asked the Minister for Finance if the Committee set up under the Indemnity Act, 1924, has reported unfavourably on a claim submitted by the Portlaoighise Town Commissioners for the recovery of £70 legal expenses incurred in connection with proceedings taken by them in 1920; whether the Commissioners, in the case referred to, acted upon instructions issued by the Ministers for Home Affairs and Local Government of Dáil Eireann in 1920, and if he can state the grounds upon which he now declines to authorise a refund of the amount.
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - PORTLAOIGHISE TOWN COMMISSIONERS' CLAIM.
The Committee set up under the Indemnity Act, 1924, have reported that they are unable to regard the claim made by the Portlaoighise Town Commissioners in respect of certain legal costs incurred by them as coming within the scope of either Section 5 or Section 6 of the Indemnity Act, and no payment can therefore be made by my Department.
The Deputy is in error in stating that the Commissioners acted on instructions issued by the Ministers for Home Affairs and Local Government in 1920. The Early Closing Order, which was the cause of the legal proceedings in which the Commissioners became involved, was, so far as I am aware, made by the Commissioners themselves on their own initiative. The Order was submitted to the then Minister of Local Government and approved by him on the expressed presumption that the Order represented the Commissioners' deliberate judgment after due consideration of local needs and interests. The action of the then Minister of Home Affairs in this matter was limited to an intimation (in reply to an inquiry) that the Commissioners might proceed in the Republican Courts against any person guilty of a breach of the Order. It is clear, therefore, that the latter portion of the Deputy's question is based on a misapprehension of the facts.