asked the Minister for Local Government whether he is aware that the Westmeath County Council have refused to strike the sixpenny rate required to be levied under the Damage to Property (Compensation) Act; and if he will state what action he proposes to take in the matter.

The County Council have, up to the present, failed to make any rate, either poor rate or special rate, in respect of the current financial year. This omission would cause grave dislocation in the public services of the county and hardship to the poor and the sick. I have full powers to meet this unprecedented situation under Section 12 of the Local Government (Temporary Provisions) Act, and if necessary the County Council can be superseded and a Commissioner appointed to carry out their duties. Section 14, Sub-section 4, of the Damage to Property (Compensation) Act provides machinery for securing the due collection of the special 6d. rate. In the event of the County Council refusing to raise this sum only, the necessary amounts must be included by the Secretary of the County Council in the receipts and demand notes, and I will insist upon compliance on the part of the officials.

The Deputy may rest assured that, notwithstanding any failure on the part of the County Council, all necessary rates will be assessed and collected.