CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. - IRISH BANKS' GOLD RESERVE.

To ask the Minister for Finance whether his attention has been drawn to the Statistics published in the "Iris Oifigiúil" of October 27th, 1922, concerning the amount of Irish Bank Notes in circulation and the gold held against those notes, showing that the average amount of gold held for the four weeks ending the 2nd September, was about £10,589,000; whether the notes issued by the Irish Banks, in circulation for the same period, amounted to £17,358,000; whether his attention has also been drawn to the footnote in the same Statistics showing that the amount stated as representing gold held by the Banks against the notes in circulation, does not, in fact, represent gold held by the Banks, but includes Currency notes deposited at the Bank of England, which notes are treated as coin held by the Irish Banks at their Head Offices; and will the Minister state what is the true amount of gold held by the Irish Banks against their notes in circulation, and, further, if he can state what amount of gold is actually held by the Bank of England against the total amount of Bank of England Notes and currency notes in circulation.

I am acquainted with the statistics referred to, the substance of which is stated correctly in the question. In interpreting the statistics it should be borne in mind that the currency of this country at the present time is the British currency, the unit of which —namely, a pound sterling—is like the unit of currency in most countries of the world at present, below its nominal gold value. I am not in a position to say what is the amount of actual gold held by Irish banks against their notes in circulation. The Bank of England, according to its latest statement, holds gold coin and bullion amounting to £125,619,160 against its note issue of £144,069,160. The latest currency notes return shows that gold coin and bullion amounting to £27,000,000 is held in the currency note redemption account, and the same account also holds £21,150,000 in Bank of England notes, which, as indicated by the figures I have just given, are covered to the extent of over 87 per cent. by gold.