Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - The Government Contracts Committee.

asked the Minister for Finance if he will state what is the scope of the Government Contracts Committee, and what is the basis of differentiation between contracts to be settled by the Committee and contracts to be settled by individual Departments; whether any instruction has been given to the Committee to include the "Fair Wages Clause" in all contracts, and whether this Clause is so included; and whether statutory corporations such as the Electricity Supply Board and the Agricultural Credit Corporation are regarded as bound by the obligation to include a Fair Wages Clause in all contracts.

The Government Contracts Committee directs and controls the placing of contracts by the various Departments of State (save those placed by the Department of Local Government and Public Health in connection with combined purchasing for local authorities) and each purchasing or selling Department works according to a regular plan which is approved by the Committee. No contract of a greater value than £1,000 may be placed without the written approval of the Committee. Contracts for a lesser amount are referred to it for decision if a question of principle or a new departure is involved. In regard to the query about the Fair Wages Clause, I would refer the Deputy to the reply given to Deputy Anthony on the 27th April, 1928. Statutory corporations such as those referred to in the latter part of the question are not Government Departments and the jurisdiction of the Government Contracts Committee does not, therefore, extend to them.

Mr. O'Connell

Is the Minister aware that a contract for the supply of bread for Waterford Prison was given within the last month to a baker who is paying wages under the rate agreed upon by the master bakers and the operative bakers in that district?

That is a separate question and the Deputy will have to give me notice of it.