Dáil Éireann - Volume 136 - 18 February, 1953
Committee on Finance. - Vote 56 — Defence.
Minister for Defence (Mr. Traynor) Oscar Traynor
Minister for Defence (Mr. Traynor): I move:—
That a supplementary sum not exceeding £20,000 be granted to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st March, 1953, for the Defence Forces (including certain Grants-in-Aid) under the Defence Forces (Temporary Provisions) Acts, and for certain Administrative Expenses in connection therewith; for certain Expenses under the Offences Against the State Acts, 1939 and 1940 (No. 13 of 1939 and No. 2 of 1940) and the Air Raid Precautions Acts, 1939 and 1946 (No. 21 of 1939 and No. 28 of 1946); for Expenses in connection with the issue of Medals, etc.; for Expenses of the Bureau of Military History; and for a Grant-in-Aid of the Irish Red Cross Society (No. 32 of 1938).
The purpose of this Supplementary Estimate is to provide an additional grant-in-aid of £20,000 during the current financial year for the Irish Red Cross Society. In the Defence Vote for the present financial year, I have already made provision for a substantial Grant-in-Aid to the society to enable it to carry out its various functions in the normal way. The recent extensive flooding which, as Deputies are no doubt aware, has  caused wholesale loss of life, devastation and distress in three countries, has, however, already resulted in entirely abnormal demands being made on the society's resources. While it is understood that two of the three countries involved do not require assistance at present, the third has indicated that it would be glad to receive all possible aid. The Irish Red Cross Society is already providing that aid to the maximum extent to which its normal resources, supplemented by contributions from the public, permit. It has not, however, the necessary means available to enable it to contribute aid to the extent to which I believe the Irish people would wish. Our people have, I know, been deeply moved by these appalling disasters and the Government feel that it would be their wish and the wish of the Dáil to put the Irish Red Cross Society in a position to make a really worth-while contribution to relieve the distress.
I, accordingly, ask the Dáil to vote this sum of £20,000. In doing so, I would like to express this country's hope for the speedy recovery of the countries concerned from the effects of the great flood disasters. I would also like to take the opportunity, on behalf of the Government and the nation, of thanking the Irish Red Cross Society for its efforts and also of thanking those who have so generously responded to the appeal already made.
Mr. S. Collins Mr. S. Collins
Mr. S. Collins: I think the Minister will find that the House is at one with him in regard to this particular Supplementary Estimate. I think it is only right that we should join with him in wishing a speedy recovery to those countries which have suffered distress. We are all gratified, indeed, that we have been able to make a contribution to their recovery. Speaking on behalf of those on this side of the House, I can say quite sincerely to the Minister that he has not only our complete approval but our absolute sympathetic accord in the approach he has made to the problem.
He can take it that the attitude of this House generally in that situation of appalling distress and horror visited on these countries is that we feel the  Minister has acted in the best accord with our Irish tradition and that the Irish Red Cross Society has acted in the best accord with their tradition.
Captain Cowan Captain Cowan
Captain Cowan: I should like just to say a few words in regard to the Estimate. It is when tragedies occur which affect us, as those recent flood tragedies did, that we can see the wonderful value of the Irish Red Cross Society. It is a voluntary body nationally organised, carrying on under considerable difficulties but, nevertheless, doing a wonderful job of work. It becomes the medium in cases such as this whereby this nation can show its practical sympathy for other nations in distress. I think it might go from all sides of the House that it would be our desire that the Irish Red Cross Society should be built up to its maximum strength and that the efficient organisation which is there, particularly in certain parts of the country, should be extended all around and that we should have a society well organised, efficient and capable of handling any tragedy that might occur in the country.
There are, from time to time, unfortunate incidents and tragedies which affect small numbers of our people. It is often very difficult to know the right person with whom to get in touch to deal with the situation. With a wellorganised, well-trained Red Cross I think we would have the ideal organisation to handle situations such as this.
Any money voted by this House to the Irish Red Cross Society is, I think, money that will be well spent and that will repay itself many times over. I take this opportunity of giving expression to these thoughts in regard to the Irish Red Cross Society. We have seen its value. We see the need for it. We see how important it is in the national life. All the co-operation and help that it requires should be given by this House and should be given, as it is, by the Government. If the society itself realises how important it is and realises how anxious we in this House are to support, encourage and help it then it will be an incentive to the officers and members of the society to build up  the organisation in such a way that it will be able to handle any difficulty or trouble that may come upon us at any time in the future.
Mr. A. Byrne Mr. A. Byrne
Mr. A. Byrne: I wish to join in paying a tribute to the Minister for this gesture which, I suppose, has the wholehearted support of every member of the House. When we read of the calamities that overtake other countries we should feel grateful to the Almighty for preserving us from similar disasters.
Mr. Traynor Mr. Traynor
Mr. Traynor: I desire to express my sincere thanks for the references which have been made by the Deputies who have spoken. On behalf of the Irish Red Cross Society I should like to express their deep and grateful thanks also.
Question put and agreed to.
Vote reported and agreed to.
Dáil Éireann 136 Committee on Finance. Vote 56 — Defence.