Dáil Éireann - Volume 1 - 10 May, 1921

DEBATES ON REPORTS. - FINANCE.

The MINISTER FOR FINANCE formally moved the adoption of his Report. There were some points he would like to draw attention to. One was the vote of £1,000 required for the Prisoners' Dependents' Fund; another was the issue of a new Loan here and in the United States. There was also the appointment of a new Trustee in place of Mr. James O'Mara who, in accordance with the terms of their agreement, went out of office in June next. Then there was the question of fixing a period of liability in connection with the Vote of £100,000 made to the Department of Local Government in January for loans to local bodies and also the fixing of a final liability in the case of the Commission of Inquiry.

The SUBSTITUTE DIRECTOR OF AGRICULTURE seconded the motion.

The PRESIDENT said that the expenditure incurred in raising the Loan in the United States was heavy owing to the fact that they had to do an enormous amount of propaganda and organising work. This was all in the nature of pioneer work and would not have to be done again. When he went to America first the Irish organisation contained fifty or sixty thousand members, now they had a completely new organisation of over half a million members extending to every State in America. He recommended that the question of starting a New Loan should be left over to the new Dáil to decide, and it should be one of the first questions taken up. The new Dáil could also deal with the question of Mr. O'Mara's successor if his resignation was accepted. His idea was that they should go out for a new Loan of twenty million dollars. The ground work had been done, and the necessary organisation was at their disposal. If the fight was going on they would certainly get the money. He was anxious to have the expenditure in America formally confirmed. He got a certain amount of discretionary power over expenditure, and when matters came up before him for sanction he dealt with them on their merits.

While in America they thought things were worse here than was actually the case. They did things in a less formal manner because they felt the Dáil was functioning under great difficulties. One of the things he would like to mention was the engagement of a Counsel in connection with the campaign for the recognition of the Republic in America. When he left the United States the necessity for some one in Washington who would have charge of the Campaign for Recognition was felt to be pressing, and they appointed Frank Walsh and asked him to give his whole time. The point of view upon which the representatives in America worked was that the time was a most critical one and that if they were beaten then an accumulation of funds in the Treasury would be of no value to them. The Organisation of the American Delegation would be put on a regular and formal basis henceforth, and definite estimates would be submitted.

The MINISTER FOR FINANCE asked for a direction that any liability in connection with the vote for £100,000 made to the Department of Local Government in January, 1921, should end completely on 31st December, 1921, and that any of the money unexpended at that date should revert to the Treasury, and that there should be no further liability in this connection unless a new vote was made.

The MINISTER FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT said he had no objection to this proposal.

Reference having been made to the accounts of the Commission of Inquiry, the Minister for Finance said that a definite Statement of Accounts should be presented. There would not be any vote for the Commission at this Session.

[290] The DEPUTY SPEAKER mentioned that the winding up of the Commission of Inquiry was being undertaken by the Ministry, and they would of course go into the financial aspect.

The MINISTER FOR FINANCE then moved that the expenditure in the United States up to 31st March, 1921, amounting to $1,466,589.43 be confirmed by the Dáil.

The PRESIDENT gave details of the main items in this expenditure, and explained that a large proportion of it was really chargeable to World Propaganda. There was also the expenditure in connection with preparing the ground work for a new Loan.

The MINISTER FOR FINANCE also moved that the sum of $250,000 be added to the reserve in United States, America and earmarked for expenses in connection with the new Loan. He further moved a vote of £1,000 for the Prisoners' Dependents' Fund.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER then put the Report involving the adoption of the following:—

(a) Vote of £1,000 to the Irish Republican Prisoners' Dependents' Fund.

(b) The confirmation of the expenditure in the United States for the period ended 31st March, 1921, amounting to $1,466,589.43.

(c) The addition of a sum of $250,000 to the Special Reserve Fund in United States, this amount to be earmarked for the launching of a second Loan.

(d) The fixing of December 31st, 1921, as the limit of the period of liability for expenditure under the vote of £100,000 made to the Department of Local Government at the January, 1921, Session for the purposes of advances to Local Bodies, and the preparation of a scheme for repayment of same.

The Report was adopted unanimously.