Ceisteanna—Questions. Private Notice Question. - Dáil Eireann Loan.
Estimates for Public Services.
In Committee on Finance. - Vote 55—Land Commission (Resumed).
Written Answers. - Old Age Pension Claim (Galway).
Written Answers. - Killybegs Harbour.
Written Answers. - Drummond Estate (Killarney).
 Do chuaidh an Ceann Comhairle i gceannas ar 10.30 a.m.
Mr. French: asked the Minister for Finance if he would consider extending from April 30th, 1929, to May 31st, 1929, the date to receive applications for repayment of subscribers to Dáil Eireann Loan, 1919-20, owing to the general misunderstanding prevailing throughout the country.
Minister for Finance (Mr. Blythe): I am not aware that there is any ground for misunderstanding regarding the final date for making application for the repayment of subscriptions to the Dáil Eireann Loan, 1919-20. I would remind the Deputy that the 31st March, 1925, was originally fixed as the final date for making applications, but the time has been extended to the 30th instant. Adequate public notice of the fixing of the time limit has been given in the Dublin and provincial Press during the past month, and in the circumstances I cannot see my way to allow any further extension of time.
The Dáil went into Committee on Finance, according to Order, and resumed consideration of the Estimates for Public Services for the year 1929-30.
“That a sum not exceeding £342,366 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1930, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of the Irish Land Commission (44 and 45 Vict., c. 49, s. 46, and c. 71, s. 4; 48 and 49 Vict., c. 73; s.s. 17, 18 and 20; 53 and 54 Vict., c. 49, s. 2; 54 and 55 Vict., c. 48; 3 Edw. 7, c. 37; 7 Edw. 7, c. 38, and c. 56; 9 Edw. 7, c. 42; Nos. 27 and 42 of 1923, 25 of 1925, 11 of 1926, and 19 of 1927).” (Minister for Finance.)
Debate resumed on following motion: “That the Estimate be referred back for reconsideration.”— (Mr. Derrig.)
Mr. Carey: When the debate was adjourned last night, I was asking the Parliamentary Secretary to look into some cases which I brought forward. I ask him further to take into consideration the case of the Cahermore  estate, bought under the Land Act of 1903, for British ex-servicemen. I am not sure whether the matter is one for our Government or for the British Government. In any event, the valuation of these holdings is altogether too high. In one case, where there is about an acre of a market garden attached to 16 acres, the rent is about £26. I ask the Parliamentary Secretary to get in touch with the British Government in connection with this matter. It may rest with the British Government, but if we take a hand in the matter we might be able to get over the difficulty. It is my opinion that the acquisition, division and vesting of land should be taken together. I do not believe in postponing one for the other. I believe that the machinery is there to carry out this work. Of course, every Deputy has something to say against the Land Commission, but the Land Commission have done an amount of good work. Not alone have they carried out works in the different areas, but they have come to the rescue of the farmers in several cases that I know of. They have not harassed these farmers unnecessarily in connection with the payment of annuities. They always treat them decently. There are, however, estates to be vested in connection with which the tenants are grumbling and frequently come to Deputies to get the Land Commission to vest the land. There is, for instance, the case of one farmer who is paying £8 extra per year owing to his land not being vested. That sum is mounting up year by year, until in the end it will come to a very substantial amount. I ask the Parliamentary Secretary to look into the cases that I have brought before him. I believe that he will find, in connection with the Davis estate and the Fitzgerald estate, that there is nothing to debar him from vesting these lands.
Mr. G. Boland: I have a few complaints to make with reference to the Land Commission. There is one estate in County Roscommon—the Jackson estate—about which tenants first wrote to Mr. Finlay, who was a member of the Dáil five years ago,  and as to which Mr. Finlay got a letter from the Land Commission five years ago in exactly the same terms as they wrote to me two months ago—that the matter was receiving consideration. Two years ago an inspector visited that estate, and fifteen months ago a surveyor was there, but still nothing has been done. I sent a copy of a letter which I got to the Land Commission describing the conditions of the people living on that estate, and if what they state is correct they must be in a bad position. The letter states that the following are the conditions under which the people are living:
“The only way the tenants can go to the bog for their turf is through a bog farm which is nearly always covered with water and impossible to cart over it, except when there is an odd very fine summer. The tenants are nearly every year carrying the turf on their backs and trudging knee deep in slush. All the turf that was cut in Castlemine bog last year is there still, and it is great hardship to be drawing it on their backs nearly every year; the distance in some cases is over a mile.”
I think that after five years, and as the inspector was there two years ago and the surveyor fifteen months ago, there should be something done about the estate. Then there is the Mount Talbot estate, which has been divided, as to which I want to say something that perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary can contradict. Naturally, everybody cannot be satisfied when estates are divided, but one person got land and a cottage on that estate who is not a farmer but a professional man. He got about twelve acres and a plantation with the cottage. There were several applications from people living in hovels for that cottage. They could not get this cottage, but this gentleman, who has a residence three or four miles away, and who happens to be a brother of a highly-placed official in the Land Commission, got it.
He lives in a place called the Four Roads, so that the Parliamentary Secretary will be able to find out  who he is. As I say, he got this land and the cottage, which is very badly needed by people who are living in hovels. I was asked to write to the Land Commission about this matter, and I am quite sure other Deputies were also asked, to see what could be done. I think it is a shame that a man who has already got a good residence should get this cottage. There is another case in Roscommon which has been decided in the courts. I am not going to say that the judge gave his decision with any bias. I believe he gave it according to the evidence submitted, but I think I have cause to complain of the way the Land Commission presented the case. I refer to the Glover estate in the parish of Kiltevan. I know this district well, and there is very great congestion all round there. The Land Commission realised that, and took steps to acquire about 200 acres of this land, but the Judicial Commissioner turned down the Land Commission. The Land Commission appealed from his decision, and the report in the newspapers said that there was not sufficient evidence of congestion presented to the Judge. I believe that that is the case. In cases of that sort, where there is congestion, I think that at the very least the people interested, that is, the tenants, should be allowed legal representation at these proceedings. When the matter was first mooted and the Land Commission announced their intention of taking over the estate, I was speaking to one of the officials in the Land Commission, and he thought that there would be no difficulty in arranging to have the tenants represented by a solicitor, so that their case would be properly represented and proof of congestion would be brought before the Judge. I understood from this official that they would get representation, but it transpired later that they could not be represented by a solicitor. In such cases I think the people who are vitally interested, and who know the congestion that exists, should be entitled to be represented. I do not know whether there is any bar against that, but in this case I understand  they were not allowed to be represented, with the result that whoever conducted the Land Commission case did not present the facts as they are.
I was speaking to the Parliamentary Secretary, and I think I convinced him that there was a case for taking over this estate. The important point is that if these people were represented they would make sure that all the facts would be properly brought before the Judge. I do not know what the people in that district are going to do now for land. This man openly boasted in Roscommon that there would not be a sod of ground taken from him, and there is a suspicion that he has some grip on the Land Commission—I do not know whether he has or not. Anyway, he still has about 2,000 acres of land all over the county, and he says he will be able to hold this land in spite of anybody. He certainly has still got this place, notwithstanding the congestion that there is in the district, which is about as bad as there is in Roscommon. I do not know if it is possible to re-open the case now, but it is certainly one of great hardship, and I hope some notice will be taken of the point I have made as to tenants being represented in these cases.
Mr. S. Jordan: I am of opinion that the Land Commission have received a fair amount of criticism, as I believe I am about the fortieth speaker in this debate since it started. For that reason I do not purpose to delay the House but as little as possible, and I will come to the point immediately as far as this case is concerned. The Land Commission was very vigorously criticised by Deputies from all sides of the House with regard to the way lands were being divided, and how the interests of certain people were more or less neglected or their applications turned down. Deputy Daly, when making his case for the division of land, stressed the point very much that the people who should get very favourable consideration were the real victims. These were the labourers who were employed by  the original holders of the land. I wish to bring a case under the notice of the Land Commission that I consider very urgent, that of a tenant called Roddie Mullin, on the Lewin estate, outside Tuam. A man wrote to me on his behalf, and stated:—
“He is tenant of a holding on above estate of about five acres of inferior land, as the rent indicates.” His half-yearly rent is 16s. 2d. “He was entitled to either a new holding or an addition to his old holding out of the Lewin estate on the distribution thereof, but though there was ample land to accommodate him. he did not receive any land from the Inspectors who divided the Lewin estate. Mr. Lewin, for whom my client worked for many years, was anxious that the latter would be provided for on his estate. Owing to his holding being of inferior quality, after my client left Mr. Lewin's employment some years ago, he found it necessary to live in Tuam with his wife and family to eke out an existence, as his little holding was too poor to enable him to live on same. The Inspectors who divided Lewin's estate did not consider Mullen for either an addition to his old holding or a new holding, on the ground that he was not entitled to same, owing to the fact that he did not reside on his old holding. As stated it was impossible for him to reside on his old holding as it was too poor to maintain him and his wife and family. If he got a new holding or an addition to his old holding he would be prepared to work same in a husbandlike and agricultural manner. There was abundant land available on Lewin estate to accommodate him if the Inspectors favourably considered his case, but as stated, he was passed over without justification, and this is grossly unfair.”
Then the letter asked further that some representations should be made on this man's behalf, and I avail of this opportunity to ask the Parliamentary Secretary to note the man's name and the estate in question and see if anything can be done for him.  This is the type of man representations have been made for by Deputy Daly on the opposite side. He might derive some benefit by unification of forces in the House on this discussion. Let us hope he does.
Last year when this discussion was on I brought up some cases from County Galway and got answers which I considered were certainly satisfactory, but they have to bear fruit yet. As far back as the 8th November, 1927 (this is something like the Lattin lands we heard so much about from the Labour benches) I asked what was the result of the inspector's report on the Strahan estate in Tuam, and the Parliamentary Secretary replied to the effect that it was under consideration. Nothing has come to light yet about the consideration it is getting, and I am beginning to think it must have been snowed under. I also asked a question about the Ashtown estate on March 28th. I asked the Minister for Fisheries whether the Irish Land Commission have taken over the lands of Carranemore, Carranebeg, Creevagh Island, and Gortnabuka, in the parish of Killimoredaly (Ashtown estate); if so, when it is proposed to divide these lands. The Parliamentary Secretary replied:
“The lands of Caraun More, comprising 353a. 3r. 36p., and Caraun Beg and Creevagh, comprising 412a. 3r. 37p., comprise lands held by W. H. Sharpe and Wm. Chas. McCully as judicial and non-judicial tenants, respectively, on the estate of Baron Ashtown, which is being dealt with by the Land Commission under the Land Act, 1923. These holdings have been published as retained holdings, and after the appointed day for this estate has been fixed the Land Commission propose to institute proceedings with a view to obtaining orders for their resumption from the Judicial Commissioner.
In addition to the lands mentioned in the foregoing paragraph, the Land Commission have published in a Provisional List the lands of Island, comprising 53a.  2r. 17p., as lands which will, if not excluded in consequence of a valid objection become vested in the Land Commission on the appointed day, and the owner has accepted the Commissioner's offer for these lands. The claims of all persons coming under Section 31 of the Land Act, 1923, will be considered.”
I would like to know from the Parliamentary Secretary, when replying, if there is any hope for these people soon to expect a division of these lands both on the Strahan Estate in Tuam and the Ashtown Estate in Killimoredaly. Last year I made representations on behalf of the tenants who purchased as far back as 1921 an estate outside Athenry, the Shaw-Taylor Estate. These tenants raised the necessary money in the Bank. The Land Commission inspector came down to divide the lands on the understanding that the Land Commission would take over the lot as soon as finance would allow. These people are yet paying a big interest on that money to the Bank, and the Land Commission have not relieved them of their liability, although a promise was made last year in this debate that the matter would receive attention. I received also a letter in connection with the Pollough Bog on the Gough Estate, near Gort. I refer to the fact that the tenants were paying as much as £6, and more of them £2, for turbary. The understanding was that this money would be utilised for the purpose of making a road through the bog. No road has been made. That bog has been given to these tenants for about five years now, and there is no road made in the bog yet, although a turbary rate is being charged for the purpose of collecting sufficient money to make the road. It was also promised to drain it. There is a farm also in the Oranmore district, Renvyle Farm, that tenants purchased similar to the Shaw-Taylor Farm. They have made several representations to the Land Commission to relieve them of their liability, but nothing has been done in the matter. I would ask the Land  Commission to give these people a chance by accepting liability for the amount by dividing the land and recouping themselves by a fair rent, which the people are quite ready to pay. While on Oranmore district I have a case there that I think the Land Commission ought to look after immediately. There is a property there known as the Frenchfort property and within that property is what is known as the Creevagh Farm. The owner of the Creevagh Farm, I believe, has not lived in Ireland for some years. A Galway solicitor of the name of Goulding was representing the man or lady who owned the place. The tenants, some few years ago, of the Frenchfort property, who had a very small amount of land, made representations to the solicitor for the purpose of buying this place. They made an offer. What the amount was I really do not know at the moment, but they made a decent offer anyhow to the solicitor. He refused to sell. Another gentleman in Galway had some interest in the land and, behind the backs of the tenant, he sold the land for something like £400 less to a man named Gibney, already in possession of something like 170 acres of land. He bought over these 82 acres thereby constituting himself in one night, as they say down there, a mushroom landlord, a new type of landlord. I would like to point out to the Parliamentary Secretary that as far as we are concerned in Galway we gave a fair amount of our time fighting landlordism and we certainly are not going to stand for the new type of landlords that are replacing the old.
Feeling is running pretty high in the district as regards this man's action, and the Land Commission, it is believed, ought immediately compulsorily to acquire these lands and also a portion of the 170 acres as well, because he has certainly too much land, while other people are struggling to live on little cabbage gardens. To make things worse, on the 82 acres he bought, there are five or six residences in the town of Oranmore. Things have reached  an extraordinary pass when a man can buy houses over the heads of the occupying tenants. That is a case that the Land Commission should take up immediately. The tenants had no knowledge at all that the place was being sold. If they had they were prepared to give a price or to advance on their original offer. But what is extraordinary about it is that this man Gibney bought the land for less than the tenants offered, and when he got possession of it the first thing he did was to issue processes for arrears of rent due to the original owner. They were not due to himself. He went back a couple of years looking for rents that were due to the original owner.
There is also a farm outside Athenry in connection with which there is a certain amount of dissatisfaction. It appears that some years ago this farm was forcibly taken possession of and the tenants offered a certain price for it. The farm is useless since to the original owner. I am sure the Land Commission have a good idea of how this farm stands at the present time, and certainly for the people of the district there ought to be something done with this farm. It is generally thought that the Land Commission are closing their eyes, as it were, to the fact that that farm is there and that there is trouble about it. Other people are wondering whether the rent of this farm is being paid.
The supposition is that the owner is not paying any rent, and that as a result the rates are being mulcted. I do not say that these things are facts, but I say there is dissatisfaction over it and that the Land Commission ought to make some move; they should take possession of the farm and compensate the owner, give him a fair price for it, divide the farm immediately and settle the question amongst the tenants there. I do not say that the farm ought to be divided in the way the tenants want it divided. If it were, possibly it would be bad for some of them and good for others. It is the Land Commission's business to take over the  land and to make a fair distribution of it, and settle the feeling amongst the people down there. It is not a nice way to have a district, particularly when there is a way out of it. People may not think it, but as far as we are concerned down there we certainly want peace in the district. We do not want any agrarian trouble. We have had plenty of it. There are Deputies in the House at the present moment who have a vital interest in the farm I am speaking of. There are others who have other interests in it, and representations were made several times by these Deputies. I have no reason to believe that they did not do all they possibly could to bring about a settlement and to have peace in the district. I never interfered in the case before, but I avail of this opportunity of doing so, as I think it is a matter that ought to get publicity. The people ought to know that such trouble exists there, and the sooner it gets the necessary publicity probably the sooner the Land Commission will move in the matter. If public opinion is concentrated on this, probably they will do the necessary thing and settle up this question.
The only real disappointment in the Land Commission Vote is the fact that there is such an enormous reduction in the improvements grant. I think, to say the least of it, it was not the proper portion of the Vote to have reduced. This year we have had no unemployment grant, and the Land Commission was looked forward to as the only source from which a certain amount of relief would come to the rural areas. With all the staff they have in the Land Commission Offices at the present time, I am sure they would be scarcely able to count, inside half an hour, all the petitions they got some time ago for necessary works in Southern Ireland. It is pitiable to know that the only source from which benefit would come to the ordinary rural people is reduced and that the Estimate in respect of it is cut down. I think if the Vote is sent back for reconsideration, and I do hope it is, we would look forward to an increase in that particular portion  of it. I hope if it is sent back for reconsideration that the Parliamentary Secretary and his Department will alter that particular Estimate for a certainty.
I have a letter here also from people in another portion of Co. Galway as follows:—
“The undersigned wish to bring before your notice some particulars relative to and concerning Malachy Kelly's estate, situate at Ruawnmore, Clare-galway, Co. Galway. The Land Commission sent down inspectors to the above-mentioned estate, now nearly two years ago, with a view to taking over same for distribution among the small farmers in the neighbourhood, whose cases they investigated at the time.”
I am not going to comment on the fact that the period is two years, but it is rather curious that it was in 1927 that the Commissioner was sent down. The letter goes on:—
“Last November the lands were again visited by other agents of the Land Commission for the purpose of valuing same, and which have been left in abeyance up to the present time. Although a lawyer has been employed petitioning on their behalf, there have been no prospects of immediate division of same. Now those small farmers are desirous of handing the matter over to you and other respective T.D.'s requesting you if, and when opportunity avails itself, you may bring the matter before the Land Commission in the Dáil.”
The estate is the Malachy Kelly. It is situated at Ruawnmore, Claregalway. I would respectfully point out to the Parliamentary Secretary that two years ago a Commissioner went down to divide it, and it is not divided yet. The names of the tenants are appended to this communication. Their valuation in no case exceeds £5. Surely these people are deserving of consideration. The Land Commission ought to divide that farm as soon as possible.
I do not purpose delaying the  House any further, except to ask the Parliamentary Secretary if he would give me some information as regards the Strahan Estate in Tuam, which I raised the question about last March twelve months, and the Ashtown Estate, Killimoredaly, which I also raised the question about.
I want the information for these people. The onus to get it has been thrown on me by those people who requested me to apply for that information to the Land Commission or to get it by way of question here in the House. I consider it is my duty to my constituents to put their case before the Parliamentary Secretary when they asked me to do so. I do not say that I demand this information but I do hope that when the Parliamentary Secretary is replying he will give some information as to these two estates that I have mentioned.
Mr. T.J. O'Connell: Before the debate closes there are just a couple of points to which I would like to draw attention. My remarks will be brief. In the first place I want to stress the protest that has been made from these and many other quarters of the House with regard to the 50 per cent. reduction in the grant for the improvement of estates. So far as I am concerned that will be my principal reason for voting for the amendment to refer back this Vote. In his opening statement the Parliamentary Secretary gave two reasons for this very big reduction. He said that reduction was brought about first of all for reasons of economy. But then he stopped and gave no indication of what he meant by economy in this particular sense. I hope that when replying he will tell us exactly what we are to understand by economy in that sense.
Has the expenditure of this grant hitherto been on an uneconomic basis? He tells us that he was not able to spend all the grant that was voted last year. There was something like £100,000 or something close to that unexpended at the end of the year. Perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary would give his  reasons why that amount of money which was voted by the Dáil for improvement works during the year 1928-29 was not expended on these improvement works? Was it that there was no improvement to be done? I do not think the Parliamentary Secretary will hold that that was the case because there is hardly a Deputy in the House who does not know of cases where improvement work could be done, where improvements were necessary and where the people were urging on the officials through their representatives that certain improvements should be carried out. It cannot therefore be held that the work was not there to be done. The Parliamentary Secretary had the money at his disposal. The work was there to be done, and I think the Dáil is entitled to know why the work was not done and the money expended.
It has never been urged here that this particular class of work, the improvement of estates, the making of roads and fences, the opening up of turbary and all that class of work which has been done under this particular head, was not economic. I would, therefore, like to know, exactly, what the Parliamentary Secretary had in mind, and what he means us to understand when he says that the first reason for cutting down the grants by 50 per cent. was the reason of economy. In the second place he says it is intended during the coming year to have a greater concentration on the work of vesting lands and less concentration on the acquisition and distribution of untenanted land. Is there any reason why these two essential works could not go on concurrently? Why is it thought necessary if there is to be more concentration on vesting that there should be less concentration on the acquisition and distribution of untenanted lands? Why cannot both operations go on concurrently? I believe I am voicing the views of the majority of the Deputies in this House in saying that if there was a choice to be made between these two works there is no doubt that the majority of Deputies would choose the acquisition and  distribution of untenanted land as the most urgent work.
I am in thorough agreement with Deputy Law when he says that so far as the people in the congested areas are concerned what is most important is that the untenanted land in the neighbourhood should be acquired and divided. I say that because the first step towards the solution of the land problem in these areas—and it is indeed in these areas there is a real problem—is to put the people on the land. After all, as between a man who pays even to the extent of 20 per cent. for a few years extra while he is waiting to have his land vested, and the married man who has not an economic holding on which to raise his family in frugal comfort, there can, to my mind at any rate, be no question of choice. I therefore strongly deprecate the policy which has been adumbrated in the Parliamentary Secretary's statement that there is going to be a slowing up in the acquisition and distribution of land.
With regard to the problem of vesting, there is one particular matter in that regard that has not been touched on. It is a matter which, in the West of Ireland at any rate, is rather acute. It is acute in these places where there is a good deal of migration going on. A tenant in a congested area gives up his farm to the Land Commission and gets a new farm somewhere else. His old farm is then distributed amongst two or three of his neighbours. I found numerous cases in which there has been very considerable delay in making the necessary adjustments in such cases in the division of that migrant's farm. There are special cases in which there have been delays which, as far as I at any rate can see, are not justified by the circumstances.
There is another point on which I would like to have some information from the Parliamentary Secretary. Deputy Law touched on it here. Is it the fact that once an estate is passed out of their hands and has been vested in the tenant that the Land Commission are not at liberty to do any improvement works on it  and that they are, in fact, prevented from doing any improvement work of any kind on that estate ever afterwards? I would like the Parliamentary Secretary to explain the position so far as that is concerned. Deputy Law yesterday indicated that that is the position. If that is the position I think it is a great pity. Many of these estates have been vested and passed out of the hands of the Land Commission before the necessary improvements were completed, and some of them, like the Dillon estate, had been out of their hands for many years. I think it would be a pity if the Land Commission are debarred from making any improvements of any kind in these estates afterwards or from spending money on any improvements so far as these estates are concerned. I do not know what the position is, but I would be glad if the Parliamentary Secretary would tell us.
I would be glad if he would say a word or two of what the policy of the Government is with regard to the granting of housing loans. Are these housing loans which are given by the Land Commission towards the erection of houses, and these grants, which are exceedingly useful, confined to estates which are in their hands before being vested, or is the Land Commission at liberty to give these housing grants to tenants on estates which have already been dealt with and have passed out of the control of the Land Commission?
I would like to emphasise, too, what Deputy Nally said here last night with regard to leaving such estates in South Mayo, which are still in the hands of the Land Commission and which, in many cases, have been in their hands for many years without anything being done. Deputy Nally told us of the numerous times these have been raised by him with the Land Commission and of the numerous promises given and the futile efforts in regard to them. I have no doubt that when the division bell rings we  will find Deputy Nally in the division lobby voting for the reference back of this Estimate in order to emphasise and stress the points which he made and in order to endeavour to get these matters remedied, as I hope they will be, when they are referred back.
Dr. O'Dowd: I merely intervene in this debate to read a resolution that was sent me by the Roscommon County Council. That resolution was proposed by Mr. Domhnall O Ruairc and seconded by Mr. John Flynn. It reads: “Resolved— That as soon as the land annuities are paid in by those who had been defaulters the money so paid into the Irish Land Commission should be immediately paid into the county council and a list of the payers and the amounts supplied therewith. That copies of this resolution be sent to the T.D.s for the County Roscommon requesting them to get this carried out.”
I do not see how we are to get this done beyond making a recommendation to the Parliamentary Secretary to give the matter his attention. I hope some new method in the matter of dealing with such defaulters will be adopted by the Land Commission, and will be put into effect before the next Estimates are presented. I desire to emphasise the fact that it is well known that the Land Commission, in some cases, deal perhaps too harshly with defaulters. Take, for instance, where a man owes £60 or £70 to the Land Commission. On several occasions such men have made what one would consider a reasonable offer. This offer is turned down by the Land Commission. The Land Commission cannot, any more than any other creditor, extract blood from a turnip. A man is sometimes unable to meet his liabilities because of circumstances, and he is pushed out. It is too much to expect him to pay both the current annuity and the very considerable portion of the arrears each time his annuity is due. I think in that respect the Land Commission should give these tenants who perhaps have suffered  so much through no fault of their own in the last four or five years an opportunity to get on their feet.
These men have got into arrears on account of the general depression in agriculture, or perhaps because of the discase in cattle and sheep some years ago. I think that in such cases these people should get a fairly decent extension of time and a fairly decent chance of paying up. In some cases in my own constituency matters like these were pushed by the Land Commission to the extent of selling the farm. I believe in most of these cases if the men had got a decent chance they would have done their best to pay the arrears due, and so enabled them to get on their feet. With regard to the annuities fixed on these holdings, I wish to mention cases in Rathcroghan and Ballinagare, in Roscommon, in which the tenants are expected to pay as much as £2 per acre for their holdings. That is the figure they are asked to pay. It is too much to pay that sum and to remain solvent. When these people get into arrears it is only natural that they would expect something in the nature of decent and fair treatment.
I agree with Deputy O'Connell that it is false economy to have reduced the grant for improvement by 50 per cent. Surely the Parliamentary Secretary cannot say that it was because there were no improvements to be done that the grant was not necessary. He cannot say, as pointed out by Deputy O'Connell, that it was because there was no work to be done last year that a large portion of the grant was unexpended. Several Deputies referred to the number of applications made for relief the last time a grant was before the House.
There is just one other point concerning lands that have been divided in the neighbourhood of a town, and where trustees have been appointed for town parks. In these cases great dissatisfaction exists amongst the people in and around the town as to the manner in which that policy has worked. It has not worked out satisfactorily, and if it is possible to do it legally, I think that the question  of the trusteeship should be reconsidered, and, if possible, ended, and the land sub-divided amongst the people who have all along agitated for these lands, and who are in a position to stock them if they get them. On this particular matter I wish to say that town tenants have been for years fighting for a division of the lands around the towns. In these cases, the lands have been placed in the hands of two or three trustees, and they are no use to anybody, because people have a decided objection to putting cows or any kind of livestock into what I might call a common. They have a decided objection to that, and anybody can appreciate the reason. Everybody would prefer to have his own six or seven or ten acres to himself to do what he wishes with it.
Though I intend to vote that this Estimate should be referred back, still I feel that I should give credit where credit is due, and I do want to pay a tribute to the officials of the Land Commission for the impartial manner in which the land known as the O'Connor estate, around Elphin, has been divided. I also wish to state that if the Land Commission will be as successful in the division of other estates as they have been in dividing this estate, the people will be well satisfied with the division. They have been well satisfied in this case.
Mr. E. Doyle: I, too, am in favour of the amendment to refer back this Vote. My reason is very obvious. In the first place, the reduction of the improvement grant will mean a considerable difficulty in the way of employment in the rural parts of Ireland. There is no other means of finding employment for this class of workers except by Land Commission improvement work. I want to refer to a number of estates of which, during the past few years, I gave particulars and lists of names of people amongst whom they might be divided. The reply always is that the matter is under consideration. That is what the Land Commission tell you when you communicate with them. There are in the County of  Carlow thousands of acres suitable for division amongst the people. I have brought these estates several times before the Land Commission both here in the House and privately to the inspectors, and nothing has been done.
If these lands were as a matter of fact the only lands that the owners had, I certainly would not be in favour of interfering with them. But these lands to which I refer are three or four miles away from the owner. In fact the owners in some cases live abroad and they let these lands for grazing purposes. I maintain that if we are going to make this country a prairie or a cattle ranch that you will have compulsory emigration driving the people out of the country. It is evident that we must repopulate the rural parts of Ireland if we are ever to have a prosperous and successful nation. There are larger tracts of land undivided at Kelletstown, Ducketsgrove and Moyle. I do not know whether the Parliamentary Secretary can inform me whether anything has been done by the Land Commission to deal with these lands. I am aware, at all events, that people who have as much as sixty or seventy acres of land are about to get portion of these lands. These people live a considerable distance from the land, and, as a matter of fact, some of them sold their farms a few years ago. That is a regrettable state of affairs, the putting of such people into these untenanted lands, and it is not doing the best with the land. There are people living quite adjacent to these estates who are very suitable applicants. These are people who would have been very useful not only to themselves, but to the State in general, because they are willing and capable of working a portion of land.
I think that that is not a proper manner in which estates of this sort should be dealt with. There were two or three thousand acres of land in this place, and it was not right to bring in people who lived two or three miles away and who had fifty or sixty acres, thus keeping out small  farmers and landless men who are willing and capable of working a portion of land. I would be very glad if the Parliamentary Secretary would be satisfied if I sent him in a list of names of people who got this land, and of people who did not get it, but who are eligible for it and who are living on the estate. If he is prepared to consider such cases, I will be only too willing to send the facts to him.
Mr. P. Boland: Although this debate has wandered over a wide range there is one aspect of the matter to which no Deputy has referred, namely, Sub-head (F), in which there is an increase of £1,400 for solicitors' expenses. That increased expenditure is, I am afraid, raising false hopes in the breasts of many solicitors down the country. It is apparently hoped that the sale of defaulters' holdings will realise something and that there will be a change of tenancy, but I entertain no such hope. The practice heretofore has been to put the holdings up for sale, and in most cases, though not in all, the sales have proved abortive. There should, in my opinion, be some remedy. It appears from the various criticisms of this Estimate by all parties—especially from the adverse criticisms of some Cumann na nGaedheal Deputies—that it would be good policy for the Dáil to set up something in the nature of a committee to inquire as to what alteration is desirable in existing land legislation for the purpose of expediting the vesting and the acquisition of land, and also in regard to the question of the appropriation of the estate duties grants and the agricultural grant from local authorities in lieu of defaulting land annuities. These are points which must be settled at some time.
It appears to me that the procedure adopted in this estimate will not be effective, as in my opinion, the attempted sales of defaulters' holdings will not realise anything. Most of these holdings are small, the land is not of the best, and they are situated in parts of the country where the market value of such  holdings is approximately nil. Therefore, I think that some other remedy should be adopted. There should be an investigation as to what can be done. Possibly, there could be an amending Bill which would add the arrears accruing to the original purchase price, and thus give the people a new start. You will never replace these people by better tenants. That is a point which, I think, has not been touched on, but it is very serious. To adopt Deputy Gorey's phrase, these people might be called “poor devils.” With reference to the reduction in the estimate for the improvement of estates, it seems to me that the money is mainly used for fencing and for the making of roads. The cost of improvement must, of course, be paid for by the allottees in years to come. It appears to me that, instead of appropriating any of this Vote for the making of fences, the allottees should carry out their own fencing and allow the money to be used for roads. In that way more money would be available for the making of accommodation roads. That is a suggestion that should be taken into account, and I am sure, if the Parliamentary Secretary came to the Dáil and asked for a supplementary estimate for this purpose, the Dáil in its generosity would give it.
There is one point in reference to the Land Act of 1923 to which I would call attention. Under Section 24 the Land Commission can abandon the purchase of an estate if the price is raised. There is a suspicion in the country that, owing to the pressure of undue influence in the Land Commission, certain methods are adopted that would not stand investigation. There should be some open investigation so that once the intention of the Land Commission to acquire land is announced—if anything happens later on to prevent that acquisition—people should know why there has been a change of intention and why the price was raised, thus preventing the Land Commission from carrying out a scheme of acquisition. In the 1927 Land Act there is a provision by which the Land Commission can take  over certain cottages and plots and compensate the local authorities. I would like to know what is the policy of the Land Commission in that respect, and what would be the purchase price of such holding. It would be well if local authorities were informed by the Land Commission as to their policy in such cases. There are parallel cases to the Land Bank cases, cases in which other banks were involved, and in which the Land Commission have intervened and purchased estates for the purpose of re-sale. A good many farmers have purchased in groups, but they are not now able to pay the abnormal amount of the original purchase. I think that the Land Commission would be well advised to clear up all these cases as soon as possible. It has been the usual practice of Deputies here to refer to special cases in their own localities. I have, however, no great complaint to make, though there are a couple of estates about which I could complain. There is one estate which would come under the definition of “home-farm.” There is there a demense and adjacent to it is a large ranch which was acquired by the landlord. I think that there is a flaw in the Act of 1923 in regard to the acquisition of such lands, and I think it would be well to look into that point with a view to having it remedied.
Mr. Hayes: I rise to draw attention to a few matters in connection with the Land Commission, particularly as it concerns Tipperary County. First of all, I may say that there is a general belief that the slowness in the vesting of land arises from two causes. The first is that the landlords are being given a chance through certain reactionary elements in the Land Commission in getting for a long period, larger sums in the form of interest in lieu of rent than they would get if the matter were completed. In the second place, the State is being saved the annual cost of the bonus for which it becomes responsible on the appointed day, but the unfortunate tenants have been fleeced for  the last six years to the tune of about £100,000 per annum in addition to the fact that they are getting no credit for the sinking fund. Perhaps it is intended that some other Party must shoulder the responsibility for the bonus. The late British régime had the excuse that the landlord had to be paid in cash and the money required could not be economically raised at once. Now they are being paid in land bonds, as has already been pointed out, and there is no excuse for such delay.
Coming to another part of the Land Commission's work, I find despite the figures given by Deputy Heffernan, that much more land remains to be dealt with. I refer to the acquisition and division of land. The present Government takes credit to itself not only for what has been acquired under the 1923 Act under which the Government have been given great powers, but also for the land acquired before the Treaty. The land actually acquired and divided under the 1923 Act, during the six years it has been in operation, is less than 200,000 acres for the whole Free State. Of course, there has been a lot of writings and inspections and so on, but that is the net sum of the actual work under the Act, while under the very mild powers of compulsion which existed previously, about five times this amount was acquired by the British Government. In the county which I represent half the whole area of 1,000,000 acres is in the hands of one-twelfth of the people even if you include their families, and that is the best of the land. The people were sent in the days of Cromwell and other planters to the bogs and the hillsides. It would seem to some modern disciples in this House that they would like if possible to send the “poor devils” further into the bogs and up the hills.
Mr. Gorey: That is a very interesting paper you are reading.
Mr. Hayes: For every five people in the county 80 years ago we have now but two, and in proportion we  have a fewer number of workers, but a larger proportion of pensioners, young and old. The “poor devils” did the fighting when fighting was to be done. The “poor devils” did the work when work was to be done, and the “poor devils” bore the brunt of the fighting in every struggle, both for national liberty and everything else. Those who sneer at them might have a good time with pleasure and sport after they are tired advising others to work. I would like also to draw the attention of the Parliamentary Secretary to the case of the Smith-Barry estate, in the neighbourhood of Tipperary town. A ranch of four or five hundred acres was acquired nearly two years ago by the Land Commission and was let last year and this year on the 11 months' system. Why has that ranch not been split up? The position is very serious now if you consider that, owing to the action of the Land Commission, 20 workers have been disemployed. The ranch is adjacent to Tipperary town, which has suffered very much from unemployment as a result of the troubles of recent years. According to the 1923 Act the claims of these workers to allotments are recognised. Why, under the circumstances, does the Land Commission not proceed to divide these lands? I take it that the main object of the 1923 Act is to create more employment and production and to stay emigration. In this instance the Land Commission is going in the other direction. Is the Land Commission aware that not only have the workers lost their wages but they have lost 18 acres of conacre which they had on this estate previously? Now they have to pay 50/- an acre for land on this estate while other people get it from £1 to £2 per acre.
Mr. Corkery: A little over seven years ago the people of the Free State were told that they had got freedom to achieve freedom. They have not achieved much freedom under the Land Commission. The same gang and the same people are ruling to-day as ruled in the past under the British régime here. The only people praising the Land  Commission in this House are those who stood up for the rack-renting landlords in the old days. I am glad to know that a good many Government supporters have at last come to realise the true position of the Land Commission. Evidently the one-time farmers' representative, Deputy Heffernan, has gone the other way. He tells us now that the good land is too good to be divided amongst the unfortunate poor farmers. He believes in 400-acre farms. I wonder did he believe in them when he represented the farmers here. The majority of Deputies do not believe in 400-acre farms, but in economic holdings. They do not believe in one farmer having 400 acres of the best land and fifty or sixty unfortunate “poor devils” trying to live on 400 acres of very poor land. There are very few large estates in the constituency that I represent, but any of them that have been taken over have not been divided up as they should have been, or at least as the people believed that they should have been. In connection with the estates taken over near Macroom, one man would get 300 or 400 acres and all the others could go and try and raise sufficient to clear out to America, or else look for home assistance and live on the rates. That is not the freedom that the people were told seven years ago that they were going to get. Twelve or eighteen months ago I inquired about the Mountmassey estate near Macroom, and I was informed that 84 acres of that estate, out of about 400, were to be taken over and divided amongst the town tenants on the estate, but nothing has been done since about it. Those people can starve. They find it almost impossible to get work there. Some of them may get work for a few months in the year, but for the rest of the year they can beg, borrow or steal. I also tried to get the Land Commission interested in the Beecher estate near Kanturk, and sent in a list of applicants—poor farmers and labourers in that district who require land, but nothing was done about that either. Then there was a farm sold near Millstreet  which the Land Commission were asked by the people to take over and divide amongst the poor tenants there, but again nothing was done. It seems to be the studied policy of the Land Commission to help the rich ranchers to get richer and to drive the unfortunate poor people to the emigrant ship. It is about time that an attempt was made to change this. If an attempt is not made in this House, the farmers who in the past were able to wring concessions from the British Government will also be able to wring concessions from any Government in power here. If things are allowed to go on as they are the farmers will very soon take it into their heads to organise themselves, and also the labourers and town workers who are entitled to a portion of land. Three hundred or four hundred acres of land should not be given to any one man while there are plenty of people, who are now hungry, looking for land. These people are entitled to live in their own country, and when land is being divided they are entitled to a share of it.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: took the Chair.
Mr. T. Crowley: I wish to refer to a matter of very vital importance to a large number of uneconomic holders and occupiers in the district of Murroe, County Limerick. There are about 500 statute acres on the Cloncurry estate there. About seven years ago the owner died. For some years previously an agitation had been going on in the district to have this land acquired by the Land Commission, and representations were made to the Land Commision in the matter. Murroe is one of the very few congested districts in Limerick. I understand the Land Commission made a promise that they would acquire this property for distribution among uneconomic holders. Subsequently, however, the estate went through the courts and an order was made to have it sold, Mr. T. O'Brien Kelly, of Limerick, being in charge of the sale on behalf of the landlord's representatives. He attempted  to auction the property in some five or six lots. Nobody could be got to buy the land on the day of the auction. Subsequently, by private treaty, some five or six farmers purchased this 500 acres. Thomas O'Brien, who got the house and 140 acres, already had a farm of 80 acres at Monaleen, which he sold on purchasing Farnane. Thomas Holmes got 120 acres. He already had a farm in Fedamore of 60 acres, which is presently let out on the eleven months system. William Holmes got 50 acres. He lives at Murroe, and has 40 acres at Tubber Murroe. John Hayes, who got 75 acres, has 40 acres at Tubber Murroe, and 60 acres at Drumcally, Cappamore. John Gleeson got 49 acres, and has about 35 acres at Kyle, Cappamore. John O'Rourke got 55 acres, and has a farm of 35 acres at Knockaneera, Murroe. These are the people to whom, by private treaty, the land was sold subsequently by arrangement with Mr. O'Kelly.
I cannot understand what reason the Land Commission had for not acquiring this property. This is one of the few congested areas in Limerick. The people who had agitated for this land prior to its being sold had lots on the eleven months system on this particular farm. I know that a good many of the cottiers in the district have two cows, some of them as many as eight and ten cows. Some of the people who have got this land have let it out now to those cottiers, but still some of the cottiers are compelled to go big distances to acquire meadow and grazing and plots for gardens to maintain themselves and their families. The thing I cannot understand is why the Land Commission did not acquire it at first. Was it that representations were made by some individuals who had not the interests of the uneconomic holders at heart to the Land Commission, not to acquire it? The agitation for this land is still going on. A move was made last year by the Land Commission to acquire it, but the present occupiers objected, with the exception  of John Hayes. We do not know what were the reasons for turning down the efforts of the Land Commission to acquire it.
What was the idea of the court not allowing them to acquire it? It will have to be acquired some time or other. Why it was not acquired when the owner died and when it was sold by the court is what I cannot understand. I should like if the Parliamentary Secretary would say why the Land Commission did not acquire it at the time in order to relieve congestion in that particular area.
There is another matter I wish to refer to. It is in connection with the bank of the Mulkear River which was broken down in December last by flood. Representations were made to the Land Commission, and a letter was sent to them from Mr. John Dillon, Killuragh, Pallasgreen, dated 16th January, 1929. The letter was addressed to Deputy Roddy, and it stated:—
“In your capacity as Parliamentary Secretary to the Land Commission I write to bespeak your consideration for a matter the neglect of which is going to beget serious consequences for the occupiers of a large area in the townlands of Killuragh, Cunningavale, Dromalty, Pallasbeg, Teneteriffe, Brittias, Eyon. These are on the Bathurst estate, and the whole area will come into the proposed reorganised Mulkear drainage district if and when a scheme is produced by the Board of Works. But what I write you specifically about are two breaches beside Killuragh Bridge, on the farm of Mrs. Kirby, Bathurst estate, two miles north of Pallas station. She is a small farmer living from hand to mouth and absolutely without the means to repair those breaches. I estimate that for a present expenditure of from £300 to £400 the river at the next flood could be prevented from persisting in the new course which it is taking since the floods on the 16th December, 1928. Mrs. Kirby's lands are not vested. They come under the 1923 Act, and it  is imperative that an inspector should be sent down to report on the conditions obtaining without delay. The repairing of these breaches is independent of the scheme which with luck will go through inside of two years. Leaving the breaches for any length of time will be the cause of wiping out Mrs. Kirby and bringing disastrous results on grazing lands of from 500 to 700 cows. Besides, I may mention that Mrs. Kirby, William Maher and myself could not accept the benefits of land purchase for the past thirty years, because the then Land Commission would not make provision for the upkeep of the forementioned banks. The opposite bank of the river was provided for in the sale under the old Acts, and has been so well looked after since that that the force of the river is entirely thrown on us with the above-mentioned result. If the Land Commission does not take immediate action in this case, and if we have a few more floods, there will not be much to inspect later on, and we will have no option but to sell all our dairy cows.
“Awaiting the favour of a reply to this request.”
Several Deputies in this House representing the County Limerick with myself visited the lands where this bank burst. We saw sand and gravel from the river scattered all over the fields on Mrs. Kirby's land. When the bank burst it flooded over a couple of thousand acres of land. Representations were immediately made to the Land Commission to have the bank repaired. Up to the present, so far as I know, nothing has been done. There are five or six hundred cows in that area. As a matter of fact when the flood occurred one woman who owned a good number of cows, which were up on the hills, could not get to feed them for a couple of days. The Land Commission is standing silently by while this destruction is being done through a breach of the bank of the river that could be repaired  for five or six hundred pounds. I do not think it is the first time that the Land Commission neglected to mend a breach, which if then attended to would only cost a few hundred pounds, but which later on ran into thousands of pounds.
On behalf of the farmers of the district, I appeal to the Land Commission to take immediate steps to have these repairs effected. If it is not done people who are expected to pay annuities and rates if their land continues to be flooded will be unable to do so. If the winter comes on, and these banks are not repaired before then, the effect will be simply disastrous.
Mr. Reynolds: I would like to make one or two remarks with regard to the way in which money is spent on the improvement of estates. As far as I know, the money spent on the improvement of estates is spent only on land bought out under the 1923 Act. In poor counties like Leitrim and other counties in the West, it is very hard to allocate this money in such a way as to be beneficial to the farmers. What I would suggest would be that the Land Commission, independent of the 1923 Act, on vested or non-vested land, should vote a certain amount of money for drainage and leave it in the hands of the engineers of the Land Commission to allocate the proper places in which to spend it, because by spending it on land vested under the 1923 Act, you are only draining some lands and flooding other lands. I think the Land Commission should change the manner in which they spend this money. There is another matter to which I want to refer: that is in regard to holdings taken over by the Land Commission and not yet divided. The Leitrim County Council applied for rates due on these holdings, but no attempt has been made to pay the rates due on these holdings, and I should like the Parliamentary Secretary to see to that matter.
Mr. Gorry: I am in favour of the amendment moved by Deputy Derrig, because I think a reduction in  this Estimate is sure to create a necessity for the Parliamentary Secretary coming to this House with a Supplementary Estimate for the Land Commission if the work is to be proceeded with. The work has been proceeding in the last few years, yet in view of the amount of work still to be done, I think it is not wise for the Government to cut down the Estimates in this Vote. There is a big lot of work yet to be done. If every Party in this House approached the land question as it ought be approached, and tried to establish in this country some body to deal with it that would earn for itself the good-will of the farmers of the country. I think the work of the Land Commission should be encouraged, and I think this is the one Estimate that should not be cut down. We know that all over the country there are a lot of estates that will eventually have to be divided up. For that reason, I think it was bad policy for the Land Commission to reduce its staff and to dispense with the service of some very efficient inspectors.
Besides there is another matter altogether apart from the work those inspectors might have to do in connection with the division of land in every constituency in the country. There are a lot of cases of unfortunate tenants who, through one cause or another in the last few years, have fallen into arrears, but unfortunately for themselves are in closer communication with the respective State Solicitors of their counties than any other person. They incidentally, through the statutory obligation imposed on State Solicitors to collect arrears, find themselves in the position that they are unable to meet their liabilities, and that their arrears and costs are piling up against them, with the result that we see in the Estimates before us an increased amount for solicitors' expenses in the coming year. I would like to champion the cause, even if it is a lost cause, of these unfortunate people. I quite realise that there are people who deserve no consideration in the country,  but I will say here definitely that the great majority of the unfortunate tenants in the country who find themselves in arrears are just as anxious to pay their debts in relation to the Land Commission and other creditors as any of us here. For that reason I think the Land Commission policy in connection with the collection of arrears from the tenants should receive well considered attention. If I could make no other point here I would certainly put that point for closer consideration and I would stress it, because when I see the Land Commission incurring extra costs to sell out these people, I think it should receive immediate attention. We know quite well that even if the Land Commission put up farms for sale there is a local objection to anyone interfering.
In some cases I certainly would support the Land Commission selling out farmers who make no effort at all, but there are numerous farmers all over the country really anxious to pay their way and get on their feet, and who expect, from one source or another, the Agricultural Credit Corporation, or some other place, to get the necessary finances to put them on their feet and place them in the same position as those who are selected as new tenants. If we contrast the people who are selected as allottees at present when estates are divided, if we pick out the working man with no capital and give him twenty or thirty acres of land and expect him to make good use of it, what is the difference between such a man and the owners of farms who are in arrears, unfortunate people who are anxious and willing to pay their way? We must put them in the same boat. I know instances in my own constituency where the individual tenant would set his land to pay his rent or rates, but simply because of the fear of the Land Commission or the rent collector coming down on him he cannot set the land to advantage, and it is lying derelict. I appeal for consideration for such cases. In most cases I feel that the Land Commission would be well advised to send inspectors to a lot of  these cases they consider worthy of attention.
There is another matter I shall refer to. I know of a certain number of young farmers' sons who have made application to the Land Commission. Take the case of a man with four or five sons living on fifty acres of land, and one son or two anxious to follow up farming. I would like to know from the Parliamentary Secretary when such cases reach the Land Commission offices are they filed for attention or are they thrown into the waste-paper basket? I know numbers of cases at present in my own constituency of deserving young farmers' sons who have certain small savings of their own and who could, through their parents or otherwise, get a certain amount of capital. They are anxious to get land and become farmers. If they do not they certainly will leave the country. I plead that those cases be specially filed, and where strong local recommendations are made they should receive special consideration. On that point, too, I agree with the migratory policy of the Land Commission in lots of cases where they are bringing people from Connacht and other places into the Midlands.
I think it is useful and necessary to relieve congestion in other places. But I would say, whether the Land Commission are aware of it or not, that some deserving local cases are passed over in those areas. I think it would be better for all concerned where the Land Commission propose to introduce migrants and have lands for division that they would exhaust all the deserving cases in that area before they go too far to introduce outside people. I think it would be better both from the point of view of the locality and the people who should be welcome back from other areas. I think it would be better for the goodwill that should exist in the future. I would agree with Deputy Boland on the question of considering whether arrears, due by the tenants I referred to a few moments ago, could be, in some way, spread over an extended period or added to the purchase.  I know of several tenants who would be willing and anxious to pay in that way. Unfortunately, there is some statutory regulation against that system being adopted. It should be possible for the Land Commission or this House, where tenants would be able to pay ten or fifteen pounds where forty or fifty pounds were due, through some system, to give them time. I pay testimony to the consideration of the Land Commission for numerous cases I have put before them. Where I put a clear case and made representations they were able to treat it considerately, but that does not cover the whole field and I think it would be easier for the Land Collection Department and all concerned if this question received careful consideration. Those are too serious matters for us to be fighting over. We should sit down to examine them carefully, because while we are discussing them those unfortunate people are suffering. You have people down the country who are anxious to get along in life but who are definitely handicapped. I believe the Land Commission will be surprised, if they make a close examination, to find the number of genuine cases of that sort in the country at present.
I certainly support the plea put forward by many Deputies about carrying out improvement works on estates. I think it is a mistake to divide up estates and not to carry out finally the improvement work there, because I think if that thing is neglected at the time it is going through, it is almost impossible to have it put right afterwards. I have in mind the case of an estate in my district. It was not divided under the present régime, but under the 1909 Act. I refer to the Sandes estate. The provision of bog roads and the drainage work that should have been carried out at that time were neglected, and the tenants to-day are suffering in consequence. I approached the Land Commission on the matter, and they certainly met me very fairly, in so far as they sent down an inspector. The views of the inspector who examined the  position on the spot were favourable to the tenants, and the tenants were prepared to meet the proposals that the inspector suggested, but I regret that since then, although I have written to the Land Commission, nothing has been done about the matter. Unfortunately, the work was not done when the estate was vested. Still, I think it is a matter that should be re-opened.
There is just one other point and that is with regard to housing. I certainly agree with Deputy O'Connell that there should be some system of granting housing loans to tenants where the estates have been dealt with by division or otherwise. At the present time, there are numerous people living on farms who would be delighted if the Land Commission, as the body responsible for handling land problems, could put forward some scheme of housing grants or loans for repairs and building of farmhouses generally. There are lots of farms in the country that would need attention in this respect. Unfortunately, the farmers were debarred from availing of the reconstruction grants in the last few years. If there was a housing or reconstruction scheme for tenants in the country the Parliamentary Secretary would be surprised at the number of applications he would have for partial reconstruction or necessary repairs to farmhouses all over the country.
I will not say anything on the subject of land division, because I believe that it is a matter which Deputies should take up directly with the Land Commission rather than take up the time of the House with it. But there are two estates in Leix that I would ask the Parliamentary Secretary to attend to—the Warburton estate, near Mountmellick, and the Cremorgan estate. I believe there is good reason in both cases for the Land Commission giving attention to those areas. They are certainly congested areas. I would ask that these matters should receive the consideration they deserve. I certainly disagree with the reduction of the Land Commission Estimate.  I feel that if the reduction is persisted in, later on we will be applying for a Supplementary Estimate.
Mr. Connolly: I was very pleased to hear Deputy Gorry pay a compliment to the Land Commission. I have much pleasure in agreeing with him in that respect. As far as my experience of the Land Commission is concerned, I have found them on every occasion accommodating and generous in their efforts in regard to the acquisition and distribution of land and in giving the worthy residents of districts a share of the land available. In the County Longfor in the past twelve months they had a very large estate to deal with. It was work of a most intricate character. The acquiring of the land and the work of the inspectors, of which there were four, was most hazardous. They succeeded to a great extent in settling that question. They brought people from the congested areas around and placed them on nice holdings of land. The people are perfectly satisfied up to a certain point, but it is not very easy to please everyone. People cannot be placed exactly where they want to be placed. They want to get the most convenient and suitable spots for themselves. Yet the Land Commission has succeeded in effecting a very reasonable settlement of those lands.
I have heard references from the other side of the House to the speed by which land is being acquired. It was said that the speed by which the acquisition of land is going on is too fast and that there should be some slowing up. One Deputy said that there should be a halt cried. I do not think that is quite the spirit of the Act of 1923. The Act of 1923 has given the Land Commission power to acquire lands in the most equitable manner possible. Each person is treated fairly under this Act. It gives future tenants an interest they have not at present. It gives the person from whom land is being taken an alternative farm, and in most cases they have acknowledged the treatment they received  as being equitable and fair. I think the Land Act of 1923 should be allowed to proceed, and that every assistance should be given by the respective parties to facilitate it as much as possible. I do not think it is at all fair to hold up the taking over and distribution of farms. To cry a halt is entirely out of the question. Since the Parliamentary Secretary has taken charge of this Department I certainly believe he has done yeoman service. He has done his duty well, and he has done good service to this Parliament in carrying out the objects and intention of the Act of 1923. I think he should get a little credit for it. It is not at all fair that we should take individual cases and point out their failure. Everyone knows that there has been an honest effort on the part of the Parliamentary Secretary and of the Land Commission and its inspectors to discharge their obligations and to carry out the spirit of the Act of 1923. That Act has been there for a considerable time, and no Deputy has considered it worth his while to point out that it bore any defects.
The Act of 1923 is an excellent instrument for benefiting the tenants of this country. When we have such a good Act on the Statute Book I think the Parliamentary Secretary, the Land Commission and their inspectors should be encouraged to carry out the spirit of that Act. The withdrawal of the services of the inspectors and the slowing up of the acquisition of land must mean that the land problem in this country will not be dealt with in the next fifty years. It would take a considerable time to complete the work. Personally I do not believe that the land question in this country will be settled within the next 30 years, no matter at what speed we go.
I trust that every party in the House will give due credit to the Irish Land Commission and their staff, and to the Parliamentary Secretary, for the work they have done since the passing of that Act. The services that have been rendered by them to the people of the country may not be quite known to some of the Deputies. Anyone going through  the Saorstát will at once recognise the great change for the better that has been created through the operations of the Act. It has placed thousands of people in very fine circumstances; in a word, it has placed many of the people of the country in a position that they never hoped to be in. That Act of 1923 has been most beneficial to the nation, and that is the opinion of all impartial people. The Land Act of 1923 can be pointed to with pride as a great measure that has done much for the country.
When Deputies criticise the Land Act of 1923 and the work of the Land Commission to the extent that some of them have done, and when we hear people say that the division of land should be slowed down, it occurs to me that that is not at all the proper spirit in which to approach this question. I hope that in the future where there is a delay in dealing with land and with the solving of these matters, that the Deputies will bring these delays before the Parliamentary Secretary. I am sure he will give all the assistance in his power to remedy anything that may be complained of and to do what is right.
References have been made here to a certain political Party having a better pull so far as the acquisition and distribution of land is concerned than other political Parties have. That is not so at all; it is not true, and it should not be said. I have seen fair play meted out to every Party throughout the country. I have never seen any discrimination in the case of one Party as against another. The most deserving applicant gets the land. I am satisfied that on every occasion the Land Commission went out of its way to make certain that the most suitable men were put on the land. That impartiality has been so patently manifest that nobody could fail to observe it. When the time comes that this matter is to be reviewed calmly it will be found that the Irish Land Commission will hold a high place in the estimation of the people of the country for the way in which the land has been distributed, and that the Land Act of  1923 and the spirit in which it was carried out will be regarded with pride.
There was great ability displayed in the matter of that Land Act of 1923, and when I say that I say what has been confirmed by a recent event when a Bill was introduced here in connection with the vesting of land. The promoters of that Bill did not seriously consider that the Land Act of 1923 could be improved. I have in mind a case now, and that case is somewhat identical with the case mentioned by Deputy Davin last night. The case that Deputy Davin referred to went just a part of the way. This case that I have in mind has gone part of the way.
I think myself that Deputy Davin stresses a little bit too much the defects of the Irish Land Commission. Deputy Davin has sufficient experience in this House to know that when lands are acquired from the owner, the latter has the right to lodge an appeal. He lodges that appeal in respect of the land. Through the provisions of that Act he has that right. It takes a considerable time from one of these appeals to another. It occurs sometimes that after the land has been acquired, and even when the owner had agreed to give the lands to the Land Commission, and after every effort has been made to carry the matter through, and just as the land is about to be handed over, one finds the owner withdrawing and lodging his appeal against the acquisition. Then later there is another appeal lodged against the price. Further, the owner has a right to come in again before the court and point out, whether rightly or wrongly, that there are certain lands in that district which are available for division, and which should be taken over prior to the taking over of the land of the person who is objecting.
Mr. Davin: How many appeals is the landowner entitled to lodge and how many appeals are to be heard on the question of the acquisition and on the price?
Mr. Connolly: There is a right of appeal on the acquisition, and there is also the right of appeal against the price that is being paid. The landowner has a further right to appeal to the judge on the grounds that there are other lands available in the district that should be taken over before his lands are taken.
Mr. Davin: Would the Deputy agree that the landowner is entitled to lodge two or three appeals on the question of the acquisition and the price?
Mr. Connolly: The question of the acquisition is one; the price is another matter. Those are the two principal grounds on which an appeal may be lodged. As a matter of fact, after the price has been agreed to and the acquisition agreed to, the owner has a right to come into court and point out to the judge that there are lands other than his available in the district and that they should be acquired first. That is the position. Delays of this nature prolong to a very inordinate degree the taking over of those lands and the division of them. When the Land Commission makes an honest effort to effect a settlement and when they get persons to agree, it is most irksome to find that after all the work has been gone through, the landowner can come into court and proceed to have the agreements completely upset. That is a point that I wish to put before the Parliamentary Secretary. Fair play should be given to the inspectors of the Land Commission, who have gone to a great deal of trouble to make these settlements. The inspectors have a most difficult task to contend with, and in my opinion they discharged that task very fairly and very honourably.
Mr. Ruttledge: It has been suggested here several times during this debate that the policy of the Party on this side of the House with regard to the working of the Land Commission that we were inconsistent, especially with regard to the matter of economy. We have advocated from time to time a number of economies that might be effected,  but these were economies that would not in any way interfere with social conditions or with the betterment of the unfortunate poorer classes in the country. When this Vote was before the House last year I called the attention of the Minister for Finance on this Vote and on a subsequent Vote to the fact that the State Solicitors—though when they were appointed no provision was made that they were to receive costs for taking proceedings against defaulters in the payment of land annuities—were receiving these costs. The Minister for Finance at that time undertook that he would look into it. Deputies will find, however, that in this just as in previous Estimates the same conditions obtain.
I have seen State Solicitors moving as many as fifty undefended civil bills in one day against defaulters in the payment of these annuities. I have known of cases where a State Solicitor moved 100 civil bills in one day. The average profit costs on that number of civil bills would be about £75. That was only one day in the week. As everybody knows, at the present time there are in every court you go into dozens and dozens of civil bills against Land Commission defaulters. These State Solicitors were appointed at a very high salary. Then at the time they were appointed the old question of compensation for the destruction of property arose, and they had to do all that work and got no extra remuneration for it. It is only right when you consider the high salaries these men are receiving that these costs, instead of going into their pockets, should go back to the Land Commission. The thing may be looked upon as a very small item. But when represented as I represent it, and when the Land Commission look into the facts they will find that all these costs would amount to thousands and thousands of pounds annually. The Minister, last year, said that this matter would be inquired into. The Minister for Finance undertook to do so, but nothing has been done since. These were some of the economies that might with advantage be effected.
 The Parliamentary Secretary proceeds here to give us particulars of the lands that have been acquired during the last twelve months, the prices paid, and so on. Any of us can carry our minds back to the same sort of statistics and the same sort of particulars that were published year after year by the Congested Districts Board. Figures can prove anything. The figures that have been given here do not necessarily mean that the land has been bought cheaper. It may mean that the land that is acquired is of poorer quality and poorer class. That may be bought cheaper. I know a holding of 3,000 acres of land, and I am sure that it is included in the Parliamentary Secretary's statement, and I know the price that has been paid for it. This farm of 3,000 acres was subject to a rent of £4 10s. It was a mountain. There has been any amount of that class of land acquired by the Land Commission. It is really only mountain land, but it is included in the statistics here.
When it is said that the prices which the Land Commission pay now compare with the prices paid for land by the Congested Districts Board, you must bear in mind that these figures may be very misleading. Figures, as I have already said can prove anything. It may be that the land is in a very poor area. It may be that it is in a mountainy area, and that considerable quantities of mountain land have been taken over, and so on. It would be much more satisfactory to the Deputies here if the Parliamentary Secretary, instead of stating the number of acres taken over, as he has been stating for years back, and as the Congested Districts Board stated before him, and the prices paid, would give some indication to the Dáil as to when this whole thing is going to be finished. It would be better even if he would give an indication that the time should not go beyond a certain date. It ought not be beyond the possibilities of a highly-staffed, cumbersome department like the Land Commission, in which there might be some degree of efficiency here and there, that  they would be able to give some idea of the time at which there would be no estate in the country left undivided.
As to these delays that have taken place about particulars, is not the Land Commission aware that the owners of the land were bound to supply the full and accurate particulars? If the particulars they supplied are inaccurate, who should suffer for that inaccuracy? If the title was bad, who should suffer? The landlords should supply those titles and those particulars. In very many cases they have delayed furnishing these titles, and in many cases the titles and particulars furnished are inaccurate. All that means that when an inspector goes down to make an inspection he inspects the lands and the boundaries, the easements, and so on. Afterwards when those are checked in the Land Commission Office, it is found that they do not correspond with the particulars returned by the landlords, and there has to be a reinspection. During all the time in which the holdings are not vested, the landlords are in just as good a position as if they were vested, but all this time the tenants are suffering for the faults of the landlords in not furnishing the correct particulars. That is a position that is not equitable, and should not be allowed to continue.
If there is any difficulty applying to landlords' titles, then a short Act passed by this House will remedy the matter. I think there would be little difficulty in passing such a measure. It would receive very little opposition. Our attitude with regard to the vesting of land has been misrepresented. One Deputy went so far as to state that we wanted to hurry up the vesting of judicial holdings and postpone the vesting of non-judicial holdings. I do not think that there is much use arguing with a Deputy let loose like that. Another Deputy argued that the effect of the measure introduced on this side of the House would be to put back the non-judicial holdings and that that was definitely intended  in the Bill. He said it was not a question of reading any legal meaning into it, but just accepting the ordinary meaning of the word. The Deputy did know that that meaning could not be read into it. The words of the Bill were “on a date not later than.” If I properly described that method of dealing with the matter, I do not think my language would be Parliamentary, but Deputies can guess what I mean. At the moment I will merely say that it is either an ignorantly conceived or a deliberate misconception. Perhaps if the Minister for Justice were in the House—unfortunately he is gone —he might consider issuing a circular to district justices or judges operating in that area, because if that kind of thing could go down with a district justice it would be a very serious thing for the Department. It is quite clear that that Bill never intended to postpone the vesting of judicial or non-judicial holdings. There was no fixed appointed day and any appointed day that would be fixed would apply to every estate. It did not mean that all judicial holdings should be vested on one particular date or that all non-judicial holdings should be so vested. It quite clearly set out that they should all vest “on a date not later than.” That is not a question of legal interpretation but of the ordinary meaning of words. I say that that Deputy was guilty of a deliberate misconstruction when he tried to put a statement like that across the House. He knows very well that the Bill did not mean that. I do not see the object of such a statement, except the Deputy thought that some members of the House were dozing and that they would wake suddenly and swallow all he was saying.
The only real objection to the question of vesting was raised last night by Deputy Law. He pointed out that after estates were vested there could not be any improvements carried out. As the law stands, I think that is so. I think that Section 22 of the 1927 Act provides that only in cases of extreme urgency could improvements be  carried out. These are matters that the Land Commission should deal with, and it is quite easy for them, if they wish to deal with such estates, to ear-mark funds for the purpose. It should be forcibly impressed on the Land Commission by this time that in the West of Ireland where estates have been vested, improvements of a very urgent kind want to be carried out. We are now in the position that when the Mayo County Council want to strike a rate to improve the roads, or raise a loan to construct bog or minor roads, they will not be allowed to do so. When it comes to the Land Commission they are told that under Section 22 of the 1927 Act it cannot be done. The Land Commission will have to face the position at some time that improvements will have to be carried out. They must improve the means of ingress and egress to holdings and facilitate the people in some way by constructing roads leading to the bogs and remedying other grievances that have for years been brought under the notice of the authorities. As I say, the difficulty raised by Deputy Law is purely technical and could be got over by ear-marking the money. If you ask why the vesting of estates cannot be speeded up, they will tell you that, side by side with the acquisition of land and the vesting, they must carry out the distribution of land, and that where there is an addition given to a holding it creates considerable difficulty. That is only throwing dust, to some extent, in the eyes of the people. There are provisions in the Acts of 1903 and 1909 as to the consolidation of holdings, and there is no difficulty. Difficulties in regard to maps and schedules are difficulties for which the landlord should be made to pay. If landlords give incorrect returns and fail to provide the Land Commission with particulars as to rights, easements and boundaries, and if they make false schedules they should suffer and not the tenant. When inspectors go down the tenants know the boundaries and can point them out to  them. In such cases it is the landlord who is at fault, and he should suffer it.
We have had the usual lecture from Deputy Heffernan to this side of the House—now that he has assumed his best Governmental style— as to there being no appreciation of responsibility by Deputies. There is appreciation of responsibility in so far as Deputies have to realise the condition of things around them. We have had in this debate, at any rate, the very satisfactory result that even Government supporters have had to turn their guns and batteries on that Department of the Government. If that state of things continues it will very slightly be removed from the position in which the Parliamentary Secretary for Posts and Telegraphs some years ago, as recalled by several Deputies, threatened the Minister in charge at that time.
There are other matters to which I would draw the attention of the Parliamentary Secretary for Lands and Fisheries. There is, for example, the question that has been brought to his notice by Circuit Court Judges and others in which difficulties arise in regard to cases requiring the attendance of witnesses from the Land Commission. Before the poorest litigant can get one of these witnesses from the Land Commission, either locally or from Dublin, he has to send a cheque for £5 to the Department in order to cover problematical or prospective expenses. That should not be necessary, as the Land Commission are concerned with the difficulties that arise in regard to maps and so forth, and they are practically the only people who know anything about title. They should therefore facilitate the unfortunate tenants who have got into difficulties in regard to their holdings owing to questions of title or easements. It has been publicly stated by Circuit Court Judges that that is a scandalous state of affairs. I do not know if notice has been taken of it by the Land Commission, but it is, at any rate, a matter in which one would expect the Land Commission to facilitate the tenants. There are a number of estates in reference  to which the Land Commission will have to face the position sooner or later of having to review the rents that have been fixed. Certain gentlemen were sent round the country eight or ten years ago and for some time subsequently, to inspect farms that were to be taken over. They fixed exorbitant prices for them, and these tenants are amongst the “poor devils” to whom Deputy Gorey refers.
Mr. Gorey: I wish again to say that the instances which Deputy Ruttledge gives are not among the “poor devils” to whom I referred. The “poor devils” to whom I was referring sympathetically are the class of people who were deprived of their holdings, having owed ten or twelve years' arrears, and whom the Army of the late Vice-President of the Republic go around terrorising at night. There is one case, of which I have personal knowledge, in which sixteen armed men visited the house of a man named Fitzgerald and removed the wife of his cousin, who purchased a holding, and they tried to turn her out of it. That is the reference to the “poor devils.”
Mr. Ruttledge: It is all right for Deputy Gorey to tell us now what he meant, but I took what he said in its literal meaning, and not the meaning which he puts on it. If Deputy Gorey tries to recall his spoken words, I think he will find that that is not their meaning.
Mr. Gorey: They are very plain.
Mr. Ruttledge: Very plain. I was referring to the exorbitant prices for certain lands fixed by inspectors some time ago. I have in mind a farm of 200 acres which was purchased for £6,000. I refer to the Petrie farm, which is, I think, in the Parliamentary Secretary's own area. £6,000 was paid for that farm subsequent to the period when land was at a peak price, and it was altogether beyond any reasonable valuation that could be placed on it. The result has been that when the land  has been improved, fences built and houses erected, the rent charged to these tenants is so exorbitant that there has been a great loss to the Land Commission. On the Knox Estate, Rappa, amongst the valuations was £700 for what was called a castle, but it was really covered with corrugated iron. There were, perhaps, some windows and mantelpieces in it, but the Land Commission could not get anyone to take it. The value placed on the alleged castle was somewhat similar to that placed on the adjoining land. The unfortunate farmer who got an addition on that land had to pay 30/- an acre, whereas out of the seven acres on his allotment he has been able only to till one acre, as the rest is covered with rushes or trees, or is in some other way useless. I have given the Parliamentary Secretary particulars of that estate. That is only an example of the result of some peculiar inspector, who was very friendly with the landlords, and who always gave them a good crack of the whip, putting an exorbitant value on the land, believing that the Land Commission could bear it, but it is, of course, the unfortunate tenants who have to bear it eventually.
Some of these rents are being, and will have to be, revised with a view to reducing them to a level which the people can bear. There are a number of other estates requiring to be dealt with. In the Erris area, which is one of the most impoverished districts in Ireland, very little has been done. Petitions have frequently been sent to the Land Commission from Inishkea, where the people asked to be removed to the mainland and given land which was available for them. One would have thought that the disaster which occurred last year would have shocked the Land Commission into a realisation of the fact that there is such a place as Inishkea. Instead of that, however, the petitions were probably put aside and pigeon-holed.
There is another farm in Lacken in respect of which an agitation has been going on. That is a district where a disaster also occurred. There  is only one farm available for distribution amongst the people of the district, and there has been an agitation for a considerable number of years. Recently there has been a number of claims lodged for cattle drives. It is very hard to blame the unfortunate people, who are driven into this position because a deaf ear has been turned to their appeals and they are left in a starving condition. I addressed a question to the Parliamentary Secretary some time ago with regard to the McCormick farm, situated at Summerhill, and I got an answer to the effect that the occupant of the farm, who lives here in Dublin, was entitled to an alternative holding and that negotiations were going on in the matter. I am aware that that individual was offered two alternative holdings, and simply because he states that neither of them suits him, he is not made to take either of them, although the Land Commission has compulsory powers to make him accept any farm they offer. If the Land Commission have offered him two alternative holdings, he ought to be informed that he must accept one of them, and somebody should not be allowed to come along to obstruct the Land Commission in acquiring the farm. I do not know who is doing it, but there must be a method of having a scheme of that sort upset.
There is another farm at a place called Castlehill, regarding which I asked particulars as to whether an objection had been lodged by the owner to its acquisition, and whether that objection had been allowed. It consists of 700 acres on the Walsh estate. Most of the land is made up of evicted holdings. I asked for the grounds on which the objection has been allowed. The Parliamentary Secretary said that the objection had been allowed, but he did not state the grounds. I would like to know now the grounds on which it was allowed, and whether the Land Commission, after the matter came before the Judicial Commissioner, appealed to the Land Judge, and what further action they propose to take. It is an area in which there has been constant agitation owing to the number  of uneconomic holdings, and there is not sufficient land in the district to deal with the congestion unless and until the Land Commission makes up its mind to take over this farm.
There is a place at Ashnabrucka, on the Bingham estate, where a very serious question has arisen. The sporting rights were let to a man named Coburn to enjoy the fishing and shooting, and the first thing he tried to do was to evict the herd who had certain rights. The eviction has not been carried out. There was a stay until the 1st of March, but the Land Commission should have interfered long ago to get this land taken over and divided, as this is a very poor and congested area in the Erris district. There are lands at Bonniconlon also, on the Downing estate, a portion of which, owing to the delay of the Land Commission in dealing with them, has been sold to certain individuals. I do not assume that the Land Commission will interfere with the sale to these individuals, but if the Land Commission had interfered in time, the disposal of certain portions of the land would not have resulted. I hope the Land Commission will intervene to prevent further sales in that district. There is very little land available for distribution there, and if the Land Commission does not take action, you will have other people who do not require land, purchasing these lands. I would also like to direct attention to the position of tenants at Brackloon and Bohola, on the White estate, and other estates. The valuation of these tenants ranges from 8/- to 30/-, and they are in a terrible condition. Some of them are on the Palmer estate, which has been in the hands of the Land Commission, or its predecessors, for the past sixteen years. Nothing has been done during that time and the people have almost given up hope that anything ever will be done. Perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary will say when this estate will be finally dealt with, or are the people to be allowed to get into the position which Deputy Timothy Sheehy seemed to be so happy about, that they were soldiers of the Land War as boys, and will  see it going strong when they are pretty far advanced in life. These are only some of the grievances that could be brought to the notice of the Land Commission.
Another estate to which I would wish to direct attention is the Carter estate, Belmullet. I asked some questions some time ago about the fishing and sporting rights on the Carramore Lake. At that time the Land Commission was not in a position to give any information. The tenants in that district believe, whatever influences are operating, that Mr. Carter has been able to wangle, and is wangling at the moment, an arrangement by which he is going to be left the shooting and the fishing rights of the lake. If that is so, it is a great wrong on the people of the district. They are living in a very poor area, and if a gentleman who goes across to England, having collected his money here and spends it there, is to be in a position to wangle rights such as these, then it is a very sad position for the unfortunate tenants.
These are a few typical matters in the West of Ireland, where the land question is very pressing and urgent. The people have almost given up hope that it will ever be dealt with. The Parliamentary Secretary has given figures in regard to lands, acquired, distributed and vested. Perhaps it would be well if he turned over to the statistics as to the depletion and depopulation in this country for the last twelve months. He will then see how urgent this problem is. Emigration goes on merrily while the Land Commission goes on very rustily. In some areas, 25 per cent. of the population has been cleared out within a short time and there seems to be very little hope for the people. They see land around them and they see that the Land Commission, except in regard to an occasional inspection, is not doing anything. I do not think the local inspectors are to blame. I see them inspecting holdings and so far as they are concerned, they are anxious to expedite matters. With regard to obstruction, it is there at all events.  One would have expected that such an urgent and pressing problem as the acquisition and distribution of lands in the West of Ireland would have been dealt with long ago. If people are starving as they are in Erris and along the seaboard, surely it is a serious position where drastic action should be taken by the Land Commission. If we got back to the position which existed under the Congested Districts Board, where the tenants were provided with something by reclamation work and otherwise, it would be some advantage. But as it is at present nothing is being done.
There was a land Vote given last year amounting to £120,000. That was for some sort of dope for unemployment—at least, to try and fool the people. But out of that sum of £120,000 not one halfpenny was spent in the barony of Erris, which is one of the poorest parts of the country. Not one single piece of work for which the Land Commission is responsible was carried out in the barony of Erris out of that Vote. There was a report and particulars given by the Land Commission that works were carried out in the barony of Erris, but I maintain that not a single work was carried out there out of the vote of £120,000. The work that was carried out there is not worth talking about. At the time, at any rate, it had no effect. I would urge the Land Commission to give some attention to the unfortunate people in these impoverished areas. The people are in a very bad and harassed condition. They should be given some help to enable them to stand up against the conditions which they have to put up with at present.
Mr. Fogarty: To my mind the question that is before the House is one of the most vital that has come before it since this Government came into office. The Minister for Finance has made no provision in his Budget for the relief of rates on agricultural land. Therefore, it seems to me that the members of the agricultural community are going to be left in a hopeless condition. The Parliamentary Secretary is not here at the  moment, but there are a few cases in my constituency in regard to ranch land that I desire to bring to his notice. There are three estates in Lattin—the Green, the Baker and the Eustace estates. Their acquisition has been in contemplation by the Land Commission during the last four years, but so far, nothing has been done in that direction. There are about 20 families in the village of Lattin who have not as much as one sod of land. It is unfair to these people that the acquisition and the division of these estates should be held up. In my opinion, they should be divided amongst the uneconomic holders and landless men in Lattin. When I made inquiries from the Land Commission to ascertain what they were doing in regard to these estates, the answer that I received was that the matter was receiving attention. The matter has been under consideration for a long time now, and I hope when the Parliamentary Secretary is replying, he will be able to inform us that he is going to do something in the direction of having these estates divided up amongst the uneconomic holders.
In the course of this debate, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Deputy Heffernan) told us that this land was too good for the people, and that it was better for the bullock. I cannot understand that. Deputy Heffernan told us that since he came into this House he had been responsible for the division of all the land that had been divided in Tipperary. If that is so, I hope he will become energetic on behalf of the people of Lattin, and see that the land I speak of is divided up amongst them. The Trant estate is another estate that we have there. It contains about 2,100 acres. The Commissioners have taken over about 300 acres of it. That, I hold, is not fair to the uneconomic holders in that district. More than 300 acres of this estate is waste. It is of no use whatever, and is practically a wilderness. When the Land Commission are dealing with this estate, I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will see that a good deal  more of it is taken over than seems to be contemplated at present. With regard to the lands of Gaile, on the Phillips estate, which was divided up a month or two ago, the people around there were in hopes that they would have had a share of it within a few days. But what actually has happened? The grass of it was put up for auction and sold to very big graziers. Some of the poor people around that district were waiting to get a divide of that land. They were in a position to go into possession and to till it, but what happened was that they were left in the dark and were let down. They had every preparation made to make use of the land if it had been given to them. There is one point I would like to put before the Parliamentary Secretary, and it is that if something is not done immediately for the agricultural community, it is hard to know what their fate is going to be. The relic that will be left in this country, after two or three years more, will not be worth having, and, in my opinion, it will be beyond all human power to restore the average human life to what it was before.
Mr. Corry: My reason for intervening in this debate is because of statements made here regarding the Land Bill which was introduced a few weeks ago. Deputy Jasper Wolfe stated that that Bill, on its face, aimed at putting back vesting for years in the case of non-judicial holdings in the country. What exactly did the Bill propose to do? That when it became an Act, the appointed day for the vesting of non-judicial holdings would be not later than the 1st June, 1932. I quite realise Deputy Jasper Wolfe's anxiety for his masonic brothers in the Land Commission Department. Apparently any distortion of the facts is justifiable as long as it continues to keep that element in power. What does Deputy Wolfe want? I have a statement made by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Land Commission, in which he said that during last year 3,785 holdings were vested. Replying to a question asked by Deputy Derrig on the 13th March, he said that there were  49,000 judicial holdings and 33,000 non-judicial holdings remaining without being vested. The number of non-judicial holdings vested in 12 months was 1,347. In that case Deputy Wolfe will have the last of the non-judicial holdings vested in about thirty years, according to what he wants, and apparently what he does want is to have the Land Commission let alone. I would like to know from the non-judicial holders whether they would prefer to have all the land vested in three years or in thirty-three years. As to what Deputy Wolfe wants, I was wondering was it on account of its being an after-dinner speech that Deputy Wolfe made this mistake, or whether he had any reason for it. Perhaps it was for some respectable people whom he says he represents here. I admit that there were wholesale evictions carried out in West Cork, and that there were wholesale plantations of Deputy Wolfe's class. Unfortunately they were not all cleared out during the racket, and apparently some of them came at him to vote for the Land Bill introduced last week, and he wanted to make some excuse for not doing so. That is the only explanation I could offer for Deputy Wolfe's action in that regard.
Some of the Deputies on the opposite benches accused us of being anxious that there should be no more estates divided, or that there should be a slowing up. I plead guilty to an anxiety that in the present circumstances there should not be too many estates divided up. The reason is that these gentlemen cannot do so much harm in the vesting of lands if their activities are confined to that, but when those members of the Orange Lodges are allowed to go down to value estates for Grand Masters, then we know the position in which we find ourselves, and we know that it is only creating a further problem for the people in years to come. Deputy Ruttledge and Deputy Derrig gave instances a few moments ago in this connection, and I also previously gave instances where those estates  are valued at five times their value. Unfortunately, the Farmers' Party in this House, according to the statements made here by the Parliamentary Secretary for Posts and Telegraphs, does not represent the farming community but the gentlemen with 400 acres, whose land is too good to be divided. The only land, apparently, the leader of the Farmers' Party wishes to have divided is the waste land, the bogs and the mountains.
If the leader of the Labour Party made the same use of his balance of power as Deputy Wolfe's organisation makes the tenants of Ireland would have an entirely different story to tell, and the land that would be divided would be given to the tenants at a price which would enable them to live on it and to pay the annuities. As it stands, the estates that are being divided are handed over to the tenants at rents they are unable to pay. I gave the case of the Condonstown estate. I asked the Parliamentary Secretary if he would give us here a return of the arrears of rent on that estate. The tenants on the surrounding estates are paying a rent of 4/6 per acre for their holdings while the tenants on the Condonstown estate are paying 15/- per acre, or over. That is an instance of the activities of Deputy's Wolfe's organisation in my constituency.
Parliamentary Secretary for Lands and Fisheries (Mr. Roddy): The debate has ranged over a variety of details, but it has scarcely touched at all on the Estimates, except sub-head I., where provision is made for the expenditure of money on the improvement of estates. The discussion on the whole has been neither helpful nor constructive. Except in the speeches of Deputy Heffernan and Deputy O'Reilly, no attempt was made to deal seriously with the policy of the Land Commission. The criticism has been rather self-destructive. Some Deputies have urged concentration on the vesting of tenanted land, and others on the acquisition and division of untenanted land. Some think the Land Commission staff should be reduced,  and others that it should be increased. It is fairly obvious it is impossible to please everybody. On the whole, I think Deputies are quite satisfied that the present policy of the Land Commission is the only policy suited to the needs and requirements of the country at the moment. The complaints that have been made deal only with points of detail and of procedure.
The policy, very properly, has been to divide the staff of the Land Commission for the purpose of its work into three main sections: One a section dealing with the completion of sales pending under the Acts of 1903 and 1909; another section dealing with the vesting of tenanted land coming under the 1923 Act; and a third section dealing with the acquisition and division of untenanted land under the 1923 Act. I have stated repeatedly that the work done under all three heads since 1923 is as much as could possibly be expected from the staff available, and compares more than favourably with the Land Commission operations under the old regime. It is customary for Deputies when discussing this Estimate to complain of the delay in acquiring and distributing untenanted land. It may seem an extraordinary coincidence that these complaints are heard mainly from Deputies in constituencies where the largest area of untenanted land has been acquired and distributed since 1923. Deputy Ruttledge and Deputy Derrig complained that a relatively small acreage of untenanted land has been distributed in Mayo under the 1923 Act.
It is true, as Deputy Derrig stated, that only 15,000 acres of untenanted land have been distributed under the Act of 1923. The Deputy has entirely, and perhaps conveniently, overlooked the fact that a total area of 84,000 acres has been distributed since the 1st April, 1923. Under the Land Act of 1923, 15,000 acres of land have been distributed, while the balance had been acquired under the earlier Acts. More land has, therefore, been distributed in County Mayo than in any other county in the Free State. I have analysed these figures very  closely, and I find that the 1923 Act land is not, as Deputy Ruttledge tried to make it appear, mountain, waste and bog. It is fairly good arable land, and less than 10 per cent. of it is composed of mountain, waste and turbary. I find also on a closer analysis of the figures relating to the distribution of land under the earlier Acts in Mayo that the proportion of bog and waste on estates divided by the Estates Commissioners and the Congested Districts Board represented something like 15 per cent. or 20 per cent of the total area. Deputies from Galway have also complained of the delay in the distribution of land in that county under the Act of 1923. I find that in County Galway something like 47,000 acres have already been distributed under the Land Act of 1923, out of a total of 58,000 acres distributed since the 1st April, 1923. That is certainly a very large acreage, and I might also point out that more land acquired under the 1923 Act has been distributed in Galway than in any other county in the Free State. I have no desire whatsoever to hurl figures at the heads of Deputies, but as some Deputies have tried to prove that the Land Commission is proceeding very slowly in the distribution of untenanted land, I wish to point out that under the 1903, 1909 and 1923 Acts, up to the 31st March of this year, a total of 1,080,493 acres have been distributed. During the six years ended on the 31st March, 1929, an area of 330,240 acres has been distributed. In other words, in the six years ended on the 31st March this year one-third of the total area of land acquired and distributed since 1903 was distributed, which bears out the statement that I made in the discussion on the Estimates last year that the Land Commission are at present proceeding at least three times faster with the acquisition and distribution of untenanted land than in any previous period.
Mr. Derrig: Might I ask the Parliamentary Secretary a question? Since he is stating the case as favourably  as he can from his own point of view, would it not be correct that he should make an adjustment by reason of the fact that the Congested Districts Board had some hundreds of thousands of acres on hand, the work on which had been practically completed when they were handed over to the Land Commission, and that by putting that into the 1903 and the 1909 periods is he not giving an entirely disproportionate result?
Mr. Roddy: That has nothing to do with the figures that I have given for the distribution of land for the last six years.
Mr. Walsh: Did not the Parliamentary Secretary state that 47,000 acres were distributed in Mayo since 1903, but is it not a fact that only 15,000 acres of that had been distributed out of 84,000 acres under the 1923 Act?
Mr. Roddy: That is quite right. I said that a total area of 84,000 acres had been distributed in Mayo since 1928, and that figure includes 15,000 acres acquired under the 1923 Act. It is not quite accurate for Deputy Derrig to say that the work in connection with the acquisition of land was almost completed at the time the Land Commission took over the Congested Districts Board. As a matter of fact most of the work of the Congested Districts Board was only in the initial stage, and only on a very few of the estates had the negotiations proceeded to the point where a price had been offered. The major portion of the work had to be completed by the Land Commission subsequent to the period when it was transferred to the Free State Government. But the fact that one-third of the total area of land that has been divided in the State has been divided since the 1st April, 1923, is in itself. I think, proof of the enormous amount of work that has been done by the Land Commission. Deputy Derrig complained that because of the reduction in the Estimate this year for improvement works, the congested areas, particularly  the Gaeltacht areas, would be neglected. A number of schemes has already been approved of for the Gaeltacht areas, and it is not proposed to curtail expenditure in Gaeltacht or congested areas in any way whatsoever.
This Estimate of £161,000 was made after the most careful consideration. I stated when introduceing it that there would be a greater concentration on the vesting of tenanted land and a lesser concentration on the acquisition and distribution of untenanted land this year. When I stated that there would be a lesser concentration on the acquisition and distribution of untenanted land, I meant that it was quite impossible for us to proceed with the distribution of untenanted land at the rate at which we have proceeded for the last few years, for two reasons particularly. In the first place, it will be necessary for our inspectors to get permanent agreements signed in place of the temporary convenience agreements under which so many allottees have been placed in possession of their holdings during the last three or four years. It is necessary to do that principally because of the fact that we want to place these allottees in a position to borrow money freely for the improvement of their holdings. When an allottee who holds under a temporary convenience agreement applies to the Agricultural Credit Corporation for a loan he cannot get it, because he has not sufficient security to offer, as he has only a temporary convenience letting. In such cases we immediately come to his assistance and get him to sign a permanent agreement. There are between 5,000 and 6,000 of these temporary convenience agreements which we hope to have substituted during the year by permanent agreements, and to vest the holdings simultaneously in the allottees. In addition to that, we have about 60,000 acres of land held by committees at the moment. It is necessary that this land should be dealt with immediately because of certain financial considerations. As Deputies are aware the State has undertaken a certain financial responsibility  for the relief of these committees under the Land Act of 1927, and also for the relief of the trustees of the Land Bank estates. As I stated when introducing the Estimate, we have dealt with practically all our Land Bank cases. We hope to have the balance of them completed during the course of the next month or two. The committee cases are causing us a great deal of trouble and a great deal of annoyance, and it is perfectly obvious, from the number of communications we have received from Deputies during the last few months, that the members of these committees are very anxious to be relieved of their responsibilities and of their liabilities to the banks. In view of the urgency of the matter we must of necessity place a number of inspectors on this work during the year. For these reasons we will inevitably have to slow down the acquisition and distribution of untenanted land.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: took the Chair.
Mr. Roddy: The estimate for improvements was reduced because we recognised that it would be utterly impossible for us, in view of the facts I have stated, to carry out improvements on estates on the same scale as in other years. The figure we have asked for is undoubtedly a bedrock figure, but I felt that, in view of the urgent necessity for economy, in view of the demands that have been made on every Government Department to reduce expenditure to the minimum limit, commensurate, of course, with the efficient discharge of the work, that it was our bounden duty to reduce the estimate to the lowest possible figure. I certainly feel, in view of the special circumstances, and in view particularly of the fact that it is necessary to deal with these committee cases and to substitute permanent agreements for the temporary convenience agreements, that we could not possibly spend more than the figure we have estimated for this year. I do not think that it will be necessary for the Land Commission to approach  the Dáil at a later stage for a Supplementary Estimate; I feel that the amount asked for will be quite adequate for our purpose.
In response to the demand for economy, a certain reduction has taken place in the inspectorate staff, and nine temporary inspectors have been dismissed. Personally, I would have preferred to retain the services of these men for this year; but I felt it my duty, in view of the pressing necessity for economy, to make this small reduction in the inspectorate staff. As I stated when introducing the Estimate, these men were taken on in 1923 and 1924. They understood quite clearly, of course, when they entered the Land Commission, that their services would be required only for a few years, at all events until such time as a substantial impression had been made on the untenanted land problem.
They were also aware that their services were terminable by a month's notice. Not all of the nine men were juniors in the service, but they were not considered to be quite as efficient as the men who have been retained, and in any event, at the moment a complete reorganisation is taking place, not merely in the outdoor staff but in the indoor staff, and I feel satisfied that in consequence of that reorganisation there should be no appreciable diminution in the activities of the Department as far as the vesting of tenanted land and the acquisition and distribution of untenanted land is concerned. In the course of the debate Deputies asked a number of questions about estates in their constituencies. It is quite impossible for me, of course, to deal with these matters at the moment. Perhaps in connection with some of the matters raised I could give information, but it would be quite impossible in the short time at my disposal to deal with all of them. I would suggest that perhaps Deputies would put down Questions, and I would give information to them by way of Answers in the ordinary way.
Mr. Derrig: Would it not be possible, in order to save the trouble of putting down Questions in the usual  way, for the Land Commission to undertake to look into these cases and to reply to the several Deputies who have raised them?
Mr. Roddy: Of course we can do that. I should have mentioned another matter when I was speaking of untenanted land. There are, as Deputies are aware, quite a number of C.D.B. re-settlement schemes which have not been completed. These schemes have caused the Land Commission an amount of trouble, particularly during the last few years, and they have also caused Deputies a great deal of trouble. They are giving rise to a great deal of correspondence, and are causing an amount of annoyance to inspectors, and it is proposed, as far as possible, to complete these schemes during the coming year. I think that there are at least forty or fifty of these schemes that are really urgent and pressing, and I hope to get them completed during the coming year.
Deputy Corry referred to the fact that the delay in vesting was causing tenants, particularly in his constituency, a great deal of annoyance and worry. He drew an analogy between the rate of progress here in the vesting of tenanted and untenanted land and the rate of progress in Northern Ireland. There is really no analogy whatever between the conditions in the six Northern counties and the conditions in the Free State as regards land purchase. In the six Northern counties there is scarcely any untenanted land. As a matter of fact, since 1925 they acquired only 150 acres of untenanted land. That gives you an idea of the extent of their untenanted land problem, whereas not less than 276,000 acres of untenanted land have been acquired by the Land Commission under the Acts of 1923 and 1927. Furthermore, there are no congested counties in Northern Ireland. Deputy Corry may not be  aware that the Northern Ireland Land Act of 1925 is based on lines quite different from those of our Land Act of 1923. In the Northern Ireland Act there is no relief to the tenants by way of compounded arrears of rent, or remission in lieu of rent prior to the appointed day, which is one of the benefits of the Act of 1923, nor are there any provisions for the retention and resumption, or the exchange of holdings, as there are in our Land Acts. It should also be remembered that in Northern Ireland all the holdings vest in the Land Commission, and are subsequently re-vested in the tenants, whereas here the holdings are vested in the tenants simultaneously with the vesting in the Land Commission. For that reason, of course, elaborate care and special precautions must be taken here to see that when the final list is published, which is really the vesting order, the particulars contained in it are accurate in every detail.
I wish to say in passing—I have stated it on more than one occasion before—that it is not possible to curtail the procedure in connection with the vesting of tenanted land. The procedure which is being followed at present must be gone through before the final list is published. Where experience has shown that it is possible to eliminate certain details, and in certain respects to simplify the procedure, it has always been done. I want Deputies to understand that, in the main, the procedure which we are following at present cannot be curtailed, and if vesting is to be carried on satisfactorily, and tenants are to be relieved of the possibility of litigation and law costs subsequently, we must follow out the procedure substantially as it exists at present. It may be of interest to Deputies to know that under the Northern Ireland Land Act of 1925 a date was mentioned by which tenanted land was to be vested in the tenants. As a result of four  years' experience, the Land Commission in Northern Ireland have discovered that it was quite impossible for them to vest all tenanted holdings in the tenants by that particular date.
Mr. Clery: We do not want to hear of the faults of the Land Commission in Northern Ireland, but of the Land Commission here.
Mr. Corry: rose.
Mr. Roddy: I have only a few minutes left for my reply, and Deputies have been discussing this Estimate for some fourteen hours.
Mr. Clery: Come to the Twenty-Six counties.
Mr. Roddy: In the Amending Land Act of 1929 recently passed in the British House of Commons, they have adopted completely the procedure in our Act of 1923, showing quite clearly that the fixing of a general appointed day by which all holdings should be vested is impossible to carry out in practice. I think that is a most effective answer to what has been suggested.
Mr. Corry: Is it because they have been already vested?
Mr. Roddy: There is another point which Deputies should remember, that it was not possible for the Land Commission to make any very substantial progress in the vesting of tenanted land until the passing of the Land Act of 1927, which enabled them to add the compounded arrears of rent to the purchase money. Since then, as the figures quoted by Deputy Corry show, very substantial progress has been made, and the rate of progress is being increased month by month. During the month of April between 600 and 700 holdings have been vested in the tenants. We hope as time goes on still further to increase the rate of progress. I  cannot state at present, as some Deputies have asked me, how long the vesting of tenanted land is going to take. Possibly next year, on the discussion of the Estimates, or the year after, when I am in a position to say to what extent Section 2 of the Act of 1927 has facilitated the vesting of tenanted land, I may be in a position to tell Deputies the number of years it is likely to take to vest the balance of the tenanted lands on hands. At any rate, there is no short cut. It is not possible to take any legal short cut to help, or in any way to simplify, or shorten the period ordinarily taken in vesting tenanted land.
Deputy Law complains of the high legal costs which were charged to Land Commission defaulters. The Deputy must be aware that the Land Commission is not responsible for these costs. These costs are charged according to the scale in the schedule under the Courts of Justice Act. The Land Commission try as far as possible to avoid court proceedings, and so long as the defaulter who is in arrear with his land purchase annuity is prepared to meet the Land Commission in a reasonable way he is dealt with sympathetically. It is only in the last resort that we take proceedings against these individuals. I think Deputies, in the course of this debate, have admitted that the Land Commission are always willing to facilitate them when approached on behalf of annuitants who are in arrear with the payment of their annuities. So far as the question of costs is concerned, I understand the matter is under consideration, but, of course, that is not a matter that the Land Commission has anything to do with.
Ordinarily, perhaps, I would take an hour or an hour and a half to deal with the various points raised during this debate, but as time is limited I am afraid I can only concentrate upon the absolutely essential points.
Mr. S. Jordan: We all think that our points are essential.
Mr. Roddy: Deputy Nolan and Deputy Gorey, I think, asked to what extent does investigation into owner's title delay the vesting. So far as tenanted land is concerned investigation of owner's title does not delay the question of vesting to any extent worth speaking of. There are certain matters to which the owner must agree before vesting can be completed, but in the generality of cases the owner's title does not cause delay in the vesting of tenanted land. Deputy Ruttledge complained of the high annuities some people were charged for land bought three or four years ago. The Land Commission cannot be blamed certainly for that. Demands, and very urgent demands, were made that the land should be acquired and distributed during years when the price of land was very high. During the two years following the passing of the 1923 Act very great pressure was brought to bear on the Land Commission to acquire and distribute untenanted land.
In response to the demands of Deputies and others a large amount of untenanted land was acquired at admittedly high prices, with the consequent result that annuities are probably higher on those lands than on the lands acquired in the last year or two, when there was a substantial decrease in the price of land. I cannot say at the moment what the actual position is in connection with the claims of Inishkea Islanders to certain lands on the mainland. I do not think there is any other point of outstanding importance except Deputy Fahy's point. I do not think I could deal with that at the moment. It is very intricate and involved, and it would require much closer investigation than I have given it. I do not know whether he put forward the proposal seriously  in connection with the abatement of the present payment in lieu of rent. I found some difficulty in following the Deputy's statement, but in any event I do not think, even assuming that the Deputy's proposal could be carried into effect, that it would help the tenants or the owners. It certainly would not help the owner, and I am satisfied it would not help the tenant. The proposal is intricate and would involve a very close mathematical calculation. Perhaps the Deputy and myself could discuss it on a later occasion.
Mr. Derrig: I would like to ask whether in connection with the proceedings for the resumption of holdings the Land Commission are going to take any steps to amend the law that enables people to come into the land judge's court and upset the intentions of the Land Commission.
Mr. Roddy: No.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: rose to put the question.
Mr. Davin: On a point of order, I should like to ask: can the question be put now at one minute past two o'clock?
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I am about to put the Vote, and the amendment to the Vote.
Mr. Davin: Is it in order, and in accordance with the Standing Order, to put the Vote at one or two minutes after two o'clock?
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: It is in order to finish the discussion.
Mr. Hogan (Clare): Is the clock out of order then?
Question—“That the Estimate be referred back for reconsideration”—put.
 The Committee divided:—Tá: 65; Níl: 69.
Cassidy, Archie J.
Corry, Martin John.
Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
De Valera, Eamon.
Gorry, Patrick J.
Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
Kent, William R.
Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick John.
Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
Nolan, John Thomas.
O'Connell, Thomas J.
O'Dowd, Patrick Joseph.
O'Kelly, Seán T.
Powell, Thomas P.
Ruttledge, Patrick J.
Sheehy, Timothy (Tipp.).
Ward, Francis C.
|Aird, William P.
Alton, Ernest Henry.
Beckett, James Walter.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Bourke, Séamus A.
Cole, John James.
Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
Connolly, Michael P.
Cosgrave, William T.
Craig, Sir James.
De Loughrey, Peter.
Dolan, James N.
Doyle, Peadar Seán.
Duggan, Edmund John.
Egan, Barry M.
Esmonde, Osmond Thos. Grattan.
Gorey, Denis J.
Haslett, Alexander. Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).
Thrift, William Edward.
|Heffernan, Michael R.
Hennessy, Michael Joseph.
Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
Kelly, Patrick Michael.
Law, Hugh Alexander.
Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
McFadden, Michael Og.
Myles, James Sproule.
O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
O'Hanlon, John F.
O'Mahony, Dermot Gun.
O'Reilly, John J.
O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Shaw, Patrick W. White, Vincent Joseph.
Wolfe, Jasper Travers.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies G. Boland and Allen. Níl: Deputies Duggan and P.S. Doyle.
Question declared lost.
Original question put and declared carried.
Progress ordered to be reported.
The Dáil went out of Committee.
Progress reported; Committee to sit again on Wednesday.
The Dáil adjourned until Wednesday, 1st May.
Mr. Killilea: asked the Minister for Finance whether he will state on what grounds an old age pension was refused to Tom Egan, Croswell, Creggs, Co. Galway, and whether he is aware that this man has no means, and is only living with his son-in-law, and whether, in view of this, he will reconsider the case.
Mr. Blythe: I have no functions with regard to the decision of old age pension claims. The grant or refusal of an old age pension is dependent upon the decision of the local old age pension committee and I have no power to question any such decision. If the claimant is aggrieved by the Committee's decision, he has the right of appeal to the Minister for Local Government and Public Health.
Mícheál Og Mac Pháidín: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether he can state when the Port and Harbours Tribunal will furnish their report, or whether he will request the Tribunal to issue an interim report in the case of Killybegs Harbour, where projected schemes of development cannot be proceeded with pending the issue of this report.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Dolan): I am informed by the Tribunal that it is now considering its report, but does not expect to be able to complete it for some months. In the meantime, I do not consider that it would serve any useful purpose to invite the Tribunal to furnish an interim report on Killybegs Harbour, since any Government action in the case of a particular harbour must depend on the policy to be adopted in regard to the future of harbours generally.
Mr. F.H. Crowley: asked the Minister for Lands and Fisheries whether he will state when it is the intention of his Department to complete the purchase on the Drummond estate, near Beaufort, Killarney, by vesting the remaining holdings of the 50 tenants on this estate, and marking the boundaries and constructing passages through turbary on said estate.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Lands and Fisheries (Mr. Roddy): A rental schedule for  the Drummond estate, including some 58 holdings near Beaufort, has been lodged with the Land Commission to enable them to collect compounded arrears of rent and payment in lieu of rent under the Land Act, 1923, but the further prescribed particulars (maps and schedules of areas, etc.) to enable the lands to be vested in the Land Commission under the Act have not yet been lodged. The owner's agents, on being written to concerning the non-lodgment of the prescribed particulars, have promised to lodge them at an early date.
Mr. F.H. Crowley: asked the Minister for Lands and Fisheries whether he will state when it is the intention of his Department to subdivide and mark out the boundaries and construct passages on the turbary set aside for distribution amongst the 36 tenants who purchased under the 1909 Act on the Drummond estate, in the townlands of Gortbee, Geraha, Shanacloon, Keel and Ballyledder, near Beaufort, Killarney, and if he is aware that the turbary in question is situate in Upper Glencuttane and Lower Glencuttane.
Mr. Roddy: The Land Commission are at present engaged on the preparation of Regulations under Section 21 of the Irish Land Act, 1903, as extended by Section 42 of the Land Act, 1923, in respect of the turbary situated within the ambit of 8 vested holdings in the townland of Glencuttaun Lower. Under these regulations it is proposed that 35 purchasers of holdings under the 1903 Act, and 8 under the 1909 Act, situated on the estate of A.C. Drummond, Record No. E.C. 8035, together with 53 tenants on the estate of Charles Drummond, pending for sale under the Land Act of 1923, who have holdings in the townlands mentioned, will be accommodated with turbary plots for use on the said holdings.
The Land Commission understand that there is practically no turbary in the townland of Glencuttaun Upper. Several objections to the  proposed regulations have been lodged with the Land Commission, and these are at present engaging the attention of the Commissioners with a view to arriving at a settlement. The matter will involve the preparation of supplemental regulations in respect of the turbary on one holding, and probably the hearing of some of the objections by the Land Commission in court. As soon as these matters are disposed of the regulations will be made absolute and the boundaries of the plots will then be defined, such roads or passages as are necessary constructed, and the parties put into occupation of the plots.