CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. - CAPITATION GRANTS.

SEAN O LAIDHIN:

To ask the Minister for Finance whether it is the intention of the Ministry to pay the withheld capitation grants, amounting approximately to £32,000, to the Mullingar District Mental Hospital, and, if so, when such payment will be made.

The County Councils who are understood to be contributing bodies in this case are those of Longford, Meath and Westmeath. Payments of balances of withheld local taxation grants were issued to these bodies as follows on the 6th instant:—

Longford

£12,062

Meath

£46,959

Westmeath

£18,614

In addition the usual payments of the current financial year in respect of maintenance of Mental Hospital patients were made in these cases on the 15th May last, Longford being paid £989, Meath £1,452, Westmeath £1,662.

SEAN O LAIDHIN:

There is still a further question in regard to the capitation grants. The capitation grant was paid heretofore through the Secretary of the County Council. Owing to the County Council refusing to recognise the Local Government Board these capitation grants were withheld — something like £16,000 per year. Grants are now due for two years, 1920 and 1921. The amount the Ministry of Finance referred to I do not think has anything to do with the withheld capitation grants. The grants that have been withheld are the money I speak of, and I will be thankful if you will give me an answer regarding them.

We may be at cross purposes over this, but it is rather difficult to keep all the figures in connection with capitation grants withheld and grants from Local Taxation Account in one's head. If you will give me a question on the subject I will examine it and see how far we can relieve your mind of liability in the matter. As far as I know every effort has been made by the Local Government Department to get paid to each authority the amounts due in respect of withheld grants. In addition to that something like £1,000,000 was distributed in the last fortnight; some of that we have not yet received from those who owe it to us. We hope the County Council will see that the Rural Councils and other bodies who owe money to the Government, either from Income Tax or from payment of loans, or in so far as their responsibility in regard to the payment of land annuities go, should be paid to us. We have acted in good faith, and we hope we will be met in the same good faith.