Supplementary and Additional Estimates. - Damage to Property (Compensation) (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, 1933—Report Stage.

Thursday, 20 July 1933

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 49 No. 3

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[362]Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  I move amendments Nos. 1 and 2 on behalf of the Minister for Finance:

1. In page 3, Section 2 (1) (d) to delete in line 13 the word “both” and substitute the word “more.”

2. In page 3, Section 2 (1) (d) to insert in line 17 after the word “Act” the words “or because it was not proved that the chattels were taken away by any such persons as are mentioned in paragraph (d) of sub-section (9) of Section 15 of the Principal Act.”

Those amendments are designed to deal with persons who had applications for compensation under the preceding Compensation Act rejected by reason of the fact that evidence was not produced to show that the chattels were taken away by a person or persons named in sub-section (9) (d), namely, a person or persons:—

(i) engaged in or purporting to act or who might reasonably be presumed to have been acting in the name or on behalf of any combination or conspiracy for the overthrow of the late Provisional Government of Ireland or of the Government of Saorstát Eireann, or

(ii) belonging to or acting or purporting to act on behalf of any unlawful or seditious association, or

(iii) requisitioning or purporting to requisition the chattels for the use of or for consumption by any organisation engaged in armed resistance to the Provisional Government of Ireland or to the Government of Saorstát Eireann.

If persons were unable to produce evidence that their chattels, in respect of which they made applications for compensation, were taken away by persons coming under those definitions, the claim failed. It has been represented to the Minister for Finance that, in certain cases where the claims failed for want of the necessary evidence, witnesses—the parties, in [363] fact, who took away the goods—may now be available. In the circumstances, the Minister recommends the Dáil to accept an amendment which would place it within the power of those former applicants to renew their claims. They will, of course, have to substantiate those claims before the court. The purpose of amendment No. 2 on the Order Paper is to enable those persons to bring forward those claims. No. 1 is consequential on No. 2.

Amendments Nos. 1 and 2 agreed to.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  I move amendment No. 2a—

In page 3, Section 2 (1), before paragraph (f) to insert a new paragraph as follows:—

(f) all injurious acts which occurred in Saorstát Éireann on or after the 1st day of February, 1922, and on or before the 12th day of May, 1923, and were committed by a member or members of the armed forces under the control of the Minister for Defence or maintained by the Provisional Government or the Government of Saorstát Eireann, and consisted of the unlawful taking away of chattels from premises or land in the lawful occupation of the owner of such chattels; and

This amendment is directed to cases in which cattle for example, or other property, were unlawfully seized from persons by a member or members of the Army during the civil war period. Where those were taken lawfully, provision has already been made to deal with them under Section 6 of the Public Safety (Emergency Powers) (No. 2) Act, 1923, but there have been certain cases in which State forces took away cattle from a man's land quite unlawfully, by way of reprisals for the owner's sympathy or alleged sympathy with the forces in active opposition to the Treaty. The Minister for Finance, in suggesting that this amendment might be accepted to cover those cases, offers no opinion one way or the other as to the truth or otherwise of those allegations. He is simply [364] proposing that, as in amendments Nos. 1 and 2 which have been agreed to, those persons should have an opportunity of bringing their cases before the court. If they satisfy the court that the cattle were taken unlawfully in such circumstances they can be paid the appropriate compensation. As there are only a few genuine cases of this kind which have come under notice I would ask the House to accept the amendment.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  The most striking thing I see about the amendment is the wording of it, which rejoices me, as it admits the invalidity of the claims against the Government at the time.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  I do not follow the Deputy.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  It admits the validity of the Government of the day.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  I move amendments Nos. 3, 4 and 5.

3. In page 3, Section 3 (1), lines 45 and 46, to delete the words “passing of this Act” and to substitute the words “appointed date.”

4. In page 4, Section 3 (5), lines 6 and 7, to delete the words “passing of this Act” and to substitute the words “appointed date.”

5. In page 4 to insert at the end of Section 3 a new sub-section as follows—

(6) In this section the expression “the appointed date” means the day on which rules of court for the purposes of the Principal Act as amended by this Act and for the purposes of this Act come into operation.

Those amendments are designed to give further time to enable formalities in connection with the forms of application to be completed by applicants to be carried through. Rules of court have to be framed, and in view of the near approach of the long vacation, and the summer adjournment of both Houses of the Oireachtas, whose approval of the rules will be necessary, there is real danger that the rules of [365] court might not come into operation for some time, and as a consequence the making of claims within the time limit specified in Section 3 might be jeopardised. Those amendments have accordingly been introduced to provide that instead of “within three months after the passing of this Bill” it will be “within three months after the day on which rules of court come into operation.”

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  That is a rather curious provision. Is there any limit to the time which may be spent in drafting those rules? I do not believe such a provision as this has ever been inserted in any statute before. It seems a very strange provision. Those rules may come into force and may be amended many months afterwards. As far as I can gather from the statement which the Minister has made those claims can be carried on for ever by the drafting of further rules.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  I can only promise that every effort will be made to get the rule-making authority to draft the rules as soon as possible.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  What rule-making authority are you applying to? Is it the Circuit Court?

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  Yes.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  And is the one set of rules to be final? Does the time date from the first promulgation of a set of rules?

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  Yes.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  I do not know whether that is quite clear.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  What the amendment actually states is: “the day on which rules of court for the purposes of the Principal Act as amended by this Act and for the purposes of this Act come into operation.” That is amendment 5.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  I know that. Suppose there were ten successive rules of court——

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  Is that likely?

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Rules of [366] court are very often amended. I certainly suggest to the Minister that if he put in the words “first rules of court” or “rules of court for the purposes of the Principal Act as amended by this Act and for the purposes of this Act come into operation for the first time” it might carry out his intention.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  I will have the point looked into, and if necessary an amendment will be moved.

Amendments 3, 4 and 5 agreed to.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  I move amendment No. 5a:—

In page 4, Section 4 (2) (d), line 40, to insert before the word “and” the words “and the omission (in relation only to applications in respect of acts which are injurious acts to which this Act applies by virtue of paragraph (f) of sub-section (1) of Section 2 of this Act) of paragraph (d) of sub-section (9).”

This is consequential on No. 2a.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  I move amendment No. 6:—

In page 7 to delete Section 11 and substitute the following section—

(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other Act, and except where a reinstatement condition is attached to the decree and no part of such reinstatement condition was complied with before the passing of this Act, no payment shall be made after the 30th day of September, 1934, in respect of any compensation awarded by a decree made under the Principal Act, and any such compensation or part of such compensation not claimed and paid before that date shall be irrecoverable.

(2) Where a reinstatement condition is attached to a decree awarding compensation made under the Principal Act and no part of such reinstatement condition was complied with before the passing of this Act, the following provisions shall have effect, that is to say:—

(a) in case the person to whom such compensation was awarded dies after the passing of this Act [367] and before the 1st day of July, 1936, the following provisions shall have effect, that is to say, notwithstanding anything in any other Act, no payment shall be made after the expiration of three years after the death of such person in respect of such compensation, and any such compensation or part of such compensation not claimed and paid before such expiration shall be irrecoverable;

(b) in case—

(i) the person to whom such compensation is awarded dies after the 30th day of June, 1936, and

(ii) any son or daughter of such person has before the 1st day of July, 1936, agreed in writing with the Minister that, in the event of his or her becoming entitled on the death of such person to the land on which was situate the premises in respect of which such compensation was awarded, he or she will, within a period of three years after the death of such person, completely comply with such reinstatement condition, and

(iii) such son or daughter becomes so entitled, the following provisions shall have effect, that is to say, notwithstanding anything contained in any other Act, no payment shall be made after the expiration of such period in respect of such compensation, and any such compensation or part of such compensation not claimed and paid before such expiration shall be irrecoverable;

(c) in any other case, the following provisions shall have effect, that is to say, notwithstanding anything contained in any other Act, no payment shall be made after the 30th day of June, 1936, in respect of such compensation and any such compensation or part of such compensation not claimed and paid before that date shall be irrecoverable.

[368] (3) No payment, except where there is attached to the award or report (as the case may be) a reinstatement condition and no part of such reinstatement condition was complied with before the passing of this Act, shall be made by the Minister for Finance after the 30th day of September, 1934, in respect of any compensation awarded by the Compensation (Ireland) Commission or in respect of any loss or damage which was the subject of a report made before the passing of this Act under Section 15 of the Principal Act.

(4) Where a reinstatement condition is attached to an award of compensation made by the Compensation (Ireland) Commission or to a report made before the passing of this Act under Section 15 of the Principal Act, and no part of such reinstatement condition was complied with before the passing of this Act, the following provisions shall have effect, that is to say:—

(a) in case the person in whose favour such award or report (as the case may be) was made dies after the passing of this Act and before the 1st day of July, 1936, the following provisions shall have effect, that is to say, no payment shall be made by the Minister for Finance after the expiration of three years after the death of such person, in respect of (as the case may be) such compensation or any loss or damage which was the subject of such report;

(b) in case—

(i) the person in whose favour such award or report (as the case may be) was made dies after the 30th day of June, 1936, and

(ii) any son or daughter of such person has before the said 1st day of July, 1936, agreed in writing with the Minister that, in the event of his or her becoming entitled on the death of such person to the land on which was situate the premises to which such award or report (as the case may be) relates, he or she will, within a period of three years after the death of such person, [369] completely comply with such reinstatement condition, and

(iii) such son or daughter becomes so entitled, the following provisions shall have effect, that is to say, no payment shall be made by the said Minister after the expiration of such period in respect of (as the case may be) such compensation or any loss or damage which was the subject of such report;

(c) in any other case, the following provisions shall have effect, that is to say, no payment shall be made by the said Minister after the 30th day of June, 1936, in respect of (as the case may be) such compensation or any loss or damage which was the subject of such report.

(5) No payment shall be made by the Minister for Finance after the 30th day of September, 1934, in respect of any loss or damage which was the subject of a report made before the passing of this Act under Section 5 of the Indemnity Act, 1924 (No. 40 of 1924).

This amendment has been tabled in fulfilment of the promise which was made to Deputy Cosgrave on the Committee Stage of the Bill, to deal with the question of reinstatement. Section 11, as originally drafted, provided that no payment of compensation could be made after 30th September, 1934, in any case, and the Deputy suggested that the fixing of so near a time limit would be unfair to holders of reinstatement awards who had not yet begun reinstatement. The new section which I am now proposing, in lieu of the original Section 11, is unavoidably a lengthy one. Stripped of its legal phraseology the following will be the position under it: As regards sub-section (1), in the case of all outstanding decrees to which no reinstatement condition was attached or in which reinstatement has already been begun, the 30th September, 1934, will remain the final date for payment. There is no good reason for giving any extension in the case of unconditional awards. As regards reinstatement awards where operations have already [370] begun, the 30th September, 1934, should allow ample time for completion.

Under sub-section (2), in the case of reinstatement decrees where work has not begun by the date of the passing of the Bill; where the original applicant dies after the passing of the Bill, and before the 1st July, 1936, his successor in title will have three years after the date of the death of the original applicant within which to complete reinstatement. The latest date for completion in cases of this nature will accordingly be the 30th June, 1939. Where the original applicant dies after the 30th June, 1936, and a son (or daughter) has, before the 1st July, 1936, agreed in writing with the Minister for Finance to complete reinstatement within three years after the date of the original applicant's death, the son (or daughter) on succession to the property has three years after the date of the death within which to comply with that condition. In every other case, the applicant will have until the 30th of June, 1936, that is a further period of almost three years from now, within which to complete reinstatement.

The other sub-sections, (3), (4) and (5), are consequential, and distinguish between post-Truce decrees made under the 1923 Act, and awards of the Compensation (Ireland) Commission, Reports under Section 15 of the 1923 Act, and Reports under the Indemnity Act, 1924. Some of those payments are mandatory on the Minister for Finance, and others are purely discretionary. Provision has to be made to deal with them accordingly under those sub-sections.

Amendment No. 6 agreed to.

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

Mr. Derrig: Information on Thomas Derrig  Zoom on Thomas Derrig  If there is no objection, I would ask the House to take the Final Stage now.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Perhaps we had better take it to-morrow?

Final Stage fixed for Friday, 21st July.

The Dáil adjourned at 6.15 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on Friday, 21st July.


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