Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 21 Jun 1939

Vol. 76 No. 11

Committee on Finance. - Air Raid Precautions Bill, 1939—Money Resolution.

I move:—

That it is expedient to authorise the payment out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas of such expenses, grants and other sums as are necessary to give effect to any Act of the present session to make provision for the taking of precautions with the object of protecting persons and property in the event of attack from the air and to provide for certain other matters connected with the matters aforesaid.

Speaking on the Supplementary Estimate and on the main Army Estimate earlier this year, I indicated that the total expenditure that we contemplated on A.R.P. would be around £500,000. Of that £500,000, we estimate that £320,000 or thereabouts will be spent directly by the State on such equipment as gas makes, additional fire fighting equipment, decontaminating materials etc. Of the balance of £180,000, portion will be given by the State to local authorities and portion will be contributed by the local authorities themselves. There is, however, a section in the Bill that deals with the apportionment of that sum between the State and the local authorities and we can discuss the matter on that. I want to say that this £500,000, is a very rough estimate indeed, and I do not feel myself bound by it. It is the best shot that the people who are working A.R.P. can make at the moment as to what the expenditure will be likely to be if the circumstances turn out to be such as are envisaged at the moment. The annual expenditure involved in administration will be about £7,000.

I can see the difficulty that the Minister has in giving what I might call a firm estimate, but would he indicate some of the main headings under which he got his rough estimate? I take it for granted that the Minister, in calculating the expenditure that would be incurred if the Bill comes into force had particularly in mind the urban centres and the county boroughs in the scheduled urban areas, and he should have some estimate of what it would amount to in each case. Perhaps he will be able to tell us what it will amount to for the State, and what it will amount to for the local authorities. Further, the Minister says that there is in the Bill an appropriation between the State, on the one hand, and the local authorities, on the other but actually I think there is not. Am I not right in saying that there is merely a maximum that the State will give?

That is right.

I presume it is the Minister's intention to give the maximum?

I think we might discuss that more profitably on the section itself.

Candidly, so far as the county councils are concerned, it seems to me that the Bill will be inoperative for the great bulk of them. However, we can discuss that when we come to it. Has there been any estimate made with reference to the county councils?

I have some figures and I can give them, but I think it would be better to discuss the matter on the section.

The Minister will admit that the fact is that, while asking for authority to spend as much money as may be necessary and intimating that only about £500,000 may be spent, and while indicating that certain urban authorities, and where urban authorities are not specially mentioned, the county councils for the rest of that area, will be required to submit schemes and to carry out work which is so important that if the officials do not carry out their duties properly they may be fined, imprisoned or dismissed, he has not given any information at all as to the expenditure, the type of works that will be carried out, and where the main part of these works is going to be. He tells us that £320,000 is to be spent on gas masks.

No—gas masks and other things.

Gas masks were the main thing that stuck out in connection with this expenditure of £320,000. I am not quite clear from what the Minister said whether the only expenditure that will fall on local authorities will be part of the £180,000. If so, will the Minister say what part? I do not think that the House should pass a Money Resolution which would give complete power to the Minister to spend very large sums of money on this particular type of scheme until we get in some kind of rational way an outline of the type of work that is going to be carried out in, say, some particular areas. Take the City of Dublin. The City of Dublin is one of the places in respect of which precautions will mostly have to be taken. Surely the Dáil should get some idea as to what exactly is going to be done in the City of Dublin. To what extent are the fire-fighting appliances going to be strengthened in the city? To what extent is the money for that going to be provided out of these funds? Is there any other work to be carried out in the City of Dublin except the strengthening of the fire-fighting appliances; and, if so, what are these works? The Minister on a previous occasion had rather alarming ideas as to the way in which children would have to be taken out of the city and educational institutions established for them in some kind of way outside the city. What part of this £500,000 is for the provision of temporary schools or temporary hostel accommodation for children outside the city? Many wild ideas have been spread around in connection with this matter of defence; they are here asking for permission to spend whatever sum of money may be necessary, and at least £500,000; and we ought to get some definite idea as to what the main lines of ground protection are going to be, particularly when we are told that this expenditure is being gone ahead with and that work is going to be carried out apart altogether from any international developments which may take place.

What Deputy Mulcahy does not seem to realise is that I am not asking for any specific sum of money to-day. We have about £340,000 in the present year's Estimates for A.R.P. and if we get the A.R.P. organisation going vigorously in Dublin and in the scheduled areas outlined, I will have to come to the Dáil for a Supplementary Estimate to cover the expenditure involved. I think it would be better to leave the detailed estimating of the expenditure for such an occasion. I am not in a position to give any more detailed information than I have given once or twice to the House, and a rough outline of which I gave to-day. We estimate, roughly, that we will spend about £500,000, that £320,000 will be direct expenditure by the State to make provision for the storing of gas masks, for fire fighting equipment, which will be more expensive than gas masks services, decontamination equipment and assistance in regard to air-raid shelters to private employers and others. Apart from the £320,000 spent directly by the State on such items there is a sum of £180,000, and as will be seen from the amendment tabled by Deputy O'Higgins, we are going to have some debate later on as to how exactly that £180,000 will be distributed as between the State, on the one hand, and the local authorities, on the other hand. According to the Bill, a sum not exceeding 70 per cent. of the £180,000 will be given by the State, so that the local authorities will at least have to bear expenditure in the neighbourhood of £60,000.

And the Minister does not know for what.

I told the Deputy and if he had been listening to some part of Deputy O'Higgins' speech he would know. I told the Deputy three times.

I am asking what the Minister is going to spend the money on in relation to the Money Resolution. I am asking if he can give any idea as to how much money will be spent in Dublin.

I have given it three or four times. We are going to spend it on gas masks and other things.

It is the other sum we are asking about.

The Deputy asked how we were going to spend it, and I said on gas masks, decontamination equipment, assistance for the provision of air-raid shelters, assistance in the training of wardens and so on. The Deputy asked about evacuation. Portion of the direct expenditure of State funds will be in getting reserve equipment, so that if evacuation is necessary it will be put into operation, and certain people, at least in the City of Dublin, whom we are asking to cooperate, will be trained in dealing with children under evacuation conditions. Towards the end of the present month there will be a course for school teachers. I am afraid I cannot give any more details. If the Deputy wants to know the estimated expenditure in the various scheduled areas I can give it. There will be a total expenditure in the City of Dublin round about £250,000.

Does that include the county contribution?

That is for the Borough of Dublin.

Does that include what will be put up by the corporation?

Yes. The total will be £250,000 and of that there will be direct expenditure by the State round about £160,000 and £90,000 to be borne by the State and the City of Dublin. In Cork we estimate that the total cost will be £73,000 and, of that, there will be direct expenditure by the State of £47,000, and to be borne by the State and the local authority, £26,000. Then there are the various cities. In Waterford the total expenditure will be £44,000, direct expenditure by the State, £28,000, and between the State and the local authority, £16,000.

Have you the figures for Wexford?

Yes. In Wexford the total cost will be £14,000, expenditure direct by the State, £9,000, and between the State and the local authority, £5,000.

Is that for Wexford urban?

For Wexford urban. Then we come to Cobh, where the total cost will be £12,000, direct expenditure by the State, £8,000, and between the State and the local authority, £4,000.

I gather, as far as this Bill is concerned, the State expenditure will be about £180,000.


The £320,000 is not being spent under this Bill.

We are not asking for money to-day. We estimate that the total cost in the areas outlined, plus a little assistance to county councils, which will not be asked to spend more than a few hundred pounds, unless the situation changes radically, will be around £500,000 and that includes sums already spent last year. The rest will be a Supplementary Estimate.

Suppose we confine ourselves to the Bill. The Minister divided the expenditure into what he called direct State expenditure and expenditure partly borne by the State and partly by the local authorities. Am I correct in saying that this Bill deals with measures that will have to be financed only out of the second item namely, the expenditure partly borne by the State and partly borne by the local authorities and that none of the £320,000 will be spent on the measures provided in this Bill? Is this correct?

No. This Bill empowers the Government to spend money on all sorts of A.R.P. purposes.

Is that included in the Bill?

Will the Minister say where power is given to the Government to spend money on gas masks in this Bill?

That is done by Estimate.

Therefore it does not come into this Bill and has nothing to do with it. That is precisely what I was coming to. The Minister mentioned the sum of £7,000 administrative expenses. Has he any idea how that is to be divided between the local authorities and the central authorities?

I think the Deputy has got his answer. Deputy O'Higgins is in the House now.

Is the Minister obstructing the House? Is he not doing so deliberately?

The expenditure is under the Estimate for the Department of Defence.

Has the Minister given any estimate as to what the extra expenditure of local authorities will be administratively?

I have. It is included in the sum the local authorities will have to pay.

Therefore, it is included in the £90,000. That is very useful information. Has the Minister any idea what the administrative expenses of the local authorities will be? He says he has. What is it? It is an extraordinary way to treat the House.

Have I not told the Deputy already?

You told me it was included in a much bigger sum. That is not telling me what the administrative expenses are. When I asked what the administrative expenses of local authorities will be for carrying out the Act it is no answer to say that it is included in the sum of £90,000 which will be the sum or something more borne by local authorities. What sum has the Minister for administrative expenses to be put on local authorities to carry out the provisions of the Act? I suppose this is an indication of the co-operation that we are asked to give occasionally. The Minister says he has an estimate, and he refuses to give it. It was impossible, at first, to make him understand the measures that might be taken for which money would have to be provided under this Bill. Now, when there is a very simple question put to him, namely, has he any idea of the administrative expenses that will be put on the local authorities for the carrying out of the provisions of this Bill, he says he has, but he refuses to give them. I think it is ridiculous, but then, of course, the Bill is ridiculous.

Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 48; Níl, 27.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Buckley, Seán.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Crowley, Fred Hugh.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Fogarty, Patrick J.
  • Friel, John.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Kelly, James P.
  • Kissane, Eamon.
  • Litte, Patrick J.
  • Loughman, Francis.
  • Lynch, James B.
  • McCann, John.
  • McDevitt, Henry A.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • Meaney, Cornelius.
  • Moylan, Seán.
  • Munnelly, John.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Loghlen, Peter J.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • O'Rourke, Daniel.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Rice, Bridget M.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Martin.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridon, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Victory, James.
  • Walsh, Laurence J.
  • Walsh, Richard.


  • Benson, Ernest E.
  • Brasier, Brooke.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Browne, Patrick.
  • Cole, John J.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Curran, Richard.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Esmonde, John L.
  • Everett, James.
  • Gorey, Denis J.
  • Hickey, James.
  • Hughes, James.
  • Keating, John.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • MacEoin, Seán.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGovern, Patrick.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F.
  • O'Neill, Eamonn.
  • O'Sullivan, John M.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Rogers, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, Jeremiah.
Tellers:—Tá, Deputies Little and Smith; Níl, Deputies Doyle and Hughes.
Question declared carried.
Resolution reported and agreed to.