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Seanad Éireann debate -
Thursday, 20 Jul 1939

Vol. 23 No. 7

Tourist Traffic Bill, 1938—Report.

I move amendment No. 1:—

In page 5, Section 11, sub-section (3) after the word "board" in line 27 to insert the words "and shall in the case of a situation of an administrative, inspectorial or clerical character".

This amendment is not as wide in its scope as an amendment which was moved by me in Committee and which was defeated. The amendment moved in Committee contemplated making it compulsory upon the tourist development board to fill any situation in its gift through the machinery of the Local Appointments Commissioners. This amendment aims at having only a certain class of appointments filled through that machinery: that is, appointments of an administrative, inspectorial or clerical character. The amendment, therefore, is less wide in its scope and more definite and particular than the amendment rejected in Committee.

The objections taken in Committee were of two characters, and perhaps I might deal with these first. The Minister, speaking in Committee, as reported in column 329 of the Official Debates, said:

"I am quite prepared to agree that, in the case of this type of organisation as in the case of the Electricity Supply Board, there are certain types of appointment in respect of which the machinery could be used."

I am suggesting that these are the types of appointment for which that machinery could be used. Further on in the same column, the Minister said:

"It will not have them at the beginning. It will merely have a few typists, a few inspectors and general staff, until its activities begin to grow."

Now, I have translated typists, inspectors and general staff, used in the debate, into words suitable for insertion into an Act of Parliament: that is to say, administrative, inspectorial or clerical appointments, and, in the light of what the Minister said in Committee, I feel there will be no objection taken now to having appointments of this type filled by public advertisement or by any machinery which may be suggested to the board by the Local Appointments Commissioners.

May I deal at the outset with another objection that was made? It was said that if the machinery of the Local Appointments Commissioners were used to appoint the staff of the board, the board would, in some way, lose its power to dismiss its staff. That, of course, is not so. The Local Appointments Commissioners, like the Civil Service Commissioners, are merely a recruiting body. They recruit civil servants or the servants of local bodies, but when these servants have been appointed they are dismissible in the ordinary way. This particular tourist board would not be subject to the restrictions which are imposed upon the Executive in dismissing civil servants. A servant appointed through the machinery of the Local Appointments Commissioners may be dismissed the following day or the following week, if found unsuitable. There is nothing in the amendment which will in any way take from the board power over its own servants.

It was stated in Committee that this board was going to be a business concern, and that it could not appoint its staff in any other way but in the way in which an ordinary business appoints its staff. The chairman of an ordinary board of directors invests his own money, or some of his own money, in the company. This particular board will be working with public money, and not with money belonging to the board or to the chairman of the board, nor will the board be responsible to a public meeting of shareholders, as the boards of public companies are. It seems to me, therefore, that since they will have public money, and since that public money will be used to pay the staff, the machinery which offers competition should be used as distinct from appointment merely by the particular circle in which the chairman or members of the board may happen to be moving, without putting it any worse than that. The people who give their children education at the present moment are entitled to a fair run for jobs in the Civil Service—whether of the lower character, or of the higher character in the administrative grades. That applies also to positions under local bodies. There is no reason why the same people should not have a fair run for positions of this kind. What is going to happen however, is that, while we have the principle of "no patronage" applied to entry into the Civil Service, to a very large degree, we are—under this board and under other boards of the same character—creating a service the same as the Civil Service but reserving the positions for patronage and not for competition.

We are spending a good deal of money in granting scholarships from the primary schools to the secondary schools and from the secondary schools to the universities: we are spending a lot of money in grants to schools and in grants to universities. The least we might do, I think, is to allow the people who come out from these schools and those universities a fair run and no favour for posts under this Bill and under Bills like it.

I would like to see, further—though it is not in the present amendment— the names of persons who are appointed under this board published in Iris Oifigiúil so that it will be possible for them to be copied in the usual way into the ordinary newspapers and the public may know exactly who is being appointed.

I can see no difficulty which would prevent the board obtaining its staff through the Appointments Commissioners. The headquarters' staff will be people who will need to have administrative experience and there is no difficulty in the board stating what they want to the Local Appointments Commissioners and getting what they need without any undue delay. The same applies to the inspectors. With regard to the clerical and typing staff, it would be simple and cause no delay whatever to take those people from the lists available to the Civil Service Commission. As is well known, when the Minister for Finance issues a notice regarding examinations for clerical officers and typists and says that there are, say, 30 posts, the number called up is very often increased to 40 or 50. Those who are unsuccessful, however, include a very substantial number of persons who are absolutely first class. There is no doubt that some of these could be taken and given positions under the tourist board, rather than some person who never competed before and whose competency is in doubt. I feel that the objections which were made in Committee to the wider amendment do not apply to this one and I am confident, therefore, that the Minister will accept it.

I do not propose to accept this amendment. It is similar in intent to the amendment which was rejected in Committee. Underlying this amendment is the suspicion that the board to be appointed is going to act in an irresponsible manner. I do not think it will. I think that if we can get a board to which we can entrust the expenditure of large sums of money, we can trust it also to make appointments to posts under the board in such a way as to enable it to fulfil its work in a satisfactory manner.

Reference has been made by the Senator who moved the amendment to a desire on my part to reserve the posts available under this board for patronage, for particular appointments. The statement that we should allow university graduates a fair run, and the suggestion that the public should become aware of the names of the persons appointed—indicate the suspicion he has in his mind that this organisation is being created for some purpose other than that which appears on the face of the Bill. We are setting up a business board, we are going to get businessmen on that board, and we propose to give them the same powers and authority in relation to its staff that any business concern would have. I have no objection to the board's availing of the machinery of the Appointments Commission if they wish to do so, and if they consider that the efficiency and organisation of the board would be increased by doing so. I have put in a section enabling them to do that and it is a section similar in form to that which appeared in a previous Bill in regard to a similar board. I do not propose to accept an obligation to use that machinery and no other. I think it would be unwise to do so.

If the board consider the machinery suitable they can use it, but to put a statutory obligation on them to avail of that machinery would be unwise and would interfere with the efficiency of the organisation and possibly prevent it carrying out its duties properly. It would probably prevent getting the right type of people for the board, because it would be a declaration in advance that we will not trust the board to do its work properly. If we cannot get a board to take on this work and appoint its staff on the basis of merit, if we think that those whom we appoint are going to neglect their main work for the purpose of exercising patronage, then I think that we should drop the whole thing. Because it is my belief that we can get a board of competent people who can be trusted to do this work properly, I think that this amendment should be rejected.

The Minister depresses one when he takes up the attitude which he has taken up on this amendment. He makes the case, towards the end of his remarks, that if this amendment were inserted in the Bill he was going to be prevented from getting the right type of men to come on to the board. Surely he does not argue that seriously. If that were his argument, the Minister himself should not have taken the Ministerial post which he has, as he has to take the selection in staff passed on to him by the Civil Service Commission and he has no right to object. He is expected to get the work done with that staff, which has been selected by the people whom he regards as not competent to select staff for a board which is subsidised by the State. I do not think that argument can hold water. The Minister should not seriously contend that the justification for the rejection of this amendment is that he might be prevented from getting the right type of board.

At any rate, the same class of person will be available to be drawn upon, to do the work of this board, by the members of the board if they are to make a selection or by the Appointments Commissioners. The board when set up will not be able to go to a different type in order to make their selection; they will have to make it from those who would have been applicants for these posts under the Appointments Commissioners if they were making the selection. It convinces one that the Minister takes up the line that he is setting up this board—which is going to be subsidised by the State to a very considerable extent, which is going to expend £600,000 initially and £45,000 a year on administration— and he is going to find money for that, and they are going to be put there to do the work in the way they will, or, perhaps, to a certain extent, in the way he wills. One cannot argue that as suitable people will not be available through the Appointments Commissioners to do this work as would be available through the board making the selection themselves. When I hear an argument like that, I feel—from my own experience in life—that the policy of the Government, as enunciated by the Minister perhaps more frequently than anything else, bears a very striking resemblance to the philosophy of Herr Hitler in Germany. The Nazi cry is "Ein Reich, Ein Völk, Ein Fuhrer"—"One Parliament, One People, One Leader." That to a very great extent seems to be the philosophy of the Government Party: they are the National Party and all ought to belong to it; those who do not are not National. The Party, the State, and the Leader are one and the same thing, and we have to accept that point of view; unless we are prepared to accept that there is no place for us at all in the State.

With all respect to the Minister's point of view, he would have very great difficulty in convincing me that, whatever the qualifications of my child for a post under this board, that child would stand an equal chance with the child of other people whom I will not mention. I have very grave doubts, from my own experience, that the competence of the particular individual would be the determining factor. All the citizens are equal before the Constitution. They have equal rights, and so have their children. As taxpayers, they are making their contribution towards the common fund from which this board is going to be paid; but when it comes to giving service, or getting a chance to give service, to this board, in the judgment of quite a number of people, there will not be an equal chance for some as against others.

Senator Hayes' amendment simply asks that instead of this board being entrusted with what some people, even on the board, would regard as a rather invidious responsibility, the filling of these posts themselves, and the making of the selections in the way they must be made because of who they are, there should be another way which would be fairer and which would convince all the citizens that their children would have an equal chance. That is what the amendment asks. The Minister says that these people may do that, if they like. If the Minister would say that they may do that, if they like, and that he would tell them to do it that way, it would put a rather different complexion on the matter, but that is not going to happen. With the experience we have had in the past, we know that people are treated differently because of the political views they hold, and for no other reason. Competence, efficiency, good service or other qualifications which ought to be essential will not be weighed fairly. I think the sooner we get rid of that atmosphere in this country, the better, and you cannot get rid of it until you demonstrate to the citizens, all and sundry, that they are all going to get a fair chance.

There are many strong objections to the setting up of this board and to the spending of this money, but when it is decided to do it, at least it ought to be made possible for the citizens to have their hearts and souls in it, and to wish it well, that it should get a fair chance, that we should all know that it would be composed of the best people the Minister could get, regardless of political affiliations, either in the past or in the present, and, in addition, that, when it is set going, the best people available to staff and man that board would get a fair chance to present themselves and to get there by the fairest means possible. Whatever the Minister's views are, he will have very great difficulty in convincing a great number of people that he is not deliberately taking a line which will exclude a number of admirable people from the chance of a place on that board.

As one who supported the principle of the Bill and who long since visualised the urgency for Government intervention if the development of Irish tourism was to march along progressive lines, the attitude which the Minister has taken up in regard to these appointments is inexplicable. I can assure him perfectly honestly that this Bill and the appointments to be made are being watched with critical eyes throughout the country. We have had very dangerous experiences with regard to the disbursement of public money for which the public had to pay. Here is a colossal sum of public money, £600,000, with an annual payment of £45,000, and we are told by the Minister to-day that the personnel of the board whom he may, or shall, select will be above reproach. Granted that they may, he must not forget that we know that these people are made of the same clay and subject to the same weaknesses and shortcomings as other people, with, in many cases, as we have had evidence in recent times, a particular political sympathy and outlook.

The attitude of the Minister is in complete and direct opposition to an order issued by another Minister, which, I presume, was the considered opinion of the Government, and which was sent out to all public bodies. It was a carefully-though-out, documented matter which was binding upon every public body in the State, the terms of which were that all appointments made by them, under whatever head, from the smallest typist to the person in executive authority, must and could only be made after a severe and competitive test, giving everybody a fair and decent opportunity, irrespective of political affiliations and irrespective of social distinctions, so that the child of the worker, being gifted with the brains which God gave him, and being assisted by vocational and technical training, would have an equal opportunity to contest one of these positions with other children. That was an order given to all public bodies under the authority of the Minister for Local Government. It seems strange that to-day we have here a new departure. We have the disbursement of £600,000 of public moneys and the Minister says that these five or six white men will be so much above reproach and so immune from the weaknesses of human nature, and from the influence of political expediency, that they will override all the traits of human nature. I totally disagree.

Members of this House must know that the public distrust not alone of the Government but of all public institutions of democracy in this country is growing. Notwithstanding all their clamour, the public look for efficiency in government, and some of them say there is only one way to secure that. There are sinister rumours abroad, some of them indubitably false, that appointments have been given to friends of Ministers and that from these appointments these friends are drawing stipends not from one but from many sources in the way of public funds. In my opinion if there is nothing else that will defeat democracy, this will, and these things will inevitably lead this country to a form of government which will be a denial of social justice. It will bring about a position which will be the very antithesis of democracy and which will establish here the sort of government that is termed by Mussolini, Demo-Plutocracy. I would appeal to the Minister to bear in mind that if this venture is to succeed he must enlist public confidence behind it. Even on reading to-day's papers I see that an important public body in the South on which there were present ardent supporters and friends of the present Government, has severely criticised its action in giving £600,000 for the purpose of this Bill while denying even a pittance to the fundamental industry of this country—agriculture.

I draw the attention of the Minister to that critical issue and I warn him that severe criticism will be forthcoming if the attitude he has adopted in the selection of the personnel of the staff, which is completely at variance with the policy enunciated by the Executive Council, is persisted in. I presume that the order issued by the Minister for Local Government and Public Health was the result of a well thought-out plan of the Executive Council. Of course, I know the Minister will assume airs of omniscience and omnipotence, but he ought to remember that he is dealing with public money and not with his own money. I warn Ministers that the provisions made by them for themselves in after years may not be paid by the form of government which may succeed the present Government—a form of government they are helping to create. I appeal to the Minister to rise to the occasion and do his utmost to create the confidence that is essential if this industry is to be progressive and prosperous. But if the Minister adopts an attitude that is completely at variance with social justice and is at variance with giving every boy and girl to whom God has given brains and education, the right to compete for every position which is paid for out of Government funds, he is doing a bad day's work for democratic government in this country. The Minister should not leave these appointments to the five white men who are going to be above the very laws of nature, above the past experience of every member of this House and against the experience of every public institution in this country.

I oppose this amendment and I hope the Minister will not be swayed by any statement made by Senators in support of it. I am sure the Minister will not believe what has been said by the last speaker. If we were to accept that we should be getting ready at once to pack up and get out. I refuse to believe that the country is in the position stated by the Senator. I refuse to believe that there is distrust of public institutions in this country. We have not got that far. I believe the Senator has allowed himself to be unduly carried away by the remarks of Senator M. Hayes, though I do not want to pay Senator Hayes that compliment. Senator Madden seems to have been completely swept away in connection with this amendment and indeed with the Bill in general. The whole gist of the arguments used by Senator Hayes on every occasion when this Bill was under discussion was that a principle of political bosses was being set up by the Government, and that all their appointments would definitely be made on some basis of a political bedrock.

I did not say that.

That was the substance of what the Senator said.

Mr. Hayes

Could we have a quotation of the words I used? The words are in the Official Report.

If Senator Hayes is prepared to get up and apologise for what he said I would be prepared to accept his apology, but I am not sufficiently broadminded to accept his statement that because he did not use the exact words used by me just now that he did not make the statement to which I am objecting, but at all events that is how I interpreted his statement. The Senator said there ought to be a fair run and no favour for anyone and that that is not going to be the case under this Bill. I suggest that the first time people of this country got a fair run was since the present Government came into power. This was the first time that the people of the country got a chance. There was a fair chance given to everyone after the Fianna Fáil Government got into office. Up to that no such rule existed——

Who set up the Local Appointments Commissioners and when?

And the Civil Service Commissioners and when?

There are no preferences.

I again say that the first time the people of the country got a fair run and no favour was since Fianna Fáil got into power. Since then there has been no preference because of any political colour. The politics of applicants do not interfere with their appointments and politics will not influence appointments as long as this Government is in power. Senator Hayes said that the Minister had stated that this was a business concern. That is no reason why appointments should not go to the Local Appointments Commissioners. I refuse to believe that this country has gone to this pitch or that we have such a remnant of the old political bitterness which existed in the days when all public companies were run on the lines suggested by Senator Hayes. I know several business concerns here in the city run by people diametrically opposed to the Government and in these concerns the first person you meet is a prominent supporter of the Government. There are numerous concerns here under the control of Fianna Fáil supporters and when one walks inside the door the first person he meets is someone who is definitely and openly opposed to the Government. I oppose the amendment because I believe there is in the Bill provision made for the board if they so desire it to apply to the Local Appointments Commissioners. That was already pointed out by the Minister and somebody tried to misinterpret what he said on that occasion.

Senator Baxter said that the Minister said he was not going to prevent the board from getting the right type of person. What I understood the Minister to say was that for a certain type of person, the board would need to use its own discretion, but that generally the board would take advantage of the Appointments Commissioners. Anybody here who might imagine himself in the same position as a member of that board would follow the line of least resistance. This board will be faced with thousands of applicants. The members of the board will be no different from anybody else. I believe, however, that their hands should not be tied, and if they want a certain type of person the board will be the best judges of that. They should have the right to select that certain type of person. The Senator said, "An ordinary business board deals with its own money, but the chairman of this board will be in no such position." The chairman of this board will be no different from the managing director of several other businesses. I can see no reasonable argument put forward in support of this amendment to which I am definitely opposed.

On the Committee Stage of this Bill the Minister made a very strong case for excluding members of the Dáil and Seanad from being members of the tourist board. His attitude on this amendment when contrasted with his austerity and zeal on that question seems to me to be very peculiar and illogical. The conclusion that comes from these two attitudes would seem to be that the Dáil and Seanad are unique sources of corruption in this country and that once you succeed in eliminating the possible influence of the Dáil and Seanad you have then made the board so impartial and watertight in its attitude that it comes second only to the Executive of the Fianna Fáil Party, which, according to Senator Quirke, is the most ethical body in existence.


If it was not so late in the day I would, in view of the assurance that Senator Quirke has given us, put down an amendment suggesting that all appointments under this body be made by the Executive of the Fianna Fáil Party.

They would be much better than if they were made by the Executive of the Fine Gael Party.

Perhaps Senator Quirke and I could put down a joint amendment.

I suggest that the Senator put down one joint amendment too many.

The Minister's whole attitude on this matter is really rather extraordinary. I could understand it if he had not been so adamant on the question of membership of the Dáil and Seanad on the Committee Stage but, when he goes to such lengths to exclude members of the Dáil and Seanad from membership of the board, I fail to see why he should not take a further step and make it mandatory on the board to make these appointments in these special cases—appointments of an administrative, inspectorial or clerical character—through the body which exists for the purpose of being used in the making of such appointments. Not only county councils but county managers and city managers that are appointed all over the country—men chosen in an impartial way for their excellent character, administrative experience and administrative ability— are prohibited from making appointments of this kind except through the Local Appointments Commission. The more you have of these boards of a semi-Civil Service character, expending a great amount of money and playing a considerable part in the life of the country, the more necessary it seems to me to be, for the sake of the members of the board themselves as well as for the sake of the service, to make sure that not merely will they make these appointments in the fairest possible way, but that all danger of suspicion falling on their actions or motives will be eliminated.

As everybody knows, there has been a considerable amount of canvassing in connection with this board and in connection with the positions under it. I have heard at some time that the corridors of Leinster House were thronged with prospective candidates for the various positions under this board from the highest to the lowest. That being so, it is quite evident that these appointments have been widely discussed up and down the country. There can be no doubt about it, in spite of Senator Quirke's denials, whether we like it or not, whatever our opinions about the whole policy underlying this Bill may be, there will be suspicions and allegations of favouritism, not necessarily always political favouritism but personal favouritism, personal pull of one kind or another. Allegations of that kind are more likely to be made in connection with any this board than in connection with any other board which the Minister or the Government has set up in recent times. The whole matter has been surrounded by an atmosphere of that kind, not, I can well believe, through any fault of the Minister, but inevitably there has been a tendency to believe that here is a vast prospect of new jobs for all kinds of people whether they are qualified or not. In justice to the future members of the board, certainly in its earlier years, I think it would be a very good thing if Senator Hayes' amendment were accepted. I do not desire to discuss another aspect of the question which has been mentioned, but I think there is a great deal to be said for the point to which Senator Hayes referred, that something should be done to ensure that our own educated people, on whom we are spending a great deal of money, should be afforded a chance of employment under bodies like this and that there should be no possibility left open that they might be deprived of their rights or of a fair chance of employment in cases like this.

The reason that seems to be operating in the Minister's mind is that in all these matters there should be an analogy between this Bill and the Electricity Supply Bill. To my mind that is a most unfortunate analogy and it is a great pity that the vision of the Electricity Supply Board was floating before the Minister's mind at all in connection with this matter because there could be hardly any two enterprises so different in character as this enterprise and the Electricity Supply enterprise. The officials of this board will not require special qualifications, but they will require a high degree of education, of taste, judgment and administrative capacity. They will not require that technical knowledge or training that had to be part of the equipment of persons seeking positions under the Electricity Supply Board. This amendment affords a method of securing for these posts officials of the highest standards of education, and it is for that reason I support it.

I do not understand Senator Quirke's attitude in regard to this Bill. The words of this amendment, to my mind, do not imply any particular suspicion, but in our system of government we went to great expense and took considerable precautions, not necessarily to prevent corruption or jobbery, but to assure the public that nothing of the sort could arise. You have the Comptroller and Auditor-General and the Public Accounts Committee to watch expenditure and to see that no money is expended except for the purpose, and according to the forms set out when it is voted. I remember when I was Minister for Defence in the previous Government somebody would come to me and say that a certain person was offering what seemed a very big sum for something like an army hut and that if it were put up for auction we would not have a chance of getting that price for it. I said that everything offered for sale in that way must be put up for auction, that even if we were not to get £1 for something for which we had been offered £50 before, at least the public would know that the thing was being fairly run. The whole Government machinery is arranged so that the public, through the Dáil and other institutions, will be able to see that their money is being spent exactly for the proper purpose.

There are cases when such a body as the Public Appointments Commission might not be a very apt means of filling an appointment. There are occasions when it might be desirable to go outside this country to get a person for a certain post, but here in this amendment there are definite categories of possible employees named. Senator Quirke seemed to think that the whole point of the amendment was to see that political preference does not enter into these appointments and he talked about business houses. The ordinary business man wants to see the work of his business carried on properly and I think it would be perfectly ridiculous to imagine that he would be influenced in his appointments by the political opinions of applicants for employment. If I were running a business house, I would not care whether an employee of mine were Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil so long as he attended to his work, but I think if the Senator will go into a business place, he will find that a distinguished employee in the firm might be the owner's nephew or the owner's son. It is perfectly right, of course, that he should give a preference in the chief appointment to his own family. With regard to the Shannon Bill, it was arranged that the enterprise should pay interest and sinking fund charges on the capital which was advanced to it by the State. In the case of this board, it is a question mostly of spending. Nobody can demand the production of the balance sheets of this board to see what is being spent and that an adequate return is being given for it. Nevertheless, as I said on an earlier stage, the action of the board is due to be criticised as it is financed out of public funds that have to be voted. It is going to be criticised by the Dáil.

In regard to the question of canvassing, the first advertence that I had to this Bill was meeting a man in this House and I said to him, in an attempt at heavy humour: "What are you doing in this haunt of iniquity?" He said: "An awful job—canvassing." I said: "What are you canvassing for?"—because I had not then realised that these jobs were going to be filled by the board. He said: "I am canvassing for a position on the board under the new Tourist Bill." That is a fact and, if the Minister likes, I can give him the name. I think he either was hoping to be, or actually was, a Fianna Fáil candidate in an election. I am not going to say that everybody who gets a job under this board will be appointed for his politics, but I do say that when we set up the Civil Service Board and the Public Appointments Board it was not entirely from high moral motives on our part; it was in the interests of efficiency. When you are a Minister, or an ex-Minister, and your post is mostly from people who want jobs, or want loans of money, and so on, there is a certain pressure brought to bear on you. If a man who was in gaol with you, and had seven children, tells you he has not had work for the last year, it is very hard to say to him: "I do not regard you as absolutely the best man for this job. Get out." It is a protection to Ministers to be able to assure everybody who comes to them that they have no power whatever in the matter.

If I may digress, I remember getting a letter from a well-known man in Cork, saying he understood there was going to be a vacancy for a typist in my office. I had never heard of it. I asked my secretary, and he had never heard of it; nobody had heard of it. It turned out that a typist in the office was going to get married, and the rumour had already got down to Cork. A Minister who has been in office for some time, and has a sense of responsibility, does, you might say, harden himself, his life is so much made up of telling people they cannot get what they want him to give. But here you are bringing in a new body, a board—all their personal friends may be strong supporters of Fine Gael—and they are going to have no protection whatever in regard to the giving of jobs. It is not their money that is being spent. It is public money, voted by the Dáil. The public who are providing that money have the right, to some extent at any rate, to have a fair assurance that there is a machine so operating that those appointments will be made according to the suitability of the people for the posts available, and that no unworthy consideration is going to be brought in. As I said earlier, a tremendous lot of the machinery of government is really for the purpose of letting the public know that if anything of an untoward nature is being done it is possible for it to be brought into the light.

The amendment refers to three types of appointments—those of an administrative, inspectorial or clerical character. The appointments board we already have are in the habit of considering just such appointments. We are now going to have the Minister appointing certain people. I have referred to the man who was here canvassing—presumably canvassing the Minister and the Minister's colleagues —to get a job on the board, and a newspaper in the constituency I used to represent has definitely given the name of a man proposed to the position of chairman of this board, although the law has not yet sanctioned such a board at all. Personally, I cannot suggest anything better than the Minister himself appointing the board, but when it comes to the board operating in regard to those comparatively subordinate appointments it does seem to me that the public, who were going to pay are entitled to some assurance. The man who is giving the jobs will not feel that a certain profit has to be made, as in the case of an ordinary business. He can almost create jobs. I do not say he is going to do it. All the amendment asks is that the ordinary type of machinery which applies to Government expenditure shall, in a very mild way, apply here. This is not nearly as drastic and does not indicate nearly as much suspicion of the unworthy humanity in the country as the existence of the Public Accounts Committee.

I only wish to say one word with reference to Senator Quirke's remarks about the practice in commercial companies. It is characteristic of Senator Quirke that when he intervenes he rather spoils his own case instead of improving it. If he had made further inquiries he would have found that most of the commercial concerns of any size make their appointments by public examination, and by special interview for the candidates. They do not simply go out and appoint people without any preliminary test.

Tá sean-fhocal ann "Annlann don ghé isé annlann don ghandail." I hope the Minister will not accept this amendment. We all have sufficiently long memories to remember the days when the forerunner of Fine Gael was in office, that is Cumann na nGaedheal. We remember the liberality with which they treated their opponents in regard to any position that was going. We remember when the Dublin Commissioners were in power nobody would even get a job sweeping the streets if he were not a member of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party. They come in here now telling us how sincere and anxious they are in the interests of fair play. In my opinion, the present Government are acting too liberally with the opposite side. If they followed the example of the Opposition they certainly would not have acted at all as liberally. Take, for example, the position of Vice-Chairman of this House. The Government could have elected anyone they liked—anyone of their own Party. It is very hard to have to sit here and listen to the Opposition making statements of the kind which we have heard.

It is not my intention to discuss the merits of the amendment at all. I will confine myself to answering some of the remarks made by other speakers. It is very pleasant to hear, even at this stage, the genuine faith which our friends on the left have in the impartiality of the Local Appointments Commission. Here in this House, of course, there is no such institution as a political Party, but, in the case of appointments by the Appointments Commissioners down the country, if a known supporter of the Government happens to be chosen that appointment is invariably decried by the Opposition political Party, who say that the Appointments Commissioners are under the influence of the Government. On the other hand, if a supporter of the Opposition is appointed, it may be said by the Fianna Fáil Party that the Appointments Commission still consists of most of the old crowd.

Examinations in themselves are no criterion of suitability for the appointments to be made by this board. You will find people who can pass examinations to beat the band, professors who can talk to the moon, but there are many of us who would not accept the statement that their judgment or their energy is any better than that of most of us who never pass an examination. For the business to be done under the institution about to be formed, the people who should be appointed are those of character and experience, those who are most likely to fill the posts efficiently, and not necessarily those who pass the highest tests at an examination.

Who will select those people?

The judgment of the board appointed by the Minister must be relied upon to appoint the proper people. I am sure the Minister has in mind that he will be able to procure a board he can depend upon to carry out that work. I am not interested either in the board or in any appointment they are likely to make. I am pleased to say that I have not been canvassed, by anybody to use my influence. I am sure that canvassing is not much good where the Minister is concerned, because I have known him to be canvassed on several occasions before, with very bad results.

Somebody got good results.

Mostly your friends.

There is not much evidence of that.

I can truly say as one who has been engaged in business of an ordinary kind during my life that I think the Minister is adopting the proper course and that his judgment will be very sound in the appointment of this board so that everybody can depend on it that they will appoint the staff they require quite impartially and that they will try to get the best staff they can.

I approach this amendment with an open mind and I find myself in the curious situation that a number of speeches made in favour of the amendment have made me inclined to vote against it, and that a number of speeches made against the amendment have made me inclined to vote in favour of it. But, after consideration to the best of my ability, I have come to the conclusion that the amendment is, on the whole, a bad one. Had it been confined to clerical positions, I think it would have been satisfactory; but I think it goes too far in seeking to compel the board to make use of the Appointments Commission for all administrative and inspectorial situations. Some such situations would be of very considerable importance in the board's work. I cannot accept the view of Senator Tierney that all that is required of people to do the work satisfactorily would be a good general education or even ordinary general intelligence. It seems to me that as in the case of the Electricity Supply Board, technical skill will be required, perhaps not quite as technical as for the Electricity Supply Board, but still special experience in this sort of business will be highly desirable and it would be a great mistake if the appointments were to be filled on the principle that anyone of ordinarily good education and ordinarily good mind could fill the positions. Senator Fitzgerald himself has alluded to the possibility of importing people from abroad to fill some of these positions.

That could be done under the amendment.

Possibly it could be done under the amendment, but would it be as likely to be done?

Mr. Hayes

Yes, more likely.

My impression, right or wrong, is that it would not, and that those who seek to guard whatever may be the appointing authority against criticism on the ground of the appointments made are trying to do something which is impossible. There always will be criticism. There has been plenty of criticism of appointments made, as Senator Honan pointed out, and appointments made even by the Appointments Commission, and criticism of the kind that implies favouritism, dishonesty and so-forth. Disappointed candidates and the friends of disappointed candidates will always say such things. If we feel that this board is going to be so untrustworthy that we cannot give it the right to appoint persons to important positions under it, I do not think we ought to set up the board at all. We do provide it under the Bill with the power of making use of the Appointments Commission when it wants to. It seems to me that is a reasonably satisfactory solution of the question.

It has been stated here that the Government are always inclined to favour the members of their own organisation. I wish to point out that the Government some short time ago had the nomination of 11 Senators. If we look up the matter we will find that a number were nominated who were certainly not in favour of the Government, and to my mind—I do not want to be personal—were not very favourable to Irish aspirations. That does not show that the Government were keeping positions for their own friends or for the men who support their organisation. The Government set up a Banking Commission on somewhat similar lines. Then we come to the Agricultural Commission which was set up to deal with the question of agriculture. We had Senators speaking this evening about the criticism in the country on account of the members appointed to commissions of this kind. I certainly say that the criticism is entirely against the Government, because people feel that certain members put on commissions are totally against the Government.

On a point of order. What has this to do with the amendment?

I shall bear the Senator further. His argument may be by way of illustration of a point he is about to make.

What is the point about commissions the members of which are not paid? I am a member of the Agricultural Commission to which the Senator is referring. Why refer to an appointment which means the giving of services gratis and money out of a man's pocket?

Senators stated that people in the country were criticising the Government because they give posts to members and supporters of Fianna Fáil Clubs. I say that that is not true; that the Government are prepared to take a liberal view of the position in this country and to give everybody the right to sit on public boards and to administer the affairs of the country honestly. This amendment is criticised by certain members of the House, on the ground that the Government have the right to make the appointments, and that the people to be appointed belong to Fianna Fáil Clubs. That is not true. The Government is justified in their attitude in connection with this Bill, and if the matter is left in their hands, people will be appointed who will be able to do the necessary work.

I suppose there is very little use in discussing this matter, as the Minister has indicated that he is not prepared to accept the amendment. However, I may be allowed to offer a few arguments in favour of it. It is toned down considerably compared with the amendment dealt with on the Committee Stage. The Minister's argument then was that this was a business concern and that the appointments to be made were not of the same nature as appointments made in other institutions. He instanced the hotel "boots," chefs, and people of that description. It appears to me that such appointments do not come under this amendment, and that it is considerably limited as to the posts to which it should apply. I am not at all in agreement with Senator MacDermot, that it would be like passing a vote of want of confidence in the board if the Appointments Commissioners were asked to make appointments. If one were to argue on that basis, one might say that the fact that the Act setting up the Appointments Commissioners went through the Oireachtas showed want of confidence in public bodies. Surely that argument cannot stand examination. Now we have it from official sources that the Civil Service is not a business institution and that public bodies are not public institutions. I should like the Minister to indicate the difference between getting a good typist for a county council or an urban council and getting a good typist for this board. What is the difference between getting a good accountant or an inspector for a public body and getting a good accountant or a good inspector for this board?

I cannot understand what the Minister meant by a reference to tying his hands with respect to this board. I am not prepared to go to the extreme length with some people, who say that we are going to have absolute favouritism in these appointments. I do not know who will be on the board, but I do not believe it will be an absolute refuge of sinners for Fianna Fáil people who have fallen out of other positions. There is no evidence that that will be the case. The fact is that if they had to be put into positions there would be a charge of endeavouring to make jobs for friends. Senator Healy said that Fine Gael filled every post with its friends. Surely his Party would not follow that bad example.

Mr. Hayes

It is a sure thing that they would.

Surely the Senator's Party would not follow that bad example. It has followed in the steps of Fine Gael so often, and has slipped so often where Fine Gael slipped, that they should not fall where Fine Gael fell. As to business concerns filling positions in their gift by competitive examination, I wonder if the Minister could say if the railways are business concerns, and if they fill positions by competitive examinations. The Minister has some acquaintance with the Agricultural Credit Corporation, and, if I am not mistaken, I have seen advertisements on several occasions indicating that positions were filled by competitive examination.

There is nothing in this Bill to prevent this board doing the same thing.

That is so, but there is nothing to make the board do so.

Or the Agricultural Credit Corporation.

The fact that they do it shows that there is some good reason for it. I suggest that there is a good reason for doing it in this case. I should like the Minister to tell the House the compelling reason that makes it so difficult to get a good typist, a good shorthand writer, a good inspector, a good editor or any other position of the kind needed for this board from what happened in other concerns. That is all I want the Minister to say, and if he has any convincing argument he has in me a good subject to convince.

The amendment is of sufficient importance to justify spending some time discussing, even though we may not have much hope that the Minister will change his mind. He does not often change his mind in these matters. I find myself in agreement with Senator MacDermot in one respect, when he thinks that there will be criticism of the appointments, no matter how they are made. Beyond that, I totally disagree with the attitude the Senator took up towards the amendment. He said that if we had not got confidence in the board, why have a board at all? You might as well say that if you had not sufficient confidence in the Government to enable them to appoint civil servants, why have a Government at all. You might equally say that a Government that brought in proposals for the appointment of a board had no confidence in itself. Much of the discussion as to the relative impartiality of political parties has very little to do with the matter. The question is: what is the best method that we can so far devise for making appointments? No Party and no Government has devised a perfectly sound method. As far as I know, no business has devised a sound method. The practice, particularly in larger concerns, is more and more to seek methods by which there will be an element of competition, and to reduce appointments made simply by personal choice to the minimum. I think it is a wise step on the part of the State to adopt that with regard to the Civil Service.

I was exceedingly doubtful about the amendment proposed on the Committee Stage. I was impressed by the argument of the Minister that there were certain appointments under the board that conceivably could not be dealt with by the Appointments Commissioners. The amendment before the House now definitely limits it to the kind of people that the Minister rather favoured the board should appoint through the commissioners, even though he does not favour compelling the board to have that done. In the Civil Service you have an administrative class, inspectors and clerical employees, all chosen in this manner, and I cannot see why these appointments could not be chosen in the same way. I believe the time will come, before very long, when both political Parties, instead of comparing their relative merits or demerits, will set out to find the best method of making appointments, and to remove, as far as possible, Party considerations no matter what Government is in power. I suggest that, while this is by no means an infallible way, it is the best way so far and should be extended. There is an impression, judging by the speeches of some Senators, that if the amendment is passed the board will have no say in the choice of personnel. I am satisfied that is not the case. They can have a representative on the Appointments Commission when the appointments are being made. They can consult or make suggestions with regard to particular types that might be required for certain hotels, such as bringing in a foreigner. They are not obliged to keep anyone appointed. They can sack them if they are unsuitable. It is not a question of a Department as in the Civil Service or that the tourist board will be out of touch when appointments are made, or of having unsuitable people pushed on to them. If the appointments system is not as good as we would wish, let us concentrate on making it better, and not scrap it by going back to the other method. For that reason I support the amendment.

I intend to support the amendment. I supported a similar amendment on the Committee Stage. I think it necessary to say that I am supporting this amendment because Senator Hayes, when the previous amendment was defeated last week, thought fit to make some remarks that I think he should not have made. He said that it was the Minister's intention to appoint hangers-on of his Party. I do not believe that at all. If Fianna Fáil partisans are selected for membership of the board I believe they will not be selected on that account. I believe the Minister will have some advertence to the fact that these men, if he does select such, will be qualified to fill the positions he wishes them to occupy on that board.

I am voting for the amendment because I believe in the principle of appointments to these boards being made by the Appointments Commissioners and for no other reason. Hearing Senators on this side speaking, one would imagine that they were the only pure-souled politicians actuated by high moral principles. When they were in office I do not think they were too backward in making appointments solely on political grounds. The only people who suffer in that respect are the group of people to which I belong and which, so far as one can see, never can hope to obtain power in this country. It is the only group one needs some degree of virtue to be a member of.

Senator Sir John Keane has stated that the big companies make their appointments by examination. I wonder is that true? I should imagine some of the big appointments on the boards he would be connected with would be made by reason of membership of a house across the road, our next door neighbours. I think that is what would actuate them. The Senator says that all the big companies make their appointments by examination. I am sure that he is referring only to the minor positions.

If the Senator wants me to be specific, I will say that in the case of banks, excepting the directors and one or two technical officers, who would be dealing with income-tax and things of that kind, all persons are appointed by competitive examination.

Does that include bank managers?

That is the explanation so far as the Bank of Ireland is concerned. I happened to be a member of the Banking Commission. If I were to decide again I would be prepared to go into penal servitude for the same period I spent as a member of that commission.

And you would have got some money coming out.

I lost money by being a member of it. It is an expensive thing to be on a commission. I am on another commission now and it seems likely that I will spend my life on commissions.

Paid commissions?

Someone referred to canvassing going on in respect of appointments. I am quite sure that Fine Gael would be just as assiduous in canvassing for these appointments, and it is wrong for Fine Gael to be setting themselves up as purists. They may be satisfied that they are fooling themselves, but they are not fooling the people as a whole I intend to vote for the amendment, but I do not believe all the things Senator Hayes alleges against the Minister. I do not think those things he spoke of are going to happen when the Minister comes to appoint the members of the board.

I am a woman first and a Party politician afterwards and, if I speak as a Party politician, I do not at the same time lay aside the sense of reality and common-sense which is my purpose as a woman. Speaking as a Party politician, I can imagine nothing more disastrous to the Party to which I used to belong—I am not political now, but I was born out of the Fianna Fáil Party—I could imagine nothing more disastrous to its prestige, or to the prestige of the Minister, than to choose persons for their Party history. I think the Minister is a very up-to-date, go-ahead Minister and he likes to make a success of any job he takes in hands. He will see that he will have to get a thundering good board to make a success of the big job he has taken in hands. Therefore, I think the personnel of the board he selects will have special qualifications. To my mind the most important of these qualifications is to be able to pick out a staff in all departments capable of making a huge success of the job they have undertaken.

As regards a knowledge of people's qualifications and the kind of work that has to be done and the kind of people that they will seek to do that work, every member of the board must possess that knowledge in a pre-eminent manner. If not, they will not make a success of their work. That work demands a tremendous knowledge of the country, of its needs and the material that is likely to make a success of the thing. I deduce from that that the board itself—I have no idea who they are going to be, but knowing the Minister, I am sure the selection will be a good one—will be a much better judge of the sort of people they need to make a success of the job than any Appointments Commissioners. At the same time, they may like to have the help of the Appointments Commissioners and so far as I know they will have that. I do not think it would be wise to bind them too much and we should give them a fair chance. We all hope that this will be a tremendous success and that it will benefit the country. We hope that the money we are going to spend will give large returns to the country. It would be much better to give the board a chance of making their own selections, if they think fit to do so.

Much can be said in favour of the argument advanced by Senator Mrs. Concannon. In regard to the other arguments, I do not think they carry much conviction. Senator Hayes made a very good case for the acceptance of this amendment, a remarkably good case. I have seldom heard him making a better case than he did for the acceptance of this amendment. I quite realise the selection of a board of management of such an institution as the Minister is setting up is a very difficult undertaking. I quite see that there may be difficulties in appealing to the Appointments Commissioners in the case of every appointment. I should say that the administrative work would be a matter that would present considerable difficulty. I expect that difficulties will present themselves in the making of appointments. At the same time, the Minister has in his hands the nomination of the members of the panel and it is within the compass of his power to put on that Appointments Commission men well able to form a judgment on the soundness of an application for a position under this board. I am sure they would be equally competent to do that as the members of any other organisation.

I have no doubt that the Appointments Commissioners for whom the Government have fought so hard throughout the country will take every opportunity of informing themselves of the qualifications of the candidates who apply for important positions. I should say that no Appointments Commissioners would in a case of this kind make any appointment without due consultation with the board which the Minister sets up. They would be in a position to call the members of that board before them and ask them the necessary questions so as to produce for them the information that is necessary to guide them in making an appointment. It would be almost fatal to the progress of the project if the Appointments Commissioners, entirely apart from this board, took it into their hands to make such appointments. I am sure they will do nothing of the kind, seeing that the Minister has power to appoint very competent men for that purpose on the Appointments Commission and I do not think there is any danger.

I believe the principle of the Appointments Commissioners should be preserved. It would seem that the attitude of the Government in this case would appear to be a vote of censure and a lack of confidence in the work of the Appointments Commissioners. If that is so, you should repeal the Act setting up the commission and let each Department be free to choose its own personnel. The principle, however, should be maintained, if it were only for the one purpose, and that is the purpose of giving the country confidence that there is no political bias, no political prejudice, or no political favouritism exercised in making these appointments. I do not suggest for a moment that that will be the case, because I believe that any board that will be set up will appoint the most competent of the men who come before them, but I do say that the Government, in their own interests as well as in the interests of democratic rule, should maintain this principle of using the Appointments Commission in connection with these positions, and the Appointments Commission, when it comes to the question of making an appointment, can take into consultation the members of the board. I wish to say that I am in support of the amendment.

Amendment put.
The Seanad divided: Tá, 15; Níl, 22.

  • Baxter, Patrick F.
  • Butler, John.
  • Campbell, Seán P.
  • Counihan, John J.
  • Douglas, James G.
  • Doyle, Patrick.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Hayes, Michael.
  • Hogan, Patrick.
  • Johnston, Joseph.
  • Keane, Sir John.
  • McGee, James T.
  • McGillycuddy of the Reeks, The.
  • Madden, David J.
  • Parkinson, James J.


  • Concannon, Helena.
  • Corkery, Daniel.
  • Goulding, Seán.
  • Hawkins, Frederick.
  • Healy, Denis D.
  • Honan, Thomas V.
  • Kehoe, Patrick.
  • Kennedy, Margaret L.
  • Keohane, Patrick T.
  • Lynch, Peter T.
  • MacCabe, Dominick.
  • MacDermot, Frank.
  • McEllin, Seán.
  • Magennis, William.
  • O'Callaghan, William.
  • O'Dwyer, Martin.
  • Nic Phiarais, Maighréad M.
  • Quirke, William.
  • Robinson, David L.
  • Ruane, Thomas.
  • Stafford, Matthew.
  • Tunney, James.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Doyle and Madden; Níl, Senators Goulding and O'Dwyer.
Amendment declared lost.

Mr. Hayes

I move amendment No. 2:—

In page 5, to add at the end of Section 11 the following new subsection:—

(6) Before making an appointment of an administrative inspectorial or clerical character the board shall issue a public advertisement inviting applications for the post and setting forth—

(a) the qualifications required for the post;

(b) The remuneration and conditions of employment for such post.

This amendment provides that before making an appointment of an administrative, inspectorial or clerical character the board shall advertise the post setting out the qualifications, salary and terms of employment and proceed to fill it upon the applications received. I feel that that is nothing else but fair and good public policy. No suspicion of any board is implied if you say to them, you are dealing with public money and you must give all the people in the country who have the kind of qualifications that you want a fair do and fair play for the post. It was suggested at one time that the board had a number of appointments which could not possibly be made on any other than a personal basis. We heard to-day from the Minister that he is not prepared to consider any kind of compromise. He is not prepared to consider anything except that the board shall make the appointments on its own lines and in its own way. Apart altogether from politics, and apart altogether from political pull and influence, it is objectionable in this particular instance or any similar instance that an appointment should be made on a personal basis. I would be entirely opposed to a person getting an appointment in this board, even if he were exactly of my politics, if he got it—as can easily happen in this country—because the chairman of the board was a relation of his or because he had business connections with the chairman. In other words, the appointments made by this board, which will be remunerated out of public money, should be on neither a personal nor a political basis. They should be on the basis that everybody gets a fair chance to have his merits recognised.

I see no reason whatever why in the case of ordinary clerical or administrative appointments it should not be done by the machinery of advertisement and examination. What is suggested in this amendment would, I think, be more expensive than what was previously suggested because the board would have to make its own arrangements, but, I think, if this procedure is not followed, even putting it at its very best and eliminating all question of political suspicion, what will happen is that those who are known to members of the board will get a post. For example, a girl who has failed to get into the Civil Service, as you can even though you get 75 per cent. of the marks in the examination, might not get a post in this board, but a girl who was far down the list who got only 25 per cent. of the marks might get the post for personal reasons. That, to my mind, is a mistake. We all know that the board will proceed to appoint people in the beginning on a temporary basis. If they are going to be appointed on a temporary basis that is no argument for not having an advertisement and a competition because nobody needs to be told that those who go in this year, let us say, on a temporary basis will stay and will eventually become permanent and pensionable. Whether they are hangers-on of Fianna Fáil or not, they will remain and will become permanent and pensionable. Therefore, I suggest that no argument at all has been given for leaving this board completely in charge of every possible kind of appointment. As has been suggested here already, great public corporations have endeavoured to dissociate themselves from appointments of nearly every character except the very highest. All we are asking here is that this board, since it deals with public money, should advertise when it requires candidates and that its appointments should be made in the light of day, that we should know who are the competitors and who are the successful candidates and that there is no suspicion on the board or anybody.

We are spending, as I said before, a great deal of money on education, giving scholarships to secondary schools and universities and I would like to see the position where a boy or a girl, a man or a woman who had the necessary qualifications should have the same chance of getting the post as a person, let us say, living in Dublin, near the members of the board, or living in Cork, near a member of the board, or living anywhere you like, near a member of the board. Therefore, I press this amendment. I do not want to waste any further time on it.

I oppose this amendment principally because, as far as I can see, it could not serve any useful purpose. The amendment suggests that before making an appointment of an administrative, inspectorial or clerical character, the board shall issue a public advertisement inviting applications for the post and setting forth (a) the qualifications required for the post and (b) the remuneration and conditions of employment for such post. If we are to believe all we were told here to-day, there is no scarcity of applications; we have been told that the board has been canvassed already before they are established at all; but it is quite obvious that if they need people to fill any particular kind of post they will, in the ordinary way, advertise and fill the appointment by somebody suitable for the job. At the present time they would possibly promote somebody from one position to another and, therefore, they would not need to appoint new officers. It is a great pity that Senator Hayes insists on this sort of political speech.

Mr. Hayes


The Senator says "Ha," as if it was the first he heard of it. He insists all the time on dragging into this matter that the people who are hangers-on of Fianna Fáil will be retained in the service of the board. I suppose the Senator would nearly go so far as to say that because a person happens to be a supporter of the Government of the day that should be a disqualification, that he should be immediately dismissed?

Mr. Hayes

No, Sir, I would not do that really. You are not quite fair to me. I would not do that.

We can only judge people by their past actions and we know by certain clauses that were inserted in the past that they were inserted definitely to eliminate people who were supporters of Fianna Fáil or the Parties which were Fianna Fáil before they became Fianna Fáil. We are quite prepared to get away from that and eliminate all this political bitterness, and as far as we possibly can, we will do so. The Minister for Industry and Commerce more than any other Minister in the Government has done that. I can say that. I can see no advantage whatever in insisting on this amendment.

Is there any disadvantage?

I would not say there is any decided disadvantage, but there is certainly no advantage in it. Senator Hayes made a suggestion here that two people might go up for examination in the Civil Service, one of whom might get 75 per cent. and the other 25 per cent., and because of the terrible board that is going to be set up under this Bill the person who got the 25 per cent. is going to get the job.

Mr. Hayes


Anything might happen.

Mr. Hayes

That is what I am afraid of. That is my difficulty.

They might go into the Seanad and take out some of the people who were not fit for anything else and give them jobs.

Mr. Hayes

They would get a great selection.

These things do not happen and there is no necessity for taking all the precautions that are suggested should be taken. The whole purpose behind it is to prevent any possibility of anybody who would be slightly tainted with politics of a particular kind from becoming a servant of the board. I do not believe that there is the slightest danger. In fact, I would like, if I could, to create the feeling down the country, that it was giving a chance to Fianna Fáil supporters to get jobs. But the fact of the matter is that the people down the country know perfectly well that the administration under this will be the same as the administration of everything else that the Government are responsible for—that is to say, that it will be on the fairest possible basis. At the same time, I say that there should be no regulations to exclude a person because he happened to be a supporter of the Government.

Mr. Hayes

How does this regulation exclude supporters of the Government? If they are the best people will they not get all the jobs?

We think that they are the best people.

Senator Quirke can sometimes make a contribution to a debate that has some meat in it, but the speech he has just delivered was really the weakest that I have ever heard him make in the House. His attempt to defend the attitude of the Government with regard to this was really very weak, very halting and most unconvincing. I am satisfied, having listened to the Senator, that he did not even convince himself, and when a speaker fails to do that he naturally fails to convince his hearers. The Senator, so far as I could understand him, took the line that he wanted us to believe that the Minister is going to be so impartial in his appointments to this board that, in the case of appointments to be made under it, everyone is going to get a fair run for any posts that are vacant. Let us take, for example, the nominees of the Minister on many of the existing boards. If some member of the House opposite will get up and tell us that they are not supporters of the Government, then we will have some evidence that what Senator Quirke says in regard to the tourist development board is likely to happen. I do not think that I need go any further into that.

It would take too long to give the Senator the names.

Take the case of the board that was most recently set up— the Industrial Alcohol Board. Are the members of it supporters of the Government?

I do not know who they are.

The Senator should find out.

With regard to the Industrial Alcohol Board, it may be, because of the fact that it was such a futile effort from the beginning, that the Minister could not get supporters of his own to go on that board. Certainly, no supporters of ours would go on it. Senator Quirke is a member of the board of an institution that has already been referred to. He is on the board of the Agricultural Credit Corporation. I was his predecessor on the board, and during my time all vacant posts under it were advertised.

But there was nothing in the Act to say that they should be.

Yes, but you had fair men on the board. At any rate, every vacant post was advertised. I do not know what is happening now. Presumably, the same thing is happening, but I am simply telling what was the procedure and practice in my time. It was considered fair by the members of the board that everybody should be given an opportunity of applying for positions when they became vacant. Most of the members of the board were not politicians at all. They were nominated, but they were not politicians. We need not go into the case of the man who got the highest post on the directorate, but, anyhow, if he was being taken on his politics and connections, another decision might have been made from the beginning. What was the practice there is all that Senator Hayes is asking should be done in the case of appointments under the tourist board.

Now, there is no smoke without fire, but the Minister's line is that he does not care; that he does not mind what the people think. He does not mind whether they are convinced or not; it is quite immaterial to him what the people say about those boards. That kind of thing can go on for a while, but, as Senator Madden has very well pointed out, men in public positions cannot go on disregarding public opinion in that fashion. I would remind the Minister that in taking up that attitude he will not even satisfy all his own supporters. You will have thousands of them out through the country saying that they were just as well qualified for the posts to be filled as those who got them. The only way to give satisfaction is to advertise those posts and leave them open for public competition.

There has been a good deal of talk about jobs. There is nothing discreditable in looking for a job. I think it is a commendable and a worthy thing. Boys and girls have got to live, and if positions are vacant in the country then, obviously, you are going to have many applicants for every vacancy that arises. When, however, you have 100 applicants for every vacant post, it is obvious that you cannot satisfy all the applicants. The situation in the country is such that we cannot employ all the people who are looking for employment. In view of that situation it is surely not too much to ask that when appointments under boards such as this are to be filled, an open competition should be held. Senator Quirke spoke of promotions that will be made by the board. My answer is that all these posts ought to be open to the public. It is only in that way that satisfaction can be given all round. It is better, I say, that the board should not start out under the shadow that it is only certain people will get appointments under it. If that feeling gets abroad, and if, later, posts should be advertised, people who think they are competent will not apply for them, because they will have the feeling that there is no use in applying. They will feel that they would not get a fair crack of the whip, so that if an advertisement is issued they will not send in an application. I know that may be done but, on the other hand, it may not be done. At any rate, what would the point be in issuing an advertisement saying that you proposed to fill five out of, say, 25 or 30 appointments?

I am not arguing this just for the sake of argument. I am arguing it because I believe in it, and because I have had personal experience in the past that merit, service, record and all the rest is not a consideration when the filling of posts is in the hands of the Government. If we are ever to get away from that we ought to do it now. Personally, I would like to see the House and the country getting away from it quickly. Until we do, we cannot put our minds to doing the really constructive things that need to be done. You cannot get anywhere unless the people feel that things are being done on a basis of justice and equity as far as the staffing of these institutions is concerned, thereby ensuring that the best boys and girls will get whatever posts are available quite regardless of their political affiliations.

Would Senator Baxter suggest that we should amend the Agricultural Credit Act so as to put in a section similar to this amendment?

Even though the experience of ten years has shown it to be entirely unnecessary.

It has not shown it to be any such thing.

It has shown it to be unnecessary to Senator Baxter who has been a member of the board.

If I had my way I would put it in the Electricity Supply Act.

It was not put into the Electricity Supply Act because the members of the Seanad, having a certain amount of responsibility and anxious to get a job done, set out to do it without regard to the absurd principles which are now being advanced here for the amendment of this Bill. The arguments that have been put forward have no meaning whatever. A provision of this kind was not considered necessary when the Electricity Supply Act was being framed. Senator Hayes, who is much cleverer in the art of innuendo than most other members of the House, tries to create an atmosphere of suspicion without making definite charges. Senator Baxter is much more crude and lacks Senator Hayes's skill.

He has had a rougher experience.

Senator Baxter put the case which is in Senator Hayes's mind, although Senator Hayes was careful enough not to say it. This Government is corrupt: it will always take every opportunity that offers to it of appointing its own political hangers-on to any post in its control. That is its natural form. They cannot be trusted to appoint this board, or, if they are to appoint this board it will be as corrupt as themselves. That is Senator Baxter's argument. Senator Baxter wants us to come in, in sackcloth and ashes, admitting our past sins and promising not to sin in the future, and even then we are not to be trusted not to sin in the future, but there must be an amendment put down to make sure of it. That is the purpose of his amendment.

Senator Hayes was annoyed that his amendment on the Committee Stage was defeated. He has decided that the poor man's son was to be given no chance.

Mr. Hayes

Would the Minister quote what I said?

His annoyance takes the form set out in this amendment, which is of no practical use whatever. The sole idea behind it is to draw an admission from the Government that they have sinned in the past and a promise that they will not sin any more. What value is there in such an amendment? If this board appointed a clerical officer so stupid as to draft an amendment as impracticable and incomplete as this one, I can say he would be open to criticism. The board must advertise every post. What happens if they do not? Put that in the Bill and what difference does it make. They can say: "It is only Senator Hayes's little joke; forget about it." What happens then? Nothing happens. His amendment is incomplete and it would be only a waste of printer's ink to put anything like that into the Bill. But, even if you do get it in, what is the advantage of having a statutory obligation placed on the board? They advertise, they get applications: they can ignore them, and there is nothing in the amendment to say that they must even consider them. Yet it is sought to put all this in because Senator Hayes chooses to be suspicious about the manner in which the board will be appointed and the manner in which it will exercise its functions. If this board is to be given very wide powers in relation to an important industry in the country, if it is to be entrusted with £600,000 as a capital sum and £45,000 annually out of public money, is it not to be trusted to carry out its ordinary routine and to devise a satisfactory manner of recruiting staff without having a statutory obligation placed upon it?

Senator Sir John Keane has said that the banks are able to appoint their staffs through competitive examinations. What is the extent to which that is true? An examination is held for the purpose of securing staff for the lower grades in the service of the various banks, but after appointment promotion is made on merit. This amendment would prevent that.

This amendment has nothing in it about examinations.

There is nothing of any value in it at all. It does involve this: if the board do what they would have to do under this amendment and recruit their staffs through a competitive examination, they cannot proceed to promote any of them without declaring that there is a vacant post and inviting applications from the whole country from persons who want to fill that post. Does any member of the Seanad who has given a moment's thought to the administrative problem that this board has to face so that they can function properly think that this board can be tied down with ridiculous and stupid regulations of that kind?

This board—like the Industrial Credit Board, the Agricultural Credit Board and any other board of which Senator Baxter may have experience —will, in the ordinary course of events, advertise their vacancies. I cannot recollect any case of a board established by the present Government or by the previous Government recruiting staff of the ordinary class —that is staff not requiring very special qualifications—or any Government Department recruiting temporary staff that did not do it through the medium of advertisement and by public applications such as are suggested here. It may be a good method by which to get staff for this tourist board and it is probably the method they will adopt; but it is for them to decide. I am proposing to set up a board here which the public can trust. The suspicious in the minds of Senators Hayes and Baxter have no foundation in fact or in experience. I do not know what the Senator's is. I think if he will take the trouble to examine the records regarding the appointments to any board under the present Government or to the staffs of any board since this Government came into office, he will not find an iota of justification for the suspicion he has. I am not saying that because I want to justify myself to the Senator, because I do not care what he thinks. The Government are prepared to trust the board, and the public are prepared to trust us; and I will lose no sleep over remarks of the kind that have been made. If there is anything in Senator Baxter's allegations or in Senator Hayes's innuendos, I invite them to examine the personnel of any board set up by the Government and examine the lists of those appointed to the staffs of those boards.

Some Senator objected to my quoting the example of the Electricity Supply Board in relation to this board, stating that the functions of the Electricity Supply Board as set out in the Electricity Supply Acts are different from those proposed in the case of this board. That is all very well; but, knowing the arguments that would be raised, we have taken this section of this Bill word for word from the Electricity Supply Act. There is not a comma of difference between this section and the corresponding section of the Electricity Supply Act. Therefore, we have, for ten years, the example of a board in operation which had, in relation to its appointments, the same statutory powers which we propose to give to this board. The Electricity Supply Board was appointed by a Government of which Senator Fitzgerald was a member. I wonder did he go to the Executive Council of the day and say: "It is not merely necessary there should be no grounds for suspicion, but the public should be convinced that there is no possibility of suspicion arising," and, therefore, urge that an amendment like the one that is on the Order Paper to-day should be inserted. Of course, he did not, he realised then, having responsibility in the matter, his colleagues could be trusted to act in a proper manner. He realised that, if the board was going to function properly at all it would have to be free from finicky restrictions and red tape regulations. It was a board to be trusted. He realised that if men capable of directing a gigantic enterprise of that kind could be trusted to be sensible and reasonable in relation to major matters they could also be trusted in relation to minor matters.

The Electricity Supply Board, in fact, never availed of the Local Appointments Commissioners. Is it suggested that that was due to political bias or to the desire to give patronage, or the desire to exclude the poor man's children who had obtained a scholarship in the University? Of course, not. I am making no allegation in relation to the manner in which they chose people for appointment before this Government came into office. I do not know if any allegations have been made since this Government came into office. The fact is that the Electricity Supply Board has secured an excellent staff— in many cases by personal selection, and where that was not, in their opinion necessary or practicable they adopted other devices; they chose clerical workers on the result of the Leaving Certificate examination and took those who got the highest places. That method was one that worked satisfactorily in relation to that board, and a similar method would work in relation to this.

There is no point in comparing the activities of this Government in the past. It is realised by most sensible people that, in order to have public institutions functioning properly, they must be free from suspicion of patronage. I object strongly—and members of the present Government have a right to object strongly—to being lectured on this matter by members of a Government which did not observe that principle when they were in office. I admit that lip service is now being paid to the idea of no preference by those whose idea of it was to give preference to ex-members of the National Army who in those days were all supporters of theirs.

Mr. Hayes

They were deserving of that preference. There would be no jobs but for them, and the Minister would not have his job but for them.

The Senator is entitled to that point of view, but at the same time he is not entitled to come and lecture me about the undesirability of having a preference of any kind.

Mr. Hayes

It was a public matter, and not a political or personal matter.

It was a political matter.

Mr. Hayes

It was a public matter, and not a political matter.

It was a device to enable the Government in office to give all the available posts to its own supporters——

Mr. Hayes

It was no such thing.

——and any pretence to the contrary is mere humbug. We ended it. We did not say: "for ten years, the dice were loaded against our supporters and in favour of our opponents; we will let it work the other way for another ten years, and level up." We might have said it, but, instead, we ended all the preferences from the day we came into office, and from that day not a single appointment to the public service, or to a post under Government control, has been made on a political basis.

Mr. Hayes

Who is the chief establishment officer of the Civil Service to-day?

He is a civil servant.

Mr. Hayes

He is a civil servant who came in on a political basis in 1932. I do not begrudge it to him, but he came in on a political basis, and is now in charge of the Civil Service.

The Senator has adequately revealed the mentality behind the amendment.

Mr. Hayes

I am telling facts, and that is one fact.

That is all I wanted the Senator to do.

Amendment put and declared lost.

I move amendment No. 3:—

In page 6, Section 14, to delete paragraph (b), lines 8 to 12.

I am afraid that, after the heat occasioned by the last amendment, this amendment may seem rather in the nature of an anti-climax, and I am not sorry for that, because I hope that it may be debated in a calmer atmosphere. I put down this amendment again because, on the Committee Stage, the discussion became a little heated, and I felt that the matter was not being considered with the deliberation it deserved. There is a very considerable feeling that this venture is largely of a speculative character and the Minister himself has, I think, almost admitted that. He said—I hope he will not ask me for his words, but he can correct me if I am wrong—"we do not look entirely for a direct return from our money. A lot of the return will be indirect," presumably, in an increased tourist traffic, so that, on the face of it, from the Minister's own admission, you cannot apply a strict business test to this enterprise.

The Minister also said that this body is to encourage as far as possible private enterprise, and I certainly commend that, largely because of the speculative character of the whole business. Tourist traffic, as I think everybody will agree, is a most uncertain thing. Our climate is not very much in its favour. Leave aside certain things that are happening elsewhere, which, if my information is correct, tend to ruin our tourist traffic for the season. That will pass over, I hope, but, apart from that, it is a very uncertain enterprise and I think the Minister is right in postulating, that as far as possible, it shall be dependent on work through the medium of the private enterprise. For that reason, I see no justification at present, when there are ample powers for indirect assistance to various tourist enterprises, for taking these powers of direct operation. They are very hazardous; they require very special knowledge; and I think the Minister himself will admit that a board of this kind is the last one to undertake work of a highly specialised character like that which is set out in paragraph (b) of Section 14.

The operations which I hope the House will exclude, are those which empower the board "to build, establish, equip and operate hotels, guest-houses, holiday hostels"—whatever they may mean—"holiday homes"—and the difference between a holiday hostel and a holiday home is a matter of words and nothing else —"youth hostels"—they have a more or less understood meaning and they are at present efficiently handled, so far as resources allow, through the medium of An Oige—"holiday camps or to assist, financially, including by way of loan or otherwise in the building"—a very hazardous and costly operation—"establishing, equipping or operating thereof". I ask the House to take the view that, under the other sub-sections, there are ample powers to do all that is reasonable. Under sub-paragraph (a), there is power to assist financially, including by way of loan or otherwise, in the provision, extension or improvement of accommodation for tourists. I think that is comprehensive and wide enough without specifically mentioning these other operations.

I am not approaching this in any spirit of hostility, but I am asking the Minister, as the guardian of public money, to take all due precautions to safeguard the public money. There is no necessity whatever to speculate, as these operations in paragraph (b) allow, when there are ample powers of indirect assistance in the other provisions, and it is to remove this temptation from the board and to protect the revenue that I put down this amendment. I hope the Minister will not put up the argument that the board is competent and "why have any control over them at all?" If that general argument is applied to all our Government service, why have an Oireachtas or any control of finance? Why not appoint a Government on the totalitarian principle and say: "You are competent and honest men; you can do what you like, and we know you will do what is best." The whole machinery is designed to provide safeguards which experience has shown to be necessary and which are part and parcel of the democratic system, so will the Minister refrain as far as possible from telling us what he has already told us, that this board is competent and that no restraint should be put on them? I hope he will limit the operations of the board, and exclude from their powers all powers directly to operate hotels and other similar establishments.

I will undertake not to assure the Senator again that this board will be comprised of reasonable men, if he will undertake not to assume the contrary. On that basis, I think we can argue. I am quite certain that the Senator, many times in the past, in one capacity or another, had occasion to concern himself with the formation of a new company, and when the articles and memorandum of association of the company came before him, he found therein that the company was taking power to do a whole lot of things which, in fact, its promoters did not intend to do. When the Senator was reading through the papers and found that the company was taking power to do all the variety of things usually set out in such papers, he did not say to the other promoters, or to those directly concerned in the venture: "Look here, limit yourself to the particular things you propose to do and do not go one step beyond the limit of your immediate intention." On the contrary, I am sure he said to them: "My advice to you as businessmen is to make sure that no matter what circumstances may arise or in what way your business may develop you are now to draw up your memorandum and articles of association so that you may not be subject at any future time to any legal disability in carrying on your business. Therefore, see that your memorandum and articles of association are drawn sufficiently wide to give you ample power of developing and carrying on."

That is what we have here. We are drawing up the memorandum and articles of association of this tourist board. We are setting out its powers and functions and in this section we are taking care to ensure that in any set of circumstances that may arise the board will not find itself up against any statutory limitations. Nobody contemplates that the board is to rush out, buy sites and start building hotels. There is no such intention. But there are circumstances which might arise in which the board might find it good business to build a hotel for the purpose of operating the hotel itself or it may build one to lease it to somebody else. I mentioned a lot of circumstances in which the board might find it advantageous to operate a hotel. They might find themselves in the position that a loan advanced to the hotel proprietor was not being repaid. They might find it necessary to take over the hotel and run it themselves. They may find the hotel on their hands and they may find it good business to run it until the loan is paid off. If this section were not in the Bill that is a thing that the board could not do. The hotel would become derelict. Presumably a hotel proprietor could apply under the Trade Loans (Guarantee) Act at the present time for a loan. I think there is nothing to prevent a hotel proprietor making application for a loan under that Act but I would consider it bad policy to encourage hotel proprietors to avail of the Trade Loans (Guarantee) Act. I think the type of committee set up to deal with loans under the Trade Loans (Guarantee) Act is a committee which would not be likely to be successful in the matter of running a hotel. But this board will be competent to run a hotel and the board should have power to assist financially in these operations. If the amendment were carried they could not do that.

Sir John keane

If paragraph (b) were deleted have they not power under paragraph (a) to do it?

I am not clear that they have powers under paragraph (a), and it is because I am not clear on that that I want paragraph (b) in. It is to make it clear that the board has powers to do what it may think best in the course of its business. The board will not do much in the way of building hotels with this £600,000. If they act unreasonably they will soon find themselves at the limit of their activities. In any event I can assure the Senator that if they go to the Government under the appropriate section of the Bill for the purpose of borrowing almost entirely or mainly in order to build, establish or equip hotels they will not get the money. It is not intended that the board will operate hotels at all except under very exceptional circumstances. The main function of the board is to assist and stimulate private enterprise, not to compete with private enterprise. This board will be free to assist private enterprise to enable them to get better business and to do some more business. I am astonished that so much concern has been expressed here on behalf of hotel proprietors whose enterprises might be affected by the Bill. The hotel proprietors as a body welcome the Bill and they assured me that it would get a free passage through this House. However, they were wrong there. At all events the hotel proprietors have no misapprehension that the Bill will work out to their detriment. This section has been put into the Bill to enable the board to assist them.

Amendment No. 3, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendments Nos. 4 and 5, which I propose to take together:—

In page 6, Section 16, sub-section (3), paragraph (a), to delete in line 52, the words "to waive altogether or". or".

In page 6, Section 16, sub-section (3), paragraph (b), to delete in line 56, the words "to waive altogether or".

These two amendments deal directly with the finances of this measure. The Minister for Industry and Commerce is very clever and very adroit in pleading precedents and in pleading analogies when they suit him but ignoring them when they do not. I suppose all people do things of that sort. I now ask the Minister if the Minister for Finance or he has power to write off bad debts in the case of trade loan guarantees?

He has no option.

Has he power, as Minister, without the consent of the Oireachtas to write off bad debts?

In the matter of trade loan guarantees the Government does not lend money but it guarantees the loan made by a bank to a manufacturing concern. If that concern fails to make good, the bank takes up the guarantee and approaches the Government for the full amount due under the guarantee. The Government could protect its own interests by putting in a receiver, taking over the assets of the company and carrying on. However, in case the concern is wound up, the difference, whatever it may be, between the amount realised by the sale of the assets of the company and the amount claimed by the bank has to be voted by the Dáil.

The whole answer to my question is in the last sentence. The money has to be voted by the Dáil. In essence it is the same. In both cases, in the case of a guarantee, Parliamentary control is established. In the last resort the money to be found under the guarantee has to be voted. I say the same principle should apply here—that where the money has to be written off, the consent of Parliament should be obtained. The Minister for Industry and Commerce led me to believe that the Minister for Finance had power to waive the capital lost——

That is not so. I did not say that. He had power to postpone the repayment.

I am not asking that the power be taken out of his hands but I am asking in connection with the power "to waive altogether." I have already said and I repeat it now, that I believe this is the first time in our legislation when the Minister for Finance has taken power, without the authority of Parliament, to "waive altogether" the loans advanced out of public funds; this is the first time he has been given power to write off the capital losses. He mentioned the Electricity Supply Board. I do not blame the Minister. He has a right to quote things in support of his case, but this does not support his case. The trade loans guarantee is a very close analogy, but that does not support the Minister's case. I ask the Minister—I do not ask the House because that would be automatic—to accept the amendment. There is an apprehension in certain quarters that one of the reasons why the amendment should not be accepted is that the Dáil would have to be brought back.

The Dáil is coming back for another Bill.

Then I have been misinformed and that apprehension was ill-founded. Now surely this is a dangerous departure that we are asked to vote for now in the matter of the control of public finances. Here is a board set up to carry out a certain enterprise. Public money to the extent of £600,000 is to be operated for this tourist enterprise. To safeguard the well-established traditions of finance that money should ultimately be under the control of Parliament. Let us not quibble about what that means in detail—let no one try to prove that because the money is voted in the first instance by Parliament that that is sufficient. The money should be under the control of Parliament in all its stages. Whenever money is written off, Parliament should be consulted. That is why I am pressing this amendment. It is a fundamental departure from what has been proved by experience to be sound finance.

In this matter I feel that I hold a watching brief for the Minister for Finance who is on holidays. Nevertheless I must support Senator Sir John Keane in this amendment. I did not oppose the Bill, as the Minister seemed to think, on Second Reading. I should like in fact, to see tourist traffic a success in this country, more particularly as I come from a county which is largely dependent on tourist traffic. On the previous stage the Minister said that in this section we are giving power to waive repayments, not in the case of individuals to whom the board lend money but to release the board from the obligation to repay advances to the Exchequer in certain cases. If it is known that there is a chance of getting away with money, the board, I suggest, will need police protection, if they attempt to enforce repayment in cases of default. On the occasion of the last debate the Minister took us up very quickly with the analogy of the Electricity Supply Board. He has used that analogy again to-day but, so far as this waiving of the repayment of advances to the board is concerned, no parallel at all is afforded by the Electricity Supply Board. In one case the service was offered for the convenience of residents of this country and if the charges were not paid for that service the supply would be cut off and consumers of electricity would find themselves going to bed in the dark. Here we are contemplating something quite different. We are contemplating an experiment which we hope will succeed, but it is an experiment which is loaded in many ways. An Senator Sir John Keane has said just now, the expenditure is almost entirely for profit but, so far as outside traffic is concerned, we have got no control whatever over it.

The Minister mentioned on the last occasion that one reason for introducing this Bill and for spending money in this way was that it was necessary to provide amenities for internal holiday traffic. That is a very sound plan, now that we have got holiday legislation, but so far as the first object which the Minister put forward is concerned, namely that of bringing money to the country, internal traffic will bring no grist whatever to the mill. It might bring money to the Exchequer in the form of additional taxation on hotel proprietors and other people but the Minister does not want to do that. I think possibly the right way to handle this matter is to add to the annual advance of £45,000, a definite sum each year for unremunerative expenses. I think that would probably be a better way of achieving the object which Senator Sir John Keane seeks to attain by this amendment. Finally, it would put this whole question of the financing of this board in its correct perspective. A sum of £600,000 is practically equal to 1/- on the income-tax of this country. I think that is a very considerable sum for this country and I suggest the Minister should safeguard himself and safeguard the members of the board by making some alteration in the proposed method of financing this board.

Before the Minister concludes, would he be good enough to say how exactly, when the repayment of a sum is waived, it will be shown in the public accounts because, to my mind, that is really a matter of importance. The Minister has power to make these payments out of the Central Fund. This is giving him power to make payments out of the Central Fund in order to meet losses. If a loss is incurred, the Dáil can deal with it, but what is of vital importance is that it will be shown somewhere in the public accounts.

Clearly it must be shown somewhere. I cannot help Senator Douglas by telling him where exactly he will get that information in detail. If the Minister for Finance loses money the Dáil eventually will have to vote it, in whatever form it may be brought before the Dáil— whether in an Estimate, under a trade loans guarantee or in the annual Budget of the Exchequer.

Will it be shown separately?

I presume it must be shown in the publications of the Department of Finance. They show all items of expenditure, receipts and losses, Exchequer assets and so forth. However, the alternative to the Bill, in my opinion, is not Senator Sir John Keane's amendment but Senator The McGillycuddy's suggestion. We could have set out to deal with that matter in that way, namely, by providing an additional subsidy for this board for the purpose of making advances for non-profit earning schemes, but we decided that this was the better system, to keep power in the hands of the Minister for Finance to exercise a discretion in individual cases. The type of case where this power may have to be exercised is twofold. If the board, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, makes an advance for an entirely non-profit earning purpose— the building of a swimming pool for the public for which no admission fee will be charged, the putting up of public conveniences, the building of a promenade open to the public or the provision of some other non-revenue producing asset—clearly no revenue is coming in and the board will not be able to repay whatever advance they get for that purpose. I do not want to convey the suggestion that the board are in fact going to make advances for that purpose. They may possibly give loans to local authorities for these purposes, loans on which the local authorities will have to pay interest. The actual cost of these schemes in that case will be borne by the local authorities and they may find it cheaper to borrow money from the board than from any other source. If the board decide to make an advance for non-profit earning purposes of that kind, this power must be retained.

The other case is more analogous to a loan guarantee where, say, an advance is made to a hotel proprietor to reconstruct a hotel and the hotel afterwards fails. There is no option but to waive repayment there. That is precisely what would happen if we were administering trade loans through a board instead of through the Department. At present the gurantee is given through the Department. If the undertaking in respect of which the guarantee is given fails, the Department would have to make good the guarantee. The Dáil may vote the money long after the failure has taken place and the amount has been made good to the lender. But as soon as the Minister, exercising the power given to him by Statute, gives a guarantee, then the obligation to meet it in the event of failure rests upon the State as a whole, and, without destroying the credit of the State, the Dáil has in fact no option but to vote the money. If we were administering that Act through a board, we would have to have in the Bill establishing the board precisely the same section that is here. We would have to take power to waive the repayment by the board of the amount which the board were themselves unable to recover from the borrower. That is, in fact, all we are doing here.

We are not empowering the board to lend money to somebody who will not repay it, but, if the board lends money in a bona fide way, for a purpose which they think will be profit earning, expecting to get that money back and to get interest on it until it is repaid, and they find that the event is different from their expectations and that they have lost the money, then in fact the Minister has no option but to waive repayment by the board, because the board cannot possibly repay it if they cannot themselves collect from the borrower. The power must be there, and I think it is better to have it in that particular form, so that the individual item will be subject to the supervision of the Minister for Finance, rather than that we should decide out of the blue on a certain sum, as Senator The McGillycuddy suggests, and vote it every year —a sum that may in fact not be required, or, if given, might tempt the board into doing things which they would not do if they had to meet this supervision by the Department of Finance in individual cases. I think, therefore, that the words should stand. I think we have no option but to let them stand, if we are going to function on those lines at all. The only point on which I want to satisfy the Seanad is that however it is done, whatever machinery is devised for the purpose, any money which the Minister for Finance may have to make good by reason of a default of this kind will have to be voted by the Dáil. There is no other source from which it can be obtained.

Personally I cannot see why it is necessary for the Dáil to vote anything. The money is lost, and that is the end of it. We start off with £600,000, and after a few years we find that the £600,000 is so much less. That is the end of the story.

The Senator should not be so pessimistic.

To my mind the whole thing is very lax, financially. We are handing over £600,000 to a board, to be put into profit earning or non-profit earning enterprise. If the money is lost, it is lost, and that is the end of it. I do not see how the Dáil is to come into it at all. After a long time, we may know that the money has been lost. The auditors may tell us that the assets are not value for what they cost, and so on. I am very apprehensive about the whole thing I think we will live to regret the new departure under this Bill, and the much greater laxity than has hitherto existed in regard to the control of public expenditure.

Amendment No. 4 put and declared lost.
Amendment No. 5 not moved.
Question: "That the Bill be received for final consideration," put and agreed to.
Agreed: That the Fifth Stage be taken now.