MIONTUAIRISC NA FINNEACHTA
(Minutes of Evidence)
Déardaoin, 11 Meitheamh, 1964.
Thursday, 11th 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. C. J. Byrnes (An Roinn Airgeadais) called and examined.
VOTE 45—TRANSPORT AND POWER.
Miss T. J. Beere called and examined.
197. Chairman.—Paragraphs 66 to 69 of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General deal with this Vote. Paragraph 66 reads:
“Córas Iompair Éireann. Subhead D.2.—Redundancy Compensation.
66. Section 15 of the Transport Act, 1958 authorised the payment of grants from voted moneys to the Board of Córas Iompair Éireann to meet the cost of compensation paid by the Board to employees, including those of the former Great Northern Railway Board, whose services are dispensed with or conditions worsened in the five year period from 16 July 1958. Including £238,310 charged to the subhead the grants issued to the Board under this section amounted to £902,062 at 31 March 1963. The certificates of the amounts expended on compensation furnished by the Board’s auditors have been accepted by me.”
Have you anything to add, Mr. Suttle?
Mr. Suttle.—I have nothing to add. This paragraph is for information.
198. Chairman.—Paragraph 67 of the Report is as follows:
Subhead F.1.—Grant under section 2 of the Tourist Traffic Act, 1961 (Grant-in-Aid).
Subhead F.2.—Resort Development (Grant-in-Aid).
Subhead F.3.—Development of Holiday Accommodation (Grant-in-Aid).
67. Grants issued to Bord Fáilte Éireann under section 2 of the Tourist Traffic Act, 1961 and subsections 2 (1) (a) and (b) of the Tourist Traffic Act, 1959 are limited to £5,000,000, £1,000,000 and £500,000, respectively. Grants under section 2 (1) of the 1959 Act may not be paid after the expiration of ten years commencing on the date of the passing of the Act, 6 August 1959. Grants issued to 31 March 1963 are shown in the following statement:—
In addition to the sums shown at (2) and (3) sums amounting to £23,300 and £9,000 were issued under section 7 of the Tourist Traffic Act, 1955 for “Resort Development” and “Additional Bedroom Accommodation” prior to the passing of the 1959 Act.”
Have you anything to say on this paragraph, Mr. Suttle?
Mr. Suttle.—No, I have nothing further to add to that.
Deputy Kenny.—Does the £1,326,956 in (1) include salaries?—Yes, it includes salaries, publicity, publications and that kind of thing.
Does it take that amount of money to administer the other two sections?—There are a great many other items included in administration and general expenses. It includes hotel staff recruitment and training schemes. It also includes interest—grants to hotels.
199. Chairman.—I note that provision is made under subheads F.1.—Grant under section 2 of the Tourist Traffic Act, 1961 (Grant-in-Aid)—and F.2.—Resort Development (Grant-in-Aid)—for grants to Bord Fáilte. Is there any difficulty in promoting resort developments?—It has been rather slower than was expected. There have been difficulties in land acquisition and in getting general agreement but I believe good progress will be made during the present year. Most of the difficulties are being smoothed out and we expect pretty big payments in the present year.
200. I note that the grant for the Development of Holiday Accommodation—under subhead F.3.—has been exhausted at the present moment. Are you making additional provision for it?—Under the Tourist Traffic Act, 1963, the holiday accommodation grants (subhead F.3) were increased to £1,500,000.
Deputy P. Hogan (South Tipperary).— How much has been expended under subhead F.3. up to 1963?—The figure is £491,000 up to March, 1963. The figure up to March, 1964 is just over £800,000.
What are the corresponding figures for subheads F.1. and F.2.?—The figure for subhead F.2. up to March, 1963, was £189,000 and up to March, 1964 it was £369,000. If the estimates are correct for the year ending March, 1965, it will be up to £620,000. The figure for subhead F.1. up to March, 1963 was £1,327,000, and up to March, 1964, it was £2,239,000. The estimate for the current year will bring that up to a little over £3½ million.
201. Chairman.—Paragraph 68 of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General reads:
“Subhead L.—Shannon Free Airport Development Company, Limited (Grant-in-Aid).
68. Grants to the company under the Shannon Free Airport Development Company, Limited Acts, 1959 and 1961 may not exceed £1,250,000. Grants issued to 31 March, 1963, including £261,000 charged to this subhead, amounted to £875,500.
£2,476,000, including £898,000 in the year under review, was issued from the Central Fund to enable the Minister for Finance to take up shares in the company. The amount which the Minister may subscribe for shares is limited by section 2 of the 1961 Act to £3,000,000.
An advance of £90,000 was made from the Central Fund during the year to the company towards the cost of providing dwellings for workers employed on the industrial estate. The maximum amount of advances (£400,000) authorised for this purpose by section 4 of the 1961 Act has thereby been reached. The Minister for Finance has decided on the terms and conditions under which the advances shall be repaid.”
Have you anything to add, Mr. Suttle?
Mr. Suttle.—The advances mentioned in the third paragraph are repayable with interest over a period of 50 years.
202. Chairman.—I notice that an advance was made towards the cost of providing dwellings for workers employed on the industrial estate?—New provisions were made in the 1963 Act to provide £2 million for expenditure on housing and community services. Those are grants, repayable with interest over a 50 year period at, I think, current rates of interest.
Deputy P. Hogan (South Tipperary).—Are these extended periods of repayment? I understand it was 35 years before?—Yes.
They have been altered to 50 years now?— Yes, the same as the local authority provision.
203. Chairman.—Paragraph 69 of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General reads:
“Operation of Shannon, Dublin and Cork Airports.
69. I have been furnished with statements giving particulars of the cost of operating Shannon, Dublin and Cork Airports. Shannon and Cork Airports are managed directly by the Department and Dublin Airport is managed by Aer Rianta, Teoranta, on behalf of the Department.
The expenses and receipts under their main heads are as follows (the figures for: the previous year being shown in brackets)
Passenger service charge was introduced on 1 April 1962.”
Have you anything to add, Mr. Suttle?
Mr. Suttle.—The Committee will note that the deficiency on Dublin Airport has fallen considerably as a result of the introduction of the passenger service charge. By contrast the deficiency increased at Shannon where the passenger service charge brought in only one-sixth of what was received at Dublin. This is the first full year of operation of the Cork Airport.
Deputy P. Hogan (South Tipperary).— Does the difference between the passenger service charge in Dublin and Shannon mean that there are less embarkations?—Yes.
204. Chairman.—I notice in regard to the catering service, taking Shannon first, that there was a very large drop. Is there any reason?—Yes. It was due to the reduction in the transit traffic. Passengers used to be in Shannon for an hour and have a meal and do some shopping there. That trend has been reversed.
There is also an appreciable drop in regard to Dublin Airport under that head?—I imagine—this is purely a personal view—that it is probably due to the extra competition from the new hotels in the area.
205. Deputy P. Hogan (South Tipperary).—On the question of receipts for Shannon Airport, landings in 1960-61 were 7,720 and in 1961-62 they dropped to 7,406. Have you any figures for landings in 1962-63?—From memory—the number of landings had gone down but the weight of the jet planes was greater. Actually, in this year, landing fees at Shannon produced the largest receipts we have ever had there. The landings were 6,250 and there were also training flights.
They have gone up also?—Yes.
206. Deputy Kenny.—Have you any comparison with other airlines of the total deficiency of revenue, and is it considered big or small?—Airlines or airports?
Airports?—We have made some comparisons from time to time but it is very difficult to make comparisons with other airports since the business may be so different. A few years ago we did make some comparisons and our airport losses were not bad at all. In some cases airport authorities treat interest and depreciation in a different way from the way we treat them. In fact, all British airports lose, with the exception of London Airport?
207. Chairman.—Is there any catering service at Cork Airport?—The catering service is a concession to CIE. It is worked on a percentage basis.
208. Still in regard to Cork your receipts are less than a fifth of expenses. I take it that you hope for an improvement in the foreseeable future?—It depends on traffic growth. It is pretty satisfactory in Cork. As you can see, we have to pay interest and depreciation charges of £107,461. Cork Airport cost £1¼ million, and if we take out that amount, the position would not be so bad.
209. In regard to subhead A.—Salaries, Wages and Allowances—I notice that under the note on Extra Remuneration there is a large amount for overtime and special duties. At least one officer received £538 extra. We had this question of overtime in an acute form in connection with another Vote last year. Could we have some information on the reason for the big increase this year, and secondly, could we be told why so much overtime was necessary? Apparently a number of officers were paid £200 and over, and a higher number worked overtime?—The main reason for the overtime is the fact that we have to provide a 24-hour service. If we did not work a considerable amount of overtime, we would have to increase the staff considerably. It is not always easy to recruit technical staff to meet any short-term need you may have.
What was the reason this year for the big increase over other years?—We had more overtime this year than we had before, but a number of other items contributed to the increase of £21,000 in subhead A.
Perhaps you might be able to let us have a note on that. At least one officer received up to £538. We should like to know the reasons for the large increase this year and the circumstances in which this overtime was necessary and also the number of officers who were paid sums of over £200?—I can send the committee this information.*
210. Deputy Clinton.—Could we have a breakdown of the expenditure under Subhead B.—Travelling and Incidental Expenses—in respect of the travelling expenses?—The breakdown is as follows: Departmental Headquarters: travelling expenses £800, incidentals £140, telephones £3,700—a total of £4,640; Marine Services: travelling expenses £1,200, incidentals £220, telephones, £400—a total of £1,820; Coast Lifesaving Service: travelling expenses £700, incidentals £450, telephones £1,350—a total of £2,500; Aviation Services: travelling expenses £8,114, incidentals £4,446, telephones £57,110—a total of £69,670; Meteorological Services: travelling expenses £3,500, incidentals £1,500, telephones £33,270—a total of £38,270. That comes to a total of £116,900. Expenditure on telephones and teleprinters exceeded the estimate by £6,000, and travelling expenses exceeded the estimate by £3,000. Unforeseen excess expenditure of £900 arose on the hire of an aircraft for training purposes. The balance of £200 was in connection with an aircraft accident at Shannon. The excess expenditure on telephones arose mainly in the Meteorological Service accounts for teleprinters. Claims for equipment provided for in 1961-62 were not received for payment until the following financial year. Those accounts are paid annually. The excess expenditure in respect of travelling was due to matters in connection with the Aviation Services. The hire of an aircraft was for the purpose of providing training for Air Traffic Control. We previously had the use of a plane from the Department of Defence, but you will remember that there was an accident.
It is a transfer of a service, more or less?— Yes. In fact it is a loss of a service. There are some other small items. In connection with the Shannon crash, there were some ex gratia payments made to the dredger crews from Limerick who rendered assistance.
211. Deputy P. Hogan (South Tipperary).—Under subhead D.2.—Redundancy Compensation—how much had been paid in redundancy compensation up to the end of the last financial year?—It is referred to in paragraph 66. Up to 31st March, 1964, £1.6 million had been paid; up to the same date in 1963, the sum was £902,000.
212. Deputy Clinton.—There is a big drop in the amount of expenditure under subhead E.—Grants for Harbours. How is it that money granted was not expended? Was it that jobs were not financed, or that the demand was not there?—That estimate was made up on the basis of information received from the harbour authorities or the Office of Public Works. During the year, payments were made in respect of eight different harbours but there were considerable savings, the principal one being Galway where the work had not commenced. There was a saving of £58,000 there. Of course the expenditure will arise the following year. The same applies to Wicklow. The total grant there was £100,000 and we had made provision for an expenditure of £35,000, but the expenditure was quite small during the year because of delay in starting the work. There were some other relatively small savings, but there was an excess in respect of Cork.
How many harbours are catered for?— Cork, Drogheda, Dundalk, Galway, Moy, Sligo and Wicklow. When making up the estimate, we put in a global figure as well to cover grants which may be approved because our estimates are prepared in advance.
I take it that all harbours are eligible?— The commercial harbours covered by the Harbours Act, 1945. Expenditure on fishery harbours and the State harbours are dealt with elsewhere. Normally our grants are confined to the commercial harbours though there have been a few exceptions to that. In all, about 23 or 24 harbours are covered by the Harbours Act of 1945.
213. Deputy Booth.—In regard to subhead F.2.—Resort Development (Grant-in-Aid)— could you refresh my memory as to why there was a reduction in the Supplementary Estimate? Was the amount provisionally transferred to some other subhead?—There was a saving in major resort development. Development was proceeding less rapidly than anticipated.
As soon as the saving was made, credit was taken?—That is so.
214. Deputy Clinton.—Is the work on these developments the responsibiltiy of Bord Fáilte, or is the work the responsibility of the local authority?—They are very often joint efforts between Bord Fáilte and the local authorities. Bord Fáilte give only a certain proportion of the cost. A proportion has to be raised locally.
Deputy Clinton.—The work is carried out by the local authority?—Bord Fáilte are responsible for these grants-in-aid and I do not know the exact details. I know that some work is carried out by one body and some by another, depending on the kind of work.
215. Deputy P. Hogan (South Tipperary). —On subhead F.3.—Development of Holiday Accommodation (Grant-in-Aid)—is there any breakdown as between the grants for large luxury hotels and the grants for small hostels?—These grants-in-aid are administered by Bord Fáilte. The conditions under which they are given are published by Bord Fáilte.
216. Deputy Booth.—On subhead G.1.— Acquisition of Land, Buildings, etc.—what lands or buildings were acquired under this subhead?—There was only a small expenditure. There were various small payments, mostly legal costs and expenses. We have had to acquire lands at different times for airports. My recollection is that we were concluding arrangements for some of the Cork Airport lands. We did not enter into any acquisitions in the year.
217. On the notes relating to subhead G.2.— Constructional Works including Furnishing of Buildings—Shannon Airport—and G.3.— Constructional Works, etc.—Dublin Airport —there appear to have been a considerable number of plans abandoned or postponed and a number of new plans, which had not been foreseen, put into operation. Would it be correct to say there has been a considerable amount of changing of mind between the preparation of the original estimate and the actual financial year as to what form of constructional work would be undertaken at Shannon and Dublin?—We will take Shannon first. One of the largest savings—£75,000 out of the total saving—was accounted for by the following: after we had made our estimate for this second jet runway, which appeared to be necessary to meet international requirements—over which we have no control—the International Civil Aviation Organisation met in Montreal in November-December, 1962, in connection with airports and ground aids. They considered many important items affecting runway lengths arising from the operation of large jet aircraft, then only gaining popularity. These talks did not reach finality. We decided, therefore, to wait until we were absolutely certain that the expenditure of this very large sum of money was unavoidable. They still have not come to finality on that particular matter. A second example concerns the saving of £25,000 on a covered walkway. We experimented with blast fences to give protection. We hoped if they were successful that we might avoid the expense of a covered walkway. Unfortunately in aviation, new developments are cropping up all the time. It is very hard to plan a long time in advance. We do not proceed with a scheme if we find that an alternative would save money.
This is largely because of the introduction of jet aircraft?—Yes.
The blast barriers are for protection against jet blast?—Yes.
218. Deputy P. Hogan (South Tipperary).—On subhead G.2., again about Shannon, what is the expenditure up to the last financial year?—The total expenditure on Shannon?
Yes?—We have a figure for total capital expenditure but I do not think I would have a separate figure under this particular subhead.
You had £3,865,000 up to 31st March, 1962?—I thought the Deputy was asking the total capital expenditure at the airport since it opened?
No. The corresponding figure for 1962?— I am sorry.
Chairman.—The figure the Deputy is quoting is taken from the previous Report.
Miss Beere.—In the appendix to the Report, or in the actual evidence?
Mr. Suttle.—It was in the Comptroller and Auditor General’s Report last year. It was dropped this year.
Miss Beere.—The corresponding estimate for 1961-62?
Mr. Suttle.—No, the total construction costs for the airport. We used to put in the figure each year. This year we did not put it in.
Miss Beere.—The total capital cost for Shannon is £5¼ million including lands.
Chairman.—Does that satisfy the Deputy?
Deputy P. Hogan (South Tipperary).—You give the figures here in paragraph 69 on page 103. We have not got them this year.
Chairman.—No, for some reason they were dropped from the Comptroller and Auditor General’s Report. They could be obtained for the Deputy.
Deputy P. Hogan (South Tipperary)— Very good.
Chairman.—Will you please furnish figures corresponding to those in paragraph 69 of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s Report on the Appropriation Accounts for 1961-62?—I shall do that.*
219. On subhead G.4.—Constructional Works including Furnishing of Buildings— Cork Airport—I take it that the same explanation applies here as for subheads G. 2 and G.3.—Yes. We had very little to guide us in Cork because it was a new airport.
220. Deputy Booth.—On subhead H.1.— Maintenance Works, including Supplies, etc., at Shannon Airport—there was a greater volume of maintenance works than had been anticipated. Is there any explanation as to the type of maintenance work there? I should have thought most of the buildings would still be fairly new. Was it internal or external work?—Following an agreement with the Union, we agreed to pay travelling expenses and travelling time allowances to the wage earners engaged on architectural and engineering work in lieu of subsidised bus tickets formerly payable under another subhead. That was one consideration. We also had more maintenance to do on runway pavements. They are inspected regularly and any defects have to be repaired. The wooden buildings at Shannon, because of the weather conditions there, require frequent painting to protect them and to make the place look respectable.
They are semi-temporary buildings? Have some of them been removed?—Yes, some of they have been removed.
The original ones were not masonry?—No.
Chairman.—Was any allowance paid to the staff?—No, I do not think any allowances were paid.
221. Regarding subhead H.3.—Transport of Staff—there was a new agreement with the union?—These people used to get cheap bus tickets. Some of them have bicycles, and they preferred to get money payment instead of the cheap bus tickets. A saving was made on travelling. They are getting extra remuneration instead of the bus tickets.
222. Deputy Cunningham.—On subhead J.1.—Maintenance Works including Supplies, etc., at Cork Airport—I see a sum of £12,356 was expended here. This is a new airport. What was the actual figure for renewal of furniture and fittings?—This is a standard heading. I do not think we had any renewals of furniture in that year. The maintenance work was a bit less than we had expected. The estimate at the time had to be conjectural because we did not know what problems we were going to meet at Cork Airport. If there was any expenditure for renewal of furniture, it would be just for some small item.
Deputy P. Hogan (South Tipperary).—It seems a rather big figure as compared with the corresponding figure under subhead H.1.—We over-estimated, if anything. We only spent half of the money.
223. Chairman.—In regard to subhead K.—Radio Equipment—the note says that the saving was mainly due to the fact that arrangements for the provision of radar equipment for Dublin and Shannon Airports did not proceed as rapidly as had been anticipated. Are there any particular circumstances surrounding that?—It is a very big technical business putting in Precision Approach Radar. It actually takes two years to have the equipment provided and installed. The PAR is now in at both Shannon and Dublin airports. We encountered delays we had not anticipated. The other equipment, the Surveillance Radar Element, is partially in in Dublin but not yet in Shannon.
The charges for them will arise next year? —Yes.
224. Deputy Booth.—On subhead L.— Shannon Free Airport Development Company Limited (Grant-in-Aid)—could we know what is the basis on which these payments are made for industrial development at Shannon as the note states the amount was less than anticipated?—The saving was due to the fact that one of the factories which was getting a grant from the Shannon Free Airport Development Company failed, by the end of the year, to have plant and machinery installed. They had had delays in installation. The money is not paid until everything is in. It is a grant which will now be paid in the following year. It was approved, but was not paid, because the conditions were not fulfilled at the end of the year.
The investigations are entirely outside your Department? You simply pay the grant?—We pay the grant and the Shannon Free Airport Development Company administers it. If there was a large saving, we would inquire the reason for it.
You are not responsible for the allocation? —No, we are not responsible for the allocation.
225. In regard to subhead M.2.—Protective Equipment for Irish Ships—can we take it this is nearly finished?—Expenditure was practically finished, and we only made a nominal provision.
Are these installations on new ships or old ships?—When they are on new ships, the expenditure goes into the cost of the ships but when we put them in the old ships the cost comes out of State funds. Irish Shipping are now putting the installations into all their new ships so this will no longer be on our account.
Could you do very much with the £32?— That went to the Department of Posts and Telegraphs as we owed them some money for cartage.
I thought it looked something like that. Is it finished now?—Yes.
226. Deputy Kenny.—On subhead N.— Expenses in Connection with International Organisations—what kind of international organisations are in question there? Are they airlines?—I can give you a list of them. There is the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organisation, the International Railway Congress Association, the World Meteorological Organisation, the International Union for Geodesy and Geophysics; and our contribution to the International Civil Aviation Organisation which is the biggest and the most important from our point of view.
227. Deputy Cunningham.—With regard to subhead Q.—Grants for Bottled Gas Installations—the amount spent was very small. Is it because the demand for bottled gas is not great? How many years has this been in operation?—This was the first year for grants to mainland householders and we anticipated that we would get about 6,000 applications for the £10 grants. Actually we got a very small number of applications. In fact, applications for these grants totalling £200 only were received in 1962-63. I have been making inquiries as to last year and apparently we got some 300 applications in the year ended March 1964. We can only conclude that a lot of these people had already got bottled gas in their houses and did not apply for grants. Sales of bottled gas are going up and we expected applications which we did not get. I do not know the reason. We have widely publicised the scheme on a number of occasions.
Chairman.—The outlook for the scheme does not look too good, or does it?—If they have bottled gas already, it is all right.
When was your Supplementary taken?— November, 1962.
228. In regard to the Appropriations in Aid, passenger hostels—item 9—dealt with under the heading Shannon Airport, do you expect a revival in the use of these hostels?—No, we do not expect there will be further use for them as passenger hostels. The demand for that type of accommodation was reduced because we no longer have the transit passengers who travelled by the old piston-engined aircraft and who had to be accommodated at Shannon for the night. That traffic is going down and terminal passengers require something different, the demand for which will be met probably by the hotel in the airport and the other hotels in the neighbourhood.
229. There is a drop in item 14—Class B communications traffic. Is there some explanation for this drop from £3,000 to £1,692?—This is a commercial service. We provide the service if it is required and make a charge for it. We divide the receipts with the Department of Posts and Telegraphs. The ordinary telegraph rates are charged.
230. Deputy P. Hogan (South Tipperary).—What are concession fees—item 11?
Chairman.—Shops?—They include items like self-drive motor car hire, bank concessions, a levy on petrol, rentals for display cases and a few small items. Petrol is the big one.
231. Deputy Booth.—Last year we were told that some of the passenger hostel accommodation was being used as staff hostels. This year we find that the estimated return on staff hostels—item 10—is slightly down. Is there any possibility of finding a use for passenger hostels at all, or are they more or less finished?—We are negotiating with the Shannon Free Airport Development Company to take some as temporary accommodation for single workers in the industrial estate.
Can they be moved?—They need not be moved for that purpose.
232. Deputy Cunningham.—What are foreshore rents and licence fees referred to at item 5?—They include fees for removals of sand. Also for a lease under the Foreshore Act there is a small rent. The rent varies according to the length of time and the extent of the foreshore and is determined in consultation with the Valuation Office. There are fees for removing beach material. It is a very small fee if the sand is removed by the applicant for his own land, but if it is removed for the purpose of sale the fee is greater. Foreshore is controlled in the interest of the neighbouring land owners in order that erosion will not affect their land. We try to recoup our expenses.
233. Chairman.—I wonder can you give us some indication of the amounts received under miscellaneous receipts at item 21 of the Appropriations in Aid?—Aviation services realised £13,375; meteorological services, £550; marine services, £270; recoupment of salaries of officers seconded to outside bodies, £4,695; and general miscellaneous, £1,256.
Deputy Booth.—What is covered by aviation services?—We undertook work on a new hangar for one of the airlines, for which we were recouped. That gave us part of our surplus which was not anticipated. We maintain works on behalf of some of our tenants at Shannon. We also maintain furniture and provide other services for our tenants.
Is the amount under Appropriations in Aid the gross amount?—Yes, the total amount.
Actual expenses—Where are they accounted for?—Under subhead H.—Maintenance Works, etc.
Chairman.—Do you make provision in the estimate for some of the major ones, which seem to be recurring regularly—the general ones at the end?—Yes. It is a fairly small figure under “General” for non-recurring “Miscellaneous” items. If anything larger turns up, it is something unanticipated— such as being asked to do something for one of the undertakings at Shannon. It is very difficult to foresee what might occur.
234. In regard to Note No. 4, why were sums of £3,000 and £250 paid ex gratia to contractors?—There was one contract for the construction of an approach road at Shannon and the work was delayed by abnormally long spells of bad weather. In fact some of the work was deferred, because of the bad weather, to the winter which was a difficult time. Normally, the contractor would have asked for permission to suspend the work, but it was essential to the airport to get the work done as quickly as possible and the contractor was therefore required to continue. He was the lowest tenderer when he got the contract and even allowing for the ex gratia payment for keeping his men there during the winter period, his contract still remained the lowest.
Was it the same individual who received both sums?—No, different people. We actually required the other contractor to undertake responsibility for sub-contracts for mechanical services which had not been in the original tender. It was the most satisfactory way. He recovered a sum which did not do much more than recoup labour expenses.
235. With reference to Expenditure as compared with the Estimate itself, your surplus for surrender of £770,084 seems large—more than 15 per cent. of your net Vote. It was more than 12 per cent. for 1961-62 and 14 per cent. for the previous year. Is there any reason for this apparently consistent over-estimation?—In those items, we depend, of course, on the technical advice and the estimates we can get from the engineering side, and the architectural side. We try to reduce these estimates every year when we have reason to believe that all the work cannot be done. In that year we thought we had cut down to the amount of the work that could be done. There were quite a number of factors—the bad weather was one and delay on the part of contractors in getting ahead with jobs because of difficulty in recruiting labour was another.
It ranges over three years, from 1960-61 at 14 per cent., 1961-62 at 12 per cent. and the year under review at 15 per cent. The over-estimation seems to have been rather consistent?—I agree. It is consistent but we have tried to reduce it. A good deal of the work had to be carried over from one year to the next. Again, this year, there was the difficulty of over-estimation or the alternative of the prospect of having to go to the Dáil for a Supplementary Estimate.
Deputy Booth.—It would be correct to say that there was the introduction of a considerable amount of jet traffic and that a greate number of unforeseen factors arose during the last few years than at the period when you had a long series of precedents to work to?—A lot of it was quite unpredictable.
Chairman.—You took a Supplementary Estimate for £50,000 in February of the year in question?—The bottled gas?
Yes. Would a token Vote not have been sufficient at that stage?—It now appears as if it would have been. At that time, however, the best advice we had was that everybody qualified in the country would avail of the bottled gas grant of £10.
Would a token Estimate not have been sufficient in the month of February to cover that situation?—Usually on the question of Supplementary Estimates we are guided by the Department of Finance requirements.
Deputy P. Hogan (South Tipperary).— There seems to have been consistent over-estimation in regard to Shannon Free Airport? —That is the grant-in-aid.
Deputy Lalor.—There was a Supplementary Estimate with regard to bottled gas. With a token Estimate for £10 and the foreknowledge that there would be a substantial surplus, could the Department not carry on? —No. We must go to the Dáil in respect of a new service like that.
The witness withdrew.
VOTE 44—INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE.
Mr. J. C. B. MacCarthy called and examined.
236. Chairman.—Paragraphs 58 and 59 of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General are as follows:
“Córas Tráchtála. Subhead H.—Córas Tráchtála (Grant-in-Aid).
58. Grants to Córas Tráchtála, which under the provisions of section 16 of the Export Promotion Act, 1959, may not exceed £1,000,000, amounted to £849,885 at 31 March 1963, including £245,000 issued in the year under review.
An Foras Tionscal.
Subhead J.1.—Grant under Undeveloped Areas Act, 1952 (Grant-in-Aid).
Subhead J.2.—Grant under Industrial Grants Act, 1959 (Grant-in-Aid).
59. As explained in previous reports, the Industrial Grants Act, 1959 extended the functions of An Foras Tionscal to enable it by means of grants and guarantees to aid industrial development outside the undeveloped areas. The aggregate amount that may be issued, including grants issued prior to the passing of the 1959 Act, has been increased by section 7 (2) of the Industrial Grants (Amendment) Act, 1963 from £15,000,000 to £20,000,000. Grants issued to 31 March 1963 were as follows:—
Have you anything to add, Mr. Suttle?
Mr. Suttle.—The provision under these subheads was £1 million each. The accounts of An Foras Tionscal show that the grants paid in undeveloped areas amounted to £997,000 and £617,000 was paid in the case of areas outside the undeveloped areas.
237. Chairman.—Paragraph 60 of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General reads:
“Subhead N.—Repayable Advances to Nitrigín Éireann Teoranta (Grant-in-Aid).
60. Advances amounting to £744,000, including £720,000 in the year under review, were made to Nitrigín Éireann Teoranta from the vote prior to the passing of the Nitrigín Éireann Teoranta Act, 1963. Advances to the company from the Central Fund under section 5 of the Act and sums previously advanced from the vote are limited to £6,000,000. At 31 March 1963 advances from the Central Fund amounted to £400,000. Section 5 (2) of the Act provides for determination by the Minister for Finance of the terms of repayment of the advances. The terms of repayment have not yet been decided.”
Have you anything to add, Mr. Suttle?
Mr. Suttle.—These advances to the Company are by way of loan capital to enable it to erect and equip a suitable factory at Arklow. The accounts are audited by my Office and are required to be presented to both Houses of the Oireachtas. The Company had not commenced trading at 31 March, 1963.
Chairman.—What state has been reached in the establishment of the industry now?— I am not completely familiar with it. The factory construction is well advanced, but production has not yet commenced.
Have the terms of repayment been settled? —Not yet. I am not certain, but I presume that the terms will, in fact, be the same as for money advanced directly out of the Central Fund.
238. Chairman.—Paragraph 61 of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General reads:—
“Subhead Q.—Repayment of Advances under the Trade Loans (Guarantee) Acts.
61. This subhead provides for the repayment to the Central Fund, in accordance with the provisions of section 10 of the Trade Loans (Guarantee) Act, 1939, of the amount £22,000 which remained outstanding after the expiration of two years from the date on which an advance of £30,218 was made from the Fund on foot of a guarantee given by the Minister for Industry and Commerce for Slaney Cabinet Works, Ltd. The company failed to meet its obligations under the debenture guaranteed by the Minister and a receiver was appointed in February 1959. The total amount realised by the receiver was £20,688 of which £1,307 was required for preferential creditors and £11,161 for the expenses of the receiver in maintaining the business for sale as a going concern including £3,430 for his fees and outlay. The balance £8,220 was paid to the Minister. The receivership is completed.”
Have you anything to add, Mr. Suttle?
Mr. Suttle.—The guarantee of £30,000 in the case of the Slaney Cabinet Works was given in May, 1955. The company defaulted in June, 1958, and the receiver was appointed in February, 1959. Practically all the assets had been disposed of by February, 1960.
Chairman.—Was the concern sold as a going concern?—Yes, it was sold as a going concern. The date is January, 1960.
Would you consider the receiver’s fees rather high in relation to the amount realised?—In the normal way the answer might be yes, but in this case the receiver kept the business operating as a going concern. Normally, expenses are higher in such a case than if the business was being wound up. In any case, fees are the subject of fixed charges. There are scales which apply under the rules of the Accountants Institute. They are measured accordingly.
He kept the place going for about 12 months?—Yes.
Deputy Booth.—Some of these were management fees rather than receiver’s fees in the normal way?—Yes. but operating losses are involved also.
Chairman.—Looking at it in the ordinary way, it would seem the fees are a bit high.
239. Paragraph 62 of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General states:—
“62. A loan of £15,000 was raised by the Hollypark Mining Co. Ltd. on a guarantee given by the Minister in 1957. In 1958 a receiver was appointed when the company did not resume production after the occurrence of an unofficial strike. On foot of the Minister’s guarantee £15,305 was issued from the Central Fund in 1959 and this sum was made good to the Fund from voted moneys in 1961-62. A sum of £1,719, representing the net proceeds of the sale of certain assets, was paid to the Minister by the receiver in the year under review and credited as miscellaneous appropriations in aid. The balance of the assets realised £8,355, which was used to meet in part the claims of preferred creditors mainly workmen’s compensation. The terms of the trade loan agreement provided, inter alia, that the company should effect and maintain such insurance against employers’ liability as the Minister required. In reply to my inquiry as to the circumstances in which workmen’s compensation became a charge on the company’s assets I am informed that the Department had difficulty in the first instance in ascertaining the company’s proposals for insurance against employers’ liability and that eventually it learned that the company intended to carry its own risks, which apparently is the practice of other local collieries. The strike referred to above, however, occurred before the company had furnished details of its proposals.”
Have you anything to add, Mr. Suttle?
Mr. Suttle.—In this case the guarantee was given before the company had been required to effect insurance against employers’ liability. Consideration of a proposal by the company to carry their own risks under this heading was not completed by the time the receiver was appointed. The sale of assets which were the subject of a fixed charge under the mortgage debenture realised £1,719 and as indicated in the paragraph this sum was brought to credit of the Vote. The remaining assets which were subject to a floating charge realised £8,355 but as workmen’s compensation awards which ranked in priority to the Minister’s claim against these assets amounted to over £18,000, none of this sum fell to be paid to the Minister.
Chairman.—How long was the company in production after the guarantee was given?—I think it was only a few months. There was an unofficial strike in June, 1958. Efforts to terminate the strike were unsuccessful and in October, 1958—a matter of only four months after a receiver was put in—trading operations had ceased.
Deputy P. Hogan (South Tipperary).— Could we get any idea in regard to these two companies as to how much was given out by the Minister and how much was got back? In other words, what was the net loss to the State in these cases?—The trade loan guarantee in the case of the Hollypark Mining Company was £15,000. That was the limit of the Minister’s guarantee. The net sum realised from the sale of the assets was £8,355. There were preferential claims amounting to £18,274 and receiver’s fees of £1,535, against which there was a certain deduction for bank interest less income tax. The Minister actually paid the bank £15,304. The net sum finally realised was £1,719. The net loss on the entire transaction was £13,585.
Deputy Treacy.—How many employees would have been involved in the Hollypark Mining Company?—I am afraid I have not the exact figure. Roughly 50 to 60.
240. Deputy P. Hogan (South Tipperary).—I did not get the figures for the first one, the Slaney Cabinet Works?—The amount of the guaranteed loan was £30,000. The amount paid out of the Exchequer in respect of the repayment and interest was £30,218. The amount already lodged to the credit of the Central Fund is £8,218, leaving £22,000 still to come. A sum of £2 was received in May, 1963. There is a new company now operating the business. The receiver was discharged. The amount realised by the receiver was £20,688, out of which the Minister was paid £8,220. The receiver’s fees and expenses were £3,430. Preferential creditors’ claims amounted to £1,307. The balance of £7,731 is accounted for by the carrying on of the business from February, 1959, to January, 1960.
And the net loss?—£22,000.
241. Deputy Treacy.—Are we to take it that an unofficial strike was responsible for the downfall of the Hollypark Mining Company? Were there any other difficulties, trading difficulties, perhaps? Are we to take it that but for the unofficial strike this would have been a profitable undertaking?— It would be very hard to answer that because the Company never got a chance. The unofficial strike put an end to their efforts to do anything about it. I would be only guessing if I said I thought that they could have made a go of it.
How long has this mine been in operation? —I cannot tell you how long, but it would have been a considerable number of years, probably about 15 years.
Deputy Booth.—The amount payable in workmen’s compensation seems very high in view of the total number employed? Was it unusually high or was there one big item?— In fact, as accounting officer, I have no responsibility in this. The Dáil voted the money for the implementation of the Minister’s guarantee. My responsibility, as accounting officer, relates only to the disbursement of this Vote provided by the Dáil. But I may say that the workmen’s compensation was by no means paid in full. About £18,000 was due and only £8,000 was, in fact, paid.
Deputy Lalor.—That means that, arising out of court awards to various injured workmen, they got compensation only on the basis of a ratio of 8 to 18?—Yes.
Deputy Booth.—How was this the case, in view of the fact that the terms of the trade loan agreement provided that the company should effect workmen’s compensation insurance?—The terms of the trade loan provide that they must have fire insurance. As regards other insurance, including workmen’s compensation, the Company was to maintain such insurance as the Minister might, from time to time, require. In fact coal mines do not insure with insurance companies against workmen’s compensation because the premiums are extraordinarily high. The employee is open to certain health hazards such as pneumoconiosis. The companies generally carry their own risks. This is something we were discussing with the Mining Company. We had asked for details of the Company’s proposal to carry its own risks but the fact was that the strike occurred and the business closed down before the matter was finalised. These claims may be old claims.
Chairman.—I was going to ask you that.
Deputy Lalor.—Would I be out of order in asking the Accounting Officer if, fully mindful that as far as mining is concerned there is this problem with regard to insurance and the fact most mining companies have to carry their own insurance, if there were any negotiations going on between his Department and the insurance companies?
Chairman.—That is a question we could not ask the Accounting Officer to answer. It is one for the Minister.
242. Paragraph 63 of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General reads:
“63. Miscellaneous appropriations in aid also include receipts of £663 and £363 from the receivers for West Park Estates Limited and Monaghan Leather Co. Ltd.”
Have you anything to add, Mr. Suttle?
Mr. Suttle.—In the case of West Park Estates Limited, the advance from the Central Fund made in 1956-57 was £23,422. Repayments to 31st March, 1963, amounted to £12,076. The receivership is still proceeding, and it is possible that the advance may be repaid in full. The receivership of Monaghan Leather Company Limited was completed in June, 1962 and the £363 referred to was the final amount brought to account.
Deputy Booth.—Has the Comptroller and Auditor General got any figure as to how that worked out in the end?
Mr. Suttle.—The figure in regard to Monaghan was about £11,000. I think the original guarantee was £20,000.
Deputy Kenny.—What was the net loss?
Mr. Suttle.—It was about £11,000 in the case of Monaghan Leather Company.
Mr. MacCarthy.—In the case of Monaghan Leather Company, the actual amount paid by the Minister, on foot of his guarantee, was £17,856. The proceeds of the receivership amounted to £15,712 and the receiver’s fees amounted to £911. The net proceeds were divided between the Minister and the bank. The Bank of Ireland loan ranked pari passu with the Minister’s. The bank got £8,090 and the Minister got £6,700 so, as the Comptroller and Auditor General has mentioned, the net loss was approximately £11,000.
243. Chairman.—Paragraph 64 of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General reads:
“St. Patrick’s Copper Mines, Limited.
Subhead R.—General Mining, Development and Testing Operations (Grant-in-Aid).
64. Including £206,000 charged to the subhead the total grants-in-aid issued to 31 March 1963 was £376,000. Of this amount £66,000 was issued to the receiver who was appointed in July 1962.
£1,970,473, including £52,053 interest, was paid by the Minister for Finance out of the Central Fund in July 1962 on foot of guarantees given on behalf of the company under the State Guarantees Act, 1954.
The State mining lease granted to the company provides, inter alia, for the repayment by the company to the Minister for Industry and Commerce of sums of approximately £540,000 expended on exploration at Avoca prior to the leasing of the mines to the company.”
Have you anything to add, Mr. Suttle?
Mr. Suttle.—The receiver in this case was appointed in July, 1962 and the mines continued in operation until September, 1962 when they were put on care and maintenance.
Chairman.—What is the position in regard to them now?—The present position is that the mines have been advertised and tenders have been invited for the purchase of the interest of the Minister for Finance under mortgages which are held on the assets of the company. The invitations prescribe that the tenderers must now carry out a programme of exploration and development work in accordance with that recommended by the consultants. The Minister appointed a firm of engineering consultants after the Canadian interests disappeared from the scene. It was as a result of the report of the consultants that he decided to advertise for tenders. The latest date for receiving of tenders was 31st May and a number of tenders have been received. Beyond that I am afraid I cannot say anything at the moment.
Deputy P. Hogan (South Tipperary).— Could you give us any figure as to the net loss up to date on St. Patrick’s Copper Mines?—I cannot answer that. We do not know what tenders we shall receive. I can tell you that on the old exploration we spent about £540,000, which is mentioned by the Comptroller and Auditor General. Almost £2 million was spent by the Minister for Finance out of the Central Fund on foot of the guarantees he had given. The way we come out in the end depends on what tenders we receive, and what is decided when they are considered.
Chairman.—If the Deputy adds up the figures given in Paragraph 64, he will get the figure he requires.
Mr. MacCarthy.—You might also add a small item, which is not included, about £10,000, for consultation costs. That was paid out of the technical assistance subhead.
Deputy Carter.—Are the consultants an outside firm?—Yes.
244. Chairman.—Paragraph 65 of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General reads:
“Subhead S.—Appropriations in Aid.
65. The amount allocated and the recoupments from the American Grant Counterpart Special Account of expenditure incurred up to 31 March 1963 on agreed projects sponsored by the Department of Industry and Commerce are shown in the following statement.
Have you anything to add, Mr. Suttle?
Mr Suttle.—This is for the information of the committee and I have nothing to add.
245. Chairman.—Regarding the provision of additional laboratories, what stage has been reached in this now?—The building has been completed and the textile works installations have been completed and are in operation. The photometric part of the activity has been suspended for the moment, with the agreement of the American authorities, so there is no question of losing any contribution.
246. In regard to subhead C.—Advertising and Publicity—the explanation for the excess is that it was due to increased advertising arising from the large number of prospecting licences issued following the minerals discoveries at Tynagh, County Galway. Can you explain this?—Yes, there has been an extraordinary wave of activity on the prospecting front, particularly following the discoveries at Tynagh. Under the Act we were required to give notice to every surface occupier. This is done by publishing a notice in the newspapers, which is costly. We have to specify all the townlands affected. There are, of course, certain amounts shown in the Appropriations in Aid in the form of fees which we receive with the applications.
247. Deputy P. Hogan (South Tipperary).—In regard to subhead H.—Córas Tráchtála (Grant-in-Aid)—can we have the expenditure to date by Córas Tráchtála? The figure up to March, 1962, was £849,885?
Chairman.—The information the Deputy requires is in paragraph 58 of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General.
Mr. Suttle.—It was £849,885 to 31st March, 1963.
248. Chairman.—In regard to subhead J.2. —Grant under Industrial Grants Act, 1959 (Grant-in-Aid)—the note says that two large payments which it was anticipated would be made within the year did not mature for payment. Was there any particular reason why these payments did not mature? —They were large constructional jobs. Grants are paid by instalment according as certain stages are completed in the construction. There was no special reason. There was no question of strikes or anything like that. The contractors just did not complete the stage within the financial year. The two cases combined would have given an additional expenditure of almost £400,000. It is not an actual saving because it would be paid in the following year.
249. On subhead Q.—Repayment of Advances under the Trade Loans (Guarantee) Acts—are many guarantees granted?—We do not give guarantees now—not for a few years past.
Can you give us the overall position in regard to the amounts given and the amounts in default?—I do not think I have them with me but I can send a note.*
250. Deputy Booth.—Under subhead S.— Appropriations in Aid—item 5 refers to Export Guarantee premiums and fees under the Insurance Act, 1953. Is there any tendency for those to increase in the amount of the premiums and the number of applications?—There is, yes.
With more exports there is a greater tendency?—When we get applications, we insist that they insure their entire turnover with us. Naturally, as exports increase, the total turnover increases and our premium income goes up.
251. Deputy Lalor.—I see from note 7 of the Appropriations in Aid that we got £466 from subletting the Frankfurt Pavilion. Why did we do such a thing? Did we not use it ourselves?—No. We have disposed of the Frankfurt Pavilion, as the Committee is aware. It was decided not to have a showing at the Spring Fair and instead the Pavilion was leased to someone else. The answer as to why is largely policy. I may be permitted to say that, from our experience, the feeling was that Frankfurt Fair was not the best place in recent years for this type of exhibition. It was very hard to interest Irish industrialists in showing there. We had a great problem even in the years in which we put on a show in having the space taken up by Irish manufacturers. That was what led eventually to the decision to sell.
252. Chairman.—The last of the notes to the Account refers to “rendering safe nine abandoned mine shafts”. When were they abandoned?—They have been abandoned for a long time. This is at a place called Roaring Water in County Cork. The mines have been abandoned for many years. They were acquired by a compulsory acquisition order which was made for mining rights for the purpose of a mineral development proposal. We automatically accepted liability. The county council then reported to us that they were unsafe. Why then, rather than before, I cannot say.
Chairman.—I suppose it seemed to be a good opportunity.
The witness withdrew.
VOTE 8—OFFICE OF PUBLIC WORKS.
Mr. H. J. Mundow called and examined.
253. Chairman.—In regard to subhead A. —Salaries, Wages and Allowances—I notice you are still having difficulty in filling vacancies. You mentioned before that you were thinking of recruiting technicians. Have you made some progress?—We have three groups being trained—two groups of trainee architectural assistants and one group of engineering technicians. We expect them to begin to be useful to us in the coming summer.
254. In regard to item No. 3 of Appropriations in Aid—Amount recoverable as administration expenses in connection with agency services—when was the percentage charge last reviewed?—It is reviewed every five years and it has remained unchanged during the past four years.
255. In regard to No. 7—Amount recoverable from Vote 43 as administrative expenses in connection with Gaeltacht improvement schemes—how is it that some of the receipts could not be brought to credit in time?—I am told Roinn na Gaeltachta did not have funds to recoup. We shall not be making these recoveries in future, as from April, 1963. They were always a quarter in arrears.
256. In respect of extra remuneration, what was the job referred to in the second item?—Ten assistant architects were employed to do additional work.
It was outside their normal duties?—They were mainly engaged in schools work. Owing to the shortage of architects, we had to adopt this device of asking them to do some work outside office hours, and we paid them a fee instead of a time rate.
257. The statement of receipts and payments for non-voted services in regard to Shannon Navigation includes a figure of £16,474 which is mainly made up of a sum of £14,000 from Vote 9. Was any consideration given to the possibility of winding up that fund?—All the investments have been realised now and there does not seem to be any point in continuing this arrangement. It has been thought about but there has been no decision yet.
VOTE 9—PUBLIC WORKS AND BUILDINGS.
Mr. H. J. Mundow further examined.
258. Chairman.—Paragraph 13 of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General reads as follows:
“Subhead B.—New Works, Alterations and Additions.
13. The charge to the subhead comprises £1,122,725 expended on general architectural and engineering works, which is an increase of £613,706 on the previous year, and £1,824,430 in respect of grants towards the erection, enlargement or improvement of national schools. School grants amounting to £1,017,430 were paid to managers who undertook responsibility for having the works carried out; and £807,000 was expended directly by the Commissioners. A school grant represents not less than two-thirds of the full cost, the balance being met by the manager from local contributions.
The principal works included in the expenditure on general architectural and engineering works were as follows:—
It is a very large amount but we can discuss it when we come to the subhead.
259. Chairman.—Paragraph 14 of the report says:—
“14. Reference was made in paragraph 15 of my previous report to expenditure on works of improvement and repair to the agricultural institutions at Johnstown Castle and Grange Farm after their transfer to An Foras Talúntais. As shown in a note to the account, further expenditure amounting to £2,460 was incurred during the year bringing the total from date of transfer to £31,340.”
Have you anything to add, Mr. Suttle?
Mr. Suttle.—This paragraph and similar ones of previous years were to draw attention to expenditure on Johnstown Castle and Grange Farm after their transfer to An Foras Talúntais. The sum of £2,460 was expended during the year on the improvement works at Johnstown Castle (New Works No. 44) which were in progress at the date of transfer of the property to An Foras. These works were completed in the year 1963-64.
Chairman.—This expenditure might be taken as a further subsidy to An Foras Talúntais?—When the transfer took place there was some work going on which had not been completed and we got an instruction that the work was to be completed by us. That has tailed off. Last year I said the work was completed, but later I found there were some minor balances of expenditure which had to be paid. I am assured there are no further payments to be made.
Deputy Carter.—I assume that the works involving the expenditure were undertaken on the advice of the Board’s architects?— Yes.
260. Chairman.—Paragraph 15 of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General reads:
“15. In paragraph 16 of my previous report attention was drawn to the project for the conversion of Templemore Military Barracks into a training centre for Garda recruits. The total estimated cost which includes £53,000 for a heated swimming pool not included in the original scheme was increased on revision from £435,000 to £560,000.
The contractor is being paid on the basis of a schedule of rates for new works and adaptations measured and valued in accordance with approximate Bills of Quantities and the Office of Public Works architect has reported that satisfactory progress has been made.
The work is being supervised by the architect employed by the Minister for Justice and payments amounting to £301,214 at 31 March 1963 have been made on the basis of his certificates.”
Have you anything to add, Mr. Suttle?
Mr. Suttle.—This paragraph was inserted to keep this major project under the review of the committee. The new depot has been occupied by Garda recruits since 14th February, 1964. Expenditure in 1962-63 was £207,708. Total expenditure to 31st March, 1963, was £301,214.
261. Chairman.—Could we get a statement of the reasons for the increase in the original estimates?—We have a list of all the works, and there have been a number of additional works that were not known to be necessary when the original plans were being made. Would the Committee like me to indicate these works?
We should like, at a later stage, to get the cost of the new work, including the dining-room and gymnasium?—I have a complete list and if you like I shall give you the larger items. The original contract amount was about £200,000 below the present estimate, and the principal additions were: an indoor ball alley costing £18,000, a swimming pool, £57,500, rifle range £2,000, additional demolition works £4,000, driving school and bedding stores £8,000, extra work to the recreation hall £4,500, an increase of £15,000 under the prices variation clause, outdoor ball alley £3,500, additional site work and local excavation £6,000, excesses and price variations, mechanical and electrical services contract, £20,000. I think that adds up to very nearly the whole of the additions.
Deputy P. Hogan (South Tipperary).— The £200,000?—Yes. The fees were not in the original estimates. They come to about £52,000.
262. Chairman.—In regard to fees, when the committee raised this question on previous accounts they intended the remarks to be of a general nature. Have you considered negotiating with the professional body involved?—We are assured that if any of these bodies find their members accepting fees below what are recognised as the minimum, they will take disciplinary action against them.
You would not consider negotiating with the body itself, not the individuals, in regard to a large project like this?—All our professional officers are members of these bodies, and I should rather rely on the advice they give us. If they say the institute concerned will not be prepared to negotiate on a matter like that, and that appears to be their attitude, I am inclined to accept it.
I understand it happens in England?—We can take it up again.
263. Deputy P. Hogan (South Tipperary).—Were not these very substantial additions and changes to have made in the course of the contract?
Chairman.—Mr. Mundow explained on a previous occasion that this was an unusual thing. The Office of Public Works were not doing the job. It was being done by the Department of Justice. The OPW were acting in a supervisory capacity.
Mr. Mundow.—We have a clerk of works who looks after the day-to-day operations. Our architect visits the place at intervals to see that the work is going on as it should. The architect for the work is employed by the Department of Justice.
Chairman.—Did you have any consultation with regard to the necessity for these works? —Yes. If they are to achieve what they set out to achieve, I think the architects would agree that these works had to be done.
Deputy Treacy.—When is it hoped to see Templemore Barracks completed in its entirety?—Very soon now. I could not give a date.
264. Deputy Lalor.—In paragraph 15 of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report, there is reference to £53,000 for a heated swimming pool. In his list, Mr. Mundow mentions a swimming pool costing £57,500. Does that mean there has been a change in the estimate since?
Mr. Suttle.—I would say so. The figure in the report is the figure we had when preparing it in July last.
Mr. Mundow.—The estimate has to be revised at intervals because of the price variation clause.
Deputy Lalor.—There was an increase of £15,000 due to price variations, but it would appear that, since that, there has again been a revision in regard to the heated swimming pool involving an additional cost of £4,500?— I am quoting the figure I am given here. It is a later figure than the one in the report.
Deputy Lalor.—I take it this is a figure supplied to Mr. Suttle?
Mr. Suttle.—Yes. This is a contract based on bills of quantities. There was no fixed price from the very beginning in any part of the contract.
Deputy P. Hogan (South Tipperary).— Time and material?
Mr. Suttle.—It was not time and material, but it was practically on the same basis. The price will vary according to the work involved. As Mr. Mundow explained last year, they did not know what work would be involved at the beginning of the contract. It was based on bills of quantities and rates for particular types of work. According as the work develops the price will change. We will not know the final cost until it is finally completed and the contractors’ bills paid. That is one of the reasons we put this into the report. We felt it could be a very considerable job and vary very considerably from the original figures put forward.
265. —Deputy Lalor.—These fees are architect’s fees, Mr. Mundow?—Architects and quantity surveyors.
The Committee is becoming worried about the tremendous amount of money. If we are paying them such a high figure, could they not be expected to give more accurate estimations, even though the job is an awkward one? Apparently, even allowing for price variations, the original estimate fell far behind what the cost turned out to be. I suppose there is nothing we can do about it?
Chairman.—In fairness to Mr. Mundow, he has had difficulty in regard to this. This is not something for which he is completely responsible. It would be very hard to get him to accept responsibility for answers he might give on this. If the Committee wishes, we can return to this matter.
Deputy P. Hogan (South Tipperary).— Could he put in a statement on it?
Chairman.—I think Mr. Mundow listed a number of items which will be before us at a later stage and which have been recorded in the evidence. Does the Deputy want something further on it?
Deputy P. Hogan (South Tipperary).— The original estimate and the extensions.
Chairman.—If you would not mind, Mr. Mundow, would you supply the Committee with a copy of the information as you have it in regard to what were the original estimates and what transpired since in regard to the additions?—Yes.*
266. Chairman.—Paragraph 16 of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General states:—
“16. Following the erection of a school a dispute arose between the school manager and the contractors as a result of which the contractors claimed a sum of £3,750 for loss incurred by them due to interference by the manager’s clerk of works. They also claimed for loss resulting from the failure of the manager’s architect to issue the final certificate. The matter was referred to arbitration as provided in the contract.
The arbitrator rejected the interference claim but allowed £157 in respect of the loss of interest on balance of moneys outstanding. Although the claim for £3,750 was rejected, the arbitrator decreed that the manager should bear the full costs of the arbitration which amounted to £1,630, including the £157 interest award.
A grant of £1,449 towards these expenses was paid to the manager from this subhead.”
Have you anything to add, Mr. Suttle?
Mr. Suttle.—This is a rather unusual case which I considered should be brought to the notice of the Committee.
Chairman.—I suppose it is an unusual procedure to pay expenses like this, Mr. Mundow?—I was only able to trace one case like it. There was a case some years back. In that case the Department met the manager’s expenses, his legal costs and everything. This time they paid eight-ninths of his expenses. It is very unusual, of course.
Deputy Treacy.—Would we be entitled to ask what school and manager were involved?—Raheny in County Dublin.
Deputy Lalor.—It appears that the contractor’s claim for £3,750 was rejected but the manager was required to bear the costs? —In this case the contractor alleged that the manager’s clerk of works had been interfering unduly and delaying the progress of the work, that he had been the cause of delay and loss to the contractor. The manager would not accept this and the matter was referred to arbitration in accordance with the clause in the contract. The arbitrator found there was no foundation for the allegation made against the clerk of works. He found for the manager but he awarded costs to the contractor.
Deputy Treacy.—May I ask who was the arbitrator in this instance?—I do not know who he was.
267. Chairman.—Paragraph 17 of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General reads:
“17. A Government decision taken in July 1960 provided for an extensive programme of building over a period of eight years of new stations, married quarters and houses for married members of the Garda Síochána at centres where such accommodation was found to be necessary.
The Office of Public Works is normally responsible for the provision of Garda Síochána buildings but that Office was unable to undertake the complete programme in the time available and arrangements were made with the National Building Agency Ltd. to provide houses for married members of the Force. This company was incorporated in December 1960 and its objects include the provision of assistance to meet the housing requirements of industry and State personnel. It was envisaged that up to 1,000 houses for members of the Gardaí would be provided by the Agency over a period of five years.
At the close of the year under review 116 houses were either completed or in course of construction and preliminary arrangements were made for a further 92 at 69 centres throughout the country. The amount certified as having been expended up to 31 March 1963 amounted to £101,254 which was refunded to the company during the year and charged to this subhead.”
Have you anything to add, Mr. Suttle?
Mr. Suttle.—This paragraph draws attention to the fact that part of the general Garda Síochána building programme normally administered by the Office of Public Works is being carried out by the National Building Agency. The Agency certifies its expenditure (including administrative expenses) and payments based on these certificates are charged to this subhead. The accounts of the Agency are audited by my staff. The total (£101,254) recouped during the year was made up of £91,514 for acquisitions and building works in progress and £9,740 for administration.
Chairman.—Is this only a temporary arrangement? Do you hope to go back to the normal procedure of providing for all Government accommodation?—The arrangement was that the National Building Agency for five years would engage in this building work, and that at the end of that time they would have provided 1,000 houses for the Gardaí. We would have been building at the normal rate in addition to that. We assumed that, at the end of the five years, we would continue as before and that the Building Agency would not be involved any further.
Do the houses built by the National Building Agency conform with the Office of Public Works requirements?—I am told they conform to them.
You would be responsible for their maintenance?—The Office of Public Works are responsible for maintenance.
Are these houses being supplied free to the Garda?—There is a deduction made from the pay of the Garda for rent and that goes to the Department of Justice. They pay no rent to us.
Am I correct in saying that the accounts of the National Building Agency are presented to the Dáil?—All the Agency’s funds except those in connection with Garda buildings are provided from the Central Fund. These moneys for the Garda houses come out of our Vote.
I have seen the accounts of the National Building Agency. I take it that they are perused by the Office of Public Works?— Yes.
268. Chairman.—Paragraph 18 of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General reads:
“Subhead BB.—Coast Protection
18. The charge to the subhead includes £11,250 for the prevention of coast erosion at Rosslare Strand. The total cost of this project up to 31 March 1963 was £91,838 towards which the Wexford County Council contributed £30,217.
£3,000 was paid to the Wicklow Urban District Council as portion of a grant not to exceed 80 per cent. of the cost of protection works at Wicklow estimated at £13,000.”
Have you anything to add to that, Mr. Suttle?
Mr. Suttle.—Expenditure under this heading was first incurred during 1957-58. At that time neither the State nor the local authorities had any statutory powers or obligations with regard to coast erosion remedial works, and permission was granted by the Government in June, 1957 to enable the Commissioners of Public Works to carry out the remedial works referred to. The Coast Protection Act, 1963 now gives the Commissioners and local authorities power to undertake remedial works. Government approval was given on the understanding that Wexford County Council would contribute one third of the annual ascertained cost. The work at Wicklow was authorised during 1962.
Chairman.—Will the Coast Protection Act, 1963 affect the Rosslare project?—I think the financial provisions of the Act will apply to Rosslare.
With regard to the Wicklow Urban District Council are the works being carried out by them?—Yes.
Who certifies the expenditure on that?—I have not come up against that, but I presume an engineering certificate is given before we make any payment.
In regard to the engineering certificate, would it be an engineer from your Department who would give that?—We would want a certificate from one of our own engineers.
269. Chairman.—Paragraph 19 of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General is as follows:
“Subhead J.2.—Arterial Drainage—Construction Works
19. The charge to the subhead in respect of construction works in progress during the year amounted to £1,032,830. In addition the value of stores issued and charges for the use of plant were assessed at £527,698. The cost of each scheme to 31 March 1963 was:—
Have you anything further to add to that, Mr. Suttle?
Mr. Suttle.—The paragraph shows the total cost of works in progress up to 31st March, 1963. The figures for estimated cost have been extracted from the 1962-63 Estimates. An estimate of £920,000 is shown in the 1963-64 Estimates for the River Deel. In addition, two schemes which were financed out of the National Development Fund (Owenogarney, Deale and Swillyburn) are now complete. The maintenance of these works is being carried out in the same manner as the Vote schemes. Costs of maintenance are charged to subhead J.5.—Arterial Drainage—Maintenance—and recoveries from local authorities credited to Appropriations in Aid.
Chairman.—I notice, in regard to the Fergus, that the amount there was exceeded by a very substantial amount?—These estimates have to be revised at intervals to keep up with increased costings such as rates of pay.
270. Would you have any information on the progress of the schemes mentioned?— The estimate for the Fergus has been revised up to £250,000, and it was completed last year. There will be some adjustments from credits when machines come back from the site to the Central Engineering Workshop. There are credits for items returned and which are usable again. The estimate for the Swilly has been revised to £87,000, and that should be finished by now. The current estimate for the Shannon estuary is £500,000. It will probably have to be revised later. That might finish next year.
Is the Owvane the only minor scheme?—It is the only one which has been completed. There are two others which are near completion. They may be finished this year. When I say minor schemes, I do not mean small schemes in the technical sense. They are known as intermediate schemes.
271. Chairman.—Paragraph 20 of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General is as follows:
“20. Drainage schemes undertaken by the Commissioners under the provisions of the Arterial Drainage Act, 1945, have in the past been carried out by direct labour. But in the year under review it was decided as an experiment to employ a contractor on an intermediate river scheme. A tender of £35,900 was accepted for drainage work in the Owvane catchment area. Following the commencement of the project further bank protection work in excess of that specified in the contract was approved. Expenditure under the contract to 31 March 1963 amounted to £45,494.”
Have you anything further to add, Mr. Suttle?
Mr. Suttle.—At this stage I have no further information to add to that in the paragraph. It was anticipated that contract work for this scheme would be as economical as direct labour.
Deputy Carter.—Has that experiment worked out to advantage?—We have hardly had enough experience yet. We will be in a better position to say after the schemes that are working at the moment have been completed. I should prefer to wait until we have the result of those schemes before expressing a view about the advantage of direct labour.
Chairman.—Was an estimate of the cost made?—Yes.
Did the contractor tender for additional embankments, or on what basis was he paid? —You mean in advance of the additional work? These additional works grew up bit by bit as the job progressed. There was no formal estimate in advance. Our engineers accepted that the charge was fair for those extra bank protection works.
Expenditure to 31st March, 1963, was £45,494. Have you any idea what the position is now?—There were 3,870 yards of bank protection work which were allowed for at the scheduled rate for 1,000 yards. That represented £10,650. A few other allowed items which were comparatively small ranged from £20 to £880. Expenditure increased from £35,900 to £45,494. A number of the claims by the contractor are in dispute.
Is the job nearly completed?—It is completed.
Have you some idea of what the ultimate cost will be?—The cost up to 31st March, 1963 was £45,494. Some claims which are still in dispute may have to go to arbitration.
272. Have you sufficient experience yet of the system you have been using in regard to intermediate rivers? In other words have you made up your minds whether further works of this nature will be carried out in this way?—We get our engineers to make an estimate of the cost. Then we advertise for tenders, and if the tenders suggest that it could be done for less than our engineers say, we are disposed to give it to a contractor. As I said, we have only completed one job yet, and the cost was greatly in excess of the estimate. That might be fully justified by the additional works. When two or three other jobs have been completed we will be better able to judge the advantages of direct labour.
Do you contemplate further intermediate works being done? Have you made up your mind about the system?—Three other jobs on intermediate rivers are in progress at the moment by contractors.
Deputy Treacy.—I want to elicit if a firm policy has been arrived at to award arterial drainage schemes on this kind of tender rather than by direct labour, or are we to take it that the tendency would be to put smaller jobs out for tender and do the major works by direct labour? Has a firm policy been evolved?—It is evolving. In the light of our experience we will come to a decision whether it is desirable to keep on seeking tenders for smaller jobs. If it is found that the contractor cannot do it as efficiently and economically as our engineers, we will probably want to do it by direct labour.
273. Chairman.—Paragraphs 21 and 22 of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General read:
21. Reference was made in previous reports to surplus stocks of spare parts held at the Central Engineering Workshop. Including the stocks which cost £50,600, referred to in paragraph 19 of my report on the accounts for 1959-60, the cost of items set aside by boards of survey amounted to £140,500, approximately, of which items costing £24,300 were subsequently returned to store and articles costing £5,400 were transferred to other Government Departments. Items which cost £95,000 were sold and realised £11,500 and I have been informed that the remaining items which cost £15,800 will shortly be advertised for sale.
22. The Accounting Officer has informed me that he expects that the re-organisation of the stores to which I referred in paragraph 20 of my previous report will be completed by the end of September 1963.”
Have you anything to add, Mr. Suttle?
Mr. Suttle.—I am taking paragraphs 21 and 22 together. This matter has been before the committee for a number of years past. The disposal of accumulated stocks of surplus and obsolete stores is practically completed. The reorganisation of the stores should prevent a similar position from arising in the future.
Chairman.—I notice that items which cost £95,000 were sold and realised £11,500 and that the remaining items which cost £15,800 will shortly be advertised for sale. Have they been sold?—I am told that items to the book value of £10,500 were sold for £750. Other items to the book value of £2,800 were either issued for use or returned to store. Some items which would cost about £400 were converted to scrap and a few which cost about £200 were transferred to the Department of Defence. There is some balance awaiting disposal.
274. Deputy Treacy.—Can we have some explanation as to the disparity between the book value and the amount realised?—Some items would be very old, and there might be no demand for them. They would not be current items, and they would have scrap value only. That is really the explanation. There is also the fact, of course, that you are always at a disadvantage when selling something.
Chairman.—These items could be part of obsolete machines, and so on, having scrap value only?—Yes.
Deputy Lalor.—In what way are they advertised?—In the newspapers.
275. Deputy Carter.—In regard to the reorganisation scheme the Comptroller and Auditor General said we had information which suggested that the reorganisation scheme would be completed, roughly, by the end of September, 1963. Is it working on a better basis now?—Undoubtedly. It was completed, as expected, by that date. It was an enormous job. There were 30,000 separate items of stores, and for each item there was a card on which had to be answered 12 different queries. Some of the queries were, of course, speculative and a certain amount of judgment had to be exercised in the compilation. This work has now been completed, and they are working on quite up-to-date records. We are now very satisfied with the workshops.
Chairman.—We can turn now to the Vote itself.
276. Deputy Lalor.—In connection with the note on subhead A.—Purchase of Sites and Buildings—included in some of the additional expenditure is a sum of money for the purchase of a site at Abbeyleix. I have not seen any plan in connection with the building of this Garda station. I presume you would have a note of it. Would you have any idea of when the building will commence?—I have no information on specific Garda stations, but I can say that, now that the site has been purchased, I should be surprised if it is delayed. I can tell the committee that there will be no delay caused by somebody falling down on the job.
277. Chairman.—In regard to subhead B. —New Works, Alterations and Additions— members have been supplied with a tabulated break-down of expenditure,* and I suggest that we go through it, item by item.
278. Deputy Lalor.—Item No. 1 deals with Árus an Uachtaráin, Improvement of Planthouse Accommodation. Is that the glasshouse?—Yes.
279. Chairman.—In regard to Item No. 5 —Central Heating Station, Renewal of Plant—there was a sum of £25,000, provided in 1962-63 but only £88 10s. was expended. Why?—There was a good deal of delay in having the plant delivered. It had to be paid for in advance, but had not been delivered in time to have payment made by the end of the year in question. It is now practically completed.
280. In regard to Item No. 7—Revenue Commissioners, Dublin Castle, Rebuilding of Cross Block—again there seems to be great discrepancy?—The builder ran into trouble. His foreman left him, and the work had to be suspended. Then the man got ill. It has now been virtually completed.
281. On Item No. 14—Phoenix Park, Improvement of Water Supply—what was the nature of the water supply?—It is a supply to the whole of the Phoenix Park— the houses and gardens. It is a completely new installation.
282. On Item No. 18A—River Shannon, Bailey Bridge, Offaly—how did this need arise?—The expenditure of £2,144 relates to the temporary Bailey Bridge at Shannonbridge. In 1962, the condition of the opening span of the bridge there gave rise to serious concern and the Department of Finance sanctioned the provision by this Office of a temporary Bailey Bridge and the charging of the expenditure on the Vote for Public Works and Buildings. As the work had not been anticipated no provision had been made for it in the 1962-63 Estimates and the cost was met out of savings. The temporary bridge is on hire.
Deputy Lalor.—Who pays the rental?— The temporary bridge is on hire from Messrs. Collen Bros. (Dublin) Ltd., by whom it was erected in October, 1962. In the case of the erection of temporary Bailey Bridges over the River Shannon, the procedure adopted as regards the incidence of charge is for the initial cost of erection and six months hire to be charged on subhead B. of the Vote for Public Works and Buildings, and subsequent hire and maintenance costs on subhead C. Apart from Shannonbridge, there are Bailey Bridges at Banagher, Lancsboro and Tarmonbarry.
That means that this six months rental is being carried by the Office of Public Works and not by the county council?—Yes. After the six months hire period expires, further costs are transferred to the maintenance subhead. We still carry the charge.
283. Chairman.—Item No. 21—Erection of new Garda Síochána Stations and improvement of existing specified Stations—deals with the various Garda stations. Has any Deputy any question in regard to delays in these works?
284. In regard to Item No. 27—Department of Education—could you tell us how many schools were completed in the year of account as compared with other years?— I am afraid I cannot lay my finger on the figures. They were disappointing as regards numbers. There was a smaller number completed, but that was purely accidental. A great deal depends on whether a school is ready for handing over by 31st March in any year. Quite a number were taken over early in April, so they would not fall into the accounts for this year. The expenditure is our best test of the progress we are making. I now have been able to find the figures. The numbers completed in 1962-63 totalled 65. That means 65 large schools or a mixture of large and small. As I have said, the expenditure is our best test. The number under construction at the end of 1963 was 137.
285. You are providing now a foundation in prefabricated schoolrooms. How much would these cost?—There are two kinds. The rather good huts we have been using to supply supplementary accommodation in schools where there is congestion are relatively cheap. They are made of wood, but they are not meant to be permanent. We are about to provide permanent, system-built schools. The first of these is being built in County Dublin at the moment. Of course, we cannot say how they will work out until we have a number built, but we are assured by the architect that they will not cost any more than the traditional type of school.
Deputy Treacy.—One would expect that they would cost much less?—The principal advantage is the speed of erection. That alone would justify them.
286. Chairman.—In regard to Item No. 36—Major Fishery Harbours—are these projects being carried out by contract?—We are using direct labour in Dunmore East and Killybegs. We use whichever system is likely to get the job done quickest. Sometimes, direct labour is more advantageous. In other cases it is best to get a contractor. We do the work by the means we find most advantageous.
287. In regard to the various items 40(1) to (6)—Abbotstown Farm—are there separate contracts for each?—Yes.
And separate contractors?—I am not so sure of that. I think in some cases the same contractor is doing more than one job.
288. We return now to the Vote itself. In regard to subhead C.—Maintenance and Supplies—on page 24 of the Accounts there is a statement of expenditure. The relevant note on page 20 says that the increased expenditure on some of these items arose from requirements which proved greater than expected. Could you give us an estimation of these excesses on the Taoiseach’s Department, Local Government, Lands and Health?—I made some inquiries about this because the amount was so much exceeded.
For the Department of the Taoiseach the Vote was £3,400 and the expenditure £8,936, for the Department of Lands £10,620 was voted and £20,914 spent, and for the Department of Health £9,220 was voted and £18,250 spent?—A great deal of this maintenance cannot be foreseen. An estimate is made each year in advance, before the Estimate at large has been made up by each district architect showing the works and maintenance he will do in the course of the financial year. We find always that what he does in the year can be very different from what he estimates, because he has to take on urgent work and work which could not have been foreseen. As far as possible, he also does the work he has estimated for. The result is that all these urgent and sometimes quite large works tend to create this excess in the expenditure for a particular Department. We have taken steps now to get the architects to live within the provision in the estimate. It will take a little while before it is fully operating. This year we are making quarterly examinations of expenditure to see how it is running against the estimate. If it is running to excess, we expect the architect to take specific measures to make sure the provision for the year will not be exceeded. In the past there have been variations. For some Departments there is quite a saving and for others a big excess. We are rather at the mercy of the Departments. They tell us they want work done. Sometimes they do not know at the beginning of the financial year just what work they will want. There may be a very big movement of staff from one building to a different building, for example, leading to a lot of expenditure on decoration and structural alterations.
289. Deputy P. Hogan (South Tipperary). —On subhead D.1.—Furniture, Fittings and Utensils—there has been a big increase in respect of the Department of External Affairs. Is that in regard to our embassies? The amount voted was £13,580 and the amount expended £20,633?—The excess in respect of the Department of External Affairs is largely accounted for by two centres. One is Lagos, where we had to rent accommodation for offices. It is a very expensive place to buy furniture. We rented offices and a residence for the ambassador, and we had to furnish the two. That cost nearly £2,000. At Washington there was a good deal of expenditure on adapting a room for reception purposes. Those two items make up the bulk of that excess. The need had not been foreseen when the estimate was being made.
290. Chairman.—On subhead J.1.— Arterial Drainage—Surveys—the note says that there was difficulty in recruiting staff. There is a saving of one third of the estimate on this. Is the shortage of staff hampering you?—We have been anxious not to fall down on the actual carrying out of the drainage works, so that we are short of staff for survey purposes. However, we are taking steps to try and make up that. We will be putting summer students on the survey. We hope to use the new engineering technicians on a good deal of survey work during the summer.
291. On subhead K.—Purchase and Maintenance of Engineering Plant and Machinery, and Stores—could you give the value of the stores which were turned into stock and not paid for by the end of the year?—I am told that there would not be more than a month’s arrears of payments.
£40,000 or £50,000?—It would be fairly evenly distributed over the year, so that a month’s arrears would probably represent about one twelfth of the estimate for purchase costs.
Do you suggest there is any difficulty in getting suppliers to present their claims for payment in time?—I do not think there is any.
292. May I ask, in regard to the Department of Education, what use they make of 6A Merrion Square and 9-10 Burlington Road?—The School of Cosmic Physics use it. They had already No. 5 Merrion Square and they had to get additional accommodation at No. 6. No. 9-10 Burlington Road was purchased for the School of Celtic Studies and for the general purposes of the Institute of Advanced Studies.
293. Deputy Treacy.—In the explanatory note to subhead A.—Purchase of Sites and Buildings—there is a Garda station mentioned under County Tipperary. There seems to be a misspelling of Kilshealon for Kilsheelan. I presume it is the same place?— I have always seen it spelt the other way.
294. Chairman.—What are the premises at 26-27 Pembroke Street being used for?—A number of services under the Department of Justice which are housed around the city are being brought together there. The Adoption Board and other services are at present functioning in rented houses.
295. In regard to the Appropriations in Aid, item No. 7—Recoveries from County Councils in respect of arterial drainage maintenance—what would the circumstances be in which recoveries could not be effected before the close of the year?—The amount was not received by the due date. It was received eventually.
296. In regard to No. 8—Recoveries from other Departments, etc., for services carried out on repayment terms—the receipts from the Department of Social Welfare almost equal the total of the estimated receipts. The estimate was £55,000, you received £95,642 and the Department of Social Welfare contribution was £52,217. Can you explain this?—A lot of that was recovered from CIE in respect of rent for Áras Mhic Dhiarmada, which was six and half years in arrears. All the payments were received in the financial year.
There was a disagreement about that for quite a time. Was it resolved eventually?— Yes, and they paid all the arrears due.
297. On item No. 10 of the Appropriations in Aid—Miscellaneous—how do you assist in the storage, etc. of boats at Dún Laoghaire and Howth Harbours?—These are small pleasure boats mostly. At one time there was a fixed charge for anyone taking a boat up on the hard for the winter. I think it was 10/-for each boat. We thought the charge should be revised and we increased it. The charge is based on the space each boat occupies.
Are they stored in the open?—Yes.
298. What would be the position of a child who was injured by one of them? Would the Commissioners be liable?—It depends on what agreement we have with the owner of the boat. He may be liable. I would not be sure what provisions we have made without reference to a specific case.
I should like if you considered that and gave us a note on what the liability of the Commissioners would be, in regard to the storing of these boats, if an accident occurred —say, if a child playing was injured.*
299. Deputy Treacy.—Do we accept responsibility for any damage done to these boats while they are being stored?—I do not think we do. The charge is still very nominal.
300. Chairman.—A note has been circulated on the Registers and Rentals of State Lands and Buildings† and we have the accounts of the Bourn Vincent Memorial Park.‡ I notice last year you reared 349 sheep on the Bourn Vincent Memorial Park farm but this year the accounts show you reared only 311 sheep. Is there any special reason for this drop in production? Was it because of the severe winter down there?—I should like to look at the figures for earlier years before I express a view on that.§
The witness withdrew.
The Committee adjourned.