That a sum not exceeding £45,640 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending the 31st day of March, 1952, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Justice.
I propose, if the House agrees, to follow the same procedure as in previous years and deal generally with the group of Estimates Nos. 29 to 37 for which I am responsible as Minister.
These Estimates show little change as compared with previous years and I am sure that the House will not expect me to go into detailed explanations of them. The aggregate amount of the nine Estimates is £3,683,110, an increase of £106,340 on the Estimates and Supplementary Estimate for 1950-51.
The only Estimates which show relatively substantial increases are those for the Garda Síochána (No. 30) and the Prisons (No. 31) which show increases of £139,100 and £9,010 respectively. In the case of the Garda Estimate, the actual increase is £90,550, the figure given in the printed Volume of the Estimates not taking account of the Supplementary Estimate of £48,550 passed last March. In the case of both Estimates the increases are due primarily to the provision which is being made for the purchase of reserve stocks of yarns, cloth, furniture, bedding, etc.
In the case of none of the Estimates has any provision been made for the increases in pay that were recently approved by the Government for the Civil Service generally. It has been decided to treat the Garda Síochána in precisely the same way as the Civil Service but, in the case of the Garda, it was necessary to make a formal Pay Order before the increases could become effective. This Pay Order has now been made. The cost of the increase for the Guards will be approximately £330,000 in a full year. This is in the Estimate, but I thought it appropriate to mention it.
A competition has been held by the Civil Service Commissioners for the purpose of enabling clerks and typists who have been employed in an unestablished capacity in Circuit Court offices to qualify for appointment to established posts in those offices. In all 76 unestablished officers competed, of whom 72 qualified, and it is hoped to be able to offer establishment to all who qualified, subject to their satisfying the Civil Service Commissioners as to health, character, etc.
The House will recall that legislation was enacted earlier this year, the main purpose of which was to enable unestablished District Court clerks to be granted pensionable status as established officers. Details of the scheme to implement this legislation have not yet been settled between my Department and the Department of Finance, but I am glad to have this opportunity of assuring Deputies that I will use every endeavour to see that the matter is brought to a speedy conclusion.
The work of the Land Registry is still in arrear and it has been necessary to make increased provision this year for additional assistance and overtime which, it is hoped, will bring about an appreciable improvement in the near future. Moreover, photostat machines for the photographic reproduction of copies of documents, records, etc., have now been provided for use in the offices of the Supreme and High Courts, Land Registry and the Public Record Office.
The interim report on crime furnished by the Commissioner of the Garda Síochána reveals that the downward tendency in indictable crime from 1944 to 1949 did not continue in 1950 in which year there was a small increase (295), mainly larcenies, as compared with 1949. The total number of indictable offences was 12,466 for 1950 of which 7,687 (62 per cent.) were reported in the Dublin Metropolitan Area. Of the 12,466 crimes, 8,637 were larcenies and 2,034 burglaries or housebreakings.
The number of prosecutions (147,635) for summary offences showed a decrease of 17,411 as compared with 1949. Road Traffic Act prosecutions fell by 10,100 as compared with 1949, and of the 87,807 prosecutions 50,740 were for offences against the lighting regulations, 38,684 being against pedal cyclists and 12,056 against motorists. Prosecutions under the Intoxicating Liquor Acts numbered 15,648 in 1950 as against 16,724 in 1949.
The number of mechanically propelled vehicles registered increased from 122,536 in 1949 to 138,134 in 1950, while the number of persons fatally injured, 213, was the same for both years. We were asked to be brief, so I was as brief as I could.