Meanwhile…back in 1962 March 1, 2013Posted by Oireachtas Retort in Irish History, Meanwhile.
Making a small of habit of on this day type posts but they tend to find me rather then any pre-emptive calendar watching. I suppose their value is in reminding us that history is never far away however it may seem. During questions with Michael Noonan yesterday I had that all too regular feeling about the role of TDs as the Finance Minister and his opposites recounted recent tales of constituents and their dealings with the bank manager.
Without dwelling on the question of this mediation being the job of legislators it was enough to see our eternal middlemen caught either end of borrower and lender depending on which side of the chamber you find yourself.
The past never far away but usually just enough in politics.
Mr. Rooney: asked the Minister for Agriculture whether he is aware that farmers are receiving approximately £25 per head less for horses being killed for the export of Irish horse meat compared with the price available before an order prohibiting the export of horses aged six years and under was made; and if he will now consider revoking the order to ensure that horse owners will be paid the shipment value of these animals.
and no shortage of bull..
Dr. Ryan (for the Minister for Agriculture): I consider that the A.I. stations are making reasonable progress in the progeny testing of their dairy bulls. They are of course receiving a subvention from my Department towards the cost of progeny recorders, 28 of whom are at present employed by the nine stations.
Cost of Domestic Workers’ Employment Stamps.
Mr. Donegan: asked the Minister for Social Welfare whether in view of the fact that the increase of the cost of employment stamps for domestic workers is inordinate and disproportionate in relation to other classes he proposes to have the cost of these stamps reduced.
Mr. Boland: The rates of insurance contributions were increased to their present level by the social Welfare (Amendment) Act, 1960 under which a new benefit, old age (contributory) pension, was introduced and existing benefits improved. When that measure was under consideration in the Dáil  it was pointed out that the general principle followed in deciding on the increases in rates of contribution was that each rate should bear its due share of the cost of the new benefit and of the improvements in existing benefits to which it gave title. Following that principle the ordinary rate of employment contribution for a man or woman was increased by 3/6d. a week. This increase in the contribution applied to a male domestic, who is insured for all benefits, while the increase for a female domestic, who is insured for all benefits other than unemployment benefit, was 3/3d. a week.
It will be seen that the increase in contribution in the case of a male domestic worker was the same as in the case of the ordinary employed contributor and that the increase in the case of a female domestic worker was smaller because allowance was made for the fact that the contribution in this instance does not give title to unemployment benefit.
In these circumstances, I do not propose to change the rates of contribution for domestic workers.
Mr. Corish: Would the Minister not consider introducing some system to ensure that domestic workers will be eligible ? The Minister must be aware —I am in any case—that many domestics who become unemployed leave this country because there is no allowance available for them on which to exist.
Mr. Boland: So far as I know, that is the reason why they have not so far been insured for unemployment benefit. It was considered that was a risk which did not exist in regard to that particular class of work.
Mr. Corish: The Minister ought to concern himself about the type of employment. It is not very highly paid employment. There are many girls in  this country who will go into domestic service, although it is the lowest paid employment in the land. The Minister should concern himself with the fact that many of them, when they become unemployed for a period, go to Great Britain because they cannot get unemployment benefit.
Forestry Workers wage Tribunal
Mr. Tully: Is the Minister not aware that an assurance was given by his officials when the bonus scheme for forestry workers was introduced that as soon as every forest was operating the bonus scheme, this tribunal would be set up, and in view of the fact that it is now over 12 months since the last of the forests started working the bonus scheme, will he tell the House why no move has been made to set up the tribunal?
Mr. Moran: The simple answer is that, in practice, it turned out there was no great demand for it from the unions concerned. The matter is being considered but the need for it did not appear to be badly felt by the negotiating bodies.
Mr. Tully: Is the Minister not aware that the trade unions have been dunning his Department with requests to have this tribunal set up as promised, and further, would he say where he got the information that there was no demand for it?
Mr. Ryan: He wants a strike.
Mr. Tully: In view of the fact that the officers of the Department cannot give an answer to this or have not been prepared to give an answer to it, will the Minister say in what other way can we raise it except in the House?
Pardon of Driving Licence disqualification – does the Minister retain this power? Would be an interesting list to see.
Mr. Haughey: A disqualification for six months for holding a driving licence was imposed on 26th October, 1961 in respect of offences committed under Sections 51 and 173 of the Road Traffic Act, 1933.
Mr. Ryan: Having regard to the fact that this Dáil solemnly spent several months last year removing from the  Minister the power to remit disqualification from holding a driving licence, does the Minister not think he is now acting contrary to the intention of this House in so frequently removing disqualifications imposed by the courts?
Mr. Haughey: First of all, I do not frequently remove disqualifications imposed by the courts. Secondly, the power to remove disqualifications in certain road traffic offences has not been taken away from the Minister for Justice. Thirdly, I am quite certain that in every case in which I have remitted disqualification, there is not a single member of this House who would not have remitted the disqualification in the circumstances.
Europe & Welfare
Mr. Corish: asked the Minister for Social Welfare whether his attention has been drawn to reports of a statement made on 21st February by Mr. R.A. Butler, the British Home Secretary, that the European Economic  Community intended to approach the harmonisation of social services in terms of a levelling-up of standards and not a levelling-down; and whether in view of Ireland’s application for membership of the EEC his Department have undertaken any study of the social welfare position in the present member-countries of the EEC with a view to ascertaining in what directions Ireland’s social welfare services may be modified if Ireland becomes a member of the EEC; and, if so, what are the findings of any such study.
Mr. Boland: I have seen newspaper reports of the statement referred to in the Question. All information available to me on this subject is being studied, but at this stage I cannot add to what was said in reply to a Parliamentary Question on Thursday last.
Dr. Browne: and Mr. McQuillan asked the Minister for Social Welfare if in view of the provisions of the Rome Treaty which entail the establishment of parity in social services he will state the percentage and monetary increases in (a) old age pension, (b) unemployment benefit, (c) widows pension and (d) blind pension needed in payments in this country to bring about parity with rates at present paid in Western Germany.
Mr. Boland: It would be quite impossible to furnish an answer to the Deputies’ Question as framed, because of the wide diversities between the social security schemes in the two countries. I should, perhaps, mention that there are also wide diversities between the social security schemes of the countries now forming the European Economic Community, and the Regulations on social security which have been adopted by the Council of the Community recognise these differences.
It is not correct to say that the Treaty  of Rome entails the establishment of parity in social services. The provisions of the Treaty on social policy are contained in articles 117 to 128, and are dealt with in paragraphs 73 to 75 of the White Paper on the European Economic Community which was laid before the Dáil on the 30th June, 1961.
Neutrality Policy: Minister’s Statement.
Dr. Browne: and Mr. McQuillan asked the Minister for Lands whether he is correctly reported as saying on 6th February 1962 that neutrality is not a policy to which we would even wish to appear committed.
Mr. Moran: What I said on the occasion mentioned in this question was—“It has been made quite clear by the Taoiseach on different occasions that a policy of neutrality here in the present world division between Communism and freedom was never laid down by us or indeed ever envisaged by our people. Neutrality in this context is not a policy to which we would even wish to appear committed.”
Dr. Browne: Is it not a fact that between 1939 and 1945, our political Leaders remained neutral during the Anglo-American and Russian war against the Nazis ? Could we know what development has taken place in the world which makes it necessary for us to abandon that neutralist situation ?
Dr. Browne: If there has been this very significant and important departure in regard to our foreign policy, surely the Minister owes it to the public to explain to them in simple terms what are the reasons for that departure, or is it suggested by the Government that, in their belief, Hitlerism, Nazism and Fascism are lesser evils than anything in the world today?
Beginnings of IFA militancy at home
Mr. Tierney: asked the Minister for Justice whether his attention had been drawn to reports appearing in the press that members of the Garda Síochána were investigating the organisation of the National Farmers’ Association, and taking the names of officers and members of that organisation; whether such activity on the part of the Garda Síochána is in fact taking place; and, if so, what are the reasons for such a procedure.
Dr. Browne: and Mr. McQuillan asked the Minister for Justice whether, as reported, police have raided the homes of members of the N.F.A. to find out the names of the officers and members of the Association.
I have seen no press report suggesting that there has been anything that could be described as a “raid” on the homes of members of the National  Farmers’ Association and nothing of that kind has taken place.
I understand that, in one area, officers of the Association were asked by the Garda Síochána about the local membership and that that information was unhesitatingly given. Apart from that, members of the Gardaí have been present at meetings recently held under the auspices of the Association, but that is a normal and indeed routine duty of the Garda Síochána wherever a public meeting of any kind is being held.
As members of the House are aware, a number of meetings have been held under NFA auspices in various parts of the country in recent weeks. As I need hardly say, the Association is perfectly entitled to hold these meetings and their right to hold them, without interference by the Garda Síochána, has not been and will not be questioned, subject to the usual requirements about the maintenance of law and order.
Unfortunately, however, some members of the Association have, in connection with these meetings permitted themselves to make threats that resort would be had to illegal actions, including violence if necessary, if the objectives of the Association are not secured. According to press reports these threats were made on more than one occasion and by more than one person, and, moreover, by persons holding office in the Association. I must mention, in particular, a reported threat against members of the County Council—the elected representatives of the people—if they did not act as the Association wished.
Against this background, there should be no surprise if the Garda Síochána displayed an interest in what was said at some subsequent meetings of this kind. Threats of violence or any incitement to violence could not possibly be tolerated as a means of securing the objectives of any organisation. That would be the road to anarchy and a Government that would permit it would be failing in their first duty to the community.
I am glad to say, however, that since these threats were made, the  leaders of the Association have left no room for doubt that the Association emphatically repudiates all such threats by their members. I accept without hesitation that this repudiation is genuine and reflects the Association’s considered policy. This being so, there should be no further difficulties and the excellent relations which have in the past obtained at all levels between the NFA and the Garda Síochána can continue unimpaired. For my part, I am glad to have had this opportunity of explaining that any special inquiries made by the Gardaí were made in the particular circumstances that I have outlined and that there has been no intention or wish to interfere with the lawful activities of the Association or any of its branches.
Mr. Blowick: I am speaking of a protest meeting carried out in an orderly manner. The Garda went through it openly, taking the names of certain members and seeking information about other members in broad daylight. That created an impression of intimidation. Does the Minister stand behind that?
Mr. Haughey: On any occasion on which people gather in large numbers in public, it is the duty, and the long-standing practice of the Garda Síochána to be present, first of all, to ensure that parking regulations are not broken——
Mr. Haughey: ——and secondly, to be on the alert for any possibility of a disturbance or a breach of the peace. We all know that at political meetings the Garda are present. Anywhere there are large crowds and, indeed, as Deputy Corish pointed out, at pickets, it is the duty of the Garda to be present and alert for any possible breach of the peace.
And appearances of Politicians on Telefís Éireann.
Mr. McQuillan: Is it not a fact that on the Committee on Procedure and Privileges, and on other Committees that concern all members of the House, representation is given in proportion to  the size of the various Parties in the House, even to the smallest group in it? Surely, in view of that situation in this House, it would be no harm to suggest to Telefís Éireann that they could learn from it?