asked the Minister for Local Government if he examined the circumstances under which the Limerick County Council acquired premises in Newcastle West for a fire station and if he has satisfied himself as to the propriety thereof.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Newcastle West Fire Station.
The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative and an answer to the second part, therefore, does not arise.
Does the Minister not think that he ought to examine the matter?
As chairman of a county council, the Deputy himself is aware, of course, that I would not be officially aware of the purchase of this unless and until the local authority made an application for sanction for a loan.
Does the Minister not receive the minutes of proceedings of local authorities for his consideration?
The only responsibility I have is as I have set out.
Does the Minister not receive the minutes of every local authority?
I receive a great deal of information in many forms, but what I am saying to the Deputy is that I would not be officially aware of anything of this nature until the local authority concerned made application for sanction to a loan.
Can the Minister tell the House if he knows, as a matter of fact, whose property this was, from whom it was bought, and what sum of money was paid for it by the local authority, and if the transaction was associated with the preparation of a memorial in which the vendor of that property figured?
I have already told the House that unless and until the local authority concerned made an application to me for sanction for a loan for the purchase of any premises I, as Minister, would not be aware of that purchase.
Surely the Minister is aware, by the perusal through his officers of the regular minutes of the local authority, that the unusual course was here adopted of making a substantial capital investment on behalf of the local authority out of current revenue, apparently for the purpose of avoiding the submission of the matter for approbation to the Department of Local Government in connection with the raising of a loan. In these circumstances, does the Minister now think it desirable to put his officers on inquiry as to why these premises were bought, from whom they were bought, and into the whole circumstances surrounding this transaction. If he has not adverted to the matter so far, will he now, in the light of the discussion that has arisen on this question, inquire into it with a view to determining whether it is one which calls for review by him in his general supervisory character as Minister for Local Government?
The Minister's reply to the Deputy's speech is that he has no information on any or all of the matters that have been mentioned.