CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - DEFAULTING ANNUITANTS.

asked the Minister for Finance if he will state the procedure regarding the apportionment of the moneys taken from the Guarantee Fund in respect of defaulting annuitants, especially with regard to the method by which local authorities are recouped when collection of the annuities is effected.

On the 31st day of January and the 31st day of July in each year the Land Commission ascertain and notify the Minister for Finance as to the amount then in arrear in respect of land purchase annuities. An advance of such amount is made to the Purchase Annuities Fund from the Guarantee Fund. All such arrears when subsequently recovered from annuitants are paid to the Purchase Annuities Fund and transferred thereafter from that Fund back to the Guarantee Fund in liquidation of the advances.

The Guarantee Fund is under the direction of the Minister for Finance, who keeps an account of the Fund showing separately the payments made thereto in respect of:—

(a) The Estate Duty Grant;

(b) The Agricultural Grant; and

(c) The Exchequer Contribution.

These grants, which are eventually intended to go to the credit of the Local Taxation Account, pass through the Guarantee Fund. Any payments by way of advances from the Guarantee Fund to the Purchase Annuities Fund in respect of arrears are a debt from that Fund to the Guarantee Fund and are repayable out of payments on account of arrears, which are subsequently recovered by the Land Commission, and by them paid to the Purchase Annuities Fund.

On the 17th February in each year the Guarantee Fund is cleared, and there is paid from that Fund to the Local Taxation Account any cash then standing to credit of the Fund, except what is required for meeting any charge on the Fund then accrued. The Minister for Finance in making such payments certifies the amounts paid in respect of each of the three Grants.

On or before the 16th February in each year the Land Commission certify to the Minister for Finance—

(a) the amount chargeable to each county of the sum drawn from the Guarantee Fund in respect of purchasers' annuities in arrear;

(b) the amount to be credited to each county in respect of old arrears which have been recovered.

It will thus be seen that a complete adjustment is carried out, each county being debited with arrears accrued up to 31st January immediately preceding the clearance of the Guarantee Fund, and being credited with the amounts recovered in respect of old arrears which had previously been drawn from the Guarantee Fund.

I might add that the information which the Deputy seeks and which I have summarised above is fully set out in the "Purchase Annuities Fund Rules, 1924," and the "Land (Finance) Rules, 1925."