Committee Reports::Report - Appropriation Accounts 1951 - 1952::25 June, 1953::MIONTUAIRISC NA FINNEACHTA / Minutes of Evidence


(Minutes of Evidence)

Déardaion, 25ú Meitheamh, 1953.

Thursday, 25th June, 1953.

The Committee sat at 11 a.m.

Members Present:


P. A. Brady,


M. E. Dockrell,



Mrs. Crowley,




Mr. W. E. Wann (An tArd Reachtaire Cuntas agus Ciste) and Mr. P. M. Clarke (An Roinn Airgeadais) called and examined.


1. Deputy Palmer.—I move that Deputy Sheldon be elected Chairman for the coming year.

Deputy Brady.—I second that.

Question put, and agreed to.

DEPUTY SHELDON took the chair.

Chairman.—I thank you very much for my election to the Chair. Last year I took some time explaining what the duties of the Committee were, but I do not think that need be repeated every year, as new members can read it in last year’s report of the proceedings of the Committee. I think I ought to remind the Committee, however, that our duty is solely and simply to act on behalf of the Dáil in examining the accounts and to see that its wishes have been carried out. We are not concerned with policy. We are merely concerned to see that the expressed wishes of the Dáil in financial matters have been strictly carried out. We have no executive power. We cannot make anyone do anything even if we do not like what has been done. All we can do is to report to the Dáil on what we find, and it is for the Dáil to act. In practice, of course, the findings of the Committee are not debated by the Dáil. The mere fact, so to speak, of the findings of the Committee has always been sufficient to secure the changes that the Committee consider necessary. Members may find this year that a great deal of the work will bé of a very formal nature and that nothing very interesting will crop up. That is largely because of the work of our predecessors. They closed all the possible loopholes and ensured that really very little remains of a very important nature for the Committee to deal with.

I feel I also ought to point out that the Committee in a way is like a policeman. You cannot judge its efficiency or its effects solely by the number of prosecutions brought. Its deterrent effect is the really important factor.

I should also like to say, and I am sure I speak for the Committee, that we regret that Mr. McElligott, who was for many years Secretary to the Department of Finance, is now removed from our orbit. He was extremely efficient and was always very helpful to the Committee. I am sure that his successor will be equally efficient and helpful.

We will first deal with the accounts of the Department of Finance, and begin with the general paragraphs of the Comptroller and Auditor General. These first paragraphs are for the information of the Committee on general questions, but arising out of them some members may wish to ask questions either of the Comptroller and Auditor General or the Secretary of the Department of Finance.


Mr. O. J. Redmond called and examined.

Chairman.—I take this opportunity, Mr. Redmond, of welcoming you here.

Mr. Redmond.—Thank you.

2. Chairman.—We will deal first with the paragraphs of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report. Paragraph 1 reads as follows:—

Outturn of the Year.

The gross estimates for public services for the financial year 1951-52, as shown by the summary on page xxxix amounted to £98,608,971. and the gross expenditure to £94,489,064 7s. 1d. Appropriations in aid were estimated at £4,220,233, and the amount realised was £4,402,583 3s. 0d., but on some votes the estimated receipts were not realised and the actual amount applied in aid of expenditure was £4,177,561 11s. 7d., the balance falling to be surrendered.

The total amount to be surrendered is £4,302,356 15s. 11d., which is arrived at as follows:—





Receipts realised. £4,402,583 3s. 0d., of which £4,177,561 11s. 7d. was applied in aid of expenditure, leaving surplus receipts for surrender


amounting to






Expenditure was £94,489,064 7s. 1d., falling short of the estimate by £4,119,906 12s. 11d.; the latter figure is reduced by deficiencies of appropriations in aid on certain votes amounting to £42,671 8s. 5d., leaving a net saving









Total amount to be surrendered, being approximately 4.6 per cent. of the supply









In no case has the provision made by Dáil Éireann been exceeded, and no excess Vote is, therefore, necessary.”

3. The surrender, Mr. Redmond, was somewhere about the average?—Some-what less.

4. A little less than the average?—Yes.

5. Of course it would probably be affected by the amount of the Supplementary Estimates. Am I right in saying that the Supplementary Estimates for that year total somewhere about £15,500,000?—I think I have the figure.

6. The original Estimates were £83,000,000 and the gross Estimates came to about £98, 500,000, so am I taking the difference as accounted for by Supplementary Estimates?—Of course the amount surrendered is the total of the original Vote provision plus the Supplementary Estimates less the amount issued.

7. What is the amount of the Supplementaries?—£11,000,000 odd—£11,352,690 actually.

8. Could you say, Mr. Redmond, how much of the surrender would be accounted for in capital services?—Something over £1,500,000. That was high in relation to the actual provision for capital services; it would probably represent about 15 per cent. of the total. But on non-capital services, the surrender was around £2,250,000, or less than 3 per cent. of the provision.

9. Chairman.—Paragraph 2 of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General states:—

Surrender of Balances on 1950-51 Votes.

The balances to be surrendered out of votes for the public services for 1950-51 amounted to £4,611,277 6s. 6d. I hereby certify that these balances have been duly surrendered to the Exchequer.”

This is for information.

10. Chairman.—Paragraph 3 of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General, which is also of an informatory character, reads:—

Stock and Store Accounts.

The stock and store accounts of the Departments have been examined. The results are satisfactory, with some exceptions which are referred to in the paragraph relating to the votes of the Departments concerned.”

11. Mr. P. A. Brady.—Would I be in order on stock and store accounts to ask how often are these checked? I remember last year there was some delay in checking the stocks

Chairman.—That is in an individual Department?

Mr. P. A. Brady.—Yes Perhaps we will leave it until it comes to the Department itself.

12. Chairman.—Paragraph 4 of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General reads:—

Reserve Stocks.

With the approval of the Department of Finance expenditure was incurred by a number of Departments on the acquisition of reserve stocks, the votes concerned, including Posts and Telegraphs, Defence, Forestry, Gaeltacht Services, Stationery and Printing, and Public Works and Buildings. The sum expended amounted to approximately £2,143,000, of which £1,768,000 is charged in the accounts for the year under review and the balance in the accounts for the previous year.”

Have you anything to add, Mr. Wann?

Mr. Wann.—Of the amount of £1,768,000 for expenditure in 1951-52, approximately £500,000 was charged against telephone capital as shown on page 187 and the balance against various votes.

13. Chairman.—Could you say, Mr. Redmond, how the figures are arrived at for the various Departments? How is a distinction drawn between what is normal stock requirements and this sort of surplus reserve stock?

Mr. Redmond—In the Budget of 1951, express provision was made for reserve stocks. You will find it in the Table explanatory of the current Budget for that year; on the expenditure side— the right-hand side—you will find there was a provision of £1,793,000 for reserve stocks.

14. I am not questioning the authority. I am merely wondering how the distinction is drawn. Is it easy to draw a distinction between what is reserve stock —because I am sure all Departments do not buy for just one year—and extra reserve stocks?—These were reserve stocks built up in view of the international situation that developed in the autumn of 1950.

15. I am aware of that. What I am really wondering about is the accountancy problem. Is there a lot of difficulty in deciding, or do the Departments find it easy to decide?—We have not had any representations about any difficulty in the matter.

16. Of course, these stocks are only purchased on the express authority of your Department?—Yes, and the broad distinction would be stocks in excess of those normally provided for.

17. Chairman.—Paragraph 5 of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General states:—

Foreign Exchange Account.

The Foreign Exchange Account established under the provisions of section 49 of the Finance Act, 1941, has been examined for the year ended 31st March, 1952. I certify that, in my opinion, the operations and transactions coming within the purview of such examination have been conducted and effected in accordance with the statutory provisions.”

This is for information.


Mr. O. J. Redmond further examined.

18. Chairman.—I think I might as well raise this point now, Mr. Redmond. It applies to all Votes which have to call on public funds for increases in remuneration. My difficulty is to know whether to raise it now or to wait for the particular Votes which we will be dealing with later. But at least by doing it now I have time for second thoughts if necessary. The excess on subhead A of £747 is, I take it, less than the actual increase which was due to increases in remuneration? Normally on a salary subhead there is a bit of a saving because of vacancies and one thing and another, so that I am assuming it is reasonable to expect that the actual increases in remuneration are greater than the figure shown of excess. I am quite aware that the excess of expenditure in the end is all that has to be vouched for to comply with the provision, but I am wondering in all these Votes which are so affected, is the apparent figure of what the Dáil had to meet in the way of extra remuneration anywhere near the real figure, and is it not affected by all the other services in the various Votes?—I will try to answer that. A saving in the normal way on subhead A would have gone to meet the additional expenditure involved in increases in remuneration. Savings on subheads B and C would have gone to meet it also, and the net deficit of £691 16s. 4d. would be met from Vote 71.

I think I had better leave it until we come to Vote 71 where we will be dealing with the particular figures.


Mr. O. J. Redmond further examined.

19. Chairman.—Apparently in this year, at any rate, the Restaurant did not need any subvention from the State. It apparently paid its way?—Oh, on. we paid the full amount provided.

20. Pardon me, I was looking at the wrong entry. Can you say what has happened since then?—Negotiations have been proceeding between the Restaurant Committee and the caterers for the last. year or so in relation to the making of a new agreement which may involve, I understand, a higher subvention from the Vote. The matter has not been finally settled yet.

21. We all hope the Restaurant Committee will deal generously with them? —The provision in the current year’s Estimate is higher than formerly.


Mr. O. J. Redmond further examined.

22. Chairman.—In regard to the extra receipts payable to the Exchequer, I notice a departure here form the normal way of dealing with loaned officers. Is there some particular reason why money in respect of the salary of this particular officer was paid into the Exchequer when in the normal way loans between Departments in this way are taken as being wiped off?—This officer was on loan to a body outside the Government. It was not a Department of State.

23. In the repayment, is note taken of any superannuation charge?—I think you may take it there is. The normal percentage addition would have been made.


Mr. O. J. Redmond further examined.

24. Chairman.—With regard to subhead D-Telegrams and Telephones—in the previous year there was a saving of about £70, and it was explained that this was due to the fact that a telephone account had not been presented in time. I see now that that is covered in the account to be paid in this year. I take it the excess of £327 on this subhead includes other things than that account? —The excess is consequential partly on the presentation of the accounts to which you refer. It includes an account for 1949-50, 1950-51 and four accounts for 1951-52. Owing to the setting up of the new Central Statistics Office there was some delay in furnishing accounts.

25. Some of the excess would be due to increased charges?—Yes, Sir, about 20 per cent. was due to increased charges.

26. In regard to subhead F—Special Statistical Inquiries—what has happened about the National Farm Survey? —There was difficulty in permitting it to proceed in 1951-52 owing to preoccupation of the senior officers with other inquiries such as the Household Budget Inquiry, the Census of Distribution and the Census of Population in 1951.

27. Is the Survey completed yet?—No. It is not expected to commence until the end of this year or the beginning of 1954.

28. That is the explanation, I take it, of why in this year’s Estimate we get the same numbers provided for as in 1952-53?—It is a repeat.

29. But the amount provided has dropped from £5,500 to £1,400. Is that because you were making provision for only a small part of the year?—That is the reason. The provision this year covers only the last quarter of the years on the basis that the Survey will start about the 1st of next January.

30. Does that mean that practically no expenditure has yet taken place on this Survey except on some small preliminary work?—I think that would be a fair inference.


Mr. O. J. Redmond further examined.

31. Chairman.—I notice that there is a considerable difference between the amount realised and the amount estimated on the commission charged to departmental funds on purchases of securities by the Government stock-broker?—That item is always difficult to forecast, depending, as it does, on the rate of purchases of stocks for departmental funds.

32. The estimate is more or less a token figure, I take it. Have you any way of being able to forecast what is likely to happen?—We are guided somewhat by the experience of previous years. In this particular year some ways and means advances fell to be repaid to the Post Office Savings Bank and became available for investment. We could not have foreseen that.


Mr. O. J. Redmond called.

No question.


Mr. O. J. Redmond further examined.

33. Chairman.—With regard to the extra receipts payable to the Exchequer, fees for analyses brought in a great deal more than was expected. Could you say why the estimated amount was so small, because the figure for the previous year was £676?—The note I have says that creameries and dairies are required by statute to use butyrometers, pipettes and thermometers which have been tested and marked in the Dublin State Laboratory or the National Physical Laboratory, England. The total receipts vary very much from year to year as the volume of glassware sent in for testing increases or decreases. The fees arise mainly from the testing of dairy glassware. There was a huge increase in 1949-50, but the figure fell again the following year, and it seemed that the work would settle to an even tempo, once the post-war plenishment of stocks had been completed. In the latter half of 1950-51, the number of instruments received fell to practically nothing, and although receipts began to pick up again late in that year, a conservative figure of £400 was inserted in the Estimate. As it happened, the fall in receipts in 1950-51 was not an indication that a permanent recession had set in, and in 1951-52 the fees were again very high. It is reported that the work is diminishing again at present, and that receipts are decreasing steadily.

34. Is the variation in the recovery from the Road Fund of half of the salary of an officer due to a vacancy for part of the year?—No, but to the fact that the second moiety of the payment was received too late to be accounted for in 1951-52.


Mr. O. J. Redmond further examined.

35. Chairman.—I note that there is a saving in the salary subhead. Does that indicate that there were very considerable vacancies which more than off-set the increase in remuneration?—There was no draw, apparently, on the Vote for Increases in Remuneration in that case. so the indication would be that there must have been a fairly big saving on subhead A.

36. It did not reflect any fall in the duties of the Commission, in the amount of work coming before the Commission? There may be some vacancies unfilled?— I could not say.

37. At any rate, the travelling expenses were up, even though there were not so many people to draw on?—Not very much.

38. It is a casual variation, but, taking into account that there must have been a considerable number of vacancies, those who were left must have done a great deal of travelling?—Possibly, this would be explained by the fact that the travelling is done by extern members of selection boards and that sort of thing.


Mr. O. J. Redmond further examined.

39. Chairman.—Paragraph 19 of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General reads:—

“Sections 15 of the Tourist Traffic Act, 1939, limited the amount of the grant to the Irish Tourist Board to £45,000 in any one financial year. The payments from the vote, however, amounted to £72,000, a supplementary estimate providing for the additional sum having been taken in March, 1952. It was stated on the face of the estimate that payments would be made from the vote in excess of the limit specified in the Act, a Bill for the amendment of which was before Dáil Éireann. This Bill became law on 3rd July, 1952, and section 10 increased the maximum annual grant to £250,000 and gave sanction for the excess payment in the year under review.”

Mr. Wann.—This paragraph draws attention to the fact that the payments to the Tourist Board exceeded by £27,000 the grant authorised by the Tourist Traffic Act, 1939, and that the excess payment was covered retrospectively by section 10 of the Act passed in July of the following year.

Deputy Dockrell.—We have no details of this.

40. Chairman—I should like to draw the Committee’s attention in this regard to paragraph 62 of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General. This is one of the things that seems to fall between two stools. It arises on the Vote for Industry and Commerce, but does refer to the Irish Tourist Board and there are one or two points in it about which I should like to get some information on this question of the two payments made by the Department of Industry and Commerce. The Committee will note that the Comptroller and Auditor General has raised a question about them, and I should be glad to have the views of the Department of Finance on the matter. I will refer you to the very last sub-paragraph of paragraph 62 on page xxv of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s Report where he says:—

“As the votes accounted for by the Office of the Minister for Industry and Commerce did not include any provision for the advances of £10,000 and £7,000 made to the Irish Tourist Board and Fógra Fáilte I have deemed it desirable to refer to the matter.”

As we are dealing with the Irish Tourist Board at the moment and you are here, I would be glad to have your views on the matter?

Mr. Redmond.—You will probably agree that it would be improper for me to offer any comment. The Accounting Officer of the Vote for Industry and Commerce will be here and there will be a representative of the Department of Finance available who will be prepared to deal with any questions that may arise.

41. I am in the Committee’s hands in relation to this matter, but the fact remains that the Irish Tourist Board is accounted for by your Department?— The point made by the Comptroller and Auditor General in regard to the total payment made can be raised in relation to the Industry and Commerce Vote. I think it would be fairer not to anticipate what Industry and Commerce will have to say in that regard.

Your Department is aware at any rate that we will be considering this matter.


Mr. O. J. Redmond further examined.

42. Deputy Dockrell.—Do they ever let you know how they are getting on or when they are likely to wind up?

Chairman.—Are there any interim reports?

Mr. Redmond.—If there are interim reports they would be furnished to the Department responsible for the setting up of the Commission or Committee and not to the Department of Finance.

43. Department Dockrell.—Have you any idea when they are likely to wind up? —The first four bodies mentioned are continuing bodies. The Rents and Leaseholds Commission is still functioning. It reported to the Minister for Justice under the first two headings of its terms of reference towards the end of June, 1952, and the taking of evidence on the final question of the terms of reference is completed. The Commission is still meeting but the final report is not expected before the end of this year. The report of the Commission on Emigration and other Population Problems has been drafted, I understand, but it has not yet been presented.

44. Deputy Cunningham.—Does the Department of Finance step in at any stage to ensure that proceedings are not unduly protracted in order to save expenditure? The last commission mentioned has been going on now for quite some time and incurring expense. Are any steps ever taken in that regard or has the Department of Finance any say in the matter?

Chairman.—What control have you over these commissions and the rate of progress they make?

Mr. Redmond.—We have the normal financial control. In the first instance, control would be exercised by the Department under whose auspices the commission had been set up. It would be that Department’s function to ensure that a commission goes ahead with its job with all convenient speed.

45. Do you ever give them a “jab” to hurry them up?—At Estimates time we query the position where necessary.

45a. In relation to some of these commissions it would. be true to say that all the expenditure is not really provided here?—That is true. Staff may be on loan from the sponsoring Department.

46. The Youth Unemployment Commission has been sitting for eight or nine years. Only £608 has been spent inquiring into such an important subject, but that is not a true picture of the amount of time spent or the trouble taken? There would be other expenditure which does not appear in this Vote?—Of course, there would. There is a note immediately under the Table on page 36.


Mr. O. J. Redmond further examined.

47. Chairman.—Paragraph 20 of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General reads as follows:—

“Subhead A.—Superannuation Allowances, etc.

Subhead B.—Additional Allowances, etc.

Section 3 of the Superannuation Act, 1887, provides for the reckoning for superannuation purposes of service in a temporary capacity of a person who subsequently becomes established if, in the opinion of the Minister for Finance, any special circumstances of the case warrant such a course. The practice hitherto observed in the exercise of this power had lad to various anomalies and often involved considerable hardship in individual cases and in order to achieve uniformity the Minister decided in May, 1951, that the section should in future be administered as far as possible so as to allow half of such temporary service to reckon for superannuation purposes. The decision applies only to temporary service which was adult, whole-time, continuous and directly paid from voted moneys, and takes effect as from 1st may, 1951, in the case of serving officers eligible to benefit under it. The annual allowances of officers superannuated before 1st May, 1951, have been revised, with effect as from that date, if the reckoning of half of the temporary service was of advantage to them.

I understand that the application of the Minister’s ruling to superannuation allowances paid out of the Vote for Posts and Telegraphs is still under consideration.”

Mr. Wann.—The change in practice was rather important, and I thought it desirable to draw attention to it. I do not know whether a decision has yet been reached in connection with the application of the rule to the Department of Posts and Telegraphs.

48. Chairman.—Could you tell us, Mr. Redmond?

Mr. Redmond.—The answer is “No.” The Department of Posts and Telegraphs is reluctant to agree to the ruling being applied to new recruits to unestablished grades in which there has been a tradition of counting all unestablished service for pension on establishment.

49. Could you tell us how much this decision cost this year?—I could not, but I could let the Committee know later.

Would you mind sending us a note to say what the cost was?—Do you mean in respect of retirements occurring during the remainder of the financial year? I shall. *

50. Deputy Brady.—I notice a big difference, Mr. Chairman, in relation to subhead D—Agency Payments in Respect of Compensation Allowances?

Chairman.—There is a contra item in the appropriations in aid in respect of the increase on subhead D.

Mr. Redmond.—These are payments we make on behalf of the British Government in respect of officers who retired under Article 10 of the Treaty and, as the Chairman says, there is a contra receipt under subhead M.

51. Chairman.—As to extra receipts payable to the Exchequer, the amount realised on the first item was very much greater than was estimated for, Mr. Redmond. Can you say why your Estimate for the previous year of £3,300 was £5,342 under the amount realised?—The estimate of receipts is built up on returns we get from the various Departments. The figures vary quite a lot from year to year and are not capable of being checked in the Department of Finance. The sum of £8,670 1s. 3d. included £2,800 from a Department in respect of the period from the 1st April, 1949, to September, 1951—a total of two and a half years. The standing arrangement is that receipts are remitted in the March quarter. Sometimes this is overlooked. That is apparently what happened in the present case.

52. Would it be true to say that a good deal of the increase was due to late payments?—That is so.

Vote 17—Rates on Government Property.

Vote 18—Secret Service.

Vote 19—Expenses under the Electoral Act and the Juries Act.

Vote 20—Supplementary Agricultural Grants.

Vote 21—Law Charges.

Vote 22—Universities and Colleges.

Vote 23—Miscellaneous Expenses. (Mr. O. J. Redmond.)


Mr. O. J. Redmond further examined.

53. Chairman.—With regard to subhead B—Contributions towards Rates on Premises occupied by Representatives of External Governments—I presume that the claims which were not received were received the next year?—They probably were.


Mr. O. J. Redmond called.

No question.


Mr. O. J. Redmond further examined.

54. Chairman.—I notice the explanation says that the savings were caused mainly by bigger sales of the Register of Electors. I take it that the relevant Acts limit you to providing only for the net figure. You do not show your expenses and receipts?—The County Registrars when claiming take credit for any receipts. The net figure forms the basis of the claim.


Mr. O. J. Redmond called.

No question.


Mr. O. J. Redmond further examined.

55. Chairman.—Your estimates in regard to the appropriations in aid were very close, Mr. Redmond?—Very close this year.

56. I presume they were conjectural? —Necessarily so for costs and fees.


Mr. O. J. Redmond further examined.

57. Chairman.—With regard to subhead B—University College, Dublin—how did it come about that there was a saving? I know it is a very fractional one, but these are practically Grants-in-Aid? —Part of the provision of £233,224 under subhead B is a figure of £3,000 which is the maximum provided by statute for a particular grant. The saving is due to the fact that the whole of this grant was not utilised.


Mr. O. J. Redmond called.

No question.


Mr. O. J. Redmond further examined.

58. Chairman.—Paragraph 99 of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General as follows:—

Subhead A.—Expenses arising out of E.C.A. Technical Assistance Projects (Grant in-Aid).

Subhead B.—Counterpart of Dollar Outlay by E.C.A. on Technical Assistance Projects (Grant-in-Aid).

As noted in the appropriation account, no payments were made from these subheads as the balances remaining in the deposits accounts into which the grants provided in the previous year were paid were sufficient to meet the claims arising out of E.C.A. technical assistance projects. Issues from the deposit accounts during the year were, respectively, £13,909 19s. 3d. and £57,224 0s. 7d. and the balances remaining in the accounts on 31st March, 1952, were £25,756 19s. 5d. and £42,775 19s. 5d.

The expenditure of £13,909 19s. 3d. was offset by the transfer from the American Grant Counterpart Special Account of £13,753 4s. 7d. which has been accounted for as an exchequer extra receipt.”

Why is the amount from the American Grant Counterpart Special Account not the same as the amount which appears as the expenditure?—The difference is small. It would be due to something being disallowed as ineligible for recovery.

59. The members of the Committee will see that there was no expenditure under subhead A or subhead B. There was expenditure under subhead C. Can the Accounting Officer say whether there were several projects or just one particular one?—I could not say.

Mr. Wann.—There was one under the Department of Industry and Commerce in connection with the peat gasification project.


Mr. O. J. Redmond further examined.

60. Chairman.—Paragraph 100 of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General reads as follows:—

“Provision was made by supplementary estimate for increases in remuneration of civil servants, members of the Garda Síochána and of the Defence Forces, and teachers. The increases were met as far as possible by utilising savings on the various votes affected, and the additional sums required, which are charged on this vote, are shown in the statement appended to the appropriation account. The charge is supported by certificates of the accounting officers that expenditure of amounts not less than those indicated in the statement have been identified as due to increases in remuneration.”

Mr. Wann.—That paragraph is for the information of the Committee.

61. Mr. Chairman.—The Committee will notice that the amount of the expenditure under this Vote was £2,035,902 4s. 10d. Details of the expenditure are given in respect of the Votes that had to call on it. There is a note which says: “The accounts of other Departments and Offices include expenditure of £1,269,900, approximately, in 1951-52 in respect of increases in remuneration and additional grants.” I take it that the other Departments referred to are those which had not to look to this particular Vote for their excess.

Mr. Redmond.—Departments which found that their savings were not sufficient to meet the full charge in respect of this additional remuneration had to call on the Increases in Remuneration Vote.

62. What is the explanation as regards the expenditure of £1,269,900 on page 231?—That represents analogous expenditure borne on the Departmental Votes.

63. That is Departments which had not to call on this Vote?—They may have had to call on this Vote for part of the expenditure.

64. My difficulty is that I cannot discover from the account what exactly was the total expenditure due to these increases?—It is the sum of these two amounts—£2,035,902 4s. 10d. expended out of this Vote and the £1,269,900 mentioned in the note.

65. Am I to take it that the total of these two is the exact figure?—That is the total cost of these increases.

66. It is not very clear to me because if you take any of the Departments which had to call on this Vote you find that the amount which they had to call for was affected by savings on other subheads in their Votes. Take Vote 1, which had to ask for £691 16s. 4d. If it had not had savings on subheads B and C of its own Vote, it would have had to get at least £55 4s. 1d. more?—That is so.

67. Does that affect what appears to be the total expenditure on increased remuneration? Perhaps the simplest way to get at the root of this matter would be if you could let us have in respect of each Department what was spent by them on increases in remuneration?— The note on page 231 was put in for the express purpose of informing the Committee of the total cost of this service.

68. I am afraid it is not clear to me that the total amount as shown on pages 230 and 231 is necessarily the complete total. I am afraid I cannot get my mind clear on these other savings which affect Vote 71?—Those savings are, in fact, represented in the £1,269.900.

69. Then the note, in my view, is not accurate because it says the accounts of “other Departments and Offices”. It would be more appropriate to leave out the word “other”?—Possibly that is so, but the phrase was intended to mean Votes other than this particular one.

70. On the face of it, it appears to me to mean Departments not listed?—“The Accounts of other Departments and Offices” is traditional phraseology. You will probably find it elsewhere in the Appropriation Accounts. If you interpret it, as I do, as meaning the Accounts of other services or of other Votes—

71. This particular Vote is not a Department or an Office?—If you interpret “other Departments and Offices” as “other services” or “other Votes” perhaps you would have no difficulty in accepting as the total cost of this service the total of those two figures, namely, £1,269,900 and £2,035,902 4s. 10d.?

72. I would be glad to have the details I mentioned; in other words, the constituents of that £1,269,900. I would like to know what the increases were in each Department?—I shall endeavour to furnish that information. *

73. Deputy Cunningham.—Could we find out how much of that £1, 269,900 is savings in various Departments which went to meet the increases in remuneration?

Chairman.—My argument is that if we had information as to the total increase due to this decision, the matter would be clear?

Mr. Redmond.—The £1,269,900 must be all savings.

Deputy Cunningham.—It is all savings?


Deputy Cunningham.—Which went to meet the increases in remuneration.

Chairman.—The increases come to £3,305,802. I must confess I am not terribly clear on that. It is not easy to see; I think the information I have requested would help the Committee.


Mr. O. J. Redmond further examined.

74. Chairman.—This also was a Supplementary Estimate—It was a “new” service.


Mr. O. J. Redmond further examined.

75. Chairman.—This is the same. In this case it is a Grant-in-Aid?—Yes, to the Arts Council.


Mr. O. J. Redmond called.

No question.


Mr. O. J. Redmond further examined.

76. Chairman.—Before we conclude there is a question I would like to ask about the Finance Accounts—Account No. II, pages 6 and 7 of the Finance Accounts for 1951-52. What particular advantage is there in allowing what appears to be fairly substantial balances to accrue? It appears to me that even the Exchequer does not immediately need this money which, I presume, is not earning any interest where it is and that it might have an effect on the ways and means advances on which interest has to be paid?—That is a traditional arrangement. The balances in other years have been round about the £1,500,000 mark, but in recent times they have tended to exceed £2,000,000.

77. It is down here as £2,860,934. I am wondering what particular advantage there is in permitting such a large sum to remain as a balance?—That is probably the total. I was speaking of the revenue balance only. It is desirable to have this balance in the early part of the year when current revenue receipts are meagre.

78. So I take it these balances are paid into the Exchequer?—Yes, in the new financial year.

79. Then it would be true to say that they are used to cause a saving in ways and means advances?—Without them we would have to resort to temporary borrowings.

The witness withdrew.


Mr. J. B. Carr called and examined.

80. Chairman.—It was rather lucky, Mr. Carr, that you had this saving on subhead H. Otherwise you might be in trouble at the end of the year. The saving on that subhead is greater than your surrender. Of course, you would have been entitled. I take it, like many other Departments, to call on Vote 71?—Yes; for the greater part of the excess of £8,300 on subhead A.

81. Mrs. Crowley.—Last year I asked about the binding of the registers of births, deaths and marriages. Are they now rebound in thick boards?—Yes, when they are returned to the General Register Office. I took that matter up with the General Register Office and they were opposed to the idea of binding in other than limp covers when initially issued. It suits the Registrars. For various reasons they have to take these registers around the country with them. I do not know if they put them in their pockets or not, but if the cover were a thick board they would not be able to do so. They eventually send them to the General Register Office, When completed, and we are now arranging to have the hard cover put on at that stage. The registers have to be repaired in any case when they come to town. Both the General Register Office and the local officers are in favour of the initial limp cover.

82. Chairman.—I think there must be some confusion, Mr. Carr. Surely no one has to carry the register of births, marriages and deaths around in his pocket, folded up or otherwise. Are you not confusing that with the register of electors? —The registers of births and deaths we are dealing with. I understand that the local Registrar may have to go to some local hospital to take particulars of births, etc., and it may be some distance from where his office is, and on an occasion like that he may just put the register into his pocket. I am told that, in any case.

83. Mrs. Crowley.—I do not think that is possible because they are great big things?—They are, yes.

84. You would have to have an enormous pocket?—In any case, boxes are provided in which to keep those registers in local offices, and I understand that the hard cover would not go into those boxes. So we would have to provide boxes as well. It would be very expensive.

85. Deputy Cunningham.—I under stand these are documents which cannot be taken out of the office. I understood that to be the case—that the officer could not go around the country carrying these things with him, that they are the same as roll books in the school, and so on, that they cannot be taken from the office?—In any case, the General Register Office are quite opposed to the idea of putting on the hard covers initially, and the arrangement now is that when the registers are sent up from the local offices for repair, we put on the hard cover.

86. Chairman.—Your conscience is clear. You are doing what you were asked. I think that any further inquiries should be made whenever the General Register Office comes before us. You are purely an agent in the matter?—That is so. They gave me to understand that they are satisfied with the existing arrangement and that they do not want it changed initially. It is only when the registers are returned to town for repair that they want the hard cover put on, and I arranged that it will be done.

Chairman.—The Deputies can return to the charge when the particular Accounting Officer concerned is here.

87. Deputy Cunningham.—On subhead F.2—Oireachtas Debates—is that saving accounted for by the fact that bound volumes of the Debates are slow in appearing?

Chairman.—There is a note on page 50—the very last note.

Mr. Carr.—The firm had not put in its account in time for payment. The account was paid subsequently. We were not able to pay it within the financial year.

88. Deputy Mrs. Crowley.—There is a question concerning printing that I should like to raise. I do not know if it comes under subhead G. I have always noticed that Government publications are peppered all over with full stops where they are not necessary. A full stop is only put at the end of a sentence. I have always understood that the cost of printing is the actual setting up of the type and not so much the printing. I imagine a good deal could be saved by cutting out a whole lot of these full stops. If you look at the top of this page, there is a full stop after the Vote and two commas in the date. Further down, there is a full stop after “Service” and “Grant” and “Expenditure”. Both from the point of view of saving in printing and appearance, it seems to me it would look much better if there were not so many. Take the volume of “Estimates for Public Services” on the cover of which there are not any full stops there except after the price “five shillings”?—There are two reasons for it. One is that authors have strong opinions about punctuation and such matters. Then there is the practice of the particular printing house; they, too, have their own ideas about stops, commas and so on. I agree entirely that it appears that we could leave out some of the stops. The different printing houses have different practices in regard to this side of their business and authors also differ. We notice that on some of the proofs coming through the Stationery Office.

89. Yes, but on the page itself there is no reason for a full stop after “Service” and “Grant” and so on there. It must all add up to something if you have hundreds of these. Every time a printer has to put a full stop in, it must add to the price of the page. It is only just a small point. If there was uniformity in all the publications it would be all right, but there is no uniformity, and it looks very slovenly?—It is not entirely the fault of the Stationery Office, if I may say so. The “Copy” for the Estimates is handled by the Department of Finance and, apart from making the contract and seeing that the work goes through rapidly we never see the draft going through to the printer nor do we see the proofs. That applies to a number of our publications, of course. We do not check the proofs ourselves. But I will bring up that point generally with the officers of the Department of Finance.

Deputy Dockrell.—Of course, we must bear in mind that the Civil Service language is difficult enough, and if you are going to leave out stops and commas it will be worse.

90. Chairman.—I do not think that Deputy Mrs. Crowley is referring only to commas. If I may say so, there appear to me to be an undue number of dots and stops at the end of each subhead—“Salaries,” “Wages,” “Allowances,” and there dots at the end?—It does not affect the cost very much, because we get a price per page, and so whether there is a full stop after every word or not we still pay only the same price per page. It is only the appearance and except in so far as the number of pages is concerned.

91. On subhead L—Appropriations in Aid—I notice that one of the explanations on the following page says that “towards the close of the financial year quantities of waste paper became available unexpectedly”. How exactly would a thing like that arise, Mr. Carr?—We get the money from the Post Office who arrange for the disposal of the paper, the collection of it and sending it to the mills. They ought to send on the proceeds promptly, but sometimes for some reason or another we have a little difficulty in getting it. We got it as far as I recollect with some difficulty at the end of the year. That is not happening now. We are going after the Post Office to get the proceeds promptly.

Deputy Cunningham.—Compensation.

92. Chairman.—There is only one other matter I want to raise, Mr. Carr. It appears to me from the notes that stationery publications continue to be the property of your Department even after they are issued to other Departments? You see a note which says that “stationery and publications to the estimated value of £40 were destroyed in a fire which broke out at Shannon Airport on 11th March, 1948. The loss was written off.” Do I take it from that that though they were presumably issued to the Department of Industry and Commerce they continued to be your responsibility there?

Deputy Cunningham—Your concern would be for replacements?

Mr. Carr.—Usually, we have to replace losses. These particular publications had to be replaced.

93. Chairman.—Are all your issues to other Departments completely free to the Departments?—They are, Sir.

Well, then, in that respect I suppose they should normally be considered your property—you have not been paid for them?

Deputy Dockrell.—You have to make good the loss?

Mr. Carr.—Yes.

Chairman.—Thank you, Mr. Carr.

The witness withdrew.


Mr. T. J. Coyne called and examined.

94. Chairman.—You will remember, Mr. Coyne, that you were explaining before that the number of documents of identity were under-estimated owing to the fact that you were expecting them to die off. They seem to be an unconscionable time in dying?—Yes, indeed, and our expectations so far from being realised have been very definitely falsified by the event. They seem to be in a very healthy condition even in the current year and no later than this morning I was speaking to our Accountant as to why we did not in the current estimate, that is, the estimate for 1953-54, separate them, and he told me that having discussed it with his own people and with the division in my office they got the impression that they were dying. I am quite satisfied that that is an entirely wrong impression and I can promise that in the Estimate for 1954-55 they will be shown separately.

95. These are Stateless people?—Yes, they are Stateless people, occasionally Armenians and White Russians. We had one or two cases this year. In the main they are ordinary displaced persons or Stateless people and the actual sum received—we show it separately—was £129. I think that 12/6 is the cost of the certificate so you can estimate the number roughly from that.

96. Was there any particular reason why the number of displaced persons was much greater than the estimate?— No, it is of course conjectural and it may be that more people wanted Irish citizenship for business purposes. We have no way of knowing simply. We did take a slightly more liberal attitude towards certain types of aliens who were at odds with their own countries and whom we had hesitated to make citizens of before for fear that they might avail themselves of this country as a pied-á-terre to cause trouble in their countries of origin. There would be only a few such cases. There is no explanation except that Irish citizenship seems to be on the up and up.

97. Deputy Cunningham.—On subhead A.5, is the Irish Legal Terms Advisory Committee a permanent Committee?— Yes. It consists of judges and other distinguished persons. Its primary function is to find Irish equivalents for English legal terms and to devise suitable forms and precedents for legal documents in the Irish language. The expenses we incurred in connection with it are in respect of the part-time services of a legal assistant. The present Chairman of the Committee is Mr. Justice O’Byrne.


Mr. T. J. Coyne further examined.

98. Chairman.—Your note on subhead N—Incidental Expenses—intrigues me. I was not aware that we bought garden implements?—Neither was I. We had contemplated spending £500 and, in fact, we spent only £40. That was due partly to delays in placing orders and partly to difficulty in determining which of the several stations were to get what kind of garden implements.

99. Deputy Mrs. Crowley.—On the appropriations in aid, why does a chimney sweeper need a certificate?—It is due to some very old statute.

100. Chairman.—Probably the use of child labour?—Probably.

101. Deputy Dockrell.—Is it for being a good boy, or being a good sweep?— If I may use a pretentious expression, they are in a fiduciary position. you introduce a chimney sweep into your household, and I suppose you should have a reasonable assurance that he is a trustworthy person, at any rate to the extent that he has not a police record.

102. Deputy Dockrell.—It sounds like a certificate that he is a good boy?—I think so. I can give a note on it, if the Committee wishes. It is really an anomaly, as on the same principle there are various other people who ought to be licensed.

103. Deputy Mrs. Crowley.—Window cleaners are another example? —My attention has been drawn to a note which you might permit me to read. “Under the Chimney sweeper Acts, 1875 and 1894, a chimney Sweepers requires a certificate when he employs an assistant journeyman or an apprentice.” The certificate is obtained by written application, which has to be left at the nearest police station, and it enables the sweep to pursue his calling, if he is an employer of labour or has an apprentice. The annual certificate costs 5/-. So our speculation was not warranted. It is really a certificate that is requisite only in the case of a master chimney sweep who employs assistants or journeymen. I do not know the origin of it. The old Hansard when the Act was going through is the only thing that would throw light on that, if light is to be thrown on it.

104. Chairman.—These hackney-car and carriage licences are all for horse vehicles?—Yes. When you asked before, I said they were, but I was not certain. I have since verified that they were.

105. The fees for motor hackneys go into the Road Fund?—Yes.

106. Deputy Cunningham.—On subhead I—Fuel, Light and Water—in the case of E.S.B. current to Garda Barracks, is the cost of installation charged to the Department of Justice or the Department of Finance?—The cost of installing electric light in a barracks is almost certainly a charge on the Office of Public Works, which is generally responsible for the maintenance of Garda Station buildings.

107. Deputy P. A. Brady.—The receipts from motor park attendants in the extra receipts is £2 3s. Does it not seem a very small amount? How is it arrived at?—Small as the receipts are, I fear they are being taken by us illegally. The Minister answered a Question in the House recently about this. The fees are taken under regulations on the purported authority of an Act of 1875 about which there is some doubt as to whether it is still in force, having regard to the more recent provisions of the Road Traffic Act, 1933, and notably section 13, I think, of the Road Traffic Act. We confessed in public, when questioned in the House, that there was a doubt as to whether these fees were being collected lawfully, and we said we were looking into the matter. We are doing so; we have consulted the Attorney General, and at the moment we are in correspondence with the Department of Local Government, which would have some interest in this matter, and with the Commissioner of the Garda Síochána. In so far as there is any authority for taking these fees, it comes under the Act of 1875.

108. Deputy Dockrell.—How much is the licence?—One shilling.

109. Even if they are illegal, it looks as if they are not being taken out in very great numbers. I would say there are more than 43 attendants?—Yes, certainly more than double that. My note says there are 39 who pay licence fees— these are current figures—and there are 48 others who are permanently registered and do not pay any fee. At one time there was authority for taking this money, but the doubt has arisen by reason of a later statutory provision. The Act of 1933, in effect, provided that regulations could be made, amongst other things, for the purpose of appointing motor-park attendants. However, no regulations were made, and there is another provision in the Act of 1933 which states that anything in any previous statute conferring a power to make regulations which is inconsistent with these provisions is to cease to have any force or effect. Therefore, prima facie, there is a real doubt about the Act of 1875, but the practice is to continue to extract the fee from the unfortunate survivors. On the other hand, they have had the employment for a much longer period than the later people—and now, they will have earned their right to preference when things are regularised. However, that is the answer.


Mr. T. J. Coyne further examined.

110. Chairman.—Paragraph 39 of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General which is for information, reads as follows:—

“The statement of the manufacturing and farm accounts appended to the appropriation account has been examined, and local test examinations of the conversion books and other records dealing with manufacturing operations have been carried out with satisfactory results.”

111. Does this very welcome drop in the number of prisoners continue, Mr. Coyne?—Yes. In the year in question, there were 73 fewer than the estimated number. Also, curiously enough, there was a slight drop in the cost of feeding those there. There was a drop per head from £29 2s. 4d. to £28 8s. 4d.

112. Deputy Dockrell.—For what period?—For the year 1951. The actual cost per head is £28 8s. 4d. for the year in question for providing meat, vegetables, etc.—such things as would have to be paid for. They grow a good deal of their own produce in Portlaoighise.


Mr. T. J. Coyne called.

No question.


Mr. T. J. Coyne called.

No question.


Mr. T. J. Coyne called.

No question.


Mr. T. J. Coyne called

No question.

Chairman—Thank you, Mr. Coyne, and may I say that the Committee appreciate the very full notes which you have given.

Mr. Coyne.—Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

The witness withdrew.

The Committee adjourned.

* Note by witness: Additional cost in 1951-52 of reckoning half temporary service for superannuation purposes was approximately £4,900.

* See Appendix IV.