MIONTUAIRISC NA FINNEACHTA
(Minutes of Evidence)
Déardaoin, 4 Meitheamh, 1964.
Thursday, 4th June, 1964.
The Committee sat at 11 a.m.
DEPUTY JONES in the chair.
Mr. E. F. Suttle (An tArd-Reachtaire Cuntas agus Ciste), and Mr. J. R. Whitty (An Roinn Airgeadais) called and examined.
VOTE 42—ROINN NA GAELTACHTA.
Mr. Seán Ó Braonáin called and examined.
130. Chairman.—Paragraph 40 of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General reads as follows:
“Subhead D.—Scéimeanna Feabhsúcháin sa Ghaeltacht.
The charge to the subhead comprises:—
The expenditure under the head “agriculture” consisted mainly of a payment of £6,459 to the Department of Agriculture in connexion with a grasslands improvement scheme which was introduced in 1962. Under the scheme the Department of Agriculture arranged for the soil-testing and fertilisation of grassland in approximately 1,000 farms—50 per cent. of the cost of the fertilisers and ground limestone used being recovered from the farmers.”
Have you anything to add to that, Mr. Suttle?
Mr. Suttle.—The only new improvement scheme introduced during the year was the grasslands scheme referred to in the paragraph. With regard to the glasshouses, which were the subject of comment by the Committee last year, I understand that the houses in Connemara are being replaced by timber houses and a contract has been placed for this work.
131. Chairman.—I take it, Mr. Ó Braonáin, that the figure of £8,714 for glass houses refers to those blown down in the storm?— That would be the greater part of the expenditure, yes.
What is the position with regard to these houses at present?—Eight houses are almost completed. As a matter of fact, plants have been put into the houses this year. They are being used as cold houses, but we are now proceeding to heat them. That will be done during the present year.
Are these new houses?—Yes.
What about the damaged ones?—There were 20 altogether in Connemara. I think eight is the number that have accepted replacements. The other 12 were not prepared to go on with the scheme, so the sites remain to be cleared up, and that is the next job to be done when the other houses are completed. I think the Office of Public Works expect that they will be able to employ the contractor to clear the sites and tidy up the places and leave them as they found them.
You are not doing anything about the old houses then?—No. Nothing remains to be done about the old houses. These people have refused to accept replacement houses, so that it only remains now to clear the sites, and the Office of Public Works intends to do that immediately.
Does that mean that those people who had got glasshouses would be getting replacements?—Eight of the 20 are taking replacements, but 12 are not prepared to accept replacements.
Deputy Treacy.—Might I ask what steps have been taken to ensure that the construction of these glasshouses in future will be of such a strong and durable nature as to withstand the Atlantic storms?—That is a question really for the Office of Public Works because they are responsible for erecting the houses. They act as our agents. I am sure they did have regard to that aspect of the matter when they were designing the houses. These replacement houses are made of wood.
Chairman.—You have dropped the aluminium?—The aluminium has been dropped. There are wooden houses, of course, in Connemara which have stood for 20 years.
132. Might I ask what are the Miscellaneous Amenities comprised in the charge of £4,756? —This was for playing fields, a tennis court, a grant to the Gweedore theatre, a protection wall for some property and the light and heat scheme. I can give the different figures. We spent £2,157 on the playing fields, £600 on the tennis court, £706 in connection with the theatre at Gweedore, £1,264 on the protection wall and £29 6s. 3d. on the heat and light scheme. That last figure is the finishing up of the scheme—a few cases that were left over after the main part of the work had been attended to.
133. Do the beneficiaries under the grasslands improvement scheme receive any grant from the Department of Agriculture for the same work?—No, we pay half the cost of the seed and fertilisers and the grower, or the farmer, pays the rest. The scheme is supervised by the Department of Agriculture.
Is there a satisfactory response to that?— Yes, very much so. We budgeted for about 700 or 800 cases. We received from 1,300 to 1,400 applications, and they are still coming in.
134. Deputy Lalor.—You mentioned a figure of £600 for a tennis court?—Yes, that is an amenity attached to the Irish College at Teelin. They had very little recreation space around the college, and it was decided that the best thing to do was to lay a tennis court.
What way would £600 be spent on a tennis court? Would that be for sod?—I have not got the details. I know a very good job was made of it, and the ground was not easy.
Chairman.—May we assume it is a hard court?—I think it is a hard court. I must rely on my memory about this.
Perhaps you would send a note on this?—I will do that*
135. Deputy Treacy.—Could we have some clarification of the works carried out under Marine Works?—This expenditure covers small works carried out. We only undertake such things as the building and repair of slips, the repair of small piers and in some cases the extension of small piers. We leave the works of an extensive nature to the Fisheries Branch. These works are purely local amenities.
I take it that the improvement of piers and harbours is included in that figure?—Yes, all marine works which we handled are included.
Deputy P. J. Burke.—It would not be a very major job to spend that amount of money?—In this particular case there were works in four counties. I shall give you the details. We spent £4,888 in Donegal, £2,408 in Mayo, £565 in Galway and £185 in Kerry.
Deputy Treacy.—There was nothing spent in Ring?—There was nothing spent there this year.
136.—Deputy Booth.—On subhead H.— Deontais do Choláistí sa Ghaeltacht— are these grants new in this financial year?— No, I do not think so.
The note states that preliminary inquiries were being made in respect of three colleges Have those three colleges received a grant or are they new colleges?—They are new colleges which were expected to be built.
So, the estimate was made on the basis that those three colleges would be fully operational?—It was made on the assumption that they would be proceeded with in the following financial year. That did not happen in some cases. As it happened, there were too many people talking about colleges at the time. One of those cases is going ahead now.
How many colleges were involved in the actual expenditure of £1,500?—That was repair work which was carried out on Coláiste Bríde, Rannafast.
Were these grants in respect of repairs and maintenance?—Yes, and actual construction is also provided for in the subhead.
Chairman.—Are these charges for work carried out in the Gaeltacht?—Yes.
Are they on a percentage basis?—Yes, we never pay more than 80 per cent. as a very extreme limit. In this case, for example, we paid £1,500 but the cost of the work was over £2,500. The local committee bore the balance of the expenditure.
137. In regard to subhead I.—Gaeltarra Éireann (Deontas-i-gCabhair)—was this figure to meet the trading losses of Gaeltarra Éireann?—Not entirely. That is a grant which is paid over to Gaeltarra Éireann to meet current expenses. It is not expressly to meet losses. Of course some of it is used to meet the losses. I happen to be Chairman of Gaeltarra Éireann and I know that at least £40,000 is spent on other activities, such as development work, apprenticeship schemes and such other things.
What would be the extent of the loss by Gaeltarra Éireann for the year under review?—I would say, from memory, that the loss for the year 1962-63 was about £120,000. That includes depreciation, and such charges. The actual cash loss was much less.
On page (viii) in paragraph 7 of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report, there is an item of £3,244 for repayments in regard to advances made from the Exchequer. I presume there was interest paid as well?— Yes, there was.
Is that included in the Gaeltarra Éireann loss for the year?—No. Any money received in that way is devoted entirely to capital development, purchase of machinery, perhaps buildings, and so on. None of it is used to meet current expenditure under the ordinary trading expenses. All those advances have been repaid up to date with interest as due.
Is it not charged to the trading accounts, that is, repayable?—I am not sure about the capital repayments as distinct from interest.
There could hardly be any other source from which it could be met?—I agree, but I am not too sure. If we make it a charge against the trading funds then we must put it into the trading accounts, but I will verify that.*
Deputy P. Hogan (South Tipperary.— Could you tell us from memory has there been a subvention of the magnitude of £100,000 going on for a number of years? Is that the usual pattern?—Yes, since the Board was established.
Deputy Treacy.—Is it anticipated that Gaeltarra Éireann will not pay its way in the foreseeable future?—I would not like to say yes or no. We are getting the loss down from year to year, and we have hopes that this year will show a further reduction on last year.
Deputy Lalor.—The fact that the losses are going down annually is not from a contraction of business? Is the turnover of business increasing?—Yes. During the last financial year sales increased by over £90,000, and that has been the trend for some years back.
What about overall losses?—We expect they will be reduced this year again.
138. Deputy Treacy.—On subhead M.— Scoláireachtaí Saoire agus Scoile sa Ghaeltacht (Deontas-i-gCabhair)—I am concerned about the fact that £11,429 was not expended under this heading. I should like to know to what categories of children these scholarships apply?—There are two kinds of scholarships provided for under this subhead. One is the summer scholarship, which is organised on a broad basis. Those are the children who go to the Irish colleges in the Gaeltacht for a month in the summer. Expenditure on that service in 1962-63 was £22,000, out of £25,000 budgeted for. The other kind of scholarship is the three-monthly scholarship, which is run in conjunction with Gael Linn. That showed a considerable reduction on the anticipated expenditure. The expenditure on that scheme in 1962-63 was £8,637.
I take it the scholarship was open to children from the whole country?—Yes.
Are we satisfied that the schemes are sufficiently advertised in the various schools? —We do not advertise, but the number is increasing every year. The policy of the Department is to have this scheme, in so far as the summer courses are concerned, worked by what we would regard as reliable local groups. These are people who get together and organise the schemes locally. We recognise a school or college as a group where we are satisfied that the scheme is worked in the proper spirit.
I take it that the groups in the main would be Gael Linn and Coiste na bPáistí?— No, they are groups who get together in their own districts throughout the country. Last year we had 96 groups. They catered for 4,724 children.
Deputy Treacy.—I wonder whether we could have more detail on that subject, that is, on the manner in which these groups are organised for these scholarship purposes?
Chairman.—I take it you would like to have a note on that. Perhaps Mr. Ó Braonáin could supply a note on the organisation of these schemes?—Yes.*
139. On subhead N.—Leithreasa-igCabhair—in regard to note No. 1, some rents are brought from accounts in the previous year. You had six houses altogether and you are in the process of selling these?—They are all gone now.
Have they been sold to the teachers?—No, four of the six were taken by the teachers. Local people took the other two.
Were the prices satisfactory?—Yes. We had them valued and we kept as close as possible to the valuation figure. We are satisfied with the figure we got. These were not elegant structures. They were built in 1933. Some of them had no modern conveniences and were not worth a lot in modern conditions.
140. Deputy Booth.—On the question of extra remuneration, it is recorded that a Principal Officer and Assistant Principal Officer receive allowances in respect of services with Gaeltarra Éireann. The last entry is for a Clerical Officer who receives an allowance of £437 as a Clerk, Grade I, in Gaeltarra Éireann. Does that Clerical Officer receive £437 in addition to his normal remuneration?—Yes. That man has been with Gaeltarra Éireann for many years. He was with the old Gaeltacht Services Division before the Board was established, and he has worked his way up to Factory Manager. Up to recently he was Manager of the toy factory in Crolly. Although his salary in Gaeltarra Éireann has increased, his basic salary and grading remain on the Civil Service Scale.
Therefore, he is graded as a Clerk, Grade I?—That is his grading in Gaeltarra Éireann, but he is acting as a manager.
Is that the normal grading of a man in that office?—Yes, Clerk, Grade I and Factory Manager are on the same scale.
141. Chairman.—I understand, Mr. Ó Braonáin, you are retiring during the year. I should like to express on behalf of the members of the Committee an appreciation of your services before this Committee, and to wish you in your retirement a long, peaceful and happy time. Rath Dé ort agus go n-éirí an t-ádh leat.
Mr. Ó Braonáin: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Members. I am grateful for your appreciation. I have had much pleasure in coming here and assisting the Committee at all times. I am much obliged to you all. Tá mé ana bhuíoch díot, a Chathaoirligh agus a dhaoine uaisle.
The witness withdrew.
VOTE 10—EMPLOYMENT AND EMERGENCY SCHEMES.
Risteárd Ó hÉigeartuigh called and examined.
142. Chairman.—Paragraph 23 of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General reads:
“Provision was made under subhead C (Urban Employment Schemes) and subhead D (Rural Employment Schemes) for grants towards expenditure by local authorities on road and amenity schemes, etc., to provide employment. The grants, amounting in all to £217,621, were paid in instalments, during the progress of the various works, by the Department of Local Government, acting on behalf of the Special Employment Schemes Office. The accounts of the expenditure on the schemes are examined by Local Government auditors whose certificates are available to me.”
Have you anything to add, Mr. Suttle?
Mr. Suttle.—I have nothing to add to the information contained in these paragraphs These are the regular paragraphs that are submitted for information.
143. Chairman.—Paragraph 24 of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General reads:
“The expenditure charged to subhead E (Minor Employment Schemes) and subhead F (Development Works in Bogs used by Landholders and other Private Producers), amounting to £291,637, relates to schemes administered by the Special Employment Schemes Office. In certain counties these schemes were carried out by the county engineers acting as agents for the Office.”
144. Chairman.—Paragraph 25 of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General reads:
“The scheme for which provision was made under subhead G (Rural Improvements Scheme) was also administered by the Special Employment Schemes Office either directly or through the agency of county engineers. The works carried out included the improvement and construction of accommodation roads to houses, farms and bogs, small drainage works, the erection or reconstruction of small bridges, etc. Only works which are estimated to cost not less than £40 are approved and the grants may vary from 50 per cent. to 100 per cent. of their cost. The gross expenditure amounted to £231,097, and contributions by beneficiaries, which are appropriated in aid of the vote, totalled £42,980.”
145. Chairman.—Paragraph 26 of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General reads:
“The amount charged to subhead H (Miscellaneous Schemes) comprises expenditure on accommodation roads on islands, archaeological works, foreshore and other relief works and improvement works on small fishery harbours and piers.”
146. With regard to subhead A.—Salaries, Wages and Allowances—it is interesting to note that you exceeded the provision for this purpose although the explanation to subhead B.—Travelling and Incidental Expenses— says that there was a saving due mainly to vacancies in the Inspectorate. What was the position?—The circumstances in which we exceeded the salaries were largely due to grade increases. A sum of £2,245 was in respect of grade increases in the Special Employment Schemes Office. A sum of £1,500 was for grade increases in the Office of Public Works Estimate in connection with the salaries of engineers employed on inspections in relation to our marine works. There was a small item of £105 in relation to arrears on the cost of messenger etc. service provided by the Department of External Affairs. These items plus the item of £1,530 shown in the estimate for subhead A made a total of £5,400. Against that sum of £5,450 we had a saving in the Inspectors’ salaries equivalent to four Grade 3 Inspectors— £3,000. The Inspectors travel: the remainder of the staff do not. That is the explanation why the excess is in the salaries subhead and there is a reduction in the travelling and incidental expenses.
Have you succeeded in filling the vacancies?—We succeeded in filling some.
147. Deputy Lalor.—Subhead G. relates to the Rural Improvements Scheme. I notice that the total surplus to be surrendered from the Vote amounted to £16,189. I presume the same has happened in the current year. If there were extra demands for schemes under subhead G.—I presume there is a waiting list of schemes—would it not be possible, in view of the overall amount granted under the Vote, to go for further excess expenditure under subhead G. if the occasion demanded?—It looks as if it would be possible but in practice it is very difficult to work out. For instance, only at the last moment was I made aware by the Department of Local Government that they would give me a nest egg of £18,000. If they had not done so by saving that amount out of the £200,000 for subhead C.—Urban Employment Schemes—I should be looking for an excess Vote. This year—the year just past— the same problem was in front of me and I had an awful headache for the three weeks before 31st March. Eventually, I said: “I will have an excess: it cannot be helped.” I found ultimately that I was on the right side by about £800 which is too tight to go against an Estimate of £868,930. We do not know until towards the end of March how we are running. But for the saving by the Department of Local Government in respect of the Urban Employment Schemes I should have been “had” in risking excesses to the extent I did. I thought I was very close to it. That £18,000 under subhead C.—Urban Employment Schemes—simply “saved my bacon.”
It did not develop until the last couple of weeks?—Yes. Actually, to give a picture of the Rural Improvement Scheme position, the amount of works waiting to be done on 1st April, 1962, was £63,773. We sanctioned schemes up to the full £225,000: the actual figure was £224,993. That made a gross of £288,766 available for expenditure. We actually spent £231,097 and I had to watch that also. In other words, I carried forward into the next year £57,669 worth of works. There are several thousand rural improvements schemes in the 26 counties. A £10 note on each of those would wipe out my surplus for surrender. I think, after the experience of 31st March, 1964, we will not go as tight as £800 ever again.
Chairman.—It is a case of: “Beware the Ides of March.”
148. Deputy Carter.—Is there much of a backlog in subhead G. now—Rural Improvements Scheme—in the sense of schemes awaiting sanction or inspection?—We have a backlog of subhead G. cases which will be responsible to the extent of leaving things tight this year, that is, 1964-65. There will also be a backlog in respect of subhead C. due largely to the failure of some of the urban authorities to submit schemes in time to absorb the money.
Yes, the note says that. But, in general, would this factor create much of a backlog on subhead G. in rural improvements?—The backlog on subhead G. going into the year 1963-64 was £57,669. That was in respect of schemes which had been sanctioned but of which the works had not been completed and the accounts had not been paid. Apart from that sum of £57,669 in respect of rural improvement schemes, which had been sanctioned and were waiting to be finished there was another big backlog of Rural Improvement Schemes which we had not sanctioned, but that is going into the new year. I have not the actual figure but I remember very definitely that on 1st April, 1963, we had received quite a number of contributions, which we were not able to sanction at all, and which had to be sanctioned for 1963-64. That is another year’s work— so that the figure of £57,669, which I gave you as re-voted on 1st April, 1963, does not represent the full commitments on 1st April in respect of the rural improvement schemes.
149. Deputy Lalor.—Mr. Ó hEigeartuigh mentioned that money had been contributed before the end of the financial year, but his Office was not in a position to hand out the grant until after the 1st April. Is that money credited into the particular financial year? If money is paid in January and the grant is not allocated until after 31st March, is that local contribution which has been sent in included in the year in which it is sent in, or is it withheld?—You are talking now of the farmers’ contribution?
The local contribution in a rural improvements scheme.—The farmers’ contribution is credited in respect of the year in which we get it.
150. Deputy Treacy.—Might I revert to subhead C.—Urban Employment Schemes— for a moment? A sum of £18,000 was saved. The note says the local authorities were late in submitting the proposals. I wonder could we have information as to the number of local authorities involved?—Dublin County Borough was principally concerned. They submitted schemes costing £22,000 odd in the month of March, 1963. It so happened that some of their original proposals for spending money did not work out as quickly as they thought. They did not want to leave any money with me that had not been earmarked, so, having spent money for years on St. Anne’s Park in Clontarf, when they found things running close to the end of the year, they decided not to leave the money with me, and they put in another proposal for further development of the St. Anne’s park costing another £22,400. That would wipe out the whole of the £18,000 saving. Dun Laoghaire was another urban area which was unlucky. They put in for their grants in time, but they were unable to get consents for one of the original proposals costing £2,000. The compulsory powers which they might or might not be disposed to operate would take a lengthy time to work out, and consequently they had to look for a second scheme for this £2,000. They put up an alternative early in March, on which, of course, there was relatively little expenditure before 1st April. These are the two principal items. Cork had only £70 not taken up before March and Clonakilty was late for £400. Templemore put up something first, if my recollection is right, and that did not work out, and they had to come back again for £250 on 12th March. The other area was Ennis for £800. Dublin represented £22,400; Dun Laoghaire, £2,000; Cork, including Clonakilty, £470; Templemore £250 and Ennis £800. That was the full grant in the case of Ennis. They, too, did not come up until late in the year— improving footpaths and lanes in Ennis, which was not sanctioned until 22nd March. The total of these I have picked out amounts to just £26,000 and that would more than account for the £18,000 saving.
151. Might we have a little more information as to the nature of the schemes which normally qualify for such grants?—Most of the schemes in urban areas are road works. Apart from road works there are what are known as amenity schemes—parks, clearing derelict sites, and other things like that. If I may refer to the Parliamentary Secretary’s statement dealing with the Vote in 1962-63, the figure given for Dublin in 1962-63 was £115,000. There were two amenity schemes; £6,320 for the finishing of the culverting of the Wad River and £22,400 for St. Anne’s Park, Dollymount. The remainder of the schemes were for roadworks. The total for Cork was £21,000; £13,700 was for the development of Fitzgerald’s Park, Mardyke, an open space at Mayfield, and a playground at Grattan Hill. The remainder were roadworks. For Limerick the total, including the contribution, was £16,800, of which £13,700 was for roadworks. The balance were amenity schemes, which included the fencing of Coolraine Quarry and some drainage work arising from the development of Janesboro. I think there is a park there. The Waterford grant was all for roadworks, except for the demolition of Murray House in High Street. That was really a derelict site job. Dun Laoghaire schemes were all amenity schemes. There was £1,000 for footpaths and other development in Killiney Hill Park, £3,440 for making the open space at the Martello Tower in Seapoint, and £560 for another open space at Blackrock. They are the five what you might call major borough areas. Then, if we take the 55 other urban districts, there was a £60,000 State grant and with the local contribution the total came to £68,325. Of the £60,000 a sum of £30,000 was for roadworks, £18,000 for footpaths and £12,000 for what I describe as amenity schemes. They included different works such as the improvement of small parks in Youghal, Trim, Monaghan, Clonakilty, Templemore and Carlow, a promenade at Kinsale, a promenade at Ferrybank, Wexford, the clearance of derelict sites at Wexford and Sligo, the improvement of the Fairgreen in Ceanannus Mór, a riverside walk at Wicklow, and a sea wall at Dungarvan. Amenity schemes, as will be seen, cover quite a number of different types of work. They are all in urban areas.
152. Deputy Treacy.—I take it the main bulk of the expenses were for Dublin, Cork and Dun Laoghaire. The main bulk of the money would seem to have gone to the cities instead of the small towns?—£131,000 went to Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford, £4,000 went to Dun Laoghaire and £60,000 to other urban areas. The £60,000 was divided proportionately, according to the number of unemployed, among the other 55 towns. For instance, Drogheda got £4,750, Dundalk got £4,600, but Carrickmacross, which has very little unemployment, only got £250.
153. Could Mr. Ó hÉigeartuigh give us the figures for South Tipperary?—I have not the expenditure for the different areas. I have the allocations and they must be approximately the same. In Clonmel it was £2,000, the local contribution being £245 which makes a total of £2,245; in Cashel it was £700, the local contribution being £100, making a total of £800; in Carrick-on-Suir it was £750, the local contribution being £75, making a total of £825; in Tipperary, it was £1,150, the local contribution being £115, making a total of £1,265.
Chairman.—Does that cover the Deputy’s point?
Deputy Treacy.—Yes, it does.
154. Chairman.—In subhead I.—Appropriations in Aid—the amount estimated was £41,000 and the amount realised was £45,929. Can you give us some details of this?—The explanation is related to an earlier question this morning, namely, what year the money was lodged for rural improvement schemes. We estimated £41,000 under Appropriations in Aid, of which £40,000 was in respect of rural improvements schemes. The actual receipts under the rural improvements scheme amounted to £42,980, the receipts in respect of the miscellaneous schemes, that is subhead H., amounted to £1,740, the bog development was £117 and the miscellaneous receipts amounted to £1,092, making the total of £45,929.
Deputy Lalor.—Was this £45,929 rural improvements schemes alone?—No. Rural Improvements Schemes amounted to £42,980.
Was there any under subheads E., F., G. and H.?—There were some very small amounts. We had miscellaneous receipts of £1,092. We had no minor employment schemes contributions under subhead E. The only other case where we had a contribution was under subhead F.—Development Works in Bogs. This refers to the few cases where private owners have a very considerable area of turbary. They let banks in these areas and get paid for the lettings. The income from the lettings would have to be fairly substantial before we would try to get any contribution. The owner would have to receive a substantial amount in rent or we would be wasting our time trying to make a collection from him. In fact, the total amount collected for the year under review in respect of bogs was only £117.
155. Chairman.—What is included in the miscellaneous receipts?—That includes quite a number of different items. For instance, there was an item of £484 for the sale of old materials by the Office of Public Works in respect of marine works. In many cases, they have cement, timber and other things like that left over when a job is finished. These marine works are in most inaccessible places and it would not be worthwhile bringing the materials back to stores. They are usually sold on the spot to local people by tender. We give imprests to the county engineers to carry out works for us. Bank interest, which was paid on these advances, amounted to £57. The remainder of the £1,092 represents mainly refund of over-payments made to local authorities in respect of schemes. The practice of financing local authority schemes is that the Department of Local Government advances 90 per cent. of the cost of the work to the local authority when the work is started. Sometimes it takes a long time to get the job completely finished and to get the final accounts worked out. The final cost, in relation to a small proportion of the works carried out, was less than the advance of 90 per cent. which was made originally when the work started. This was because of savings in carrying out the work, or for various other reasons. The time factor comes into it, and because all the adjustments were not made inside the financial year they must come in as receipts in respect of the following year. Dublin Corporation had to pay back £419, Kerry County Council, £15, Sligo County Council, £70 and Wexford Corporation £13, which makes a total of £517. The sale of old materials realised £484 and the payment of interest was £57. That comes to over £1,000. The other items are very small. We charged 5/- to a solicitor who wanted a copy of a consent form and 10/- for a cancelled order. We deduct insurance premiums from the staff for which we receive a commission of £6 1s. 9d. from the insurance companies concerned. That is the total.
Chairman.—That is a very detailed explanation indeed.
The witness withdrew.
Mr. Aodh Mac Brádaigh called and examined.
156. Chairman.—Paragraphs 76 and 77 of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General deal with this Vote. Paragraph 76 reads as follows:
“Subhead K.—Provisions and Allowances in lieu.
Statements have been furnished to me showing the cost of production of bread at the Curragh bakery and of meat at the Dublin and Curragh abbatoirs. The unit costs are as follows:—
The average price of cattle purchased for both the Dublin and Curragh areas was £74 per head, the same as in the previous year while the average production of beef per head was 715 lb. and 689 lb., respectively, as compared with 702 lb. and 686 lb.”
Have you anything further to add, Mr. Suttle?
Mr. Suttle.—The increase in the cost of bread was mainly in labour and overhead costs. The increase in labour costs resulted from smaller production to meet a reduced demand and the increase in overheads to substantial expenditure on repairs to the bakery premises. In the case of meat, the reduction in the cost in Dublin was due to reduced cost of raw material, .10 pence per lb., the reduced cost of labour .06 pence per lb., reduced cost of overheads, including repairs to premises .06 pence per lb. The reduction in the Curragh was all in the labour costs. The staff employed was reduced from 8 in 1961-62 to 6 in 1962-63.
Deputy Booth.—Is that all in view of the reduction in turnover, or is it due to economies in production?—There is a reduction in turnover because of the number of men absent in the Congo.
Deputy Booth.—What is the origin of this note which we have every year? We are looking into the question of the cost of bread and meat. I wonder why those are the things to which we pay so much attention. I am not adverse to looking into this matter of cost, but there are many other items purchased by the Department. Is there any reason why we should highlight these two items?
Mr. Suttle.—These are the only items which the Army in effect produce towards their own rations. The bulk of material is purchased under contract. It was originally a question of comparing production costs in the Army with contract prices.
Deputy Treacy.—Does it not go back to the time of the Napoleonic marches?
157. Deputy Booth.—How do these costs compare with contract prices?—They are somewhat higher.
158. Chairman.—I notice there is a reduction in labour costs in the Curragh abbatoir. How was that brought about?— There are changes in rates of pay from time to time due to new men coming in to replace older men on higher rates of pay.
Deputy Booth.—These prices of production are now higher than contract prices. Is there any justification for maintaining this present system?—There is a necessity. It would not do to have an Army without meat and without bread.
Do you feel safer with your own production rather than rely on contractors for day-to-day essentials?—Yes.
Deputy Lalor.—It is good to see costs being reduced. Is there any reason why they were able to carry on with six men in the year under review, compared with the previous year?—
One reason was a reduction caused by absence of men in the Congo. There is less output.
159. Chairman.—Paragraph 77 of the, Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General reads as follows:
“Subhead Z.—Appropriations in Aid.
The Department of Defence has undertaken the training of pilots for Aer Lingus, Teoranta. Training commenced in December, 1962. Under the arrangement made between the Department and the company the full cost of training will be repaid to the Department.”
Have you anything to add, Mr. Suttle?
Mr. Suttle.—In 1961 Aer Lingus commenced recruiting their own annual requirements of trainee pilots which up to that had entered the company’s service via the Air Corps short service pilot scheme. The first (1961) batch was trained in Scotland. In 1962 it was decided that the Air Corps would provide pilots with all the training necessary to enable them obtain a Commercial Pilot’s Licence and all the ground training necessary to enable them obtain Instrument Rating. The training is carried out at Gormanston Camp and all the cost of the training is being repaid to the Department of Defence by the Company.
Chairman.—How long do these courses last?—Somewhat under one year—eleven months.
Does the charge to the Company include the full cost?—It includes use of aircraft, instructor’s pay, use of flying equipment, accommodation and the cost of meals; this latter is paid direct by Aer Lingus to the Officers’ Mess at Gormanston. The estimated annual cost is £17,500, which is recoverable from Aer Lingus.
Chairman.—I take it the Company is satisfied with the working of the scheme.
160. Deputy Booth.—On subhead A.—Pay of Officers, Cadets, N.C.O.’s and Privates—in the Estimate there were deductions in respect of numbers below strength. These deductions are made from the total Estimate of £3,350,847. On a rough check, it seems to me that these deductions in the Estimate totalled £837,000, whereas the expenditure incurred was only £114,000 less than what was granted. Is that due to the numbers keeping up better than expected, or was it due to increases in pay?—There was an increase in pay. The numbers were actually down.
There is provision in the Estimate for a total of £448,180 in respect of increases in pay. Were there further increases during the year which had not been provided for?—There was only the one increase.
What was the provision in the Estimate under the heading “Increases in Pay— £448,180”?—There was only one increase during the year.
How is that reconciled with the expected under-expenditure of £837,000? In fact, the under-expenditure was £114,000. The underexpenditure of N.C.O.’s and Privates alone was estimated at £733,174.
Chairman.—On page 265 of the Estimate, under the heading “Pay of NCO’s and Privates” there is a deduction of £733,174. There are similar deductions under the other paragraph. What is the position?—The saving is on the net estimate after the deductions you speak about for numbers below strength. That is a further saving.
Deputy Booth.—The actual expenditure shown is in the Appropriation Accounts— £3,236,123 as against a grant of £3,350,847.— The grant is a net figure obtained by deducting from the gross figure the estimated amount for numbers below strength. The actual strength was lower than anticipated.
Deputy Booth.—I am sorry, I see it now.
Chairman.—I take it that the recruiting efforts have not shown any results, then?— They have not improved.
Deputy Carter.—Not even improved since the pay increase?—No. The figure remains fairly static—about the same as last year.
161. Deputy Lalor.—Subhead A.2. refers to Expenses of Equitation Teams at Horse Shows. I notice that there was a saving of £3,013. The explanation says that the cost of attendance at shows was less than expected. Did you attend all the shows?—We did not attend as many shows as we had in mind when the Estimate was made up. We do not know, until the end of January, what shows we will attend. Apart from the cost of attendance at shows, which was less than estimated, fewer shows were attended.
162. Chairman.—How do you select officers for this school?—We try various means. The normal way is to select young officers and to send them to the Equitation School for a trial period to see how they progress. In the past couple of years, we re-introduced in the Cadet Curriculum in the Curragh the subject of Horsemanship. Therefore, when a Cadet is commissioned, after two years in the Military College in the Curragh, there is a fair idea of his potential as a rider. A number of these young officers are attached to the Equitation School and the most promising are selected as riders. A few years ago, we introduced a scheme of reserving a number of vacancies for Cadetships for boys who had some experience in horse riding. We did get one or two in that way—I think it was the year before last. We did not get any last year. One of those selected in this way is now riding with the team.
163. Subhead A.3. refers to Bounties, Rewards and Gratuities. I notice in the Estimates that you pay enlistment awards. To whom are these paid, and how much are they per year?—They are paid to a soldier who gets a recruit who is finally accepted. The soldier gets an enlistment award of £1. Last year, that was increased to £5. We are trying it now as an experiment for 12 months—we have not done any newspaper advertising in the past 12 months—to see if it would further recruiting. We do not yet know the result. I would say that recruiting during the past 12 months was about normal. The bounty paid to a soldier is now £5.
In the year under review, how much was paid?—£1.
What was the total amount of bounty of £1 per head that was paid in the year under review?—I would not have a separate figure for the amount paid for enlistments. A man who had completed his engagement gets a cash payment for re-enlisting.
Deputy Lalor.—What is the difference between a re-enlistment bounty and an extension of service bounty? Would that be the same thing?—They are the same thing.
Does the fact that there is an increase of more than was anticipated in the extension of service bounty mean that men in the Army whose times are up are re-enlisting? Is that an encouraging fact in so far as it is giving an impression that the men already in the Army are more content?—Yes.
Would the fact that men already in it are content be an inducement to others to join up?—Yes. Also we would much rather have the trained man who is willing to stay on than get a new recruit.
Deputy Treacy.—Is it generally known amongst Army personnel, particularly privates, that such a bounty is available to them?—Yes. It is well known.
164. Deputy Booth.—On subhead M.— Clothing and Equipment—you normally show a substantial saving. Does the very slight over-expenditure mean that deliveries from contractors were rather better this year?—In that particular year they were, yes.
That is the first time then for quite a long time?—That is so. We have great trouble with contractors.
Was that a matter of luck or are contractors mending their ways somewhat?—I am afraid it is just luck.
And possibly late deliveries from the previous year?—Yes, probably arrears from the year before.
165. Chairman.—In regard to subhead N.—Animals, Forage, etc.—are you having difficulty in getting suitable horses?—We are with regard to the Equitation Team as the type of horse needed is very scarce.
Deputy Lalor.—There is a sum of £7,000 for the purchase of horses and it would appear a saving was effected in that the sum provided was not completely used up. How many horses would have been bought for £7,000?—I do not think we anticipated any particular number. We usually provide £8,000 to £10,000 for the purchase of horses because there is a big variation in the price we may have to pay for a particular horse.
I take it we bought some horses during the year?—Yes.
And a certain amount of money was spent. What was it?—I could not tell you offhand. It would be between £2,000 and £4,000, but I could not say how many horses we bought in that particular year.
Deputy P. J. Burke.—It is essential to buy good ones anyway.
166. Chairman.—With regard to subhead O.—General Stores—and subhead P. also— Defensive Equipment—is there any particular reason for these substantial savings?— They are mostly due to carry-overs and not getting delivery in time. Not getting deliveries by the end of the financial year is the chief reason for the saving.
167. Did the United Nations pay for the equipment used in the Congo?—They pay for equipment that does not come back—that is destroyed or has deteriorated. Normally, the equipment is our own, and the United Nations does not pay for its purchase.
Are you satisfied that the United Nations met its financial commitments as far as you are concerned?—Yes. We are satisfied. They have paid now except for the battalion that came back last week. The United Nations Organisation has been prompt in its payments.
168. Deputy Booth.—On subhead P.— Defensive Equipment—and P.1.—Civil Defence—the note is somewhat similar. It is to the effect that it was not found possible to arrange for the supply of certain stores for which provision had been made. I wonder could we have some elaboration on that. I can understand that certain stores might not be delivered, but I am not quite sure when it is stated it was not found possible to arrange for the supply of certain stores?—Stores not delivered, subhead P., are defensive equipment. Most of these stores come from abroad and there is always a carry-over at the end of the year. With regard to subhead P.1.— Civil Defence—there was a provision of £50,000 made for the setting-up of controls in the different counties and that would involve the talking-over of buildings and the equipping of them as county controls. There, of course, we are dealing with local authorities and it is a question of getting suitable buildings. We did not get very far with the negotiations.
There are two reasons given under subheads P. and P.1.—partly due to the fact that the goods were not delivered and partly because it was not found possible to arrange for the supply of certain stores. Does that mean contracts were, in fact, not placed?— Were not completed, yes.
It was not possible to get the final details?— That is so, yes.
Chairman.—It also states savings in grants to local authorities were less than expected. What does that mean?—That is on civil defence. We pay 70 per cent. of the expenditure incurred on civil defence. That is an estimated figure and we over-estimated; at least, we did not expend it.
Deputy Lalor.—Mainly arising from the fact that local authorities could not get the houses?—That is one reason.
Are you satisfied that it was not because local authorities were reluctant?—Yes.
It is the difficulty?—It is the difficulty of estimating for civil defence and of obtaining suitable buildings, and also there was some equipment we did not get during the period.
Chairman.—Are you satisfied with the amount of co-operation between you and the Department of Local Government and the local authorities?—We get very good co-operation from the local authorities. Naturally, some are better than others, but we are satisfied that generally we are getting co-operation.
Are the local authorities satisfied with the approach of the Department?—I do not know. They have not voiced any dissatisfaction to us anyway.
169. With regard to subhead S.1.—Marine Transport Service (Vessels)—can you give us any estimate of the total cost of the transport services for 1962-63?—£25,414.
Is that the total cost of the transport service?—It is the total cost, yes.
170. Will the new causeway being built to Haulbowline end that expenditure?—No, it will not. We will still have to get from Cobh to Haulbowline and to Spike Island.
171. Deputy Booth.—The note on subhead T.—Military Lands—states that the saving was due to the fact that the purchase of certain sites was not proceeded with. What sites were being considered and for what purpose?—We were considering the acquisition of land adjoining St. Bricin’s hospital but we did not proceed with it. Proposals for the purchase of sites for An Cór Breathnadóirí and for a scheme for the eradication of furze at the Curragh were not proceeded with.
Chairman.—Are there any sites which you are acquiring at the moment?—No, there are not.
172. Deputy Booth.—It may seem rather flippant to ask, but why does the Irish Red Cross Society (Grant-in-Aid)—subhead X.2.— expenditure fall short by £1? I am not unduly worried about it but just a little curious?—I do not know.
173. Chairman.—In the Appropriations in Aid, Item 6—Receipts from clothing issued on repayment—why was there such an increase here?—Each soldier has a certain entitlement of free clothing. If he has to get articles in excess of his entitlement, he has to pay for them.
There is an excess of £3,492?—The estimate was not accurate. It is very hard to estimate these things.
Deputy Booth.—It means that the men used up their uniforms quicker than they should have and had to pay for them.—Yes.
174. Chairman.—Under Item 18—Receipts from stores issued on repayment—what type of stores are issued on repayment?—They would include stores hired to public authorities and others. They consist mostly of tents, cooking equipment, seating and tables.
175. Deputy Booth.—Under Item 12— Receipts on discharge by purchase—the amount was up considerably. How many men would be involved in that?—I have not got the exact figure.
I should be happy with an approximate figure.—We had 57 discharges at rates varying from £10 to £200.33 were at £40.
It is not a very big sum.—No, it is not.
176.—Chairman.—In regard to Item 22— Receipts for X-ray and aerial photographs— the amount realised is much greater than that estimated. Why is that?—We do X-rays for the Civil Service Commission and other Government Departments. We sell aerial photographs taken by the Air Corps to persons who require them.
Deputy Booth.—Did you do any special photography this year?—Yes, we were asked to do some for the Forestry Department. In fact, we do a good deal of photography for Forestry.
Deputy Lalor.—In the Estimates it is shown that receipts for the previous year amounted to £850. When you were preparing your Estimates for this year you only estimated an income of £100 but the actual income was £1,384. Why, in view of the fact that the income for the previous year was £850, did you estimate that your income for this year would be only £100? Was there not an upward trend?—I could not answer that offhand.
Deputy Lalor.—You made a big drop down and then you find that the amount realised was away up again.
177.—Deputy Booth.—Under Item 27— Miscellaneous—the greater amount of this excess is due to United Nations payments. But, there is one item there, Purchase of officers’ cars—repayment of advances, £16,733. Is that not an unusually large amount?—That amount varies. The advances are made to officers who are assigned to the F.C.A., and they are provided with car allowances. An advance is made towards the purchase of cars. This money is repaid over a period of years.
Is the figure of £16,733 not unusually large for one year?—It could be that a large number of officers renewed their cars.
Could it also be that a new group of officers took over?—Yes.
Chairman.—Mr. Mac Brádaigh, under what subhead are these advances made?—They are made under subhead J.—Mechanical Transport.
How much was advanced in the year?— About £20,000.
Could you tell us what was outstanding on the 31st March?—I could not tell you that offhand. These amounts are repayable over a number of years and they accrue at different times.
178. I notice on page 142, under payments from the United Nations, that these sums of money were credited to a suspense account, to which the original expenditure had been charged. Can you explain the reason for that?—The payments of overseas allowances to officers and men are charged to a suspense account, and refunds from the United Nations are credited to this account. The stores are purchased and charged against the Vote in the ordinary way. When we are paid for them the receipts are treated as Appropriations in Aid.
179. Deputy Booth.—Are the items shown under No. 27—Miscellaneous—incidential items incurred before the troops actually became United Nations troops, but after they had stopped being available for service here? Were they incidental expenditure in this country before the troops were really on service with the United Nations?—All the expenditure on overseas allowances on behalf of the United Nations is charged to a suspense account and is offset then by payments received from the United Nations. The United Nations pay us in respect of stores which are sent overseas and are lost or destroyed. The payment for them is credited to Appropriations in Aid.
180. On the statement of losses, No. 12 on page 141 of the Appropriation Accounts 1962-63—Work done in connection with the preparation of photographic reproductions of the 1916 and other medals, which resulted in a nugatory payment of £38—could Mr. Mac Brádaigh tell us who wanted the photographic reproductions?—The Government Publications Sale Office got the idea some years ago that there would be sale for colour pictures of our medals. The Stationery Office referred it to us and a certain amount of expenditure was incurred for art work which was done. At that stage it was decided that there would not be sufficient demand to justify the heavy expenditure on such reproductions.
181. There is another case of a carry-over from last year which occurs to me. It refers to the loss of F.C.A. boots. A considerable sum was still outstanding. There had been a cash payment of £200 by the offending N.C.O. and that sum was lodged in court. Last year we were told that pending a decision as to whether an appeal would be taken by the Attorney General to the Supreme Court the amount lodged in Court had not been taken up.
Chairman.—I take it the case to which you are referring is that on page 7 of the Minute of the Minister for Finance on Report dated 11th July, 1963 of the Committee on Public Accounts. It reads as follows:
“Paragraph 34—Recovery of balance of value of property stolen.
The Minister has been informed that an appeal to the Supreme Court was taken in this case. The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the High Court and dismissed the appeal.”
Deputy Booth.—What happened to the amount that was lodged in court?—We got that £82. The defence solicitor lodged £82 and that is all we got.
The balance is still outstanding?—Yes, £381.
Less the amount which was withheld from the Officer?—Including that, the net loss is £331.
There is no reference to it being written off?—Subsequent to the appeal being turned down the Chief State Solicitor applied to the District Justice again for the arrest of this man and the application was dismissed.
Chairman.—Could you give us the circumstances in which the State lost its case? The N.C.O. was convicted on the 28th April, 1961, on a charge of stealing Army propery valued at £663. He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, not to be enforced if he paid £200 down and the balance within six months. He paid £200 into court but no further payment had been received in the Department when the six months’ period expired. As no further payment was received the Gardaí applied on 29th October, 1961, for a warrant for his arrest. The District Justice ruled that he could not issue the warrant because the six months had expired. His decision was upheld by the High Court and the appeal was dismissed by the Supreme Court.
There was a legal defect? There was a defect. They applied for the warrant on the day after the six months expired.
There was a defect and the court ruled on it?—They did not apply for the warrant on the day before the six months was up. It would appear to be a legal quibble.
Deputy Booth.—There was no error until the six months was up and then it was too late?—Yes.
Chairman.—We will look at that later. The courts could do nothing until the six months were up and then someone says: “You cannot proceed now.”
182. Deputy Booth.—On page 142 of the Appropriation Accounts there is reference to 20 cases, totalling £3,537 in respect of claims against third parties for loss of services arising from accidents. Are those traffic accidents?—Yes, exclusively.
183. Deputy P. Hogan (South Tipperary). —On the same page there is the statement: “The following losses to buildings by fire not covered by an insurance were sustained.” We have Dunne Hall, Pearse Barracks, Curragh Training Camp—£263 and Supply and Transport Office, Columb Barracks, Mullingar—£131. Why are these buildings not covered by insurance?—We have no insurance on buildings.
VOTE 48—ARMY PENSIONS.
Mr. Aodh Mac Brádaigh further examined.
184. Chairman.—On subhead O.—Special Compensation—United Nations Force in the Congo—special provision is made for United Nations expenditure, and you have tried to recover extra receipts. The expenses are merely put to a suspense account. Is this the same procedure as on Vote 47? Is it for the same reason?—No, this is a different procedure. This is compensation paid in respect of loss of life or injury in the Congo.
The witness withdrew.
VOTE 21—VALUATION AND ORDNANCE SURVEY.
Mr. J. Mooney called and examined.
185. Chairman.—Paragraph 27 of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General reads:
“Subhead E.—Appropriations in Aid
As noted in the account a deficiency of £79, following a burglary, is under investigation. In reply to my inquiries regarding the failure to follow the approved procedures relating to the control and custody of cash receipts, the Accounting Officer has informed me that he has issued instructions intended to ensure that the proper procedures are followed in future, and that he proposes to have test checks of cash balances carried out regularly.”
Have you anything to add, Mr. Suttle?
Mr. Suttle.—The established procedure for controlling receipts in the Valuation Office was adequate but at this period it was not being followed. The records of cash receipts were not properly maintained and regular lodgments of the receipts were not made. In the result the cash available at the time of the burglary was in excess of what should normally have been in the Office. The officer responsible was on sick leave from 13th June to 10th July of last year and I understand that he has not since returned to duty.
Chairman.—Have you completed your investigations, Mr. Mooney, into this deficiency following the burglary?—The investigations into the deficiency are completed. We know precisely what it is. I think it is a few pounds less than the sum mentioned there. We have tightened up the procedure and the practice in regard to the keeping of money in the safe, and so on. Short of another burglary, I do not see that there is a whole lot more that we can do.
There has been a change of procedures, in any event?—We have provided for regular checking of the amounts and the keeping of any surplus, so to speak, in the safe. I do not think there can be any excess balance of money there in future such as happened in this case. The loss was somewhat greater than it might have been if the checks had been carried out but, even with checks, we could not have forestalled the robbery.
Deputy Booth.—Was it a breaking-in?— Yes.
It was not an inside job?—In so far as we know, it was not an inside job. We traced where the thief came in from outside. It has resulted, I think, in precautions being taken all over the Civil Service, including our own place. It probably has done good, really. We often find that a small misfortune is an advantage indirectly, like a small motor accident. Certainly from what I have heard of other offices, I think they have looked into their procedures and their precautionary measures, and so on, and have taken steps to safeguard their cash. I have heard talk of that in relation to certain offices, and I think it arose from this. It put everybody on guard.
186. Chairman.—With regard to the delay in filling the vacant posts—we were speaking of this last year, too—have you made any progress in your proposal to widen the field of recruitment?—It is under active consideration at the moment. We have not yet actually held any competition different from the ones held in the past, but we probably shall be holding one before long which would widen the field. Heretofore, as you know, all the recruits have come in via the Army.
There may be some progress during this year, then, in the matter?—We expect that there will be.
Deputy Lalor.—What types of people are you short of?—It is not so much the type as the field of recruitment. At the moment, practically all the recuits come in from the Army. They are people who have been in the Army and who find themselves in the Survey Company. It is the branch of the Army that goes into Ordnance Survey and starts on this technical work in relation to survey and mapping. It is thus more or less accidential that you would get those people. You would not get them as a result of any wide selection, so to speak.
Deputy Lalor.—Are you short of a field officer with general knowledge?—Is it a question of mappers or actual survey people?
Deputy Booth.—Actually, it is engineers?— It involves technical men of all kinds for survey work in the field and also for the various processes involved in the Ordnance Survey buildings—drawing, photographic work, printing and operation of the machines. Heretofore, we have been limited to Army men, men who happened to be in the Army and who came into the Survey from the Army. We feel that if we had a wider selection and could get people who had been through technical schools or secondary schools and have more competition for a limited number of posts we would get folk of a higher calibre.
Deputy Lalor.—You would be able to pick?—Yes, so that once men would be appointed you could be assured that, as vacancies arose in all the higher posts, when it would come to anybody’s turn he would automatically be promoted, and it would not be necessary to pass over a whole lot to come across a fellow good enough for the promotion.
Deputy P. J. Burke.—Has the present salary got anything to do with it? Is it encouraging men with engineering and technical knowledge to take the jobs?—It was never intended to encourage men of engineering calibre in the sense of university calibre.
I have in mind people trained in surveying work and valuation work, generally?—The people we get in will not really have had training when they come in. We give them the training. It is a training occupation, really. So far as I know, the amount of technical training that would prepare them for recruitment, which is given in the technical schools, is rather limited.
Taking a student with a good secondary education, could you not take him in as an apprentice and train him?—I should say we could. Under this new procedure we propose to hold a competition. If such a student comes forward and gets a place he will be taken on, but I personally think that, if a student had done a very good secondary course, say in mathematics and so on, he would be better advised to go on to university to do engineering, or architecture, or something. The range of this occuptaion as a career is limited.
187. Deputy Carter.—With regard to savings due to resignations, would that cover many personnel?—There was one Technical Assistant who resigned. He went to America. The other resignations were from the Valuation Office. One particular resignation, it might interest you to hear, was the gentleman who was appointed Property Arbitrator. He was a District Valuer in the Valuation Office and, when the position of Property Arbitrator became vacant—that is the official arbitrator —he applied and was successful. There were also some Clerk-Typists who resigned to take jobs elsewhere. A Valuer resigned to take up a job in the Dublin Corporation. This kind of thing is to be expected in an Office where the staff are people who are trained to what might be described as professional status. They come in, you might say, as non-professional. I am referring in particular now to the Valuers—and they end up by being Valuers capable of valuing houses and property and advising in regard to values. There are a number of employing agencies glad to get these people, and it is only to be expected then that some will leave the Valuation Office to go to the Corporation or to good firms who go in for auctioneering and valuing property and so on. They like to have an expert valuer on the staff so there is always an attraction to these places for people in the Valuation Office on the Valuer establishment.
Deputy P. J. Burke.—The great asset in the commercial world is that he is a man of standing in the Valuation Office?—Yes.
188. Chairman.—In regard to subheads D.1—Photographic and Printing Equipment —and D.2—Retriangulation Equipment, etc. —in the previous year you had a saving of approximately £8,900 and the explanation was that the accounts had not been furnished for goods received. This year, the total amounts to approximately £6,700 and the explanation is more or less the same. How much of this expenditure this year refers to payment for goods received in the previous year?—The explanation for subhead D.2. is the reverse of that for subhead D.1. In the case of subhead D.1. there was a saving of £1,000 and the note is: “Some accounts for goods received were not furnished within the financial year 1962-63.” There is nothing I can add to that. We expect the accounts to come in but they do not, and that means that the obligation to meet the payment has to be deferred until the following year. In the case of subhead D.2: “Some accounts for goods delivered within the financial year 1961-62 were not received until 1962-63.” That was the reverse.
I wonder have you got the point I was making. Last year you had a saving of £8,900 and the explanation was that the accounts had not been furnished for goods received. Now this year’s total expenditure is about £6,700 and the explanation is more or less the same. Of your expenditure this year how much refers to payment for goods received in the previous year?—I am afraid I could not tell you that right off the reel. If you wish I can let you have a note about it.
Yes. I was going to ask you the total value of the goods received up to the end of March, 1963, and which had not been paid for by that date?—I am afraid all I can do is give you a note about that*.
189 Deputy Booth.—Is the retriangulation equipment nearly completed now?—Yes. I think we have practically all the equipment we want. Later on we shall be getting further equipment in relation to aerial surveying. The indications are that we shall have to go in for aerial surveying in a big way, and that will involve some equipment, and that equipment is not reflected in this. It will come along later.
190. Aerial surveying is being operated at the moment to a considerable extent, is it not?—Not with us. It is elsewhere. It is operated in most countries, but we have not got down to it yet.
I think there has been some done in the Dublin area?—There has been some done by other parties but, officially, the Ordnance Survey have not started yet. The Army have the planes and equipment for it. We shall have to get some ancillary equipment, mainly to process the photographs in order to make them suitable for reproduction in the form of maps. We are in correspondence with the Department of Finance in relation to that at the moment.
191. Chairman.—What is the position with regard to the primary triangulation of the country? Is it expected to finish in 1964? —I think the first stage of it is expected to be finished by the middle of July. That is the first stage of measuring the country in large triangles of 30 or 40 miles a side. We will go on to the secondary stage then, and afterwards to the tertiary stage in which we will get down to the detailed measuring of small areas for large scale mapping—maps to a scale of 25 inches to the mile. It may be a smaller scale than that. We are considering at the moment whether we should not have a smaller large-scale type of mapping, something like 12 inches to the mile.
Deputy Booth.—That would be necessarily for urban areas?—Built-up areas and developing areas. It is most suitable for engineers, architects and town planners.
Chairman.—And for farms as well?—The 25 inch scale would suit farms, or possibly even a smaller scale; a 12 inch scale would suit farms.
192. Chairman.—Under subhead E.— Appropriations in Aid—I notice your sales of maps have improved?—They have improved again since that. They are now up to the £25,000 mark. We may not be able to shove them up much higher than that, but the position is very promising.
You have not increased the prices?—We have not increased the prices. We have done a little bit of levelling out, but we may have to consider the position with regard to prices before long.
Deputy Booth.—There was some question last year about advertising. I think the Accounting Officer told us they were thinking of advertising more. Is that being continued? —We have included provision in the Estimate this year for some advertising. We have not done any newspaper advertising yet but we have done something by way of advertising on television and by Press conferences and that type of thing. We shall have to get down to real advertising, as ordinarily understood, before long.
Any expenditure undertaken on travelling and incidential expenses would be under subhead B?—That is right.
193. I note there was one officer who was apparently on loan to another Department, without repayment. Is that a customary thing or is it an unusual occurrence?—It is unusual. This arose for personal health reasons.
194. Chairman.—Under Appendix A, No. 49, External Affairs, the amount is high as compared with other Departments. What is the nature of those special services for the Department of External Affairs?—It was for mapping for the “Facts about Ireland” booklet. We did the map printing for that.
VOTE 22—RATES ON GOVERNMENT PROPERTY.
Mr. J. Mooney further examined.
195. Chairman.—On subhead B.—Contributions towards Rates on Premises occupied by Representatives of External Governments —has there been any progress to date on the definition of the “beneficial” and “nonbeneficial” elements of these rates?—I am afraid the position is more or less as it was. The matter has not been finalised.
Has any progress been reported?—The matter is being considered by the Department of External Affairs. There is little we can do beyond reminding them to expedite it. I should say we made a certain amount of progress. There were big arrears of payments due to Dublin Corporation. We decided last year to pay an approximate proportion of those arrears to clear that off. In other words we paid to the Corporation the amount which corresponded to what would be payable in the case of other Governments on a safe definition of what is the distinction between “beneficial’ and “non-beneficial” rates.
196. In regard to Item No. 3 of Appropriations in Aid, Payment by local authorities for premises occupied by Local Accounts and Supply Staff, Department of Local Government, in the previous year nothing was received under that heading. You stated at that time that payment in respect of premises was not made within the year. Does this receipt now cover the two years?—I am afraid I just could not say. It comes in the year after that to which it relates.
It only accounts for one year?—I should say that would be so but I am not quite certain.
The witness withdrew.
The committee adjourned.