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Debate on Adjournment (Christmas Recess) (Resumed).

Thursday, 15 December 1966

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 226 No. 5

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Debate resumed on the following motion:

That the Dáil do now adjourn until Wednesday, 8th February, 1967.

—(The Taoiseach).

Minister for Labour (Dr. Hillery): Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery I was saying that Deputy Briscoe was right in asserting that the record of this and former Fianna Fáil Governments in matters concerning the [617] workers was one of which we could be proud. It is no harm that something should be put on the record to show what has happened since Fianna Fáil Governments realised that the body of legislation inherited from the British was inadequate for the protection of Irish workers. The Fianna Fáil Government, through their brilliant Minister for Industry and Commerce, Deputy Lemass, undertook at that time a programme of legislation to protect the workers from the worst of the conditions from which they were suffering.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan Zoom on Stephen Coughlan The Minister is not in Kenmare now.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery Is the Deputy going to make a duet of this? We had the Conditions of Employment Act 1936 to regulate the conditions of employment of industrial workers——

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne In what year?

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery 1936—before the Deputy's time.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne Indeed, it was.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan Zoom on Stephen Coughlan He was in the Curragh at that time.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery Why?

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan Zoom on Stephen Coughlan Do not stick your chin out.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne In the Glasshouse.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery As I said, we introduced this Act to cover the conditions of industrial workers in regard to matters of the normal working week, shift work, overtime, night work and the like. This was followed by similar legislation in 1938 in relation to shops, the Shops (Conditions of Employment) Act, to give similar protection to workers in shops, restaurants, hotels and such like, and also to oblige employers to provide minimum sanitary and washing facilities, heating and seating accommodation for workers. The Industrial Relations Act of 1946, which was another Seán Lemass Act, set up——

Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins What about the Standstill Orders?

[618]Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery I need no assistance, I assure the House.

Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins The Minister seemed to jump to 1946.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey There is a big gap.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne Tell us about the Standstill.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery When we were not allowed to talk, the Deputy spoke freely enough. The Industrial Relations Act of 1946 set up the Labour Court and other machinery for the settlement of industrial disputes. The comprehensive Factories Act, although it did not reach the Statute Book until the second Coalition Government were in office, was drafted under the direction of Deputy Seán Lemass, as Minister for Industry and Commerce, and went through its Second Stage, but then had to start from scratch again. That was another Lemass production for the protection of the workers.

It provided an elaborate code dealing with the safety, health and welfare of workers, in factories, docks, buildings and engineering construction works. That Act provided for the establishment on a voluntary basis of safety committees in factories. Deputy Cluskey and other Labour Deputies have time and again criticised the lack of progress in setting up these committees and have put the onus on me. You cannot have a mulish attitude to life. The origin and purpose of these committees can be traced to a concept introduced into this Bill by the predecessors of the present Labour Deputies at the time it was introduced and it was for the purpose of conferring an initiative on the workers, not on the factory inspectors or the employers.

If the workers will not accept what I say in this matter—and I have experience that Labour Deputies are not inclined to accept what one says—I should like to quote Mr. Barry Desmond, who is Vice-President and Industrial Officer of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, speaking at the annual general meeting of the National Industrial Safety Organisation at Liberty Hall, Dublin, on 30th November, this year. He said:

[619] When this Act (i.e. the Factories Act) became law in 1955 a special and particular responsibility developed on the trade union movement. During the passage of the Act through the Houses of the Oireachtas very strong representations were made from the trade union movement to have embodied in the Bill provisions which would in some form or other, directly associate the workers in the factories with the actual application and enforcement of the legislative provisions.

As a result, section 73 of that Act provides that persons employed in a factory may select from among themselves a safety committee and may nominate one of their members as a safety delegate.... It is quite clear that the powers and functions of workers' representatives on those safety committees are extensive. Therefore there can be no excuse that because management may be lukewarm, because management may be indifferent or may indeed oppose safety procedures, action on the part of workers may not effectively be introduced.

Speaking on the same occasion, Mr. Desmond also said:

Therefore, the trade unions also have a major responsibility in promoting safe working in industry.... Union members should and indeed, in their own best interest, must co-operate in the observance of safety regulations even where they may seem irksome and unnecessary. However, lip-service and management/ labour safety co-operation and the strict observance of regulations are of little use unless a worker feels a direct and personal responsibility.

One is delighted to get an amendment and here is an amendment brought in or suggested by Labour Deputies to give an initiative to workers and here now are Labour Deputies asking me why I am not doing it.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne That is a bit hairy.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey The main reason for the delay is that the Minister's inspectors [620] ignore the safety delegate and consult only the management when they go to factories.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery You must go back to your predecessors who wanted to see that the workers had the initiative in setting up these committees.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey Yes, but what happens when they are set up?

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery I am making a journey through the various legislative actions of Fianna Fáil to protect the workers.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne The Minister is missing several ports.

(Interruptions.)

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery We had the Office Premises Act in 1958. Last year or the year before under the present Taoiseach, the Mines and Quarries Act was completed. I took the stage after the election last year in the Seanad. This extends the same protection to mine and quarry workers as industrial workers had under the Factories Act. Only a few days ago, I addressed the first meeting of the advisory council appointed under the Act. The Holidays (Employees) Act which gives workers legal entitlement to a minimum of a fortnight's holiday with pay additional to public holidays was passed under Fianna Fáil Government in 1961.

The Apprenticeship Act of 1959 was introduced and passed through the Oireachtas by the present Taoiseach when he was Minister for Industry and Commerce. This has been singularly successful in providing better methods of recruiting and training apprentices over a wide range of industries. The experience gained with that Act has been most useful in framing the Industrial Training Bill which the House dealt with last night. This is an impressive list of legislation and fully proves that Fianna Fáil are the Party concerned with the workers and the result of the elections proves that the workers see that.

Mr. Briscoe: Information on Ben Briscoe Zoom on Ben Briscoe Deputy Cluskey should open his eyes.

[621]Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery The establishment of a separate Department of State with staff specially recruited for this work should further facilitate the work of Fianna Fáil Government for workers. It is true that the unions in their activities, together with enlightenment of managements, have tended to make unnecessary some of the provisions of protection of earlier legislation but I intend, in consultation with those concerned, to go over all the legislation and amend it where this is found to be appropriate.

At present the Government are proceeding on the basis that the road to better industrial relations lies to a large extent in allaying the fears of workers and giving them the greatest possible degree of security, and to that end I am strengthening the factory inspectorate so that the health, safety and welfare of workers may be better looked after. I am widening the scope of the employment exchanges so that in reality they will become agencies for placing persons in employment. As the House knows, I am promoting legislation for training and re-training so that workers can change jobs more easily. This legislation has now passed through the Dáil and will go to the Seanad when that body next meets. Drafting is at an advanced stage on a Redundancy Compensation Bill to help to tide redundant workers over a difficult period while getting new jobs. The implementation of Government proposals in all these areas should bring about a greater feeling of security among workers and induce a better climate in industrial relations. I hope it will reduce the incidence of disputes. As the House knows, I am also engaged in detailed discussions through officers of my Department with the trade union movement and the employer organisations to see what improvements in our machinery for processing pay claims can be worked out.

The Taoiseach referred to this this morning. Although the workers now may seem to be less in need of State-provided protection than their predecessors were from the exploitation of bosses and the excesses of the system that came in with the industrial [622] revolution, their need for protection has not in any way disappeared. In some respects the modern worker may be exposed to greater dangers than his underprivileged and unfortunate counterpart of earlier generations; there is much danger to health and limb in the handling of new substances and the management of modern machines. Also, there are more risks that are not easily articulated but I think every worker is now aware of the risks to himself involved in the strike process.

Some workers may still be under the impression that in pressing a demand to the point of strike, they are hurting their employers. In actual fact, I honestly believe that a strike now hurts workers of all kinds, including the workers on strike, much more than anybody else. I have often said that the employer is very often the least effected by a strike. The public may be inconvenienced, customers may go somewhere else, orders may be lost and the worker himself may be impoverished, but the managing director still gets his salary and still drives around in comfort. I think the working out of legislation by me and my officers with the trade union movement and the employer organisations is one of the protections which the modern worker needs because of the fact that the strike weapon now seems to be turning on the worker and away from the employer.

There is another danger which is for the trade union itself to look at, that is, the failure of workers generally to take an interest in trade union activities. If we want any evidence that workers generally are not taking an adequate part in the union activities, I have only to refer to a report I read yesterday of the annual general meeting of an important Irish trade union. The attendance at the meeting was only three per cent of the total membership. From informal inquiries I have made, having read that, I believe this is not by any means a unique experience.

Trade unions rightly pride themselves on being democratic organisations, but how can democracy work, I ask you, if 97 per cent of the people [623] concerned opt out of the affairs of the organisation and leave it to the remaining three per cent to take decisions about who will be the officers, what will be the policy, how we will govern our union? I submit this is a situation fraught with danger for the workers. Despite their assertions and posturings, trade union officials and executives holding office by the vote of three per cent or less of the membership of a trade union can scarcely claim a consensus for the opinions they express and the statements they make. They can hardly be blamed, therefore, if sometimes they take up positions which appear to be at variance with the interests of their members. I would consider it my duty to encourage workers to avail of their rights as members of a trade union, to participate in its affairs, to offer themselves for service in the control of the trade union and, if elected, to help to formulate and carry out the policies of the union.

I reluctantly go back to the by-elections. Deputy Kyne asked me to ascertain if the Taoiseach did in fact say in Dungarvan—and this is Deputy Kyne's statement—that the unions would have done better to build houses with the £1 million they spent on Liberty Hall. Deputy Kyne said he heard the Taoiseach said that. I asked the Taoiseach about it, and the Taoiseach said he never did say that. I am glad to have the opportunity of letting Deputy Kyne know that. Whoever made it up, it was not one of our crowd.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey You did say everything else?

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery Some of his own crowd must have thought that up. To finish on the by-elections, we have been told that we have too many supporters, too many Ministers, too many TD's, too much money, too many cars——

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey Too many votes.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery The only thing they did not say was: “Change generals and we will fight you all over again.” Now they know the man they thought could not [624] do it has done it and they are not saying anything about him now.

Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins Zoom on Seán Collins I hope that the purpose of this debate is rather a review of what the Government are not doing than a re-hash of the by-elections. I am not a bit squeamish about the by-elections. Fianna Fáil have won them. The methods they used to win them are not new to Fianna Fáil: they are part of the skulduggery in which they have grown up. We cannot very well cavil at the continual use by them of those methods. It does not alter the fact that they have won two seats. Neither does it alter the fact that we have to face the review of a bleak situation in the economy of the country. We cannot take the by-elections out of their perspective. In many ways Fianna Fáil got two lucky constituencies and, fair play to them, where they could not talk policy, they talked hurling, and six medals in a row was a great pull, and good luck to him. Apparently there is a fairly good hurling vote in parts of Waterford, too. There is one thing you cannot take from the Taoiseach, and I would not dream of taking it from him: he is one of the best hurlers I ever saw in my life and I saw all of those six matches and lustily urged him on to win them.

However, I am here to come to grips with the difficult economic situation that has arisen and what prospect there is of a resuscitation and of the Government dealing with the problems involved. I am going to deal with the difficulties as they are known to me. From reports from my constituency, there is no doubt that the situation of the small farmer is very difficult and ragged. It is easy for people to talk, as the Minister for Finance, in his new office as controller of the Agricultural Credit Corporation, does airily: “They will get up to £500 to tide them over their difficulties.” That is a lie, and he knows it. More than half of them are refused and by the time they have made re-application and by the time they have used every method to get it, their difficulties have become virtually insurmountable. The problem does exist where people are over-stocked and cannot get rid of their [625] cattle. They are not in a position to carry them because they have not the feeding stuffs. This is an actual consequence of the Fianna Fáil outlook on agriculture. They do not give a fiddle-de-dee as to what the situation of the small farmer is going to be.

Their history, despite the arguments put forward by the Minister for Labour in regard to the Lemass plan for industry, does not bear any scrutiny at all in regard to agriculture because it starts with the cutting of the calves' throats and the flogging of hides. We are now in the position that we have more scrub cattle in the country than we ever had before. The market is depressed so that the good type of cattle that should have been disposed of from October to now and should be part of the income of the farmer to tide him and his family over the Christmas festivities, represents a nightmare and a constant worry. It is easy to say: “We won the by-elections in Kerry and in Waterford,” but it does not alter the fact that this problem is there and that its solution is of paramount importance to the whole economy.

I stuck my chin out here, as I have often done, in regard to the £15 grant for heifers. I said this scheme was going to make the big farmer richer an inure to the benefit of the person who could buy in large stocks of heifers and could afford to carry them, particularly on extensive uninhabited grazing farms, as is true of many of the very big cattle buyers and cattle graziers in this country. It was the big farmer and the big buyer who reaped the benefit of this scheme and now the position is that where normally there might have been the usual take-up of the type of stock that we reared in West Cork and South Kerry by the big graziers, they are over-stocked themselves. That market is gone and the unfortunate small farmers in areas like West Cork or South Kerry cannot get rid of their stocks even at sacrificial prices. Many of them have literally to give away their stock rather than let them starve to death between this and the time the Minister says prices will improve, at the end of February or the beginning of March.

[626] We had that type of problem before and the position got worse. That is not by-election talk. Those are the facts in regard to what is happening on the land, and I am quite sure the Minister for Labour is aware of quite a lot of it in Clare. I hope the Government will try to get some outlet for this type of stock. No doubt there will have to be very rigid control, quickly introduced, of the widespread breeding we have in the country at present or the tremendous efforts made to improve our stock will be nullified by the creation of doubtful scrub cattle. Indeed, we may have the problem of having to re-investigate much of the work done in respect of the eradication of TB and other cattle diseases, and, I might add, so successfully done under both Governments in the past 15 or 20 years.

There is no good blowing trumpets. The battle is over. It is now a question of trying to tread lightly on the dead in the valley. The dead in the valley in my constituency, and in South Kerry, are likely to be cattle that cannot be fed in the course of the next few months because the reserves are not there. The people have not the capacity to hold on. I know it will be said that the farmers have had ten or 12 good years. You make all sorts of apologies for the present difficulties. But the fact remains that any of us who really understand the difficulties of the small farmer know his reserves are never sufficient to tide him over in this kind of difficulty. The Government must bear considerable responsibility for this difficulty. Not only did they encourage an increase in cattle stocks, but they encouraged holding on to stocks at a time when even then the sacrificial loss would have been more economic than the dire consequences facing many small farmers now.

The tragedy of the situation is that it arises at a time when there is, because of its hazards and difficulty, a tremendous flight from the land. At a time when we should be in a position to improve technical skill in agriculture, we are losing from the land of Ireland the young people who could benefit from that expertise. At the [627] same time, the economic hazards and difficulties are highlighted by the problem of the impracticability of selling stock which must be got rid of. In addition, there is the difficulty constantly arising of the ever-increasing price of feeding stuffs and the cost of distribution. At the same time, there is no stability of any description in the prices the farmers receive for the finished product.

I know that Deputies representing small farmers, if they are not bound by Party, will fully agree with the case I am making. We know the difficulties of the small farmer. We know there is an immense problem to be faced in agriculture that goes further than the present difficulties in relation to cattle prices. We know there is a huge problem to be faced in connection with the resettlement and the improvement of holdings of the people who will stay on the land. There has to be a comprehensive plan to put into rural Ireland something to absorb the people who will become redundant on land resettlement. There must be a huge impetus in forestry and its ancillary industries to enable us to hold population in rural Ireland at all. We are getting away from the reality of having to come to grips with this serious national problem vitally associated with the haemorrhage of emigration.

We have to get down to the problem of getting farmers into the groove of improved production on a practical economic basis and, at the same time, getting them to meet the competition they must meet as markets widen and as Europe becomes more and more an integral unit rather than a series of separate nations. It is not who won South Kerry or who won Waterford that should be agitating our minds today. It is who can bring about that rebirth of confidence in Irish agriculture that will give a stimulus to the increased production we all demand and give guidance and help to make sure that this basic industry can compete elsewhere while remaining the basic economy of the country.

In all our difficulties, whether they be concerned with balance of payments [628] or export versus import, we always fall back on the tough, hard core of Irish agriculture to pull us out of these difficulties. I shall deal later with the industrial side. The major question I want to put to the Government is: what basic plan have they for the development of our agriculture? What are to be the guide-lines for the future development of the samll farmer, so that he will not continuously find himself faced with a difficulty in his own economy which we should have been able to warn him against and, in the main, save him from?

The situation of the small farming community at present is very serious. It is all the more serious because it arises at a time when stability was never more necessary in the industry in order to provide a starting off point for the type of development necessary to face competition in EEC, EFTA or a completely integrated Europe in the course of the next five, ten or 15 years. What are we to do with all our surplus cattle? What are we going to do to eliminate the danger created by the number of scrub cattle in the surplus cattle? I want the Government to do some practical thinking on that problem and to produce a solution. It is their task.

You will tell us you have a new mandate by virtue of by-election wins for that task. My questions here is: “What will you do about it?” You are the Government. What am I to tell Willie McCarthy down at the top of Sheep's Head or the O'Donovan clan at the bottom of Castledonovan, or the small farmer in Beara when I go back there? What is he to do with his stock now on his hands which he cannot get rid of? Where is he to find the stuff to feed it, to carry it until next spring? Is there some magic wand that will suddenly be waved in these areas and deliver various types of gratuitous feeding stuffs for them? That is the problem I want the Government to face—not the catcalls of election stunting.

As I said, I am not squeamish. I do not mind that the Government use their resources of power, money, [629] vested interests and everything else for the purpose of gaining political advantage. My only regret is that we were not strong enough to beat them at their own game. I am not afraid of Fianna Fáil tactics in any circumstances. A little bit of in-fighting is very healthy now and again. But it is not in-fighting that the unfortunate people want who are in this difficulty that I am now telling the Government, in all sincerity, is escalating into a really big problem. They want some substantial help if they are to tide themselves over the difficulty, and that is true of every small farming area in this country. The tragedy of it all is that it is that type of small farmer who up to this, has been the real backbone of our agricultural economy. It was that type of farmer who produced all the stock we once needed for our store trade and for our fat beef trade.

Somebody has to make a very proper re-appraisal of our animal husbandry situation so that we shall not be put in the position that we shall rush farmers into tremendous increases and then do absolutely nothing about finding any market into which they can go at a reasonable profit. In fact, we are in the position now that we have no market at all for them. Even though pretentious and tremendous boasts were made of what the new free zone would do, all we have succeeded in doing for Irish agriculture this year, under the manipulations and gyrations of the former Minister for Agriculture, has been to get ourselves into difficulties even on the home market. For the first time in our history, we read that English, Scottish and Welsh producers, and all the rest of them, have come into open conflict with the Irish salesmasters because of our timing and our wrongly attempted exploitation of the British market. That is a very serious problem. It is one that is away above the thrust and parry of our political present or our political future. I want to keep it on that basis.

There is nobody in this House who does not know that nobody will enjoy by-elections and political contests better than I will. I take to the hustings as a politician should—with his neck well oiled and his heart well steeled. [630] They are the occasions on which we have to show our worth individually in our avocation. But here, in the Dáil on this debate, I feel that we should have a deliberative look at very big problems that are facing what we all agree is our basic industry, agriculture.

People think, and think erroneously, that all is well in the dairying side of our industry. There is no doubt at all that an effort was made to ameliorate a very old and difficult problem in the dairying industry. There has been some adjustment in price that has taken, one might say, the immediate dire urgency out of the problem. However, that does not change the fact that, again, we have to face the reality that there must be rapid diversification of milk outlets and an upward adjustment of price to make the present situation economic.

I do not want to sound like the weeping Willie of agriculture. I am a great believer in the fact that the Irish small farmer, in particular, his sons, daughters and the people who get their living on the land, are a resilient, a great breed. They are our forefathers, thank God. None of us, outside the Dublin Deputies, if we really analyse it, is more than a generation or a generation and a half away from the land of Ireland. We can take pride in our forbears and in the fact that those of ours on the land will always give that little effort and make that sacrifice when the national interest is in need of it. Because of that, I am asking for a dispassionate, objective, realistic look at what is needed to put agriculture back on the kind of sound economic basis it was on only a few years ago.

We may make political capital out of what each Government has done. I can with pride refer to land reclamation and development, the development of small drainage schemes, the Local Authorities (Works) Act, the rumbling of lorries throughout the State carrying the ground limestone to achieve Deputy Dillon's concept of the improvement of our lands. We want to ensure, no matter what Government is here, that these people will get a continuation of these benefits and that what they produce, in many cases in very adverse conditions, will have a full and profitable market.

[631] I have said here on umpteen occasions, when there was no trumpeting of by-elections and no claims of this or that, that we faced the reality of giving to agriculture its fair return for its tremendous contribution to our general economy. Do not let fair advertisements or suddenly produced startling figures fool you. Agriculture is not getting in return the slice of the cake it merits for its contribution to our national effort. I am saying that with all the sincerity at my command. It does not matter whether we are over on the Government benches and the present Government are on the Opposition benches, I believe it is the duty of this House to ensure greater stability and continuous development in agriculture, particularly in advisory services, technical development, improved sales of cattle, sheep and pigs, improvement of quality and a market for the total quantity produced. If that can be done and if we can take a broad, objective, global look at the problem and get it into proper perspective and decide on the size of holding, the type of development, whether in zones or areas, and if we can get the farmers trained into the type of production decided upon, we will not have any difficulty, even after years of a Fianna Fáil Government, in getting the economy right.

We are making a reasonable effort on the industrial side in alerting manufacturers and others to the necessity for improved methods of production and improved quality of goods to meet the type of competition which they will undoubtedly meet. I am satisfied that, despite the temporary difficulties that it created, the imposition of the British levy was a salutary lesson to many people and brought them quickly to grips with the problems of adaptation and improvement of methods.

I am not a Labour Deputy but I have always believed and still believe that there are some of the finest industrial workers in the world available in Ireland. Basically, the worker has the strength of purpose, the capacity and the loyalty to give a worthwhile return to any employer who gives him proper [632] conditions, the right type of incentive and the right spirit of association in their mutual project. When we talk about fostering relations between management, workers and trade unions, we lose sight of the fact that there should be a common understanding that it is a mutual venture and that there should be a reasonable return to all sections engaged in that venture rather than that too great a slice of the cake should go to any one section.

When the Minister for Labour was speaking about industrial relations and the managing director continuing to get his salary and to drive around in his plush limousine while the worker, who was forced into a strike situation, might be creating difficulties and near penury for himself, he lost sight of the fact that it is because there is no real comprehension of the interdependence of the sections in industry that that situation arises. As long as my conscience is the way it is I will continue to express the view that I do not think it is a good thing that there should be any atmosphere of compulsion or “we will make you do it” created. The creation of the spirit that would encourage production is infinitely preferable to the bludgeoning that goes on in the type of society that we, with Christian tradition, abhor.

There are problems in the sphere of industrial relations but I earnestly believe that there is tremendous good in the workers and in the employers, and that there is a good deal of knowledge and experience in the trade unions, and we would be much better employed in applying ourselves to the task of using the goodwill that exists to create sensible industrial relations rather than in issuing threats of legislation where industrial relations are concerned. I am sounding the warning that over-anxiety to interfere with the fundamental rights and privileges of sections of society inevitably leads to the type of society that none of us wants to see imposed on this country.

Let us be realists before we go home for Christmas. It is not the easiest Christmas this country has faced. It is one of the most difficult for many a year. We have had a difficult year. [633] The Dáil is to adjourn for a while now and we may hope to see in the spring some suggestion of effort by the Government.

I want again to face the reality of the situation as we know it. The only suggestion we have had so far as to what the future policy of the Government may be is a startling negative one—the suggestion from the Minister for Finance to the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis that he is going to deal with his tax problems in the coming Budget on the basis of another belt of turnover tax. I am warning the Government that if they analyse some of the difficulties into which Blue Book No. 2 ran—Document No. 2 in blue—they will find that they go back to the turnover tax and to the difficulties that ensued therefrom. They had better have a very careful look before they create the situation that we will have an unwarranted increase in the cost of living, in a situation in which the Government are trying to get restraint from the workers in connection with just and in many cases overdue demands for wage increases, and hardship imposed on the biggest section of the community in the lower income group as distinct from taxation being levied on the people who may scream or shout but who in general have the broader backs to bear taxation, the wealthier section of the community.

I am warning the Government well in advance that this type of increase in turnover tax is no help to the economy and shows no initiative and leadership in a country which has found itself in tremendous difficulties on the agricultural side in the overproduction of cattle that cannot be sold, and, on the industrial side, in difficulties that could have been avoided but for the fact that there was no real appreciation of the problems created by certain lines of taxation, not only for management and labour but also in the sale of production.

We have to ask this Government to come to grips with reality. Go into any of our towns, to the shopkeepers and hear their reports on the Christmas trade. They are not very cheerful. [634] There is less money moving this Christmas than for a very long time. None of us likes to see an air of depression around Christmas time but it does make us take stock of the fact that there must be something wrong somewhere, that there must be some cancer in the economy that must be put right and that there must be somewhere leadership that will carry us out of this particular slough.

There is no good trying to equate our employment problems with those of Britain. We are trying to create employment here while they have the problem of overemployment. If we had that problem, perhaps we would deal with it in a different way from the way they are doing it in Britain but our own fundamental strength in our economy, whether on the agricultural or industrial side, does not alter the fact that the situation in this country is not good at the moment. We have difficulties in housing and in all aspects of local government. There is no money for this; there is no money for that. All over Ireland there are fewer people at work on the roads and in local government. There are smaller pay packets going into thousands of houses this Christmas at a time when prices have increased and when less money is going to buy far less.

There is difficulty and dissatisfaction generally among social welfare recipients. Disgusting and dishonourable are the only terms in which I can describe the 5/- increase in pensions which so many social welfare recipients have been denied because of Departmental regulations which create increases where no increase exists and which, when theoretically established, are sufficient to debar the unfortunate pensioner from getting his 5/-. It is no credit to this House that these people are not getting this benefit. I have always subscribed to the belief that this is the section of the community that should get the greatest bounty in our power to give them. Most of them have given a lifetime of service to this country, sufficient service to justify them expecting more than penury or a bare subsistence in their final years.

[635] I want to bring the House back to the problems that exist, back to the genuine difficulties of the Irish farmer which are as bad today as they were during the Economic War, back to all the difficulties that arise from Government ineptitude and departmental inefficiency, back to the reality, whether we accept it or not, that our whole economy has run into a great many unnecessary difficulties, many of which an intelligent and efficient Government would have taken steps to foresee and avoid, many of them caused by unreal and impractical thinking by people who should have ensured before they engaged in overproduction that there was a market for that production.

I will nail the Government for all time with the fact that they are from 70 to 80 per cent responsible for our overstocks of cattle. Ministers should not make promises and forecasts that have no basis in reality. It is even a fact that the cattle going to Germany could not be got out in time and, like a former Taoiseach, they have bunions on their toes waiting at the docks to be got out. The Fianna Fáil slogan is now dead. Lemass is no longer leading on. This Government seem to take great pride in the winning of the two by-elections but they still owe a duty to this nation to get the economy back into proper running order.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling Zoom on Joseph Dowling I would like to speak today as a trade unionist and a worker, as a member of the workers' party, the only Party with the interests of the workers at heart, and the Party who have proved this beyond all doubt by their efforts in the past, their work at the moment and their plans for the future. We can look forward with confidence; we can look back with pride. As the Minister for Labour pointed out, the only aids that came to the workers in the years after 1932 were the aids given them by the then Minister for Industry and Commerce. Deputy Seán Lemass. He was applauded by the trade union officials, by the workers and by the politicians on the opposite benches for his wonderful work. That same work is now critically condemned. [636] It is difficult to understand the criticism, particularly by members of the Labour Party, of the Minister for Labour on his indicating that during the period of industrial expansion, undertaken by the Fianna Fáil Government from 1932 onwards, it was the Fianna Fáil Government who wiped out sweated labour, ensured holidays with pay for workers, ensured better conditions of employment and brought about better industrial relations generally through the medium of various Acts passed by this House. The improvements may not be all that we would desire but the position of the workers today is certainly better than it was before, and that improvement is not due to any activity of the Labour Party or of the trade unions.

Deputy Lemass was a farseeing man. He was conscious of the rights of the workers and of the responsibility of Government. He was conscious of the necessity to improve the position of the worker and he brought about that improvement to the point of perfection at which it is today. There are still problems. There will be new problems in our developing situation. But, in the period from 1932 onwards, the only measure of relief afforded to the workers was that afforded by the legislation passed in this House by a Fianna Fáil Government. If every worker at the moment would give a moment's thought——

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey To Potez.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling Zoom on Joseph Dowling ——to the person who established the industry in which he is now standing, or improved it, he could come to only one conclusion, namely, that his employment in the industry today is due to Fianna Fáil. That is one of the reasons why the workers consistently support Fianna Fáil. In it there are men of courage, initiative and ability, who are prepared to implement their policy, despite the opposition of trade union organisations, the Labour Party and the Fine Gael Party. Remember, the Labour Party here do not represent the trade unions.

As a result of the industrial aids and the creation of improved conditions of employment, we have now arrived at [637] a point at which further industrial expansion is in process of planning. There are the proposed industrial estates in Waterford, Galway and elsewhere. The recent speeches of the Minister for Industry and Commerce clearly indicate the anxiety and the desire to increase the employment content in the industrial sector. As a trade unionist and a worker, I know that the time will come in the not too distant future when the plans now in process will be implemented. We shall then start planning for further ahead.

We have at the moment anti-national groups operating in this city who are opposed to certain developments. They are faceless men and they are operating not for the benefit of the worker, of the Labour Party, or the trade unions, and certainly not in the interests of the nation. They are prepared at every opportunity to distort statements made by Ministers and by Government spokesmen in an effort to prove that the Government are anti-worker. If this Government were anti-worker, I would not be a member of the Fianna Fáil Party, and they would not have had the consistent support they have had since 1932 of the workers. However difficult and however great the problems may be in the years that lie ahead, I believe that we will solve them and that we will provide further employment for those workers who will be waiting to take on new jobs.

Let us contrast the position today with the position when both Fine Gael and Labour had every opportunity to implement their policies. They had two bites of the cherry, one in 1948 and one shortly afterwards. What did they do? The Labour Party accepted ministerial office. Today, there is very little criticism of Ministers but a few weeks ago we heard the most scurrilous speeches by the Opposition in relation to competent, honourable and efficient men. That has ceased now. The 100-watt smile on the face of the Opposition has been reduced to 15 watts since the by-election. As time goes on, it will disappear altogether. They dug into the bottom of the bucket in an effort to find some mud that might stick.

[638]Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins Zoom on Seán Collins They found a hole in it.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling Zoom on Joseph Dowling The Labour Party believe they represent the workers. Perhaps they represent a section of the workers. Perhaps a section of the trade unionists vote for members of the Labour Party because they are nice guys. I know a fellow who said Frank Cluskey was a nice guy. People like him voted for Frank Cluskey and other members of the Labour Party in 1948, but they found, to their sorrow, that the Labour Party were prepared to align themselves with another group who were anxious to sabotage the very industries in which they were working and sell out the actual means of their employment. We know what happened to the planes. We know that had that trail of destruction continued, there would have been no employment left in the country. It took all the energies of Deputy Seán Lemass and other courageous members of the Fianna Fáil Party to re-establish the transatlantic air service and re-establish employment for over 5,000 workers.

The Labour Party in 1948 sold out the Irish worker and sent him packing. How can any member of that Party justify selling the means of employment of one single man? There is no answer. They hang their heads in shame. There is only one Labour Deputy occupying the Labour benches at the moment. I know his tactics: I shall deal with them in a moment.

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

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling Zoom on Joseph Dowling I was saying that when the inter-Party Government under John Aloysius Costello were in office and when the Labour Party had sold out for a couple of miserable Parliamentary Secretaryships and ministerial posts, they proceeded to crucify the worker, stab him in the back and sell his means of employment. What man with an ounce of guts could stand behind such a deliberate action, action intended to kill the industries which had been established? Some of the then Labour Party still occupy seats in [639] Dáil Éireann. It amazes me how they are re-elected. Certainly in the coming months the workers will be made aware of the 1948 atrocities, when the unfortunate worker was stabbed in the back. If Deputy Cluskey and his 100-watt smile, the first we have seen since the by-elections, thinks it funny that workers should be dispossessed of their means of employment, he is not the man I thought he was. He speaks on behalf of the lower income groups but he laughs when he hears about unfortunate men, who devoted a lifetime to learning a trade or craft, being dispossessed.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling Zoom on Joseph Dowling They were sold out in the chassis shop in Inchicore and elsewhere, but one wise thing they did was to put an auctioneer into the Department of Industry and Commerce to make sure he would sell the industries which had been established here by a Fianna Fáil Government. That was wise and intelligent, if you wanted to sell out. It was not the first time the Fine Gael Party sold out or the first time the Labour Party sold out. Now we have the Leader of the Labour Party, Deputy Corish, who was a Minister in the second infamous Government of the Opposition, telling us about the requirements and the necessity for producing new jobs. This is a laugh. We are the only Government who produced jobs and we will continue to produce them, irrespective of internal or external sabotage by the Labour Party and the Fine Gael Party. We know that if Deputy Cluskey wanted to start a row in Dún Laoghaire, he would go down to Limerick and whisper to somebody there and then it would percolate in the usual way and the row would start in Dún Laoghaire.

We are aware of the irresponsible tactics used by anti-national groups in this country and some members of the Parties here have aligned themselves with these anti-national groups. Some documents have recently issued from these groups who have no interest in the Labour Party, in the workers, or in [640] the nation. The sooner the Labour Party sit down and examine their policy, as they are going to do, and their actions in the past, the better. We will make them aware of the problems which confront the workers now and which confronted them during the period when they had the opportunity of showing the nation that they were a Party really interested in the workers. A number of aids to improve industrial relations will soon be going through this House. I am convinced that some members of the Labour Party will hope that the legislation which is necessary to bring about industrial peace will not be effective, because if it was, they could not stand up and criticise Ministers for being inactive, although they themselves have been inactive since 1946.

I should like the Labour Party spokesman to indicate what the Labour Party have been doing since 1946 to improve industrial relations. What suggestions did they make here or elsewhere in this regard? They adopted a negative critical attitude. It is easy to criticise. Not one suggestion has come from the Labour Party which would bring about industrial peace. We all know the banshee crying that went on in Waterford and Kerry during the by-elections. The same people shed bitter tears here for the worker and the nation. As I said before, no worker would have confidence in a group of men who ruthlessly sabotaged their employment. The aids which the Minister for Labour will bring before the House, in the absence of any suggestions from the people who claim to represent the workers' interests, will bring about a better relationship between management and workers. I am quite sure that workers, who for one reason or another have strayed, and who have accepted the misleading propaganda of the Labour Party's political machine, will realise the position. That Party used every device to gull the workers. The day is not far distant, however, when the members of the Labour Party will get a rude awakening.

I was amused when listening to Deputy Kyne speaking about the terrible situation in Waterford. He spoke [641] also about the old age pensions and it was interesting to hear him, as well as other Labour Party and Fine Gael speakers, refer to these pensions. If I went down the street and robbed a shilling from an old age pensioner, I would be put in jail, but legally the Fine Gael Party were able to rob thousands of shillings from the old age pensioners and go scot free. These are the people who now talk about a 5/- increase for a few old age pensioners. The position was completely distorted during the by-elections by Fine Gael and Labour speakers. A certain amount of money was made available which was sufficient only to cover people without means. Labour and Fine Gael indicated that an unlimited amount was there and that everybody should have got it, but at the same time they voted against the necessary taxation to give any improvement to old age pensioners or others.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey The Deputy does not even know what happens in the House. We voted for it——

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling Zoom on Joseph Dowling You voted against the Budget.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey —but the people did not get it.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling Zoom on Joseph Dowling It is amazing that so many did.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey We supported any taxation introduced to help social welfare classes.

Mr. Davern: Information on Donal Davern Zoom on Donal Davern You did not. A fall of manna from heaven is hardly likely to be repeated.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey The Deputy need not be so vocal. He has got his Parliamentary Secretaryship. Deputy Dowling has not.

Mr. Davern: Information on Donal Davern Zoom on Donal Davern At least he is a member of the crew of an oceangoing liner and not second mate on a barge.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling Zoom on Joseph Dowling You voted against the necessary means of providing [642] benefits for the socal welfare recipients. We made available what was there.

We were glad to see, when we visited Waterford, that extensive work has been carried out in the development of the industrial estate there. In the course of time, it will probably equal the very large estate developed at Shannon, despite the opposition of certain people and Parties now in the House. There would be no Shannon had it not been for Fianna Fáil. There would have been another type of industry there, rabbit breeding or something of lesser importance. The rabbits would surely get myxomatosis in the same way as the workers got it when your people were in power.

I trust that the constructive approach by the Minister for Labour in seeking industrial peace and promoting a better relationship between workers and management will succeed, in the interests of the nation as a whole, and that the Labour Party will now take a responsible attitude to this problem. I do not know if that is possible. We do know, however, that a Party endeavouring to attract support by developing hate of groups or individuals or Parties, like any Party conceived in hate, must necessarily fall because the people of the country are intelligent. Deputies opposite underestimated them in Kerry and Waterford and they will certainly get their answer when the time comes.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey Next June?

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling Zoom on Joseph Dowling Once again, I say that the workers should ask themselves: “Who gave me my job? Why am I here?” If they did, they would go back to the great political machine which has their interests at heart. That is why I am a member of Fianna Fáil as a trade unionist and as a worker, and that is why the majority of the workers support Fianna Fáil, because they know that the interests of the worker are the interests of every member of the Party and of the Government and that unceasingly they will continue to investigate, develop and analyse new ideas and new methods of promoting industries. Under the very capable Minister for [643] Industry and Commerce, Deputy Colley, I am sure we shall see that developments in the future will equal, if not surpass, those of the past and that the same qualities of enthusiasm, energy, initiate and commonsense will be available to the nation under this fearless man in the years ahead.

Deputy Cluskey will be speaking in a few moments. I hope he will answer a few questions and that he will be able to tell us what the Labour Party are doing, or have done, regarding industrial relations. What suggestions have they made since 1946, since the Labour Court was established? They criticise the Court or accept it according as it suits them. An effort is now being made by a responsible Minister to improve the situation and there is certain criticism that the worker is about to be scourged. That is laid on the line by Labour Party members. I can understand Labour Party members who are trade union officials being completely out of touch with the ordinary workers. There are some very good union officials and some very good trade unions but the political group in this House is suspect.

One one occasion in the not too distant past, when a certain strike was taking place in the city, one of them was rubbing his hands out in the corridor and he said to me: “The longer this lasts the better it will be because it will bring you fellows to your knees”. That is the responsible attitude of a Labour member of the House. That was what he thought of industrial relations, what he thought of the men on strike and their families waiting for a wage packet to come in. He was glad to see it develop and the longer it lasted the better it would be for “the boys”. He did not think of the poor fellows out of work.

These people are completely out of touch with union members. I doubt if they have not a vested interest in strikes. If you examine the matter from a political point of view, if it can be seen to be good for you to prolong the strike, it can be prolonged. That is the view of some members but the responsibility of these members is to [644] ensure that the best conditions can be secured in the shortest possible time with the least disruption of employment. There has been unnecessary disruption in some cases by some people who are out of touch.

The ESB dispute was mentioned. It will probably be mentioned again but I am mentioning it first. I was asked what I thought of the ESB dispute. First, I should like to say that the men on strike, highly qualified technicians, working to a few thousand parts or the one-thousand part of an inch, had a valid claim for additional payment. What happened? The claim was made by trade union officials seeking parity with clerical workers, which is just like comparing an orange with an elephant. There is no comparison between technical men and clerical workers. I am sure that if the clerical workers were seeking increases, they would not compare themselves with temporary postmen or technicians. They would feel their own qualifications should be the means of justifying the increases. These unfortunate men were forced out on strike for one reason or another. I think it was a blunder of the trade union officials in formulating the claim to attempt to compare them with another group of workers where no comparison existed.

In the initial stages, I believe these men were entitled to an increase and could have made a case which, standing on its merits, would have been successful if properly made. That is one of the weaknesses in the system. Somebody in the trade union movement thinks he knows everything and that other people know nothing. I hope the next time the claim is made, it will be a realistic claim based on the facts as they are, a high degree of skill obtained over the years together with the increase in knowledge which they developed over the years to meet the technical advances within their workshops or within their calling. I am quite sure no reasonable employer could have stated that men with these qualifications were not entitled to some increase. Unfortunately the people who were handling the case were somewhat [645] responsible for the blunders that were made during that period.

The reason for the legislation has already been made clear by the Minister for Labour and been accepted by the great bulk of the workers and of the people of this nation. Quite recently we heard Deputy O'Leary, the new Leader of the Labour Party—it is “goodbye Brendan Corish” since last Saturday night—speaking on television. In this search for power they will not be using tomahawks: it is: “What size rope do you take?” In any event, it has already been accepted by the people as a whole that the action taken was the proper action. Deputy O'Leary's contribution on television was to ask why the hospital did not have an alternative source of supply. What about the farmers who have milking machines? Should they have a second source of supply?

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey They were in Merrion Street.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling Zoom on Joseph Dowling What about the refrigerators that carry all types of drugs and medicines? Should they have a second source of supply? What about factory workers who were being deprived of their livelihood because of a power cut? Should they have a second source of supply?

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey There was no need for the power cut.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling Zoom on Joseph Dowling Deputy O'Leary said they should have a second source of supply. Apparently it was all right, provided the hospital had a second source of supply. The lifeblood of this nation would have been stopped and that is what you people wanted, but it did not come off. There were babies in incubators, nurses running around with hot water bottles; you have heard about the man on the verge of a major operation. You were only concerned to discredit a responsible Minister.

Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins I object to this continued attack upon you, Sir.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin The Deputy should use the third person when addressing the House.

[646]Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey The Deputy should use a bit of intelligence.

Mr. Colley: Information on George Colley Zoom on George Colley That is your trouble, he is using it.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling Zoom on Joseph Dowling As I said before, the Labour Party are divorced from the situation on the floor, from the ordinary trade union worker. The position here in the Dáil is that they spend quite a lot of time here, a lot of time in local authorities, a lot of time in health authorities and in other bodies, and they could not possibly be up to date on the problems of the workers. I would say as a trade unionist in Dáil Éireann, irrespective of Party, I would be only too happy to help any trade union official or worker who has a problem and who feels I might be able to help him whether it be with a view to legislation here or in relation to problems in a place of employment. There are many problems that come before this House from time to time where the dice are loaded by the Labour Party who come along after consulting certain trade union officials about their problems, and lay them on the line. I am prepared, whether they wish to avail of my services or not, to help them. I am as good a trade unionist as any man in the Labour Party or in the Fine Gael Party—and there are trade unionists in the Fine Gael Party, too. I am prepared to listen to the worker or the trade union official in any trade union because I have an interest in all legislation and all matters affecting workers.

Fianna Fáil are the workers' Party and they are the only Party who have shown themselves in days gone by to have the workers' interest at heart. They have proved this by their efforts in establishing industries, in bringing in the necessary aids, by the Conditions of Employment Act, the Holidays Act and many other measures. The Minister for Labour referred to holidays with pay. I would remind Deputy Cluskey that that was the second Act we brought in. There was another one before that which gave seven days to the workers when they had no holidays at all. He did not mention that. The second Act gave them 14 days. The [647] silent service—no heckling; that is amazing. There was plenty of heckling here when we were discussing the Ministers of the Government. We heard all about their deficiencies.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey It is obvious that with the Deputy's limited intelligence he cannot carry on without feeding so I will cut off his source of supply.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling Zoom on Joseph Dowling I will give him another few in a moment. He will be able to make an excellent speech after this. He will be able to tell us about what happened in various industries.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey Aer Lingus.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling Zoom on Joseph Dowling That is only one. There was the development at Shannon when the Lockheed Group had to go to Paris; there was the closing of the chassis workshops at Inchicore, the selling of the equipment of the shortwave station. I could give the Deputy more but I will not bore the House. The Party of which the Deputy is a member are responsible for this destruction. There is a very different attitude today, as I said. We do not hear anything about tomahawks or hatchets or knives, although there was mention of them down in Waterford from two or three platforms.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey Down in Kerry, too.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling Zoom on Joseph Dowling The people of Waterford and Kerry were using the tomahawks when they returned the Fianna Fáil candidates in the recent by-elections. However, I do not wish to inflict any further wounds on the Parties other than to refer to a point made by Deputy Kyne. He mentioned the Labour support in Waterford. At the count I remember the Labour candidate indicating that he got all his support in Waterford city, in the industrialised section of Waterford. If this be so, then I must congratulate Deputy Kyne on keeping all his supporters away from the polls, because he cannot have it both ways. If the Labour support in the last election was in another area and it is not forthcoming this time and the candidate himself [648] says he got it in Waterford, then I want to convey my sincere congratulations to Deputy Kyne on the wonderful job he did in defeating his own man. He probably did not want him elected anyway.

We also saw down in Waterford, as I said before, the banshees of the Labour Party and the Fine Gael Party crying all over the county trying to terrify the poor “oul one” out in the hills, and when they were not successful, they brought down the fellows with the long hair.

Two Sundays ago in the 30 mph zone I saw the Fine Gael policymaker, Senator Garret FitzGerald, exceeding the speed limit by talking at the rate of 40 policies per hour. But it did not impress the people in the industrialised sector of Waterford. “Fad's the Lad” came out on top, and on this occasion there was no 12 per cent inducement, as you said there was on the occasion of the Cork and Kildare by-election. You played up the closing down of the Tramore railway line, the terrible dispute at Dunmore East and Passage and the closing down of the other railway to Cork. There was a farmer's candidate there with plenty of money to fire around. Notwithstanding that we were supposed to be spending all the money, more money was spent by the Opposition candidates than would support 20 of ours at a by-election.

A few days ago I wanted to put down a motion, which unfortunately would not be accepted, that Dáil Éireann had no confidence in the present Opposition and calling on them to resign. There are not so many of them around now and I was just wondering if they had taken my advice. However, I have not seen it stated publicly. But there are so few of them around here nowadays something must have happened somewhere. If they have not already done so, they might give serious consideration to this and over the week-end we might see big headlines in the newspapers. In any event, there will be a new policy. I am quite sure the policymakers will be working overtime, apart from exceeding the speed limit.

Deputy Kyne spoke about how difficult it was for CIE workers to have [649] their grievances rectified. He knows very well that the union group in CIE is so large, and you have to get so many people together in order to move on one small item, there is bound to be irritation caused through workers being unable to get the necessary satisfaction as quickly as they should. You people have it in your own hands to solve that problem. You can do it very quickly if you want to. I could give you a suitable remedy. The workers know there are many remedies. If you speak to a CIE worker today, you find he has a different view now from what he had six or 12 months ago in relation to the way he is being hog-tied by this group. They want to operate in their own way in their own time and have no concern for the small problems of workers. Small problems cause irritation. When the necessary machinery is there, we should try to ensure that the irritation is not great.

Of course, it may be that they want the worker irritated so that they can say it is the fault of the Government or of the Minister. They often say that here. I know there are responsible trade unions and responsible trade union officials. I would appeal to members of the Labour Party who are members of trade unions—I explained how some of you are not responsible —to take a leaf out of the book of responsible trade unions. If they did, they would not have to try to get a few votes by developing hatred of their fellowmen or hatred of a particular Minister of Government. You can say that is your policy, that you are going to assist the worker by pointing the finger at one Minister or another. That is what has you here in such small numbers. I am quite sure that in time commonsense will prevail. I hope the Labour Party at their meeting will consider their sooty past. I hold you responsible for the atrocities of 1948. You allowed a group that had sabotaged the nation before to do so again.

In conclusion, I wish to deal with old age pensions. The people without means got 5/- on this occasion. When the Leader of the Labour Party was Minister for Social Welfare, they did not get 5/—they got 10d a year. It [650] would take six years for the unfortunate person to get sufficient to measure up to this increase. Over the years the only advances that have taken place for the benefit of the weaker section of the community were measures implemented by various Fianna Fáil Ministers for Social Welfare. I should like to know from the Labour Party if they can point to one single measure brought in by them that brought relief to that section of the community. They are the Party who talk about social welfare. Their social thinking was 10d per year—the ten-penny Minister for Social Welfare. You could give a fellow a bob, anyway At least when the others took the bob off, they did not make it tenpence; they made it a round figure. If I took a bob off an old age pensioner, I would go to jail. They took it off thousands, and they went scot free.

As a worker and a trade unionist, I support this Party because it is the workers' Party. It is the only Party that has given the worker employment. When we establish factories and provide employment, the Labour Party surge in like flies and try to capture the workers. They say we are anti-worker, although it is we who are providing the employment. We would not be establishing factories and increasing employment if we were anti-worker. The Government in 1948 and at a later stage was anti-worker. I have told you did you were anti-worker. Not alone did you dispossess men, but you sold their very means of livelihood.

I hope Deputy Cluskey will tell us what plans, if any, the Labour Party have for the future. He will probably not be able to do so because the Party meeting to reconstitute the aims of the Party has not yet been called. Deputy O'Leary told us that the hatchet will have to be used and that certain people must be rooted out. They must have new thinking. That is a clear indication that the thinking in the past was not correct. If they had a proper policy in the past, it would have been acceptable to the workers. Deputy O'Leary is a member of the intellectual wing of the Labour Party. He is not on the side of Deputy Cluskey. Deputy Cluskey [651] may want our support at some time to keep back the flood. If he does, he can give us a shout. Just a week before, Deputy O'Leary was saying that the Labour Party policy was the best for the worker. The workers rejected their policy, and then it was no use. You were codding the workers, but you did not cod the workers of Waterford and Kerry and you certainly will not cod them in Dublin the next time.

Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins That is the sort of rubbish that passes for a political speech in this House, and applauded by the Fianna Fáil Party!

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey First of all, I should like to refer to the by-elections which have recently taken place. I must say that while I had heard of the Fianna Fáil political machine, I never fully realised how powerful that machine was until I saw it in operation in South Kerry. There is no doubt in the world about it, it is a powerful machine.

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

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey As I was saying, I did not fully realise how powerful the Fianna Fáil electoral machine was until I saw it in operation in both South Kerry and Waterford. I want to be quite honest. Before the by-elections, I did not think, in the circumstances, that Fianna Fáil could win both of them. It is a tribute to this election machine that they did. At a time when, through the policy of the Fianna Fáil Government, we had a crisis in housing, when we had a situation where it was impossible for a local authority to get money to build or to repair houses in need of repair by way of grants, at a time when we had the farmers of the country marching to Dublin as a protest against the policy of the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries of the Fianna Fáil Government, at a time when the old age pensioners very recently realised the confidence trick that had been played on them by the Minister for Social [652] Welfare with regard to the 5/- increase and at a time when we had a financial situation that made it impossible for small business people or any kind of business people to get any facilities by way of overdraft in the banks or anywhere else in order to carry on their business, when one considers that all these difficulties were brought about by the Fianna Fáil Government, one must pay tribute to the Fianna Fáil election machine which won the two by-elections. They were not won on policy. They were not won on past records. The same means were adopted to win the by-elections as would be adopted by a commercial concern to sell, for example, a soap powder or any other commodity, namely, by blitzing the area with all the very powerful resources available to the Fianna Fáil Party.

When one considers the amount of patronage they have handed out to their henchmen since 1932 and when the amount of vested interest is taken into account and when one fully realises all that was at stake for a few privileged people who had the money and the resources to put into these constituencies, it is only then that one can understand why Fianna Fáil won the two by-elections. There was too much at stake for these people to win the by-elections because a general election would undoubtedly—and even the Fianna Fáil people know this—have brought about a change with regard to who would govern the country. Fianna Fáil would no longer hold sway. Too many people would lose too many of the “perks” that have been handed out to allow that to happen and that is why Fianna Fáil won the by-elections.

We know that there is this new group of businessmen that has recently been formed to support the Fianna Fáil Party. Some 2,000 businessmen have pledged to subscribe £100 per year to the Fianna Fáil Party funds.

Mr. Cunningham: Information on Liam Cunningham Zoom on Liam Cunningham Make it £200 while you are at it.

Mr. Moore: Information on Seán Moore Zoom on Seán Moore Let us in on the secret.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey I am sure the Taoiseach could give you a list. I do not [653] say that he would give it to you but he could.

Mr. Andrews: Information on David Andrews Zoom on David Andrews Did the Taoiseach give you the list?

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan Zoom on Stephen Coughlan The first directors were mentioned in the daily papers. You are the last man to talk about “perks”.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey These people who are prepared to subscribe £100 a year to the Fianna Fáil Party are doing so because they know where their best interest lies, not the country's. It is a form of insurance. They are subscribing and have put their name to this list, pledging to subscribe, £100 per year, to ensure that all the little favours and all the little “perks” will continue. They are the same people as ensured that Fianna Fáil would win both by-elections.

Deputy Dowling spoke of the Fianna Fáil Party as the workers' Party. He opened his remarks by describing himself as a worker and trade unionist. He went on to make a vicious and unscrupulous attack upon certain individuals who are not even Members of this House. I should like Deputy Dowling or any other member of the Fianna Fáil Party or any person who votes for the Fianna Fáil Party who describes himself as a worker or as a trade unionist to bear in mind the record of the Fianna Fáil Government and their attitude to workers in the past. I would ask workers and trade unionists to keep this record in mind and to judge Fianna Fáil, not by the mumblings and mouthings of their spokesmen, whether at ministerial level or otherwise, as to their concern for the workers, but by their record and how they have behaved towards the workers.

Let us take a look, not as far back as the Minister for Labour had to delve in order to come up with something that might be described as being good for workers, not as far back as 1936, the year the Minister for Labour took here this afternoon as a start when describing the magnificent legislation that had been introduced by Fianna Fáil for the benefit of workers. [654] We will go back just a few years. We noted and brought to the notice of the Minister for Labour that he skipped a period. He skipped the year 1938 and the next year mentioned by the Minister for Labour when he was speaking about legislation that was good for the workers was 1946.

We in the Labour Party remember the legislation that was introduced by Fianna Fáil during the period 1938-1946. We remember the standstill orders that were imposed on the workers by the Fianna Fáil Government. It is not so far back when workers were seeking a 12 per cent increase. We remember the former Taoiseach, Deputy Lemass, and the present Taoiseach, who was then Minister for Finance, telling the workers that the very most they could get was seven or possibly eight per cent. We did not hear the Fianna Fáil Government or Fianna Fáil spokesmen telling employers that they could not have more than seven or eight per cent profit. We did not hear them say that rents, profits, dividends or professional fees should be curtailed. All we heard from the Taoiseach of that time and the Minister for Finance who is now the Taoiseach was that one section of the community would have to be curtailed, namely, the organised workers. This grand Party of workers, Fianna Fáil, were the people who were telling the workers that. When workers secured their 12 per cent, they secured it in the only way in which they have ever secured anything, through their militancy.

We should also examine the attitude of the workers' party and the workers' Government, Fianna Fáil, when it came to the question of taxation. Food was taxed. Clothing was taxed. Medicine was taxed. Every conceivable thing it was necessary for an ordinary working class family to use was affected by the turnover tax introduced by the Fianna Fáil Government. There was no question of ability to pay. That did not enter into it. As far as the Fianna Fáil Government were concerned all they wanted was money and it was to the workers that they went in order to get that money. There was no consideration [655] given to the fact that a man with £10,000 a year could eat only as much bread as a man with £500 a year. There was no consideration given to the fact that whether you earned £10,000 or £500 you could wear only one suit of clothes. There was no consideration given to the fact that the children of a man with an income of £500 a year might require medicine just as the family of a man earning £10,000 a year might require medicine. All these commodities were taxed and the same amount of tax was taken, irrespective of a man's income. This is an example of the attitude of the so-called workers' Party towards the workers.

Let us come down to the last increase secured by workers—the £1. Again we find that Deputy Lemass and Deputy Lynch were telling the workers that the most they could have was three per cent. Nobody heard them on that occasion telling the people who were making profits that the most they could have was three per cent, or that the most by which dividends, rents or professional fees could be increased was three per cent. The workers were the one section of the community who were told that they could have only three per cent. The rest could carry on, plunder what they could. Yet we are told by Deputy Dowling and some of his colleagues who claim to be trade unionists that Fianna Fáil are the workers' Party.

Mr. Moore: Information on Seán Moore Zoom on Seán Moore That part seems to worry the Deputy.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey The Deputy should not worry. We are getting around to him. Deputy Dowling's heart was bleeding for the democratic rights of workers. Where were the democratic rights of workers and where were Deputy Dowling and his trade union colleagues when the ESB Bill was passed in this House? They were trooping into the lobbies with Fianna Fáil. Deputy Seán Collins's heart is also bleeding for the democratic rights of workers. Deputy Dowling and his Fianna Fáil trade unionists trooped into the lobby to deprive their fellow [656] workers of their basic democratic rights.

Mr. Moore: Information on Seán Moore Zoom on Seán Moore Read Deputy O'Leary on it. It is very enlightening.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey They trooped into the lobby to deprive the workers, by law, of their right to strike, by making it compulsory, under penalty of imprisonment or fine, to accept the findings of an arbitration board. This is the Party that Deputy Dowling tells us is the workers' party.

We have also heard from the Minister for Labour and other speakers criticisms of the trade union movement. It should be said that the trade union movement is not perfect. We all know that. It is difficult, if not impossible, for a purely democratic organisation to operate without some defects. Possibly the criticisms levelled at the trade union movement by the Minister for Labour might be due to his opinion that the trade union movement is too democratic. It is not too democratic for us. We are going to retain it as a democratic organisation, despite the best efforts of the so-called Fianna Fáil trade unionists, either inside or outside this House.

Deputy Dowling also thought it fit to make a vicious onslaught on trade union officials. I was wondering what inspired Deputy Dowling to make this attack and it suddenly struck me that Deputy Dowling stood two years ago for election for a full-time office in a trade union in this city and was rejected by the workers. Is that why he is so sore and so vicious about trade union officials? Is it because he thought when he stood for election in a democratic organisation that his pull in Fianna Fáil would secure that office for him? He does not know much about the trade union movement and he displayed that ignorance very clearly here today.

One does not expect too much from Deputy Dowling but one is entitled to expect a realistic approach towards the difficulties of industry in this country from the man who is responsible for that side of our affairs, the Minister for Labour. Unfortunately the Minister did not act in a very responsible [657] manner; he was not very realistic. He said that one of the reasons we had strikes here was that trade union officials were serving claims. This statement is from the man charged with the responsibilities of Minister for Labour.

Surely the Minister must know how a trade union works? Surely he must know that it is a general meeting of the workers that decides whether or not a claim should be served? Surely he must realise that if that claim is served and if negotiations take place on it, the result of those negotiations must go back to be accepted or rejected by the main body of workers? Trade union officials do not sit behind their desks churning out claims and turning them in to employers. They do not say that the result of the negotiations does not suit them and that they will go on strike. However stupid Deputy Dowling was in this respect, one is entitled to expect that the Minister for Labour would be acquainted with what actually takes place.

The Minister went on to talk about legislation that would help the conduct of industrial relations. I do not deny that certain things can be introduced which would have a desirable effect. One of the most important of these is to extend the Labour Court which has played a very useful role in our industrial field. It has its defects and it can be improved, but, when the Minister or anyone else suggests to me that there is no conflict between employer and worker, to me he is either a fool or a hypocrite. I am not quite sure which, but he must be one or the other.

There is just so much in our gross national product and it must of necessity lead to conflict when the worker tries to pull out as much as he can and the employer tries to pull out as much as he can. There is undoubtedly a basic conflict of interest between the worker and the employer. The more a worker gets, as the employer sees it, the less profit there is for him. It was ridiculous to suggest otherwise. It is only right and proper that serious consideration should be given to any means that can be introduced to [658] minimise the effects of that conflict but to ignore the conflict or to pretend that it is not there can only lead to further harm.

We listened to Deputy Dowling castigating the Labour Party, the trade union movement, trade unionists, inter-Party Governments, Deputy Corish and the late Deputy Norton. He ended up by saying that the workers support Fianna Fáil and, to a large extent, I agree with him, for, if the workers did not support the Fianna Fáil Party, the Fianna Fáil Party would not and could not have as many seats in this House as they now have.

I believe the day is coming when the workers will at last realise that they can no longer go on supporting conservative Parties and at the same time make progress. I am a trade unionist; I was literally born into the trade union movement. All my family were closely associated with the trade union movement. I worked for a comparatively long time as a trade union official and I assert now, and I appreciate what I am saying, that the trade union movement cannot advance very much further the interests of the workers and the trade union movement. The workers must realise this. Both have reached a stage at which they are running as fast as they possibly can to a complete standstill and any advance to be made by the ordinary working people must in future be made not in the industrial field but in the political field.

I appeal to workers who have in the past supported the Fianna Fáil Party to look at the record of the Fianna Fáil Government, take note of the legislation, of the mis-statements and attitudes of leading spokesmen of the Party towards the workers and realise that there is only one hope now of achieving what they all aspire to, namely, a decent life for both themselves and their families. That will be achieved only through political action and by a Party which, unlike the other two Parties founded on the bitterness and hatred of Civil War, was first formed long years before that Civil War with the object of furthering the interests of the working class people.

[659]Mr. Barrett: I was deeply disappointed with the Taoiseach's speech this morning because the country is entitled to know, when a new Taoiseach speaks on an occasion such as this, if there is to be any new deal for the country. The people are entitled to know if the Taoiseach is going to continue in the way of his precedessor or if there will be some change in policy or some change of approach in the leadership in the Party. Is there going to be any change of Government policy in relation to domestic matters, the internal matters of the Party?

I was bitterly disappointed that the Taoiseach did not give some indication today to a country which feels, perhaps, to use his own expressive phrase, that he is a via media Taoiseach, the weak leader of a Party strongly entrenched in Government. It would be a bad thing for the country if that impression were bruited abroad and it was up to the Taoiseach today to indicate what he purported to indicate on another occasion, namely, that he was to be a strong Taoiseach. There is adequate reason for him to make a statement.

We all wish the Taoiseach well when he goes to Britain shortly to meet the British Prime Minister. Still more will he need the unity of the House and of the country behind him when he subsequently visits the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland in conformity with the policy set for him by Deputy Lemass, his predecessor. When he does go to the North, it is only right that those on the other side of the Border should feel that those on this side are behind him, showing the utmost loyalty and giving him every assistance.

What do we find? We find one of his Ministers, the Minister for Justice, opening his big mouth too wide on the eve virtually of the Taoiseach's efforts to find a new basis of agreement with the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland. When I was Lord Mayor of Cork, it was my pleasure and privilege to invite to Cork the Lord Mayor of Belfast, as representing the people of Belfast; I, representing the people of Cork, welcomed him and I found nothing but the best of good feeling and the [660] greatest anxiety to find any plank, no matter how narrow, on which the people of the South and the people of the North could stand together. It would be a good thing if the Taoiseach dissociated himself now from the sort of loud-mouthed utterances emanating from his own Front Bench at this particular juncture in time.

I suppose that is really a domestic matter for the Taoiseach, but it is something, I think, that has created a very bad climate in the North at a time when the most temperate of climates should be created and at a time when everyone of us should bend all his energies towards helping to create such a climate. I was disappointed that the Taoiseach did not indicate to the House and to the country that he expected to get that loyalty and that assistance in the important tasks that lie before him. Discipline is the essence of good government and, if there is a lack of discipline, the country, as well as the Fianna Fáil Party, will suffer.

There has been a frightening development over the past six or seven months by a vocal minority who claim that nobody has the right to differ from them in relation to the ways and means by which national aspirations in regard to the language are to be achieved. We have had the most shocking manifestations both in Dublin and in Galway and we have had idiot councillors getting up and saying it was a great day for the people when somebody else could not stand up and say what he wanted to say about the manner in which the Irish language should be fostered.

Speaking for a constituency which has still to offer the democratic right to the organisation involved to put their policy before the people, if they wish to do so, I deprecate the views expressed here—they actually horrify me—by the Taoiseach's Parliamentary Secretary on 29th November when he indicated quite plainly that nobody had the right to discuss the Irish language except those who wished to insist on its being taught and fostered in a certain fashion. He said meetings should be proscribed and gatherings of citizens [661] should not be allowed because others disagreed with them and, in disagreeing, had their passions aroused. I would like the Taoiseach to state: “People will have their democratic rights so long as I am Taoiseach. People will have their democratic rights so long as I lead this Cabinet, and these Parliamentary Secretaries, and I regret that my Parliamentary Secretary should have strayed from the democratic path in the fashion in which he did.”

The Taoiseach has not done that. He went to the trouble of issuing a statement from his Department on another minor matter in relation to which his Parliamentary Secretary again put his foot in it one Thursday here, but he did not think it worth his while to indicate to the country, as far as this Government are concerned, that this horrible manifestatation of a kind of neo-Nazism would not be tolerated on the part of certain small sections which indicate that not over their dead bodies but over the dead bodies of any section with which they disagree are certain approaches to be made to the fostering of the Irish language.

I deeply regret that the Taoiseach did not make some reference in that respect today. It is important that small, vocal minorities should not get the impression that they have sacred rights which exist neither in law nor in equity, nor in the ordinary democratic processes. I hope that at some stage the Taoiseach will avail of some opportunity to indicate to each man and woman in the nation that they have the right to speak their minds and the right to advocate what they think is right and proper, so long as it is not treason.

I also hoped the Taoiseach would avail of the opportunity to correct an impression, however erroneous it may have been, which was given by his predecessor on 12th October when, broadly speaking, he indicated that as far as Telefís Éireann was concerned, the Government were in the saddle from start to finish and the Government could use Telefís Éireann [662] as they liked for their own ends. That may be their reading of section 31 of the Broadcasting Act, 1960, but it is in direct conflict with another important section, section 18, which starts with the sub-title of “Impartiality” and which indicates that the Authority have a statutory duty, not just a right, on behalf of the people to ensure that discussions on matters of public controversy and current public discussions are impartially presented. I am speaking now purely on domestic matters but they are very important at a time like this when there is a new Government under a new Leader. It is very important that he should come to terms with the people and indicate to the people how their rights are being catered for by the Government.

I hope the Taoiseach will change the trend which has caused the greatest disquiet not alone on this side of the House but in the hearts and minds of many Fianna Fáil backbenchers, and certainly among many of their supporters and many businessmen and, in fact, taxpayers generally who are affected by it. There should be much more frankness with the House and the country about the affairs of companies to which large grants have been given by this House, by the Government in the name of the people. There is a great deal of public money spent in this way. To indicate just how much money is involved, I should point out that since 1952 Foras Tionscal, and this is only a section of the total, has approved grants for £10,471,869, of which £1,764,871 was approved in the last financial year. The approach of the people to such things is that they are glad to encourage companies to come here and give value for money. They are glad to have them here but they do expect that they will be given some details about how their money is being spent.

In 1963, we sat down here for a considerable period and enacted the Companies Act, one of the largest Acts we ever enacted. It takes up an entire volume of the Acts of the Oireachtas for 1963. In it, the most meticulous care was taken to see that a shareholder [663] who voluntarily invests his money in a company and says: “Here is my £100; put it in,” will have his rights safeguarded and that the accounts of the firm into which he has put the money will be audited, that he will have access to them and also that he can go along to the annual general meeting and say: “I do not like this and I do not like that”. Also, if the directors are not behaving in the fashion in which they should be behaving, they can be removed.

All these safeguards are given by this House and by the people to persons who invest vountarily in companies. What is the approach to people like myself and the unfortunate Deputy Corry and others who invest our money involuntarily in companies because the money is taken from us in taxation and given to some company? The approach is typified by the approach of the former Minister for Industry and Commerce, Deputy Hillery. When I asked him a question about a company in Clare and he refused to answer it, the Chair told me that he was right to refuse and I could of course, go elsewhere and find out the details. This is a company, the affairs of which should not alone have been investigated by the Department of Industry and Commerce but by the Department of Justice, because the company got a large sum of money by way of grant and overnight disappeared like a morning mist and nothing more was heard about it.

It is all very well to say, as Deputy Briscoe said, that it was the policy of the Government to encourage only people who had been a success elsewhere. Whatever the hopes and aspirations of the Government may have been, it cannot be said that they have always been successful. It is incontestible that they gave a grant to a gentleman who came to West Cork with a list of convictions in a British court against him. They gave him a grant and lovely photographs were published in the local papers saying “Here is the skeleton of the magnificent factory in which shortly 200 workers will be employed, thanks be to [664] God and the Fianna Fáil Government”. There are about six or seven employed there.

While it may be true that these are not the generality of cases it is important that we should have the right to come in here and ask questions about them, or, through a subcommittee of the House which would report on the activities of these companies, learn what is happening. The people should have the right to investigate where their money has gone and how it has been used. This has not happened under the present dispensation. I had hoped that the Taoiseach would indicate that that trend was being reversed. It is all very well to say that we cannot do that because it will frighten these gentlemen away. If a gentleman feels that his activities are going to be of such a nature that they dare not stand up to public scrutiny, it is better that we should not encourage him to come here at all.

I should like to see the day when anybody who comes looking for a loan or a grant or other assistance or encouragement would know that he is coming subject to public scrutiny of the manner in which he uses our money. It is more important than ever that that should be so because every second day we hear of successful take-over bids. In many cases, these involve companies which got large grants being taken over by companies outside the country and, incidentally, the shareholders of these companies get a very bad return. There should be some form of control over these companies when they receive money from the Government.

I should like now briefly to disillusion Deputy Briscoe in regard to some of the illusions he seems to cherish arising out of recent by-elections. It is true that in some sense it was a victory for the Government inasmuch as they won the two seats, but Deputy Briscoe says that the elections showed that the people have learned to trust Fianna Fáil. If that is so, they are becoming increasingly reluctant every day to express that trust. The by-elections must be taken in conjunction with what happened in the city constituencies in the Presidential [665] election when there was a complete change-over, a swing against the Government, despite the fact that the Government candidate was a man of enormous prestige, both here and abroad.

The figures in the two by-elections did not show that the Government are getting more support in rural areas but that fewer people voted for the Government on this occasion than in the last general election and that 3,324 more people voted for Fine Gael than in the last general election. That is the manifestation of the trust of the Irish people in Fianna Fáil. Surely Deputy Briscoe is intelligent enough to know that it indicates the coming of the day when support in rural Ireland will be withdrawn from Fianna Fáil, just as it was withdrawn from them when Deputy O'Higgins challenged the present President in the Presidential election? I look forward to that day.

There is another very important aspect of national life which should be dealt with. It arises out of the by-elections and also out of the fact that this year, at last, the people are getting an opportunity to express themselves at the local elections. Arising out of what I saw happening in South Kerry, it is very important, not purely in the interests of the Opposition but in the interests of all Parties and of democracy that there should be a clearing up of a matter about which there appears to be some confusion concerning the conduct of the polling booth. I refer to the fact that occasionally it is necessary—and unfortunately was necessary in South Kerry—to appeal to the Garda to maintain public order. That seems an elementary proposition. It is most important that men and women going to the polls know that they will not be molested and that if they are molested by the followers of any Party, they will be protected by the Garda.

When occasion arose to call for Garda protection on this occasion in this town in South Kerry—at the Mercy Convent, to be exact—the position was that nobody knew who was in charge of the Garda. In some circles, the impression is that the presiding officer is king of the poll and can do as he likes, [666] but the presiding officer can lawfully say: “I may be boss here but that is the curtilage out there. That is the playground and I am not in charge of that.”

If the presiding officer has to give directions to a garda, there are occasions when the garda says: “The presiding officer cannot give me any directions. These should be given by my superior officers.” His superior officer says: “No, it is the returning officer who is the boss.” Some indication should be given between now and polling day in the local elections—unless there is a general election in the meantime — to all concerned, returning officers and superior officers of the Garda as to the division of rights and duties in these very important institutions on polling day. Who is to be in control of the booths and the curtilage and the vicinity of the booths so that when a voter goes to express a preference, that voter will know that he or she is safe from molestation of the kind some people experienced in South Kerry? This goes more to the root of democracy than the more prosaic matters dealt with by the Taoiseach today.

Again, let me say, speaking for myself and I am quite sure for my Party, that we hope the Taoiseach will carry with him when he goes to Northern Ireland the best wishes of all. We wish him every success. Our only regret is that he will be festooned with the stupid sort of ill-tempered and ill-timed speech made by the Minister for Justice at a time when anybody should know he ought not make speeches of that type.

Minister for Transport and Power (Mr. Childers): Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers It has been amusing to hear members of the Opposition trying to give some explanation of why they lost the two by-elections.

Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins The Minister was not in the House to hear them.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers The latest explanations is that the by-elections must be related to certain events that took place during the Presidential election. [667] If one were to carry on an argument like that, one could say that as Fianna Fáil lost the election in 1954, that fact must be taken into account in connection with any by-election occurring since.

I was interested to hear Deputy Cluskey who engaged in a discourse which, to my mind, showed a complete inferiority complex on the part of the Labour Party. He implied that the people of Kerry and Waterford are capable of being indefinitely bribed and cheated by Fianna Fáil. Apparently, they are people of low character and mentality. They are capable of voting in a particular way at an elecaion because of perpetual patronage alleged to be given by Fianna Fáil or because of the influence of rich businessmen. I know County Kerry rather well, and Waterford to some extent, and that observation in relation to the small farming world of Counties Kerry and Waterford is really childish in the extreme. Deputies in Opposition could spend their time better than in trying to make this sort of excuse.

Deputy Cluskey went on to warn the trade unionist card-holders who he admits continually support Fianna Fáil Government that their action is a desperate one, revealing their spinelessness in regard to the Labour movement and how disastrous was their action in Kerry and Waterford since, according to his admission, they unquestionably assured the re-election of two Fianna Fáil Deputies. He expressed his amazement that Fianna Fáil could ever win any election and that surely the people realised that the turnover tax when imposed was a deliberate attack deliberately designed to take away incomes from the poor people. He did not mention that when the turnover tax was instituted, one-third of it went straight back to increased social welfare benefits and that the Minister for Finance said at the time that he reckoned that only 40 per cent of the entire population would, in view of that, in fact, be paying any degree of tax that could be said to affect their incomes in any way. Apparently, the people of Kerry and Waterford had become aware that the [668] turnover tax was not meant to be a tax which would hit people with low incomes, that the more they spent, the more they paid, and that not only in that year but in successive years, social welfare benefits were raised in order to mitigate any adverse effect of this tax.

Deputy Cluskey spoke of the position of workers in relation to recent economic events. He did not seem to follow the advice given to the Irish people by the National Industrial Economic Council which included nine trade unionists and which persistently warned the people, on an independent basis and not guided by the Government, of what would happen if incomes exceeded a certain limit. The Deputy was apparently speaking in the void, as though his representatives on the NIEC had no merit and that nothing they said should be heeded by the man in the street, although this body was set up independently of the Government and was admittedly free from political Party interests. Then Deputy Cluskey proceeded to make a series of declarations which would suggest that, while there were some deficiencies in the Irish trade union movement, he very much doubted that anything could be done about it, that the trade union movement was a democratic one and because it was a democratic one, it was very difficult to organise properly.

If Deputy Cluskey were to read some of the speeches made recently by trade union leaders, he would find Mr. John Conroy, for example, in his speech at Galway saying that the trade union movement must move gradually towards the formation of industrial unions, one union for each industry, that this might take time, that it would be very difficult but that it was an ideal to reach. Apparently there are some people who do not share the cynical opinions of Deputy Cluskey in regard to the possibilities of reorganisation of the trade union movement.

Then again Deputy Cluskey spoke about the democratic character of the trade union movement. He did not go into any further detail. He did not describe what he meant by democratic [669] action, whether, for example, he would regard it as undemocratic for branches of the trade union movement here to give executive power to their leaders as they do in Sweden and as they do in the Netherlands—in exactly the same way as the Irish people give the Dáil executive power to act on their behalf, as the ratepayers and local authorities give the county councillors executive power to act on their behalf—thus making it possible to engage in negotiations for the solution of industrial disputes with the possibility of a greater chance of success and less possibility of industrial strife. Deputy Cluskey did not mention or talk about any of those problems at all.

He did not refer to the fact that the highly democratic trade union movements of the Netherlands and Sweden not only engage in prolonged negotiations with industries that sometimes take as long as eight months but they also appoint professional economists, both employers and workers, and they go, with exactitude, into the collective and individual profits made by every firm of the industry, its growth of productivity, its competitive success in the export field compared with firms in competing industries abroad. The negotiations take place, leading sometimes to contracts that are entered into and that are enforceable by law for a period of three years at a time, in which there is an assurance of a given growth of productivity within the industry itself based on new machinery, on new techniques and perhaps certain changes made in the method of working on the part of the workers, and which, at the same time, assures the workers of a specific growth in income.

We heard none of this talk from Deputy Cluskey about the democratic trade union movement in Europe. He just spoke about it in a cynical way and suggested that when Deputies on the Fianna Fáil side stated there might be changes in trade union organisation along exactly the same lines as those be spoken by leaders of the trade union movement themselves, the Fianna Fáil Deputies were guilty of attacks upon trade unionists in general and trade unionists in particular.

[670]Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan Of course, that is not true. The proposals are not the same. I have been here.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers The Deputy was not in the House when the Deputy made these remarks.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan I am dealing with what the Minister said.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers I shall take up at any time with Deputy Donegan anything to do with trade union organisation because I know all about it from back to front.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan I have been as close to trade union matters as the Minister. I am saying the proposals are not the same. The Government proposals absolutely contravene the trade union proposals.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers To what proposals is Deputy Donegan referring!

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan I shall deal with them when the Minister has finished speaking.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): Deputy Donegan has personal practical experience.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan Whether I have or not, I have the Government proposals here and I have the trade union proposals in my bag.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers I was not referring to Government proposals. I was referring to Deputy Cluskey's loose talk about trade union organisation, and Deputy Cluskey himself did not refer to the Trade Union Bill in what he said.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan The Minister said the Government proposals were identical to the trade union proposals.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers I did not say that. I was speaking about general trade organisations and I was referring to statements made by Irish trade union leaders calling for re-organisation. I was referring to this because Deputy Dowling was attacked by Deputy Cluskey for what he said about solving [671] industrial problems within CIE and other companies. I want to mention the fact that I myself had made proposals, none of which had been contradicted or denied, which would lead to an improvement in industrial relations in the State companies. I made a very specific proposal to which there was not one word of opposition on the part of trade union leaders, and if there could be some arrangement among the trade union organisation, for example, within CIE, over a period of years, they could iron out most of the difficulties that best them and could secure increases in benefits and fringe benefits on a long-term basis which could mean that there would be no need for these disastrous strikes. The main thing was to have a concerted effort at negotiations to solve their difficulties over a long period and in accordance with the capacity of CIE to pay.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan If the Minister turns to page 6 of the September issue of Trade Union Viewpoint, he will find the heading: “Minister's proposals on Trade Union Law Rejected”.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers I am not talking about those proposals. Deputy Donegan is merely trying to confuse the issue. I know there is a difference of opinion in regard to the trade union proposals and the Government proposals on trade union organisation. I am talking about things that could be done voluntarily by the trade union movement, irrespective of any Government decision. I am referring to matters in which in every case I could quote a trade union leader as saying this problem needs to be studied, and all I am saying is that when Deputy Cluskey accused Deputy Dowling of being anti-trade union he was denying and ignoring the statements made by his own leaders about this very serious problem which is recognised by everybody.

I also noted that we heard from Deputy Barrett again about Foras Tionscal grants. I noted also that during the by-elections the Kerry people and the Waterford [672] people did not respond to the invective by the Opposition on the subject of certain companies that failed to take advantage of Foras Tionscal grants. They were not impressed, although these statements were made in my hearing at the by-elections, the implications being that the Government was guilty of gross negligence or even of corruption in the giving of these grants. The Opposition Deputies did not refer to the fact that since the foundation of Foras Tionscal, allowing for firms that may have had financial difficulties and reopened under other auspices, about 4 per cent of the total money given by Foras Tionscal resulted in failure, and only four per cent.

If Deputies in the Opposition care to look at the list of bankruptcies during the most prosperous era in New York City and relate the bankruptcies to prosperity, they could almost say that Foras Tionscal might be a little bit too cautious, if the results since 1952 show only four per cent of failures. Then of course those Deputies do not know anything about the course of business and about what happens when firms start. They never give any study to the possibilities and the extent of bankruptcies that do take place under the most favourable circumstances. There are very many promoters of industry who would say that a four per cent failure for an investment was not at all bad. A great many investment firms would be very satisfied if over a period going back to 1952 they had only a four per cent failure in the money they invested. All we heard during the election was a suggestion that the money that had been lost on this or that venture could have been directed to some other purpose. It was one of those futile arguments in which you start shifting money from one purpose to another in the hope of bribing and innocent electorate. It did not work in Waterford and Kerry.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): Where did the quotas go?

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers The people of Waterford and Kerry in these two by-elections were far too intelligent to listen to the caterwauling of the Opposition from the platforms. They [673] know very well the fact that real help is being given to farmers, small and big. They know very well that in Kerry, which derives about £4½ million income from tourism alone, the Government have shown a lively interest in tourism and have encouraged Bord Fáilte to spend money wisely and well to bring tourists to Kerry. They provided capital for new hotel accommodation and spent massive sums on promotion. The people of Kerry are very well aware of that fact. They know the Government have brought aid to these countries through industrial grants. They know that, in spite of all the woeful talk of the Opposition, the people of this country are nearly one-third better off in real terms, and allowing for the change in the cost of living, than they were in 1958.

They are also aware that emigration cannot be turned off suddenly like a tap. It would be years before controllable emigration could be ended. They know perfectly well how useless it is to speak off public platforms and wail about emigration, as if it were something immediately controllable by the Government in office. They have plenty of commonsense in regard to that problem.

Of course, above all, the people of Waterford and Kerry showed they were not so innocent as to imagine we could have an extreme and severe crisis taking place in our nearest neighbour, England, and that we could remain completely unaffected, as though we were some kind of island floating in the firmament, independent of all other economic influences. To hear some of the speakers down in the by-elections, one would imagine this country had some peculiar quality of its own, some special privilege, some magic principle whereby we alone of all the countries in the world could remain completely independent of an economic crisis occurring close to us and that, therefore, despite anything that appeared to slow up economic progress—which, of course, was partly our own responsibility as a result of the inflation we ourselves invited here and partly resulting from causes outside us—we could go on normally.

[674] As is usual in the case of a large volume such as the Second Programme we never hear quoted the extremely important paragraphs which define the shape of the whole Programme and which give quite clear indications as to the conditions in which it can proceed. If the Programmes for Economic Expansion, whether the First or the Second, are read, it will be found the Government gave perfectly honest warnings that the Programmes could be mitigated, altered or limited in their effect at any time due to circumstances over which we had no control. It was made perfectly clear in the First and in the Second Economic Programmes that if inflation took place, if incomes advanced excessively at any period in this country, the targets of the Second Programme and the First Programme could not be met.

The Opposition talked in the elections, in so far as they talked intelligently at all about the Programme, as though it were a perfect document, as though it specified no conditions in which the Programme could work and be achieved, as though the Government simply said in 1960 that industry will advance by so much per cent, agriculture by so much per cent and tourism by so much per cent — that they will advance by that percentage regardless of any conditions that may attend the economy during the passage of time. Apparently, the people of Kerry and Waterford were well aware of the fact that when a programme is written by serious men, the conditions in which it can be successful are adumbrated in paragraph after paragraph. They are all in the Economic Programme. The people of Kerry and Waterford did not imagine that Fianna Fáil would be innocent enough or foolish enough to produce a programme without stating the conditions for its working successfully.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): Less than half of the people of Kerry and Waterford.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers The people of Waterford and Kerry were well aware of the fact that this country, encouraged by the advance in the economy, had undoubtedly [675] started on some kind of spending spree and that the personal savings of the people began to diminish before taxation increased noticeably and that there was simply less money for the Government to borrow for productive purposes. Apparently, in spite of all the talk of the Opposition, they were aware of the fact that our neighbour across the water is in far greater difficulty than we are at the moment. The investment coming from Great Britain has been limited by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Therefore, the massive investment coming from one country to another was reduced for at least a period.

The people were aware of that. They were also aware of the fact that it is not the immediate responsibility of the Fianna Fáil Government and the Fianna Fáil Ministers that there is a drying up of credit in a great many countries all over the world. For example, American investment taking place here has to be through dollars available in Europe. There is a clear direction to American banks and investment firms to restrain for the time being certain types of investment abroad. Apparently, the people of Kerry and Waterford accepted the difficulties with which we were faced.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): I repeat : less than half the people of Kerry and Waterford.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan That includes the people you bought.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish And they all read the Second Programme for Economic Expansion.

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

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers There were people in Kerry and Waterford who wondered what the Opposition would do if they had to face the difficulties we were facing. They noted that the very people who talked about the crushing taxation, who talked about the increase in the cost of living, whenever they had the opportunity and as the national economy advanced, their attitude was that the Government never could spend [676] enough. If the Government increased expenditure by a given percentage in one year, every member of the Opposition decried the efforts of the Government and asked: “Why are you not spending more on A, B and C ?” But they never said where the money was to come from. They also noted that, during the recent difficulty of securing credit of one kind or another, the members of the Opposition, when they decried the Government for simply limiting housing development to schemes that had been authorised and schemes coming along for development, kept on chiding the Government for not finding more money. But they did not say where the money could be got, how it could be furnished or what services of the Government could be reduced in some other direction.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan ICI could get £20 million; you could not get £5 million.

Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers A Deputy gave a list of alleged extravagant Government expenditure. When the list was examined, it was found to consist of a whole series of rather long-term projects which it would take about four years to complete. The saving in a particular year would amount to £250,000 or £300,000 and this was the measure of the Government's alleged reckless expenditure and reckless profligacy in spending the money of the people. I think the people realise the facts as we know them to be. They know also that, up to now, we have managed to deal with this inflation which is common to other countries besides our own. It has affected countries with a longer history and more developed economies than our own, countries such as the Netherlands. We have managed to deal with this inflation fairly successfully. There are not 97,000 unemployed now as there were in 1956.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish Or 134,000 in 1933. You have the record for unemployment.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan And we did not change the method of counting, either: 16,000 was the difference there.

[677]Mr. Childers: Information on Erskine Hamilton Childers Zoom on Erskine Hamilton Childers Exports are already beginning to increase and imports have been held. The measures taken by the Government were neither insufficient nor too harsh. When one takes measures to combat inflation, there is a certain element of fortune about it so that, no matter how carefully a Government may act, it is a fact that the best of Governments can make mistakes. So far, we have managed to progress through our difficulties with comparative success.

I want to reinforce what the present Taoiseach said in the course of his speech that, whatever the Government do in the next two or three years, the economic advance will be determined mainly by the decisions of the Irish people themselves and their ambitions for productive effort. We can make marginal changes in economic and social policy. We can tax for a particular purpose. We can provide grants for the adaptation of industry. We can provide facilities in respect of redundancy and for re-training. We can advance educational facilities. We can continue to control inflation and to assist in the provision of credit to a certain degree but not 100 per cent. That also depends on the decisions of the Irish investors and individual Irish spenders.

There is no major change of policy which we could effect at the present time which could materially alter the economic conditions that will be the result of (1) what takes place abroad and (2) the effort we make here. It is the Irish people, working together and making their own decisions about production and about investment, who will play the greatest part in our future. We did not say anything to the contrary during the by-election. We made it clear that the Government was co-operating with the people and would direct the economy to a certain degree. In our present stage and in our present situation when we are taking some 26 per cent of the entire people's income in taxation and rates, which is the figure at the moment and which is still low by Northern European standards, some major decisions in the future will have to be [678] taken by the Irish people themselves. They have responded and did respond splendidly during the period of the economic revival and since 1958. If we can avoid in the next three years certain difficulties we faced in the past three years we shall undoubtedly make progress. It is certain that if, every two years, the incomes of people advance 23 per cent and production per worker advances only 7 per cent, we can make no progress. No country can make progress on that basis. There are Ministers in many countries probably at this moment making the same kind of speech, based on the same view: for example, Ministers of the British Labour Government.

Countries which indulge in that kind of spending will all face the same difficulties and have all faced the same difficulties. At this moment, in other countries whose economies have temporarily been held or have been expanding to a lesser degree for exactly the same reason, incomes have advanced far more rapidly than the productivity of the people. It is a very lucky thing for us that we have not had to apply the appallingly drastic measures applied in Great Britain to correct the situation there which arose from perhaps different causes but reflected the same changes in condition. It is a salutary warning to the people of this country of the sort of thing that can take place in other countries when inflation gets hold of people. The expenses of Government have gone up. Everything the Government do, all the services they provide, become more costly to administer. That means that less can be done for any expenditure of money under the economic programme than could otherwise be done with the same amount of money. There is some actual loss of three per cent in the value of money.

We have been very lucky up to now because inflation here has been matched by almost equal inflation in Great Britain. If our money lost value the British money had also lost value, so relatively a great many of our exports could still reach Great Britain even though some may have become [679] uneconomic. Now, the British economy is held in a vice for which the British Government and the British people are responsible. Inflation has stopped there. We cannot any longer look outwards to Britain and say that it will be all right if production costs increase here as long as the same happens across the water and let us go on with the merry dance. That day is over. It again means that we shall have to take far more care in this question of the costs of production and in the question of maintaining the value of our money because tariffs will be steadily reduced.

In conclusion, I should like to say once more that I was delighted to be down during the course of the by-elections and to hear the speeches on either side. I think myself that we can say we won the election honestly. We certainly faced a lot of difficulties—the temporary low cattle prices; the NFA campaign; recent increases in taxation; recent increases in the cost of living, all of which things have been happening in other countries. In spite of those adverse circumstances, and a halt temporarily in the economic advance of the country, the people chose to respect our opinions and our views. What we said was in our view the correct policy and we triumphed. I think that is typical of the whole history of Fianna Fáil. Very often we succeed best when, like other countries, we are facing adversity of one kind or another. When we face adversity, we find very often the people respond to the Fianna Fáil Government, which has such a long record of improving social conditions, even better than when material prosperity is more rapid.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan I was rather amazed that the Minister for Transport and Power used the phrase a few minutes ago “present Taoiseach”. We all wonder, with some of the people around him, how long he will be in office. He will not be there very long. Inflation, according to the Minister for Transport and Power, came to us by the wishes of the Irish people. We had his admission that the Government can affect only very slightly the [680] economic affairs of this country, an admission which comes rather strangely from that side of the House. They were always the strong-arm boys. They were always the people who wanted to interfere in the life of the ordinary Irishman. Other Parties here were more inclined to leave the Irishman to look after his own affairs. It seems now, when the ship has gone into stormy waters, that those who steered her course would like to say that she steered herself. That is not so.

The Taoiseach this morning told us that trade figures and balance of payments figures were improving. Of course they are. They are improving because of the restrictive measures imposed by the Government. One has to consider what were the results of these restrictive measures. How many small businesses in country towns closed in the past 24 months? As a percentage of the whole, of course, the number is small, but, if it is small, how many businesses were seriously inconvenienced, how many people knocked off employees, how many people found themselves in the greatest financial difficulties? Very many more than those who closed. How many people with small personal overdrafts, paying for the reconstruction of their houses or the purchase of furniture, with ordinary commercial banks, have been pressed beyond the limit of their capacity to repay? I go among my people in my constituency and I know quite a few. I would suggest that the amount of personal torture, personal inconvenience and personal interference there was with people's lives over the past two years has been quite extraordinary.

If all this has brought a reduction in the purchasing power of the Irish people, has brought about a contracting economy, and if all this is to be mirrored in the figures we will get at Budget time, in a smaller gross national product, that is the price we had to pay for Fianna Fáil, the price we had to pay for the wishes of the Irish people as translated in the ballot box into a Fianna Fáil Government.

If one moves through the sphere of [681] Government spending and considers the number of people who had to sell perhaps a few shares they might have laid aside for a rainy day or who had to sell property or who had to sell cattle that were not fit to be sold and who had to do all these things because local local authorities could not pay them their grants and their loans and they in turn could not pay the builders' providers or contractors, one sees the measure of the cost of the correction of the ills that were brought upon us by Fianna Fáil. Theirs was the hand that was on the tiller since 1957 and, but for a short break, before that for many years. They were the people who, as I said—and it was perhaps to me that the Minister for Transport and Power referred—built all these magnificent buildings, some of which we inhabit ourselves, some of which are inhabited by semi-State companies and some of which are rented at colossal rates. All this was an indication, as I said here before and want to repeat this evening, that the Government's priorities over the years went wrong. The Government did not remember the county council cottages which Deputy Corry and I and the Parliamentary Secretary wanted built. They did not remember the local authority houses. They did not remember essential things. They remember the things they felt could be provided when money was freely available.

It is only a short time ago—1963— that the Government decided that all the deposits in banks here over £1,000 should be recorded and transmitted for investigation to the income tax authorities. They were so arrogant, so certain that a flood of capital would continue to come here that they could discipline those who would send it here. One might say that Switzerland is a rich country. Some people call it an economic funk hole. I do not care where the money comes from. When I see that houses cannot be built in my constituency, I would not object to any kind of money from abroad and would not inquire where it came from, if it did come here to bolster our economy as it needs to be bolstered.

The Minister for Transport and Power referred, for instance, to the [682] question of restricting sanction for houses to those already being planned. What about the situation where the then Minister for Local Government, now moved to Agriculture, actually allowed houses to start on the basis that the contractors could not finish the job before the end of this financial year, so that, politically, he could say that there were 100 houses or 200 houses being built but financially and factually the position was that these houses were being delayed and would not be built until after the financial year?

These are the remedial measures that were taken. I want to refer to some of them again. Their effort was to create an increase in unemployment of, in my opinion, 25,000 people. Where do I get my figure of 25,000? I get it by taking the increase in unemployment of 9,000, plus 16,000, which is the difference in the first week when Fianna Fáil changed the method of counting those on the register of unemployed. There is no method that I or anybody else can contrive to decide what effect that change had in the weeks as they passed along. We can take the difference in one week when the old system was used and the following week when it was not used. The difference is 16,000. Therefore, I suggest that by the old measuring stick there are today 70,000 unemployed. I contest the ability of anybody on the opposite benches to refute that statement.

What other remedial measures were taken? The Minister for Industry and Commerce will be interested to know the figures in relation to the Agricultural Credit Corporation where lendings of £6.7 million were reduced to £3.5 million and where the Minister for Finance, now the Taoiseach, said that this was in fact £0.4 million more of lendings for productive purposes and that only £3.1 million of the £6.7 million was for productive purposes in the previous year.

The definition on which the activities of the Agricultural Credit Corporation were curbed was that if you had a small overdraft in the bank, you could not get a loan. If you wanted a loan and you had an overdraft of £500, the [683] Agricultural Credit Corporation said that the loan was to get rid of the bank overdraft and refused the loan. Therefore, the person concerned did not build a silage unit or did not increase the number of stock on his land because of the small overdraft, which was almost universal. If a man had 50 acres and 20 acres beside him were put up for sale, which he wanted to buy, if he could not get a loan from the commercial bank, the Agricultural Credit Corporation would not give him a loan on the basis that it was not for a productive purpose. He could not get a loan to buy land.

The Parliamentary Secretary knows as well as I and Deputy Corry and anybody from a rural area knows that when you have a unit that is too small, one of the most productive measures you could take is to get it to a proper size for proper farming, proper application of machinery and labour. This definition of productive purposes was nothing but a political catchcry—disgraceful, and almost obscene.

I do not want to go into the figures in relation to the Industrial Credit Company. I could go into them exactly as I have in the case of the Agricultural Credit Corporation. The result is the same—a reduction in investment, a reduction in opportunity, a reduction that has been mirrored in the fact that we have fallen far behind the targets set in the Second Programme for Economic Expansion. It is a reduction that has caused emigration and which will show in 1966, when the figures are produced, a reduction for the first time in the gross national product.

There has been the behaviour of Fianna Fáil in the wasting of industrial grants. The Minister for Transport and Power never ceases to defend this and to say that in times of great prosperity the number of bankruptcies in the city of New York was phenomenal, and all this sort of thing. There is no use in a factory that never opened, that got this grant and drew the grant. There is only one explanation for that. The explanation is that the capital funds they guaranteed to put in were not forthcoming. In the Minister's constituency, [684] there is one that he brought into his town of Clones. He told every other Deputy, including members of his Party, to go away, that he was looking after it. The factory was never opened and the machinery for it is sitting on the floor, unopened, and has to be included in the liquidator's assessment and the Fianna Fáil contractor who built the factory is back with Deputy Dillon to know if he can get his money taken out of the assessment and if he can get 20/- in the £. And, of course, he has no hope of that. The Frenchman who supplied the machinery which is now sitting on the floor of that factory is as much entitled to his shillings in the pound as the Fianna Fáil contractor.

There is no excuse for that. That grant was given on the basis that a capital investment would be forthcoming from the people coming in but you should ask first to see the colour of their money. If any Deputy or any other Irishman went to any financial institution and put up a proposal like that to them, he would first be asked to show the colour of his money. There have been too many of these things and that is one of the reasons why there has been such a wastage of capital which is not now available for meritworthy undertakings. This should have reflected itself in the by-elections. Even the dogs in the streets of Dublin will tell you that it is not “what you know but whom you know” that matters when you go to look for one of these grants.

I want now to refer to the by-elections and to take grave exception to actions by two industrial firms, one in my own constituency which will not gain me any votes, and one in Waterford. I take the greatest possible exception to businessmen on boards bringing a politician on to their boards three or four days before a by-election. That is an indication to the voters that certain members of that board want to swing the scale in the by-elections in a certain way. The ordinary decencies and differences between politics and business in this country should have been observed on this occasion. It was quite wrong that the ex-Taoiseach should have been made [685] a director of the Waterford Glass Company a few days before the election and also a director of GEC, now the Electrical Company of Ireland.

It has been said, and it has not been denied, that in these two by-elections the Government's majority was not a majority over all comers and that it was reduced to a minute size when compared with the figures in the general election and the Presidential election. The Government went back with a very reduced majority. They were, in the first instance, extremely lucky to find themselves with by-elections in constituencies where that majority was possible.

Now, I want to discuss briefly the use of proportional representation in these elections. Proportional representation was fought for by every Party in this House, with the exception of Fianna Fáil. The position then was that, if proportional representation were not retained, Fianna Fáil would have become the Government for perhaps 20 years, Fine Gael would have gone back with a reduced number of Deputies and the Labour Party would have been decimated.

Mr. J. Gibbons: Information on James M. Gibbons Zoom on James M. Gibbons That is an extraordinary confession.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan You would have had the fixing of the constituencies. You have already fixed my own constituency so that there cannot be a second Fine Gael man, and if you got your chance without proportional representation, you would make sure that you had three Deputies in Louth. If Fianna Fáil had got rid of PR, they would have installed themselves in power for a considerable number of years and would have decimated the Labour Party.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish Everybody is very concerned about the Labour Party. We can look after ourselves.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan I am going to deal with your position in this.

Mr. J. Gibbons: Information on James M. Gibbons Zoom on James M. Gibbons Do not tell me that you are falling out.

[686]Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan Not at all. In no constituency at present is a Labour Party Deputy elected with an overall majority of votes, with more than 50 per cent of the votes. If these constituencies were to be divided into smaller areas, the result would be that, with the possible exception of the Leader of the Labour Party or Deputy Seán Dunne, who might get 51 per cent of the votes, there would not be any Labour Deputy elected to the Dáil.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish That is cod.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan Look up your mathematics.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish I am interested in your concern for the Labour Party.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan I am very concerned for the Labour Party. It will be a bad thing if they are wiped out. The position as a result of the by-elections in Waterford and South Kerry is that two Fianna Fáil Deputies were returned here by the people who did not use PR.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish How many of yours did not use PR?

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan Far less than yours.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish Did you count them?

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan I did, and I will send for the figures if you want them. They were far less than yours. The Labour Party supporters in these two constituencies who did not use PR elected two Fianna Fáil Deputies. They were told by certain Labour Deputies to do so. I heard the candidate in Waterford say that, if he was in front of the Fine Gael candidate, he was certain to be elected but, if Fine Gael were in front of him, there was no hope of it. Deputy O'Leary, on the night before the poll, made somewhat the same statement in Waterford and Deputies McAuliffe and Coughlan made the same statement.

Mr. O'Leary: There is no difference between you and the gentleman opposite.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan This is exactly what [687] I want to hear. I am going to define that difference and I am going to suggest that the non-usage of PR will reduce the number of Labour Deputies in this House.

Mr. J. Gibbons: Information on James M. Gibbons Zoom on James M. Gibbons This is a most unseemly quarrel.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish It is a one-sided quarrel.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan I want to remark on the position of the Labour supporter in Waterford or Kerry if he had done his homework and decided to whom he should give his second preference vote. I want to quote from the proposals in the amendment of the Industrial Relations Act and the Trade Union Act which have been brought forward by a Fianna Fáil Government. I also want to refer to the September issue of Trade Union Viewpoint, on page 6 of which there is a heading “Minister's Proposals for Trade Unions Rejected”. That quotation refers to sections 41 and 42 of the legislation referred to. Section 41 says that the granting of a negotiating licence will be at the discretion of the Minister and that it will only be granted following consultation with the appropriate representative organisation. Section 42 states that a negotiating licence can be cancelled by the Minister if a request is made by an appropriate representative body or following consultation with such a body. These two provisos are repugnant to the trade unions and repugnant also presumably to the Labour Party.

Point 4 of the Cabinet's proposals: the Chairman and deputies, or deputy —here I am speaking of the members of the Court—will be appointed by the Minister. That proposal is also repugnant to both the Labour Party and the trade unions, if I read my politics aright.

Paragraph 5: the Minister will appoint the persons of his choice to be members of the Court after consultation with the members of the representative bodies. That also is repugnant to the Labour Party and to the trade unions.

[688] I want now to turn to another matter. Would it be a better situation if there were a contract of service, with pension rights and severance payment in the event of disemployment in the industry concerned? This contract of service would be agreed with the Labour Court, the trade unions and the employer. In the event of an industrial dispute, the workers, through their union, would first have recourse to the Court for a period of 70 days and, if they did not, they would break their contract of service.

The tragedy of the two by-elections is that the people were not told that the proposals for new trade union law, adumbrated by Fianna Fáil and soon to be introduced, are repugnant to the Labour Party and to the trade union movement. Had they been told that, the two by-elections would have resulted in a different verdict; we would have had either two Fine Gael Deputies, or one Fine Gael Deputy and one Labour Deputy walking down those steps. It is about time that certain people stopped this idea of throwing a phrase like “Going it alone” to this House when they know that that will not be practicable for 20 years and that the only place one can “go it alone” is to the bottom of the poll.

(Interruptions.)

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

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan I have come here tonight to say what I think. The Press Gallery has always been extremely kind to me but there were articles in the Irish Times and the Irish Independent two days before the election suggesting a Labour majority would ensue in both Waterford and Kerry. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Secondly, those articles did enormous damage to the Fine Gael effort in trying to get this Government to go to the people and give them the opportunity of deciding. I do not want to go any further than that.

Mr. J. Gibbons: Information on James M. Gibbons Zoom on James M. Gibbons Shame on the Deputy.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan It is significant, and I do not mind who in this House is at my throat, that when I was in a position [689] to produce the Government proposals in relation to proposed trade union law and the Fine Gael proposals, I nearly cleared the House of the Labour Party when, on the day of the election, more than half of them were here instead of in Waterford and Kerry.

Mr. J. Gibbons: Information on James M. Gibbons Zoom on James M. Gibbons The Labour Party let down Fine Gael.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan They let themselves down because the Fine Gael proposals were much nearer to what they would desire than anything Fianna Fáil were putting up.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on John Geoghegan Zoom on John Geoghegan Tell the truth.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan When this trade union law is produced, irrevocably Fianna Fáil will move one way and Labour and Fine Gael another.

Mr. J. Gibbons: Information on James M. Gibbons Zoom on James M. Gibbons That will be nothing new.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on John Geoghegan Zoom on John Geoghegan That will be the day of decision, the decision that should have been made in Waterford and Kerry.

(Interruptions.)

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

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan Let me clarify the position. On the ESB Bill, we voted for an amendment proposing that for six months the matter be delayed. The reason was that we did not want to see people die because they had not electricity. In relation to any essential service we are prepared to vote with anybody to ensure that that service is continued while negotiations proceed.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on John Geoghegan Zoom on John Geoghegan Did the Deputy tell the people that in Waterford and Kerry?

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan That is Fine Gael industrial policy and Fine Gael are as near to Labour as anybody representing the people of this country could go because we are democratic. We are far nearer to Labour but they do not realise it.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on John Geoghegan Zoom on John Geoghegan Did the Deputy tell the people that in Waterford and Kerry?

[690]Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan Yes.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on John Geoghegan Zoom on John Geoghegan And they gave the Deputy his answer.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan I said it on every platform on which I stood: Vote No. 1, Fine Gael and, No. 2, Labour. I gave my reasons. The Labour Party were going it alone. We were going it alone. I repeat—I said this on every platform in Waterford—“If you vote No. 1 Labour, I respectfully ask you for your No. 2 vote” and, if they had done that, the Government would be on the hustings tonight. Deputies may laugh but they know that what I say is true. That is the kernel of the matter.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte And the story of Killarney Town Hall would be quite different.

(Interruptions.)

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

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan People who are elected to this House should say what they think. I think everything I have said tonight. I believe it passionately and therefore I have said it passionately. That is my right, just as it is the right of every other Deputy to disagree with me, if he wishes.

(Interruptions.)

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

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan The Parliamentary Secretary is sitting happy with his overall majority. The people in Waterford and Kerry gave the Government a minority.

Mr. J. Gibbons: Information on James M. Gibbons Zoom on James M. Gibbons We won the elections.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan People wrongly instructed failed to use proportional representation.

(Interruptions.)

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

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan My examination and analysis of the situation will be found to be correct in the cold print of the Official Report. The Taoiseach told us this morning that he had had a meeting [691] with the National Farmers Association. He did not say when he will have another one. He did not say that he had refused to have several. I want to define some of the things in this dispute. Before ever the farmers started from Cork to walk to Dublin, the Minister for Agriculture, Deputy Haughey, had broken off negotiations with the NFA because of a speech made by Mr. Deasy, a speech which was critical of the Government and the Minister. Now Ministers should be able to take criticism. When the farmers started to walk from Cork, there was every opportunity for the Minister to make his peace, but, long before they arrived in Merrion Street, he had decided he would not see them. He came back from Europe and he suggested, fraudulently, that we were getting 2,000 head of cattle into Germany. That application from Germany to the Common Market headquarters for permission to let them in has not yet been granted.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan The Parliamentary Secretary knows it backwards because he asked a question with which I shall deal later. With regard to Germany, the position is that it is highly unlikely, 90 per cent unlikely, that we will ever send any cattle there until there is a loosening generally of imports into the Common Market. The reason the Parliamentary Secretary knows that the cattle will get into Italy is that they are a different sort of cattle, young store cattle which are being brought there to be fattened, and therefore this is under a different heading. He knows as well as I do that the Minister for Agriculture came in here and told an untruth, and I will go no further than that because I am not allowed. However, it is an example of the completely double-faced attitude of the Fianna Fáil Party.

This is the man who on the first day he was Minister for Finance walked in for a Supplementary Estimate and when asked what it was for, said it was for the late President Kennedy's visit here. He had not read [692] the first line of his brief. It was for our President's visit to America. Where are we going when a man who can transfer from one major Ministry to another major Ministry is prepared to come here and produce an untruth which is now well known to the Parliamentary Secretary? He rose to the fly like the best fish that ever rose to my bait when he said we will get them into Italy. He knows that the Minister for Finance came in and tried to pull the wool over the eyes of a few farmers for the by-elections.

Mr. J. Gibbons: Information on James M. Gibbons Zoom on James M. Gibbons Nonsense.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan There was a 29.6 per cent drop in wheat, notwithstanding the increase of 10/- per barrel. They could not believe in him and that is why they had to move him.

Mr. J. Gibbons: Information on James M. Gibbons Zoom on James M. Gibbons It was a bad spring.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan Because the heifer scheme has been such a gambler's joy, there are 33,000 fewer in-calf heifers in the June census——

Mr. J. Gibbons: Information on James M. Gibbons Zoom on James M. Gibbons There are more cattle than ever.

(Interruptions.)

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

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan The gangsters and the gamblers jumped in and now they have jumped out, having collected some £7 million of capital moneys that could have been well used for other purposes. However, we will leave aside any mistakes that were made by the Government or the NFA——

Mr. J. Gibbons: Information on James M. Gibbons Zoom on James M. Gibbons Or the Labour Party.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan We will leave aside all these. It is grand to smile today but let Deputy Dunne remember what they are smiling at. They are smiling at who sent the two boys down the steps. We will get back to this question of the Minister for Agriculture.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne It is against Standing Orders to smile or laugh. I was put out for doing that.

[693]Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan They do not like this sort of stuff at all. I hope to go to the replay between Dundalk and Drumcondra, so they will be spared some of it. I want to talk about whether or not the people believe in the Minister for Agriculture and to get back to this question of the 2,000 cattle. I want also to raise the question of whether or not the Minister for Agriculture played the slick chick and codded the farmers' association at the time of the rates campaign and whether or not that was the start of the animosity. I suggest that now the NFA, the ICMSA and all the other kindred organisations, ranging from the trade unions to farmers' organisations and businessmen's organisations, may watch out for what has always been shown in time of victory, the arrogance of Fianna Fáil. These associations are now going to have their noses rubbed in the dirt. One of the ways in which Fianna Fáil will put themselves out, because they will put themselves out, will be by being too arrogant. If I were to give them advice, it would be that they should go easy.

Mr. J. Gibbons: Information on James M. Gibbons Zoom on James M. Gibbons Thank you very much.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan But there is no hope of Ministers of the calibre of the Minister for Health and the Minister for Justice and of the Minister for Finance going easily. The night of the long knives——

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte The Deputy left out the Minister for Agriculture.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan I am deeply grateful to Deputy Harte for including perhaps the best of them all, depending on how you look on the word “best”. However, the position is that the night of the long knives is not so long away. and when we are talking about Waterford and Kerry, let us remember the night when during a Division, we saw what I considered the most undignified performance I have ever witnessed anywhere: the Minister for Education, then Minister for Health, openly canvassing every Fianna Fáil Deputy, as he came in through the door, for Deputy Haughey. Where [694] are we going in this sovereign parliament? Is this thing to be decided on the basis of canvassing by a few men? What about this undignified bullrush home from America? Afterwards the Minister for Industry and Commerce told us that his trip cost £572. I thought then of the signs we saw during the war: “Is your journey really necessary?”

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne I missed that.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan Yes, that is what it cost. The undignified attitude of the Government and the place-seeking, the scramble for power and the ratrace——

Mr. J. Gibbons: Information on James M. Gibbons Zoom on James M. Gibbons You never lose hope.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan For the benefit of the Parliamentary Secretary, the definition of a rat-race is very simple. A rat when racing will run across the dead bodies of his own to escape. That is the definition.

Mr. J. Gibbons: Information on James M. Gibbons Zoom on James M. Gibbons Where are the dead bodies in this?

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan There are a few around.

Mr. J. Gibbons: Information on James M. Gibbons Zoom on James M. Gibbons There are two dead bodies in Waterford and two in Kerry.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan The Minister for Industry and Commerce, Deputy Colley, is one. I can never make up my mind whether Deputy Blaney, the Minister for Agriculture, was just a front runner or not, but there are a few dead bodies if you want them. I want to suggest now that they are going to split wide open.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte You are not in Killarney Town Hall now.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne Order.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan The point I am making is that these ambitious men will not stay as they always did. I always think that Deputy Dr. Hillery as Minister for Industry and Commerce was guilty of one of the greatest gaffes a [695] Minister for Industry and Commerce was ever guilty of when, in face of increases in wages of £1 a week, he gave increases to all the brewers and purveyors of liquor—like myself, because I am a purveyor of liquor at home—and excluded one, with the result that he had to step down in the most undignified way and everything was patched up in a month. The Minister for Agriculture has given 10/- extra for wheat but the price of foreign wheat has gone up by £3 a ton. I am going to say something that politically is not “with it” which will not win me any votes. It is indisputable that the end result will be an increase in the price of flour. The amount of wheat that is stored by the mills is generally taken to be two months' supply. In other words, if there was a wet harvest, they had last year's wheat to carry them on, dried and in proper condition. Now, all that wheat is gone and at present the Minister for Industry and Commerce is telling people, whether rich or poor does not matter, in the case of some firms to take a £1,000 note every day, drop it in the Liffey and watch it float out to the Kish.

How are we to get industrial expansion and some sort of useful relationship between the Minister and Department of Industry and Commerce and business, if that sort of thing goes on? They have been asking for an interview for six solid weeks. The remainder of last year's wheat at the low price is gone and they now have to use this year's wheat at a high price. I am not flogging their case: I am just setting out the situation.

Everybody knows that for the past six months almost every article they buy, with the exception of universal items such as a box of matches or something that can be identified by one brand or one maker and which is similar all over the country and that can be pinned down, has increased in price. Take the purveyors of liquor. All drink prices have gone up more than was allowed. Take articles of drapery, clothing and shoes, children's shoes. They have all gone up and there [696] has not been any prosecution. Now, the Minister for Industry and Commerce decides on this stupid action. It is as clear as crystal to me that this day three months the prices of flour and bread will be up and this is nothing but a political gimmick to suggest that Fianna Fáil kept them down.

I think I have talked long enough and I am sure others agree with me on that. I have been very free in what I said and I believe every word of it.

Mr. J. Gibbons: Information on James M. Gibbons Zoom on James M. Gibbons The Labour Party are very angry with you.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry I had hoped that, having expended all their wind in the past few weeks in Kerry and Waterford, Deputies opposite would find something better to do today than come here to tell us about the speeches they should have made but did not make in Kerry and Waterford. We had the final exposition from Deputy Donegan of how he would have won the election. He was down there, I believe——

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan I was not too far from yourself.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry I can tell the Deputy that we selected the right Taoiseach and we got the result in the two by-elections. Deputy Donegan was selected as shadow Minister for Agriculture by Deputy Dillon when Deputy Dillon was a shadow Taoiseach. He lost that job. He is not shadow Minister for Agriculture now. He was moved out of that job for his activities, the assistance he gave the Irish people in selling Irish exports. We do a big trade in the export of milk and milk products and Deputy Donegan's contribution to their sale was to say that 75 per cent of the farmers' milk going to the creameries was unfit for processing because it was too dirty. That was his contribution to the export of our milk and butter products.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte That is not exactly what he said.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry Exactly, word for word. The Deputy should stop interrupting and mind his three heads of cabbage and puck goat up in Donegal and stick to them.

[697]Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte I do not know where the Deputy gets the three heads of cabbage.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry If the Deputy cannot conduct himself, put some whiskey in that jar and give it to him. I am dealing in facts and that was Deputy Donegan's contribution to the export of our milk products.

Mr. J. Gibbons: Information on James M. Gibbons Zoom on James M. Gibbons He never said that!

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry His contribution was to say that 75 per cent of the milk that goes into the creameries from the farmers was too dirty for processing.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte That is not true.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne What did he say?

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry Deputy Donegan now comes along and—God help Deputy Cluskey when he starts—will be in charge of trade unions. I suppose he will be the new shadow Minister for Labour if he succeeds in joining them together.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte The Deputy is as wrong in that as he was in his previous remarks.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry He went a long way in this because he went on to deal with proportional representation and the wiping out of the Labour Party if proportional representation was not there.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne He made some exceptions.

(Interruptions.)

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin Deputy Corry is in possession.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry That was his statement here tonight—that the Labour Party would be wiped out——

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte But is Deputy Corry not elected on proportional representation?

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry ——in single seat constituencies. I am in favour of single seat constituencies because, in my opinion, you get a much better Deputy from such a constituency than from a constituency of five or six where two [698] or three can dodge and do nothing, leaving all the work to the others.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne There is something in what you say.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry In my constituency, the Labour Deputy is Deputy McAuliffe. I believe that if it were a single seat constituency, he would always be returned because he has worked. I would say the same thing for West Cork about my colleague, Deputy Mrs. Desmond. In any constituency in Cork county, the Deputies would be re-elected if they were single seat constituencies because they are workers and have worked for their people. They are not like the pack of drones over there, God between me and harm. I am judging on what I know and what I have seen built up. I saw the late Deputy Desmond build up that constituency and build a Labour seat in it, and I was proud and glad to see him do it.

Then we had Deputy Barrett telling us about unemployment as Deputy Donegan did. I am only dealing with their contributions. I wonder when Deputy Barrett went to Kerry did he inform them that he had advocated here the closing of an industry and the disemployment or throwing on the roadside of 800 workers from his constituency?

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte That again is not true.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry That is the constituency in which your pal said in his election address he was going to close down Verolme Dockyard and all other extravagances of that kind.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): Four Cork Deputies apologised for its existence.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry The people who like to come in here to talk about the number of unemployed under the Fianna Fáil Government are the people who stood up in this House deliberately and endeavoured to sabotage that industry which is giving employment to over 1,000 young men.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte There is not a word of truth in that.

[699]Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry I heard Deputy Dillon talking about housing. Why are houses needed in this country today? They are needed because Deputy Seán Lemass initiated the policy of industrialising this country. When I came here first, the total employment then being given by the Cumann na nGaedheal Government in Cobh was three weeks' work each year to six men to go over to Haulbowline and lift there a certain amount of machinery for the scrap heap to be sold by public auction. That was the total employment in the town of Cobh when I came in here. If anybody goes to the bother of looking up the records of this House for November, 1928, he will find that the then Cumann na nGaedheal Deputy for the constituency, Deputy Hennessy, moved in this House that a 25 per cent subsidy be given to every worker in Rushbrooke Dockyard to keep them in employment there. It was turned down, of course, by his brothers in arms and the dockyard closed. It remained closed for many a long year. I saw every scrap of machinery that was there being taken out and sold by public auction. That is the site where today there are 1,000 young men going to work, and those people over there endeavour to sabotage that industry. Let me go back now to 1932 when the Fianna Fáil Government first took over here. At that time the total employment in the town of Midleton was 20 men working three days a week in the flour mills.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte What did the Deputy tell the farmers to do with their livestock? I have read his speeches.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry What is the Deputy going to do with his puck goat?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin If Deputy Harte does not cease interrupting, I shall have to ask him to leave the House.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte I am merely asking Deputy Corry——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin The Deputy is not in order.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry I am giving the position [700] of my constituency as I find it, combined with the efforts of some gentlemen to prevent employment being given there.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): Why do you not build a few houses in Cobh?

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry There have been 180 houses built by Cork County Council around the borough area of Cobh and there have been 110 more houses built by Cobh Urban Council. The reason there are over 300 houses required in that town today is that there are young men there who are in employment and who previously had no outlet but the emigrant ship.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): Young men living in appalling conditions.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry The young men you tried to hunt out of Rushbrooke.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): In appalling conditions.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry Appalling conditions, at £25 a week. These houses had to be built because those young men, instead of having to face the emigrant ship, found there was employment now for them at home and that they could get married and settle down under a Fianna Fáil Government, in the knowledge that that employment was going to continue.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte What happened Potez?

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry The Deputy ought to mind the three heads of cabbage and the puck goat. If it eats the three heads of cabbage, he will have to sell it.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte The Deputy is getting my constituency mixed up with that of the Leas-Cheann Comhairle. He is misinformed.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry That was the position in connection with housing and that is the reason we want houses in the country today.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): When are you going to build them?

[701]Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry That is first in the order of priorities. Those young men, having now, thanks to Deputy Seán Lemass and the Fianna Fáil Government, secured constant employment, are now entitled to a decent home in which to live. They are going to get that.

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

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry Not by the policy you adopted when you formed a mixum-gatherum Government twice and ran out. I heard Deputy Donegan talking this evening about the contracts that were put back. You did not put them back, but you did not pay. You ran out and left the bills after you. You had 11 of a majority in this House the last time, but you did not last the full three years even of the five. By jove, there was not even a Jewman to give you twopence.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte That was the biggest mistake that ever happened.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry We remained here. Your colleague, Deputy O'Higgins, had a straight fight in the whole Republic and he was beaten.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte That was not politics.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry I thought, from all the shouting we heard here about threats to move writs, we would see somebody coming in over there. Labour know you too well. They had experience of you before. The last time they had experience of the mixum-gatherum team over there, they said the old man was right when he declared: “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” When the Labour Party were fooled a second time, they were not going to have any more of it.

I had hoped for better things from Labour in the by-election. I hoped Labour would at least come second. In fact, I was nearly prepared to concede them the seat in the two by-elections in the hope that they would go over across there and form some kind of opposition, for I am tired of being in Opposition myself. I have to [702] do it when the official Opposition in this House will not do it.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne No doubt, you are an all-round man.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry We heard a lot of talk from Deputy Cluskey. It would have been a good job for the Labour Party if they had kept Deputy Cluskey at home in the recent by-elections. That is honest and above board. I do not think he would appeal to any countryman. I know what is wrong with him. The poor man is shivering and shaking, morning, noon and night, for fear he will lose his job. If he cannot keep up the row between employer and worker, he fears he will no longer be needed as a trade union official.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte That is typical of the thinking of a Fianna Fáil Deputy.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry That is what is wrong with him. I have a kind of sympathy for him, although it is no good having sympathy for him now. Deputy Cluskey went down to Kerry and the trade union hours were so imprinted on his mind that he stopped canvassing at 5 o'clock every evening and worked only a five-day week while all the other boys were working 8½ hours.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne The other fellows were slaves.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry That is what happened Labour in the by-election. You cannot bring in trade union hours and have them so imprinted on your mind that you will not work after them.

The gap between the agricultural worker and the industrial worker is widening every day. That is unfortunate. If the agricultural worker, be he small farmer or labourer, were to impose a five-day week—as he would be perfectly entitled to do, seeing that nobody else is going to work any longer hours—and you have to pay overtime for the milking and feeding of the cows on Saturdays and Sundays, I wonder what would the price of milk be. I was not surprised when I saw Deputy Donegan's friends—the boys with the dirty milk, as he called them, [703] the ICMSA—walking up and down outside here. They are ordinary working farmers. I am drawing a very wide distinction. I met them out there. Some of them were comrades of mine who fought with me during the Tan War. They were up there with their medals on their coats, having to walk up and down for their rights.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte And you put them in jail.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry If there are to be trade union hours in this country, if there is to be the 40-hour week and no work on Sunday unless they are paid overtime for it, then let that apply to the rural community as well as the cities and towns. Let us have a levelling up in prices.

When I was so rudely interrupted by those chatterboxes over there, I was comparing the position in which I found my constituency when I first took it over 39 years ago with its position today. In the town of Cobh, there are 600 working in Irish Steel and about 1,000 working in the industry that Deputy Fitzpatrick was going to close in his election address. That is 1,600 men working where only six were working under the Cumann na nGaedheal regime.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): How many thousands did you put out of work in Ford's in 1932? Eight thousand.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry We brought Ford's there, lad. In your election address, you guaranteed your constituents that you would close Rushbrooke Dockyard. You closed Rushbrooke Dockyard. I will tell you that it shook the toenails out of your brothers in arms who were candidates in the constituency. I have Deputy Fitzpatrick's election address in which he declared that the policy of his Party was to close Verolme Dockyard. He did not care what harm he was doing to his brothers down in the constituency when he was publishing that above in Cavan but these are the things that count. It was just the same as when Deputy Barrett was [704] seen below in Kerry during the by-election: you could hear a whisper going around among the boys: “Is that the fellow that was closing Verolme Dockyard and going to throw 800 out on the road?” These are the kinds of things that count in the election and these are the things that got you out. But you cannot be up here preaching and telling us the speeches you were going to make below but were afraid to make.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): You had a football match there, not an election campaign.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry The next place I will come to is the town of Midleton. In the town of Midleton today, there are at least 1,500 people employed between the wireless factory, the distillery and our little job above in the processing factory. I will tell you one thing honestly, that is, that none of the farmers there could spare a day to sit on the steps. The farmers there are working farmers. Three years ago, we started a little processing industry there. Our total the first year was 270 acres of vegetables processed; last year we had 750 acres. I have just finished putting in proposals to An Foras Tionscal under which we will be processing 1,400 acres next year and, to prove that my farmers are prepared to do it, I have applications at present lying in the factory offices for 2,400 acres of vegetables. That will prove to you that, as far as the farmer is concerned, if you give him a market, he will produce.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Quite right.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry If you have not these industries going in other constituencies, well, if you had single-seat constituencies, you would have them because you would get rid of most of the drones after two elections. But that is what is wrong.

Last year, we employed roughly 80 in that factory. We paid £47,000 in wages and we paid £75,000 to the farmers for producing crops. That is a good turnover in one year. Next year, please God, we shall have 200 working in the factory and we will be paying [705] the farmers about £150,000. That is employment; that is building up a country. That is building it up without bringing in the foreigner to import the raw material and sell out. This raw material is growing on our own land. It is produced by our working farmers. When I say that I signed cheques for some of those farmers for as high as £220 an acre for carrots and somewhere around £200 an acre for French beans, it will give you an idea of what can be done even with the small farmer if he has somebody who will not lie down on him but will help him out and find a market for his produce and give him a job. These are facts.

I was absent here for a couple of hours today because I had to go over to Foras Tionscal to lodge an application for a further grant. Within the next two years, we shall have the full 2,400 acres under vegetables there and our farmers in that little patch of this country will be drawing an income of roughly £500,000 a year. These are facts and they are so strong that they cannot be contradicted. The proof is there. If any Deputy doubts me, he can come down and I will take great pleasure in showing him over. I will even do what I did with Deputy Fitzpatrick: I will give him a glass of grog at the end of it, the same as he got in Rushbrooke from Verolme. That is the way to build up a country. That is the reason why, when you went down to the small farmers and the workers of Kerry, you had a Fianna Fáil representative coming back here.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): Without a quota.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry Where was your quota? I thought, with all the clacking made by you and when you got the few farmers to sit on the steps on the day of the election, and for two days before it, you were going to pull something out of the bag, but even that would not help you. These are facts. That is why you remain over there in fewer numbers every year until perhaps Labour will take over from you and you will be smaller still. That is the [706] reason. I saw poor Deputy Donegan there and he nearly went out of his wits complaining because Labour did not give their No. 2 vote to Fine Gael.

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

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry What reason would they have to give Fine Gael their No. 2 vote? Can anybody over there give me a sound reason why any worker in the Verolme Dockyard would give a No. 2 vote to Deputy Fitzpatrick who was going to deprive them of employment or to Deputy Donegan who endeavoured to sabotage our exports of milk products?

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte That is not true.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry Why should they do it? They saw, before Fianna Fáil came in here, before Deputy Seán Lemass started his industrial policy here, the outlook that was before them. You had the farmer who looked at his son when he came to 14 years of age and said: “Mike, you will have to go next year to England or some place where you will get a day's work”.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Now they are going at the age of 12. Whole families are going.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry The leopard never changes his spots and that is true as far as you are concerned. I saw that tried out. That was the condition of affairs that obtained then. Now, if a man is rearing a family, he can look around at his children and say: “Thank God, they will get a job in Rushbrooke and Verolme in spite of Deputy Fitzpatrick. They will get a job in Irish Steel, in spite of the activities of the inter-Party Government who had reduced employment there to fewer than 400 men when Deputy Seán Lemass took over again.” They will get employment in those places and, if they do not have enough of employment there for them, I will have new industries ready to put them into.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Good. The wrong man is leading that Party. Deputy Corry should have been selected as Taoiseach.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry If the Deputy will come [707] down, I will show him where I put his three heads of cabbage.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte The tomahawk is out again.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry I suppose what happened to you was that if you took the puck goat to Kerry he might be taken down.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Or Killorglin.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry I am sure he has a bigger whisker on him than the fellow you have there. That is where you made a mistake. If I had a puck goat like that, I would take him down and would not be making a noise about the price of livestock. I would shut my mouth. They have kept me here and I cannot go home tonight, and I might as well amuse myself here with them as anywhere else. I had honestly hoped that, having got the results of the two by-elections, they would have folded their tents and gone home in peace for Christmas. Instead, Deputy Donegan came in here to tell us how he would win the by-election. He would take these labour trade unionists and he would make them vote No. 2 for the Fine Gael candidate. He told us so tonight. He would be trotting two Fine Gael men down here and you could be looking at them and shaking the boys' hands. Frankly, I was disappointed that Labour did not get their rightful place in the by-elections. Their rightful place was second.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte You are putting Fine Gael first?

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry No. You could not put your puck goat anywhere else. I heard you were down around Dingle with him.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte No; I was in Valentia with the Minister for Agriculture.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry Do not come moaning here about the price of livestock when all of you have to sell is a puck goat.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Do not talk about livestock. I read the speeches made by Deputy Corry in 1932 on the subject [708] of livestock. Deputy Belton and I spent a couple of hours reading them.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin I wonder could Deputy Harte cease talking for a few moments and allow Deputy Corry to make his speech?

Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins To continue his intelligent contribution to the proceedings of the House.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry I am far more intelligent than the Deputy.

Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins I am sure you are, but display it.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry That is why I am here so long. I am afraid I will lose the Deputy next time. I would not like to. When they talk here about the rumpus in the Fianna Fáil ranks in regard to the election of the Taoiseach, may I ask Fine Gael why did they drive Deputy Dillon out? Why was Deputy Dillon condemned by the Fine Gael Party and ordered out of that Party in the height of a crisis in the country? Why was he ordered out?

Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Just for the record, that is not so and Deputy Corry knows it is not so. Deputy Corry knows that he is saying something that is not accurate.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry Why——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin Will Deputy Corry cease for a moment? Deputy O'Higgins may not make a remark along those lines. He will have to withdraw the remark that Deputy Corry is speaking an untruth and that he knows it.

Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins I did not say that he was speaking an untruth. I said he was inaccurate.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin And that he knew it.

Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins He knows it because I told it to him.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin If the Deputy did not say it, there is no need to withdraw.

[709]Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins I said it was inaccurate and the Deputy knows it is inaccurate.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry I am prepared to produce for the information of Deputy O'Higgins the records of this House to prove what I am saying——

Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Please do so.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry ——that Deputy Dillon left the Fine Gael Party.

Mr. L. Belton: Information on Luke Belton Zoom on Luke Belton You said a minute ago that he was put out.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry If these fellows said to me in the morning that I would have to get out, I suppose I would nearly have to go.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte That would be our good luck.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry He was afterwards taken back into the fold. He was tried out as Minister for Agriculture for a bit and as a result of his activities in that period, we had an illusion, which bears out my contention in regard to the agricultural community. Deputy Donegan told us about the £3 rise in the price of wheat. We had the same condition of affairs here when Deputy Dillon became Minister for Agriculture. Two years after we had made an agreement with the Irish Sugar Company that the price of beet would be paid on the cost of production plus a profit, after the coming in of the inter-Party Government, I went down to my colleagues to get that honoured for one year and I was met below with a letter signed by the then Minister for Industry and Commerce and the Minister for Agriculture, that the previous Government were far too generous to the farming community and on no account whatever would there be any increase in the price for beet in that year. That was followed up. There was a reduction of some 20,000 acres of beet that year. We had to import 75,000 tons of foreign sugar to meet that. That foreign sugar was imported at £12 a ton higher than the price of the best white sugar leaving our own factory. When I saw the imports and the price, [710] I went to the then General Manager of the Sugar Company, General Costello, and I said: “We never fought in this country to have a foreign nigger getting £12 a ton more for his sugar than an Irish farmer”.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish What is a “nigger”?

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry He agreed with me.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish What is a nigger?

Mr. Booth: Information on Lionel Booth Zoom on Lionel Booth In a woodpile.

Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins On a point of order, I want to know how is this rubbish Deputy Corry is talking relevant to the motion we are discussing here?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin Deputy Corry is now discussing facets of agriculture.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish I do not think he should be allowed to describe people who are not of the same colour as people in this country as “niggers.”

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin Zoom on Cormac Breslin “Niggers” is not a disorderly word.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish It may not be, within the traditions of the House, but I think it is an objectionable word.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan Zoom on Stephen Coughlan You would not like to be called a nigger.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry I am giving a description of the manner in which those things were brought about and the result. As a result, the negotiating committee of the Beetgrowers Association met General Costello the following Monday morning. Although the contracts were signed in November we got from him an increase of 7/6 per ton in the price of beet for that year, to bring us in line with the price of the foreign sugar that was being imported.

We have Deputy Donegan complaining and wanting to know the position with regard to the price of wheat. They are now asking why we should import wheat when the price of foreign wheat has gone up by £3 per ton but it is the same with everything else that we are producing from [711] the soil of Ireland. They condemn it. It is not good enough for the Irish people to eat. I heard the Minister for Agriculture they had say that he once had the pleasure of eating bread made from Irish wheat. He said that you took it in your hands and kneaded it and squeezed the water out of it and that then you decided whether it was boot polish or bread. If it was boots polish, you applied it to your boots and if it was bread, you ate it and tried to digest it. That is Deputy Dillon's description of bread made from Irish wheat and that is why they now come along and charge us with letting in foreign wheat because the Irish people are too civilised to eat the bread their fathers eat.

These are hard facts but they are there. The only time I saw these people anxious for wheat growing was during the war years. I saw them buying Irish wheat from 1914-1918. I ate bread in Crumlin Road jail in 1918 and the black culls of the oats were cocking up out of it. That is what we had to eat.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish It did not do you any harm.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry It did not do me any more harm than the hunger strike I had to do in Newbridge for my friends opposite. I am now 77 years of age and I am going to retire from this House in 1985.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan Zoom on Stephen Coughlan Have we to put up with you for that length of time?

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry You can take a bet on it, and you will win. I firmly believe that before that time comes, I will see Deputy Coughlan as Finance Minister in this House.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan Zoom on Stephen Coughlan I will make you Minister for Agriculture and you will do a job on it.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry Zoom on Martin John Corry That is where they lost. If I were Minister for Agriculture, I would have the whole country as I have my own little constituency, plenty of employment and my farmers working and satisfied and not sitting on the [712] steps. I do not understand why Deputies should take up the time of the Parliament set up by the people in shouting, wailing and moaning because they cannot accept the decision of the people. In the two by-elections the people told them they did not want them. Can they not take that for a month or two and perhaps some people will forget their defeat after Christmas? Until that time, I suggest that they go home quietly and peacefully. I would also say to my colleagues that those opposite are the people who want to keep them up all night. Let them keep the House if they want to. There is no occasion for us to keep it.

Mr. Mullen: Information on Michael Mullen Zoom on Michael Mullen As the previous Deputy went back into the past, it is only right that we should go into the future and make submissions to the Taoiseach that he should go seriously to work and produce a positive programme that will prepare us for our entry into the Common Market. Deputy Corry has admitted that eventually the Labour Party will become the Government but surely the time is upon us now when we should prepare ourselves for entry to the Common Market. The time has come for us to give serious consideration to matters in the realm of local government and we will have to attempt to produce the goods in a far better fashion than has been done in the past couple of years.

In Dublin, the housing situation is still chronic. The emergency which was created three years ago as a result of houses falling is still in existence and some thousands of people are left in the position that no one can tell them when they are going to be accommodated. Recently Dublin Corporation found it necessary to conduct the exercise of setting about ascertaining from the people on their waiting list whether they were still interested in houses.

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

Mr. Mullen: Information on Michael Mullen Zoom on Michael Mullen It was not I who asked for a House and it is my understanding that it would not have been called for, [713] were it not for the fact that Deputy Corry invited his colleagues to walk out. We are all conscious of the fact that this is the House of Parliament and the ruling Party are responsible for keeping a House.

Before the quorum was called for, I was adverting to the useful exercise undertaken recently by Dublin Corporation in trying to ascertain if those on the waiting list are still interested in houses. The result of that exercise has shown that the situation is as bad now as it ever was and there is very little hope of solving the problem for families of five and no hope of solving the problem for families of four. That is just not good enough and that situation must not be allowed to continue. I do not make this issue a political football, but public representatives in Dublin must now be fed up giving the stereotyped answer to those seeking housing accommodation. We still have families living in overcrowded conditions, whether it be in tenements or in corporation houses which they share with other members of the family. We still have people obliged to walk the streets because there is no housing accommodation for them. I entreat the Taoiseach to urge the responsible Minister to give this matter his serious consideration.

There has been a good deal of disappointment in relation to the much-vaunted Ballymun scheme. It was stated that these houses would be ready by a certain time but, so far, that certain time has failed to arrive. I appreciate that weather has had an adverse effect on building operations there. Nevertheless, the position today shows clearly that those charged with responsibility for the development of this estate were not right in their initial estimates. We had the assurance, too, that all services and amenities would be provided simultaneously with the erection of the houses. We have retreated a little from that ambition. These things must be tackled and tackled promptly.

As I said at the outset, we should be looking to the future. We are not concerned with who went with whom in 1922 and the years following. Our [714] concern is to face the reality of today in relation to our commitments to the community. Bearing in mind our possible eventual entry into the European Economic Community, it is time something was done in relation to our social welfare benefits. I do not think it is wrong to advocate a graded system of benefits and a graded system of contributions. There is need for improvement in pensions. We know that such improvement will cost money, but, if we are to take our place in the European Economic Community and be as good as the other countries in that Community, we shall have to gear up our social welfare benefits. They are crying out for attention. Up to now there has been no positive plan from the Department of Social Welfare to show how this real problem should be tackled. I am satisfied there is a genuine desire, among workingclass people in particular, among all shades of political thought, for an improvement in benefits. They realise that, in order to obtain that improvement, money will have to be found.

While it is laudable to project improved health schemes, it is much more laudable to do something positive from the point of view of providing an adequate health scheme. Again, in this connection, we will have to be as good as the Member countries of the European Economic Community. At the moment we lag very far behind. Again, this will have to be paid for. The scheme announced by the former Minister shows some improvement. It has in it things this Party have been advocating repeatedly, as can be proved by our published programme. The question arises as to where the money will come from and we have not yet been told by the former Minister, by the present Minister, by the Minister for Finance or, indeed, by the Taoiseach, where the money will come from. We should be told and we should be in a position to examine the situation and see to what extent we can combine our interests.

With regard to education, I am aware that arrangements will be made to give every child attending a [715] national school an opportunity of further education. No Party would have the impudence to fall out with that suggestion. We have not yet heard any statement of policy or been given any indication as to the extent to which the curriculum will be changed in the national schools. There is room for improvement in the curriculum. That is something which will have to be tackled if we are to equate our efforts in education with those of the other Member countries of the European Economic Community. It is pertinent, too, to inquire what the cost will be and in what way the Minister for Finance proposes to obtain the money to pay for this improvement. We are entitled to know to what extent the people will be levied in order to pay for this improved education. It is an important matter.

There is another matter the tackling of which is long overdue. I am thinking of the effects on some of our industries, if and when we go into the Common Market. It is wrong to say that our industries will not be affected; some of our industries will be affected and perhaps some will go to the wall. Up to the present we have had lip service paid to the idea of redundancy compensation. We have got to do something rapidly about this, otherwise we will find our labour force emigrating instead of remaining here for retraining and being compensated while being retrained. Repeatedly we hear that we will be in the Common Market by 1970 and surely it is about time that something positive was done about redundancy compensation.

This is an opportune time for the Taoiseach to consult with the Minister for Industry and Commerce and the Minister for Transport and Power in regard to the type of work our people are likely to be engaging in if we go into the Common Market. While some of our industries will go to the wall, some will undoubtedly improve. One industry which will improve, a very valuable industry, is the tourist industry. Bearing in mind that the tourist industry is a highly competitive one [716] and that almost every nation has realised its value, it is imperative that we have a close look at the system of training staff for this industry. People formerly engaged in industries which go to the wall will have to be channelled into other types of employment and the tourist industry will provide an outlet for some of them. This will necessitate training and it is imperative that the Minister for Transport and Power, who has responsibility for tourism, should consult with the Minister for Education, and in turn, they should consult with the Minister for Finance, in regard to who is going to accept responsibility for the cost of training staff in order to ensure that this great asset will be secured, bearing in mind that it is highly competitive.

There are other matters about which one could speak in this debate, but as I said, I am not one for asking what others did over the years. The time has come to face realities and the difficulties which exist. The time has come for positive thinking and action. The time has gone when people can be asking: “Where were you or what did you do in the past?” The time has come for catching up in the fight for an existence and we must gear ourselves for the change to which we are committed. Whether that change is for good or ill, I will not say. Now is the time for producing a proper health scheme and for saying where the money is to come from. The same applies to social welfare, education and a scheme for redundancy. If we do this, we will have less recriminations and more positive action.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte I wonder if it is right or wrong for me to claim a victory for the Fine Gael Party in the two by-elections? I should like to give my view of how the by-elections were won and lost and what the results mean. If the Government had postponed the elections until after Christmas, the wave of enthusiasm that had been so apparent for the first time in the past three or four years in the Fianna Fáil camp would have disappeared. That wave of enthusiasm was there for one [717] reason and one reason only, that is, that the Party had a new Leader.

A Deputy: What was wrong with the new Leader?

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte I am not saying anything about the new Leader. This wave of enthusiasm within the Fianna Fáil ranks lasted from the day Deputy Lynch announced that he would accept the leadership until just past the date of the by-election.

Mr. Fanning: Information on John Fanning Zoom on John Fanning We were split before that?

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte In every week that went by after Deputy Jack Lynch had accepted the leadership of the Party, the enthusiasm was getting less and less, so much so that the results of the Waterford by-election proves beyond all doubt that had the elections been fought another fortnight or three weeks later——

Mr. Clohessy: Information on Patrick Clohessy Zoom on Patrick Clohessy What about Kerry? A nail in the coffin.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte If the Deputy from East Limerick will wait, I will deal with it.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte The cheer leader for Fianna Fáil has arrived, the man who appears most in the Official Debates as the chief interrupter. The young boy——

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy Zoom on Robert Molloy The Deputy is misquoting what I said.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte The Deputy who backed the wrong horse. He could have been driving around Kerry in a Mercedes.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy Zoom on Robert Molloy Be very careful; Deputy Flanagan made his speech from the back benches the other night. You will be up there soon.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte I could be better placed there. I want to give the Deputy some advice. If the Deputy had stood back, he would have been driving a Mercedes——

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy Zoom on Robert Molloy This is a very illuminating speech.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte I am corrected by a [718] colleague. The Deputy would not have had to drive himself; he would have had a driver, or perhaps two drivers.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy Zoom on Robert Molloy If I were tired, I might drive myself.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte I was saying that the result of the Waterford by-election indicates to me the growing support for the Fine Gael Party, and if the election had been postponed for a fortnight at least, the Fianna Fáil Party would have been defeated.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte You are not in Killarney Town Hall now. Sit back and listen.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan Deputy Harte is entitled to make his speech without interruption.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy Zoom on Robert Molloy He should address the Chair.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan That is part of my problem. Deputies should allow him speak. If they want to make statements themselves, there is still time for them to do so.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte I was pointing out in regard to the result of the Kerry by-election the importance the Fianna Fáil Party placed on winning it when they had no fewer than 11 Ministers there for a fortnight. They considered it more important to canvass votes than to run their Departments. The Minister for Agriculture was talking about building a bridge at Valentia while farmers were sitting at his door step.

Mr. Clohessy: Information on Patrick Clohessy Zoom on Patrick Clohessy They are so fond of sitting down that it is a pity to put them off it.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte We know the difficulties Deputy Molloy had in Dingle.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy Zoom on Robert Molloy Do you want to hear about that? Stink bombs and the lot— you threw the lot.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte It would have been more pleasant for the Deputy if he had backed the right man for Taoiseach.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan The result [719] of the by-election can be discussed in too much detail for the liking of the Chair. There are many other matters that may, more relevantly, be discussed.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Before the Ceann Comhairle came in, I was making a brief reference to them.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan And I shall assume the Deputy has concluded his reference to them.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte I have, I should have concluded earlier except for the interruptions.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan Deputies should allow Deputy Harte to proceed in his own way.

Mr. Clohessy: Information on Patrick Clohessy Zoom on Patrick Clohessy We thought he would be ashamed to mention the by-elections.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan The Deputy should show that in some other way.

Mr. Clohessy: Information on Patrick Clohessy Zoom on Patrick Clohessy There was no Fine Gael Deputy in Killarney when the election was won.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Before leaving the by-elections, let me say that about three years ago the Fianna Fáil Party won two by-elections and within six months, they lost a by-election. If they had the opportunity of selecting any constituencies in Ireland, they could not have picked two better ones for their purpose. They succeeded in getting two Deputies elected without reaching a quota. That is sufficient for the by-elections.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan I must ask Deputy Clohessy to restrain himself.

Mr. Clohessy: Information on Patrick Clohessy Zoom on Patrick Clohessy I apologise.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte I should like to put it on record that I do not mind being interrupted by Deputy Clohessy——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan The Deputy has now put it on the record.

[720]Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte ——because Deputy Clohessy's name never appears on the records of this House——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan That has nothing whatever to do with the motion.

Mr. Fanning: Information on John Fanning Zoom on John Fanning He is not a bad example.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte When the Minister for Transport and Power spoke this evening, he said that some of the difficulties of the Government in going into these two by-elections were beyond the Government's control. He instanced inflation and said one of the reasons for inflation was that it was the wish of the Irish people. May I suggest that one of the functions of the Government is to control inflation and that despite all attempts by the Fianna Fáil Government and the interParty Government or any government in a democratic society, inflation will take place? That is a natural development since we got away from the barter system. The problem of a Government is to control it and if it is controlled, natural inflation is not wrong, but when a Government openly admit and encourage it, that Government are failing in their duty.

Not so long ago I heard the former Taoiseach, Deputy Lemass, make statements here. I read speeches he made at Fianna Fáil meetings in this city and throughout the country advocating inflation. He told us here that the Irish people should have a honeymoon—that was the term he used— and spend their money, that the proof of our prosperity was in the shops. We heard the Minister for Finance who was then Minister for Justice introducing a Bill increasing salaries from £4,500 to £6,000 per year. The reason he gave was that those people should share in the cake of prosperity. That was the green light for inflation. When the workers put forward their claims for increased wages, they were justified in doing so and were encouraged to do so by the Government. The present Minister for Finance gave them the green light early in 1963. That caused such a spiral of inflation and such an [721] increase in the cost of living that we almost priced ourselves out of the foreign market.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy Zoom on Robert Molloy Is this Fine Gael policy you are telling us about? You are only talking about history.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte The Deputy has made mistakes.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy Zoom on Robert Molloy Please God I shall make more. How can I learn otherwise?

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte If the Deputy had not made the vital mistake, he could have been down in the Front Benches.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy Zoom on Robert Molloy That is a matter of opinion.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan I must insist that Deputy Harte be allowed to make his statement.

Mr. Fanning: Information on John Fanning Zoom on John Fanning But he is looking for trouble.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan The first interruption was made by Deputy Molloy.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Indeed, one reason why we were in such a serious financial position in the past few months is basically that the Government encouraged inflation. Then they bought themselves out of two by-elections by the ninth round increase. They purchased the votes. Within a few months, the workers who voted for them because they got more money in their pay packets discovered that they were able to buy less goods from the merchants. As one person in Donegal put it, he said he remembered the time when he sent the messenger to the shop with the bag for the groceries and the money in his pocket, whereas now he sends for the groceries with the money in the bag and the messenger can bring the groceries in his pocket. The rich were becoming richer and the poor poorer. People were begining to live in castles while others had no homes.

Deputy Lenihan does not agree with me but he will be the first to agree that there are more posh offices in this city and more money spent on office blocks, [722] centrally heated and with fitted carpets than has been spent on local authority housing in the Twenty-Six Counties. I openly admit I was disappointed that the people of Waterford and Kerry did not reject this situation when they had the opportunity. The only reason I can put forward for it is that when the Minister for Agriculture was finished making his promises, they put him into the Department of Finance so that he could start making promises again; and, when the Minister for Local Government was finished with his blarney, they put him into the Department of Agriculture so that he could start promising again. He even went down to Valentia and promised a bridge that should have been built seven years ago. This is all psychology and that is what won the election.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan Would the Deputy deal with some other aspect of the motion? He told me before that he was leaving that part of his statement.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte I just remarked briefly on it. I feel it is wrong that a Government should spend so much money in this direction and encourage the spending of so much money in this direction when people in our society have to live in houses completely unfit for human habitation. Passing by an election platform in the past few weeks, I heard the Taoiseach make a statement that the Fianna Fáil Party drew their support from the poorer sections of our community.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy Zoom on Robert Molloy We never reduced the old age pension.

Mr. Reynolds: Information on Patrick J. Reynolds Zoom on Patrick J. Reynolds No, but you promised and did not pay, which was worse.

Mr. Clohessy: Information on Patrick Clohessy Zoom on Patrick Clohessy You never gave them anything.

Mr. Reynolds: Information on Patrick J. Reynolds Zoom on Patrick J. Reynolds You promised and did not pay, inside the past 12 months.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte The Taoiseach said a great deal of their support was drawn from the poorer sections of the community. I saw industrialists from [723] Dublin in their Mercedes cars, people who subscribe £1,000 or £5,000 a year to the Fianna Fáil Party, drawing the people out to support Fianna Fáil. The people were told the story: “Unless you vote for Fianna Fáil, you will lose your benefits.” I wonder was the Taoiseach really sincere or am I misinterpreting what he said when I suggest he said: “We draw our support from the poorer sections of the community.” They even send down Mercedes cars to bring them out.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan There is a method of dealing with interruptions, and the Chair will put it into operation, if Deputies insist on misconducting themselves.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish There are four of them there now.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte And three of them could be better placed somewhere else.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan Would the Deputy speak to the motion?

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte I as a young Deputy have seen a new Leader in the Fianna Fáil Party and I wonder, when the next general election takes place, whether in six months time or in 1969-70, as the former Taoiseach said, the new Leader will take the same attitude as the former Taoiseach did when he used the catchcries: “Let Lemass Lead On”. “Do not change horses in mid-stream”. “Do not put back the clock”—all these catch-phrases which were used to capture the imagination of the people. This is the psychology that the Fianna Fáil Party have mastered in an election campaign. I wonder will the present Taoiseach use these tactics or will he say, as Deputy John A. Costello said in 1957: “We have difficulties——

Mr. Clohessy: Information on Patrick Clohessy Zoom on Patrick Clohessy You ran out of Government.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte “We have difficulties; we are going to the country.” If he does that, he will have my word that the Leader of the Fine Gael Party will [724] not, like the former Leader of Fianna Fáil, promise to create 100,000 new jobs. That kind of psychology is how Fianna Fáil won the elections.

Mr. Clohessy: Information on Patrick Clohessy Zoom on Patrick Clohessy You will be very lucky if you are elected at the next election.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte That remains to be seen.

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

Mr. Fanning: Information on John Fanning Zoom on John Fanning You were not serious in the by-elections.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan If Deputy Fanning insists on interrupting, I shall have to ask him to leave the House.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte I believe that had the present Government gone to the country, a completely different result would have been forthcoming. In regard to housebuilding, in the 17th Dáil we had a Minister for Local Government whose duty it was to build houses and he did not build them. In the 18th Dáil, the Taoiseach saw fit to appoint a Parliamentary Secretary to help him not to build them. I wonder what all the Parliamentary Secretaries are for? I have come to the conclusion that they are chief organisers when it comes to by-elections.

Like many Deputies, and indeed like many other people in the country, I feel obliged to refer to the system of election, namely, proportional representation, and I do not cast any reflection on Members of the Labour Party in this regard. In 1959, this subject was discussed and, by referendum the people decided to retain the system of proportional representation. I believe that the majority of the people who marked No. 1 on the ballot paper in the by-election and left it at that were people who supported proportional representation in the referendum. This is our system of election, and irrespective of whether it was their desire to vote for the Government candidate or the Fine Gael candidate, my advice to them is that it is their democratic right to use the transferable vote and they should have used it.

[725]Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish It is their democratic right also not to use it.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy Zoom on Robert Molloy They were all Fianna Fáil anyway.

Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins Zoom on Seán Collins That is what you thought—three to one. Grow up, you little——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan I cannot allow that remark.

Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins Zoom on Seán Collins I will withdraw it, Sir.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte I will not dispute with Deputy Corish that these people had the right to use their second preference votes or to abstain from doing so. But, when we have the system of proportional representation here, they should use their second preference votes.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish May I ask the Deputy a question? Does he know how many “plumpers” there were in the papers of the Fine Gael candidates and the Fianna Fáil candidates?

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte I would answer that question by this. I said to the Fine Gael voters in Kerry for the brief time I was there——

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy Zoom on Robert Molloy The brief time.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte A smart young boy like Deputy Molloy, with all the glory in his past——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan Will the Deputy please get to the point?

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Deputy Corish asked how many “plumpers” there were in the Fine Gael votes. I did not see the count. I gave the same advice to the people voting for the Fine Gael candidate, that they should use their second preferences. I made no apology to anyone in Kerry for advising the Fine Gael voters to transfer their votes to the Labour candidate.

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass Zoom on Noel T. Lemass It was your only hope.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Fianna Fáil can stay [726] in office and feather their nests at the expense of the poor by making the poor people believe that, if any other Party are returned to power, the poor will lose all their social welfare benefits. As long as Fianna Fáil can maintain that position, the vested interests in Dublin who dictate the law to Fianna Fáil, the men with the income of £50,000, are all right. They have more say in the Fianna Fáil Party than Deputy Molloy. You are only a small cog in the wheel, Deputy Molloy.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan The Deputy should not address a Deputy across the House.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte As long as that is the position, Fianna Fáil will be safe for another period.

Mr. P.J. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan Is that what you think of the Kerry people?

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte This is my personal opinion. Fianna Fáil have created the myth that there is only one system of government in this country—the one-Party system. They came to power with the help of Labour. Some of the strongest economies in Europe have had a Coalition Government. I cannot see why it should not work here.

Mr. Fanning: Information on John Fanning Zoom on John Fanning But it did not work.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte I cannot see why it should not work.

Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins On a point of order, Sir, I would like to point out that Deputy Harte has been subjected to persistent interruption.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte I am surprised that Deputy Fanning should use this opportunity to interrupt me. I have never interrupted him.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan Deputy Harte should not be addressing Deputies across the House. I am cautioning both sides, Deputy Harte and the interrupters on the other side. There is power vested in the Chair to deal with interruptions in a drastic fashion. If the Deputies wish the Chair to do that, the Chair will do it very freely. The Chair is cautioning both sides of the House now.

[727]Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Countries in Western Europe have had coalition Governments which have been more successful than a Fianna Fáil Government. If the Labour Party are to be in opposition, they should be in Opposition to the Government, whether it is a Fianna Fáil or a Fine Gael Government. If Fianna Fáil are the Government, the Opposition Parties must be opposed to them. If Deputy Corish, as Leader of the Labour Party, had said to his supporters before the elections: “Transfer your second preference votes to the Fine Gael candidate,” and if Deputy Cosgrave had said publicly to his supporters: “Transfer your second preference votes to the Labour candidates,” two different Deputies would have been elected to this House. I would go further and say if tomorrow morning both Leaders were to say: “We both oppose Fianna Fáil and we are going to set up a Government if the country wills it,” Fianna Fáil would not be in office. That is my personal opinion. I give it in the knowledge that some of my backbenchers will probably tell me I should not have said it. I do not say it simply because I think what Deputy Corish says or what Deputy Cosgrave says will influence the Irish people in the election of a Government.

I say it because I feel the Irish people are sick, sore and tired of Fianna Fáil government. I say it because of Fianna Fáil's dismal record of house building, so dismal that certain Fianna Fáil Deputies in marginal seats would lose their seats in a general election. I say it because I know that the people Fianna Fáil have deprived of social benefit by increased taxation would reject them in a general election. I say it because people with no political commitments, who vote on a personal basis, would probably vote cross-Party. This was very apparent in the Killarney district in the by-election. Both the Labour and Fianna Fáil candidates came from that locality. Certain people voted on a personal basis and transferred votes to the opposite Party. If a lesser percentage had done so, Deputy O'Leary would not have been elected to this House. If I were a member of the back [728] bench of Fianna Fáil, I would not be sticking out my chest and crowing that the Taoiseach has received a vote of confidence from the people of Waterford and South Kerry.

Mr. P.J. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan He has.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte This reminds me of a football team that does all the pressing but the other team scores the goals.

Mr. Fanning: Information on John Fanning Zoom on John Fanning The footballer in Galway——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan Would Deputy Fanning please restrain himself or else leave the House?

Mr. Fanning: Information on John Fanning Zoom on John Fanning I am sorry.

Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins Zoom on Seán Collins You are short of hurlers at the moment, so cheer up.

Mr. Briscoe: Information on Ben Briscoe Zoom on Ben Briscoe I am sure Deputy Harte's personal opinions are of no importance——

Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins Zoom on Seán Collins Stand up when you are addressing the Chair.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan Deputy Briscoe must not interrupt but must wait until Deputy Harte has finished, if he wants to make a contribution to the debate.

Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins Zoom on Seán Collins He made one.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Quite recently, when the Fianna Fáil Party decided to change leadership, the imagination of the entire country was held for a few weeks in anticipation of who would succeed. We had names mentioned in the Fianna Fáil ranks as to who would be the successful candidate. I feel that when the Taoiseach, Deputy J. Lynch, decided to contest these two by-elections it was the first decision and the only decision he could make as Taoiseach because, had he postponed that decision until early in the New Year, the results would have been quite different.

Mr. Fanning: Information on John Fanning Zoom on John Fanning Deputy Donegan suggested that.

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass Zoom on Noel T. Lemass He told us we were afraid to go.

[729]Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte But during this period of the election of Taoiseach, some names were mentioned and certain remarks were made. Pressure groups existed. Certain Deputies in the Fianna Fáil Party were known to be canvassing for two people, and possibly three.

Mr. Fanning: Information on John Fanning Zoom on John Fanning What happened to poor Deputy Dillon?

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte We are not surprised at that because even that very Deputy wanted to join the Fine Gael Party at one stage.

Mr. Foley: Information on Desmond Foley Zoom on Desmond Foley “It is time for a change.”

(Interruptions.)

Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins Zoom on Seán Collins It is a good job this debate will not continue much longer, in view of the behaviour of some Deputies.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte It is nearly impossible to make a speech with Deputy Clohessy interrupting.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan I asked Deputy Clohessy before to stop interrupting.

Mr. Clohessy: Information on Patrick Clohessy Zoom on Patrick Clohessy I am sorry; he is looking for it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan The Deputy's sorrow does not seem to be in any way permanent.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte I shall conclude by saying that I hope the present Taoiseach will make a better job of the post than his predecessor. I hope that when the decision is his, whether it is best for the country or best for the Fianna Fáil Party, he will decide in favour of what is best for the country.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch That is synonymous.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte I dispute that.

Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins There is a declaration now.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte I sincerely hope that if it is the lot of the Taoiseach to decide about going to the country at a time when it is inopportune for Fianna Fáil to do so, he will not postpone that decision for reasons of political expediency.

[730]Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins Zoom on Seán Collins He just told you he will.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte His predecessors made those decisions and openly admitted that the only thing they were concerned with was the future of the Fianna Fáil Party. Might I, in conclusion, say that the Fianna Fáil Party are not the 73 members who are elected to this House to represent the Party but that some of the financial and vested interests in this city dictate the terms more forcefully than the backbenchers of the Fianna Fáil Party.

Mr. Fanning: Information on John Fanning Zoom on John Fanning As a backbencher on the Fianna Fáil benches, I am proud to be here behind our present Taoiseach, Deputy Jack Lynch. The previous speaker asked why we did not go to the country at a certain time, why this and why that. It was not an opportune time for us to go to the country recently and yet we won the two seats. We had the NFA dispute and we had the credit squeeze. However, we went with a man as our leader whom we are proud to follow, Deputy Jack Lynch. Apart from that, Fianna Fáil have a record in this country. We represent every class and creed in the country, the labourer, the farmer, the businessman and everybody else. If we had not gone to the country, we would have been asked a different set of questions. Deputy Harte asked if we could not give them time enough to consider going to the country. I thought it would be the other way about because everything was pointing in their favour if the people had thought them good enough to vote for, but they did not.

There was something in the Sunday Independent about putting a hurler in your tank. Some two or three years ago, Fine Gael put a footballer in their tank in Galway. They brought the cup and the gansey around to every little village so as to get John Donnellan elected.

Mr. Donnellan: Information on John F. Donnellan Zoom on John F. Donnellan You would not do anything like that.

Mr. Fanning: Information on John Fanning Zoom on John Fanning I have no objection to hurling or football. In a small way, I played these games myself. You did [731] it more so than the present Taoiseach did it, but, apart altogether from his six all-Ireland gold medals, our Taoiseach, Deputy Lynch, is a statesman. He has held three very good positions in Government.

Mr. Donnellan: Information on John F. Donnellan Zoom on John F. Donnellan Good luck to him, then.

Mr. Fanning: Information on John Fanning Zoom on John Fanning I think he is entitled to be where he is today. We did not go down and say to the people: “You must vote for Jack Lynch or out you go”. The people voted in conscience for what they thought was the best Government and they will do it again tomorrow, if needs be. I shall not criticise Labour. They put their record before the people as best they could in regard to social welfare, and so on. Fianna Fáil have a record in social welfare. I do not think Fine Gael mentioned social welfare at all. If they went back far enough, the people would tell them to forget about it because Fine Gael never knew anything about social welfare. Down through the years, Fianna Fáil increased the social welfare allowances.

There was the NFA dispute. We heard the Fine Gael fellows going around the country saying, in effect: “Look at what Fianna Fáil have done to the farmers who are sitting on the steps of the Department of Agriculture”. The best remark I heard came from a Fianna Fáil fellow who said: “Why would some of those chaps on the steps not go down on their knees and thank God for all they have got under Fianna Fáil?” I think they should have done so. They have gone around talking about the small farmer. The expression “small farmer” is used far too often by some people, as far as I can see. If there are a few acres of ground for sale in my constituency, the big fellow will buy the land for himself and for his own good and that shows the love they have for the small farmer.

I come from North Tipperary where we have the NFA at the present time. I am sorry for the farmers of North Tipperary, and for the poor country, [732] that they are following such a man. A man who could not be good for himself could not be good for anybody else, and that is my idea. I was wondering why the Opposition should continue this debate for so long. I thought they would not even attempt to have an adjournment debate because they had lacerated all the Ministers and the Taoiseach in a previous debate. It was suggested that the Taoiseach is a shy and bashful man and did not want the job, but I think he will prove to the Opposition that he is fit for the job and will do his job well. We of Tipperary are associated with Cork in the GAA. They beat us and we beat them. I am glad that we have a decent man as Taoiseach in Jack Lynch.

Mr. Donnellan: Information on John F. Donnellan Zoom on John F. Donnellan I suppose that in a way you are jealous that he is not a Tipperary man.

Mr. Fanning: Information on John Fanning Zoom on John Fanning When Deputy Donnellan was being carried shoulder-high it was OK as far as he was concerned. I am sorry that we have been forced into this debate. I thought we would have had no debate tonight.

Mr. Donnellan: Information on John F. Donnellan Zoom on John F. Donnellan The Deputy is taking part in it.

Mr. Fanning: Information on John Fanning Zoom on John Fanning We had a debate a few weeks ago when Ministers could not take part. They were debarred from taking part in the debate, because if they had done so, they would have been speaking on their own behalf. They are entitled in this debate to say what their policy is. We have discussed what they have done for social welfare and everything else. I do not think the people are so foolish as to believe the propaganda that has been put out. I say that the Opposition are foolish to be here tonight. They have faced the people in the past few weeks in Kerry and South Waterford, and they know the result.

Mr. Donnellan: Information on John F. Donnellan Zoom on John F. Donnellan But for the free hand-out in Kerry you would not have won the by-election.

Mr. Fanning: Information on John Fanning Zoom on John Fanning Were there no medical cards in Deputy Donnellan's election, prescribed by a medical doctor?

[733]Mr. Donnellan: Information on John F. Donnellan Zoom on John F. Donnellan I am sure there were.

Mr. Fanning: Information on John Fanning Zoom on John Fanning I am sure there were, on your behalf.

Mr. Donnellan: Information on John F. Donnellan Zoom on John F. Donnellan On my behalf? On a Fianna Fáil county council?

Mr. Fanning: Information on John Fanning Zoom on John Fanning When you were looking for election to this House.

Mr. Donnellan: Information on John F. Donnellan Zoom on John F. Donnellan I certainly did not give any medical cards.

Mr. Fanning: Information on John Fanning Zoom on John Fanning I heard Deputy Harte talking about the transfer of votes to elect a Deputy. You cannot go into a polling booth and hold a man's hand and say to him to vote No. 1 and No. 2. Electors will vote as they wish. I headed the poll in North Tipperary and was proud to be elected. A certain number of people will say in respect of a candidate that he is OK, that he does not want transferred votes. Fianna Fáil are proud to have won these two by-elections. We are proud to be here. Some of the backbenchers of Fianna Fáil are very glad that we are here—I mean the backbenchers in the Opposition.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully You said “Fianna Fáil”. Do not go away from it.

Mr. Donnellan: Information on John F. Donnellan Zoom on John F. Donnellan I am sure you are delighted.

Mr. Fanning: Information on John Fanning Zoom on John Fanning I would say that there are many Deputies in the backbenches of Fine Gael who are very glad that we won the two seats. They were wondering what would happen if we were defeated.

I am sorry to have delayed the House. I am sure that the Deputies Opposite will go back to their own people and say that they will have to pull up their socks, that Fianna Fáil are on the crest of the wave and going up. I know what will happen in the next election. Fianna Fáil will come back with a greater majority than they had before.

Mr. P.J. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan I will be very brief. This 18th Dáil has a wonderful opportunity. This is the most testing [734] time in our 40 odd years of freedom. Remember, in these 40 odd years Fianna Fáil have been in power from 1932 to 1966. For only six years, they were in Opposition. The difference between 1932 and 1966 must be obvious to everybody. This is the most testing time and it is a time when we should be fitting ourselves for the tasks in front of us in the Seventies. There is very important work before us, very important legislation to be dealt with, industrial relations legislation, trade union legislation, legislation concerning education and health. As the Taoiseach said in his opening statement, there will be legislation covering social adjustments, commercial adjustments, fiscal adjustments, to prepare us for the Common Market.

Mr. Donnellan: Information on John F. Donnellan Zoom on John F. Donnellan You are always about to achieve something.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan The Deputy will allow Deputy Lenihan to proceed.

Mr. P.J. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan If the Deputy had even a glimmer of what I am talking about, he would not interrupt. There will be social, fiscal, commercial adjustments to fit us for the Common Market. All in this House—this is the point I am getting at—are reasonably agreed on the main objective before the country. There are no ideological differences between us in this House. We are a rather homogeneous society. We are reasonably agreed in our objective, which is so to improve our efficiency, our productivity, so that we will have a better standard of living for our people, better social welfare, an increase in material wealth. All these things are objectives common to every one of us.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte They are all provided in Great Britain.

Mr. P.J. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan I do not know what the Deputy is talking about, to be quite honest. There has to be adjustment to fit us to enter the Common Market in the Seventies. Why, in ainm Dé, do we not all get in on this job? Why is there this arid bickering when we are agreed on the common objectives and there is no ideological difference between us? Why has there been [735] this arid, Sahara-like, bitter talking from 1922 to God knows when? Will it ever stop?

I should like to see the 18th Dáil arriving at something like a consensus. A consensus is not very well thought of at the moment. What does “consensus” mean. It means people with one mind and a common objective. We can have a consensus in this Dáil, a getting together of minds.

A great deal has been said about the by-elections but they were a form of mini-general election. I spent a long time in one constituency, a farming constituency in Kerry. The other was a city constituency. It is all right to say that if people had given their second votes to this or that candidate, the result would have been different. That is codology. It has nothing to do with it. The people have given their decision. In God's name, accept it. Let this Dáil get together and have that consensus. History will give the answer. The people of Kerry and Waterford realised the difficulties as well as any Deputy. They knew the price of cattle and of milk. They accepted these difficulties. Despite their realisation, they put the Fianna Fáil candidates in. That is the point I am getting at. They have given their verdict in two far-flung constituencies of different types. The Kerry people are not fools. I hope to have published in The Kerryman Deputy Harte's remark about the people of Kerry.

We on this side, to be quite honest, need the help of Fine Gael and Labour to get through all this legislation. It is important social legislation. It must have the greatest area and measures of agreement possible. We need their help. This 18th Dáil could go down in history as a Dáil in which, when the country was entering the greatest crisis in its career as a young nation, we all got together and decided to provide the best legislation possible for the job.

If we continue this negative, arid discussion, on the basis of “anything you can do, I can do better”, “me, too-ism”, when the people are waiting and looking for leadership, they [736] will say: “We asked for bread and you gave us a stone.” That is what they will say about this 18th Dáil. Mark my words: you will have something to answer for. Unless you try in the next session to put through legislation, broadly based, with the greatest consensus of opinion, you will be held to answer for your failure when we come to the Seventies. I strike this note of warning. I am simply asking all of us on every side of the House to work together for this objective. If we do this, we will go down as a Dáil that agreed to differ but that did its job.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy Zoom on Robert Molloy Ní gá dhom caint anois mar gheall ar na fó-thoghcháin. Táid thart agus thug an pobal a mbreith ar na Páirtithe éagsúla. Toghadh Fianna Fáil ins an dá Dháilcheantar ina raibh na folúntaisí— Ciarraí Theas agus Port Láirge. Ní gá do Fhine Gael nó do Dhream an Lucht Oibre leithscéal ar bith a dhéanamh mar nach bhfuil leithscéal dá laghad acu. Chlis orthu an dalladhmhullog a chur ar an bpobal. Thug an dá fhó-thoghchán rialtas seasmhach don tír agus beidh rialtas cinnte cóir ann go ceann trí no ceithre bliana eile, buíochas le Dia. Sé an rud is tábhachtaí anois muintir na hÉireann a bheith lán-chinnte de go leanfar ar aghaidh leis an dul chun cinn a rinneadh sa tír seo le linn Seán Lemass a bheith ina Thaoiseach orainn fé Rialtas Fhianna Fáil. Beidh an dul chun cinn céanna ann faoi Fhianna Fáil arís ach leis an dTaoiseach nua, an Teachta Seán Ó Loingsigh i mbun na hoibre.

Cén iarracht atá á dhéanamh againn chun an Ghaeilge a chur ar aghaidh? Cén iarracht atá á dhéanamh ag na Teachtaí a chuireann iad féin ós cóir an phobail chun an Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn? Níor chuala mise mórán Gaeilge sa Tí seo ó toghadh mé mar Theachta agus ní dóigh liom go bhfuil leithscéal ar bith ag níos mó ná leath de na Teachtaí atá anso.

Níl agam féin ach Gaeilge shimplí ach táim ag iarraidh feabhas a chur uirthi ó sheachtain go seachtain. Ní cainteoir ó dhúchas mé. D'fhoghlamaíos mo chuid Gaeilge ar scoil a bhuíochas sin do Pháirtí Fianna Fáil.

[737] Táimid ag iarraidh ceangal eacnamaíochta a dhéanamh le Mór-Roinn na hEorpa ach cad a bhéas againn le teaspáint gur Éireannaigh sinn agus go bhfuilimid bródúil as an dtír ina rugadh sinn? Feictear domsa nach mbeidh againn ach an teanga agus tá dualgas mór orainn iarracht níos fearr a dhéanamh chun teanga na hÉireann a chur chun cinn agus í a úsáid i bhfad níos mó inár ngnáth-shaol. Ní féidir le héinne againn a rá go bhfuil sé sásta leis féin maidir le labhairt na Gaeilge. Nílim féin sásta leis an méid atá á dhéanamh agam chun teanga na hÉireann a chur chun cinn mar ghnáth-theanga imeasc muintir na hÉireann agus tá mé cinnte nach bhfuil éinne sa Tí seo sásta ach an oiread.

Tá sé an-dheacair nuair is Teachta de Pháirtí thú atá ag déanamh a seacht ndícheall chun an teanga a chur ar aghaidh nuair a feictear duit go bhfuil dhá Pháirtí eile san Oireachtas nach bhfuil ag déanamh a gcion. Níl faic á dhéanamh acu dáiríre chun teanga na hÉireann a chur chun cinn. Is mór an trua é. Amach anso nuair a bhéifear ag scríobhadh stair an tréimhse seo, cuirfear an locht ar Fhine Gael agus ar Dhream an Lucht Oibre toisc nach ndearnadh dul chun cinn níos mó maidir leis an dteanga a thabhairt thar n-ais mar ghnáth-theanga mhuintir na hÉireann.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully This debate has taken some remarkable turns. We have had, of course, the two by-elections all over again and, towards the close of the debate, we have had two Fianna Fáil Deputies apparently realising—I expect it was their trip to the country which has made them realise it—that this is not a land flowing with milk and honey, the land of milk and honey in which they told the people in the by-election areas they were living. There are, in fact, a number of people who need a great deal more than they are getting.

Deputy Lenihan was perfectly correct when he said we are not doing enough for the people, and Deputy Molloy supported him in that theme. I agree with both. The only mistake [738] they made was in not stating that the people who are not doing enough are the Government. The ball is at their feet. Let it be a hurling ball or a football, they can hit it or kick it any way they like. Deputy Lenihan referred to the people asking for bread and being given a stone. The people who have the responsibility at the present time to hand out the bread are the people elected as the Government of the country; if they hand out a stone instead, surely Deputy Lenihan cannot blame the Opposition for that? I am not quite sure whether or not Deputy Lenihan was appealing for a national Government or for a coalition of Fine Gael and themselves, but he certainly felt something should be done. If he means there should be some change and if he realises—I am sure others in the Fianna Fáil Party also realise it—that something has to be done, then I am all with him.

Deputy Molloy's sermon was in the Irish language. He used the Irish language under the impression, perhaps, that nobody in the House would understand it and he could therefore hold forth at length on some of his pet theories. He sometimes uses the language, but not always. His lecture to the House—I claim it was a lecture —was a little out of place because, though he mentioned the by-elections, he did not refer to something that was very evident during those elections. During the by-election campaigns—I am sure Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael realise this just as well as we do—the Irish language was not made an issue by any of the three Parties, and for that we should all be truly thankful.

Now, the arguments have been that we have, of course, to find more money for the people who have not enough, but will the Parties opposite vote the money? Will the Government tell us first how they will raise the money? Will the Government say: “We require this money for social services. This is where we will place the tax.” I solemnly guarantee to the Taoiseach and his Party that, if they do that, the Labour Party will be prepared to vote [739] or it as they have on previous occasions voted in this Dáil for taxes specifically designed to supply certain needs in social welfare. This business of saying that this will be taxed and that will be taxed, and something will be given out of that taxation to social welfare, is just not good enough when we find subsequently that the taxes, allegedly designed for assistance to social services, turn up in some rich man's pocket. We will not support that: we have no intention of doing so.

I believe a great disservice has been done to the nation in having a debate here today dealing almost entirely with the by-elections. God knows, during the election campaign, all of us debated the issues affecting the areas in which the by-elections were fought, and we made the best we could of it. The fact that the Government got the majority of the No. 1 preferences and subsequently got enough transfers to give them the seats is neither here nor there. We know, and the Government know, that in Waterford the Government have got only the loan of a seat. These things have happened before; they will happen again. We believe the same situation has arisen in Kerry and, when the next general election is held, nobody will worry and nobody will talk about what happened at the by-elections. These things just happen. Personally, I believe there should be some other way of settling these issues because I do not believe by-elections ever settle very much.

We have heard talk about the plumpers. I contested a by-election myself. So did a number of people in this House, and outside it, contest by-elections. I believe that, when a person goes to the polling booth to vote, he votes No. 1 and, having done that, he is entitled to do anything he blooming well likes with his second and third preferences. If he decides he will not vote 2 and 3 for anybody, that is his business. That is equally true for Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil as it is for the Labour Party. That is the privilege of the voter and I should not like to see a situation arise in which the person who is going to plump would give his name and address to the presiding [740] officer before the actual voting took place. That is the situation in which it is claimed the plumpers are because one or other Party has lost a seat. That has happened in every by-election I remember. It happened in the by-election in which I was a candidate. I have no quarrel with those who feel strongly about a particular Party, so strongly that, having voted No. 1 for the Party of their choice, they then decide they will not give their No. 2 to anybody else. Let us be grown up. Let us be sensible about this. We will have this so long as elections are elections. There is no point in debating the matter any further.

I want to make our position very clear, however, and this is the only reference I shall make to the by-elections. We have no apology to make to Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, or anybody else, because some of our people reserve the right to vote No. 1 Labour, and stop there. The position is quite clear to everybody concerned. We have no quarrel with that and we have no quarrel with the Parties who contested the election. We contested it, and lost. It is true we hoped to do much better. It is true we did not do as well as we hoped we would, but we have no quarrel with the electors. They exercised their right and, when the next general election comes, we do not believe the way the people voted in the by-elections will make one damn bit of difference because, when the time comes, the people will make up their minds and vote whatever way they feel at the time the election is held. In both areas, when the next general election comes, we hope we will have two safe seats. So much for the by-election.

Usually this debate is referred to as the “State of the Nation Account”. I would not blame the Taoiseach at all if his particular reference to the state of the nation today was not as detailed as many of us perhaps hoped it would be. The Taoiseach has not been very long in office. As we have said before—I think nobody will deny it—as far as we are concerned, the Taoiseach is a decent man, but he cannot get away from the fact that he [741] is now the Leader of the Government and is now the Leader of a Party which is creaking at the joints. Deputy Lenihan was quite correct. He did not put it in those words, but I agree with him someone will have to go around with an oilcan and deal with these joints. I believe the electorate and the country will eventually apply the oil to the right places.

We have heard all sorts of promises over the years and all manner of statements about things being better just around the corner. The former Taoiseach was a great man for promising improvements around the corner. It was Dublin Opinion, I think, which suggested a few years ago that the corner to which the Taoiseach was referring was a corner just beside the mailboat at Dún Laoghaire, because that is where the change usually takes place. The trouble with the former Taoiseach was that his incurable optimism about something turning up around the corner led him into all sorts of difficulties. From the way the present Taoiseach is talking, I assume he has no great fear for the future of the country and that he feels we are going to make out all right.

I am going to ask him a straight question. Does he really think that everything in the country is as rosy as his Party seem to think? Does the Taoiseach realise that at present there are on the unemployment register 50,000 people and because of a bit of hookery—there is no other word to describe it—by the people who make up the statistics, there are an additional 16,000 not included on the list? That makes a grand total of 66,000 unemployed as of last Saturday. Surely we cannot tell the country that everything is grand while coming up to Christmas we have those people without a week's wages coming in? I do not know if there are many people here who have had the experience of having to depend on what is known by the workingman as a week's wages, but everyone who has had that experience, of depending for his livelihood on what he is able to earn with his hands or brain and then finds at the end of the week that there is [742] no job for him and no week's wages coming in, knows what a sorry plight it is. We can do what we like about trying to improve wages and conditions but if a man gets eight months work in the year and spends four months on the labour exchange, his average wage over the year will be pretty small. Yet we are told that there is nothing to worry about.

I understand that a Government Senator referred to the fact that he could not get men to do his threshing. He had one day's threshing and he was disappointed and annoyed that the working men who normally attended for threshing were not waiting outside the gate to go in when the engine whistled. Rural Deputies, whatever about city Deputies, should be aware that threshing as it was known and as apparently this Senator still carries on, is completely outmoded. With the introduction of the combine harvester, very little threshing as such is done. The days when men went around behind a threshing mill and received fairly good wages are gone.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne They travelled over half the country.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully Yes. But this man, who has more money than he knows what to do with, was disappointed because the men were not standing outside his gates waiting to work for the measly £1 or 30/- he would give them, and then he says the country is in excellent condition and there is no unemployment. This is the sort of thinking which has led Fianna Fáil into the mess they are in, and they are in a mess. The whole question of employment has been debated here again and again. Today I had a question down asking the Minister for Local Government if he was aware that in Monaghan, a county bordering my constituency, a large number of road workers had been laid off without any prospect of re-employment. I pointed out that it gave me no pleasure to be raising this but there is one Minister and one Deputy on the Government side from that constituency, and they were not present [743] to give words of advice to the Parliamentary Secretary who was answering, nor apparently were they able to do anything about having the men re-employed. These men were employed as road workers for many years and found themselves out of a job. Why? Government grants were given to each county council but what was ignored by the Department of Local Government, and by the Department of Finance, was that when the wage increase which was granted to practically all workers was applied to the road workers, the amount of money available for employment was greatly reduced.

Some of these men had big families and because of the fact that there was no money to employ them, they went to the labour exchange where, because of their big families, they got as much social welfare benefits as if they had been working. Many of them, however, were people with grown-up families, or single men, or men with brothers and sisters or parents depending on them. Despite that, these men found themselves out of employment. When Monaghan County Council found the money running short, they suggested that the new bridge grant for Emyvale village should be transferred to some other job so that the former employees would have some work over Christmas. That proposal was before the Department for a considerable time and the Parliamentary Secretary today was happy, according to himself, to tell me that the grant had been sanctioned a few days ago.

I do not know if he has had the experience of trying to make up the number of days a man must work before he qualifies for Christmas holidays. Even if these people are re-employed, and it is apparent from the answer that they have been re-employed in the past day or two, they still will not qualify for the couple of days holidays at Christmas. Perhaps that is one way of saving money. At least, it appears that way to me. I mentioned Monaghan because I know it well and my trade union caters for the Monaghan road workers. I am [744] aware that this same thing is likely to occur all over the country. What are the Government doing about it? Nothing, just sitting back and saying that everything is grand. There should be no complaints in the country because Senator Dr. Ryan could not get men to do this threshing.

I give credit to Deputy Dillon for using an expression which I have used on more than one occasion since he used it because I think it is an apt description. He said that it appeared that we were going to have Government by gimmick. That appears to be what the former Taoiseach believed in and what the present Taoiseach seems to have taken over. Take the gimmick of the wage increase which was agreed on some time ago; take the increase in the old age pensions which was mentioned in the Budget and which was headlined in the newspapers. I do not know whether I am unique in this respect—I do not believe I am—but every morning my mail contains at least ten letters from people who say: “I am an old age pensioner”—or a widow pensioner—“and I have no means. I did not get the 5/- we were promised. What has happened?”

Many of these people made inquiries and I myself have made inquiries on their behalf. My inquiries have always been answered by the Department of Social Welfare, a Department for which I have the highest regard. What I got from them was a little bit of paper gummed together which said they had received my letter. Obviously they were getting so many that they had not got around to answering those sent in several weeks before. A few did get replies and I have seen some of them. The reply has been changed for reasons which I think I can explain later. The first replies said they could not get the 5/- increase because their income was assessed at £2 12s per year. Where did that figure arise? That was the amount which the Department of Social Welfare officials decided was the value of their lodging, just of the beds, of those old people who were being accommodated by their sons and daughters at very great inconvenience.

I know very many of these people [745] living with sons and daughters who have little for themselves and who could not be considered able to maintain their parents. Although the old people buy food and fire and do all they can to help to keep themselves, it has been found that they are not buying their beds. Therefore, they must be deprived of the 5/- per week because the Department say that 1/- a week is the value of the bed. Would the Taoiseach say if they are prepared to pay the 1/- to the son or daughter? In many cases they must pay much more than that to help to buy the fire and pay for light? Will that be taken as proof that they are not getting a bed free and will they get this mean 5/- that has been distributed in this way?

I said the reply has changed. It now simply says “You are not entitled to the increase as your income exceeds the statutory limit”. No figure is mentioned. I am sure the Department officials who first decided to state the amount had their knuckles rapped. This was mentioned in the Dáil, that the figure was 1/- a week. This is the sort of mean, petty thing the Government are capable of doing. Lest anybody think it applies to only a few people, it has been admitted that there are over 111,483 non-contributory old age pensioners, I think, and 10,070 received the 5/-, so that well over 100,000 of what nobody can describe as other than poor, old people do not get it. Some of them are assessed as having 1/- a week income and are refused the mean amount represented by the 5/- increase.

I do not know if the Taoiseach realises that there is a new means test involved which says that £2 12s per year prevents them from getting the maximum non-contributory pension. Before this, we had quite a row because the figure was £26 per year. This was a new means test, we said, and it was awfully mean. We are away down now.

I shall give an instance of what I think has happened. When the old age pension was introduced in 1909 by the British Government, it was 5/- a week and a man who was 70 got 5/- and, if his wife was living, she got 5/-. That [746] was 10/-. If the old man worked with a farmer at the time, his wages would be about 9/- of 10/- so that in fact the non-contributory old age pension of a man and his wife equalled a farm worker's wages. What have we now? A non-contributory old age pension represents less than a quarter of the amount given to a farm worker, badly as they are paid in this country. This is not anything of which the Government can be proud.

We had a comment by the former Minister for Social Welfare. They move so quickly now that one has to be very careful not to miss them on the merry-go-round. I suppose that when in the Department of Social Welfare, he did as well as the Government would allow him, but he said he was warning the House that any further increases in social welfare would have to be borne by the employers and employees. I assume this is the way in which the State propose, if they give more in social welfare, to finance it. The Government are opting out. When the contributory old age pension was introduced—I certainly give credit to the Government for introducing it: it was planned by the late Deputy Norton who was Minister in the inter-Party Government but for some reason it was not put into operation until the Fianna Fáil Government put it into effect—it did have the effect that, by those pensioners paying for their pensions and those who were not pensioners paying for those who were pensioners, through their stamps, quite a number of people were removed from the non-contributory old age pension register. Despite that, and despite the fact that there should then be quite a substantial sum in the pool for distribution, we still have the lowest level of old age pensions in Europe, if not in the world.

The whole matter of social welfare is a national scandal. There is no point in Deputies getting up on the Government benches and saying that the Opposition when in Government gave only so much. The cost of living has increased very substantially since the last pension increase was given and this mythical 5/- apparently disappeared over the horizon for at least [747] 100,000 old people, and I am sure for as big a proportion of widow pensioners. Despite this, the State do not appear to be prepared to do their share to alleviate the sufferings of those old people at present.

I wonder if Government Deputies would go to the trouble of checking with the really poor people in their constituencies as I do in mine. They would find that one of the biggest complaints at this time of year is the price of coal, 14/8d a bag. It is a poor fire that one bag of coal would keep going for a week. Take that sum from the non-contributory old age pension and the poor people have very little with which to buy food.

The price of bread, we are told, may go up; the price of electricity is going up. The Minister for Industry and Commerce was a little coy yesterday when we tried to find out if there was danger of a double increase in the price of bread. He said he did not want to anticipate the findings of the tribunal but he knows damn well that when the tribunal is finished, if the recommendation is favourable, there will be an increase of not 2d on the loaf but of 4d. What can old age pensioners and widows with small families live on on a non-contributory pension? They live on the well-known bread and spread and cups of watery tea and this in the year of Our Lord 1966 in a State which, according to the people who run it, is a land flowing with milk and honey.

We had a great deal of discussion in this House and a number of promises about the EEC. The Taoiseach has not been so rash as to say we are going it alone—yet anyway. His predecessor said that on one occasion; he backed out of it very quickly and I think he was a wise man to do so. The bald facts are that if Britain goes into EEC, we have to go in, and we know that the only thing that is keeping Britain out is France's veto. If France agrees to modify the Treaty of Rome, whether we like it or not, Britain goes in and, as some of the Common Market people said to us when we were in Brussels, if Britain goes in, we go in, not on [748] negotiation or anything else but piggy-back on Britain.

What preparation is being made for entry to the EEC? What lead have the Government given to have preparation made? We have the NIEC Report and also a lot of talk about it. However, if anybody wants to find out whether or not the talks led to anything, let him visit any factory in this country and he will find that with very few exceptions, they are carrying on the very same old system as they were carrying on 20, 30 and 40 years ago. Nobody has encouraged them and nobody has tried to force them. If we have reached the stage where it is a question of survival, this Government must use force to try to make these people gear themselves to meet competition or get out of business altogether. The stupid idea some industrialists still seem to have that they can sit behind tariff walls which are gradually crumbling around them is so outdated that even they should realise it.

We had a discussion here yesterday on proposals to retrain workers, and we asked the Minister for Labour—the poor man, I am sure he is doing his best—retrain for what? Did anybody ever see such a helpless effort as this Government are carrying out in regard to the retraining of workers? What are they to be retrained for? The Minister got a little mixed up. He said we could not expect industrialists to come in here unless we had a panel of trained workers. We asked what kind of industrialists, and he was not quite sure. Which comes first, the hen or the egg? Are they going to train workers and hope that some fellow in Germany, France or somewhere else will come in here with an industry, or go to him and say: “We have workers. We want them trained. Will you send somebody along to help us to do it and guarantee that you are coming in?”, because one Potez is quite enough for this country for a generation.

We had the Free Trade Agreement last year. People may say we are overdoing this, but I am mentioning it particularly because we were rushed back from our Christmas holidays to a meeting of the Dáil last January in [749] order to hear the wonderful news about the Free Trade Agreement. The meeting was a few days before Christmas and I described the former Taoiseach and his Minister coming back from Britain like Santa Clauses. The only thing was that the bags were empty although they thought they were full; at least they said they were full. We had the then Taoiseach waxing eloquent in this House about the wonderful job which he and his Ministers had done. He pounded the desk in front of him to emphasise that they had in fact done a wonderful job. He mentioned them by name and, as the old poets long ago used to do, he sang the praises of their wonderful deeds.

Now almost 12 months later we know what we got. We know what was in the bag. We were told—and this cannot be denied, and I will give credit to the Fianna Fáil Party, most of them have not sought to deny it—there was to be an increase of £10 million for Irish agriculture in the first year. This was going to be the first benefit, and they promised that there would be an increase of from £5 to £7 in the price of cattle. They promised this, that and the other thing. We here in these benches pointed out, item by item, where those promises were going to fall down. We did not claim to be prophets. We had not even the crystal ball which Deputy MacEntee described the Taoiseach as having when he was drawing up the Second Programme for Economic Expansion. However, we did see into the future because it was very obvious to everybody that the promises being made were not going to be carried out.

We had the situation that we went over to Britain to sign an agreement and came back with nothing in return. What did we give away? We gave away progressively to Britain the right to import into this country her industrial goods. Has it been having any effect? Go into any shop in Dublin and see whether or not the first three or four articles offered will bear the British trade mark. Is this something we can be proud of in 1966?

[750]The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch A ten per cent reduction in the tariff?

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully Yes. The Taoiseach must not be doing his shopping in Dublin, because if he were, he would realise that reduction of ten per cent has resulted in an influx of British goods the like of which very few people dreamed they would see. I know what will happen as the years go by—ten per cent after ten per cent and, if something is not done to stem the tide, we will finish up in a very short time with nothing but British goods to sell in Ireland.

The Taoiseach may say: “We had to give something to get something”. I pointed out we got absolutely nothing. We are still only able to export to Britain with certainty our manpower, because the emigration figure is still growing, and we still have 30,000 people a year leaving this country. While we were told a few years ago all about the number that were unemployed when the inter-Party Government were in power, since the Fianna Fáil Government resumed office, the position is that year after year between 20,000 and 30,000 emigrate, moving from 20,000 to 22,000, 25,000, 27,000, 28,000, and now 30,000 a year are going across to Britain.

One of the big jokes that was tried on this country and that actually worked was that we were told the British Government had guaranteed to take 638,000 of our cattle stores each year. It turned out the British Government did not guarantee any such thing but that they would allow the Irish Government to sell that number if they required 638,000. It makes a very big difference. So far this year we have not sent over 50 per cent of what we were sending in previous years. Will the former Taoiseach be able to go to Harold Wilson and say: “This was the agreement. You are supposed to take that number and you must take them”. He knows the Agreement did not say any such thing, but it sounded well coming from the front benches of the Government immediately after Christmas in the full flush of their defeat because it could not be called [751] a victory. This is the sort of announcement we have been hearing from Fianna Fáil year after year.

I am not being critical of them just because they are Fianna Fáil. I am being critical of them because as a Government Party who have been in power for so long they do not yet appear to have mastered the art of government. If they did, they would never have made as many mistakes as they have made over the years. I am quite sure the Taoiseach will say he is entitled to his first bite the same as any other. But I feel the Taoiseach who went out got so many free bites that the present Taoiseach should be entitled to go ahead and stop making mistakes. The mistakes were made before that. But it appears from the Taoiseach's opening speech as if he is determined to carry on in the same old merry way. After all, the ship has not foundered yet. Who knows what is around the corner? Keep going and everything will be all right.

I wonder if Deputy Lenihan was correct in what he stated here? He honestly and truthfully said—I do not know what the Party Whip will have to say to him—that we were not giving the people what they were looking for. He said something would have to be done or the 18th Dáil would go down as having given a stone to the people looking for bread: he obviously meant the Government. He knows that neither Fine Gael nor ourselves are in a position to give the people what they want. Therefore, he was telling the Taoiseach that he, as a backbencher, was not satisfied with what the Government were doing. Deputy Molloy, who spoke in Gaelic, followed on almost the same theme. He gave a particular twist to it at the end to ensure, I suppose, that he would not be branded as a complete rebel. He gave the impression he also felt something should be done. The Taoiseach, realising that this is so and being an intelligent man who has recently assumed high office, must take cognisance, if not of what we are saying, at least of what his backbenchers are saying. With 1967 coming, he [752] should make an effort to try to improve the position.

We have heard from time to time in the House about the number of factories being opened and about their employment potential. It is one thing I am particularly sore about. Whenever I attempted to find out what the actual number of employees was, I was told these were matters appertaining to a private company and therefore should not be discussed publicly in the Dáil. The country knows it has become the general practice for somebody wishing to start an industry here to declare the employment potential as high as 500 or 5,000 and, obviously on the strength of that, to obtain very substantial grants. Apparently, they are not asked by the Government either to allow a Government director on the board to watch the substantial sum of money granted, or for a date on which they would put into operation the employment which is potential when looking for the money. The result is that, year after year, we have had a repetition of these failures. I am not saying that every effort is a failure. I am saying there are far too many of them coming to the notice of the Dáil and of the ordinary people, failures which are costing, not the Government, but the taxpayers a substantial sum of money.

I suggest to the Taoiseach that he could possibly do one thing. There are in this country hundreds of small industries which need extra capital. If they got it, they would be prepared to improve their employment position. The Taoiseach should instruct his Ministers to see if it would be possible to have something done to assist these people.

If what the Minister for Labour said yesterday is correct, the Taoiseach must of necessity look around the country and see where industries can be established by the State. Industries run by the State must be run properly and be a success. If the Taoiseach does that, he will be making an effort to meet the requirements of the country. If not, we will just have another year of Fianna Fáil failure, as we have had so many in the past.

[753]Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Sitting in this House listening to the debate, I felt at times a deep sense of depression at the manner in which the major Party now regard Dáil Éireann. I can only assume that, since this is the last debate before the Christmas Recess, the Taoiseach, as a kind of Christmas gift to some of the more irresponsible members of his Party, permitted them to shout their heads off here in this debate.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch You insisted on the debate.

Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Certainly, the standards of debate and the contributions made by at least two Fianna Fáil Deputies, in my opinion, represent a very serious black mark against what we are endeavouring to do in this Dáil for the country. We should be discussing at this stage in this debate how this country now stands. We are now almost half way through the effective life of the present Dáil. The last general election was held in April, 1965. Almost two years have now elapsed. I think it is true to say these two years have represented a period of drift and stagnation in this country.

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

Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins I want to assert clearly what my view is in this regard. I would like to remind Deputies, and the Taoiseach in particular, that prior to the last general election, when the Second Programme for Economic Expansion was announced by the Government, the people were led to believe that we were going to see an orderly, planned development of our economic resources. They were led to believe that the Government had set before it targets which were possible of achievement, and that the Government had the determination and the intention to achieve these targets. They were led to believe that each year during the Programme unemployment would begin to disappear, emigration would gradually waste away and more Irish people would find [754] remunerative employment here at home. At the same time, the people were told that, not only was more and more employment to become available and less and less emigration to drain the country, but that we would see a stepping up of our level of social services, an improvement in education, an improvement in health, an improvement in the manner in which we would provide for and look after the needy and less well-off in our community.

These were the targets set before the people by the Fianna Fáil Party immediately prior to the last general election. These are the things by which they must be tested. These are the targets we must inquire into now some three years later.

I think it is fair to say that since the announcement of the Second Programme, when it was blazoned across our newspapers and media of communication, Government Ministers sat back, twiddled their thumbs and waited for things to happen. I want to charge now, when the Second Programme is halfway through, that the dismal fact is plain to be seen that this Government, comprised of Fianna Fáil Deputies, have in fact made no conscious effort to achieve the targets set out in the Second Programme.

It will be remembered that, in the last general election, the former Taoiseach drew a distinction and attached importance to the distinction between what he called “economic programming” and “economic planning”. He proceeded to criticise the policy of the Fine Gael Party because it was not in accordance with his views of economic programming. We said at the time that what he announced and appeared to stand for could not achieve success because it merely represented the setting of targets by a Government without evolving the detailed administrative and technical service required to achieve these targets. I should like to ask now, two years later, who has been right. I think it is fair to say that the result of Fianna Fáil programming over the past two years has been failure all along the line. In no respect, not in any single respect, in the past two [755] years, has any target set out in the Second Programme been achieved. The only target that has been exceeded, as I am reminded, has been the level of taxation set out in the Programme.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon And borrowings.

Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Our people were told that unemployment would begin to disappear. It has been increasing steadily. Today, ten years after this Government went into office, it tries one's patience to listen to some back bench Fianna Fáil Deputies talking about the days of the inter-Party Government. There are today 165,000 fewer Irish people at work here at home than there were ten years ago, and unemployment is growing again.

We thought we were beginning to see the end of emigration not because of any conscious or efficient effort by Fianna Fáil but because we had almost scraped the bottom of the barrel. We thought there were not enough people left to emigrate but apparently we were wrong. Today, emigration is running again at something over 30,000 a year. I want to know from the Taoiseach if he can give any indication now of what his Government proposes to do to achieve the target set out in the Second Programme. Vague promises will not suffice and clichés will not supply any answer. To state that the Government are advancing, and all the rest of it, will not provide a job for any man in this country. These are some of the domestic questions we have to face. We are either still supposed to be implementing the Programme for Economic Expansion or we are doing nothing. The Second Programme was understood by most people in the country to mean orderly progress towards the achievement of possible targets. It was supposed to mean that we would see the end of the stop-go kind of economic policies that have so adversely affected this country and Britain over the past couple of decades. But, of course, we have not had that. We have had, instead, the application of the same methods that, time and [756] time again, have prevented economic expansion.

We had the slush wanton inflation of 1964 when, in a disorderly and inefficient manner, Fianna Fáil Ministers dissipated the available credit in the country and, in effect, almost printed dud £ notes. We had that slush inflation of 1964 when our people were fed with a phony prosperity so that, in the midst of this situation of complete falseness, a cheap election victory might be secured before the bills had to be paid. Then, after the general election of 1965, the corrective measures had to be applied by a Government who had got back into office. Ever since April, 1965, we have had a Government-designed deflation designed deliberately to restrict credit, to reduce business, to prevent expenditure and, generally, to bring about a recession and inevitably to cause unemployment. These have been the measures that have been applied successfully by the present Fianna Fáil administration over the past 12 months. Where is the Second Programme? Where is the orderly advance towards achievable targets? Where is the kind of dynamic approach the people are entitled to expect from the Government they elect?

I am sorry to say that I believe the reason for this appalling failure by the present administration is not lack of good faith; I believe they all desire these things. However, I believe the answer is that they are inefficient and that, individually and collectively, the present Ministers just do not know their jobs and are not able to give to the people the kind of service they should be getting.

We now have the impending approach of European membership. I should like if some neutral observer, some unprejudiced person outside our political arena, could pass unbiassed judgment on the Fianna Fáil Party in relation to Europe. I do not believe they have ever, as a Party, started to consider what Europe could mean, will mean and should mean to this country. Our application for accession to the Treaty of Rome was an afterthought made by the last Taoiseach in the [757] dying days of July, 1961. It was sent in by letter—by letter. It was discovered, only at the last minute, that that was such a grave act of discourtesy that the letter of application had to be taken from the pillar box and delivered by our Minister in Belgium and, having sent in our application for membership, the Fianna Fáil Party in Government proceeded to leave it there. Then we had, in a moment of euphoria, the former Taoiseach, having met a visiting dignitary here, saying in effect: “We will go into Europe. If necessary, we will go it alone.”

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

Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins When the absurdity of that proposition dawned on him and his Party, followed by the failure of the British negotiations, nothing was done about Europe whatsoever, until eventually, as a result of insistence from these benches, Fianna Fáil and the Government began to realise that even though the British negotiations had apparently failed, we still had a duty to ourselves and to our country to continue to investigate our possibilities in Europe. The strange fact has been that up to a few months ago our Minister for External Affairs, who has concerned himself with every problem from Japan to Siam, never once mentioned the question of the European Economic Community or the Treaty of Rome, and never went to Brussels until he was forced to go as a result of insistence from these benches here.

What is the result? Europe has now become more probable, as we were saying all the time. It is now becoming nearer and nearer. But look at the wasted years, the years in which Fianna Fáil Ministers dithered and did nothing. Look at what has happened to Irish agriculture, to the primary industry of this country, the industry that should benefit enormously by getting access to the markets of Europe. Instead of there being, as there should have been, in operation over the past few years a long term development plan for agriculture providing large-scale investment, there [758] have been doles and subsidies and gimmicks of one kind and another designed to palliate some particular problem in a particular section of the agricultural industry. No thought has been given to planning our agricultural industry in such a way that it can be geared to take full advantage in 1970 of the European market.

The same thing has happened in our factories and in our manufacturing industries. As Deputy Tully has mentioned, there have been the usual clichés in ministerial speeches, the usual bromides thrown out to industrialists, but the plain requirement of re-tooling our industries, of re-tooling our factories and our sources of manufacture to equip our industry for the challenge of Europe has not been met. At the end of 1966 and the beginning of 1967, these facts pose serious difficulties for our people in the future.

We said all along that accession to the Treaty of Rome, entry into Europe, meant for this country either a wonderful opportunity or a very real and grave danger—one or the other. At least four years have been wasted by inefficient Ministers of an inefficient Administration. There may be a couple of years still left. I hope we will see evidence now, as a matter of urgency, that this Government at last realise that they are not sent into office merely to draw their salaries, to drive around in their cars, to make speeches at dinners and lunches and to do nothing else. Europe can be a great opportunity or a great danger. The opportunity can be known to all. It is an opportunity for us to sell what we can produce in a vast, almost unlimited, market, but the danger is that, if we do not avail of this opportunity and if we are not prepared for it, our people will be sucked from the land of Ireland into the big centres of population, sucked away, and our money and our wealth will disappear and the Irish people will become like the wandering Jews of Exodus—that is the real danger, with our land owned and populated as the playground of Europe. That is the problem that faces this country and that is why we expect to see—and I want to make it quite clear that we will insist on seeing—evidence that this [759] Government for the remainder of their term in office get down to the job of preparing and equipping this country for membership of the European Community.

There are other things. In the last general election, just two years ago, the Fine Gael Party announced a programme, a policy, aimed at achieving a just society. We provided views and principles based on economic planning to achieve the targets in the Second Programme or in any other programme, but we also put before the people the absolute necessity to achieve for our people as a matter of urgency a standard in health services and in social welfare services which were at least comparable with those in other countries in Western Europe. We did that, not only because it is the just thing to do, but because it is the wise and essential thing to do. If we do not step up our social services, the manner in which we provide for those in need and in ill health, if we do not do that step up our social services, the manner in which we provide for those in need and in ill health, if we do not do that as a matter of urgency, by the time Europe comes about, we will limp into that association as the poor relation, tattered and unable to wear the kind of clothes that everybody else wears.

Our policy, Towards A Just Society, eventually evoked from the Fianna Fáil Party in the dying days of the last election, some evidence that our message was going home and eventually an assurance was given by the former Taoiseach, Deputy Lemass, almost on the eve of poll. He said: “All right; vote for Fianna Fáil and we will implement the Fine Gael policy in relation to health services and social welfare.” I want to know what has happened since. I want to remind the Taoiseach and this House that here we are in the last month of 1966 in precisely the same situation as we were ten years ago, carrying on with a creaking, antiquated system of health services. We have had a plethora of promises. We have had a galaxy of commissions. We have had a complete canopy of White Papers. The end result has been nothing.

What has happened to the promises made here in the early part of this [760] year by the former Minister for Health, now the Minister for Education? He solemnly undertook in a debate in this House that by the month of November, the Fianna Fáil limited proposal to review our health services would be brought as a legislative measure before the Dáil. Why has it not been done? Has it just been forgotten? Does the Taoiseach feel that our people are no longer interested in improving the health services of the country? Does he feel that, once the election was over, we would forget the reason we are here and the policies and the programmes we have talked about? I want to know why the limited improvement in our health services as promised has not been introduced in this session of the Dáil.

We now see some more promises by the present Minister for Education, a most promising Minister, with regard to improvements in our educational system. That is some little benefit. It does not go as far as we would like it to go but at least it is some little consolation to us to know that insistence and emphasis here can have an effect. We have stressed for many years that in relation to Europe, in relation to the competition we are bound to face, if our people cannot find work at home, if they emigrate, we must ensure that they will be equipped for the highest, not the lowest, jobs. If there is to be any improvement in our educational services, let us hope they will come into operation as quickly as possible. I trust the Minister knows what he is doing in this regard and that he will be in a position next September to ensure that the scheme for extended educational facilities goes into operation smoothly.

There are a lot of other things about which I could speak but I do not want to cover too wide a field. There has been a discussion here about the recent by-elections and other elections this year. After an election, everybody is entitled to give his own opinion of the result, how it came about and so on. I was interested to hear Fianna Fáil Deputies talking about a vote of confidence in the Government in Kerry and in Waterford. It is amazing how mad one can get and what frenzy may possess [761] one when one talks about political matters. They talk about a vote of confidence with 16,000 votes cast against the Government and 12,000 for them demonstrating a drop in their own vote. In Kerry, 15,000 people voted against them and they were in a minority of 3,000.

These elections were purely on the political issue as to whether you support or oppose Fianna Fáil and they resulted in the most decisive condemnation in the two constituencies in which, in the last election, Fianna Fáil secured almost 50 per cent of the vote. Still they talk about a vote of confidence. Whatever view one may take of that, one of the most significant features of the current political situation has been the growth this year of the strength of Fine Gael. I say that to all other Parties in this House. I say that in this country we do not like living in a political vacuum and I would like to state my belief that the Irish people do not desire to wind up in one-Party Government conditions here. I believe the people desire and will have an alternative Government to Fianna Fáil.

References have been made here to the inter-Party Government. I do not want to go back over old issues but I make no apology for the fact that I was a Minister in an inter-Party Government. I am proud to have served in it with one of the greatest Irishmen of his day, the late Mr. William Norton, proud to sit around a council table and see that man in action as one of the Ministers of an Irish Government. I make no apology for it. I have no doubt that in the immediate future the will of the people of this country will be demonstrated in action, demonstrated in the sense and in the way that an alternative Government to Fianna Fáil will be found. I serve notice on the Taoiseach that the present indication and the present trend is that in the near future a Fine Gael Government with sufficient support in this House to carry on will be elected.

In these two by-elections, if they are to be taken as a test, every Party lost votes except Fine Gael. The Fine Gael share of the total votes in both constituencies [762] rose from 29 per cent in the last general election to 36 per cent. That shows that the people, first of all, voted by such a large majority against the Government and, secondly, that they are going to get behind and back and support the one Party in this House who are prepared to take on the responsibility of government. It is a matter for others to interpret what I am saying but I assert that it is inevitable that in a change of Government Fine Gael will be elected to take over. If other Parties do not play their part in that, the responsibility will be on Fine Gael to provide the alternative Government. I believe that that will come about very rapidly.

We have all been very kind to the Taoiseach. We have all said what a nice man he is. I welcomed personally his election to this office. I heard some of his speeches in the recent by-election and I think he lowered the tone of political dialogue and discussion in this country very much. He went out appealing, not to the intelligence of the people, but trying to inflame old sores and old bitternesses. He told the people that he did not want the job. That is a matter entirely for him.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch I challenge the Deputy to state one inflammatory statement I made.

Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins I am not going to make the Taoiseach's speeches for him, but I want to say this——

(Interruptions.)

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

Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Do you hear the cackling hens?

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch Just give me one inflammatory sentence.

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

Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins The Taoiseach has been elected with a great degree of personal popularity, and from this side of the House, too. He has been dubbed the reluctant Taoiseach and the reluctant leader. I will ask [763] him now to get rid of his relucance and to realise that, in times like these, and in present circumstances, Ireland needs a leader with fire in his belly and with the determination to do the job. We cannot afford to have a nice man going around the country and being coy. We need a leader who will give dynamic leadership, a sense of direction and a sense of national purpose to our people.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Today the Taoiseach, in an intervention, said that what is best for Fianna Fáil is best for the country.

Mr. Calleary: Information on Phelim Alfred Calleary Zoom on Phelim Alfred Calleary Correct.

Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins What is best for Fianna Fáil is best for the country. If that is the kind of leadership our people are to get for the next year or for as long as this Dáil lasts, then I say “God help Ireland”. If we are to have a situation, as was unfortunately the position under the previous Taoiseach, in which the requirements of the country are judged first of all by what suits the Fianna Fáil Party, then we are in for trouble. It was because of that attitude that we got the inflation of 1964; it suited Fianna Fáil at the beginning of 1964 to bring about the 12 per cent wage increase. That was good for Fianna Fáil. Was it good for Ireland? Are we to have a continuation now under the new Taoiseach of this same philosophy—what is best for Fianna Fáil is best for the country?

Mr. Calleary: Information on Phelim Alfred Calleary Zoom on Phelim Alfred Calleary Correct.

Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Certainly the Taoiseach's sentiments appear to have the unanimous support of his Party. I wonder what the people will think of that in due course? Deputy MacEntee is back.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee Zoom on Seán MacEntee Ask them in Kerry.

Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Deputy MacEntee is back. The soothsayer! He had enough to say the last time the Fianna Fáil Government decided what was best for the country. “What went wrong?” he asked. They consulted the [764] soothsayers and the astrologers and, having consulted both the astrologers and the soothsayers, they got the wrong answer.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee Zoom on Seán MacEntee And Garret FitzGerald.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan Fianna Fáil would not mind having him, would they?

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch You are welcome to him.

(Interruptions.)

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

Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins In the course of this debate, the Minister for Labour said something I judged to be critical about Deputy Cosgrave having had the temerity to go to Brussels to inquire into the problems affecting this country. Impliedly he seemed to suggest that Deputy Cosgrave had better not do that again. I should like to remind the Minister for Labour and the Fianna Fáil Party that Deputy Cosgrave will, in accordance with his responsibility, do whatever is right for this country, either inside it or outside it.

Deputies: Hear, hear.

Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins He will not do what a former leader of Fianna Fáil did at a time of critical domestic problems — go elsewhere to fan up flames that should long since have been allowed to die down. I am glad to see Deputy MacEntee here tonight. He now recognises, because he is a repentant sinner, that so far as Partition is concerned many mistakes were made. Let us hope the Taoiseach will at least understand——

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee Zoom on Seán MacEntee What about 1949 and the Republic of Ireland Act?

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Why did you not repeal it if you did not want it? You are still there. You can repeal it tomorrow.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange You tried to join the British Army.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee Zoom on Seán MacEntee Repeat that outside.

[765]Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange If it were not the truth, it would not worry you so much.

Mr. Coogan: Information on Fintan Coogan Zoom on Fintan Coogan Put that old man to bed.

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

Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins I just want to conclude by saying, with Deputy MacEntee's permission, that the Taoiseach and his Government can take some consolation in the fact that, so long as we are the Opposition in this House and in the country, we will respect the laws and the institutions of the State. We will respect the economic principles of the State. We will never denigrate our country. We will at all times act responsibly for we know that Fianna Fáil at the moment have only a loan of the responsibility for the future of Ireland and very shortly they will have to give it back to us.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch Until about an hour and a half ago, I thought the spirit had completely left both the Fine Gael and Labour Parties because I never heard in all my time in this House such inept offerings as I heard from those benches during today. However, they drummed up a little enthusiasm by getting Deputy James Tully and Deputy O'Higgins to come in here, talk loudly, trot out the old clichés, the old recriminations and complaints that have bedevilled this kind of debate for the past year or so, which were uttered right through the length and breadth of the constituencies of Waterford and South Kerry not so long since and which were thrown back in their faces when the people went to the polling booths.

Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins A monority vote.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch If one comes in here and shouts loud enough, he is regarded as a strong character with fire in his belly. If a man seldom raises his voice in the House, he is accused of being coy. I am accused of making inflammatory statements in Waterford and South Kerry, despite the allegation of coyness on my part. I challenge [766] Deputy O'Higgins to produce one inflammatory sentence I uttered during the course of the campaign. I challenge him now or tomorrow in the press to quote, by letter or otherwise, any inflammatory statement I made during the by-election campaigns. If he succeeds, I will acknowledge it immediately.

I have never before heard such excuses trotted out here for lack of success in two by-elections. In 1964 we had two by-elections, one in Cork and one in Kildare. These were typical constituencies in that one was a city constituency and the other a rural constituency. We brought off a double then. We were accused of having gone to the people with promises. It was alleged that we threatened the 12 per cent wage increase would be withdrawn unless the Fianna Fáil candidates were supported and that was why we won the two by-elections.

On this occasion we went to the hustings at a time that could not have been more propitious for the two Opposition Parties. Again we brought off a double. I went to South Kerry and Waterford. I made no promises. I told the people candidly what the position was. I told them there were difficulties that we as a Government had to face; I told them there were economic difficulties, some of which were caused by external influences and some of which were of our own making. I did not exclude the Government from responsibility for some of these. We came at a time when these economic difficulties were still with us, when the Government's measures to overcome these economic difficulties, unpalatable and politically unpopular as they were, were still in the minds of the people. We came when there was active agitation by a big section of the community, a section representative of the constituencies in which these by-elections were fought, and nevertheless we beat the combined Opposition to a frazzle.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan You what?

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch Apparently Deputy O'Higgins——

[767]Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan You are in a minority.

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

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch According to Deputy O'Higgins, there were 16,000 votes against Fianna Fáil and, if we were to go on that basis, Fine Gael were beaten in those two elections by almost two to one. Where is the moral victory there?

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan It was nothing like that.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch However, I will refer to this topic again because I will have plenty of time to deal with it. I want to deal now with a few points which were made during the debate. The main one as far as I could judge was criticism of the preparations by the Fianna Fáil Government for membership of the European Economic Community. Fine Gael have been making allegations against this Government for the manner in which they have handled not only our application for membership but the manner in which we have encouraged our people and facilitated our people to prepare for membership of the European Economic Community. Before I finished my opening statement this morning, I put it to Deputy Cosgrave to give us an indication of what exactly he and his colleague who went to Brussels last week had said to the members of the Commission whom they met, and whether there was anything in the oft-repeated suggestion that we have had here, and also in the Seanad, that there was some other means whereby we could have got advantages of membership of the Community while retaining the advantages we have by our Trade Agreement with the United Kingdom. In no case did I get any indication that there was something in what Fine Gael had been saying all along the line that could have advanced our position one single degree.

Fine Gael have been suggesting, for example, that we could have negotiated with the Common Market the same type of agreements as Denmark and [768] Austria have negotiated. I hope now that they have visited Brussels that they know that neither Denmark nor Austria has negotiated any agreement with——

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan But Denmark is getting in 16,000 cattle and we are not even getting in 2,000.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch Denmark and Austria were held up as having the type of agreement which we could have negotiated with the European Economic Community, if we had gone about it in the right way.

(Interruptions.)

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch I will give Deputy Donegan the status of Denmark's agreement. He knows it as well as I do. Denmark and Germany have had, over a number of years, a trade agreement which provides for the admission from Denmark into Germany of some 200,000 or more cattle a year, and some 16,000 cattle in particular in the off-the-grass period. That agreement carried over beyond the period when the Common Market agricultural policy was negotiated and by a concession recommended by the Commission of the European Economic Community, the agreement was permitted to be carried into the period beyond that Common Market agricultural policy commencement date. We sought a similar concession and got it.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan You did not get it. You are not getting 2,000 cattle in.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch Indeed, we are.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan When?

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch At this moment there is an agent in Germany negotiating about these 2,000 cattle.

Donnchadh Ó Briain: Information on Donnchadh Ó Briain Zoom on Donnchadh Ó Briain Take your medicine.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan We will believe it——

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon Má tá Gaeilge agat labhair í.

[769]The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch Is beag Gaeilge atá ag an Teachta.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan Will Deputies abide by the rules of the House? Deputy Donegan has been interrupting since the Taoiseach started.

(Interruptions.)

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch I want to say that the full extent of this alleged agreement that Fine Gael would have us believe Denmark has with the European Economic Community is only a concession and it is on similar lines to the one we have won for ourselves. Austria has no agreement, and the only reason that Austria is being considered at all for a special relationship with the European Economic Community is her political agreement with the USSR. Surely Fine Gael could not suggest that the same strategic reasons apply to us vis-á-vis the USSR and the European Economic Community as apply to Austria.

We were told that we should have negotiated the same type of agreement but the fact remains that there is no such agreement yet and there is not likely to be for some considerable time.

We were accused of not making sufficient preparation for the European Economic Community, in particular by the last speaker, Deputy T.F. O'Higgins. He seems to have forgotten that at the time of our application, and even before our application was made, we had established the Committee on Industrial Organisation to make an examination in depth of the whole range of Irish industry, such an examination as was never carried out in the history of any country. Not only did we have regard to the reports of the Committee on Industrial Organisation but we implemented every one of their recommendations.

When the British application for membership was suspended, we saw that there might be some slackening off in interest in the possibility of freer trading by our industrialists and, in 1964, we introduced a voluntary reduction in our industrial tariffs in order to ensure that the pace of industrial [770] efficiency would be maintained. The only reason we suspended the rhythm of tariff reductions was the imposition of the British surcharge on imports of industrial goods to that country. Immediately, however, we found that the prospect of early entry to the European Economic Community was not good, we negotiated the Free Trade Area Agreement with Britain whereby we would continue this rhythm of industrial tariff reductions and whereby our industrialists would equip themselves with the necessary techniques and skill and the necessary adaptations in order to make them fit for meeting freer trading, freer trading such as we are certain to meet when we enter the European Economic Community. Not only that—and the suggestion has been made that it was not sufficient to adopt the recommendations of the Committee on Industrial Organisation—we went further by making adaptation grants and loans at low interest rates available for the re-equipping and re-tooling which Deputy O'Higgins said was not taking place, but for which £5 millions and over has been contributed by way of these adaptation grants to industry. Not only did we do that, but I set up, when I was Minister for Industry and Commerce, a special branch called the Industrial Re-Organisation Branch and we gave to that branch some of the best officers in the Department of Industry and Commerce, and individually they went around to firms and made recommendations to them about re-adaptation and explained what they thought could be done in order to make these firms more efficient.

This work is proceeding apace. I am glad to say that many Irish firms have applied for re-adaptation grants and many of them are now increasing their competitiveness to the extent that even in these adverse conditions in the British market our industrial exports are showing an increase over the past few months. It is true that some industrialists have been lethargic in their approach to this matter. They have not availed to the full extent—and in a few cases not at all—of the facilities made available by the Government to ensure their greater efficiency. But not only [771] are our industrialists dilatory in this way but some workers are also dilatory.

When we come in here, it depends on which side of the House you are: if you are a Labour man, you blame the industrialists: if you are a member of the other Party, you blame both sides of industry; but it is true that there is blame attaching to both sides of industry in this respect. No Labour Party member will deny that there are dilatory workers as there are dilatory employers, but I believe that with the impact of the Free Trade Area Agreement now and the impact of the renewed British initiative in relation to the Common Market, our people generally will be more alert to the requirements of entry into the EEC.

A few specific points were raised in the course of the debate and there is one to which I should like to refer in particular in so far as an attack was made by Deputy Lindsay on a group of individuals who had been asked to form the consortium to advise on the organisation and building of the new regional technical colleges. First of all, a steering committee has been set up, selected only because of their particular knowledge of the requirements of technical colleges where higher training is to be given. I shall not go through the list of persons so appointed but, so far as I know, not one of them has any attachment whatever to the Fianna Fáil Party. These are men who are senior management specialists, professors of chemical engineering, and managers of successful companies in different parts of the country.

There has also been established this consortium to which Deputy Lindsay referred as high-up members of the Fianna Fáil Party, unsuccessful candidates to the Seanad elections and a neutral element here and there to take the bare look off them. But people who have been appointed to this consortium are members of firms, some of which are famous in their own fields, not only in this country but in the world. Again, I do not want to parade their names before the Dáil but the purpose of appointing this consortium [772] was to ensure that the best and cheapest possible method of providing the necessary skill to build these colleges would be employed. Otherwise, there would have been a greater—I shall not say waste of public money—expenditure of public moneys on these colleges than there will be under the system now proposed.

Deputy James Tully spoke about social benefits and asked what taxes did the Government propose in order to increase social benefits and, if we said what taxes we would propose, the Labour Party would guarantee to vote for them. The level of social welfare benefits does not depend on taxation alone. As Fianna Fáil have consistently pointed out, this depends on the level of economic activity that we can generate in order to support the highest possible level of social welfare benefits.

Deputy O'Higgins, in his contribution a while ago, claimed that it was Fine Gael who pushed Fianna Fáil into making some recompense to the recipients of social welfare benefits in the last or, particularly, the second last Budget. This kind of boast comes ill from Deputy O'Higgins whose Party have a dismal record in the field of social services. Not only that, but they actually sabotaged whatever efforts were being made by the late Deputy William Norton, whom he so justly eulogised a few minutes ago, to provide a comprehensive system of social welfare.

The fact is that over their last three-year period in office, they succeeded in giving an overall increase of 2/6 to old age pensioners. In one year when we came back we gave a 10/-increase. At those rates it would have taken the Coalition Government 12 years to catch up with us. Then they tell us that we are not doing enough for the social welfare recipients. The fact is that we intend to continue increasing the level of benefits for social welfare recipients but we know we cannot do it by increasing taxation that the economy cannot bear. Our progress in that direction depends on the ability of our people to earn [773] sufficient money to provide the taxation that will enable us to make better provision for social welfare recipients.

I should like to return for a short time to the by-elections. I have here a publication called The Citizen, with the sub-title “For the People”. I must confess it is the first time I was given this publication. I understand it is the official publication of the Fine Gael Party. This is the December, 1966, issue. They tell us, in what would appear to be the leading article, under the heading “The Choice”:

The issue of the by-elections in Waterford and South Kerry is simply: Is Fianna Fáil's mandate to continue in office which it won in the 1965 General Election to be endorsed by the dictate of these two constituencies; or is a verdict of approval and confidence in Fine Gael to be given now...

We know the answer to that. It goes on to say why the verdict should be in favour of Fine Gael. Unfortunately, either this document did not reach sufficient voters in the constituencies concerned or the arguments did not convince them.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan Of course, we did not have the Press.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch The amusing part of this debate was that, having lost the by-elections, Fine Gael began blaming Labour and Labour supporters because they did not vote for Fine Gael. They gave Labour supporters a lecture on how in future they should distribute their second preference votes. Labour should watch out: there seems to be some infiltration of the ranks of their first preferences by the Fine Gael Party. The wooing of second preferences is only the usual back door method employed by Fine Gael to achieve their purposes. I advise Deputy Corish and his colleagues to watch out for this wooing of second preferences in the future.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne Now the Taoiseach is advising us: you are all very concerned about us.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch That is advice that [774] you are free to accept or reject. Whether you accept it or not, it will not imperil our position.

(Interruptions.)

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

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch I should hate to have the bright smile of Deputy Dunne absent from the House and that might well be——

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne You would not hate it as much as Deputy Dunne.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch We always claim that the Fianna Fáil Party get on the figures—and the results show this— as many as, and, perhaps, more—in fact, I am certain they get more— votes from the trade unionists and workers, as they are called, than Labour do, so that, even if Labour lose their second preferences to Fine Gael, we have no intention of losing our first preference labour votes to Labour or anybody else.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish You lost them in the last two elections.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch That is only one of the excuses.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish I am not making any excuses.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch I am talking about Fine Gael excuses—that the Labour Party did not give them their second preferences, or else as, I think, Deputy Cosgrave said today, the journalists brought about their defeat because in one constituency they predicted that the Labour Party man would beat the Fine Gael Party man. I have often heard journalists criticised for being unfair to individuals but I never heard of them being criticised for causing the defeat of a by-election Fine Gael candidate, and particularly journalists from the Irish Independent and the Irish Times. That was not all. I read in one of today's papers that the Fine Gael candidate in South Kerry was blaming the county manager. It is a report of yesterday's county council meeting. The county manager handed out too many medical cards during the weeks before the election.

[775]Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins It is not usual to criticise people who are not Members of the House.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch It is not usual to criticise public servants who cannot speak for themselves. However, there is only one person left and, like the bad team, blame the referee. I am sure the returning officer will be the next target.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange He was not able to announce the count in Kerry with the mob interrupting him.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch I have not finished with this document yet. There is another article in page 3. Again I quote The Citizen: For the People, December, 1966. The article is entitled “Fianna Fáil Dilemma” and it is written by a person who styles himself Jim Ryan. I do not know who Jim Ryan is.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish Dr. Ryan, I suppose.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch The name is good but the stuff is not all that good.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish It might even be Richie's brother.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch In the course of this article, Mr. Jim Ryan discusses the “vicious struggle” that was taking place in Fianna Fáil before the selection of the Taoiseach.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Deputy Colley is looking at you.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan I do not know whether Deputy Blaney was a front runner or not.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney He was there.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch I quote from the article:

... it is the first time that a faction within an Irish political Party, openly declared its dissent from the rest of the party.

As far as I know, it is not the first time there was an election in an Irish political Party to choose the next leader. There was an election, in our memory, when Deputy Dillon pipped [776] Deputy Cosgrave by one vote. But nobody heard about it; nobody saw it in any papers. We in our usual democratic way published our full results. However, soon after the Just Society was swallowed by Deputy Dillon, the Just Society was kicked out the back door by the electorate.

Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins And swallowed by Fianna Fáil.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch Lower down they discuss me. They describe me as being weak, indecisive and mediocre, but I am sorry that some Fine Gael man across the way had not the guts to get up and say this to my face in the House. I gather that, since this appeared in their official organ, it is the official view of the Fine Gael Party. I know there is a propensity in people who have certain drawbacks and limitations to ascribe those very drawbacks and limitations to their adversaries. Of course “Weak, indecisive and mediocre” would be a very apt description of the Fine Gael Party. They have been weak right down through the years. It is because of their weakness that they have spent four-fifths of the past 25 years on the other side of the House. It is because they have been indecisive that they are in Opposition, and because they have been mediocre, they will be in Opposition for a hell of a long time more.

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke Zoom on Patrick J. Burke We won the by-elections.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch If that is weakness, indecision and mediocrity, I am happy to have these qualities.

Mr. Norton: Information on Patrick Norton Zoom on Patrick Norton It is beginner's luck.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch I did not parade the all-Ireland Cup around the constituency as Fine Gael did. That is not the end of this personal attack on me. The article goes on to say:

He was elected because .... he is not a sufficiently strong character to provoke antagonism.

I promise that before I get out of this Seat the people in the Fine Gael [777] Party will get as much antagonism from me as will make them blue in their faces. That antagonism is not going to come by means of shouting here but from the success this Government are going to produce for the economy of this country.

Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Information on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Zoom on Michael Joseph O'Higgins Más maith é is mithid.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch Zoom on John Lynch I am not denying we have had difficulties for the past year-and-a-half. I did not deny it in Waterford. It is because I did not deny it, because I explained how these came about and what action we had to take, it is because I explained to the people of South Kerry and Waterford that they would have to work hard with the Government to overcome our difficulties, it was because I said that to them and did not make any rosy promises that they came with us. They were prepared to believe me and to believe that Fianna Fáil were the only Party who could overcome those difficulties, and lead the country forward successfully again.

I made an appeal in the course of my opening remarks for co-operation between people engaged in both sides of industry. Our country does not belong [778] to any single group. It does not belong to industrialists or to workers. It does not belong to the self-employed or to political Parties or to the Government. This country belongs to all the people and to a lot of generations yet unborn. I believe that whether we are in Opposition or in Government, what we do in the next couple of years, how we fashion our economy, how we prepare for these crucial years ahead, will determine what place we in this country will have in the future. In the next few years, we shall feel the full blast of free industrial and agricultural trade and, unless we by that time have geared our economy to withstand that blast, I do not think we will get the chance to catch up again. However, I believe that now that we have been given the mandate to press forward with our policies, we shall overcome those difficulties. The people will understand what our goal is. We shall bring them along with us and achieve the same rate of progress as we achieved in the period from 1958-1964 which was spectacular by any standards, especially any standards ever achieved in this country before. I believe this is possible and I believe this Government will do it.

Question put.

The Dáil divided: Tá, 66; Níl, 56.

Allen, Lorcan.
Andrews, David.
Blaney, Neil T.
Booth, Lionel.
Boylan, Terence.
Brady, Philip.
Brennan, Paudge.
Breslin, Cormac.
Briscoe, Ben.
Browne, Patrick.
Burke, Patrick J.
Calleary, Phelim A.
Carter, Frank.
Carty, Michael.
Childers, Erskine.
Clohessy, Patrick.
Colley, George.
Collins, James J.
Corry, Martin J.
Cotter, Edward.
Crinion, Brendan.
Cronin, Jerry.
Cunningham, Liam.
Davern, Don.
de Valera, Vivion.
Dowling, Joe.[779]MacEntee, Seán.
Meaney, Tom.
Millar, Anthony G.
Molloy, Robert.
Mooney, Patrick.
Moore, Seán.
Moran, Michael.
Nolan, Thomas.
Egan, Nicholas.
Fahey, John.
Fanning, John.
Faulkner, Pádraig.
Fitzpatrick, Thomas J.
(Dublin South-Central).
Flanagan, Seán.
Foley, Desmond.
Gallagher, James.
Geoghegan, John.
Gibbons, Hugh.
Gibbons, James M.
Gogan, Richard P.
Haughey, Charles.
Hillery, Patrick J.
Hilliard, Michael.
Kenneally, William.
Kennedy, James J.
Kitt, Michael F.
Lalor, Patrick J.
Lemass, Noel T.
Lenihan, Brian.
Lenihan, Patrick.
Lynch, Celia.
Lynch, Jack.
McEllistrim, Thomas.[780]ÓBriain, Donnchadh.
ÓCeallaigh, Seán.
O'Connor, Timothy.
O'Leary, John.
O'Malley, Donogh.
Smith, Patrick.
Wyse, Pearse.

Níl

Barrett, Stephen D.
Barry, Richard.
Belton, Luke.
Belton, Paddy.
Burke, Joan T.
Burton, Philip.
Byrne, Patrick.
Casey, Seán.
Clinton, Mark A.
Cluskey, Frank.
Collins, Seán.
Connor, Patrick.
Coogan, Fintan.
Corish, Brendan.
Cosgrave, Liam.
Costello, John A.
Coughlan, Stephen.
Creed, Donal.
Crotty, Patrick J.
Desmond, Eileen.
Dillon, James M.
Dockrell, Henry P.
Dockrell, Maurice E.
Donegan, Patrick S.
Donnellan, John.
Dunne, Seán.
Dunne, Thomas.
Farrelly, Denis.
Fitzpatrick, Thomas J. (Cavan).
Governey, Desmond.
Harte, Patrick D.
Hogan, Patrick (South Tipperary).
Hogan O'Higgins, Brigid.
Jones, Denis F.
Kyne, Thomas A.
Larkin, Denis.
L'Estrange, Gerald.
Lindsay, Patrick J.
Lyons, Michael D.
McLaughlin, Joseph.
Mullen, Michael.
Murphy, William.
Norton, Patrick.
O'Donnell, Patrick.
O'Donnell, Tom.
O'Hara, Thomas.
O'Higgins, Michael J.
O'Higgins, Thomas F.K.
O'Leary, Michael.
Pattison, Séamus.
Reynolds, Patrick J.
Ryan, Richie.
Sweetman, Gerard.
Tierney, Patrick.
Treacy, Seán.
Tully, James.

Tellers:— Tá: Deputies Carty and Geoghegan: Níl; Deputies L'Estrange and James Tully.

Question declared carried.

The Dáil adjourned at 11.40 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 8th February, 1967.


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