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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 17 Jun 1926

Vol. 16 No. 12


Before proceeding to the next business, I wish to raise a matter that I think is of some importance. The Minister for Finance, immediately before the adjournment, made a statement—I am not sure whether it was a considered statement or not—to the effect that the discussion that has taken place during the afternoon showed the inadvisability—I think that is a milder word than he used, and I forget the exact word—of the Committee of Public Accounts sending Interim Reports to the House. I do not know what meaning to attach to that, but if it is a statement on behalf of the Ministry and it has the assent of the House, of course the position of the Committee of Public Accounts is made rather difficult. If the Committee had been in normal working, had mastered its work, and if it followed the practice of the British Committee, the Committee would be publishing several reports in the course of the year. As soon as three or four accounts had been examined and passed, reports would be sent in. These would all be Interim Reports. In the matter in question there was a Bill before the House and it was the duty of the Committee to examine a report of the Auditor-General on a matter which affected the House's discussion of that Bill, and consequently it seemed to the Committee essential that the House should be put in possession of certain information arising out of the Auditor-General's Report which would, as the Committee thought, assist the Dáil in the proper consideration of the Bill in question. Now apparently, in the view of the Minister for Finance, the production of an Interim Report is inadvisable. If that view is generally accepted it is a distinct condemnation of the action of the Committee of Public Accounts.

I did not want to convey any condemnation from myself. I simply pointed the moral that I did not think the actual discussion of the Bill was helped by that Interim Report, and also I did not think that it tended to produce the proper atmosphere for the discussion of reports of the Public Accounts Committee. If we were to have reports coming before the Dáil more or less in the atmosphere in which it came before it, it would not add to the efficiency or the efficacy of the work of the Public Accounts Committee.

The Dáil went into Committee.