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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 26 Nov 1947

Vol. 109 No. 1

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Family Budget Estimate.

asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether he is prepared to have compiled and published, for the use of the Labour Court and for general use, an itemised estimate of the weekly amount of money required, at present, in Dublin, by an average family unit consisting of (a) father, mother and two children under five years of age; (b) father, mother and five children under ten years of age; (c) father, mother and seven children under 15 years of age; and if he will arrange that such estimates include rent, clothing, food, fuel, transport, church dues, school requisites and entertainment.

Data from which such estimates could be established are not available in my Department.

As to the amounts actually expended by families of different types, data of the kind specified by the Deputy will no doubt be forthcoming from the national nutrition survey at present proceeding as regards food items and from the new family budget inquiry, the institution of which was announced by the Taoiseach on 15th October, 1947.

Is the Minister aware that the inquiry into the church dues requested in the question would, if undertaken, constitute an infringement on the ordinary citizen's privacy in regard to religion and would be most undesirable? Can the Minister assure the House that no such investigations will be held?

The Deputy had better give me notice of that question. I do not know what inquiry he is referring to.

I am referring to the question. "Church dues" is included in the question. The question asks for an inquiry into the church dues paid by the member of each family. Can the Minister give the assurance I have asked for?

So far as inquiries carried out by Government Departments are concerned, information is voluntarily given by the public.

Does the Minister not consider that it would be very undesirable to have State officials inquiring from individual citizens as to what contribution they make to their church?

I suggest that the Deputy's supplementary questions to the Minister are for the purpose of making political capital for himself. My question was for the purpose of ascertaining the cost of living in Dublin.

That was not my intention.