COMMITTEE OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTS. - FIRST INTERIM REPORT.

1. Tá dul-ar-aghaidh déanta ag an gCoiste i dtaobh na nithe a cuireadh chúcha, ach nílid fós i gcothrom chun Tuarasgabháil iomlán deiridh do thíolaca. Is mian leis an gCoiste áfach, an Tuarasgabháil interim seo a leanas do thabhairt uatha ar nithe d'éirigh as an scrúdú a dheineadar arChuntas Leithreasa Aonach Tailteann i gcóir na bliana 1922-23, toise gur dineadh le déanaí Meastachán i gcóir na bliana reatha maidir le hAonach Tailteann do rith i gCoiste um Airgead sa Dáil. Táthar ar bruach an Rún le n-a soláthrófar an Deontas do thuairisciú, agus is dó leis an gCoiste go bhfuil sé de dhualgas ortha an Tuarasgabháil interim seo do thíolaca sara mbeifar réidh ar fad leis an Meastachán.

1. The Committee has made progress in the matters referred to it, but is not yet in a position to present a final and comprehensive Report. The Committee, however, desires to make the following interim Report on matters arising out of its examination of the Tailteann Games AppropriationAccount for the Year 1922-23, for the reason that an Estimate for the current year in respect of Aonach Tailteann was recently passed in Committee on Finance in the Dáil. The Resolution supplying the Grant is about to be reported, and the Committee deems it to be its duty to present this interim Report before the final disposal of the Estimate.

2. Sa chéad dul síos, ba mhaith leis an gCoiste go dtabharfadh an Dáil fé ndeara an ainm a tugtar ar an Meastachán, mar a ritheadh é ar dtúis i 1922, eadhon “Meastachán ar an méid is gá sa Bhliain dar críoch 31 Márta, 1923, mar Dheontas i gCabhair chun feabhas do chur ar Pháirc an Chrócaigh mar gheall ar Aonach Tailteann.”

2. The Committee, in the first place, directs the attention of the Dáil to the description of the Estimate, as originally passed in 1922, viz., “Estimate of the amount required in the Year ending 31st March, 1923, as a Grant in Aid for the improvement of Croke Park in connection with the Tailteann Games.”

3. Is mian leis an gCoiste neadheimhnitheacht an Deontais a deonadh amhlaidh do chur in úil agus a rá fós gur le Cumann Gaedhlach na gCleas Lúith amháin an feabhas a cuireadh ar Pháirc an Chrócaigh. Rud eile, ní léir ón scrúdú a dhin an Coiste ar an gCuntas go bhfuil an Cumann ag tógaint aon fhiachais ortha féin maidir le blianta eile ina gcomórfar Aonach Tailteann. Maidir le buaine an fheabhais a dineadh amhlaidh le cúnamh cistí puiblí, braitheann an Coiste gur cheart a chur in úil don Dáil ná fuil Cumann Gaedhlach na gCleas Lúith ag tógaint aon fhreagarthachta ortha féin lasmuich den Pháirc do thabhairt uatha i gcóir Aonach na bliana so.

3. The Committee wishes to point out the indefiniteness of the grant thereby made, and that the improvements effected in Croke Park become wholly the property of the Gaelic Athletic Association. Furthermore, the examination made into the account by the Committee does not show that the Association assumes any liability in respect of future years in which Aonach Tailteann will be held. Having regard to the permanence of the improvements thus made out of public funds, the Committee feels that the Dáil should be made aware that the Gaelic Athletic Association assumes no responsibilities beyond affording the use of the Park for the current year's games.

4. Tá ní eile fós a tháinig as an iniúcha a dhin an Coiste ar an gCuntas so. Le linn don Ard-Scrúdóir bheith ag déanamh an scrúduithe, do leag sé fé bhráid an Choiste sliocht as na páipéirí nuachta dar dáta 18 Abrán, 1923, agus ina ndeirtar go ndubhairt Cathaoirleach Coiste Airgeadais Ard-Chomhairle Aonach Tailteann gur dhin an tArd-Scrúdóir Cuntaisí na Comhairle d'iniúcha go cuibhe agus go bhfuarthas iad do bheith sásúil ar gach slí. Níor dhin an tArd-Scrúdóir, áfach, aon iniúcha den tsórt san; agus do taisbeánadh do Choiste na gCuntaisí Puiblí cofhreagarthas a bhí idir é agus CathaoirleachCoiste Airgeadais Aonach Tailteann. Do taisbeánadh ann gur aontuigh Cathaoirleach an Choiste Airgeadais go hiomlán ná raibh aon bhaint ag an Ard-Scrúdóir le rith na gCuntaisí sin. Ag cuimhneamh ar na nithe sin dóibh, braitheann an Coiste go bhfuil sé d'oblagáid ortha trácht ar ní dubhairt Séamus Breathnach le linn na díospóireachta a dineadh sa Dáil le déanaí ar an Meastachán ar Aonach Tailteann i gcóir na bliana reatha. Isé adubhairt sé ná gur dhin an tArd-Scrúdóir ár gCuntaisí d'iniúcha go cuibhe, agus ba chóir go dtuigfí an puínte sin. Cuntaisí Ard-Chomhairle Aonach Tailteann na Cuntaisí a bhí i gceist aige. As na dátáín a nochtadh i bhfianaise a tugadh i láthair an Choiste is féidir don Choiste a rá nár dhin an tArdScrúdóir na Cuntaisí atá i gceist d'iniúcha ná do dheimhniú ar aon tslí.

4. A further matter arose out of the investigation of this account by the Committee. The Comptroller and Auditor-General, in the course of his examination, laid before the Committee an extract from the Press dated 18th April, 1923, in which the Chairman of the Finance Committee of the General Council of the Tailteann Games was alleged to state that “the accounts of the Council were duly audited by the Comptroller and Accountant-General and found satisfactory in every way.” No such audit was, in fact, made by the Comptroller and Auditor-General; and correspondence which passed between him and the Chairman of the FinanceCommittee of the Games was produced to the Committee of Public Accounts. It was shown therein that the Chairman of the Finance Committee completely agreed that the Comptroller and Auditor-General had no responsibility for passing the accounts in question. Having regard to these facts, a statement made by Deputy J.J. Walsh during the recent discussion in the Dáil on the Estimate for Aonach Tailteann for the current year is one on which the Committee feels obliged to comment. It was that “our Accounts have been duly audited by the Comptroller and Auditor-General, and that point should be understood,” the Accounts referred to being those of the General Council of the Tailteann Games. The facts brought out in evidence before the Committee enables it to say that the Comptroller and Auditor-General has neither audited the Accounts in question nor certified them in any way.

(Sighnithe),

12adh Meitheamh, 1924.

TOMÁS MAC EOIN,

Cathaoirleach an Choiste.

I wish to say, in connection with this Report, that of the total amount voted the Tailteann Games Committee has received to date only a sum of £6,500. That is a sum which, of course, is not disputed in the Interim Report. It is rather inferred that the amount has not been audited. I wish to say that this grant—or rather the part of it spent in 1922—was audited in December of that year. The further expenditure up to May, of 1923, was also audited, and a further audit was held last month. Copies of the first two audits were duly transmitted to the Comptroller and Auditor-General, and it appears now that that gentleman is not entitled to audit a grant-in-aid. I had come to the conclusion, with the Chairman of the Finance Committee of the Games, that those accounts were duly audited. I now find that, though they were submitted in the ordinary way, they have not been so audited. That of course, is no fault of ours. I wish to say that we were led to the conclusion that the audit had taken place by the fact that a certain query had been put to our Finance Committee in respect of the first Report. That query was duly answered. The second point dealt with in this Interim Report refers to a grant of £10,000 to Croke Park, and exception is taken to the omission of any clause providing that in future years Aonach Tailteann should get the benefit of this grant. It occurred to nobody at the time that a provision of this kind was necessary, and I do not believe now, that were it requested from the Gaelic Athletic Association Authorities, any great difficulty would be found in meeting the wishes of the Finance Committee. I believe the Gaelic Athletic Association would be satisfied that until such time as the £10,000 were exhausted, taking into account that share of the gate receipts which should properly go to the grounds people, that the grounds would be at the disposal of the Tailteann organisation. In that way the Dáil and the public funds would be fully satisfied. The Gaelic Athletic Association made no request for this money. It came, in the first instance, I think, at the instigation of the late General Collins, and some others, and arose out of the fact that the venue was not a suitable one for a great national venture of this kind. In my opinion it is a step nowise different from that taken by other countries on the occasion of similar festivals. I am not in a position to speak officially for the G.A.A., but I am satisfied that they have no desire whatever to benefit in the least by this grant and that they are prepared to meet the requirements of the Public Accounts Committee.

I should say that it is not the Public Accounts Committee has any requirements in the matter. The Committee felt itself bound to inform the Dáil of the actual position in view of the recent Vote. We point out that the sum granted in the year 1922-23 was a grant-in-aid for the improvement of Croke Park in connection with the Tailteann Games, and, as it turned out, it was, in fact, a grant to the G.A.A. for this purpose. Latterly, it appears the Tailteann Committee has been the body to whom advances have been made. In the matter of the audit, it is true that an account signed by the Auditor was sent to the Comptroller and Auditor-General. He asked a question in respect of it and received an answer. But that is not intended to suggest that he had, as an official of the Dáil, audited the accounts of the Committee. The object of the Committee in reporting on this was to make the Dáil aware of the fact that the statement made here by the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs was a misstatement; that it was not a fact that the accounts had been duly audited by the Comptroller and Auditor-General. The accounts that had been audited had been audited by the Auditor of the Association, and no attempt at an audit had been made by the Comptroller and Auditor-General. It is not suggested for a moment by the Committee that he should audit those accounts.

Ordered that the Report lie upon the Table.