Committee Reports::Report - Appropriation Accounts 1976::26 April, 1979::Appendix



S 18/10/78.

20 Nollaig, 1978.

Mr. S. Phelan,


An Coiste um Chuntais Phoiblí.

A Chara,

Qn 320

I am directed by the Tánaiste and Minister for Finance to refer to the discussion which took place at a meeting of the Committee on 23 November 1978, during the examination of Mr. D. Ó Laoghaire, regarding the comments in the Finance Minute on the Committee’s Report of 15 June 1978 on the Appropriation Accounts, 1975, under the heading: “Paragraph 23—Primary Education—Overpayments of Teachers’ Salaries” and to say that further inquiries have now been made about the questions raised by the Committee in discussion, i.e., (1) could the Paymaster General’s Office not refuse payment on cancelled payable orders that have been presented to and paid by banks? and (2) could the Paymaster General’s Office not notify the banks immediately that Office is informed of the cancellation of orders, with a request to stop payment of any cancelled orders presented?

Re (1), the daily account from the Central Bank is paid by the Paymaster General’s Office on sight. It invariably includes cancelled orders which are brought to light in the subsequent processing through the computer. So many of these arise that, should they all be returned to the banks unpaid, strong objections would be raised by the banks, value having already been given. Accordingly the Paymaster General’s Office advises the issuing Department of the presentation of the cancelled orders and requests authority to accept. In point of fact practically all of these payable orders transpire to be acceptable on the basis of the outcome of the issuing Office’s inquiries.

Re (2), the Paymaster General’s Office has advised that this suggestion would be quite impracticable. In the private sector, when a customer who has issued a missing cheque asks his own bank to stop payment on it, no steps are taken by that bank towards notifying other banks about the missing cheque. Situations of this kind are so commonplace that the circulation of notices about missing cheques would serve no purpose—any endeavour to respond to such notices would simply slow down the counter business at banks to an unacceptable degree. It has been confirmed from the Secretary of the Irish Banks Standing Committee that the same considerations would apply with equal force to payable orders cancelled by issuing Departments because they have gone astray; only in the case of a definite and known fraud, e.g., the theft of cheque books or payable orders, would consideration be given to issuing general notices to the banks.

Mise le meas,


An Roinn Airgeadais.