asked the Minister for Justice if he can furnish a statement showing the number of court judgments executed and unexecuted in the Counties Leix and Offaly for the three months ended September 30th, 1925, and also showing the value of decrees executed and unexecuted for each month, and if he will undertake to furnish similar statements for each constituency or for each county separately in future.
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - DECREES AND COURT JUDGMENTS.
My Department keeps a record of the number of judgments executed in each county in each month, and of the face value of the amounts outstanding at the end of each month, but not of the face value of those executed during each month.
I have sent the Deputy a note of these figures for the counties and for the periods mentioned in his question.
As regards furnishing similar returns regularly in future, if the Deputy's suggestion is that such returns should be printed and laid before the House, I should prefer not to give such an undertaking unless and until I have some reason to believe that the general body of the House is anxious that that should be done. If the Deputy is speaking for himself only, I shall always be glad to furnish him at any time with any specific information which he may require, and which is available to me, but I would beg of him to remember that there are many other departmental matters about which returns might be demanded with equal reason, and that there are very definite limitations to the staff at my disposal.
Is the Minister refusing this application on the grounds of expense, and does he contend that a lower Clerical Officer could not, with the information at his disposal, tabulate and furnish this information to the Deputies? I must say that I am only speaking on my own behalf in this case, and I think it is the duty of the Minister, who is in a privileged position, to supply the Deputies of this House with any information which will enable them to understand the present position of their constituencies and that this is the kind of information which will enable the Deputies to do that?
Whilst admiring the intelligent interest which the Deputy is taking in the present bad state of the country, may I point out that I have given the Deputy the information he asked for in his question, and that my sole reason for hesitating to undertake to give all the Deputies regularly similar returns for every county in the Saorstát is, first of all, that I have no information that it is the general wish of the Deputies and, secondly, that the furnishing of such returns regularly would involve a certain strain on a limited staff, and that there are many other departmental administrative matters on which, with as much reason, Deputies might expect to receive information, and one can understand that growing demands of that kind on a limited staff are going to interfere with the ordinary routine of the public service.
Does the Minister contend that every Deputy in this Dáil is not entitled to the same information as he has at his disposal as Minister and as Deputy for the County of Dublin, and will he undertake now that he will furnish this information to me in the future?
In the abstract I set no limits to the rights of Deputies with regard to information that is available departmentally to the Ministry. One might need to make certain reservations, but not many. I only set the limit to practical administrative possibilities. If Deputies were to take the line that they are to be furnished regularly with a variety of information on public matters, that would involve a considerable strain on the Civil Service, and would to that extent interfere with the carrying out of duties that are possibly more important.
Do you decline then to furnish this information?
The Deputy knows that he has got the information that he has asked for in the question.
That is not an answer.