Committee Reports::Interim and Final Report - Appropriation Accounts 1943 - 1944::05 July, 1945::MIONTUAIRISC NA FINNEACHTA / Minutes of Evidence


(Minutes of Evidence)

Déardaoin, 5ú Iúl, 1945.

Thursday, 5th July, 1945.

The Committee sat at 11 a.m.

Members Present:


P. Cogan.


M. O’Sullivan.

E. Coogan.


M. E. Dockrell





DEPUTY COSGRAVE in the chair.

Mr. J. Maher (An tArd-Reachtaire Cuntas agus Ciste), Mr. C. S. Almond and Mr. L. M. Fitzgerald (An Roinn Airgeadais), called and examined.


Mr. J. B. Whelehan called and examined.

422. Deputy Sheldon.—With regard to Subhead F.5., there is a note which says that the work of revision on this publication —that is, the Irish translation of the New Testament—has not yet been completed and accordingly no expenditure was incurred in the financial year. Would the work of revision not call for some payment?

Mr. Whelehan.—Yes. Had the revising editor applied for payment he probably would have received some, but there is an understanding that payment would be made only when the matter submitted has the initials of the diocesan or ecclesiastical censor. We hope to receive a considerable portion of the New Testament in Irish in the autumn; the matter of revision is important not only from our point of view, but from the ecclesiastical point of view.

423. Chairman.—With regard to Subhead F.6.—Preparation and Publication of Oireachtas Handbook—has there been no publication of the Oireachtas Handbook?—It is with the printer at the moment. Publication was suspended during the emergency; after the last election the matter was taken in hands, and I think is virtually now completed. It will include, of course, statistics of the Presidential Election, as it is being brought thoroughly up to date.

424. Deputy P. Cogan.—What is the procedure? Is it published after each General Election or annually, in normal times?—This is only our second handling of the matter. Before that it was published by Mr. Flynn, formerly of the Reporting Staff of the Dáil. Immediately after our first publication the emergency conditions necessitated suspension of publication, and so, I cannot say what the policy would have been in normal times.

425. Chairman.—Does the Handbook take the place of the book formerly known as The Oireachtas Companion?—Yes.

426. Deputy Sheldon.—With regard to Subhead H., would that be the subhead which refers to the loss incurred on the abandoning of the publication of Prof. Thurneysen’s book? There is a note which says that an expenditure amounting to £260 10s. 1d. incurred in connection with the printing of the late Prof. Thurneysen’s Handbuch des alt Irischen, which was cancelled in the proof stage was written off, and that of this amount the sum of £140 was borne as a final charge on the vote for Stationery and Printing in 1941-42. I had the curiosity to look up the Appropriation Accounts for that year, but I could not find it, as I did not know under what subhead it would come?—Probably, the payments had not been made. Of course, the authority to write off the loss had to be approved by the Department of Finance. Then a proportion of the loss went to the Department of Education—which in our opinion should have borne the entire loss—and a proportion to ourselves.

427. This is the first time a note of it has appeared?—This is the first occasion.

428. Deputy Sheldon.—In connection with Subhead M.—Appropriations in Aid— what is the difference between Nos. 9 and 11 One has to do with supplies to repaying departments and the other with commission on supplies to repaying departments. What is the difference?—Some of the supplies would be supplied from stock, and commissions would be on work which we handle as an agency; for example, printing work as distinct from paper, books and maps.

The witness withdrew.


Dr. G. J. Furlong called and examined.

429. Deputy Sheldon.—With regard to Subhead B., I notice that you were not able to make as many purchases as formerly. I presume that the emergency had something to do with that?

Dr. Furlong.—Not exactly. We are allowed to carry over money, and so we sometimes save up, and we did save up this time, fortunately, in order to get something more important.

430. Some purchases were made in the year?—Yes. Four purchases were made.

431. Deputy M. E. Dockrell.—I do not think there are any picture postcards sold now in the National Gallery?—We went into the question of picture postcards and arrived at what we thought the best type of postcard, which the Stationery Office got out. Six pictures were selected for reproduction in postcard form, not because they were the best or the most important or because they made a set; they were originally selected as representing quite different styles of technique, just to see how it would work out. We selected six and they were put on sale, but no more ever appeared. They were supposed to be specimens, and then the intention was to reproduce a very large number of picture postcards, but then the war came on. I presume that it can be gone on with now.

432. Are there any schemes envisaged for that?—Yes. We do not do it ourselves. It has to be done by the Stationery Office. At the time, I drew up a whole list of postcards which, I thought, would be a good beginning, but, as I said, it never got beyond the six specimen ones. I presume that now there will be no reason why they should not be published.

433. I think that they would be remunerative, with the tourist traffic we hope to get. People would be very glad to have them?—Decidedly, but it is the Stationery Office gets the profit, not the National Gallery.

434. Chairman.—Could you give us the names of the pictures purchased, with the names of the artists?—The first was by a Portuguese master and it cost £290 and was bought from the Grant-in-Aid. The second was a Flemish picture, The Calling of St. Matthew, by Marinus Van Roymerswaele, and it was bought partly from the Grant-in-Aid and partly from the Lane Fund. It cost £1,000, of which £780 came from the Lane Fund and £220 from the Grant-in-Aid. The other purchases were a drawing in miniature by Arthur Shee of the Taaffe family and a bust by Thomas Kirke.

435. Deputy Sheldon.—Nothing has been done about the lighting of the Gallery by electricity?—A complete scheme was prepared and was to have commenced in September, 1939, but was put off because of the war. I understand from the Board of Works, that, beginning next financial year, they will be able to carry it out. For that reason, they have cancelled the repainting of certain rooms, due for this year, because they thought that the introduction of the electric light would cause a mess. They considered that it would be better to do nothing this year and I agree with them. At the beginning of next financial year, they will be able to introduce lighting into the Gallery and do a considerable amount of re-decoration, which should be done this year.

436. I presume that you will then make some attempt to arrange lectures?—Yes, the whole question of opening the Gallery at night would then arise. That would mean, of course, an increase of the staff of attendants and it would have to be gone into. It is not quite as simple as it appears. The whole question of the hours of the staff would arise. More staff would be required.

437. Deputy M. E. Dockrell.—Or you would have to allow overtime which would be unsatisfactory?—That would be unsatisfactory.

438. Deputy P. Cogan.—I assume that it would be equally unsatisfactory to close down for some hours during the day and to open during the night?—It would. In a picture gallery, you must have very simple hours of opening which people can remember. They will not go there if they are not sure that the Gallery will be open, say, between 2 and 4 o’clock. If the public are uneasy about the hours, they tend not to go to the Gallery. If they know that the Gallery is open every day from 10 o’clock to 5 o’clock the matter is made much easier for them.

439. How is the National Gallery financed as regards the purchase and repair of pictures. There is a Grant-in-Aid. Does that cover all expenses?—At present, the Grant-in-Aid has to cover both the purchase of pictures and also repair, carriage, framing and cleaning. That is not very satisfactory. Originally, there was a separate grant for cleaning and repairs. That could not be carried on from year to year.

440. Has the National Gallery income from other sources?—The only other source of income is the Lane Fund, which brings in, roughly, £1,000 a year.

441. Chairman.—Have you commenced to hang the pictures which were stored during the emergency?—Yes. Some of the rooms have already been reopened, but it will take another month before they will all be reopened.

442. Deputy Sheldon.—Has the attendance been up to the average recently?— It has. Even during the past five years, it has hardly altered at all. In fact, it has gone up slightly. The average attendance is around 120 per day. That does not mean that we get 120 each day. On some days there might be only 40 visitors, while on Sundays there might be from 300 to 600. Throughout the year, the average would be about 120.

443. Deputy M. E. Dockrell.—I suppose the attendance goes up in the winter?— One can deduce very little from an analysis of the figures. The only thing you can deduce from the figures is that Sunday afternoon always brings the best attendance, and that Saturday has been, over the years, easily the worst day for attendance.

444. Deputy M. E. Dockrell.—Do many people go to the Gallery in winter for the purpose of keeping warm?—No. At present we close early in the winter because we have no light. The Gallery is closed in mid-winter at 4 o’clock.

445. The public libraries find that they are crowded out in winter?—They are open at more suitable hours.

The witness withdrew.


Mr. W. Smyth called and examined.

446. Deputy Sheldon.—What charitable donations and bequests come under the attention of the Commissioners?

Mr. Smyth.—Generally speaking, they are specific bequests to the Commissioners directing them to hold funds and administer them according to a will or trust deed. There may be annuities under a trust which have been charged on land, sold under the Land Commission. When purchased, we get the equivalent land bonds and administer the interest on them for the trust. The charities may also consist of funds recovered by us in court actions where there has been misapplication, withholding or some other offence. that covers the main funds which we hold. We hold £1,500,000, approximately, today and, last year, the amount increased by £40,000. In the past ten years, there has been an increase of almost £200,000.

447. Chairman.—Do you get bequests to administer without any specific purpose?—I think that the Commissioners would require details of the purpose.

448. You would not administer a bequest without a specific object?—We should make inquiries regarding it.

449. Specific bequests to a charity do not come under your attention?—No, unless our attention is subsequently drawn to them by reason of misapplication, concealment or withholding from the beneficiaries. We should then take action and we might report the matter to the Attorney-General.

450. Deputy E. Coogan.—What are the appropriations in aid.—They amount to £47 14s. 8d.

451. What is their nature?—It was a very old fund which was originally in the custody of two Protestant Archbishops. It was transferred to the old board with authority to use the interest in getting after people who embezzled charitable funds, concealed them or withheld them. From very early times, we have been surrendering that item.

452. Chairman.—Is the percentage of embezzlements or misappropriations high? —No. I should point out that, in respect of the charities we control, we never allow a year to pass without getting a certificate as to how the money is being applied. We have special blank forms which have to be filled in. That certificate is signed by the responsible officers of the charity. We know nothing as regards outside charities. Those responsible need not be required to render an account to anybody.

The witness withdrew.


Mícheál Breathnach called and examined.

453. Deputy E. Coogan.—What is the Registration Council, which comes under Subhead D. (Appropriations in Aid)?— That is a statutory body, set up to handle the registration of secondary teachers. It investigates every application for registration, and decides whether it is a genuine application or not.

454. Has the teacher to pay a fee?—He has to pay a guinea on application.

455. If refused registration, has he any right of appeal?—I suppose he would have a right of appeal to the Minister.

456. If not registered, is the fee returned?—The fee is retainable until he is apprised of registration.


Mícheál Breathnach further examined.

Subhead A.1.—Training Colleges:

“36. Since 1929 the grants payable to training colleges are determined in part by reference to the number of students for which the colleges are licensed, as approved annually by the Department of Finance, and in part by reference to the numbers in actual residence. The disparity between the licensed number and the number of students in residence in certain colleges was referred to in the report on the accounts for the year 1937-38. For some time past this disparity has tended to increase owing to the continued reduction, with a view to alleviating unemployment among teachers, in the number of pupils admitted for training. In the case of a training college for men, the licensed number for the school years 1942-43 and 1943-44 was fixed at 135, while the number of students in residence fell from 95 in 1942-43 to 52 in 1943-44. The licensed number for a training college for women was reduced from 100 in 1942-43 to 80 in 1943-44, while the number of students in residence fell from 87 in the former year to 66 in the latter year.”

457. Deputy M. E. Dockrell.—Might I ask what were the names of these training colleges?—The colleges involved were St. Patrick’s here in Dublin and the women’s training college in Limerick.

458. Chairman.— Does this disparity still continue?—It still continues.

459. Deputy M. O’Sullivan.—What is the position of the training colleges now? Are you approaching normality so far as numbers are concerned, in St. Patrick’s for instance?—St. Patrick’s is closed at present.

460. When is it going to be reopened?— It is going to be reopened in September next but for a limited number only.

461. With still the same object of meeting the question of possible unemployment amongst trained teachers?—Yes. It is not quite solved yet but it is well on the way to solution. I can give the numbers in the training colleges for the years 1943-44. In De La Salle, Waterford, there were 46; in Carysfort, 89; in Limerick, 30; in Kildare Street, 21 and in the Christian Brothers, Marino, 53.

462. Does the preference for Gaeltacht students still obtain?—To a certain extent, but it amounts to a twenty-five per cent. preference only now. It was much higher.

463. Offhand, can you say what percentage of boys in the training colleges have come exclusively from the Gaeltacht within the last couple of years?—I can tell you about the students, men and women, admitted in 1943. Ten per cent. were students from the preparatory colleges—they would be mostly from the Gaeltacht; twenty-two per cent. were recruited by open competition and sixty-eight per cent. otherwise—University graduates, untrained assistants, etc. In 1944, five per cent. were from the preparatory colleges; forty-two per cent. from open competition and fifty-three per cent. otherwise. Recruitment of lay students was drastically curtailed in those years and the figures accordingly represent an abnormally high proportion of untrained assistants, i.e., members of religious communities.

464. Is it correct to say that very few students from Dublin City enter the training colleges?—I could not say that offhand. It would be necessary to make an investigation before I could give the necessary data. Would you like to have statistics on that point?

465. Chairman.—Would it be convenient for you to forward them?—If the Committee wishes, I shall do that.*

Subhead A.3.—Preparatory colleges, etc.:

“37. The average boarding cost per head for the school year 1943-44 ranged from 11/8½d. to 15/11d. per week, showing an increase in each college as compared with the previous year. The average fee paid by the students for the same school year was £16 0s. 3d. Accounts have been furnished showing the receipts and expenditure in connection with the farms and gardens during the school year 1943-44. Receipts exceeded expenditure except in the case of one college, where the garden and portion of the premises had been taken over by the Department of Defence.”

466. Deputy M. O’Sullivan.—In connection with the preparatory colleges, I wonder whether the Department, in the light of their experience, have made a survey of the facts they have ascertained over a number of years since these colleges were set up. Would it be possible to indicate to this Committee what the attitude of the Department generally is regarding training colleges—their utility in their original conception?—I suppose the original conception was their present conception—to train teachers.

467. The original conception, as I understood it, was that these colleges were to be established in the Gaeltacht centres so that there might be contact with the people of the surrounding districts?—Do you mean training colleges or preparatory colleges?

468. I am referring to preparatory colleges. As I understood it, these colleges were set up in particular areas, one of the objectives being that the students should have contact with local residents. My information is that, so far as these contacts are concerned, the students might as well be down in Marlborough Street?—It would be very difficult to establish contact of young people in a college like that with people outside to any considerable extent. The people outside have work to do themselves, and you could not allow young people to bother them at all hours of the day, or at any hour, in fact. I know that an attempt was made in several of the colleges to bring in residents from the surrounding areas at certain times, so that the students would hear the language spoken naturally by people who used it habitually. To a small extent that practice is continued still, but it would be very difficult to operate any scheme of contact between young people in colleges of this kind who are preparing for examinations, very serious examinations, and people outside who are equally busy themselves with their own work. Possibly that side of the work has not been developed to the extent originally intended but it is very difficult to carry it out.

469. That being so, is there any purpose served in locating preparatory colleges in these districts? You appreciate that, as far as the parents are concerned, considerable travelling expenses have been incurred in sending students to these centres?—Well, if it is only to a small extent, they are in a Gaelic atmosphere at any rate.

470. Deputy Sheldon.—What would be the age of children in these colleges?— They come in about the age of 13 and they remain until they do the Leaving Certificate. They would do about four years in it.

471. Surely it would be possible in a country district to allow contact between young people of that age for part of the time with the natives? The people do not work a 24-hour day. Would it not be possible to allow the students to take part in the life of the countryside around? They could be of assistance to the people as well as being a hindrance?—That sounds very well in theory but, if you try to work it out in practice, you may find it very difficult. It would mean a double organisation. You would require to have it organised from the inside and you would have to be sure that the students would be met outside by the people with whom you wanted to establish contact.

472. Surely it would be worth the extra charge involved to try to devise some scheme of that kind? At St. Columba’s College the students do the farm work on their own farm. Would it not be possible to devise some scheme whereby these students might assist on farms outside?— It is much easier to get students to work on their own farms than to expect the student of a preparatory college to work on somebody else’s farm outside.

473. Such a scheme has worked quite well during the emergency in England?— It has not been done in that way here and I assure you it is difficult enough.

474. Deputy E. Coogan.—What scheme have you for establishing contact between the local people and the colleges?—They come in by invitation from the local head.

475. What sort of social activity is organised?—They would be present at concerts or ceilidithe.

476. Chairman.—In theory, the children have contact with the locals, but in practice it is limited?—It is limited, inevitably so, I’m afraid.

477. Deputy E. Coogan.—Is that because of the necessity for an extensive course of study?—Not so much because of that. I have personal experience in this matter. I often go to Connemara to revive my Irish, but unless I go into the boats or into the fields and work side by side with the people, it is very hard to keep in contact with them unless you gather them into a hostelry.

478. Chairman.—Would there be an opportunity of meeting them in the “local”?

Deputy M. O’Sullivan.—“Hostelry” is a very nice word.

479. Deputy E. Coogan.—My experience of these people is that they react against you. They are not inclined to assist?— I do not think that is the experience in the colleges.

480. Deputy Lydon.—I think Carraroe has a good reputation for co-operation with visitors?—In most places I have always found them anxious to co-operate.

481. Deputy Sheldon.—The difficulty about getting the pupils to help on the land may arise from the fact that the holdings are small. In England, farms are much larger, and where pupils wanted to work, the farmers were very glad to have their help?—I think the difficulty arises from the fact that it has never been considered that these pupils should work on the land outside the colleges. If that were proposed, you would immediately have opposition from the parents. The parents would tell you that their children did not go to the college to work on farms but to study.

482. They do not believe in mens sana in corpore sano?—They get the mens sana in another way.

Subhead C.1.—Salaries, etc., of Teachers.

“38. The charge to this subhead includes a sum of £366, being capitation grant in respect of the years 1940-41 to 1942-43, paid in exceptional circumstances to the principals and vice-principals of the schools in one district. Owing to the Emergency a number of families left this district and went to reside elsewhere. As a result of the consequent fall in the average attendance at the schools, the vice-principals ceased to be entitled to capitation grant and the amount of grant payable to the principals was considerably reduced. Having regard to the circumstances which caused the decrease in average attendance, the Department of Finance approved of the payment of capitation grant in respect of each year of the Emergency period on the basis of the average attendance for the year ended 31st March, 1939. This arrangement possibly involved a double payment of grant in respect of the same children, but it was decided that the grant payable under the existing rules to the teachers in the schools to which the children transferred could not be withheld or diverted.”

483. Where did this happen, was it in the Curragh?—Yes. On the advice of the military authorities, a number of families residing in the Curragh Camp left in June, 1940, and subsequent months. There was a sharp decline in the average attendance in boys’ and girls’ schools as a result. The ordinary regulations governing the employment of assistants were applied but representations were made to the Department that this decline in attendance would very adversely affect the remuneration and the pension of the principals and the vice-principals. Two of these were approaching retirement so the capitation grant of the principals and the vice-principals in respect of each year from 1940-41, was based on the average attendance for the year ended 31st March, 1939. That possibly might involve double payment of the capitation grant in respect of children who would go to other schools after leaving the Curragh but, as an exceptional matter, as one purely personal to the teachers involved and to avoid doing these teachers an obvious injustice, the matter was settled as stated.

484. Have the children returned yet?— I do not think so. The average fell from 263.8 in 1939 to 143.5 in 1941 in the boys’ school and in the girls’ school from 264.2 in 1939 to 157.2 in 1941.

485. Deputy M. O’Sullivan.—What is the position generally regarding attendances now? Are they seriously affecting the position of teachers generally?—To a certain extent they are. A concession has been made in that respect recently. Where the adverse effect could be traced dirctly to emergency conditions, a concession was made on similar lines to that made in the Curragh. We accepted the figures for the year prior to the emergency.

486. You have a panel system for teachers who will be eventually affected by falling averages?—Yes. If the average falls below a certain figure the teacher is retained until a suitable vacancy arises in the same diocese. It is arranged on a diocesan basis.

487. Chairman.—Do you expect that these pupils will soon return?—I have no information about that. It was the military authorities who advised them to leave, and I have no information as to when they will return.

Deputy E. Coogan.—Would it not be time to ask them if the war is over now?

Subheads C.1.—Salaries, etc., of Teachers:

D.—Superannuation, etc., of Teachers:

“39. The rules for national schools were amended with effect as from 1st April, 1941, to provide for the recognition, in respect of literary instruction in the primary school programme, of reformatory and industrial schools as national schools, and for the grant of salaries to the lay literary teachers engaged in those schools on the scale to which they would be entitled if they were serving as teachers in national schools. A fixed portion of the salaries (£72 to men and £60 to women) is payable by the managers, and the balance is borne on Subhead C.1. of this Vote. Also, the benefits of the national teachers’ superannuation scheme were extended to these teachers by the National Teachers’ Superannuation (Amendment) Scheme, 1942, the awards being chargeable to Subhead D. of this Vote.”

488. Deputy M. O’Sullivan.—Was that extension made without reservation? Did it apply to all the teachers in industrial and reformatory schools at that time?— Yes, provided they could be certified as efficient.

489. Who would be responsible for certification?—The inspectors of the Department.

490. Chairman.—Paragraph 39 continues:—

“In the course of audit of the pension awards it was noticed in one case that the appointment and period of service by virtue of which the person concerned became eligible for the grant of pension presented some unusual features. He had served as a teacher in an industrial school for a long period, but his employment was terminated in 1940 owing to the taking over of the school premises by the Army. As he was not serving as a teacher on 1st April, 1941, the rules as amended did not apply to him, and he was, in consequence, not eligible for pension under the superannuation scheme. In November, 1942, he was appointed as assistant teacher in another industrial school, and was granted recognition by the Department although he was then in his 68th year. In the same month he was notified by the Department that, as he had reached the age of 65 on 24th December, 1939, his salary would be withdrawn after 31st December, 1942. His remuneration in respect of this period of seven weeks’ service was fixed at the maximum of the appropriate scale. On retirement, he was granted a pension of £127 5s. 4d. a year, appropriate to his retiring salary of £318 3s. 0d. and to a service of 48 years. I have invited the observations of the Accounting Officer on this case, as it appeared that recognition of the appointment in November, 1942, was not in accord with the regulations.”

Mr. Maher.—Certain provisions were made effective as from 1st April, 1941, to admit certain teachers engaged in reformatory and industrial schools to the benefits of the salary scales and the superannuation scheme applicable to national teachers. In this particular case the teacher concerned had his service terminated when the industrial school in which he was engaged was taken over for military purposes some time prior to 1st April, 1941, and consequently he was debarred from the benefits of the new scheme unless re-employed. In November, 1942, he was re-employed for seven weeks and then retired on the ground of age and granted a pension appropriate to 48 years’ service. He was then in his 68th year and therefore was over age when he was re-appointed as a teacher in 1942 and the grant of the yearly pension of £127 5s. 4d. was based on this re-appointment. I am not aware whether the full facts of this case were reported to the Department of Finance, but Mr. Breathnach has informed me since that the proposal for the appointment of this teacher from November 11th, 1942, enabled the Department to grant him exceptional recognition under their existing authorities and they regard the existing rules as not denying to him permission to serve beyond the age of 65.

Witness.—Was the Comptroller and Auditor General not satisfied with the explanation?

Mr. Maher.—Two points arose: (1) that he was not a serving teacher on the critical date, 1st April, 1941, and (2) that he was over 65 on the day of his appointment.

Witness.—This is a most unusual case. This man was serving as a teacher in industrial schools since 1892, and in the ordinary way, if the military had not intervened and taken over his school, he would have been serving at the time this new arrangement was made in April, 1941, and would have got the full benefit of that concession.

491. Deputy E. Coogan.—Would he not then have been over 65?—He would, but he would have been allowed to remain on as other teachers were allowed. This arrangement cannot be judged now in the same way as if regular ordinary national teachers were involved. It was a special arrangement to enable the Department to make a settlement for these people that was long overdue. These teachers had been teaching for long years, many of them at a very small salary, and this was an attempt to recoup them in some way for the poor salaries they had been getting all along, and for the honest service they had given to the State. I do not think it is quite correct to say that his employment as a teacher was terminated. It was interrupted, but it would be straining the word to say that it was terminated. It was not terminated by the Department; it was not terminated because he was going out on pension or because he was being compulsorily retired for inefficiency. It was terminated because of action taken by another Department of State. The military took over his school, and as a consequence he was deprived of his employment. With regard to the point that he would not be re-employable after 65, that would hold if he were a national teacher, because if he were a national teacher having come to 65 he would retire on pension, and the question would not arise of employing him after 65; but on account of the special circumstances of his case, there could not be any objection to re-employing him and at least four other teachers who were in employment in April, 1941, were continued in employment after 65 in anticipation of this salary and pension scheme. I could not find anything in the pension scheme itself which would justify saying that he was not eligible for pension at the time he got it. The only thing I could find was that if he were employed before 1941, and after 1941, he was eligible for pension. The only point that arises is whether or not he was eligible for reemployment in 1942. If he were a national teacher the question would not arise, but this was a very special case, and it was an attempt to make an arrangement for a man who was going to be deprived of his benefits, which other teachers of his kind were getting, through the action of another State Department.

492. Chairman.—Have the Department of Finance any observations to make on the procedure adopted?

Mr. Almond.—We saw the reply to the Comptroller and Auditor General’s query. This case did come before us, along with those of four or five others who were over age, and we were also aware of the circumstances in which he was displaced from his school because the premises were required for Army purposes. Having looked over the reply to the Comptroller and Auditor General and our own sanctions, we are satisfied that the recognition of this teacher was perfectly in accord with our sanctions, and consequently the grant of pension was in order.

Deputy M. O’Sullivan.—I think the Committee will agree that in all the circumstances the action of the Department, far from having to be defended, must be commended. Very great hardship would have resulted to the individual concerned if this course had not been taken.

493. Deputy E. Coogan.—On what basis was the pension calculated? Was it on the last year of service?—Yes, the last year of service.

Mr. Maher.—My comment, as you will see, is confined to the words that the case “presented some unusual features”. I did not say that the man should not get a pension.

Deputy M. E. Dockrell.—It was unusual but not irregular.

494. Chairman.—Paragraph 40 of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report reads:—

Non-Voted Services:

Reid Bequest—SchemeB”:

“The income of this fund, administered by the Department of Education under a High Court order dated 31st July, 1934, is used to pay prizes to male candidates from County Kerry who are successful in gaining admission to training colleges to be trained as national school teachers. It was decided to increase the number of prizes in the year of account, and the sum of £160 was disbursed, in addition to £90 for prizes awarded in respect of the previous year. It was not discovered until later that the available balance in the account was insufficient to cover this amount, and the account shows a debit balance representing over -expenditure of £39 3s. 6d. The facts were reported to the Department of Finance.”

Mr. Maher.—This is for information. The grant on one section of the scheme was overpaid at the expense of the other sections. I presume it will be rectified in the following financial year?—It will, certainly.

495. Deputy M. O’Sullivan.—I presume that Subhead B.—Examinations—refers to superintendents, etc., at these examinations. What is the system of recruitment of superintendents for examinations?—I think all of them are teachers.

496. Is there a panel?—We advertise for them and the applications come in.

497. In the public Press?—Yes.

498. Annually?—Yes.

499. And the selections are made in the Department?—Yes.

500. Deputy E. Coogan.—Where are the examinations conducted—in the local schools or in particular centres?—There are many different examinations—training college entrance, training college final, preparatory and primary and secondary scholarships.

501. This seems to be the primary certificate examination?—It is conducted in the schools.

502. And the local teacher is the superintendent?—Generally.

503. Chairman.—On what basis are they appointed? Are they given any test or are they appointed on their qualifications?—There is no test except the general estimate which the Department has of their reliability. The Department would know them all and would know their records.

504. Deputy M. O’Sullivan.—Does not the amount of £159 expended on free grants of school requisites under Subhead C.5 seem very small?—That is made only to new schools, to schools newly built or considerably reconstructed.

505. Deputy Sheldon.—It only covers blackboards and things like that?—Maps, blackboards, inkwells, and so on.

506. Deputy M. E. Dockrell.—With regard to Subhead C.8., is that the total grant made to people in the Gaeltacht for speaking Irish or only to those who are parents or guardians of children who are qualifling under certain conditions?—It is only to the children.

507. Chairman.—Is this the two guineas?—The £2 scheme.

508. Deputy M. O’Sullivan.—With regard to Subhead C.10., how has the question of the free school books been working?—The grant is claimed by approximately half the schools.

509. There is no trouble about the use of the books from one stage to another?— We have not heard anything.

510. Deputy E. Coogan.—Is there a means test? How do you decide on the children are necessitous?—The manager makes the application. He decides.

511. Deputy Sheldon.—On Subhead D., the superannuation is growing at a rapid rate?—Yes. There was an enormous increase in the number of pensioners in that particular year.

512. At the beginning of the financial year could not the Department make a very close estimate as to the number who would qualify in that year? Would they not know by their records?—It is reasonably close, when you consider that there are 3,124 pensioners.

513. Deputy M. E. Dockrell.—The point would be what is the annual increase in the amount payable to pensioners?—It varies, of course. There would not be the same number of pensioners every years.

514. Deputy Sheldon.—Are old teachers like old soldiers?—To a considerable extent, I think.

515. Deputy M. O’Sullivan.—What is basis of the retiring figure? Is it usually 50 per cent. of the retiring salary?—That is the maximum.

516. Chairman.—Is there a fair amount of consistency between the numbers that retire in one year as against the numbers in another, or does it very considerably?-I have not got here any reliable information on that point.


Micheál Breathnach further examined.

517. Chairman.—Paragraph 41 of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report is as follows:—

Subhead B.—Incremental Salary Grant.

“The quota of recognised teachers in a secondary school who may be paid incremental salary in any school year is determined by the number of recognised pupils in the school in the preceding year. The number of recognised pupils is the number of pupils for whom capitation grant is payable in accordance with the secondary schools grants regulations. A fall in the number of recognised pupils sufficient to affect the quota of teachers formerly entailed the withdrawal, without prior notice, of incremental salary from a teacher but with a view to alleviating this hardship the regulations were amended with effect as from 1st August, 1943, with the approval of the Department of Finance. The amended regulations provide that where a recognised teacher has been on the authorised quota of a school for a particular year, and the fall in the number of recognised pupils would operate to exclude him from the quota in the following year, payment to him as a teacher in excess of the authorised quota for that school may be permitted by the Minister for an additional period not exceeding one year. It is estimated that about five teachers are affected in the average year and that the additional annual expenditure involved would not exceed £400.

It was also noted in the course of audit that, where the capitation grant-payable in respect of pupils who transferred from one school to another in a school year was divided between these schools, the pupils were counted as recognised pupils in both schools for the purpose of determining the authorised quota of teachers. As the counting of the same pupil as a recognised pupil in more than one school may entail additional expenditure under Subhead B., I have invited the observations of the Accounting Officer.”

Mr. Maher.—The first part of that paragraph is for information only. The second part refers to the practice of counting as a recognised pupil in both schools a pupil who transfers from one school to another in the course of the school year in circumstances which admit of the division between the schools of the capitation grant payable in respect of the pupil. A recognised pupil is defined as one in respect of whom capitation grant is payable, and the question is whether a portion of the grant can be admitted as equivalent to the full grant for the purpose of assessing the number of pupils. On this number is determined the quota of teachers, and instances have come to notice in which an additional teacher was added to the quota by counting, as recognised, pupils in respect of whom only portion of the grant was paid. The Accounting Officer has informed me that when the rules were made it was not the intention to exclude pupils for whom partial or reduced grants were payable in calculating the number of recognised pupils. I think, however, it is desirable that the position should be clarified.

518. Chairman.—Have you anything further to say, Mr. Breathnach?—Except that we have been following out that procedure all the time.

519. Does it follow then that a pupil may be regarded as a recognised pupil on the double?—In the two schools, for the purposes of the teachers’ quota.

520. Does it not follow that additional expenditure would be involved then-that two teachers are drawing on the same pupil?—That could happen. The same pupil can be counted in two different schools for the benefit of the teacher.

521. Deputy Sheldon.—It does not affect the amount of the Capitation Grant, of course?—No. The Capitation Grant is divided between the two schools. Any change, of course, would only operate against the teacher.

522. I presume the percentage would be very small?—The percentage would be very small.

Mr. Maher.—What Mr. Breathnach has said is quite right. They have been following that practice, but in this particular year a case came under notice in which in a school where there were 81 pupils was given a quota of six teachers, but one of those pupils was a pupil in respect of whom the grant was divided, and had she not been attending that school the quota would have been five teachers. Hence, we thought it desirable that the position should be brought to notice.

Mr. Breathnach.—Well, if you think a change should be made I should like to make it clear that the change will only operate as against the teacher.

Mr. Maher.—We wanted the reference clarified. We do not want a change made.

Mr. Breathnach.—Very well. You want the rule clarified?—Yes, at the first opportunity.

Chairman.—Of course, a change would be a question of policy. If there are no other questions, we will turn to the Vote itself.

523. Deputy M. O’Sullivan.—On the question of examinations, does the same principle apply here as in the case of primary examinations in regard to superintendents?—Yes.

524. Do you advertise?—Well, I really do not think it is necessary to advertise. It is confined almost exclusively to secondary teachers, and they apply as a matter of course each year.

525. Deputy E. Coogan.—Have you a waiting list?—Yes.

526. Deputy M. O’Sullivan.—What is the cause of the disparity under Subhead G. between the amount provided for and the amount expended?

Chairman.—There is a considerable disparity under Subhead G., Mr. Breathnach? —Well, that it due to the usual fluctuation in the number of pensions and gratuities payable. It makes close estimation very difficult. Of course, there is not really a Secondary Teachers’ Pension Fund. The State pays the deficit. There is really no fund as far as I know.

527. Would there be particulars in the Department with regard to the ages of secondary teachers?—Yes.

528. So that, from those statistics, you could estimate each year the number liable for retirement?—That could be done, but I do not think that is the way it is done.

529. But if that were done would it not obviate the discrepancy?—It possibly would.

530. Deputy M. E. Dockrell.—Under Appropriations-in-Aid I see a sum payable out of local taxation, customs and excise duties. What duties are those, and how do they come to be payable to the Secondary Education Vote?—I think they are a legacy from time when secondary education was financed by a special body of taxation, customs and excise duties.

531. Those are certain duties earmarked for education?—Yes.

532. What are they?—I understand it is mainly whiskey.


Micheál Breathneach further examined.

533. Chairman.—Paragraph 42 of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report is as follows:-

“Owing to the absence of specific provision in the Vote, a new subhead (G.G.) was opened by direction of the Minister for Finance to record the refund to a local authority of a proportion of a pension payable under Section 5 of the Local Government Act, 1936, to a teacher who had been employed by a technical instruction committee, and who had, as certified by the Minister for Education, been dismissed for political reasons. The Minister for Local Government and Public Health, in determining this teacher’s claim for compensation for loss of office, gave his consent to the award of a pension of £49 8s. 4d. a year plus cost-of-living bonus. The pension, which was based on service of 14 years and 301 days, became payable as from 21st November, 1942. In accordance with Section 5 (8) of the Local Government Act, 1936, which provided for the refund to the local authority of such proportion of the compensation as shall be just and equitable, it was decided that pension related to service in excess of ten years should be refunded, and charged to this Vote.”

Mr. Maher.—That is a special subhead, and I think I am right in saying it is the first case in which a pension has been divided and portion refunded to a local authority.

534. Deputy M. O’Sullivan.— Where did this particular case occur?

Mr. Breathnach.—Well, it is a long story. The pension was, I think, awarded in 1942.

535. Chairman.—Can you say what was the difficulty in this case?—The difficulty was this, that there was a question as to whether this particular person could be regarded as coming under the Vocational Act of 1930. It was decided that she could not, and that, consequently, it was not a question of repaying half the cost of the pension to the county council concerned. The Department of Finance decided that the Department of Education was liable in respect of pension only for such amount as was related to service in excess of ten years. We were directed that that was the amount that was payable in the current year, and that explains why there is a new subhead there.

536. What local authority was affected? —The Kilkenny County Council.

537. Deputy E. Coogan.—Do you know what the nature of the political activities was?—The political activities went back so far as 1923, but I have no information as to what they actually were.

538. Chairman.—Did the local authority recommend a pension?—The Department of Finance stated to us that it was proper for consideration by the Minister for Education with a view to certification under Section 5 of the Local Government Act of 1936: that is to say, that the Minister had advised to give a certificate that she had been dismissed for political reasons.

539. It was the Department of Finance did that and not the local authority?— Yes. The Kilkenny Vocational Education Committee refused her claim. She appealed to the Minister for Local Government and Public Health and he decided in her favour.

540. Deputy M. E. Dockrell.—If this has been going on since 1923 it has been a rather long-drawn out affair?—The question of pension was not long drawn out, the whole case has been going on since 1923. She got employment as an employment clerk in the Department of Industry and Commerce in 1935, but between 1923 and 1935 I do not think she was employed at all. I have no information that she was employed in the interval.

541. Deputy E. Coogan.—What date was she dismissed?—She was dismissed on the 28th May, 1923.

542. Chairman.—If there is no other question we can now turn to the subheads of the Vote itself. On Subhead E. —Grants for Drawing and Manual Instruction in Miscellaneous Schools—is not the sum set down there very small for the giving of instruction in manual work and drawing?—That is only given to industrial schools.

543. It does not refer to the ordinary technical schools?—No. It is an attendance grant of 2d. which is given to a number of industrial schools. The number is small-six or eight at most.

544. Deputy M. O’Sullivan.—On Subhead I.—Appropriations in Aid—how did we come to get that nice sum of £30,000 from the Church Temporalities Fund?— That goes back very far too.

545. Chairman.—It is pre-1923, I suppose?—Yes.

546. Deputy M. O’Sullivan.—Is it a fixed sum?—Yes.

547. An assured?—And assured, I think.


Micheál Breathnach called and further examined.

548. Chairman.—Paragraph 43 of the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General reads:—

Subheads A.1.—Salaries, Wages and Allowances.

“By the Allocation of Administration (Genealogical Office) Order, 1943 (Statutory Rules and Orders, No. 267 of 1943), the administration of the Genealogical Office, which took over as from 1st April, 1943, the records of the late Office of Arms, was allocated to the Department of Education, and financial provision for it was included in the Supplementary Vote taken for the service of Science and Art.”

Mr. Maher.—That is for information.

549. Deputy Sheldon.—On Subhead B.6. —Preparation of Revised Edition of Handbuch des alt Irischen—how did it arise that revision came to be necessary in the case of this book after the type was set up? Had somebody slipped up and set the type too soon before the manuscript had been properly revised?— I would not have any personal knowledge of the manuscript before or after it had been set up. We sent a representative over to co-operate with Professor Thurneysen in the production of a version in English of this book and, apparently, everything went smoothly until Professor Thurneysen died. Then the experts on this side began to find fault with the wording of the English and the printing had to be suspended.

550. Apparently responsibility was divided between the Science and Art Vote and the Vote for the Stationery Office. The latter bore part of the loss?—Yes.

551. Chairman.—On Subhead B. 9.— Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaedhilge (Grant-in-Aid)—what does the Comhdháil do with this grant? Does it account to you for its expenditure of it?—It is supposed to send to us an account of its expenditure.

552. Is it free to devote the grant to any purpose it likes?—No. It is spent mainly on organisers.


Micheál Breathnach called and further examined.

553. Chairman.—On Subhead A.— Reformatory Schools—how many of these schools are there?—There are three reformatory schools and 51 industrial schools.

554. On Subhead E, what are Parental Moneys?—Those are moneys that the parents are ordered by the court to pay.


Micheál Breathnach called and further examined.

555. Chairman.—Can you say what is the basis on which appointments are made to the Institute for Advanced Studies?— Of course, all appointments are subject to the approval of the Minister for Education. Apart from that, the appointments are made by the governing board of each school.

556. Are the positions advertised, and in the case of minor appointments is there any test laid down before the positions are filled?—It would be hard to test men of the eminence who find their way into the Institute of Advanced Studies.

557. I am speaking of minor appointments?—In the case of minor appointments they would be of people known to the board, of people whose qualifications were well known to members of the Board? —Most of them would have been research students in the Institute itself, prior to appointment.

558. Do they lay down any test to ascertain, say, the difference between one student and another?—Well, I do not think they do.

559. Can you say if the Institute has published any works recently?—It has published the Poem Book of the Butlers, a work on the dialect of Cois Fhairrge and a work on the Place-names of Wicklow. It has undertaken the publication of a considerable number of works.

560. Deputy M. O’Sullivan.—What is the number on the staff at present?—Do you mean the academic staff or the administrative staff?

561. The academic staff?—In the Celtic School they have a director and senior professor. They have two assistants, apart from the two assistant professors. In the School of Physics they would have a senior professor and a director and an assistant professor who has not actually been appointed yet. In the school of Physics, in which they give scholarships, they have three scholars doing research work there.

562. That is the full staff?—Yes.

The witness withdrew.


Mr. E. J. McLaughlin called and examined.

563. Chairman.—In respect of this Vote there is a note by the Comptroller and Auditor General—paragraph 78, page xxxviii:—

“78. Provision is made under Subheads F. (Urban Employment Schemes) and G. (Rural Employment Schemes) for grants towards expenditure by local authorities on schemes for the provision of employment. The grants are paid in instalments, during the progress of the various works, by the Department of Local Government and Public Health acting on behalf of the Special Employment Schemes Office. Accounts of the expenditure are examined by Local Government Auditors who certify that the conditions specified have been fulfilled and their certificates are furnished to me in support of the charges to the vote.

Under Subheads H. and I. provision is made for minor employment schemes in rural areas and for schemes for bog development designed to encourage the production of turf by private individuals. These schemes are administered by the Special Employment Schemes Office, and in general they are carried out on its behalf by county surveyors, who receive imprests from the vote which are subsequently accounted for in detail.

The schemes for which provision is made under subheads J. (Farm Improvements Scheme). K. (Seed Distribution Scheme), and L. (Lime Distribution Scheme) are administered by the Department of Agriculture acting on behalf of the Special Employment Schemes Office. The charge to subhead J. includes grants to farmers for the improvement of their holdings, together with administrative expenses in connection therewith and with the schemes for the distribution of seed and lime, direct expenditure on which is charged to subheads K. and L., respectively. Provision was made for the payment, subject to certain conditions, of grants equivalent to one-half of the approved estimated cost of the labour required for improvement works carried out, the maximum grant payable to any one applicant under any seasonal scheme being £100 and the minimum grant £5, except in Congested Districts where the minimum grant was £1. The grants paid amounted to £242,969 17s. 9d., made up as follows:—





Land reclamation and




field drainage






Construction or improve




of watercourses





Construction or improvement




of farm roadways




Construction, improvement




or removal of











Improvement of farmyards




and laying of




concrete floors in











Construction of water




and liquid manure




tanks, and silos









The administrative expenses mentioned above, amounting to £60,961 18s. 4d., account for the remainder of the charge to subhead J.”

Have you anything to add to that, Mr. Maher?

Mr. Maher.—No, Sir.

564. Deputy M. O’Sullivan.—Who would be involved under that particular heading of Salaries, Wages and Allowances?

Mr. MacLaughlin.—The administrative and other staff of the Employment Schemes Office.

565. Deputy M. O’Sullivan.—Scattered all over the country?—No, only at headquarters.

566. In Kildare Street, is it?—In the Office of Public Works buildings, Stephen’s Green.

567. Is your office permanent or temporary?—While we account to the Dáil for the moneys of the Vote, our office may be regarded as a sub-department of the Department of Finance.

568. Are the staff on a temporary basis?—No. The clerical staff are recruited in the ordinary way as civil servants.

569. Full-time civil servants?—Yes. The inspectorate staff is on a temporary basis, with the exception of one inspector.

570. Are there many inspectors attached to the staff?—There are 17 at present.

571. How are they recruited?—By advertisement and through the selection board procedure of the Civil Sedvice Commission.

572. Is there a permanent selection board?—No; it is appointed ad hoc, as occasion requires.

573. Chairman.—Appointed by the Minister for Finance?—Appointed through the Civil Service Commission.

574. Deputy M. O’Sullivan.—But all these posts for temporary inspectors are advertised?—Yes. There have been occasions when it was necessary to appoint inspectors for urgent work, but they were appointed temporarily and subject to the Civil Service Commission appointing them afterwards. That was done in every case.

575. Chairman.—There would be retrospective sanction?—Not so much that as re-recruitment.

576. Deputy M. O’Sullivan.—On Subhead F.—these are grants, I take it, for urban employment schemes?—That is so.

577. On what basis do you allocate the grants?—The moneys are allocated broadly in proportion to the number of unemployment assistance receipts in each area of the country.

578. That is the broad basis of the grant?—That is so.

579. Deputy Sheldon.—On Subhead H. —is there a specified percentage of unemployed in a district to qualify for a minor employment scheme? How is the figure of unemployment in an area arrived at in order that a minor employment scheme may be granted?—There is a prescribed minimum number of unemployment assistance recipients in each electoral division and, if the number falls below that, no grant is made for the reason that you could not get an economic gang.

580. The electoral division is the unit? —That is the unit of area in the rural districts.

581. Chairman.—If private producers want to repair a road or extend roadways into a bog, would they be eligible for a grant under these schemes, that is to say, turf producers?—Yes.

582. In Subhead L.—is the shortage of lime responsible for the small amount under this heading?—The shortage of fuel, and transport difficulties.

583. Deputy Sheldon.—These grants are made to the local authorities, I presume? —No, they are made to the Department of Agriculture who act as an agent for our office.

584. How does it arise that no estimate was made for Extra Receipts payable to the Exchequer yet Extra Receipts came in totalling over £50,000. Is it normal not to put in any estimate?—Yes, it has been the practice since the Vote was begun a good many years ago.

585. Was there any particular reason for adopting that procedure? Most Departments do show an Estimate?—No, it apparently grew up with the system.

586. Deputy M. O’Sullivan.—The big amount is £39,000, in respect of schemes administered by the Department of Agriculture. Is that special to that year?— That is a recurring item.

587. Is it a recurring item?—Yes.

588. That emphasises Deputy Sheldon’s point then—why not estimate for an amount of extra Receipts which is apparently a recurring feature?—We might consider that in future but it has grown up with the practice.

589. Deputy Sheldon.—Of course these do not really affect the Vote because they are Exchequer Receipts and it would be the Department of Finance which would be involved?—That is so, they are payable to the Exchequer.

The witness withdrew.


Mr. J. Leydon called and examined.

590. Chairman.—On this Vote there is a note by the Comptroller and Auditor General:—

Subhead F.—Food Subsidies.

“81. Grain Importers (Eire), Limited, continued to import wheat and allocate it to millers at prices designed to control the price of flour and regulate the earnings of the milling industry. The subsidy related to the company’s claims in respect of allocations of wheat in the period 28th February, 1943, to 26th February, 1944, during which the prices charged to the millers varied from 50s. 6d. to 89s. 4d. per quarter and the loss on sale amounted to £1,390,275 8s. 9d. The claims made by Grain Importers (Eire), Limited, showed that, in addition, payments amounting to £24,375 were made to millers in provisional adjustment of the prices charged for imported wheat allocated during the cereal year 1942-43, while £6,847 was recovered from the millers as a final adjustment of allocation prices for the period 13th October, 1941, to 29th August, 1942. As stated in the previous report, surplus profits of the milling industry for this period amounted to £56,847, of which £50,000 was recovered in the financial year 1942-43. A sum of £1,724 14s. 7d., representing the balance of surplus funds in hand on the winding up of the Wheat Reserve Committee, together with £51,678 18s. 4d. provided out of the balance of certain funds at the disposal of Grain Importers (Eire), Limited, was made available towards the cost of subsidy. The charge to the vote amounted, therefore, to £1,354,399 15s. 10d. I am in communication with the Accounting Officer regarding the amount of £51,678 18s. 4d. contributed by Grain Importers (Eire), Limited.”

Mr. Maher.—This query arises from the transfer of a block of shares held by the Irish Shipping Company to the Minister for Finance and, so that the Committee might understand it better, I think it would be well to refer to the setting up of the Irish Shipping Company, which was done under Order made in March, 1941. Under that Order it is provided that “all moneys from time to time required by the Minister to meet payments required to be made by him to the Company in respect of any shares subscribed for or taken up by him under this Order shall be paid out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas.” Under that authority, an Estimate was brought in in the following financial year in which the Minister acquired shares amounting to approximately £102,000. Later on, shares were purchased by Grain Importers, Limited, from the balance of moneys remaining in the hands of the company at a particular date and these moneys would normally have been applied by the Department towards the reduction of the subsidy payable from the Vote. At a later date it was arranged, under the instruction of the Department of Finance, that these shares should be transferred for a nominal consideration to the Minister. It seemed to me that, as the shares were transferred to the Minister, that was not in accordance with the Order which I have just quoted and, as the original shares held by the Minister were purchased from moneys provided by the Oireachtas from a Vote, it seemed that the additional shares should have been paid from the same source.

591. Chairman.—Have you anything further to add, Mr. Leydon?

Mr. Leydon.—It seemed to us that in the long run the effect would have been the same: a vote would have been taken to provide for the payment for the shares and Grain Importers, if they had been paid for the shares by the Minister for Finance, would have had a correspondingly greater amount available which would be applied by way of reduction of their claim for subsidy. It would mean a corresponding reduction in the subsidy. I think you will agree with that, Mr. Maher.

Mr. Maher.—Not quite, Mr. Leydon, because by adopting that practice you were in effect paying for the shares out of the subsidy money as the money in the hands of Grain Importers would have been utilised for the purpose of reducing the subsidy.

Mr. Leydon.—It would have been utilised for the purpose of reducing the subsidy. That is quite true.

Mr. Maher.—Therefore, by reducing the subsidy and paying for the shares from voted moneys you were ensuring the correct charge to the subsidy subhead.

Mr. Leydon.—Yes, but the Minister for Finance would have had to take a supplementary estimate to enable him to pay Grain Importers for the shares in Irish Shipping, Ltd., which were being transferred.

Mr. Maher.—Quite so, and that would have been in accordance with the Order which says that they shall be paid for by moneys provided by the Oireachtas.

Mr. Leydon.—I do not want to quarrel with your view about that, but the net effect would have been the same. It is a question of in which form the estimate was being taken. A Supplementary Estimate for £98,100 would have been taken to pay for the shares in Irish Shipping, Ltd., taken over by the Minister for Finance from Grain Importers, Ltd. There would have been a corresponding reduction of £98,100 in the subsidy voted.

Mr. Maher.—Yes, but it seemed to be incorrect, in view of the explicit terms of the Order, to purchase shares other than by vote of the Oireachtas and it seems to be incorrect, too, that the amount of the subsidy has been increased by £98,105. As the total share capital of the Company is now in the hands of the Minister for Finance, there is no information before the Dáil that all the shares were purchased out of the Vote of the Oireachtas. The Dáil is only aware that £102,000 worth were so purchased.

Mr. Leydon.—There was no secrecy about it.

Mr. Maher.—I have not that in mind. I am referring to the procedure.

592. Chairman.—I suppose it was more convenient?—It was more convenient. There was no other consideration of importance.

593. Deputy M. E. Dockrell.—How does it come about that Grain Importers, Ltd., held such a large block of shares in Irish Shipping, Ltd.?—They were the principal customers of Irish Shipping, Ltd. About 90 per cent. of the cargo carried was for Grain Importers, Ltd.

594. Chairman.—Would it be correct to say that the Minister for Finance waited until he saw how Irish Shipping, Ltd., would fare before purchasing the balance of those shares?—Well that was not a consideration of importance. There was a number of considerations. Another was that Grain Importers itself was a temporary body and there is provision in the Articles of Association that, on its winding up on the conclusion of the emergency, all its assets will go to the Minister for Finance. Therefore, the effect would have been achieved without a supplementary estimate when Grain Importers was wound up. Its shares in Irish Shipping, Ltd., would be transferred to the Minister for Finance and, presumably, there would be no question of a Supplementary Estimate then.

Mr. Maher.—My point is that the Emergency Powers Order stated very definitely that the shares were to be bought out of money provided by the Oireachtas.

Mr. Leydon.—It is a purely technical point and there was no simpler or more convenient method that could be adopted in connection with the transfer of these shares.

595. Deputy Sheldon.—Except that any member of the Dáil who might feel critical of any aspect of the matter was prevented from voicing his opinion?—I think they have been able to find ample opportunities of voicing their opinions.

Chairman.—They are given one opportunity less.

596. Deputy M. E. Dockrell.—Was there any variation between the price paid by Grain Importers and that paid by the Minister? Were they par in each case?— The only transactions in shares were transactions at par. In the case of this particular block of shares, there was no payment at par or otherwise though there may have been a nominal consideration of 5/- for the whole block. It was agreed that it should be purely nominal. Probably there was a stamp duty charge also.

597. Was there an original payment of hard cash made by Grain Importers?— Yes, they paid at par.

598. Chairman.—With the exception of the point about its being more convenient, in fact the Dáil is not aware of these transactions so far?—I think the Minister took an opportunity to mention in the Dáil that the shares had all been transferred. I am almost certain about that, but I should like to verify it.

599. Was that on the recent Vote?— No. These transactions took place some time ago.

600. Chairman.—The Note continues:—

“Payments amounting to £11,934 11s. 1d. were made to wheaten meal millers in respect of meal manufactured and sold by them on and after 1st April, 1942. Subsidy was paid at varying rates fixed by reference to the cost of production, including a profit of 2s. per sack, and the controlled selling price of wheaten meal. In addition, sums totalling £1,975 9s. 10d. were paid to Grain Importers (Eire), Limited, in recoupment of losses arising from adjustments in prices of imported wheat allocated to certain wheaten meal millers.

Subsidy at the rate of ½d. per 4 lb. loaf continued to be paid in respect of batch bread baked and sold by bakers licensed under the Emergency Powers (Bakers) Order, 1941 (Statutory Rules and Orders, No. 453 of 1941), the disbursements in the year under review amounting to £129,787 7s. 9d.

The balance of the charge to this subhead, amounting to £148,000, relates to a payment on account made to Tea Importers (Eire), Limited, in recoupment of the loss incurred, up to 31st March, 1944, on tea imported by the company and sold below cost at a price fixed by the Minister for Supplies.”

Subhead G.—Turf Subsidy.

“82. A note appended to the original and supplementary estimates for this service indicated that, by arrangement with Fuel Importers (Eire), Limited, the total loss involved in the sale of turf at the price fixed by Order of the Minister for Supplies outside the scheduled turf areas was borne by the company, and that issues would be made from this subhead in recoupment thereof. The estimates totalled £830,000 and, as will be seen from the account, this provision was utilized in full. The payments, which were on account, related to the loss incurred on sales of turf up to and including 31st December, 1943.”

Deputy E. Coogan.—Could you say the exact cost of producing a ton of turf?— No. It depends on where it is produced.

601. Have you any average figure?— We have the average cost, for what it is worth. The average cost of the purchases of Fuel Importers, Limited, was 42s. 11d. a ton.

602. Does that include freight?—It does not include any freight. The average freight was 18s. 10d. These figures do not relate exactly to the year of account we are examining, but are based on figures for the trading year of Fuel Importers (Eire), Limited, ending on 30th September, 1944.

603. Could you give the approximate average figure of the cost to the wholesaler?—I assume you mean a merchant by a wholesaler. The average price that Fuel Importers realised is 46s. 3d.

604. That is the average cost to the fuel merchant?—Yes.

605. Does that mean he is making a profit of 17s. 9d. per ton?—No, I do not think that would be a correct assumption, as he has to keep his organisation and pay his staff.

606. That is his margin, his gross profit?—Yes.

607. Deputy Lydon.—It seems rather high?—There is quite a number of considerations that enter into it. If the Department of Supplies decided that fuel should be sold at the lowest possible rate, I have no doubt the fuel merchants could reduce the price by dismissing their hands and causing unemployment. We have never adopted that line in regard to traders generally. If we did, we could have kept prices lower than they are in various directions, but the Minister has explained this more than once in the Dáil and in public.

608. Deputy M. O’Sullivan.—Did you ever have an opportunity of running through the accounts of the merchants?— Yes, they are examined time and again.

609. Chairman.—You are satisfied from the examination that the margin is reasonable?—Yes, we know exactly what profit all the merchants in Dublin are making.

610. Deputy M. E. Dockrell.—Out of that profit he would have to draw from the dump himself?—Yes, in so far as he gets dump turf. In some circumstances, delivery is provided from the railhead to the merchant’s yard, but that occurs only in limited cases, as the merchants could not accommodate it all.

611. They would have to bear the shrinkage?—It depends on how long it is there. There is a certain amount of shrinkage. Fuel Importers Limited have a loss on shrinkage estimated at 10s. 9d. a ton.

612. Deputy M. O’Sullivan.—Fuel Importers Limited is a non-profit-making concern?—Yes.

613. Deputy E. Coogan.—Not judging from this. What does it cost the State to enable turf to be sold at 64s. a ton?— The figure of the average purchases is 42s. 11d.; the freight is 18s. 10d.; the overheads are 13s. 6d., and the shrinkage is 10s. 9d.; making a total cost of 86s. The average sale price, which is an estimated figure, is 46s. 3d., leaving a loss of 39s. 9d. per ton.

614. Chairman.—These are the figures the Minister gave recently?—Yes.

615. Deputy M. E. Dockrell.—The Minister quoted £5 3s. 9d. as the total cost of a ton of turf, part of which was borne by the State?—The controlled price is 64s. and that plus 39s. 9d. gives £5 3s. 9d.

616. Deputy E. Coogan.—Is that a correct figure?—I am not sure what is implied in that question. It is the best figure I can give. Some of these figures are estimates.

Deputy E. Coogan.—Perhaps I would be correct in suggesting that it costs even more than that, up to £6 a ton.

617. Chairman.—This is only so far as Dublin is concerned?—Yes.

Subhead I.—Erection of Camps for Turf Workers.

“83. Reference was made in previous reports to expenditure by the Special Employment Schemes Office, from votes for Special Emergency Schemes, on the provision of camp accommodation for men employed on the production of turf. Following the making by the Government, on 2nd March, 1943, of the Transfer of Administration and Functions (Turf) Order, 1943 (Statutory Rules and Orders, No. 54 of 1943), the functions relating to the public service in connection with turf, formerly exercised by the Special Employment Schemes Office under the administration of the Department of Finance, were transferred to the Department of Supplies, and the expenditure under this subhead relates to the discharge of certain commitments entered into by the Special Emergency Schemes Office for the erection of camps for turf workers. All the lands and other property, including the sites for the turf camps, acquired by the Special Employment Schemes Office were surrendered to the Minister for Supplies under an instrument made on the 17th May, 1943. Arrangements had been made for the construction of additional turf camps during the 1943 season, but, as noted in the account, it was decided not to proceed with these additional camps, and orders for goods to the value of £18,439 3s. 11d. were cancelled, while surplus stores valued at £41,590 15s. 1d., including equipment for the transport and stacking of turf, were disposed of either by sale to the Turf Development Board, Limited, and Fuel Importers (Eire), Limited, or by transfer without repayment to the Departments of Defence and Agriculture, the Office of Public Works, and the Turf Development Board, Limited.”

618. Deputy E. Coogan.—Why was that change made? What was the reason for abandoning the construction of the additional camps at that time?—We felt we could get on without them.

619. Apparently you had assembled all the necessary equipment to proceed with the erection of these camps and then suddenly you abandoned the project?— The camp scheme was originally promoted by the Office of Public Works. When the late Mr. Hugo Flinn was in charge of turf development he organised this scheme. After his death the administration was transferred to the Department of Supplies and we examined the situation in the light of the information available at the time. We had the advantage of examining it at a later stage and we decided that while there was some element of risk about it we would take the risk of not going on with this further camp scheme.

620. Deputy Sheldon.—Would your decision be influenced by the discovery that hand-won turf was not a paying proposition as compared to machine-won?—No, that was not the consideration. We have always taken the line that, whatever turf costs, we have to produce as much as is necessary.

621. Chairman.—By both means?—Yes, by both means.

Operations of the Turf Development Board, Limited.

“84. On and from 1st April, 1943, issues to the Turf Development Board, Limited, in connection with the production of turf for use in non-turf areas were made from the Grant-in-Aid under subhead K.1. of this vote. The estimate for the service provided that the expenditure by the Board of issues out of the Grant-in-Aid would not be accounted for in details to the Comptroller and Auditor-General and that sums issued would be repayable at such times and on such terms and conditions as the Minister for Finance might determine. I have inquired whether the terms and conditions referred to have yet been determined. The issues were made by reference to the gross expenditure by the Board on the production of turf under the turf camp scheme, and, by direction of the Minister for Finance, receipts in respect of sales of turf were transmitted to the Department of Supplies. Issues during the year amounted to £522,400, while sums totalling £143,376 5s. 0d. were received in respect of sales of turf and are included in the exchequer extra receipts. Issues to the Board by way of Grants-in-Aid made with the sanction of the Minister for Finance also included £20,000 for administrative expenses (subhead K.2.) and £2,000 towards general peat fuel development (subhead K.3.).

No issues were made during the year for development for the bogs at Clonsast, Lullymore, or Glenties (subheads K.4., K.5. and K.6., respectively), but sums amounting to £7,300 were advanced, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, for the preliminary development of certain other bogs (subhead K.7.). Repayments, which are included in the exchequer extra receipts, amounted to £8,749 3s. 3d., and at 31st March, 1944, the amounts outstanding, including interest, in respect of repayable advances for the development of bogs and for the production of handwon turf were:—

Development of Bogs:—


































Other Bogs






Production of hand-won















As stated in the previous report, schemes operated by the Board for the production of hand-won turf have been discontinued and the Department of Finance has agreed that interest on the advances outstanding should not be charged beyond the 31st March, 1943. Provision was made in the estimates for 1944-45 for writing off the loss, including interest.”

622. Mr. Maher.—As regards the first paragraph, the Committee will observe the note there: “I have inquired whether the terms and conditions referred to have yet been determined.” Mr. Leydon, in his reply, states that receipts by the Board from sales of turf were transmitted to his Department and brought to account as exchequer extra receipts. I am not aware whether more specific terms and conditions have been laid down.

Mr. Leydon.—No more specific terms are laid down.

Extra Receipts Payable to Exchequer.

“85. As will be seen from the account, licence and other fees payable under section 8 of the Emergency Powers Act, 1939 (No. 28 of 1939), amounted to £4,268 9s. 1d. The principal items were Textiles (Manufacturers’ Licences and Permits) £891 2s. 6d., Fabrics (Import Licences) £740 17s. 6d., Duplicate Ration Books £631 15s. 5d., Sugar (Manufacturing Consumers’ Certificate of Registration) £448 5s. 6d., and Raw Wool (Suppliers’ Certificates of Registration) £445.”

623. Deputy Sheldon.—Was there not some query at an earlier stage about the question of composite licences?—Yes.

624. Did anything develop from that? —That question has been examined and we are making a proposal to the Department of Finance that in these cases we should charge only one licence fee.

625. It has not got past Finance yet?— No; to be quite fair, I do not think it has got as far as the Department of Finance yet. It is a rather complicated subject.

626. I notice that the amount expended under Subhead A.—Salaries, Wages and Allowances—was £128,055 0s. 3d. Very nearly the same amount occurs in the note on page 244 which says: “The Accounts of other Departments and Offices include expenditure of approximately £120,339 in respect of remuneration of staff temporarily lent, without repayment to this Department.” In other words, Subhead A. accounts actually for only half the staff?—That is correct.

627. That is due to the temporary nature of the Department of Supplies?— Yes; a considerable proportion of the staff are established civil servants on loan from other Departments.

628. It is due to emergency conditions, but it would be a bad practice to establish —where a Department could successfully hide half of its wage bill in the wage bills of other Departments?—It is not quite hidden. There is a note showing the cost of the staff on loan from other Departments.

629. That would not appear in the Estimates?—It is in the Estimates; the actual cost borne in the Estimates is shown in this note.

630. But when the Estimates come up for discussion in the House that position would not be obvious—or would it?—Oh, yes.

631. You would not know beforehand how many you might borrow from other Departments?—You will find the information on page 343 in the Book on Estimates.

632. Deputy E. Coogan.—As regards Subhead J.—Acquisition of lands—is that by negotiation, or is it compulsory acquisition?—By negotiation where possible, but otherwise by compulsory arbitration.

633. Chairman.—Is this the last time that the Department of Supplies will be treated separately?—No, the 1944-45 accounts are still to come.

The witness withdrew.

* Appendix IX.