Committee Reports::Report - Appropriation Accounts 1933 - 1934::12 March, 1936::Appendix




Paragraph 1.—Rural IndustriesForm of Commercial Accounts.

As recommended by the Committee, the Minister for Finance has issued a direction to the Department of Lands, pursuant to Section 5 of the Exchequer and Audit Departments Act, 1921, approving of the form of Commercial Accounts to be transmitted to the Comptroller and Auditor General and to be presented to the Oireachtas in respect of the Rural Industries conducted by that Department. The Commercial Accounts will, however, relate only to the period commencing on the 1st April, 1935, as the construction of suitable accounts for earlier years is considered to be impracticable.

Paragraph 2.—Payment to Co-operative Society for purchase of Kelp.

The Minister agrees with the views expressed by the Committee in the matter. He has been informed by the Department that, in special circumstances, it might be found necessary in the future to depart from the normal practice by purchasing some portion of the kelp required otherwise than directly from the kelp-makers. but in such circumstances the prior sanction of the Minister for Finance would be obtained to each transaction. The description of the item in the Estimate for Gaeltacht Services for 1935-36 has been amended to “Purchase of Kelp and Seaweeds.”

Paragraph 3.—Wages of Local Employees in Gaeltacht—Reference to Inter-Departmental Wages Advisory Committee.

The Minister has drawn the attention of the Department of Lands to the observations of the Committee on the subject of the rates of wages of local employees in the Gaeltacht. The Department has given an assurance that, in all future cases, the Inter-Departmental Wages Advistory Committee will be consulted. Where, in special circumstances of urgency, prior consultation with the Wages Committee is not practicable, wages will be paid at the prevailing local rates for analogous work, and the facts will be reported to the Wages Committee for consideration.

Paragraph 4.—Vouchers in respect of Purchases.

The Minister concurs with the view expressed by the Committee Under revised arrangements, now in operation, the Department of Lands no longer purchases carrageen for commercial purposes. Carrageen for food purposes is purchased directly by officers of the Department, payment being made from Headquarters by Postal Order. In the circumstances a recurrence of the irregularity mentioned by the Committee is unlikely, but officers are being reminded of the necessity of obtaining vouchers in respect of all purchases made by the Department in the future.

Paragraph 5.—Multiple Appointments.

The Minister for Finance agrees with the Committee’s disapproval of multiple appointments of the nature of those referred to in the Report, and with the recommendation to the effect that no such appointments should in fuure be made without his specific authority. The attention of the Department of Lands has been drawn to the Committee’s observations and an assurance has been received that there is no likelihood of a recurrence of the circumstances adverted to in the Report.

Paragraph 6.—Lodging Allowances to Teachers in rural industrial areas.

The matter of the payment of lodging allowances to teachers engaged at rural industrial centres at which free living accommodation is available is receiving consideration in correspondence with the Department of Lands.


Paragraph 7.—Refund of training costs in certain cases.

The question to which the Committee refer in this paragraph arises not only in the case of ex-students of Preparatory Colleges but also in the cases of ex-Pupil Teachers and ex-students of Training Colleges. The cases submitted to the Attorney-General for advice as to further procedure were those of two ex-Pupil Teachers and one ex-student of a Training College who had voluntarily abandoned the teaching profession as a career and had adopted alternative callings. The advice given by the Attorney-General was generally to the effect that where a student does not fulfil his undertaking to endeavour to qualify as a teacher, and the undertaking makes provision for the refund in such an eventuality of the training expenses incurred by the State, there is a legal liability on the student and his parent or guardian to refund these expenses. The Attorney-General called attention, however, to the difficulties which would be experienced in the enforcement of a Decree, if such were obtained. It is unnecessary here to enter into the nature of the difficulties to be encountered; they have been carefully considered by the Department of Finance in collaboration with the Attorney-General’s Department. It has been decided, having regard to the necessitous circumstances which exist in varying degrees in the majority of these cases and also to the nature of the alternative calling frequently adopted, that no very useful purpose would be served by a rigid rule requiring the institution of legal proceedings for recovery of the training expenses in every instance. The claims for refund will, however, be pursued as far as practicable and where the circumstances appear favourable legal proceedings will be instituted. In other cases it is proposed that the claims should not be definitely abandoned but that they should remain in abeyance so that their revival may not be prejudiced if the circumstances of the parties who signed the undertakings should improve or if the ex-student should enter the Civil Service or another Branch of the teaching service.

The Department of Education have been informed that a claim for refund of the training expenses arises in any case where a student, through causes within his own control, is held to be unsuitable to continue his course of training for the teaching profession.

Paragraph 8.—Case of Teacher convicted by the Constitution (Special Powers) Tribunal under Article 2a of the Constitution —Legislation to validate Payments.

The Executive Council by Order dated 11th December, 1934, under Section 12 (1) of Article 2a of the Constitution have granted a free pardon to the teacher whose case is referred to in this paragraph and have wholly remitted the punishment imposed on him by the Constitution (Special Powers) Tribunal in respect of his conviction by that body of an offence mentioned in the Appendix to Article 2a. The law officers have advised that the payments of remuneration to this teacher from the date on which he resumed duty following conviction by the Tribunal to the date of the free pardon are illegal. Legislation is being promoted to validate these payments of remuneration.


Paragraph 9.—Disposal of fees in respect of Bottle Testing received prior to operation of Weights and Measures Act, 1928.

The amount of £2,050 referred to was paid into the Exchequer on the 15th March, 1935, as Miscellaneous Revenue.


Paragraph 10.—Additional Pay of Non-Commissioned Officers and Men—Payment on basis of superseded Regulations.

A revised scheme of additional pay for Non-Commissioned Officers and men was submitted to the Department of Finance in 1932 but, as explained to the Committee, the examination of the scheme was unavoidably delayed. Since this matter was under discussion before the Committee of Public Accounts the Department of Defence have asked that consideration of the scheme should be deferred pending a further revision which has been found necessary. The work of revision was assigned to a departmental committee in the Department of Defence but has not yet been completed. The Committee of Public Accounts will be informed in due course when the necessary Regulation giving effect to the scheme now in preparation is approved.

Paragraph 11.—Use of Irish Anthracite Coal.

The complaint as to an excessive amount of slack arose only out of the first delivery of coal under the contract. The contractors were requested to make an allowance in respect of the excessive quantity of slack but they declined to do so. They had already incurred certain expenditure in demonstrating the most satisfactory and economical way of using the coal. The slack was consumed as part of the normal issues of coal and had not to be replaced by additional supplies. Subsequent deliveries from the same contractors were satisfactory. In all the circumstances the Department of Defence decided not to press the claim for a rebate and the Minister for Finance considers that the decision was justified.

Paragraph 12.—Irregular Allotment of Officer’s Quarters.

The Minister considers that it would have been preferable if the Department, when applying for financial sanction for the capital expenditure referred to in this paragraph, had brought to his notice all the circumstances in the case explained to the Committee by the Accounting Officer. Having reviewed them, it appears to the Minister that the expenditure necessarily incurred in converting the available single quarters would not have been less if they had been assigned to the Officer of lower rank instead of to the Major-General, and that the material difference involved was the issue from Stores of furniture for a study. The alternative to the capital expenditure was the issue of an annual allowance of £128 for lodging, fuel and light. The allowance is payable, irrespective of rank, to any married officer who is not provided with official quarters.

The Minister is informed by the Department of Defence that the method of allotting officers’ quarters is being examined with a view to the settlement of a more satisfactory scheme of allotment.

Paragraph 13.—Materials provided for use on Artillery Ranges but not used.

The Minister concurs with the views of the Committee as to the necessity for careful consideration of the quantities of materials to be purchased for contemplated works and he has drawn the attention of the Department of Defence to the matter.

Paragraph 14.—Regulation of Civil Aviation—Methods of accounting for Receipts and Expenditure connected with the Service.

Civil aviation in this country is regulated by the Air Navigation (General) Regulations, 1930 (Statutory Rules and Orders, No. 26 of 1930), made on the 6th March, 1930, under Section 1 of the Air Navigation Act, 1920, as adapted by the Adaptation of Enactments Act, 1922. Paragraph 61 of these Regulations provides that every aircraft arriving in or departing from Saorstát Éireann shall comply with the Rules relating to Customs set out in the Fourth Schedule to the Regulations.

The arrangements whereby the Army act as agents in the performance of certain functions which by Statute are imposed upon the Department of Industry and Commerce is a temporary one which has been adopted for reasons of economy and administrative convenience, and as it has been found fairly satisfactory for the requirements up to the present, the question of alteration has not so far been considered. The expenditure incurred by the Army on the agency service so rendered is charged, with the authority of the Minister, to the relevant Subheads in the Vote for the Army. The fees payable for these services are prescribed by paragraph 87 and the Second Schedule of the Air Navigation (General) Regulations, 1930, and the methods of collection and disposal of fees are governed by the Air Navigation (Collection of Fees) Order, 1934, and the Air Navigation (Collection of Fees) Regulations, 1934, made by the Minister on the 15th November, 1934, under Sections 2 and 3, respectively, of the Public Offices Fees Act, 1879. In accordance with the Minister’s directions the fees collected for the agency services are being brought to account as Exchequer Extra Receipts of the Vote for Industry and Commerce.

The sum of £398 12s. 8d. mentioned by the Committee represents payments made by the owners of civilian aircraft in respect of facilites provided by the Army for the landing and accommodation of such aircraft and a direction has been issued to the Department of Defence that these payments are to be appropriated-in-aid of the Vote for the Army. The sum of £398 12s. 8d. has been brought to account accordingly.

Paragraph 15.—Use of Army Transport for conveyance of Public during Railway Strike.

This paragraph does not appear to require comment on the part of the Minister.


Paragraph 16.—Expenditure on Electrical Battery Development for purposes of relieving Unemployment.

The Minister notes the view of the Committee that, in deciding whether the Vote for Relief Schemes is properly charged with the grant in respect of the reconditioning of an electrical train battery, they must be guided by the primary purpose of the expenditure. In sanctioning the allocation of the grant from the Vote for Relief Schemes the Minister was influenced by the considerations that the work, not being sufficiently economic, would not have been undertaken by the Drumm Battery Company on its own account, that the issue of the grant would, consequently, result in the giving of employment which would not otherwise be given, and that moneys available for allocation from the Vote for Relief Schemes were not being diverted from other suitable schemes in which there was a higher labour content. The Minister feels that the Committee will agree that, having regard to the foregoing considerations, the primary purpose of the expenditure was the giving of employment, and that the grant was properly charged on the Vote for Relief Schemes.

The Minister reads the view expressed by the Committee on this case as meaning, in general, that only such expenditure as has for its main purpose the giving of employment or the relief of distress is properly chargeable to the Vote for Relief Schemes, but he assumes that it is not suggested that it would necessarily be improper to charge to the Vote for Relief Schemes expenditure on a service which comes within the scope of another Vote. On this assumption, he is in general agreement with the view expressed. For the information of the Committee it may be stated that in selecting schemes for assistance from the Vote for Relief Schemes, it is the practice to give preference to those schemes which give the maximum amount of employment or relief of distress in the places and at the times when relief is most needed.


Paragraph 17.—Transfer to Deposit Account of Balance of Fund unspent at end of year.

The observations of the Committee have been noted. The Minister agrees with the Committee’s view that when it is intended to transfer the balance of any provision unspent at the end of a financial year to a deposit or other account to be made available to meet expenditure in the following financial year or years, a clear indication to that effect should appear on the face of the estimate. The Minister has already had altered in the Estimates for 1934-35 and 1935-36 the note appended to the Vote for Electrical Battery Development on the lines recommended by the Committee.


Paragraph 18.—Loss arising out of delay in reinvesting proceeds of sale of holdings of Post Office Savings Bank Fund.

The Minister desires to point out that the year of account for the Post Office Savings Bank Fund is the calendar year and not the financial year and that the major part of the proceeds of the sale of the holdings of the Fund in 5 per cent. War Loan was reinvested in securities before the end of the financial year.

The Minister in deciding to delay reinvestment was guided by the publicly expressed view of leading economists.

Given under the Seal of the Minister for Finance this 6th day of July, 1935.


Secretary, Department of Finance.