Issue Out of the Central Fund. - Land Bill, 1930—Third Stage.

Wednesday, 11 March 1931

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 37 No. 11

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The Dáil went into Committee.

The Land Bond Act, 1925, shall apply to land bonds created and issued by the Minister for Finance under the powers conferred upon him by sub-section (2) of Section 5 of the Land Act, 1929, for the purposes of that section in like manner as it applies to land bonds created and issued by the said Minister for the purposes of the Land Act, 1923.

Question proposed: “That Section 1 stand part of the Bill.”

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  Section 1 makes applicable the Land Bond Act of 1925 to the Land Act of 1929. I do not know whether there is any necessity for it, because, looking at the Land Act of 1929, there seems to be a provision in it to make the provisions of the Land Bond Act of 1925 applicable to that Act. This whole question of the British guarantee for land purchase is one, I think, that the House might usefully look into just now. There seems to be no reason why we should mortgage the Central Fund of this State to the British Treasury to provide for a guarantee for the completion of land purchase. That is what the Act of 1925 amounts to. The credit of this State is said to be the highest in the world. It is high enough for investors at home, and our [1254] securities hold a very high place not only in London, but in New York. We are told of the vast number of investing people who are anxious to invest money in Irish stock. If that is so, it seems extraordinary that the guarantees and securities of this State which are good enough for all these investors should have objection made to them in one particular case, and that a case where, as everybody knows, there can be only one reason for the exception, and that is where the British landlords are to have their guarantee. The British landlords have done very well out of the people of this country and out of this State. The Land Act of 1923 and the Acts following it are substantially the same as the Land Bill which was drafted and agreed to in the Lloyd George Convention.

They have got as good terms as they would have got under a Home Rule Parliament or, as Lord Birkenhead said, as they would have got even from the English Parliament. They were not satisfied, however, with the guarantee of the Irish State, being as they are, enemies themselves of the Irish State, and being people who would be anxious that the Irish State should not succeed while, at the same time, they are very glad to get the good bargain which they were getting, though pretending they were not satisfied with that bargain. They had to have the English guarantee as well. The Free State Government got that guarantee. I think that the British landlords who have been bought out ought to be satisfied with the same guarantee and security as every other person who is concerned in this matter. Some people may call them Irish landlords, but they are really British landlords. The credit of the Free State is really good enough for everybody else and it ought to be good enough for them. We see no reason, therefore, for this first section at all.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Lands and Fisheries (Mr. Roddy): Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  I think Deputy Derrig is to a very large extent beating the air. This section does not refer at all to the present Bill. It refers to the Act of 1929, and it is merely an effort to bring the Act of 1929 into conformity [1255] with the Act of 1927 by incorporating Section 2 of the Land Bond Act of 1925. The Deputy will remember that in Section 5 of the Land Act of 1929 there was a provision made for the acquisition of certain ancillary fishing rights, which fishing rights it was necessary to obtain in order that there would be a unified control of these fishing rights, and in order to enable the Land Commission to acquire these rights it was necessary that a certain amount of Land Bonds should be issued. It is advisable that the Act of 1929 and the Act of 1927 should correspond, and that the sections relating particularly to the issue of Land Bonds should correspond, because it is quite conceivable that trouble might arise subsequently in the courts in the interpretation of these sections. It is quite possible that an agile lawyer might make it appear that the wording of the present section of the Act of 1929 relating to the issue of Land Bonds for the acquisition of these fishing rights would not mean what it was undoubtedly intended to mean. Hence the necessity arises for bringing the wording of that into conformity with the Act of 1929.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  Would it not be time enough to do that when the lawyer had made a case? Apparently, this is a hypothetical case at the moment.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  It has not arisen, but it may arise, and the Oireachtas must make provision for contingencies of that kind.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I must say that I cannot understand the case which the Parliamentary Secretary has made for this section. I do think, however, that he has made one important admission —that this section had nothing to do with what is the ostensible purpose of the Bill. This is a Vesting Bill, but now we are asked under the guise of this Vesting Bill, under cover of something that would appeal to popular imagination, to do something which whoever was responsible for the Act of 1929 thought the Dáil would not do, and that is to enter into further commitments with Great Britain in regard to Bonds issued on what are the [1256] natural resources of this country, and therefore the things upon which the people of this country have first claim. The Parliamentary Secretary, in the course of his remarks, has not attempted to deal with this fundamental issue. If this State is purchasing the natural resources of the State, purchasing, presumably, mainly from people who accept the duties and obligations of citizenship in this State, it ought not have so poor an opinion of itself as to be ready to cede to those people the right to have our commitments guaranteed by an external power. That is the fundamental issue in this matter. This section has nothing to do with the Bill. The main purpose of the Bill could be carried through without this section, and it is only put in here to secure by a side wind what could not be done here in the first instance.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  How does the Deputy suggest that the removal of Section 1 would affect the guarantee?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  It would at any rate leave it an open question. Its acceptance now by this House is an acceptance of the principle that the Bonds of this State before they become a marketable commodity, before they become an honourable pledge, must be guaranteed by an outside power. That is the fundamental principle here. It is an acceptance by the Parliamentary Secretary and by the Government and an acknowledgement that the imputation is well founded—that the Irish people are not prepared to pay their debts and that therefore before you can have any transactions or barter with them you must have a guarantee by an outside power. Is not that the principle behind this Bill? Is not that the principle behind the question of the guarantee which the British gave for Land Bonds, and that is the principle which the Parliamentary Secretary is now asking the House to accept? I think he ought to justify his position in the matter. We were not here when the Act of 1923 was passed, but now in 1931 we are not going to accept as binding and valid the principles that were then laid down. If the State wants to purchase [1257] the resources of these people from the citizens of this State for the use of the people of this State, then that purchase should be carried through without the interference or guarantee or sanction of any power outside this State. Under the section this principle would be violated. For that reason we are opposing it.

Mr. Law: Information on Hugh Alexander Law  Zoom on Hugh Alexander Law  I am not at all sure that the fundamental question the Deputy suggests comes into this at all. I will assume that the question is really an issue as to whether the bonds issued by the State are a sufficiently good security. If there is such a question and if doubt arises the Deputy knows and the other Deputies on the benches opposite know why it arises. They know it arises precisely because they and people who sympathise with them in the country have raised in the minds of many people the gravest possible doubts as to whether if they were in power the obligations of this State would in fact be honoured.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Is the foundamental question at issue?

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

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  It is not necessary for me to speak because Deputy Law did not deal with the fundamental question.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  I know he did not. I was going to prevent him from doing so. Is the fundamental question at issue at all under this section?

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

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  The question of guarantee is at issue. If the section does not go through I presume the question of guarantee will remain a doubtful one. The Parliamentary Secretary wants to qualify that position by definitely applying a guarantee to the bonds issued under the 1929 Act.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  The Deputy knows that the removal of this section would not affect the guarantee of Land Bonds at all. The Act of 1929 still operates. The section is introduced, as I tried to explain to the House, for the purpose of preventing litigation in future [1258] over the interpretation of two sections in two different Acts which really mean the same thing.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  There is no doubt about it but this is to amend the 1929 Act. The 1929 Act is considered by everybody to be the most reactionary Act. that was ever passed through this House. It took from the people the ownership of land and the ownership of the rivers. The 1929 Act for the first time made it possible for the landlords to sell the rivers. This is to give an opportunity to the State of buying from the landlords the rivers which they never had before.

Mr. Little: Information on Patrick J. Little  Zoom on Patrick J. Little  A point which might be made on this first clause is that it is unsatisfactory because here was an opportunity of reopening the issue of the guarantee. This guarantee was given for the purpose of land purchase under the Act of 1923. So far as I can gather it was not passed by any agreement.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  How does the Deputy suggest that Section 1 gives an opportunity of reopening discussion on the Act of 1923?

Mr. Little: Information on Patrick J. Little  Zoom on Patrick J. Little  If it was satisfactorily dealt with instead of referring back to the Land Act of 1929 and carrying over the guarantee from that and from the Act of 1923 it could reopen the issue and base the credit of this Act upon Irish credit alone instead of looking for a guarantee from England. That would have opened the way to revise the terms of the Act of 1923 which Lord Birkenhead declared in the House of Lords was such an Act that the landlords in England would be delighted to get the same price for their land as the Irish landlords were getting under that Act.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  There is nothing at all in Section 1 of the Bill that would justify discussion on the prices the landlords got under the Act of 1923. The Deputy surely is aware of that.

Mr. Little: Information on Patrick J. Little  Zoom on Patrick J. Little  This particular section is defective in this respect that it continues the present conditions. For that reason we are against it.

[1259]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  The Deputy cannot argue that on Section 1 of this Bill. What the Deputy is doing seems to me to be completely out of order. He is complaining that this Bill does not rescind the 1923 Act in an important principle which this Bill does not touch.

Mr. Little: Information on Patrick J. Little  Zoom on Patrick J. Little  It is a connecting link. We are in this difficulty that there are some very valuable parts in this Bill from the point of view of the Irish tenants. There are other parts which are very objectionable. We can only fight the principles to which we object by dealing with them in those clauses where they arise. In attacking this particular section of the Bill, we must state our reasons. We see that this is a connecting link, and if this particular section were deleted it would leave in doubt the matter which we consider is at issue, and which is the best thing we can do.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Surely it would not leave the price which the landlords got in 1923 in doubt?

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  That is not the point.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  What is the point? This section refers to sub-section 2 of Section 5 of the Land Act of 1929. Would the Deputy address himself to that?

Mr. Little: Information on Patrick J. Little  Zoom on Patrick J. Little  In a sense, the issue is a complicated one. This continues the conditions attaching to the guarantee, and I argue that because it does so [1260] the price of land arises under that guarantee. Unless a certain price had been given to the landlord that guarantee would not have been arranged.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Would the Deputy address himself to what is in this particular section about the Act of 1929?

Mr. Little: Information on Patrick J. Little  Zoom on Patrick J. Little  It simply continues the conditions established by that Act. It is a continuing Act.

Mr. T.J. O'Connell: Information on Tomas O'Connell  Zoom on Tomas O'Connell  Would the Parliamentary Secretary explain whether there are any powers taken in this Act to create Land Bonds? There is a reference here that the Land Bond Act, 1925, shall apply to Land Bonds created and issued by the Minister for Finance under the powers conferred upon him by the Act of 1929.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  This section only refers to the Act of 1929.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  What is the purpose of including it in the Bill? Would it not be better to introduce a simple Bill to do what the Minister proposes to do under Section 1? What is the ulterior motive?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  The Deputy need not be in the least suspicious about any ulterior motive whatsoever.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  He need not be, but he is.

Question put.

Aírd, William P.
Alton, Ernest Henry.
Beckett, James Walter.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Blythe, Ernest.
Bourke, Séamus A.
Brennan, Michael.
Brodrick, Seán.
Carey, Edmund.
Cole, John James.
Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
Connolly, Michael P.
Cosgrave, William T.
Craig, Sir James.
Crowley, James.
Daly, John.
Davis, Michael.
Doherty, Eugene.
Dolan, James N. [1261]Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
McDonogh, Martin.
McFadden, Michael Og.
McGilligan, Patrick.
Mongan, Joseph W.
Mulcahy, Richard.
Nally, Martin Michael.
Nolan, John Thomas.
O'Connell, Richard.
O'Connor, Bartholomew.
O'Higgins, Thomas.
Doyle, Peadar Seán.
Duggan, Edmund John.
Egan, Barry M.
Finlay, Thomas A.
Fitzgerald, Desmond.
Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
Good, John.
Gorey, Denis J.
Haslett, Alexander.
Hassett, John J.
Heffernan, Michael R.
Hennessy, Michael Joseph.
Hennessy, Thomas.
Henry, Mark.
Jordan, Michael.
Kelly, Patrick Michael.
Keogh, Myles.
Law, Hugh Alexander.
Leonard, Patrick. [1262]O'Leary, Daniel.
O'Mahony, The.
O'Reilly, John J.
O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Reynolds, Patrick.
Roddy, Martin.
Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).
Thrift, William Edward.
Wolfe, George.
Wolfe, Jasper Travers.

Aiken, Frank.
Allen, Denis.
Anthony, Richard.
Blaney, Neal.
Boland, Gerald.
Boland, Patrick.
Brady, Seán.
Briscoe, Robert.
Broderick, Henry.
Buckley, Daniel.
Carty, Frank.
Cassidy, Archie J.
Clancv, Patrick.
Clery, Michael.
Colbert, James.
Colohan, Hugh.
Corish, Richard.
Corry, Martin John.
Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
Crowley, Tadhg.
Davin, William.
Derrig, Thomas.
De Valera, Eamon.
Everett, James.
Fahy, Frank.
Geoghegan, James.
Gorry, Patrick J.
Goulding, John.
Hayes, Seán.
Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
Houlihan, Patrick.
Jordan, Stephen.
Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
Kent, William R.
Killilea, Mark.
Kilroy, Michael.
Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick John.
Maguire, Ben.
MacEntee, Seán.
Moore, Séamus.
Morrissey, Daniel.
O'Connell, Thomas J.
O'Dowd, Patrick Joseph.
O'Reilly, Matthew.
Ruttledge, Patrick J.
Ryan, James.
Sexton, Martin.
Sheehy, Timothy (Tipp.)
Smith, Patrick.

Motion declared carried.

Section 1 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

No stamp duty shall be chargeable or payable on any agreement, conveyance, deed of charge, memorial, or other instrument (including instrument executed but not stamped before the passing of this Act) made for the purposes of or in connection with the sale by the Land Commission under or in pursuance of the Land Purchase Acts of land vested in them nor on any such instrument required by the Land Commission to be made for securing the repayment of moneys advanced by them.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  I understood that it was only a sixpenny stamp that was required for these purchase agreements. Is it only to the stamp duty on such agreements that this section refers, or is there any other matter in contemplation? If it is a stamp duty on other documents we would like to have it made clear. There is a distinction between relieving the purchaser of his liability and relieving the vendor. The vendor has had his costs paid already, and he should not have further relief by way of stamp duty.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  This section does not give any relief to the vendor. It is required primarily for the purpose of enabling the Land Commission to pay the stamp duty on mortgage deeds which are necessary to obtain in cases of tenancies on estates bought by the late Congested Districts Board out of their own funds. It is necessary to get the tenants to sign a deed of mortgage so that the parcel [1263] can be consolidated with their holdings. This consolidation is necessary for the purpose of preventing alienation without the consent of the Land Commission. The section applies almost exclusively to such cases. The duty is ten shillings.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  It does not refer to documents dealing with transfer of title from the landlord?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  It applies also to certain other documents in cases where the tenant enters into an agreement with the Land Commission to purchase for cash.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  The whole section refers only to congested districts?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  Yes, and it does not propose to confer any benefit on the vendor.

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

(1) Sub-section (3) of Section 1 of the Land Act, 1923, as amended by Section 3 of the Land Bond Act, 1925, shall be construed and have effect as if the words “in satisfaction of death duties or” now contained in that sub-section were omitted therefrom.

(2) In addition to the several sums required by sub-section (5) of Section 1 of the Land Act, 1923, as amended by Section 3 of the Land Bond Act, 1925, to be set aside in the land bond fund for the purpose of the redemption of bonds, there shall for the purpose of such redemption be set aside in the land bond fund, at the close of every half-year ending on the 1st day of May or the 1st day of November until all land bonds issued under the Land Act, 1923, or any Act amending that Act have been redeemed, all sums paid into the land bond fund during such half-year by the Land Commission under this Act for the redemption of land bonds.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  Perhaps the Parliament Secretary will explain what is the effect of sub-section (1) in connection [1264] with the words “in satisfaction of death duties”?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  It removes the necessity for the immediate redemption of land bonds paid over by the Land Commission to the Minister for Finance in respect of death duties. Under the Land Bond Act the Minister is obliged to redeem these bonds immediately. The difference between the actual face value and the cash value of the bonds has to be made good out of the Guarantee Fund. Under this section I propose in future, if there is such difference that it will be made good out of the Land Commission Vote and will not be a drain on the ratepayers.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  Would the Parliamentary Secretary think of extending that principle to the Guarantee Fund generally?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  In what direction?

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  Extending that principle of relieving the ratepayers.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  No, that is a different matter. It is outside the scope of the land code.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  In what way is this sub-section complementary to the other?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  It provides for setting aside moneys in that fund under the Land Act. It is purely a domestic and financial arrangement.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  We are not quite clear in regard to sub-section 2 of this section, and we would like some explanation from the Parliamentary Secretary as to what it means.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  I explained a few moments ago in answer to Deputy MacEntee that sub-section (2) was consequential on sub-section (1). It merely establishes machinery for setting aside in the land bond fund moneys paid into that fund by the Land Commission under this Act. This is purely a financial arrangement. It is purely administrative.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  All moneys paid into it are automatically set aside for the redemption of bonds? That is the case under previous Acts.

[1265]Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  Yes.

Section put and agreed to.

(1) Every advance made by the Land Commission after the passing of this Act on the resale of land (other than land to which the next following section of this Act applies) which was purchased by the late Congested Districts Board out of the funds at its disposal shall be repayable by a purchase annuity calculated in such manner and at such rate and payable at such times as the Minister for Finance shall prescribe.

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

“After the word `rate' in line 6 to insert the words `not exceeding three and one-quarter per cent.' ”

I understand that in the congested areas where land was purchased the annuity was based on a rate of interest of three and a quarter per cent., and that most of the lands purchased in the congested areas were bought at that figure. In this section there is a provision that the Minister for Finance shall make regulations fixing the purchase annuity in these cases. It seems to us that it should be specifically stated in the section how exactly the purchase annuity is to be fixed. For that reason I propose to insert the words “not exceeding three and a quarter per cent.” It may be argued that the Minister for Finance must have a certain amount of discretion in fixing these purchase annuities, but in the subsequent sub-section, sub-section (2) there is a reference to three and a quarter per cent. as being the price that is likely to be charged. In any case, seeing that the tenants have been paying interest in lieu of rent, even if there is a loss to the Exchequer, I think that the rate of three and a quarter per cent., which was originally fixed in the 1903 Act, and even before that, should be adhered to.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  The rate of interest in all these cases is 3¼ per cent. I am prepared to accept the Deputy's amendment, but not in this particular form. As a matter of fact, the sub-section [1266] is worded in accordance with, I think, Section 30 of the Act of 1909. I do not propose to accept the Deputy's amendment as it is here on the Order Paper, but I will introduce an amendment drafted by myself on the Report Stage.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Question proposed: “That Section 4 stand part of the Bill.”

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  Sub-section (3) states that “all moneys collected in respect of purchase annuities created under this section shall be paid into or disposed of for the benefit of the Exchequer in such manner as the Minister for Finance shall appoint by regulations made by him under this Act.” What is to become of the moneys which are paid into the Exchequer by the Congested Districts Board tenants? I think that up to the present the Congested Board's estates were run on the principle of not acquiring income for the estate, but of providing employment, as far as possible, out of the moneys that accrued, keeping that simply as a reserve for future works.

Now the Minister for Finance has already grabbed a large amount of the assets of the Congested Districts Board, which amounted, I think, in all to one million pounds when that Board was brought to an end, and it is very questionable whether the Congested Districts Board areas have—in spite of the fact that the Parliamentary Secretary assures us that they have been specially treated in the improvement works which go on from year to year, when you consider that the assets of the Congested Districts Board, amounting to one million pounds, were taken over—been getting more favourable treatment or are in a better position than they were under the old régime. I think a good case can be made to show that as much money is not being spent in the Congested Districts Board areas as was the case hitherto, and I deprecate the principle that is here laid down that money, the extent of which we do not know, should be handed over to the tender mercies of the Minister for Finance as the assets of this Board were formerly handed over, without any guarantee that the [1267] money will be handed back for the purpose of productive work. We would like some assurance from the Parliamentary Secretary, as far as he is in a position to give it, that these moneys will not be utilised for other purposes, but that the Congested Districts areas will have a first claim upon them.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  Sub-section (3) refers to moneys spent by the Congested Districts Board out of its own funds, and if the Deputy will look up the Land Commission Estimates he will see that each year these moneys come in as Appropriations-in-aid.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  I think only a small proportion of the income comes in; the one million pounds for example never came in.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  I am only dealing now with this sub-section.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  I think the Parliamentary Secretary is mistaken when he says that the whole income of the former Congested Districts Board comes in. Only a certain proportion comes in and the assets have already been taken by the Minister for Finance.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  I think the Deputy is running ahead and dealing with other sections of the Bill.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  There is another matter I would like to raise on the section and that is a matter that was raised on another point as to the policy of the Land Commission in dealing with the purchase of land in these congested areas. It was said that land was purchased at a high competitive price and that then when this old Congested Districts Board was selling it the Land Commission fixed an entirely different price, the security price, up on it which was much lower. I would like to know if the present policy of the Land Commission is to sell purchased land, purchased at a high competitive value, at a value based on the security of the land which, of course, would be much lower.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  I do not see how that arises under this particular section. [1268] The price at which land is being purchased is not a matter which can be discussed here.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  If I am in order I would like to ask are we to take it that improvements done in the Congested Districts areas are not subsequently recouped from the purchase annuities but are regarded as free grants.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  Improvements are paid for in the congested districts areas by means of free grants in practically all cases.

Question put and agreed to.

(1) All moneys, funds, and land bonds which are now in or shall hereafter come to the hands of the Land Commission and which either represent the proceeds of the sale by the late Congested Districts Board or the Land Commission of land to which this section applies or represent the redemption price of head-rents or other superior interests acquired by the said Board shall be paid into or disposed of for the benefit of the Exchequer in such manner as the Minister for Finance shall direct.

(2) This section applies to land which was purchased by the late Congested Districts Board out of the funds at its disposal or was acquired by that Board otherwise than by means of advances from the Irish land purchase fund and which was sold by the said Board as an ordinary vendor either by means of the Land Purchase Acts (whether such sale was completed before the 9th day of August, 1923, or was subsequently completed as a purchase agreement pending on that date) or otherwise than by means of the said Acts.

Question proposed: “That Section 5 stand.”

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  This is the same principle. The moneys, funds, and land bonds accruing from the sale of lands are all paid into the Exchequer and the Minister for Finance is to have complete discretion as to the manner in which he will spend them. I [1269] think the House should press for some assurance that until land purchase is completed and the re-sale and consolidation of holdings are completed in the congested areas, this money should be set aside specially for that purpose and should not be devoted to the general relief of taxation. The Congested Districts Board people were able to buy and sell land in the West of Ireland and give considerable employment. At the same time they made it a business proposition. I think the Land Commission ought to be able to do the same and ought not to give away to the Minister for Finance in absorbing all these moneys for the benefit of the Exchequer. The people in these areas are constantly crying out for employment. We would be doing a very bad day's work if we allowed this section to pass through without having some assurance that the same policy would be maintained and that the profits made on those resales of land are not going to other purposes. If we cannot get an assurance on this section we will have to vote against it.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  Is not this consequential on a section already passed?

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  Yes, but it raises the general question as to the attitude of the Government towards these moneys from the congested district areas. I want some assurance that money in the first instance would be earmarked for areas in the West.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  The section really fills a blank in the Land Law Commission Act. By Section 7 of that Act all the property of the old Congested Districts Board was transferred to the Land Commission but there was no provision made for the transfer of the assets in land of the Congested Districts Board and this section has been introduced to make provision for the disposal of these assets now. Of course the Minister for Finance is responsible for the disposal of these funds. He is responsible for the making of the regulations and the Deputy will understand that I cannot enter into any guarantee on behalf of the Minister for Finance as to how he will dispose of them.

[1270]Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  The policy of the old Congested Districts Board, if they did not spend all their income, was to hold it and spend it at a later time. Now, if money is not spent it goes back to the Exchequer, and has to be kept in it. Furthermore, a large amount of assets belonging to the old Congested Districts Board have been appropriated by the Minister for Finance. I think the House should press further in this matter that the moneys should be earmarked for the Congested Districts Board areas.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  As a matter of fact the money which is realised by the Land Commission as a result of the Congested Districts Board activities in the past, does not pass to the Minister for Finance. All this money comes in as an appropriation-in-aid of the Land Commission vote. If the Deputy will take the trouble to look up the Land Commission Estimate of last year he will find that the excess money realised on the Congested Districts Board estates came in as an appropriation-in-aid.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  It relieves the Exchequer to that extent. If the money did not come in it would have to be provided by the Oireachtas.

Question put, and agreed to.

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

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  This section extends the provisions of previous legislation with regard to the Guarantee Fund, and the appropriation of portion of the local taxation grant against the payment of land annuities to county boroughs, and so long as the principle is admitted and is the law—and there seems to be no expectation at present of revising it—it seems equitable that it should also apply to county boroughs. However, the matter of the Guarantee Fund is one that has aroused considerable discontent in the country. The British Parliament, through Mr. Balfour, introduced this Guarantee Fund in order that the British Exchequer and the British taxpayer would not, in the long run, be responsible for any defalcations of arrears due to the inability of the [1271] Irish tenant purchasers to pay. As Deputies know, a certain amount of the grant was withheld from local councils until such time as the annuities were paid. It has caused annoyance to local bodies in certain counties. In fact in a good many counties considerable sums were withheld running into many thousands of pounds.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  That is outside the scope of this section.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  Why? Is not the whole question of the Guarantee Fund raised here.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  The section is confined to county boroughs and does not deal with counties.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  Apart from the doubtful equity of making the ratepayers pay for tenants who are unable to carry out their obligations there is the fact that in some areas you have large numbers of farms derelict or under water.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  In county boroughs?

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  Yes. It is quite probable that that is so in county boroughs as well as outside them. I would like the Parliamentary Secretary to let the House know whether the Land Commission are going to moderate their policy of attempting to collect annuities and making the ratepayers suffer as well, where it is proved that the lands are flooded and that the tenants have been at a loss either for one season or over many seasons. In such cases I think the Land Commission should have some machinery to deal with the matter.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  Surely the Deputy will realise that a discussion on the Land Commission Estimate should be raised on the Estimate and not on this section.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  I do not see any reason why it should not be raised.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  It is outside the scope of this section.

[1272]Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  I can assure the Parliamentary Secretary that in the drafting of amendments to the Bill it was practically impossible to pass through the net which the Ceann Comhairle designed. I think Deputies who are interested in matters that arise under this section should not be met with an attempt from the Government Benches to closure them. If an attempt is made let it be made at all events from the Chair.

Question put and agreed to.

Question proposed: “That Section 7 stand part of the Bill.”

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  We cannot see any necessity for this section. It appears that the British Government granted a certain amount of money for the improvement of land in connection with the settlement of ex-British soldiers under the Irish Land (Provision for Sailors and Soldiers) Act, 1919. The suggestion here is that the Minister for Finance shall make regulations whereby whatever additional value is placed on the land as a result of money granted by the British Government, he shall arrange to pay them back an equitable share of whatever they have allocated and spent to improve the land. We cannot see any necessity for this section. The ex-British sailors and soldiers in the Free State have a big claim against the British Government. I do not say that anybody will contend that they have got more than they were entitled to get from the British Government. We are definitely asked now to make arrangements for paying back to this wealthy Government a certain sum of money that it allocated; not for our benefit, not for the common good, but for the benefit of its own ex-soldiers and sailors. I do not believe for a moment that the British Government intends to press this question, or that it wants to get this money back. It is simply the extraordinary financial generosity on the part of the Government in office that has so often been manifested. As a matter of fact, the British Government has not carried out its guarantee to these ex-soldiers and sailors at all.

[1273]An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  That does not arise now, surely?

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  The general question arises whether the British Government should be repaid, and it calls for consideration.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  Not on this section.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  In any case we do not see any necessity for this section. We do not see that the British Government is likely to press for repayment of money spent on the welfare of ex-soldiers and sailors. If the section is passed there will have to be a roundabout procedure involving negotiations with Britain in winding-up the whole thing. You will have to collect this enhanced price from the ex-soldiers and sailors. We are against that.

[1274]Mr. M. O'Reilly: Information on Matthew O'Reilly  Zoom on Matthew O'Reilly  I take it that the Parliamentary Secretary is aware of the position that existed prior to the acquisition of the lands for the ex-soldiers. A good many of the estates were held by the Land Commission from 1909, and certainly up to the time the war started. At that time the Land Commission made a considerable profit, and not only that, but I know estates where they were not satisfied to deal with the land, but sold the timber. They charged the ex-soldiers at the rate of £2 an acre for the land. I think the Land Commission was recompensed. The British Government left the ex-soldiers in such a plight that they were not able to pay, and I do not suppose the succeeding tenants will pay.

Question put.

Aird, William P.
Alton, Ernest Henry.
Beckett, James Walter.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Blythe, Ernest.
Bourke, Séamus A.
Brennan, Michael.
Brodrick, Seán.
Carey, Edmund.
Cole, John James.
Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
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.
Finlay, Thomas A.
Fitzgerald, Desmond.
Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
Good, John.
Gorey, Denis J.
Haslett, Alexander.
Hassett, John J.
Heffernan, Michael R.
Hennessy, Michael Joseph.
Hennessy, Thomas.
Henry, Mark.
Jordan, Michael.
Kelly, Patrick Michael.
Keogh, Myles.
Law, Hugh Alexander.
Lynch, Finian.
Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
McDonogh, Martin.
McFadden, Michael Og.
McGilligan, Patrick.
Mongan, Joseph W.
Mulcahy, Richard.
Nally, Martin Michael.
Nolan, John Thomas.
O'Connell, Richard.
O'Connor, Bartholomew.
O'Higgins, Thomas.
O'Leary, Daniel.
O'Mahony, Dermot Gun.
O'Reilly, John J.
O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Reynolds, Patrick.
Roddy, Martin.
Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).
Thrift, William Edward.
Wolfe, George.
Wolfe, Jasper Travers.

Aiken, Frank.
Allen, Denis.
Anthony, Richard.
Blaney, Neal.
Boland, Gerald.
Boland, Patrick.
Brady, Seán.
Briscoe, Robert.
Broderick, Henry. [1275]Corry, Martin John.
Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
Crowley, Tadhg.
Davin, William.
Derrig, Thomas.
De Valera, Eamon.
Everett, James.
Fahy, Frank.
Geoghegan, James.
Gorry, Patrick J.
Goulding, John.
Hayes, Seán.
Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
Houlihan, Patrick.
Jordan, Stephen.
Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
Kent, William R.
Buckley, Daniel.
Carty, Frank.
Cassidy, Archie J.
Clancy, Patrick.
Clery, Michael.
Colbert, James.
Colohan, Hugh.
Corkery, Dan.
Corish, Richard. [1276]Killilea, Mark.
Kilroy, Michael.
Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick John.
Maguire, Ben.
McEllistrim, Thomas.
MacEntee, Seán.
Moore, Séamus.
Mullins, Thomas.
O'Connell, Thomas J.
O'Dowd, Patrick Joseph.
O'Reilly, Matthew.
Ruttledge, Patrick J.
Ryan, James.
Sexton, Martin.
Sheehy, Timothy (Tipp.).
Smith, Patrick.

Motion declared carried.

Section ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Section 8 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

(1) The Land Commission shall from time to time publish lists (in this Act referred to as lists of vested holdings) of tenanted land consisting of holdings in respect of which particulars have been furnished in pursuance of sub-section (1) of Section 40 of the Land Act, 1923, and shall in every such list declare in respect of the tenanted land comprised in such list the appointed day (which may be previous to, coincident with, or subsequent to the date of the publication of such list) for such land.

(2) Immediately upon the publication of a list of vested holdings, tenanted land comprised in such list shall (as the case may require) become or be deemed to have become vested in the Land Commission on the appointed day declared in such list for such land.

(3) Every tenant of a holding included in a list of vested holdings (whether such tenant is or is not named in such list) or, where the tenant of a holding is named in such list and is dead on the appointed day for such holding, the personal representative of such tenant shall be deemed to have entered on the appointed day into a subsequent purchase agreement for the purchase of such holding from the Land Commission at the standard price and sub-sections (2), (3), and (5) of Section 28 of the Land Act, 1923, shall apply in respect of such holding in like manner as they apply in respect of the holdings mentioned in those sub-sections save that such application shall not be prevented or limited by sub-section (6) of the said Section 28.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  I move amendment 3:

In sub-section (1), before the word “publish” line 11, to insert the words, “but not later than three months from the passing of this Act or three months from the date of receipt of the particulars hereinafter referred to whichever may be the later date.”

The Parliamentary Secretary said on the Second Reading that he expected that all preparations would have been made for publication within three months. I understand that the machinery is ready to carry out this portion of the Bill. What we want is a definite limitation as to time. We suggest that it would not be too much to ask the Land Commission for a guarantee that the Appointed Day will be fixed not later than three months from the passing of the Act, or three months from the date of receipt of particulars. The particulars are in hand in the vast majority of cases, and the Land Commission have a reasonable alternative. If the particulars are not in hand, and they are not able to proceed with the [1277] vesting, then they will not be asked to do it in that case, but will get three months from the date on which they actually receive the particulars.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  It is obvious that this amendment could not take effect, even if passed. The fixing of three months as a definite date is quite impracticable, as was explained on the Second Reading, and as, I think, was anticipated by Deputy Derrig when introducing his Bill in 1929. In that case, with regard to non-judicial holdings at any rate, I think he fixed 1st June, 1932, as a limit. This amendment is a big advance on his own Bill, and I think it is impracticable, inasmuch as it could not be done. If the Parliamentary Secretary is able to carry out his guarantee given on the Second Reading, that before next year this will be finished, I think we might reasonably accept that.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on James Geoghehan  Zoom on James Geoghehan  This amendment merely provides that within three months from the passing of the Act the Land Commission will publish lists of tenanted land referred to in the section. Allegations have been made from time to time about the sloth of this Department. If the allegations that we have heard are well-founded it might perhaps afford an explanation for the speech we have just listened to. But if there is any alacrity in this Department, Deputies, I am sure, would like to hear why a period of three months is not sufficient to draw up the lists of tenanted holdings. It is not enough to say that the landlord or land agent may not have done his part. Deputy Derrig has anticipated such an objection as that by framing his amendment so that the three months will run only from the receipt of the particulars in cases where they are not furnished already. Of course “particulars” there means full and complete and accurate particulars. This three months period will only run from the time when the Minister has received particulars which in every respect are in order. He is then asked to publish the lists of tenanted holdings.

Allusion has been made to Deputy Derrig's Bill of 1929. The Deputy who [1278] made that observation must either have refrained from reading that Bill or omitted to read this amendment. The amendment merely asks that the lists be published. The Land Commission are given plenty of time to provide for the vesting of the holdings. Nobody wants to rush them about that. They can take their own time and decide when they will vest the holdings in the particular tenant. Some of us are familiar with these particulars. They are furnished in a form which the Land Commission prescribes —a form designed, I am sure, to make it very easy for them to index these cases and take whatever office or routine steps are necessary before publishing these lists.

Anyone in this House engaged in his own business or profession may have from time to time to draw up lists far more intricate, sometimes far more extensive even than the lists contemplated here. If any man in business in a large way, whether he be a wholesaler or a manufacturer, were to be told by his subordinates, as this country is told by its subordinates, that a period of three months is too short a time to prepare this list of pending cases, I am sure he would be very much surprised. And I am sure he would take steps of a nature akin to what the country will be forced to take if the attitude is to be that as outlined by Deputy Gorey. The country will have to find some other subordinates who possibly will be a little more alert and do things a little more quickly. Perhaps the phrase “sack the lot” that we heard in another connection, some time ago, may be the only alternative to the acceptance of this very reasonable amendment that Deputy Derrig has tabled here.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  In this amendment Deputy Derrig evidently only intends to deal with tenants coming under the Act of 1923. He apparently left out of consideration altogether the allottees of untenanted land and the tenants on the Congested Districts Board estates just as he did in his Land Bill of 1929. The Deputy, I think, realises perfectly well it would be impossible for the Land Commission to publish all the lists in three [1279] months after this Bill becomes law. He must remember that the Land Commission has to publish lists of 100,000 tenants, perhaps 110,000 tenants would be nearer the mark. Any Deputy will realise that it would be quite impossible to publish this list of tenancies in three months, and to check the particulars of rentals, area, and other matters that are necessary to be checked before the lists of vested holdings are published. I could not accept the amendment. I did state, when concluding the Second Reading debate on the Bill, that I hoped to have the lists of vested holdings not only under the 1923 Act, but Congested Districts Board holdings as well published within 12 months of the date this Bill becomes law, but I could not go beyond that.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on James Geoghehan  Zoom on James Geoghehan  Are we to understand that it is only now in 1931 that the Land Commission are commencing to check particulars? The Statute— speaking from memory—became law in August, 1923. Soon after that particulars commenced to pour in. For 7½ years this process of checking presumably has been going on; it is not now the Land Commission are waking up to the checking. The Parliamentary Secretary referred to the Congested Districts Board cases. Probably he will be kind enough to elaborate that a little more. Is he referring to the lands acquired by the Congested Districts Board under the Statutes of 1903 and 1909? If he is, surely time enough has elapsed to tabulate these and have them in order. If the House is going to reject this amendment of Deputy Derrig, it is well it should understand what it is doing. Is it going to reject it on the representation that within three months these hundred thousand cases, or whatever the number is, cannot be checked and dealt with? If so, in the absence of some explanations from the Parliamentary Secretary, it would seem to follow that during the seven years no checking was done in the ordinary way. We would expect that vast numbers of these would have been segregated and examined, and that the [1280] whole material would be ready to shoot into the “Dublin Gazette.”

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  Further to what Deputy Geoghegan has said I notice in column 312 on the Parliamentary Secretary's speech on the Second Reading of the Bill on the 19th February, that he said.

“With regard to the cases under the 1923 Act, I can assure the Deputy that we hope to fix an Appointed Day in the vast majority of them within three months of the passing of this Bill.

Therefore he states specifically that not alone will it be possible, but that it will be really fixed within three months of the passing of the Bill in the vast majority of cases. In this particular amendment we are not asking for the fixing of the Appointed Day. We are asking for the publication of the lists. With regard to the references which Deputy Gorey and the Parliamentary Secretary made to the famous Bill which I introduced, I want to say that it is a pity that they on that occasion did not give us their experienced views on the matter. They were then strangely silent. Their anxiety then was that the Bill should not get a chance. On this occasion, however, they are going to make up for their lack of vocal power then. I submit that this is a very reasonable amendment. Deputy Gorey has allowed himself to get to the position that there must be no limitation put on the operations of the Land Commission. It does not matter how easy the limitation may be. Deputy Gorey can be put up to make a case that there should be no attempt whatever to put limitations on the operations of the Land Commission.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  I did not say that.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  That however is the position. There is no provision about twelve months. For that we have only what the Parliamentary Secretary states. The Minister for Agriculture said a number of years ago that the operations under the Act of 1923 would not take more than five years. We know that that undertaking has not [1281] been kept. As long as a thing is not definitely stated in the Bill we cannot take any cognisance of it. We want to make things definitely clear now and if Deputies here are going to vote against the amendment they are doing a foolish thing. They are only giving the Land Commission a loophole for escaping from the responsibilities which the House is anxious to place upon them.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  It is perfectly evident that neither Deputy Geoghegan nor Deputy Derrig understand the section to which they have tabled this amendment. Deputy Derrig asked why not publish a list and fix the Appointed Day at the same time. If the Deputy had studied the section carefully he would find that that had been already provided for.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  On a point of order, I wish to state that I did not make the suggestion that the Appointed Day should not be published. I said that in this particular amendment we are not dealing with the fixing of the Appointed Day; we are only dealing with the publication of the lists.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  In any event, the Deputy's amendment only refers to the tenants who purchased under the Act of 1923.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  It refers to all tenants.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  It does not. It deals only with tenants under the 1923 Act, leaving out of account tenants on the Congested Districts Board estates. So I assume that if this amendment were passed the Land Commission would be free to deal with the Congested Districts Board tenants at any time they liked.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on James Geoghehan  Zoom on James Geoghehan  That makes it all the easier for the Parliamentary Secretary to accept the amendment.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  I am prepared to give the Deputy credit for good intentions, and that he does mean to include the Congested Districts Board tenants. The Land Commission, at the moment, are preparing these lists, and there is no doubt about it that within a short period after this Bill becomes law it [1282] will be possible to publish quite a number of them, but it would be quite impossible to do it within three months from the date of the passing of this Act.

It is a comparatively easy matter to list the tenants who bought under the 1923 Act, but it is much more difficult in the case of the Congested Districts Board estates. There is very little information available. It is specifically stated in the Bill that certain information must be given in respect of each holding; consequently it will take more time to ascertain the particulars required in these cases. I am hopeful that within twelve months of the passing of the Bill that these lists will be published in respect of the 1923 holdings, and also in respect of the Congested Districts Board holdings.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  Why does not the Parliamentary Secretary himself fix the date in the Bill—why does he not state at what date these are to be prepared?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  I cannot go further than I went when replying on the Second Reading of this Bill.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  Are we to take it that you might be as near to your guess of one year as the Minister for Agriculture was when he said it would take five years?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  I have stated definitely and specifically that I hope every holding will be vested within a year from the passing of this Bill. Beyond that I cannot go.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on James Geoghehan  Zoom on James Geoghehan  Does the Parliamentary Secretary say that the Congested Districts cases are within this amendment at all?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  I do not. They could not be within the amendment. This is an amendment to Section 9 and Section 9 does not deal with the C.D.B. cases at all.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on James Geoghehan  Zoom on James Geoghehan  Will the Parliamentary Secretary say then how the C.D.B. cases could prevent his complying with this amendment? As I understand the Parliamentary Secretary's observation, he explains his inability to carry out the terms of this amendment by stating that he has not [1283] got sufficient material in the C.D.B. cases. The amendment is not concerned with C.D.B. cases at all.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  It was intended to be. The Deputy, not understanding the section, made a mistake in drafting the amendment.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on James Geoghehan  Zoom on James Geoghehan  I suggest that the amendment is gathered from the wording of the clause.

Mr. Kennedy: Information on Michael Joseph Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Joseph Kennedy  Did not the President state that the lands would be vested by January next?

Mr. Clery: Information on Michael Cleary  Zoom on Michael Cleary  I think the pious wish of the Parliamentary Secretary cannot be given much heed to. He is certainly making excuses, because he assumes that certain types of cases that were meant to come under this amendment are not under it. Therefore, he could not accept it even though it referred to tenants that he himself thinks could be brought in under this amendment, that is, non-vested tenants. Are we to take it that it is only now they are examining these cases? Surely his argument is worthy of less consideration when we realise that since the passing of the 1923 Act very definite promises and undertakings were given by the Minister for Agriculture as regards vesting. He fixed the period of five years which seems very reasonable from the Minister's point of view. The Parliamentary Secretary now hopes that within one year he will be able to have the vesting done. But he gives no definite undertaking either.

The introduction of this Bill is in itself an admission by the Government of the very grave wrong that has been inflicted on non-vested tenants and, surely, it is time for us in this House to tie the string very tight as regards the Land Commission's power to have further delays in vesting. Surely it is our experience that, as far as red tape and the tying of the strings are concerned, the Land Commission is one of the Departments which stands out ahead of all the others. Now that we have the power to limit the Land Commission's inertia, to some extent, I think we should tie it down to some definite undertakings. If the Parliamentary [1284] Secretary can give a definite undertaking that within a certain period the work will be done we need not take such a serious view of it, but the pious wish is expressed that it may be done within a year, after many promises having been given within the past 5 years and it is not yet done. I think it is right to put it to a division and that Deputies who stated from time to time that they are very anxious to hurry up the vesting of holdings would be given an opportunity of showing where they stand. No attempt has been made by the Parliamentary Secretary to make a case against this amendment. On that account, I think we should divide on this matter.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I think if the Parliamentary Secretary is honest in this Bill and if it is going to have the end which it was stated in this House it was going to have, he will accept Deputy Derrig's amendment. I remember hearing Deputy Gorey here on a famous occasion in 1929 making practically the same statement that Deputy Derrig made in regard to the vesting of these holdings. Of course it suits him to turn inside out every second day. If this Bill is going to have the effect which the Minister says it is going to have, namely, the early vesting of holdings I do not see any reason why he should not accept the amendment. If the Parliamentary Secretary's “I hope” is like the “I hopes” of the Minister for Justice——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  The Minister for Justice has nothing to do with this Bill.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I am dealing with the statement made by the Parliamentary Secretary. I take it the “I hope” from the Parliamentary Secretary is the same as the “I hopes” from the Minister for Justice, and it will mean that this will be done under the Kathleen Mavourneen system: “it may be for years and it may be for ever.” I think if the Parliamentary Secretary is honest in stating that this Bill is going to speed up the vesting of holdings he should accept Deputy Derrig's amendment.

Amendment put.

Aiken, Frank.
Allen, Denis.
Anthony, Richard.
Blaney, Neal.
Boland, Gerald.
Boland, Patrick.
Brady, Seán.
Briscoe, Robert.
Broderick, Henry.
Buckley, Daniel.
Carney, Frank.
Carty, Frank.
Clancy, Patrick.
Clery, Michael.
Colbert, James.
Colohan, Hugh.
Corkery, Dan.
Corish, Richard.
Corry, Martin John.
Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
Crowley, Tadhg.
Derrig, Thomas.
De Valera, Eamon.
Everett, James.
Fahy, Frank.
Geoghegan, James.
Gorry, Patrick J.
Goulding, John.
Hayes, Seán.
Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
Houlihan, Patrick.
Jordan, Stephen.
Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
Kent, William R.
Killilea, Mark.
Kilroy, Michael.
Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick John.
Maguire, Ben.
McEllistrim, Thomas.
MacEntee, Seán.
Moore, Séamus.
Mullins, Thomas.
O'Connell, Thomas J.
O'Dowd, Patrick Joseph.
O'Reilly, Matthew.
Ruttledge, Patrick J.
Ryan, James.
Sexton, Martin.
Sheehy, Timothy (Tipp.).
Smith, Patrick.

Aird, William P.
Alton, Ernest Henry.
Beckett, James Walter.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Blythe, Ernest.
Bourke, Séamus A.
Brennan, Michael.
Brodrick, Seán.
Carey, Edmund.
Cassidy, Archie J.
Cole, John James.
Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
Connolly, Michael P.
Cosgrave, William T.
Crowley, James.
Daly, John.
Davis, Michael.
Dolan, James N.
Doyle, Peadar Seán.
Duggan, Edmund John.
Dwyer, James.
Egan, Barry M.
Finlay, Thomas A.
Fitzgerald, Desmond.
Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
Good, John.
Gorey, Denis J.
Haslett, Alexander.
Hassett, John J.
Heffernan, Michael R.
Hennessy, Michael Joseph.
Hennessy, Thomas.
Henry, Mark.
Jordan, Michael.
Kelly, Patrick Michael.
Keogh, Myles.
Law, Hugh Alexander.
Leonard, Patrick.
Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
McDonogh, Martin.
McFadden, Michael Og.
McGilligan, Patrick.
Mongan, Joseph W.
Mulcahy, Richard.
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, John Marcus.
Reynolds, Patrick.
Roddy, Martin.
Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).
Tierney, Michael.
Thrift, William Edward.
White, John.
White, Vincent Joseph.
Wolfe, George.
Wolfe, Jasper Travers.

[1287] Amendment declared lost.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  I move:

In sub-section (1), line 11, after the word “publish” to insert the words “in the prescribed manner.”

This is merely a drafting amendment.

Amendment put and agreed to.

Mr. Cole: Information on John James Cole  Zoom on John James Cole  I move:

In sub-section (1), line 17, to delete the words “previous to.”

I think that if the Land Commission nominated the appointed day prior to the date of publication it might lead to a lot of abuse. If these two words were deleted it might make it simpler.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  The appointed day will be some day in or about the day the list is published. It might be convenient for the Land Commission to fix the appointed day on the gale day which might fall on the day before the list is published. The date of the publication of the list will depend on the date of publication of Irish Oifigiúil.

Mr. Cole: Information on John James Cole  Zoom on John James Cole  Would the Land Commission not be aware of that?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  Hence the section is worded as it is.

Amendment put and negatived.

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

In sub-section (1), line 17, to delete all words after the words “previous to” and including the word “list” in line 18 and substitute the words “but not later than the 9th August, 1928.”

The Parliamentary Secretary has just admitted that the Land Commission may, in fact, fix the appointed day previous to the date of publication of the list. They have the power to do so. Is there any reason why they should not do it? Is there any reason why they should not, as far as possible, endeavour in fixing the appointed day to give restitution to the tenants for the moneys they paid and to make those moneys go in redemption of the purchase moneys, not [1288] from a date some time this year or next year, but from a date, say, in 1928? Some of these tenants who are not yet vested were actually bought out under the 1923 Act. They are not yet vested and are now in the position, even though partial remedy is being afforded and partial restitution made to them, of being at the loss of the moneys which they paid in lieu of rent over that period.

As there was a definite promise made to them that all land would be vested within five years and that the payment period in lieu of rent would not extend more than five years, we think that as the machinery is provided in this Bill for fixing the appointed day previous to the publication of the list, it ought to be fixed, say, five years after the passing of the 1923 Act. At that date, as I understand it, if the intention of the legislature were carried out, the land would have been vested. As I pointed out in my speech on the Second Reading, the tenants in the condition in which they find themselves, with the general depression and fall in prices, would, if they were still paying rent to the landlords, seek for alleviations. They are not getting alleviations under the Bill. They are simply getting what they are entitled to and what the law allows them.

Some effort is made to improve the machinery but the definite promise that has been made that benefits would accrue to the tenants within five years is not being carried out. There is not any time limit. Just as in the case of the previous amendment, the Parliamentary Secretary will probably say that this is impossible, that the date cannot be fixed. The machinery is there and the admission has been made that you can fix the date previous to the present date. As has been done in Northern Ireland, we think that vesting might in all cases be made retrospective and that the appointed day be fixed five years after the passing of the 1923 Act. The fact that the tenants are not vested up to the present and that we are seeking to fix the appointed day in August, 1928, means that they shall enjoy the privileges from [1289] that date. The Government can, if they wish, by accepting the amendment say to these tenants: “Five years ago we gave you a reduction that was of some advantage but, nevertheless, seeing the large numbers that were bought out, even before the 1923 Act was passed, we think that we should make more restitution and therefore we will fix a date in 1928 and to that extent make a sacrifice.” Since the machinery is there and since the Parliamentary Secretary has admitted that it allows for retrospective vesting, although he wants to limit it to the gale day preceding publication, we think that the appointed day should be fixed in 1928.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  I would be very glad if effect could be given to this, but the fact is that the landlord has got this money in lieu of rent. The money has been paid out and, in my view, the only way to do it is through the State if they are satisfied. Personally, I do not object, and I do not think that anyone else could object. The money has been paid, and there is no use in trying to get it back, because I do not think that you could legally do so. As I say, the only way of doing this is through the State.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  Has not the State and the landlord benefited by the delay in vesting? If that is so, I do not see any reason why recoupment could not be made to the tenants at the expense of both the parties who have gained. This date in 1928 was fixed as five years from the passing of the 1923 Act. That was the date, I understand, which was given at the time as marking the end of the period which would have been necessary, in what was regarded as the normal course, for vesting at that time Five years would appear therefore to be a reasonable time for the State to carry out the obligations placed upon it in the House at the time. It seems to us that restitution should be made to those who have been compelled for a larger period to pay a sum over and above that which they would have to pay if vesting had taken place. Our proposition is perfectly clear, and the further proposition in connection with [1290] it would be that restitution should be made.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  By whom?

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  By the State on the one hand and the landlord on the other. Both of them have gained by this delay and the unfortunate tenant has suffered. We think it is only right that portion of the amount that the landlord gains and of the amount that the State gains should be given back. That can be done. The landlord is not completely paid out, and the State to my mind is under an obligation to pay this back, to return the money it has gained over and above what the State would have got if vesting had taken place at the end of the five year period.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  To a certain extent what Deputy de Valera states is true. The State agreed to add to the purchase price what the tenant had to pay. If it could be said to that extent both gained——

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  That is what I mean —what the State has not paid out it has gained.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  I have no objection if the State agrees to pay that.

The President: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  That liability is there still.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I could understand the opposition to this amendment in the British Parliament where there would be a landlord majority in opposition, but I cannot understand it here. We thought that it would be enough to point out the injustice that was probably overlooked by the Parliamentary Secretary, to have the matter remedied at once under this Bill. It has been admitted here repeatedly by the Parliamentary Secretary during the three years that we have been here, when he was challenged on the question of vesting, that the reason for the delay in vesting thousands of tenants was that the titles were not clear. It was not the fault of the tenants that the titles were not clear. It was the fault of the landlord. Why should the tenant have to pay because of that?

[1291]Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  The title did not delay vesting.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I beg your pardon. If I had the official debates here I could quote your statements to that effect.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  The investigation of title has nothing to do with vesting.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  As a matter of fact there were cases mentioned by members of our Party where tenants were 17½ years purchased, and where they were not yet vested. Surely these tenants deserve from any kind of national Government to be given restitution, for it is only restitution. This is only going a small way to meet the restitution to which they are entitled. As a matter of fact, all the Land Bills, we might say from 1923 onwards, dealt with the die-hard landlord who would not sell under any voluntary system until he was caught by the neck and compelled to give in. There has been too much leniency shown to that class here. We are only looking for mere justice. It is in the power of the Land Commission who are getting rents to give this abatement to the tenants. It is in their power to vest back. Why should the tenant have to suffer for delays either on the part of the Land Commission or because of bad title by the landlord? The tenant is not to blame in either of these cases. The injustice can be met by dividing it between the landlord and the Land Commission. I do not care on what Department the blame is put, but the blame is there. I do not see for the life of me why any national Government would not give restitution in these cases when it is in their power to do so. I cannot understand the action of the Parliamentary Secretary in refusing to accept the amendment.

Mr. Little: Information on Patrick J. Little  Zoom on Patrick J. Little  The money in question really amounts to a very small sum so far as the landlord is concerned, because it is only a matter of one-quarter per cent. of the annuities that would go to the Sinking Fund, and it would only go back for three years. Therefore the landlord would not lose very greatly by the transaction. On the other hand, the tenant would get a certain amount of benefit in the reduction [1292] of the annuity by 10 per cent. Obviously the State would get an opportunity of retaining a certain amount of money under Section 20, further on. The purpose of Amendment 46 is to complete this amendment. I would draw the Minister's attention to the fact that Amendment 46 is consequential upon and is implementing this amendment by which it would be in the power of the Land Commission to use certain moneys retained by them and which Section 20 empowers them to retain for the relief of the landlord.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  Would that suggestion stand in any law court? I am not arguing the question, but this House has passed an Act specifying that certain percentages are to be paid to the landlord in lieu of rent. That has been done under an Act of Parliament, and any Act passed now cannot nullify it. The money has been paid, and in my judgment cannot be recovered. The only way the money could be paid now would be by the State. I am not a lawyer. Perhaps the question will be answered by Deputy Geoghegan.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  The amendment proposes to make retrospective the appointed day to the 9th August, 1928, and I assume it is intended that the State should pay the difference between the payments in lieu of rents and the annuities fixed under this Bill.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  Not the State alone.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  I understood the Deputy to say that.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  My suggestion was that both parties gained—the landlord by the delay in vesting and the State by not having had to pay what it would have had to pay if vesting had taken place. It is only fair that if restitution is to be made it should be made by the parties who have gained owing to what we take to be unreasonable delay after five years.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  The Deputy must remember that immediately on the passing of the Act of 1923 the rents of the landlord were reduced by 25 per cent., [1293] and in addition that they are still paying 7 per cent. on their charges. That is not an unusual rate of interest on mortgages and incumbrances. Actually the landlords are getting no advantage and are not gaining to any extent at all. The question of delay under the 1923 Act has been raised, and I think Deputy Derrig also referred to an earlier Act. We can leave the earlier Act out of account as there are scarcely any cases to be vested under it. I deny that there has been any delay in the vesting of land. The delay was inherent in the Act of 1923, and hence the tenants were given very substantial concessions, viz., a 25 per cent reduction in rents. At the time no one could have anticipated the difficulties that had to be contended with before holdings could be vested in the tenants. It was impossible for any Minister to foresee what time would elapse from the passing of the Act until holdings were vested. Deputies will remember that in order to remove some of the difficulties in vesting, a special section was introduced in the Act of 1927 to enable compounded arrears of rent to be added to the purchase money. Since the Act of 1927 became law the rate of vesting has increased considerably. The proposal now is that the difference between the payment in lieu of rent and the annuities will be borne partly by the State and the landlords. I assume that the money is to come out of taxation. In any event it means increased taxation. Deputies must remember that the landlords were not the only claimants to the purchase moneys of the estates. There were other claimants besides the vendors some of whom were very poor and it would have been an injustice on these claimants if they were to be deprived of portion of the income which they derived from these lands. When Deputy Derrig introduced his Land Bill in 1929 he did not make the appointed day retrospective. He fixed the appointed day for non-judicial holdings some day in June, 1932.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  I would ask to be allowed to contradict that statement. The Parliamentary Secretary has made it on several occasions. What [1294] the Bill stated was “not later than”. It did not fix the appointed day at all.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  For the other tenants the time was December, 1929. It would be interesting to know what has happened since 1929 to force the Deputy to the conclusion that the appointed day should be made retrospective.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  That was the whole object of the Bill, to end the injustice that was taking place.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  But the appointed day was fixed considerably ahead—three years in the case of judicial tenants.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I would refresh the Parliamentary Secretary's memory by directing his attention to a reply he gave me on the adjournment on the 28th February, 1929, dealing with the question of the vesting of holdings.

“It is impossible to rush unduly the vesting of lands. There is a great deal of legal procedure to be gone through. The Land Commission in dealing with this question of vesting must be sure there is a clear and secure title to the tenant when vesting. If the proceedings were unduly rushed that would only result in litigation costs to the tenants.”

The President: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  To the tenants?

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  “It is to the credit of the Land Commission that it has never been known in its history, once it has vested a title in a holding to a tenant, to have that title upset. I have never heard of such a case. The procedure is very elaborate. This question has been examined over and over again with a view to seeing would it be possible to simplify it in any way. I have in the past three or four months gone into this to see if simplifications were possible and I have found it cannot be simplified, if you want to make certain that, once a tenant's holding is vested in him, there is a clear and secure title.”

[1295]Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  I did not say a word about the landlord or the vendor.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  You said that the reason for the delay in vesting was that you had to make sure of the title.

The President: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  The tenants?

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  He could not simplify it in 1929.

The President: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  The Deputy does not understand the difference between the landlord's and the tenant's title.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on James Geoghehan  Zoom on James Geoghehan  Surely it is not suggested that the Land Commission investigates the title in the tenant's interest. The only title to be investigated is the landlord's.

The President: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Read the question and answer.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  “The Land Commission in dealing with this question of vesting must be sure there is a clear and secure title to the tenant when vesting.”

The President: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  That is the point. That will penetrate the Deputies' heads towards morning.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  It penetrated yours long ago just the same as the Bills you brought over to London.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Let us keep to the Bill.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  The Parliamentary Secretary has again referred to the Bill I introduced. I pointed out before, and I will repeat it now that his statement was not correct that the appointed day was fixed in the Bill. The Bill stated that the appointed day shall be fixed “not later than”. If the Bill was passed the Land Commission could have fixed it in 1928 or 1929.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  The Deputy does not deny that he mentioned a date in his Bill.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  I do not happen to have a copy of the Bill here now. You do [1296] not criticise it except when you are outside the House. I did not mention the date suggested. The Parliamentary Secretary has suggested that this amendment which simply looks for fair play for the tenants is going to secure something at the expense of the landlords, and he has made a woebegone appeal for the mortgagees who have to live out of these estates. There is provision in other parts of the Bill whereby the mortgage charges are fixed at 4½ per cent. Nobody suggests that the landlords are going to live on air. The Land Commission have already taken good care to look after them and they have fixed the mortgage charges at a flat rate of 4½ per cent. They are going to pay them pending distribution of the purchase money the dividends on the Bonds so that pending the retention of moneys in the Guarantee Deposit set up under this Bill (the retention of ten per cent. of the purchase money to clear up subsequent adjustments) the landlords will not suffer because they are being paid dividends on the purchase money. Taking all the facts into consideration, and seeing that the mortgage charges which the Parliamentary Secretary referred to at 7 per cent. are being reduced to a flat rate of 4½ per cent., I cannot see that the landlords are going to suffer. I must call the attention of the House to the fact that the Act which this Bill amends was not better as regards Irish tenant purchasers than any Act that went before it. I would like to call attention to the words Deputy Little referred to and which were used by Lord Birkenhead in the House of Lords:—

The noble Earl will, I think, not deny that this Bill is as favourable to Irish landowners as any Bill which any Irish Government could at this moment pass, or as any English Government could have carried through Parliament in this country from the year 1916 onwards.

He went on to show that the prices fixed for land were the same as those fixed under the 1920 Act and by the Lloyd George Convention, and that in addition the landlord had the supreme advantage that he would have an inextinguishable [1297] claim after the 1923 Act was passed to a return of roughly 67½ per cent. of his gross rent and he would continue to draw that. Furthermore he said that their costs were being paid and that the 10 per cent. bonus the State was giving was substantially the same as that granted under the 1909 Act. I cannot see where the Parliamentary Secretary makes out that there is injustice to the landlord. The landlords have had a very good bargain and in this particular matter where we are looking for restitution for the tenants, we want something more than a reply that it can only be got at the expense, of the landlords. It can be got by utilising the Guarantee Deposit Fund and by the State doing something to make up the difference. As I stated out of the £6,000,000 that the State has wrongfully taken from the tenants, without giving them any real benefit, the State has got £1,000,000 in respect of income tax. The State as well as the landlords can very well afford to make sacrifices—not very great—to enable the tenants to be given the advantage of the Sinking Fund since 1928 and a reduction of five or ten per cent. as well during that period.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Does the amendment mean that the State must pay something to someone?

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  No. The argument is whether the landlords or the State should pay.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  I allowed this amendment but I am being steadily convinced by the debate that it should not have been allowed at all.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  I cannot imagine that the Executive Council are prepared to do half hearted justice in this particular matter. They have introduced a Bill to end continuing injustice to the non-vested tenants. Are they going to let the injustice which has lasted for 3 or 4 years pass without any attempt to right it? It seems to me that this amendment is reasonable in every way. The amendment aims at securing that a reasonable [1298] period should be set to the time the Land Commission could take to put the 1923 Act into effect. We took five years because the Minister indicated that that was the length of time it would take. I put it this way. If this Act were to take a longer time to be put into operation than five years those who come in after a reasonable period of five years should get the same benefit as those whose cases were able to be considered within the five years.

In fact listening to the debate it struck me in many cases for the sake of justice where length of time would have to be taken to put a measure into operation it would be wise to name a time within which the normal working should take place. Those who could not take advantage of the measure owing to delay in administration I think should get the same benefits as those who were able to avail of the measure within the specified period of time. What I mean is this: Five years is a reasonable period. Was there any reason why when the 1923 Act was being passed that we could not have it established as a principle that no member of the community affected by this measure would fail to get the advantage of it within that period. That seems to me reasonable. Therefore we are simply asking that those who, on account of the difficulty of putting an Act into operation, were denied the benefits after an unreasonably long period had elapsed should get the benefits that would have accrued to them, if they came within the class dealt with between 1923 and 1928.

Then as to restitution. Where is it to come from? Obviously from those who gained by the delay. The delay was not designed by the Parliament. The delay was accidental. In a sense it cut across the intentions of those who passed the Act, and therefore let the loss be apportioned amongst those who gained by that delay. On the one hand the landlord has gained and on the other hand the State has gained because it was not called to make the contribution it would have been called upon to make, if the vesting had taken place within this period. It seems to me that those who gained [1299] ought to give it back to the individual. The Act was passed for the benefit of the individual. The individual has suffered, and the State is bound in justice to make restitution. In the same way the landlord ought to be compelled to make restitution for what he has gained. That is the fundamental purpose of this amendment. I would like to know whether the Parliamentary Secretary and the Executive Council are prepared to meet us in this matter. Have they made up their minds definitely that all they can do, and will do, is to prevent the continuance of the injustice, and have they closed their minds definitely to any thought of restitution? I hope they will not try to do justice in this halting way. If they want to settle this matter of injustice which has been crying out for settlement so long—if they are going to do it at all let them do it right.

I hope they are going to meet us in this. We are not unreasonable in it. The Parliamentary Secretary might take some time to examine it and be able to give us the apportionment, for instance, of the cost to the State, on the one hand, and what the landlord would have to pay back, on the other hand. I think it was suggested by the Parliamentary Secretary that this was supposed to be made good out of taxation. That is not my view. If a tenant has been paying too much for a period, say, of five or six years, we might take five or six years to make it good to him by reducing the annuity he has to pay by a corresponding amount. As I say, we are not unreasonable in this. We think this is a necessary part of any attempt to do justice, and I hope the Parliamentary Secretary and the Executive are not going simply to hold by the attitude which has been indicated.

Mr. Kennedy: Information on Michael Joseph Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Joseph Kennedy  One would think from the statements of Deputy Gorey and the Parliamentary Secretary that land tenure in Ireland was the fairest thing in the world and that landlords were the finest set of fellows in the world.

[1300]Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  Not a word about it.

Mr. Kennedy: Information on Michael Joseph Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Joseph Kennedy  That is the whole attitude. We have heard how the landlords suffered from the twenty-five per cent. reduction. We have not heard that these landlords were the people who resisted coming in under any other Land Act—who resisted any voluntary settlement—and that they were compelled by the Land Act of 1923 to come in. This Bill does not state that they will get any worse terms than under the 1923 Act. They are going to get fifteen years' purchase. Are they not much better off than the owners of the estates the tenants on which were vested in 1925, 1926, 1927 and 1928? Have they not drawn ten per cent. more? Have they not eight years added on to the 68½ years' purchase which will commence if the Bill goes through as drafted? Will they not have the benefit of the extra ten per cent. for that period of eight years? Have the tenants no rights in these cases? Take the case where a rent is non-judicial and where it becomes judicial. What about the extra charge to the tenant?

As to the State paying its portion of the costs, I seriously contend that it is the lack of system and the haphazard way in which the Land Commission deal with estates which have been the cause of the non-vesting of a great number of estates. The officials go down on a Tuesday, and in my constituency are, say, in Athlone in the morning and Castlepollard in the evening. They take a few details and they are at that rigmarole from one end of the year to the other. It is the lack of system, the want of co-ordination, and the inefficiency of the Land Commission that have been the cause of the non-vesting of a great number of estates under the 1923 Act. Therefore, the State should bear its portion of compensation to the tenants who have suffered as a result of this inefficiency. The cost of the Land Commission for that period has been £5,000,000, one-quarter of the actual money involved in the vesting of the remainder of the estates. I wonder how many Deputies on the opposite benches made an estimate of the total cost of the Land Commission since it was set up and related [1301] that to the benefits that have accrued to the tenant farmers?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  That calculation would bring us some distance from this amendment.

Mr. Kennedy: Information on Michael Joseph Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Joseph Kennedy  I am trying to indicate that the non-vesting and the grievances of the tenants involved have been caused by the inefficiency of the Land Commission.

The President: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  There is one point I should like to have cleared up if possible, and that is whether it is proposed to put a charge on the State, because if that is so I would be inclined to raise a point of order. As regards the other question raised by Deputy de Valera, I presume Deputies opposite have not read up the history of the Land Act of 1923. They mentioned that the Minister promised the completion of land purchase in five years. Assuming for the moment that that is so—I have no distinct recollection of the Minister saying it—one thing is present to my mind, and that is that the guarantee in respect of the issue of Land Bonds was for eight years. Obviously it was not necessary to get a guarantee for eight years if the whole thing could be completed in five years.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  You always make sure, naturally. You want to add a margin.

The President: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Precisely. As far, therefore, as the five years is concerned it is slightly damaged.

Mr. Little: Information on Patrick J. Little  Zoom on Patrick J. Little  The promise was not serious.

The President: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  I do not know what the Deputy means by saying it was not serious.

Mr. Little: Information on Patrick J. Little  Zoom on Patrick J. Little  While the promise was made that it would be five years, they took good care to allow themselves eight.

The President: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  That is what the Deputy calls not serious. I should like to know the Deputy's idea of what would be serious, if that is his idea of not being serious. When this Act was passed in 1923 it established [1302] a principle that had not previously been put into operation in connection with any previous Land Acts; in other words, an immediate reduction was given to every tenant holder whose land had not yet been purchased. Under the Land Act of 1903 there was voluntary purchase. That voluntary purchase started some time after 1903, and it took many years before it commenced to get into full operation. But directly the 1923 Act was passed the 25 per cent. reduction was given in all cases. So that there was in the minds of the Government at that time the necessity for striking a fair bargain in all cases. It was quite understood that certain cases would be completed in the first year, a certain number in the second year and the third year, and that some might go on for a longer period. It must have been in somebody's mind that it would take eight years, or it would not have been necessary to look for an eight years' guarantee from 1923. The Deputy smiles at that.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  I do.

The President: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  That is not serious, according to Deputy Little.

Mr. Little: Information on Patrick J. Little  Zoom on Patrick J. Little  The eight years was serious, but the five years was not.

The President: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  I do not regard this amendment as serious. It is an afterthought; it is the politics of this matter. It is one of the things that are sickening about politics. It is one of the things that make one disappointed with the representation which we have at present. I have here a copy of the Bill introduced by Deputy Derrig. The earliest date mentioned there was 1st December, 1929. I can imagine a meeting of the Party opposite and Deputy Geoghegan, having brought a little intelligence into it, saying: “You must do something better this time,” and I presume we have an earlier date in consequence. There is a later date mentioned in Deputy Derrig's Bill of 1929—1st June, 1932, which is probably the comparable date in this particular instance.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  Probably it is not.

[1303]The President: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Probably it is. The Deputy will not deny it.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  I will deny it.

The President: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Personally, I am not acquainted with any landlord who sold his land in 1923, but speaking as a person who has a little knowledge of the value of money I would have taken 70 per cent. of the price down in bonds delivered to me in 1923 if I held the land, rather than take all the advantages that Deputy de Valera has referred to in saying that I would have gained by not getting them until 1931. I think that Deputy Geoghegan would do the same thing, and if he would not, he is not the wise man that Deputies opposite think he is.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  You saved their bacon.

The President: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  More than that he saved, and I advise the Deputy to do the same. Now, as far as the State contribution to this particular problem is concerned, it is a very considerable sum. The sum of money involved is £1,300,000 approximately, which is the contribution of the State in this particular matter.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  Is that a capital sum?

The President: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  That is the capital sum, and the State will still have that capital liability notwithstanding what Deputy de Valera says, that the State will make something out of it. We have not. We have still that capital liability, and are still going to bear it. My information is that if this amendment were passed it would cost the State a sum of £269,000. I think that as when the Act was passed an advantage was given to every tenant holder of a reduction of 25 per cent. in his rent——

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  An advantage?

The President: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Yes. An advantage.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  The majority of them were paying nothing at all at that time. You saved the landlords' bacon. You got money for them that they would never see otherwise——

The President: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  I did not save any landlord's bacon. I do not know any [1304] of them. If I was a member of the Deputy's family I probably would know some of them.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  You saved their bacon.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Order, order. The President must be allowed to make his own speech; he is entitled to make his speech. The Deputy can make a speech afterwards.

The President: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  The liability of £1,300,000 will have to be borne for 68½ years. It was a fair estimate at the time if the Minister said five years on the evidence he had before him. If my calculation is correct, he had a number in mind of about 70,000 tenants at the time. I think the number far exceeds that. It is 100,000. What means had he of knowing what the correct figure was? Practically none. It was an estimate, and if he said five years and made provision for a possible extension to eight years, which is the length of the guarantee, it was a wise estimate. And nobody could be under any misapprehension when it was stated that the length of the term of the guarantee was for eight years. If this amendment is likely to cost the State £269,000, I respectfully submit it is out of order.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  I would like to hear Deputy Derrig on the point as to where the money is to come from.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  Deputy de Valera suggested that the President and the Executive Council should meet us and treat the matter seriously instead of taking up an attitude that everything that comes from this part of the House is a political matter. I do not know what the peculiar connotation of the word “political” we have just heard means. If it simply means that when a proposal to give restitution to those people is brought up here it can be downed by hurling the adjective “political” at it, the sooner we know where we are the better. But this has been brought up here very seriously——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Will the Deputy meet the point of order that has been raised?

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  The amendment does not say anything at all about public [1305] funds. The amendment simply asks that the appointed day should be fixed on the 9th of August, 1928, and not later than the 9th August, 1928.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  It would make the Act retrospective to that extent.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  Deputy Little pointed out that we have a consequential amendment No. 47—that is, the amendment to Section 20, which sets up a guarantee deposit; and when it is suggested that there is something unfair about the proposal, I would point out that this guarantee deposit is part of the machinery of the present Bill.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  I do not want the Deputy to go into the merits, but to hear him on the question of what this amendment means and how it would affect public funds.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  Amendment No. 46, I think, makes it clear as it stands that the money would be paid out of the guarantee deposits.

The President: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  What line is that?

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  In sub-section (4) of Section 20, to add a new paragraph as follows:—

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  I have gone into the question of amendment 46, but I should like to hear the Deputy on this amendment.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  I think it is because I expanded the amendment as it stands in order to show why we thought this question should be dealt with that the question of State funds arose.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  I think Deputy Gorey, who spoke immediately after Deputy Derrig, mentioned the point first.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  It does not, I submit, arise out of our way of meeting it. We quite understand we have no opportunity of putting forward here any amendment that would involve a charge on public funds—that is the prerogative of the Executive—and there is nothing in this amendment that does that.

[1306]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Is there anything in this that does that?

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  I say there is not. I spoke in general terms of what would be just and fair, but we are limited in proposing our amendments by what we can do within the rules of the House, and we have kept within the rules of the House by providing that this should be met out of the Guarantee Fund.

The President: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  There is no mention of the Guarantee Fund that I can find.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  Take it in conjunction with the section.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  The effect of this amendment is to make the provisions of this Act retrospective.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  Exactly.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  And the effect would be that certain people paying money from the 9th of August, 1928, up to the passing of this Act shall be entitled to restitution of money so paid. Is that so?

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  There are two sources.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Apart from the sources, there are certain people now paying interest in lieu of rent, and they are now paying more than persons whose land is vested and who are paying land purchase annuities. If this amendment was carried these people would be entitled to the difference.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  It depends upon what the Ceann Comhairle means by “entitled”? If he means legal action or anything of that kind against the Land Commission that is not so.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  What is the meaning of the amendment?

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  It empowers the Parliamentary Secretary, in dealing with the lists, to mention as the date of vesting a date anterior to the date he has put down. On the question of funds to meet that, he can, if he wishes, take my suggestion, which I [1307] submit I have a right to throw out. But the way prescribed in this amendment to meet this particular matter does not involve a charge on public funds.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on James Geoghehan  Zoom on James Geoghehan  This Bill already provides for retrospective vesting. Sub-section (1) of Section 9 in the Bill, as originally printed, provided for the fixing of the appointed day retrospectively.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  That is “previous to.”

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on James Geoghehan  Zoom on James Geoghehan  Accordingly there is nothing in this amendment that is now before the House except a limit as to when this antecedent date is to be. It introduces no principle which is not embodied in the Bill already.

The President: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  I would like to point out to the Deputy that that is wrong.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Let us hear Deputy Geoghegan's conclusion.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on James Geoghehan  Zoom on James Geoghehan  I can only deal with one thing at a time. So far as fixing the appointed day before the passing of this Bill is concerned, I merely say that the Bill as already introduced on the part of the Government contains the power to fix that date previous to the passing of the Act. Deputy Derrig, by his amendment, provides that after “previous to” must not be merely a month or two months previous to, but that it must be away back in 1928. That is a difference in degree, I quite concede at once.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  There is no question of relevancy at issue. The question at issue is whether the amendment proposed would have the effect of imposing a money charge.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on James Geoghehan  Zoom on James Geoghehan  The President of the Executive Council then raised the point of order, as I understand it, that by implication the amendment, as it now stands, will put a charge on public funds. That, of course, is entirely a matter for you, sir, to rule, but my submission to you is that there is nothing in that amendment, as it stands, that gives any person any right [1308] to resort to public funds. If it is said that there is, I would like to have an indication of the method that he is to adopt if he seeks to resort to the public funds. It is true that if our amendment simply stops where it is now, it will be as barren and as fruitless to the tenant as the words “previous to” which we find in the Bill under Section 1. That is another day's work. Deputy Derrig proposes by amendment 46 that the tenant is to have something more than the honour and glory of having his Appointed Day fixed in 1928. As the amendment before the House stands, I do urge upon you that it merely gives the tenant the right to have the Appointed Day fixed in 1928. It confers directly no financial benefit upon him.

Deputy Derrig proposes to feed his present amendment by means of amendment 46. If I am in order in referring to it at all I want to say that amendment 46 will prejudicially affect the landlords. There is no doubt about that. The argument has been urged by Deputy Gorey and it may or may not prevail with the members of this House, that there is something in the nature of a contract entered into between the State and the landlord under the 1923 Act, whereby it might be unjust or inequitable that you should now seek to give effect to the proposals to reimburse the tenants by passing amendment 46. But that is another matter. That will be discussed on its merits. It may be said when the time comes that you have a choice of evils. A wrong has been done the tenant. At least it will be suggested that a wrong has been done the tenant. The most favourable way in which this matter can be put, from the point of view of the Parliamentary Secretary is—to paraphrase something that he himself said—that there were difficulties inherent in it which made it impossible for him to carry out the hopes entertained by the Minister at one time.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  The Deputy is wandering from the point of order.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on James Geoghehan  Zoom on James Geoghehan  I have, and I apologise for that.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  My position is that I desire information. My understanding [1309] of the amendment which we are now discussing is that it is retrospective in effect, and that it has been urged in favour of the amendment that its effect would be that the tenants would have to be paid back the difference between the land purchase annuities and the payments they have made in lieu of rent.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  I would like to point out that we are fully alive to the restrictions here in the bringing forward of proposals dealing with the imposition or imposing of charges on the public funds. There is no charge proposed to be imposed on the public funds by this amendment nor in the consequential amendment, none whatever. Let those who are asking that the amendment should be ruled out of order in that respect, point out exactly where the amendment proposes a charge on the public funds.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  I want to hear the Parliamentary Secretary on that.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  The present amendment means, as I understand it, that the tenants will have to be reimbursed the difference between the payment in lieu of rent and the annuities which will be paid by the tenant under this Bill.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on James Geoghehan  Zoom on James Geoghehan  By whom?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  I want to keep to the point of order now.

The President: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  The money must be found somewhere. Before Section 20 becomes operative all those holdings which have been vested since 9th August, 1928, every estate or every holding which has been vested since then down to date are entitled to be refunded this difference. There is no money in the funds to which the Deputy refers. Those people will have to get it, and it must be from the State.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  Not necessarily.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  The terms of the 1923 Act provided that the landlord was to get a certain payment in lieu of rent. If there has been any delay since in the vesting the delay is not due to the landlord.

[1310]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  That is not a point of order.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  To this extent, that if there was any delay at all it was the delay of the machinery at the disposal of the Land Commission. It was the fault of the Land Commission, if you like; the fault of the machinery of the Land Commission, and it would not be held in law that the landlord should pay for any delay that occurred because of this fault of the Land Commission.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  What about the point of order?

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  It is suggested that the difference be met, and there is an allusion to a guarantee fund. As a matter of fact, there is no common guarantee fund. It is a guarantee fund in proportion to every estate. It is not a common fund. There is a fund in every case in connection with every estate, a separate fund, and it is for a specific purpose. It cannot and will not be held in any court that this is the responsibility of the landlord. If there is any liability at all it is the liability of the State. If it cannot be met and it will not be met by the State, there is no use in arguing the question.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  I submit that it has not been shown in any way whatever that this amendment either directly or indirectly imposes a charge upon the public funds——

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  There is a way out.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  If the House wishes there is a way out. It is simply proposed that the benefits of vesting be given to the tenants as from the estate. There is nothing in our amendment that imposes a charge upon public funds, and I say that the President, or the Parliamentary Secretary or nobody else can show where this involves a charge on the public funds. I have put forward a suggestion. The House can afterwards, if it wants it, ask the Executive Council to bring it in. I was going to proceed on the terms of our amendment [1311] for the simple reason that our amendment had to be confined so as not to involve expenditure.

The President: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Will the Deputy explain where the money is to be found to meet the liabilities on all those estates vested since 1928? The money is not there yet. The tenants are entitled to get the money the moment this amendment is passed, and the Bill becomes law.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on James Geoghehan  Zoom on James Geoghehan  They do not come within the section at all.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  It is not where the annuity begins, but where it ends, and if it ends in three years after a specific time then the State has to pay. It is not where it begins. That is a matter that the lawyers have told us nothing about.

Mr. Little: Information on Patrick J. Little  Zoom on Patrick J. Little  If this amendment is passed it leaves two alternatives in the hands of the Government. If the Government choose to make up their minds to pay it out of State funds they can, but there is nothing in this to say that they shall. It does not arise here. On the other hand, they may take it out of the moneys going to the landlord, but here the question does not arise. The President is simply using this point of order——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Let us assume that points of order are legitimate.

Mr. Aiken: Information on Frank Aiken  Zoom on Frank Aiken  The President made a definite statement that if this amendment were passed £269,000 would have to be found. The effect of our amendment would be that that £269,000 should not be found by the tenants who have been robbed for the last three years because the machinery of Government was not put into operation. Our amendment wants to give some sort of restitution to the tenants who have been paying over and above what they should have paid and what their neighbours paid.

The President: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  From where?

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  At the expense of the landlord because we have no other way of dealing with him.

[1312]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  That is not the point of order. The matter seems to have resolved itself into this. It is agreed that if this amendment now being discussed were carried it would involve a charge on public funds, that it would involve the payment of a sum of money. There can be no doubt about that. It is now argued that if amendment 46 is in order and may be moved as relevant to Section 20 that the money which must be found, could be found under that amendment.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  From the landlord?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Not from State funds?

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  Yes.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Amendment 46 is one to which I have given consideration. I have some doubt as to whether amendment 46 is relevant to Section 20 at all. I can see no method of settling this matter except to postpone the present question until we come to amendment 46 and see whether in fact amendment 46 is an amendment to Section 20, and whether it is relevant. I think we will have to leave over this amendment until we come to amendment 46 to see its implications under Section 20, and then let the amendment be put down again if necessary. I am refraining from ruling the amendment out of order so as to make that possible. What I have heard leads me to believe that it is out of order, but I am refraining from ruling it out of order now.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  I understand your ruling You are not sure of the implications of this until amendment 46 is dealt with.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  I would like first to hear amendment 46 dealt with.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  If amendment 46 is ruled out on grounds other than its relation to this particular amendment where do we stand?

The President: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Then you are lost.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  No, I submit it is not fair. That may be very nice for [1313] the President. I take it the Chair is not ruling just to facilitate the President.

The President: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  He is bound by his own ruling.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  I quite understand the Ceann Comhairle's ruling. I just want to point out that I want to object to its having to depend on a section which may be ruled out on grounds other than its relation to this particular point. I suggest that if amendment 46 were not in order at all the point could be made that in its absence we might very well have to put in this other amendment which would be a valuable amendment. It would give the Executive power to deal with the matter as they consider best. My point is, that this amendment on which you intend to postpone your decision could stand on its own feet quite independent of amendment 46 and that, therefore, it would not be fair afterwards to rule it out because 46 was not relevant. I quite understand the Ceann Comhairle waiting to hear what amendment 46 proposes, in order to decide the question as to whether this particular section that we are dealing with now did or did not impose a charge upon the Central Fund. He has to wait for further information that may be given in the course of a debate on that. I understand that that is quite reasonable. But I would hold the other amendment to be reasonable and that is why I would like the point to be put now.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Deputy de Valera is right in thinking that if amendment 46 is not in order this amendment is not in order, because it seems to me that the only way in which one can bring this amendment in is by agreeing to amendment 46, as it is now described to me. If that cannot be done this amendment cannot be moved. As I am at present informed the two amendments go together, and if provision cannot be made for the money which this amendment involves, coming from some other source than public funds, then the amendment is not in order.

[1314]Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  I believe it can be. It lies with the Executive if they wish to do it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  An amendment by a private Deputy which empowers the Minister for Finance to do something by way of spending money which he cannot do at present is out of order.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  What I mean is this. If in the discussion of this amendment a representative of the Executive were to say, “We will agree that restitution should be made, but we will not provide it in the way you propose in amendment 46,” it is their affair, not ours.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  If I should rule on this matter now the Deputy will be estopped on the next stage.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  That is why I am anxious it should be left open. I hold that there is no basis for ruling the amendment out of order, in that the Bill might be incomplete if it were allowed—in other words, the Ceann Comhairle does not sit in judgment as to whether every Act is fully implemented.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Oh, no.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  Therefore, this is only implementing a certain section. If the Ceann Comhairle were to rule that certain things would follow if this were implemented I think the ruling would be unfair, or perhaps I should say unsound.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  The Deputy means it would be outside the scope of the Ceann Comhairle's functions.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  Exactly.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  If this amendment is adopted, and nobody in the course of the debate is allowed to say that money should be paid out of State funds, then the debate would be unreal. It is only a debate on the basis of saying that money can be paid out of State funds that would be out of order.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  We can conduct the debate without talking of where it is to come from.

Amendment 5, by leave, withdrawn.

[1315]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Amendments Nos. 6, 7 and 8 are outside the scope of the Bill.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Do I understand that you are ruling out amendment 6 as being outside the scope of the Bill?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Yes.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  The Bill is entitled “An Act to make provision for the early vesting of holdings in the purchasers thereof under the Land Purchase Acts and for that and for other purposes to amend those Acts.” In the first place I maintain that a very grave injustice has been done in the case of several estates throughout the country.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  That is not a point of order.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  The point of order is that the Bill provides for the early vesting of holdings, but you cannot vest holdings until you are able to fix the price which the tenant shall pay, and you cannot fix the price which the tenant shall pay on these particular estates unless the amendment is accepted.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  The amendment deals with matters which are not in the Bill. It proposes to amend the principal Acts in a way that is not provided for in the Bill.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  The Bill provides for the publication of lists. The amendment says: “Immediately upon the publication of a list of vested holdings tenanted land comprised in such lists shall become or be deemed to have become vested in the Land Commission on the appointed day.” If these tenants are paying 10 per cent. more than what they were paying to the landlords in 1923——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Would the Deputy indicate some part of the Bill which deals with judicial holdings?

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  The whole question of the vesting of holdings deals with judicial rents. How can you vest holdings until you know the rents?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  These amendments deal with matters under the 1923 Act in a manner not contemplated in the Bill.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  It is very difficult to [1316] be quite certain what the Ceann Comhairle will regard as coming under the principle of the Bill. It is stated in the title of the Bill that it is an Act to make provision for the early vesting of holdings in the purchasers thereof under the Land Purchase Acts, “and for that and other purposes to amend those Acts.” I take it that the fundamental purpose of the Bill is to end an injustice done to a certain class of tenant. To me that is the main principle of the Bill in so far as it is intended to help the tenants at all. Here is a matter that is the cause of definite hardship which, I think, was brought to the notice of the Parliamentary Secretary.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  It is outside the scope of the Ceann Comhairle's functions.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  I quite understand, but what I mean is that, if the principle of the Bill is to deal with those cases of injustice, then the amendment comes within the principle of the Bill, otherwise I find it hard to understand what exactly is the principle of the Bill.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  I am not prepared to define offhand what the principle of the Bill is. The Bill has been brought in, read a second time, and referred to Committee. In Committee amendments must be related to something in the Bill as read a second time.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  I heard you ruling on one occasion that amendments to a principal Act could be inserted in an amending Bill to that Act. This Bill proposes to amend the Land Acts of 1923, 1927 and 1929.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  In certain particulars.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  Yes. Would not any amendment to amend those Acts be in order?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  No.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  I think I heard you ruling once that they would.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  That would be an interesting record. I think, however, that the Deputy's recollection [1317] is somewhat at fault. The principle on which we work in Committee is that you can amend the principal Act only within principles contained in the amending Bill as read a second time. The fact that the 1923 Act is mentioned does not enable a Deputy to amend the whole of that Act. We are restricted in our terms of reference, and any amendments which are at variance with the principle cited are not in order.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  You are ruling that these amendments cannot be discussed?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Yes.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  So that this injustice will have to continue.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  I am not concerned with the merits.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Then I am afraid that the Parliamentary Secretary will have to bring in a lot of amending Bills before we are done with it.

[An Leas-Cheann Comhairle took the Chair.]

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

In sub-section (3) to delete all words from and including the word “save” in line 35 to the end of the sub-section.

Sub-section (3) of Section 9 lays down the terms which shall be fixed for tenants when the Appointed Day is fixed. They shall be deemed to have entered on the Appointed Day into subsequent purchase agreements for the purchase of such holdings from the Land Commission at the standard price and sub-sections (2), (3) and (5) of Section 28 of the Land Act, 1923, shall apply in respect of such holdings in like manner as they apply in respect of the holdings mentioned in those sub-sections, save that such application shall not be prevented or limited by sub-section (6) of the said Section 28. Sub-section (6) of Section 28 of the Act of 1923 refers to what are called retained holdings. Retained holdings were excluded holdings which would otherwise be vested in the Land Commission on the Appointed Day.

[1318] These retained holdings, according to the definition in sub-section (6) of Section 28 of the Act of 1923 comprise:—(a) any holding in respect of which the standard price exceeds three thousand pounds, or (b) any holding in the beneficial occupation of a tenant who is on the Appointed Day the proprietor of lands for the purchase of which advances have been made under any of the Land Purchase Acts, unless redeemed, if the total amount resulting from the addition to the standard price of the amount obtained by capitalising at the rate of four and three-quarters per cent. the original annuities payable on such advances, exceeds £3,000; or (c) any holding as respects which the Land Commission declare that it is not in the public interest that the holding shall be resold to the tenant as aforesaid, whether on the ground that the improvement of the holding is essential and practicable, or otherwise; or (d) any holding which in the opinion of the Land Commission ought to be retained for improvement or enlargement or for utilisation in connection with the relief of congestion — all which holdings are in this Act referred to as retained holdings. It will be seen therefore that if this proviso which excludes the operation of sub-section (6) is allowed to stand all holdings will automatically vest in the Land Commission. We think that the £3,000 limit and the provision as regards retained holdings for the relief of congestion ought to be allowed to stand and, therefore, the proviso in the sub-section ought to be deleted — that is, that holdings over the £3,000 limit or which were held to be necessary for the relief of congestion would not be vested.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  The Deputy obviously misunderstands the whole scheme of the Bill with regard to retained holdings. In the Act of 1923 all tenants on the appointed day are deemed by Section 28 to have entered into purchase agreements except the tenants on holdings described in sub-section (6). Under the procedure in this Bill, when the appointed day is declared, it may not be known what holdings are to be retained, and consequently [1319] all tenants are deemed to have entered into subsequent purchase agreements. In a later section the Deputy will see that when inquiries have been made purchase agreements in the case of holdings which the Land Commission decide on retaining will be withdrawn. The procedure will be the same as that under the Act of 1923, with the exception that tenants on retained holdings are deemed to have entered into subsequent purchase agreements. It would be quite impossible for the Land Commission to ascertain beforehand whether a holding is to be retained or not. Consequently, where tenants have been deemed to have entered into subsequent purchase agreements and when, as a result of inquiries, we discover that the holdings ought to be retained, these agreements will be withdrawn and the holdings will be dealt with as under the Act of 1923.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  Do I understand that the Land Commission cannot now say what holdings they propose to retain?

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

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  If that is so, will there not be more difficulty in acquiring these holdings for the relief of congestion?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  No difficulty whatever. I have made it clear in a later section of the Bill.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  What section?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  Section 11.

Amendment by leave withdrawn.

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

In sub-section (7) after the word “modification,” line 55, to insert the words “that a court letting shall be deemed a contract of tenancy and.”

I understand that there are a large number of cases in this category of court lettings. It is a rather technical matter, and there seems to be a good case for giving them the benefit of the Act.

[1320]Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  What does the Deputy mean by court lettings?

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  Where the letting is a letting made in court.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  By what court?

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  By the High Court, I suppose, generally.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  I do not think the Deputy is quite serious about the amendment.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  I would like to have all the implications of the amendment put in a straight way so that we could understand it. I do not know what the amendment means. It might mean that in the case of a minor the court would make a letting without any intention that the land should pass away from the owner. The object of the amendment would seem to be to give the individual permanent possession as a result of that temporary letting. That would deprive the real owner of the property. This could be a very unjust provision. I would like to know what is meant by it exactly and how far its implications go.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  I think there is a provision elsewhere in the 1923 Act which prevents temperory lettings being taken in. That is specifically stated. There is a provision in the 1923 Act excluding temporary lettings. These are lettings which go on from year to year for a considerable period.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I was told of one case that would come under this amendment. A dispute arose somewhere about 1917 between a landlord and a cousin of his as to who was the real owner of the estate. As far as I understand, from a note which I got here about it, a person who had not paid his rent for some time was reinstated by the court as tenant on tendering his rent. Nobody knew who was the real person to whom rent should be paid. The court reinstated him. Afterwards about 1925 when the dispute was settled as to who was the real landlord, it was found that this man did not come under the 1923 Act.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  This amendment may inflict considerable hardship. It may do justice in one particular case, but injustice [1321] in several other cases. If a man held land at all under a court letting, irrespective of the conditions under which it was made, his right is established, even though it was a court letting. This amendment might do a lot of injury that was never intended by the mover and I do not think that anybody could accept it.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on James Geoghehan  Zoom on James Geoghehan  This amendment was introduced to meet cases with which we are all familiar — lettings made by the Court for seven years, but then continued on for a very long time.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  What court?

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on James Geoghehan  Zoom on James Geoghehan  I do not know whether the Parliamentary Secretary is really looking for information or laying a snare for me.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  I asked the question on a point of information.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on James Geoghehan  Zoom on James Geoghehan  I will concede this, that what are called court lettings in the main were made by the Land Judges Court. We find most of them there. It is true, and I will concede this also, if it is concession, that lettings have been made by other courts in circumstances which, speaking for myself, I would not suggest ought fairly bring them within the ambit of the Land Acts. It is quite possible that the amendment as drawn might be so far-reaching as to embrace cases such as lettings during minority or lettings during the temporary insanity of some person and where it would be contrary to the spirit of the Land Act that the tenancy should be brought within the Code. Those are the exceptions rather than the rule. Possibly the Parliamentary Secretary might see his way to introduce an amendment himself which would meet the substantial cases where the tenancy to all intents and purposes is an ordinary tenancy though, in form, a tenancy which is outside the Act, and at the same time would safeguard cases such as a letting during the minority of an infant, the temporary insanity of a person, or cases like that. I do not know what my colleague would do, but if the Parliamentary Secretary would intimate that he [1322] would deal with the matter in that way possibly my colleague would see his way to drop the amendment.

Deputy Dr. Ryan has mentioned, from his own knowledge or from information upon which he is entitled to rely, a case which in substance and on the merits is within the Land Code but which by reason of the form of the letting is kept outside the Land Court. Nobody desires that. It sometimes means that you have one tenancy here and there marooned in the midst of land that is vested, a tenancy which in no material respect differs from the tenancies vested but which in that technical respect does differ and is excluded from the benefits of the Act. I say again that the amendment in so far as it would embrace lettings in minor cases and in cases of lunacy is perhaps too wide, but there are other lettings in which the tenants are merely ordinary tenants.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  I could not accept the amendment. In fact Deputy Derrig has made no effort to make his intention clear. Deputy Ryan quoted a particular case but I am not sure from what he stated that it is really a case of a court letting at all. Deputy Geoghegan did not succeed in clarifying the position to any extent. I am really at a loss to understand what is the object of the amendment. Deputy Geoghegan admitted that it would be unfair to apply any amendment of that kind to lettings made by the court on behalf of minors or lunatics. It would also be unjust. I would like to know what particular type of court letting the Deputy has in mind. The Deputy knows that under the Act of 1923 such lettings are excluded.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on James Geoghehan  Zoom on James Geoghehan  I understand that the letting Deputy Ryan mentions has been ruled outside the court although in substance it is an ordinary tenancy.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  The letting of course might be treated by the Land Commission as ordinary untenanted land.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on James Geoghehan  Zoom on James Geoghehan  Or it might not. The Parliamentary Secretary has stated that I have not succeeded in clarifying it. I cannot give the House [1323] an abundance of illustration, but I do think the Parliamentary Secretary might accept the principle that lettings which in substance were ordinary lettings and within the purview of the Land Acts but which, in form, were outside the Land Acts might be brought within. They differ from the exceptional and particular class that the Parliamentary Secretary and Deputy Gorey have drawn attention to.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  It was really a court case, because in the year 1917 the tenant was ejected for non-payment of rent. There was a Chancery suit in the High Court going on between the landlord and a cousin of the landlord. When the tenant came and paid him arrears of rent and costs the Court gave a lease for ten years pending the termination of the action by the landlord. That was in 1917. In the year 1923 the Land Act was passed; the landlord then returned this holding with others, and the payment in lieu of rent was made from that on. In May, 1929, the Land Commission's solicitor applied to the court for an order as to whether the Land Act of 1923 applied to this holding or not, it being held at the time of the passing of the Act on a court lease, and the Land Commission ruled that he did not come under the Land Act of 1923.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  That was the foundation of a previous letting, no matter what the court says. Should it come under the Acts? If it was a continuation of a letting that, in the ordinary way, would come under the Act, I am amazed that it was so ruled.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on James Geoghehan  Zoom on James Geoghehan  Then you will vote with us. You admit that it is a case which should come within the Act?

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  Would the Parliamentary Secretary even undertake to make this optional?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  No. I am prepared to adjourn discussion on this particular amendment until the Report Stage.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  The Land Judge said he was sorry. He had no option.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on James Geoghehan  Zoom on James Geoghehan  Did the Parliamentary [1324] Secretary say that he was prepared to leave the matter open until the Report Stage?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  Yes, so that the Deputies may make up their minds as to what they really want.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  Amendments 11, 12 and 13 are out of order.

Question proposed: “That Section 9 stand part of the Bill.”

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  This is a Bill for the vesting of holdings, and under this section as it stands at present a definite injustice is going to be done in a very large number of estates where the tenants were enjoying voluntary reductions, some of 35 per cent., before this Landlords Act of 1923 was brought in. The landlords return the old judicial rent as the rent, and an increase of ten per cent. was made on these tenants by the 1923 Act. It might be argued that there is hope of an appeal to the Judicial Commissioner. The Parliamentary Secretary alluded to agile lawyers. He might also have included wily judges. In one of those cases a decision was given in 1924 by Mr. Justice Wylie: that for the payment of the arrears of rent and interest in lieu of rent the reduced rent was to be taken as the rent, but when it came to the vesting of the land the old judicial rent would have to be taken. This is the position of the tenants as they stand at present. Say a tenant's rent was £20. He got a voluntary reduction to £12, and under Justice Wylie's order that was further reduced to £9. On the day this vesting Bill comes into operation he pays £13. The Parliamentary Secretary would not believe it until I handed him Mr. Justice Wylie's judgment to read. We had the ruling of the Ceann Comhairle a few minutes ago on another section which he has adjourned.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  If the Ceann Comhairle has ruled on that, the Deputy cannot go back to it. The Deputy must keep to the section.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I am keeping to the section. I have here one case where [1325] the tenants, if they succeeded in their contention, would have been robbed of £2,700. I consider that a very grave injustice. These tenants' cases were listed for hearing on the 29th March, 1929, and they are still without any decision having been come to. Attempts were made to bring them into the ordinary courts for non-payment of rent. One tenant refused to pay his rent, and the Circuit Court judge adjourned the whole proceedings pending the decision of the Judicial Commissioner. Those tenants are still hanging between heaven and earth. They have paid £2,700, and if this vesting Bill comes into force as it stands at present they will be robbed for all time. The tenant whose rent is to be raised from £9 to £13 is now going to be robbed of £140 by this Act alone. I had hoped to get finished with these amendments. I am aware of the argument that might be used. I heard arguments used by Deputy Rice a few days ago. We heard sneers from Deputy Gorey. I wonder was Deputy Gorey secretary of the County Cork Farmers' Union when they went down to his landlord and threatened him with a gun. The argument was brought up here against those tenants by Deputy Gorey on the amendment to the 1923 Act.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  The Deputy cannot make a Second Reading speech. I will hear the Deputy on the section.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I am arguing that the section, as it stands, will do a very grave injustice to a large number of tenants, and I am dealing with the arguments that may be used against these tenants. One argument was that the reductions were got by force. I have here a reply to the objections by the landlord. That reply states that he got a letter from the secretary of the Unpurchased Tenants' Branch of the County Cork Farmers' Union asking him to meet them, and it was with these he made a settlement, which he maintains is temporary.

Mr. Carey: Information on Edmond Carey  Zoom on Edmond Carey  What rank had he in the Irregulars?

[1326]Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  The Irregulars as you call them — the Irish Republican Army — did not exist at that time.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  The Deputy must keep to the section.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  This is going outside the section and it is out of order.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  That is a different point.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Any arguments that were brought forward were absolutely misleading.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  The Deputy might deal with the section now.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  The section is going to confer a very grave injustice on a large number of tenants. We are told that this is the final coping stone. If so, I wonder how the tenants will like to be robbed for the next 60 years after being robbed of £2,700 since 1923 by a National Government, so-called. I had hoped that amendments would be met. I tried by every means in my power to have them met by the Parliamentary Secretary. They have not been met by him. I brought these cases to the Parliamentary Secretary's attention on the 28th February, 1929.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  The Deputy is discussing a matter which has no relation to this section. The Deputy's argument cannot have any relation to it.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  The section deals with the vesting of land.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  Let me decide the point of order. It has already been decided that the amendments have no relation to that section and therefore the arguments can have no relation to it, and are out of order.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I am not arguing on the amendment. I am arguing that the section as it stands is going to confer a grave injustice on certain tenants by in some cases increasing their rents 45 per cent. That is an injustice the Parliamentary Secretary never dreamt of. On the 28th February, I stated that a large number of tenants in my district, in which are included about [1327] five estates, got voluntary reductions of 35 per cent. on their judicial rents from the landlords. Under the 1923 Land Act these tenants were compelled to purchase, and had to accept 25 per cent. reduction instead of the 35 per cent. they had.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  Has the Deputy not been informed that the matter he is bringing forward cannot be dealt with under this Bill and therefore has no relation to the section? The Deputy is wasting time and is out of order.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  My point is that this Bill compulsorily vests the holdings in the tenants at the old rents.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  The Deputy is not dealing with what is in the section, but with what he would like to see in it.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  No, but with what I see in it.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  Then if the Deputy will keep to that he will be in order.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I am keeping to that particularly. Clauses 1 and 2 deal with what I am alluding to.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  They do not.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  They deal with the publication of lists of vested holdings and once vested the tenants cannot argue about the matter.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  That is where the Deputy and I differ, and that is where he is out of order.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  The Parliamentary Secretary completely overlooked the point. He stated in reply to my statement:

“That is sheer nonsense. The 25 per cent. was based on the abated rent the tenants were paying at the passing of the 1923 Act.”

Either the Parliamentary Secretary is wrong in his deduction or the Judicial Commissioner was wrong in his findings. I do not care which.

[1328] Question: “That the section, as amended, stand part of the Bill,” put and agreed to.

(1) A list of vested holdings may be amended by the Land Commission with the consent of all the parties concerned or, subject to the provisions of this section, without such consent.

(2) Where the Land Commission propose to amend a list of vested holdings otherwise than on consent of the parties, the Land Commission shall serve in the prescribed manner on all the parties concerned notice of the proposal to make such amendment and shall afford to all such parties an opportunity to object to such proposed amendment.

(3) Every objection duly made to a proposed amendment of a list of vested holdings shall be considered and decided by the Land Commissioners other than the Judicial Commissioner and there shall be a right of appeal to the Judicial Commissioner from the decision of the other Land Commissioners on any such objection and the decision of the Judicial Commissioner on such appeal shall be final.

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

In sub-section (3), to delete all words after the word “Commissioner,” line 11, to the end of the sub-section and substitute the words “shall be subject to appeal to the Supreme Court.”

Section 10 deals with vested holdings and there is provision that objections shall be considered by the Land Commission and that there shall be right of appeal to the Judicial Commissioner. We have a number of amendment such as this one, declaring that the decision of the Judicial Commissioner shall not be final, but that there shall be an appeal to the Supreme Court. It seems to us that the fullest possible latitude should be given in cases like the present, where there is going to be a great rush and a great change in procedure, and that in the interests of fair play and justice the fullest possible right of appeal should [1329] be given. We propose that there should be the elementary right of appeal that there would be in other matters in the courts generally, and that there should be a final appeal to the Supreme Court. No doubt the present system is a very good one. It might be argued that it is more expeditious and probably costs less in the long run. Nevertheless as the sums involved are very large, and as the matter is very important for the State, I think that in any decisions which are to be laid down as final we will be well advised to have the opinion of the highest court in the land. For that reason I think that an appeal to the Supreme Court should lie. The Judicial Commissioner is a very efficient Judge, and there is no doubt but that his special knowledge of the work and his experience give him a unique position in the judiciary of this country. We have no doubt but that fair play will be given in this Court to the tenants and to all concerned, but as very important principles may be laid down, we think that there should be a right of appeal on these technical questions, which often involve such large sums of money and such important interests. We think that there should be no attempt to stop litigants from having it out if they want to in the highest Appeal Court in the Free State.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  I take the contrary view. I have had some experience even of the provisions for appeal under the present Act, and I find them working out very unjustly indeed against the tenant. In many cases the tenants concerned are tenants excluded from previous Acts. They are isolated individuals in many cases, and not large combinations which could have the best legal advice. I have half a dozen cases in mind of non-judicial tenants. The Land Commission sent out their official to fix the value. An appeal was lodged by the landlord, and none of these tenants had the means to come to Dublin, with the result that the appeals went against them. I would be inclined to do away with all appeals and not to extend them after the Land Commission official has fixed [1330] the value. I would be inclined to curtail it very much. Some question of law might perhaps arise, but I do not see how it could. I do not think it desirable to extend the principle. If it were possible to do it, I would move an amendment that there should be no appeal from the Land Commissioners sent down to value the land.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I would second that.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  I know half a dozen cases in which the tenants let the appeal go by default. They were so poor that the landlord was not even able to recover the costs. I advised them not to pay.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  Does not Deputy Gorey rather take it for granted that the right of appeal must mean an appeal by the landlord as well as the tenant? Would the Deputy be satisfied if the appeal only lay with the tenant?

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  I do not think you can have legislation on these lines.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  You can. It is, I understand, already in the licensing laws.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Any portion of this Bill which allows an appeal to the Judicial Commissioner would be strenuously opposed by me. The majority of decisions which I have seen during the last few years lead me only to one conclusion, that the Judicial Commissioner——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  The Deputy knows very well that he is going to make a statement that should not be made. The Deputy must not criticise any decisions given by a Judge.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  If that is the case, we are practically powerless in dealing with this matter and it is all the more reason why we should not leave this power in his hands. The case I mentioned on the last section absolutely bears out my contention. The Parliamentary Secretary knows very well the decision I am alluding to. I gave it to him last week and I take it he read it, and I would like to have his honest view on it.

[1331]Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  That case is not decided yet.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  The case I gave occurred in 1924 and was decided.

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

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  There must be another Judicial Commissioner then besides the Commissioner who gave the decision. At any rate, I think vesting such a power in the hands of one man is absolutely wrong and should be abolished. When we have officials in the Land Commission we should trust them that much without extending the power to individuals in whom the tenants have no confidence. They know them too well to have any confidence in them.

Mr. Nolan: Information on John Thomas Nolan  Zoom on John Thomas Nolan  I would ask the Parliamentary Secretary not to accept the amendment. I am very much in sympathy with the suggestion of Deputy Gorey as to deleting the last three lines of Section 3 (9), that is, leaving the power in the Commissioners' hands altogether. There is no reason why four Commissioners should not be able to decide these cases. Three Revenue Commissioners are able to decide cases. A decision of the three Commissioners of Public Works is final. Why should not the four Land Commissioners be able to decide cases without an appeal to the Judicial Commissioner, especially in view of the fact that the Judicial Commissioner sits only about once a fortnight. Deputies on the other side are continually complaining of the delay in vesting. If an appeal from the Judicial Commissioner to the Supreme Court is going to be allowed, it will mean that five generations will not see the finish of the appeals — there will be no ending to them. As evidence of that I should like to read a letter I have here.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  The Deputy ought not to read any letters.

Mr. Nolan: Information on John Thomas Nolan  Zoom on John Thomas Nolan  I submit that I can read this letter, and must read it. It is a letter in reference to the Judicial Commissioners' delay in vesting. It is from the Land Commission.

[1332]An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  The Deputy is confined to dealing with the amendment before the House.

Mr. Nolan: Information on John Thomas Nolan  Zoom on John Thomas Nolan  Then I shall raise the matter on the section itself. I ask the Parliamentary Secretary not to accept this amendment, and I ask Deputies on the other side not to press it, because it is going to be very embarrassing to the Land Commission, and very much more embarrassing to the tenants. The fewer appeals there are the better.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Do you want to leave it to Wylie?

Mr. Nolan: Information on John Thomas Nolan  Zoom on John Thomas Nolan  No.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Why do you not abolish him then?

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  Is the Parliamentary Secretary prepared to consider the amendment or the points made by Deputies Gorey, Nolan and Corry. We are not tied to this amendment. We simply moved it in order to raise the general question of appeals from the Land Commissioners. Before we would withdraw the amendment we would like to know what is the attitude of the Parliamentary Secretary on the whole matter.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  Under the Act of 1923 there is a right of appeal from the decisions of the Judicial Commissioner to the Supreme Court on questions of law. Deputies will probably remember that when concluding the Second Reading debate I said that I was very anxious that this matter should be discussed fully on the Committee Stage. The discussion has not added very much to my knowledge so far, because it is obvious that Deputies are rather divided in their views on this point. Upon the whole, I think it would be advisable to preserve the right of appeal which is given in the Act of 1923 on questions of law to the Supreme Court. Cases may arise where it will be necessary for the Land Commissioners themselves to appeal against the decisions of the Judicial Commissioner. These cases, of course, will only arise very rarely. Cases have already arisen, however, where the Land Commissioners have appealed to [1333] the Supreme Court against decisions of the Judicial Commissioner, and, of course, cases may arise in future. Taking everything into consideration, it will be advisable to preserve the right which we have in the 1923 Act of an appeal to the Supreme Court from the decision of the Judicial Commissioner on a question of law.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  It seems to me that objection to our amendment is chiefly on the ground of expense. Is the Parliamentary Secretary prepared to get rid of the Judicial Commissioner as an appeal? Is the Parliamentary Secretary prepared to do what Deputy Gorey suggests?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  That is not the amendment.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  Are you prepared to take that suggestion?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  I am discussing the amendment.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  We are anxious to know if you would go further.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  When that arises in a proper way I am prepared to answer.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  It means that the Parliamentary Secretary is not prepared to give any information to the House to enable us to make up our minds on this particular point. It is obvious that if the Parliamentary Secretary has any opinion to express on the matter he ought to express it to the House. Surely it is not his purpose to get us to make decisions in the dark. I take it it is his duty to give any information he may have acquired as the result of the working of this particular Department. Deputy Gorey has made a point in reference to appeals. The suggestion was that instead of further appeals possibly we should cut out a certain appeal that is there already. The point made against that particular appeal was that it causes delay; that was the point made by Deputy Nolan, that there is delay on account of the bottle-neck of the single commissioner before whom all these things have to come. Is he prepared or not to adopt the suggestion made?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  The point does not arise here.

[1334]An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  It may be dealt with on the section, but for the present Deputies must deal with the amendment.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  There is a question of the possible withdrawal of the amendment if that suggestion were adopted. That is why it is relevant.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  The statement was made by Deputy Gorey that the Judicial Commissioner was responsible for delays in vesting. He is not responsible for any delay that may have taken place in vesting.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  I did not say that.

Mr. Nolan: Information on John Thomas Nolan  Zoom on John Thomas Nolan  I made that statement and can prove it.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  The Judicial Commissioner has nothing whatever to do with the vesting of land. His duties commence really after the land is vested.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  I made the statement, and repeat it, that appeals to the Judicial Commissioner work out in one way, inasmuch as the small tenants are not able to get legal advice and to bear expenses to meet the cost afterwards. I know of one case where the award of the Commissioner was raised five shillings and it involved two guineas costs. I had to meet that case myself. I think appeals should not lie from the Judicial Commissioner.

Mr. Kennedy: Information on Michael Joseph Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Joseph Kennedy  On a point of information, I would ask the Parliamentary Secretary does this section make provision where the date of lodging an objection has lapsed and the final list is already published.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  Order. That can be raised on the question that the section stand part, but it has no relation to the amendment.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I would be very anxious to know if the Parliamentary Secretary is going to give way on the question of the Judicial Commissioner.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  This amendment has nothing whatever to do with the Judicial Commissioner.

[1335]Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  It would be easier to have the matter out now. Was this gentleman's name mentioned in the Treaty, or anything like that, that we cannot touch him here.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Question proposed: “That Section 10 stand part of the Bill.”

Mr. Nolan: Information on John Thomas Nolan  Zoom on John Thomas Nolan  I object to that section. I am not going to follow now Deputy Gorey's suggestion about the appeals. I could give a half a dozen cases where the Judicial Commissioner decided in a case as Judicial Commissioner and increased the annuity on the rent that he fixed as land judge. He fixed it in 1919 at a certain amount, and in 1925 or 1926 he fixed the annuity at a much higher amount. I have another case from the County Limerick also — I need not mention names — where he increased the rent by 50 per cent. on what his own valuer put upon it.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  The Deputy is aware that we cannot criticise here decisions given by the Judicial Commissioner.

Mr. Nolan: Information on John Thomas Nolan  Zoom on John Thomas Nolan  I am only following the example of other Deputies.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  No Deputy was allowed to criticise the judges.

Mr. Nolan: Information on John Thomas Nolan  Zoom on John Thomas Nolan  I was only following up the bad example of Deputy Gorey.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  I repeat I did not criticise any judge's decisions.

Mr. Nolan: Information on John Thomas Nolan  Zoom on John Thomas Nolan  Here is a letter dated 7th February, 1931. It bears the number 4703/31 and the Record No. S. 2897, and it reads: “With reference to your letter of 26th ult. regarding the holding of”— I will not mention any names —“on the above mentioned estate, I am desired by the Land Commission to inform you that these lands were resumed by them on 26th February, 1930, when £1,750 in 4½ per cent. Land Bonds the amount of the compensation awarded to the tenant was placed to the credit of the matter. The Land Commission are not liable for any arrears of rates which accrued prior to that date. The allottees were placed in occupation, and in [1336] accordance with the terms of their purchase agreements they are liable for poor rates on their holdings from 26th February, 1930. The amount of £426 8s. 5d. mentioned by you as due to the Limerick County Council in respect of rates would appear to be arrears which had accrued prior to the Land Commission entering into occupation of the land and in these circumstances the Secretary of the Council can enter an appearance in the Registrar's Branch of this office against the before mentioned compensation of £1,750 as directed in the Local Government Department circular of 16th December, 1927, issued to all Secretaries of County Councils.”— that is the point I want to come at—

“The allocation of the amount of compensation is a matter for the Judicial Commissioner, and it is understood that the question of the title thereto will be under investigation at an early date.”

This letter was written on 7th February. The lands were divided in February, 1930. Still twelve months later the amount cannot be allocated to pay rates for four years accruing to 1930, because the Judicial Commissioner had not time to hear the cases. I was told there was a tremendous lot of such cases and that this case could not be taken out of its order. I maintain the Commissioners could settle this case themselves and certainly the county council ought to be entitled to the rates on the land. The reason there was delay in dividing was because the Judicial Commissioner could not hear the case.

There was an appeal from the decision of the Commissioners. It was an appeal to the Judicial Commissioner, and that was about five years ago. It was in respect of a little holding the total value of which was £1,750 They have had to wait five years for that appeal to be heard. I maintain that that should not be allowed to continue and a Judicial Commissioner should not have power under this Bill as in the 1923 Act. I will give one proof of my contention. In the first place, we have four Commissioners. When the 1923 Act was passed we had only two. Now we have four active men who have been trained in the [1337] Land Commission and they ought to be sufficient to deal with all these matters. In the Examiners' Office there are twenty-four men. I understand they were there in the past. These men sit constantly and any man who sees the daily papers can see in the Land Commission Court the list of cases in the Examiners' Office. In that office there is a staff of twenty-four, costing £14,729——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  The Deputy is getting away from the section.

Mr. Nolan: Information on John Thomas Nolan  Zoom on John Thomas Nolan  I am not. There is no sense in these appeals, and I am giving an explanation as to why we do not want the Judicial Commissioner. I submit that this is most relevant. If every Deputy here were as relevant in the matter as I am we would get on very much more quickly. I am giving my very definite reasons, and I maintain that at present we do not need a Judicial Commissioner in view of the fact that he sits only once a fortnight. How are we to get through the vesting of holdings if that system is to continue?

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I wish to support Deputy Nolan's objection and on the very same grounds. Under this Bill the Judicial Commissioner, to my mind, is an impossibility. This matter of the appeal to the Judicial Commissioner is absolutely useless. If the Judicial Commissioner is to decide all the cases that are to be sent to him, he will be sitting for the next fifteen or twenty years, if he lives so long. I have here a case to which I alluded some time ago. It is a case listed on the 28th March, 1929, now two years ago. That was an appeal to the Judicial Commissioner, and apparently he has not the slightest intention of trying this case yet.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  That is a question of appeal?

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Yes, an appeal to the Judicial Commissioner. In despair the tenants came to me in 1929, and I advised them to continue paying their rates. I pointed out to them that if they refused to pay they would probably not be able to pay the arrears later on. One of them refused, and [1338] last year he was summoned by the Land Commission. The judge adjourned the case pending the decision of the Judicial Commissioner. Since then he has been served with another Civil Bill for a half year's rent and that case is pending. Here are two Civil Bills and the Circuit Judge cannot give any decision pending the decision given by Judge Wylie. That is where the whole case is held up. I consider the system ridiculous. There should be some means available by which those cases should be heard within a certain limit of time. I object to these appeals altogether. There are four Commissioners now and these Commissioners ought to be able to deal with these cases without any appeal to the Judicial Commissioner. I do not know why that individual should be brought into every Bill of ours here. Is there any special binding on the Government in connection with these Land Acts that these cases must come finally before the Judicial Commissioner? I suggest that in this case the office of the Judicial Commissioner should be done away with altogether. It is ridiculous in the face of it to have tenants waiting for four years for a decision. The trouble with those tenants is that they are continuing to pay their rents. They have been paying these rents since 1923 awaiting the decision of the Judicial Commissioner. When the tenants want a refund later on, they will be told that there is no fund out of which they can be paid. It is scandalous that these men should be saddled with all the delay of these appeals. The section of the Bill should be deleted unless the Government is bound by some agreement to this individual. I see no other way out of it. From the statement made by Deputy Nolan and from the decisions given by the Land Courts we must come to the conclusion that this Judicial Commissioner has been forced on the Government.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  The Deputy ought to keep to the section.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I am keeping to it.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  Deputy Corry will either sit down or discuss the section—one or the other.

[1339]Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I am discussing it.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  Deputy Corry will resume his seat or discuss the section.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I submit that this portion of the section should not be there. It is there for one object only, and it should not have any bearing on a national assembly if this is a national assembly. If this is a national Government to make rules for the people of Ireland, that portion of that section should go out at once, and the Judicial Commissioner should not be the last Court of Appeal on land questions in the Free State. The statement made here to-night by Deputy Nolan, and what anyone can see by looking through the Land Commission findings, should induce others to look into these findings. That should bring such a storm of public opinion to bear on this individual that this matter of appeals should be finished. If we cannot finish them here they would be finished then once and for all. It is a perfect scandal that the Judicial Commissioner at this time should have power to delay these vestings. It is time that ended. If we were only a small Party in the British House of Commons working against a huge majority, I could understand why this should be allowed to continue, but I cannot understand it here. There should be no need for an individual like the Land Commissioner to be forced down the throats of the Government. Whether he is or not, I do not know, but the Minister should stand up and say so if he is not.

Mr. Mathews: Information on Arthur Patrick Matthews  Zoom on Arthur Patrick Matthews  In my opinion it will be absolutely necessary to have some Court of Appeal from the Land Commission on the question of value. Under the 1923 Act and under this Act, if you have no Court of Appeal, the Land Commission will decide what retained holdings they will resume, and they will also decide the question of price. Therefore, to my mind, for the protection of the tenant of a retained holding, it is absolutely necessary to have some Court of Appeal on the question of [1340] value. I think a judge who hears the evidence of the valuers on behalf of the tenant and who hears his own court valuers as regards the market value of the tenant's interest, is the best final Court of Appeal you could possibly have.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  I differ from Deputy Mathews. I know this question of getting rid of the Judicial Commissioner has been damned by the advocacy of Deputy Corry in dealing with a particular individual.

The procedure will undoubtedly be held up, and whatever hopes the Parliamentary Secretary may have of a speedy issue to the vesting orders will not and cannot be realised in the case of non-judicial holdings. All these non-judicial holdings will be the subject of valuation put on by a Land Commissioner. In each case they have the option of appeal to the Judicial Commissioner. Years will be occupied in dealing with all these cases, and the hopes we have of a speedy vesting cannot be realised in the case of non-judicial holdings, both tenanted and untenanted land. My one objection is on the question of value. I do not believe Deputy Mathews' contention in that respect will hold water. Value is the principal thing with regard to retained holdings, and that can be dealt with by the Commissioners themselves. On questions of law there ought to be an appeal to some court— I do not care whether it is judicial or not—but on questions of value there should be no appeal. I am very doubtful if sub-section 3 of Section 10 covers the whole functions of the Judicial Commissioner, because this is merely dealing with lists altogether apart from the question of value. I am not clear that the elimination of sub-section 3 of Section 10 would meet the position. I do not think it would. I am afraid you would have to come back to the main Act of 1923.

Mr. Kennedy: Information on Michael Joseph Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Joseph Kennedy  I ask the Parliamentary Secretary where lists have been published, and the time for objection has elapsed, and where vesting has not yet taken place, and the tenants did not make these objections through not being aware of [1341] their rights in the matter, is there provision now made for that class of tenant. Within the past year there have been a great number of estates dealt with and lists published out of proportion to what was done in previous years, I daresay in anticipation of this particular Bill. In a great number of cases landlords gave wrong returns; they gave returns of rents which did not obtain for 30 years, and which were 25 per cent. above what they were charging in 1923. They went back as far as 1870. The tenants, through lack of knowledge of their rights, did not object, and the time for objection has passed, but vesting has not taken place. Will the Parliamentary Secretary make provision in this Bill to deal with that kind of thing?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  In reply to Deputy Gorey's point about the delay that may take place in connection with non-judicial holdings, the Deputy has forgotten that the Land Act of 1929 was introduced primarily for the purpose of dealing with the cases of non-judicial tenants. Under that Act the annuity is fixed automatically, and the Deputy may be interested to know that the number of objections lodged is very small. I do not anticipate that the Judicial Commissioner will be called upon to exercise his functions frequently in connection with these non-judicial cases. I deny that there is any delay whatever in the Judicial Commissioner's court. I think every practising barrister here knows that the Judicial Commissioner is one of the speediest men amongst the judiciary in getting through work. The delay is certainly not on the part of the Judicial Commissioner.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  On a point of order, I listened to you ruling Deputy Corry out of order on the question of criticism of the administration of the Judicial Commissioner. In view of that ruling, has the Parliamentary Secretary the right to proceed on the same lines?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  I am afraid the Deputy misunderstood my ruling. I said I would not allow the [1342] Deputy to criticise decisions given by a judge.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  I want to stress the point that there is no delay whatever on the part of the Judicial Commissioner in hearing cases. What the Deputies do not understand is that the Judicial Commissioner cannot hear cases until they are lodged in his court, and the delay, if there is delay —I am assuming for the moment that there might have been delay in the case cited by Deputy Nolan; I do not know the case mentioned by Deputy Corry, because, I did not understand him—takes place before the cases are lodged in the Judicial Commissioner's court.

Mr. Nolan: Information on John Thomas Nolan  Zoom on John Thomas Nolan  It must be over 12 months.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  My point is that the delay took place before it was lodged, if, indeed, it has been lodged in the court even yet.

Mr. Nolan: Information on John Thomas Nolan  Zoom on John Thomas Nolan  I have only the Parliamentary Secretary's word for that.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  There is no delay on the part of the Judicial Commissioner. I think that even Deputy Geoghegan, on the opposite benches, will bear me out in that. There has always been a right of appeal from the Land Commission to the Judicial Commissioner on the question of price and other matters. It is proposed in this Bill to continue that right of appeal. That right of appeal is availed of more frequently by the tenants than by the landlord. In fact, in 75 per cent. of the cases heard by the Judicial Commissioner the appeal was by the tenant. I consider it would be unfair to deprive the tenant of that right of appeal to the Judicial Commissioner. It would lead to hardship.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  That has not been my experience.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  That information can be substantiated. I do not propose to waive the right of appeal to the Judicial Commissioner. I consider that in many cases it is necessary to retain that right. Whilst I am as keen as any member of the Dáil to shortcircuit the Land Commission procedure [1343] I hold that in many cases it is vital to retain the right of appeal to the Judicial Commissioner on particular matters which he is responsible for dealing with, particularly the question of price. I agree with Deputy Mathews that it is right that there should be an appeal on the question of price. Either the tenant or the vendor should have such right of appeal both in regard to the question of price and to other matters in connection with which a right of appeal is provided in the Bill.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  On the question of price, I would like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary whether there is any truth in the statement that the representatives of congests, or landless people looking for land and interested in the division, are not entitled to be represented in the Judicial Commissioner's court when the question of price is being decided. I would like also to ask him what is the position of the assessor. Is he purely a court official, an official of the Judicial Commissioner or of the Land Commission who values the land? A statement has been made that while the landlord can call in an expert valuer to give evidence as to the value of land before the Judicial Commissioner, the Land Commission do not put forward any expert evidence on that matter. If that is so, I think that the Land Commission should put it right.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  The Parliamentary Secretary stated a while ago that he did not understand my point. My point is that on the 28th March, 1929, the estate of Constance Power, Record No. S.1173, was listed for hearing. We are now approaching the 28th of March, 1931, but that matter has not yet been heard though these tenants have already been robbed of £2,770 by the landlord and the Land Commission combined. Does the Parliamentary Secretary consider that that is a speedy transaction? Does he now say that there is no delay in Justice Wylie's court?

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  The Parliamentary Secretary stated that 75 per cent. of the appeals to the Judicial Commissioner [1344] were appeals on behalf of the tenants. That surprised me. If he has any figures available over any particular period he should furnish them to the House and confirm that statement. The issue which arises in this discussion appears to be whether the landlord, who is the only person who seems to have benefited by appeals of this kind, should have the right of appeal to the Judicial Commissioner on questions of value. I have no hesitation in saying that he should have no such right at all.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  That does not arise on the section under discussion.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  It is the issue.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  It does not arise under the section.

Mr. Nolan: Information on John Thomas Nolan  Zoom on John Thomas Nolan  If it is true that 75 per cent. of the appeals have been brought by tenants, it shows that they have no confidence in the decision of the Commissioners. That, of course, happened in the past when we had only two and when they appealed to the Judicial Commissioner as the last word, but that is changed now. Why appeal on the question of value at all? Why go back on the valuation of the Commissioner's valuer and increase it? According to the evidence of the Judicial Commissioner's valuer he has increased it by 50 per cent. Therefore Deputy Mathews' point is ruled out there. The more I consider the points made by Deputy Mathews and the Parliamentary Secretary the more I am convinced that we should not have an appeal to the Judicial Commissioner. I would urge the Parliamentary Secretary to have this matter further considered on Report. I do not care to force the matter to a division, but I trust that the Parliamentary Secretary will be able to adjust the matter satisfactorily.

Question—“That Section 10 stand part of the Bill”—put and agreed to.

(1) Where a holding included in a list of vested holdings would be a retained holding within the meaning of sub-section (6) of Section 28 of the [1345] Land Act, 1923, if that sub-section applied to it, such holding may, notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, be retained by the Land Commission.

(2) Sections 29, 33, and 34 of the Land Act, 1923, shall apply to holdings retained by the Land Commission under this section as fully as they apply to the retained holdings mentioned in those sections and accordingly the Land Commission shall have, in respect of holdings retained by them under this section, all the powers conferred on them by the said sections.

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

“In sub-section (1), to delete the word `may,' line sixteen, and substitute the word `shall.' ”

Section 11 deals with the retention of holdings and with the list of vested holdings. It allows the Land Commission, as under the Act of 1923, to retain such holdings as it may consider necessary, but the expression is that it “may” retain them. On Section 9 I had an amendment to excise the proviso which made inapplicable to Section 9 the terms of sub-section 6 of Section 28 of the Act of 1923. The Parliamentary Secretary pointed out that Section 11 covered my point. I would like to ask him what is the objection to making it mandatory on the Land Commission to retain these holdings? It seems to me, in the procedure as it now will be and in the rush of vesting — it is admitted that all holdings will automatically be vested — that it would be necessary for the safeguarding of congests and uneconomic holders that the Land Commission should exercise to the fullest such powers as it has for the retention of holdings. In order to compel the Land Commission to do so, I propose to substitute the word “may” by “shall.”

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  I trust that the Parliamentary Secretary will not accept this amendment, as it takes away all discretion from the Land Commission and the exercise of common-sense.

Mr. Kennedy: Information on Michael Joseph Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Joseph Kennedy  I would like to draw the attention of the Parliamentary [1346] Secretary to the procedure under Section 28, sub-section (6) of the Land Act of 1923 in regard to practices which are being carried on in Westmeath. I have here a notice from Iris Oifigiúil where the tenant of a farm consisting of 33 acres is informed that it will be retained. I would like to know why the Land Commission is carrying out this procedure in regard to this particular farm.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  The Deputy is raising this particular case on this amendment?

Mr. Kennedy: Information on Michael Joseph Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Joseph Kennedy  I will raise it on the section.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  I do not think the Deputy ought to raise a particular case except for the purposes of his argument.

Mr. Kennedy: Information on Michael Joseph Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Joseph Kennedy  I would like to indicate that whatever may be the practice in other parts of the country, I do not see the reason for the practice under this particular section which deals with the previous section in the Act of 1923, by which these small farms are being retained in County Westmeath. In other words they are going to be taken from people who own them for the purpose of dividing them amongst a couple of Black and Tans, and a couple of ex-R.I.C. men. I have here an extract from Iris Oifigiúil of March 3, 1931. The name of the tenant is William Gilsenan, and his postal address, Cooleighter, Drumcree, County Westmeath. He is going to be pegged out of 33 acres for three Black and Tans.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  The Deputy will have an opportunity of raising that on the estimates.

Mr. Kennedy: Information on Michael Joseph Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Joseph Kennedy  It might be divided then.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  I cannot accept the amendment. I might say that the Land Commission have always exercised discretion in regard to the retention of holdings. It is now sought to insert in the Bill that the Land Commission is not to continue to exercise that discretion. It would be obviously unfair to substitute the word “shall”[1347] for “may” in this section because it would make it obligatory on the Land Commission to retain a holding on which an advance of £3,000 or over has been made. The Land Commission only retain holdings for the purposes of relieving congestion. In very many cases these holdings will not be required for the purpose of relieving congestion, improvement, re-arrangement, etc. In other cases the tenant is using them in an up-to-date way and farming them according to the most up-to-date and most modern methods. In such cases the Land Commission will have naturally to exercise their discretion as to whether they will retain the holdings or vest them in the tenants.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on James Geoghehan  Zoom on James Geoghehan  In the case of a holding, where an advance exceeding £3,000 is contemplated, public aid is being given to a comparatively rich man. The Parliamentary Secretary has mentioned that there may be cases in which a large farm is so desirably worked that it would, perhaps, be in the public interest to give an advance of over £3,000. What is there in the policy of the Land Act to justify subsidising a large farmer like that, because that is what it comes to? There is nothing in the Bill or in the amendment, as moved now, that will prevent that large and prosperous farm putting down, out of its own resources, the balance over the £3,000. All that is attempted by this amendment here is to erect an absolutely impassable barrier in the way of the large farmer or large grazier who seeks to raid the public purse for more than £3,000. He can get £3,000 by buying that large farm, and if he wants £5,000 or £6,000 let him go to a bank or raise it on his credit, or get it in any way he likes. The whole policy of the Act seems to be towards the creation of small tenancies. The limit has not been put unduly low, because where there is an advance of £3,000 one can envisage quite a large area. I would ask the House to say that there is nothing at all unreasonable in tying the Land Commission to prevent them landing out money to a greater extent than £3,000 for the purchase of such holdings.

[1348]Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  I have a case in mind where a farm of 150 acres is concerned. The full £3,000 was exhausted in the buying, but there was a bit of land right in the centre of the holding, a glade of ten Irish acres. The Land Commission wisely exercised their discretion, and consolidated the ten acres along with the 150 acres. Will the Deputy say that no man ought to hold 150 acres, and that the Land Commission should not be allowed to exercise their discretion in that case? It is not a question of the Land Commission resuming and giving it to somebody else. It is not a question that the tenant has the option of going in and putting down his own money under this Bill. It is a question of taking the land from him, and that he should only hold a certain amount of land.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on James Geoghehan  Zoom on James Geoghehan  As I understand it, Section 11 operates back by referring to sub-section (6) of Section 28 of the Act of 1923. This is merely a limitation of the price to be advanced by the Land Commission to £3,000. If the tenant finances it, if he pays the landlord money himself, or puts it up himself, I do not quite see where the obstacle is in the way. Undoubtedly under the Act of 1903 in numerous cases the tenant has, in fact, done so. I would ask the Parliamentary Secretary to correct me if I am wrong in that statement. Under the Act of 1923 there was a limitation on the amount of the advance.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  That is right.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on James Geoghehan  Zoom on James Geoghehan  Unless I am greatly mistaken in my recollection, in numerous cases tenants of the type indicated by Deputy Gorey have financed the transaction themselves. If there is anything in this Bill as drawn which would prevent the tenant of the 150-acre farm that we have heard about, putting up the balance over £3,000 out of his own resources, surely it is not beyond the ingenuity of the Parliamentary Secretary to put something into the Bill that would enable him to do it. At all events, the intention of Deputy Derrig's amendment is to prevent an advance of public money to any one tenant farmer exceeding [1349] £3,000. If he buys it himself we will not stop him.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  There is a provision in the Bill dealing with retention and resuming. That is quite a different matter to the 1923 Act.

Mr. Mathews: Information on Arthur Patrick Matthews  Zoom on Arthur Patrick Matthews  I would point out to Deputy Geoghegan, who mentioned the limit of advance under the previous Act, that the limit of advance under the 1903 Act was £5,000. This was brought down to £3,000 under the 1923 Act.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on James Geoghehan  Zoom on James Geoghehan  I stated that there was a limit under the Act of 1923 and that in many cases the price exceeded that limit, and that the tenant purchaser put up the balance of the purchase money himself. The records of the Land Commission will, I am sure, negative that statement of mine if it is unfounded.

Mr. Mathews: Information on Arthur Patrick Matthews  Zoom on Arthur Patrick Matthews  There is a great difference between the limit of an advance of £3,000 and £5,000. I know of several cases under the 1923 Act where £5,000 was exceeded. The Land Commission had an option as they had under the 1923 Act of exceeding £3,000.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on James Geoghehan  Zoom on James Geoghehan  And that helped to paralyse the finances of the 1903 Act. As everybody knows, the money provided under the 1903 Act ran out much sooner than the late Mr. Wyndham or anyone else anticipated. The Act of 1903 largely collapsed about 1907 because enormous advances were made for the purchase of large holdings by the exercise of the discretion of the Land Commission. We want to stop that tap from running.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  Of course it did; they were cash transactions.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  May I ask whether Deputy Gorey is in favour of raiding the public purse for more than £3,000? Does the Deputy think that anybody who has property which justifies an [1350] advance of more than £3,000 should be assisted to a greater extent than that? That is what the amendment means to stop, to prevent the public purse being used for advances of more than £3,000. Is it not right to stop that?

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  Then you had better lay it down that in no case should that amount be exceeded.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  Surely Deputy Geoghegan does not suggest that this amendment won't prevent the advance of more than £3,000.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on James Geoghehan  Zoom on James Geoghehan  If this amendment is not carried the Land Commission may vest a holding, the standard price of which exceeds £3,000, in the tenant of that holding.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  No. The Deputy knows perfectly well that under the Act of 1923, retention in the case where the advance is over £3,000 is automatic and will continue to be so. In the other cases under the sub-section the Land Commission has discretion. Hence, it is necessary that the word “may” shall remain instead of the word “shall” as suggested by the amendment.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  Deputy Geoghegan should read the section.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on James Geoghehan  Zoom on James Geoghehan  Perhaps Deputy Gorey will tell me what it means.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  Sub-section (1) reads:

Where a holding included in a list of vested holdings would be a retained holding within the meaning of sub-section (6) of Section 28 of the Land Act, 1923, if that sub-section applied to it, such holding may, notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, be retained by the Land Commission.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on James Geoghehan  Zoom on James Geoghehan  Retained by the Land Commission and used possibly for the purposes of amendment 16 to provide farms for evicted tenants.

Question put.

Aird, William P.
Alton, Ernest Henry.
Beckett, James Walter.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Blythe, Ernest.
Bourke, Séamus A.
Brennan, Michael.
Brodrick, Seán.
Carey, Edmund.
Cole, John James.
Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
Conlon, Martin.
Connolly, Michael P.
Cosgrave, William T.
Craig, Sir James.
Daly, John.
Davis, Michael.
Doherty, Eugene.
Dolan, James N.
Doyle, Peadar Seán.
Duggan, Edmund John.
Dwyer, James.
Egan, Barry M.
Finlay, Thomas A.
Fitzgerald, Desmond.
Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
Good, John.
Gorey, Denis J.
Haslett, Alexander.
Hassett, John J.
Heffernan, Michael R.
Hennessy, Thomas.
Henry, Mark.
Jordan, Michael.
Kelly, Patrick Michael.
Keogh, Myles.
Law, Hugh Alexander.
Leonard, Patrick.
Lynch, Finian.
Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
McDonogh, Martin.
McFadden, Michael Og.
McGilligan, Patrick.
Mongan, Joseph W.
Mulcahy, Richard.
Murphy, James E.
Nally, Martin Michael.
Nolan, John Thomas.
O'Connell, Richard.
O'Connor, Bartholomew.
O'Hanlon, John F.
O'Higgins, Thomas.
O'Leary, Daniel.
O'Mahony, The.
O'Reilly, John J.
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.

Aiken, Frank.
Allen, Denis.
Anthony, Richard.
Blaney, Neal.
Boland, Gerald.
Boland, Patrick.
Bourke, Daniel.
Brady, Seán.
Briscoe, Robert.
Broderick, Henry.
Buckley, Daniel.
Carty, Frank.
Cassidy, Archie J.
Clancy, Patrick.
Clery, Michael.
Colbert, James.
Colohan, Hugh.
Corkery, Dan.
Corry, Martin John.
Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
Crowley, Tadhg.
Davin, William.
Derrig, Thomas.
De Valera, Eamon.
Everett, James.
Fahy, Frank.
Flinn, Hugo.
Fogarty, Andrew.
Geoghegan, James.
Gorry, Patrick J.
Goulding, John.
Hayes, Seán.
Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
Houlihan, Patrick.
Jordan, Stephen.
Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
Kent, William R.
Killilea, Mark.
Kilroy, Michael.
Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick John.
Maguire, Ben.
McEllistrim, Thomas.
MacEntee, Seán.
Moore, Séamus.
O'Connell, Thomas J.
O'Reilly, Matthew.
Ruttledge, Patrick J.
Ryan, James.
Sexton, Martin.
Sheehy, Timothy (Tipp.).
Smith, Patrick.
Walsh, Richard.

Question declared carried.

Question proposed: “That Section 11 stand part of the Bill.”

[1353]Mr. Kennedy: Information on Michael Joseph Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Joseph Kennedy  Sub-section 11 (1) provides:

Where a holding included in a list of vested holdings would be a retained holding within the meaning of sub-section (6) of Section 28 of the Land Act of 1923, if that sub-section applied to it, such holding may, notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, be retained by the Land Commission.

If a farm of 36 acres, with a rental of £18, comes within sub-section 6 (c) of Section 28 of the Land Act of 1923, which says:—

Any holding as respects which the Land Commission declare that it is not in the public interest that the holding shall be re-sold to the tenant as aforesaid, whether on the ground that the improvement of the holding is essential and practicable, or otherwise; or

will the Parliamentary Secretary indicate how a farm of 36 acres that he considers necessary to be retained, “on the ground that the improvement of the holding is essential and practicable, or otherwise,” seeing that this is one of the best-worked farms in the country, is to be brought under the Act of 1923? This is not an isolated case.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  The Deputy had better put down a question about it, and I will tell him why the Land Commission proposes to retain it.

Question put and agreed to.

(3) Every vesting order made under this section shall be expressed and shall operate to vest every holding specified therein in fee simple in the person named in such order as the person appearing to the Land Commission to be in occupation of such holding as tenant thereof or nominated by the Land Commission under Section 67 of the Land Act, 1923, to represent the tenant of such holding and shall also be expressed and shall operate so to vest such holding in such person subject [1354] to the following annuities, sums, and payments, that is to say:—

(a) the standard purchase annuity for such holding; and

(b) the additional annuity (if any) in respect of compounded arrears of rent added to the purchase-money; and

(c) an additional sum equivalent to a proportion of the said annuities in respect of the period between the gale day on which the first instalment of the said annuities shall become payable and the next day on which dividends on land bonds are payable; and

(d) to any sum which may be due to the Land Commission by the tenant in respect of payment in lieu of rent or in respect of repayments required by this Act to be made by such tenant to the Land Commission.

(4) The Land Commission shall, in respect of every vesting order made under this section, afford to all parties concerned an opportunity for making objections to such order and the Land Commissioners other than the Judicial Commissioner shall consider and decide every such objection duly made, and there shall be a right of appeal to the Judicial Commissioner from every decision of the other Commissioners on any such objection and the decision of the Judicial Commissioner on any such appeal shall be final.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  Amendments 16, 17, 18 and 19 are out of order.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on James Geoghehan  Zoom on James Geoghehan  Are the four being ruled out of order?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  Yes.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on James Geoghehan  Zoom on James Geoghehan  On a point of order, I would point out that amendment 16 provides for the application of lands retained under Section 11. The amendments are to provide parcels of land for evicted tenants. What are holdings being retained for unless they are to provide for evicted tenants and other persons who deserve to have holdings allotted to them.

[1355]Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  To the exclusion of the congests, I assume.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  Let us have the point of order.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on James Geoghehan  Zoom on James Geoghehan  On the point of order, I ask you, sir, to reconsider your ruling on these amendments, to say that, having regard to the substance of them, they are relevant to the principle of this Bill, and that in particular they are relevant to Section 11 dealing with retained holdings. There is nothing abhorrent to the principle of this Bill in providing for an evicted tenant, who is admitted within the Act already, so that he shall have the right to come in and ask the Land Commission to put his name on the list. How can it be said that these amendments are irrelevant? Surely it was intended that this Bill, while it might not mean finality in regard to land settlement, would settle the Irish land question, except for some exceptional or undreamt of cases.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  The Deputy is getting away from the point of order.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on James Geoghehan  Zoom on James Geoghehan  I regret if I have wandered, but if this amendment is not to be discussed and adopted then the doors seem to be banged on the evicted tenants, about whom we have heard so much for a generation. I am only concerned with that point.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  Amendments 16, 17, 18 and 19 are ruled out on the ground that they introduce a new principle into the Bill. They deal with a principle which was not included in the Bill as read a Second Time. I am not concerned with the merits of the amendments.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on James Geoghehan  Zoom on James Geoghehan  The principle of the Bill includes the disposition of and the dealing with retained holdings. This matter of the evicted tenants was discussed on the Second Reading from both sides of the House. Deputies on both sides of the House alluded to it, and a division on this Bill would probably have been sought had it not been understood by Deputies on every side of the House that evicted tenants did come within the ambit of the Bill. [1356] The only new principle that is introduced by that section is that the evicted tenants can set the machinery in motion. They are already within the purview of the Act, the amendment is mere machinery; it is a matter of the working out of the Act rather than conferring any new right.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  Is the Deputy discussing the point of order or making a speech on the amendment?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  I am afraid the Deputy is not discussing the point of order. This is an amending Bill, and it would not be in order in Committee to introduce a principle into the Bill which was not contained in the Bill as read a Second Time. It is quite clear that amendments 16, 17, 18 and 19 are introducing a new principle or a new class not contained in the Bill as read a Second Time, and therefore they are out of order.

The following amendments were agreed to:—

In sub-section (3), paragraph (c), page 6, line 50, after the word “sum” to insert in brackets the words “(if any).”

In sub-section (3), page 6, paragraph (d), to insert a new paragraph as follows:—

“(d) any sum which may be due to the Land Commission by the tenant in respect of the annual sum equivalent to the standard purchase annuity of the holding stated in the list of vested holdings including the proportion of such annual sum for the period between the gale day on which the first instalment of such annual sum became payable and the day on which dividends on Land Bonds are payable next after the appointed day.”—(Mr. Roddy).

[An Ceann Comhairle resumed the Chair.]

Question proposed: “That Section 12, as amended, stand part of the Bill.”

Mr. Kennedy: Information on Michael Joseph Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Joseph Kennedy  I want to know will sub-section (1) apply to the particular class of tenant that I referred to on a previous section. My question was: when official lists have been published, [1357] when the time for objections has lapsed, vesting has not yet taken place, and the tenants did not make these objections through not being aware of their right in the matter, will the provisions of sub-section (1) apply to these tenants?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  What lists have been published recently?

Mr. Kennedy: Information on Michael Joseph Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Joseph Kennedy  The final lists of a great number of estates.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  If the final list has been published then the section will not apply.

Mr. Kennedy: Information on Michael Joseph Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Joseph Kennedy  Even where they are not vested yet?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  If the final list was published this section will not apply.

Section 12, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Section 13 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

(2) Every application under this section shall be heard and decided by the Land Commissioners other than the Judicial Commissioner and there shall be a right of appeal to the Judicial Commissioner from the decision of the other Land Commissioners on any such application and the decision of the Judicial Commissioner on such appeal shall be final.

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

To add at the end of the section a new sub-section as follows:—

“In the case of non-compliance with the provisions of Section 22 of the Land Act, 1923, as amended by this Act, the Land Commission shall have power to withhold a payment to the landlord in respect of payment in lieu of rent.”

This section contains a provision allowing a tenant, if his holding has been excluded from the list of particulars sent in by the landlord, to take steps to have it inserted. It seems to us that, in addition to giving the tenant the right to take steps to have inserted the particulars of his holding wrongfully omitted, some steps should [1358] be taken against the landlord. Under the 1923 Act there is a very nominal penalty imposed on the landlord in case he omits to send in the particulars. It seems to us that the Land Commission should have power, as suggested in the amendment, to withhold from the landlord the payment in lieu of rent. If the landlord is holding up the vesting of the tenant's holding by simply refusing to carry out the law, and if he has been allowed to escape up to the present with the nominal penalty placed on him, the Land Commission, if they mean to get this Bill working, will have to take stronger steps, and I contend that they should seriously consider withholding at least one payment in lieu of rent from the landlord if he still refuses to hand in these particulars.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  The Deputy's point is covered by Section 12 of the Act of 1927. Payment in lieu of rent, of course, is not paid until the particulars are lodged, and then it is only paid from the date on which the particulars are lodged. I think that completely meets the point.

Mr. Little: Information on Patrick J. Little  Zoom on Patrick J. Little  Suppose the particulars had been lodged, if there is an error in the particulars, and it is only afterwards discovered, payment in lieu of rent might have started.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  Payment in lieu of rent would still commence from the date on which the particulars were lodged, and the error would be rectified subsequently.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Section ordered to stand part of the Bill.

(1) Where the whole or part of a holding which is included in a list of vested holdings is at the date of the publication of such list sub-let otherwise than for the purpose of temporary depasturage, agistment, or conacre, or for temporary convenience, or to meet a temporary necessity, the following provisions shall have effect, that is to say:—

(a) the Land Commission shall (save as hereinafter otherwise [1359] authorised) declare that the sub-tenants on such holding are to be deemed to be the tenants of the respective portions of such holding in their several and separate occupations and that the said respective portions (hereinafter referred to as separate holdings) of such holding are to be deemed to be separate holdings;

(b) each of the said sub-tenants shall be deemed to have entered on the date of the said declaration into a subsequent purchase agreement for the purchase of the said separate holding in his separate occupation;

(c) the standard purchase annuities for the said separate holdings shall be ascertained in the like manner as standard purchase annuities for tenancies are ascertained under the Land Act, 1923, as amended by the Land Act, 1929;

(d) where the portion or any part of the portion of such holding which is so sub-let is, in the opinion of the Land Commission, of such a character that it ought not to be declared under this section to be a separate holding, the Land Commission may notwithstanding anything contained in this section treat the said holding as if the said portion or the said part of the said portion (as the case may be) of such holding were in the occupation of the tenant of the said holding and were not sublet;

(3) The Land Commission shall give to all parties concerned an opportunity of objecting to any declaration proposed to be made under this section and every objection duly made to any such proposed declaration shall be considered and decided by the Land Commissioners other than the Judicial Commissioner and there shall be a right of appeal to the Judicial Land Commissioner from every decision of the other Land Commissioners on any such objection and the decision of the Judicial Commissioner on any such appeal shall be final.

[1360]Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  I move:—

Before Section 15 to insert a new section as follows:—

“Where the Land Commission have been in receipt of payment in lieu of rent in respect of any holding and the said holding is declared to be a holding to which the Land Purchase Acts do not apply such payment in lieu of rent shall be deemed to be in satisfaction and discharge of all rent which may have accrued due to the landlord up to and including the last gale day for which the said payment in lieu of rent has been collected.”

This is an amendment to deal with a certain class of case which has come under our notice. The Parliamentary Secretary is probably aware of such cases. I do not know whether the amendment would meet with his approval, but if he is prepared to consider the question I would be prepared to withdraw it until the next stage. Where the purchase proceedings have been terminated without vesting in the tenant, and where the tenant has been paying payment in lieu of rent, it has happened in the County Wexford that the landlord subsequently took proceedings against the tenant for the recovery of the balance of rent which he alleged was due to him. That was a great injustice to the tenant who was granted his reduction in good faith and it seems to me that this is a loophole which the Land Commission should deal with. At any rate, we should not have the position that when the Land Commission, for some reason best known to themselves, and which the tenant could not possibly understand, decided to terminate the proceedings the landlord should suddenly pounce upon the tenant for a very large sum of money. There seems to be no way out of it, as the law stands at present.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  I do not think the Deputy seriously proposes that I should introduce legislation for the purpose of meeting a case of that kind. After all, if a holding of land does not come under the Land Acts I do not see why I should be asked to introduce legislation [1361] for the purpose of enabling the tenant to evade his liabilities to his landlord.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  Is the tenant evading his liability?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  There are very few cases of that kind. I am sure the case cited by the Deputy is an exceptional one. In any event he is satisfied it is a type of case that cannot be covered by any section in this Bill. It would be obviously unfair. I think that it is quite apparent.

Mr. Little: Information on Patrick J. Little  Zoom on Patrick J. Little  But suppose that through the neglect of the landlord he himself has not taken proceedings and allowed the matter to go on, and the landlord is receiving payment in lieu of rent for several years and then only establishes his claim, surely the very fact of his neglect to take these proceedings much earlier should estop him. I think we should provide for a case of that sort.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  How do you suggest that we can provide for it?

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  By putting a limit to the period of years.

Mr. Nolan: Information on John Thomas Nolan  Zoom on John Thomas Nolan  I do not think that this amendment can be accepted, because in the first place the landlord returned the number of tenants; some of them had judicial leases, others had not. But they came under the Land Commission for payment in lieu of rent. Afterwards, on the examination of the title and the leases of those tenants, it was found that some had judicial leases, and, therefore, they could then be vested. The others had not judicial leases, and were not vested. They did not come within the purview of the Land Act of 1923; they could not be vested. I do not think this Bill covers every case. There will be some exceptions still. The landlord had his right, and when those tenants were excluded from the Land Act of 1923 or the Land Act of 1927 there was no alternative but to go back to the other position, and then who would make up the loss? Was the landlord to suffer? Was the Land Commission to make up the loss to the tenant afterwards? Personally I do not see that they could. It is hard upon the tenant to have to make good the difference [1362] between the interest in lieu of rent and the non-judicial rent. If he could be brought in under the present Bill in any shape he would be satisfied, but that is beside the point at the moment. I do not see how the Parliamentary Secretary could accept this amendment.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I do not see what is to stop the Parliamentary Secretary from accepting it. The case he made is no answer. Nobody has made any case against the amendment. I quoted a case before about a court letting. If the Parliamentary Secretary would bring in an amendment on Report that would cover the case I have already quoted——

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  Oh, no. I was merely giving Deputies another opportunity to make up their minds as to what they really wanted.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  We know what we wanted. I understood the Parliamentary Secretary asked to have the matter postponed so that he could find out what he wanted. If we were clear at the time that the Parliamentary Secretary had his mind made up and only wanted to know what we wanted we could have easily have settled the point. But even if that case were made right, the particular tenant whose case I quoted would be affected all the same, because he could not now possibly pay the difference between the rent due to the landlord and what he had paid in lien of rent. The difference amounted to £146. When the landlord found out from the Land Commission that this man did not come under the Land Act he sued the tenant for the difference which amounted to £146. The tenant is not able to pay that. The Land Commission offered themselves to take over the place from the landlord and give it to the tenant, but of course, the tenant cannot avail of that unless he puts up £146. How is a case of that kind to be got over? The tenant was paying interest in lieu of rent which he thought was his whole liability. The landlord was getting interest in lieu of rent which he thought was all that was due to him. He was quite satisfied until it came [1363] to the point when he found that this man did not come under the Land Act. Surely it is an injustice to put this man out of his holding because he cannot pay £146 to the landlord which the landlord never expected and probably does not want, but because the law is as it is, and the Land Commission do not want to be put to too much trouble about thinking out amendments of this sort, the Parliamentary Secretary is determined not to have a single comma altered in this Bill, and having the opinion that he has of himself and his department he thinks this House is not competent in any way to alter this Bill. Because of these things this man is to be put out of his holding and deprived of his living. We heard nothing at all against this amendment except that it is not necessary, and that Deputies are not serious. On almost every amendment the Parliamentary Secretary has said the Deputy who moved it had not read the section or taken it seriously. That is his attitude on every amendment. He has not dealt with any amendment on its merits, but always with the remark that the Deputy has not read the section or misunderstood it.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  May I ask under what head it was declared that this tenant did not come under the Act?

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I explained that before. This holding at the time the 1923 Act was passed was held on a court lease, although his father and grandfather before him had been tenants of the place. At the time the 1923 Act was passed he held it on a court lease owing to a dispute.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  In a particular case?

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  Yes.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  I think the Parliamentary Secretary should accept this amendment. It is an important amendment, and there would be a grave injustice done to this man if the amendment is not accepted. Many cases will come up from time to time which the Land Commission will cover by the introduction of new legislation. This is a particular case, and we happened to come into possession of the facts a [1364] short time ago. A great injustice will be done to this man if the amendment is not accepted. This case has cropped up because two branches of the landlord's family had a dispute. This case was decided in court, and what was not foreseen or expected at the passing of the Land Act of 1923 happened. Were it not for that this case would not have cropped up at all. The position now is that this man is to be evicted or else to pay £150 arrears. In 1923 it was not definitely known who the proper owners were. It is only common justice to the tenant that this amendment should be accepted. I wonder what are we passing legislation for? Is it in the interests of the owners of the land or in the interests of the tenants? I think we are here to legislate in the interests of the tenants and not of the landlords.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  With regard to this particular case which was referred to already, it is quite possible that, although this amendment is meant to deal with a specific case, it might, at the same time, inflict great hardships in other cases. If this amendment were accepted and put into the Bill then it would apply to all cases, and not be limited to this individual's particular case. The difficulty might be met in another and better way. We discussed earlier in another amendment whether this class of case should be considered by the Land Commission as a continuation of a previous tenancy and then the terms of this Act would apply, whereby this question of looking for arrears would be done away with altogether.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  It cannot be done away with.

Mr. Little: Information on Patrick J. Little  Zoom on Patrick J. Little  I think this is not going to be an exceptional case. I know myself cases where persons in the position of landlords delayed in lodging particulars and taking proceedings to have certain holdings proved to be town parks. Suppose that the landlord should, to-morrow or the day after, take proceedings to prove that a particular holding is a town park, and suppose he succeeds in that? For the last eight years or so he has been [1365] receiving payment in lieu of rent, and now if he succeeds in proving the land a town park he will be able to follow up the tenant for the difference. I think the Bill should provide for stopping the landlord from getting anything more than he has got already.

Mr. Finlay: Information on Thomas A. Finlay Snr.  Zoom on Thomas A. Finlay Snr.  It would appear that the amendment proposed in this case is one which is wrong in principle. The position of the landlord and tenant is one that is governed entirely by free contract between the parties, and, in the case of certain tenancies which existed at the passing of the Land Act of 1923, the Statute controls in certain cases the contract which existed between the parties. In this particular case which has been referred to by Deputy Ryan, apparently through an error on the part of the parties themselves, they considered that the 1923 Act applied, and that the Statute controlled their rights. It now transpires, and has transpired for some time, that the Statute has not controlled their rights. The effect of the amendment being carried is this, that it is a declaration by this House that in this or in any similar case the parties are resorting to their contractual rights which existed prior to the passing of the 1923 Act, but, by, as it were, a class of retrospective legislation, they are put on an equality, though they are outside the Act of 1923, with the tenants who are getting the benefit of that Act, an Act which in fact never applied to them.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  With regard to what Deputy Finlay says, I do not know what the legal meaning of “free contract” may be, but I never understood that the contract between the landlord and the tenant was a free contract. Apart from that, it was not the tenant, but the landlord, made the mistake. He returned this tenant in the list of his tenants under the 1923 Act.

Mr. Little: Information on Patrick J. Little  Zoom on Patrick J. Little  Surely Deputy Finlay will admit that ignorance of the law is not a plea that can be put up as an answer in any case, and if the landlord has neglected to conserve his rights he should not have any rights at all.

Mr. Finlay: Information on Thomas A. Finlay Snr.  Zoom on Thomas A. Finlay Snr.  This tenant is entitled in [1366] a court of law to raise that as against his landlord in his claim for a return.

Mr. Little: Information on Patrick J. Little  Zoom on Patrick J. Little  I think it is a wrong policy to have a matter of that kind decided in a court of law. It is a very obvious case.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  There are two other cases which this amendment should cover. Take the case of a holding where the Land Commission may decide or have decided that the lands were substantially agricultural or pastoral. In these cases the landlord may go back to 1923. Since 1923 the tenants have got 25 per cent. reduction. It seems now from what Deputy Finlay has said that the landlord has the right to sue for arrears, though in fact he returned them in good faith in 1923. The Land Commission recently decided in the matter of the vesting of these holdings that they reverted back to their old status. Now the landlord has the right to collect his 25 per cent. In the case of holdings where they decided they were small holdings there was an additional 10 per cent.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  There is no point in what Deputy Little has said, as town parks are not excluded from the Land Acts. Deputy Little should know that. The proposal is this, that the tenant of a holding excluded from the Land Acts should be treated in exactly the same way as the tenants coming under the Land Act of 1923. Is that the proposal?

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  When returned by the landlord.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  Yes. I take it the landlord returned the tenant in the bona fide belief that he was a tenant to whom the 1923 Land Act applied. It was subsequently discovered that it did not apply to this particular holding. I think it ought to be clear to any Deputy that no Minister could introduce a Bill to cover a particular case of that kind where it has been determined judicially that it is not a holding coming under the Land Act of 1923, and consequently the tenant is not entitled to any of the benefits to which tenants coming under that Act are entitled.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  Was not the error [1367] committed by the landlord in the first instance, and why should the tenant have to suffer for that? Why should not the landlord pay for his own error?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  That is a matter between the landlord and his tenant.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  We do not believe it is. We believe that the tenant should be protected by setting some limit to the period for which the landlord could have redress. I should not use the word “redress” because the landlord has no case. The mistake has been made by himself. What we are trying to do here now is to prevent this hardship. Take the case of the tenant here. My proposition is to meet that case. The tenant has to pay up all these arrears or be evicted. It is a definite hardship on the tenant and it is the landlord's fault. We want to protect the tenant. He should be protected by this amendment or by a definite limit being put to the period of time during which he can recover the difference between payment in lieu of rent and the old rent. I do not think that any reasonable argument can be put up against the equity of the case we are making. Our duty is to protect the people who are not able to protect themselves.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  It seems the tenant is suffering from two hardships. One, he is sued for the allowance he was getting, and the other, a greater hardship, that he does not come under the provisions of the Bill at all. Would it be possible to appoint a committee to go into the matter with the Parliamentary Secretary before the Report Stage? The tenant is the successor to his father and perhaps his grandfather and he is excluded from the provisions of this Bill. There may be some way out of this instead of passing this amendment which would entail hardships in another direction.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  Let that be pointed out.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  It should not be passed because of that, and a way out might be found by a committee in consultation with the Parliamentary Secretary.

[1368]Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  Deputy Gorey has not pointed out how there would be a hardship in other directions. As he said, in this particular case there is a double hardship. The tenant does not come under the terms of the original Act, and he is now being excluded from the provisions of this Bill. There are two definite hardships. We are dealing with one of them at the moment. They apply to more than to the individual mentioned by Deputy Dr. Ryan. We are anxious to protect all cases that may come under this heading, and they may frequently occur. The Parliamentary Secretary has said that this thing does not occur very often. We do not know, but we know that certainly it has happened in this specific case, and we want to provide against this happening in the future and, if possible, to make restitution in regard to the past in so far as we can. As far as Deputy Gorey's suggestion is concerned, there may be a class of case which could be dealt with in the way he suggests, but the attitude of the Parliamentary Secretary is, no matter what case of hardship we bring up here, because it is not in the Bill he is not going to listen to any amendment.

Mr. Kennedy: Information on Michael Joseph Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Joseph Kennedy  Take the case of an uneconomic holding excluded under the terms of the 1923 Act. I have in mind the case of a woman on the Reilly Estate in the vicinity of Finea. She has been brought up for arrears of rent, and the next thing will be that she will be evicted. If it is an uneconomic holding the 25 per cent. reduction plus the 10 per cent. should apply to it for all time. In fact, the landlord should pay her a subsidy for living in the holding, and for the rack-rents that she had paid in years gone by. There is no consideration for such tenants.

Dealing with the whole subject of reduction of rents, what the tenant looks at is not that at the end of 68½ years the land will be fee-simple, but the reduction that he will get after the land is vested. That is what this Bill is about. The hardship that is permitted under this Bill in the case of uneconomic holders, and that has been referred to by Deputy de Valera and [1369] other speakers, should not be allowed. Certainly, as I said, the reduction should obtain for all time. In fact, there should be no rent at all on these uneconomic holdings.

[1370]Mr. Little: Information on Patrick J. Little  Zoom on Patrick J. Little  I should have said land suitable for building near a town. It was a slip on my part.

Amendment put.

Aiken, Frank.
Allen, Denis.
Anthony, Richard.
Blaney, Neal.
Boland, Gerald.
Bourke, Daniel.
Brady, Seán.
Briscoe, Robert.
Broderick, Henry.
Buckley, Daniel.
Carney, Frank.
Carty, Frank.
Clancy, Patrick.
Clery, Michael.
Colbert, James.
Corkery, Dan.
Corry, Martin John.
Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
Crowley, Tadhg.
Davin, William.
Derrig, Thomas.
De Valera, Eamon.
Everett, James.
Fahy, Frank.
Fogarty, Andrew.
Geoghegan, James.
Gorry, Patrick J.
Goulding, John.
Hayes, Seán.
Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
Houlihan, Patrick.
Jordan, Stephen.
Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
Kent, William R.
Killilea, Mark.
Kilroy, Michael.
Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick John.
Maguire, Ben.
McEllistrim, Thomas.
MacEntee, Seán.
O'Connell, Thomas J.
O'Reilly, Matthew.
Ruttledge, Patrick J.
Ryan, James.
Sexton, Martin.
Sheehy, Timothy (Tipp.).
Smith, Patrick.
Walsh, Richard.

Aird, William P.
Alton, Ernest Henry.
Beckett, James Walter.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Blythe, Ernest.
Bourke, Séamus A.
Brennan, Michael.
Brodrick, Seán.
Carey, Edmund.
Cole, John James.
Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
Conlon, Martin.
Connolly, Michael P.
Cosgrave, William T.
Craig, Sir James.
Daly, John.
Davis, Michael.
Doherty, Eugene.
Dolan, James N.
Doyle, Peadar Seán.
Duggan, Edmund John.
Dwyer, James.
Egan, Barry M.
Finlay, Thomas A.
Fitzgerald, Desmond.
Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
Good, John.
Gorey, Denis J.
Haslett, Alexander.
Hassett, John J.
Heffernan, Michael R.
Hennessy, Michael Joseph.
Hennessy, Thomas.
Henry, Mark.
Jordan, Michael.
Kelly, Patrick Michael.
Keogh, Myles.
Law, Hugh Alexander.
Leonard, Patrick.
Lynch, Finian.
Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
McDonogh, Martin.
McFadden, Michael Og.
McGilligan, Patrick.
Mongan, Joseph W.
Mulcahy, Richard.
Murphy, James E.
Nally, Martin Michael.
Nolan, John Thomas.
O'Connell, Richard.
O'Connor, Bartholomew.
O'Hanlon, John F.
O'Higgins, Thomas.
O'Leary, Daniel.
O'Mahony, The.
O'Reilly, John J.
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.

[1371]Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  Before we proceed to deal with the next business, may I mention that I made a suggestion before in connection with this matter and I hope that it may be acted on. My suggestion is that a small committee should consult with the Parliamentary Secretary to get over the difficulty where an obviously technical flaw has occurred to deprive the tenant of the benefits of the Act.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  What small committee does the Deputy suggest?

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  I would suggest Deputy Dr. Ryan and Deputy Allen. I would be willing to act if I could be of any help.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  That is a matter to be settled between the Deputies concerned. It could be settled privately, as the Parliamentary Secretary suggests.

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

In sub-section 1, after the word “necessity,” line 8, to insert the words “and where the portion so sub-let is land to which Section 24 of the Land Act, 1923, as amended by this Act applies”

This is an amendment which we would like to see inserted as a safeguard. In Section 15 dealing with sub-tenancies which are now to be made separate holdings there does not seem to be a definite provision specifying that such tenancies shall be only tenancies to which the provisions of the Act of 1923 should apply. I propose to make it quite clear as to the kind of lettings to be allowed in. At present there is nothing to show the nature of sub-tenancies which the Land Commission in their discretion might allow in. They might allow in sub-tenancies in the nature of residential holdings held by professional men. We want to have some safeguard in regard to this. Perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary might accept the amendment.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  I think that the Deputy will find that his point is covered by paragraph (d) of sub-section (1). The [1372] wording is different from that in the amendment but it covers the same point, and perhaps it covers it a little bit more effectively than the amendment. The clause is designed to cover the point in which the Deputy is interested.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  Should the Land Commission not specify that the sub-letting should be agricultural?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  There is no necessity.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  I move:—

In sub-section (3), page 9, line 33, to delete the word “Land.”

This is purely a drafting amendment.

Amendment put and agreed to.

Question proposed: “That Section 15, as amended, stand part of the Bill.”

Mr. Kennedy: Information on Michael Joseph Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Joseph Kennedy  On the section I must protest against the non-inclusion in the section of a provision, as suggested by Deputy Derrig, to safeguard the person whose holding is not being vested. Even though it was indicated by Deputy Finlay that he could go in and make a case against the landlord, it puts an extraordinary amount of expense on him which could be avoided now. It was a beautiful sight to see the farmers' representative going into the Lobby and backing the landlord to enable him to recover 25 per cent. arrears of rent. It was also beautiful to see Independent Deputies backing up the landlord to mulct the tenant who does not come within the provisions of the Act.

Question—“That Section 15, as amended, stand part of the Bill”— put and agreed to.

(1) Where a sub-tenant on a holding is deemed under this Act to be the tenant of the portion of such holding in his separate occupation and to have entered into a subse quent purchase agreement in respect of such portion of such holding, the tenant of such holding shall [1373] be entitled to receive and recover from such sub-tenant all rent and arrears of rent accrued due by such sub-tenant to such tenant up to and including the gale day next before the date on which such sub-tenant is so deemed to have entered into such subsequent purchase agreement and also an apportioned gale of rent for the period between the said gale day and the said date.

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

In sub-section (1), after the word “sub-tenant,” line 42, to insert the words: “or at the option of the tenant to have deducted from the purchase price of the portion of the holding sold to him a sum equal to” and add at the end of the sub-section the words following: “and such sum shall be added to the purchase price of the portion of the said holding purchased by the sub-tenant.”

This section deals with the mutual rights of the tenant and sub-tenant, and gives the tenant the right to recover arrears of rent that may be due to him by the sub-tenant. We simply would like to have the alternative method. I do not know whether it is now better or not, but it seems to me that it would avoid litigation, and that it would be an easier way out for both the tenant and the sub-tenant. We are moving to insert the words “or at the option of the tenant to have deducted from the purchase price of the portion of the holding sold to him a sum equal to,” and to add at the end of the sub-section the words “and such sum shall be added to the purchase price of the portion of the said holding purchased by the sub-tenant.” That is to say, in the same way as compounded arrears were added to the purchase price, to add the arrears of rent due by the sub-tenant to the tenant to the purchase price.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  As I understand this proposal it would deduct the sub-tenants arrears from the purchase money going to the landlord and add it to the value of the intervening interests [1374] of the tenant. The Land Commission does not collect rent from the sub-tenant. The sub-tenant pays his rent direct to the tenant. Consequently the Land Commission is not in a position to know whether the sub-tenant is in arrear with his rent or not. The tenant may have paid his payment in lien of rent up to date, and it would be quite unfair to penalise the tenant because the sub-tenant is in arrear with his payment of rent In any event my difficulty is that I do not know whether the sub-tenant is in arrear or not. I have no means of ascertaining what the amount of arrears is, if any, which the sub-tenant may owe to the tenant. There is no machinery at my disposal to ascertain that.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  Are the sub-tenants not set out in the landlord's list?

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

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  In no case?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  They may be in some cases, but there is no obligation on him unless he knows them.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  How has the Land Commission cognisance of sub-tenants?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  Yes. They are discovered also in the course of inspections by our surveyors or inspectors down the country.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  Might I ask the Parliamentary Secretary to consider the matter so as to bring in an amendment to make it compulsory on the landlord to reveal or to indicate sub-tenancies? It is a hardship on tenants as they may not be aware that they have to apply in this way. I understand that, as matters stand, the landlord is not compelled to give a list of sub-tenancies. If that is so, as I understood the Parliamentary Secretary to say, would he not consider the question of amending the Land Bill so as to make them provide these lists?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  The landlord of course may not be aware of the existence of the sub-tenants at all.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  Need not be aware?

[1375]Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  In the majority of cases he would not be aware. He has no knowledge in many cases. These are sub-tenancies on tenanted holdings.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  Does the Parliamentary Secretary suggest that the landlord need not be aware of these at all?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  He may not be aware.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  Are they valid without the landlord's cognisance?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  The Deputy referred to the fact that the landlord did not return the sub-tenancies. I am replying to that by stating that the landlord, in the majority of cases, would not be aware of the existence of such tenancies. These are sub-tenancies on tenanted holdings — sub-tenancies created by his own tenants.

Mr. de Valera: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  Is it possible to have these sub-tenancies valid without the cognisance of the landlord?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  Of course, yes.

Mr. Haslett: Information on Alexander Haslett  Zoom on Alexander Haslett  Will the sub-tenant become a tenant under the Land Commission?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  Yes, and will pay an annuity direct to the Land Commission.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  I move:—

In sub-section (1), page 9, after the word “rent” where it first occurs in line 42, to insert in brackets the words “(as reduced under section 23 of the Land Act, 1923)” and after the word “rent” where it secondly occurs in line 42 to insert in brackets the words “(as so reduced)” and in line 46, after the word “of” to insert the word “such.”

This is purely a drafting amendment. It makes it quite clear that the sub-tenants are entitled to the 25 per cent. They pay rents in the same way as ordinary tenants and are entitled to that reduction.

Amendment put and agreed to.

[1376] Section 16, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

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

Before Section 17 to insert a new section as follows:—

“Where part of a holding has at any time prior to the passing of this Act been sub-divided or sub-let without the consent of the landlord in breach of a statutory condition affecting the holding or of any covenant or condition in the lease or agreement for letting of the said holding and any person is in actual possession pursuant to such sub-division or sub-letting the sub-division or sub-letting shall be deemed valid.”

This is to cover a large number of cases which occur, I understand, in the West of Ireland, where the landlord's consent has not been given, which we were glad to hear from the Parliamentary Secretary a moment ago, is not necessary, but which lawyers say is necessary under the Land Purchase Code to make sub-tenancies valid where a sub-letting has grown up. It has been known as a sub-letting or sub-division for generations though the consent of the landlord is not available. The fact that the landlord's consent is not available should not be called in to deprive these people of the benefits of this section dealing with sub-tenancies. The condition of affairs is well known to Deputies in the West that you may have sub-tenants in possession of sub-divisions, or commonages, or various other rights which really are the landlord's legally, but to which from lapse of time and failure of the landlord to intervene the tenant could to a certain extent say he has a prescriptive right. We think in cases like that where the thing has, so to speak, gone by the board the fact that the landlord's consent is not there should not be sufficient to deprive these people of the benefits of this section.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on James Geoghehan  Zoom on James Geoghehan  This amendment is aimed at manifest inconvenience in various parts of the country. There are many cases in which tenants have sub-let and have subsequently repudiated [1377] their own act in sub-letting and in many cases evicted a sub-tenant on the mere technicality that the sub-letting was void because the consent of the landlord to a breach of the statutory condition or to a covenant in the lease had not been obtained. From the observations of the Parliamentary Secretary in reference to amendment 36 it is possible that this evil is more widespread than was anticipated on these benches, because the Parliamentary Secretary stated that in most cases the landlord was not aware of the existence of these sub-tenancies. This is so in the majority of cases.”

The Parliamentary Secretary has peculiar sources of information. He has the whole network of the Land Commission at his command and I am not surprised to hear that this is an injustice more widespread than we thought at the time we framed this amendment. I do hope that the veto of Deputy Gorey will not be imposed on this amendment. Remember probably in his own constituency and appended to these 150 acre farms of which he is so proud there are quite industrious sub-tenants who may not have gone through the whole legal routine in obtaining their sub-tenancies or sub-divisions. Deputy Gorey has dilated on the great burden it sometimes is to small sub-tenants to have to employ a solicitor or counsel as advocate. May I say that I agree with Deputy Gorey that in some instances that is a great burden?

Accordingly you find all through the country that small holders have tried to evade the hardship of the bill of costs by going to somebody and arranging a sub-letting, perhaps, in the forge while having their respective horses shod. The two of them treat it as an honourable arrangement until unfortunately there is a quarrel, or until the the sub-tenant seeks to assert his rights as a sub-tenant under the statute. Immediately he is told, “Oh give me possession, you are only a trespasser.” I hope this will not be treated in a partisan spirit. It is an amendment that must tend to aid many citizens [1378] who sympathise with Deputies who sit on the Labour Benches. It will certainly help many who, if the Farmers' Party is a genuine Farmers' Party, sympathise with the Farmers' Party, and even who sympathise with those who sit on the benches opposite, who, though they may be more delighted to find themselves in association with the 150 acre farmers, do not at certain times disdain the aid of the small sub-tenant, who has in a rough and ready way carved out a little holding for himself from a Larger tenancy, although his title may not pass the scrutiny of the Land Commission or of the conveyancing counsel or solicitor. This amendment does not inflict any real hardship on anyone. It merely seeks to give full artistic effect to arrangements that have been treated as honourable, honest and straightforward throughout the country.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  I do not know of any such tenancy as that to which Deputy Geoghegan refers. The position of sub-tenants is very adequately protected under the 1923 Act.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on James Geoghehan  Zoom on James Geoghehan  Provided they are legally sub-tenants.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  There is no doubt about their position. If they are paying rent to the tenants they are sub-tenants. There is provision in the amendment where that was done without the consent of the landlord. That has reference to a breach of a statutory condition. I do not think there is such a holding. I have not heard of it. This amendment is drafted to deal with it. I think once a tenancy is created and is in existence for a certain period there are rights in the tenant. The rights of sub-tenants were well defined in the previous Act.

Mr. Geoghegan: Information on James Geoghehan  Zoom on James Geoghehan  I wonder would the Parliamentary Secretary endorse that statement. I move to report progress.

The Dáil went out of Committee.

Progress reported.

The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until Thursday, March 12th.


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