Wednesday, 1 March 1933
Dáil Éireann Debate
Mr. O'Donovan: asked the Minister for Lands and Fisheries if he will state (a) if it is proposed to lodge for execution the decrees which have been obtained against land annuitants within the last six months, and if so when, and if not, what terms will be offered to the land annuitants affected; (b) how it is proposed to deal (1) with land annuitants against whom decrees have been obtained, but on which a stay of execution has been placed for periods which have not yet expired, and (2) with land annuitants against whom proceedings are pending but against whom decrees have not yet been obtained, and (c) how it is proposed to deal with land annuitants not affected by the foregoing.
Minister for Defence (Mr. Aiken) (for Minister for Lands and Fisheries): It is proposed to continue the stay which has been placed on decrees in respect of unpaid instalments of Land Purchase Annuities and to withdraw proceedings where decrees have not been obtained.
Mr. Dillon: Would the Minister, at an early date, have some kind of statement prepared explaining fully to the people what their exact position is in respect of each gale of the annuities since last June, because there is considerable confusion now as to what gale the Government's proposals for funding apply. I would ask the Minister to consider setting out for the people in some plain and categorical way what their obligations are in respect to each gale, say, for the last three gales.
Mr. Aiken: It has been announced that all the arrears outstanding on 1st June this year will be funded: that the annuitants will get an opportunity of having their arrears funded over a period of 50 years.
Mr. Dillon: In connection with this there is confusion in the public mind. I will not say that there is any confusion in the Ministerial mind. I think it would be of very great assistance to everyone and would help to ensure the success of the Government's scheme if a short statement were prepared setting out what the exact position is with reference to each gale.
Mr. Aiken: Any confusion that has arisen in the public mind in connection with this was created by people who tried to confuse the public at the last General Election. The Government's policy was announced.
Mr. Cosgrave: Is the Minister correcting now a previous statement made by the Minister for Lands and Fisheries to the effect that the June annuity for 1932 should be paid; that  the December annuity for 1931 would be funded; that the November and December annuities for 1932 would be funded, and that the May and June annuities of 1933 would be funded? If the Minister's statement is correct, the June annuity for 1932 in respect of which quite a number of Civil Bills were issued is now being funded as well. Is that an advance on the previous offer made?
Mr. Dillon: I hope the Minister is beginning to realise that my question was a constructive and helpful one and that there is confusion in the public mind with regard to this. May I say further that I think it is grossly improper for a Minister to suggest, on the occasion of a question of this kind, that there was any attempt on our part or on the part of anybody else to confuse the public mind on this. I hope the Minister will have the short statement I have suggested prepared and circulated so that people may be in a position to comply with the law, whatever it may be.
Mr. MacDermot: Is the Minister aware that when the Government's proposals were first announced I specifically asked if they applied to the May and June annuities of last year, and I was informed by the President that they did not?
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