Location: Unknown. Private meeting.
The SECRETARY FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT submitted the final Report of the Commission on Local Government. Considering the circumstances under which the Enquiry was conducted he thought that the best possible information had been made available.
The best thanks of the Dáil were due to the Chairman and other members of the Commission and also to the Secretary, for the care and attention shown in submitting the Report. It had been got together in a very able manner and in a very short space of time.
If the recommendations of the Commission were adopted a considerable sum of money would be required to set up the Department necessary to take on the work of the British Local Government Board. He did not think it right or just to ask the local authorities to pay the expenses of this new Department. Therefore he should ask the Dáil to provide the money.
He reviewed the principal recommendations made by the Commission, and moved the adoption of these in the following terms:—
"1. The clean break—The Local Government Department to function on the lines of the Custom House.
"2. All Local Bodies to sever connection with Custom House on a date to be fixed, and to recognise thereafter the Local Government Department of An Dáil as the agency to supervise and control these bodies.
"3. In order for the Local Government Department to exercise the duties of controlling and supervising, a staff is necessary as follows:—
a. Four Inspectors—one being a Medical Officer and one Engineer.
b. Ten Clerks.
c. Nineteen Auditors.
"4. Economies to be carried out by Local Bodies on the lines laid down in the report under the following heads:—
a. Withholding Principal and Interest on British Government Loans
b. Stopping payments made to persons doing work for British Government and expenses incidental thereto
c. Economies on Road Works
d. Venereal Diseases and Child Welfare Schemes
e. Economies by abolition and amalgamation of Workhouses
f. Economies in Asylums by sending home some patients, etc.
g. Tuberculosis—Economies by reducing number of patients under Hospital treatment and by amalgamation of Hospitals
h. General Economies, i.e., Stationery, Legal Expenses, etc.
Total estimated saving during remainder of Financial year for all Ireland
Total estimated saving during remainder of current financial year for Republican bodies, say 75 per cent. of above
Estimated deficit (all Ireland) due to withholding. 80 per cent. of Government Grants estimated at £1,600,000, for half year
Approximate saving as indicated
Difference (all Ireland) for half-year
Assuming Republican bodies to be 75 per cent. of all Ireland and that the finances are affected in like proportion—the deficit for such bodies would be 75 per cent. of above, i.e.
"In addition to the foregoing the following is recommended:—
a. Pooling of Contracts.
b. Closing down some Agricultural and Technical Committees.
c. Labourers' cottages. Purchase of same by the occupier by annual payments.
d. National Medical Service. (Postponed.)
"5. That the deficit in the accounts of Local Bodies—after making allowance for the economies set out above—be met by diverting land annuities and income tax from the British Government to the Dáil Exchequer.
"That Supplementary Orders be issued without delay to Local Bodies covering all recommendations adopted by An Dáil."
P. O MAILLE (Connemara) seconded the motion.
M. STAINES (St. Michan's, Dublin) was of opinion that some of the economies mentioned in the report could not be carried out.
COUNTESS DE MARKIEVICZ (St. Patrick's, Dublin) inquired whether the purchase of labourers' cottages by their occupiers would not result in the planting of a large number of families or uneconomic holdings.
The SECRETARY FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT explained that at present the cost of repairs, together with the interest on the loans, was greater than the rent received from the cottages. The Commission thought that the occupiers would be prepared to pay a little more rent and keep their cottages in repair if they were to become the owners of them.