Dáil Éireann - Volume 31 - 04 July, 1929
In Committee on Finance. - Vote 24—Ordnance Survey.
Mr. Blythe Mr. Blythe
Mr. Blythe: I move:—
Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £29,604 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1930, chun Tuarastail agus Costaisí na Suirbhéireachta Ordonáis agus na mion-seirbhísí a bhaineas léi.
That a sum not exceeding £29,604 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending  on the 31st day of March, 1930, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Ordnance Survey and of minor services connected therewith.
Mr. Boland Mr. Boland
Mr. Boland: Last year when this Estimate was being discussed I mentioned that there were rumours abroad that large quantities of material belonging to the Ordnance Survey Department had been sent away. The Minister said that there was no foundation for them and that the thing was investigated by a Committee. I looked for the report of that Committee and found an Interim Report. There was a promise of a further report. I inquired at the Library but there was no trace of it. In the meantime, the official who reported this at the time—he was at one time in the National Army—a Mr. MacNamara, at present in an engineering works in India, wrote to me. I have his letter. He gave what to me seems to be good evidence that a great quantity of valuable material was taken away. He said that forty men were employed daily packing up and dispatching printing plates, maps, manuscripts, etc., etc., to England. Further down, he refers to a Committee of Inquiry which was set up. Some gentleman named Close was asked several questions at this Inquiry and he handed in a return of the time occupied by the men packing this material. Secondly, he was asked if he could prove that what they packed was sent away. He said “I handed in a certified extract from the contractor's ledgers. One hundred and eight tons during January, February and March, 1922. Asked could I prove what the cases contained I handed in a copy of the ship's manifest (one of the most legal documents in business), showing copper printing plates, zinc plates, etc. I was to be recalled by the Committee. What a hope; I never saw them again.” A gentleman called Mr. O'Connor was called upon to investigate, take stock and report on the state of the trigonometrical or defence documents. I think that is one of the items which this Committee  did not report on but promised to report on. That is my recollection of what I have seen in this report; they were to report on this. Mr. MacNamara says that no man living knew how to do the job better. His report showed that 4½ tons of books and 500 diagrams were missing. This was the report which Mr. Blythe said in the Dáil was not worth printing.
There was another thing that was brought in by the Minister. I did not raise it when I was dealing with the way in which discrimination was shown against the civilian employees. The people who were mostly favoured were those who were persona grata with the British Government, members of the British reserve still for all we know. The Minister said that he was satisfied that certain leaflets were printed by these civilian employees to cause trouble. These were leaflets dealing with the election for the Seanad. This man MacNamara was brought up over this matter. “Now, to get rid of me,” he states, “every dirty device was thought of. Hickie's bills were printed, and not long afterwards Mr. O'Neill and another detective came to arrest me for having had Ordnance Survey type brought out to me in the city and the bills printed down town. I did not want to go to prison, so I pointed out to Mr. O'Neill that granted I could get the type out how did I get that large quantity of paper, seeing, as I pointed out, that the paper used was special survey paper used for the printing of small scale maps. Mr. O'Neill satisfied himself by a visit to the Stationery Office that the paper was what I said it was. All this was done after a sub-committee of inquiry, consisting of the Commissioner of Valuation and a Mr. Cregg had spent two days at the Survey Office investigating as to the printing of these bills. After their inquiry I was called up to the Valuation Office and told by Mr. Carbury (Commissioner) that the bills were not printed at the Survey Office at all. Two days afterwards Mr. O'Neill turned up to arrest me. In a very short time after this I was summarily  dismissed from the Civil Service with entire loss of pension and gratuity, no cause for my dismissal being stated.” This man had something like 25 years' service. The people who are in charge of that particular office, I said on the last occasion, are people in whom the British military authorities have full confidence, and the Minister sidetracked that the last time. He simply brought in a thing I had not mentioned. I would like him now to answer the quotation I have read from the letter of this man, who is now in India on survey work. That policy has been pursued right down the ranks. There was another case of a very small man. He was a sapper. I move to report progress.
The Dáil went out of Committee. Progress reported.
Mr. White Mr. White
Mr. White: On last Thursday I gave notice that I would draw attention to the seizure of fishermen's nets on Lough Foyle. It was to have come up on the adjournment last night, but on account of the debate going on until eight o'clock this morning I did not raise it. I suggest that it be taken on the Vote for the Department of Fisheries, and that it be placed first on the list for to-morrow.
The President The President
The President: We have already agreed to take No. 5.
An Ceann Comhairle Michael Hayes
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy should have made that suggestion to the Minister for Finance personally. It is not a matter for me.
Mr. White Mr. White
Mr. White: I did not get an opportunity of communicating with the Minister for Finance. I suggest that after No. 5 is finished that Vote 54 should be taken.
Mr. Blythe Mr. Blythe
Mr. Blythe: Certainly.
Dáil Éireann 31 In Committee on Finance. Vote 24—Ordnance Survey.