Wednesday, 12 July 1950
Dáil Éireann Debate
Mr. Commons: The main point I want to make is to compliment the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance on the Estimate for the Office of Public Works this year. It has been decided to spend a very large amount of money on the erection, reconstruction, repair and overhaul of primary schools. Everybody knows, particularly school managers, the parents and children, that for a long period of years the primary schools have slowly but surely deteriorated. We have been faced with the problem for a considerable time of a large number of our primary schools in very bad condition. The fact that proposed expenditure on these schools has almost doubled within the last few years is definite evidence of the interest that is now being taken in that section of the work under the jurisdiction of the Parliamentary Secretary. The proposed expenditure will be welcomed and should be welcomed by all, particularly by those Deputies who, time and time again, have questioned and badgered in an effort to get something done to put the existing buildings into a proper state of repair.
A considerable amount of money will be spent on drainage and under various other headings in the Estimate. I see no reason why anybody should  complain or why there should be any criticism on this Estimate. Anybody who has the interests of our schools and the drainage of the country at heart must now be convinced that a definite effort is being made to do as much good work as possible as quickly as possible. I do not know what the intentions are with regard to the purchase of more machinery. I understand efforts are being made to get drainage machinery, heavy excavators and so on, in Great Britain, the United States of America and elsewhere. I hope that that effort will continue and that it will be possible at some stage to have as many arterial drainage schemes as possible handled simultaneously.
I am glad that more engineering staff has been recruited over the past few months. The main purpose of that staff will be to carry out the surveys and draw up the plans for arterial drainage. Because of these surveys and because of having a definite programme mapped out it will no longer be necessary to continue straight from the outfall of the river; instead of having to do that the work can now be carried on three, four or five miles along the river since all the plans and lay-out will be in the hands of the engineer in charge.
While other Departments of State must evoke a certain amount of criticism both from Opposition Deputies and Government supporters alike, this Estimate in its present form should call for very little criticism. As far as I am concerned I can assure the Parliamentary Secretary that I have every confidence in him and in the way he is continuing the work of his particular office. I am sure that while he is in charge the good work will go ahead and satisfaction will be given everywhere.
Mr. Kitt: Being a member of the Parliamentary Secretary's own Party it is only natural perhaps that Deputy Commons should be somewhat lavish in his congratulations to the Parliamentary Secretary for the way in which he is going ahead with arterial drainage. Last night Deputy Commons referred to the fact that the Fianna  Fáil Party had nothing but plans and schemes ready. We must remember in this connection that when the Arterial Drainage Act was passed by the Fianna Fáil Government we were passing through an emergency and the machinery that is so readily available to-day could not be procured during those years. The preliminary work was done. The surveys were made and the plans were drawn up so that when the emergency conditions disappeared the Government would be in a position to implement the plans and schemes already made. The present Government is now in a position to get the machinery and the present Government is now implementing the plans and schemes that were drawn up by the Fianna Fáil Government.
I agree with Deputy Commons that the West of Ireland is very far down in the priority list as far as drainage is concerned. Dates have been mentioned as far away as 1951. There seems to be no hope of the Corrib or the Suck being done between now and 1951. I would like the Parliamentary Secretary, when he is replying, to give us some little hope that the drainage of both the Corrib and the Suck will be carried out in the near future.
There is one bit of work done under this Estimate of which we are all aware coming into Leinster House. I refer to the structure between the entrance gate and the door of Leinster House. It was originally intended that we should have more parking space. As far as one can judge, the present architectural monstrosity is a much bigger obstruction than the obstruction that was there before. I do not know how one would describe this piece of work; some people call it a walk. In my opinion, it is dangerous, because one has to mount three steps at one end and descend four steps at the other. I consider the money spent on it was waste of public money. That money could have been put to a much more useful purpose in relation to roads or drainage in my constituency.
There is another work to which I would also like to refer; that is, the cenotaph on Leinster Lawn. I think it is proposed to expend something in the region of £30,000 to £35,000 on that  It seems rather extraordinary that the proposed memorial to the men who gave their lives for the Republic should be put to one side by this same Office of Public Works. It was the Fianna Fáil Government who planned that particular memorial. Now, the Parliamentary Secretary, in collusion with the Minister for Finance and on the recommendation of the Clann na Poblachta Minister for Health, has decided to postpone that particular memorial. As a Galway man, I think the Parliamentary Secretary should have exerted his influence and not have allowed Fine Gael to get away with everything.
Mr. Kitt: It was definitely decided by the members of the previous Government to go ahead with the Garden of Remembrance, and if they were in power to-day the work would be proceeding at the moment. But now it is being postponed. We know the excuse that is given, but it is only an excuse. Of course, we all realise that when the Parliamentary Secretary was in Donegal at the by-election, he shook hands with the Minister for Defence and said: “There is nothing now between me and Fine Gael.” It is no wonder, therefore, that he is conniving with them in putting up a memorial to their leaders and that he is forgetting the men who died for the Republic. As a Galway Deputy, I wish to register my protest against that.
Mr. McQuillan: I have listened to Deputy Kitt speak on this structure that is outside the front of Leinster House. I agree with him that it is not a very inspiring construction. It is not a work of art, anyway. I think his argument in favour of changing it is very weak when he states that it is a danger because there are three steps up on one side and three steps down on the other side. We all know that Fianna Fáil are tired now, and so I suppose it is hard to expect them to climb up the three steps on one side and climb down the three steps on the other side.
Mr. McQuillan: I should like, first of all, to congratulate the Parliamentary Secretary on the drive that he has put into his work with regard to arterial drainage. I do not intend to speak on this from the political angle at all. Evidently the Parliamentary Secretary has been working very hard in his Department because the fruits of his work are there to be seen. I should like, however, to draw his attention to the priority list with regard to arterial drainage. I understand it was made out before he came into office. I could never find on what basis that priority list was prepared, but whatever the basis, I must say that the West of Ireland was sadly neglected when it was being prepared. I was glad to hear from the Parliamentary Secretary that the Corrib is to be tackled in the near future. Surely there was never any excuse for putting it in a low place on the priority list. In my opinion, it should have been at the very top. If the idea was to do drainage in this country on the basis that the good land must be drained first, then I certainly do not agree with that at all.
My opinion is that arterial drainage should be tackled first with regard to the number of people whose livelihood was affected by drainage. If, for example, we take the West of Ireland, we have more people there to the  square mile who are affected by flooding than we have in any other part of the country. May I give the Parliamentary Secretary one example? He knows the River Suck, the length of which is only 96 miles—that is the main river. The tributaries which flow into it extend to 89 miles. There are 10,700 people affected in that area by the flooding. I am bringing the human element into this because I am afraid the human element was not considered when this priority list was being prepared. In my opinion, the West of Ireland was neglected in the past. There is the greatest amount of emigration from that part of the country, and if we are going to be serious in tackling the question of emigration, I do not see why the West of Ireland would not get preference, so far as the priority list for drainage is concerned, in order that the holdings from which those people have to emigrate might be improved.
I should like to know if there is any hold up with regard to the number of engineers available for the work. I am not too confident that the scheme for the preparation of work on the Corrib is being carried through as fast as it might be or could be. I should like, therefore, to know from the Parliamentary Secretary whether there is any hold up as regards the availability of suitable engineers for that work.
I hope that when the Corrib is being done the Parliamentary Secretary will carry out his promise that the River Suck will not be forgotten and that the machinery will not be removed from the West of Ireland before the River Suck is tackled. There is, however, something that could be done in the meantime with regard to the flooding of the area affected by the River Suck. I asked a question recently in the Dáil in connection with the sluice gates in Ballinasloe. The reply I got from the Parliamentary Secretary was to the effect that he had no authority whatever with regard to the opening or closing of these sluice gates. He agreed with me that it was a disgrace that these sluice gates were not now permanently kept open in view of the fact that the mill affected had been  closed or burned down since 1944. The Parliamentary Secretary informed me that that was a matter for the local drainage authority. I got in touch with those people and was informed that they considered that if these sluice gates were kept open continuously it would have a serious effect on the operation of the waterworks at Ballinasloe. That, of course, is true, but if we consider it in this light, that the water has to be kept at a certain level in Ballinasloe in order to keep the waterworks in a suitable condition, that means that the people for miles up the River Suck will suffer from the flooding of their land. That is to say, they will have to suffer the results of the flooding in order to facilitate the people of Ballinasloe. I do not want to see any hardship imposed on the people in Ballinasloe, but I certainly do not want to see any hardship imposed either on the people who live on the banks of the River Suck. I would ask the Parliamentary Secretary to have this matter thoroughly investigated.
The local engineer in South Roscommon interviewed the town clerk in Ballinasloe. He put up the suggestion to him and to the urban council there that, if they considered lowering the intake at the waterworks, it would solve the whole problem. So far, nothing has been done, and the flooding still goes on in the area of the River Suck. I want to ask the Parliamentary Secretary to try to have these sluice gates kept open continuously until such time as the arterial drainage works are put into operation in the locality.
Mr. Colley: I want, first of all, to draw attention to the different form in which sub-head B. for new works is given to us in the Book of Estimates this year. Heretofore, we always got details of the various works on which money was to be spent. This time, we have only a total under the heading of each Department. We have no information in the Book of Estimates this year as to the individual works which are to be undertaken. I think that we are entitled to have that information. No explanation has been given as to why it has been cut out  this year. One can only conclude that it is an attempt to stifle criticism. As a consequence, I, at any rate, am in the position that I do not know whether the £10 of a token Vote for the Garden of Remembrance is still included or not. The Parliamentary Secretary assured me last year that it was only deferred. He said:—
Mr. Colley: We are not given any information, even as to whether the £10 is continued. We have been given no information as to what the Government proposes to do in relation to that scheme. We were told previously that they objected to the site. They have certainly taken it over for other purposes but we have no information as to what they mean to do. We have no such hesitation about the cenotaph on Leinster Lawn. In spite of what the Parliamentary Secretary says, I am personally satisfied that it is not intended to go forward with the project for the Garden of Remembrance. There is no evidence of it. All the evidence is to the contrary.
Mr. Colley: We have been told during the year, in reply to various questions, that the site for the Garden of Remembrance was required for the infant clinics. We on these benches do not object to infant clinics. We started a scheme for infant clinics and this Government has done nothing in that regard except to carry on from where we left off. It has surely come to a pretty pass if we have to hide behind infants' swaddling clothes to protect ourselves when we are trying to let down the memory of the 1916 men, because that is what it amounts to.
As I have said, there has been no hesitation about the memorial on Leinster Lawn to the founders of a partitioned State while the memorial to the real founders of the State, the 1916 men, about whom there should be no question whatever, has been deferred, to use the Parliamentary Secretary's expression. He has not told us for how long we shall have to wait. Maybe if we all live long enough, we may see something erected to the memory of the 1916 men, but I am doubtful if we shall because the Government's action in this matter is quite in keeping with their whole attitude to the I.R.A. in every way. They are the only men who are being sacked; they are the only men whose pensions have not been increased and the general  policy of the Government is quite in keeping with that. The erection of the cenotaph is going ahead. Immediately the Government took office they saw to that. In fact it looks like a deliberate attempt to try to recreate the whole civil war spirit. At the same time, they abandoned the Garden of Remembrance. What else is one to think except that that is their intention? I hope they do not succeed in their efforts, but it looks as if they are trying to do that.
Mr. Colley: It looks very bad from people who protested to be staunch republicans that immediately they came into office they proceeded with the erection of the cenotaph to the founders of a partitioned State and dropped the memorial to the 1916 men. Let the people who call themselves republicans satisfy their consciences on that matter but that, in fact, is what is happening. I think the whole position is most unworthy and discloses a partisan attitude. It is something which a little sane thinking, if they were not blinded by political prejudice, would not have allowed to happen. I hope it is not too late yet for a reconsideration of the whole question by the Government. I hope that they will try to look at it in the way I have just put it, that they are recreating the civil war spirit, and it is having that effect. It is high time their decision was reconsidered.
Deputy Cowan made a remark some time ago that the erection of the cenotaph on Leinster Lawn was the result of a decision by the Fianna Fáil Government. So far as I am aware, all the Fianna Fáil Government undertook to do was to replace the previous temporary memorial which had to be taken down as dangerous and which was put up by the former Government. They did not undertake to build the elaborate monument such as that which is being put up at the moment. I want to correct the belief which apparently Deputy Cowan holds about that matter. I hope that the Parliamentary Secretary will take some steps along the lines I have suggested.
Mr. Palmer: To me it seems rather ridiculous and entirely out of place for Deputy Colley to mix up republicanism. Partition and the civil war spirit with the Estimate we are considering this morning. So far as the Garden of Remembrance, the cenotaph and all these other memorials are concerned, I think the greatest memorial we can erect in remembrance of those who laid the foundations of the State is to see that the people of this country will have drainage, good schools, good roads to their houses and all the other facilities that would properly come under an Estimate such as this. As the Parliamentary Secretary has stated on various occasions that the scheme for the Garden of Remembrance will be carried out at a certain stage, I fail to see why Deputies opposite should be harping so much on that question. It is gratifying to see that so much extra money is being voted for the erection of new schools and the repair of existing schools which are in a bad condition. It is also gratifying to see that so much extra money is being voted for drainage.
There is one matter that I wish to bring to the notice of the Parliamentary Secretary. While the Deputies for North Kerry will no doubt look after the drainage of the Brick and Cashen, I am interested in the matter in this way, that as soon as the drainage has been carried out there I should like to see the machinery brought to South Kerry to carry out the drainage of the River Maine. In fact, while the work is being carried out in the Brick and Cashen area, I hope that the Parliamentary Secretary will see that a full survey is made of the River Maine so that work can commence there immediately the machinery is available. I think that on that matter we are very fair. We are giving preference to North Kerry because we feel it is more necessary, although, indeed, some of the finest land in the county is being continually flooded for want of the drainage of the Maine.
I will say that the Parliamentary Secretary and the officials of his Department—and it is a very important Department—have always been anxious to do their best to carry out  the various schemes put before them and that at all times the Parliamentary Secretary's officials have been courteous to those who made representations to them.
Mr. Beegan: I feel rather disappointed at the way the Parliamentary Secretary presented his Estimate. He was not, in my opinion, by any means as elaborate as he might be. He just gave us a list of figures and we were as wise when we read the Book of Estimates as we were having listened to his opening statement. Deputy Commons mentioned that he could not understand why Deputy O'Grady should be critical and dissatisfied about the rate of progress; but as far as this side of the House is concerned, I think that we have had fairly good reason to be dissatisfied in view of all the great promises that were made particularly regarding arterial drainage, by members of the Coalition in this House and outside it for a number of years.
Experience, of course, is a great tutor; all the difficulties are seen now and it is found that it is not so easy after all to get on with this arterial drainage business as the people were led to believe. I understand that the preliminary work on the Brosna scheme commenced in 1942 and that it was six years before it could be started. The Glyde and Dee was started a few years later and it was only a few weeks ago that the actual work was begun. These schemes were in preparation for a number of years and it took a long time to prepare them.
As far as drainage is concerned, everybody seems to talk for his own area, but there is one river in this country which is the basin of Ireland, if I might say so, and that is the Shannon, and I have not heard any mention of it in the Parliamentary Secretary's opening statement; neither have I heard any mention of it this year from Deputy McQuillan, although last year and the year before he was very vocal regarding the hardships that resulted from the overflow of that river. With regard to the greater part of the country I represent, and also,  I believe, to the eastern side of the Shannon, unless something is done I feel that the arterial drainage of certain rivers leading into it will be, to a certain extent, wasteful expenditure. The Parliamentary Secretary may say to me that the Brosna scheme is being carried out and that it is not doing any harm, but I know people from the Shannon's flooded areas from Athlone to Meelick who tell me that if there had been as great rainfall during the past two years as in previous years their position would be far worse as a result of the drainage of the Brosna. Nothing has been done to ease that except, perhaps, that some instructions were given regarding the sluices at Meelick, but there again I understand that enough has not been done. Anyway, this seems to be a very difficult scheme.
The drainage commission recommended some sort of partial drainage scheme, but seemingly the Board of Works are very reluctant to undertake even that. It is about time to be frank with the country and with the people who are living alongside the Shannon and who are suffering injury year in, year out and tell them whether it is proposed to do anything at all with the Shannon or if it is ever going to be done and if it is not, in what way they are to be recompensed for the losses they are undoubtedly suffering and must continue to suffer.
In addition, I would like to know all about this priority list which must have been made out over a number of years. I should like to know if it was and if there is any change in it. In his concluding statement I think that the Parliamentary Secretary should inform this House of the number of arterial drainage areas in the country in which it is proposed to carry out drainage, their order on the priority list and the approximate time when survey work would be likely to take place. If he does, I think it will save him a good deal of the trouble of having to meet deputations from the country or of being called to meet them in their own locality, to tell them why this or that river has not been tackled. I think that a clear statement on that at the present time is very necessary.
The Suck was mentioned and, of  course, that too is a river that requires attention. It is a very difficult river to drain, because it is very sluggish and in my opinion it is almost flowing against the hill. We have other rivers in Connaught, the Moy, the Dunkellin river that the Parliamentary Secretary knows sufficiently about, the Killimor river and a number of other smaller rivers. I think a statement should be made about all these and, in fact, about all the rivers in the whole State.
I see in the Book of Estimates that 11 extra officers have come to the Department during the past year at an extra cost of £19,483. That is not a very big increase, but when we come to the arterial drainage section we find only the same number of engineers as last year. Of course, we have four more engineers in that we had three engineers of grade 1, four engineers of grade 2, and 12 engineers of grade 3 last year, with four temporary junior assistant engineers, while this year we have 16 engineers of grade 3 and I presume that the four temporary junior assistant engineers were promoted to the rank of grade 3 during the past year. That is no great indication that there is going to be a great speeding up of any of this survey work we hear so much about and all this preparation of plans. It is quite easy to come in here with an Estimate for the amount of money which it is proposed to spend, but perhaps at the end of the year we will find that a very considerable portion of it has not been spent at all.
Mr. Beegan: It is easy to get 45 applications, but engineers for drainage are in a different category from  engineers for roads or housing, and I should like to know if any attempt has been made to get, if you like, experts —expert architects or engineers, if I might so describe them—who were engaged on any of the big drainage problems or undertakings carried out throughout Europe. It would be very useful, if we could engage some such people, because there is a feeling in the country that our whole approach to this drainage problem is somewhat antiquated and that the work could be carried out on more modern and scientific lines. I do not know whether that is true or not, as I am not an authority, but such statements have been made to me. I have also been informed that the River Shannon can never be drained if the drainage of that river is attempted in the old-fashioned way, that certain new methods will have to be adopted. Perhaps that would be more costly and perhaps the expenditure would not be justified, but it is a matter which should be gone into and considered.
There is another item of which I should like an explanation from the Parliamentary Secretary. It refers to “Maintenance, repairs and other current charges” in respect of the different Departments. In connection with the Department of External Affairs, there is an estimate of £69,647 this year as compared with £47,347 last year, an increase of £22,300. I should be glad also if the Parliamentary Secretary could inform us as to when the Corrib drainage work is likely to commence. If the Parliamentary Secretary draws up a priority list and stands by it, if he says: “There is no use in deputations coming to my office or asking me to meet them. That is the list and we are going to carry out the work in strict order of priority.” he will be doing a very good day's work not only for the people concerned but for himself and his Department.
Mr. C. Lehane: I have no criticism to offer of this Estimate, save in respect of one sub-head. I refer to the decision to proceed with the erection of the memorial cenotaph on Leinster Lawn. I deplore that decision, because the memorial is purely sectional in its  significance, erected to the three leaders of one Party in the British-engineered civil war. I deplore the decision, because I believe that it is calculated to recreate the bitterness engendered by that civil war. Deputy Colley referred to this danger, and I trust that he was sincere in his anxiety to avoid a recreation of civil war bitterness. Unfortunately, on too many occasions from members of the Party opposite have we seen deliberate attempts to provoke that bitterness, to maintain it and to intensify it. I deplore the decision, and I think the Government by that decision have, to an extent, played into the hands of those sections of the Fianna Fáil Party who realise that they have no political existence other than that based on the bitterness they can create.
The opposition expressed from the benches opposite is an opposition which does not evoke in my mind any respect for its sincerity, particularly in view of the fact that, when the Party opposite was in power, they submitted to members of the Fine Gael Party plans upon which they proposed to proceed with this project. I am not concerned with what the attitude of the Party opposite was or is to-day. I think it is unwise that, in 1950, we should be erecting memorials of a sectional significance, calculated to reopen the scars left by the civil war. Our job in this House should be to heal those scars. There are many people in this country who now vote, and, I think, who are even members of this House, who were not born when the civil war was fought. These people are entitled to some consideration. The future is with them, and perhaps our main duty is to them, and to the younger people still, those born in the intervening period.
We want to build in this country a united people who will be able to claim jurisdiction over all their territory and able to march together to greater conditions of individual security, peace and freedom. We are not going to do that by continually harking back, whether from this side of the House or the other, to past bitterness, past divisions and past dissensions.
Mr. Lydon: I want to refer, as my colleague, Deputy Beegan referred, to the Corrib. I had a question down to the Minister for Finance within the past fortnight asking him to indicate when work on that drainage scheme would commence. The reply I got was that he regretted he was unable to give me that information; in other words, there was no indication that work on the scheme would go forward in the foreseeable future. That is a very bad state of affairs and I think the Parliamentary Secretary would be well advised to tell the House in his reply clearly and fairly what the position is with regard to the drainage of the Corrib catchment area.
Mr. Lydon: Yes. I want the Parliamentary Secretary to tell us the position as it is now. The Parliamentary Secretary promised in public speeches that he would get work on the Corrib done as early as possible.
Mr. Lydon: It is only fair to himself and to the House that he would tell us when it will be done. There is a second matter which I want to raise. The Parliamentary Secretary, in his reply, might indicate to the House the reasons for the change in the notepaper issued by his Department. Previously, the Office of Public Works used to indicate on their notepaper in Irish and in English the particulars of the office from which the correspondence came. The harp indicated the country. Now they are using note heading purely in English, and even the name of the country, the Republic of Ireland, is not on it. There must be some reason for the change. It is rather a significant change that all the Irish wording should be omitted from the Office of Public Works note heading and that they should revert to English type, and that even the description of the country is omitted. There must be some reason for that, and I think the Parliamentary Secretary should tell the House what that reason is.
Mr. Davin: As far as I am concerned, I am perfectly satisfied that the Parliamentary Secretary is doing the work in a satisfactory manner and getting the best possible value for the large sums of money provided for the service of his Department. In particular, I am delighted at the way in which work on the Brosna scheme is progressing. The Parliamentary Secretary, the engineering staff and the workers generally are to be congratulated on the results achieved so far. There is one matter about which I am not too clear, and that I would like the Parliamentary Secretary to explain when replying. I want to know the difference, if any, between the kind of work that is being carried out, for instance, under rural employment schemes, for which there is an allocation this year of £290,000, and the rural improvements schemes, for which there is an allocation of £125,000. I raised this matter because I know there is a certain amount of confusion between the county engineers in the constituency, one county engineer, in particular, who is a very efficient man, the county engineer for Offaly, and the officials of the Department, as to the kind of work that may be carried out under these two schemes.
Mr. Davin: Apart altogether from that, I want to raise here, as a typical case, a proposal affecting 30 persons; affecting the conditions under which they live. That is not a minor matter. It is the case of an application that was sent in some time ago, after it had been sent to another Department previously, for the repair of Ballylinn Road, near Ferbane in County Offaly. I raise this  matter because it may help to clear the mind of the county engineer.
Mr. Davin: All right. I bow to your ruling. I want to raise another matter that is not on Vote 10 and with which the Parliamentary Secretary, the Minister for Local Government and other Departments are fairly well acquainted. It is an application for the repair of roads leading from Shannon Bridge to Clonmacnoise cemetery.
Mr. Davin: This is a case where responsibility is shared by the Parliamentary Secretary and the Minister for Local Government. Apart from that, I think you would know that the Board of Works has responsibility for the preservation of our national monuments and has direct responsibility for the present condition of the road leading to Clonmacnoise cemetery and for the supervision of the cemetery itself. This is Board of Works responsibility which has been shifted from one Department to another for several  years past. I would like to have an assurance from the Parliamentary Secretary. There are other Deputies from other constituencies who are interested in this matter.
Mr. Davin: I am talking about the responsibility for the supervision and preservation of Clonmacnoise cemetery and the Board of Works has definite responsibility, legal responsibility, in that matter.
Mr. Davin: I would like the Parliamentary Secretary to ask the commissioners and the chief officials to get the files in connection with the Clonmacnoise cemetery and to give me and my colleagues and Deputies from adjoining constituencies who are equally interested in this matter an assurance that the agitation which is going on for some time, which is quite a proper one, supported by his Lordship, the Bishop for the area, the energetic parish priest, who is responsible for the administration of the parish, will have effect and that this matter will be cleaned up, so far as he can help to do it, before the Vote comes up for consideration next year.
There is one other matter. Is there any hope that, before next year, after all the discussion on the matter that has been going on for years, long before this Government came into office or the Parliamentary Secretary was appointed to his present position, the approaches to Leinster House will be put in a more presentable condition? Instead of wasting money on putting up the stone work outside—I do not know how to describe it—I suggest that they should regard it as a primary duty to have proper waiting rooms at Leinster House for the visitors who come here from all parts of the world. I do not know of any Parliament House—I have been in  about half a dozen, on the Continent and in Great Britain—where the appearance of the entrance is so bad. Surely the Parliamentary Secretary, out of the big Vote at his disposal, can do something before another 12 months elapse.
Major de Valera: This Estimate has a bearing on a problem that has a bearing on every Government Department. The particular relation to that problem that this Estimate has and that this Parliamentary Secretary has is the provision of protection in time of crisis for State servants and people of that sort. There have been some reports recently that even those air raid shelters which survived up to the present are being demolished. We have a very good example on the premises. Out on the Lawn, up till recently, there was a shelter. That shelter was put up there for the purpose of enabling this institution to function in time of danger. In particular, it would be necessary for the staff if, unfortunately, the times were such that they would need such things. That shelter is being demolished to make way for a monument which is being built. The energies of the Board of Works are going into such things at the moment.
Nobody likes to be, so to speak, the prophet of disaster or to point to unpleasant things. Each one of us hopes and sincerely prays that the necessity for considering these things in extenso will not arise. Nevertheless. what I want to say to the Parliamentary Secretary is this—I have said it to other Ministers—the present situation is one to make us think. What already exists in the nature of protective buildings and installations under the Parliamentary Secretary's control, I suggest, should be maintained, and thereafter the Parliamentary Secretary's Department should be exercised with at least plans and preparations to provide the necessary protection for State servants and others, if such protection should be necessary.
Remember that on the provision of such protection, facilities and organisation, the very running of the Administration might largely depend in certain unwelcome contingencies. It  boils down to this, that what we have we should maintain. A survey should be made of what we are likely to need and at least plans drawn up for the quick provision of what we might need, if the occasion should arise— and that, of course, means also making sure that the necessary materials are always available. That is that, but I think it is opportune to mention it.
Comment has already been made, I understand, in this debate on the form of the Estimates as between this year and last year. It is, unfortunately, a symptom of Coalition Government that it tends to recede more and more from the public eye if it can, and that it tends to conceal its activities as much as possible. We have already had occasion in the past few days to complain of unorthodox action on the part of Ministers. One of the great safeguards for the working of a system such as we have is the disclosure of the accounts of the Departments and the Estimates of the Departments each year—the proposals for expenditure and for operation during the current year. It gives an opportunity for discussion in this House. It definitely commits a Minister in advance to certain things, and it enables both Deputies and the public to get the information which they should get. That has, heretofore, in this case, been made very possible by the detailed form in which the Estimate was made up. Take, for example, sub-head B —new works, alterations and additions. For the year ending 31st March, 1950, considerable details will be found on page 56 and onwards of the Book of Estimates for the year 1949-50. There, in considerable detail, will be found the purposes set out for which the sums of money are voted, and the breaking down of the totals into considerable detail. It simply means that, in the beginning, when voting this money we know precisely for what purposes the Minister for Finance is getting the money, and at the end of the year he can be held accountable in that respect not only before any committee but actually in this House. Here we have an unwelcome change and, I think, not a very good change.
 On page 46 of the present Book of Estimates, under the corresponding sub-head, we find simply bulk totals, namely, summarised totals dealing simply with the various establishments —the President's Establishment, Houses of the Oireachtas, and so forth. That is an undesirable change: there is not the same amount of information available to us as there was in the past. Why is that so? It definitely hampers Deputies in securing information or following up any particular sub-head and, shall I say, it is a bad thing, especially where a Coalition Government is concerned.
Another matter which I should like to bring to the attention of the Parliamentary Secretary is that during the year I made certain inquiries about the conditions of service of labourers and storemen in the furniture stores department—those on the Board of Works sheets and those on contractors' sheets. I got a reply from the Parliamentary Secretary in that regard but my informants tell me there is still a discrepancy between the terms of service and the advantages of people in the different categories. Apparently, these people are doing precisely the same work and, except for an accounting distinction, there appears to be no distinction between them as far as status or work is concerned. There is, however, when everything is taken into account, some difference in the question of net remuneration. Again, I take this opportunity of asking the Parliamentary Secretary to look into the matter. It is a grievance which these people feel and which, I think, would cost the State nothing to adjust and to obviate.
Mr. Browne: I congratulate the Parliamentary Secretary on the way he is managing the whole scheme of drainage. Drainage is of national importance to every section of the people and to every county. On this Vote I want to raise the question of the drainage of the Moy. I fully realise and am aware of the fact that there is a priority list. The only difficulty I find myself up against is the delay in reaching the Moy. The drainage of the Moy is of great importance to the people of my constituency and County  Mayo in general. The fact that nothing has been done even to reach the survey part of the drainage seems to indicate that it will be a considerable time before the drainage scheme in general for the Moy will be put into operation. However, I am not blaming the Parliamentary Secretary. I know that he is moving as quickly as possible and doing his work well and, from what I can learn, his scheme is a great success and has shown great benefits even during his short term in office.
At the same time I should like to point out that, as far as the Moy is concerned, a scheme was prepared as far back as 25 years ago. That scheme will be found in the Board of Works. The matter has been raised on several occasions in this House but nothing has been done. I understand that a survey of the Corrib is in operation and I appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary to see that, while his officials are on the spot on the Corrib, they should extend their activities to the Moy. I suggest that a survey of both rivers could be carried out, one after the other. It would be a desirable thing to have drainage carried out on both rivers at the earliest possible moment. So far as the Moy is concerned, there are certain peculiarities attaching to it. The chief point about the Moy is the destruction its flooding causes to the farming community who live along its banks. The Moy is one of our big rivers, one of the main outlets from two lakes, Lough Conn and Lough Cullen. Into those lakes flow four or five other rivers. After a sudden heavy fall of rain these rivers raise the level of the lake to a remarkable degree and the result is that large areas of land are flooded. For instance, if you have a heavy fall of rain to-night, thousands of acres will be flooded inside 24 hours.
Convenient to the Moy there is some splendid land, good grazing land and land that is fairly safe and good for tillage. A big number of the farmers for miles and miles each side of the Moy have to depend on hay as a winter food for their live stock. There are times, and I am sure the Parliamentary Secretary has had the same experience in his county, when a heavy fall of rain  in July or August would have the effect of taking away every bit of the hay saved along the banks of the Moy. That is one reason why I want the Minister to devote serious attention to draining the Moy. I understand the Corrib has priority over the Moy but, now that the machinery is there and the survey is proceeding, I earnestly suggest the extension of that survey to the Moy.
Another matter which I would like to mention is the grant of £806 for the repair of embankments at Belderring. I do not know whether that matter properly comes under this Estimate. I have been informed that a grant has been sanctioned. The importance of this matter cannot be over-stressed, because there is a grave danger of floods in that area. It is an area where there is a big number of registered unemployed. If the repairs were undertaken they would serve two purposes. They would give employment in the area and they would relieve the dangers of flooding.
That is about all I have to say on this Estimate. There are other matters which I will raise on other Estimates. I make a final appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary to give the Moy a prominent place on the priority list.
Mr. J. Flynn: I can never understand why this Vote should be cramped because, in connection with nearly every item in it, there is a proposal to increase the grant and to increase the work under the different heads. There is extra money being provided for the building of schools and for drainage works. For the first time, so far as my county is concerned, there are arrangements being made for the commencement of field drainage in connection with the North Kerry drainage scheme.
With Deputy Palmer, I would like to stress this point, that the next scheme in order of merit should be the Maine drainage scheme. As a matter of fact, I should have said the completion of the Main drainage scheme, because a good many years ago the Government provided money for the inauguration of that scheme and it has never been completed. I think that  we have a prior claim in that respect. I can never understand how this matter of a priority list was worked out. One would imagine that a scheme that was under way ten or 12 years ago and on which a considerable sum was expended should have progressed more instead of being shelved all those years in order to facilitate some other area. It certainly should be one of the first to get consideration after these schemes that are now under way are finished.
There is one matter I would like to mention to the Parliamentary Secretary and, through him, to his officials. I have made representations to the Department time and again with regard to the conditions of the workers and the people on the Bourne-Vincent estate, especially with regard to housing and rates of wages. It would appear that the departmental officials accept the reports of officials down there rather than the representations that we make. I want to insist that, so far as I am concerned, any information that I have with reference to matters that I mention is reliable.
I challenge the attitude of the Commissioners of Public Works when they accept the word of the superintendent down there against our representations. They seem to think that we have no knowledge of local affairs and of how things are being handled down there. I want to tell the officials that I am not going to leave it rest at that, nor will I stand for their acquiescence in the reports of the officials down in that place.
I made the statement here that housing conditions on that estate were deplorable and I suggested the workers were entitled to an increased wage. An inspection was carried out by the engineers and a report was submitted to the Department which, I claim, was not a true report. The Commissioners of Public Works accepted that report as against my statement. I am prepared to reiterate everything I said and I will continue to press for justice for these men. One of the officials of the Board of Works challenged my statement and he even challenged the Parliamentary Secretary's decision in  one matter. I warn that official that I will not leave it rest at that, either inside or outside this House. That particular official seems to have some peculiar antipathy to me.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: There is no submission to be accepted in the matter. The Parliamentary Secretary is responsible to this House for the administration of the Department and no official should be referred to in any way in which he might be recognised. This House is privileged and no official has any redress against any member of the House.
Mr. J. Flynn: Very well. I have raised this question of the drainage schemes and I also welcome the Parliamentary Secretary's decision to establish an office or section representative of his Department in our county, to carry out these drainage schemes, rural improvement schemes and other such schemes under the direct control of the Department. Heretofore, we had them supervised by the local county engineers who had more than enough work on hands to prevent them from paying proper attention to these works. Now I understand that a special office is being established which will arrange for an all-the-year-round programme. I welcome that departure.
Finally, I congratulate the Parliamentary Secretary on the work he has done. In my opinion, this is the most  satisfactory report on development and the most satisfactory Estimate in regard to expenditure, ever presented to this House from the Office of Public Works.
Mr. P.J. Burke: I want to make some observations regarding a few matters concerning County Dublin. I would like the Board of Works definitely to spend a little more time in dredging Howth Harbour. They have gone there on a few occasions and have succeeded in dredging the harbour just along by the pier wall, about nine or ten feet out, with the result that it is very little use to the fishermen and to seafaring men using the harbour every day for their livelihood. Dredging is very important and this applies to Howth and Balbriggan as both harbours are used extensively by the few fishing boats we have left along the east coast. As supplies have improved, I do not see why it should not be possible to have this work carried out. I hope neither I nor any other public representative will have to bring this to the notice of the Parliamentary Secretary or the Board of Works again.
On a few occasions I have raised questions regarding the west pier road in Howth. I was down there on Sunday at the blessing of a fleet and I saw where there is an attempt made to do something about filling up the potholes there and repairing the road generally, but I must say it was not before its time. I hope that, on this occasion, judging by the number of people who visit Howth Harbour as well as the number who use it for their livelihood, the harbour will be properly attended to. With regard to the east pier, Howth is more or less a tourist centre and the pier is under the charge of the Board of Works. I cannot see why a few lights could not be put along the east pier. There are some lights on the west pier, but a little more should be put on the east pier and a few more seats for the people who go down there in the evenings or at night time. This is a matter that has not altogether to do with the harbour, but people going there to appreciate the scenic beauty of the place would like to have somewhere to sit down in comfort. The  Board of Works should add a little to the amenities of that harbour, by putting more seats along the east pier, now that it is realised that the tourist industry is worth something to us.
There are some rivers in North Dublin which have been referred to also by other public representatives. I do not know what the position is in County Dublin regarding arterial drainage. I have never been able to get an answer on that. I suppose we will have to wait until the major rivers are cleaned. The River Ballough is causing a lot of flooding, especially in the late winter and early spring. It cannot be cleaned under the Works Act. When things are more forward in regard to major rivers, I hope the Minister will consider minor ones of that kind, as they are doing a considerable amount of damage to land and flooding houses locally.
Finally, there is one burning question. It is about time that the Government should become model employers. I am not saying anything against the Parliamentary Secretary. This Government or some future Government must consider the labourers employed by the Board of Works, who work permanently in cases from the age of 19 until they are 65 and go out then without any pension. If we are encouraging private employers to introduce pension schemes, we should first be in a position to say that our own house is in order.
Mr. P.J. Burke: I know that. I feel  it is one which there is a big obligation on this House to consider. In conclusion, may I say that I had reason last year to speak of uniforms, as I thought some of them did not look so well and were rather shabby uniforms, but I am happy to see there has been an improvement and I hope it will continue. On the other question which was ruled out of order, I hope that at some future date something will be done about it.
Mr. Smith: In his statement to the House, which as far as it went appeared to be well prepared, I thought the Parliamentary Secretary might have been more informative. There are two or three matters about which we could have done with more information.
Mr. Smith: Yes, for a short distance. One of the matters I refer to is schools. The provision for schools is increased, but it would not have been any harm to tell the House to what extent that will represent an increase in the number of school buildings either to be erected or reconstructed. A mere increase in the provision for schools might only mean that it would go largely towards the increased costs of materials, sites, and erection. I should also like to have heard from the Parliamentary Secretary some statement as to the whole policy of the Office of Public Works with regard to schools, school repair and maintenance, some indication as to what is in the mind of the Office of Public Works in that whole matter. Is the Parliamentary Secretary himself satisfied with the system by which schools are erected and maintained? Are we making any progress in dealing with the dilapidated building we have all through the country? If we are building a large number of new schools, is there any truth in the suggestion that, as a result of the present maintenance system, we are allowing other buildings gradually to get into that condition? It is a very desirable thing to spend money on schools, and it has been the aim of the Government of this State for a long time to deal with  the problem of school buildings. However desirable that work may be, it will not be satisfactory if there is not a system of maintenance of these buildings which will ensure for them the longest possible life. I thought we should have heard from the Parliamentary Secretary much more information on those matters and perhaps some other matters in connection with this problem which might suggest themselves to his mind.
In regard to arterial drainage, I suppose some of the remarks which I have made about schools could be applied to that. I thought we would get a statement from the Parliamentary Secretary as to the length of time which it would take to complete the Brosna scheme. As that scheme has been in operation for more than two years, I expected to hear when the work was likely to be completed. The Glyde and Dee scheme was started recently and I expected to hear from the Parliamentary Secretary also some estimate of the probable time which would elapse before the work would be completed. The Parliamentary Secretary also made reference to the Brick and Cashen and the Feale schemes. When he announced that some money was provided to start this work I thought he would have stated whether any firm estimate was available as to the actual cost. It is very hard for Deputies, who are not in possession of the information which the Parliamentary Secretary may have, to reconcile these two statements-that we had in the Estimate provision to enable work to be started this year and, at the same time, an admission that there was no firm estimate available as to the cost.
Deputy Commons endeavoured to make use of this debate to do the childish stuff to which Deputies some times resort when endeavouring to establish that somebody in charge of this work was lackadaisical at some time and somebody else was very energetic. What we want to get from the Parliamentary Secretary is to what extent plans are being prepared for the implementation of the full drainage programme envisaged in the Act of 1945. That programme was to get four  schemes under way as quickly as possible, to build up a reserve of catchment areas in respect of which plans would have been prepared so that the work could be enlarged at any time. Side by side with that you had to build up the field engineering staff and the office engineering staff. In addition, as the Act provides, you had to build up a maintenance organisation for taking over those areas when the work was completed. In that way as well as having a staff organisation for going ahead with the new work, you would be, at the same time, building up an organisation for its maintenance when completed, as well as taking over some older drainage districts which were dealt with many years ago.
Mr. Smith: As I have given the House an assurance that my speech will be brief, I am not going to give Deputy Davin a lecture on this matter. I am referring to the plans envisaged in the Act of 1945, and I am asking the House to agree with me that it would not be unreasonable to expect the Parliamentary Secretary, instead of telling us that there is a sum of £200,000, £300,000 or £400,000 extra provided this year for this and £20,000 extra for that, to let us have a comprehensive picture of how these developments are going on and whether, in fact, we are making any progress. There is no use in Deputies saying that the Act was passed in 1945 and that no work was done until such a year. I am out of the Office for Public Works for a long time. The preparation of the schemes for the Glyde and Dee, the Brosna and Cashen took an enormous amount of time. Years have passed since then and other developments have taken place. How far have we gone on the road towards reaching a realisation of the general plans that those who were responsible for the 1945 Act had in mind? Sometimes an appeal is made here with regard to what is called the “priority” list. That is utter nonsense. I have heard the Parliamentary Secretary making use of that supposed list outside this House,  apparently for political purposes. Some people may fall for it; some may swallow it, but it is ridiculous to talk of such a list. There was never anything other than a list prepared by the chief engineer for his own guidance. It had neither the approval of the Government nor of the Parliamentary Secretary. Their approval was never sought to such a list. It was merely a list of the catchment areas drawn up by the chief engineer for his own guidance if he had a free hand in his approach to the preparation of the particular schemes. In all my conversations with him my attitude was that, as far as each area proved suitable from an engineering point of view, there should be a scheme drawn up for each province so that no province could say that the dice was loaded against it.
When I hear Deputies talking about what is happening and how pleased they are with the progress that is being made, I cannot help remembering sitting on those benches and making a forecast of the length of time it would take to implement the Arterial Drainage Act of 1945. It was then only a Bill and I remember prophesying-and I remember the Clann na Talmhan Deputies and others then in Opposition telling me I was a pessimist, merely trying to throw cold water on the scheme and that it was only a matter of providing machinery-how long the scheme would take. I wanted to be frank with the House because I knew the public would be expecting something, and I knew the public would not have their expectations realised. I thought it just as well that they should have a general idea of the difficulties confronting those in charge of this work.
If you want to give the Parliamentary Secretary credit, you can give him any credit you like in regard to the work that is being done. Just think for a moment of the length of time it has taken on the Brosna scheme so far. Just think of the possibility of that scheme lasting perhaps two years more. Just think of the hundred other catchment areas, some of which are larger than the Brosna and some of which I admit,  are smaller, and think of all the time it would take to prepare schemes for these. Perhaps it is not a bad thing that it should be brought home to some Deputies now that I, speaking from those benches, issued a warning as to the length of time this work would take with all the will in the world behind it. Some Deputies laughed at the idea, and it is not a bad thing now to have them standing up here saying they are perfectly satisfied with how things are going and that the rate of progress is all that can be desired.
I am not suggesting to the Parliamentary Secretary or to the House that there are not great difficulties in the way of building up the necessary staff, first of all to do the outdoor work of surveying; secondly, the indoor work of preparing designs and, thirdly, the building up of a maintenance organisation. I do not say that will be an easy matter, but I am suggesting that those who make the statement that we can be satisfied with the rate of progress are not speaking their true minds, because they could not be satisfied.
There is a good deal of truth in the statement that has been made that in these 100 catchment areas, many of which are incapable of being improved from a maintenance point of view under the Works Act and all the other small jobs done over the last 25 years, which, I suppose, will continue, there is undoubtedly a worsening of the general condition in the main bed in these main catchment areas. I know from my own experience of county roads passing through these catchment areas that they have considerably worsened from the point of view of winter flooding in the last 25 years. My contention is that they have worsened because of a number of factors to which reference has been made from time to time in this House. It is because of that worsening and because of the prospect of that continuing over a number of years that I urge the Parliamentary Secretary to go ahead. It is not a matter of debating whether I ordered the Brosna, the Glyde, the Brick, the Dee or the Cashen. The Parliamentary Secretary when he comes in here should give an  explanation as to what work exactly is being done under the 1945 Act. He should tell us: “Here is £750,000; the Brosna is being done; there is so much still to be done; there are so many men employed; I hope to employ many more, if necessary; it will take five years to finish the job; if I can recruit more labour I will get the work done in half the time and, on the assumption that it would originally have taken five years, I will get it done in two.” We should not have Deputies getting up here and saying that things are fine. We should not have other Deputies getting up and asking that the Moy should be taken out of its order on the supposed priority list and brought up to a certain stage.
I am interested in a number of catchment areas which affect many farmers. It is nonsense to come in here and talk about taking these catchment areas out of their order on a sheet of paper. That will not secure the execution of the work. There is in the country more approval for work of this solid type which will leave behind it a lasting benefit and a lasting memory. Since there is that approval for this kind of work we should hear from the Parliamentary Secretary, when he is introducing his Estimate, a statement setting out exactly what the position is and how the work will be carried out. Not only should we have that statement, but we should have, from month to month, definite evidence of the execution of the works proposed under the Act. The plans that were made should be implemented. With the best will in the world, it will be a slow job. The public should be told that definitely. It is a pity they were not told that five or six years ago. It is a good thing to see now that there is on all sides of the House a realisation of that fact. When the engineers are given liberty to undertake their task and apply their knowledge to the drainage problems of the country, we can all rest assured that the execution of the work will leave behind it something of lasting benefit to those who will come after us.
The Taoiseach: I intervene in this debate solely to correct certain misstatements made here, re-echoing  similar misstatements which have been made outside the House, on the subject of the cenotaph on Leinster Lawn. These statements and the propaganda which is being disseminated outside may have an effect calculated to do something which this Government certainly does not intend and with which they have been charged, namely, of formenting the resurrection of the old civil war bitterness and quarrels. For that reason, I intervene here to-day. I propose calmly to tell the House and the public the facts in connection with the erection of the cenotaph on Leinster Lawn-the real facts, and not the distorted accounts that have been given here and outside.
He repeats that statement again about recreating the whole civil war spirit and he then goes on to refer to a remark that Deputy Cowan is stated to have made some time ago; he, Deputy Colley, states as follows:—
“Deputy Cowan made a remark some time ago that the erection of the cenotaph on Leinster Lawn was the result of a decision by the Fianna Fáil Government. So far as I am aware all that the Fianna Fáil Government undertook to do was to replace the previous temporary memorial which had been taken down as dangerous and which was put up by the former Government. They did not undertake to build an elaborate monument such as that which is being put up at the moment. I want to correct a belief which apparently Deputy Cowan holds about that matter.”
I want to correct the statement that was made by Deputy Colley, and to show that it was unfounded and untrue. In fact, I want to give the facts to the House. A temporary cenotaph was erected in memory of the late Arthur  Griffith and Michael Collins on Leinster Lawn in August, 1923. Some Deputies may remember the form which this cenotaph took. It comprised a central cross and two large pylons, to which medallions, in plaster, of Messrs. Griffith and Collins were affixed. The cenotaph was designed by Mr. George Atkinson, and the medallions were the work of Mr. Albert Power. The erection itself was of timber framing covered with expanded metal lathing and cement. In August, 1928, a medallion of the late Mr. Kevin O'Higgins was added to the cenotaph. The intention, at the time of the erection of that cenotaph, was that it was to be merely temporary, and that it should be replaced in time by a permanent memorial. When the medallion of the late Mr. Kevin O'Higgins was being affixed in August, 1928, it was discovered that the timber framing of the cenotaph was covered with mildew and steps were then taken to ventilate the interior so as to minimise the risk of dry rot. The life of the structure at that time was estimated at five years. Cracks in the structure were observed towards the end of 1935 and, following inspection, the principal architect of the Office of Public Works recommended that it should be removed at the earliest opportunity.
The then Taoiseach, the present Leader of the Opposition, acting very properly, consulted with the Leaders of the Opposition, and having so consulted, he announced on the 15th August, 1939, that in view of reports by the Commissioners of Public Works that the temporary cenotaph was in imminent danger of collapse, it had been decided to take it down and replace it, as was originally intended, by a more permanent memorial to Messrs. Griffith, Collins and O'Higgins, and that the new memorial would be erected on the same site as soon as a suitable design had been prepared and approved.
I want to draw the attention of Deputies to this fact that so far back as 1939 the last Government took a decision to erect a permanent memorial. They very properly took that decision and took the necessary steps in regard to it. The temporary  cenotaph was accordingly taken down, the three plaster medallions having been removed intact and stored away. Following on that decision by the last Government, they had plans prepared for the erection of a permanent memorial. A sketch design for the permanent memorial was prepared by Mr. H.G. Leask, Inspector of National Monuments, Office of Public Works. When submitting this design to the then Government, the Commissioners of Public Works made these observations:—
“On the whole, the design seems to us to be in keeping with the suggestions that were made and with the surroundings. It may be considered, however, that the seats shown on the front are liable to detract from the dignity of the memorial, unless they are indispensable as ‘breaks’ in its face. The carrying down to near the base of the borders of the plaques might perhaps be considered also.”
Other matters were then taken into consideration in connection with this design and views were expressed as to its suitability and as to the conformity of the design to the surrounding buildings. Mr. Leask then prepared a revised design in the light of the views that had been expressed. The former Government, on the 7th August, 1940, accorded provisional approval to the revised design and directed that the revised design should again be submitted to the Opposition for their approval. Owing to the conditions created by the emergency, it was not possible to continue with the work of the erection of the memorial and, accordingly, it was postponed. On 16th September, 1947, the matter was brought to the Government on a memorandum submitted by the then Taoiseach. Regarding this memorandum, it was decided:—
“(1) That the Minister for Finance should give directions for the preparation and submission to the Government of a new sketch design of a monument in the form of a column or obelisk, including provision for a cross and for portrait plaques of the  late Arthur Griffith, Michael Collins and Kevin O'Higgins; and
(2) that the new sketch design when approved by the Government should be discussed by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach with representatives of the Fine Gael Party who should be informed by the Parliamentary Secretary that the Government is prepared to have a monument, in the approved form, erected on Leinster Lawn.”
The original design by Mr. Leask was not in the form of an obelisk. It was in quite a different form, and if Deputies are interested they can see a photograph of the sketch. The design by Mr. Leask as prepared for the Government on a memorandum submitted by the Taoiseach was changed to a column or obelisk, to the form in which it will stand in Leinster Lawn. The then Taoiseach, acting perfectly correctly and with great courtesy, submitted it to the Fine Gael Party. I myself saw it with General Mulcahy. General Mulcahy on the 7th July, 1940, wrote to the Taoiseach as follows:—
I have examined the plans for the cenotaph memorial on Leinster Lawn left with me on Wednesday last, the 2nd July. They have also been seen by some of my colleagues. We approve of the plan bearing date 1/5/'40, and marked that the words ‘showing new scale’.”
It was in July, 1940, that the sketch plans were submitted to General Mulcahy. They were Mr. Leask's plans. By this letter of the 7th July, 1940, we approved of the Leask memorial. Subsequently, as I have stated, on the 16th September, 1947, the Government decided not to go on with these plans, but to have a new sketch design of a monument in the form of a column or obelisk, including the provision for a cross and for portrait plaques. These were then to be submitted to General Mulcahy and to my colleagues and, in fact, were submitted. That having been done, the architects of the Board of Works were directed to proceed with the making of designs for a column or obelisk.
 The preparation of the new design was delayed in the Office of Public Works owing to the pressure of work on the architectural staff of the office. Mr. Raymond McGrath, the principal architect, then submitted plans, and, in the meantime, the change of Government had taken place. Mr. McGrath submitted plans to me and to my colleagues following this decision for the erection of a column or obelisk. We approved of the present column or obelisk, with some changes and additions.
It will, therefore, be seen that Deputy Colley has done something which might be a great public disservice, and which could have caused very great bitterness, had I not taken the opportunity here to-day to correct it.
So far from endeavouring in any way to foment the feelings or the spirit of the civil war or to revive bitterness, the whole policy of this Government, and the real reason for its foundation, has been to put an end to that bitterness and to this personal strife. There was never the slightest intention, in connection with the erection of this memorial which was decided upon as far back as 1939 by the previous Government, to revive the old bitterness. That allegation has been made to mislead people, decent people very often, into the belief that we were doing something to resurrect the old bitterness of the civil war by proceeding with the plans for the erection of this memorial to Griffith, Collins and O'Higgins. Nothing was further from our minds. We continued, as I have said, the plans that had been formulated by the last Government. They were slightly changed but they would have probably been changed if we had never come into power. A column or obelisk was what was decided upon by the last Government. That column or obelisk is going up now with some slight changes in its design, merely from the point of view of bringing it more into conformity with its surroundings.
Much propaganda has been made in regard to the project for the Garden  of Remembrance. Deputy Colley, in a most unworthy speech, said that we were reviving the civil war spirit because we had not proceeded with that project and because we were proceeding with the memorial on Leinster Lawn. I hope I have convinced him that that is not so. In fact, his statement was a deliberate attempt to revive the old civil war spirit. The Deputy went on to say that Deputy Cowan was under a misapprehension and that he wanted to correct it. I have now shown that Deputy Cowan was correct in his statement and that it was Deputy Colley who was incorrect.
Deputy Colley said that his colleagues had not undertaken to build an elaborate monument such as that which is being put up at the moment. I have now shown that we are continuing in sequence what was done by the last Government. I want to emphasise that for people in this House who are open to conviction and to a decent reception of the truth and for people outside as well, so that there may be an end to this controversy which has been conducted in the columns of the Press to the effect that this was being done to revive the bitterness of the civil war. This Government never had any intention to abandon the Garden of Remembrance. So far as they are concerned that project is going ahead and will go ahead as soon as the Minister for Health says that he does not require these grounds any longer for the use to which they are at present being put.
The Taoiseach: Whenever the Minister for Health says that he does not require it any longer for use for a children's clinic. I have made this statement here in public and I hope Deputy Colley will have the decency to accept what I have said and to withdraw the statement he made in the House this morning. So far from there being any endeavour or effort on the part of the Government to revive the civil war spirit or to fail in their duty to commemorate the efforts of those who took part in the  struggle for freedom, apart altogether from the project of the Garden of Remembrance, the Government have been considering the erection of a proper memorial adequately to commemorate the long struggle of the Irish nation for its existence and its freedom and the efforts and sacrifices of all who participated in that struggle. We intend before we leave office to erect that additional memorial to commemorate the long struggle of the Irish nation for its existence and its freedom and all the efforts and sacrifices of all those who participated in that struggle.
Mr. Colley: On a point of explanation, when I answered Deputy Cowan I prefaced my remarks by saying “as far as I understand.” The Taoiseach has taken me apparently as voicing the views of the late Government. I did not pretend to do any such thing. I prefaced my statement by saying that as far as I understood, or as far as I knew.
The Taoiseach: I was quoting from a copy of the report which I got from the official stenographers. I read the Deputy's remarks and the words “As far as I know” do not occur. This is the report of the Deputy's remarks:
“Deputy Cowan made a remark some time ago that the erection of the cenotaph on Leinster Lawn was the result of a decision by the Fianna Fáil Government. So far as I am aware, all the Fianna Fáil Government undertook to do was to replace the previous temporary memorial, which had been taken down as dangerous and which was put up by the former Government. They did not undertake to build the elaborate monument such as that which is being put up at the moment.”
Mr. Smith: Before passing away from the matter may I say in regard to the recital of the facts by the Taoiseach, so far as he recited them,  I should like the House and the Taoiseach to believe that there are other facts which could be recited if this matter were to be discussed at length, which I think would be very unwise I myself could supply some additional facts if it were considered wise to take this matter in the sense in which it has been taken by the Taoiseach. The Taoiseach and the members of the Government will appreciate in dealing with this matter —I happened to be in the Office of Public Works on some of the dates mentioned—that it was most awkward for us in the sense that we were participants in the unfortunate struggle of 1921, 1922 and 1923, and that there were many suggestions that we made or would like to make and would like to insist upon, and many recommendations that we would have preferred to accept rather than the ones that were forced upon us, but we refrained from doing so because of our desire not to stimulate bitterness. If we were to have an examination of the statements made by the Taoiseach, there would be some other interesting sidelights thrown upon it, but I have no desire to prolong the matter.
The Taoiseach: In answer to that may I say that I do not think there could be any other sidelights thrown upon it. I want to repeat what I have already stated that the last Government acted in perfect propriety in this matter. I appreciate their difficulties and I am glad to say that acting in that perfect propriety they decided to erect a permanent memorial.
Mr. A.P. Byrne: I want the Parliamentary Secretary to reconsider a decision which he made during the last  12 months. I drew his attention to the fact that every Saturday and every Sunday in the 15 acres in the Phoejoinix Park boys are forced to dress and un dress in the open before and after football matches no matter what the weather is like, in hail, rain or snow. If they want to play a match, they must expose themselves to the ravages of the weather and run a fearful danger of contracting tuberculosis. I asked the Parliamentary Secretary to erect a few more pavilions to protect these boys. At the moment there are 16 pavilions and 27 grounds. That means that as many as 54 teams are sometimes taking part in matches. That is to say, 38 out of the 54 teams must dress and undress in the open. I want the Minister to reconsider this from the point of view of asking if the Government is being penny wise, pound foolish. We spent all day yesterday talking about the provision of thousands of pounds for hospitals and sanatoria while a few hundred pounds would put up these pavilions which might save many thousands of pounds later on.
Let me remind the Parliamentary Secretary that when Deputy Fitzpatrick and Deputy Dr. Brennan put down a motion calling for more playing grounds and playing pavilions the Minister for Local Government was very sympathetic and stated in the House that it was the policy of the Government to provide facilities for recreation and that he encouraged local authorities to do so also, and Deputy Fitzpatrick and Deputy Dr. Brennan graciously withdrew their motion on that undertaking.
Personally, I would not ask that the money be refunded at all, as it is only a fiea-bite from the Exchequer and should be a gift from the people to the boys who play football, but if we did want it back, it could come back. Even at the moment, the boys pay a small fee, 1/- or 1/1 per team, for the use of the pavilion and they would be prepared to pay 1/6 if necessary to recoup the Government for their expenditure on pavilions. I strongly exhort the Minister that at least 38  more pavilions should be put up in the soccer section of the Phoenix Park.
Mr. R. Walsh: I will not delay the Parliamentary Secretary very long, but I want to draw his special attention to the question of the Moy. I would ask him how things stand there at present. As has been stated, the Moy is the greatest draining river in Mayo. There is hardly a river, hardly a drop of rain falls in Mayo, but eventually finds its way into the River Moy. Therefore, the drainage and cleaning of the Moy is of vital importance to Mayo, and I would like the Parliamentary Secretary to go into the question and let us know at least how the matter now stands and what are the prospects for the drainage of the Moy in the year approaching.
Another matter I should like him to clear up is the question of farm build ings and the grants made for them. Some small farmers have come to me apparently under the impression that they would get a very large grant. I am not quite sure of the position myself and perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary would make a statement.
I do not want to go at length into the question of the site for this memorial. All I have to say is that there are plenty of sites in Dublin City which could be taken over for the purpose of a Garden of Remembrance. There are alternative sites for the building of the institution that the Minister is erecting in Parnell Square, a very small distance away. I do not see why that institution was not erected in the centre of Mountjoy Square. I do not object to this beneficial institution being established for the people, but I certainly felt sore at the proposal not to erect a memorial to our dead who died in the service of this country but to erect an institution that could be erected a very short distance away, so that it would not discommode the people who would be availing of it in any way or put an additional journey on them. I certainly think that an alternative site could be found, and I can suggest, for instance, St. Stephen's Green. It would be very fitting to place the  memorial to the people who brought about the independence of this part of Ireland where formerly the statue of a British king stood.
Mr. Donnellan: I am very grateful to Deputies for their advice on this Estimate. Of course, the most important matter appeared to be drainage. It was one of the greatest interests here, naturally enough. That is what we would expect and I am sure you will not mind, Sir, if I spend a few moments on that. I was more than surprised at Deputy O'Grady moving this Estimate back for reconsideration. He dealt with drainage and drainage alone, and he was one of those Deputies who felt that we were not doing the work we should do regarding drainage. At the same time, he had the decency to be a bit grateful for the fact that we have moved into the Fergus in his constituency at the moment and I appreciate that from him.
During the debate on all the Estimates this year and last year it has become a very familiar thing to refer back to something some Minister of the present day said when he was a Deputy. On this occasion I am going to refer back to the statement of Deputy Smith, then Parliamentary Secretary, in column 1322 of Volume 92, on the 16th February, 1944, when he was speaking on the Second Reading of the Arterial Drainage Bill under which we are now working. He was referring to the report of the Drainage Commission and stated that the Government had accepted the report almost in detail. Then he went on to say that the Drainage Commission whose report had been accepted—
“mentioned a sum of, roughly, £250,000 per annum. That commission was composed of men who had a practical knowledge of the subject, and also of men who have considerable engineering ability. These men gave it as their opinion that the maximum sum that the central drainage authority was likely to be able to expend in any one year would be £250,000.”
Surely not even Deputy O'Grady could blame me when the maximum amount.  according to Deputy Smith, then Parliamentary Secretary, that the Fianna Fáil Government could expend in any one year was £250,000 and when I come along this year with an Estimate of over £700,000— more than three times as much as the Fianna Fáil Government said was the maximum that could be spent—I fail to see how Deputy O'Grady or any other Deputy can be dissatisfied.
We had much talk by Deputies about the priority list and I regret that Deputy Beegan, Deputy Kitt and Deputy Lydon are not in the House. I was questioned about the Corrib. If I were to adhere to the priority list left to me by the outgoing Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Secretary, I would be dead and in Heaven, and so would Deputies Kitt and Killilea, before the Corrib drainage scheme would have been started. So far as that scheme is concerned, I asked the consent of the Government to take it out of its position on the priority list, because I felt that the Province of Connacht was entitled to an arterial drainage scheme. Deputy Smith speaks here with his tongue in his cheek and says he believes that each province should get its share of arterial drainage, but it is only lately he said that because, as I say, if we were to proceed according to the list, that scheme in the Province of Connacht known as the Corrib scheme would not be started. At the moment, a survey of the Corrib is in hands and we expect it will be completed this year. I cannot say exactly when we will finish on the Brosna. We are going ahead at a fast rate with that scheme. Deputy Smith, at column 1322 of Volume 92 of the Official Debates of 16th February, 1944, said it would take at least five years for the scheme to be finished. I do not believe that at all, nor do I believe, as Deputy Smith said when introducing that Drainage Bill, that it would take 28 years to carry out the arterial drainage of the country.
Mr. Donnellan: If it was to take 28 years on the basis of a maximum of £250,000 per year. Deputy Smith can calculate how I will reduce that period of 28 years on the basis of an expenditure of £700,000 per year.
Mr. Donnellan: Deputy Smith wanted to know what was the position in regard to national schools. Surely, the Deputy noticed that, in my introductory statement, I stated that we proposed this year to spend £700,000 on the building and reconstruction of national schools.
Mr. Donnellan: It would not be popular for any Deputy to question the spending of that amount, but I want to point out that, in 1947-48, the last year of Fianna Fáil Administration, the amount spent on national schools was £134,942. This year, we are spending £700,000 on the building and reconstruction of national schools. I have here a copy of the Connacht Tribune of July 8th, 1950, and, according to it, at a public Fianna Fáil meeting in Caltra, Deputies Kitt and Killilea jumped on the band wagon. Deputy Kitt is a national school teacher and he referred to the expenditure of what  he called the inter-Party Government. He said:—
“The Fianna Fáil system was the prudent system—pay as you go. They had left the country in a sound financial position when the Coalition Government took over. In view of the international situation at the moment and the fact that the present Administration had placed this country in pawn, due to their borrowing policy, the people must face the future with a feeling of apprehension.”
A statement like that, particularly down the country, is real sabotage, so far as this country is concerned. It amounts to saying to the people: “Do not invest money in this country; do not help to build up this country because this Government is running the country into debt and it is going into the pawnshop.” I wonder does Deputy Kitt object to £700,000 being spent on the building and reconstruction of national schools this year? I wonder does he object to the expenditure of over £700,000 on arterial drainage this year? I believe it was the previous Government that held this country in pawn. The country was stagnant, and they maintained a position in which some of our schools in rural areas were shacks and over a million acres of land were subject to flooding. If it is going to put this country in pawn to spend money on works of that description, I am willing to put it in pawn every day the sun rises.
Mr. Donnellan: Deputy Kitt referred to the cost of the cenotaph as being £35,000. That is not the case. The cost is nothing like £35,000, and, if the Deputy wants the information, I will give it to him.
Mr. Donnellan: So far as arterial drainage is concerned, I must pay a tribute to my own Minister and to the Government because the purse is open for the expenditure of money as fast as we can spend it. This year, we have an increase of £16,000 for the building up of staff. We are recruiting our engineers as fast as we possibly can, so that we will have special schemes always prepared and available. This year, we are spending £395,000 on extra machinery. We believe machinery is a great thing for arterial drainage. We are doing that in every way we can, because it is the opinion of the Government that the quicker this question of drainage is finished, the better. Every Deputy, of course, referred to the little things in his own areas. The Moy, the Suck and every other arterial drainage scheme was referred to. We have great interest in each and every one of them. We are doing our best in every way we can to get through with that work.
Deputy John Flynn of Kerry referred to the workers, especially those engaged in the Bourne Vincent Memorial Park. May I say, en passant, that not long ago I had occasion to visit that park unofficially. Certainly, I must pay tribute to the people and the workers there for the condition in which it is kept. I am inclined to think that it is one of the nicest beauty spots in Europe, if not in the world, and I think that sufficient capital is not made of it.
As regards the payment of the workers, I am receiving a deputation introduced by Deputy Dunne, General Secretary of the Federation of Rural  Workers, and I will be always only too glad to meet any grievances they have to put forward.
I must express appreciation of the present chairman and the commissioners and staff in general for their work. During my time in office, I have received the greatest co-operation. Sometimes I rush things and try to get things done and they put the brake on me in their own way but still I find them very good, honest, hard-working people. While hard things may be said about the Board of Works, I believe they are as hard-working a Department and as honest a section of the Civil Service as ever served a Government or ever will.
I must also pay tribute, and I am delighted to do it, to our ex-chairman, Mr. Joseph Connolly. Since the Estimate was introduced last year, Mr. Connolly has retired under the age limit. It would be the desire of the House, and it is my desire, after his many years of loyal service, to wish him many years of happiness in his well-earned retirement.
Mr. Davin: On a point of order. I want to know whether, under the Standing Orders, the only one member of the Fianna Fáil Party who was in the House when the question was put has a right to demand a division.
Blaney, Neal T.
Childers, Erskine H.
Collins, James J.
Corry, Martin J.
Crowley, Honor Mary.
Davern, Michael J.
De Valera, Eamon.
De Valera, Vivion.
Gorry, Patrick J.
|Kennedy, Michael J.
Kitt, Michael F.
Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick J.
Lydon, Michael F.
Rice, Bridget M.
Ruttledge, Patrick J.
Ryan, Mary B.
Brennan, Joseph P.
Byrne, Alfred Patrick.
Connolly, Roderick J.
Costello, John A.
Crotty, Patrick J.
Dillon, James M.
Dockrell, Maurice E.
Doyle, Peadar S.
Finucane, Patrick. O'Donnell, Patrick.
O'Gorman, Patrick J.
O'Higgins, Michael J.
O'Higgins, Thomas F.
O'Higgins, Thomas F. (Jun.).
Palmer, Patrick W.
Pattison, James P.
Redmond, Bridget M.
Flanagan, Oliver J.
Halliden, Patrick J.
Kyne, Thomas A.
Lehane, Patrick D.
McFadden, Michael Óg.
Madden, David J.
Mongan, Joseph W.
Murphy, William J.
Norton, William. Reidy, James.
Sheldon, William A. W.
Timoney, John J.
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