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Dáil Éireann-29 June, 1920

Dáil Éireann – 29 June, 1920

REPORTS AND MINISTERIAL MOTIONS. – APPOINTMENT OF ACCOUNTANT-GENERAL.

The MINISTER FOR FINANCE moved:

“That an Accountant-General be appointed in the Ministry of Finance to have charge of all accounts. This position to be filled by a fully qualified Auditor and Accountant.”

He stated that the Department of Defence would in the nature of things be free from an examination of its accounts by this officer.

This officer would co-ordinate the system of accounting in the various Departments. He would see that accounts were paid regularly and be in a position to report at the end of each month the actual amount spent by each Department. The salary proposed for the post was £500, but the Minister would ask to be empowered to increase it to £600. This appointment would not affect the ordinary Auditors of the Department. It was an internal appointment.

JOSEPH MACDONAGH (Tipperary North) seconded the motion, which was put and carried.

The MINISTER FOR FINANCE moved:

“That six branches of the Bank be established for which a sum of £25,000 is hereby voted.”

When the Bank was instituted it was found that one institution in Dublin only would not have the same national significance as an institution with branches in various parts of the country. Without this extension of the Bank they could never hope to get established in such a way as to entice customers to avail of the Bank for accommodation for Deposit and Current Account business. The Minister outlined the location of the proposed branches and the preliminary steps that had been taken to secure suitable sites in these places.

The estimated expenditure involved was:—

Purchase and equipment of premises, £15,000.

Cash for Tills, £5,000.

Working expenses, etc., £5,000.

SEAN MAC AN TSAOI (Monaghan South) seconded the motion. He regretted that there was no provision made for a Branch in Ulster. He would suggest the establishment of a Branch Bank in Monaghan or Fermanagh.

The FINANCE MINISTER, replying, stated that there might be a proposal in six months’ time for the establishment of a further six Branches, and they would bear in mind the suggestion made.

[181] A. MACCABE (Sligo South) suggested a Branch at Sligo, and W. Sears (Mayo, South) suggested a Branch at Claremorris.

After some further discussion the motion was put and carried.

The MINISTER FOR FINANCE moved:

“That a Department for the collection of Income Tax be instituted by Dáil Eireann, and that all persons who pay the Income Tax to that Department which otherwise they would pay to the British Government be indemnified against losses caused by distraint or otherwise in agreed circumstances, discretionary power being given to the Dáil Income Tax Department to refuse such taxes as it deems inadvisable to accept.”

JOSEPH MACDONAGH (Tipperary North) seconded the motion. He stated that instructions had been issued by Somerset House in London to the effect that no distraints in respect of Income Tax were to be made and no final notices to be issued, and that Collectors were to be as polite as possible.

He suggested that there should be no definite instructions against filling up returns as it would be of assistance to know the amount of the demand made. He explained the English Department’s procedure in issuing Demand Notices and said that the people to whom notices of charges for Income Tax were issued could be told by the Department now proposed to be set up what proportion of that charge they should pay, and he suggested that they should pay something less than that under the English demand. This was preferable to giving a rebate afterwards. It would be an easy matter for their collectors to take up the money that Republicans did not wish to pay into the English Government.

As regards the collection it was likely that the English Government would try to make examples of people in different districts who would pay into the Irish Republican Treasury, but arragements could be come to whereby there could be no sale of the goods seized and no transit.

He estimated the sum that would be raised by the Irish Treasury in this way would approximate to £1,000,000 per year, and he did not think the indemnities would be anything like half that sum.

T. MACSUIBHNE (Cork Mid.) considered that not alone was the proposal a useful one, but it was practical business as well. He supported the motion.

J.J. WALSH (Cork City) said that excess profits amounted to about 4½ million pounds per annum. He considered this tax as mischievous as the other, and it should not be left outside the present proposal.

JOSEPH MACDONAGH (Tipperary North) held that excess profits and Income Tax were the same thing, and he was sure the proposal was meant to include both.

EOIN MACNEILL (Derry City and National University) was in substantial agreement with the proposal. If it could be shown to the people that they could get half their taxes remitted it was likely that the proposal would meet with success. If the people were asked for the same amount by them as by the English Government they would be less likely to pay into the Irish Treasury. It would be much better that the amount payable to the Republican Government should be only 50 per cent. of the claims issued by the English Government.

The MINISTER FOR DEFENCE was of opinion that the whole scheme was contingent on an agreement with Labour. If there was no arrangement with Labour how were they to prevent the English Government from seizing the goods of people as they wished.

The FINANCE MINISTER replied that an arrangement with Labour was desirable, but Labour could not be approached until the scheme had first been passed. If it was decided to go ahead and collect the Tax the first step would be to force the withdrawal of English Collectors of Taxes. Of the [182] hundreds and thousands of taxpayers who would refuse to pay to the English Collectors it would be attempted to make a few examples in certain districts in order to break down the scheme. He would prefer to charge the whole tax as it would be incurring no more liability than the taking of half or any less sum. A system of rebate could be arranged later.

SEAN ETCHINGHAM (Wicklow East) was entirely in favour of the proposal provided that Labour would support it.

EOIN MACNEILL (Derry City and National University) suggested that the proposal be amended to read that the Ministry be empowered to set up such a Department.

The FINANCE MINISTER would not accept this amendment from a business point of view. To refer the matter back to the Ministry was only a way of putting it off when the Dáil did not wish to come to a decision.

SEAN MAC AN TSAOI (Monaghan South) agreed that this matter should not be referred back to the Ministry.

The MINISTER OF DEFENCE stated that the most important consideration of all was whether the Dáil was able to carry out decisions come to. He suggested that the question be left to the Ministry to carry out if they saw it was feasible.

The FINANCE MINISTER observed that they were not proposing to enforce the payment of Income Tax, as the Defence Minister apparently thought. Any arrangement that could be made with Labour would be made. The scheme was a feasible one and could be carried out.

The ACTING-PRESIDENT stated that there was one point that should be kept in mind. The Dáil could not make a Decree, contingent upon some circumstances or other. If the motion was passed, the Ministry would be responsible for taking steps to give effect to it.

After further discussion the motion was put and agreed to.

Dáil Éireann – 29 June, 1920

REPORTS AND MINISTERIAL MOTIONS. – CLOSING OF INTERNAL LOAN ISSUE OF £250,000.

The MINISTER FOR FINANCE moved:—

“That the present issue of the Loan be definitely and finally closed as from close of business on Saturday, 17th July, and after that date no further money be accepted for this issue of the Loan unless it can be shown that the application in respect of such payment was made prior to that date. Other than such amounts any money tendered to be credited to the Self-Determination Fund.”

He desired to dispel the idea that the Loan Fund was going to drag on indefinitely. He believed by closing the issue on a fixed date, they could later on issue the balance of the loan with a greater prospect of success.

T. MACSUIBHNE (Cork Mid.) seconded the motion which was put and agreed to.

Dáil Éireann – 29 June, 1920

REPORTS AND MINISTERIAL MOTIONS. – IRISH REPUBLICAN PRISONERS’ DEPENDANTS’ FUND.

The MINISTER FOR FINANCE moved:

“That the sum of £1,000 be granted to the Irish Prisoners’ Dependants’ Fund.”

He said that there were at the present time in the country men “on the run” through whose efforts the present situation had in great part been made possible. Under the Constitution of the Fund the Committee in charge of it could not deal with such.

It was now proposed that the Dail should make a grant of £1,000 to be applied to these cases.

The motion was seconded by EARNAN DE BLAGHD (Monaghan North) and put and agreed to.

Dáil Éireann – Volume 1 – 29 June, 1920

REPORTS AND MINISTERIAL MOTIONS. – INVESTMENT IN DUBLIN CORPORATION STOCK.

JOSEPH MACDONAGH (Tipperary North) moved the motion standing in his name as follows:—

“That Trustees be appointed and authorised to take up from time to time from the Corporation of Dublin Stock issued by the latter under the Dublin Corporation Loans’ Act, 1889, to enable the said Corporation to carry out works the cost of which is usually regarded as capital expenditure. The price to be paid for such Stock shall be £65 sterling for each £100 Stock so taken up. The Trustees are further authorised to make such arrangements with the Corporation as will secure the re-purchase by the latter of the stock at the earliest possible date, and for this purpose may arrange to hold said stock pending such re-purchase in which event it shall not be lawful for the Trustees to dispose of the stock in any other manner whatsoever. The price to be paid by the Corporation and accepted by the Trustees on the repurchase of the stock shall be that above mentioned as payable on the issue of the stock, namely £65 sterling for each £100 stock.

“It shall be the duty of the Trustees before taking up any stock to enquire into the purpose or purposes to which the proceeds of the issue of the stock are to be applied and the Trustees shall before taking up any stock satisfy themselves that such purpose or purposes is or are such as warrant the raising of money by loan for their accomplishment. They shall also be satisfied before taking up any stock that the Corporation shall have taken all the necessary steps to secure that the stock so issued and taken up shall be properly charged upon the rate and revenues of the City of Dublin. The total amount of stock to be taken up by the Trustees under this authority shall not exceed in any calendar year from the date hereof the nominal value of £300,000, nor shall the total amount of stock to be taken up under this authority exceed in the aggregate one and a half million pounds.”

He stated that the Dublin Corporation was one of the most solvent in the world. If that Corporation accepted the offer of the English Local Government Board to provide money on loan and for housing purposes, they would not get the subsidy in lieu of rent namely, £1 7s. 6d. per £1. The interest on the English Loan would work out at 10½ per cent. Borrowing from that source would therefore mean a tremendous loss annually. If the Corporation got this loan, which was not a large one, it would be repaid at the end of 13½ years.

MICHEAL MACSTAIN (St. Michan’s, Dublin) seconded the motion.

The FINANCE MINISTER said that he had been considering a suggestion that the sum of say £500,000 out of the proceeds of the Loan in U.S.A. should be put aside as a permanent investment so that that sum would be always available for carrying on the Government if anything extraordinary happened. He would strongly be in favour of investing money in such a scheme as the one proposed provided the money were available.

T. MACSUIBHNE (Cork Mid.) stated that the question of providing money affected all local bodies. He would [184] like to see the whole question considered.

The motion was negatived without a division.

Dáil Éireann – 29 June, 1920

REPORTS AND MINISTERIAL MOTIONS. – APPROPRIATIONS.

The MINISTER FOR FINANCE explained that the appropriations as set out in his report fell under two heads; (a) ordinary Departmental expenses and (b) expenditure in connection with proposals already sanctioned by the Dáil, or appearing on the agenda for the present session.

He now moved that the following appropriations be made:—

Defence…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….£10,000

Consular Services …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….10,000

Irish …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….5,000

Foreign Affairs …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….6,000

General Contingency Fund …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….20,000

PADRUIG O MAILLE (Connemara) seconded the motion, which was agreed to.

The MINISTER FOR FINANCE then moved for a vote covering the total estimates required for each Department, omitting, however, such amounts as might be required on foot of proposals yet to be submitted at the present Session, it being understood that the adoption of such proposals included the adoption of the vote required to put them into execution:—

Agriculture …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….£900

Defence …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….10,175

Finance …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….10,185

Finance (Bank extension) …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….25,800

Fisheries …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….1,655

Foreign Affairs …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….6,650

Home Affairs …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….11,075

Irish …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….5,000

Labour …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….450

Local Government …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….2,642

Propaganda …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….950

Trade and Commerce …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….12,375

Secretariat …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….920

Subscriptions & Donations …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….1,000

General Contingencies …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….20,000

TOTAL …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….£109,777

A. MACCABE (Sligo South) seconded the motion which was put and carried.

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