for Britain in 1968. After that, I know not.

The Minister for Justice has apparently become an agriculturist. I am assured he said here today we had exported carcase beef worth £35 million in the past year. I leave it at that. I do not want to deal with that sort of thing. Let us deal instead with this question of the supply of 638,000 stores and the guarantee to supply beef and lamb.

The heifer scheme exploded in this country in quite an extraordinary way. The Government set out to spend £350,000 in the first year, and found they had to spend £2 million. This meant that a lot of people not in that trade traditionally suddenly turned over and cashed in on the £15 per head. All I hope is that they will not move straight back into dry stock. There is some evidence a lot of them are. The figure of 638,000 is merely the estimate of what would be sent maybe in two or three years' time. Without fresh measures taken, they may not be there or may be just there. In that situation, have we undertaken we will restrict our exports elsewhere and first send our cattle to Britain? I contend we have.

Turning to the cattle agreement, one finds that Article V states:

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.

There are no measures practicable if the cattle are not there, except the restriction of our exports to other places.

I want the House to turn their minds to the lamb trade, which I am sure [1937] the Minister for Agriculture knows very little about. The week that France comes in for lamb, we who have lambs to sell know that the price of lambs will go up on the Dublin market by as much as £1 per head. Even though France comes in only for three weeks at a time and perhaps does not take any more for six or seven weeks, it is the price of lamb in Paris that makes the price here. Have we given away our right of access to that market to try to make the British pay a higher price?

I have spoken to many cattle exporters since this Agreement was produced. Many of them are extremely worried. At present there is a strong reaction in Britain to high cattle prices from Ireland. If this is so, surely the way we had to make the price was to try to move towards the prices on the Continent? If we do not have 638,000 head of cattle, are we to restrict our exports to other countries? It is largely a gamble. If the heifer scheme has progressed, very well, we will have them. If the system of the £15 payment and no more unless herd numbers are increased is not effective and if they go back to dry stock, we will not have them. In that situation, have we given away something extremely important? The extravagant boasts of the Minister for Agriculture brand him as a bombast and a political fraud. There is no £10 million there. He did not tell us where it is to come from. He just gave it as a figure.

If in agriculture we at least held part of our position, in industry the position is very different. Nobody in this debate mentioned the question of the choice and range of industrial consumer goods. You may have all the Buy Irish campaigns you like but when our wives go into a shoe shop for instance at present for a pair of walking or high-heel shoes they probably get a choice of four or five pairs of shoes to suit them. But, if British footwear come in here, clearly the position will be that they will get a choice of 15 or 20 pairs to suit them. If I know wives, a lot of them will not buy Irish. Maybe that is not a patriotic thing to say, but it is true [1938] and we must speak the truth in these matters.

The Taoiseach came back and left us in the dark about this Agreement for three or four days and the Minister for Agriculture went out on his bombastic mission. To give the Minister for Industry and Commerce his due, he did not do that. We believe that in Part II of Annex B there was a section of goods which could be protected by quota until 1975. In this annex we had footwear, laminated springs, sparking plugs, electric filament lamps, brushes, brooms and mops and some varieties of hose. We now find we are dismantling our quotas on footwear by 1968 and on electric bulbs by 1971. Is it not true that, when the Taoiseach and the Minister for Industry and Commerce were negotiating with Douglas Jay in London, they knew that? Yet they came home and flaunted this Agreement in a political way and did not give us copies of it.

Half of the footwear operatives in this country are in my constituency. Therefore, this is a major problem for me. In 1968, when the quotas have been removed, surely the position will be that footwear from Britain will flood the market here? I am using footwear simply as an example. When the choice and range of consumer goods from Britain is put at the disposal of the Irish people, I feel the share of the home market available to us will drop substantially.

Let us consider how much that home market really is. I quote from the NIEC Report of 1965, in which there is a very useful table giving the percentage of gross output of our industries exported. Of our linen and cotton industry, only 14.1 per cent at present is exported; of our jute and canvas industry, only 15.3 per cent; hosiery, only 18.7 per cent; and footwear, only 26.7 per cent. That means that we are fighting, in this situation that I portray in which information was given to us in slices over the days, for 74 per cent of our trade. We are in a position where this 74 per cent can vitally be affected and we have no better access than we had as far as the British market is concerned.

[1939] In women's and girls' clothing, only 26.4 per cent is exported. In wood and cork, furniture and textiles, only 18.5 per cent is exported. So, as far as furniture is concerned, we are fighting for 80 per cent of our total output in our home trade.

The question of choice and range is one of the most dangerous things in this Agreement and the safeguards that were secured are not sufficient.

I want now to suggest that, as usual, Fianna Fáil have seen fit to pick a few pets. I am very glad to see the pets picked and I wish them all the best. In a situation where the Minister for Industry and Commerce can talk about the fact that musical instruments have been looked after, and that this will create a good situation, one wonders whether the Minister for Industry and Commerce was more worried about a musical instrument factory at Shannon than about items of far greater importance and far greater employment potential.

I want to suggest, also, that there are factors that could have been looked after that were not looked after. As usual, the Fianna Fáil Government have seen to it that the right things, as far as they are concerned, have been looked after. Article 4 of this Agreement is quite an extraordinary Article because it indicates that fiscal charges against imported goods to this country shall be removed. The new position will be that not only shall no new one be put on but that they shall be removed. As far as I can understand it, this means that, in a few years, there will not be an extra duty on foreign gin, on Scotch whisky, and so on. The Taoiseach may smile, but that is the fact. You are not allowed to put an extra fiscal charge in your Budget on articles that are imported. Whether or not the Taoiseach will be in a position to prove that Scotch whisky is a different product from Irish whiskey, I do not know, but, in his effort to do so, perhaps he will find that the British are the people with the power and he is the person without it.

In the engineering trade of this [1940] country, there is a very serious danger of unemployment. The position in Britain is that in all these engineering business one finds that many of the component parts are made in as many as 12, 15 or 20 factories. Here, we have not this wide variety of factories. We find it difficult enough to produce a finished product with the few we have. We find that the trade here is wide open to Britain. We find that the duties are progressively reduced and that the quotas have been removed. In my view, the situation will then be catastrophic.

There is another matter that must be considered before we come to the safeguards, which I believe are inadequate, and that is that, in the wholesale and retail movement of goods in Britain, the normal mark-up is 50 per cent. The normal mark-up here is 25 per cent. The truth of this is that when they have removed four slices of ten per cent from a tariff, we are in for trouble. We are in a position whereby the price of the British article with the tariff paid may well be below the price obtainable here.

This brings up the question of dumping. What constitutes dumping? If you produce 5,000 articles and sell them here at five shillings and the British manufacturer produces 5,000 articles and sells them there at five shillings and sends over 1,000 to this country, and pays the tariff out of his profits and sales at five shillings, is this dumping? As far as I can read it from the Agreement, it is not. Yet, if you have a run of 5,000 articles and you just run another 1,000, the sixth thousand cost probably half of what the other 5,000 did but you have only a little market here that can assimilate the 5,000 and Britain is in the entirely better situation. The safeguard provisions do not give the sort of protection we need. In five years' time, we have a review and we can continue protection on three per cent of our imports. I do not think that is sufficient. I think the range of industries that will vitally be affected will be far more than can be protected by this provision.

We can, if there is gross unemployment [1941] in an industry, put on protection for 18 months. Eighteen months in the life of an industry is an extremely short period. I do not think these provisions are sufficient and I honestly believe that better provisions could have been got and should have been sought. Therefore, the balance of the Agreement seems to weigh against us. Assessments have been made of what this is worth in ten years' time to Britain. One assessment has been that it is worth £50 million to Britain in ten years' time. Even the Minister for Agriculture did not set any such figure on the advantages to us. So as far as I can see, this Agreement is unbalanced. Britain is getting the better of the bargain and we are not getting the safeguards a small country would need.

Then the question arises whether we are fit for freer trade and why could we not make a better Agreement. I hold we could not make a better Agreement because the Taoiseach went to London with financial chaos at home, with industrial chaos at home and with a prices situation at home which did not allow him to come back with nothing because the moral effect of that would have placed him in an impossible situation and so he had to take what he got.

What is the situation in which we now find ourselves? We find ourselves in a situation with a balance of payments deficit of from £45 million to £50 million. We find ourselves in a situation where there is a shortage of money at a time when the Government did not accept the discipline they placed on themselves in the Second Programme for Economic Expansion and spent far more than they said they would spend. We find ourselves in a situation in which the Government now have to remove from the private sector of banking far more money than it is safe to remove, thus leaving people who have to adapt their industries in the situation that they have not the money with which to do it. We find ourselves in the situation that the grant such people will get is exactly half what a foreign industrialist would get on coming in here and building a new factory. All that seems to be wrong. The result has been industrial chaos.

[1942] The other evening I was looking at the prices of certain articles. A woman said to me: “How would you like to be a workingman today with three children and a wife to feed?”—and that is merely an average family man. Looking at those prices, I said I would not. I do not blame people for looking for extra money here today. I blame the Government because they have allowed this prices situation to develop to the stage at which people cannot live. That is what is wrong with this country. People can no longer live and rear their families in decency here and it is the fault of the Taoiseach and of nobody else because, when two by-elections were pending, he went in and arranged for a 12 per cent increase which he knew could not be given. We know that everybody who got the 12 per cent is now worse off than they were before they got it. This is the fault of the Taoiseach.

The Taoiseach has now created a situation, with shortage of capital and with industrial strife, where we have had a colossal increase in unemployment in the past week. Before I advert to this, I may say I understand the Government are fearful of unemployment in the next quarter with the result that they are changing the manner of giving us the figures. I hope they will be honest enough to give us both sets of figures for at least the next six or 12 months until the new set bears comparison, the one with the other. From the week of 17th December, 1965, to the week of December, 31st, 1965, there were 7,310 more people unemployed. Let us remember that there are 63,714 people unemployed in this country today. This is the highest figure since 1958 and, worse than that, 53,620 of these people are men. That is the state the Government have got us into. They went to England and they had to come back with an Agreement. They came back with one that was not treatment for us as equals. Now there is nothing we can do—it is a fait accompli— except to make comments and hope that, as soon as possible, the Government will be removed from office and we can go back on other terms and put the country back on its feet.

[1943]The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass Zoom on Seán F. Lemass At this hour of the night, I would not attempt to endeavour to correct all the misunderstandings or to contest all the misrepresentations of the Agreement and of the policy of the Government which were expressed during this debate. There will be other opportunities. I suppose, if I were to commit myself to deal with all the misrepresentations, I would be undertaking a life's task.

When I was speaking here a long time ago, proposing the motion which the Dáil has been debating ever since, I urged that any Deputy who intended to argue that the Agreement which we had signed in London should not have been made or should not now be approved by the Dáil had an obligation to answer the question—what alternative course is open to the country, what road could we take in the circumstances now existing and about to develop in Europe, which would help us to promote our economic progress by ensuring the availability of export markets for our rising agricultural and industrial production? Very many Deputies who spoke on this debate ignored that question altogether. Others approached the question but did not seriously attempt to deal with it and yet this is the real issue, indeed the only issue, before the Dáil.

Any Deputy, in relation to an Agreement of the length of that we are now considering and of such infinite complexity, could easily argue that this or that provision should have been different or some clause drafted otherwise. These points are not very relevant. The relevant issue before the Dáil is whether we should in the circumstances now existing make this Agreement, which is the first milestone on a road which will determine the direction of our economic progress in the future and which is related to the situation in which this country will have to earn its living in the future by the development of its exports.

I urged Deputies also to relate this Agreement, and their arguments about this Agreement to the background of the situation in Europe. We cannot ignore that situation. Within 12 months all the countries of western Europe with which we have any trade [1944] will be in a free trade system, temporarily divided, I agree, into two trading blocs. There will have been set up in this part of the world a free trade system into which we must get, after adapting ourselves so that we can live in it. Otherwise we go out of business altogether. These are the realities of our situation and there is no sense in ignoring the realities just to make political Party debating points. We have got to organise our national economy and equip ourselves in every way to cope with the free trade situation in Europe. Unless we can earn our living in that situation, we can have no living at all.

Now I know that the leaders of the Fine Gael Party did try to suggest there was an alternative. I have too much respect for their intelligence to think that they really believed what they were saying in that regard. They suggested that we could, by some pleading or haggling, get into the EEC and, at the same time, be able to maintain the preferential system in our trading with Great Britain. That is nonsense and as I said, I have too much respect for the intelligence of those Deputies to think that they regard it otherwise. They have, of course, gone through the motions of criticising this Agreement, but if I interpret properly the speeches made by the more responsible leaders of the Fine Gael Party, they accept that there is no alternative to the road we are now taking. The Labour Party are opposed to the Agreement: we expected that— opposition to change just because it is change is the natural attitude of a conservative party.

Deputy Cosgrave began his speech by talking about the zeal of the convert. I do not know who he was suggesting has been converted to, or from what. So far as I am personally concerned, the process of Irish industrial development is proceeding in accordance with the pattern I envisaged 30 years ago, the pattern which I have been outlining in speeches in this House and throughout the country for the past 30 years. We had to start off with protection, indeed high protection, not merely because 30 years ago the world was in a major economic slump—the [1945] great depression of the Thirties—but also because there did not exist in this country at that time any large body of opinion which really believed substantial industrial progress to be possible here. We began that industrial development drive against the hostility of commercial and financial interests and against the embittered hostility of the Fine Gael Party.

(Interruptions.)

The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass Zoom on Seán F. Lemass We had to organise the development of Irish industry behind protection in order to demonstrate that it was possible; in order to show that industries could be set up here which were capable of growth and, only when in that way we got the industrial development policy off the ground, did we find a diminution of this original hostility, this acceptance of the policy of industrial development, not merely by Fine Gael but by those commercial and financial interests to whom I have referred.

We always visualised these industries, set up under high protection, developing in skill and efficiency, and gradually venturing into export trade until the time came when the protection which brought them into being could be gradually withdrawn, as this became possible and it was required to facilitate the expansion of their own commercial activities. That is how we always envisaged the development of industry here and it is with some pride that I say to the Dáil now that we are entering the final phase of that process of development we began 30 years ago.

(Interruptions.)

The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass Zoom on Seán F. Lemass The main trouble with the Party opposite is that they are 30 years behind the time.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman Gone and gone for ever, thank God.

The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass Zoom on Seán F. Lemass The Economic War is as irrelevant to the present situation in this country as the Battle of the Boyne or the curse of Cromwell. We are two-thirds of the way through the twentieth century and heading for the [1946] twenty-first. Will the Party opposite not try to wake up to the facts of life?

I must say I am unable to understand the various references which were made here to alleged secrecy surrounding this Agreement. We have been talking here about the imminence of free trade for ten years, first of all, in the context of the European Free Trade Area negotiations and, subsequently, in the context of our application for membership of the EEC. We have been urging our industrialists to prepare for the imminence of free trade. We have been giving them financial help to organise themselves for that purpose. We have been doing that against a zero date of 1970, which may indeed still prove to be the zero date.

We announced in November, 1964, that we were beginning the negotiation of a new Trade Agreement with Great Britain. We announced in July, 1965, as soon as it was possible, that the object of these negotiations was to set up a free trade régime. I cannot understand the colossal stupidity of a Deputy like Deputy Treacy who says we have rushed into this Agreement. There never was an agreement made by this country more deliberately negotiated and which took longer to complete than the Agreement now before the Dáil. After it was possible to announce that the object of the Agreement was a free trade régime, I defended the principles of an Agreement of that kind in various public speeches. It was not possible to give details to the Dáil, or to the public, because the Agreement had not been negotiated. Until 1 a.m. on the morning of 14th December, it was not certain that there was going to be an Agreement at all, and one hour before that I would have laid odds against the possibility of an Agreement.

(Interruptions.)

The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass Zoom on Seán F. Lemass Deputy Cosgrave asked me to summon a meeting of the Dáil in August. I did not think then, and I do not think now, that he intended that request to be very serious; at least I suspect his main purpose was [1947] to get in before Deputy Corish thought about it.

Mr. Cosgrave: Information on Liam Cosgrave Zoom on Liam Cosgrave The first time in the July communication when the Dáil was adjourned.

The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass Zoom on Seán F. Lemass The fact that the Dáil was adjourned was pure coincidence.

(Interruptions.)

The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass Zoom on Seán F. Lemass As the Deputy knows very well, the date of our meetings in London had been arranged long beforehand. Negotiations of a technical character—and this Agreement is a very technical one—could not possibly be conducted successfully if the parties to it were required to take up attitudes in public which would deprive them of any latitude in subsequent discussions.

Deputy Cosgrave and other Deputies spoke about the possibility of this country being endangered by dumping from Great Britain. This is a problem we have been living with for ten years, since the first time a European Free Trade Area was talked about. We set out, and succeeded in getting, an arrangement that, where dumping is threatened—not actually happening but threatened—we can take action by our own decision and without having to ask anybody's permission or engage in consultation. But, remember, in order to get that freedom of action, we had to concede it to Britain. Do not let Deputies here be under any illusion that we were impeccable in that regard, that there were not occasions in the past, and will not be in the future, when protected Irish manufacturers will be selling goods abroad at lower prices than are being charged at home. It was also necessary to get into that clause the reference to material damage—that is a phrase taken from the GATT—but it takes recognition of the fact that the danger of damage through dumping is greater in the case of a small country than in the case of a large one. It is our proximity to a great industrial exporter which makes this danger a real one for us. However, as the House has been told by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, a Bill to deal with dumping—an anti-dumping [1948] Bill—will be before this House in a matter of some months and we can then discuss the adequacy of the arrangements proposed. We did not need a Bill of that kind before. We need it now.

Deputy Cosgrave also spoke about our tax concessions to exporters and urged their extension. May I say, straight away, that provisions for the giving of tax concessions or subsidies, direct or indirect, to encourage exports, are in conflict with Free Trade Area Agreements and, indeed, there is a section of the GATT which deals with them? It would have been quite reasonable for the British to have urged on us that these tax concessions should disappear on 1st July next but, in fact, as the Agreement makes clear, they agreed that these tax concessions, as set out in our law, should continue as provided in the law. If Deputy Cosgrave had in mind the possibility of extending these tax concessions to encourage exports to other countries, it is necessary, I think, to remind ourselves that we have been rather fortunate that we have not yet in any case I know of, induced retaliatory action against us because of them but if we were to extend these concessions, extend our indirect subsidies for export, we would be taking the risk of retaliatory action. In any event, we would be greatly complicating our negotiation of membership of the European Economic Community when that takes place.

In this year tax concessions of any kind are ruled out by Budget considerations. Indeed, it is obvious that tax increases will be unavoidable but further tax incentives at any time or further hidden subsidies to exports would be a hazardous course to take until we knew exactly the consequences they might evoke. The whole apparatus of capital grants and technical aids and all the other methods by which we have been building up new industries in the past ten years will still be operated. There is no question of any limitation of our power to maintain them and extend them if we want to do so. Deputies who said that we have committed ourselves to terminate them in respect of the West or generally have either not understood the Agreement [1949] or are anxious to mislead the public about it.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange There is no money, is there?

The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass Zoom on Seán F. Lemass If the Deputy will produce a first-class industrial project, which is most unlikely, we will give him the money for it. There was an effort by some Deputies to see in this Agreement something suggestive of a political withdrawal and many cynical and hypocritical references to the 1916 commemoration which merely revealed their incapacity to understand the ideals of Irish nationalists and republicans, if indeed they ever understood them.

(Interruptions.)

The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass Zoom on Seán F. Lemass The people of this country fought for their freedom through the years not merely because of patriotic impulses, not merely to give Ireland her proper status among the nations of the earth but so that they could organise themselves to develop their agriculture and industry and improve their standard of living by the application of their own policies. This is what we are trying to do and what we are free to do and the only issue today arising in connection with this Agreement is: does it help us to do it or not?

Deputies are entitled to argue that it is a bad Agreement or that it could be different in some respects but they are not entitled to question our motives for making it. We made it because we believe it will contribute to the economic development of this country, to the advancement and progress of our agriculture and industry. They may question the Agreement but they may not question the sincerity of our conviction that that is what the Agreement will in fact achieve.

(Interruptions.)

The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass Zoom on Seán F. Lemass The methods by which we develop our industries and open up prospects for expanding our export trade are for ourselves to decide and this is the one issue that the Dáil is now being asked to decide: Is this method we are now trying a [1950] good method? Is there an alternative? No Deputy has attempted to suggest that there is an alternative course, much less a better one. We cannot achieve anything in economic development by confining ourselves to the home market. There is nothing that can be done in that respect that has not already been accomplished——

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Or tried by you and failed.

The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass Zoom on Seán F. Lemass If we were now, by rejecting this Agreement, to proclaim that we were withdrawing into a policy of permanent protection, opting out of world markets, it would mean the end of our economic progress and the beginning of the death of our nation. We know there are probably some inefficient industries now producing at high cost. Deputy Corish criticised me because I would not name them. I could not honestly name with certainty a single industry that is not capable of being developed so as to become thoroughly efficient and even if I did think that there was such an industry, it would be unwise in the extreme to designate it at this point of time. But, if there are industries which cannot be reorganised in ten or 15 years, with all the Government aid available to them, so as to be able to meet fair competition in the home market, then they are certain to disappear anyway and it is time we set about replacing them with industries with a brighter future and higher export potential. That is the work we are now going to start on. That is the work that now has to be organised.

I spoke on Monday last to a group of leading industrialists and referred to the project of the National Industrial and Economic Council who were considering the setting up of development councils for each industry, councils which will be representative of managers and workers and whose task it will be to plan the development of these industries and to ensure by their advice that Government policy is so aligned that it will facilitate the execution of their plans.

This is something of personal interest to me because about 20 years ago, I introduced a Bill to set up councils of [1951] that character, and got that Bill through the Dáil against the bitter opposition of the Fine Gael Party but with the co-operation of the Labour Party, and then there was a change of Government before the Bill was enacted and, of course, the idea died then.

Mr. Cosgrave: Information on Liam Cosgrave Zoom on Liam Cosgrave You never received it.

The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass Zoom on Seán F. Lemass It was the Coalition Government who killed it.

Mr. Cosgrave: Information on Liam Cosgrave Zoom on Liam Cosgrave You never revived it.

The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass Zoom on Seán F. Lemass I must say, I was thoroughly disappointed at the attitude of the Labour Party at that time in letting it be killed. The idea is coming back to life now. The trouble is, I am always 20 years before my time.

Deputies have been speaking about their concern for the preservation of employment. Our concern is the expansion of employment by the development of new industries. I believe that this Agreement marks the beginning of a new era of industrial expansion in Ireland.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman One hundred thousand jobs.

The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass Zoom on Seán F. Lemass I believe it is true that it is along the road on which we are now starting that we can set up in Ireland industries that will be capable of giving far greater employment than anything we ever previously conceived as possible in the industrial sphere, industries that will be thoroughly efficient, that will be able to put their products into every market in the world and get sale for them on their quality and cost. Those are the kinds of industry we want, the kinds of industry that will survive; those are the kinds of industry we are now going to get. Our aim is to make Ireland as significant a producer and exporter of industrial goods as any of the smaller countries in Europe, countries territorially smaller than ours—Belgium, Holland, Denmark. There is no reason why we should not aim to set up plans to bring about in this country the same degree of industrial activity as they have already accomplished and we are [1952] certainly not going to settle for anything less than that.

The task of a Government is to arrange for Trade Agreements which will open up the prospect of markets abroad for the production of these new industries and the expanding production of the older industries. Would anybody in his sane mind invest money in a new enterprise or the expansion of existing enterprises unless he could see as a result of inter-Governmental agreements a market for the commodities he was going to produce? That is what this Agreement is intended to provide. That is what it does provide.

We hoped this assurance of markets for our expanding production, industrial and agricultural, would have been secured through our membership of the European Economic Community. It still may be but I do not think we can afford to stand still until these European Powers have resolved their differences so as to make this possible for us and I do not think, in any event, that we should stop our preparations for that inevitable situation just because some Deputies dislike the prospect of having to face changes. Why should we allow these disputes between other countries to determine our fate? Why should we allow them to stop our progress at this time?

If we sought to achieve a Free Trade Agreement with Great Britain at this time, it is not only because the bulk of our exports go to Great Britain, and always will so far as it is possible to foresee, but because there is no other country or no other group of countries that is willing to make a similar agreement with us at this time. It is true that we could go into the Common Market this year on the basis of signing the Rome Treaty, accepting the obligations of that Treaty, and applying the common external tariff against Great Britain. That is open to us. If we did not take that course, it is because we did not think it would be in our interests to do so. We could have joined the European Free Trade Association at any time but it would have been the height of folly to have done so until we had made an agreement with Britain covering our trade in agricultural goods.

[1953] We cannot join the European Economic Community now. We cannot even have useful discussions with that Community now and will not be able to have discussions with them until they have resolved their present difficulties and settled the method and direction of their future development together.

Eventually, we believe that this Agreement we have made with Great Britain will be absorbed in membership of the European Economic Community and when that becomes possible, we will, because of this Agreement, be able to go into the European Economic Community with far greater confidence, in full equality with the other nations in it, equality of status and equality of capacity for achieving the economic progress it will make possible.

If the difficulties which have stopped the progress of the European Economic Community since July of last year persist so as to create doubts as to the future of that Community, that will be a new situation. It is our conviction, however, that the economic unification of Europe is inevitable, that the forces making for this are irresistible and that our duty at this time is to make sure that we are ready for it when it comes. That is why we are now embarking upon this policy; that is why we made this Agreement.

Ireland's independence will always be as real as our economic development makes it. Because this Agreement will promote our economic strength, it will thereby enhance our independence. By submitting our industrial organisation to the test of fair and free competition, we will not only ascertain its real strength and durability but will help to make it grow stronger. It is because we have confidence in the future of Irish industry, in its capacity to achieve a significant export business, in the capacities of our industrial managements, in the ability of our workers to acquire new skills, that we have no hesitation in deciding to accept the test of free trade, to face the effort of moving to a higher level of economic achievement and to win exports by the quality of our production and not by haggling or begging for preferences [1954] either in Britain or the European Economic Community or anywhere else.

I have had during my lifetime in Government many experiences of negotiating trade agreements, big and small, with the British Government. This is the first time ever that I did not have to go there to bargain from weakness, to plead for some concession or some preferential treatment, relying solely upon their goodwill in order to get it, but went there to make a fair agreement, an agreement tailored to our requirements as conceived by us in the light of our own estimation of our needs and assumptions as to the future course of world events.

I said earlier this evening that there was only one real issue before the Dáil but there is another issue, that is, whether we have faith in ourselves, faith in our capacity to organise our country effectively, faith in our ability to set up and develop industries as efficient as those of other countries, or whether we are going to content ourselves with a permanent position of inferiority in the world?

I recommend this Agreement to the Dáil as a good agreement. Those who have faith in our future will vote for it. Those who have not do not count.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin I am putting the question: “That the words proposed to be deleted stand”.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish In which amendment?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin I am putting a question which covers the two amendments because the two amendments are identical—to delete certain words after “Dáil Éireann”.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish No.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin That has been the procedure of the House all down the years and I am putting the question——

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish It is not the procedure.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin Just a moment. I am putting the question as the question has always been put in [1955] similar circumstances all down the years: “That the words proposed to be deleted stand”.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish May I raise a point of order? I was informed by the Ceann Comhairle today that the Fine Gael motion would be put first. The motion would be put as you have put it—“That the words proposed to be deleted stand”. I was told that then the motion in the name of the Taoiseach would be put. We are prepared to take the consequences, but we want to vote against the Agreement. We want to have an opportunity of voting against the motion proposed by the Taoiseach. If we can have that agreement——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin The motion will be put after we have disposed of the amendments. I have said that amendments have been moved to the Taoiseach's motion to delete all words after “Dáil Éireann” and to insert other words.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish Deputy Cosgrave's amendment now.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin This covers both amendments.

The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass Zoom on Seán F. Lemass The motion will be put separately.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully The motion must be put separately.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin I want to tell the Leader of the Labour Party that the two amendments are identical——

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish They are not.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully Fine Gael approve of the Agreement but we do not, and the Ceann Comhairle has already given us a ruling that the amendments will be taken separately.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin There can be no separate decision on the amendments but Deputies will get an opportunity of voting for or against the main motion.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully That is not [1956] sufficient. Why is the Ceann Comhairle not present on a vote like this?

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish How can you mingle both Deputy Cosgrave's amendment and mine? Deputy Cosgrave said they are in favour of the Agreement because it will bring certain results. We say we do not approve of the Agreement because it will have a certain effect. Surely you cannot put these two together?

The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass Zoom on Seán F. Lemass Does the Deputy want his amendment or not?

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish I want an opportunity to vote on it and I do not want to be associated with an amendment that approves the Agreement.

The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass Zoom on Seán F. Lemass This arrangement facilitates the Opposition.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully On the table in front of you, Sir, there is an advice saying the amendments are to be taken separately. The Ceann Comhairle has given us that ruling.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin There is no separate decision on the amendments for the reason that both amendments seek to delete the same words from the motion.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish No.

Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins Zoom on Seán Collins There is no Standing Order in relation to it at all.

The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass Zoom on Seán F. Lemass The Labour Party may not understand that there will be a second vote on the motion.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish The Ceann Comhairle assured me this afternoon that Deputy Cosgrave's amendment would be put first and, on the assumption that the Government Party carried the day, our amendment then would not be put——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin That is so.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish ——but we would have an opportunity of voting on the Taoiseach's motion. But our amendment is not going to be mingled with Deputy Cosgrave's. It must be abundantly clear, even to the back benchers of the [1957] Fianna Fáil Party, that the Fine Gael Party are not going to vote against the Agreement. We want to vote against the Agreement.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan Zoom on Stephen Coughlan Completely and absolutely.

The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass Zoom on Seán F. Lemass And the Deputies will get a chance to do that.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin The Deputies will get an opportunity of voting against the motion.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish On the assumption, Sir, that you put Deputy Cosgrave's amendment now

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin If Deputy Cosgrave's amendment falls, then the Deputy's amendment also falls because they are similar——

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish As long as you make it clear to the House——

Mr. Aiken: Information on Frank Aiken Zoom on Frank Aiken I think the Deputy is afraid of winning the vote.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman Zoom on Gerard Sweetman Could the Taoiseach not send him back to Tibet?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin Will Deputies allow me to put the question? I am putting the question: “That the words proposed to be deleted stand.”

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish In the first amendment?

The Taoiseach: Information on Seán F. Lemass Zoom on Seán F. Lemass If the House decides that the words stand, then they stand, and there cannot be a second amendment.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish This is Deputy Cosgrave's amendment that is being put now. Is that right?

[1958]An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin I am putting the question: “That the words proposed to be deleted stand”.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish What words?

Deputies: All words.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin I will explain again to the Deputy. To the Taoiseach's motion, amendments have been moved to delete all words after “Dáil Éireann”. I am putting the question: “That the words proposed to be deleted stand”.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish In Deputy Cosgrave's amendment?

An Ceann Comhairle took the Chair.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan The motion before the House is:

That Dáil Éireann approves 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.

To this motion, there is an amendment. I am putting the question: “That the words proposed to be deleted stand”.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish Before you put the question, may I ask if this is Deputy Cosgrave's amendment which is being put?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan That is right.

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

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan That is the only one that was technically before the House.

Question put.

The Dáil divided: Tá, 66; Níl, 38.

Tá.

Aiken, Frank.
Allen, Lorcan.
Andrews, David.
Blaney, Neil T.
Boland, Kevin.
Booth, Lionel.
Boylan, Terence.
Brennan, Joseph.
Brennan, Paudge.[1959]Crinion, Brendan.
Cronin, Jerry.
Crowley, Flor.
Crowley, Honor M.
Cunningham, Liam.
Davern, Don.
de Valera, Vivion.
Dowling, Joe.
Egan, Nicholas.
Fahey, John.
Fanning, John.
Faulkner, Pádraig.
Fitzpatrick, Thomas J. (Dublin South-Central).
Flanagan, Seán.
Foley, Desmond.
Gallagher, James.
Geoghegan, John.
Gibbons, James M.
Gilbride, Eugene.
Gogan, Richard P.
Haughey, Charles.
Healy, Augustine A.
Hillery, Patrick J.
Hilliard, Michael.
Breslin, Cormac.
Burke, Patrick J.
Calleary, Phelim A.
Carter, Frank.
Carty, Michael.
Childers, Erskine.
Clohessy, Patrick.
Collins, James J.
Cotter, Edward.[1960]Kenneally, William.
Kennedy, James J.
Kitt, Michael F.
Lalor, Patrick J.
Lemass, Noel T.
Lemass, Seán.
Lenihan, Brian.
Lenihan, Patrick.
Lynch, Celia.
Lynch, Jack.
McEllistrim, Thomas.
MacEntee, Seán.
Meaney, Tom.
Millar, Anthony G.
Molloy, Robert.
Mooney, Patrick.
Moore, Seán.
Nolan, Thomas.
Ó Briain, Donnchadh.
Ó Ceallaigh, Seán.
O'Connor, Timothy.
O'Malley, Donogh.
Smith, Patrick.
Wyse, Pearse.

Níl.

Barrett, Stephen D.
Barry, Richard.
Belton, Luke.
Belton, Paddy.
Burton, Philip.
Byrne, Patrick.
Clinton, Mark A.
Collins, Seán.
Coogan, Fintan.
Cosgrave, Liam.
Costello, Declan.
Costello, John A.
Creed, Donal.
Crotty, Patrick J.
Dillon, James M.
Dockrell, Henry P.
Dockrell, Maurice E.
Donegan, Patrick S.
Donnellan, John.
Dunne, Thomas.
Fitzpatrick, Thomas J. (Cavan).
Gilhawley, Eugene.
Governey, Desmond.
Harte, Patrick D.
Hogan O'Higgins, Brigid.
Kenny, Henry.
L'Estrange, Gerald.
Lindsay, Patrick J.
Lyons, Michael D.
McLaughlin, Joseph.
Murphy, William.
O'Donnell, Tom.
O'Hara, Thomas.
O'Higgins, Michael J.
O'Higgins, Thomas F.K.
Reynolds, Patrick J.
Ryan, Richie.
Sweetman, Gerard.

Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Carty and Geoghegan; Níl: Deputies Thomas Dunne and L'Estrange.

Question declared carried.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan The second amendment may not now be moved, the first having been defeated. I am now putting the Government motion.

Question put: “That Dáil Éireann approves 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”.

The Dáil divided: Tá, 66; Níl, 19.

Tá.

Aiken, Frank.
Allen, Lorcan.
Andrews, David.
Blaney, Neil T.
Boland, Kevin.
Booth, Lionel.
Boylan, Terence.
Brennan, Joseph.[1961]Collins, James J.
Cotter, Edward.
Crinion, Brendan
Cronin, Jerry.
Crowley, Flor.
Crowley, Honor M.
Cunningham, Liam.
Davern, Don.
de Valera, Vivion.
Dowling, Joe.
Egan, Nicholas.
Fahey, John.
Fanning, John.
Faulkner, Pádraig.
Fitzpatrick, Thomas J. (Dublin South-Central).
Flanagan, Seán.
Foley, Desmond.
Gallagher, James.
Geoghegan, John.
Gibbons, James M.
Gilbride, Eugene.
Gogan, Richard P.
Haughey, Charles.
Healy, Augustine A.
Hillery, Patrick J.
Brennan, Paudge.
Breslin, Cormac.
Burke, Patrick J.
Calleary, Phelim A.
Carter, Frank.
Carty, Michael.
Childers, Erskine.
Clohessy, Patrick.[1962]Hilliard, Michael.
Kenneally, William.
Kennedy, James J.
Kitt, Michael F.
Lalor, Patrick J.
Lemass, Noel T.
Lemass, Seán.
Lenihan, Brian.
Lenihan, Patrick.
Lynch, Celia.
Lynch, Jack.
McEllistrim, Thomas.
MacEntee, Seán.
Meaney, Tom.
Millar, Anthony G.
Molloy, Robert.
Mooney, Patrick.
Moore, Seán.
Nolan, Thomas.
Ó Briain, Donnchadh.
Ó Ceallaigh, Seán.
O'Connor, Timothy.
O'Malley, Donogh.
Smith, Patrick.
Wyse, Pearse.

Níl.

Casey, Seán.
Cluskey, Frank.
Corish, Brendan.
Coughlan, Stephen.
Desmond, Eileen.
Dunne, Seán.
Everett, James.
Kyne, Thomas A.
Larkin, Denis.
McAuliffe, Patrick.
Mullen, Michael.
Murphy, Michael P.
Norton, Patrick.
O'Connell, John F.
O'Leary, Michael.
Pattison, Séamus.
Spring, Dan.
Treacy, Seán.
Tully, James.

Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Carty and Geoghegan; Níl: Deputies Casey and Pattison.

Question declared carried. The Dáil adjourned at 12.15 a.m. until Tuesday, 25th January, 1966.


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