Go ndeontar suim ná ragaidh thar £110,385 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1926, chun Páipeárachais, Clódóireachta, Páipéir, Greamuíochta agus Leabhra Clóbhuailte i gcóir na Seirbhíse Puiblí, chun Tuarastail agus Costaisí Oifig an tSoláthair agus chun ilsheirbhísí ilghnéitheacha mar aon le Tuaraiscí Díospóireachtaí an Oireachtais.
That a sum not exceeding £110,385 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1926, for Stationery, Printing, Paper, Binding, and Printed Books for the Public Service; for the Salaries and Expenses of the Stationery Office; and for sundry Miscellaneous Services, including Reports of the Oireachtas Debates.
This Vote shows a net decrease of a substantial sum in spite of the fact that the actual demands upon the Department have been increasing. All the legislative activity of the Dáil has resulted in an increased charge being thrown upon this Vote. It is satisfactory that as a result of close scrutiny on the demands of the Departments and of the work of the contractor and efforts made to secure tenders from a wider circle than previously tendered, it has been possible to reduce it in a substantial way. Of course it is not within the control of the Stationery Office to regulate the amount of money required by it more or less except in a minor degree. It is the demand of the various Departments, the number of sittings, and the amount of legislation turned out, by the Oireachtas that really determines that.
There is a reduction in the sub-head dealing with salaries, wages and allowances. That has been effected by reorganisation of the office and by the letting go of certain members of the staff whom it was found possible to do without. There were changes in the number of warehousemen. The changes were not very considerable but they resulted in the reduction of the staff necessary to carry on the work of the Department.
The reduction in sub-head (b) was due partly to the use of a motor van which was obtained for the carrying of goods through the city and to general care in dealing with supplies and the transport of supplies. In incidental expenses one of the items that disappeared was an item for removals. The Department is now permanently housed. For a time it was in various buildings which were unsatisfactory. No figures for removals are now required. The item under sub-head (b) follows the experience of last year, and is somewhat less. There was an increase in the printing of the Iris Oifigiúil. That was due to lists being printed for Land Commission work and work in connection with the Damage to Property Act, which required larger issues. The expenses of the printing of the register are down because in years other than the first year of the five years period, the entire matter has not to be set up. There are only certain of the lists, claims and objections and alterations to be set up. It means in those years that the costs are considerably less. Printing contracts, as indicated already, have been sub-divided to attract wider competition. Smaller printing houses have been enabled to quote for groups of contracts in a way they could not do in the past.
The prices show an all-round deduction of fifteen to twenty per cent. The face value of the official publications in revenue forms, etc., sold last year, amounted to £5,500. In the case of certain publications which one might think the public interested in, the sale has been exceedingly small. For instance, the Estimates of the year 1924-25 were sold at a price of five shillings, which was less than the price which would be dictated if we were basing it entirely on the printing costs divided by the number of copies printed. If that were done, the price would be something like seven shillings. Inasmuch as the volume of Estimates was sold at five shillings, the price of the volume is not very high. An argument might be advanced for making it less, but it seems that you cannot, by any reduction, secure a very wide purchase of it by the public. Even at this price of five shillings, only forty-seven copies were sold. That is only £10 worth of Estimates were bought. That would include a certain number of special people who would buy them in any circumstances. As to the Appropriation Accounts, with the Comptroller and Auditor-General's Report, this year's copy was published at 3/6. It also was below the cost which would be fixed if we were reckoning only the expenses of printing. Only sixteen copies of that were sold. The Public Accounts Committee's Report, which was published not very long ago, was sold at 7/6. If the price had been fixed according to the expenses of printing, it would have been 14/-. Eleven copies of that were sold. It seems to me that demand is so slow that it is not likely that there would be very many sales, even if the prices were brought down. I appreciate the view that is held that it would be worth while losing a few pounds that might otherwise be gained by sales for the purpose of having a more substantial number of the public getting those reports and examining them. They seem, however, to be the sort of things that anybody will not accept who is not specialising or who does not want them for a particular reason. They do not seem the sort of documents that there is any public to study.
During the past year there has been a considerable extension of the system now in operation in Great Britain and other countries of obtaining advertisements for certain publications, forms and envelopes used. A revenue of over £3,000 was got from such advertising during the past year. It is expected that in the coming year a still greater revenue will be got. Arrangements are being made in the Stationery Office for the reproduction by other means than printing of certain reports of which a very small number are required, and some of the printing costs of certain classes of matter are expected to be eliminated.
Sub-head (j) is down largely owing to the fall in the cost of paper. During 1924-25, the price of paper has fallen, and the fall is reflected in the Estimate. With the closing down of the Clondalkin Mills, there is only one paper mill in operation in the Saorstát. Generally, the type of paper turned out at that mill is too expensive for Stationery Office use, and support cannot be given to the industry that might be given if a different and cheaper type of paper were turned out, though in certain cases where paper of the kind produced by this mill is wanted, it is got from it. About £1,700 worth of paper was purchased from the Saggart Mills during the year. Deputies will note that the system is that the Stationery Office stocks paper and has contracts with printing firms, for which it supplies the paper. In view of the fact that there are very many contractors and that different classes of paper are wanted for different orders, it has been found cheaper for the Stationery Office to purchase the paper and supply the printer, rather than to have the printer, perhaps, stocking paper specially for the Stationery Office and charging for it.
In regard to the question of Irish manufacture, a number of articles, such as inks, boxes of various sizes, typewriting tables, various stamps, leather bags and pouches, and articles of that sort, are of Irish manufacture. A certain saving has been accomplished by the setting up of a repair shop in the Stationery Office for dealing with typewriters which need attention. Previously that work was sent out. It has been found more economical to do it in the Stationery Office.