Wednesday, 25 May 1938
Dáil Éireann Debate
Mr. Dillon: asked the Minister for Local Government and Public Health whether he proposes to hold a sworn inquiry, as suggested by the Circuit Court judge in County Monaghan, into the circumstances surrounding the non-payment of part of the housing grant to which a Mrs. Matthews was declared by the court to be entitled.
Mr. Boland: The Minister considered very carefully all the circumstances of this case, which arose out of an action taken by Mrs. Matthews against the Monaghan County Council for the payment of a loan of £50 agreed to be advanced to her under the Small Dwellings Acquisition Acts. At the hearing of the case reference was made to a sum of £40, being portion of a grant of £80 allocated by the Minister under the Housing (Financial and Miscellaneous Provisions) Acts to the Monaghan Public Utility Society in  respect of the erection of a new house for Mrs. Matthews. In accordance with the regulations an instalment of the grant amounting to £40 was paid by the Minister to the Public Utility Society when the house had been roofed. The Minister has obtained documentary evidence that the payment of £40 made to the society was properly applied to the purpose for which it was made. There are, therefore, no grounds whatever for holding a sworn inquiry. The balance of the grant has not been paid as the house has not yet been certified by the appointed officer to be satisfactorily completed.
Mr. Dillon: Is the Minister aware that in the course of the court's investigation of this transaction a doctor in the public service in County Monaghan went into the witness-box and swore that he got this woman's paying order, that he forged her name to it and cashed the order? That is his own sworn testimony. He swore that he forged the woman's name and cashed the order, and on that evidence the judge awarded a decree against the county council for the full amount of the order which had been forged. I do not enter into the merits of the question, whether the doctor subsequently applied these moneys to what he thought were proper purposes or not. I am asking that in the face of these admitted facts the Minister ought to hold a sworn inquiry.
Mr. Boland: I am satisfied that the money supplied by the Minister, £40, has been properly spent, and that the balance has not been paid because the certificate from the appointed officer has not been forthcoming. When it is, I presume the remainder of the grant will be paid. In the circumstances, I see no reason for holding an inquiry.
Mr. Dillon: Is the Minister satisfied that the paying order, in the issuing of which he is concerned, was forged and that the money was paid to a person other than the person to whom the paying order was to be issued? If these facts are true, will the Minister not hold a sworn inquiry into the  circumstances surrounding that transaction? It was alleged in open court that a public servant forged a citizen's signature to an instrument governing public money. Surely, under these circumstances, the Minister should inquire into what happened.
Mr. Dillon: I do not wish to press the Minister unduly, because I know that the Minister for Local Government and Public Health is away on other business, but I reserve my right to raise this matter on the adjournment, when the Minister returns, by your leave.
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