Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Problem of Emigration.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Bord na Móna and Tipperary Bogs.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - E.S.B. New Tariff Charges.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Rural Electrification Scheme (Kerry).
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Description of Six County Area.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Dredging of Howth Harbour.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Repairing of County Mayo Slips.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Ground Rent Statistics.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Curragh Camp Visit.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Applications for Housing Grant.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Cattle Export Trade Discussions.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Production and Distribution of Ground Limestone.
Order of Business.
Joint Restaurant Committee—Messages from Seanad.
Joint Restaurant Committee—Motion.
Workmen's Compensation—Message from the Seanad.
Supplementary Estimates—Leave to introduce.
Supplementary and Additional Estimates.
Committee on Finance. - Vote 16—Superannuation and Retired Allowances.
Committee on Finance. - County Management (Amendment) Bill, 1953—Second Stage.
Committee on Finance. - Messages from Seanad.
Committee on Finance. - British General's Curragh Visit— Adjournment Debate.
Written Answer. - Home Consumption of Liquors.
 Do chuaigh an Ceann Comhairle i gceannas ar 3 p.m.
Mr. Rooney: asked the Taoiseach whether he is aware that widespread emigration is taking place at present; and, if so, if he will outline the steps taken to enumerate accurately and classify the emigrants for the purpose of seeking a remedy for this serious problem and if he will make a general statement on the matter and state the number of emigrants since 13th June, 1951.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach (Donnchadh Ó Briain) (for the Taoiseach): No reliable total emigration figures are available since 1950, in which year the level of emigration was undoubtedly high. It cannot be stated definitely, therefore, that emigration has increased or decreased in recent years.
As I stated in reply to similar questions on the 28th October, 1953, the problem of devising a satisfactory method of determining annual net emigration figures is under examination but it is not yet possible to indicate the outcome of this examination.
As regards the suggestion that I should make a general statement on the matter, I shall consider this in the light of the report of the Commission on Emigration and other Population Problems, which is awaited. I understand that it is likely that the report may be signed next month.
Mrs. Ryan: and Mr. Fanning asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state the reason why  Bord na Móna has decided to close down the bogs at Shanagh and Redwood, Rathcabbin, County Tipperary, thereby throwing a big number of workers out of employment.
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Lemass): The bogs in question, together with a number of other bogs in different parts of the country, were worked by Bord na Móna under a special scheme for the production of turf by semi-automatic machines on small bogs. This scheme, which was distinct from the permanent operations of the board under the Turf Development Acts, 1946 to 1953, was undertaken by the board at the request of the Government and was a carry-over from the period of fuel scarcity during the emergency. The need for the turf produced under the scheme no longer exists. Turf produced under the scheme was dearer than fully-machined turf produced by Bord na Móna under their permanent schemes and could only be sold at a substantial loss. Efforts to find a market for it interfered with the sale of fully-machined turf produced by the board and of privately-produced hand-won turf.
In these circumstances, the Government decided recently that the scheme should be discontinued.
Mr. MacBride: Could the Minister give any indication of the number of persons employed in these two bogs?
Mr. Lemass: At the maximum 150; that is for short peak periods in the middle of the year.
Mr. MacBride: Are there any proposals under consideration for the employment of those who will now be unemployed as the result of the closing down of these bogs?
Mr. Lemass: The position was reported to the Department of Local Government and the Special Employment Schemes Office with a view to considering what alternative schemes of providing employment in these areas could be operated.
Mr. Morrissey: Is there any possibility of providing any useful work out of the National Development Fund in the area?
Mr. Lemass: Certainly.
Mr. Morrissey: The Minister will appreciate that in a rural area of that kind the disemployment of 150 persons is a serious matter.
Mr. Lemass: It is not 150 in one area. That is the total for the two bogs.
Mr. Norton: Would it be possible for Bord na Móna, if they have decided to abandon the cutting of turf by semi-automatic machines, to make arrangements whereby they could utilise these bogs for the production of machine-won turf as part of their ordinary activities rather than apparently abandon the bogs so far as the production of turf by machinery is concerned?
Mr. Lemass: That may eventually happen but not this year. In 1953 Bord na Móna produced machine-won turf to the extent of 200,000 tons in excess of the quantity required and the marketing outside the E.S.B. of that quantity of turf is a problem for the board.
Mr. Norton: I agree that there are difficulties, but they are not insuperable. You can still ration the supply of coal so as to ensure that the production of machine-won turf will be absorbed by the home market. It seems a pity, after we have spent a good deal of money on these bogs for development purposes, that they should be abandoned merely because the semi-automatic machine method of production has been abandoned. I urge the Minister to ask the board to see if it is not possible to enable us to continue to get the advantages of the development of these bogs by utilising the ordinary machine-won methods of turf production which are extensively used by the board on the bogs entirely operated by them.
Mr. Lemass: As the Deputy knows, the programme involves the production by the board of machine-won turf in the course of the next ten years, so that very considerable expansion is intended, but I cannot say off-hand whether these bogs were included at any stage in that programme.
Mr. T. Byrne: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state (a) whether the E.S.B. scheme for the new two-part tariff charges for electric current was sanctioned by him; (b) why the scheme was not placed before the Prices Advisory Body for their consideration; (c) what were the reasons advanced by the board for the alteration in the rates, and (d) whether he has received any protests against the introduction of the new rates.
Mr. Lemass: Under statute, responsibility for fixing charges for electricity rests on the E.S.B. and the question of my sanctioning the change in the system of charges recently announced by the board, or referring the matter to the Prices Advisory Body did not arise.
It has been stated by the E.S.B. that the change is designed to secure a simpler and more equitable system of charges which, while bringing the whole country closer to a uniform tariff, would not yield any additional net revenue to the board.
Mr. Palmer: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state the present position with regard to the demand for a rural electrification scheme this year for the Muckross-Glenflesk area, County Kerry.
Mr. Lemass: I have been informed by the E.S.B. that the Glenflesk area, which includes Muckross, will shortly be considered for selection along with other areas awaiting development in the board's Tralee district. While an increase in the number of householders willing to take electric current would improve the prospect of the area being selected by a reasonable date, I am not in a position to state when development is likely to take place.
Mr. O. Flanagan: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he is aware that in some publications issued by An Bord Fáilte the geographically incorrect title Northern Ireland is  given to the Six County area; and if so, if he will direct that body to correct this in publications in the future.
Mr. Lemass: Some time ago it was observed that incorrect terms had been used to describe the State and the Six County area in certain publications issued by Fógra Fáilte. It was arranged that the board should correct these descriptions in future issues of the publications concerned.
Mr. Rooney: asked the Minister for Finance if he will state whether Howth harbour was dredged during the past two years, and, if so, if he will indicate (1) the number of days spent by the dredger at the harbour; (2) the number of loads removed, and (3) the cost of the dredging; further, if he is aware that the harbour needs to be dredged now as silting is endangering boat engines, and, if so, if he will arrange to have the work put in hands without delay.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance (Mr. Beegan): During the past two years the Office of Public Works dredgers Saxifrage and Sisyphus worked at Howth harbour as follows:—Saxifrage: 6th August, 1952 to 11th December, 1952; 18th May, 1953, to 5th June, 1953. Sisyphus: 11th December, 1952, to 13th February, 1953.
The total number of loads of dredged material removed was 127 at a cost of £1,752. I am not aware that the portion of the harbour used by the fishing fleet and commercial vessels needs dredging at present; the question of the dredging works necessary to provide accommodation for these craft is subject to periodic review and the necessary works are carried out as required. I may add that the Saxifrage is at present engaged dredging at the lifeboat berth at the East Pier at Howth.
Mr. Calleary: asked the Minister for Finance if he will state what progress has been made towards repairing and  improving the slips at Graughill, County Mayo.
Mr. Beegan: A grant was sanctioned in 1952 for the improvement of the landing facilities at Graughill, County Mayo. The grant was subject to the usual conditions applying in such cases, viz., that the Mayo County Council pay one quarter of the cost of the work and undertake responsibility for future maintenance.
The council's decision in the matter is awaited.
Mr. Finan: asked the Minister for Justice if he will state (a) the amount of money paid annually in ground rents in the Republic; (b) the amount paid annually to persons living outside the Republic, and (c) if he intends to introduce proposals for legislation at an early date to deal with the question of ground rents.
Minister for Justice (Mr. Boland): No statistics of the kind required by the Deputy are available.
With regard to the last part of the question, it is not proposed to introduce legislation dealing with the purchase of ground rents. The Rents and Leaseholds Commission are at present investigating some other aspects of the ground rent problem, i.e., the renewal under Part V of the Landlord and Tenant Act, 1931, of certain long leases. When the commission's report is received, the question of legislating to give effect to their recommendations will be considered.
Mr. Finan: Am I to understand that there is no Department of State which can supply the information asked for in the first part of the question?
Mr. Boland: There is not. The Statisties Office state that they have not got that information available.
Mr. Davin: Why not ask the Revenue Commissioners?
Mr. MacBride: Could the Minister not ask the Central Statistics Office if they could make an estimate as distinct from a reliable figure?
The Taoiseach: The Central Statistics Office does not commit itself to estimates until it is on such solid ground as will enable it to give reliable estimates.
Mr. Davin: The Revenue Commissioners have the actual figures.
Mr. Boland: They have not, from that answer.
Mr. Davin: Of course they have.
Mr. D.J. O'Sullivan: asked the Minister for Defence if he will state the circumstances in which a general officer of a foreign army carried out an inspection of units, equipment, workshops and training establishments in the Curragh Camp on Tuesday, 16th February, 1954, and whether any other units, camps or barracks of the Defence Forces were inspected by this officer on that or any other date.
Minister for Defence (Mr. Traynor): Official approval was given for the issue of the invitation to the General Officer in question to visit the Curragh Camp. On his arrival he was received with the courtesies appropriate to his rank and which are accorded as a matter of course to any distinguished visitor to a military post. During his visit, he was afforded an opportunity of seeing troops carrying out normal routine training.
The answer to the second part of the question is in the negative.
Mr. Corish: Would the Minister state whether or not this officer asked to come to the Curragh to carry out this inspection or was he invited by the Government or the Minister for Defence?
Mr. Traynor: A request was made through the appropriate British Military Attaché here.
Mr. Donnellan: Arising out of that reply would the Minister tell us the reason why that request was made by this officer, this foreigner, commanding foreign troops, holding portion of this country and why, with the approval  of the Government, he was invited down here to see what is being carried on in the Curragh? Is it a fact that during the ceremony of the guard of honour, an officer of our Army who gave the commands in our language was reprimanded for doing so and asked why he did not give the commands in the English language? Also is it fact that during his four-hour stay in the Curragh the Union Jack was hoisted?
Mr. Traynor: That is a figment of the Deputy's imagination.
Mr. Donnellan: It is not.
Mr. Corish: You must remember that he was a distinguished visitor.
Mr. Donnellan: A distinguished visitor!
Mr. Traynor: I want to say, in addition, if I may be permitted, that I am rather surprised, in the first instance, that this question was put down by a Fine Gael Deputy. I am still more surprised that a Fine Gael Deputy in the person of Deputy General MacEoin went out of his way to make a reference to this subject in the course of an election campaign when he said that this——
Mr. Morrissey: On a point of order. Are we going to be allowed——
Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Walsh): You will not take the answer.
Mr. Morrissey: I want to know, if the Minister is at liberty to refer to speeches made by Deputies outside this House, will other Deputies——
An Ceann Comhairle: What a Deputy said outside this House in reference to the matter is not relevant to the question.
Mr. Traynor: It is not relevant?
An Ceann Comhairle: No.
Mr. Traynor: Very good. It is lucky for the Opposition that that is your ruling——
An Ceann Comhairle: It is not relevant to the question.
Mr. Traynor: ——for this simple reason that in 1948 the predecessor of General Woodall——
Mr. Morrissey: This is 1954.
Mr. Traynor: ——visited the Curragh in circumstances exactly similar to the circumstances which existed in respect to the visit of General Woodall. He was given the same courtesies as General Woodall got. In addition, he was brought on a tour of the southern forts and of all the military posts in the Southern Command. At the end of the tour the General was a guest of honour at a luncheon at which the then Minister for Defence, the late Dr. O'Higgins, presided. I am at a loss to understand why “our special correspondent” who went to such pains to divulge all the secrets which he thought he had discovered did not, or his paper did not, on that occasion go to the same pains to explain the situation then. The only reason he did not do so was that there were not two by-elections on then and there are now.
Mr. Morrissey: Arising out of the Minister's speech, may I ask if the Minister will now give as detailed an account of the visit which took place recently as he gave of the visit in 1948 —in the same detail?
Mr. Traynor: Yes. General Woodall paid a visit to the Curragh and did the same thing as his predecessor did in 1948, nothing more. In other words, he inspected the guard of honour and he inspected some workshops, nothing more. It is the usual custom between armies to extend this courtesy and to pay these compliments to each other. The only thing I hope is that this cheap form of journalism, which I can only regard as mischievous, will not have any ill-effects on the friendly relations which exist between the two armies.
Mr. MacBride: May I ask the Minister whether his attention has been drawn to reports published in our newspapers concerning this visit, and in particular if his attention has been drawn to a speech published in the Irish Times on Monday, February 22nd, which stated:—
“Some months ago an invitation to Sir John to visit the Curragh came from Major-General Egan. It was made through, and apparently at the suggestion of, the British Embassy in Dublin. Although Sir John had visited most of the important military establishments in the world during his career he had never been to the Curragh. Sir John replied that he would like to make the visit but that it must be in uniform.”
Is there any foundation for that statement? The report goes on:—
“The invitation was renewed on the basis that he would wear uniform.”
That is one report. May I ask, furthermore, whether his attention was drawn to an interview——
An Ceann Comhairle: Quotations in questions are not usual.
Mr. MacBride: This is merely to draw the Minister's attention to the reports.
An Ceann Comhairle: Quotations in questions are not generally allowed.
Mr. MacBride: Was the Minister's attention further drawn to an interview given by Lieutenant-General Woodall concerning this visit; and, thirdly, was the Minister's attention further drawn to reports which were published in the Sunday Press and the Irish Press to the effect that the request for the visit had been made by the British to the Department of Defence? Is that report correct or is it not?
Mr. Traynor: There is nothing at variance with the statement which I have made and what the Deputy has just read out. I am not responsible for what General Woodall said. What he may have said is his own business and not mine. You do not usually have military officers inspecting guards of honour, as he said himself, in hard hats and striped trousers. If we are to exchange courtesies at all, we have got to face realities and exchange them as  military officers and not as gentlemen in hard hats and striped trousers.
Mr. MacBride: Is it correct that Lieutenant-General Woodall was invited and said he would only come if invited to come in uniform, and that the invitation was renewed to him and that he was told to come in uniform —is that correct?
Mr. Traynor: I want to make this clear to the House. Lieutenant-General Woodall, or any of the generals who preceded him, are entitled, if these friendly relations exist, to make a request to pay a visit to a military establishment if they wish to do so. As I have just explained to Deputy Corish, the request in this case came through the proper authority, the British Military Attaché. If the Deputy knows anything about the business, he knows it must come through that channel. General Woodall does not communicate with me or the Chief of Staff; he communicates through the channels which are available to him, and these are the channels which I mentioned.
Mr. MacBride: The Minister has not answered the question I asked.
An Ceann Comhairle: Question No. 10.
Mr. A. Byrne: asked the Minister for Local Government if he has now reached any decision in the matter of the applications to the Dublin Corporation for the £137 supplementary grant by applicants about to build their own housing accommodation which have been rejected or deferred; and, if so, if he will indicate its nature.
Minister for Local Government (Mr. Smith): The position remains as indicated in my reply to the Deputy's question of the 11th instant.
Mr. A. Byrne: Question No. 10 was not answered in a way that one could hear because of interruptions.
An Ceann Comhairle: Will the Minister kindly repeat his reply for Deputy Byrne?
Mr. Smith repeated his reply.
Mr. A. Byrne: In view of the fact that there are 300 young men waiting for this decision and in view of the fact that the Minister himself expressed doubt concerning the ruling by the law agents of the corporation and said that the matter ought to be cleared up and that he would have it investigated—has he had it investigated?
Mr. Smith: Even if I admit that matters have to be cleared up, it does not follow that I can clear them up with a wave of my hand.
Mr. A. Byrne: But on the 1st of the month you said there was doubt about the views expressed by the legal representatives of the city council on this matter and that you would have it investigated. I am asking when may the 300 young men who are building their own homes expect a decision so that they can go ahead?
Mr. Smith: I am not going to give a reply in this House which might in any way be misleading to any person who is in doubt as to this matter and only when I am in a position to state clearly and firmly what the position is in regard to them will I make that announcement.
Mr. A. Byrne: It is a long time to wait.
An Ceann Comhairle: Question No. 11.
Mr. Smith: There are many technical——
An Ceann Comhairle: I have called Question No. 11 and the Minister is no more entitled to answer a supplementary question than the Deputy is to ask one.
Mr. Smith: I felt that as the supplementary question had been asked I should answer it.
An Ceann Comhairle: But I have ruled out Deputy Byrne's supplementary.  He has already been allowed several supplementaries. Question No. 11, Deputy Esmonde.
Dr. Esmonde: asked the Minister for Agriculture if he will state whether the trade discussions pending between this country and Britain in relation to the cattle export trade and other matters will take place at ministerial level and when these negotiations will take place.
Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Walsh): The discussions will be at ministerial level. An announcement on this matter will be made very soon.
Mr. Corry: asked the Minister for Agriculture if his attention has been drawn to a Press report of a statement made by Deputy Dillon at the Fine Gael Ard-Fheis to the effect that when the inter-Party Government went into office there was not enough ground limestone in the country to fill an eggcup but when it was leaving there was enough to supply every farmer with it at 16/- a ton delivered to his gate; and if he will indicate (a) the plans made for the distribution of ground limestone and the number of plants in operation on 18th February, 1948, and (b) the number of plants in operation and tons of ground limestone distributed in each of the years 1948 to 1953 inclusive.
Mr. Walsh: I have seen the report referred to by the Deputy. Two plants were in operation on the 18th February, 1948, and at that date proposals for the large scale production of ground limestone and for subsidising the cost of the material to farmers were under consideration by the Departments concerned.
Particulars of the quantities of ground limestone distributed in the years prior to the subsidy scheme are not available. The figures for the years 1951-52 and 1952-53 are as follows:—
|Number of plants in operation on the 31st March, 1952||17|
|Number of plants in operation on the 31st March, 1953||26|
|Quantity of ground limestone delivered in year ended 31st March, 1952||280,000 tons|
|Quantity of ground limestone delivered in year ended 31st March, 1953||502,000|
Mr. Cogan: Can the Minister say if back in February 1948 the Government had given its approval to the proposal for the expansion of the ground limestone industry and, secondly, if provision was made for the payment of a subsidy on ground limestone at that time?
Mr. Walsh: Proposals had been accepted by the Government for the expansion of the ground limestone industry in 1947 and arrangements were put in train for the erection of two plants of 100,000 tons capacity each. There was also provision made for a subsidy of 10/- a ton.
Mr. Dillon: Could the Minister tell us the names of the two plants that were operating in February, 1948? Could he perhaps tell us the reason for the delay in implementing these mighty plants that he speaks of? Was it perhaps that he was too busy improvising with the bicycle wheel and the medicine bottle?
Mr. Walsh: There were two plants in operation in County Carlow in 1948 and prior to that. Carlow County Council had applied for a subsidy in 1944 and it was granted in 1945. Notwithstanding the introduction of the subsidy by the Fianna Fáil Government in 1947 the Deputy objected to the subsidy and withdrew it against the wishes of seven county committees of agriculture.
Mr. Dillon: Would the Minister give me the names of the two plants in Carlow?
Mr. Walsh: I have already given the number of plants producing ground limestone.
An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Cogan.
Mr. Cogan: Is the Minister aware that he told me yesterday that his predecessor in office on the 21st December, 1948, had withdrawn the subsidy on ground limestone?
Mr. Walsh: That is quite true—on the 21st December, 1948.
An Tánaiste: It is proposed to take business in the following order: Nos. 1, 2, 5, 4 and in 4, Vote 16, Nos. 7 and 6.
Mr. Blowick: Is it proposed to take Private Deputies' business?
An Tánaiste: No.
Mr. Blowick: On the Order of Business, might I ask the Tánaiste would the Government consider giving special time next week to Motion No. 15 on the Private Deputies' List? It is the motion standing in my name and that of Deputy Beirne of Roscommon.
An Tánaiste: The Government has not considered that request because it is the first time we have heard it.
Mr. Dillon: Could the Tánaiste indicate whether the Minister for Justice and the Minister for Local Government have yet had time to determine when they can carry out the undertaking given to me to legislate on the lines of a Private Bill which is still under discussion in Private Members' time dealing with the Public Authorities Protection Act?
An Tánaiste: I will endeavour to let the Deputy know next week.
Mr. Norton: Will the Tánaiste say whether the House will sit to-morrow?
An Tánaiste: There will be no sitting to-morrow and it is proposed to sit on Wednesday and Thursday next week.
Mr. Norton: And there will be no sitting on Friday of next week?
An Tánaiste: Probably not.
Mr. Blowick: It is not proposed to sit to-morrow?
An Tánaiste: No.
Mr. Donnellan: Could the Tánaiste tell us when we may expect a copy of the Book of Estimates?
An Tánaiste: Possibly towards the end of next week or early in the following week.
Mr. MacBride: May I ask you to give me leave to raise the subject matter of Question No. 9 on to-day's Order Paper on the Adjournment?
An Ceann Comhairle: I will communicate with the Deputy.
Donnchadh Ó Briain: On a point of order. Is the Deputy entitled to give such notice at this stage?
An Ceann Comhairle: Yes.
An Ceann Comhairle: Seanad Éireann has made the following Order:—
That the terms of reference of the Joint Restaurant Committee constituted pursuant to the Orders of Dáil Éireann of 8th November, 1951, and 15th November, 1951, and the Orders of Seanad Éireann of 21st November, 1951, be amended by the deletion of the words “to assist and advise the Ceann Comhairle in the direction and control of the Oireachtas Restaurant” and the substitution therefor of the words “to direct and control the Oireachtas Restaurant”.
 Seanad Éireann has passed the following resolution:—
That the Seanad concur with the Dáil in their resolution communicated to the Seanad on the 16th day of February, 1954, that it is expedient that the terms of reference of the Joint Restaurant Committee constituted pursuant to the Orders of Dáil Éireann of 8th November, 1951, and 15th November, 1951, and the Orders of Seanad Éireann of 21st November, 1951, be amended by the deletion of the words “to assist and advise the Ceann Comhairle in the direction and control of the Oireachtas Restaurant” and the substitution therefor of the words “to direct and control the Oireachtas Restaurant”
Donnchadh Ó Briain: Tairgim:—
That the terms of reference of the Joint Restaurant Committee constituted pursuant to the Orders of Dáil Éireann of 8th November, 1951, and 15th November, 1951, and the Orders of Seanad Éireann of 21st November, 1951, be amended by the deletion of the words “to assist and advise the Ceann Comhairle in the direction and control of the Oireachtas Restaurant” and the substitution therefor of the words “to direct and control the Oireachtas Restaurant”.
Motion agreed to.
An Ceann Comhairle: Seanad Éireann has passed the following resolution.—
That the Seanad concur with the Dáil in their resolution communicated to the Seanad on 10th February, 1954, that it is expedient that a Joint Committee consisting of 15 members of the Dáil and six members of the Seanad be appointed with power to send for persons, papers and records, to inquire into the present system of workmen's compensation for injuries due to employment and to consider and report as  to what changes are necessary or desirable and, in particular, whether a nationalised scheme of social insurance should be substituted for the existing system, or, if no such change is recommended, whether insurance by employers should be made compulsory.
Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Ryan): I move:—
That a Select Committee consisting of 15 members be appointed to be joined with a Select Committee to be appointed by Seanad Éireann to inquire into the present system of workmen's compensation for injuries due to employment and to consider and report as to what changes are necessary or desirable and, in particular, whether a nationalised scheme of social insurance should be substituted for the existing system, or, if no such change is recommended, whether insurance by employers should be made compulsory;
That the Committee have power to send for persons, papers and records;
That the quorum be five;
That the Committee be nominated by the Committee of Selection.
Motion agreed to.
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Lemass): I move:—
That leave be given by the Dáil to introduce the following Supplementary Estimates for the service of the year ending on the 31st March, 1954, namely:—
41 (Secondary Education),
50 (Industry and Commerce).
Mr. Dillon: Does my memory serve me right if I recall that the Taoiseach intervened at an early time in this financial year to assure the House that he had given express instructions to the Government that under no circumstances would there be any Supplementary Estimates this year?
Mr. Lemass: The Deputy's memory is incorrect.
Mr. Dillon: I do not think so. I understood him to say that the limit of the taxable capacity of the people had been reached and that he had given directions that any additional expenditure was to be provided for out of economies.
Mr. Lemass: It cannot be discussed now.
Mr. Dillon: It is just on the question of the propriety of introducing Estimates in flagrant disregard of the Taoiseach's injunction to his Ministers.
The Taoiseach: The statement made by the Deputy is not accurate.
Question put and agreed to.
Ordered: That the Estimates be taken on Wednesday, 3rd March, 1954.
The Dáil, according to order, went into Committee on Finance to consider Supplementary and Additional Estimates for the service of the year ended 31st March, 1954.
Aire Gníomhaitheach Airgeadais (Proinsias Mac Aogáin): Tairgim:—
Go ndeonfar suim fhorlíontach nach mó ná £125,000 chun íoctha an mhuirir a thiocfas chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31ú lá de Mhárta, 1954, chun Pinsean, Aoisliúntas, Cúitimh (lena n-áirítear Cúiteamh do Lucht Oibre), agus Liúntas agus Aiscí Breise agus eile, faoi na hAchta Aoisliúntais, 1834 go 1947, agus faoi Reachta iolartha eile; Pinsean, Liúntas agus Aiscí Eisreachtúla arna ndámhadh ag an Aire Airgeadais; táillí do Dhochtúirí Réitigh agus corrtháillí do Dhochtúirí; Cúitimh agus locaíocht eile i leith Díobhál Pearsanta; etc.
Tá suim de Chéad Fiche-Cúig Míle Punt sa bhreis ar an méid a soláthraíodh de dhíth don Bhóta seo. Is le  haghaidh aoisliúntais don Gharda Síochána atá an méid iomlán sa bhreis ag dul, agus sé an fáth atá leis an bhreis-chaiteachas ná go bhfuil céadchodán mór den Gharda Síochána i dteideal éirí as ar pinsean anois agus gur imigh níos mó díobh i mbliana ná mar a bhí súil leis. Ina theannta sin tá na deontaisí aoisliúntais níos mó toisc gur hardaíodh páigh an Fhórsa ón chéad lá d'Aibreán, 1953.
Mr. Dillon: I was referring on the previous business to the statement that I seem to remember the Taoiseach making. He says my memory does not serve me well but my recollection was that he rose here in very solemn majesty at an early part of the year and said that he had laid down by fiat the general law in the Government that there were to be no more Supplementary Estimates because he felt that the burden of taxation on the taxpayers of this country had reached a level which it was quite intolerable to think of further increasing and that there was grave danger of detriment to the social weal being done if there was any further increase. I remember everybody was greatly impressed and all the Deputies of the Fianna Fáil Party were shaking hands with one another in the benches that the Taoiseach had at last spoken. Now, the shower of Supplementary Estimates has begun to descend upon us.
I do not claim to be any very sophisticated scholar of the Irish language but I make no apology for saying that one single word of what the acting-Minister for Finance said I did not understand. One would want to be a student of Greek, Arabic or Sanskrit to understand it because it was barely Irish at all, what he read out. It does him great credit to wade through these O'Growneyesque depositions which are prepared for him and which he tries to read out for us in the House but, as he cannot speak Irish and his pronunciation is so grotesque that no one but scholars could conceivably understand him, I suggest that when the acting-Minister for Finance makes this gesture, he ought to circulate a translation of what he said. I challenge any Irish speaker in this House, did he understand a word of  what the Minister read out? It gratifies me to hear men speaking the Irish language here but it is notorious that the acting-Minister for Finance cannot speak Irish and it is ridiculous for him to be getting up and laboriously trying to read out documents that he cannot read and then triumphantly sitting down, leaving the House in complete darkness as to the purpose of the Supplementary Estimate he has introduced.
I want to make it quite clear that both amongst native speakers of the language and amongst those who have learned it at school and amongst those who do not know it at all there is a common ignorance of the meaning of what the Minister read out to-day.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy is all the time talking in English of the Irish language.
Mr. Dillon: No, I am talking of the utter impossibility of understanding what the Minister said in justification of his Estimate, and I want to make it perfectly clear that he read out, or tried to read out, a very well-prepared document, which was prepared for him in Irish and which he sought to read out with singular lack of success. There may be those who imagined that he was speaking extempore. He was not. It is an abuse of our procedure.
Mr. J. Brennan: The Deputy did not even listen to the Minister. He treated him with contempt. He talked to another Deputy.
Captain Cowan: May I ask Deputy Dillon to speak clearly? I can only hear an odd word here and there.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Chair would like that the Estimate, as circulated in the White Paper, should be discussed.
Mr. Dillon: Surely the Minister's statement in introducing the Estimate ought to be discussed?
An Ceann Comhairle: The amount of money that is in the White Paper should be discussed.
Mr. MacCarthy: The Deputy's implied  reflection on O'Growney and O'Growney's Irish should not go unchallenged.
Mr. Dillon: I do not want to challenge anything except the meaning of what the Minister said in introducing the Estimate. I gather that more members of the Civic Guard have resigned than was anticipated, but it seems astonishing that at the beginning of the year there could not be in the possession of the Department of Justice or the Department of Finance a sufficiently accurate forecast of the numbers of men, to avoid the necessity for a Supplementary Estimate amounting to 25 per cent. of the total original Estimate. The House is entitled to some better explanation than we have got so far.
Yesterday we were discussing an Estimate where the Minister for Health had made a slight underestimate and was obliged to bring in a Supplementary Estimate amounting to 80 per cent. of the original Estimate. This Estimate now represents 25 per cent. of the original Estimate. Bearing in mind the undertaking and direction given by the Taoiseach at the beginning of the financial year I would imagine Ministers would have tried to do more than Ministers are doing to justify their patent disregard of the policy of the Minister for Finance. Perhaps it is that the acting-Minister for Finance has reversed the finance policy of his colleague, the Minister for Finance, in his absence. If he has he should say so now. The Minister for Finance, Deputy MacEntee, constantly tells us that one of the great constitutional principles of this State is the joint responsibility of Governments.
An Ceann Comhairle: Constitutional principles do not fall for discussion now.
Mr. Dillon: I am suggesting that the constant introduction of Supplementary Estimates represents a very serious departure from the alleged policy of the Minister for Finance. Has there been a change of policy—one policy when the cat is away and  another policy when the cat is back again?
An Ceann Comhairle: What is up for discussion is the proposed expenditure as set out on the White Paper. This is a Supplementary Estimate.
Mr. Dillon: I understood that the policy of the Minister for Finance was that he was giving no extra expenditure over the original Estimate.
An Ceann Comhairle: If the Deputy made that statement when the Estimate was being introduced it might be relevant. Clearly, it is not relevant now when the House allowed the Estimate to be introduced. The only thing that falls for discussion is the amount and the way it is going to be expended.
Mr. Dillon: The Chair told me that I could not discuss an Estimate on the occasion of its introduction.
An Ceann Comhairle: I did not say any such thing.
Mr. Dillon: I did not know what the Estimate was for or anything about it.
An Ceann Comhairle: Simulated ignorance will not affect the matter.
Mr. Dillon: I am going to discuss the Estimate until I get the necessary information, and I am not going to be shut up about it either.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy will discuss the Estimate in the ordinary fashion. He will not discuss general principles. This is a Supplementary Estimate. What is in the White Paper falls for discussion and nothing else.
Mr. Dillon: I want to know why did not the Ministers responsible for these Departments form their Estimates more accurately. I was for a considerable time chairman of the Public Accounts Committee. When I was on that committee the principle was laid down that Estimates ought to be formed at the beginning of the year within 2 or 3 per cent. of what a Department wanted. I want to draw  the attention of the House to the practice that has now grown up of bringing in an Estimate for £428,000 in respect of superannuation and retired allowances, and then blandly informing us in the month of March, at the end of the financial year, that a further 25 per cent. was required.
I think that reflects very gravely on the Minister responsible for making the Estimate. It is true that, technically, this Estimate is an Estimate from the Office of the Minister for Finance though it concerns the Minister for Justice who is primarily responsible for the Garda Síochána. If an estimate of what would be required for this purpose in the course of a financial year is wrong by 25 per cent. I think that should be the occasion of a very exhaustive explanation as to why more money is necessary, especially in view of the prospect that was held out to us that there would be no more Supplementary Estimates. Instead, we have received from the Minister for Finance an inadequate reading of a short statement prepared for him by officials of his Department which I do not think is a proper explanation.
We have here a sum of £105,000, retiring gratuities and an increase for pension allowances to be paid in the course of this financial year to retired members of the Garda Síochána, to their widows, children and dependents.
I observe that on the Order Paper of the House there are several Supplementary Estimates coming forward. I would be grateful if the Minister for Finance would take the occasion of this Supplementary Estimate to give the House some indication as to whether there are any more coming along and, if so, how many, because I think that we ought to have that information present to our minds when we are considering the expediency of authorising the expenditure of the sum that is here being requisitioned.
Mr. A. Byrne: When the original Estimate was going through many sympathetic references were made to the inadequate pension of £45 a year that is paid to the widows of Gardaí. I wonder has the Minister any intention of increasing the widows' pensions  out of the extra sum that he is now seeking? We were led to believe that something would be done. We had a good deal of sympathetic talk. We were led to believe that the totally inadequate pensions which are paid to those widows would get consideration at an early date. I am just wondering now whether the Minister is going to give an increase to those widows whose husbands had given 30 years' service to the State. The pension of £45 which the widow of a member of the Garda Síochána gets is just sufficient to deprive her of other benefits. I would appeal to the Minister to consider increasing those widows' pensions.
Mr. Aiken: Deputy Dillon, with his inadequate knowledge of Irish, gathered from my inadequate reading of the explanation of this Estimate exactly the truth, and that is that there were more Gardaí retiring during this financial year than had been expected at the beginning of the financial year. It is a pity that a lot of Deputy Dillon's statements in the past were not in Greek, Hindustani or in some language in which they could not have been reported. Indeed, there stand in the records of this House statements of his that it would have been better if not made in any language, the one, for example, in which he said that he would never salute the flag because it was a dirty blood-stained rag.
An Ceann Comhairle: That is irrelevant on the Estimate.
Mr. Davin: He is at it again.
Mr. Dillon: It is a falsehood to begin with, and it is irrelevant.
Mr. Aiken: It is true and it is on the records. The Deputy said it in English that was understood by the reporters who put it on the records.
An Ceann Comhairle: It is quite irrelevant on this Estimate.
Mr. Aiken: The Deputy, of course, has been galloping around the country in recent weeks. He comes in here  and makes statements which can be challenged. They are not just thrown out into the wind as they might be at some cross-roads down in the country or into the ears of the brethren assembled the other night in secret down near Monasterboice.
Mr. Sweetman: What was secret? Was not the Irish Press reporter there?
Mr. Aiken: The Irish Press reporter may have been let in, but this is a secret organisation and we do not know what Deputy Dillon was saying in secret to them.
An Ceann Comhairle: All this is irrelevant on the Estimate.
Mr. Sweetman: The Irish Press reporter was there.
Mr. Aiken: I wonder!
Mr. Dillon: Monasterboice put the wind up you.
Mr. Aiken: We will see what will happen in another week or so. A week will tell the whole story.
An Ceann Comhairle: I cannot allow this discussion on the question of Monasterboice or anywhere else. It must be confined to what is in the White Paper, the Estimate on the White Paper.
Mr. Aiken: I am wondering whether Deputy Dillon is prepared to tell the country or some secret meeting that he is against introducing a Supplementary Estimate for £125,000 in order to pay the extra pension which retiring Guards now draw because their pay has been increased. He knew perfectly well, he drew sufficient from my inadequate opening statement to know, that that was what was involved. Unfortunately, we in the Department of Finance and in the Department of Justice cannot reach that standard of accuracy which Deputy Dillon laid down some years ago at a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee. The Garda Síochána have the right to retire fairly young, at 57, after 30 years' service, but they may carry on, and there is no knowing how many of them  may opt to retire at an earlier age than they are compulsorily retired and ask for their pensions. If they do that, unless we bring in a law compelling them to remain, we have to foot the bill. Does Deputy Dillon want us to amend the Garda regulations in order to conscript them, to keep them in the Guards?
Deputy Dillon's statement which he attributed to the Taoiseach is in fact an echo of statements which he used to make here with great gusto and before he had the experience of being in Government. I remember him giving me a great lecture here when I was Minister for Finance from 1945 to the beginning of 1948 on how heavily the country was taxed and that we could not afford any more taxation. I remember him saying to me that there was now a burden of debt amounting to about £33 per head, and would I go to the people of Monaghan where I was on the run going around from houseen to houseen and say “my dear woman, I have succeeded in putting £33 per head on every man, woman and child in the country.” They fought a campaign——
Mr. Sweetman: What has this got to do with the Estimate?
Mr. Aiken: Deputy Dillon said that the Taoiseach said that the taxable limit was reached and that we should not introduce supplementaries.
Mr. Sweetman: Deputy Dillon was not allowed to take that line.
Mr. Aiken: Deputy Dillon and Deputy Sweetman went around the country in 1947 saying that if they got power here they would reduce taxation——
Mr. Dillon: And we did.
Mr. Aiken: ——by £10,000,000 and instead they drove it up by £20,000,000.
Mr. Dillon: £6,000,000 we took off.
Mr. Aiken: They collected £20,000,000 more in the first year of their office——
Mr. Sweetman: £6,000,000.
Mr. Aiken: And I have no doubt that if they were returned they would probably put it up by £50,000,000.
An Ceann Comhairle: I have indicated that the only matter that falls for discussion on this Estimate is the matter set out in the White Paper and how it is proposed to spend the money asked for in the White Paper. Deputies must confine themselves to that.
Mr. Dillon: What about the taxes taken off by the inter-Party Government when it came into office or the 6d. taken off the income-tax?
Mr. Aiken: There is two-gun Dillon from Ballaghaderreen off again at a gallop.
A Deputy: Are we in Cork or Louth?
Mr. Dillon: Monasterboice.
Mr. Davin: This is a somewhat irregular reference.
Mr. Aiken: Deputy Dillon thinks he is dancing a jig on the tombstone of the Irish Party and a Republican flag in each hand.
Mr. MacBride: Is that on the White Paper?
Mr. Cosgrave: He is talking through his top hat.
Mr. Sweetman: They are done away with.
Mr. Cosgrave: He has his, but he only wears it in London, and very becoming it is, too.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Minister on the Estimate.
Mr. Sweetman: Yes, but on the Estimate.
Mr. Aiken: Deputy Dillon can talk about me; can I talk about Deputy Dillon for a while? After all, this should be interesting. There should be reciprocity.
An Ceann Comhairle: I was endeavouring to confine the discussion to  what is in the White Paper, and I must ask the Minister to confine himself to that.
Mr. Dillon: The acting-Minister.
An Ceann Comhairle: The acting-Minister, and the actual Minister for External Affairs.
Mr. Aiken: If I am allowed to do it, I am quite prepared to confine my remarks solely to this Estimate and to ask the House to pass it in order that we may provide the extra pensions for the Guards who will, we now expect, leave the Force between now and the end of this financial year.
Mr. Dillon: Arising out of that——
An Ceann Comhairle: I called on the Minister to conclude.
Mr. Dillon: May I not ask a question?
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy may ask a question.
Mr. Dillon: I understood the Minister for Finance to say that he wanted this money to provide for the Guards whom he expected would be resigning between now and the end of the financial year. Surely to God there is not going to be a general exodus from the Guards in the course of the next three weeks which will require £125,000 to finance. May we not assume that much of this money is required to deal with members of the Force who have retired during the financial year?
An Ceann Comhairle: That is an argument, not a question.
Mr. Dillon: Will the money be used for members of the Force who have already resigned? Surely the Minister does not tell us that there are going to be so many resignations between now and the 31st March as will require this provision?
Mr. Aiken: There are a number of Guards going out between now and the 31st March and we will require more money in order to meet their claims.
Mr. Dillon: Surely all this provision is not required for men going out between now and 31st March.
Mr. Aiken: The whole of the sum for the financial year is for the Guards who went out during the financial year——
Mr. Dillon: That is more like it.
Mr. Aiken: ——and this sum will pay for those who will go out between now and the end of the financial year.
Vote put and agreed to.
Vote reported and agreed to.
Minister for Local Government (Mr. Smith): I move that the Bill be now read a Second Time. It is proposed in this Bill to make certain changes in the system under which counties and other local government areas are administered by managers under the general supervision and control of elected bodies.
Under the County Management Act, 1940, six pairs of counties were each grouped and assigned a single manager. The grouped counties were Carlow-Kildare, Kilkenny-Waterford, Laoighis-Offaly, Leitrim-Sligo, Longford-Westmeath and Tipperary North Riding-Tipperary South Riding. It soon became evident, with the strain of the years of emergency and with the increasing functions of local authorities and the growing complexity of local business, that the grouped system made too much demand on the time of the manager concerned and did not afford him a fair chance of attending at meetings of all the elected bodies for which he was manager. There has been a growing feeling in many of the local areas concerned that each county should have its own manager. It is now proposed to de-group these counties. Section 4 contains provisions consequent on the proposed degrouping and gives the existing manager a choice of the county which he wishes to retain.
 Criticism has been expressed in this House and elsewhere that the 1940 Act did not leave enough real control in the hands of the elected members. The contrary view has also been expressed that the “power of the purse” given to them in the reserved functions gave them full and final control over policy and the broad features of local administration and that the exercise of these functions could not be overridden by the exercise by the managers of their executive functions. My own view is that much depends on the manner in which the Act is administered and that examples to sustain both points of view may be found in different counties. In any event I have been concerned to ensure that if their general powers of financial control have not proved to be sufficiently effective and if certain managers can and do without prior consultation, commit the local authorities to expenditure which they must meet, that position should be remedied.
I am, therefore, proposing in Section 3 that the elected members may exercise direct control over additions to their staffs and over general increases in remuneration. The creation of new permanent offices by managers for which a Minister's sanction is necessary will be subject to the consent by the resolution of the county council or elected body. The intention is that additions to staff and general salary or wage increases will be brought under the direct supervision of the elected members. I am also proposing in Section 9 to give greater freedom to the elected members in dealing with the annual estimate submitted to them by the manager. At present, if the manager objects to an amendment of his estimate, the council must either drop the amendment or adjourn the estimates meeting. Under Section 9 of the Bill, the council will be able to make a final decision, either accepting or rejecting the manager's views as they see fit, without the necessity for adjournment.
Section 5 substitutes an improved procedure for the appointment of deputy county managers for that in the original Act which has shown some defects in operation. The procedure  remains, however, much the same in substance. The manager will normally be in a position to nominate his own deputy. Where that is not done for any reason the chairman of the county council may make the appointment. It is proposed that the Minister will have what may be termed a residual power of appointments of deputy managers. His approval is also required to appointments made by the manager or chairman, but this approval may be given beforehand to specified persons being nominated from time to time.
Sections 6, 7 and 8 propose some minor amendments of the Act of 1940 where the wording of that Act has given rise to doubts or defects.
The purpose of Section 10 is to remove doubts about the applicability of age limit Orders to county and city managers. These Orders are made under the Local Government Act, 1941. It was considered that Section 23 of that Act enabled age limit Orders, requiring officers to retire when they reach a specified age, to apply to all local offices, including those of county and city manager. Doubts have been raised as to the validity of such Orders in relation to managers, in view of the terms of the County and City Management Acts relating to the tenure of office of managers and the section proposes to clear up the position.
Section 11 is also a clarifying section. The Local Government Act, 1925, requires the secretary or clerk of a local authority to make formal objection at a meeting where a proposal is made for an illegal payment or one which is likely to result in loss to the funds of the local authority. With the introduction of management this provision lost much of its relevance and the object of Section 11 is to restrict this requirement to reserved functions and to requisitions made by the elected members under Section 29 of the 1940 Act, at the same time making it clear that it is the duty of the manager, or his nominee if he should be absent, to make the necessary objection.
Section 12 proposes to regularise the management position in Dublin City  and County where the situation has grown up over a number of years that the Dublin Board of Assistance lies outside the purview of the Dublin City Manager and certain assistant city managers hold office on a temporary basis. This section and the repeal of the Local Government (Dublin) (Temporary) Act, 1948, which the Bill also proposes, will bring the board of assistance within the management system as the 1940 Act originally intended, and will also put the present acting assistant managers on a permanent footing.
The provisions of Section 14 are included to enable the local appointments commissioners to deal expeditiously with the several vacancies which will occur as a result of the de-grouping of counties referred to earlier. The selection of persons for appointment as managers and also of persons to fill any posts which may be vacated by persons who previously held other local offices is involved. The section will have effect for a period of two years only.
The county management system as introduced was in the nature of an experiment. Its operation over a period of nearly 12 years has proved that on the whole it has conduced to an improved system of local administration at a time when the growing complexity of local government would undoubtedly have paralysed the former cumbersome system under which all business had to be transacted and all statutory acts had to be done in deliberative assemblies. The new system has certain defects and I do not claim that this Bill will cure all of them. But the defects are, in my view, not such as are in the main remediable by legislation. They arise in isolated instances and in only a few areas where the elected body and the executive management fail to attain a proper harmony in co-operation and mutual understanding. The fault may be on one side or on the other or on both. So far as I and my Department are concerned we shall continue to do our best to encourage the attainment of the necessary balance between extremes of popular criticism and a  too narrow official approach. In this effort we have, on the whole, the co-operation of the leading public representatives and the majority of the managers. We must rely on time to do the rest.
Mr. Sweetman: This Bill is notable not so much for what it includes as for what it omits. Those of us who believed that the Minister was going to bring forward a management amendment——
Captain Cowan: Did the Chair see Deputy Keyes rising?
An Ceann Comhairle: What is the point of the question?
Captain Cowan: I understood that when a matter like this arises, the former Minister always leads off for the Opposition. I want guidance. I think the former Minister for Local Government should be the person to move in this matter.
An Ceann Comhairle: When a Front Bench member of the largest Opposition Party offers——
Mr. Keyes: Apart from the point raised by Deputy Cowan, I suggest I offered myself first.
An Ceann Comhairle: The member of the largest Opposition is always called to meet a motion of this kind.
Mr. Sweetman: I understand that is standard practice.
An Ceann Comhairle: Yes.
Mr. Davin: I understood that there is no regulation laid down but that an ex-Minister has a prior right over an ordinary Deputy, and that would apply to the principal Opposition.
Mr. Sweetman: I understand the standard practice is that the main Opposition Party commences, but if Deputy Keyes personally wants to commence, I am perfectly happy to allow him to do so, provided the request comes from Deputy Keyes and not from the other side of the House.
Mr. Davin: I am not raising that point. It is not a personal matter at  all. It is a question of what is to be regarded in future as recognised procedure. Has an ex-Minister a right over an ordinary Deputy, no matter what bench he sits on?
An Ceann Comhairle: There is no rule or regulation governing the matter. It is purely a convention. An ex-Minister would get precedence within his own Party as against an ordinary Deputy. If a member of the main Opposition Party offers, then the member of the main Opposition Party is called. That is the convention as far as I know it.
Captain Cowan: But the Chair would agree that within the ordinary courtesies the former Minister should be the person to deal with the matter.
An Ceann Comhairle: I am not dealing with the rights or wrongs, or the pros or cons. I am dealing with what is the convention.
Mr. Keyes: Apart from being an ex-Minister, I am wondering whether any particular seats enjoy a special privilege of being called in order of preference.
An Ceann Comhairle: A member of the main Opposition Party is always called to meet a motion by the Government.
Mr. Briscoe: Then this is not a Coalition Opposition.
Mr. Davin: The Deputy was not asked to interfere in this at all.
Mr. Sweetman: If Deputy Keyes wishes to speak, I would prefer if he did.
Mr. Keyes: I am accepting the ruling of the Chair.
Mr. Sweetman: Am I not entitled to withdraw in favour of Deputy Keyes?
An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Sweetman is not entitled to say who will speak or who will not. It is the Chair who calls on the speaker.
Mr. Sweetman: If I had seen Deputy Keyes rise I would have sat down in  favour of him. I am informed now that he did rise before me and, in those circumstances, I would not rise against Deputy Keyes.
Mr. Davin: I want to assure Deputy Sweetman through the Chair that this is not a personal matter.
Mr. Sweetman: Deputy Keyes and I know each other well enough to understand that.
Mr. Davin: I would raise the same point if Deputy Cosgrave and Deputy Sweetman rose together. I would say that Deputy Cosgrave had a right of precedence.
An Ceann Comhairle: If Deputy Sweetman does not want to speak I shall call on somebody else. Deputy Keyes.
Mr. Keyes: I regret the incident which has taken place, but I want to assure Deputy Sweetman that there is nothing personal in this matter as far as I am concerned. At the outset, I should like to congratulate the Minister on the brevity of his introduction of this measure and I hope that my address will be equally brief. I do not think he would be justified in making a long drawn out oration. The long Title of the Bill is:—
“An Act to amend and extend the County Management Acts, 1940 and 1942, and to make further and better provision for the local government of counties and certain other areas.”
If the Minister has succeeded in living up to that, he has done so with the minimum of offence against any section. He almost overreached himself in keeping himself in a perpendicular position. Budgets which do not show very much imagination are generally described as “as you were” or “stop gap” Budgets. I think these adjectives would fit in as classifying this measure.
I wonder what induced the Minister to introduce a Bill of this character at this particular time? On reading the Bill I probably would find justification for it in Sections 12 and 13. I wholeheartedly endorse the provisions in  these sections. I think that is where the Minister will have to go for justification for this measure, in that justice is being done to individuals who have given service to this country in a very critical period and who have been retained in the local government service. I think nobody in the House will cavil at the first of these sections or the section dealing with the Dublin County Council and the Dublin Corporation.
The only interference I can notice apart from that is in Section 3, where the Minister has certainly made some kind of gesture, which will be welcomed, by restoring some of the powers that we feel ought to be vested in local elected representatives and which have hitherto been wielded by county managers. I do not say the county managers generally have abused their powers. On the whole, I think they have shown themselves to be a very correct, efficient, intelligent and wise body of men who have exercised their powers by holding consultations with the elected representatives and keeping the big stick in the background. That is the way in which the best results can be got from local government and it is in keeping with the tone of circulars issued by a previous Minister for Local Government telling the local representatives of the great powers they have. In contradistinction to that, we had county managers who did not display the same wisdom as the majority and, when they saw themselves vested with powers, proceeded to use them mercilessly.
I think a section such as this is to be welcomed. It restricts a county manager from increasing staffs without having the consent of the council, and that is as it should be. The elected representatives are the people who put forward the money to keep the services going and it is only fair and right that they should have some say in the expenditure of the money. While I am not inclined to think that the average county manager will pile up staffs, if he feels like putting on additional staff, I think he should do so with the consent of the council and I therefore welcome that section.
 Sub-section (2) of the same section provides:—
“A county manager shall not fix an increased rate of remuneration applicable to any class, description or grade of offices or employments under the council of the county or an elective body for which he is the manager save with the consent by resolution of such council or body.”
That will be welcomed. It is a belated extension of the rights of the elected representatives so that they shall have some say in the fixing of the payments of the staff. I wonder, however, if there is any significance in the fact that there is no reference to the fact that the county manager may not reduce the remuneration of the staff. I should like to see the words “or reduce” inserted there if that is not a significant omission, because we will be creating fresh grave anomalies if we are to take from the manager the power to increase staff's salaries or wages without the consent of the council, and, on the other hand, we find a manager proceeding to slash wages or salaries without consultation with the council. I am hoping that that is only an omission and that there is no significance behind it. While I would trust councils and county managers to be able to interpret this Bill correctly and wisely, we have to have regard to the odd man out, and one or two exceptions in the general body would create a serious position.
We have had the case of a manager who not only refused to send up a resolution passed unanimously by his council dealing with the question of the remuneration of staff, but actually sent on another resolution purporting to be the resolution of the county council which bore no relation whatever to the resolution passed by that body and which was publicly and unanimously repudiated by the county council. When a man is prepared to carry on tactics of that kind, it is necessary that steps should be taken to see that each and every one of them will come into line and operate this as it is intended they should operate it in a harmonious way with the elected representatives. For that reason I welcome the restriction of the right of the county manager to  increase salaries without the consent of the council, but I should like the Minister. When replying, to say whether it is inherent in that that he shall not reduce salaries or wages without the consent of the council.
In Section 14 we have the names of the various officers. There seems, however, to be a wonderful lack of enthusiasm such as was shown when we were dealing with county administration previously in this House. The protagonists of the Irish language on the Fianna Fáil Benches were then very enthusiastic about providing the correct nomenclature in Irish for the various officers. The county manager, the secretary, the accountant and the assistant secretary all got the correct description in the Irish language. There was a great deal of research for the correct description of these officers and determination was expressed that in any new legislation all the appellations must be in the Irish language. One looks in vain through this Bill for a single reference to that. The Deputies who were so enthusiastic then have transferred themselves to the Government side of the House and there is a waning of enthusiasm in regard to the progress and promotion of the Irish language. It is not without significance that there is not a single provision dealing with it in this Bill. Perhaps in the Committee Stage Deputies who were so keen on that matter and who gave us so many headaches in trying to get the correct appellations in Irish will now provide them for the officers mentioned in this Bill.
The Bill does not call for very much attention. I welcome the changes made limiting the powers of the county managers and revesting them in the elected representatives. It is a step, but only a small step, in the right direction.
Many powers are still withheld from the elected representatives, but the amendments that are being made are an indication by the Dáil to the manager that he shall not do so-and-so in dealing with wages and salaries, that he shall not employ additional staffs without the consent of the council  and may furnish a pointer to such managers as are getting out of hand that it would be wiser on occasions to act in consultation with the elected representatives. In matters dealing with the allocation of houses, a very vital factor in the administration of some county councils, in some places there has been generally consultation between the manager and the elected representatives, but in some other places that co-operation is hopelessly lacking and the absence of it results in great friction at times. I should like if the Minister would introduce some provision to deal with the allocation of houses to tenants, particularly in rural areas. At best, I suppose we can only hope that the managers will take the hint that they will not act in a dictatorial fashion and that they will work in conjunction with the elected representatives in the same way as is indicated in Section 3 of the Bill in relation to wages and salaries and the employment of staffs. I think the Minister is deserving of full commendation for the provisions contained in Sections 11 and 12. Having given expression to these few remarks, I do no intend to take up the time of the House further.
Mr. Brennan: It may be argued that the Bill does not contain everything that one would like to see in it but as the Minister pointed out in his opening statement the point whether or not the County Management Act has succeeded or failed is a controversial question. One would seldom find even members of local authorities themselves in agreement as to whether a particular section of the County Management Act should be amended and I think we can describe the present Bill as a careful step forward, introducing a few provisions which it will be definitely agreed by everybody are necessary. The emphasis is on shifting power to members of the elected body and even though that is being done on a limited scale, it is certainly a step in the right direction, particularly in regard to those powers formerly held by the manager in relation to the creation of new offices, the expansion of staffs or increases in the salaries of the staff. I think it is only  right that the elected representatives should have the whip hand in that respect. I think the Bill, in itself, and the comments which we have so far heard upon it particularly from the previous speaker, are a vindication of the County Management Act. Despite the fact that when the Act was first introduced it was held to have taken from local authorities all the powers which the elected representatives at that time enjoyed, it is significant that at this stage one would not get a single member of the House to advocate a return to the old system.
I do not for a moment suggest that the County Management Act was perfect or that the system which it introduced has worked perfectly. I agree with the Minister when he says that managers may, in some instances, have interpreted their duties, not exactly in the way we intended under the original Act, but I personally think that most managers have taken on themselves too much work of an active kind. Instead of concentrating their efforts more on supervision of those under them, they felt that they had specific duties assigned to them in different offices. I think managers who have taken their duties very seriously in that respect and who have tried to be at the beginning and end of every bit of administration within the county have found the burden unbearable.
The effort to carry out all these duties imposed too much of a physical strain on many managers throughout the country. I do not know whether those who are not members of local authorities realise all the work a county manager has to attend to, particularly when he opts to carry out his duties according to the interpretation which most managers have put on the duties imposed on them under the County Management Act. Those of us who are members of local authorities realise that, unlike the work of the members of the staff of the local authority, the manager's work does not cease at five o'clock and that very often when the members of the staff go home to rest or to indulge in some healthful recreation, the manager has to pull out his car  and drive many miles to another centre to attend an urban council meeting which frequently lasts into a late hour in the night if not into the early hours of the morning. The fact that he has to remain out to a late hour at night to assist in administering urban affairs at some other centre, does not excuse him from turning up in the morning at the county council office to enter on his usual duties for the day.
In counties where there are two, three or four urban councils, the manager may find that his hours of work in the year are far in excess of those which any other officer may have to devote to the performance of his duties. Considering this aspect of the activities of the manager, I think that the Minister should take power in this Bill to have appointed in large unworkable counties, if we may use that term, an assistant manager to whom the Minister at the request of the council or the elected members of the local authority can delegate certain powers of the manager in order to lighten the load on the manager. I am not referring to the deputy manager provided for in Section 5 of this Bill but to an assistant manager who would be appointed on the advice of the local authority to take charge, say, of the work connected with urban councils or any other particular section of the manager's work, in order that the manager might not be overburdened with these particular functions and so that the administration of the county might be carried out with the greatest possible measure of efficiency without imposing an undue strain on the manager.
All of us know of instances where the county manager makes a desperate effort to arrive as near as possible at perfection in the administration of the county affairs. In doing so, he tries to be at the beginning and end of every deliberation. He becomes an executive officer who feels that he must be responsible—he is actually responsible under the County Management Act— for every decision taken. The Minister may argue that the manager need not expend so much personal effort in his attendance to these duties. It may be  argued that he has the county medical officer of health, assisted by the county health officer, responsible for health, and the county engineer and the county secretary are responsible for the particular duties which come within their sphere. That theory, however, does not always work out in practice. At least, it is not always the practice of the active county manager, who must see that the decisions taken by these other officials are justified. He must examine them and feels that he must be present when they are arrived at. I think that that imposes an unnecessary strain on one individual who attempts to be at the beginning and end of every single decision taken in regard to the administration of the local affairs of the county. I think it would be wise, therefore, if provision were made in the present Bill to enable the Minister to appoint an assistant manager, whenever advised to do so by the local authority, to undertake some of the duties hitherto allotted to the manager who may find it impossible at times to deal with matters as expeditiously as they should be dealt with. We have the very heavy burden of housing in most counties which, in itself, would require the almost constant attention of an executive officer. I know it may be said that the manager can easily delegate these powers to the engineer in charge of housing, but I do not think it is always possible to do so, and when a manager is responsible for every decision he does feel he must take an active interest in every detail leading up to important decisions to be taken in that respect. That is only one example of the many duties a manager has to undertake.
I think, on the whole, the Bill is a careful step forward in the right direction. One might like to see more in it. Some will argue that the elected representative should be given more powers. Others will say they have sufficient powers already but I remember when the Act was first introduced one thing that was said was that public men would take little or no interest in local government in future, since the powers were filched from them by the Managerial Act. The lie, I think, has definitely been given to that allegation made by the people who  were opposed to this Act. I think it is proven that a good type of public representative has come forward since the Managerial Act was put into operation. If anything I would say the standard of local authorities has improved so far as the elected representatives are concerned. I feel that it itself gives the lie to the allegation made at the outset. It is a sign that the Managerial Act did give a reasonable outlet to elected representatives to exercise their interest in public affairs and to take a full part in shaping local administration.
This Bill gives a little bit more authority to them and that is to be welcomed. If it does not go further in that respect it is because, as I say, we ourselves who are members of local authorities are not able to agree as to whether we should have greater powers or not. Those powers which are retained absolutely by the elected representatives are not always administered in a perfect manner. That might be said to be a reflection on elected representatives but I think one can say that since the managerial system came into operation various matters, particularly the allocation of houses, have been administered in a much fairer manner in accordance with the regulations laid down than they might be administered by the actual representatives if it was left in their hands.
The manager is guided by a set of regulations in the allocation of houses and if he does not comply with or conform to these regulations he knows that the members of the council will very quickly bring to his attention any lapse or indiscretion of which he may be guilty. For that reason his one object is to ensure that he keeps within these regulations and that anything done by him is something that he can stand over in any discussion or against any censure that may be brought on him by the local authority of which he is in charge.
On the whole, the Bill is to be commended and I think while there are some items which may be corrected or enlarged on the Committee Stage it is a careful step forward in the right  direction justifying, as it does, the Managerial Act. While there is no doubt it is not a very comprehensive measure, it makes no mistakes with regard to what it proposes to do. I welcome the Bill.
Mr. Sweetman: This Bill is noticeable not for what it includes but for what it omits. Even Deputy Brennan who has just spoken admits it was a very small step indeed. So far as the small steps are concerned in it, I agree absolutely and entirely with the comments made on it by Deputy Keyes. The step that is included in respect of the powers of the managers in regard to increasing the number of officers is one that has been necessary for some time. It is one which as a matter of fact I advocated in this House on a previous occasion.
I would absolutely disagree with the view expressed by Deputy Brennan that it was necessary to appoint additional assistant managers. Any man who tries to see to every detail of the administration under him is a bad administrator. The type of administrator who should be there as county manager is not the person who would go down and see that the office boy licked the stamps. If he goes down twice a day to see that the office boy licks the stamps and gets involved in small details like that he is going to be completely overwhelmed. There should be only one person responsible for the type of things for which the manager is responsible and to try to divide responsibility as Deputy Brennan suggested would mean very much additional officialdom and it would be entirely unnecessary.
Take, for example, housing allocations. I do not know what the procedure is in Donegal, but long before the Managerial Act was in operation the Kildare Board of Health handed over recommendations for the allocation of houses to the chief medical officer. I think from what I have heard that is pretty universally the position in the country, that the chief medical officer makes recommendations and brings them forward to the housing committee not for the purpose of the  housing committee challenging those recommendations but for the purpose of enabling the housing committee to get and to bring certain local information to bear on the problem and to get local verification of the claims that have been made by the allottees.
I cannot see what necessity there would be for putting in another official to do that work. The whole difficulty that has arisen in respect of the County Management Act since its implementation in 1942, following the passage of the Bill in 1940, arose out of the manner in which the managers were sent out to do their work in that year by the then Minister for Local Government. The then Minister for Local Government sent out those managers primed with the view that they were to take a far too literal interpretation of the Act and that they were to be the bosses and that the elected representatives of the county council were to have only the minimum powers reserved for them by the principal Act. As the years have gone on the managers in most counties have got away from that rigid dictatorial view. In some counties as a result of fairly heated rows between the elected representatives speaking on all sides of the table without regard for Party on the one hand, and the manager on the other hand, the managers have got away from the original interpretation with which they were sent out by Deputy MacEntee when he was Minister for Local Government in 1940.
One of the difficulties that exist at present in the administration of the managerial system is that it is very hard for the elected representatives of a county council or an urban council for that matter to know what exactly their powers are and what rights they have. I have always felt that it was necessary that there should be some official who from his specialised knowledge would be able to advise the council as to what their rights were. I think there should be put into this Bill on the Committee Stage a statutory provision binding a secretary of a county council to give advice to the elected members of the council as to what their powers are vis-á-vis the county manager, so that that would be there under statutory provision. If it is not there under statutory provision, the secretary would feel that in giving advice to the elected members of the council as to what powers they had vis-à-vis the manager he would be disloyal to the manager as his superior administrative officer.
Only yesterday I was asked about a case where the elected representatives of a council wanted to bring forward a motion in the county council to call for a sworn inquiry into a certain appointment by the manager. They were calmly told by the manager that he would not accept the motion, that it was an executive act and that they had no right to discuss it. Of course, it is perfectly clear that the elected representatives on a county council have an absolute right to discuss a motion such as that if they so desire. They have an absolute right to discuss at their meetings anything that they may wish. That was a clear case where the elected representatives did not know and, from the nature of things, could not be expected to know what their rights were and were browbeaten by the manager. If there were a statutory duty on the secretary of a county council to advise the members “you are entitled to do that” or “you are not entitled under the statute to discuss such a matter, to take such a decision”, the elected members on local bodies would know where they are.
When the Act was brought in in 1940, the nearest commercial analogy that could be taken to the manager that was set up at that time was a governing director, a governing director who was limited only in respect of certain specified matters in the articles of association. I have never felt that that was the right way in which local bodies should be administered. I have always felt that the right way for local bodies to be administered was to have a local council laying down the general lines of policy, leaving it to the manager to carry that policy into detailed effect. The members of a county council cannot go into details. It should be  for the members of the council to say that such-and-such a job is to be done in a particular way and to leave it to the manager to do the details. The manager should not be empowered, under any circumstances, to refuse to carry out the wish of the local body or to say that it is a function of his and that he will not heed what the council, as a whole, desire in the general direction of policy. In other words, as in a commercial concern, the manager should be the general manager, subject to overriding control of the board of directors.
If the Act had been introduced in that spirit, and if the managers had been sent out in that spirit, there would not have been a great deal of the outcry that there was in the beginning, because they were sent out to deal with matters in an autocratic and overriding way.
I blame the then Minister for Local Government almost entirely for the misconceptions that arose in the minds of honourable men trying to carry out their duties, who felt it was their duty to carry out what the Minister of the day directed.
The present Minister is perfectly correct when he says that the system of grouping counties is most unsatisfactory. Carlow and Kildare have had experience of that. It has been most unfair to the manager and to the two counties concerned. It is almost impossible so to arrange the business of the two counties as to avoid a clash between calls on the manager for Carlow when Kildare County Council is meeting and for Kildare when Carlow County Council is meeting. It also means that there is a more difficult situation in respect of urban areas. Division of counties into single units rather than groups is overdue and will obviate some of the difficulties that have arisen.
I regret that the choice is left entirely to the manager. It would be desirable that the choice should be made after consultation with the local authorities concerned. Lest anyone may think that I am saying that about the joint manager for Kildare and Carlow, may I make it clear that I am not? I do not mean the word in any insulting  way, but after that manager received his education in the County Management Act jointly from Deputy Harris and myself, he now complies with the universal wish of the council as a whole and, so far as his operation of the County Management Act is concerned, I do not think that Deputy Harris or I, or the members of the Labour Party in Kildare, have any criticism to offer. It is wrong that the choice should be left entirely to the official. There should be some method by which there would be consultation, at least, between the chairmen of the councils concerned.
The real difficulty in regard to the rate estimates meeting, to which the Minister has referred in Section 9, is not really the question as to whether the council must adjourn or not but the question as to what details must be put before the county council. So far as we are concerned, we get details in Kildare now, as a result of requests made over the years, which I have shown to members of county councils in other areas. They have all told me that if they got the estimates presented in the detail in which we receive them there would not be any of the complaints that they get. The managers in some counties — and I am afraid this Bill will not make any difference — apparently the Minister has not given any direction to the contrary to managers — produce the barest and most meagre figures and expect members of the local authority to make up their minds on them. In one case the manager complied merely with the minimum requirements of the Public Bodies Order in this respect and showed so much for health, so much for main roads, so much for county roads, so much for public assistance, so much for general purposes, giving no details at all of the manner in which the figures would be divided. That displays very little confidence in the council and is treating the council with contempt.
If the power of the purse is to be the controlling power of the elected representatives on the council over the chief official in the area, that power can only be effective if a detailed estimate is put before the council at the estimates meeting, in the same  way as the detailed Book of Estimates is circulated to the members of this House in regard to governmental administration.
The provision of a section directing the details to be furnished by county managers to elected representatives on the council would be a cumbersome method of doing the job. Managers should do it without being directed by statute to do it.
I am glad to say that our experience is very happy in that respect. We may differ very often with the manager about the items on which there is to be expenditure or about the amounts in particular cases, but at least we can say that we get the fullest information in the estimates which are put before us. I have seen estimates circulated in other counties, and I know for a fact that the local representatives there do not get as much information as we get. I think that provision should be made, either by an Order under the Public Bodies Orders or under a statute, to ensure that members of county councils would have before them at their estimates meeting not merely a global figure but the fullest figure. They should have at their disposal detailed figures so that they may be able to see where a saving can be effected, and in that way make a proper estimate. Otherwise, what happens is that members merely say they are going to take 5, 10 or 12 per cent. off the estimate. That amount is first put on and then it is taken off, but that is not the way to get the job done.
Mr. Norton: My remarks on this Bill will be brief, firstly, because I think it is so scanty and inadequate that it does not permit of close or detailed examination. I understood from some statements that were made by the Minister in public some time ago that we were going to have a very elaborate amendment of the County Management Acts, and that the sole purpose of the amendments would be to put back into the hands of the members of the local authorities a substantial measure of the powers which were wrested from them in 1929, 1930 and since then, under the various county and city management Acts which have gone through this House,  every one of which met with strong opposition from the Labour Party. So far as these Acts are concerned, the Labour Party was the one Party which was opposed to having the powers of local authorities filched from them in the wholesale fashion in which they were filched under the various Acts passed through this Dáil.
Whether we look at the 1929 or the 1930 Act, or at all the Acts which have gone through since then, I do not think the House can feel satisfied that it has yet evolved a system of democratic control in local affairs. The very fact that there has been this agitation for an amendment of the County Management Acts and that it has been found necessary to have amendments to them from time to time — that you have all Parties on local authorities asking for these amendments — is clear evidence that we have not yet found a satisfactory and democratic medium for dealing with local government affairs.
This is a most inconsequential Bill. Apart from recognising a few mistakes which have been made in earlier Bills and of adjusting a few obvious wrongs to individual officers of local authorities, the Bill, in fact, leaves the whole question of county and city management just where it was, and whether or not this Bill is passed does not matter twopence so far as the powers of local authorities are concerned.
The whole difficulty, of course, in connection with the County Management Acts was that, even if a case could be made for some kind of a county management scheme, they never were launched in a climate that gave them a chance of succeeding. The managers, when they were appointed in the first instance, took on the function not of being a manager to a local authority but manager of a local authority, and once you gave these administrative brass hats the notion that they were the managers of a local authority then, of course, it was going to be the devil to wrest back the powers which they had arrogantly assumed to themselves.
That has been a source of trouble throughout the country. It is perfectly true, as Deputy Sweetman has said, that down through the years there has been a fight by members of local  authorities to hold the powers which they properly believed were theirs, a fight by the local authorities composed of representatives of the local people to be consulted on matters on which they were better judges in the opinion of the local people than, say, an imported manager could be. Quarrels arose on such matters as that the manager was exceeding his powers. So far as the county managers were concerned, there was a disposition on the part of some of those insufferable brass hats to hold on to powers which they thought they had under the County Management Acts. Talking about these insufferable brass hats, I knew a few of them. I am not speaking of the county manager for Carlow and Kildare. Whatever the position may have been there in the early days, an atmosphere was created in which we have now a reasonable blend of wisdom, flexibility, sanity and toleration which has been properly distilled and enables the local authorities in Kildare, irrespective of the political views of the members, to team in with the county manager and to do things in a reasonable and amicable way. That, however, is very different from the position that obtains in Laois and Offaly. If I go there, I come out of it with a raging headache, having listened to the way in which the local authorities there are being thwarted and defied by one of these insufferable brass hats. Where a thing like that happens, you have in the job of manager, a person who is clearly a temperamental misfit and an administrative misfit. I think that what should be done with a person like that is to take him out of the position and give him his full pension, tell him that he is not capable of handling a local authority, and that he has not the disposition to blend with the different shades of view represented on that local authority. The thing to do with him would be to put him on pension and send him to the Riviera. As it is, he is merely thwarting the wishes of the local people and doing everything that he is not supposed to do.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Chair feels that the Deputy should not single out county managers for attack.
Mr. Norton: I do not want to attack them, but I hope that when the Bill is in Committee to get a section into it which will enable a local authority, or will compel the Minister to remove an administrative misfit because such a person is a blister on local government in this country. Where you get an intelligent manager who is prepared to team in with the local authority, who does not insist on exercising despotic powers, who does not feel all the time that he is the Caesar of the local authority, you get a fair measure of satisfaction. The Labour Party, however, would prefer, since they believe in democracy, to see much more power given to the local authorities.
In so far as a manager exercises power, he should exercise it in the same way as the manager of a public company, the secretary of a trade union or as an employee of any other particular organisation throughout the country. The difficulty, as I have said, with the county managers is that they regard themselves not as managers to the local bodies but managers of the local bodies. I think that the Department of Local Government and the Minister could usefully spend some time trying to hammer that fact into the heads of county managers who, so far, apparently have been able to put up an impregnable defence as to what they are supposed to do in the matter of working in co-operation with the local authorities.
I think the section in this Bill which separates two counties from single administrative control by county managers is a recognition of the fact that this scheme never worked satisfactorily. Where a manager has two counties it is not fair on the counties and not fair on the manager, and in some of those cases I have heard allegations made that the manager is more interested in one county than in the other, and going to the next county you will hear that story in reverse, whereas the real situation is that the managers try to do the best they can for both counties. Of course, he is always travelling in a case like that, and once he is in one county  the people think that therefore he is necessarily on the side of the other county. This is a wise recognition of the fact that that scheme never worked satisfactorily. It could never give you effective administrative control, and it was unfair both to the counties and to the managers. It is extraordinary, in fact, that it survived so long, but it is now well to recognise that we are abandoning it, and its abandonment ought to make for better relations between local authorities and the county managers. It will also relieve the county managers of a burden which I think it was unfair to put on them when they were doing their job to the best of their ability, seeking to attain the highest measure of efficiency.
Section 3 of the Bill is welcome too. It is the kind of provision which should never have been necessary, because here again quite clearly the local authority should have been consulted in any matter of either reduction or increase in staff or reduction or increase in remuneration.
I do not think that Section 10 is going to give back to the local authorities very many of the powers which have still been withheld from them. I am interested in Section 10 because I find some difficulty in understanding what exactly is intended. I am rather wondering whether we are deliberately setting out to break legal contracts or whether there is going to be any adequate compensation for the persons concerned. So far as I can judge from the section and from what the Minister said, it is now intended by Section 10 to remove some doubts. I gathered from what the Minister said that apparently the four persons mentioned in the section have a tenure of office which does not require them to retire at a particular age limit and, therefore, this section is put in for the purpose of saying that they shall hold office, unless they die, resign or are removed from office, and retire on reaching the age limit. Presumably, therefore, the Minister does not feel that he has power to remove them at the moment on reaching what is described as the age limit. Apparently  they are not subject to an age limit at the moment and I take it that they must, therefore, have a contract which does not require them to retire at a particular age. I could conceive, of course, that it might be desirable to require people to retire at an age fixed, an all-over age limit, but if these people have contracts with the local authority, surely we ought to respect the contract, and if we are breaking the contract and saying that they will be pushed out of the service of the local authority we ought to recognise that that requires from us that if we are cutting the contract short and cutting the service short we have an obligation to compensate them either by the grant of additional years of service or in some other way.
I think that the Minister has power under the 1948 Superannuation Act to grant additional years of service in such cases. In any case it is a well-known provision in the Civil Service code that additional years may be granted where a person is removed from office for any reason outside his own control. If there is to be an age limit fixed for these people under the powers conferred on the Minister in legislation, then I think that in equity we ought to recognise that the Minister should, up to the limit of his capacity, and all the time acting within reason, give those people compensation by way of additional service. I do not know whether that interpretation of the section is correct.
Captain Cowan: Would the Deputy say that if they have a contract giving them an additional age limit, would that fact affect the contract unless they so agreed?
Mr. Norton: Frankly I do not know the circumstances of these cases. I am only jut thinking that this is an effort to terminate contracts which exist, presumably because the Minister has no power to terminate them under any previous legislation. If they are going to be terminated we ought to be fair to those people. If we are going to tear up the contract and going to say that we are doing that in the public interest we ought to say that we are  going to compensate them adequately for terminating the contract. I can conceive, of course, that a person might hold an appointment for life but I do not think anybody wants to see a centenarian as a county manager and, therefore, we might say to a person in such circumstances: “Really, time is having a devastating effect upon you and upon the municipal affairs, and what we propose to do is to require you to retire at a certain age. But while we are breaking your contract by terminating your service with the local authority before death claims you we are going to give you x additional years of service so as to compensate you for doing that.” Deputy Cowan says that you might not in a case like that do full justice to the person, and perhaps it is not easy to measure scientifically or with precision what is full justice in a case like that, but what I am concerned about is to prevent an obvious injustice which would arise if we gave a person who had a contract a bonus based on less than he would get if he retired at the normal age limit.
I do not know how many other cases the Minister hopes to apply this compulsory retirement section to, or whether he feels he has power in other cases but no power in this case, but frankly if we are going to terminate this solemn legal contract we ought not to be niggardly and ought to act fairly to the people concerned. I do not want to measure their compensation in any excessive terms of money. All I want to do is to prevent obvious injustice being imposed upon them. The Minister ought to be reasonable and, indeed, generous if those persons have to retire under circumstances which involve a breach of their contracts.
Mr. T. O'Sullivan: It is very refreshing indeed for anybody who listened to the opposition to the County Management Act, 1940, to hear the debate as it has progressed so far to-day. Anybody remembering the opposition at that time must feel very satisfied that the County Management Act has justified itself. Surely it is untrue to say that any Act is a failure because it must be amended. We have  over the years here amended very many Acts. None of them were failures so far as we know but they were amended in the hope of improving them. Surely Deputy Norton's argument that the amendment has proved the failure of the Act is ridiculous in the light of all the Acts being amended in order to improve them over all the years. As one who has had some experience of local government for more than 30 years, on boards of guardians, rural district councils, county councils, boards of health and boards of assistance, I think that the County Management Act was a great blessing to the people of this country. Surely no Deputy wants us to go back to the days when if a poor man with a big family living in a bad house wanted a labourer's cottage he had to go without, while the fellow with no family and a good house but more pull who wanted a cheaper house was facilitated. I saw that happen very often and I was glad when the present system was evolved for the allocation of houses.
In relation to all the functions deputed to county managers, we in Cork have reason to be proud of the manner in which the County Management Act has been administered over the years. We have not had any of these insufferable “brass hats” that appear to have been imported into other counties, according to Deputy Norton. We have been very lucky in having managers who gave of their utmost in the administration of the affairs of the county, who consulted with the council on every possible occasion and who always permitted the councillors to consult amongst themselves and to make recommendations on any matter affecting their administration.
Deputy Sweetman complained of the manner in which the estimates are presented. I understand there is a set legal method through the medium of which the estimates must be presented. Every year when the estimates are presented to the council in Cork an explanatory memorandum is also circulated setting out in detail under each heading the increases or the  decreases and the reasons for them. We have no reason to grumble in that respect and that procedure is in keeping with all the other functions of the manager. Managers, if possible, anticipate the wishes of the council and its different boards. People who opposed the County Management Act here and in the various county councils are now glad that it has proved such a success. The fact that we are improving it still further in the light of the experience gained over the years is also a tribute to its success.
Mr. Madden: That statement is a bit too sweeping.
Mr. T. O'Sullivan: I will listen to the Deputy later on, through the Chair. Section 3, sub-section (1), of this Bill says:—
“A county manager shall not submit any proposal to increase the number of permanent offices under the council of the county or an elective body for which he is the manager for the sanction of such Minister as may be empowered to sanction the proposal save with the consent by resolution of such council or body.”
In the past we have had occasion to complain in connection with the numbers and remuneration of staff because instructions were sent down from the Department of Local Government; it was reserved to the manager to employ and appoint staff. The council could, of course, object when the time came for providing the money to pay, but I think the amendment is to be commended, together with sub-section (2) which says:—
“A county manager shall not fix an increased rate of remuneration applicable to any class, description or grade of offices or employments under the council of the county or an elective body for which he is the manager save with the consent by resolution of such council or body.”
That gives the council complete power in relation to the numbers and payment of staff, and for that reason it is welcomed. I do not see anything in this measure with regard to the appointment  of rate collectors. That has been a somewhat difficult proposition in many counties for some time past. There have been vacancies for the rate collectors in our county, and when these vacancies occur all kinds and classes look for them; the canvass begins, and the racket, and it is the fellow with most pull who is appointed. That applies to all Parties. I do not think it is an improvement to leave that appointment still in the hands of the county council. Possibly some more reasonable method of making appointments can be devised either through the medium of competitive examination and interview or in some other manner. At the moment it is the candidate with the most pull who is appointed irrespective of whether or not he is fit for the job; if he fails, his friends will have to pay up for him if he is not sufficiently insured.
I have not heard anything said against this amending Bill. I have not heard anyone say that it should not be passed. I think under Section 12 better provision should be made for the management of County Cork. At the moment we have a manager and two assistant county managers. The county is divided into three sanitary and public assistance districts, north, south and west. The total expenditure in the county is £2,750,000. In the north it is £289,690; in the south it is £459,800, and in the west it is £180,000 odd. The smallest of those areas has a larger expenditure than the smallest county and expenditure in the others would compare favourably, I think, with a normal county. In addition to that, we have an expenditure on roads of £892,000 and on the mental hospital of £218,000, as well as health £278,500.
Special provision is being made in this Bill in Section 12 for Dublin County. There is a demand for another assistant manager in Cork, and I am of opinion, and so are many Deputies who are members of the Cork County Council, that there should be a third assistant manager. We have two assistant managers and the county manager. Those men are definitely overworked. Surely there is nothing more injurious to the administration of any Act or the carrying out of any work than that the official responsible should  be overworked. In the County Cork we have nine urban authorities, six sanatoria, a mental hospital and all the district hospitals.
I think it was Deputy Sweetman who said that the county manager should not be expected to see that the office boy licked the stamps. But surely he must be acquainted with everything connected with the administration of the body which he manages. As I say, we have six sanatoria in the county and a mental hospital. Surely before the manager can make an order dealing with any of these he must be conversant with its administration. He need not go to the extent of ensuring that the office boy licks the stamp, but if he is to be an efficient manager he must know what he is making an order about. One of these men in Cork at the moment is seriously overworked; as a matter of fact, he is seriously ill because of overwork. We have a county manager who is retiring under the age limit and a new manager is to be appointed. Now is the time to ensure that there will be good administration in the future in Cork as there has been in the past, and Section 12 should be amended so that there can be a third assistant manager in Cork. I am satisfied that county management has been a success in Cork. I think that tribute must be paid to the members of the council of all Parties for that, as well as to the managers. We trust that this Bill will be a help in administering the affairs of the county for the future.
Mr. Finan: I have no fault to find with anything contained in this Bill. My only complaint, like that of some other Deputies, is that it does not contain enough. I am one of those who were at all times opposed to the County Management Act. I was not a member of this House when it was passed, but as a member of a local authority I felt that it was a negation of democracy. I always thought it was absurd that expenditure should be incurred by electing a county council which, when elected, could exercise no authority, and that is my view still.
Anything I have to say in regard to the Act does not relate to any county  manager I know. I am not speaking on personal grounds at all; I am speaking of the Act itself. I know some of the individuals who operate that Act and I believe that some of them very considerably altered their ways since they came to operate the Act as it stands. I believe they are improving every year and making themselves more tolerable. I agree with Deputy Norton that some of them were definitely intolerable in 1942 and for a few years afterwards. That may have been due to the fact that they were called county managers. I think that if in this Bill the title could be altered and they were called executive officers it might be worth while.
Mr. Smith: What is in a name?
Mr. Finan: There is something in a name and the Minister knows it. I did hope that when a County Management Bill was being brought in by the Minister, who was for a long time, I think, a member of a local authority, he would have far-reaching changes in the measure, but I have been disappointed. I think I am right in saying that opposition to the county management scheme does not come from any one particular Party in this House. I think I would be right in saying that when that Act was put through the House it was only by a very slender majority of the Party then in power. I know that in my own county there are members of the Minister's Party as violently opposed to the County Management Act as I am. I do not think it is a political issue at all.
In regard to whether it is a success or a failure, I contend that the County Management Act was justified on the ground that it would bring about more efficient and economic administration. I challenge anybody to say that there is to-day more efficient or economic administration than there was prior to 1942. The county councils as they existed prior to 1942 were efficient, their staffs were efficient, and the ratepayers got as good service from them as they have got since.
With regard to economy, one has  only to look at the level of rates to-day, although I concede that that is not a fair argument. The Act must, however, bear some part of the blame for the present level of rates. I admit it is not a fair argument, but there is no evidence of economy in local administration. There is no evidence of greater efficiency and it is for that reason that I would say it has been a failure. I think that the greatest evidence of its failure is that we have to bring in amending measures which go nearer every time to reverting to the position which existed prior to 1942. Each amending measure is welcomed by members of the House because it approaches nearer and nearer to what obtained prior to 1942, and it is only because it approaches in that way that it is welcomed.
I think, too, that when county managers were being appointed it would have been far wiser to pick in each local authority area some man with long experience of local administration as a member of that local authority rather than an official.
He would be in a position to know the official side and the people's side and he could hold the balance fairly. But when you put in charge of a local authority, in a position of supreme authority, a gentleman imbued with a bureaucratic mentality, giving him the name of a county manager, you could not escape from the position of despotism that has existed since 1942 amongst local authorities. There was no possibility of escape. I am sure there could be found in any Party in any constituency a capable man who has been on local authorities and who has given unselfish service, who would far more ably and equitably discharge the duties of county manager than any official who has been appointed. I know that the Minister could not satisfy me with any County Management Bill except a very brief one, and that would be one that would repeal the County Management Act, 1942. I am convinced that until we revert to the position that obtained then, we will have no really democratic local authority.
It would be far better if the Government in 1940 or in 1942 had gone the  whole hog, abolished county councils and appointed county commissioners, because here is the position that obtains. People who go to the trouble of going to the polling booths to elect county councillors will not believe that they have no authority on the local body. They naturally say: “Why elect you at all, if you cannot do something to remedy the position?” That is a natural thing to ask. I could not agree with all that Deputy O'Sullivan says with regard to certain corruption which did occur in different counties. They were extremely isolated cases and there was always a method to deal with them. The law was enforced in cases where that corruption was exposed.
What I would like the Minister to do would be to bring in a comprehensive Local Government Bill that would alter the whole scheme of local government and put it on a proper democratic basis with each unit represented, the parish being the first unit. We have the position that county managers embark on grandiose schemes, extravagant and expensive schemes, schemes which, of course, are good in themselves but which this country cannot afford. That is the whole trouble. No man could reasonably object or say that these things would not be desirable but we have got to remember that this country was over 700 years in bondage and neglect and we cannot expect to achieve in a lifetime or in one generation what it took 700 years to destroy. I say that local authorities and central authorities are putting too much before themselves and before the people. Here is the trouble. If you object to any of these schemes you are dubbed as being very backward. “You are not progressive,” my colleague Deputy McQuillan will tell me.
Mr. McQuillan: I will keep the skids under you, all right.
Mr. Finan: What we want is somebody to keep the financial skids under the people who have to finance these schemes.
Captain Cowan: What is finance?
Mr. Finan: An intelligent Deputy like Deputy Cowan surely must know what £. s. d. is. At least, I am sure his clients do. I do not want to delay the House in this matter because, as I have indicated, I cannot oppose anything in this Bill. I welcome it. My only disappointment is that the Minister did not go a lot further. I believe that he or some of his successors will ultimately have to go a lot further, before satisfying the people who are trying to exist under local administration as it is to-day.
Another point to which I should like to refer is the presentation of the local estimate. The statutory form of the estimate is not satisfactory. It is not sufficiently explanatory for people who have not an opportunity of attending the estimates meeting, or having it explained in the manner in which it is explained, in our county at any rate, at meetings, both orally and by memoranda. It is all right for members of the county council who can attend the meetings, but I think that there should be a more explicit form used so that the average ratepayer may know what he is paying for. The statutory form, as it is now compiled, means nothing to the ordinary person. The items are grouped under four or five headings and they convey nothing. I think it is desirable that some change should be made in that form.
Mr. Davin: This amending Bill should be assured of a speedy passage. I am surprised that a revolutionary type of Minister such as the present Minister, a Minister of a Republican Party, was not willing, in view of his own knowledge and experience, to go a little bit further than he has gone in the provisions of this Bill. I and my colleagues who are members of this group at different periods violently opposed the managerial system. I thought it a ridiculous thing that, in 1929, five or six years after we had received the authority of the people to form a Government to manage our own affairs—and the electors who are responsible for election of Deputies to this House were equally responsible for the selection and election of members of local authorities—the Government of the day should proceed to deprive  members of local authorities of power to manage local affairs.
I violently opposed and voted against the first Bill that was brought into this House in 1929 by the Cumann na nGaedheal Government of the time to impose a system of management on Cork City—the Cork City Management Bill. Everybody who remembers what happened immediately after the coming into operation of that measure will know perfectly well that there was violent opposition and controversy created between the local authority and the manager who was appointed to run the affairs of the city. At a later stage we had Bills brought in both by the Cumann na nGaedheal Government and the Fianna Fáil Government providing for the management of the affairs of the Cities of Dublin, Waterford and Limerick and depriving the elected representatives of the people of having practically any say whatever in the management of local affairs. That was followed by the County Management Act. I could never understand why the Fianna Fáil Party, who originally when they came into this House opposed the managerial system——
Mr. Smith: We did not.
Mr. Davin: ——should take up the cudgels to perpetuate that system by bringing in the measure now known as the County Management Act.
Mr. Smith: I am denying the charge that has been made by Deputy Davin and if he refuses to withdraw it, I will ask him to show cause to prove that we in fact at any time opposed the managerial system.
Mr. Davin: I see. That makes it worse. I accept what the Minister says as an apology on behalf of his own Party. In any case I do agree with the Minister that the system was introduced originally and extended by the Fianna Fáil Government subsequently as an experiment. This Bill —this milk and water measure—is a confession of failure. I welcome the introduction of this measure so far as it goes towards restoring the powers originally held by members of local authorities. If the system has failed,  it has not failed because the system itself was fundamentally bad but because in many cases the people who were appointed had no previous experience of local government administration and in some cases were temperamentally unsuitable for the positions to which they were appointed.
I thoroughly agree with the suggestion made by Deputy Finan that an attempt should be made by the Minister and his advisers and whoever is responsible for making these appointments, either as city or county managers, to have qualifications laid down so that the individual applicants for the positions of city or county managers would have to have a minimum period of service with some local authority and thereby have some experience in local administration. I think it is a ridiculous thing —personally, I have nobody in mind in this matter—that a person should be taken from the Army, for instance, and planked in as manager of a local authority over the heads of the servants of the local authorities who have service ranging up to 30 or 35 years. It is a reflection upon the officer of a local authority who has 20, 30 or 40 years' service and experience if somebody who has no knowledge or experience of local government is to be taken from somewhere else and put in over his head. It is a bad thing for the county council, but if the county council has no power over that system I do not suppose it matters to them.
I would urge acceptance of Deputy Finan's system—and I hope this suggestion will receive support from the other side of the House — that preference should be given or marks allocated to anybody who is an applicant for the position of county manager in the future who has service and experience with a local authority.
Mr. Smith: What kind of service?
Mr. Davin: The Minister, who has long experience, knows much more than I can ever learn about the running of local authorities and the essential qualifications of an officer and he would know perfectly well and would, I am sure, admit that a secretary of a county council—if you happen  to have a secretary with 25 or 30 years' service and aged about 50— would be a much more suitable person to be county manager, from every point of view, than a person taken from some sphere of activity where he had no knowledge of local administration.
Mr. Smith: Deputy Finan's suggestion differed from that.
Mr. Davin: Well, I am making that suggestion. I hope the Minister understands me. I do not mind whether he turns me down or not. This is an occasion when one can make suggestions, and I am not the most competent person to do so, and I bow to the Minister's greater knowledge and experience in matters of this kind. But I would object strongly, and I am supported in my objection by influential organisations, to the introduction into the transport service, for instance, of a fully qualified chartered accountant as an executive officer of a rail or transport service. He might be the best accountant in the world, but he would come in there lacking the technical knowledge that a man in such a service requires in order to make him a competent man.
There is another aspect of it. The people working under the county manager in local government administration have not got the same respect for the man who is planked into the job without previous experience that they would have for the man who has earned his promotion in the school of experience. I do not think it is necessary to elaborate that matter any further with the Minister, but I hope it will be taken into consideration when the powers that be—the Minister included—come to make future appointments of this kind.
It is quite correct to say that because certain people got glorified titles as county manager or city manager when they received these appointments, they suffered from swelled heads at the beginning. Some of them were temperamentally unsuitable for the position, and did not believe in the democratic system of government. They believed in their own authority and believed in exercising it in a rather dictatorial way. But I am glad  to acknowledge from what I know and from what my colleagues in other areas have told me that many of the managers who originally took up the attitude of tin-pot dictators—brass hats, as Deputy Norton called them—changed that attitude or had it changed for them by the members of the local authorities.
I know one county manager who caused such irritation and opposition to the members of the local authority of which he was supposed to be manager that he was suspended, but he is the best boy in the world since the day that suspension was imposed on him by the majority of the members of the county council. Even in the last couple of years I drew attention in this House to the attitude of a county manager, not county manager of either county in my constituency, who when a resolution that he did not like was passed by the majority of the county council politely defied the county council and told the members that he refused to send the resolution to the Minister for Local Government. The same county manager was asked last week—and you will see evidence of this in the local papers if the Minister wants to make inquiries——
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy seems to be discussing individuals.
Mr. Davin: I am not.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy is going very close to it.
Mr. Davin: I am merely quoting an instance of where this county manager, when asked by the same county council last week if he would send a resolution to the Minister, answered “yes”, and according to the report in the local paper when he answered “yes” he was loudly applauded by the members of the county council who were responsible for passing the resolution that the county manager had to forward.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I still feel the Deputy should not discuss individuals so that they can be known in this House.
Mr. Davin: I am entitled to make my case for more extensive powers than are contained in this measure.
Sub-section (2) of Section 3, referred to by previous speakers, I am glad to say, restores powers in certain matters to members of county councils. It says:—
“A county manager shall not fix an increased rate of remuneration applicable to any class, description or grade of offices or employments under the council of the county or an elective body for which he is the manager save with the consent by resolution of such council or body.”
I congratulate the Minister on inserting that sub-section because the power held by certain managers gives them the right to ignore and defy members of local authorities in regard to a matter of that kind.
It is a bad thing from the point of view of local government employees, road workers in particular, that a county manager who is manager of two counties should operate different rates of wages in those two counties. Unfortunately, that is the position in my area. The members of this group have been advocating that there should be the same rates of wages for the same kind of work.
Can any Deputy give me the answer to the argument that a road worker employed by Laois County Council should have 5/- or 3/- more per week than the road worker employed by Offaly County Council? There should be some standardisation of rates of wages for road workers, especially those employed by local authorities outside the principal cities.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Does that arise on this Bill?
Mr. Davin: Sub-section (2) of Section 3 will give the sensible, reasonable and decent members of local authorities an opportunity to regularise the position.
Mr. Allen: How would a member of your council know what they are doing in Donegal?
Mr. Davin: The ratepayers of County Offaly are in as good a position to pay the same rates of wages to their workers as the ratepayers in Laois. I am glad that this power is being restored in sub-section (2) of Section 3 and I congratulate the Minister on having agreed to do it in a Bill that is otherwise a milk and water measure.
As Deputy Finan briefly said, the managerial system was originally introduced for the purpose of giving us a more efficient and cheaper system of local government. What is the cost of administering the engineering section of local authorities in rural areas to-day compared with the cost when the County Management Act came into operation? I addressed a question to the Minister on that subject recently, having some knowledge of the huge increase that had taken place in my area, and the Minister said that the information was not in his Department. I knew it was not in his Department, but the Minister had power, if he liked to use it, to get that information and to let it go on the records of the House. The Minister either did not want to give me the information or did not want to ask the county manager to disclose the figures. The figures would be flabbergasting. They will be obtained through the usual and proper channel—by questions by members of the local authorities concerned.
I ask the Minister, have we been given a more efficient and cheaper system of local government than obtained when the first Managerial Bill was introduced in 1929? Staffs have been trebled. Can anybody say that there is treble the amount of work being done?
Mr. Killilea: Of course, there is.
Mr. Davin: There is one member of the House who is satisfied. I asked a rhetorical question and I take it Deputy Killilea knows why he said “yes”.
Mr. Killilea: Does not the Deputy himself know the reason?
Mr. Davin: I would like to be satisfied that, so far as the engineering  side of the local service is concerned, the huge increase in cost is fully justified.
Mr. Allen: Take the number of road workers, and all the rest.
Mr. Killilea: There has been a complete change.
Mr. Davin: There is satisfaction in the fact that there are more road workers employed and that the road workers get a longer term of employment than they were getting in, say, 1929 or 1940.
Mr. Allen: Do you object to that?
Mr. Davin: I give due credit to the Minister and his predecessors, and the officials of the Department, for endeavouring to work out a policy whereby the majority of the men employed will have continuous employment and qualify for pensions.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy is dealing with questions of administration that do not directly arise on this Bill.
Mr. Davin: If they do not arise directly, they arise indirectly.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: They do not seem to be relevant.
Mr. Allen: The Deputy objects to the increased number of road workers.
Mr. Davin: Not at all. I did not say any such thing.
Mr. Allen: That is the engineering service.
Mr. Davin: No. I am talking about the cost of the engineering service.
Mr. Allen: That includes road work.
Mr. Davin: A road worker is not an engineer. The Deputy should know that better than anybody else.
Mr. Allen: Road work is the biggest part of it.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Deputy Davin should get back to the Bill.
Mr. Davin: I understand that Deputy Killilea has not yet given the House the benefit of his wisdom and experience. I will listen in silence to his eloquent address, if he has the courage to tell us what he thinks of this Bill, its shortcomings, or any other aspect.
Mr. Allen: I will not object to an increase in road workers.
Mr. Davin: Is it right—and if it is not right will the Minister correct it— that certain county managers who cannot be made conform with the wishes of members of county councils, should withhold from them important documents that are addressed to the county council by his Department? I have received complaints in writing about cases where most important policy circulars—I would not mind if they were minor matter—were addressed to the county council by the Department and the first that the members knew about them was when they were read out by the secretary at a meeting. This has some bearing on local government administration and some relevance to this discussion. When circulars are sent out by the Department to county councils, especially if they are dealing with policy matters, copies should be sent to the members before the next meeting. Is there anything wrong about that?
Is it right that a county manager or other officers of the county council should refuse to put on the agenda resolutions sent in by a member of the council and should write a letter to the member explaining that his motion was not in order and stating the reasons why and the position in regard to the matter? I do not think a manager should have that power. If managers have been exercising that power, as I know they have been in a small number of cases, they should be told where they get off.
Major de Valera: Is not it the law agent that rules in effect on this?
Mr. Davin: In taking part in this discussion I had no intention of making political capital. I should like to see every side of the House dealing with the question of county managers on a  non-political, non-Party basis. There will never be a final settlement of this question if it is discussed on the basis of Party politics. I apologise to the House if anybody thinks that I am speaking on this matter with Party bias or for Party purposes.
Mr. Allen: Labour Party policy on county managers!
Mr. Davin: The Labour Party opposed the managerial system, and there is evidence of that on the records of this House. I am not making any apology for that. I should like to think that the members of all Parties, including the Labour Party, were approaching a solution of this matter on a non-political basis. I am not going to blame the present Minister for the misdeeds of a few county managers who act in an autocratic way. Neither am I going to blame his predecessors or the officials of his Department. I am certain that no Minister, past or present, or any official of his Department, would direct county or city managers to do some of the things that I know they have been responsible for, namely, ignoring and treating with contempt the elected representatives of the local people. Democracy is based on the working out of a system of central and local government that will give the greatest possible power to every citizen who has a vote in the selection of local authorities and of members of this House. Surely, if our citizens have the intelligence and the privilege of electing Deputies to this House, they should have some say in selecting the members who are to run the affairs of the local bodies.
I have heard it said in this House— it was hinted here to-day but it has never been proved to my satisfaction— that there was such an amount of corruption in this country at a particular period that this dictatorial system had to be brought in. Deputy O'Sullivan talked to-day about taking away from local authorities one of the two powers which they possess, namely, the appointment of rate collectors.
The members of local authorities exercise two powers: (1) the appointment  of rate collectors, and (2) the striking of the rates. If it becomes necessary, they have to back up the county manager in sending out the sheriff to collect the rates from the ratepayers in their area. It has been suggested, and it may be true, that in a very small number of cases there was at a particular period some corruption. That was hinted at here to-day. It was hinted at that all over the country, wherever a number of rate collectors are to be appointed, there is widespread bribery and corruption. That, I think, cannot be true, but Deputy O'Sullivan seems to think that there is something like that still going on and to such an extent that the members of local authorities should be deprived of that privilege, and that the appointments should be handed over to some more competent and more honest to God type of body.
Mr. Madden: On a point of order. I think it is too far-reaching to say that there is widespread corruption. I think the better thing to say would be that there is widespread canvassing.
Mr. Davin: As a matter of fact, from what I have been told of local authorities in my own area, I accept Deputy Madden's way of putting it. I do not believe that there is widespread corruption. Is there any member of the House who believes it? Therefore, I think it would be wrong to suggest that this power which the members of local authorities have should be taken from them. I am speaking as a Deputy without any experience as a member of a local authority.
Mr. Briscoe: That is quite obvious.
Mr. Davin: Yes. I do not get up and say that I am infallible. I have never done that. I hope that, as long as God gives me life and health, I will learn something every day. Perhaps Deputy Briscoe does not believe in that kind of outlook or mentality.
Mr. Briscoe: The Deputy was speaking as if with authority on something that he has had no experience of.
Mr. Davin: I have had the advantage of listening to members of my  own Party who discuss these matters, and who have had long experience as members of local authorities. As a Deputy, I do not want to interfere with local affairs in Leix or Offaly, but if I am asked to do so by any organised group in my constituency, then I will do so because that is my job. I shall do so whether Deputy Briscoe likes it or not.
Major de Valera: The suddenness with which Deputy Davin sat down surprised me for the moment. I do not want to follow the line that he was on. The Deputy mentioned rate collectors. Many people think that is a function which might be dealt with as an executive function rather than in the way it is at present. On the general principle this Bill is a simple one in many respects. It is a minor amendment of the principal Act and of the amending Act of 1942. Many speakers on the Opposition side gave one the impression that they would wish to change the whole system of the County Management Acts as we know them. Deputy Finan was very definite on that.
What is the case for the County Management Acts? In a nutshell it is that under modern conditions where government, local or otherwise, intervenes in a large number of aspects of the life of the community, it has to be organised on a businesslike basis. The old system whereby one tried to carry on the day-to-day business of a body through committees was just not adequate for modern requirements. That, to a certain extent, is a fact that will have to be grasped and appreciated in regard even to central government. It is becoming more and more obvious every day that this House, for instance, cannot in detail control all the ramifications of the subjects that come here for legislation or for comment. In short, government to-day, both at the top and in local government, with which we are specifically dealing here, is so interwoven with all the aspects of the life of the community that it will have to be organised on a businesslike basis, in which sense the community as a whole has to go through its life very largely  in a competitive environment such as a big commercial concern has if it is to survive.
In these circumstances it is clearly necessary to organise the local authorities as regards the ordinary day-to-day running of their business affairs. The scheme set upon eventually was the County Management Acts which, in effect, appointed county managers to administer the affairs of the county councils or other local bodies, and to schedule certain functions as reserved functions. The general idea could very roughly, but not completely, be compared to a commercial arrangement where you had a board of directors representing the shareholders to manage the concern, with a managing director to run the concern and carry on its ordinary business. In the commercial case, in the ordinary case, the powers of a board would be rather more wide and less defined than the relationship of a county council with a county manager, but I think some kind of idea such as that inspired the Act. But there were certain complications there. One was that it had to be done by statute and there was a necessity for definition. That necessity arose from historical circumstances. You were going to change to a new system and it was necessary to define clearly what the change was and secondly the overriding interests and control of Parliament, of the central Government, had to be allowed for, particularly where the Minister for Local Government was concerned. The scheme as originally proposed very clearly on paper, at any rate, worked out as—shall I say?—an independent county manager with the local authority there to provide for its reserved functions and it was hoped that the two would work in harmony. That can be said for the letter of the law. Undoubtedly the intention was that, and the intention is being worked out fairly well if one can take the opinion of the Deputies who have spoken already from the country. The intention was that the elected body and the county manager would work in harmony and discharge the business of that local authority in harmony and with the safeguards working both ways —the safeguards that were there for  efficiency, for attention to detail, and shall I say protection from temptation in certain matters, that were there in the set-up of the county manager would be to the benefit of the council, and, on the other hand, the fact that the council was overriding with its functions would be a guarantee that the interests of the local area and the electors would be looked after, too. That was the spirit of the Act as far as I can see and it seems to have worked out.
Deputy Sweetman made an attack upon it, but then he completely weakened his own argument by immediately disclaiming any suggestion that he wanted his criticisms to apply to the local authorities of which he had direct experience, thereby saying, in effect: “Where I know myself the system is working it is working perfectly, but I am told it is not working so well somewhere else.” What use is that kind of evidence? You have Deputy O'Sullivan, on the other hand, who talks about his own experience, that it is working. Deputy Davin, when pressed, disclaims all detailed personal knowledge.
Mr. Davin: No, no. Be fair to me. Experience.
Major de Valera: Experience. Sorry. Experience. Deputy Finan again safeguards the region of his own experience and again gives the impression that he is merely talking hearsay, he is talking about somewhere else. That is very easy for any of us. I may meet somebody in the House and hear something said and come to the conclusion that in some distant county everything is all wrong, but I do not know anything about it really. I would be prepared to listen to Deputies who will come in and say: “This is my experience on the local authority of which I am a member or with which I am associated, and this is wrong.” I would listen to that, but I think we may be pardoned, those of us who are not members of local authorities, for being sceptical when we hear Deputies like Deputy Sweetman coming in and saying: “This is wrong and that is wrong,” or Deputy Norton  talking about autocratic brass hats. Then we have the qualification straight away, like Deputy Sweetman's saving qualification, when he declares positively that the system is working very well in the area of which he has experience. I think that a lot of what might at first flush pass for fact here in this argument can be brushed aside.
What are we really dealing with here in this? I get the feeling that the main difference of opinion will boil down to this—those who believe that modern times demand a system of organisation where you will have officers like county managers directly responsible and, at the same time, having a discretion and the power to exercise that responsibility reasonably, that you will have such officers to administer in many ways, perhaps, the bulk of the business of the local authority, the routine business anyway, and the local authority there working, as it should work, in co-operation, and which has certain reserved overall functions as a public safeguard and as a local safeguard for the population of the area which that local body represents. That is one view. It is the view I think that I, from what I know of it, subscribe to. I feel that in present circumstances—take questions of contracts, tenders, take questions of employment particularly, take questions of the routine that is involved in the ordinary business running of a local authority and its relations with headquarters, and take, in particular, the smooth working and smooth co-ordination of the local authority with the central Government —all those things create a demand that there should be something in the nature of a county manager there, and I think that in order to enable him to work he must have, generally speaking, the powers that were prescribed for him in the principal Act. I said “generally speaking”. I will come back to that.
There is another point—let us face it. The question of the rate collector was mentioned. Let us not say that there is any evidence or any particular evidence, but take Deputy Madden's words that there certainly is an extraordinary canvass done; and it is extraordinary  how personages in the local authority, political or otherwise, get involved in the issue of the election of a rate collector and it is extraordinary the amount of recrimination and accusation that can come from that simple administrative function. When one finds that the system of appointment to local authorities generally under the appointments arrangements now in force is by and large satisfactory, and that the system of appointments to the public services generally in the country, the Civil Service, is by and large satisfactory— when you compare the two things I should rather want to be convinced that there was some very good reason for excepting that one type of appointment from the ordinary run rather than the reverse.
There are reasons of that nature which could also be advanced in support of the 1940 Act, and in fact were. If I were to go into that I would simply be repeating what was said in the debate on the County Management Act. I do not intend to do that. It is on record already, very freely thrashed out. But there is something else. From the legal point of view the old machinery was very cumbrous. I am not sure what the statistics would show, but certainly from some experience in the past one found that local government machinery was very prone to give rise to all sorts of litigation from mandamus up to fully fledged actions and so forth and so on; and that machinery, which was very well in an age when the function of government in the first place was considered to be a rather wide and less defined field than to-day, largely concerned with law and order and peace and war and very little concerned with economics and accounting, and, in the same way, the functions of local government in their initial concept were largely concerned with such questions as the poor law, rates and certain aspects of local government administration of that nature without all the ramifications that have been introduced and are in existence at the present time. These ramifications have come in both at the top and at the bottom and if we are to have an effective system of  government here we must have a proper businesslike organisation. The old local government arrangements under the 1898 Act, its predecessors and successors, were certainly not calculated to promote efficiency. The position would be somewhat akin to our saying here—and this might have been much more reasonable a couple of hundred years ago—that we will get rid of all the secretaries and Departments and do everything here ourselves. I wonder how we would do it even with a much more restricted field than we have to deal with at the moment.
In relation to the principle involved, from a number of points of view we are constrained to say that the factors of modern life force us to some such system. I personally would like to see it develop in this way: we have to face the fact that government, whether local or otherwise, has its finger actually in every aspect of community life and, indeed, in almost every aspect of the individual's life either directly or indirectly. Government, in the broad sense, has such a multitude of activities to deal with, and these activities —economic, political, social and so forth—are so interdependent that one can only get reasonable efficiency in the life of the community and a reasonable degree of comfort by means of organisation. What I would like to see is our gradually moving towards a situation where that organisation can be simplified. Frankly, I sometimes think we try to do too much at central headquarters. That remark might be very definitely directed to the activities of government which are specifically in point under this Bill. The ideal would be to try to delegate, as far as possible, power to local authorities. I think a very strong case can be made for that. The central Government should then try to evolve into the position in which it will have an overriding control and co-ordination, looking upon both of these as its proper functions, and where it will be content to leave detail as far as possible to the local authority or to the sub-strata in the organisation of local government.
If that concept is to be developed, it is absolutely necessary that we  should have an efficient, clearly-defined, continuous and continuously responsible set of links in the chain of local government machinery. I cannot see a democracy, for instance, whether in this Parliament—and we will take our own particular case—or elsewhere, functioning in local bodies, taking the totality of the democracy as the central democracy functioning in this Oireachtas and the local democracies functioning down the line, I cannot see that working——
Mr. Madden: Why not do away with democracies altogether?
Major de Valera: Allow me to make my argument. I cannot see that working were it not for the fact that associated with it we have a Civil Service and the other necessary services, including a local government service which has the virtues of continuity and detachment and is in part relatively independent of day-to-day fluctuations in policy, which is one of the good features of democratic control. Lest I be misunderstood let me explain what I mean by fluctuations in policy; the machinery that is in existence has the virtue of reacting to policy very quickly. The machinery is such that it is not affected by the changes. It adapts itself to the changes. It is the one continuing machinery and therein lies the strength and, in my humble opinion, a fundamental reason in the practical sphere for our being able to make democracy work.
This could expand into a very long debate if one were to follow that particular line. The essential point is that one needs a competent service or organisation, namely, a central Government; that is, the Oireachtas, through the Government, which is, in theory, a Committee of this House operating through its present service, plus the local authorities, each functioning through its permanent service. In that sense it seems to me that the case for the county management system is unanswerable, at least in face of the old system as its only rival, and I certainly have not heard anyone put any other argument forward.
 I might pursue that point a little further. I have dealt with it from the point of view of the fundamental argument. There is another practical viewpoint. It has been rather interesting listening to members of the Opposition —I am not making this now as a political point—saying again: “Scrap the County Management Act.” Deputy Norton pointed out that they opposed it in the beginning. The interesting thing is that when all the Opposition Parties had coalesced in power and were sitting on these benches they did the same kind of talking and they produced an Act called the Local Government (County Administration) Bill of 1950. When that Bill was introduced here it was patently obvious, both from the memorandum accompanying it and from the debates on the Bill itself that, finding themselves faced with the job of Government, the last thing to which they could face up— they were evidently coerced by reason —was to throwing overboard the principle of the County Management Act. Deputy Finan says that is the only thing that would please him. It would have been very simple for them to have scrapped the county management system, if that were practical politics.
I think it is reasonable to assume that would have been done at that time if it were the right thing to do, but quite obviously the Parties who were then in power found the arguments coercive. There was a certain amount of smoke-screening. The county manager's name was changed to county officer. He was restricted to performing certain functions which were defined as tenancy functions, health functions, employment functions and so on. The Bill did provide for certain executive committees which were to have certain residual powers but the reserved functions of the county council as we have known them since 1940 were left.
I would be out of order if I were to digress into discussing the 1950 Bill, but I want to point out that when the matter was examined by the Parties then in power the best they could do was to make an adjustment. They changed the name of the county manager. Possibly there is no point in that  Frankly I think it is scarcely a matter worthy of legislation, except in the most incidental way. It provided that certain of the functions of the county manager would be discharged by certain executive committees of the county council; but, otherwise, it left the powers of the county council or the local body as they were because if one examines the Schedule of the 1950 Act one will find that the scheduled functions comprise the more important of the reserve functions which are at present discharged directly by the county council. In other words, they purported to restrict the powers of the county manager, but actually, you will find no significant difference. There was reserved to the county manager just the things which Deputies are talking about, employment functions, tenancy functions and individual health functions. When you went through the whole thing you found that you had the County Management Act essentially the same as it was before with a few changes.
That is rather important for this reason, that obviously the principle is sound. It has been considered and tested by two different Governments, if you like to put it that way. It was passed by one Government and criticised severely by Parties who were then in Opposition. All those Parties became the Government in the Coalition and they considered the matter to the extent of bringing in this Bill from which I quoted. It was debated in this House and, on analysis, you find that the fundamental principle is the same in the two measures. In that situation it is very hard to accept some statements such as that made by Deputy Finan.
Let me say, while admitting all that, that probably in all legislation there is room for adjustment. I think some of us back in 1950 were prepared to consider certain things, though we pointed out that this 1950 Bill was a sham. We rather suggested at the time that it was an attempt to give an appearance of change rather than to make any real change. There may have been some things in the Bill which would have been helpful amendments to the 1940 Act. There is nothing  inconsistent in that but, as I say, the principle was obviously examined by two Governments and found to be the right thing. The fate of that Bill is interesting. It got amended out of all proportion in the House. I have only my own personal recollection of what happened when I was on the far side of the House. My recollection is that the Bill got into an extremely confused state and subsequently died a peaceful death.
As far as this Bill is concerned, frankly I think it is minor in its effect, but that it is a move in the right direction. While I will fight vehemently with Deputy Sweetman or anybody else on the general principle, let me say that certain adjustments in the scheme may very likely show up and should be made. I am very chary to talk about what has been said. Let me, for Deputy Sweetman's benefit, repeat what I said when he was not here since I said it about myself. I said that Deputy Sweetman's arguments would be very convincing were it not for the fact that at the heel of the hunt, when he attempted to make a disclaimer in regard to the community area of which he has personal knowledge and where he can claim to be an authority on local government, I think he will admit as a lawyer that he weakened the value of the things he stated.
Mr. Sweetman: It strengthens them, because we changed his tune.
Major de Valera: Do not change yours now.
Mr. Sweetman: My tune is quite clear. It is very different from the Deputy's, because it has always been consistent.
Major de Valera: So has mine. I was making a point about the principle of the Act and about its adjustment. I said I was rather chary about talking of what was said. But, there is one thing I would concede, and this goes for administration generally whether it is at the top or whether it is down the line, that it is fundamental to the harmonious working of democracy that there should be full disclosure and full information to  the elected body, unless for some very serious security reasons or something like that. I think it is our prerogative as the supreme elected body, to get all information from what I might call the organisational parts of the State, and I also think it only right that members of local authorities should be adequately informed. If there were any question of that, I think that would be the attitude I would adopt.
On the question of estimates, I think it is only right that, just as in regard to the question of estimates here, detailed information should be given as the elected representatives require it. In the same way, there is something in Section 3 which I think is a move in the right direction. It does not go to the root of the principle of the organisation, but it certainly is an adjustment to which I would agree. After all, it is the electors, the community in the local authority area who will pay the rates and, apart from Central Fund grants and things of that nature, they will have to finance the administrative expenses and so forth of the local authority. In this case, I think it is very equitable that this power should be given. I think that the original intention, a very proper intention, would have been that the county manager would have regard to the intentions of his council and to local circumstances in making such decisions. I think the Minister was quite right to the extent he has gone in Section 3. A person with an executive job, somebody who wants to do something, is rather keen on doing it in the best way possible and, with human nature being as it is, certain counter-balances are necessary so that all factors will be properly weighed.
There are probably other instances in the local government code where a similar type of adjustment would help, but I am not sufficiently aware of the situation to pin-point where that could happen. I am just thinking of the question of housing which does not arise on this Bill but, by way of putting across an idea, I might mention it. I have often thought in regard to such a question that the central Government  could leave much more to the local authority in regard to questions of detail which would obviate delay. A combination of that, plus a provision such as this, will make the local people realise very much that they are paying for these houses, because they will pay in some way or another. You might in that way get efficiency and, shall I say, contentment, and a move in that direction seems desirable.
Sections 12 and 14 are important where they are applicable but, from the overall point of view of local authority organisation, they are relatively minor. I would be inclined to comment on this Bill, at this stage anyway, in regard only to the principle contained in Section 3. It may be necessary to work a little further in that direction to get a balance. I would strongly urge, at the same time, that the general framework of the 1940 Act should be strengthened and kept and that we should put out of our minds this talk about going back to the old system and abolishing county managers. That is really no help and is causing difficulty. If there are personality problems, that is a question for Ministers and Deputies and goodness knows there are enough people to get after headquarters in regard to a matter of that character. Where we have personalities working all right, then the minor adjustments that are necessary to make should be our concern and we should not distract ourselves by such impossible suggestions as to go back to the old system.
Mr. Sweetman: Would the Deputy mind my asking him a question?
Major de Valera: No.
Mr. Sweetman: The Deputy has commercial experience. Does he want the manager to be a controlling director or a general manager?
Major de Valera: When the Deputy was outside the Chamber I spoke of the position of managing director.
Mr. Sweetman: Is he a controlling or governing director?
Major de Valera: Without being offensive, the Deputy is exaggerating. He has autonomous powers but he is not a governing director in any real sense.
Mr. Sweetman: He is.
Major de Valera: He is not.
Mr. Sweetman: In respect of everything except the reserved functions.
Major de Valera: That is only in a certain sphere.
Mr. Sweetman: A managing director would not be autonomous in a certain sphere. He would be subject to the overriding powers of the board.
Major de Valera: Frankly, I would prefer working in that direction. At the same time you have to face a certain difficulty. The Deputy has used the analogy of the board and the managing director but the difficulty is with elected bodies as you have them; you have something of the same type, but never forget your Ministers and Secretaries Act which seems to be necessary for the smooth working of this Assembly. With the peculiarity of the elective system, with the necessity for a business organisation in the modern world, particularly in relation to the Custom House, I am afraid you have to make certain things clear. You must put a manager in a position——
Mr. Sweetman: Of controlling director.
Major de Valera: No, but of some independence. At the same time I would be all for, as far as possible, the views and the actual power of the local authority being effective. Frankly, I am afraid when you boil this down and analyse it you will be thrown back on the question of tact, because in the modern situation the managerial concept is essential and we have to combine it with committees of elected representatives. It is a question of getting smooth working between the parties involved. One thing I can see is necessary and that is that on the part of the elective body there should be a reasonable control of power and understanding and, shall I say, a fair facing of a problem, a facing of problems on a realistic basis to make the working of the administrative section  smooth and, on the other hand, a full and candid disclosure of information and loyal co-operation by the officials with the elected body. Now we are into a discussion of democracy generally, but that is in fact what is involved in this. Finally, you had it yourself. You adopted a lot of things that you could have got away from in the 1950 Act.
Mr. Sweetman: We got away from more than that.
Major de Valera: The record will bear that out. On the whole, I think we are going to say that this Bill should pass. The Opposition's criticism is that it does not go far enough. I am just wondering how far it could go, perhaps in some details but only in details.
Mr. Cosgrave: As many Deputies have commented, this is a minor amending Bill, but the one section which alters the functions of the manager in relation to the members of the council, Section 3, does, I think, tend towards the description of the manager given by Deputy Sweetman, that of a general manager, carrying out the wishes, in so far as certain defined functions are concerned, of the local authority. To that extent the tendency, I think, is in the right direction. Members of local authorities have expressed the view that the system works satisfactorily, provided the manager works in harmony with, or in conformity with, the views of the elected body. I think that the proposed alteration in Section 3 which will ensure that no additional offices may be provided or remuneration determined without the consent of the elected members of the local authority will ensure the effective recognition of their views, and will generally meet with approval throughout the country.
The other major alteration in this measure is the decision to end the grouping of counties and to appoint a separate manager for each local authority. Deputies who have experience of a county manager functioning under two local authorities have expressed the view that it is much more satisfactory to have a manager for each single local authority.
 I want to direct the Minister's attention to the problem as it exists in Dublin County Council and Dún Laoghaire. The Dublin County Council and the Dún Laoghaire Corporation have requested that separate managers be appointed for each body. That does not in any way imply a reflection on the different managers or assistant managers who perform particular functions and who have particular responsibilities to these local authorities. The position in Dublin is that there is one Dublin City and County manager and three assistant city and county managers who perform certain defined functions. These functions are defined on the basis of a particular manager or assistant manager being responsible for health, another for general administration and a third for housing. I think it is quite true to say that, while the appointment of a manager or an assistant manager for a specific function may be satisfactory in Government Departments, the functional division of responsibility is not suited to a local authority. The three local authorities concerned, the Dublin Corporation, the Dublin County Council and the Dún Laoghaire Corporation, differ in area and in various degrees from the point of view of the various matters that have to be attended to.
I would suggest to the Minister that he should consider acceding to the request of the Dublin County Council and Dún Laoghaire Corporation for separate managers. The problem of local government in Dublin which includes Dublin Corporation, Dublin County Council and Dún Laoghaire Corporation has been considered by Dublin County Council and Dún Laoghaire Corporation. The matter requires careful study and consideration. Dublin County Council did suggest that the proper division of functions might be determined on the basis that the administration of impersonal and planning services such as main roads, sewerage, water supplies, regional planning, hospitals and similar services of the entire city and county could be administered as one unit with a view to economy in administration, but that the administration of the more  personal services such as housing, health services, public assistance, secondary roads, lighting and paving, in which the need varies from area to area and any other personal service should be administered on a local basis and that local policy on such matters might be fixed by the local representatives to suit local needs.
I would suggest to the Minister the establishment of an informal committee or body on which there would be a representative of Dublin County Council, a representative of Dublin Corporation—although that might not be necessary—but certainly representatives of Dublin County Council and Dún Laoghaire Corporation and subsidiary bodies. At the moment the task of administering these three local authorities is a very big one for a single manager and three assistant managers particularly when these managers have defined functions and when they are responsible for these functions for three local authorities comprising in population one-fifth of the country.
I am glad to notice that provisions in Section 12 and also in Section 13 will clarify the position of these assistant managers. I would like to know from the Minister why it has been decided in sub-section (5) of Section 12 to take power to fix different remunerations for the different offices of Dublin assistant city manager.
The other matters I have referred to —the question of providing separate managers for Dublin County Council and Dún Laoghaire and for giving careful consideration to the proper system of local administration and a proper system of local authority to administer the affairs of Dublin County Council and Dún Laoghaire and whatever part of the city may be involved in it—should be the subject of investigation by representatives of the bodies I have mentioned. Unless a definite decision is taken to endeavour to get a proper system for Dublin City and County—and that includes the subsidiary bodies—I believe the system will tend to be more expensive and less effective.
I believe the Minister should accede to the wishes of the elected representatives of these two bodies I  have mentioned. If it is being done for other local authorities there is no reason why it should not be done for Dublin County Council and Dún Laoghaire because both of these authorities exercise jurisdiction or have responsibility for a population in both cases bigger than many of the local authorities that will have separate managers. In these areas the growth of the population has been more marked, I think, than in any other local authority in recent years. The growth of housing and the development that is taking place in these areas and in areas on the fringe of the city which have been recently given to Dublin Corporation by Dublin County Council is an indication of the very rapid and continuous development taking place over a number of years and which has been accelerated since the end of the emergency. These factors tend to call for an early decision on the problem of local government as it effects Dublin Corporation and Dún Laoghaire.
Mr. Briscoe: I am very interested in this Bill which purports, by its title, to amend the County Management Acts of 1940 and 1942, but which, in fact, also amends the City Management Act of 1930 and amends it in a rather comprehensive manner although that Act is not cited in the Long Title.
I am not going to take up the time of the House in going into the theories of local government or discussing the effect that city or county management has on democracy. I want to get down to this Bill to see to what extent what is in it can be improved and what is missing from it can be added.
Deputy Sweetman, when he talked about the county manager being a dictator and when he said that the reserve functions of the elected representatives were not sufficient and did not give them sufficient strength, likened the position of a county manager to a governor or dictator. He forgot to recognise that there is over and above the county management— whether it is a combination of both elected representatives and a manager or not—the Minister for Local Government and the Department of Local Government to examine and decide all matters which they decide to do.
 That brings me to Section 3 of the Bill. I have heard Section 3 commented on very favourably by those who feel that this is an advance from the previous position and that it means a restoration to elected representatives of certain functions from which they were previously precluded. I do not think that goes far enough and on the Committee Stage I want to bring in certain amendments to Section 3. In fact, I am going to add three or four amendments and I will explain why. Sub-section (1) of Section 3 definitely states that a county manager shall not submit any proposal to increase the number of permanent offices under the council of the county or an elective body for which he is the manager for the sanction of such Minister as may be empowered to sanction the proposal save with the consent, by resolution, of such council or body. That is all right. Sub-section (2) says:-
“The county manager shall not fix an increased rate of remuneration applicable to any class, description or grade of offices or employments.”
That appears to be good. That appears to mean that the council will have control of increased remuneration to specified types. Again, it does not go far enough. I want council members to be made fully aware of all the things that the city manager or the county manager may have in mind in regard to staffs. Not only should he submit what is stated here but, every month, he should submit to the elected representatives particulars of all staff proposals, which would include promotions of existing officers. That is not specified in the sub-section. I have prepared an amendment to bring that about and to give that control to the members over staff matters where the members have to be responsible for remuneration.
I also want an amendment, and I will deal with it on the Committee Stage, to the effect that the council may by resolution appoint a committee to investigate the working of any department under the council and submit such recommendations as the  committee may think necessary or proper for the more efficient conduct of business for examination by the manager. In other words, I want the council to be in a position to criticise and examine with a view to making suggestions for the more efficient performance of the authority's departments. The question was discussed this evening as to whether a county manager was efficient or not or whether the County Management Act brought about efficiency or, as Deputy Finan felt, the reverse. It is necessary in view of the move the Minister is making towards giving the elected representatives adequate control of the authorities' affairs that there should be full control, without interference in the day-to-day administration and without getting into a position where individual councillors might attempt to interfere in day-to-day matters.
Appointment of certain local government officials takes place through the Local Appointments Commissioners. Up to the present the city manager or the Department of Local Government laid down the conditions attaching to the appointment. I want the Minister to agree to accept an amendment to the effect that when the Local Appointments Commissioners are requested, under Section 6 of the Local Authorities (Officers and Employees) Act, 1926, to recommend a person for appointment to an office under a council, the terms and conditions of such appointment shall be subject to the approval of the council. I feel that the council are entitled to vet the terms and conditions and to amend or approve or disapprove. Then the candidates can go before the Local Appointments Commissioners who will see that they qualify not only in regard to the requirements of the Department of Local Government and the city manager but in regard to the requirements of the council itself.
These are a few samples of the types of amendments that I intend to suggest for Committee Stage.
The Minister and most Deputies who have spoken agree that the grouping of counties under a manager is bad. We have learned a great deal by experience of county and city management  legislation so that we can make it a better instrument for the welfare of the people. I agree that grouping is bad. It is particularly bad, as Deputy Cosgrave has pointed out, in Dublin County, Dún Laoghaire Borough and the City of Dublin. If there is to be individual management of counties, let it be individual management and, where this Bill refers to the county, amend that and let us in the City of Dublin have our city manager, and our deputy or assistant city managers to ourselves and let the Minister appoint for the County of Dublin and the Dún Laoghaire Borough whatever managerial control is necessary. I shall put in an amendment to bring about individual management to the extent that it concerns the County Dublin and the City of Dublin.
In order to bring that about I shall have to move an amendment to sub-section (3) of Section 3 of the main Bill, to sub-section (2) of Section 10, sub-section (3) (d) of Section 10, sub-section (3) (e) of Section 10, all of the main Bill. Sub-section (4) of Section 10 of the main Bill will have to be repealed in order that Dún Laoghaire will be separated from Dublin administration. Section 10 of this Bill brings in the City Management Act, 1930, under which our present city manager was appointed.
Mr. S. Collins: Does the Deputy intend to separate Dún Laoghaire from the county as well as from the city?
Mr. Briscoe: I am not speaking for the county or the Dún Laoghaire Borough. I am only speaking for the City of Dublin.
Mr. S. Collins: I am not questioning the Deputy. I was only wondering.
Mr. Briscoe: There is a problem there which the Minister will have to get over, because Dún Laoghaire Borough Council is in a peculiar position. It has county representatives on the Dún Laoghaire Borough Council as well as Dún Laoghaire representatives and there is not a division of the area. If you go out to Dún Laoghaire during a local election period you will find 30, 40 or 80 candidates on one list for the  whole place, instead of having it divided. That is a matter that I am not fully acquainted with. We agree that there should be a manager for each administrative area and we want our manager and our assistant managers for ourselves and the Minister can then deal with the county and the Borough of Dún Laoghaire in whatever way he finds it necessary.
I agree that it is sometimes a good thing to have an age limit for the retirement of certain classes of persons. In our case in the City of Dublin, we have a city manager appointed under an Act, which is now being amended, and under which there was not an age limit. I am not going to quarrel with the bringing in of an age limit if there is equity for the present occupants. All of us who have had experience of local authority affairs know that under this system it is impossible to get a first-class individual with sufficient experience to qualify for the post of city or county manager under the age of 40 years. In fact he may be 50 in order to have the qualifications and experience necessary. Do we think that we are going to get the most suitable person if, when we are looking for him, he is told that he is going to be retired at 65 on a pension calculated on the basis of one-fortieth for every year served? I submit that, at a time when we are trying to improve the managers, as well as the management system, and of getting perfect co-operation between the elected representatives and the managers we should be sure that, at the start, we are not going to bring about a position which will cause trouble in the future, and which might deny us the possibility of getting the best people for these positions.
I intend to put in an amendment, if necessary, dealing with the case of present and future occupants to the effect that the Minister shall have power, if applicants have not a certain number of years' service in these positions, to add years as he does in the case of professional people. Everyone knows that if you are looking for professional people for the public service you cannot get them under 27 or 28 years of age. Consequently, if you  want to get the best type of person, who has to look to the years when he is retiring, the Minister has the power to add ten years so as to ensure for such a person full pension rights. I suggest that managers should be put in the same position, and that the Minister should take power to give added years to enable a person to retire as if he had actually served 40 years or alternatively, to calculate his pension on the basis of two-sixtieths rather than one-fortieth. In that way, the occupant of the office would be treated equitably as regards his retirement.
I take this opportunity of referring to some slight adjustments which should be made in the Managerial Act. To what extent there is a difference between the County Management Acts and our City Management Act, I do not know. I do know, however, that there are certain flaws which need to be attended to. I have referred to the managerial control of staff which I hope will be extended to our Act.
The question of the striking of the rate was discussed. Under the terms of the Act, we in the City of Dublin find ourselves in great difficulty from time to time. We have to give three weeks' notice of the striking of the rate. The Minister then fixes the day for the meeting to adopt the rate. We have a lot of rates to collect in the City of Dublin and every day, from the beginning of the year, has an important effect on our collecting machinery. Because of the particular method laid down in the Act, we have from time to time been unable to adopt the rate until we were two or three weeks in the new year. To meet that difficulty, I suggest that a week's notice should be sufficient, and that the council itself should fix the day for the striking of the rate, this to be confirmed by the Minister.
The adoption of the rate requires that there is a two-thirds majority of the councillors present. That sometimes causes a difficulty. We do not want to lose one day of the new year in getting the rates in. Some Deputies may not be aware that there are very big ratepayers, the owners of considerable property, who pay their rates almost immediately the new rate is  struck. They are allowed a nominal discount for doing so. It is of advantage to them and to the city, because the corporation is saved thereby from paying bank interest on an overdraft.
I do not know whether the Chair will insist that, to adopt in this measure the amendments which I suggest and which affect the city particularly, the Long Title of the Bill would have to be widened—that it may be necessary to include 1930 in the Long Title. I know, of course, that the Dublin City Management Act is being interfered with in this Bill, notwithstanding the fact that 1930 does not appear in its Long Title. I feel, however, that amendments affecting the City of Dublin will be in order. We have power in the City of Dublin to put 1d. in the £ on the rates for decoration purposes. We want the law, as it stands, changed in connection with that. We think that a majority of the councillors present should be sufficient for that purpose, and that we should not require to have a majority of two-thirds of the councillors. Deputies know how difficult it can be to get a full attendance of members at meetings. The members of the corporation are members of other bodies and committees and it is not always easy to have a full attendance. There must, however, always be a two-thirds majority of the councillors present for the striking of the rate.
There is another matter that we should like to see dealt with in the City of Dublin. It is when an aldermanship in the corporation becomes vacant through death. It is not clear whether the new co-opted member becomes an alderman or a councillor. We should like some amendment dealing with that so that the person highest on the list at the last meeting immediately preceding election should become an alderman on the occurrence of a vacancy.
Mr. A. Byrne: In that particular area?
Mr. Briscoe: Only in that particular area. The position at present is that, for the purpose of the Act, we have  two areas without an alderman. I I have spoken about the managerial control over staff. That will require amendment and I think an amendment will also be required to Section 15 of the 1930 Act.
There are peculiar things, phraseology, that we are concerned about in the City of Dublin and that I take it will apply equally in county management. We will want a proper method of the circulation of orders. The present position is that orders are made by the city manager or county manager and they are supposed in theory to lie on the Table of the House, but every member of Dublin Corporation knows that we have no Table of the House on which our orders can lie. Therefore, the simplest thing is that they should be circulated to the local authority members who will get them and know what they are all about. I heard Deputy Davin talking to-day about secret communications between the Department of Local Government and the manager, and they were secret because he only notified the councillors on the day the council met about them. Maybe what he had in mind is what I am talking about, that orders of that nature should be circulated to the members and then there is no question of secrecy and no question of a sudden springing of something on people without their being able to prepare to consider it before hand.
I am going to press the Minister to apply this good idea of his of a single manager for each area to us in Dublin. We want him to relieve the situation that we are suffering under. We have a city manager in the City of Dublin who is county manager and Dún Laoghaire borough manager. We are adjacent communities and we have conflicting interests at times and we have a city manager who has to be protecting each of the interests of those three bodies. Of course, that is humanly impossible. We had it in the case when we were in conflict with County Dublin on what was called the taking over of the added area. We have it at the moment in connection with the supply of water to Dún Laoghaire. They have a point of view and the city manager there, I suppose, has to take notice of  the local point of view there and try to meet it, and we have a point of view. If we supply water from the City of Dublin to the ratepayers of Dún Laoghaire on agreement on a fixed pay basis, we cannot be expected to put a tax on our ratepayers in the City of Dublin to give somebody else water in another area without recouping ourselves as to its cost and the low cost that it is. These are only just, as I have said, a couple of instances.
The discussion here also referred to the relationship between managers and the local authorities. It is a very strange thing that every member who spoke about the evils of the managerial system excluded his own manager in his own area. He was a good fellow. He was all right. But we did not get a single instance—maybe it was just as wise—of anybody saying that they had bad managers and as a result of that bad management the area had suffered.
We have a good relationship with the city manager in the City of Dublin to the extent of where he is free to be ours fully, and with our officials generally. We have a very good relationship because there is a spirit of co-operation. Deputy Sweetman talked about the Minister for Finance when he was Minister for Local Government, Deputy MacEntee, having set up a dictatorial system. Deputy Sweetman apparently does not want to know or has forgotten that it was Deputy MacEntee when he was Minister for Local Government who sent around letters to the managers informing them that co-operation was essential if this form of county or city management was to work at all. There had to be confidence and an exchange of views.
I heard some Deputies talking to-night about managers causing rates to go up by producing extraordinary plans not necessary at all. We in the Corporation of Dublin know that if any one of us gets up at a council meeting and has a proposal down to bring an amenity to a particular area and it is passed by the council it is going to cost money, but the order of the council is to do this job and the manager has to provide an estimate  and to include the estimate of its cost in his estimates. All the expenditure that the councillors bring about by requesting this addition or amenity or so forth is responsible for the increase in the costs.
I do not know how the counties operate in the striking of the rate or in the adopting of the rate or the examination of the estimates, but I do not know why there should be such great difficulties as were suggested here. In the Corporation of Dublin we have managed by dint of persuasion and effort that if the local authority have a desire to know as much as possible what is going on, we have inaugurated a system where we have a number of meetings to which the city manager comes with his officials, and the estimates for each department are produced item by item, department by department. Every single thing and item is explained and every member is in a position to ask why it costs so much or if it cannot be done cheaper or should not more money be spent on it. Every single item of expenditure is then related to the exact amount that will be as an imposition on the rates or a saving on the rates. It takes time, but I believe that we in Dublin Corporation have a greater knowledge of the details of our estimates than the members of the Dáil have of the departmental Estimates which are produced to them in the form that they are.
I believe that we are getting to the position that it does not matter on the local authority, fortunately, to what Party a person belongs or what political view he has, we all try to work together for the benefit of the citizens. Some members may want a bit of kudos for something done, but generally speaking we try to help and understand each other and to get agreement in the best interests of the ratepayers generally. I say—I am open to question, I suppose—there are members of Dublin Corporation who are members of this House and who know that the facilities are there and the goodwill is there and the city manager co-operates and we can, if we want to, know the cost of every job  that is done or that is being budgeted for in the rates.
When people talk of rates going up it is not fair to blame the managerial system, nor is it fair to blame the elected representatives. Blame ourselves here in this House. This House has put on the backs of the local authorities such a substantial amount of money in statutory demands that the amount of money which the local representatives can spend themselves is negligible when it comes to examining it from the point of view of adding to the rates.
Mr. Blowick: It is not this House did that. It is the Party opposite, your side, that has done so.
Mr. Briscoe: It is this House. I am not opposing and I am not against the social legislation which has brought about these statutory demands. I am not against the great deal of help that is involved. Notwithstanding the vast sums of money that we in Dublin have to give for all kinds of social services—Dublin Board of Assistance, our mental hospitals, our general health schemes, our old aged people, and so on—notwithstanding all that we all believe and hope that the time will come when we can do more.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy should not discuss social services.
Mr. Briscoe: I am discussing what has been discussed here already. Deputy Finan deliberately stated that the rise in the rates throughout the country was due to the appointment of managers. That is not so. The managers have to carry out their obligations. Deputy Finan stated that the county manager comes along with grandiose schemes and that is the reason why there is an increase in the rates; but a local authority can embark on no scheme unless it has the sanction and consent of the Minister for Local Government.
It is only fair to point out that in the present development of local government the local authority is getting very substantial assistance through the medium of recoupment of expenditure  from the State. What was originally called an experiment in local authority management has now come to be accepted and it looks as if it is here to stay. Certain amendments have been made to Acts dealing with local authority administration as a result of experience. I believe every member of the Dublin Corporation, including even the Labour representatives on that body, now understands this managerial system and would be very sorry to see it go.
There is a fair, personal administration. Everything is done on the basis of rules and regulations. Housing has been discussed here. Our authority is the biggest builder of houses in this State. The Dublin Corporation is the biggest landlord in the country. Yet, I do not believe one would find anyone able to suggest—certainly anyone able to prove—that there has been maladministration in relation to housing or that the wrong people are getting houses. It is true that many people in need of houses have not been able to get them because of the priorities laid down. Nevertheless I do not think the conduct of the authority itself, the manager and the corporation together, can be questioned. They are administering their particular job in an honest and humane way.
I have made a few suggestions as to the amendments I would like. First of all, I want the Minister to separate Dublin City from Dublin County and the Borough of Dún Laoghaire. I want consequential amendments then to bring about separation of the assistant city managers who, by virtue of another Act, are still assistant managers to the county and to the Borough of Dún Laoghaire. Above all, I want him to consider the position that will arise because of the appointment of managers on the basis of the pension position. The Minister should do one of two things; he should amend the Act to give a sufficient number of added years or amend the method of calculation from 1/40th to 2/60ths.
I have no grouse in relation to the present Minister or his Department. I have had many battles with him. We will probably have a good many more, but I think it is only fair to say that in  the preservation of the managerial system the Minister is preserving for the ratepayers a better form of local government than we had in the past. I am not casting any reflection on the 65 or 75 members of the Dublin Corporation when Dublin was a much smaller city. To-day, as compared with then, local government and local authority administration has a much more comprehensive scheme of things with which to deal. It is a much more efficient organisation and it will become more efficient still. I appeal to the Minister to confer now, rather than postpone, the benefits to city management that are being conferred on county management. As Deputy Cosgrave pointed out, we have in Dublin 1/5th of the total population of Ireland. If it is the intention to legislate for 4/5ths, legislate at the same time for the remaining 1/5th.
Mr. S. Collins: There are some matters adverted to by Deputy Briscoe with which I am in full agreement; there are other matters with which I am in violent disagreement. One can hardly describe as marked coincidence the spiral of rising rates and the development of the managerial system. I am not as naive in my approach to this problem as Deputy Briscoe is. I think there is no doubt that the introduction of the managerial system has created on the administrative side of the machinery of county management an administrative incubus.
This Bill raises for discussion the hardy annual of for and against the managerial system. If there is any merit at all in the system the Minister will have to consider very seriously the observations of both Deputy Cosgrave and Deputy Briscoe in relation to city and county management. If there is any individual unit of administration by virtue of its size entitled to management—should one describe it as an exclusive hierarchy? —it must be the City of Dublin itself. It would be better to frame Section 10 and Section 12 in such a way as to make it possible to have an individual city manager with such assistants as may be deemed necessary in the City of Dublin.
Is this Bill anything more than  another nibble at the problem? I do not think it is. In so far as it has any merit at all it will not meet with any opposition. There is some hint at returning powers, limited though they may be, to the elected representatives of the people. But I will never be convinced that the Civil Service or the local authority executive mind is the best that can be brought to bear in the formulation of policy and development within this State. Indeed, I am convinced it is not. It has been our experience in dealing with administrative machinery that the greater the responsibility vested in that machinery the more conservative and unreal becomes the approach to the various problems that present themselves.
I think the Minister might, in the light of his own experience in local authorities, be prepared to subscribe more to the view that in policy shaping and policy conception for a county or local authority area the more broadly diffused and experienced views of elected representatives might serve a useful purpose. However, county managership has been the child of the Fianna Fáil Party.
Mr. Smith: That is not correct. It was introduced by Cumann na nGaedheal.
Mr. S. Collins: Not in its present conception and certainly not with emphasis on the trend towards dictatorship which has become a significant part of its development.
Mr. Smith: I am not denying our responsibility for the approval of the principle even when we were in opposition, but it was introduced by Cumann na nGaedheal.
Mr. S. Collins: No. I think the Minister is possibly confusing matters that may have called for immediate remedies with what might be considered to be a fait accompli in the line of administration and direction.
Mr. Smith: I was a member of the Opposition at the time.
Mr. S. Collins: Anyway, we have succeeded in copper fastening this now hoary old man to the development of  the Fianna Fáil Party, and possibly the apparent cracks in the facade of that once great organisation will lead to a more realistic view of its future. There is no doubt that years of experience have revealed many weaknesses in the managerial system which I had hoped this Bill might tackle. There is no doubt that the people of the country do impute an immense responsibility to this House and to the method of local administration fostered by this House for the amazing spiral in rates charges over the years. We have reached a stage where rates and the incidence of them have become of more consequence to the people than the extortions of the rack renter were at one time.
The Minister has an opportunity on this measure of giving some explanation to the people as to why there is this ever increasing spiral in rates. I am not a person who has ever in this House in any way opposed or impeded social legislation that might ameliorate the lot of those who deserve our attention, but I have always argued on the basis of the capacity of the country to carry the load. Many people, suffering as they do the direct burden of Exchequer taxation, have grievous cause of complaint in regard to the incidence of rates. Whether the managerial system was responsible for it or not, there is no doubt that this significant spiral has followed in its wake. There is no doubt, if you look at the figures and statistics, that another significant feature of the managerial system has been the growth of the number of local authority employees in every shape and form and the costly machinery of administration that has become a feature of its development.
Captain Cowan: Is that not a worldwide development?
Mr. S. Collins: You will get every opportunity to make your speech.
Captain Cowan: I am not trying to interrupt, I am just asking a reasonable question.
Mr. S. Collins: I do not think there  is any instance in any part of the world where the expansion in the administrative costs of local authorities has been as marked in the last six or seven years as it has been in this country.
Mr. Smith: National taxation has crept up more than rates.
Mr. S. Collins: Yes, but it is the concerted burden of both that is driving the people to distraction and making the country ask for an opportunity to give its verdict on Fianna Fáil.
Mr. Smith: I am only saying that national taxation increased more than the rates, and why should we blame the managers?
Mr. S. Collins: The fault is not in the managers but in the system and the conception of the system. Wherever the fault lies, the fact remains in glaring, vulgar reality for the people that rates are going up to a point far beyond their capacity to pay. Many artifices and devices are available in the managerial system to make property find itself on a new rateable level without too much trouble.
I feel that this Bill is only an endeavour to bolster up certain flaws and, at the same time, to make a poor gesture to the collective thought or capacities of the local authorities. This Bill might more properly have been described in its Long Title as purely a Bill for the amending of the scheduled Acts and the insertion of certain titles for people who are going to assume them after the passing of the Bill. But that does not get away from the fact that there must be some inherent cancer within the system that has brought in its train unnecessary expenditure for the administration of local authorities and increased rates for the people to carry.
I should like the Minister to avail of the opportunity of this debate to try to justify the incidence of increased costs to the county council in maintaining certain essential services contributed to by the central Exchequer. How can the Minister justify the fact that the contribution is so high and that the spiral of contribution seems to be increasing, and why it is not  possible to evolve some system whereby many of the charges levied on the county council could be transferred to the central Exchequer? Rightly or wrongly, irrespective of the undoubted efficiency of county managers and city managers, people have the feeling that there is far too much power of an unquestioned or an unassailable type in the hands of one man. We had long discussions, in the course of the passage of the Health Bill, about the powers that were to be vested by that Bill in county managers. We have had long and acrimonious debates in this House about the rights filched from local authorities and given to county managers. I feel that this Bill is a blister on an already overweighted system. As I said on a previous County Management Act of a more comprehensive nature introduced by the last Government, I feel that this whole problem resolves itself into an issue of principle—whether it is right that responsibility should properly devolve on elected representatives or appointees, by virtue of some machinery, to the office of county manager or city manager.
I cannot see why we, taking as we do, our power within this supreme legislative Assembly from the people, should deem it necessary to deny, in a more limited way, to local authorities the responsibility that the people entrust to them. I feel and have always felt that the managerial system has gone too far and that powers have been reserved to managers that should never have been reserved to them.
I also feel that a twin brother to the growth of this system has been the spiral growth of increases in rates. I have always felt that there was something inherently weak in the managerial system in that it deprived elected representatives of the right to evolve and formulate policy for themselves. An executive officer, no matter whether you style him a county manager or a city manager, only becomes an executive officer in many cases subject to the guiding rule of another executive machine in the Custom House. The cumulative effect of such a system is to clog effort and make progress in many cases and in many counties impossible.
Captain Cowan: I do not intend to say very much as regards this Bill which has received a general welcome but I have been encouraged to say a few words because of the contributions that have been made to the debate from different parts of the House. I feel myself that we are, as it were, groping our way in the matter of local government in the country and that at the present stage we are not really in the position when we can say that the amendments proposed to the Act will work satisfactorily or not, through a further experiment arising from experience in the administration of the previous Acts. In a general way, my view is that we want something more comprehensive in the matter of local government but perhaps the time has not arrived when we would be able to adopt a more comprehensive scheme.
County management has been subjected to very wide discussion over many years. I always personally took a line against county management because I felt it interfered too much with the rights of the elected representatives of the people. I always felt that while the county manager was necessary because of the difficulties that face our county administration, the county manager should be the supreme officer of the local authority rather than being a person who was to some extent independent of the local authority. That was a view I held for quite a number of years but my own practical experience in the last three or four years as a member of the Dublin Corporation and as a member of many of the subsidiary bodies of the Dublin Corporation, has given me to think perhaps more seriously on the realities of the situation.
I think it depends on how you look at things. If you have a capitalist system when you are a Socialist then obviously you must be opposed to county management but if you have a Socialist system and you are a Socialist, then I think you would welcome the county management system because in that way one can bring about more speedily a new system of society when you have county managers acting on the instructions of a central or superior authority. I feel,  therefore, that in regard to this matter of the principle of county management, an awful lot really depends on the system of society a person wants to see adopted. Taking things as they are, I feel that our present unit of local government, the county, is not the most satisfactory unit and that there are historical associations and traditions—of not very long standing—but there are certainly some traditions in county organisation, the development of civilisation, the speed of communication, the complexity of matters that have to be dealt with now by local authorities, that would indicate some form of regional organisation. In a form of regional organisation I think it would be possible perhaps to have a more efficient system of local government and at perhaps something less in administrative costs.
There is a main problem in connection with local government that has caused me some concern for quite a long time. That is the relationship between the local authority and the Department of Local Government. When the system of county management was adopted, I have an idea that it was at the back of the minds of the people who conceived it that there would be much more freedom for local authorities than there was under the old system where the administration was in the hands of elected representatives only and in which case it was perhaps necessary that there should be a rather rigid control from the Department of Local Government. But where you brought in a management system and where you increased the control of the Department of Local Government you found in certain matters anyway that there tended to be a delaying of activities. That, of course, was particularly noticeable in regard to matters such as housing where every step from the very beginning to the end is subject to examination and confirmation by the Department of Local Government.
Where you are trying to carry out social services, such as the building of houses, it seems to me that some new  form of organisation is necessary instead of having this continuous control step by step right up the whole way from the decision to acquire a plot of land to the placing of the contract. Where you have that continous control by the Department of Local Government, you slow up the carrying out of social services such as the building of houses.
I concede that it was not the function and was never the original function of the Department of Local Government to build the enormous number of houses that is being built— not only in this country, but in other countries—under the supervision of a Department such as the Department of Local Government. From the point of view of rapid progress where housing is concerned, it does appear to me that it might be better if the complete control of house building was under the charge of the Department of Local Government rather than under the local authority. There would, of course, be objections to that and there would be a lot of trouble—I am quite sure—about it, but if local authorities looked at it—particularly big local authorities like Dublin Corporation— from the point of view that their desire was to have the building done in the quickest possible time, the best machinery would be the machinery of the Department whose function and responsibility it would be to provide a particular number of houses each year for Dublin Corporation.
This Bill before us does suffer from a defect that has been mentioned by Deputy Cosgrave and Deputy Briscoe, in that it applies mainly to the counties rather than to the cities and only one section of it is brought in for the purpose of dealing with the question of pensions and retiring age of the city managers of Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford. Dublin Deputies would be anxious that the opportunity should be availed of now in this Bill to straighten out matters in connection with local government in the City and County of Dublin that need to be dealt with as matters of urgency.
I welcome the idea that is in the Bill of having one manager as the official  or as the manager of one local authority. I have said already that I believe in a regional form of organisation where counties would be grouped together under one council and with one manager for the grouped area, but where that system is not in operation —as it is not in operation at the moment—it is best that a manager should act for one body rather than for two separate bodies, because when he acts for two separate bodies that may be in conflict he must be guided to a large extent in each county by the advice of the council of that particular county.
As things stand at the moment it does not help to have a manager acting as manager for more than one county. When we were discussing in this House the Bill introduced by the previous Minister for Local Government I suggested then, and strongly advocated, that the system we had here whereby the city manager was also county manager was unsatisfactory and that it did not lead to any co-ordination of effort. In fact, it led to confusion and I instanced at the time particular situations where a county manager as city manager wrote to himself as county manager putting forward a particular proposal and as county manager wrote back to himself as city manager saying that he did not agree with the proposal. There can be no co-ordination of effort under that system, but at the time I was taken to task very severely in a leader of a prominent daily newspaper for advocating that there should be two separate and distinct managers, one for County Dublin and one for the City of Dublin. It was suggested that while we had the one manager acting for both bodies there could be co-ordination, co-operation and unity of effort between the two bodies but practical experience proved that while the law remains as it is and the responsibilities remain as they are, there is no co-ordination of effort. I certainly would like to see one manager for the City of Dublin unless the Minister were prepared to combine Dublin City and County in one administrative unit, in which case one must have an individual manager for that particular unit, but he would be acting for  and with a council for the whole area rather than for two separate councils who perhaps did not see eye to eye on many matters.
I hope the Bill is but a step forward in giving to certain local authorities powers that they have not had and for which they have been asking in regard to particular functions.
One of the problems which must face the Minister and those concerned with local government is whether the existing organisation is a good one, whether this organisation of county council, committee of agriculture, vocational education committee, mental hospital boards and other boards in the various counties is an efficient or effective system of local government. I am inclined to the view that it is not. More and more we are coming to the position where the same individuals are members of the various boards. Whether that is a good thing for local government or not is a matter that must be considered in the near future. Local representatives are tending to become permanent members of the local government machine. Is that a good thing or is it not? That is one of the problems that must be considered. Obviously, after a while, members of local authorities who attend meetings and take an interest in the business must become proficient in all the rules, regulations and laws of local government. The desire seems to be that there should be more local control rather than control by members who are elected from time to time and who, because of the peculiar system, are selected to represent their body on a different organisation. I am only mentioning a very difficult problem that will have to be considered by the Minister and by everybody interested in local government in the very near future.
The parish has been suggested as a unit. There is something to be said for that. The parish is a very old traditional unit and there may be some aspects of local government that could properly be initiated in the parish and there may be certain matters that could be dealt with on some form of organisation built up from that so long as it was a purely voluntary organisation  in which a person was selected by his neighbours to represent them on his own local council and perhaps on some higher council. If we had, in addition to that or perhaps arising from that, the regional form of organisation where counties would be grouped in the most suitable groupings, we might have a more efficient organisation for local government.
There are matters that are dealt with by local authorities here, there and elsewhere—the same matters, the same problems—and I wonder whether it would not be better to have these matters dealt with by some central organisation that would represent the whole country.
I only mention these matters because they were brought to my mind by some of the contributions to the debate this evening. While they are not strictly relevant to the Bill, which in its scope is rather limited but which could be made more comprehensive by amendment, it is perhaps as well to avail of the opportunity to mention them.
I want to support a point that was made by Deputy Norton and Deputy Briscoe this evening in regard to Section 10. Obviously, Section 10 has been introduced to resolve doubts and in fact it is clearly set out in the section that its purpose is the avoidance of doubt. I understand that the four managers referred to have, by virtue of the Acts under which they were appointed, tenure of office for life. I do not know why “life” was put in those Acts. There was a subsequent effort made to alter that. Apparently the Department is in some doubt as to whether that subsequent effort succeeded in altering the position or not. If the previous Act did not solve the problem, I think the present section will fall short also because, if a person has received certain rights by statute, those rights exist and it would be very difficult and certainly unjust to deprive the particular individual of those rights in an amending Act.
I agree with what Deputy Norton has said that it may be desirable and in the interests of local government that managers may retire when they  reach the age of 65. I do not want to commit myself entirely to the view that I approve of the suggestion because there are many examples in the world of individuals who are much older than 65 and who carry much heavier responsibilities than a county or city manager carries.
However, I mentioned that aspect before on many occasions in the House, and there may be, as I have said, agreement that in the general interests of the service, in order to bring about a gradual development of ability from the bottom to the top, it may be desirable to retire county managers at the age of 65. In the case of those particular men who were granted something else by another statute, I think that what we will have to do is to encourage, by being generous in this Bill, particular individuals to avail of generous pension provisions. I do not think we will have any difficulty whatever in putting in an amendment to that section that will enable those men, if they are wise, to retire and enjoy life on the very generous pension to which undoubtedly they are entitled.
I think that is all I want to say in regard to the Bill. It raises many difficult problems and, like everything else, human nature enters into these problems. In the City of Dublin we, the elected representatives of the people, work in the greatest harmony and co-operation with our city manager and our assistant city managers. We find in Dublin that our city manager —I think the same thing applies to his predecessor although I was not then a member of the council—whatever his statutory rights were, has never endeavoured to exercise them against the wish of the elected representatives. On every matter which is a managerial matter that we think we should deal with, the manager has always been willing to allow us to discuss it, to come to a decision on it and to act in accordance with that decision. Clearly, that is a very sensible approach for the manager to take.
I was glad to hear from the debate that many of our county managers adopt the same line. As one who was opposed to this system of management  for a long period, I felt that my most dangerous opponents were the managers who were co-operating with the local authorities because they were helping to nail down this new system and to keep it there; but the persons who are in danger in this whole county management conception and idea are the very foolish county managers who have not the common sense to co-operate with their elected representatives. It seems to me that you have a human problem in selecting 30 or so county managers and county assistant managers. One will, of course, get managers who are unsatisfactory, and where one gets a county manager who is unsatisfactory and is always pulling against his local council, who is always in conflict with them, who gets up every morning determined to have so many rows that day, I think that there ought to be some provision in this Bill whereby on the request of the majority of the members of a council, if submitted to the Minister on specific complaints and if those complaints are established to the Minister's satisfaction, there would be power to remove that county manager from that particular county. There may be opportunities of placing him elsewhere where his peculiar abilities may be utilised in the national interest; but, whatever system you have, one is bound to have individuals who cannot and will not co-operate with other people. I think that perhaps a section such as that in the Bill would have a very useful effect. I certainly would not like it to have the effect that it would intimidate a man, or prevent him from carrying out what he conceived to be his conscientious duty.
Mr. Everett: Against the wishes of the local representatives?
Captain Cowan: No, I do not want to intimidate a man from carrying out his conscientious duties. The peculiar thing is that there is never any trouble if a man conscientiously carries out his duty because it is recognised that he is doing something conscientiously in the best interests of the council; but, where one finds the particular type of county manager that I have referred to, who cannot and will not under any  circumstances co-operate with the elected local representatives, then I think there ought to be a provision in the Bill whereby, on the establishment of a complaint against him, a complaint not made lightly but made by the majority of the local authority, the Minister would have power to remove him. I think in those circumstances the grounds of complaint would be much less than we have at the moment.
I hope that all of us who are keenly interested in this matter of county management will be able to put down amendments to the Bill dealing with the many different aspects of county management that have been referred to during the debate. It appears to me that the Title of the Bill is wide enough to carry a very large number of amendments entirely outside the four walls of the sections. I think there is a general feeling on all sides of the House that it is necessary to bring about some changes, not of a revolutionary character, that will in the present state of local government help to improve the administration of our local government law.
Mr. MacCarthy: It is accepted on all sides of the House that this Bill is a step in the right direction. I think, judging by the attitude of a number of speakers on it and of the notices that have been given regarding amendments, that the Bill will be improved considerably in passing through the House. In considering it, I am more concerned with attitude than with rights, because if the attitude is correct the rights will come and will be established. I think that the managerial system, in some instances at any rate, has led to a weakening of civic spirit, even amongst local representatives, by reason of the fact that they have been taking up the attitude of leaving everything or at least too much to the manager to do and too little for themselves to resolve, determine and make effective. The whole scheme of things needs to my mind a good deal of reconsideration, and this Bill goes part of the way, in the first place about the numbers of the staff, that the manager cannot increase the staff without some authority from the public representatives who ultimately have to vote the  money for the payment of the officials. Local government has grown so much that no suitable offices are available in many counties and the staffs are distributed here and there in the towns and cities, with the result that there is perhaps a certain amount of overlapping and a certain amount of supervision which would tend to more efficiency is lacking, which would be provided if some suitable county offices were available. However that is only one aspect of the matter. It is a problem that has to be dealt with locally, and this Bill does not propose to provide for it.
The other question is the giving of more power to local representatives in the matter of estimates. Even though local representatives may make mistakes now and again, the very fact that they have to take responsibility and ultimately face the public again on the results of their decisions will, to my mind, tend to raise the standard of public administration and to make those who are elected for that purpose feel more keenly their responsibility than if they were to leave a portion of it in the hands of the manager just from frustration because they see that they can do very little. This Bill goes part of the way to rectify that, and I hope that before it is through the House it will go further.
Take a county such as that of which I am a member of the local authorities, the largest county in Ireland, with a population of 268,000 people and with an expenditure by the local authorities of £2,750,000. I think that the work should be decentralised more than it is. That is not to contradict what I said at the start about having the administration in a number of offices here and there in a town. What I mean is that the services should be attended to in the areas where they are to be provided and that the local knowledge there should be of advantage both to the local representatives and the manager when those decisions are being reached. Apart from the general county administration of the roads and general purposes, you have the peculiar situation in Cork of a number of joint committees. The mental hospital  committee is a joint committee of the Cork Corporation and the county council. So is the home assistance and dispensary service of South Cork and the city amalgamated by joint representation. The sanatorium service is also a joint body composed of a certain number of elected representatives of the corporation and of the county council, and the administration of these at the moment comes under the county authority where the county manager is in charge of the mental hospital and of the joint board of the South Cork and city area, and one of the assistant managers is in charge of the sanatorium or the various sanatoria. As well as that you have nine urban authorities, many of them very big towns like Cobh, Fermoy, Youghal, Mallow, and several others, and three towns like Bandon, Bantry and Passage West, which are administered by town commissioners, and you have at present a county manager and two assistant managers.
To my mind it is utterly impossible to have these urban authorities and the other services there consisting of three areas with 75 dispensary districts administered by a manager who has apart from his supervisory work to look after the mental hospital, look after the road services, look after the joint committee for the mental hospital and its work and also the joint city and South Cork area for home assistance and dispensary services. You have then two assistant managers, one for North and South cork and a certain number of urban areas as well, and another for West Cork and a number of the urban areas as well as the sanatorium committee for the city and county. To my mind North Cork itself and South Cork would require independent managers, because there is an administration of £289,000 in North Cork and £495,000, nearly £500,000, in South Cork, in area charges of various kinds.
I have seen myself where efforts are made in the urban areas to deal with local problems, to erect houses, to clear derelict sites and the acquisition of land and various other problems. They are such that a manager dealing with North Cork and South Cork cannot  give to those matters the attention that they deserve. As a matter of fact what Deputy Ted O'Sullivan said to-day is quite correct, that one of those assistant managers has had his health broken down by reason of the amount of work he has had to do as the man in charge of North and South Cork. Very often we saw him there all day at meetings on housing, and when that was over he had to clear off to some urban area far removed to administer its affairs at night. Night after night as well as during the day these men were on the road carrying out public administration and unable, very often, to deal in the intimate and speedy way it required with much of the work which fell on their hands. It was envisaged in the first place in the original Acts, I think, and it was left to the manager or the Minister to make by order the appointment of an additional assistant manager.
I say that it is absolutely necessary in Cork if we are going to have the best service, and that it is time to do it. We have in the Bill here that three assistant managers are to be appointed for Dublin County and three assistant managers for Dublin Borough. I think that Cork which, as I have told the House, embraces with the county services in some cases certain city services as well, requires the same consideration and the same number of appointments if we are going to have efficiency in the service.
There is no need to go over all the points that have been dealt with by other speakers. It is up to each representative to give to the Minister some knowledge of the problems facing him locally. If we ask, as this House is asking now, for more powers for the county councils to enable them to exercise their jurisdiction and administration, I feel sure the Minister will recognise the weight of the views offered by those who have had years of experience in this matter and that they will get from the Minister serious consideration when amendments are brought forward in the best interests of the managerial system for the purpose of improving this Bill.
Mr. Blowick: I think it is generally admitted by everybody, except the  Fianna Fáil Deputies, that the county managerial system established some years ago was a first-class administrative blunder. The general body of ratepayers would not agree with some of the last speaker's observations. The growth of local government county administration is well worth study and consideration particularly in relation to the parent Act passed some 50 or 52 years ago. If we compare the work of county councils and their staffs then with local administration to-day we might perhaps get the problem in better perspective, something that many Deputies on the Fianna Fáil Benches have failed to do. If invention, science and civilisation had remained static we would not find ourselves confronted with the measure that is now before the House.
I believe, indeed, there would be no county management system in existence. The advance of science has brought into existence mechanically propelled vehicles. That has necessitated an improvement in our road system, such an improvement was never anticipated 50 years ago. We must keep pace with the times. The same thing is true of health services. Medicine has made tremendous advances in the last 20 years and we have to keep pace with those. When the Grand Jury system was abolished and the county and city councils were established in its place the problems of to-day were not envisaged. Times have changed and many things have been tacked on to the duties of county councils, things that were not even dreamt of when the parent Act was framed.
Many Deputies have referred to the increase in rates. If we examine the road system we find that in days gone by our forefathers built the roads, paid their local rates and they, and they alone, owned the roads. The coming of the motor car and the lorry has changed that situation. I am one of those who hold that the time has long since passed when roads should be taken over by the Government and no longer maintained by the county councils. Maintenance by the county council results in a lot of costly overlapping. A national road board should  be formed to take over complete control of the roads and expenditure on trunk and main roads should be voted by this House. In the old days the roads built by our forefathers were ample for the needs of the ordinary horse and pedestrian traffic. As a result of mechanically propelled traffic, they have had to be widened and reinforced at enormous cost. It is true that mechanically propelled traffic subscribes very heavily to that cost but I believe there is a good case to be made for taking over control of the roads from county councils, and I will have a word to say in regard to health charges on the same lines.
An Ceann Comhairle: This is a County Management Bill, not a Local Government Bill.
Mr. Blowick: That is so, but might I say that when the Leas-Cheann Comhairle was in the Chair this matter was gone into very fully?
An Ceann Comhairle: It does not seem to me that the whole history of local government, road control and management and public health management come into this. This is a County Management Bill.
Mr. Blowick: A County Management Amending Bill.
An Ceann Comhairle: Yes, but that does not permit the Deputy to travel over the whole history of local government and back to the 1898 Act, dealing with how the roads were made and so on. That is a very long shot from county management.
Mr. Blowick: If there had not been the original County Management Act there would be no amending Bill now.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy has gone very far back from the original County Management Act.
Mr. Blowick: That may be so, but I have gone no further back than the previous speaker.
Mr. Davin: Is he not trying to make  the case that one man cannot do all this work?
An Ceann Comhairle: That may be the idea, but it seems to me that he is not touching the matter before the House.
Mr. Blowick: Deputy Briscoe blamed this House for the steep increase in rates, and he mentioned roads.
An Ceann Comhairle: That is a different thing. The suggestion that there should be a national board for the control of roads and the suggestion that roads should be taken away from the control of local authorities could not possibly arise on this Bill.
Mr. Blowick: From the control of county managers.
An Ceann Comhairle: That could not arise on this Bill.
Mr. Blowick: Very well. It is unfortunate that I did not speak when the Leas-Cheann Comhairle was in the Chair.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy will be kept to order no matter who is in the Chair.
Mr. Blowick: I quite agree.
An Ceann Comhairle: If the Deputy is endeavouring to offend the Chair he is making a mistake because the Chair will not take it from him. The Deputy will keep to the Bill before the House and he will not offend the Chair in any circumstances.
Mr. Blowick: The Deputy has never in his ten years in this House sought to offend the Chair.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy has tried in his last remark to offend the Chair.
Mr. Blowick: No, Sir. I have never done so. I do not believe in doing so or in running counter to the Chair. I have always upheld the dignity of the Chair in this House.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy will please keep to the Bill before the House.
Mr. Blowick: The original Act was definitely in my opinion a bad administrative blunder in the first instance. It was introduced before I entered this House. This is a shabby attempt to catch up on what was originally a bad Act. Rates have increased out of all bounds. It cannot be said that that is due to individual county managers. It must be laid to the charge of the whole system. I am one of those who hold that the filching away of the powers of public representatives, powers vested in them by this House, is wrong. It reduces local representatives to the position of mere figureheads without any authority. They had only one function, namely, the power to appoint rate collectors. They had no other power.
Mr. Davin: And strike a rate.
Mr. Blowick: No, they had not the power to strike a rate. They had power to say “yes” to the manager's rate, but if the county council refused to strike the rate the Minister had power to abolish the council and the manager could strike the rate when they were abolished. In actual fact, that means the county councils have nothing to say to the striking of the rate. The county manager strikes the rate, the council have to say “yes” or “no”. It does not matter to the county manager. Two county councils have been abolished because they refused to strike the rate presented by the county manager. The Roscommon County Council and the Kerry County Council were both abolished. That has never been amended. The county manager to-day can strike the rate and tell the county councillors that it makes no difference to him what they may do. They can criticise and talk about it and grumble and grouse and use the council chamber as a place for propaganda. That is as far as they can go.
Mr. Smith: He cannot do it under this Bill.
Mr. Blowick: I fail to see where that power is taken from him.
Mr. Smith: You are one of the people who fail to see anything.
Mr. Blowick: Perhaps I am particularly dense this evening. I would be grateful if the Minister would tell us where that is. There are a few little petty things taken away from the county manager. For instance, he cannot submit to the Minister for his approval an increase in staff or an increase in remuneration without getting the consent of the council. But I fail to see where in this Bill a county council are given power to strike a rate or that they cannot be dissolved by the Minister for running counter to the manager's wishes. Will the Minister tell us in what section that is?
Mr. Smith: You have the Bill in your hand.
Mr. Blowick: I have gone through it and I am aware that a very feeble attempt is made to restore to county councils the power the Minister has hinted at. I do not believe it is there. If this Bill becomes a legal instrument after passing the two Houses and getting the President's signature, I do not believe it will work in that way.
Mr. Smith: If the Deputy was genuinely looking for information I should like to help him but I do not believe he is.
Mr. Blowick: The Minister's beliefs do not disturb me in the least.
Mr. Smith: I do not want to disturb you.
Mr. Blowick: They do not interest me.
Mr. Smith: I would not have expected it.
Mr. Blowick: I say that this is a very feeble attempt to patch up what was a bad job in the beginning. I say that this House should never have taken from local authorities the democratic powers which the people gave them when they elected them. They have no power at present except the power to appoint a rate collector. Under this Bill they may have a say in regard to the increasing of the staff or if the county manager proposes to increase the remuneration of the staff and a few other things like that. I do  not see why the Minister brought in this Bill.
Mr. Smith: I will take amendments from you.
Mr. Blowick: The Minister will get them. I hope the Minister will get the backing of his Party to pass them into law.
Mr. Smith: I will have to see them first.
Mr. Blowick: Deputy Briscoe said that the increase in rates was due principally to the fact that this House imposed statutory obligations on the local authorities. I interrupted him when he said this House did it. Technically, I suppose it was this House, but in reality it was the Party in power that did it against the wishes of this Party and, I think, every Opposition Party. They have succeeded in passing burden after burden on to the local authorities, the latest being the Health Bill. I have said in this House on many occasions that if any Government was sincere in giving benefits to the people the surest test of their sincerity was to provide the money for these so-called benefits. That is the acid test of their sincerity.
During the period of the inter-Party Government many Local Authority Acts were put through this House but not one of them imposed one penny burden on the rates. The most useful one was the Local Authorities (Works) Act which the Minister got orders from his Government to scrap, or at least to nullify by withdrawing the money for it except for a small amount.
Mr. MacCarthy: That was done in greater measure in the previous year.
Mr. Blowick: When Deputy MacCarthy talks to his constituents at the next election he will hear all about it.
An Ceann Comhairle: That Act does not come up for discussion now.
Mr. Sweetman: It is down to a miserable £400,000 The difference between £1,300,000 and £400,000 is £900,000.
Mr. Blowick: The whole purpose of passing legislation is supposed to be to confer benefit on the people. If the Minister wants to pass legislation to benefit the people he should prove his sincerity by finding the money from the Exchequer.
Mr. Smith: I am not asking for any money under this Bill.
Mr. Blowick: The Government asked for money under the Health Bill and other Bills.
Mr. Smith: Wait until I come here asking for money.
Mr. Blowick: Perhaps the Minister will tell us that the Health Bill did not impose any charges.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Health Bill does not fall for discussion on this Bill.
Mr. Blowick: I say that the passing of legislation in this House which increases rates is all wrong.
Mr. Smith: I am not doing it now.
Mr. Blowick: Maybe you would.
Mr. Smith: Wait until I do.
Mr. Blowick: When you do, you will hear from us.
Mr. Smith: That is the time I should like to hear from you.
Mr. Davin: He is increasing the number of county managers.
Mr. Smith: I am not. I am only making way for that to happen.
Mr. Davin: Open the door as wide as you can.
Mr. Blowick: In many counties with which I am familiar the elected representatives feel that they are perfectly helpless. They feel that if they do not dance according to the county manager's music they will be abolished by the Minister and the result is that rates are soaring and county management has proved to be so heavy a burden that it will rebound on the  Government some day, and that not so far off. I would not object to some kind of higher executive officer in a county, but I should like to see that executive officer a servant of the county council and not their dictator. There is a huge difference between the two things.
I hold that the introduction of this system, in giving supreme authority to the various managers both in counties and in cities, has resulted in a very serious worsening of the whole position in this country. It is a blunder and a mistake that we should rectify. One of the most serious aspects of it is the fact, and very few Deputies realise it, that except for proved misconduct, the Minister or the Government cannot remove a county manager. That is a very serious thing. Not alone can county managers, whether they are aware of it or not, snap their fingers at the local authority of the county in which they are operating, but they can snap their fingers at the Minister. He cannot dispense with their services unless he can prove misconduct.
Mr. Smith: Is not that right? Why should a man be removed from office except misconduct is proved?
Mr. Blowick: Will the Minister deny that he has no power to transfer a manager from one county to another?
Mr. Smith: Deal with your own charges.
Mr. Blowick: If any statements of mine are wrong, the Minister can refute them when replying.
Mr. Smith: Why should a man be removed from office unless misconduct is proved?
Mr. Blowick: Supposing it was desired that, in the national interests, the managerial system should be abolished, what would the result be?
Mr. Smith: That is a different question.
Mr. Blowick: Of course it is a different question. The Minister is  trying to imply that I am saying that the Minister' should have arbitrary powers to remove a manager at will, whether he commits an offence or not. I did not suggest any such thing.
Mr. Smith: You do not know what words mean so.
Mr. Blowick: I have suggested, and I suggested it on other occasions, that the Government of the day is too fond of voting out of their hands and into the hands of permanent officials, the authority that the people voted into our hands at the time of the election. I hold that that authority is a sacred trust and that we should be careful on whom we bestow it. I know that in the case of judges this House has to hand over a certain amount of authority to other people in order to make for proper administration but there is a limit to the extent to which that should be done and it is about that limit that we should be very careful. I say now that in the original County Management Act, the Government of the day went much too far in giving this power to another authority. I never remember any Government asking a mandate from the people to hand over the authority which the people give them on the occasion of a general election. I say it is a wrong thing to do and that any Government should think twice before they hand over that authority. They should ensure when they do so, that they are handing over that authority into the hands of people who will not abuse it or disrespect it in any way. Inside the last 15 or 20 years we have had many examples in Europe that should be sufficient to make any Government sit up and think before they put into wrong hands the power entrusted to them by the people.
Mr. A. Byrne: I think there is something good in this Bill which is a continuation of the Act under which managers were originally appointed. I should like to say to those who object to managers on the ground that they interfere too much with the local authority, that we, in the City of Dublin, have been very fortunate in that respect. In fact, we were very  fortunate from the very first day that the Management Act came into force. We were fortunate in having as our first city manager, Mr. Gerald Sherlock. We were equally fortunate in having as his successor the present occupant of that post and in having as his assistant, Mr. Keane. If there is any question which demands attention these men call a sub-committee of the corporation into consultation and they generally hammer out an agreement on lines that are quite fair and which can be supported by the elected representatives. I have every sympathy for members of local councils who run up against a stubborn manager who will not consult them because he is armed with certain powers. In his own interest, I think it is very foolish to run up against the elected representatives. It should be remembered that the unfortunate public representative has to go outside the council afterwards and to render an account of the manner in which he has discharged his duties to the people who elected him. The county manager has not to render such an account. My sympathy, therefore, goes out to the elected representative.
In Dublin City, even under the city and county manager, demands are made on the corporation that we feel should be borne by national funds. Rates have already reached the extreme limit in the city but yet demands come in from other authorities which we are definitely of the opinion national funds should meet. We are all happy to see money from the Hospitals' Trust being utilised to build the very fine hospitals that render great service to our people, but the moment these buildings go up they are handed over for maintenance to the overburdened ratepayers of Dublin. We all know what the upkeep of these hospitals entails. Some people have a peculiar notion that when rates go up it is property owners only who will be affected, but the moment the rates go up the tenant of the very smallest room in the city has at least 1d. or 2d. per week added to his rent. Owners of property who have houses or tenements for letting increase the rents immediately the rates go up. Even the  corporation puts up the rents of working-class people whom they house under the various Housing Acts. The demands that are made on the ratepayers from these outside sources should, therefore, in my opinion, be reviewed. There should be a review by the Government of these various charges and the Government should be prepared out of national funds to pay a fair share of these charges.
An Ceann Comhairle: I do not see how all this is related to the Management Bill.
Mr. A. Byrne: It is the city manager who prepares the demand.
An Ceann Comhairle: That is a very attentuated relevancy.
Mr. A. Byrne: The city manager prepares the demand and he has no power to do otherwise. It is a demand made on him and he has to put it before the council. We always feel in the council that national funds are not making a fair contribution towards the purposes for which these charges are made.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy is going into the question of the distribution of charges. He will have to come to the Management Bill.
Mr. A. Byrne: Let me say that the grievance which councillors from the country areas who are members of the Dáil have against the county manager for holding up various things and which they try to ventilate by asking questions in the Dáil, we in the corporation have against the Minister for Local Government and his Department. There is frustration there every day of the week. If we asked the Minister to look into his files to see how many letters from local authorities all over Ireland are awaiting a reply, I think he will find a good many. I put it to the Minister that if we are to work in harmony with the city manager and the county managers we should not have all that trouble.
Mr. Smith: Sometimes you see, you work that way with me too.
Mr. A. Byrne: The Minister has power to say to his staff that they should speed up decisions on schemes  put before them by the corporation. The Minister knows that within the last couple of months we formed a special committee to deal with unemployment—the special works committee—and we gave him every assistance.
An Ceann Comhairle: Will the Deputy please come to the Bill?
Mr. Davin: You pinched most of the £5,000,000 fund.
Mr. A. Byrne: We contribute our share of the rates. Dublin accepted its responsibility. It does no harm to say we are finding the same fault with the Department of Local Government and its frustrating methods of dealing with Dublin Corporation. I want to assure the Minister that we have done everything possible to assist the city manager and the county manager but we feel we do not get a chance. I want to draw attention specially to the fact that the managerial system is working fairly well in the City of Dublin but suppose any member of this council wants to give 2/6 increase to a poor, unfortunate pensioner who went out of the serviced 20 years ago when the small pension he got then was worth something, we are not allowed to give a 2/6 rise now.
Mr. Allen: The Minister might pay that.
Mr. A. Byrne: I know you are sympathetic to the idea as I saw your name on the list. We have no fault to find with the present manager so far as Dublin is concerned.
Mr. Allen: We are glad to hear, anyway, that there is a perfect system of management in Dublin City and the only fault found with it is that the Minister does not pay all the rates for the ratepayers of Dublin. He is paying a big share of them and we country people have a fair grievance in that respect, that the Minister is paying a big share of the rates in Dublin, much more than he is paying of the rates down the country.
Over the last 20 years this House has been quite generous to the City of Dublin in the matter of time provided  for discussing the types of local government they might have in Dublin. Much of the time of the House, year in, year out, went on Dublin, and if we have a grievance about this Bill it is because the Minister unfortunately included a couple of sections in it dealing with the City of Dublin. I suggest to the Minister that the City of Dublin should be dealt with in a separate city management Bill, and give them their own form of local government in the City of Dublin.
Mr. Everett: Give them their own local government.
Mr. Allen: Yes. A super local authority is what is needed for the City of Dublin so that we would not have them coming into this House and upsetting the machinery of county management in certain directions.
None of the amendments in this Bill are very revolutionary and they seem to give satisfaction to all sides of the House. The proposal in Section 3 whereby the manager cannot increase the permanent staff—and I want to emphasise “permanent”—without consulting the local authority and cannot increase the remuneration of the permanent staff without consulting the local authority, may give satisfaction. But there is the other side of it also. I am sure that members of local authorities when they are consulted about all this and have to give their decisions, will discover that there are some among them who will not favour this when they have to commit themselves one way or another. It is not going to be all sunshine for members of local authorities.
Mr. Davin: They prefer to hide behind the county manager.
Mr. Allen: It is not a question of hiding at all but when they have to make decisions in public in that respect some of them will find it difficult to make those decisions in the direction they think best for their employees and also for the community as a whole.
The other amendments in the Bill are not very far-reaching. They bring about certain alterations in some respects but not to any great extent. I think that the provision in Section 3  is one that from the point of view of a democratic body such as a local authority is good in so far as it gives more responsibility to the elected representatives of local authorities. It places a little more responsibility on them. I want to suggest to the Minister that there is an important aspect of Section 3 and it is this: it is very often found that the number of temporary officials or temporary officers on the staff of a local authority is quite considerable.
Mr. Davin: Hear, hear!
Mr. Allen: Ways and means are found to carry them on from year to year although they may never be permanent. They are still on the payroll and their total remuneration adds up to a considerable amount. There are temporary engineers, architects, and other temporary staff carried on year in, year out. They never appear on the records but they appear on the payroll. I want to suggest that the Minister should include temporary as well as permanent officers in order to safeguard the council funds and give the council the determination of the number of officers that should be in their employment. Many members of the council never know about these temporary officers.
One effect which I would admit right away of the County Management Act was to increase the number of clerical officers. I make another admission— that part of that increase was required because the boards of health and county councils were carrying on up to the coming of the County Management Act with very attenuated staffs. It was a mystery how they could carry on and do the work which they did with the small staffs they had. I do not agree that it was necessary to recruit so many extra clerical workers as are now employed. I do not believe it was necessary at all. What the managers think themselves to be a perfect system has been evolved and there should be no reason why everything should not run smoothly in local authorities from the point of view of staff. There are good officials doing their work well and, in addition, they  bring in temporary ones whenever they feel the need. I think that should be referred to the council also just as the permanent officials are.
A good deal of discussion took place on the far side of the House in which I think the Labour Party and Deputy Davin joined. I think Deputy Davin stressed very much that it was the county management system which was responsible for the steep increase in rates that has taken place in the last ten or 15 years. I disagree with that. I doubt very much if the managerial system had anything to do with the increase in local rates.
Mr. Davin: I think the Deputy would like to be fair to me. I said the claim for the passing of the City and County Management Acts was that they would provide cheaper and more efficient administration.
Mr. Allen: The Deputy set out to point out that the engineering service and other services were costing far more now than before the manager came in. I am sure the Deputy was not referring to the increases in salaries and wages.
Mr. Davin: The number of engineers.
Mr. Allen: The Deputy does not object to the higher salaries. They are entitled to them. I can speak for the county I know best—Wexford. There is one temporary engineer in the employment of Wexford County Council more than there were on the coming into operation of the County Management Act. He is only a short time in the employment and is there for a specific purpose, the supervision of a certain job. That is the only increase in the engineering staff. The salaries of the increased number of staff has very little to do with the steep increase in local rates that has taken place over the years. Deputy Davin, Deputy Sweetman, Deputy Blowick and all the Deputies know the reason for that steep increase. Many Deputies said that the central authority should pay more of the rates than they are paying. I was checking up on that matter recently and was agreeably surprised to find that, as compared with 15 years ago, the percentage of the rates paid  by the Central Fund is much greater. I would say that it has trebled. Apart from loans, the local ratepayers pay 40 per cent. and the Central Funds pay 60 per cent. If you include road grants it may be higher. That is a fair proportion.
The services for which rates are levied are too numerous. That is another matter. The services that have been handed over to the local authorities have been handed over by the deliberate action of this House, as the supreme authority. That cannot be questioned.
Deputy Seán Collins made a very extraordinary statement. He said the managerial system was clogging effort and preventing progress by democratic bodies. I do not know what he meant by that. Did he mean that the managerial system was preventing democratic bodies from spending more money? I can see no other meaning in the suggestion. He told us about the dire consequences of the Management Act and of the steep increase in local taxation and the effect it would have on the people's lives and fortunes. A moment after that he told us that the Management Act was clogging democratic progress.
Mr. S. Collins: I think the Deputy did not hear me correctly.
Mr. Allen: I was listening very carefully.
Mr. S. Collins: I said it was clogging policy-making.
Mr. Allen: The only meaning that I can see in the statement is that if the manager was removed the councils would spend more money. I doubt very much, if the manager were removed to-morrow morning, that any democratic body would set out to spend more money. They would try to spend less. I do not believe they would succeed in spending less because local authorities have full power to determine what they will provide and the manager cannot spend any more than the local authority provide.
Mr. Everett: What about a supplementary estimate?
Mr. Allen: Any supplementary estimate he brings in must be passed by the county council before he spends 1/-.
Mr. Everett: There is no alternative.
Mr. Allen: They have an alternative. They can refuse if they wish.
Mr. S. Collins: The Deputy is pulling a long bow.
Mr. Allen: The county manager cannot spend money unless it is provided by the local authority. There were many supplementary estimates passed, as Deputy Everett knows, by county councils, before the enactment of the County Management Act. If the secretary of the county or the secretary of the board of health said that he was short of money for a certain purpose, he got it. The elected representatives control the provision of money now just as much as they did before managers were appointed.
There are other directions in which the Minister might have extended the powers of the council. I hope to make suggestions in that connection on Committee Stage. While local authorities have control of the sale of property, they have no control in the purchase of property. They provide the money but have no control. They are sometimes presented with a fait accompli in that respect. I suggest that there might be an amendment covering the purchase of property in addition to the sale of property.
Mr. Sweetman: How can you buy property without money?
Mr. Allen: You cannot, but you may be faced with a fait accompli; certain commitments might be made subject to the sanction of the council and you have no option but to provide the money.
Mr. S. Collins: That rather defeats the Deputy's last argument.
Mr. Allen: There is a number of other matters that I will mention later. Deputy Brennan from Donegal suggested that in some counties at least there should be officers to whom the manager could delegate some of his  powers. I am fully convinced that that should be so. The manager should have power to delegate certain of his functions to the county secretary, if he is fit and competent.
Mr. Sweetman: That is not what he said. He wanted an additional assistant manager. I would agree with what the Deputy says.
Mr. Allen: I do not think an additional assistant manager is required. Many county secretaries will be county managers within the next 12 years. They are fully competent and fully capable of carrying out some of his duties. The Minister may say that if the county manager sets out to do his business in a reasonable way and takes full responsibility for it, he should not be bothered with day to day details of administration. The fact that he is responsible and must answer to the council week after week, month after month means that he must take more interest in the day to day administration than, say, the works manager or managing director of a big industrial firm and must be prepared to answer at short notice at any time for the deeds or misdeeds of his subordinate officers and must keep himself fully informed of all the operations. That is why I make the suggestion that, subject to the local authority, if you like, the county secretary could take on some of the responsibilities that the manager might delegate to him.
There is power in the County Management Act to have assistant county managers. If a council desires it, I see no reason why its chief administrative officer, the county secretary, should not be made an assistant to the manager. That is not going to cost any more money. If the county secretary is found to be competent enough, I think he should be given the power to assist and help the manager. In most counties you have three or four urban authorities. They make a big demand on the time and services of the manager, perhaps more than he can afford to give them. The administration, on the health services' side, will be growing and will require the full attention of the  manager or of his chief assistant. More and more decisions will be called for from day to day. I suggest to the Minister that if the county manager is to give all the attention that the administration of the Health Act will require from him, then, of necessity, he will have to neglect other duties. That is why I am suggesting to the Minister that he should bring in an amendment in Committee to enable the county secretary to be made assistant to the county manager.
Mr. S. Collins: Do you want the county secretary to be ex officio assistant county manager?
Mr. Allen: I am of opinion that he should be appointed an assistant to the manager while at the same time discharging his duties as county secretary. There is no reason why he should not be able to fill both offices. I believe that, at the moment, where you have an active county manager, he carries most of the responsibility. The responsibilities of the county secretary are light compared with those of the county manager. Many of these county secretaries are very competent officials. I believe that it would be a good training for them if they were appointed as assistants to county managers, and that if my suggestion were adopted by the Minister it would do a considerable amount of good.
We have heard a lot of criticism of the County Management Acts. The only place where them seem to work perfectly is in the City of Dublin. One would gather from the debate that the managers in Dublin are perfect. Notwithstanding all that, Dublin seems to have a number of greater problems than we have in the country. I submit to the Minister that he should not mix up Dublin City and Dublin County management with the rest of the country. Their problems are different.
In the early years of the County Management Acts, the older members of local authorities who had been operating for a great number of years the old system showed a certain amount of hostility. Friction arose between inexperienced managers and those older members of the local authorities. There was a different outlook  on life on both sides. One has to make allowance for that because human beings are not like machines. I want to say that I did not see any of that myself. In my county we had no difficulty in the world in getting the fullest co-operation from the county manager. We got full details in regard to all estimates. Every bit of information that we required was given to us, whether the expenditure was for £100 or £1,000.
Mr. Smith: I would love to hear of some county where that did not happen.
Mr. Allen: I mention that because we did have members on the Opposition Benches to-day saying that the fullest information in regard to estimates was not given to members of local authorities. My opinion is that if the members of those bodies were prepared to spend sufficient time in doing the work that they were appointed to do they could have got all the information they wanted. What I imagine happened was that they got tired of the details before they had quite finished considering them.
In my opinion, the management machine is working reasonably satisfactorily. The councils have full democratic powers in operating the local government machine. I am convinced of that. I am certain that if the opinions of members of every local authority could be ascertained as to whether they preferred the existing machine, with some slight modifications and amendments, or the old system, that 98 per cent. of them would opt for some system such as we have at the moment. I believe that to be true, even though some of those members were hostile to the county management system when it was introduced. The administration of county services is such a big problem to-day that without some system such as the present, it would not be possible to carry them on.
I am glad to see that the Labour Party which, as a group, showed most hostility to the management system in this House, has come round to a good extent, as a result of the experience gained in the working of the system.  We had an indication of that in the Bill that was introduced in the House by the Minister for Local Government in the previous Government, a member of the Labour Party. He did not propose in that Bill to give any more powers to the local authorities. There were to be the same scheduled functions, the same administrative functions and the same powers to the manager as regards the appointment of tenants to houses, the fixing of wages and all the rest. He did not propose to do away with the county management system. All that he proposed was to change the name of the manager.
Mr. Davin: If that is so, why did your Party move 175 amendments to the Bill?
Mr. Allen: Because it was such a foolish Bill.
Mr. Smith: Deputy Davin, if he wishes, can move 175 amendments to this one.
Mr. Davin: Those were amendments by Deputy Childers, a man who knew nothing at all about the matter.
Mr. Allen: I take it that on the Bill before us all types of amendments, if in order, will be received. I am sure the Minister will be delighted if Deputy Davin suggests some good amendments for the smoother running of the local government machine. It has become a very big machine over the years. In the early 1930's the local government machine had very little to do. Very little money was being provided for roads. No houses were being built. It was only about that time that a start was made to improve an odd hospital here and there. A huge amount of work has been accomplished by local authorities in the last 25 years. That will be admitted on all sides of the House. In the matter of housing of the people, sanitation, water schemes, hospitals, medical schemes and all the other schemes that were operated by the local authorities anybody to-day would recognise the work that they had to do and the small amount of money that they had at  their disposal for doing it. I think that by and large we can say that this Bill will bring an improvement to the existing management machine. I doubt if it will bring any great joy to the elected representatives, but I welcome it and I welcome the provision in Section 3. At one time when the first County Management Bill was going through the House the only right of appointing officials to be left in the hands of the local authority was the matter of rate collectors.
I say that 80 or maybe 90 per cent. of the members of local bodies would be glad to get rid of that right that they have at the moment and to save themselves the bother of the canvassing and the dragging around that there is by people who want to be elected to those positions. We call this a progressive age, and I believe that there is provision there already that any local authority if they want to can have their rate collectors selected in another way, by competitive examination. I have the hardihood, if you like, I do not mind suggesting it, and I do not mind bringing in an amendment if somebody will draft it for me, that all rate collectors should be appointed in future through a system of competitive examination. I am prepared to operate the other system. I have found no trouble. But still when we talk about wanting to give back to the county councillors powers, I have heard more complaints from individual councillors about the one bit of power that they have in the matter of selecting certain officials—complaints about the trouble it gives them, rather than looking for more power to elect some other officials. As the years go on the feeling will be that that bit of power that is in the Management Bill should be altered and let the rate collectors be selected by a system of competitive examination. I think that there is power there at the moment for doing it, if a council is so minded in that way, but I do not think that many of them do it. They have that power and it would be the best system if operated and accepted.
Mr. Everett: Deputy Allen in the course of his speech pointed out that  this is a revolutionary measure and that it is going to be a great boon to public bodies, but then he comes on and appeals to the Minister to amend it. It was not giving enough power of control to public bodies, and now he asks that the Minister should take away some of the control that they have at present. I do not see anything revolutionary in the Bill. I pointed out to the Minister when he interrupted me that I do not see the necessity for the discussion in the House in connection with it. The Minister could have made these regulations through the manager that he is asking to put in the Bill. There are only two sections —the regrading of counties and Section 3, that the manager has no right now without reporting to the council to give employment to any permanent officials —that are important. There is nothing further in the Bill beyond these. You have all the other trimmings to give discussion and talk, but when you come back to the Bill those are the only two sections that are effective.
Deputy Allen pointed out that there is nothing in the Bill to prevent a manager having ten or 12 extra temporary officials. I agree with Deputy Allen. I know a county where you have nearly more temporary officials than permanent ones. They are appointed temporarily year by year and sanctioned by the Department. The greatest trouble we have is in the engineering section. Dublin Deputies refer to their manager but they have an exception in Dublin. I would say that the county manager in Wicklow consults the council on all matters, but here in the engineering section we find that there is in the Department always approval of anything that is put up by the engineering section no matter what they ask for. We have an expenditure at the present time of £80,000 or £90,000 for machinery. It is all right to have machinery for two adjoining counties but not to spend £70,000 or £80,000 for machinery, most of which is lying idle nine months out of 12 along the roadsides or in disused quarries and depriving a large number of men of permanent work.
If you look at County Wicklow estimate you will see an increase of 3/4 in  the £. What do we find? We find that you have extra engineers appointed. I remember a time when we had more work, more houses being erected, when we had only half the engineers we have at present. Why? Because at that particular time the engineers were allowed their commission on the erection of all new houses, but then we got an order down from the Department during the emergency that as we were not erecting a sufficient number of houses to give the engineers their 5 per cent. on all new houses we should pay them on a permanent salary.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: How does this arise on the County Management Amendment Bill?
Mr. Everett: On the expense.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: You must not discuss the county council.
Mr. Everett: I understood that we had reference to Section 3, the employment of staffs, and I was pointing out to the Minister that we have a staff employed who under the new arrangement are not paid a commission for new houses. Where new houses are being built now the engineers who formerly worked as engineers on houses and would receive 5 per cent. now deem that they require to get assistant engineers to help them on a salary, as well as architects. I remember a time when they would not allow an assistant engineer into an area when they were getting 5 per cent, or £1,500 on a housing scheme. If there is any increase in the cost of county councils I do not put the blame on the managers. I put it on the Department of Local Government that sanctions all the schemes submitted by the engineers for the purchase of machinery. I could understand this if we had two counties joined together saying that they could spend £100,000 on bulldozers and other machines which could usefully be employed in each county, but I do not see why every county must have hundreds of thousands of pounds' worth of machinery lying unused for the best part of the year.
Deputy Allen pointed out that we  should ask the Minister to take away the right of appointment of rate collectors, and said that a number of county councillors have been wishing that they had not that responsibility. I can understand Deputy Allen's difficulties. If three or four members of a particular Party are going up for a job it is rather awkward for the councillors for the area, be they Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil or Labour Party, where a number of their friends are going forward, to decide which they should support. Therefore, they would like to shelter behind the responsibility by having it a managerial function.
Some of the managers who have been appointed were appointed for academic qualifications and not on practical experience. I agree with Deputy Davin that practical experience should count in the promotion of officials when it comes to appointing county managers. I agree with Deputy Allen that the county managers have a colossal quantity of work to cope with and, indeed, I wonder how one man can undertake the responsibility of looking after an entire county, attending two meetings of the local authority as well as committee meetings, looking after the county hospital and the county home, the fever hospital and the health services. It is not possible for one man to undertake that work unless he works longer hours than any trade union permits. I agree with Deputy Allen that if the secretary is a competent official the manager should be permitted to delegate some of his responsibilities to him.
To a certain extent the local authority has power to strike a rate. They have the power to disagree with the manager's recommendation certainly. If the manager puts up an excessive rate the council may reduce it. I do not believe the Minister would approve of the manager asking a council to strike an excessive rate. I have never known that to happen. The manager puts forward the rate and the members of a county council naturally try to reduce the estimate of expenditure as much as possible.
We have no complaint to make and we have carried out some very big schemes in relation to delay on the  part of the Minister and his Department. Certain matters require consideration before they can be approved. Where schemes are urgent we have never had occasion to complain of delay. We understand that in certain cases consideration must be given and consultations must take place before a definite decision can be given.
There are only two sections that really matter in this Bill. Deputy Allen thinks it is real boom and a wonderful concession. He thinks the fact that councils will in future have some say in the appointment of permanent officials makes this a revolutionary measure. I wonder are there any vacancies in any of the county councils at the present time? Personally, I do not believe they are overloaded and I would ask the Minister to consider the position of men who are acting in any and every capacity in the various county councils. I do not say that the county manager should be asked to submit the names of temporary staff that he might recruit for the purpose of writing up the rate books.
I cannot find any great ground for congratulation in relation to this Bill. I have no love for the managerial system. I even voted for the suspension of the managers. I have not changed my opinion in relation to the principle. In relation to the individual, as far as our particular local authority is concerned, the county manager has gone out of his way to meet the wishes of the council as far as possible.
As far as cottages are concerned I have always supported the recommendation of the county medical officer of health in relation to the selection of tenants. The tenants are selected by the county medical officer and the local representatives are called together so that they can satisfy themselves as to the needs of particular applicants. In some cases admittedly applicants stated that there were more in family than there actually were, but when the statement was found to be untrue a change was made in the priority list. I believe the doctor should be an independent official, independent of private practice. Naturally  he is the best judge and he is the best qualified to decide as to the suitability of an applicant for a particular cottage.
I appeal to the Minister to consider my suggestion in relation to the delegation of some of the county managers' responsibilities to the secretary. If necessary, the secretary can be remunerated for the extra work and responsibility. I do not want to go into the health services but they are throwing a tremendous amount of extra work on to the county managers and their assistants and staff. I see no reason for congratulating the Minister on this amending Bill. There is nothing in it to bring any great joy to the hearts of county councillors.
Mr. Gallagher: From my short time as a member of the Dublin Corporation, namely, since 1950, and from the study I have made of the managerial system I am satisfied that it would be impossible for the system to work without co-operation between the members of the local authority and the manager. There is no doubt about that. In Dublin Corporation we co-operate to the fullest extent with the manager, and vice versa, and the manager has gone a long way to meet us. Indeed, at times, he has practically leaned over backwards to meet certain suggestions we have made. It should be borne in mind that without co-operation between the local authority and the manager it would not be possible to have any proper managerial system at all. I have heard people to-day criticise the managerial system but the people who have criticised have had no criticism to offer about the county manager in their own particular area. One would think they would come in here and speak from experience, saying: “In my county things are bad and the manager is the world's worst.” Not one word was said to-day by anyone opposing this system to the effect that the county manager in his particular area was a bad county manager. When Deputies are making a case they should start on their own home ground.
Some Deputies who have spoken are members of local authorities but they  had not one iota of criticism to make against their own manager. If I had anything to say about the city manager I would not be afraid to say it either here or in the corporation. I have said my piece whenever I did not agree with things he was doing, but I must say that we find him very co-operative in many ways.
We would like to have Dublin separated from Dún Laoghaire and the County of Dublin. It is impossible for one man to carry out three jobs. Dublin City is continually growing, the population is getting bigger every day and it is only right that the city manager should deal with Dublin alone. In the Dublin Corporation we find that the city manager may have certain views of things happening in the county and we may have different views and it is unfair that he should be asked to try and hold the balance between the Dún Laoghaire Corporation, the county council and the Dublin Corporation. If any amendment is brought in by any Deputy or by the Minister, we in Dublin could make a very good case for having a manager for each of these administrative areas. The Minister would be wise to give every consideration to that matter.
My colleague, Deputy Briscoe, mentioned that he proposed to bring in various amendments to this Bill. I agree with some of the amendments he suggested but I do not agree with others. He mentioned that in the Dublin Corporation if we want to increase the rates by one penny to provide decorations for the city it requires a two-thirds majority to do that. He wants that done away with so that it can be done by an ordinary majority of the members. I think that when we are dealing with public money or increasing the rates the members should be there. That is what they were elected for. Nobody asked them to go forward. They fought hard to be elected to do a job of work and when it comes to increasing the rates they should attend. There are 45 members of the Dublin Corporation and it requires 30 to make such an increase. It would be a reflection on the City of Dublin if we could not get 30 members  to attend a meeting to consider such an increase in the rates. I think this suggestion would be a retrograde step and I regret that I must disagree with Deputy Briscoe in regard to it. The members of the corporation are there to do a job of work and, when it is proposed to increase the rates even by one penny, it is only right that they should be there to do the job they were elected for.
Great play has been made about rate collectors. In Dublin we are in the happy position that the city manager gives us a lead in regard to that matter. I for one cannot see, however, that there is any necessity for rate collectors in Dublin City because most people pay their rates at the office or send in a cheque for the amount. I, therefore, cannot see what need there is for these rate collectors in the City of Dublin. If we had the power to do anything in regard to that matter it should be done. I do not want to put anybody out of employment. I have heard Deputies criticising engineering staffs. Engineers and architects are workers drawing salaries and that is a wrong line to take. But, in the case of these rate collectors who have very little to do because the money is brought into or sent into the office, when it is time for them to retire some other method of meeting the situation should be considered.
Deputy Cowan raised the question of housing and suggested that the Department of Local Government should take over the building of houses in Dublin so as to expedite matters and not have the corporation preparing schemes and submitting them to the Local Government Department.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: That does not seem to arise on this Bill.
Mr. Gallagher: I am referring to what has been raised already.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: That does not make it any more relevant.
Mr. Gallagher: I think if we had a national housing board it would be a better arrangement.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The question of housing in general may not  be discussed on the County Management Bill.
Mr. Gallagher: I bow to your ruling. In sub-sections (1) and (2) of Section 3 certain powers are given to the members of local authorities. I wonder if some members of local authorities will welcome this. The county manager can only submit to the Minister a proposal to increase the number of permanent officers or the rate of remuneration with the consent of the council. That is something which could be abused. In Dublin the cost of administration is very high. I am open to correction, but I understand that more than half the total rate collection goes to the administration of Dublin and that is quite a big sum. If the members of local authorities can now increase the permanent staff or the rates of remuneration it is quite possible that they would carry that too far. I hope members will be wise and see that this is not brought to such a stage that the cost of administration will go sky high. In Dublin it amounts to a colossal sum at the moment and every effort should be made to reduce it.
There, again, you have certain Bills passed by this House which make it obligatory on the Dublin Corporation to meet the demands. At the same time, the city is growing and you must have an increased staff to deal with all these things. But I do feel that the cost of administration in Dublin is very high and some effort should be made to reduce it.
Then there is provision for a manager to retire at 65 years of age. That is a very wise provision because it makes room for younger people. You will find some people who are not anxious to get out at 65 and I think that is wrong. Even in commercial and business circles a man of 65 should get out. When I reach that age, if I am here or in my own job, I will get out as quickly as I can because I think a man of 65 has earned a rest. The main thing, however, is that it makes room for younger people.
Mr. Smith: The further you are away from 65 the more you think so.
Mr. Davin: You are very hard on the Taoiseach.
Mr. Smith: There are several of them here.
Mr. Gallagher: I heard Deputy Davin say that he had been here for 25 or 30 years.
Mr. Davin: I have been here for 32 years and I am not 65 yet.
Mr. Gallagher: I am glad to see you are in good health. I suggest to the Minister, as mentioned by Deputy Briscoe, that where a man is appointed a manager at 40 or 45 years of age he should get added years for pension purposes. It is a pity that city and county managers when appointed are generally between 40 and 50 years of age. They are getting pretty long in the tooth for such onerous work. It would be better to have men between 30 and 40 years of age for such appointments. Deputy Davin made the case, and I think it was a good one, that a manager should be a person who had intimate knowledge of local affairs. I think it wrong that a city manager or a county manager should come from some other sphere of business into a technical job like that.
These are the few short observations that I wish to offer on the Bill. We shall have an opportunity of considering it in detail on the Committee Stage. I would merely say at this stage that the amendment of the Act effected by Section 3 does not offer a great deal of scope to councils. What is really needed is a full, comprehensive Bill dealing with local government. However, the present measure is a step in the right direction. I would again say that without co-operation between councils and managers there is no hope of getting the managerial system to work.
Mr. O'Donnell: As the Minister probably wishes to get in to-night, I shall be very brief in my remarks. Like Deputy Gallagher, the one thing that has struck me about the debate on the Bill is that the various speakers who contributed to it started off by praising individual county managers and by condemning the system itself. I am afraid I must follow suit. I agree that the county manager we have in Donegal  is one of the most capable officials one could wish to secure but, at the same time, there is no person who will deny that the system is wrong. The proposed Section 3 does provide some curb on county managers, one that in my opinion is absolutely essential, but there must be some reason for it. Has the Minister found county managers employing staffs which were not necessary? Has he found them increasing salaries without justification? If he has, then Section 3 is essential. If he has not, though I am in full agreement with it, why introduce it at all?
I think it is time we took stock and endeavoured to curb this lavish expenditure on local government. I represent a constituency in which the county council struck a rate the other day of 39/11 in the £. The personnel of our county council staff is numerically greater than the personnel of any industry in the entire county. I am aware of the numbers actually employed by our county council and they exceed the numbers employed by any single industry in the county. The engineering staff alone exceeds 20. In the old days, I understand, six engineers did the work which is now done by over 20. May I suggest to the Minister that in dealing with Section 3 it should be pointed out to local authorities and to county managers that one method of reducing local taxation is to utilise the contract system in preference to the direct labour system in the construction and repair of roads? I think that the contract system is one method whereby we could curb the tendency towards this lavish expenditure from the rates. I also agree with Deputy Gallagher that it is time we abolished the post of rate collector. Rate collectors in my constituency are earning as much as £1,000 a year.
Mr. Davin: More than that, sometimes.
Mr. O'Donnell: More than that, sometimes. I think we could save all that expenditure. We have now reached a stage where the ratepayers know their duty to the local authority and, in my opinion, they would pay the amount due merely on receipt of  a demand by post from the county council. I have considerable experience of the courts and within the past five years I have not come across a solitary case where the rate collector had to sue for the amount of cess due. When we have that spirit amongst the people who can afford to pay, we should encourage it and abolish the office of rate collector.
One flaw which I see in Section 3 is that it is not retrospective. If we are going to curb the power of county managers in regard to the employment of staffs and increases in remuneration in future, I think we should give some thought to the past and to cases where redundant staffs have been employed. If redundant staffs had not been employed by local authorities, Section 3 would not have been introduced. I think, therefore, that councils should have an opportunity of reducing staffs where necessary, but one thing that has to be remembered is that under the terms of employment of certain officials councils may be debarred from abolishing the offices to which these individuals were appointed. Something will have to be done, otherwise the ratepayers will be unable to meet the increased demands made on them each year. Since the passing of the County Management Act in 1940, the rates in my county have increased by 75 per cent. and we do not know the additional expenditure that will be involved when the Health Bill comes into operation very shortly. I tell the Minister now that Section 3 is very essential and, so far as I am concerned, he will have full support in operating it.
Mr. Smith: It was Deputy Norton, I think, who charged me with having made statements, I think outside the House, giving the impression that I was about to introduce a Bill which would, as he said, bring, or almost bring, the idea of county management to an end. I cannot recollect having made any such statements, having given an impression, or used words that could give an impression, such as that. I have in fact here before me a statement which I made on the 28th May, 1953, when speaking on the Local Elections Bill, as reported in the  Dáil Debates, Volume 139, column 258. I was defending the introduction of that measure and this is what I said:—
“I did not mention the fact that I was contemplating introducing proposals—they are not very formidable—in relation to the managerial system.”
I knew then that the amendments which I had in mind were not revolutionary in any sense and, as I say, I never gave either the House or the country the impression that they would be. I do not think it necessary, even if I had time, to go into a defence of what is proposed in this Bill or indeed of the system itself. I remember I was in the House when the principle was first introduced here in the Cork City Management Act which was passed in 1929. That Bill was introduced here by the Cumann na nGaedheal Government when we were in opposition. We, as a Party, then, as far as I know, rather approved of the principle which was introduced first in 1929 to Cork, next in Dublin City in 1930, next to Limerick City in 1934, next to Waterford City in 1939 and following that it was applied to the whole country. The very fact that in that progressive way over that extended period, the system having been tried in relation to a small area such as Cork City, extended to Dublin, Limerick, Waterford and to the whole country over a period of ten years is proof that there was a good deal to be said in its favour.
I remember once, when speaking on another measure dealing with county administration, giving my own view as to what I thought of this principle when it was first introduced and when extended by the Government of which I was a member. I never was enthusiastic about it. It was not that I, speaking for myself, had any desire to curtail the activities of public men and local bodies but because it appeared to me as one who had some service on local bodies that it was impossible to expect men to give all the time that was necessary to dispose of the detailed sort of work that was developing, especially from 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934 onwards and in order to  relieve public men of much of that responsibility and the time its discharge entailed that I for one gave my support to the system. But as I say, I never had any great enthusiasm for it.
If the amendments contained in the Bill we are now discussing are not drastic, it is because in my view, it is necessary to maintain the balance fairly evenly while at the same time tilting it a little bit in favour of the elected body in the matter of general control. I am prepared to admit that there is something to be said for some of the criticism that was levelled against Section 3 inasmuch as it may restore responsibility to the members of the elected body in a way that many of them will not appreciate at all. But at the same time, having had experience of local government before the extension of the managerial system, having seen local government after the introduction and extension of the managerial system to the country, I think that the amendments which are proposed here will help in the long run to tilt the balance in favour of those who have to seek public support for whatever policies they preach to the electorate and who are returned by them to exercise control and give effect to these policies.
There may be other ideas in my mind as far as management is concerned. There may be other amendments that I could have suggested here, but because of the fact that the management principle is not the concern of any one Party here—it was introduced in the manner that I have described—and because it is not the concern of any single Party and because you will find critics of it in every Party, because you will find critics of it in every local body in the country and because you will find on every local body people who will defend it, I deliberately confined this measure to the matters on which I had satisfied myself completely that amendments should be effected.
I want to say to those Deputies on all sides of the House, including my own and members of the Opposition, that if they have any thoughtful amendments to put on the Order Paper for the next stage, I will be prepared  to argue these with them, and I will assure those members before they submit these amendments that as far as I am concerned while I have not an entirely open mind on all the amendments that might be proposed, I certainly would have a fairly open mind on most amendments that could be proposed.
Mr. Davin: Fair enough.
Mr. Smith: I would like to say to those Deputies who say “this is an ‘as-you-were’ Bill, that it contains nothing except Section 3,” or “that apart from Section 3 it contains nothing except what is in Section 9 and 10”—I would say to them now, those Deputies who have been talking about the managerial system and criticising it as the child of one particular party—I think another Deputy tried to make my predecessor responsible for it—let them spend some time between now and the next stage considering all these matters and if the amending Bill which I have here before me and which I am recommending to the House is not sufficiently wide, let them see to what extent, further powers may be given without detriment to local authorities and further powers taken from managers and given to the local bodies.
While not committing myself to what I will accept and not accept, I will give the House an assurance that I will argue any further proposals they may make with a entirely open mind and will be open to conviction if they will make a case in support of them.
Mr. Allen: Do you hear that, Deputy Davin?
Mr. Davin: I do, and I appreciate it.
Mr. Smith: That is all I have to say. I realise that most people who have spoken have spoken without regard to politics and although some were thinking of political considerations, they were very few. There is always the odd Deputy in the House who cannot speak on anything without making it political. In most cases the proposals were made by men with  experience of local administration; they see weaknesses and strengths in this measure, and it is with this type of Deputy that I like to have discussions such as I hope we will have on the further stages of this measure.
Question put, and agreed to.
Committee Stage fixed for Thursday, March, 11th, 1954.
Messages from the Seanad stated that Seanad Eireann had accepted the Salmon Conservancy Fund Bill, 1953, the Diseases of Animals Bill, 1954; and the Defence Forces (Temporary Provisions) Bill, 1954.
Mr. MacBride: In reply to a question on the Order Paper to-day the Minister for Defence indicated that an official invitation had been issued, presumably with the authority of the Government, to the General Officer Commanding the British Forces of Occupation in the Six Counties and I asked your leave to raise this matter on the Adjournment, by reason particularly of certain statements which the Minister thought fit to make in the course of supplementary questions and answers.
The Minister availed of the occasion, among other things, to attack one of the best-known journalists in this country. This attack was made on the journalist in question because, apparently, faithful to his profession as a journalist, he had published a report, which has now been proved to have been true and accurate, concerning the official visit of the British General who commands the forces of occupation in the six North-Eastern Counties of Ireland. In my view, it is an abuse of the privilege of this House to attack in it a journalist—he is identified by name in the report which he published —for reporting a news matter of considerable political and military importance to this country. I am sure that everyone who cherishes the right of freedom of expression in this country——
A Deputy: Freedom of opinion.
Mr. MacBride: Freedom of opinion, freedom of expression—will join with me in expressing the hope that nothing will be done to intimidate either a journalist or a newspaper in reporting matters of public importance in the Press of this country.
Captain Cowan: Like “His Master's Voice.”
Mr. MacBride: Deputy Cowan, I notice, these days, is not seeking to raise an army to march on the Six Counties. He is now standing behind a British General who comes to inspect the Curragh. We should congratulate ourselves on having a Press which reports news events freely and fearlessly. I do not think it was worthy of the Minister to avail of this occasion to attack a newspaperman for doing his duty, not merely to his newspaper, but to the public at large.
Donnchadh Ó Briain: The Deputy should give up his lecturing and come to the point of the question. The Minister for Defence needs no lecture from Deputy MacBride.
Mr. MacBride: I know the Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach would much prefer that this matter was not raised. He tried to prevent me raising it at Question Time but I will raise it and will say what I like, subject to the rules of order of this House. If the Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach does not like it, he can leave the House.
Donnchadh Ó Briain: The Deputy does not mean a damn to the country.
An Ceann Comhairle: Order!
General MacEoin: Is it in order for the Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach to interject that it does not matter a damn?
Donnchadh Ó Briain: I regret that expression and withdraw it.
An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy MacBride.
Mr. MacBride: I look to Deputies on all sides of the House to resist any  attempt that may be made to intimidate either a journalist or a newspaper in publishing facts.
Captain Cowan: Who is the journalist? Certainly not the man who writes in the Sunday Independent.
An Ceann Comhairle: There was a question on the Order Paper. Deputy MacBride is raising the subject matter of it.
Mr. MacBride: It is somewhat hard to reconcile the Minister's anger plus the agitation of some of his supporters in this House with the Minister's own words in regard to this visit. The Minister seems to have been annoyed at the fact that this visit received publicity but it is hard to reconcile his annoyance and his anger with his own interview, published in last Monday's Irish Times, in the course of which he is reported to have said that there was nothing secretive about the visit. “How could you have secrecy with 3,000 or 4,000 men participating in the honour that was given?” the Minister asked.
Minister for Defence (Mr. Traynor): Who said that?
Mr. MacBride: The Minister is reported on page one of last Monday's Irish Times, as having said this.
Mr. Traynor: The Minister?
Mr. MacBride: The Minister for Defence.
Mr. Traynor: That is correct.
An Ceann Comhairle: I intimated to-day that quotations during Question Time or on the Adjournment, which is an extension of Question Time, have not been allowed and I would ask the Deputy to make his statement on the substance of the quotation rather than to give quotations.
Mr. MacBride: If the Minister tells me that he did not give an interview of that kind to the Irish Times, I will accept his assurance.
Mr. Traynor: I am not denying that.
Mr. MacBride: The Minister is not?
Mr. Traynor: Not at all.
Mr. MacBride: Apparently, the Minister did give an interview to at least one newspaper in the course of which he said there was nothing secretive about this visit——
Mr. Traynor: Not at all—no secrecy.
Mr. MacBride: ——and that 3,000 or 4,000 men know about it and therefore there could be no secrecy. It is somewhat difficult to reconcile that statement with the Minister's annoyance because another newspaper published the facts of that visit. This visit took place on Tuesday, 16th February, but, for some extraordinary reason, not one line of it was published until the following Sunday when the Sunday Independent published a full account of it, an account which has now been proved to have been substantially correct.
The organ of the Government Party, the Minister's Party, which had remained silent until then, published in its city edition then a statement to the effect that this General's visit was one to the British Envoy. It also suggested that the visit to the Curragh was incidental to a call on the British Ambassador and then went on to state that the visit had been made as a result of a request to the Department of Defence by the British authorities..
An Ceann Comhairle: The Minister is not responsible for what appears in the Press.
Mr. MacBride: No. I appreciate that but it is by reason of the different accounts that were published in the Press that I feel it necessary to draw the attention of the House to them so that we may get an explanation from the Minister as to which is correct.
An Ceann Comhairle: I must ask the Deputy to come to the matter of the question on to-day's Order Paper.
Mr. MacBride: The subject of the main question to-day was whether this visit had been as a result of an invitation by the Irish authorities to  the British authorities to send the British General Commanding the Army of Occupation in the Six Counties to inspect the Curragh, or not. There had been reports in the Government papers to the effect that the visit had been at the request of the British authorities. Reports were also published in other papers of the same day saying that the visit was the result of a specific invitation to the British authorities by the Irish authorities. The General in question is reported to have said that, when he received the invitation at first, he declined to accept it unless he could come in uniform and that thereupon a fresh invitation was issued to this British General to visit the Curragh in uniform.
That is one of the matters that I raised at Question Time to-day and upon which I failed to get any answer from the Minister. The Minister evaded my questions in that respect with great care. I would now like to repeat those questions specifically to the Minister. First of all, I would like the Minister to say, is it a fact that the Irish authorities invited this General to come? Secondly, did the British authorities reply to him, or to whoever conveyed the invitation, that he was not coming unless he was permitted to come in uniform accompanied by an A.D.C.? And thirdly, was he invited to come in full uniform and military regalia?
The Minister, in dealing with these questions at Question Time to-day, tried to side-track them by referring to the visit of another British officer in 1948. Before dealing with that particular matter, I should like to make this quite clear, that in 1948 there was no legislation being enacted for the deliberate purpose of insulting our flag in the Six Counties, and that in 1948 there was no elected representative of the Irish people in jail for sedition in the area under the military jurisdiction of this particular military officer. That is one fundamental difference. But if my recollection serves me, and I am open to correction on this, the 1948 visit, to which the Minister referred, was arranged before the change of Government. The arrangements  for it had been made before the change of Government in 1948. I do know this, that when I became a member of the Government in 1948 I was horrified to discover the close degree of co-operation that existed between our authorities and the British military authorities.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy cannot deal with that on this question. It is not relevant.
Mr. MacBride: It is only relevant in so far as it affects the close association that there had been.
Mr. T. O'Sullivan: A State secret.
Donnchadh Ó Briain: Anything said by that gentleman does not count in this country.
Mr. MacBride: The Minister was permitted to deal with events in 1948. I am only dealing with this incidentally, pointing out that there was no analogy. In the first place, I was horrified to find that ten years before there had been visits to this country and inspections of every military post that we had by British officers, sometimes at intervals of two and three months.
An Ceann Comhairle: The relations between the two forces do not arise on this question.
Captain Cowan: Does this raise the question of Mrs. Attlee's dog?
An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy MacBride cannot deal with events in 1948 on this question.
Mr. MacBride: The Minister was permitted to deal with this at Question Time. I thought I was entitled to refer to the circumstances as I found them in 1948. Let me pass from 1948. I do know that later, in the year 1951, when a request was made by the military authorities here that Deputy MacEoin, who was then Minister for Defence, should meet and receive the British officer commanding the British troops in the Six Counties, he refused to do so. I think that should be known. I do not think it is worthy of the Minister to drag up this instance  in 1948 which, as far as I can remember, and I am open to correction, was a visit which had been arranged by his own Government prior to the change of Government.
Donnchadh Ó Briain: It could have been stopped.
Mr. MacBride: I think that, in the existing circumstances, when the nationalist minority in the Six Counties are being persecuted, when an elected representative of the Irish people is lying in prison, and when legislation is being passed for the specific and deliberate purpose of insulting our flag, we should cease to have any dealings of that kind with the Army of Occupation in the Six Counties, and particularly with the officer commanding these forces.
Captain Cowan: Deputy MacBride in what he has just said is the typical Party leader, who has so thinned out his following that he stands lonesome and forlorn——
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy has just a minute.
Captain Cowan: ——surrounded by an immensity of solitude in desolate self-appreciation.
General MacEoin: I will wait as the Minister has only ten minutes to reply. I did not expect that Deputy Cowan was going to deputise for the Minister.
Mr. Traynor: Well, it is very interesting to hear Deputy MacBride on this question. He has, apparently, washed his hands of any responsibility for what happened in 1948. As far as the 1948 visit is concerned I had no responsibility whatever. I did not know of it until I knew it was taking place and, unlike the suggestion that was made by Deputy MacEoin, there was no question raised by Fianna Fáil. We had sufficient good taste not to intervene in a matter of that kind, in a matter where an eminent British General was paying a courtesy visit to an Army establishment in this country. Deputy MacBride must realise that these visits of one group of army personnel to another are a normal procedure amongst friendly armies.
Mr. MacBride: Are we friendly armies?
Mr. Traynor: Just take your gruelling and do not grumble. We have had not only visits of British Army officers; we have had visits from eminent American gentlemen, and the Irish Independent did not go out of its way at any time to assail those gentlemen, as far as I know anyhow, nor did it go out of its way to assail the Fine Gael or Coalition Government on the occasion of a very similar visit in 1948 for which I have no responsibility. Will Deputy MacBride answer me this question—did he as Minister for External Affairs give approval to that visit?
Mr. MacBride: My recollection, as I indicated to the Minister, was that that visit had been arranged——
Mr. Traynor: Did you or did you not give approval to the visit?
Mr. MacBride: The Minister has asked me a question. If the Minister wants an answer to the question he will have to listen.
Mr. Traynor: Well, there is no need for a speech about it.
Mr. MacBride: My recollection is that that visit had been arranged by the Minister and the Government prior to the change of Government.
Mr. Traynor: That is completely wrong. That is, you refuse to answer the question I have put to you. The Deputy has completely and entirely refused to answer the question I have put to him. I only wanted to put that question for this simple reason, to let the Irish public see that the Ministers of that Coalition Government acted independently of each other, that you knew nothing at all about the visit, that it was arranged by a Fine Gael Minister.
Mr. MacBride: It was arranged by your Government beforehand.
Mr. Traynor: That is not so.
Mr. MacBride: Arranged by your Government.
Mr. Davern: Left in the dark.
Mr. Traynor: If we want the actual facts and not the distorted admissions that have been made by Deputy MacBride who clothes them with lies and statements——
Mr. MacBride: I object——
Mr. Traynor: I withdraw the use of the word “lies”.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Minister has withdrawn the word “lies”.
Captain Cowan: Do not use the Churchillian alternative.
Mr. Traynor: The Deputy has been endeavouring right through this debate to make it appear that there was a desire to keep this visit secret and that they wished the gentleman to come in civilian attire. That is what you have been endeavouring to make the House and anyone else believe.
Mr. MacBride: It was published in the papers.
Mr. Traynor: The actual fact of the position is that there is no truth whatever in the suggestion. The actual facts are these, that some time last year, early last year, General Woodall took up office and shortly after that he paid what is regarded as a normal courtesy call on the Chief of Staff, and in the course of the conversation at that courtesy call he expressed a wish to see a training establishment of our Army. It was suggested by the Chief of Staff that the best possible establishment from the General's point of view would be the main training establishment in the Curragh. The General asked on that occasion if it would be proper for him to wear uniform. The Chief of Staff informed him that that matter could be settled when the arrangements were being fixed for the formal visit. Some months afterwards when the arrangements were being made for that particular visit, that is the more formal visit, no question whatever arose as to whether there should be civilian attire or military attire. The General was coming to visit this State, to visit a military establishment in this State, and he was coming as a military man, as an eminent soldier.
Captain Cowan: As a soldier.
Mr. Traynor: And as I said he came in uniform, and we paid him the compliments which he was entitled to and which were appropriate to his rank. No matter what Deputy MacBride may do to try to distort the facts, those are the facts and there was no question good, bad or indifferent of secrecy; there was no question good, bad or indifferent of the General making any terms as to whether he would come in civilian attire or in uniform. He came in uniform because he was a soldier and there is nothing wrong in that. If Deputy MacBride says that it is wrong to have these visits let him get up and say so. Let him tell us it is wrong to have any connection with these people; but the facts of the matter are that only this week I had to sign approvals for the right to apply for vacancies in  British educational establishments and we sincerely hope that these vacancies will be granted to us. I can only hope that the mischievous article, because that is what it was, a mischievous article, that appeared in the Sunday Independent will not do any damage to the friendly relations which have existed up to this; and I hope, and sincerely hope, that that new type of sensational journalism which has been introduced recently by the Sunday Independent of a scare a week will be brought to an end as a result of this discussion.
Captain Cowan: It was a dirty suggestion.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.56 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Wednesday, March 3rd, 1954.
Mr. M.E. Dockrell: asked the Minister for Finance if he will state the quantity of (a) proof gallons of spirits; (b) standard barrels of beer; (c) gallons of cider, and (d) gallons of wine, retained for home consumption in the year ended 31st December, 1953.
Acting-Minister for Finance (Mr. Aiken): The following are the particulars asked for by the Deputy in regard to the quantities of spirits, beer, cider and wine retained for home consumption in the calendar year 1953:—
|(Potable)||790,472 Proof Gallons|
|Beer||864,707 Standard Barrels|