I feel that nearly all the points that have been raised have been answered one by one. The Minister for Justice falls back on the fact that the officials of the Department and the Minister for Local Government have all the details and all the information necessary to guide them in the distribution of this one-third. It surely applies to more Ministries than one, and if it is so in one Ministry and so in another Ministry, why is the Minister for Justice fortified by a committee of reference of three? Senator Toal is, of course, perfectly happy with the Minister for Local Government, and quite content to abide by his decision so far as he is interested in county council operations. I mentioned to the Senator yesterday that there are other county councils that would not be quite so happy to leave their fate in the hands of the Minister for Local Government. They are, perhaps, not so satisfied as our friend from the County Monaghan.
I wish to acknowledge the fact that the Seanad was defended by the Cathaoirleach against the Minister to-day. The Minister, like a good many Ministers here, tries to put an occasional one over and it is a relief to know that the Cathaoirleach was in a position to deal with that in a proper way. The Minister referred to architects visiting homes all through the country, and some Senators said it was practically impossible to get a committee of reference. The committee of reference, whether it is three or five, would, it is to be presumed, be intelligent men who would analyse the merits, the rights and the interests of the various county homes and hospitals throughout the country, and would, on evidence submitted to them by the local government bodies, or any other evidence they could get, submit what would be right in the distribution of one-third of the funds. We are giving one-third of what is charity money. We are not dealing with rates. We do believe it will go to the alleviation of rates. It is going to absolve the Minister, and the Minister's subsidiary Departments throughout the country from a certain rating.
I do claim, as it is charity money, that there is no reason why a Minister, and particularly the Minister for Local Government, should be entrusted with this gigantic sum which is likely to be left entirely at his discretion. In spite of what Senator Toal says, that his county and his area would be well looked after, I am quite certain people in other areas might not be so well looked after. Ordinary common justice and common sense dictate that a certain advisory body should be available to advise the Minister. Senator Johnson and Senator Bigger raised very important points which I had in mind, not so distinctly and clearly, however, as they made in their arguments.
The question of the co-ordination of the work throughout the country should be dealt with by such a committee of reference. I stress the fact that the Minister for Justice has got to have this committee of reference for his activities, and I do argue that it is much more vital to the distribution of this money that the Minister for Local Government should have a committee of reference which would, at least, check the distribution of it. While the Minister was out I stressed the point concerning the officials of the Local Government Board. I am satisfied regarding the integrity of these men, but I am also satisfied that all sorts of opinions will operate with the Minister and that the official head —as in the case of all good officials— will do what he is told.
I propose to go on with this amendment and I do urge on the House that it is essential for the distribution of this great amount of money, which is charitable money, not out of the Exchequer, that this committee of reference can be availed of and, accordingly, I ask the favourable consideration of the Seanad for the amendment.