Dáil Éireann - Volume 4 - 03 August, 1923
INTOXICATING LIQUOR BILL. - THE NEW REGISTER (PRINTING CONTRACTS).
Mr. JOHNSON Mr. JOHNSON
Mr. JOHNSON: I gave notice that I wished to raise a question in regard to the printing of the Register of Voters, I think a very considerable grievance has been created quite unnecessarily. It seems that a circular was sent out on May 31st to the Printing Offices as follows:— “The dates fixed for the printing of the Register 1923, are set out below. The first copy may be expected by the printer on June 12th. The last copy will be delivered July 7th, and the final copy on July 21st.” Now, in the case of which this is a sample—one of many—instead of the first copy being delivered on June 12th, it was July 10th when the first copy was delivered, and the last copy was delivered on July 26th instead of July 7th. Certain dates were given to the printer in which to get this work done. Certain arrangements were made which allowed in this particular case—the case of Galway—five weeks and four days as the minimum time for the contractor. On July 26th the balance of the copy of 29 divisions, the balance  being 9, was received by the printer, but on the same night 16 divisions out of the total 29 of the Register were taken away from the printer because he had not finished them and could not finish them by the end of the period. As a matter of fact they only got 16 days to do the whole of the work for which they were allowed in the contract five weeks and four days Now in the case in question, 16 divisions, more than half in number of the total register, were taken away from this printing firm, and the printers were disemployed and the firm lost the contract, and the preparation which he had made for carrying out the contract had to be cancelled and certain loss sustained.
That is one case only, but several similar complaints have come from quite a number of towns in the country. The responsibility is the responsibility of the Stationery Office or the Registration Officer and not the responsibility of the printer. We heard on an earlier occasion that the registers were being taken away from one printer and sent to another. I want to ask this definite question: Is it true or not that any of these registers have been taken away from the original contractors and sent to England or to the North of Ireland to be printed. I would like a definite answer to that question, and I would like further to have some assurance, because the damage is done, that where it is clear the printers had sustained loss by virtue of the failure of the Stationery Office or the Registration Officer to supply material in time and according to contract, they will be recompensed for the loss. We are told, and of course I quite understand, that the circumstances required this to be a hurried job, and that they were such that it was necessary for the Government to transfer the printing from one place to  another so as to insure that the Register would be prepared in time. But the printers ought not to be allowed to suffer for that. I want an assurance upon these two points: first, that none of this printing which it was proposed to send elsewhere has been sent out of the jurisdiction of Saorstát, and secondly, that where firms have lost because of the removal of these jobs they will be recompensed for the actual loss they sustain.
The PRESIDENT The PRESIDENT
The PRESIDENT: With regard to the first question as to whether any printing was sent out of the Saorstát, I have to say that every possible effort having been exhausted, and every possible attempt made to get the work done in time in the Saorstát, and then finding that fifteen hundred pages could not be done here we sent it out. It is being done in England. It is the only case in which that has occurred, and it is by reason of the fact that it could not be done here. We got our information from our advisors and from people who are more than advisors, as to whether it could be done here, and we found it could not. As regards the second question, I am not in a position to say whether the printers can be recompensed. It is a question I suppose of ordinary contract. If we made a contract and we broke it they have got their remedy, but I am not prepared to grant compensation for merely exceptional circumstances or to rectify everything that is set forward as an injustice. They have the same opportunities as any other person, if a contract that they made was broken and its terms not carried out.
Dáil adjourned at 5.30 p.m. until 4.30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 8th.
Dáil Éireann 4 INTOXICATING LIQUOR BILL. THE NEW REGISTER (PRINTING CONTRACTS).