By the EARL OF WICKLOW
Mr. Dillon, the Minister for Agriculture, has made an announcement dealing with a land improvement scheme, for reclamation, drainage and fertilising 400,000 acres of land during the next 10 years.
" The scheme," to use his own words, " will involve the annual use, for the next eight to ten years, of 2,000,000 tons of ground limestone, and 250,000 tons of rock phosphate. There will be employment for at least 50,000 during the ten years expected to complete the scheme."
This is specially welcome news, as the recent emigration figures show an alarming rise in the number of men leaving the country. The problem of the day in this country • is that owing to the steady rise in wages (which in some cases exceed those in Great Britain). many employers are reducing their staffs.
The announcement is also welcome because the potentialities of Irish agriculture have never been realised. and the quality of our land has deteriorated sadly during the last hundred years.
'Furthermore, for the first time in history we have a continental market for our produce.
Disraeli was once held up to ignominy because he said that emigration was a blessing to Ireland. In those days the Irish Nationalists blamed the British Government for the emigration problem. When Mr. Cosgrave led the first Irish National Government, Mr. de Valera, among other things, promised to stop emigration if he came to power. One of the chief criticisms of Mr. de Valera's Government afterwards was that emigration went on and increased.
Under Mr. Costello it has so far increased further, and therefore, if Mr. Dillon manages to provide a solution to this perennial problem, his achievement will be the greatest of any Irish statesman for at least a century.
BEDLAM IN DAIL Most people in this country seem to be laughing, and in no friendly fashion, at a recent highly ridiculous and angry scene which took place in the Dail.
Mr. Costello, who kept both his temper and his dignity, was violently assailed by certain members' of the Opposition in regard to references he had made to the I.R.A.
The ensuing scene in which all parties joined, was a national disgrace. The feeling of the general public is that it is high time, when there is so much to be done, that deputies omuld remember that they are rein d to the Dail and paid a salary, in order that they may do a job of work, and not indulge in volumes of hysterical abuse and mudslinging.
A SAD FACT It is a sad fact that in this Catholic country, where the average citizen is a decent, hard-working and fairminded man, in our parliamentary debates we hear all too little about social welfare; I can remember no occasion when the Papal Encyclicals have even beets mentioned.
Instead we get ceaseless blasts of ultra-Nationalist hot-air, and unbalanced personal abuse.