Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Cork Road Fund Grants.

Thursday, 2 May 1974

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 272 No. 5

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100.

Mr. G. Fitzgerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  asked the Minister for Local Government the unexpended balance on Road Fund [800] grants in respect of 1973-74; whether the balance will be re-allocated to County Cork in the present transitional financial period; and the portion that has been transferred to other counties, the names of the counties and the date of transfer.

101.

Mr. Meaney: Information on Thomas J. V. Meaney  Zoom on Thomas J. V. Meaney  asked the Minister for Local Government the amount of Road Fund grants unexpended by Cork County Council for 1973-74; and if he will sanction a carry-over to this financial year.

102.

Mr. Meaney: Information on Thomas J. V. Meaney  Zoom on Thomas J. V. Meaney  asked the Minister for Local Government if he is aware that the Road Fund grants allocated to Cork County Council for this year will result in less output of work as the increase of 6 per cent will fall approximately 15 per cent behind rising costs; and if he will immediately raise the grants at least to allow the council to maintain the roads in a fair condition.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 100, 101 and 102 together.

Payments to Cork County Council in 1973-74 were £1.122 million, approximately £226,000 less than the total allocation of £1.348 million. The total grant allocation for the council for the nine-months' period April/December, 1974, is £1,106,220, equivalent to approximately £1.475 million on a 12-months' basis compared with the total payment of £1.122 in 1973-74. This allows for a substantial increase in the rate of expenditure in the current year. The needs of road authorities are reassessed at the beginning of each year having regard to progress anticipated. It is not the practice to make transfers of unused balances on a prior year's allocations.

The allocations made for this year dispose of the total expected income of the Road Fund.

Mr. Meaney: Information on Thomas J. V. Meaney  Zoom on Thomas J. V. Meaney  May I take it that the unexpended money and grants from last year cannot be carried forward to this year?

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  No, I said it is not the practice to transfer unused balances. [801] There is a question about transferring. There are no transfers.

Mr. Meaney: Information on Thomas J. V. Meaney  Zoom on Thomas J. V. Meaney  There was over £1 million unexpended in Cork county last year. That means it cannot be carried over to this financial year and a subsequent loss in work and employment.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  No There was approximately £226,000 less than the total allocation expended last year, but each year the council notify the Department of the amount of money with which they believe they will be able to carry out a programme of work. It is on that basis that the money is paid. I think what is uppermost in the Deputy's mind is that the money will be permanently lost unless it is formally reallocated in the following year. That is not so.

Mr. Meaney: Information on Thomas J. V. Meaney  Zoom on Thomas J. V. Meaney  May I take it that Cork County Council can work on the assumption that with this year's grant they are also getting last year's unused money? That is the question I want answered.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  That is a matter for Cork County Council. If they were able to spend this extra money they would have said so but in fact they have indicated the amount of money which they felt they would be able to spend and it is on that basis the allocation has been given.

Mr. G. Fitzgerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  The county secretary informed us that the council had informed the Department that they could spend this year's grant and the unexpended surplus from last year during this nine-month financial year.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  That is not the information that I have given to the Deputy which is the information given to me. It is that the allocation has been made on the basis of the amount of money they would be able to spend. I do not think that Deputy Meaney, being a reasonable man, would suggest that there could be an extra £226,000 if the planning for it had not been prepared.

Mr. G. Fitzgerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  What becomes [802] of the £226,000 unexpended money in Cork last year?

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  All money which is unexpended is reallocated from the general fund in the following year. The grants are not paid as the Deputy knows, until the end of the year. I may add something that may be a grain of comfort to the Deputies. Cork County Council's problem is to find out how quickly they can catch up on their planned road programme which was delayed. The prospects for this year are not clear but there are continuing land acquisition problems in respect of the provision of the Cork-Bandon road and the Ringaskiddy road. The £1,106,220 for the nine-month period is equivalent to £1,474,000 for a 12-month period. It appears that Cork County Council, because they cannot spend money which they had decided they would spend on the acquisition of land, will have a substantial amount of money which they will be spending or which they may have transferred—it will not be taken back from them—for this actual work. I can assure the Deputy he need have no worry about Cork County Council having an inadequate supply of money for this year.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I must ask Deputy G. Fitzgerald to be brief. We must pass from the question.

Mr. G. Fitzgerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  There is some confusion. The Minister said that £226,000 unexpended money cannot be reallocated. He then goes on to say that money that has not been spent on land acquisition and will not be spent —this is the £1,100,000—this year——

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  It will not be spent this year on land acquisition. We will not be averse to allowing Cork County Council to expend that on works they can do during the year.

Mr. MacSharry: Information on Raymond MacSharry  Zoom on Raymond MacSharry  They lost £230,000 last year.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  They did not.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  We must pass to the next question.

[803]Mr. G. Fitzgerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  There are three questions being answered together. The sum of £226,000 has gone. Where is it? Is it correct that some of it has been spent in other counties?

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  No. I have stated twice, and now state a third time, that the money is not reallocated during the year. The money is not paid until the end of the year. It would not be possible to reallocate money if the Department did not know whether it was going to be spent or not.


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