Wednesday, 13 September 1922
Dáil Éireann Debate
The PRESIDENT: Trustees are appointed annually for the funds of Dáil Eireann. The term of office terminates on the 30th June. The previous Trustees were the Most Rev. Dr. Fogarty, Lord Bishop of Killaloe, Mr. de Valera, and Mr. Stephen O'Mara. Their term of office expired, as I said, on the 30th of June. I have the honour now to propose the election of the Most Reverend Dr. Fogarty, Lord Bishop of Killaloe; General Richard Mulcahy, Minister of Defence, and Dr. Richard Hayes, T.D., as Trustees for the coming twelve months.
Mr. GAVAN DUFFY: Well, then, I think it is desirable that the Dáil should know from the President why it is proposed that Mr. Stephen O'Mara should not be re-elected. My impression is the reasons are very good, reasons. Mr.  O'Mara has been in America for a good while, and this Dáil has not had, as it ought to have, some account of his activities there in his capacity as Trustee, and that is the reason why the President has proposed, in effect, that he should be removed from the position of Trustee. If in fact he is not proper person to hold the office, because he has made very considerable difficulty in America for our delegates there, I do not think that the matter should be passed over in silence.
Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS: Would it be in order now to ask what is going to be done with these funds, which are strictly Dáil Eireann funds? Are they to be used in conjunction with the Third Dáil, or are they to be continued or wound up and reimbursed to the subscribers? I should like to know exactly what is to be the new scope of the Trustees' duty, or whether they will continue to exercise the duties as they did in the past.
The PRESIDENT: I never like to speak unless I am speaking by the book, and my information is that the funds in America are in the name of Mr. Stephen O'Mara—that is to say, they are in the name of a single person. It can be quite easily understood what difficulties there were during the term of office of the late Minister of Finance in placing huge sums of money such as that in the name of a single—trustee. I think it can be conceived what difficulty there was in a foreign country like America in safeguarding the funds of an institution functioning as Dáil Eireann was, and that there may be a perfectly valid reason for having these funds in the name of a single individual. I, understand they were originally in the name of Mr. James O'Mara, and I think that for a certain time they were in the name of Mr. de Valera. These funds are the property of this Dáil. This Dáil entered into possession of the assets of the late Dáil, and also into possession of the liabilities of the late Dáil, and I think it is not necessary to say that the liabilities exceed the assets. So that some of the things to which it is heir are to the disadvantage  of the present Dáil. It is the intention of the Ministry, from many important conversations we have had, to take over and to safeguard and to preserve these funds for this Dáil, and an action has already been instituted in America with a view to safeguarding these funds. As a result of a temporary injunction—I do not exactly know what is the legal term there for an action of that sort—but I believe a stay has been put upon any person placing hands upon these funds in America. There is a sum approximately of half a million which is tied up in a variety of securities and bonds and so on. Some of it is, I believe, locked up in special boxes. Some of our staff employed in America have not been satisfactory, and very little information is given to us, but, as far as we can, we have taken every possible step to safeguard these monies. The appointment of these Trustees will be for twelve months, and their duties will be the same, I think, as the, duties of the former Trustees. It is our intention to wind up this fund as from the 30th June and to make the Provisional Government liable for whatever expenses or disbursements have taken place up to the 30th of June, and that all these monies, the property of the late Dáil, are now the property of the new Dáil, and all these monies will have to be wiped off to clear the persons who subscribed and paid for these bonds in the last two or three years. I hope that explanation is satisfactory, and, if so, I beg to move.
AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: The Motion before the Dáil is to appoint as Trustees of the fund the followmg:— Most Rev. Dr. Fogarty, Lord Bishop of Killaloe; General Richard Mulcahy, Minister of Defence; and Dr. Richard Hayes, T.D.
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