Wednesday, 7 March 1951
Dáil Éireann Debate
Mr. Killilea: Some time ago, when I was informed that the job to which I am about to refer was created in my constituency, and although I know the Parliamentary Secretary's capabilities where matters like this are concerned, I did find it hard to believe that he would think of appointing to a position such as this, one of the wealthiest men in my constituency. I am not questioning this matter because I have any illfeelings against the particular individual: I am questioning it because my constituents resent having positions such as this filled by wealthy people, while they feel that there are men equally as honest, equally as deserving,  equally as capable of filling the post, as is the particular individual to whom I am about to refer.
We are living at a time when a lot of our young men have to leave this country because they cannot find employment, a lot of men who are highly educated, a lot of men who are trustworthy and reliable and quite capable of doing any work that would be given to them. Very little effort has been made to try and fit them into positions. To-night I am putting before the House and before the country a most glaring case. On last Thursday I first questioned this matter. I asked the Minister for Finance if a Mr. Flannery of Milltown, County Galway, had received an appointment from the Office of Public Works and if he would state the salary, the date of the appointment and the conditions of employment. As the House will recall, I was informed by the Parliamentary Secretary that the person to whom I had referred was appointed as paymaster for the Special Employment Schemes Office at a remunerations of 1½ per cent, of the amount of the payments he made. I further tried to ascertain what this would amount to per week or per month, but of course, the Parliamentary Secretary got out of that by saying he was not in a position to tell me.
Mr. Killilea: They are the same question. He contented himself with stating that the remuneration varies from month to month. I asked him a few supplementary questions and I think the replies he gave would be very interesting to a lot of people who sit on the benches behind him. This is one of the supplementary questions:—
“Would the Parliamentary Secretary state if any effort was made to find a person who had no means or income, who would fit into the job better than the individual who had  a public house, a grocery, a drapery, a hardware shop and farms of land?”
I do not know to what statements he was referring, because there is nothing in connection with this particular individual that the Parliamentary Secretary is not well aware of, seeing that he lives practically in his house all the year round.
Now, does he mean to insinuate that the only trustworthy individuals we have in Ireland are the shopkeepers, the graziers and the landlords? If I read into this rightly, that is what he means. Further, he said: “You want a reliable man.” Now, Sir, I hold, and a lot of people in my constituency hold, that we have an army of young men available for employment. Some of them may belong to his own organisation, a lot of them may belong to the Fine Gael Party, to Clann na Poblachta and to Labour. I do not care to which of those Parties they belong, but I do say that we have in County Galway young, decent men who are reliable and trustworthy and who are capable of taking such work, and who have no other employment, and that they should get preference of jobs such as this one. As I have said, this is a wealthy individual, a man who has his own business to look after and whose hands are pretty well full if he makes even a feeble effort to look after it.
As a result of that question, I found it necessary to put down a further question for to-day's Order Paper,  under a number of headings, to give the Parliamentary Secretary a reasonable opportunity of giving me a reply to the questions to which I wanted answers. I asked if the Minister would state the area in which this man would operate. I was told he would operate in the rural districts of Tuam and Glenamaddy. This individual has been an organiser for the Parliamentary Secretary, and the areas referred to here which this individual is covering are the areas that comprise about 75 per cent. of the constituency which the Parliamentary Secretary has the honour to represent and which I have the honour to represent as well. I hold that the appointment, in the first place, is very suitable for the Parliamentary Secretary, because the State will be paying an organiser for him.
Under (b) I asked who did the work heretofore. It was not being done by anybody before. The people who were getting any money from the Board of Works were being paid direct by the Board of Works. Therefore, I hold that it was a job that was being created for this particular individual. In (c) I asked whether the vacancy was advertised and the qualifications required. I was told: “The vacancy was not advertised; the principal qualifications are probity and trustworthiness and ability to perform clerical work involved in the discharge of wages sheets.” As I pointed out, I am certain there is an army of young men who could be found to do that and who have no other employment. In (d) I asked whether there was any examination or interview and the reply to that was: “There was no competitive examination; Mr. Flannery was interviewed by officials of my office.” I pass from that without comment. In (e) I asked on whose recommendation Mr. Flannery was selected and I was told: “The appointee was one of a number of persons whose names were submitted to me, and he was selected by me as being the most suitable for the post.” I should like to hear from the Parliamentary Secretary to-night the names and addresses of the other candidates, because otherwise I will not believe any statement made by the Parliamentary  Secretary. I want this case threshed out in public in order to put it before my constituents and let them judge whether or not this is the only reliable and trustworthy person the Parliamentary Secretary could find in that constituency from his Party or any other Party to fill this particular job. In (f) I asked if this man will still be free to pursue his political activities and the answer I got was: “He cannot engage in any political activities which would interfere with the proper discharge of the duties of the post.” Some time ago a political test was put to all Fianna Fáil employees in the County Galway.
Mr. Killilea: Whether on duty or off duty, they were not allowed to take part in any political activity, but if you go to Glenamaddy or Dunmore, to whatever sort of meeting the Parliamentary Secretary has—I do not know exactly what it is—you will see coming out of that meeting an army of gangers employed by the Board of Works, an army of employees who have been employed by the Board of Works and who know they will not get one day's work under the Office of Public Works if they do not belong to the organisation of which the Parliamentary Secretary is the boss.
Mr. Killilea: I further asked if it was essential that this man should transfer his licensed premises, other business and farm before taking up duty and here is the reply I got. I want Deputies on the opposite benches who are trying to prevent me from making my case to listen to this.
“I am not aware that there is any prohibition against appointing to the post of paymaster a person who is the owner of licensed premises, but, on  the other hand, I would consider such an appointment undesirable. The person in question, however, has not yet taken up his duty pending the completion of the fidelity guarantee bond required in such cases.”
The Parliamentary Secretary completely avoided giving me a reply to that portion of the question and kept very far away from the fact that a few days after it became known that the appointment was being made, in case it would be questioned here, in case this House would be led to believe that Mr. Flannery would be capable of paying in his licensed premises the people whom he would be paying week after week and who were employed by the Board of Works, thereby collecting from them the wages they had earned, Mr. Flannery was told to transfer his licensed premises lock, stock and barrel to his wife, so that the Parliamentary Secretary could tell the House that this man owned nothing. But the Parliamentary Secretary was forestalled and so was Mr. Flannery.
I asked a few supplementary questions to-day. In reply to one of my supplementary questions, the Parliamentary Secretary thought fit to refer to something that happened very many years ago. Deputy C. Lehane had been primed to ask a certain supplementary question and the Parliamentary Secretary, of course, answered very conveniently. This is the answer he gave to it:—
“I have the very self-same authority to-day and I have followed the self-same procedure as Deputy Hugo Flinn had on the 18th November, 1932, when he appointed Deputy Killilea a paymaster for the Board of Works.”
Mr. Killilea: The Mr. Killilea who was appointed a paymaster was living in a rented house. He had no position and was not earning tuppence from anything under the sun in the way of employment. He was a man who was quite prepared to work and earn a bob if he could get it. He got a job valued at less than £2 per fortnight from the Board of Works. He held that job for a few months. If the Parliamentary Secretary wants to make political capital out of that he can do so; but I will meet him and beat him again in my constituency in County Galway. I gave good national service to this country when he was chasing jackdaws.
Mr. Donnellan: What pay did you get out of it? It behoves a man who stands in the Front Bench as a representative of the Government to try to restrain himself, no matter what pressure may be put upon him to behave otherwise. May I say at the outset that I am more than surprised to find Deputy Killilea raising a question on last week's Order Paper when it was Question No. 40 and, I presume, No. 41 also on to-day's Order Paper I believed I would have to deal with.
Mr. Donnellan: The question was divided into (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f) and (g). It went almost through the whole gamut of the alphabet and I think I gave the Deputy a complete answer to all the items of information asked for. I do not stand behind any appointment myself. Deputy Killilea apparently was not satisfied. To-day he asked me the areas. I told him the area comprised the Tuam and Glenamaddy area. I stated that the man appointed was not the Clann na Talmhan organiser. Clann na Talmhan is fairly widespread throughout the country.
Mr. Donnellan: You continue to sell furniture in the future and do not be down on me. Go to the county manager's office and sell furniture. I hope you appreciate the insinuations about the bribes, Sir.
Mr. Donnellan: Deputy Killilea asked about the wages being paid. He asked who was appointed there before. The fact of the matter is that there was nobody appointed because up to this it was done from the Special Employment Schemes Office directly until we took over the county. This appointment is one of four or five others that have been made in Galway, plus a few in County Clare, another county we have taken over, plus a few in Roscommon, another county we have taken over.
Mr. Donnellan: I am the Parliamentary Secretary in charge of the office. There are other appointments I will make in the next three or four weeks in Mayo and Kerry, two other counties we have taken over.
Mr. Donnellan: I have relations, which is something you have not got. You have no one belonging to you. That is the explanation of the matter raised by the Deputy; there was no such thing as a job created. The Deputy asked if the post was advertised. I am surprised at Deputy Killilea asking a question like that. Does he not realise that I have the same authority to make these appointments as had, God rest his soul, the late Parliamentary Secretary, Deputy Hugo Flinn, when he appointed Mr. Mark Killilea, of Ballinamore Bridge. Ballinasloe, County Galway, after his defeat in the election of 1932, on the 18th November, 1932, to the self-same position.
Mr. Donnellan: I wonder what qualifications he had that the man I appointed had not got. I wonder what authority had the late Parliamentary Secretary, Deputy Hugo Flinn, in 1932 that I have not got to-day.
Mr. Donnellan: The Deputy asked me if this man could continue on with his political activities. I suppose if he were affiliated to Fianna Fáil, that would be all right. My answer was that he cannot engage in any political activities which would interfere with the proper discharge of his duties.
Mr. Donnellan: I wonder does the Deputy realise what that means? As a result of his defeat in 1932 and up to his re-election in 1933, did Deputy Killilea refrain during those months from his political activities when occupying the same position as this man?
Mr. Donnellan: If he had continued his political activities, I wonder would he have been sacked. While this man or, indeed, any of our gangers, is on the job he must do his work. They are doing their work well at present and their work will not be used for Party political purposes.
Mr. Donnellan: My answer was that I was not aware of any positive prohibition against appointing to the post of paymaster a person who is the owner of licensed premises. I was not aware of that and I do not think it is a good thing that such a man should be appointed.
Mr. Donnellan: I asked Deputy Killilea, if he had any objections to this man being appointed, to let me know and I would consider the matter. I do not mind what Deputy Killilea says to me. I am able to defend myself.
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