The SUBSTITUTE MINISTER FOR LABOUR formally proposed the adoption of the Report of the Department of Labour, and B. O'HIGGINS (Clare, West) seconded.
The MINISTER FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT complained that nothing had been done about the pooling of Contracts. He thought his Department should have been called into a Conference with the other Departments concerned to get the project going. The objection had been made that all the contracts would be given to Dublin firms, but he did not see why firms in Cork or other centres would not get their share if they were able to handle the contracts. On the question of the Irish Industries' Campaign, he thought that purchasers should have a guarantee that had materials would not be used in the manufacture of Irish goods.
The DIRECTOR OF TRADE AND COMMERCE said he had got most of the Public Bodies to consent to the Pooling scheme, but he submitted that it was practically impossible to do anything till the Councils were financially sound, and could pay on the nail.
The ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT agreed that it would be very difficult at present, as they would have to buy in a falling market. A good deal could be done, however, in the supply of information to public bodies as to the proper prices of various commodities, and he thought Asylums, Unions, etc., should get very full instructions from the Trade Department on the matter, and be put in touch with people who could supply them.
The SUBSTITUTE MINISTER FOR LABOUR wished to put on record the very great assistance his Department had received from the Volunteers in carrying out the work of the Boycott. The necessity for such assistance would, he hoped, not arise so frequently henceforth.
The memorandum on unemployment submitted by him was a Report drawn up as a result of a Conference brought together on the invitation of the President to discuss the Irish Labour Party's Manifesto. He thought it was absolutely necessary at the present time to do something for Irish Trade and Commerce, which was linked up with Irish Labour, and it was purely defeatism to say the proposal for pool contracts could not be taken up till the financial position was perfectly sound. A start must be made somewhere. The Pool Scheme would give an indication to Irish manufacturers that they would have a market for their goods when they manufactured them. It was necessary that Irish manufacturers should know what would be required of them, and if they got reasonable assurance of support there would be a great advance in the quality of Irish manufactures. As soon as there was a large demand prices would be reasonable and quality would improve. Irish manufacturers were willing to give as much employment as possible, provided they could sell their stuffs.
The Irish Farmers' Union had issued an appeal to all its members not to reduce the area under tillage, and only in the very last extremity to disemploy labour. He thought that was due to the Conference between the Irish Labour Party and the Irish Farmers' Union. The latter body had also expressed their willingness to co-operate in the Turf-Cutting Scheme, and to put up £10,000 for the purpose.
The SUBSTITUTE DIRECTOR OF AGRICULTURE asked every member of the Dáil to realise that they were practically recommending a system of protection for Irish Industries. They saw how an open system of Free Trade ruined these Industries, and when native industries declined agriculture also declined, with the result that there was only one-twentieth of the wheat grown now that was produced 70 years ago.
The Report was adopted.