In Committee on Finance. - Land Bill, 1929—Third Stage.

Thursday, 11 July 1929

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 31 No. 5

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The Dáil went into Committee.

Section 1 agreed to.

(1) In the case of every holding to which Part II. of the First Schedule to the Land Act, 1923 (No. 42 of 1923), applies and in respect of which the standard purchase annuity has not been agreed upon or fixed under the said Schedule before the passing of this Act, the standard purchase annuity shall (save as is hereinafter otherwise provided) be an annuity of an amount equivalent to sixty-five per cent. of the rent payable in respect of the holding.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  I move:—

In sub-section (1), line 40, to delete the words “sixty-five” and substitute therefor the word “sixty.”

As members of the House know, this is the most important section of this Bill. It deals with the cases of 24,000 non-judicial tenants who still remain to be vested. In to-day's “Independent” there is a letter from Mr. Mansfield, who has studied this question of land finance. Arising out of that letter, I should like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary some questions. In the first place, could he tell us what the average purchase price was in connection with the cases in which judicial rents have been fixed or have been agreed upon? Mr. Mansfield states in his letter, and I find the data are taken from the official report of the Land Commission, that in connection with fee farm grants the price of redemption [849] is 18.6 years' purchase. although the inclusive price in the Act is 15.05 or 16.21 years' purchase. according as you take the rents fixed before or after the 15th August, 1911. I just raise that question because, at the very outset, we are met with the consideration in connection with Section 2 of the Bill whether the purchase annuity really affects the burden of the tenant. It may affect the manner in which the burden falls upon the tenant. What I want to get at is will the fixing of the standard purchase annuities in this section have any influence on the purchase price? I take it that it will not—none whatever. It does not matter very much then what the tenant is going to pay yearly. His purchase price will still be fixed, and whether he pays 60 or 65 per cent., in my opinion, does not matter, because there will be the purchase price fixed in any case, and that purchase price will have to be redeemed.

The total amount that the tenant will have to pay in a particular year, although it may affect him in the bigger reduction, would of course be to the tenant's benefit. But it does not affect the purchase price. Therefore I think that that is an argument in favour of my amendment. The experience of Land Commission officials and the experience of an inspector of the Land Commission now out on pension is that fixing it at 60 would be a reasonable price. The Parliamentary Secretary in taking the figure 65 has told us that that is the average of the annuities that have been fixed up to the present. But there are two considerations in connection with that. The first is that as to those annuities, as Mr. Mansfield points out in his letter, the fixing of the figure at 65 would seem to affect the poorer districts more than it would affect the wealthier districts.

On page 46 of the Official Report of the Land Commission, it is stated that the average reduction in respect of annuities fixed, that is, fixed by the Land Commission or fixed by the Judicial Commissioner, comes in the case of Connaught to 39.5 per cent. [850] and Munster, 38.9; so that although the general average is somewhat lower in the case of these two provinces it is considerably more than the 35 per cent. In Leinster the average is lower—34.7 per cent. In the case of Carlow, my own constituency, the percentage is 38 and in Leix it is 39. In Longford, it goes up to 45. That fact that in Longford it goes to 45 seems to show that 60 is not enough for the poorer districts and seems to bear out Mr. Mansfield's contention. I have not any facts in support of this statement that the non-judicial tenants are the poorer class but it is a fact that their acreage is small and the average rental of the non-judicial tenant is £11.

The effect of my amendment will be to give them an additional decrease of 1/- in the £1 as compared with what the Parliamentary Secretary suggests. I do not see how the State is to lose because the purchase price of the annuities will still be the same. It is merely that the yearly payment will be slightly reduced. There has been a campaign throughout the country to have even that much granted to the tenant and to have the period for the repayment extended. Here we have an opportunity of extending the period and making the annuity as low as possible.

Another matter that I want to refer to is in connection with sub-section (2). The Parliamentary Secretary may say that if his figure of 65 is not accepted that it will mean a large amount of litigation. Well, the fact that you fix it at 65, or in fact at any other figure, does not seem to prove that you would in any way affect the amount of litigation. The right is still there in sub-section (2) to the landlord or the tenant to come into court. Either one or the other can come into court. But if it is a case of coming into court, we say let the landlord come into court, and let us see that it will be the landlord who will have to come into court. We can do that by fixing the price at 60. Let us give a definite margin in favour of the tenant.

One further argument in favour of [851] it is the history of the non-judicial rents. The people who are called judicial tenants at present had their rents reduced at various periods under the Land Purchase Acts. First, they got a reduction of their rents of 21 per cent. That was for the first term. In the second term rents the reduction roughly was 18 per cent. After they got these reductions, which reduced their old rents to 79 per cent. or 82 per cent., the 1923 Land Act gave them a further reduction of 35 per cent. That means that these tenants who had the good fortune to have judicial rents fixed have got a total reduction of either 56 per cent. or 53 per cent. on their old judicial rents. A great many of them have been vested and they have had the benefit of paying off the purchase price.

Those tenants who have been left to the very end and whose cases have presented a special difficulty are the non-judicial tenants. There is no proof that they are going to be vested within the next twelve months, and that they are going to have the satisfaction of paying off the purchase price by their annuity. Those tenants are now in the position that they are only to get 35 per cent. of a reduction, whereas the judicial tenants had a reduction of over 50 per cent. I would like to hear what the Parliamentary Secretary has to say to that.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  This amendment, if carried, would really defeat the object of the section. The figure of 65 per cent. was arrived at by taking an average of the prices fixed by agreement between the owner and the tenant, and the prices fixed by the Land Commission. If you are going to increase or reduce that figure you will increase the number of cases in which there will be objections by the owner or the tenant, and that in itself will to a very large extent defeat the object of the section. What was the average reduction under the Act of 1903 and 1909? When Deputies hear the figures that I am about to read out, they will be quite satisfied [852] that the figure of 65 per cent. is quite a reasonable and fair figure, and will be accepted by the owners and the tenants.

In the Act of 1903, in the case of judicial rents fixed after the 16th August, 1896, the average reduction was 23.9. The average reduction in non-judicial rents under the Act of 1903 was 32.7, and the average reduction under the Act of 1909 was 35.2. The average reduction under the Act of 1923 up to the present is 35 per cent. With regard to sub-section (2) of this Bill, I would remind the Deputy that as the Bill stands, and as the sub-section is worded at the moment the Land Commission cannot revise standard purchase annuities unless an objection is lodged either by the owner or the tenant. The alteration of this figure of 65 to 60 would certainly lead to an increase in the number of objections. Consequently I cannot accept the amendment.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  The Parliamentary Secretary does not contend that it will impose any financial obligations on the State?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  I have not said a word about the financial obligations of the State. What I am thinking of primarily is the uselessness and ineffectiveness of this particular amendment. When introducing this Bill I stated that our object in putting in this section was primarily to speed up the work of vesting of the non-judicial holdings. If you are going to amend this section in the manner suggested by Deputy Derrig you will defeat very largely the object aimed at. This amendment will increase the number of objections, consequently it will mean that instead of dispensing with inspections, as we propose, it will compel us to carry out inspections on the present scale.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  I admit that there could be something said for that point of view if you could make it incumbent on everybody to accept 65. But you do not. They can come into court.

[853]Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  The figure of 65 is automatic and will apply, I hope, to the majority of cases. The owner or the tenant has a perfect right to object, and either of them can appeal to the Land Commission to fix the price at a higher or at a lower figure.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  What guarantee has the Parliamentary Secretary that the Judicial Commissioner will not reduce that figure?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  The Deputy will have observed from figures I gave recently in reply to a Parliamentary Question that where the Standard Purchase Annuity is fixed by the Land Commission the average is higher than when fixed by agreement.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  What was the percentage in the case of the tenants who went before the Judicial Commissioners? Am I to take it that the report of the Land Commission indicates whether it is fixed by the Land Commission or the Judicial Commissioner?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  I have already given the Deputy these figures.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  Why were not the non-judicial tenants specially dealt with under the 1923 Act? Is it not because it was considered at that time that 65 per cent. was not fair?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  There was no such percentage under the 1923 Act.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  Why was there not an effort made to treat them as they are being treated in this Bill?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  The Deputy will have to put that question to the Minister who introduced the 1923 Act. As I have pointed out, we are suggesting different machinery in this Bill, and I believe that that machinery will enable us to deal much more rapidly with these cases.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  Is it a fact that the purchase price of the non-judicial tenant has been increased from 18 to 20 years?

[854]Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  All that is based entirely on the standard purchase annuity. If the Deputy will study the Land Act of 1923 he will see how the purchase price is arrived at in regard to tenanted holdings.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  Can we not get information from the Land Commission as to whether the statement of Mr. Mansfield is or is not correct? The price has gone up from 18 to 20 years' purchase. My reading of the Land Commission report is that the price has been fixed at 20 years' purchase.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  No.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  Can the Parliamentary Secretary say what is the average?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  The figure varies considerably and it will depend upon the circumstances appertaining to each individual case.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  I believe the Parliamentary Secretary should accept this amendment. There is no doubt that if the Bill is passed in its present form the figure of 35 per cent. will prejudice the cases of non-judicial tenants. There are large numbers of them hardly able to afford 35 per cent. and the Parliamentary Secretary knows that very well. This Bill will prejudice their cases.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  No.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  It is bound to.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  It does not prejudice their cases at all. This is an automatic figure.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  Is it a minimum figure?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  No. If there are any grounds for objection the tenant or the landlord will have the right to object and the Land Commission will then fix the standard purchase annuity.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  If this Bill is passed the average of 35 per cent. will be fixed by law.

[855]Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  If the Deputy reads the section he will find——

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  I have read the section and I maintain that 35 per cent. will prejudice the cases of the non-judicial tenants.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  No. The provisions in that connection contain what applies to all the other Land Acts. For various reasons and various causes tenants or landlords have the right to object and their cases are not prejudiced when they come to court. The provisions of this Bill will not prejudice the rights of owners or tenants to object and then have the standard purchase annuity fixed. I have already given figures to Deputy Derrig showing quite clearly how the standard purchase annuity has been fixed by the Land Commission.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  It seems a ridiculous thing that the non-judicial tenant may get a 35 per cent. reduction whereas the judicial tenants are certain of a 35 per cent. reduction— those who got their rents fixed before 1911.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  In the judicial cases the Deputy must understand that the rents have been judicially fixed. There is no analogy between the judicial and the non-judicial cases.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  The Parliamentary Secretary knows that there are holdings on estates throughout the country where exorbitant rents are being charged at the present time. I know of one estate in my constituency and the rent is 35/- a statute acre. How would 35 per cent be a fair rent to fix on that?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  Those tenants have the right to object and to have a standard purchase annuity fixed by the Land Commission. The Bill has been drafted to cover such cases.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  If 35 per cent. is fair for the judicial tenant, how could it be considered fair for the non-judicial tenant?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  There is no analogy between them. We could only arrive [856] at a figure based on our experience in dealing with judicial cases up to the present. We have dealt with 12,000 cases and it is as a result of the experience we gained in these cases that we have arrived at the 65 per cent., and we ask the Dáil to approve of the figures in the Bill.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  One of the reasons for this Bill is that in the future the Land Commission do not expect to have the annuities fixed by agreement. They expect they will all go into court. In the past they were mainly fixed by agreement. Why should the prices fixed by agreement be the basis for the new prices? How do we know that the prices will hold? It is quite possible the Judicial Commissioner will increase the price. Let him increase it, but give the tenants 60 instead of 65 per cent. so that the onus of the appeal will lie on the landlords' shoulders.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  You must, in reaching an average figure, take into consideration the cases fixed. You can only get an average figure by taking all the figures into consideration. If you take the average under the 1903 Act you will find the reduction of 35 per cent. is a reasonable one and it corresponds with the average reduction in respect of the Act of 1909 when conditions were somewhat similar.

Mr. Kennedy: Information on Michael Joseph Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Joseph Kennedy  Do I take it that where there were non-judicial rents the operations of the 1923 and 1927 Acts were prevented and that the passing of this Bill will bring about vestings automatically unless the tenants or the landlords object?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  No.

Mr. Kennedy: Information on Michael Joseph Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Joseph Kennedy  Then I do not see that this measure is any great forward step towards an improvement of conditions.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  This Bill will prevent a certain line of procedure that we have to follow at the moment and it will facilitate us in dealing with non-judicial holdings. The 65 per cent. annuity represents 13½ years' purchase.

[857] I think that the Dáil will agree that Deputy Derrig should be convinced from the information which I have supplied to him by way of answer to more than one Parliamentary Question that the figure of 65 per cent. is reasonable. It is based on the experience we have [858] gained. I trust that I have convinced other Deputies that it is a reasonable figure and that the section will be accepted as it stands.

Question—“That the words ‘sixty-five’ stand”—put.

Alton, Ernest Henry.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Blythe, Ernest.
Brennan, Michael.
Brodrick, Seán.
Byrne, John Joseph.
Cole, John James.
Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
Conlon, Martin.
Connolly Michael P.
Cosgrave, William T.
Craig, Sir James.
Crowley, James.
Daly, John.
Davis, Michael.
Dolan, James N.
Doyle, Peadar Seán.
Duggan, Edmund John.
Dwyer, James.
Egan, Barry M.
Esmonde, Osmond Thos. Grattan.
Fitzgerald, Desmond.
Hassett, John J.
Heffernan, Michael R.
Hennessy, Thomas.
Hennigan, John.
Henry, Mark.
Holohan, Richard.
Jordan, Michael.
Kelly, Patrick Michael.
Law, Hugh Alexander.
Leonard, Patrick.
Lynch, Finian.
Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
McDonogh, Martin.
MacEóin, Seán.
McFadden, Michael Og.
McGilligan, Patrick.
Mongan, Joseph W.
Mulcahy, Richard.
Murphy, James E.
Murphy, Joseph Xavier.
Myles, James Sproule.
Nally, Martin Michael.
O'Connell, Richard.
O'Connor, Bartholomew.
O'Hanlon, John F.
O'Higgins, Thomas.
O'Leary, Daniel.
O'Mahony, Dermot Gun.
O'Reilly, John J.
O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Reynolds, Patrick.
Rice, Vincent.
Roddy, Martin.
Shaw, Patrick W.
Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).
Thrift, William Edward.
Tierney, Michael.
Vaughan, Daniel.
White, John.
White, Vincent Joseph.
Wolfe, George.

Aiken, Frank.
Allen, Denis.
Blaney, Neal.
Boland, Gerald.
Boland, Patrick.
Bourke, Daniel.
Brady, Seán.
Briscoe, Robert.
Buckley, Daniel.
Cassidy, Archie J.
Clery, Michael.
Coburn, James.
Colbert, James.
Colohan, Hugh.
Cooney, Eamon.
Corkery, Dan.
Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
Crowley, Tadhg.
Derrig, Thomas.
De Valera, Eamon.
Doyle, Edward.
Fahy, Frank.
Fogarty, Andrew.
Gorry, Patrick J.
Goulding, John.
Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
Houlihan, Patrick.
Jordan, Stephen.
Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
Kent, William R.
Kerlin, Frank.
Killane, James Joseph.
Killilea, Mark.
Kilroy, Michael.
Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick John.
MacEntee, Seán.
Moore, Séamus.
Morrissey, Daniel.
O'Dowd, Patrick Joseph.
O'Kelly, Seán T.
O'Leary, William.
O'Reilly, Matthew.
O'Reilly, Thomas.
Powell, Thomas P.
Ruttledge, Patrick J.
Ryan, James.
Sexton, Martin.
Sheehy, Timothy (Tipperary).
Smith, Patrick.
Tubridy, John.
Walsh, Richard.
Ward, Francis C.

[859] Question declared carried.

Question—“That Section 2 stand part of the Bill”—put and agreed to.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  I move:—

That sub-section (3) be deleted.

I cannot see any reason why fishery rights already taken over and paid for should be returned, as this sub-section provides. In connection with any fishery rights vested under the 1923 Act in the Land Commission fair compensation has been given. It should be the policy of this House that all fishery rights in the Saorstát should be vested in the Land Commission. I cannot see, and I would like the Parliamentary Secretary to give us some enlightenment on the matter, why fishing rights already paid for should be returned to the owner.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  This section is retrospective, and it is a usual clause in retrospective legislation. There may be certain cases where the landlords have already disposed of their fisheries, and we want to regularise the position by giving the Land Commission power to declare in such cases that such rights are not vested in the Land Commission. This is the usual section introduced in all retrospective legislation.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  In cases where compensation has been given, will the rights be returned?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  I do not know at the moment that any such cases have arisen, but I do know, and I am quite satisfied, that this sub-section is necessary.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  The Parliamentary Secretary states that there are certain cases where injustice would occur if this sub-section did not become law.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  Yes, it gives the Land Commission the necessary power to remedy an injustice if it has been done.

[860]Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  I want to refer to the words: “It is not equitable or is not advisable that such fishery or fishing right should have so vested.” Does that give the Land Commission sufficient guarantee that the rights which they purchased and which should be vested in the tenants will be held by them? It seems to me that there are specific cases in which the landlord has claimed that the fishing rights, as a fact, have not been vested in the Land Commission and that the specific cases which entitle him to exemption from the operation of the preceding sub-section should be stated. I think the expression “advisable or equitable” brings the whole thing back again into the hands of the Judicial Commissioner.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  There may be cases where portion of the rights were sold or acquired under the Act of 1903 or the Act of 1909. Others are being acquired under the Act of 1923. If these rights were vested in the Land Commission it might have the effect of destroying them altogether. The Land Commission might be satisfied that the landlord is using them for the best interests of the State. Consequently, in such cases the Land Commission should have power under this sub-section to declare that such rights shall not vest in them. I do not know of any such cases, but it is, as I have said, usual in all retrospective legislation to have a clause such as this to cover cases already dealt with.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  Would it do away with the power given in Section 45 of the 1923 Act?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  This section is designed to clarify and give a fuller meaning and interpretation to Section 45 of that Act.

Mr. Little: Information on Patrick J. Little  Zoom on Patrick J. Little  Is not the word “advisable” a very omnibus kind of word to use? It gives enormous powers to the Commissioners.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  The sub-section is used in other Land Acts, and it is a word which legal men consider necessary in order to give this power.

[861]Mr. Little: Information on Patrick J. Little  Zoom on Patrick J. Little  That may be an argument against using it here.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  I am also advised that it is used in Acts other than Land Acts.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  Would I be in order in raising the question of riparian owners? Since the passing of the 1923 Act, and in connection with the estates vested up to then, riparian owners had the right to fish off their own lands. Since the 1923 Act they have been prosecuted.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  Their cases are covered by a later section.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  What is that?

The President: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Section 4.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I would like the Parliamentary Secretary to be a little bit more explicit about these riparian owners, because on the River Slaney we find that owners who went to fish along their banks were summoned. [862] We feel that a big injustice is done to these people and that the fishery rights should go back to the Land Commission. In these cases the rights are still with the landlord.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  That arises on Section 4.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  Before Deputy Allen would agree to withdrawing the amendment I think he would like to be assured that his point is met by Section 4.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  This amendment means that the sub-section would be deleted, but I have explained that it is necessary in a retrospective clause of this character.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  You have not made it plain to me why it is necessary.

Question put: “That sub-section (3) stand part of the Bill.”

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  took the Chair.

Alton, Ernest Henry.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Blythe, Ernest.
Brennan, Michael.
Brodrick, Seán.
Byrne, John Joseph.
Cole, John James.
Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
Conlon, Martin.
Connolly, Michael P.
Cosgrave, William T.
Craig, Sir James.
Crowley, James.
Daly, John.
Davis, Michael.
Doherty, Eugene.
Dolan, James N.
Doyle, Peadar Seán.
Duggan, Edmund John.
Dwyer, James.
Egan, Barry M.
Esmonde, Osmond Thos. Grattan.
Fitzgerald, Desmond.
Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
Hassett, John J.
Heffernan, Michael R.
Hennessy, Thomas.
Hennigan, John.
Henry, Mark.
Holohan, Richard.
Jordan, Michael.
Kelly, Patrick Michael.
Law, Hugh Alexander.
Leonard, Patrick.
Lynch, Finian.
Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
McDonogh, Martin.
MacEóin, Seán.
McFadden, Michael Og.
McGilligan, Patrick.
Mongan, Joseph W.
Mulcahy, Richard.
Murphy, James E.
Myles, James Sproule.
Nally, Martin Michael.
Nolan, John Thomas.
O'Connell, Richard.
O'Connor, Bartholomew.
O'Hanlon, John F.
O'Higgins, Thomas.
O'Leary, Daniel.
O'Mahony, Dermot Gun.
O'Reilly, John J.
O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Reynolds, Patrick.
Rice, Vincent.
Roddy, Martin.
Shaw, Patrick W.
Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).
Thrift, William Edward.
Tierney, Michael.
Vaughan, Daniel.
White, John.
White, Vincent Joseph.
Wolfe, George.

Aiken, Frank.
Allen, Denis.
Anthony, Richard.
Blaney, Neal.
Boland, Gerald.
Boland, Patrick.
Bourke, Daniel.
Brady, Seán.
Briscoe, Robert.
Buckley, Daniel.
Cassidy, Archie J.
Clery, Michael.
Colbert, James.
Colohan, Hugh.
Cooney, Eamon.
Corkery, Dan.
Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
Crowley, Tadhg.
Derrig, Thomas.
De Valera, Eamon.
Doyle, Edward.
Fahy, Frank.
Fogarty, Andrew.
Gorry, Patrick J.
Goulding, John.
Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
Houlihan, Patrick.
Jordan, Stephen.
Kent, William R.
Kerlin, Frank.
Killane, James Joseph.
Killilea, Mark.
Kilroy, Michael.
Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick John.
MacEntee, Seán.
Moore, Séamus.
O'Dowd, Patrick Joseph.
O'Kelly, Seán T.
O'Leary, William.
O'Reilly, Matthew.
O'Reilly, Thomas.
Powell, Thomas P.
Ruttledge, Patrick J.
Ryan, James.
Sexton, Martin.
Sheehy, Timothy (Tipperary).
Smith, Patrick.
Tubridy, John.
Walsh, Richard.
Ward, Francis C.

Question declared carried:

Section 3 agreed to.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  We would like to find out from the Parliamentary Secretary what exactly is the idea of this section. In sub-section (2) we have the occurrence of the same phrase, that in the case of an appeal to the Judicial Commissioner, which is also provided for here, he may have the right to decide against the Land Commission in such circumstances as he may consider fair and equitable and advisable. We do not think that expression is satisfactory.

Mr. Little: Information on Patrick J. Little  Zoom on Patrick J. Little  There is the same objection to this as to the other—that the powers are too wide.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  These expressions are used in other Land Acts, and I have been advised by the legal men responsible for this Bill that it is necessary that these words should be used in this connection in order to explain clearly the meaning of the section.

Mr. Little: Information on Patrick J. Little  Zoom on Patrick J. Little  Would it be possible for the legal advisers to supply us with a particular instance of where it is used in some other Act, so as to give us some idea as to how it has been used?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  It has been used in the Land Acts of 1923 and 1927 in very much the same connection.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  Would the Parliamentary Secretary state when it is not advisable or equitable?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  That would be a matter for determination by the Land Commission.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  But in your opinion?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  Under the 1923 Act these rights are vested in the Land Commission according to the new interpretation given to the word “appurtenant” by this Bill. The owner has always the right to object to the acquisition of these fishing rights, and the tenant will have to go before the court and state his case, and the decision will depend on the nature of the evidence.

Mr. Goulding: Information on Seán Goulding  Zoom on Seán Goulding  Is it understood that the Judicial Commissioner is the final court of appeal?

[865]Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  Yes, he is the final court of appeal.

Mr. Little: Information on Patrick J. Little  Zoom on Patrick J. Little  It is a pity this Bill has to be rushed through, because I would have suggested that the Parliamentary Secretary should consider carefully whether, on the Report Stage, the word “advisable” could not be omitted. Equitable is a word which is perfectly clear, but the word “advisable” is extremely wide.

Mr. Goulding: Information on Seán Goulding  Zoom on Seán Goulding  In view of the fact that this question of inland fisheries must eventually be gone into, and the whole matter thoroughly examined, would it not be rather injudicious now to give the present holders an additional grip on the fisheries, as this apparently will?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  No, this Bill is really designed to give the Land Commission additional power to resell the fishing rights acquired under the Act of 1923 to the tenants. I made that position clear when introducing the Bill.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  Will all fishing rights be acquired when this Bill is passed?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  Not all. Some of these rights have been acquired under earlier Acts.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  All the fishing rights that Section 45 of the Land Act of 1923 covers—will they be taken over when this Bill is passed?

Minister for Lands and Fisheries (Mr. Lynch): Information on Fionán Lynch  Zoom on Fionán Lynch  Subject to the appeal.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  That is the idea.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  The idea is to leave some of them with the landowner.

Mr. Lynch: Information on Fionán Lynch  Zoom on Fionán Lynch  If he is able to make a sufficient case.

Mr. Little: Information on Patrick J. Little  Zoom on Patrick J. Little  The words of the Minister will be forgotten, and the only thing that will remain are the words in the Bill. A word like “advisable” can be used in other directions. If the Parliamentary Secretary [866] could get a clearer definition of “advisable” to indicate what the Minister has said, it would be more satisfactory.

Mr. Anthony: Information on Richard Sidney Anthony  Zoom on Richard Sidney Anthony  Running through the Bill I see an attempt to entrench further certain vested interests in this country, whether they be represented by the present riparian owners or, when these interests may change hands, as these interests are changing hands, under the new Bill. Unless the Bill would tend in the direction of the preservation of fish and the giving of certain rights to recognised anglers' associations and to anglers who pay licences, personally I cannot see my way to support the Bill. I think the Bill has been rather hastily conceived.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  I would remind the Deputy that we are now on Section 4.

The President: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  The Deputy has not read it.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  As a matter of fact, I think I made it perfectly clear in my speech on the Second Reading that this Bill was designed to strengthen the hands of the Land Commission in acquiring fishing rights under Section 45 of the Land Act of 1923. We discovered that owing to the use of a certain word in that section of the Land Act of 1923 —the word “appurtenant”—that our powers in the direction of acquiring fishing rights were somewhat limited, and for that reason we introduced this Bill to carry out the Minister's obvious intention embodied in Section 45 of the Land Act of 1923; that is, that the Land Commission should have power to resell the fishing rights they acquired or acquire under the Land Act of 1923 to the tenants.

Mr. Anthony: Information on Richard Sidney Anthony  Zoom on Richard Sidney Anthony  Is it the intention of the Land Commission to sell the fishing rights to the tenants?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  Yes, to resell them to the tenants.

Mr. Anthony: Information on Richard Sidney Anthony  Zoom on Richard Sidney Anthony  That is the very thing to which I object. I think if the Land Commission is able to [867] acquire certain riparian rights they should see that these could be made a profitable national industry and nationalise the fisheries.

The President: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  That is not what is wanted by Deputies on the Fianna Fáil side.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  Certainly.

Mr. Anthony: Information on Richard Sidney Anthony  Zoom on Richard Sidney Anthony  I rarely see eye to eye with the Fianna Fáil Party. I am making an appeal on behalf of a number of sportsmen who are prepared to pay for certain fishing rights in the Free State. They are not men of the wealthy class but are rather of the middle and working class, and I suggest that there is nothing to be gained by merely changing the landlords in these cases. It is all the same to me whether I have to pay £10 to Lord Tom Noddy or to the Land Commission, but I would much prefer to see the riparian rights acquired by the Land Commission and held in trust for the nation.

Mr. Moore: Information on Séamus Moore  Zoom on Séamus Moore  In connection with the statement of the Parliamentary Secretary that it was the desire of the Land Commission to hand over the fishing rights to the tenant—

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  I did not say that at all.

Mr. Moore: Information on Séamus Moore  Zoom on Séamus Moore  I have an article here written by a well-known ex-Local Government Official in which he calls attention to a Government advertisement of a farm in which it says: “In the public Press we notice a Government advertisement that a peasant proprietor's interests in part of the lands of Bawnogue, Baltinglass, Co. Wicklow, are to be sold by auction, but the fishery right and fisheries are reserved.” The writer goes on to say that on any part of the River Slaney anglers always had a right to go and fish and owners never objected to their trespassing upon the land. But now it seems to be the obvious intention of the Land Commission to make fisheries a preserve for whatever [868] purpose they have in mind. Is that consistent with the Parliamentary Secretary's statement? Taking the advertisement apart from what the writer has to say, as he may have a bee in his bonnet, is it consistent with the statement of the Parliamentary Secretary that it is the desire of the Land Commission to hand over all such rights to the tenants?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  I did not say it was the desire of the Land Commission to hand over the fishing rights to the tenant. The Land Commission under this Bill are taking powers, if they think it necessary and consider it advisable to do so, to resell those rights to the tenant. The Land Commission have a discretionary power to do that. If they are satisfied that it would injure the preservation and development of the fisheries the Land Commission have the power to reserve these rights to themselves. But there was a misunderstanding under Section 45 of the Land Act of 1923 as to the meaning of the word “appurtenant,” and Section 3 of this Bill explains and clarifies the meaning of “appurtenant” and gives as far as it is possible to give the power to the Land Commission to resell fishing rights wherever they acquire them under the Land Act of 1923 to the purchasing tenant if it is considered advisable in the interest of the State to do so. I might mention that Section 4 has nothing to do with this. It only gives the Land Commission power to declare what rights actually vest in them and what rights do not; what rights are actually sold and what rights are not sold. Any person who wishes to dispose of those fishing rights will be in the position to know what fishing rights he actually owns.

Mr. Kent: Information on William Rice Kent  Zoom on William Rice Kent  I should like to know from the Parliamentary Secretary, in cases where the Land Commission reserve fishing rights for themselves, what are they going to do with them? Are they going to sublet them, or send down members of the Oireachtas to fish, or will they give them back to the tenants?

[869]Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  That would be in the discretion of the Land Commission. They are given power under this Act to have these rights vested in them, and then it would be a matter for them to decide whether these rights would be re-sold to the tenants or how they are to be disposed of.

Mr. Kent: Information on William Rice Kent  Zoom on William Rice Kent  In case the tenants object to any outsiders coming in, what are they going to do with them?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  That would be a matter for the Land Commission to determine in court.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  In connection with Deputies Allen and Moore's point, what is the cause of the delay in vesting the rights in the riparian owners?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  Surely the Deputy knows that it does not arise on this section.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  It arises because Deputies have been worried in the three constituencies affected by it. I want to know whether it is because of the fact that the Land Commission has been held up or because of the ordinary slow and easy methods of the Land Commission.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  No. The original section dealing with fishing rights in the Act of 1903 was not clear. That section is given a new interpretation by a new Act.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  Would the Parliamentary Secretary explain why the riparian owners lost the rights of fishing at the passing of the 1903 Act? The land is not vested yet. Still the riparian owners lost that right at the passing of the 1923 Act. Could you explain that?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  No.

Mr. Moore: Information on Séamus Moore  Zoom on Séamus Moore  There are other Deputies besides myself who understood the Parliamentary Secretary to state that it was the desire of the Land Commission to vest the fishery rights in the tenant.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  I never said it was the desire of the Land Commission. [870] The Land Commission under this Act has power to acquire fishing rights acquired under the Act of 1903. They can re-sell these rights.

Mr. Moore: Information on Séamus Moore  Zoom on Séamus Moore  That “can” does not explain the policy. If we had an idea of the Land Commission's policy with regard to fishing rights ——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  We cannot have a Second Reading speech on the Committee Stage.

Mr. Moore: Information on Séamus Moore  Zoom on Séamus Moore  This is not a Second Reading speech.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  This Bill does not deal at all with the disposal of fisheries.

Question—“That Section 4 stand part of the Bill”—put and agreed to.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  I move:—

To add at the end of sub-section (1) the words—

“and in default of such agreement the Land Commission shall have power to acquire compulsorily such fishery or fishery right at such price as may seem to them fair and equitable.”

Section 5 gives the Land Commission the right to purchase certain fishing rights which they consider are necessary for the proper enjoyment of the land. Where as the Parliamentary Secretary has stated that the rights might be divided up, this gives the Land Commission the right to buy them by agreement. Unfortunately there is no provision in the section as to what is to happen if there is no agreement. For the purpose of eliciting the opinion of the House I put down the amendment. It is merely to get in the question of what is to be done if there is no agreement.

It seems to me that the question will naturally work itself out in this way. If the fishery right is not of very much value the proprietor will not have much objection to selling [871] it to the Land Commission. If it is a valuable right it is hardly likely that he will come to an agreement even to facilitate the Land Commission. I want to know from the Parliamentary Secretary what is going to happen where there is no agreement.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  I do not anticipate that compulsory powers will be required for the purpose of this section. In any event, I would not consider it advisable that the Land Commission should be given further compulsory powers for the purpose of dealing with a matter which is not really their principal function. I only know of one case at the moment to which this section would apply. In that case the landlord has agreed, as a matter of fact, to sell his rights to the Land Commission. However, if our experience shows at a later stage that compulsory powers will be required, the Dáil can be approached to give these powers to the Land Commission. In the light of our experience at the moment, such powers are not necessary. I am not sure that it would be an advisable thing to give such compulsory powers to the Land Commission, considering that the safeguarding of fishery rights is not one of its principal functions, and certainly is not one of its primary functions.

Mr. Goulding: Information on Seán Goulding  Zoom on Seán Goulding  I am afraid I do not find myself in agreement with the Parliamentary Secretary. I know of cases where there is undoubted friction. In these cases, those who claim to be the owners of fishing rights will not give away these rights.

[872]Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  What particular cases has the Deputy in mind?

Mr. Goulding: Information on Seán Goulding  Zoom on Seán Goulding  Cases on the Grant property and the Montgomery property.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  As a matter of fact, this section does not apply to these cases at all. They are covered by sections of the 1923 and 1927 Acts. This only applies to ancillary fishing rights.

Mr. Little: Information on Patrick J. Little  Zoom on Patrick J. Little  May I ask if there are compulsory powers in Section 45 of the original Act? Section 45 says that the fishing rights which are appurtenant shall vest to the Land Commission. In that case, they have compulsory powers. If they have compulsory powers to the main rights, why should they not get compulsory powers for the ancillary rights?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  I think I have dealt with that point already. I do not consider that such powers are necessary. I only know of one such case, and in that case the landlord was willing to sell his rights to the Land Commission. It is very unlikely that any other case will arise. In any event, if it is found that such powers are necessary we can come to the Dáil again and get them.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  Why not take the powers now?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  I do not consider it advisable to give the Land Commission too many compulsory powers.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  We can give them all the powers they want and they will not do much.

Amendment put.


Aiken, Frank.
Allen, Denis.
Anthony, Richard.
Blaney, Neal.
Boland, Gerald.
Boland, Patrick.
Bourke, Daniel.
Brady, Seán.
Briscoe, Robert.
Buckley, Daniel.
Clery, Michael.
Colbert, James.
Cooney, Eamon. [873]Kent, William R.
Kerlin, Frank.
Killane, James Joseph.
Killilea, Mark.
Kilroy, Michael.
Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick John.
Maguire, Ben.
MacEntee, Seán.
Moore, Séamus.
O'Dowd, Patrick Joseph.
O'Kelly, Seán T.

Corkery, Dan.
Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
Crowley, Tadhg.
Derrig, Thomas.
De Valera, Eamon.
Doyle, Edward.
Fahy, Frank.
Fogarty, Andrew.
Gorry, Patrick J.
Goulding, John.
Houlihan, Patrick.
Jordan, Stephen.
Kennedy, Michael Joseph. [874]O'Leary, William.
O'Reilly, Matthew.
O'Reilly, Thomas.
Powell, Thomas P.
Ruttledge, Patrick J.
Ryan, James.
Sexton, Martin.
Sheehy, Timothy (Tipperary).
Smith, Patrick.
Tubridy, John.
Walsh, Richard.
Ward, Francis C.


Alton, Ernest Henry.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Blythe, Ernest.
Brennan, Michael.
Brodrick, Seán.
Byrne, John Joseph.
Cole, John James.
Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
Conlon, Martin.
Connolly, Michael P.
Cosgrave, William T.
Craig, Sir James.
Crowley, James.
Daly, John.
Davis, Michael.
Doherty, Eugene.
Dolan, James N.
Doyle, Peadar Seán.
Duggan, Edmund John.
Dwyer, James.
Egan, Barry M.
Esmonde, Osmond Thos. Grattan.
Fitzgerald, Desmond.
Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
Hassett, John J.
Heffernan, Michael R.
Hennessy, Michael Joseph.
Hennessy, Thomas.
Hennigan, John.
Henry, Mark.
Holohan, Richard.
Jordan, Michael.
Kelly, Patrick Michael.
Keogh, Myles.

Law, Hugh Alexander.
Leonard, Patrick.
Lynch, Finian.
Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
McDonogh, Martin.
MacEóin, Seán.
McFadden, Michael Og.
McGilligan, Patrick.
Mongan, Joseph W.
Mulcahy, Richard.
Murphy, James E.
Myles, James Sproule.
Nally, Martin Michael.
Nolan, John Thomas.
O'Connell, Richard.
O'Connor, Bartholomew.
O'Hanlon, John F.
O'Higgins, Thomas.
O'Leary, Daniel.
O'Mahony, Dermot Gun.
O'Reilly, John J.
O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Reynolds, Patrick.
Rice, Vincent.
Roddy, Martin.
Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).
Thrift, William Edward.
Tierney, Michael.
Vaughan, Daniel.
White, John.
White, Vincent Joseph.
Wolfe, George.

Amendment declared lost.

Question—“That Section 5 stand part of the Bill”—put and agreed to.

Question proposed: “That Section 6 stand part of the Bill.”

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  I am told that the fact that tenant purchasers do not know what these regulations or rules are causes them considerable inconvenience. Can anything be done to enable purchasers to know the purport of these rules, so that they will be in a position to understand what rights they have and how they can proceed if they want to make appeals?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  In any case where it is necessary the Land Commission will supply them with that information.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  But it does not supply them, and I believe they ought to be supplied with the information. Could it be arranged that the tenants would get copies or a synopsis of these rules automatically? I am told it is necessary that they should have them.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  The rules drafted by the Land Commission are circulated freely enough. Every solicitor in the country is supplied with a copy [875] of these rules. A solicitor has to get copies of them for the purpose of carrying on his professional business.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  When the provisional lists are published there are certain rules set out with them. I saw some of those recently and I know that the rules are not plain enough. The ordinary man cannot understand them. The result is that the majority of tenants do not know if they have the right to appeal to the Judicial Commissioner or to anyone. They could not make out their position from the rules as they are at present published.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  If there is any doubt as to the meaning of the rules the tenant will soon find somebody able to interpret them.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  It should not be necessary for every tenant to employ a solicitor.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  He need not go to a solicitor to get the information.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  He will have to.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  He will have to. It is a case of giving them jobs.

Section 6 agreed to.

Section 7 and the Title agreed to.

Bill ordered to be reported.

The Dáil went out of Committee.

Bill reported without amendment.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  Is it proposed to take the remaining stages now?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  Yes.

Question—“That the Bill be received for final consideration”— put and agreed to.

Question—“That the Bill do now pass”—put and agreed to.


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