I am asking the House to determine whether, in view of the results that have accrued from former expenditures on commissions of the sort indicated in this Vote, they would be well advised to vote the money now asked. I am entitled to refer to the number of instances in which similar expenditures of public money have been made without any useful result or material advantage to the State. It is not with a view to criticising the desirability of having appointed particular commissions that I am now referring to this matter, but rather to point out that though those commissions were appointed to deal with matters which at the time were considered of extreme urgency and great public importance, and though money has been spent on them, nothing has been done. I am asking the House, in view of the fact that on former occasions money was spent on these commissions with no material advantage to the State, to refuse to be fooled any longer, and to refuse to authorise the expenditure of money again for a similar purpose with, I am sure, the same results. The food prices committee was appointed in 1926-27. The printing of the report cost £904, and in addition there was the cost of the salaries of the staff temporarily lent which amounted to £1,060. On that commission there was spent altogether a sum of almost £2,000. It reported in 1926-27, but nothing was done since. Here we are in 1930 asked to sanction the same sort of fruitless, useless expenditure. The Town Tenants Commission was appointed in the same year. The report cost £163 to produce, and the cost of the salary of the staff amounted to £350. What advantage have the town tenants reaped as a result?
[An Ceann Comhairle resumed the Chair.]
The Committee on Milk Supply was appointed in 1926-27 and its reports cost £352 to produce. Again the report was published and circulated to the members of the Dáil, but nothing was done. In 1927-28 there was appointed a Road Traffic Committee. That Committee cost £81 11s. 10d. That sum is again thrown away so far as the members of the Dáil are concerned, for there has been no legislation introduced in this House based on that report. In 1927-28 a Committee on the claims of ex-servicemen was set up. It cost £212 7s. 3d. It made recommendations which, I am sure, were praiseworthy and could be accepted by the Dáil, but as far as we know the ex-servicemen have reaped no benefit from the setting up of that tribunal. In the same year a special committee composed of the most capable persons, of persons most suitable for its purpose which the astute mind of the Minister for Industry and Commerce could select, was set up to deal with the urgent question of unemployment. The committee was described as a committee to consider measures for the relief of unemployment. It met and considered certain aspects of that problem, and published a report which cost £146 3s. 1d., but the committee did nothing, and the Government did nothing as a result of that report.
A committee—this is the gem— was set up, a Party committee, I think, under the Chairmanship of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs to consider economy in Government expenditure. It cost £85, and we were told in the Budget statement for the year 1929 that as a result of the efforts of this committee there had been a reduction in the estimates of something like £500,000. Undoubtedly if this Committee, as a result of the expenditure of £85, secured a real economy in Government administration to the extent of £500,000, none of us will gainsay that the £85 was well spent. But here is the rub, the fly in the ointment—that when the Minister came this year to introduce his Budget in the Dáil we found that the £500,000 which was saved last year was added this year, with increased interest for the fresh expenditure, and now amounts to something like £613,000, so that it would have been better so far as the general taxpayer was concerned if this particular committee on economy had never sat, because the Government services on which expenditure had been pruned down to the extent of £500,000 have swollen themselves again in the year 1930 to the extent of £613,000, with a net loss to the taxpayer of £113,000 as a result of the efforts of this committee. As I said on one occasion, it is a clear proof that so far as economy is concerned the Farmers' Party, which were mainly responsible for the committee——