CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. - CO. COUNCIL FINANCES.

asked the Minister for Local Government if he is aware of the straitened financial circumstances of the County Councils of Ireland in consequence of the withholding of overdue grants by his Department, and if he is able to give the Dáil and assurance that these grants will be immediately paid.

In view of the financial position of local authorities generally, the Government has already decided to make payment of the amounts which were paid into the Local Taxation Account during the financial years 1920-21 and 1921-1922, and which had remained withheld. These amounts have not been finally dealt with in the necessary financial adjustments with the British Government, but the Minister of Finance has been able, without waiting for a final settlement with the British Government, to provide the amounts necessary for satisfying the claims of local authorities with the assistance of an advance out of the revenue of the Provisional Government. The payments either made or in course of issue are:

Motor duties (2 years).

Grants under Sec. 58 of Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1898 (2 years).

Estate duty (1 year).

Agricultural grant (1½ years).

Deductions have been made of sums applied in meeting liabilities other than under the Criminal Injuries Acts, and of any payment on account since the Provisional Government have come into office. The Estate Duty Grant and one moiety of the Agricultural Grant in respect of 1921-22 have so far been retained in the Guarantee Fund in connection with charges under the Land Purchase Act. The allocation on the foregoing basis to the Wexford County Council, which was received by them on 8th inst., amounts to £37,510 0s. 5d.