Committee Reports::Report - Appropriation Accounts 1933 - 1934::13 June, 1935::MIONTUAIRISC NA FINNEACHTA / Minutes of Evidence


(Minutes of Evidence)

Déardaoin, 13adh Meitheamh, 1935.

Thursday, 13th June, 1935.

The Committee sat at 11 a.m.

Members Present.


T. Crowley.


O Briain.



P. S. Murphy.




Seóirse Mag Craith (Ard-Sgrúdóir), Mr. T. S. C. Dagg (An Roinn Airgid).


Mr. W. O’Brien called and examined.

741. Chairman.—The Comptroller and Auditor-General has the following note which is really for the information of the Dáil:—

“I have been furnished with a schedule of several cases involving a loss of £50 and upwards in which claims for duty or interest receivable under the Revenue Acts were remitted during the year ended 31st, March, 1934, without statutory authority, from motives of compassion or equity arising out of particular circumstances in individual cases. The reasons given for the remission appear to be satisfactory. The total amount shown as remitted during the year is £3,954 11s. 1d., as compared with £16,211 10s. 6d. in the previous year. Of the total, £2,882 7s. 5d. has been remitted in respect of income tax. £111 3s. 0d. related to a case in which the assessed party died insolvent; £54 related to a case in which the assessed party was bankrupt and tax was given up on the Official Assignee’s certificate of No Profits; £1,911 6s. 2d. to five cases in which assessments were raised but subsequent evidence revealed no net liability to tax; and £805 18s. 3d. to a case in which a compromise settlement was effected in respect of tax previously passed as irrecoverable. The remissions also included £96 5s. 6d. interest on estate and succession duties, £895 13s. 2d. Customs duties and £80 5s. 0d. stamp duties.

The above figures do not include duty passed as irrecoverable for various reasons.

In addition, Customs duty to an amount not ascertained is shown as remitted on certain articles imported in particular circumstances. As it appears to be the intention of the Revenue Commissioners to refrain from levying duty in similar instances as they arise, I have asked whether it is proposed to obtain legislative authority for future cases of the general nature described in the return.

What type of cases are these?

Mr. O’Brien.—They are cases of (1) Remission of Duty on stores and equipment imported by the Northern Ireland Postal Engineering Staff, for use in the Saorstát in connection with the maintenance of inter-state telephone and telegraph lines on the land frontier; (2) Remission of duty on furniture and equipment, etc., of ships imported for breaking-up purposes; (3) Remission of duty on cups, bowls, shields, etc., presented by Heads of Foreign Governments, Foreign Governments and Departments of Governments to Public Societies in the Saorstát.

742. That means ordinary international courtesy amongst other things?—Yes.

743. And these are the three general heads in which this rule applies?—There is one more, which is No. 4; namely, Remission of duty on framed pictures, sculptures, etc., imported for exhibition or for exhibition and sale at the annual exhibition of the Royal Hibernian Academy and the Munster Fine Art Club. It is our intention, at the earliest possible opportunity, to provide legislation to cover all these, and possibly some other things that have arisen or will arise. Unfortunately, we were not able to do anything this year because the legislative programme was overloaded. We have no intention of continuing this system without legislation. There are cases where legislation should apply.

744. I read a book by Quiller Couch one time, which spoke of the great business carried on in second-hand ships in Italian ports. There was a tax on iron in Italy and they used these second-hand ships for the purpose of avoiding this tax.

As to Item “M—Incidental Expenses,” does that mean that the Revenue Commissioners make a payment to the Civic Guards for work done?—This is a payment in respect of poundage on money orders and postal orders. There is poundage now, but in future they will get the orders free. This is an adjusting entry.


Mr. W. O’Brien further examined.

745. Chairman.—There is no note from the Comptroller and Auditor-General on this Vote. As to sub-head A—Pensions— the original Vote was £3,250,000 and there was a Supplementary Vote of £75,000, making in all £3,325,000 granted, of which £3,310,375 2s. 6d. was spent. What was the purpose of the Supplementary Vote?—That arose out of the Act of 1932. The original estimate was made without reference to the increase.

746. Sub-head B—Expenses of Pension Committees: Original Vote, £7,250; Supplementary Vote, £100. That Supplementary Vote arose out of the same Act? —Yes.

747. As to sub-head E—Extra Statutory Payments—expenditure £134 13s. 0d., would you mind explaining what were the extra statutory payments?—To meet cases in which official procedure and the legal requirements of the Old Age Pensions Acts result in less money being payable as Old Age Pension than that equitably due, the Revenue Commissioners are authorised to make special grants for which covering sanction is subsequently obtained from the Department of Finance. The grants fall under the following heads:

1. Cases arising out of the operation of Section 5 (b) of the Old Age Pensions Act, 1911, which prescribes that a sum shall not be paid on account of an Old Age Pension if payment of the sum is not obtained within three months after the date on which it has become payable.

Cases, however, arise in which the statutory period of three months is exceeded through no fault or neglect on the part of the pensioner or of his legal representatives, for example:

(a) Pension undrawn owing to Pension Officer’s action, other than actual stoppage of payment at the Post Office, e.g., a warning against further cashing of orders pending decision on a question which is ultimately decided in the pensioner’s favour.

(b) Pension refused by a Postmaster under a misapprehension when claimed within the statutory period.

(c) Payment claimed within the statutory period but not obtained owing to delay due to official causes, e.g., payment of arrears due at death withheld pending inquiry as to the legal title of the claimant thereto.

2. Grant of Pension delayed.

(a) Owing to Pension Officer’s neglect or mistake.

(b) Owing to administrative difficulties arising in the Revenue or other Government Departments.

3. Pensions incorrectly withdrawn.

Cases in which pensions are withdrawn on the strength of evidence obtained officially but subsequently found to be incorrect.

4. Special cases, e.g., cases where, owing to some causes similar to those in 2 above, the pensioner has to put in a legal claim at a later date than he would otherwise have done.

Cases outside the above headings must be reported to the Department of Finance before any grant is made.

The extra-statutory payments made during the year 1933/34 amounted to £134 13s. and, with a few exceptions, were in respect of cases falling under heading 1, i.e., where statutory payment was precluded by Section 5 (b) of the Old Age Pensions Act, 1911. That covers the whole ground of the particular cases in which we have to make extra-statutory payments.

748. What appears strange to me is that, although it seems to be a regular procedure, there was no sub-head for it. It looks as though it turned up unexpectedly and exceptionally during that year?—It happens every year. The amounts are small.

749. Chairman.—Perhaps you should have a £10 token Vote for it.

Mr. McGrath.—As a matter of fact, if that had not been paid out of sub-head E it would be paid out of sub-head A.

Mr. O’Brien.—It would really. That is the main heading, of course. It is really an adjustment. People are entitled to the money, but are precluded by a point of law which should not really count against them.

The witness withdrew.


Mr. James F. Morrissey called.

No questions.


Mr. W. Smyth called and examined.

750. Chairman.—Are you the permanent Accounting Officer?—No, I am just the Acting Secretary and, therefore, Acting Accounting Officer.

751. The appointment of a successor to Dr. Bodkin is pending?—Yes, it has not yet been decided upon.

The witness withdrew.


Dr. G. W. Scroope called.

No questions.


Mr. B. McNamara called and examined.

752. Chairman.—You are acting on behalf of the non-existent Accounting Officer?—Yes.

753. Do you know when the new Director is going to be appointed?—It is rather indefinite at the moment. There may be a Director appointed at the meeting on the 3rd July, but I cannot say for certain.

The witness withdrew.


Mr. G. McGrath called and examined.

754. Chairman.—Sub-head A—Salaries, Wages and Allowances Grant, £12,030; expenditure, £10,577 13/7. That saving is due to the Economies Bill?—Yes.

755. Is the National Insurance audit additional to the ordinary work?—Yes. It is outside the work of the Comptroller and Auditor-General altogether.


Mr. J. J. McElligott called and examined.

756. Chairman.—In regard to sub-head A—Salaries, Wages and Allowances of Household Staff—did we have any information as to what is the staff?—The information is given in Part 3 of the Estimate. The staff now consist only of a chaplain and a secretary.

757. The saving of £36 13s. is made on the salary of the chaplain and private secretary? —Yes.

758. The allowance for expenses is £1,200 and £1,200 was spent? —Yes.

759. That is not accounted for? —No.

760. The allowance for travelling expenses was £100 and only £9 1s. 8d. was spent?—Yes.

Deputy Haslett.—He did not travel very much.

761. Chairman.—The allowance for telegrams and telephones was £110, of which only £28 19s. 1d. was spent. Is that the ordinary sort of lump arrangement with the Post Office or does it represent the ordinary bills which we human beings get in our homes?—It is a Departmental arrangement with the Post Office.

762. The allowance for a motor car is £300, all of which was spent. That is also not accounted for?—That is a Grant-in-Aid, which is not accounted for.


Mr. J. J. McElligott further examined.

763. Chairman. —On sub-head A — Salaries and Allowances of Teachtaí, there was a saving of £146 7s. 4d. That was due to deaths, no doubt?—There was a vacancy owing to the death of a Teachta.

764. In the salaries and allowances of Seanadoiri, there was also a saving of £485. Was that also due to a death?— Yes, and there was a resignation too.

765. Of Mr. Vincent?—Yes.

766. In regard to sub-head I—Inter-Parliamentary Union (Saorstát Eireann Group), there was a Supplementary Vote of £45 required?—Yes. There was an additional provision required to meet the contribution of the Saorstát Eireann Group to the central body at Geneva.

767. How was it that that was unforeseen at the time the Estimate was prepared? —The expenses of the Inter-Parliamentary Union apparently expanded in a way that was not anticipated at the time the Estimate was prepared. The Supplementary Estimate was introduced in October, 1933, and the Estimate, of course, was prepared about ten months previously. It was impossible at the time to foresee what the expenses of the Union would be.

768. It is only a fixed Grant-in-Aid?— It is a contribution proportionate to the total expenses of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. These expenses expanded unexpectedly. They are usually fairly stable.

769. Was there any special cause?—Not that I can recollect.


Mr. J. J. McElligott further examined.

770. Chairman.—Under sub-head A, I observe there was a Supplementary Estimate of £10. What is the basis of that Supplementary Estimate?—That Supplementary estimate was introduced at the time that the Government Information Bureau was set up. It was a token supplementary to meet the expenses of the Bureau. The staff of the Bureau consist of a director, a junior executive officer, and a shorthand typist.

771. Sub-head B—travelling expenses. The amount of the Grant was £400, the expenditure £7 5s. 0d., and the sum unexpended £392 15s. 0d. Have you any comment to make on that?—That estimate is necessarily conjectural because it depends on the number of International Conferences held. A number of International Conferences that it was thought would be held during the year were, in fact, not held.

772. I was under the impression that the travelling expenses in connection with International Conferences were met out of the Vote for the Department of External Affairs?—If Ministers travel on the business of the State, their expenses are met out of the President’s Vote. If they travel on the business of their Departments, their expenses are met out of their Departmental Votes.


Mr. J. J. McElligott called.

No question.


Mr. J. J. McElligott called.

No question.


Mr. J. J. McElligott further examined.

773. Chairman.—In connection with sub-head A (3)—Advertising and Publicity Expenses in connection with the Central Savings Committee—the amount of the grant was £924 and the expenditure £923 7s. 3d. This is the Committee, I take it, that tries to boost savings certificates?—It is engaged on publicity work in connection with savings certificates.

774. Sub-head (1) deals with the Commission of Inquiry into the Civil Service. There has been a good deal of argument about the report of this Commission so far as one can see from what appears in the newspapers?—This is the Commission which reported on the subject of arbitration in an interim report. Its final Report has not yet been made, but it is expected during the current year.

775. Sub-head D deals with the Commission of Inquiry into the registration of shops. Did the Commission report that everybody having a shop should take out a licence?—There were suggestions made to the Commission that every shopkeeper should be licensed so as to prevent the opening up of a number of other shops and to eliminate uneconomic competition.

776. Deputy Smith.—Has that Commission reported yet?—It has.

777. Sub-head E deals with the Committee of Inquiry into Widows’ and Orphans’ Pensions. Under sub-head E (1), the amount of the grant was £5 and the expenditure £74 4/11. The expenditure seems excessive in view of the amount of the grant?—In that case the excess of expenditure over the estimate was due to the payment of a gratuity to the Secretary.

778. Was he a Civil servant?—Yes. We do not make provision in these estimates usually for the payment of a gratuity because we do not regard a gratuity as a matter of right accruing to a civil servant unless the Committee are satisfied with the way he carried out his business, and that the business entailed a lot of work in his spare time outside of office hours.

779. In connection with sub-head F (1) —Irish Manuscripts’ Commission — the amount of the grant was £610 and the expenditure £651 1s. 4d. Did something special arise that called for the employment of extra staff?—They got ahead with their programme in examining and editing manuscripts a little faster than was expected, and required some additional assistance on that account.

780. If they were going faster than you wanted them to go, I should think the best thing to do would be to remove some of the assistance. Sub-head G covers Commissions and Inquiries not specifically provided for?—The particulars in connection with these are given on page 21 of the Appropriation Accounts. They include: Pig Industries Tribunal, Commission of Inquiry into sale of labourers’ cottages; Local Authorities (Political Victimisation) Reinstatement Committee; Inland Fisheries Commission; Committee of Inquiry into Cost of Living Figure; Committee on Reinstatement of Civil Servants; Clare Phosphates; Committee of Inquiry into Resignations and Dismissals from the Royal Irish Constabulary (1934) and the County Donegal Transport Committee.


Mr. J. J. McElligott called.

No question.


Mr. J. J. McElligott further examined.

781. Chairman.—Under sub head A (1) —Salaries, Wages and Allowances, there was a supplementary Vote of £1,085. What was the reason for that?—The supplementary estimate was caused by requirements in the matter of additional staff both for the Civil Service Commission and the Local Appointments Commission.

782. Under sub-head C—Examinations— what is the explanation of the entry “Less Supplementary £240.” Does this sub-head deal with the fees that you get from people who sit for examinations? —This sub-head refers to the fees paid to examiners in connection with examinations. The fees received are included at the foot of the page under the heading of “Extra Receipts.”

783. But why do you say “Less Supplementary”?—That is in order to bring out the net figure.


Mr. J. J. McElligott further examined.

784. Chairman.—I take it that the work under this Vote is still proceeding. Sub-head B deals with compensation for damage to, or loss of, property between 12th July, 1921, and 12th May, 1923 inclusive?—The Estimate for the current year is something less. The total is £109,750 as compared with £110,750 in 1934-5.

785. Do you expect to finish this work this year?—Not altogether, although practically all the cases have been disposed of in the courts under the amending legislation. There were nearly 4,000 cases aggregating £500,000 in claims.

786. Deputy Smith.—What about the decision that was given recently by the courts?—That is the decision of the High Court, which seemed to establish that a Circuit Court Judge had power to extend the period within which applications might be lodged beyond the date that we had prescribed in the rules of court. That decision is under examination in the Department. If it turns out that we have to admit an extension of time to allow claims to be lodged, simply at the discretion of the Circuit Court Judge, then I am afraid that we will be let in for a heavy additional liability.

787. Did many claims come in after the prescribed period?—We received a large number, but we have not examined them in detail.

788. They would not be substantial claims, I take it?—They are not substantial, but they are numerous and in the aggregate they would amount to a considerable sum.

789. Chairman.—What is the explanation for the saving of £18,452 11s. 5d. under sub-head D?—A long interval elapsed during which the rules of court were being prepared. That accounts for the heavy saving on that sub-head.

790. With regard to time limit for applications, you did not put a statutory limit in the Act?—There was a statutory limit in the rules of court.

791. I think you made a bad mistake by not putting it in the Act?—We put certain statutory limits in the Act with regard to awards subject to a reinstatement condition. Where an award had been partly spent before the passing of the Act, which took place in September, 1933, we fixed the end of September, 1934, as the final date, after which no further payment would be made. Then, where reinstatement had not commenced, we fixed the 30th June, 1936, as the final date, after which no payments would be made.


Mr. J. J. McElligott further examined.

792. Chairman.—As regards sub-head B (ex-gratia payments sanctioned by the British Government in respect of injuries sustained by certain non-combatants in Easter Week, 1916) do these people draw an annual sum?—It is paid monthly, as a rule.

793. It was not a lump-sum compensation?—No, it is a continuing payment in the nature of a pension.


Mr. J. J. McElligott further examined

794. Chairman.—There is a note by the Comptroller and Auditor-General in respect to this Vote as follows:—

“Sub-head K.—Pensions, etc., to members of the Gárda Síochána, etc. A pension of £287 1s. 5d. per annum, with effect from the 15th December, 1933, was awarded to an ex-Superintendent of the Gárda Síochána. The pensioner, who was promoted on the 1st May, 1931, to the rank held at retirement, had been under suspension for the period 25th September, 1933, to 14th December, 1933, and it would appear, accordingly, that his pension fell to be assessed by reference to annual pay as defined by paragraph (1) (b) of the Gárda Síochána Pensions Order, 1930. As the award was calculated by reference to the average rates of pay proper to the ranks held by the pensioner in the three years ended on the date of his retirement, I have asked for an explanation.”

Mr. McElligott.—I stated in a minute which I addressed yesterday to the Comptroller-and-Auditor-General that the allowance granted in this case during the period of suspension from duty to the officer in question was regarded by the Department of Justice as being part of his pay and pension was, accordingly calculated following the terms of paragraph 4 (1) (a) of the Gárda Síochána Pensions Order, 1930. A pension on that basis was proposed by the Department of Justice and approved by the Minister for Finance. On reconsideration, I stated, we were prepared to accept the view that the pension should have been calculated in accordance with the terms of paragraph 4 (1) (b) of the Order. The original award of pension has been cancelled and a revised award authorised. Instructions have been issued to recover the amount of the excess from future payments.

795. Chairman. — You regarded subsistence allowance during the period of suspension as a form of payment?—Yes. The Order states:—

In calculating any pension allowance or gratuity for the purposes of either of the said Orders, the expression “annual pay” means (a) in the case of a member of the force who at the date of his death or retirement holds a rank to which he was promoted within three years before such death or retirement and is at such death or retirement in actual receipt of his pay or some part thereof, the average annual amount of pay (before any pension or other deduction and without taking account of any stoppage) to which he was entitled during the said three years.

796. Chairman.—If he had not been suspended, this would not have arisen?—Perhaps you would permit me to refer to the Gárda Síochána Allowances Order of 1926. Paragraph (9) (d) of that Order states that members of the Force who have been suspended from duty— as this man was—may be granted at the discretion of the Commissioner a special subsistence allowance in lieu of pay during the period of suspension at rates specified. The rate in 1927 was 10/- per day. That was altered to 8/- in 1929. There the allowance is described as “in lieu of pay,” and the Department of Justice took the view that it was a form of pay.

797. Chairman.—If he had not been suspended, you would have taken what he drew in salary during the previous three years and divided that by three to see what his average salary was during that time. He was suspended for portion of the time and he drew this allowance in lieu of pay, which was something less than his pay would normally be. You added that to his salary and divided by three and regarded the result as his average pay. You proposed now, for the period of his suspension, to regard him as not having drawn any pay at all and, consequently, his pension will be assessed on the basis of his salary for two years and nine months.

Mr. McGrath.—No. The average for three whole years prior to the date of his suspension is taken as the basis.

Mr. McElligott.—The net amount of the annual pay on which his pension will now be calculated is £419 2s. 10d. and not £430 12s. 2d., as previously calculated.

798. What is the difference between what you were doing and what the Comptroller and Auditor-General says is the normal procedure? You took the last three years of his time in the forces, calculated what the pay of his rank was, and divided that by three. Now, you are casting it back a number of months?—And we are going back to a period during which he was on lower pay. Therefore, his average falls.

799. Can a Civic Guard officer be dismissed without cause shown or is cause shown?—That is a matter for the Accounting Officer of the Department of Justice. I do not feel competent to deal with it.

800. An Army officer is dismissed on cause shown? I understand that this is a case where a man was suspended because he was suspected of an offence. The case was tried in the High Courts and he was found to be innocent. Thereafter, he was compulsorily retired. That is what I understand. If that be so, the act of suspension, which was proven in the High Courts to have been unjustified, is to be used as a means of imposing an injustice upon him?—You are correct in stating that the officer was compulsorily retired.

801. Was he retired because of a charge made against him of which the High Court found him innocent?—I could not answer that question. We have no information as to the reasons for his retirement.

802. We are purporting to make this man’s pension less than it otherwise would be. If he was falsely suspected or accused and subsequently found to be innocent, his suspension was unjustifiable and it seems to me that our report is going to increase the injustice to him.

Deputy Murphy.—I understand that the gentleman to whom you refer is still in the service?

Chairman.—I do not know whether he is or not.

Deputy Smith.—I would not agree that the fact that a man has been found innocent by the courts—

Chairman.—It is binding on us.

Deputy Smith.—I should not regard it as binding to the extent that you would have to retain that individual in the Government service. You might not be able to prove before a court that an individual was guilty of a particular offence, but you might have good general grounds for knowing that he was not a satisfactory official.

Chairman.—I quite agree. As a matter of fact, a man can be suspended and retired without cause shown but, in this case, the Government has shown cause.

Deputy Smith.—You are arguing that mere failure to convict is absolute proof of innocence. As was pointed out on another occasion, you would want to go into the whole merits of the case before you could express an opinion. I could not blindly accept failure to secure a conviction as a reason why a man or woman should be retained in the service.

803. Chairman.—No. But if a man was suspended or retired merely for a particular cause, of which he was proven innocent, a different position arises.

Mr. McElligott.—I wonder if there was a High Court decision in this case. According to the particulars supplied to us by the Department of Justice, the reason for this man’s retirement was “neglect of duty as an officer.” I do not recollect that that case came before the court.

804. Chairman.—I understood that this was the case which came before the court, but I am informed by the Comptroller and Auditor-General that suspension in this case arose out of failure to do a particular job in Prussia Street. The suspension had nothing to do with the case in the courts? —So far as I know, it had not.

805. You propose to carry out what is more or less implied in the note of the Comptroller and Auditor-General? — I admit the full force of the note of the Comptroller and Auditor-General and we have corrected the pension award accordingly.

806. Deputy Smith.—Did you say that the pensioner would have to recoup you the amount of subsistence allowance which he received?—It was not subsistence allowance to which I referred. What he received was over-payment of pension and that will be deducted from future payments. The amount is trifling.

807. Chairman.—On the Vote proper, what was the reason for the supplementary sub-head C—Retirements under Article Ten were in excess of what we anticipated and deaths were greater than expected?—This is the year in which the cuts in pay were made and a number of officers seized on that as a pretext for retiring.

808. It was a fairly expensive economy. Was there an Act passed dealing sub-head K—Pensions and Gratuities?—Some additional pensions were granted that year which involved payment of arrears from 8th August, 1923.

809. That is, people who had been turned down previously were now admitted?—A number of cases on examination were admitted.

810. Surely, you had not people coming along in 1933 and having their cases specifically re-opened?—A number of individual cases were re-opened and pensions granted. As a matter of fact, the Committee sat subsequent to the granting of these pensions and investigated a number of other claims that were outstanding. That Committee has just reported.

811. Deputy Smith.—How did it come that payments were made in these cases? Were they mainly political cases with which the Committee reported they had not dealt?—These were cases that were considered before and turned down.

812. They were actually admitted except for political activities?—Political activities played a part.

813. Chairman. — Were these cases men were admittedly eligible except for subsequent political activties?— Generally speaking, I think that was the case.

814. Deputy Smith.—I take it that no payment could be made except in a case where a claim was admitted and there was a report of the Committee on the action of the applicant at a certain time? —I would not say that that applies to the report of the Committee. There were a number of new claims.

815. No payments were made on the Committee’s report unless the claims were formerly admitted, but for political activities?—That is so. As to the Chairman’s question, I would hesitate to say that all the additional payments made under this Vote during the year under discussion were made in cases where the applicants had established a case previously and were turned down on the ground of political activities.

816. Chairman.—I was interested to know if there were other cases. I know that from the change in Government policy that that would account for people being debarred on the grounds of political activities. I satisfied myself from previous examination that, so far as it erred, it erred in giving pensions to people who should not have got them. For instance, if a policeman got the sack by the British for having been drunk he might afterwards claim as a victim of patriotic enthusiasm. If people could come along with bogus claims, these claims would have to be watched closely?—We keep an eye on them, and the Committee which has reported, I am sure, was fully alive to that consideration.

Chairman.—It should be a conspicuous eye.

817. Deputy Smith.—I heard the Minister, when replying to a question in the Dáil, stating that the report of the Committee was being considered and that action with regard to it would be taken in the near future. From that I took it that a number of cases came before that Committee and had actually received payments. I take it there must be special cases, whose claims were formerly fairly well established but, because of certain activities on their part, they were debarred from receiving pensions?—I think it will be found that none of the cases on which the Committee has reported have received payments. The Committee is concerned only with new claims or claims that were turned down on a previous investigation. They are not concerned with claimants already receiving money.

818. Chairman.—You may remember a case in which a policeman, who gave us service before the Truce, was to get a pension from the British Government, but when the papers were handed over to the British Government he forfeited the pension. Is that case eligible for re-opening? —I think so.


Mr. J. J. McElligott further examined.

819. Chairman.—There was a Supplementary Vote here on sub-head A—Rates and Contributions in lieu of Rates?—In a number of cases the rates were higher than anticipated. The original estimate had to be prepared in advance of the year in which the rates were struck. The amount varies according to the rates.


Mr. J. J. McElligott further examined.

820. Chairman.—There are no accounts here?—No, but we receive at the end of each year a certificate from the Minister concerned stating that the sum has been spent properly.


Mr. J. J. McElligott further examined.

821. Deputy Haslett.—How does this Commission operate now?—Is it after the introduction of a duty?

Chairman.—The original idea was that if anybody asked for a tariff on a certain article the Commission would go into the matter thoroughly, the cost of production and the effect on prices. After making an examination they decided whether or not a tariff should be put on.

Deputy Haslett.—Have we a change in the system now?

Chairman.—I do not know what it does now.

Mr. McElligott.—During the greater part of the year under discussion the Tariff Commission was acting as the Pig Industries Tribunal. That Tribunal was set up in May, 1933, and consisted of the three members of the Tariff Commission and an inspector from the Department of Agriculture. A final report was presented in December, 1933. The expenses of the Tribunal fell on the Vote for Commissions and Special Inquiries.

822. Chairman.—It still exists?—Yes. It also performs the duties of a Marketing Advisory Committee as well as of a Merchandise Marks Tribunal.

Chairman.—It must be very busy trying to find something there is not a tariff on.

Deputy Haslett.—Does the Commission make any examination of the effects of tariffs now?


Mr. McElligott.—They do not examine tariffs in advance of being imposed now.

823. Do they examine the effects?—They have been employed on a variety of things, such as the Pig Industries Tribunal, and they were concerned for some time with the question of alternative external markets. Latterly, they have been doing work as the Merchandise Marks Commission. They are at present inquiring into the marketing of fruit and vegetables. A Tribunal was set up some time ago to inquire into the difference between wholesale and retail prices of vegetables and the possibility of getting greater returns for farmers. They have been carrying out very extensive investigations in that respect.

Chairman.—It seems to me that the label is wrong, because the Tariff Commission is now a Commission that deals with anything but tariffs.

Deputy Haslett.—I understand the Commission was instituted to inquire into and examine the probable effects of tariffs and then to report. I am curious to know if they still examine into these matters.

824. Deputy O Briain.—They have investigated some tariff questions during the past year?—I think they investigated questions about prayer books and fish barrels.


Mr. J. J. McElligott called.

824a. Mr. McElligott.—This is in connection with the preparation of the register. The registers are prepared locally and we recoup the local authorities for part of the expenses in connection with their preparation.


Mr. J. J. McElligott further examined.

825. Deputy O Briain.—With regard to sub-head B — the National Theatre Society, Ltd., Grant-in-Aid, £750. Is that the grant to the Abbey Theatre?

Mr. McElligott.—Yes. It is a grant-in-aid. It is not accounted for in detail.

826. Is there any control over that expenditure?

827. Chairman. — The Government appoints a director to watch over the Government’s interests.

Mr. McElligott.—We have a director on the Board.

828. Deputy O Briain.—What about sub-head D — Research Grants to Students?—The Research Grants to Students are made on recommendations.

829. Sub-head E, grants to Gaeltacht Students—what does that cover?—That refers to scholarships to students from the Fíor-Ghaeltacht to enable them to pursue a University course. The scholarships usually run to over £100 per annum.

830. Is this the scheme in connection with Galway University?—It is for training professional men in the Irish language. Most of the students, as a matter of fact, hold their scholarships in Galway. One, I think, came to Dublin for a medical course.

831. Chairman. — I understand that originally it was a sort of free competition for students from any part of the Gaeltacht. That has been changed, I understand. Have you allocated a certain amount to each area?—No, we usually give a free hand in the matter. We give a free hand to the Minister for Education in that matter. The scheme came into operation in September of 1931-32 when scholarships were awarded to two boys, one from Kerry and one from Donegal, and to one girl from Donegal.

832. There was equal competition there? If, say, four Kerry boys had been able to beat the others, I presume they would all have gone to Kerry. When there are so many competitors for, say, four scholarships, and students come from Connemara, Donegal and West Kerry, they compete equally and, irrespective of where they come from, the award is made to those who score the highest marks. Is that so? —I understood that was the position; that it was an equal competition, and that it was open to all candidates who had been reared in the Fíor-Ghaeltacht and came from a home in which Irish was the language normally employed, and who had got their primary and secondary education through the medium of Irish and had passed with honours. Subject to these conditions, I understood there was free competition.

833. I heard that had been changed. Is that so?—I will have an inquiry addressed to the Department of Education on the matter and will let the Committee know the result.*

834. Sub-head H refers to the Saorstát Plate, Supplementary £105. I understand that this is a case where the Governor-General originally gave it and that now we are paying it out of voted moneys?— Yes, I think it is paid out of voted moneys at present.

835. It is a great pity the Governor-General was not allowed to continue that.

Deputy O Briain.—I do not think it was, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. McElligott.—This replaces what was formerly presented by the Governor-General as a purely personal transaction.

Deputy O Briain.—Of course, it must be remembered that the former Governor-General was giving that Plate from an establishment costing some £26,000 whereas that is now very much reduced.

Chairman. — The present Governor-General has not got the same expenses, but he is getting more money into his pocket than the former Governor General.

Deputy O Briain.—That is a debatable point.


Mr. J. J. McElligott called.

No question.


Mr. J. J. McElligott further examined.

Mr. McGrath.—There is a note in connection with this on page iv.

836. Chairman.—The note of the Comptroller and Auditor-General reads as follows:

Estimated expenditure for the year was affected by the operation of the Public Services (Temporary Economies) Act, 1933 (No. 37 of 1933), under which deductions from salaries and other payments were made at prescribed rates, the net payments only being charged against the various Votes. The total of the amounts so deducted was approximately £255,000.

It was provided by sections 7 (6) and 14 of the Act that sums deducted should be retained in the Exchequer, or other appropriate fund, and should be available for any purpose for which moneys in the Exchequer, or in such fund, were lawfully available. I observed, however, that the gross amounts appropriated to the different services for the year by the Appropriation Acts of 1933 and 1934, No. 20 of 1933 and No. 28 of 1934, were drawn from the Exchequer in the following cases:—

Vote 13—Civil Service Commission.

„ 26—Law Charges.

„ 53—Forestry.

„ 62—Posts and Telegraphs.

„ 65—Army Pensions.

I further observed that the balances remaining in the Exchequer on 31st March, 1934, on account of Vote 38, Circuit Court, and Vote 47, Secondary Education, were less than the amounts, respectively, deducted under the Temporary Economies Act.

In view of the provisions of the Act already referred to, instructions were issued to all departments by the Minister for Finance to the effect that any sums deducted could not be regarded as available for expenditure on any other purpose connected with the Votes and should be surrendered as savings at the close of the financial year. It would appear that deductions made under certain sub-heads were applied towards meeting other expenditure (see, for example, explanatory notes to sub-head D, Vote 48, Technical Instruction). In every case, however, with the exception of Vote 26, Law Charges, to which reference is made later, the amounts so applied have been offset by normal savings on other sub-heads and the total of the sums deducted under the Act is included in the gross surplus on the Vote.

It will be observed from the explanatory notes appended to the account of Vote 26—Law Charges, that the total of the sums deducted under the Act was £1,622 13s. 9d. The surplus of the gross estimate over expenditure amounted to only £722 3s. 10d. I am of the opinion that the total amount deducted is due to be surrendered to the Exchequer, in addition to the surplus of appropriations-in-aid realised, and that a Supplementary Estimate should accordingly have been presented.

I understand that the case stated by the Comptroller and Auditor-General is that the Public Services (Temporary Economies) Act provided that the economies effected through the operation of that Act should be passed into the Exchequer but that, instead of that being done, in some cases, at any rate, the economies thus effected were, by virement, made available for the various sub-heads, and that the proper and appropriate course of applying for a Supplementary Estimate when more money was required was not followed out.

Mr. McElligott.—I gather from the remarks of the Comptroller and Auditor-General in his report that he appears to be satisfied with the way in which matters were dealt with, as things turned out. In every case, with the exception of the Vote, for Law Charges, as the Comptroller and Auditor-General himself says, the amounts so applied have been offset by normal savings on other sub-heads and the total of the sums deducted under the Act is included in the gross surplus on the Vote. I understand that the net point really relates to law charges and, in regard to that, it is a peculiarly difficult Vote for which to estimate the outgoings in a particular financial year, because of such items as fees to Counsel and general law expenses. We were expecting that we would be able to meet all the expenditure arising during the year to which we are referring without trenching on the sum that had been set aside under the Public Services (Temporary Economies) Act. It turned out, however, that we had cut the matter too fine and, in my explanation to the Comptroller and Auditor-General as to how we handled the affair, I stressed the difficulty of estimating, at a particular date, the expenditure incurred to that date or the expenditure that remained to be met in respect of fees to Counsel and general law expenses. In the financial year 1933-34 it was not until the close of the year that it became apparent that the excess on sub-head E in respect of fees to Counsel would be of such a magnitude as it turned out to be, or that such expenses as were incurred under sub-head F—General Law Expenses —would be incurred. I expressed regret that, owing to an oversight, steps were not taken to acquire the additional moneys by way of Supplementary Estimate instead of by savings due to deductions under the Public Services (Temporary Economies) Act, 1933, because I recognised that that was the proper way to comply with the provisions of the Act in that regard.

837. Chairman.—As far as I can judge, the economies calculated to be made by this Act should not have been available to the Department at all, but belonged to the Exchequer It seems to me that you, Mr. McElligott, and the Comptroller and Auditor-General agree that Supplementary Estimates are not required when the matter can be arranged by virement from one sub-head to the other.

Mr. McGrath.—I did not exactly say that; because we are prepared to argue the principle on the Law Charges Vote itself and leave the other items aside for the time being. The principle involved is a clear-cut principle so far as the Law Charges Vote is concerned, and we are prepared to argue on that.

838. Chairman.—I quite follow that, but it seems to me that there seems to have been a general avoidance of supplementary estimates, and that seems to have been facilitated by this method of applying deductions made under certain sub-heads toward meeting other expenditure.

Mr. McElligott.—It was not done except in the case of these few Votes.

839. Chairman.—But, in this case of Law Charges, it worked out that these moneys were not sufficient to meet what would normally be met by a Supplementary Estimate. It seems to me that we have always maintained that, when additional expenditure, over and above what was originally estimated for, would be required in the course of the year, it would be provided for by a Supplementary Estimate. It might be merely a Token Vote, but that was the way in which it was provided for.

Mr. McElligott.—I do not think we ever ruled out the question of virement altogether.

Chairman.—No, of course.

Mr. McElligott.—But I think that in this case we did not expect to have to trench into the economies effected by the Public Services (Temporary Economies) Act. As matters turned out, however, the expenditure on the Vote was heavier than we anticipated, mainly because fees to counsel, which, as you will see, from the Appropriation Account, worked out at £2,758 more than the provision and general Law Expenses, which worked out at £143 16/8 more than the provision, were much heavier than we had anticipated. When we came to look into the matter, which was at the close of the financial year, when the Dáil is pretty well choked up with financial business of every kind, including the Estimates, the Vote on Account and the Central Fund Bill, it was impossible to do anything about it.

840. Chairman.—You are agreeing with the Comptroller and Auditor-General?—I agree entirely with the Comptroller and Auditor-General.

Mr. McGrath.—The Thing is how are we going to get over this?

Mr. McElligott.—I was hoping that you might overlook the matter on this occasion on a promise from us that we would not repeat the offence.

Mr. McGrath.—The position is that if a Supplementary Estimate had been taken before the end of the year, the matter would have been righted, but when the end of the year was allowed to pass and there was a shortage of roughly £900, it is difficult to know exactly how to resolve the difficulty

841. Chairman.—It is perfectly simple —surcharge the Accounting Officer.

Mr. McGrath.—That is the theoretical way of doing it, but I presume the Committee will not go that far.

Chairman.—We will meet him half-way.

Mr. McGrath.—There has been a theoretical transgression of the Act. If the members wish to have the particular section read—

Chairman.—No, that is not contested.

Mr. McGrath.—There is no doubt that the Dáil says that any savings under the Temporary Economies Act must be left in the Exchequer. Unfortunately, in three or four cases, the Department forgot that and used the savings for other purposes, against the provisions of the Temporary Economies Act, 1933.

Mr. McElligott.—I might point out at this stage that it did not mean any addi tional expenditure. If the matter had been dealt with in a regular way and a Supplementary Estimate introduced, the total expenditure falling on the Vote would have been exactly the same as it, in fact, was.

842. Chairman.—The Constitution of this country provides that moneys cannot be spent except under the express sanction of the Dáil. In this case, moneys were spent contrary to the decision of the Dáil. I admit that the Dáil would, no doubt, have voted a Supplementary Estimate if it had come before it, but it is not a matter of mere money. It is a matter of the whole basis of control in the country.

Deputy Smith.—It is a matter that could very easily arise. One could imagine several cases arising in a way in which it would not be possible for a Supplementary Estimate to be introduced.

Chairman.—I do not think so.

Mr. McGrath.—There was a specific direction in the Act that these sums should be allowed to remain in the Exchequer and the Department itself advised Departments about that sub-section in the enactment. They went so far as to send out a special circular. As Mr. McElligott has explained, this Law Charges Vote is more or less in the hands of the Chief State Solicitor’s Office. It is away from Finance and Finance are not in close touch with the matter.

843. Chairman.—It is a clear case of the control of the Dáil. If the appropriate Minister had come to the Dáil with a Supplementary Estimate for so much— it might only be £10—because the original Estimate did not cover the expenditure taking place, the Dáil would have voted it. The Dáil has power, if it so wills, to refuse to sanction such expenditure. Here the Dáil is not allowed to operate. That really is the position.

Mr. McElligott.—The Act expressly provides that all sums deducted from salaries or grants shall be retained in the Exchequer and shall be available for any purpose for which moneys in the Exchequer or such funds are lawfully available.

Deputy Smith.—But it is possible to imagine a case in which that money might be due in 1933, as a result of improper estimation——

Chairman.—That is easily met.

Deputy Smith.—How would you meet it?

Chairman.—By a Supplementary Estimate.

Deputy Smith.—Suppose the Dáil was not in session?

Chairman.—I might just as well say that a new law is required.

844. Deputy Smith.—Suppose that at the end of a particular year, money, in addition to that provided, was required to fee Counsel for some State case and suppose the money became due to Counsel before the end of that financial year——

Mr. McGrath.—Might I answer the Deputy? In the ordinary case, the Department of Finance have power to grant, under the principle of virement, where there is a surplus on one sub-head and a shortage on another sub-head. That principle of virement obtained up to the time of this Act. On 31st March, the position was that the Department had savings to the extent of £3,724 7s. 6d. The Temporary Economies Act says that, of that saving, £1,622 13s. 9d. must go back to the Exchequer or remain in the Exchequer, which meant that the Department really had savings only to the extent of £2,101 13s. 9d. As you will see from the account on page 76, there were payments or claims for sums more than was estimated to the extent of £3,002 3s. 8d. The Department at the moment forgot about this Act and said, “We have savings to a greater extent than the sums required”; but the law says that you cannot use the sums saved to the extent of £1,622, so that they really have £1,622, representing savings under this Act, less than they apparently had. It was purely a misunderstanding.

845. Deputy Smith.—I can see the Comptroller and Auditor-General’s point but I think it is not far fetched to imagine the case I mentioned arising.

Mr. McGrath.—We have to follow the Act of the Dáil.

Deputy Smith.—If I am feed by the State as counsel and if my fees are due to me at the end of the financial year and if, as a result of under estimation, the money is not available to pay me my fees—

Chairman.—If I owe you money which is due to you to-day, and if I have not got it, I cannot go and seize it from somebody else to pay you.

Deputy Smith.—That is a different matter. The case of individuals and the case of the State and an individual are different altogether.

Chairman.—It is very rigid, because my wife could go and say: “I am sure he would not mind my giving,” but here there is a whole machine operating.

Deputy Smith.—If the State employs me, it is reasonable to assume that the State has money to pay me.

Deputy Haslett.—What is the usual practice in bringing forward a Supplementary Estimate? Do you go for a Supplementary Estimate in anticipation of needing it or having over-spent?

846. Chairman.—You go during the financial year. On 31st March, the appropriate Minister could have come to the Dáil for a Supplementary Estimate for such and such sum, arising out of the fact that counsel’s fees were higher than were estimated. I think we might report on this.

Mr. McGrath.—I think all the facts have been stated and the matter may be left to the Committee. Mr. McElligott has stated his case very clearly and the Audit Office have put forward their views. I think the Committee may judge between them as to what should be done. There is no difference of opinion between the Department of Finance and the Audit Office.

Chairman.—I think we might report on it and Mr. McElligott will try to instruct this legal department in the law.

Deputy Crowley.—What would have been the position if a Supplementary Estimate had been introduced?

Chairman.—You might have voted for it and I against it, in which case it would have been passed.

Deputy Crowley.—Suppose the Estimate was inadequate by a sum of £5, would not the offence be the same?

Chairman.—You can bring in any number of supplementaries.

Deputy O Briain.—It was an exceptional kind of year in regard to these law charges, as everybody is aware.

Chairman.—I think we will report on it and not surcharge.

Deputy O Briain.—Has the Committee ever ordered a surcharge?

Chairman.—Oh, certainly.

Mr. McGrath.—If there was a surcharge made by the Committee, the Executive Council would go to the Dáil and say that the surcharge had been made and get the sum revoted. It is only a technical matter.

Chairman.—We will consider that in our Report.

Chairman.—With regard to sub-head GG—Editing of Statutory Rules and Orders—I should have thought that that also would have been a case for a Supplementary.

No questions.


Mr. J. J. McElligott further examined.

847. Deputy O Briain.—With regard to sub-head C-Grant to Trinity College, Dublin, £3,000—that is a statutory grant made every year?

Mr. McElligott.—It is.

848. Chairman.—Why was the Supplementary Estimate voted under sub-head B-Additional Grants under section 7 (7) of the Irish Universities Act, 1908?—That was a grant to University College, Dublin, for the Department of Modern Irish Language and Literature.

849. Deputy O Briain.—It is only held for the year. Does it mean that it will be continued every year?—It will be continued every year.


Mr. J. J. McElligott further examined.

850. Deputy O Briain.—Does the beet sugar subsidy continue still?—No; this was the last year in which the Vote appeared.


Mr. J. J. McElligott called.

No question.


Mr. J. J. McElligott called.

No question.


Mr. J. J. McElligott called.

No question.


Mr. J. J. McElligott further examined.

851. Chairman.—In this Vote there is an item “Extra Receipts payable to Exchequer £2,299 15s. 10d.” What is that for?—That relates to certain stocks of butter that were realised during the course of the year, and the payments for which were brought to the credit of the Vote.

852. They must have been paid for by the Government?—Yes, originally.

The Government is known to be a milch cow, but only metaphorically so. I do not quite understand?—It is in connection with the exports to alternative markets.

Deputy Smith.—I think we dealt with that on the last day.

Mr. McElligott.—I understood Mr. Twomey had dealt with that matter.

Deputy Smith.—It was covered at the last meeting.

854. Chairman.—It was noted here that there was to be a query to Mr. McElligott.

Mr. McElligott.—They were principally consignments of eggs, butter, and other agricultural products to foreign markets. They were purchased by the Government in the first instance, and the sum brought to account here represents the receipts in respect of the sale of those consignments.

855. You were very far-seeing in your estimating. You expected to get nothing from the butter you had in hands?—As a matter of fact, the experiments were initiated after the Estimate had been presented to the Dáil.

856. So you bought that butter out of public funds without a Supplementary Estimate?—It was thought that the ambit of the Vote covered it. The Vote is stated to be for “estimated amount required in the year ending 31st March, 1934, for the payment of export bounties, subsidies, etc.” It is supposed to come under the “etc.”


Mr. J. J. McElligott further examined.

857. Chairman.—Under this Vote there is an expenditure of £7,183 7s. 4d.

Mr. McElligott.—That is in connection with Comhlucht Siúicre Eireann Teoranta. The sum expended from the Vote comprises mainly expenses incidental to the formation of the new company, including stamp duties. It was found that the company was able to meet certain items of expenditure, so the whole amount estimated was not needed.


Mr. J. J. McElligott further examined.

858. Chairman.—Under this Vote the amount estimated was £15,000, and the expenditure amounted to £13,569 17/9.

Mr. McElligott.—That sum has since been repaid to the Exchequer.


Mr. J. J. McElligott further examined.

859. Chairman.—The expenditure in this case was £2,807 14/6. This is not merely repayment—it includes expenses?

Mr. McElligott.—It includes the expenses of the office in New York, i.e., the repayment office.


Mr. J. J. McElligott further examined.

860. Chairman.—On this Vote the Comptroller and Auditor-General has the following note:—

After paying to depositors the sum of £1,701 7/5 charged in the appropriation account, and £35 8/7 from moneys handed over by the Official Liquidator, there remained unpaid 18 depositors. The unliquidated balances standing in the names of these depositors at 31st March, 1934, amounted to £350 17/9.

Does that mean that that amount has still to be paid?—If it is claimed it will be paid. If it were claimed now it would involve the presentation of a Supplementary Estimate to the Dáil.

861. How does this Sinn Féin Bank arise in this year? Was it due to some change in policy?—No. It had not matured. We had been under pressure for a long time to pay those depositors. We withstood the pressure and finally relented.


Mr. J. J. McElligott further examined.

862. Chairman.—The Comptroller and Auditor-General’s note in this case is as follows:

In addition to the sum of £1,200 charged to this Vote, for the purchase of the copyright in the words and music of the National Anthem, further sums amounting to £18 10s. were charged in the year to the Vote for Law Charges in respect of a fee paid to counsel for advising on the transfer deed and the cost of stamping the instrument.

Might I ask if your Department, before agreeing to this, made any examination as to whether the air was an original one. I had the original air myself, and it was a French hymn. I submitted it to the official musician of the Government. Colonel Fritz Brase, who agreed with me that that was certainly the original.

863. Deputy O Briain.—Then it was not actually composed by Heaney?

Chairman.—The original air is a French hymn.

Mr. McElligott.—Our history of it goes back to 1910. It was supposed to have been composed at that time by Patrick Heaney, who died in 1911. He composed the music. The words were supposed to have been composed by Peadar Kearney, who is still living. Mr. Heaney’s legal representative participated in the payment which was made.

Chairman.—He had a sort of bad memory for music, apparently, and there were certain alterations, but the basic air is a French hymn.

Mr. McElligott.—Then it dates from a much earlier period?

Chairman.—Yes—long before I was born.

864. Deputy O Briain.—Your point is that it was not a new composition?

Chairman.—It is not new. As I said, he apparently had a bad memory for music. You might have heard a piece ten years ago; a bit comes back to you and you forget certain other parts. I am not speaking as an authority, but I submitted it to Colonel Fritz Brase, who agreed with me that the original was a French hymn.

865. Deputy O Briain.—Was it substantially the same?


Mr. McElligott.—At the time it was adopted by the Executive Council, you did not bring that forward, did you? You did not bring it forward when it was adopted as the National Anthem about 1925 or 1926?

Chairman.—No. It was only afterwards when I came across this air that it seemed to be very similar.

Deputy Smith.—It seems to me it is hard to get anything original.

Chairman.—But it is not hard to get £1,200 for music which somebody else wrote. In any case the Dáil voted this money, so my remarks are irrelevant.

Deputy Haslett.—It is a point of information.

Deputy O Briain.—The executors of the man who actually produced the music got something?

Mr. McElligott.—Messrs. Kearney and Heaney got £980 between them, of which Mr. Kearney got the major share.

Chairman.—Having had nothing to do with the music.

Deputy O Briain.—The music would be no good without the words.

Chairman.—The whole matter arose because the I.R.A. went to the picture houses here, and, at the point of the gun, demanded to have the music at the end of the performances.

Deputy O Briain.—It was not due to the use of the guns; it was due to the force of public opinion, as far as I remember.

Chairman.—The I.R.A. made themselves the implements of public opinion.

Deputy O Briain.—I do not remember that.

Chairman.—In any case, it is the music that matters. The words are very rarely used.


Mr. J. J. McElligott called.

No question.


Mr. J. J. McElligott further examined.

866. Chairman.—In this case the Comptroller and Auditor-General’s note is as follows:

In addition to the sum of £2,450 5s. 1d. paid to the National City Bank, Ltd., on foot of an indemnity against legal proceedings taken against the bank, a further sum of £95 9s. 3d. was paid to the Bank from Law Charges Vote—sub-head F—being taxed costs of the bank’s solicitor.

What were the proceedings against them?

Mr. McGrath.—The representatives of the people in whose names the moneys were there made a claim, and pointed out that sufficient notice had not been given.

867. Were they paid that money?—They took an action against the bank. The bank had to be indemnified against loss by the Executive Council in 1927.

868. Then I take it that it is a case where money was illegally seized by people in 1922. It was put into the bank. The State came along and seized that money, as it was more or less stolen money, and then the bank was responsible. All I want to know is this—was it paid back to the people?

Mr. McElligott.—The position is that the person who claimed to be the owner of the money brought an action against the bank. We had previously taken possession of the money from the bank, and given them an indemnity against any claimant who might succeed in establishing his claim. The bank refused to pay, and the man in question brought an action before the High Court. The Minister for Finance was made a joint defendant with the bank, and judgment was given in favour of the plaintiff. We lodged an appeal, but the appeal was dismissed by the High Court, and in pursuance of the judgment the amount of the claim, with interest and the plaintiff’s costs, amounting to £2,450 5s. 1d., was paid by the bank. We then had to honour the indemnity which we had previously given to the bank.

Chairman.—It is nice to think somebody has benefited financially by the Civil War.

869. Deputy Haslett.—Was it the original looters who made good their claim in the court?

Chairman.—No. This was in 1922. Levies were imposed on people and money was taken from banks. The people who held the money put it into a bank.

Mr. McGrath.—A levy was made in the City and County of Waterford in support of the Volunteers.

Mr. McElligott.—Our main ground was that no claim had been made by Mr. Phelan in respect of his lodgment until 1932. The claim had remained dormant for ten years. That is why we contested the case.

870. Chairman.—Did he say where he got this money from when he lodged it?

Deputy Smith.—I take it he satisfied the court the money was his.

Mr. McElligott.—The Chief Justice delivered the decision of the Supreme Court and he declared that the proceedings of the Minister had been high-handed in taking possession of the money.

871. Chairman.—He did not say the proceedings of the men had been high-handed?

Mr. McElligott.—On the 27th March, 1922, the proceeds were lodged in the bank in the City of Waterford.

Deputy Smith.—I think it is very unfair to go into a case in a scrappy way like this. We have all conceded the point that we accept the decision of the court. The court had particulars that we cannot possibly have before us and I think we should not have any discussion upon it.

Deputy O Briain. — The Chairman referred to looting and I do not know whether that would hold.

Chairman.—There were some cases of looting in Waterford at the time.

Mr. McGrath.—This is definitely a levy and there were many cases of levies. The Dáil voted a certain amount for repayment in a County Sligo case. There was a levy at the time and the levy was made under some authority.

Chairman.—There was no question of this being a sanctioned levy; it was the local men down there.

Deputy O Briain.—I would like to have that examined.

Chairman.—Strictly, we are out of order in discussing it here.

Deputy Crowley.—Is it your opinion the levy in 1920-21 was not authorised?

Chairman.—So far as my memory goes, I do not think any levy that could be called a levy was sanctioned.

Deputy Smith. — They were fairly general.

Chairman. — This was purely local action.

Deputy O Briain.—I took part in one in April, 1921, and I would strongly object to you calling me a looter.

Chairman.—Had you an instruction from the Minister for Finance?

Deputy O Briain.—From my superior I.R.A. officers.

Chairman.—The question of the culpability of agents we can go into on some other occasion. That completes our business.

The Committee went into private session.

*See Appendix 829-833.