To ask the Minister for Local Government whether, having regard to the fact that his intimation that any salaries paid by the Dublin Corporation to interned prisoners will be surcharged, is of itself sufficient to check such payment, he will withdraw his statement that further housing grants to the Corporation will be withdrawn; and if he will state why, when legal remedies are available, he should attach merely punitive measures to them.

The question is based on a mistake as to the facts, inasmuch as an intimation to the effect stated has not been given by me, and, in fact, could not be given because in the making of surcharges auditors act judiciously and independently and their decisions are open to review on appeal. The decision of the Corporation to give half-pay to the dependents of men interned for irregular activities involves even more serious issues than the misapplication of ratepayers' monies for which individual members would be held personally responsible at a future date. The Government could not, by failing to take immediate steps, countenance action which would in effect subsidise and promote sabotage and disorder. The Government has decided to withhold housing grants as a first step, so that the serious attention of the ratepayers of Dublin, and of the majority of the Corporation may be drawn to the grave situation which has arisen. That decision will not be altered unless the Corporation's resolution is rescinded.