DÁIL RESUMED. - APPROPRIATION BILL—SECOND READING.

I now move the Second Reading. The first section of the Bill grants the authority necessary for taking the approved amounts out of the Central Fund. You may have remembered that it was estimated that our income would be somewhere about £27,000,000, and the total of the estimates is in the neighbourhood of £38,000,000. The second section of the Bill is required for the purpose of conferring on the Minister of Finance the borrowing power that he may need for the purpose of giving effect to the grants of money which have been authorised by the Dáil. If affairs in the country were normal, and if the business of public finance could be conducted according to the principle of keeping expenditure within the bounds of revenue, it would be possible to manage with a very limited borrowing power. In that case, if expenditure became temporarily in excess of revenue, and borrowing was consequently necessitated, it would be possible to lay down that moneys borrowed should be repaid within a very short period, as it would be assumed that the inflow of revenue in the normal course would soon redress a temporarily unfavourable balance. But, unfortunately, the conditions which confront us are not of this character. As the Dáil has already been made aware, the revenue of the current year will probably fall seriously short of expenditure, and it appears to be inevitable that the actual outgoings of the Government for some time to come must continue to exceed available revenue, especially during such time as the Government are under obligation to find large amounts in cash for the payment of compensation. It will be noticed that the borrowing power is limited to a maximum amount determined by the issues which may be made under Section 1 of the Bill. Section 3 of the Bill is the really effective portion of it as regards the appropriation of money. The first section enables a lump sum to be issued out of the Central Fund. The third section says how the money issued is to be applied, and the details for this purpose are set out in the Schedule to the Bill. The last sentence of the third section concerns a point of technical detail. In certain cases Departments, besides using the ordinary grants covered by Resolutions of Supply, are also permitted to make use of certain defined classes of receipts which they obtain from one source or another. These receipts are set out in the Schedule under the heading Appropriations in Aid, and the third section gives the necessary authority for using them to the extent indicated. Section 4 of the Bill deals with another detail, but a detail of importance. It lays down requirements to be observed in connection with payment of any pension or payment of that character, which is made out of the Votes set out in the Schedule. The necessity of requiring strict precautions to be taken in regard to the payment of pensioners require no comment.

I beg to second the motion.

There is only one point I wish to raise, and it may be argued that it is a Committee point. I notice in Clause 2 that "the Minister of Finance may borrow from any person, and the Bank of Ireland may advance to the Ministry of Finance on the credit of the sum authorised to be issued by Section I." I did not know that it required an Act of Parliament to advance to the Minister of Finance and for him to borrow from any person. Surely "any person" includes the Bank of Ireland? I doubt the wisdom of specifying the Bank of Ireland in this connection, as though we had already decided that the Bank of Ireland was to be the only Bank with whom the Government wished to do business. It may, in practice for the time being, be the Bank of Ireland with whom the Government has to do business, and it may be that the Bank of Ireland will be the official banker, but that we should specify that the Bank of Ireland may advance to the Minister of Finance certain monies seems to me to be quite unnecessary, and seems to be singling out that Bank without any necessity. The Bank of Ireland is a private Bank; and Deputy Cole, I am sure, will agree as to the unwisdom of nationalising a private Bank while leaving all the powers and profits still in the hands of that private Bank. It is very undesirable, I think, that we should, without consideration, single out the Bank of Ireland in this connection, and it is not necessary. If the Minister for Finance is to be allowed to borrow from any person and any Bank in Ireland there is no need to single out the Bank of Ireland at all. That is the only criticism I have to make at the moment; it is really a criticism for Committee rather than a criticism on Second Reading, but it might save time and trouble if the Minister would agree that the name of the Bank of Ireland is not necessary to the Bill and would consent to delete it.

We must get authority from some Bank to advance. If you put in all the Banks that would mean giving a large commission to the Minister of Finance. It is usual to specify some Bank. It is our Bank, and it would be unwise to insist on putting in all Banks. If we were in a position to go to any Bank we would have each Bank inquiring from its brother bank how much the Minister of Finance was indebted to them.

We are simply giving the Bank of Ireland permission to advance. They have that already. The Munster and Leinster Bank and all the other Banks have permission to advance if they will.

Who gives it to them?

By their charter they have permission to advance certain monies. You specify the Bank of Ireland and say they may advance.

It is purely a verbal criticism that the Deputy is suggesting, and belongs more properly to a later stage of the Bill, because, as I understand him, all Deputy Johnson desires is that the Minister for Finance may borrow from any person, and may secure a loan from the Bank of Ireland on the credit of the nation, and he wants to change the words that "the Bank may advance" into that "the Minister may borrow."

I would give him powers to borrow from other banks.

So there is such power. There is no restriction to borrow from any Bank. The restriction is as to the amount of the advance. Supposing I go to the Bank of Ireland and say I want £1,000,000, and that I am also in negotiation with the Bank of Montreal——

Does it require an Act of Parliament to enable you to borrow that £1,000,000?

Where does the authority come from to enable me to get that loan and to borrow?

I suggest that we should take the Second Reading now, and then go into Committee and deal with this matter.

Is not this really a Bill to enable the Minister to create a National Debt?

Yes. To the extent of £10,000,000 or £11,000,000.

Yes, only for that limited sum, and you are authorised under this Bill when it becomes an Act to borrow from any person, that is to say, to issue stock and to advertise the fact, so that any person or Bank or Corporation may apply for shares, or, in other words, lend the money, and that the Minister may make further applications to the Bank for advances up to a limited amount. It seems to me we had better pass the Second Reading and get into the discussion of the details in the Committee stage.

Question put: "That this Bill be now read a second time."
Agreed.

I move that we now go into Committee upon the Bill. I have already stressed the importance. It is most important that we should get it through at the earliest possible moment.

I would be very glad, but I feel strongly the inadvisability of advertising the Bank of Ireland in preference to any other Bank.

I beg to move the suspension of the Standing Orders that the Dáil may go into Committee on this Bill.

Question: "That the Standing Orders be suspended and the Appropriation Bill be taken in Committee," put and agreed to.