Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Imported Butter Prices.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Wool and Clothing Prices.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Unemployment in Tobacco Factories.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Imports from Japan.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Unemployment in Woollen Mills.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Extensions of Industry.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Rural Electrification.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Arigna Coal.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Generating Station at Arigna.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Capital Development Projects.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Dollar Investments.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Dried Fruit Purchases.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Donegal Road Construction.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Erection of Beacon at Arranmore
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Pharmaceutical Examinations.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Pneumoconiosis.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Territorial Fishing Limits.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Donegal Turbary Rights.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Galway Conacre Letting.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Division of Armstrong Estate.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Cleaning of Watercourses.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Cork Reclamation Scheme.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Laoighis Bog.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Castletown Turbary Lettings.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Afforestation.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Garda Síochána Applicants.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Primary School Holidays.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Provision of Schools in Finglas.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Superannuation Deductions.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Dublin Building Scheme.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Wexford Corporation Housing Rents.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Differential Rents.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Dungloe Housing.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Auto-Cycles Taxation.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Cork County Council Carters.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Carrabeg River.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Cork Postal Delivery.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Donegal Postal Delivery.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Kildare Letter-Box.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Market for Potatoes.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Ground Limestone Supplies.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Lough Ree Islanders' Fishing Rights.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Territorial Fishing Limits.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Sea Fisheries Association Stockpiling.
Election of President.
Order of Business.
Housing (Amendment) Bill, 1952—Second Stage.
Tourist Traffic Bill, 1951—Committee (Resumed).
 Do chuaigh an Ceann Comhairle i gceannas ar 3 p.m.
Mr. Norton: asked the Taoiseach if he will state the quantity and cost price of butter imported in each of the quarters of 1950 and 1951 and for each month of 1952 to date.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach (Donnchadh Ó Briain): I propose, with the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, to circulate in the Official Report a statement giving the desired information for each quarter of 1951 and for each month of 1952 to date. There were no imports of butter during the year 1950.
Following is the statement:—
IMPORTS OF BUTTER IN EACH QUARTER OF 1951 AND IN EACH MONTH OF 1952 TO DATE.
|Period||Quantity||Average C.I.F. Price per Cwt.|
Mr. Rooney: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether he is aware that a very low price was paid this year to farmers for wool fleeces compared with previous years and that this drop in wool prices has not resulted in a similar drop in the prices of clothing; and, if so, whether he is now prepared to take steps which will ensure that clothing will be sold to the public at lower prices.
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Lemass): I assume that the Deputy is referring to wool of the 1951 clip, for which farmers received somewhat lower prices than for the 1950 clip but higher than they received for the 1949 clip. Only a relatively small proportion of Irish wool is suitable for conversion into cloth, and, in any case, the effects of changes in the price of raw wool would not be reflected in the price of the manufactured article for some time. There is evidence, however, that the downward adjustment of clothing prices has been proceeding.
Mr. Doyle: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether he is aware of the increasing unemployment and short time at present existing in cigarette and tobacco factories, and whether any remedial measures are  contemplated by his Department to solve this problem.
Mr. Lemass: From the figures available to me of employment in cigarette and tobacco factories, there appears to be very little change in the incidence of employment for several years past. Any little change there has been merely reflects normal fluctuations and does not indicate any significant change.
Mr. Doyle: Is the Minister aware that a Dublin firm is closed for three days and that others are contemplating reducing their staffs?
Mr. Lemass: The information available to me from the Central Statistics Office for March, 1952, indicates no change in employment in the tobacco factories and, in fact, the situation was then, if anything, a trifle better than it had been some time previously.
Mr. MacBride: In view of Deputy Doyle's statement, I take it that the Minister will have the matter looked into?
Mr. Lemass: Yes.
Mr. McGrath: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if his attention has been directed to a report of a meeting of Cork workers' council, published in a local evening paper on 16th May, wherein a statement was made that baskets and chairs were being imported from Japan and competing against the products of the blind community; and, if so, if he will indicate if the statement is correct and the quantities imported in each year from 1948 to 1951 and 1952 to date; and if he will take steps to prevent further importation of these articles.
Mr. Lemass: I have seen the Press report referred to. I have been unable to obtain confirmation from official sources of the statement that any baskets and chairs have been imported from Japan between 1948 and the first quarter of 1952. The second part of the question does not, therefore, arise.
Mr. Desmond: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether he is aware of the very serious unemployment at present existing in the County Cork woollen mills, which is greater than has existed for many years; and, if so, if he will consider convening a conference of the employers and workers concerned, with a view to restoring employment and industry in those mills.
Mr. Lemass: The present unemployment in certain of the woollen mills in County Cork is a reflection of the difficulties being experienced by woollen manufacturers generally, not merely in this country but all over the world. All practicable measures have been and will be taken to improve the position. Various proposals made by manufacturers and by trade unions are being considered. It does not seem to me that a conference as proposed would serve any purpose at the present time, but I will keep the suggestion in mind.
Mr. MacBride: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state (a) the number of extensions to existing undertakings employing (i) less than ten persons and (ii) ten or more persons, established with State aid or assistance in the Twenty-Six Counties during the period July, 1945, to date, and still in production; (b) the name, location and nature of production of each extension; (c) the date of commencement of production; (d) the total amount of employment provided by the extensions referred to at (a) (i) and (a) (ii) respectively, distinguishing in each case between adult (male and female) and juvenile (male and female) employees, and (e) the estimated total potential employment to be provided by the extensions referred to at (a) (i) and (a) (ii), respectively, when in full production.
Mr. MacBride: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state (a) the number of new factories employing (i) less than ten persons and (ii) ten or more persons, established with State aid or assistance in the  Twenty-Six Counties during the period July, 1945, to date, and still in production; (b) the name, location and nature of production of each factory; (c) the date of commencement of production; (d) the total amount of employment provided by the factories referred to at (a) (i) and (a) (ii) respectively, distinguishing in each case between adult (male and female) and juvenile (male and female) employees, and (c) the estimated total potential employment to be provided by the factories referred to at (a) (i) and (a) (ii), respectively.
Mr. Lemass: With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle I propose to take Questions Nos. 6 and 7 together. The compilation of the information for which the Deputy asks is a formidable task but if he will repeat the questions in about three weeks' time I hope to be in a position to give him such information as is available.
Mr. MacBride: Thank you.
Mr. Breslin: and Mr. J. Brennan asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state when it is intended to have the Electricity Supply Board network extended to Narin, Portnoo and Rosbeg in County Donegal.
Mr. Lemass: I am informed by the Electricity Supply Board that the villages of Narin and Portnoo are included in the Ardara area in which work on the erection of the rural electrification network has commenced. It is expected that supply will be available in these villages in the early autumn.
The townland of Rosbeg is not included in the area being developed as the financial return is low. The possibility of extending the current to Rosbeg will, however, be reinvestigated by the board before construction work in the Ardara area is completed.
Mr. O'Donnell: Rosbeg is a fishing village and, as such, it should take precedence over the other areas. Perhaps, the Minister would ask the Electricity Supply Board to bear that in mind when making a resurvey of the area?
Mrs. Ryan: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether it is the intention of the Electricity Supply Board to extend the rural electrification scheme to the Ballina area, County Tipperary.
Mr. Lemass: I am informed by the Electricity Supply Board that the Ballina neighbourhood, County Tipperary, is included in the Derrycastle rural area which was considered for selection by the board in February, 1952. The area has not so far been selected for development as its financial return is low in comparison with that of other areas. The area will be reconsidered by the board from time to time.
Mr. D.J. O'Sullivan: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will ascertain why the Millstreet area, County Cork, was not accepted for extension of rural electrification in March last in view of the fact that there was an acceptance ratio of over 90 per cent. in the last canvas and that the original canvass inaugurated over three years ago produced a ratio of 77 per cent.; and, further, if, in view of the additional fact that a canning factory which would give much needed permanent employment to between 40 and 50 operatives would be opened if electric current were available, he will state the approximate month when the electrification of the area may be expected.
Mr. Lemass: I am informed by the Electricity Supply Board that notwithstanding the good percentage of acceptances in the Millstreet area the financial return having regard to the capital cost of the extension is low compared with other areas. The reason is that the houses are more widely scattered in the Millstreet area than is usually the case. The area will be reconsidered by the board at intervals of three to four months but it is not possible to give an indication as to when development under the scheme may take place.
Mr. MacBride: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether his  attention has been drawn to reports that unless a market is found for Arigna coal some additional unemployment will arise in County Leitrim; and, if so, whether he will take steps to secure a greater utilisation of Arigna coal by Córas Iompair Éireann, the Electricity Supply Board, State-sponsored corporations, Government Departments and local government institutions.
Mr. Lemass: I am aware of reports of the nature referred to by the Deputy. The purchase and sale of Arigna coal is a commercial matter which is best dealt with by direct contact between the interests involved. I have no doubt that, provided it is offered for sale in a suitably graded marketable condition of reasonably constant quality, Arigna coal can compete, quality for quality, with imported basis it will be purchased by the undertakings named in the question.
Mr. MacBride: Would the Minister consider asking Córas Iompair Éireann to examine the possibility of, if necessary, adapting some of their engines for the utilisation of this coal?
Mr. McQuillan: Is the Minister aware that there is a strong bias amongest the engineering section of Córas Iompair Éireann against Arigna coal, and that is the real reason why it is not being used?
Mr. Lemass: Actually, the position is that Córas Iompair Éireann were using this coal up to last year, when they were unable to obtain further supplies. Now the availibility of this coal for Córas Iompair Éireann is in issue again, and so far as I know the only question is one of quality.
Mr. McQuillan: The coal was available in other years, and Córas Iompair Éireann would not take it because they could get British and American coal. That is what happened.
Mr. MacBride: Would the Minister not ask Córas Iompair Éireann to examine the possibility of designing  fire boxes suitable for the burning of that coal?
Mr. Lemass: The answer I gave Deputy McQuillan covers that point. Córas Iompair Éireann were using Arigna coal, whether mixed with other coal or not I cannot say, until last year. In the prevailing circumstances then that coal ceased to be available. So far as I know there is no technical problem in relation to the utilisation of this coal in any public undertaking provided the coal is available in sufficient quantities and provided the quality is of the standard required. One of the difficulties is the ash content.
Mr. MacBride: That is why I suggested the designing of the special fire boxes. I understand there is unemployment in the Arigna district as a result of the difficulty encountered in selling the coal. If Córas Iompair Éireann could absorb the quantity that is available that unemployment would not exist.
Mr. Hickey: If we have coal in the country is there not every reason why we should insist that it should be used in the country? We are paying £3 10s. a ton alone for freight on coal from America. We have coal and we will not use it.
Mr. Lemass: It is not quite so simple as that. As I have said already, Arigna coal can be used and will be purchased at present prices by any person who requires coal of that type. The point I made in my reply was that the arrangement of contracts between colliery owners and the commercial users of the coal is solely a matter for them. I met the representatives of some of the colliery owners and other persons interested some time ago and I tried to press that point of view on them. I do not think it is fair that the onus of finding a market for the coal should be placed entirely on the Government. I think it is primarily the concern of the commercial interests.
Mr. Hickey: As a responsible Minister, is it not the Minister's duty to find out who is to blame in the matter?
Mr. MacBride: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether he is prepared to request the Electricity Supply Board to examine the possibility of erecting an electric power generating station, in close proximity to the Arigna coal mines, and designed to use Arigna coal.
Mr. Lemass: The question of erecting a generating station in the vicinity of the Arigna coalfield has been under examination by the Electricity Supply Board for some time, and I understand from the board that, for the purpose of the examination, they await information which the colliery owners have been requested to supply about the nature and quantity of the coal which could be produced in the coal-fields over a period of 25 years.
Mr. MacBride: Does the Minister know how long this question has been under examination by the Electricity Supply Board?
Mr. Lemass: All I can say is that I requested the Electricity Supply Board in December last to examine the matter and let me have their views. The board stated that they had requested certain information from the colliery owners, information which they would require to prepare a report, and that that information has not yet been received.
Mr. MacBride: Would the Minister agree that Arigna is not such a strange, or weird, or secret product that the Electricity Supply Board do not know its quality and its ash content?
Mr. Lemass: I would not agree.
Mr. Davin: In making further inquiries, will the Minister ascertain from his technical advisers whether Arigna coal is better than American slates or American slack?
Mr. Lemass: I have no doubt whatever that good quality coal can be produced in Arigna. I also know that very bad coal was produced.
Mr. Hickey: That is all the more  reason why the Minister should examine the matter.
Mr. Rooney: asked the Minister for Finance if he will indicate the projects included in the £35,000,000 development programme and the amount set aside for each project; further, if he is in a position to state the sources from which he proposes to obtain the required capital.
Minister for Finance (Mr. MacEntee): I have nothing to add to the information on these matters contained in my Budget statement. The Deputy will find the relevant data at column 1150 and the following columns of the Dáil Proceedings on 2nd April, 1952.
Mr. Dillon: asked the Minister for Finance if he will state what is the estimated total amount of interest which will be earned by the investment of the equivalent of the proceeds of the dollar borrowings under the United States Loan Agreements, on the assumption that these investments will be retained until the conversion or repayment date specified.
Mr. MacEntee: The equivalent of the proceeds of dollar borrowings under the United States Loan Agreements, namely £40.671 million, had been invested as follows by 31st March, 1952:-
|In Ways and Means Advances to the Exchequer||40.500|
|In Mortgage Stock of the Agricultural Credit Corporation||0.106|
Taking account of stock purchased with interest received on the investments, the American Loan Counterpart Fund holds stock of the Agricultural Credit Corporation as follows:—
 Interest at the rate of 1½ per cent. per annum is payable by the Exchequer on Ways and Means Advances from the American Loan Counterpart Fund up to 30th June, 1952. As from 1st July, 1952, the rate charged will be 2½ per cent. per annum, this being the rate at which the interest on the dollar borrowings will then commence to run. Provision for this Exchequer liability in respect of Ways and Means Advances of £40.5 million has been made in estimating the charge on the Central Fund in the current financial year for the service of debt.
As I explained to the Deputy on 21st instant, the present equivalent in Irish currency of the dollar indebtedness to the Government of the United States is £45,756,144 or £5,085,058 more than the Irish currency proceeds of the borrowed dollars. It is on this £45,756,144 that interest at the rate of 2½ per cent. must be paid as from 1st July, 1952. But for the previous surplus earnings by way of interest and the cash on hands of the American Loan Counterpart Fund, the charge on the Central Fund this year for dollar interest would be even greater than the amount provided for.
I cannot venture any precise estimate of the return in relief of the interest and sinking fund payments on the dollar borrowings which may be derived by the Exchequer from the uses to which the American loan counterpart moneys were put. It is not possible to segregate any particular type of expenditure as having been met from the American Loan Counterpart Fund. The previous Government did, however, associate particularly with the use of loan counterpart moneys the land rehabilitation project, expenditure under the Local Authorities (Works) Act, 1949, grants for harbour improvements and advances for minerals development (Financial Statement, 1950, Dáil Debates, Volume 120, column 1641). I find that on these and other voted “capital services” the identifiable return to the Exchequer from expenditure in 1950-51 and 1951-52 was only about one-quarter of 1 per cent. per  annum. It would, on this basis, seem to be unduly optimistic to expect that the return from the expenditure of the loan counterpart moneys will relieve to any material extent the burden on the taxpayer of the interest and sinking fund payments which will extend over the period July, 1952, to December, 1983.
Mr. Dillon: asked the Minister for Finance if he will state on what facts he bases the assumption that dried fruit purchased in Europe or the Middle East would have to be paid for through the European Payments Union in gold, as stated by him in reply to a question on 21st May, 1952.
Mr. MacEntee: Dried fruit purchases from Greece or Turkey and from places within the monetary areas of these countries, which are members of the European Payments Union, involve in present circumstances an addition to the deficits which the sterling area has to settle through the union. The April deficit of the sterling area with European Payments Union countries as a whole has to be settled by a payment of 80 per cent. in gold from the central reserves of the area. This 80 per cent. gold tranche under the European Payments Union agreement has been applied to other monthly settlements by the sterling area since the beginning of 1952. It is feared that, under the terms of the agreement, the May deficit will have to be settled as to 100 per cent. in gold.
Mr. MacBride: Is the House to take it that payments from the sterling area reserve to these countries is no longer possible?
Mr. MacEntee: I do not understand the Deputy's question. Would he mind clarifying the point that he is trying to make?
Mr. MacBride: The Minister was asked the question, what are the facts which prevent the purchase of dried fruits from Turkey and Greece.
Mr. MacEntee: That was not the question.
Mr. MacBride: And the Minister's reply is, that it requires payments in gold.
Mr. MacEntee: I beg the Deputy's pardon, that was not the question which Deputy Dillon asked and which I answered.
Mr. MacBride: The question was to “state on what facts he bases the assumption that dried fruits purchased in Europe or in the Middle East would have to be paid for through the European Payments Union in gold”. Is not that the effect of the question?
Mr. MacEntee: No.
Mr. MacBride: May the House take it from the Minister's answer that payments to the European Payments Union in gold from the sterling area reserve are not open now?
Mr. MacEntee: Again, I cannot get the Deputy's point. The Deputy seems to be under a misapprehension. The question which I was asked was to “state on what facts he bases the assumption that dried fruits purchased in Europe or the Middle East would have to be paid for through the European Payments Union in Gold”. I have pointed out that, under the agreement with the European Payments Union, which we joined as a member of the sterling area—the Deputy was very much concerned that we should join it as a member of the sterling area— the May deficit of the sterling area, as a whole, including the amount for which we may be responsible ourselves, would have to be settled as to 100 per cent. in gold.
Mr. MacBride: I do not know whether the House can take it from the Minister's answer that it was not possible to buy from these areas because of the settlement in gold and because the sterling area reserve was not open to us for this purpose.
Mr. MacEntee: I do not see what is the point in buying from an area where the purchase is going to be 40 per cent. dearer, and, again, when that 40 per cent. dearer has to be paid for in gold.
Mr. Hickey: Who is in charge of sterling, especially gold?
Mr. MacEntee: The Deputy had better ask Deputy MacBride who signed the agreement.
Mr. Hickey: We ought to have a little more clearness about these things.
Mr. MacEntee: The Deputy should get that from Deputy MacBride whom he supported.
Mr. MacBride: Are you suggesting that we should leave the sterling area?
Mr. O'Donnell: asked the Minister for Finance if he is prepared to sanction a special grant for the making of an accommodation road from the terminus of the county road in Cruit Island, County Donegal, to Owey Sound and thereby ease the hardships imposed on Owey islanders of having to carry their turf and merchandise a distance of about one mile prior to boating them to the island.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance (Mr. Beegan): A number of grants, including one in 1951-52, have been spent on the improvement of the existing road through Cruit Island. The question of further repairs will be considered on its merits in future programmes of schemes.
Representations were received some years ago for an extension of this road to the seashore at Owey Sound but owing to an objection by some of the landholders the proposal could not then be considered. Arrangements will be made for an investigation of the present position in this regard when an inspector is next in the area.
Mr. O'Donnell: Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware of the hardships which are being suffered by the Cruit Islanders through their inability to obtain an accommodation road to the Island? Is he further aware that these unfortunate islanders have been made the cat's paw of politicians for the last 25 years with the promise that this accommodation road would be made for them? In view of all that will he take  steps to provide, if necessary by compulsion, a roadway for them?
Mr. Breslin: Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware of the fact that, if the local landowners would withdraw their objection, this road would have been made years ago?
Mr. Beegan: That is so.
Mr. Hickey: Why not make them agree?
Mr. O'Donnell: The Government has the power to make them agree.
Mr. O'Donnell: asked the Minister for Finance if he is aware that the Beacon near the scene of the Arranmore disaster and south of the island is almost completely covered at high waters; and, if so, if he will take steps to raise this beacon, and have cat's eyes inserted therein thereby making it easily visible to navigational and search lights of fishing and ferry boats.
Mr. Beegan: It is not clear what beacon the Deputy is referring to. Two beacons were erected by the Commissioners of Public Works near the scene of the Arranmore disaster and south of the island. These beacons were erected in 1937 to mark the approach channel to the landing places at Aphort and Chapel Strand. They are approximately seven feet above high water of ordinary spring tides; and as they are in the custody of the Donegal County Council any question in regard to them should be addressed to that body.
Mr. O'Donnell: Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that, when there is an abnormally high tide, one of these beacons is almost completely covered and that it is quite possible that at such a time a further disaster might occur on the island? Would the Parliamentary Secretary impress on the Donegal County Council that money should be made available for an extension of the altitude of this particular beacon?
Mr. MacBride: If we are to take it from the Parliamentary Secretary's reply that the Board of Works erected  these beacons, then surely the Board of Works should have erected them at such a height as to ensure that they would not be covered at high tide.
Mr. Beegan: I stated in my reply to the question, that they were erected approximately seven feet above high water of ordinary spring tides.
Mr. Dillon: asked the Minister for Health whether he has approved of a standard in the final examination of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland which results in only 23 per cent. of the candidates passing the examination, and if this standard is approved by him, if he has satisfied himself that the standard of education provided by the Pharmaceutical Society in their four-year course is producing satisfactory results.
Mr. Dillon: asked the Minister for Health whether he has approved the regulation of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland whereunder an examination fee of eight guineas is charged for the first and each subsequent attempt by a candidate at the final examination.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. Kennedy): With your permission, a Chinn Chomhairle, I propose to reply to Questions Nos. 18 and 19 together.
The subjects for the final examination of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland, the percentage of marks which must be obtained by candidates in order to secure a pass and the fee charged for admission to the examination are fixed by regulations made by the society at various times since 1875 and these regulations secured the approval of the appropriate authority for the time being when they were made, such authority being successively the Lord Lieutenant and the Privy Council, the Minister for Justice and, since June, 1950, the Minister for Health. I have satisfied myself from the reports of the officer of my Department who attends the examinations that they were conducted fairly and without undue severity.
Neither the society nor myself is satisfied with a system which results  in so high a percentage of failures, and I am at present examining proposals from the society for amendment of the regulations to revise the system of training and examinations.
Mr. Davin: Does the Parliamentary Secretary agree that there is an urgent case for the revision of this Victorian charter?
Mr. Kennedy: The matter is under examination at present.
Mr. Hickey: asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will state whether, as a result of the medical examination made on the health of coal miners in this country, as reported in an Irish medical journal this month, he is now agreeable to schedule pneumoconiosis as an industrial disease.
Mr. Kennedy: I would like to refer the Deputy to the reply which I gave on the 20th March last to his question on the same subject. The examination mentioned in that reply is proceeding. The problem of providing for compensation for pneumoconiosis lies chiefly in the long period of development of the disease and peculiar difficulties in its diagnosis.
Mr. Hickey: For years we have been pleading for this disease to be scheduled as an industrial disease, and so I am at a loss to understand what is the cause of the delay. Three doctors have reported on it recently, and, out of 1,333 miners examined, 78 were found to be infected. Of the 1,044 miners in the Castlecomer mines, 863 were examined. It was found that 56 and 18 had this disease of pneumoconiosis. This has been going on for years.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy should understand that the object of a question is to elicit information and not to make a speech.
Mr. Hickey: I am anxious to know what is the cause of the delay in making this a scheduled industrial disease. If the Parliamentary Secretary will read an article in this month's journal  of the Medical Council he will be convinced, I think, that it should have been made a scheduled industrial disease long before now.
Mr. MacBride: I should like to know if the Parliamentary Secretary has seen the article in the Irish Medical Association's Journal dealing with his topic within the last fortnight?
Mr. Kennedy: The Minister has this matter under active review. At his request the Medical Research Council are gathering information through the Council's National Tuberculosis Survey. They have gone to Castlecomer and other places. The examination is not yet complete. A special request has gone out from the Department of Health to the Medical Council for a further report on the dependability and practicability of diagnosis of the disease from X-ray films, and as to whether sufficient information is available, or is likely to be available, soon as to the time the disease takes to develop. In England, where there is a lot of this disease, they have great difficulties. They scrapped the scheme they had at the end of 1948.
Mr. Hickey: They have scrapped it in England and they have gone further by allowing for three years the full amount; if the disease breaks out he will get Workmen's Compensation even though he is not in the industry. I would ask the Minister to read the Medical Journal of this month and he will see the examination it gives the subject.
Mr. Kennedy: The matter is under active and immediate consideration.
Mr. Hickey: It is that for the last nine years.
Mr. MacBride: asked the Minister for External Affairs whether he has obtained a copy of the judgment of the International Court of Justice at The Hague in the dispute between Norway and Great Britain concerning the measurement and demarcation of territorial fishing limits; and, if so, whether he will make a copy of this  judgment available to Deputies by having a copy of it placed in the Oireachtas Library.
Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Aiken): A complimentary copy of the judgment of the court in the fisheries case has kindly been made available to the Irish Government by the court secretariat. This has just come to hand, and is the subject of intensive study in my Department. I have had further copies ordered, and when they become available I shall have one placed in the Library.
Mr. MacBride: asked the Minister for External Affairs whether his attention has been drawn to reports that the Government of Iceland have given notice of their decision to apply the recent decision of the International Court of Justice at The Hague concerning the definition, measurements and demarcation of territorial waters; and, if so, whether he will obtain and make available to the House the full text of the Icelandic Government's announcement and decision in this matter.
Mr. Aiken: The Icelandic Legation has very courteously presented to the Irish Government copies of an English translation of the recent decree made by the Icelandic Government “concerning conservation of fisheries off the Icelandic coasts”. These copies have just come to hand, and I am having one of them placed in the Library.
Mr. MacBride: Has the Minister's attention been drawn to the steps taken by the Icelandic Government and to the exchange of Notes which has taken place between the Icelandic Government and the British Government in regard to this particular question, and would he not consider it advisable that the Irish Government should adopt the same attitude as the Icelandic Government and lend it its full support?
Mr. Aiken: I am aware that this matter was started by the Icelandic Government in April, 1948, and the matter is now being reviewed and studied.
Mr. MacBride: Does the Minister hope to be able to make a statement to the House in the near future on the question?
Mr. Aiken: I cannot say.
Mr. MacBride: I am sorry. I do not want to make the position awkward for the Minister, but does not the Minister agree that it is a matter of some urgency and upon which the House is entitled to information as soon as possible? I have already asked a number of questions dealing with this particular problem.
Mr. Aiken: The Deputy is not making it the slightest bit awkward. It is a very difficult question. The Deputy is aware that the Icelandic decree arose out of the Presidential statement of April 5th, 1948. If it had not been a very complicated matter, I take it, it would have been dealt with long before this date. It would have been dealt with on April 6th, 1948.
Mr. MacBride: But the Minister knows the decision of the International Court was only given about three months ago and that on a number of occasions I have asked the Minister for information in regard to that decision. May I ask the Minister whether he would not consider it advisable that we should here adopt the same attitude as the Icelandic Government as rapidly as possible so as to lend support to Iceland and to have the same decision applied to our territorial waters?
Mr. Aiken: That question does not arise because it is completely separate and distinct. The Deputy asked for documents and, as I have told him, we have had great difficulty in getting these, but we have got some of them, and they are being placed in the Library.
Mr. O'Donnell: Is it not peculiar that Iceland acted on the decision of The Hague Court of Justice and we could not get the decision of the court?
Mr. Aiken: We are aware that Iceland started this matter on April 5th, 1948. Deputy O'Donnell was here since 1948 and only now is he getting excited about it.
Mr. O'Donnell: Deputy O'Donnell asked this question at least four times.
Mr. Aiken: He should have asked it of the previous Minister.
Mr. O'Donnell: asked the Minister for Lands if he is aware that the grazing rights of that part of the lands of Glenkeo Watt estate (serial No. 7.8. 35151, column No. U.1826), County Donegal, was vested in 12 tenants on the estate and that this season the Land Commission have given the turbary rights on these lands to 250 turf cutters, thereby rendering the grazing rights valueless; and, if so, if he will take steps to prevent a recurrence of such turbary lettings.
Minister for Lands (Mr. Derrig): An area of 980 acres on this estate was disposed of in undivided shares to 18 persons in 1950. The turbary was excluded from the allotments and reserved to the Land Commission. It is proposed to make seasonal lettings of the turbary until such time as the Land Commission are in a position to allot it.
Mr. O'Donnell: Does the Minister consider it fair that grazing rights should be given to 18 persons and that, after they have taken the grazing rights, 250 tenants should be permitted to come in and use the turbary, making the grazing rights practically valueless to the tenants who have paid good rents for it?
Mr. Derrig: I do not know what solution the Deputy would suggest. If he has any I would be very glad to hear it.
Mr. O'Donnell: Reduce the rents, No. 1, and reduce the number of turbary tenants.
Mr. Donnellan: asked the Minister for Lands if he is aware that the lands of the Armstrong estate at Cloonfaghna, Ballymoe, County Galway, which were acquired by the Land Commission 35 years ago have been let in conacre on the 11 months system since; and, if so, if he will request the Land Commission  to proceed at once with the division of these lands.
Mr. Hession: asked the Minister for Lands if he will recommend to the Land Commission the propriety of dividing without further delay the Armstrong estate at Cloonfaghna, Glynsk, Castlerea, which has been in their possession for at least 30 years.
Mr. Derrig: With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take together Questions Nos. 24 and 25.
It is proposed to utilise these lands in the rearrangement of the holdings in Cloonfaghna. The Land Commission expect to carry out the rearrangement this year.
Mr. Crowley: asked the Minister for Lands whether he will state if the Land Commission have decided to clean and put in order the three watercourses running from the Mackey bog at Castleconnell to the Shannon as well as that running into the Mulcair as in their present neglected condition they are not capable of giving effective drainage; and, if so, when the work will be put in hand.
Mr. Derrig: I would refer the Deputy to the reply given to a similar question by Deputy Reidy on 22nd November last.
Mr. Desmond: asked the Minister for Lands if he has yet reached a decision regarding the proposed reclamation scheme at Minane Bridge, County Cork.
Mr. Derrig: A decision has not yet been reached in this matter. Costings are at present being revised in view of increases in wages and prices of materials since the original estimate was prepared.
Mr. Desmond: Considering that the Department notified the Cork County Council two years ago that, by giving the local amount of roughly 25 per cent. the Department were then prepared  to go on with the scheme, I would like to know why is it that when the Department received notification from Cork they sat down on the job.
Mr. Derrig: The question ought to be addressed to my predecessor and not to me. Since I have become responsible for this matter I have found that there has been a considerable increase in costs and fresh estimates have to be prepared. In order to know what exactly the final cost is going to be, I have to satisfy myself as to the amount of money it will be necessary to provide.
Mr. Desmond: Further arising of the Minister's reply, may I inform the Minister that it is since he became Minister that the Cork County Council offered their contribution?
Mr. Derrig: I wonder that the Cork County Council did not offer it during the two years that the Deputy complains of.
Mr. Desmond: Because the Department was so slow in dealing with the matter.
Mr. Davin: asked the Minister for Lands if he will state whether the Land Commission have considered the propriety of acquiring the bog on the estate (Record No. S./9950), County Laoighis; whether the commissioners are aware that the owner recently refused to let lands to persons who had them at 30/- per perch for the past ten years; and, if so, if he will now state what action it is proposed to take to safeguard the rights of those concerned.
Mr. Derrig: Proceedings are well advanced for the acquisition of this estate on which there is very little turbary. The Land Commission have no information as to the matter mentioned in the second part of the question and, in any event, have no function in regard thereto as the owner is at liberty to make use of the lands until such time as they are acquired.
Mr. Davin: Pending the acquisition of the bogland by the Land Commission  does the Minister not consider it unfair that on the eve of their being acquired, old tenants who paid high prices for turbary rights should be, during the commencement of the turf cutting season, deprived of these rights? Will he make representations in the matter, at any rate, in the interest of those concerned?
Mr. Derrig: If the Deputy sends me the particulars I will have inquiries made.
Mr. Davin: I have already done so.
Mr. Davin: asked the Minister for Lands if he will state the cause of the delay in letting a few vacant turf banks on the Land Commission estate (Fitzpatrick, formerly Lord Castletown, Record No. 9705), and if it is proposed to let the vacant banks for the present turf-cutting season.
Mr. Derrig: As I informed the Deputy on the 22nd April last in reply to a question, the only turbary on the lands of the Land Commission on this estate comprises two plots which were refused by the approved applicants. It is expected that these plots will be allotted at an early date so the question of making seasonal lettings does not arise.
Mr. Davin: Will the vacant plots be allotted so that they may be used during the turf cutting season? What is the terrible diplomatic difficulty about setting two turf banks?
Mr. Davin: asked the Minister for Lands if he will state the acreage of land allocated for afforestation purposes on the estate of Captain Ryan (Record No. U./15518), County Offaly, and whether the unemployed men who lost their jobs when the estate was acquired will be given first preference for suitable holdings or for work in the Forestry Division.
Mr. Derrig: As a scheme for the allotment of this estate has not been prepared it is not possible to state what area will be allotted for afforestation  purposes but I anticipate that it may be in the region of 150 acres. The claims of persons displaced from employment by reason of the acquisition of the estate, will be considered by the Land Commission in conjunction with the resale scheme. It is not proposed to depart from the established procedure for the recruitment of labour for any afforestation work to be undertaken on the estate.
Mr. Gallagher: asked the Minister for Justice if he will state (a) the number of applicants for entrance to the Garda Síochána from Dublin; (b) the number of applicants who complied with the statutory regulations; (c) the number called for interview; and (d) the number rejected.
Mr. Derrig (Minister for Lands) (for Minister for Justice): The total number of applicants from Dublin City and County was 127. Sixty-five appeared to comply with the age and minimum physical requirements and 47 were 5 ft. 10 ins. or over. Twenty-five have been selected to sit for the qualifying educational examination.
Mr. O'Donnell: The Depot will have a good few heavyweights after this.
Mr. Gallagher: All they are afraid of is that they will get 200 Corkmen.
Mr. H.P. Dockrell: asked the Minister for Education whether he proposes to extend the summer holidays period for primary schools; and, if so, when he will be in a position to make a statement.
Mr. Hickey: asked the Minister for Education if he will state whether he is now in a position to make an announcement on extended school holidays for primary school children.
Minister for Education (Mr. Moylan): With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 32 and 33 together.
I have been giving consideration to the question of extending the summer holiday period for primary schools. I  had expected that, during the debate on the Estimates for my Department, I might obtain an expression of the views of Deputies on this matter. In the debate, so far, however, the question was only touched on by one or two Deputies. I am hopeful now that, when the debate is resumed, Deputies may be able to indicate to me what are the public's reactions to the matter.
Mr. Hickey: I think the Minister had sufficient indication already as to the desire of parents and everybody else that school children should get holidays in the months of July and August. I do not think Deputies speaking on the Estimate for the Department of Education will give the Minister any more information than has already been given to him. I assure you that there are a number of people disappointed as regards this matter.
Mr. Byrne: I assure the Minister that the view is expressed in Dublin City that the months of July and August should be the holiday season and that all the schools should close at the same time, so that the children can go on holidays together for the two-months period.
Mr. Moylan: I have my own views, very clearly established on this matter, but my well-known democratic outlook demands that I should try to investigate, as far as possible, what the public reaction to this matter would be. I do not see why, on the discussion on the Estimate for the Department of Education, I should not be told by Deputies what the people think.
Mr. Hickey: I have not yet got the opportunity of speaking on the Estimate, but I can assure the Minister that I am well aware that parents and others in Cork City desire that all primary school children should get their holidays at the same time in July and August. This agitation has been going on for the last couple of years.
Mr. Moylan: I would like some of the Deputies from the country to give their views on the matter.
Mr. Rooney: asked the Minister for Education if he is aware that children of school-going age resident in the Finglas district cannot secure schooling accommodation, and that many are obliged to avail of distant temporary accommodation owing to extensive building development and the increased population; and, if so, whether he has taken any action to ensure the provision of primary, secondary and technical schools in Finglas area owing to the heavy cost of transporting children to city schools.
Mr. Moylan: I am aware of the urgent need for the erection of new primary schools for children in the new housing areas at Finglas, and my Department is taking all possible action with a view to having these schools provided. Certain difficulties have, however, been encountered in the matter of making sites available, but I am hopeful that these will be resolved in the near future, and it will then be possible to proceed urgently with the completion of the other arrangements which are a necessary preliminary to the commencement of building operations.
Secondary schools are privately owned institutions, and I have no function with regard to their provision in any particular area. The provision of technical schools in any particular area is a matter, in the first instance, for the vocational education committee for the district.
Mr. Sweetman: asked the Minister for Education if he will state whether he received, and, if so when, a query from or on behalf of certain vocational teachers in County Kildare as to their liability to suffer superannuation deductions from their emoluments, whether such query has been determined and the amounts involved expressed as a percentage of their emoluments.
Mr. Moylan: The query in question was received in November last—as to the liability of certain teachers employed by County Kildare Vocational  Education Committee to make contributions under the Local Government (Superannuation) Act, 1948, and a decision was issued in February. Further submissions which have since been made on behalf of the teachers, are at present under consideration.
The contributions in question would amount to 5 per cent. of the pensionable remuneration of the teachers.
Mr. Sweetman: Will the Minister try to expedite the issue of his final determination?
Mr. Cosgrave: asked the Minister for Local Government if he will state when it is expected work will commence on the Morrow site, Stillorgan, County Dublin.
Minister for Local Government (Mr. Smith): A proposal of Dublin County Council to accept a tender for the development of the Morrow site, Stillorgan, was received in my Department on the 23rd of this months and is at present being examined. A decision will be conveyed to the council as soon as possible.
Breanndán Mac Fheórais: asked the Minister for Local Government if his consideration of the proposal from the Wexford Corporation to increase by 50 per cent. rents of corporation houses erected prior to 1939 has as yet been completed; and, if so, if he will state whether he proposes to refuse to sanction the proposal.
Mr. Smith: A decision on the proposal will issue to the local authority very shortly.
Mr. McGrath: asked the Minister for Local Government if he will advise managers of local authorities not to include increases of benefits granted under the Social Welfare (No. 2) Bill, 1951, when assessing differential rents.
Mr. Smith: The determination of individual rents in accordance with the differential renting system is a matter for the local authority concerned and  it would be inappropriate for me to advise as to particular items of income to be reckoned for the purpose.
Mr. O'Donnell: asked the Minister for Local Government if and when he will give his sanction for the purchase of two building sites at Dungloe, County Donegal, which the local authority requires for the erection of cottages in the Dungloe area.
Mr. Smith: A proposal for the acquisition of a site for the erection of a group of cottages at Meenmore, Dungloe, was submitted to my Department by the Donegal County Council on the 20th of this month. A decision in the matter will be conveyed to the council as soon as possible.
I understand that negotiations are proceeding for the acquisition by the county council of another site at Dungloe, but no proposals in the matter have yet been submitted to my Department.
Mr. O'Donnell: The Minister is aware that negotiations may not proceed, even preliminary negotiations, pending his decision as to whether or not sites will be provided by him. I would, therefore, ask the Minister to request his Department to expedite a decision on the matter.
Mr. Smith: I have not been asked for my opinion, nor for my Department's view.
Mr. O'Donnell: On the first site?
Mr. Smith: On the first site. There will be no undue or unnecessary delay as far as I am concerned.
Mr. MacBride: asked the Minister for Local Government whether he is aware that the road tax charged in respect of bicycles equipped with engines greatly exceeds per horse power the road tax charged in respect of other mechanically propelled vehicles; and, if so, if he will take steps to have this tax revised at an early date with a view to placing auto-cycles on a taxation basis which will be comparable  per horse power to that imposed on other motor vehicles.
Mr. Smith: Motor cycles (including cycles fitted with an attachment for propelling the same by mechanical power) are not taxed according to horse power but according to weight unladen.
Any anomalies which it is considered exist at present in the incidence of motor taxation can be discussed when the legislation referred to in the reply given by me to Deputy Cosgrave on the 13th instant is introduced.
Mr. MacBride: Is the Minister aware that the road tax charged in respect of some of these engines, which only generate one-quarter of one horse power, is over £11 per horse power? Having regard to the popular use of these bicycles with light engines and the light effect of them on the roads, would the Minister not consider that it is anomalous to have such a high rate of charge in respect of this mode of conveyance, particularly having regard to the rate of taxation on motor cars and lorries?
Mr. Smith: I have tried to convey to the Deputy that I am aware of the facts and circumstances to which he has referred. I have tried to convey to him also that, as the law is, these anomalies of one kind or another must continue. I am conveying to him now that, under the legislation which was promised by me in reply to a previous parliamentary question, these matters will be considered. If the House is not satisfied with the proposals submitted by me regarding these matters, the House can discuss them further and make further suggestions.
Mr. MacBride: I put this matter to the Minister so that he will include proposals to rectify the anomalous position when he is introducing legislation.
Mr. Smith: There is not much advantage in giving undertakings in the matter until we have legislation here.
Mr. Desmond: asked the Minister for Local Government whether he is aware  of an order made by the county manager, Cork, concerning the proposed increase in wages to carters employed by the county council, in regard to which correspondence has been forwarded to his Department; and, if so, whether he is prepared to grant sanction as requested by the county manager.
Mr. Smith: The Department is in communication with the local authority in this matter, and I expect to be in a position to decide on it shortly.
Mr. Blowick: asked the Minister for Local Government if he is aware that (a) sufficient money has been sanctioned by Mayo County Council and his Department for the cleaning and deepening of the Carrabeg River for a considerable time past; (b) a large number of farmers and others are suffering serious loss and inconvenience owing to its present condition; (c) the scheme is apparently held up owing to lack of clarification as to what authority is responsible for the cleansing of the portion of the river which runs through Westport urban area and (d) the Westport Urban District Council has requested clarification from his Department without a decision so far; and, if so, if he will indicate if this portion of the work falls more properly within the ambit of (1) the Westport town engineer's duties or (2) the county engineer's duties.
Mr. Smith: The Mayo County Council and the Westport Urban District Council have submitted to my Department certain proposals under the Local Authorities (Works) Act in connection with the portions of the Carrabeg River in their respective functional areas. The merits of the proposals could not properly be assessed in the absence of a survey and the submission of proper designs. The two councils were so informed in June, 1951, and it was suggested that they should consult together on their proposals. Nothing further on the matter has been submitted to me by the county council. So  far as Westport Urban District Council are concerned a doubt arose as to who should carry out the preliminary work and the council were informed on the 18th August last that the preparation and execution of schemes under the Act came within the defined duties of the office of town surveyor. A further point arising out of this matter has been raised by the urban council and my Department is now taking the matter up with the county manager.
Mr. Desmond: asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he is aware of the completely unsatisfactory postal delivery arrangements in Bandon, County Cork, postal district; and, if so, if he will indicate when the proposed daily delivery system, so long under consideration, will come into operation.
Mr. Childers: I do not agree that the postal delivery arrangements in Bandon postal district are unsatisfactory. Most of the district has a daily delivery. I shall have the question of giving a daily delivery in the remainder of the area examined when the reorganisation of the postal service in the Bandon head-office district is undertaken. I regret it is not possible at this stage to say when this will be done.
Mr. Desmond: Is the Minister aware that, in many parts of the Bandon postal area, there are deliveries only on alternate days, and furthermore, that it is in these parts of the area that people are suffering severely through not getting mail? In view of the fact that the matter has been before his Department for many years back, will he consider having it expedited?
Mr. O'Donnell: asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he will state why the postal delivery for the townland of Lough Eske has been changed to Barnesmore sub-post office, County Donegal, thereby causing a considerable delay in the delivery of Dublin mail in the area.
Mr. Childers: The transfer of Lough Eske from the Donegal postal district to Barnesmore is an essential part of a general scheme for the provision of daily deliveries in the Donegal area which is due to be implemented next month. There will be no delay in the delivery of Dublin mails as a result of the transfer. On the contrary, it is expected that delivery to the townland of Lough Eske will be accelerated appreciably.
Mr. McMenamin: I am informed that it involves the Dublin mail and the daily newspapers being a day late.
Mr. Childers: The Deputy will find on June 3rd that the position will be as I have indicated.
Mr. Sweetman: asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he will have the letter-box recently erected at Moorefield crossroads, Droichead Nua, County Kildare, changed over to the south-east side of the trunk road so that people—particularly children— will not have to cross the road to post letters.
Mr. Childers: The residents on each side of the road who would use the letter-box at Moorefield crossroads are about equal in number, At present more children reside at the side where the box is sited. There is no case for removal of the box as suggested.
Mr. Sweetman: Is the Minister aware that a very large development is going on on the south side of the road, and that, when it has been completed, there will be far more people on that side and children will have to cross the busiest trunk road in the whole country?
Mr. MacBride: asked the Minister for Agriculture whether he is aware that farmers in Donegal have large stocks of potatoes undisposed of, and are finding it difficult to obtain a sale for them; and, if so, what steps, if any, he proposes to take to assist them in disposing of the stocks of potatoes on their hands.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Bartley): I am aware that there is still a surplus of potatoes in County Donegal, and action was taken months ago to relieve the position which was then foreseen. There has been a steady movement of potatoes from the farms all through the season, and 10,000 tons more have been disposed of from County Donegal this year than at the corresponding date last year. With the various means of disposal which are in operation, the likelihood is that the surplus will have disappeared much earlier than last year.
Mr. MacBride: Is the Parliamentary Secretary satisfied that it will be possible to dispose of the surplus this year?
Mr. Bartley: Yes.
Mr. Cunningham: Can the Parliamentary Secretary say if it is a fact that the alcohol factories in Donegal are remaining open this year in order to absorb any surplus there may be?
Mr. Bartley: The alcohol factories are in fact taking some potatoes and it is intended to send some of the potatoes to alcohol factories outside the county as well. In addition, there are four silage plants which are absorbing some of the crop.
Mr. MacBride: Deputy Cunningham's supplementary question was whether it was intended to keep the alcohol factories open later this year in order to dispose of the surplus?
Mr. Bartley: I do not know about keeping the factories open, but the fact is that the alcohol factories are being supplied with these potatoes.
Mr. Lemass: It is a technical question which should not be asked without notice.
Mr. O'Donnell: asked the Minister for Agriculture if he will have an advertisement inserted in the Press circulating in County Donegal informing farmers that ample supplies of ground limestone may be obtained at Convoy, County Donegal, and thereby eliminate  the expense of transporting ground limestone from Boyle, County Roscommon, to County Donegal.
Mr. Bartley: I understand that the two companies now producing ground limestone in Donegal have already advertised or are arranging to advertise in newspapers circulating in the county. The summer and autumn months are in many respects ideal for the application of ground limestone to grasslands and it would ease the supply position considerably if farmers would order and take delivery of the ground limestone during these months.
Mr. MacBride: asked the Minister for Agriculture whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that the islanders on Lough Ree have been deprived of their licences for net fishing; and, if so, whether, in view of the fact that fishing is their principal means of livelihood, he will make representations on their behalf to the Electricity Supply Board or other authority responsible for depriving them of their ancient fishing rights.
Mr. Bartley: All netting in fresh water was prohibited as from 1st January, 1948, under Section 35 of the Fisheries Act, 1939. The prohibition on netting for salmon and trout is absolute and the fishery authority has no power to make an exception in favour of the Lough Ree fishermen in that regard. The Act gives power to authorise by by-law the use of nets in any specified waters for the capture of fish other than salmon, trout and eels, and such a by-law was made on 12th August, 1949, in regard to the waters of Lough Ree. The fishing rights in these waters are vested in the Electricity Supply Board and the issue of permits by the board to use nets therein for the capture of fish other than salmon, trout and eels is not a matter in which I, as the fishery authority, can appropriately intervene.
Mr. MacBride: Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that the islanders on Lough Ree are mainly dependent on fishing for their livelihood, and on eel fishing particularly? Having regard to  that, would he not consider it desirable to make a recommendation to the Electricity Supply Board that licences should be given to them or that some by-law should be passed to enable them to continue to earn their livelihood by fishing?
Mr. McQuillan: Can the Parliamentary Secretary say whether compensation was given to these islanders when that Act came into force in 1948?
Mr. Bartley: Under the 1939 Fisheries Act, netting for salmon and trout in fresh water was prohibited, and the prohibition came into operation on 1st January, 1948. In the matter of the Shannon, compensation has not been paid, for the reason that it has not been shown that the Electricity Supply Board, in fact, permitted these fishermen to fish in Lough Ree, and, in the absence of such permission, there is no power to pay them compensation. If it can be shown that they were, in fact, fishing with the permission of the Electricity Supply Board, the question of compensation will then arise.
Mr. McQuillan: Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that these people were fishing long before the Electricity Supply Board set up there at all? The position is that they are now deprived of their livelihood, due to that portion of the Act which states that, unless the Electricity Supply Board gave them permission to fish, they are not entitled to compensation. These people have been fishing there all their lives and now, due to a slip up in the Act, they are deprived of the opportunity of fishing for salmon, trout and eels, and, in addition to that disability, they are not given any compensation whatever for loss of their livelihood.
Mr. Bartley: I am aware that they have been fishing in Lough Ree and the Deputy is aware that by a statute of this Parliament such netting was prohibited. I have no power in the matter.
Mr. McQuillan: Surely these people are entitled to compensation?
Mr. MacBride: If, as a result of some inadvertence in the statute, an injustice  is inflicted upon a small group of defenceless people like the islanders on Lough Ree, surely it is within the power of this Parliament to remedy the position if the Parliamentary Secretary is willing to do so?
Mr. Bartley: It is within the power of this Parliament to do so.
Mr. MacBride: Will the Parliamentary Secretary take whatever steps are necessary to remedy the position?
An Ceann Comhairle: That is a separate question.
Mr. McQuillan: Why not direct the attention of the Electricity Supply Board to the matter?
An Ceann Comhairle: It is a separate question.
Mr. McQuillan: Is the Minister aware that a number of these unfortunate fishermen are at present in jail for insisting on their rights? It is disgraceful that they should be deprived of their right to fish and should get no compensation.
Mr. MacBride: There is only a handful of families involved.
Mr. Bartley: The Deputy is aware that the Order came into operation on 1st January, 1948——
Mr. MacBride: I do not mind when it came into operation.
Mr. Bartley: ——under the 1939 Fisheries Act. Surely the Deputies who are interested in the Lough Ree fishermen must have known the effect of it.
An Ceann Comhairle: Question No. 49.
Mr. MacBride: May I make this final point? It does not matter who is responsible. Surely the position should be remedied now?
Mr. McQuillan: With your permission, Sir, I propose to raise this matter on the Adjournment.
Mr. MacBride: asked the Minister for Agriculture whether he has considered  the effect of the recent decision of the International Court of Justice at The Hague concerning the measurement, definition and demarcation of territorial fishing limits; and, if so, what steps he proposes to take to have this decision applied to our territorial waters.
Mr. Bartley: The official text of the decision referred to has now been received and is under consideration. I am not in a position at present to make any statement in regard to the second part of the Deputy's question.
Mr. MacBride: Would the Parliamentary Secretary not consider it advisable that action should be taken as soon as possible; that if possible we should join with Iceland in the steps that Iceland has taken to enforce the definition and demarcation of her territorial waters; and thus to safeguard our own fishing industry?
Mr. Bartley: The matter is under consideration and until the decision has been examined I am afraid it is not possible to say any more.
Mr. MacBride: When may I repeat this question?
Mr. Bartley: There is, I understand, to be a consultation between the Department of External Affairs, the Fisheries Section of the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Defence on the matter. I cannot say when any such consultation will take place, but I take it that there will be an examination in the Department of External Affairs first of the text of the decision itself, and that after that arrangements will be made for consultation.
Mr. MacBride: Can the Parliamentary Secretary give any indication as to when I may put down the question again?
Mr. Aiken: Whenever the Deputy likes.
Mr. MacEntee: Every day.
Mr. MacBride: Very well. Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that this matter was raised in the British  House of Commons yesterday and that there has been an exchange of notes between the Icelandic Government and the British Government in regard to it; and unless we come in at this stage we will probably lose our rights? That is why I am pressing the matter.
Mr. Bartley: I do not think that is so.
Mr. Dillon: asked the Minister for Agriculture if he will state what stockpiling was done by the Sea Fisheries Association of nets, trawls, seine nets, rope, blocks, anchors and anchor chains, and other stores; whether the prices of these stores moved up since their purchase; and, if so, whether the benefit of the low prices is still being made available to the fishermen.
Mr. Bartley: I am advised that the Irish Sea Fisheries Association, Limited, stockpiled in 1951 stores of the kinds mentioned to the value of about £33,000. For some time after the purchases were made, prices tended to increase; but lately there has been a tendency towards a decrease. The price charged to fishermen for a particular article is based on the average cost price of the stock of that kind on hands and may, therefore, be somewhat higher or somewhat lower than the current commercial price according to the trend of prices.
An Ceann Comhairle: Tá scéala faighte agam ón gCeann Cóimhrimh Toghcháin Uachtaráin á chur in iúl dom go ndearna sé, an 16ú lá de Bhealtaine, 1952, a dhearbhú
SEÁN T. Ó CEALLAIGH
do bheith tofa ina Uachtarán ar Éirinn.
I have received a communication from the Presidential Returning Officer informing me that he had, on the 16th day of May, 1952, declared
SEÁN T. Ó CEALLAIGH
to have been elected President of Ireland.
An Tánaiste: It is proposed to take business as on the Order Paper, Nos. 12 and 8. No. 8 will be taken at 7 o'clock, or earlier if No. 12 has been concluded.
Mr. MacBride: If the business finishes earlier, is it the intention of the Government to adjourn then?
An Tánaiste: We would be very glad to do so and I hope the Deputy will facilitate it.
Minister for Local Government (Mr. Smith): I move that the Bill be now read a Second Time. The general purposes of the Bill are to extend and supplement the legislation governing the housing activities of local authorities, private persons and public utility societies, and to remedy certain deficiencies in the existing legislation which experience has shown to be necessary. The principal provisions governing the payment of grants towards the erection and reconstruction of houses by private enterprise are contained in the Housing (Amendment) Act, 1948, and the Bill proposes a continuation of the policy enshrined in that Act with certain extensions and improvements. Section 6 provides for the continuance for a further period of two years of the existing State grants payable to persons and public utility societies for the erection and purchase of houses. Applications for new house grants continue to run at a high level, which suggests that the number of houses to be completed by private persons and public utility societies in 1952-53 will be higher than in 1951-52 when the figure was estimated at 5,221.
The maximum reconstruction grant at present payable in urban and rural areas to agricultural labourers and farmers up to £50 valuation is £80. Section 18 of the Bill provides for an increase in the grant by substituting new maxima of £80, £100 and £120 for houses which, when reconstructed, contain three, four and five or more rooms respectively. Reconstruction grants have been of great significance in the  drive for improved housing conditions, especially in rural areas. The peak year was 1938-39 when more than 5,000 houses were reconstructed. This high level has not since been reached, but I am hopeful that there will be a marked expansion in the present rate of reconstruction work where such work will preserve existing buildings that are worth preserving. The grants will, as heretofore, be payable to farmers in both urban and rural areas. They will also be payable to agricultural labourers reconstructing houses in their own occupation in rural areas. As regards agricultural labourers in urban areas, their claims for reconstruction grants will in future be dealt with under Section 8 of the Housing (Amendment) Act, 1950, which enables a State grant of up to £80 and a local authority grant of a similar amount to be paid where the applicant's valuation does not exceed £12. This amendment, which is effected by Sections 18 and 20 of the Bill, is necessary because the definition of “agricultural labourer” for the purposes of the Labourers Acts is so wide as to include all persons who work for hire irrespective of residence or occupation with the result that under the existing law any worker living in a town or city with valuation not exceeding £50 is eligible for the reconstruction grant under Section 16 of the Act of 1948, as amended by the Act of 1950. The amendments proposed will not affect any grant allocated and notified to an applicant before the 29th April, 1952.
Reconstruction grants are at present payable only where the reconstructed house does not exceed 1,400 square feet, and this rules out a certain number of cases, especially the older type of farmhouse, thus involving genuine hardship on a limited number of applicants. Section 15 of the Bill proposes to remove this limit so that applicants for the reconstruction grants under Section 16 of the 1948 Act will be in the same position as applicants for reconstruction grants under Section 8 of the 1950 Act and Section 5 of the Housing and Labourers Act, 1937.
Under Section 9 of the 1950 Act, power was given to make a second  grant for reconstruction after the expiration of 15 years from the date of completion of the erection of the house or the reconstruction work in respect of which a previous grant was made. It was the intention that the restrictions contained in sub-section (3) of Section 5 of the Housing Act of 1932, as extended by Section 4 of the Housing and Labourers Act, 1937, would be removed. These restrictions referred in the main to houses for which grants were made under the Housing (Building Facilities) Act, 1924, the Housing Acts, 1925-1931 and the Damage to Property (Compensation) Act, 1923. Some doubts have been raised as to the legal position and in order to clarify the matter, it is proposed to repeal in the Schedule the sections in the 1932 and 1937 Acts which prohibit the payment of second reconstruction grants.
Section 21 of the Bill also contains an amendment in regard to second reconstruction grants. Many people who reconstructed their dwelling houses while not interfering with the existing thatched roof have since discovered that while thatch may be attractive as a roof when neatly kept, it is in these times a most expensive roof to maintain. I have been approached on this matter by some of those affected and others who have an intimate knowledge of the subject and I am acceding to their pleas by enabling a second grant to be paid after ten years where the reconstruction work includes the replacement of a thatched roof by a roof of slates or tiles.
Section 7 of the Bill provides for a grant of up to £50 for the provision and installation of a private water supply and sewerage facilities in a house which is situated in an area where no public piped water supply or sewerage scheme has been or is being provided. I am sure the House will agree that this provision is very desirable in order to encourage applicants in isolated rural areas to install water and sewerage facilities which are so necessary for improving the conditions and amenities of living and securing proper sanitary standards in their houses. This country is probably unique in  Western Europe in that a large proportion of the population live in isolated houses so that there are many extensive areas where the provision of public piped services would be impracticable. In areas where public facilities are available, the householder is usually not required to do more than have his premises connected with the mains outside his door; in the rural areas, however, the water must be obtained by boring, pumping or some other means, piped to the house, and provision made for disposal of water and water borne sewage. The grant will be payable irrespective of the occupation or valuation of the applicant and the applicant need not necessarily be the person in occupation of the house.
Section 7 provides also that the valuation of the house will not be increased on account of the installation of the water and sewerage facilities within seven years after the completion of the work; this concession is already available where a reconstruction grant is paid under the Housing Acts.
Under Section 19 of the Bill, the total of grants which may be paid under Section 7 and under the 1948 or 1950 Act in respect of the construction or purchase of a new house will be equated to the grant appropriate to a house with a piped water supply and sewerage facilities. This, in effect, removes the differential operating against a house not serviced with water supply and sewerage on erection which if provided subsequently would have to be provided at the owner's cost.
Section 7 of the Act of 1950 gave a general power to housing authorities to make grants not exceeding those paid by the State under Section 16 of the 1948 Act, and Section 6 of the 1950 Act in respect of the construction and purchase of new houses. In the formulation of schemes under the 1950 Act, housing authorities put forward varying proposals. In some counties no schemes were made. In some instances the schemes were restricted to classes who would normally have to be re-housed under the Labourers Acts and the Housing of the Working Classes Acts and corresponding classes amongst the farming community. In  others, however, the benefits were extended to all classes irrespective of needs or circumstances. In all cases the financial provision was limited to a certain sum although in a free-for-all scheme there was no guarantee that the amount provided would suffice to cater for all applicants. The operation of Section 7 has, therefore, been somewhat confused and haphazard and it is felt that the local authorities need the guidance of the Legislature as to the circumstances in which additional assistance should be granted.
Sections 9, 10, 11 and 12 of the Bill are therefore introduced to replace Section 7 of the 1950 Act. These provisions will permit of payment of supplementary grants on graded scales to:—
(a) farmers up to £35 valuation;
(b) lower income classes (other than farmers) with family incomes up to £416 a year, and
(c) working classes and agricultural labourers with family incomes exceeding £416 a year who are tenants of or are eligible for local authority housing accommodation.
The maximum supplementary grants will, it is proposed, range between 33? per cent. and 100 per cent. of the State grants depending on the circumstances of the applicants. In the case of farmers, the supplementary grants should encourage the replacement of farm houses which are not fit for reconstruction. In the case of the lower-income classes, other than farmers, it is anticipated that the supplementary grants will encourage persons to provide houses for themselves and so relieve the demand on local authorities for housing accommodation, with resultant eventual saving to State and local funds. A response from tenants of local authority houses will release houses for letting to other deserving families. The new proposals, therefore, aim to secure that the supplementary grants will be available to those who need them and to a large extent they are designed to result in taking from local authority houses and waiting lists people who with this additional assistance may be able to afford to build houses for themselves.
 These supplementary grants may be made towards the cost of the erection and reconstruction of houses and also towards the servicing of houses with water supply and sewerage facilities by persons of the classes mentioned. The grants will be payable also where State grants have been paid under the Housing (Gaeltacht) Acts. In this connection, the definition of “relevant grant” in Section 2 is such that persons who come within the classes mentioned and who received a building grant under the Housing (Gaeltacht) Acts in respect of a new house after the 1st August, 1950, will be eligible for the supplementary grants.
Under Section 8 of the Bill, persons who have purchased houses from local authorities will not be eligible for the supplementary grants under Section 11 of the Bill. The reason for this provision is that tenant-purchase schemes in respect of local authority houses are normally very favourable to the purchasers. Persons who occupy premises which a housing authority may have acquired under the Housing Acts and which in the opinion of the authority are not of the type suitable for occupation by the working classes or agricultural labourers will also be excluded from supplementary grants under Section 11. An example of such premises is a shop which an authority acquires in an area to be cleared for the erection of new houses. Section 8, as drafted, will require an amendment by the deletion of the reference to Section 9 and Section 10 as it was not intended that the persons mentioned in Section 8 should be excluded from consideration for supplementary grants under these two sections.
Grants from the State and the housing authority are payable in urban areas under Section 5 of the Housing and Labourers Acts, 1937, in respect of repair works carried out on a house in pursuance of a notice served by the authority under Section 19 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1931. The maximum grant from either source is £80 and is payable to the person having control of the house. Section 30 of the Bill proposes to extend this provision to rural areas. In many non-municipal towns, there  are old houses from which families are rehoused by the county councils and the repair of these houses would help to relieve the demands on local authority housing accommodation. County councils are already housing authorities for the purposes of Part III of the Housing Act of 1931, which includes Section 19. The new proposal is a further step in the development of a uniform housing code for urban and rural areas.
The purpose of Section 13 of the Bill is to enable payments of grants to be made to housing authorities or to philanthropic societies in respect of the acquisition and reconstruction of houses for the poorer classes. Such powers existed until 1950 when the provisions of Section 5 (1) (j) of the Housing Act of 1932, as amended, were allowed to lapse. Those provisions empowered the Minister to make a grant to a local authority not exceeding 60 per cent. of the expenses incurred by them in respect of the acquisition of premises for sale or leasing to a philanthropic society or body of persons approved by the Minister. The Minister is also empowered to make a further grant to either the local authority or the philanthropic society not exceeding 60 per cent. of the expenses incurred in altering or repairing the premises, provided that the total of the grants in respect of a premises shall not exceed a sum equivalent to £75 for each separate dwelling provided.
Under Section 19 of the 1948 Act, housing authorities are required to make grants to persons erecting houses for letting of amounts not exceeding the sum set out in the Fourth Schedule to the Act, of which the State may recoup two-thirds. The sums range from £250 to £400 per house depending on the number of rooms and are payable in ten annual instalments. Article 9 of the Housing (New Houses) Regulations, 1948, provides that
“any doubt, dispute or question which may arise as to the interpretation of these regulations, and as to the making or the amount of a grant in respect of any house to which these regulations apply shall be  determined by the Minister and such determination shall be final.”
Section 16 puts beyond doubt, with retrospective effect, the power of the Minister to decide an appeal by a person aggrieved by the amount of a grant made by a housing authority in respect of a house provided for letting under Section 19 of the Housing (Amendment) Act, 1948.
Section 45 of the Act of 1948 provides for the recovery of grants improperly made under Sections 16, 19 or 20 of that Act and Section 17 of the Bill extends this provision, with retrospective effect, to housing grants generally.
Cases have arisen (and may possibly arise in the future) where housing grants have been allocated in mistake of law by local authorities acting on behalf of the Minister and by officers appointed by the Minister under the Housing Acts. Typical instances are second reconstruction grants allocated because of oversight or ignorance on the part of the applicant that a previous grant had been made and the conditions of the Housing Acts regarding payment of a second grant had not been satisfied. Grants for new houses have also been wrongly allocated, mainly in instances where the floor area proved to be slightly more than 1,400 sq. ft. on final measurement. The number of cases involved is small, but hardship to individuals is often very great. It is proposed in Section 23 of the Bill to give the Minister discretion to pay the grant, with the sanction of the Minister for Finance, in each case, subject to the Minister being satisfied that the applicant acted bona fide in proceeding with the work or erection or reconstruction of the house or the provision and installation of private water supply and sewerage facilities.
Increases which have occurred in the selling prices of new houses have obliged purchasers to seek higher loans to meet the net balance of the cost after making allowance for their cash contribution and the State grant.
The most pressing criticism of the limit on the market value of houses  qualifying for loans under the Small Dwellings Acquisition Acts comes, however, not from the house purchasers but from the builders. Moreover, I have no doubt but that if a reasonable increase in the limit were granted there would soon be agitation again to have that limit further increased, an agitation that could be partially justified by the delay in according any increase. It would be impossible to keep following such a spiral of rising prices if it were to occur. Our primary anxiety must be on the purchaser's behalf and the Bill contains a provision in Section 33 that will enable reasonable financial facilities to be granted for the provision of a reasonable type of house. In Dublin, for example, a loan of £1,800 and a grant of £275 with a cash contribution of 5 per cent. will meet the cost of a house up to £2,180. If a man wishes to buy a dearer house than that there will be no statutory bar against his getting a loan of £1,800 but he will have to make up the difference. Whether such a person would in fact obtain a loan will depend on the attitude of the responsible local authority which has full discretion as to whether they should allow a loan in any particular case.
I come now to the provisions of the Bill which relate to local authority housing.
Under Section 17 of the Housing (Amendment) Act, 1950, housing authorities are empowered to acquire land and provide houses for sale or letting to persons irrespective of whether they are or are not members of the working classes or agricultural labourers. They may also sell or lease land to persons and public utility societies for the erection of houses. Where houses are provided under Section 17 by the housing authority, the Minister may make grants not exceeding the grants payable to private persons for the erection of houses. This section has been found defective in operation, especially in relation to the development of lands by housing authorities prior to the sale or lease of the lands. The Bill proposes to repeal Section 17 of the 1950 Act and to substitute Sections  29 and 32 which clarify the powers of the housing authority in these respects. Payment of the appropriate grants in respect of houses provided by the authority for sale or letting is provided for in Section 22 of the Bill.
Representations were made to me that provision should be made for a remission of two-thirds of the rates for seven years in the case of these houses where they had been provided for sale by the housing authority. I do not like the principle of providing for a remission of rates for houses provided by a local authority. If, however, a housing authority feels that some concession should be made, such a concession would be possible in the terms of sale by reducing the sale price by a figure not exceeding the capitalised equivalent of the rates remission. I will consider, on its merits, any proposal which a housing authority may submit for the application of a concession on these lines.
The Bill makes some important additions to the scope of slum clearance and allied operations. Since the early 1930s, these operations have been recognised as the paramount feature of local authority housing activities and, while much remains to be done, I think it will be readily agreed that the results achieved have amply justified the policy of concentrating primarily on slum clearance as constituting not only the most urgent part of the local authorities' programme but also as being the most effective method of reducing the housing problem as a whole to manageable and economic proportions. Over 76,000 houses have been provided since 1932 by local authorities for agricultural labourers and members of the working classes with the assistance of generous State subsidies, and were it not for the unfortunate reduction in building brought about by the war, the elimination of bad housing conditions would have reached a very advanced stage.
Section 14 of the Bill proposes to amend the provisions of the 1932 Housing Act governing the payment of subsidies towards houses provided by urban housing authorities for the working classes. At present, houses provided for homeless families and  families in need of accommodation on compassionate, medical or other similar grounds, but not displaced by operations of the housing authority, qualify for the lower subsidy only (33? per cent. of loan charges up to prescribed limits). Section 14 provides for a discretion to pay subsidy at the higher rate (66? per cent. of the prescribed loan charges) for the housing of such families who cannot otherwise be so rehoused. The type of cases intended to be covered are homeless families, e.g., where the parents and children are forced to live separately, or where the family is housed in a county home or in huts, caravans, etc. There are also cases of families which include persons suffering from heart disease and other diseases who are forced to live in rooms on the third or fourth storeys of tenements. The local authority will have to satisfy the Minister that the family was genuinely and urgently in need of the new accommodation.
Section 26 of the Bill also amends the subsidy provisions of the 1932 Act by providing that the higher subsidy (66? per cent. of the prescribed loan charges) will also be payable for the rehousing of a family living in an overcrowded house even though the house is occupied by not more than one family. At present, the removal of a family from an overcrowded house under by-laws is an operation which qualifies for the higher subsidy, but the provision now made in Section 26 is necessary in order to cover urban authorities who have not made by-laws.
In view of the fact that a large part of future rehousing operations will be concerned with the relief of overcrowding, it is imperative that housing authorities should take the necessary steps to enable them to deal effectively with the future prevention of overcrowding in the houses or rooms from which the original overcrowded families have been displaced. It is proposed, therefore, in Section 25 to make it mandatory on urban housing authorities to make and enforce by-laws under Section 20 of the Housing (Ireland) Act, 1919, and Section 15 of the Act of 1948. The 1919 by-laws referred to houses let in lodgings and occupied by  members of more than one family. Under the 1948 Act, power is given to housing authorities to make by-laws respecting houses containing not more than two rooms and intended or used for occupation by members of the working classes which are occupied by one family. It is proposed in Section 24 of the Bill to delete the restriction as to the number of rooms in the house contained in Section 15 of the 1948 Act. Thus, the new by-laws will apply to all houses of the working-class type irrespective of the number of families in occupation or the number of rooms which the house contains.
Section 14 of the Bill includes a further amendment of Section 6 of the 1932 Act which relates to subsidy towards the annual loan charges incurred by local authorities in respect of moneys borrowed by them for housing schemes. Under sub-section (4) of Section 6 of the 1932 Act, loan charges are deemed not to exceed in any financial year the sums which would have been payable if the loans had been obtained from the Local Loans Fund. Section 14 of the Bill proposes to remove this limitation in the case of Dublin and Cork Corporations which borrow money for housing schemes by means of stock issues. The loan charges in the case of these two bodies will in future be calculated at the actual terms of borrowing.
Section 26 of the Bill proposes an amendment of the statutory order of priorities for lettings of local authority houses in urban areas. At present, a family suffering from tuberculosis is entitled to priority only in circumstances where the family is living in a one-roomed dwelling. It is felt that this requirement is unduly restricted. For example, a tubercular family of, say, five to six persons living in two rooms is not entitled to priority at present, nor is a tubercular family in an unfit house containing more than one room. The needs of a tubercular family living in overcrowded conditions, irrespective of the number of rooms occupied, could well be as acute as the family in a one-roomed dwelling. Similarly the existing provision under which, in the case of a family in an  unfit house, priority for new accommodation operates only where the dwelling contains not more than one room is unreasonably restrictive. A condition that the house is unfit for human habitation should of itself be sufficient to entitle the family to a preference, the number of rooms in the house being relatively unimportant. The preference for lettings in the case of families who require segregation on sex grounds is being amended by reducing the age limit of 16 years, which appears in the 1932 Act and the 1948 Act, to 12 years.
Section 26 of the Bill contains a definition of “overcrowding.” The definition is intended to deal with sex segregation and the allowance of free air space for sleeping purposes. The model by-laws which local authorities may at present adopt provide for an allowance of 400 cubic feet of air space for an adult and 300 cubic feet for a child under 12 years of age. It is considered that the air space allowance in the case of a child is inadequate and that it should be raised in the by-laws to the standard adopted for adults. The definition also introduces a restriction as to the height of rooms to be reckoned in calculating cubic capacity. This is of considerable importance in Dublin City where the heights of rooms in the old Georgian type of dwelling are normally up to 12 feet or more. The free air space above eight feet in height is to be disregarded for the purposes of computing the cubic content of such rooms when used wholly or partly for sleeping purposes.
It is proposed to exercise a strict control of all overcrowding operations undertaken by housing authorities. Housing authorities will be required in every case to satisfy the Minister that they have taken effective action to prevent continuance of overcrowding in rooms or houses from which families have been displaced.
Section 26 of the Bill provides also that the statutory preferences governing the letting of working class accommodation provided by housing authorities will not apply to houses provided by virtue of Section 29 of the Bill. Section 29 relates to the provision of  non-subsidy houses by housing authorities and separate regulations governing the letting of such houses will be made.
In the Schedule, it is proposed to repeal sub-section (4) of Section 29 of the 1948 Act. This sub-section provides that it shall not be lawful for a housing authority to make lettings save in accordance with regulations made under Section 29. The provisions of the sub-section are unnecessary and are in conflict with the discretion permitted to housing authorities by the previous portion of Section 29 to depart from the statutory order of priorities on grounds of impracticability of adherence, or on grounds of the character, industry, occupation, family circumstances and existing housing conditions of applicants.
Section 31 of the Bill amends the statutory preferences governing lettings of cottages provided under the Labourers Acts in the same way as Section 26 amends the corresponding provisions under the Housing of the Working Classes Acts.
Section 7 of the Housing of the Working Classes (Ireland) Act, 1908, authorises a local authority to establish or acquire lodging houses for the working classes outside their district subject to the consent of any urban or rural district council within whose district it is proposed to establish or acquire the lodging houses. This section, as amended by subsequent Acts, has been relied upon for the compulsory acquisition of land outside its own district by a housing authority for housing purposes. The section is, however, not quite clear in its effect and to remove doubts it is being replaced by Section 27 of the Bill.
Section 23 of the Act of 1950 applies to rural areas the provisions contained in Part II of the Act of 1931, which relates to the clearance of unhealthy areas, but which refers only to persons of the working classes. It is considered desirable to make it clear by Section 28 of the Bill that such references may be construed as having application to agricultural labourers in rural areas.
This completes my outline of the main features of the Bill which I recommend  for the early and sympathetic consideration of the House.
Mr. Sweetman: In the first place, I should like to say that I understand it has always been the practice to regard the introduction of Housing Bills as non-controversial from the point of view of Party politics and any criticisms I may wish to make I want to have it clearly understood are being made with that before me and not from a Party point of view. I think it was somewhat unfortunate that the Minister for Defence, when speaking in the House on the 14th May on the Finance Bill, did make a Party charge in regard to the provision of sites for local authorities housing about which I shall have a few words to say later on. But, in the main, it has always been, and properly so, the endeavour of all sides of the House to approach a Housing Bill without any regard to Party affiliations and without any regard to the natural anxiety that one must have to score Party points in an ordinary debate.
This Bill which is before us for a Second Reading made its appearance quite a short time ago in print after very much delay. I was indeed very relieved by the opening words of the Minister when he told us that the applications for grants for private building were such that he anticipates a slightly higher figure for the coming year. I am afraid, however, that that anticipation by him will not be realised because very many people to my own personal knowledge did defer the commencement of their building plans for the summer because they were waiting to see what the Government would do when the housing grants expired under the previous legislation on the 31st March last. Although the Minister did indicate one day here that the grants would be continued, people were inclined to hang back, and it would have been very much more beneficial so far as getting the work under way during the good weather is concerned if the Minister had introduced this Bill at an earlier date or, if he was unable to introduce the Bill itself, if he had indicated in a public way the exact nature of the grants that he was proposing to bring before the House.
 I had a faint hope when the Bill was being delayed in that way that the delay was arising because the Minister was making some effort to consolidate the law in regard to housing. One has only to glance at Section 1 of this Bill to see that it refers to an enormous number of Acts commencing in 1890 and an enormous number of types of Acts which will at once convince anybody who was not already convinced, and I do not think there were many who needed convincing, that some type of consolidation or codification of housing legislation is necessary.
This Bill itself is an example of the unsatisfactory type of Bill that is introduced and normally classified as legislation by reference. To grasp the full effect of many provisions of the Bill you would want to have before you a list of the statutes as long as that bench and to travel from one to the other up and down the row. In order to be perfectly fair to the Minister, I must say that I realise that the task of consolidating or codifying the Housing Acts is a difficult one, but it is one which should be undertaken and which, if it is undertaken, would produce beneficial results.
I was disappointed that the Minister did not take the opportunity of the introduction of this Bill to give us some more general observations on the housing programme and on the progress of housing both by local authorities and private persons. February, 1948, was more or less the time when the housing position was considered after the end of the war. The new Act of 1948 had just become law and, as well as I can recollect, it was then estimated that we would want in this country approximately 100,000 houses and, of the 100,000 houses, that approximately 60 per cent. would have to be provided by local authorities and the balance by private building of one sort or another. I should like to know from the Minister whether he has found any reason in the years that have intervened to vary that estimate or whether he thinks that the estimate that was then made, and I think the figures I have given correctly summarises the estimate, is a fair and true one; and,  if so, what prospect he sees of keeping on towards that target.
From time to time in the past year I have endeavoured by way of question to get particulars from the Minister of the progress being made in regard to local authority housing. I think the last figures which the Minister gave me are those in respect of the period ending in January last. In the month of January, 1952, there were 9,376 local authority houses in progress: 2,545 houses were at the stage at which tenders had been accepted or had been invited; and 2,031 were at the stage at which site development works were in progress. On the other hand, I notice that when the Minister took office in June, 1951, the number of houses in respect of which local authority site development work was in progress was, I think, 2,719. There has been a substantial decrease since that time. That decrease may be because certain local authorities feel that they have gone to the limit which their resources permit or because certain authorities feel that they have gone a fair distance towards completing the programme they had in mind. The position, so far as I can see, is that up to last June the number of houses for which development works were in progress—I am speaking purely of local authority housing; I do not think the statistics for private houses are available in anything like the same way— seems to have fluctated fairly steadily according to the period of the year and to have been at the highest figure in the summer. I have not got any figures for later than last January. I do not know if the Minister has got any more recent figures. If he has, I would ask him to give them to the House. I trust that the figures will be reassuring and will show us that, in respect of site development work, there has been an improvement on the position which existed in January last.
There is one essential not merely in local authority housing but also in private housing which I think the Minister and the House will agree is prerequisite to success in a housing drive. It is that there is a reasonably even flow of houses so that, as soon as one batch is completed, there are sites upon which the development work has  concluded so that new building can take place immediately on those sites. That is necessary from the point of view both of labour and of the production of results. If there is not that even flow then, clearly, the labour teams will move elsewhere and, unfortunately, may go across the water. If there is not that even flow, there will be a very great loss in respect of taking advantage of good weather for building—weather such as we are having at present. It was for that reason that I was disappointed that the Minister did not bring in his Bill earlier.
I believe quite sincerely that there has been a diminution in the summer programme of private builders because of the delay in the introduction of this Bill. I believe that the figures in regard to the work on local authority housing show a diminution over the corresponding month of last year. I think that the figures in regard to the number of skilled men and the total labour force employed on local authority housing likewise show a reduction on those of last year. I should like to demonstrate the truth of that statement by the following figures. In January, 1951, the number of skilled men employed on local authority housing was 5,459. In January, 1952, that number had dropped to 5,096. I am taking the January figures in each case because it is the last month for which I have the figures. In January, 1951, the total number of men employed on housing was 11,539. In January, 1952, that number had dropped to 10,630. Again, those figures are in respect of local authority housing alone.
I was very surprised to read a report in the paper this morning which indicates that building tradesmen are optimistic about the progress of the building trade this summer. I hope it is true. If it is true, everybody will welcome it. Unfortunately, my information is to the contrary. When I say this I want it to be clear that I have no experience outside Dublin, Kildare and the surrounding areas. I do not know what the situation is in Cork, Limerick, Waterford, Mayo and elsewhere. I am told by builders in Dublin and in Kildare that frequently skilled men, plasterers in particular, come to  them asking for employment whereas formerly their difficulty was to get the skilled men when they got their contracts. I have no reason to doubt the word of the people who give me that information. I am quite certain they are telling me the truth. If that is the position, it would seem that the optimism which some people apparently feel, judging by this morning's paper, is not as likely to be justified as every one of us would wish.
I am told that even apart from the existing position in regard to private building there is a worse prospect for the latter six months of the financial year, that is, for the autumn. It was put to me not so very long ago by builders who were representative of a certain type of building in Dublin City that in their view the position in May of this year compared more or less with the position ordinarily obtaining in October and that they were starting the summer with not more activity than they would, in the ordinary way, expect to start the winter. They told me, further, that so far as they could see from site development for private building, it was extremely doubtful whether the position would be even as satisfactory next October and that it was far more likely that it would be substantially worse. I hope that is not the case.
I hope that we will see no diminution whatsoever in the building of houses. The near stagnation some of them seem to think there is in the trade arises partly because they did not know in sufficient time what the Minister's plans were and partly because it is an offshoot of the policy adopted by the Minister for Finance since last July and which has created such an air of uneasiness throughout the whole business community and the whole economic life of the people.
Most of us, I think, were bitterly disappointed, when we read this Bill, to find that the Minister had kept the grants for new houses static. It is, I think, undeniable that the cost of building has risen since the beginning of 1948. It is, I imagine, obvious to everybody that the increases that have taken place in timber costs will mean  dearer houses and, therefore, to some extent, it will mean that certain people who were going to build will not now build because of that increase in cost.
During two recent debates this House heard frequent references to the Budget that was introduced by Mr. Butler across the water and the Minister for Finance was accused of having copied that Budget. I need hardly say that I am not going to reopen that debate but I say it was unfortunate that the Minister did not follow, in relation to housing grants, the example that was set across the way when grants were increased and when interest rates rose.
The increase in interest rates will obviously mean greater expense for the builder. It will mean greater expense for every type of supply quite apart from the extra costs of the materials themselves because people who have to keep supplies on hands for a considerable time will obviously have to pay for those supplies and in paying for them they will have to pay in a dearer fashion for the accommodation they will get.
We had hoped that, when the Minister would introduce this measure, he would have been able to increase the grant to offset to some degree the increase there had been in costs. I am told by two people who are in the trade —I give this with a certain amount of personal reserve because I do not know enough about the trade to speak from my own experience—that the increase since the beginning of 1948 on building costs is almost one-third. I understand, too, that there has been a change in regard to the supply of timber. I would like to know from the Minister whether it is correct that there has been a new method adopted by the builders' providers which means that no builders' providers can supply timber at a figure under that which is fixed by the providers themselves? There was, I understand, until recently at least one very large firm which supplied timber at a price varying between 10 per cent. and 20 per cent. below the price of other suppliers in the City of Dublin and, in consequence of recent action, the effect now is that this supplier is on the same level as all the  others; that they are all in the position of supplying at the same fixed price and that none of them is allowed to go below it. I would like the Minister to indicate whether he has any information on that and whether he has any views as to the manner in which that can be remedied if it is a fact.
I agree with what the Minister states about grants in one section of his speech in relation to the purchasers of houses because we must consider the purchases but the purchasers will not be purchasers unless the builders are there to build the houses for them to purchase. One of the items of increased costs which purchasers will have to meet is the increase in building societies' rates of interest. I am told that the rates have been raised by building societies. Naturally, I suppose building societies have to get their capital and have to provide that the capital which they lend is lent out at a sufficient margin to cover what they have to pay in order to get the capital. That is natural and obvious.
My only regret is that the offset to that increase is not met by the introduction of a larger grant and that the grant which has been introduced in this Bill is the same static grant as it was when interest rates were lower. So far as the building societies themselves are concerned, may I make it clear not merely for myself but for every member on this side of the House in Fine Gael that we entirely agree that those societies fulfil a very desirable and useful function and that in their continued expansion they will be fulfilling an even more useful function in the future? At the same time, I wonder whether it might not be possible to supplement their work with some type of central lending governmental agency particularly now that interest rates have increased.
There may not have been before, perhaps, the same necessity but with the increase in bank interest rates and with the concomitant increase that a financial institution in private hands such as a building society must have, I think there would be a case now to consider at any rate the setting up of a central lending agency such as I understand they have in Australia,  New Zealand and Canada, to mention three countries.
I would like the Minister to give us some indication in regard to local authority housing as to what his policy will be in relation to the employment of direct labour or the contract system. I would like him to tell us whether he accepts the position that there is now very much greater competition for housing tenders than there was in the past and whether it is, therefore, necessary and desirable that local authorities should supplement their building programme by private contract by erecting houses through the medium of direct labour. The direct labour system was undoubtedly very necessary at a time when tenders for building were at a very low ebb. There was a time when it was not very easy to get any number of tenders. So far as our experience in Kildare is concerned any time we advertise a group of houses at the moment we get many more tenders as compared with what we got hitherto. I think that must show that there is some decline in the volume of building work available because, if there were not such a decline, it is unlikely that people would be so anxious to tender. It may be that that is due to certain extraneous circumstances. I do not know whether that is so, but the Minister is in a position, because of the information that is available to him in his Department, to tell the House whether or not it is so.
So far as the specific provisions of the Bill are concerned, I have considerable difficulty in appreciating what exactly is intended in relation to some of them. No doubt we shall have a clearer picture on the Committee Stage. As I understand the position, however, under the provision in regard to supplementary grants by local authorities the existing power under the 1950 Act will go when this Bill becomes law. That power will go under sub-section (3) of Section 5 in respect of every grant which has not been notified to an applicant before the 29th April which was, I think, the date on which this Bill was printed. That will cause considerable hardship in Kildare.  The grants provided in this Bill will be considerably less in many instances than those provided under the earlier Act. I think it was a wise policy to encourage by grant private individuals to build their own houses. The Minister has now decided that it is necessary to rationalise local authority grants over the whole country. From the Minister's point of view I can see great force in that argument. It is undesirable to have different local authorities dealing with the matter in different ways.
The practice in Kildare was that we drew up our scheme and had it sanctioned by the Minister. We then invited applications for grants under that scheme. Having got those applications we analysed them in relation to the Minister's decision that we could not borrow from the Local Loans Fund except for a certain type of applicant—in other words, for the type of applicant for whom we would normally be responsible for providing houses. Having verified the income provisions and the governmental grant equivalent position and having analysed the applications to see whether they came within the type for which the Minister would permit us to borrow from the Local Loans Fund, we then approved the list of applicants. The county council having approved the list, we then proceeded to adopt the plan of making arrangements to get the money. No specific notification was sent out to any applicant. Those who were waiting ascertained that their grant had been made available and proceeded to make their plans.
As I understand sub-section (3)—I am open to correction on the matter —where applicants have got no formal notification from the appropriate local authority under Section 5 they will not now be entitled to a grant under the 1950 Act and will be forced to wait for such a grant under this Act. I do not think that is what the Minister intended. I think he intended to provide that the method would change and that the scheme would change, and that any future schemes adopted by county councils would be under this Bill rather than under any other. I  would appeal to him to reconsider the matter. I take it we shall have an opportunity of discussing it more fully on the Committee Stage.
In relation to grants for farmers, the Minister has taken a more limited view under Section 9 than we took. I think the limits are too low. I put it to the Minister that the valuation of a farm is not the only test of whether or not a farmer is able to build a house. The valuation limits in the measure now before us vary from £12 10s. to £27 10s. There may be a farm with £20 valuation. It may be held by a widow whose husband suffered a very long illness prior to his death. The Minister knows, and I give him credit for appreciating this far more than I do, that such an illness very often breaks a family. The family may have to go into substantial debt to meet the costs of the illness. It may have had to go into debt for certain other purposes. The holder of a farm with a valuation of £30 carrying a substantial debt is in a much worse position than is the man with a smaller valuation who holds his land free and unencumbered. I would appeal to the Minister to permit local authorities to adopt an alternative and to include a provision leaving an alternative open to a farmer so that if his valuation is over the limit and he can show that he has substantial mortgaged overheads he can get credit for those by way of a deduction against income and in that way bring himself within the limits that are provided in relation to a person, as specified in Section 10, other than a farmer. I can see that there may be a little difficulty in drafting such a provision but I do urge on the Minister the desirability of considering such an amendment.
There has been, as the Minister indicated in his speech on the Bill, a substantial difference of opinion in Dublin City, more than anywhere else, in regard to the limit on loans under the Small Dwellings Act. The provision under the 1950 Act was that a person had to put up at least 5 per cent. himself. In Dublin, they had no supplementary local authority housing scheme. The provision which the Minister has now put in this Bill of a loan  limit of £1,800 under the Small Dwellings Act is, I suggest, practically the equivalent of raising the limit, computed under the old way, from £2,000 to £2,185. As I see the position it is this. You have a £1,800 loan. You add to it the £275, maximum Government grant, making the figure £2,075. Now on a £2,200 house the applicant will have to put up £110 himself. If you add the £110 to the £2,075 you get the figure of £2,185. That is the way that I have made up my figure of £2,185. As I understand it, therefore, the effect of Part VI of the Bill is only to raise the ceiling limit in Dublin by £200 or a few pounds less.
I know the Minister will reply to me at once and say that there is no ceiling limit on the value of a house included in this Bill. There is not in theory, but there is in practice, because the ceiling limit is obviously governed, in nine-tenths of the Small Dwellings Act cases, by the amount of the deposit which the applicant can put down. If the applicant cannot put down a sufficient deposit to cover the price of the house, then the fact that, theoretically, there is no ceiling limit on the value of the house, does not make very much practical difference to the person who is looking for a home for himself and wants to borrow from the Dublin Corporation under the Small Dwellings Act.
Frankly, I think that, so far as the country is concerned, the limit of £1,600 provided by the Bill is adequate. I have no experience myself of big towns such as Drogheda, but, speaking for the ordinary rural area and for towns of a size such as we have in the County Kildare, I think that the limit of £1,600 provided by the new method adopted by the Minister in this Bill is sufficient. I do not, however, think that the amount of £1,800 provided by the Bill, in respect of Dublin, Dún Laoghaire and Cork, is adequate. I am of opinion that that is the case so far as Dublin and Dún Laoghaire are concerned. I always hesitate to say anything which concerns the capital of the South because I know that, regardless of Party, if any of us say anything about Cork which the Cork Deputies may not approve of, we will have them down on us like a pack of  wolves. I have no doubt that, if the Cork Deputies think that sum does not suit them, they will tell the Minister so, and that they are well able to express their feelings in no uncertain manner. But as I say, so far as Dublin and Dún Laoghaire are concerned, the amount in my opinion is not sufficient and should be increased somewhat.
In regard to the provision of supplementary grants by local authorities, I observe that the word “may” is used. Therefore, I take it that it is a permissive word, and that it is not intended to be mandatory on local authorities to make supplementary grants available. I have no doubt whatever that, so far as Kildare is concerned, we will do it. The Dublin Corporation has not done it up to this. Whether the local authority is going to make a supplementary grant or not, you must consider the provision there is as regards the minimum rate under the Small Dwellings Act. I understand there is also a provision in Dublin that small dwellings loans are not given to applicants who have less than, I think, £7 10s. a week. If that figure is maintained by the corporation then it will equally have this effect: to make the provision in Section 10 as regards lower rates of supplementary grants applicable in every case where there is a small dwellings loan also being sought by the applicant.
I do not quite understand how the Minister is going to work in his provision in Section 7 as regards grants for the installation of private water supplies. A scheme is already in operation, under the Department of Agriculture, for the provision of water supplies to farmers' houses. As I understand it, the scheme under the Department of Agriculture only operates so far as a grant is necessary to bring the water to one point in the house. I take it that it is not intended that people will be entitled to get one grant from the Department of Local Government and another grant from the Department of Agriculture. If that was going to be the good news the Minister would not have hesitated to tell us about it before now. I should like him to tell us if the grant under the Department of Agriculture is now  going to be withdrawn, or how he intends his grant to tie in, so to speak, with the grant given under the scheme operated by the Department of Agriculture.
Perhaps the Minister, when concluding, would also be able to give us the most recent figures he has in regard to the pool of sites now available for further local authority building. The Minister has taken power in this Bill— I think it is in Section 32 of the Bill— to give additional powers to local authorities by way of acquisition. In my view, the powers which the Minister is suggesting are reasonable ones. I only mention that to remind the Minister in a humorous way of an incident which took place not very long ago when he was seated on this side of the House.
The present Minister for Finance, then Deputy MacEntee, tiraded about the powers in the 1950 Act for the acquisition of land for housing purposes. The present Minister for Local Government joined the present Minister for Finance going up the steps of the Division Lobby to vote against these powers. I am very glad to see that the Minister has not, in this Bill, gone back to the position as it operated before 1950, and I am delighted to see that, by not altering the position in this Bill, he has adopted the section as then included. Every member of this House, whether he be in the Opposition or otherwise, will welcome this Bill. We will have a better opportunity on the Committee Stage of going into the detailed provisions of it.
Mr. Keyes: I welcome this Bill. It appears to me to be a very good Bill, following closely on the lines and principles of the housing legislation of 1948 and of 1950. Some amendments. which the operation of previous measures probably found essential, in order to ensure proper working, have been included. I feel that this measure will pass speedily through this House and that it will have a good effect on house building in the country which, unquestionably, it is to be regretted, has shown evidence of flagging in recent months. In my view, it is very early in the housing drive for the  flagging which is in evidence at the present time throughout the country. A very considerable number of skilled operatives in the housing industry are now unemployed. That is to be regretted, because the danger is that, being idle, they will emigrate, making it difficult for us to mobilise a skilled team when we want to get housing going again at the intensity it needs until the housing problem has been solved. In Limerick City, which is a comparatively small city, there are more than 150 carpenters idle.
I have not got the exact figures for Dublin City, but I am told there are between 500 and 600 carpenters idle here. Plasterers, who were as scarce as radium a few years ago, are now unemployed in large numbers. I trust that this Bill will be passed quickly through this House and will ensure that the housing drive gets into full swing again, thus providing the employment for our people at home which some of them are driven to seek in England and elsewhere.
There are some very enterprising amendments in the present Bill which appeal to me, for instance, the extension of the Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Acts loans. I believe that this is very desirable, because people wishing to build at the present time are finding it difficult to borrow money. In my view, the extension of the loans under the present Bill will act as an incentive to people who are inclined to build. In that respect, there may be some misconception. In the Bill I have found no evidence of an increase in the floor area for grant purposes or whether it will be possible to get an increased figure for higher-priced houses under the Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Acts.
The Sunday Press, dated the 4th May, 1952, says:—
“Loans, Houses Will Be Bigger
If you feel uneasy about having that extra bedroom in your new house—forget your worries. And if the thought of a £2,500 bill staggers you—well, there's good news around the corner. If you're a builder, look for better times. The same applies  if you're a farmer, a labourer, a social worker—or just a ratepayer.
But a note of warning: everything depends on the safe passage through Dáil and Seanad of a piece of legislation called the Housing (Amendment) Bill, 1952.
For the man who wants a new house, biggest feature of the Bill is this: he can be more generous in his floor space and in the number of his rooms—and still qualify for a local authority loan.
Example: an eight-roomed house built three months ago at a cost of £2,500 would not qualify for a small dwellings loan. Now a man building the same kind of house will be able to claim a £1,600 local authority loan (£1,800 in Dublin City and environs), plus a Department grant of £275— and possibly an extra grant of £275 from the local body. . . .”
If that is so, I suggest that it is not in the Bill. At least, I have failed to find it in the Bill. People are very eager to know about the legislation items of the various Bills. Deputies will agree with me that their constituents are always asking: “What is this Act going to give us? What does this Act provide?” If this Bill provides increased floor area for grant purposes, I would be very glad to know it, but I have not discovered it in the Bill. At the present time a grant will not be allowed for a floor area in excess of 1,400 square feet. When the public see, in the Sunday Press—their oracle—the statement I have read out above, they are inclined to believe it, but I would like to hear from the Minister himself as to whether or not it is correct.
That brings me to another item which appeared in the same oracle—the Sunday Press—on the 16th March, 1952. It runs as follows:—
“Mr. Robert Briscoe, T.D., chairman of the Dublin Corporation Finance Committee, when asked by the Sunday Press to comment on statements by Deputies Larkin and MacBride in the Dáil during the week that a `sharp decline' was expected in corporation housing in 1953 said:—
‘The expected decline in housing in the city in 1953 is due to unwarranted interference with the corporation's housing plans by the Coalition Government of which Mr. MacBride was a member.
‘About two years ago,’ he continued, ‘Mr. Keyes, Minister for Local Government in the Coalition, ordered the Government to depart from the normal line of planning which was aimed at building 2,500 municipal houses and flats and approximately 500 houses by the granting of loans to people who would build or buy their own houses.
‘At that time,’ said Mr. Briscoe, ‘the corporation warned the Coalition Minister that his Order would mean the holding up of corporation housing from six to nine months. In spite of that warning the Coalition Minister continued to interfere with the corporation.
‘If the corporation builds 1,000 less houses next year, Mr. MacBride and his colleagues are responsible and not the corporation. Mr. MacBride is obviously ignorant of the Dublin position. His poor vote at the last general election proves that his constituents realise that.’”
I am not really concerned with Deputy MacBride's influence with the electorate of South-West Dublin, but I want to characterise that statement as being untrue. I, when Minister for Local Government, and the Department of Local Government co-operated to the fullest degree with the Dublin Corporation and with every other housing authority in the country to keep the housing drive going with all possible speed, and we placed no barriers in its way.
Deputy Briscoe speaks about a circular issued by me, when Minister for Local Government, two years ago mentioning loans being granted to people who would build or buy their own houses. The Deputy was talking through his hat, because nobody could buy a house by means of a grant until the 1950 Act was introduced and had become law. The circular to which he refers was not issued by me, but a circular was issued in 1951 which was last year—not two years ago.
 We are aware of the powers which the Department of Local Government can exercise on building by local authorities; the local authorities have to comply with the Town Planning Acts, and they are asked to submit draft plans. If anybody in this House believes that a circular issued in January, 1950, asking Dublin Corporation to submit draft plans of the proposed areas upon which they are going to build is going to show an effect in fewer houses being built in 1953, they would be more credulous than I believe the people of this House to be. I do not like that idea of cheap scoring. I have never tried to have any cheap scoring about this matter of house building because I think it is above and beyond that. It is not right for Deputy Briscoe in his important position as Deputy in this House and chairman of the Finance Committee to indulge himself in that favourite pastime and hobby. It might have reactions that would be detrimental to what we are all desirous of bringing to fruition, better housing at the earliest possible date.
Mr. McCann: Deputy Briscoe was correcting the impression given by a statement made by Deputy MacBride, accusing the present Government of holding up the housing drive. It was your circular in 1951 which was responsible for that.
Mr. Keyes: I am merely making a statement in regard to a quotation from the Sunday Press as it relates to myself.
Mr. McCann: Deputy Briscoe was quite correct.
Mr. Keyes: He can answer for himself.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Has this any bearing on the Bill before the House?
Mr. McCann: It has a bearing on truth.
Mr. Keyes: I welcome the improvement which the making of reconstruction grants will involve in so far as they can now be applied to houses in  excess of 1,400 feet. This will be of immense benefit in regard to big houses throughout the country, rambling old buildings which were allowed to go into disrepair. It often happened that these houses, although they were in need of repair, when found to extend more than 1,400 feet, did not qualify for a grant and people were compelled to keep on living in them in their derelict state. Now that it is possible for people owning houses in excess of 1,400 feet to obtain reconstruction grants they will be able to put their houses into decent repair, which could not have been done if the area clause had not been removed.
I welcome that improvement in the Bill and believe it will have a very beneficial effect particularly in regard to the extension of the amount from £80 to £100 and £120. The operation of the reconstruction grant has proved to be very efficacious. It has saved many people from having to build new houses. The alterations that it will be possible to effect will improve the appearance and the durability of the houses and will redound to the advantage of the community by saving much money in the housing drive. It will give an opportunity of getting full value from the old houses. Many people like to preserve the old home if they are in a position to put it into decent repair.
I welcome the section as brought in here to extend the repair grants to rural areas as had been operative in the city and urban areas. It is regrettable that the relevant clause in the 1937 Act has been very little used. It has been allowed to go into desuetude so that a lot of people are unaware of its existence. It was a very useful provision. Buildings in very many areas which have gone into disrepair can be improved. This will lead to a brighter and better appearance in the streets and towns in these areas. It would benefit the small towns and enable the section to have a more widespread application.
There is one point about which I should like to make an inquiry, that is, in connection with the letting grants. I have a kind of natural horror of  retrospective legislation. I do not like certain types of retrospective legislation and, I think, the Minister and myself had discussions on that in other respects some years ago. However, I do not intend to be very hostile to the retrospective legislation dealing with payment of letting grants by local authorities. In the past I am aware that some local authorities played fast and loose with that provision in so far as they made a grant of 1/- or some insignificant amount, which was carrying out the provisions of the Act to the letter rather than in the spirit in which it was intended. I believe that is probably what inspired the Minister in this connection and I agree with him that, if legislation is on the Statute Book, certain abuses might be avoided. In a way, it is hardly fair to leave it to some individual council to play fast and loose and perhaps offer an insult rather than a grant. The person is either entitled to the grant or he is not, and this grant is a voluntary offering by the local authority. If the Minister takes authority to compel them to pay what he thinks they should pay and goes back and makes it retrospective, we may be going one shade too far. There is a happy medium between one and the other. I think the position is a little bit too elastic at the moment. It might not be desirable that the Minister should take power to compel local authorities, that he should have the last word of appeal, and not alone that, but be able to deal with the question retrospectively.
I suggest this calls for a little bit of examination. On the other hand, I am not entirely opposed to the idea. If legislation proposes that local authorities should give letting grants they ought to give them and it should not be possible for some local authority to offer an insult instead of a grant. However, this occurrence is, I imagine, exceptional. The majority of the local authorities are inclined to dispense grants fairly and equitably. I would be opposed to the Minister taking too much power and compelling them to pay so-and-so, not alone currently but retrospectively. On the whole, I believe the Bill is going to be a very good measure in speeding up the housing drive. I recommend that it  should have a speedy passage through the House and I wish it every success.
Mr. Gallagher: I agree with Deputy Sweetman that there is a great need for the consolidation of housing legislation here. As he said, when we got this Bill it was necessary to go through all the previous Acts. It was an impossible task. For instance, I have spent hours trying to get some clause that would define for me the “working classes”. I understand that it is defined in the 1908 Act. I was very interested in the definition of the working classes. We should have something done to have this legislation consolidated.
I would like to see something on the lines of the Defence Bill in connection with which a special committee was set up. I must say there was a tremendous amount of work done, and done well. If we could find Deputies here interested in building, in the legal profession and others who are on local bodies, I feel they would be doing a great deal of good for the country in producing a worth-while Bill.
To my mind the main feature of this Bill as far as Dublin is concerned is the wider scope that it will give to the Dublin Corporation in dealing with their overcrowding cases and their tuberculous cases. There is no need to go into the problem here because it is well known. There are members of the corporation who are also Deputies in this House. They have longer experience on these matters than I have. I am sure they will speak on these problems and they will certainly give valuable information. This Bill will help a great deal in dealing with cases of overcrowding and tuberculous cases. Some time ago the Dublin Corporation inserted an advertisement in the papers asking persons to make new applications; we got thousands and thousands of applications. It has put many people who were tuberculous cases living in two and three rooms far back on the list because we could not deal with them. From the quick glance I have had at this Bill, I am sure that we will be able to do a lot more for them.
There is one point about which I am not quite clear. Under Section 10, a man may obtain the maximum grant  from a local authority where he has an income of £4 a week. Surely it is obvious that if a man earning £4 a week gets the maximum grant it will be impossible for him to repay any loan under the Small Dwellings Acts. I do not think it is right to place temptation, as we are doing, in the way of such an applicant. Where a man's family income does not exceed £208, he may get 100 per cent of the relevant grant and, to my mind, that is not playing the game with a man who would be tempted to take such a grant. Then, a man with a family income of £416 may get 33? per cent. of £275 and yet, under Section 11, a person with unlimited income may qualify for 50 per cent. of the relevant grant which is £137 10s. These two sections will lead to endless confusion because the local authorities have to define the working classes. The solution probably would be to combine the two sections and make a clear-cut and rigid statement as to who is entitled to the grants.
I note that the maximum advance in respect of any house shall be £1,800 in the case of Dublin City and County and Cork City. Somebody has said that if one speaks about Cork, one will bring the Cork Deputies on one's heels, but they will agree with me in this matter. The Bill confines this provision to the City of Cork, but, from my experience, there are no sites in the City of Cork and therefore, if a man applies for a grant in respect of a site outside, he cannot get it. The Cork Deputies will probably speak on this as well, but I do not know of any sites in the City of Cork, from my experience in business. Mayfield, I think, was the last one.
Mr. MacCarthy: That is correct.
Mr. Gallagher: It may appear strange that a Dublin Deputy should talk about Cork, but I think that is a flaw in the Bill, that an applicant should be brought down to £1,600 if he is outside the City of Cork. I understand that the borough limits have not been extended, so that if he is outside the County Borough of Cork, he gets £1,600 and if he is inside, £1,800. The Minister would be well advised to look into that point. It is a pity to keep the man outside the city down to £1,600  because the extra £200 would be of great benefit to him.
Mr. MacCarthy: The Deputy is quite correct and that aspect of it has been submitted to the Minister.
Mr. Gallagher: I was not aware of that. I am stating my own personal experience of Cork and elsewhere.
Mention was made of the work of building societies and it will be generally agreed that building societies and insurance companies have played their part in providing finance for people to build and purchase their homes. During the war particularly, when insurance companies and particularly British insurance companies, had to stop lending money here, the building societies came to the fore and helped people to buy their houses. The matter of interest was also mentioned and it will be appreciated in that connection that building societies and other such organisations have to be careful with their investors' money. They are not lending their own money but the money of other people and they have to be more than careful. They would like to lend money at a much cheaper rate if they could get it more cheaply and the Department of Finance might help in this matter because the Revenue Commissioners take a considerable amount in income-tax. These societies are very heavily taxed and it is one of the reasons why their rate of interest is slightly higher than the rate charged by others. It will be agreed, however, that they have played their part in the housing drive. I know that Deputy Hickey is an authority on finance——
Mr. Hickey: Let us have no more of that cynicism, Deputy.
Mr. Gallagher: I have read some of the Deputy's pamphlets on housing finance and I must say that they are quite good. It is a pity they are not more widely circulated in Dublin.
Mr. M.P. Murphy: Why do you not order a few copies?
Mr. Gallagher: I have them; some of them even autographed by Deputy Hickey. As I say, these societies and  insurance companies have played their part and I am sure they will do the same again. Some of the insurance companies have given money to the Dublin Corporation at a very low rate of interest, and were it not for some of the insurance companies some of the big housing schemes in Dublin would not now exist, or if they did they would cost the corporation much more.
Mr. Hickey: That is a doubtful compliment to our own Governments.
Mr. Gallagher: I am stating facts and giving my own views. Mention was also made previously of the Small Dwellings Act loans. There are complaints—and they are still coming along—that it takes far too long for a loan under the Small Dwellings Acts to be approved. For the life of me I cannot see why that is so. When an application comes to a local body the usual thing is that a surveyor is sent to check up on the site, the plans, and so on. There is, with the application, proof of income, and everything in connection with the applicant is set out. I cannot see why these loans are so slow in coming through and the Minister would be well advised to see if it is possible to expedite them. It is a great drawback to applicants and builders, who find great difficulty in meeting their commitments because of the hold-up. We have been told that in the case of the Dublin County Council it was a question of staff. They had not got sufficient legal staff. I hope that that has been rectified now. Every effort should be made to speed up the payment of the loans.
It was mentioned here that the £275 grant should be increased. I am in full agreement with that suggestion, especially when I think of the work which could be done with an increased grant. In these difficult times, it is not easy for the State to finance social welfare, old age pensions and everything else; but they should try to do this, if at all possible. It will have to be increased eventually, as building costs are going up. The £275 is inadequate at the moment, and as time goes on it will become of less use, so every effort should be made at some stage to increase it.
 Deputy Keyes mentioned the circular issued in January, 1951. I take off my hat to him for the amount of work he did during his time as Minister—and his predecessor before him— in the housing drive. No one can deny that they did a good job of work, and they deserve the best credit possible. That circular went out in January, 1951. The statement made by Deputy Briscoe was in reply to a statement made by Deputy MacBride, who said that there was a drop in the production of houses in Dublin, caused by the Fianna Fáil Government. Deputy MacBride was speaking somewhere down the country, not in Dublin. It is a pity he was not speaking in Dublin, as some of his colleagues in Clann na Poblachta in the Dublin Corporation might have told him the correct reason.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: We cannot have that discussed now.
Mr. Gallagher: It was Deputy MacBride who said that it was the Fianna Fáil Government that slowed us up. I do not say that Dublin Corporation was blameless in the matter. They did not take the circular seriously, as they should have taken it. They thought it applied only to the poor fellows down the country.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The circular cannot be discussed on this Housing Bill.
Mr. Gallagher: It would be as well to have that made clear, as far as Deputy Keyes is concerned. The Minister should also clarify the position regarding the payment of supplementary grants under Section 7 of the Housing (Amendment) Act, 1950. Perhaps he could state if this grant may be paid by a local authority to persons who commenced building on or before 29th April, 1952. I feel that this is important. I have heard that local authorities have held up payments, awaiting such a direction. When concluding the debate the Minister might clarify the position.
Like Deputy Keyes, I commend the Bill to the House and I believe there should be no delay in passing it through. While it is not as much as one  would like, it is a step in the right direction. As far as Dublin is concerned, it will help regarding slum clearance and tuberculous cases and in Dublin we welcome it wholeheartedly.
Captain Cowan: I should like to say right away that in this type of legislation I do not think it is necessary to go to the trouble of codifying all our housing legislation. I think we have just to progress step by step and year by year, benefiting by the experience and introducing a Housing (Amendment) Bill whenever we find there is necessity for it.
Undoubtedly, this Bill is an advance on previous Bills and contains provisions which should assist materially in the maintenance and acceleration of the housing drive. In so far as it makes provision for reconstruction in the rural areas, it will do very valuable work. When listening to Deputy Keyes, I was in some doubt as to whether the floor space of 1,450 square feet for grant houses is going to be altered by the Bill. I was asked the other day if that were still the limitation or if it goes by the board in this Bill, and I would be glad if the Minister would clear that point up so that there would be no doubt in regard to it.
Local authorities—and particularly a large local authority like the Dublin Corporation—are vitally interested in any Bill that deals with housing, that helps or accelerates the provision of new houses. We have an enormous problem in Dublin, which has been tackled very successfully during the last 20 years by the Dublin Corporation, with the assistance of the Government. We are now in a position in Dublin where we have approximately 30,000 dwellings owned by the Corporation— 30,000 dwellings as between houses and flats—and if we carry out our programme we shall build another 10,000, between flats and houses, in the next four years. Even if we do build that 10,000, we still have a target of perhaps another 20,000, in flats and houses, to be built. When that is reached after eight or ten years, there will probably be a new target, since a considerable portion of Dublin is decaying, and while it is good enough just at the moment,  in 15 or 20 years' time it will present the then corporation with a new headache and a new problem.
I have considered, as has the Dublin Corporation, whether Dublin is able to carry such an enormous number of houses and flats on a rental basis. We find in our city finances that we must make provision to the extent of £10 per house for repairs. That is a very substantial bill, which will grow bigger as the years go on. If houses were owned by the tenants, if a scheme were in operation whereby the ownership could be transferred to the tenants, the local authority—in this case, the Dublin Corporation—would save the cost of maintaining, as a lot of the maintenance work that is now being done by the local authorities would be done by the occupiers or owners themselves. I think everyone agrees that that would be a most desirable thing.
In the Dublin Corporation we have passed a resolution authorising our officials to make arrangements for the transfer of ownership of houses, where convenient schemes may be arranged, to the present occupiers. I was hoping that within this Housing (Amendment) Bill provision would be made for the speedy transfer of ownership in those cases. I understand from our city officials that some legislative authority is necessary, and I was hoping that it would be included in this Bill. I would ask the Minister to consider that as a very serious and urgent problem, to be dealt with by another amending Bill as early as possible.
One of the difficulties facing a corporation and, I am sure, any local authority, is the delay that takes place between the decision to acquire property on which to build and actual acquisition of that property. If there could be some shortening of that interval it would be of great help to local authorities. In Dublin, during the past four years, we have been building, on a rough average, 2,500 dwellings a year. Some of us who were elected to the corporation a couple of years ago have been endeavouring to speed up that programme and to reach a target of 3,000 houses a year. We were very  surprised when we were told in February of this year, by our officials —that was the first intimation we got —that, owing to the shortage of sites, our programme would drop to 1,500 houses next year. That is a very serious matter from the point of view of Dublin. It is serious in that there will be a shortage of 1,000 houses; it is serious in that the workers who would have been employed in building that extra 1,000 houses will not be employed, and it is serious from a number of other points of view.
There has been condemnation of the Government and of the Minister in regard to that. As a member of the Dublin Corporation, I want to say that to a large extent the blame rests on the Dublin Corporation. If that is the position, it is only right that is should be acknowledged. It is the easiest thing in the world to blame the Minister or his predecessor and it is quite right to blame them if they are at fault but I, personally, have come to the conclusion, and I have so stated in the Dublin Corporation, that the fault is ours. We were led up the garden in regard to sites. We were not told until February of this year that there would be a shortage of sites so that only 1,500 houses could be built next year. A further difficulty is that, in my opinion, 1,500 houses are a most optimistic figure and I have grave doubts that it will be reached next year.
We are engaged in a programme of flat-building. Last week there was a special meeting of the corporation at which was sanctioned a programme of 22,500 flats to be built in a period of five years. The Minister has given us sanction for the first group of flats which will be erected on the North Strand, on part of the bombed site. Our programme of 500 flats a year can be achieved if we get the co-operation of the Minister and his Department. As far as we are concerned we will put our cards on the table and will explain our difficulties frankly and fully to the Minister. Our experience in recent months has been, as a result of interviews we have had with the Minister, that any obstructions or anything in the way of our progress is being removed.
 To enable us to go ahead with that scheme to build 2,500 flats in five years, we need the co-operation and help of the Minister and the officials of his Department. I would ask that Dublin Corporation and the officials of the Dublin Corporation should get that co-operation and help wholeheartedly.
One of the serious matters that arose from the fact that Dublin Corporation had made no provision in the last few years for sites was the decision of the corporation to enter on an estate at Clontarf known as St. Anne's Estate, for the purpose of building houses. St. Anne's Estate was acquired by the Dublin Corporation as a public park. That was the intention when it was acquired. It is in the centre of a residential district, in the centre of a number of housing areas in which there are thousands of houses and thousands of people living in them. As a result of the shortage of sites, the Dublin Corporation decided to build houses on this estate.
I consider that undesirable from many points of view. Hundreds of thousands of pounds have been spent in bringing that park to its present state of beauty, in planting trees, in cultivating flowers, developing gardens and paths. It is tragic that such a magnificent park should be mutilated and destroyed simply because our officials in the Dublin Corporation or the Dublin Corporation did not take steps to have alternative sites made available.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy is travelling a bit outside the scope of the Bill.
Captain Cowan: I am dealing with that aspect of sites.
An Ceann Comhairle: I am sure the Deputy could get another opportunity to discuss it more relevantly.
Captain Cowan: Perhaps. I sincerely hope that if there is any attempt at further mutilation of that park it will not be sanctioned by the Minister.
As I have said, I welcome this Bill as a further step in the housing drive. When one compares the Ireland of to-day with the Ireland of 25 or 30 years ago, one notices a tremendous  improvement in housing. All our villages are bright and clean. All over the landscape there are tens of thousands of new houses. It can be safely said that this generation is doing its part in regard to housing. A Bill such as this, which helps to continue that good work, certainly recommends itself to me and, I am sure, to every member of the Dáil.
Mr. M.P. Murphy: I welcome any measure which tends to improve the housing position, because I know that the first essential for a family is a decent house. I regard this measure as a clarification of the 1950 Act rather than as an advance on that Act. When the Housing (Amendment) Act, 1950, was brought into operation, a number of people, knowing that supplementary grants could be made available under Section 7, built houses.
I would like a clarification of their present position. During the past year or more the local authority of which I am a member, Cork County Council, have discussed this particular section but so far we have failed to adopt it. The question does not arise now as that section is being repealed. What will be the position of people who built houses on the assumption that they would benefit by that section? Will the provisions of this Bill be made retrospective and will those people be covered by the provision in respect of the supplementary grants in this Bill? It is only right that they should be because those who have built houses since August, 1950, did so on the assumption that both grants would be available.
I observe that Section 10 provides that “a housing authority may make. to or in respect of a person (other than a farmer) in respect of a house for which a relevant grant is made, a grant of an amount equal to, if his family income does not exceed £208, 100 per cent. of the relevant grant”. Then the scale of grants decreases as the income increases. I think that, having regard to present money values, the limits of income mentioned in Section 10 are altogether inadequate. A person or a family with an income in excess of £416 is completely cut out from any of these grants. Take  the case of an old married couple, each in receipt of the old age pension, whose two sons are working on the roads or for a small wage in some other capacity. The income of that household would exceed £416 and the family would be completely cut away from the benefits of that particular section. I would appeal to the Minister, having regard to the present money values, that the income limits specified in paragraphs (i), (ii), (iii) and (iv) of Section 10 should be increased by at least 50 per cent.
A previous speaker referred to the question of payment by local authorities of grants to societies or bodies who built houses for letting purposes. That has been a bone of contention with many local authorities. As mentioned by Deputy Keyes, some of these societies have received only nominal contributions from the local authority —and rightly so—to comply with the terms of the Act. I think that, under Section 16 of this Bill, the Minister is taking unto himself a power which is more or less dictatorial—at least that is my reading of the section—and he is leaving no power whatsoever with the local authority to determine whether or not a particular society would be entitled to benefit under that section. We, in the local authorities, will have to provide an amount approximating to one-third of the total expenditure involved, and I believe that under this section any of those bodies who will appeal against an adverse decision of the local authority to the Minister are assured that their appeal will be upheld. I think that this is a question that merits more consideration because I know that some of these bodies who have built houses with a view to getting these grants have let these houses at a figure which, if anything, is in excess of the economic rent. Taking that fact into account, if these societies let houses at a rent in excess of the economic rent I do not see why the local authority should be compelled to give them the benefits of the Act. I know that in my own constituency that has happened and I think it is unfair to cut out the local authority from any discretion whatsoever in the matter. Possibly the Minister may see  his way to introduce some amendments to this section or to clarify the position somewhat better on the Committee Stage.
So far as new house grants are concerned, there has been a good deal of misunderstanding as to the interpretation of the old Acts which govern these grants. I know myself of a number of applications in which the merits of the applicants were somewhat the same, but while some of these applicants succeeded in getting reduced new house grants of approximately £200, other applicants could get only the reconstruction grants of £80. I think that the position in regard to these grants should be clarified because a certain amount of annoyance has been caused to people who believed they were entitled to the reduced new house grants, and who found afterwards that they could not get them.
It has been my experience that a great deal of delay has taken place in the inspection of houses and in the payment of grants, particularly reconstruction grants, in the western part of County Cork. The Minister should be aware that such delays are a cause of grave annoyance because many people have obtained the materials for the reconstruction of their house on credit. Indeed in some cases the masons and carpenters are employed on a credit basis. In that part of the country there are a number of people in very poor circumstances who have no alternative except to get credit until such time as the grants are paid. I think it is a scandal that reconstruction grants should be held up in some cases for almost a couple of years. It is a matter which should have the immediate attention of the Minister, as it indicates a state of affairs which should not be allowed to exist in any Department.
Another section of the Act that I should like to see amended is the section which deals with the giving of second grants, after a lapse of 15 years. Of course, one of the essential qualifications for such a grant was that the work should consist of repairing a defective roof or providing additional accommodation. Any other improvement  was not covered. The trouble is that there are a number of people who would like to avail of these reconstruction grants and who previously got reconstruction grants away back in 1933 and 1934. Their houses definitely are in need of reconstruction, but the work would not qualify them for a second reconstruction grant inasmuch as the accommodation is quite sufficient and the roofs are quite good. Mainly what they require are new windows, new doors or new floors. These are very expensive items at the present moment, but no State help can be given to that particular type of work where a previous grant was given. I think the people who desire to carry out these improvements should be entitled to a grant on the same conditions as applied in the case of a first grant. Such an arrangement would give better results all round.
Mention was made of the floor space in houses. Deputy Keyes and Deputy Cowan were concerned with floor space in excess of 1,400 square feet but my concern is in the opposite direction. I know that in my own constituency there are a number of houses whose floor space is not 500 square feet and the occupiers of these houses are not entitled to any grant whatsoever under existing legislation. I believe that we should cater for people living in small houses as well as those living in big houses. The occupants of those houses are descendants of people who were not in very affluent circumstances when the houses were erected and consequently they had to build small houses. I have in mind three or four cases of people occupying such houses. The families are small and the houses are quite adequate for their needs, but just because the floor space is not 500 square feet, the people are debarred from getting any benefit whatsoever. I think that is unfair and that some discretion should be left to the housing inspectors in this matter. If the family is small, or if there is only one occupant in the house, the house would be quite sufficient to meet the family needs and, in these circumstances, a grant should be payable even though the floor area is less than 500 square feet.
So far as local authority housing is  concerned, I believe that there is an easing off of the drive which existed during the past three or four years. The local authority in my area has been endeavouring to get a rural scheme of 70 or 80 cottages through for almost three years, and we are about as far ahead to-day as we were two and a half years ago. That position of affairs should not be allowed to exist. I am not putting the blame on the Department or the Minister; part of it could probably be put on the local authority concerned. But when a county medical officer and his assistants report that people urgently require cottages in any particular district every effort should be made by the Department to expedite the building of these cottages. It is outrageous that this rural cottage scheme in my constituency should have been held up for the past two or three years. As I said, I am not blaming the Department, but the senior officials of the Department should take notice of such a position and some direction should be sent to the local authority or, if you like, they should be compelled to do the duty which they owe to the people.
Another matter which has been discussed at length by the Cork Country Council is the loans made available under the Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Act. Owing to the present cost of house construction it is an impossibility, even with the grant available, for people to build houses on their own without a loan from some quarter. Unfortunately, the people for whom this Act was intended cannot benefit much by it. People with a small business or small farmers cannot get the two sureties necessary in order to benefit under the Act. I know all the people in my neighbourhood very well and they are very honest people, but if one of them intended to build a new house and required a loan of £800 or even £600 under the Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Act from the Cork County Council and went to his neighbours, no matter how friendly they are, and asked them to go security for him for 35 years to the Cork County Council, it would be with great difficulty that he would get any of them to comply with his wishes. People are not anxious to go security for others  as they have enough to do to meet their own family commitments. If anything went wrong with the person for whom they went security they would be put in a very awkward position. It is, however, very difficult for anyone to advance money without getting some solvent security, but I think that the particular provision which governs the granting of these loans and which requires two sureties should be overhauled.
A number of local authorities do not insist on a person having two guarantors. They are satisfied with having a mortgage on the house. If that is satisfactory for a few local authorities, it should be made applicable to all local authorities by the Local Government Department. The Cork County Council, and I feel sure every county council, has the names of the applicants for loans before them. Looking over these names, I know that people have got loans who would have no difficulty in building their own houses if the loans were not available. Of course people of that kind have no difficulty in getting sureties. I believe that the main reason they apply for loans is in some cases to avoid income-tax and in other cases so as not to disturb their capital. I could name up to 20 people who got such loans from the Cork County Council to build houses and who could build five or six houses with their own capital. If these loans were not available to them, they would build their own houses.
It is that type of people who are benefiting by the Act, but it is an impossibility for the small farmer, the workman and the man with a small business who may not be very well off financially to benefit by the Act, because, as I said, it is very difficult, particularly in my part of the country, to get two sureties for such a long period as 35 years. I appeal to the Minister to review the whole position as it would mean a great saving of public funds. These people who are not able to avail of the Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Act have no alternative except to fall back on the local authority to provide them with a house  at the expense of the public funds. I have been asked by a number of my constituents to bring up this matter, and I hope that something will be done to ease the position.
I hope, as a result of these housing Acts, that in the very near future every person requiring it will be provided with a decent house. As I said at the outset, I hope that no difficulties will be placed in their way, because no matter what advantages a family may have, if they have not a decent house these advantages are of very little use to them. I urge the Minister to continue the good work done by his predecessors. I feel sure that his heart is in this business and that he will leave no stone unturned to improve the housing situation as much as possible. If he follows the example provided by his predecessors, in the not distant future this very great problem will be solved.
Mr. MacCarthy: The financing of local authority housing and, indeed, the financing of the building programme so as to stimulate private enterprise, is one of very great concern for the Government. Although I agree with Deputy Murphy that advantage is taken by some people of the efforts of the Government, at the same time we are faced with the problem that the Government must legislate for the greatest good of the greatest number. Therefore, in considering this Bill, we will have to direct our discussion towards the general problem confronting us. I agree entirely with the provision which the Minister is making in the present Bill to overcome certain difficulties which have become rather acute in recent times and have held up to some extent the development of building by private enterprise.
A very serious matter affecting the public body to which I belong is the fact that the Cork Corporation has not access to the Local Loans Fund. The population of Cork City is between 75,000 and 80,000 persons. The rateable value of that city is not such as to encourage the authority to go into the stock markets and compete at market prices with other issues for other purposes where money may be freer, where the advantages  given may be very attractive, and so forth. We have found from experience that loans for housing stock issues, and so forth, under the Cork Corporation, have not filled or even half filled in recent years. These issues have to be underwritten by the Government and, in consequence, delay is occasioned in providing the finances for housing. I do not know whether the Minister has considered the matter in detail, but I appeal to him to reconsider the urgency of allowing Cork Corporation to have access to the Local Loans Fund for housing purposes. As everybody knows, the high interest charges are of very intimate concern, not only to the local authorities, but also to the people who ultimately will occupy the houses. High interest charges mean high rents, and these seriously affect the families occupying the houses.
I congratulate the Minister on the provision in respect of the reconstruction of houses. We are all aware of the high building costs which prevail at present. A good deal of stress has been laid on the matter of floor space and so forth. There are a number of small houses throughout the country which, if properly reconstructed, would accommodate small families in reasonable comfort. I welcome the provision for the installation of water and sewerage. It will be very helpful to local authorities and even to the owners themselves in getting these houses into good shape and in solving part, at least, of our housing problem. In that connection, I think there should be no restrictions on valuation, floor space, and so on, where the local authority, on the advice of their officers, consider that these steps are desirable.
I think it was Deputy Cowan who referred to the appearance of the towns and villages of this country and to the great advance that has been made in housing in our rural areas as well as in our urban areas. Unfortunately, in many of our villages, we see many derelict sites and broken-down walls, which give all the appearance of decay. These are sites which could be made very attractive if they were built up. The local authority to which  Deputy Murphy belongs have taken very wise steps in that connection. According as families are cleared from sites in a town, the sites are rebuilt for the housing of people. These sites are near to the people's work, to churches and schools, lighting, roads and sewerage schemes. Many charges which fall on the Government would be avoided if the problem were thus dealt with in our cities. In Cork City we are faced with the provision of new schools in newly-built areas, whilst, at the same time, there are excellent schools within the borough boundary— schools which have three or four rooms vacant, because the children are moved a considerable distance from them. According as the building programme continues, all these problems will become more acute if we do not insist on the rebuilding of our derelict sites.
Complaints are made that some of the parishes in Cork City, for example, are being denuded of population because the people are going into other areas. Market gardens, and so forth, are being taken over and developed for housing purposes whilst the local authority—particularly, perhaps, the manager—has not given sufficient encouragement in respect of the building of derelict sites. No matter how the members of the corporation may press for such development, we get very poor encouragement. That should not be so.
In connection with the provision of houses and loans and letting grants, a difficulty has arisen in the borough boundary and in the surrounding suburbs by reason of certain interpretations as to who is entitled to these loans and grants. Take, for instance, a bus driver who has left a rural area in recent years and has gone to live in the city to be near his work. An effort is being made by some people to restrict such persons from the provisions of Acts which, to my mind, were designed for the benefit of the whole community. If that bus driver wants to build a house in the county area I think it is going very tight indeed in interpretation to say that he belongs to the borough area and should not get facilities from the county when, in actual fact, he is improving the valuation  of the county by building a house in the county area.
There are several restrictions of that kind which I hope will definitely be cleared up. I hope, too, that there will be no narrow-minded approach to what is intended when legislation is passed by this House and that advantage will not be taken of every little restriction which can be read into those provisions. The supplementary grants by the local authorities have been delayed by reason of certain contentions over the qualifications of applicants. That should not be so. We have boundaries enough in this country already without being too restricted in our approach to these matters. If a man is building a house in the rural area for his family he should come within the jurisdiction of the county authority because it is there he is providing the asset. He should be entitled to whatever benefits are enjoyed by those who reside in the county areas.
The question of the letting grants has also been a very big problem because these were designed for houses built for letting. The interpretation placed generally on these grants is that they were designed for people mainly for whom the local authority will be responsible for housing and that they did not apply to people who were charging £2 17s. 6d., £3 and £3 10s. a week for a house and that people who could afford to pay these high rents or people who built houses designed for high rent charges of that kind did not come within the ordinary social legislation of the country which provided for the community in general. Consequently, there have been views—and to my mind these views have some substance in them—that the concern of the local authorities is mainly with the people for whom housing is a great responsibility.
I think there is very little else that I need say at this juncture except to welcome the Bill as a further step forward. In his approach to it, the Minister has tried to get rid of some of the restrictive clauses, perhaps, unseen in previous legislation. I myself can say—I am sure others can say it also—that the very fact that this Bill  has been announced is stimulating building again. For some time there has been a hold-up and I am sorry to say that in the meantime some small builders are disappearing—men who had a certain amount of skill and, perhaps, a small amount of experience who, instead of working for others, decided that they would build for themselves and for others who were prepared to give them responsibility for erecting houses for them.
Many of these are disappearing and if they do the big builders can again charge what they like for the erection of houses. These small builders had their effect on the tendering for housing schemes, particularly in the suburbs and rural areas. They took small numbers of houses and erected them satisfactorily. In our housing programme I think the competitive nature of tendering is a very important factor.
Some authorities, like the Cork Corporation, set up building by direct labour as a counterblast to the high costs that were occurring year after year and as a check on the high charges. In order to house our people in a reasonable time we will need every effort that can be put into it. Encouragement in this Bill will be a step in that direction.
Mr. Desmond: Deputy MacCarthy and my colleague, Deputy Michael Patrick Murphy, have covered practically all the points I wish to mention. First of all, I think it is right for me to draw attention to the approach to this measure by Deputy Gallagher. Deputy Gallagher mentioned Cork City, but I am very sorry that some other Deputies from Cork— I need not mention any names—were not here to listen to him when he gave such an honest, constructive contribution towards a problem which in itself is altogether vicious in Cork City. He pointed out one danger which may not have been provided against in this Bill—that a person living in Cork City would not be able to avail of the advantages of a grant under this Act if he decided to build in the county because the corporation, not having acquired land in the county, could not  allow him any benefits. Unfortunately, the majority of the members in the Cork County Council decided that that person should not get the benefits from the Cork County Council. Deputy MacCarthy supported me in my stand at the time and will bear me out in this.
I am in thorough agreement with the approach made by Deputy Gallagher in that matter. I would suggest to the Minister that it is a point to be considered at a later stage in this Bill, the position of a tenant who may be squeezed out from one local authority and another local authority refusing to give him the advantages which he should get from them. It means he will not get the advantage of this important Bill or any other important Bill if local authorities are able to act in that manner.
Deputy MacCarthy touched upon another matter which is of grave importance to us. In the light of our own small experience on local authorities we realise the importance of the problems that may come before us. Deputy Keyes drew attention to the section which gives the right of appeal to an aggrieved person in connection with these grants. I agree with Deputy MacCarthy, but I would go even further than he did. I cannot agree with the Minister or with my colleague, Deputy Keyes. There are certain professional people who, because of their positions or their professions, cannot acquire or build a house in certain places. They may at any time be transferred, in consequence of the terms of their appointment, to some other place in a county. That means they would then have to rent a house. They cannot qualify for a local authority house. When in search of a home, temporary as it may be, for a few years, they are very often the victims of unscrupulous landlords, new landlords, in this country, who demand from these people up to £3 10s. a week rent.
These landlords came before us and asked for a grant of £40 a year for ten years, making a total of £400. The majority of us decided to give them 1/- a year. Unfortunately, we could see by the provision of the Act at that  time—it is possible that the provision still stands in this Bill—that if they got the £40 a year for the ten years, making a total of £400, the tenants would then have to pay the full rates. They would not get the remission for seven years.
Now we believe that in a large number of cases these landlords are not passing on the advantage of this grant to their tenants. We are aware of many instances where the tenant must pay the rates. Tenants are paying roughly anything from £2 17s. 6d. to £3 10s. per week in rent and are also expected to pay the rates. Why should a landlord get from the Government anything up to £400, plus a rent of anything up to £3 10s. per week, while he saddles his unfortunate tenant with that high rent and the additional burden of paying the rates? I think the Minister should consider that point. Every Deputy is anxious to give his fullest co-operation in a matter of this kind. Perhaps the Minister will see fit to make provision whereby landlords who get these advantages will be compelled to pass on the benefit of certain of these advantages to their tenants.
In Section 10 a question arises in relation to the maximum wage rate of £416. Provision is made whereby an applicant will get only 33? per cent. of the grant from the local authority. There is also the question of tenants who are not classified in the lower wage group. It is our experience that it is only the person who has a fairly good wage who can consider the possibility of building a house for himself and his family. A farm worker, a road worker or a casual labourer of any kind cannot afford to saddle himself with such a huge burden as building a home of his own. There are other classes in and around Cork city, such as tradesmen and factory workers, who really come under county council administration. Members of their families are working and these people are anxious to build their own homes, provided they get certain facilities.
When considering these particular sections and making full allowance for the wages earned by the father, plus those earned by a few sons and daughters, it must be appreciated that  £416 is below what I shall describe as the ground level of such a wage. When passing a Bill somewhat similar to this a few years ago, we included a ceiling of £600 a year. The Minister's officials know all about that. It is these people who will be able to take advantage of this Bill and, if we do not make allowance for them, we will find ourselves back at the stage of offering advantages with the one hand and taking them away with the other, while saddling the local authorities with additional burdens. Such a family, for instance, if living in a condemned house and qualified under the regulations, will have to get full consideration from the local medical officer in the same way as a person with a wage lower than £416 who may be living in just as bad a house.
I merely raise these points for the purpose of offering some constructive criticism. It is a pleasure to discover that we can discuss something here removed from Party politics altogether. We want to get the best return we can. No matter how many Acts we pass, there will always be need for some amendment. Under Section 8 there is the question of the prohibition of the grant—“if such premises have been disposed of by the local authority”. I have in mind the case of a tenant who is purchasing his cottage. In a case of that kind a certain term of years must elapse before the tenant becomes the rightful owner. There are clauses and provisions in several Acts covering the cases of tenants who do not fulfil the obligations placed upon them by the local authority. There is provision whereby, if tenants fail to keep their premises in a proper state of repair, the local authority can go in, repair the cottage and sue the tenant for the cost of the repairs. Where will we stand in future in relation to such a tenant? Will it be held that such a house has been disposed of by the local authority? If that is so, then the tenant is not entitled to the grant. If the tenant purchases the house and if the local authority puts the house into a proper state of repair before the full purchase term expires, where do we stand? The tenant may not be full owner. Will he be eligible for a grant  for reconstruction purposes? That is a very important point in relation to those people who are purchasing their homes from the local authorities.
Section 7 deals with the £50 grants for the provision of water and sewerage. That is an excellent provision. If a man applies for a reconstruction grant will he be entitled to the grant of £50 also outside of the reconstruction grant, or will the £50 be included? I do not say the tenant should get it. There may be difficulties. Finance will always decide how far we can go.
There is provision whereby local authorities will be enabled to purchase land for the benefit of utility societies or private groups anxious to construct their own homes. These people often find it very difficult to acquire sites and local authorities are in a much better position to acquire land than are small groups of people. That will be an incentive to tradesmen, such as carpenters, masons, plasterers, painters and so on, to build homes for themselves.
We will have time to discuss all these points on another occasion. I have drawn the Minister's attention to the matters in which I am particularly interested. Finally, I would repeat again that if the so-called aggrieved persons are getting certain advantages they should be willing to hand some of these on to their tenants.
Debate resumed on amendment No. 1 in the name of Deputy Hickey:—
To add to the section a new subsection as follows:—
(2) Within three months after the passing of this Act the Minister shall appoint a representative of labour to the board, and he shall hold office on the terms and conditions prescribed by the Minister.
Mr. Hickey: I hope the Minister has changed his mind since we last discussed this amendment. On that  occasion, I was rather surprised at the views he expressed. I think the Minister will agree that the times are demanding a change in the status of the worker, a change more in keeping with his capacity to take a more responsible part in the economic and social life of the country, and particularly in reference to the undertaking in which he is engaged. I also feel that the labour of the workers employed in the tourist industry is as necessary to the industry as is capital. I think that they should be represented not only on negotiating committees and on joint industrial councils, but at meetings at which decisions are made on major issues of the undertaking. I think that if we did give the workers a sense of responsibility that, as time went on, the trade unions, instead of being as they are at the moment a fighting force for wage conditions, would become a training ground for bringing about that industrial peace which is so badly needed.
I have long thought and believed that the worker who invests all that he has in industry—his brains, his physical power and experience—has as good a right to have a say in the industry in which he is engaged as the owners of the capital employed in it. I would be surprised if the Minister maintained the views that he has on these matters.
We have a number of people engaged in the catering business and in the hotel business. I do not think, for a moment, that everybody employed in the industry is capable of taking a place on a board such as the Tourist Board, but I do think that those engaged in it—the managers, the technicians and the ordinary workers— ought to be given an opportunity of pooling their knowledge and of working together as a team. I am asking that the Minister should put a representative of the workers on the Tourist Board. If he does that, I am sure he will not be disappointed or regret what he is being asked to do.
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Lemass): Personally I was hoping that since we last discussed this matter the Deputy would have realised that his proposal is impracticable. There  is another amendment by Deputy Costello which refers to the appointment of representatives of the hotel industry. I do not know what Deputies have in mind in this regard. You cannot run a board of this kind by a conference. The persons appointed on it must be appointed because of their individual qualifications and their suitability as members of a team and not as delegates of outside organisations. Every Deputy has, I am sure, experience of the fact that a delegate conference cannot perform executive functions. That is what Deputies are asking: that persons should be appointed not because of their individual suitability, not because of their capacity to fit into an executive team, but as representatives of outside organisations to whom, presumably, they would be responsible.
Mr. Hickey: Do not interpret my statement as meaning that.
Mr. Lemass: That is what the Deputy's amendment means. He is asking for the appointment of a representative. Now, so far as I know, there is no statutory executive board in this or in any country composed on that basis. Whoever has the responsibility of selecting persons for work of this kind must obviously be free to choose the persons whom he regards as having the qualifications and competence for the task. If he is to take the representatives of outside interests he cannot have that assurance.
In any event, as I have said, the Deputy's amendment is impracticable. If I say to him that the five members of the existing board are representative of labour he probably will challenge my assertion. If I say to Deputy Costello that the five members of the board are representatives of the hotels, he may challenge my assertion; but who is going to decide the point? Who is going to exercise judgment upon the representative capacity of anybody appointed? If we are going to have persons on these boards as representatives it will mean the setting up of very elaborate machinery for choosing the people who would be regarded by the interests concerned as representative. If it is left to the Minister for Industry and Commerce for the time  being to choose the people whom he regards as representative, then his choice will, I have no doubt, frequently be challenged.
In the case of all previous boards, the practice has been to put upon the Minister concerned or the Government the responsibility for selecting a properly constituted team. If the Minister fails in that responsibility, he is subject to criticism in the Dáil. I think that Deputy Hickey would be entitled, knowing his viewpoint, to criticise the selection if there was not a person on it whom he regarded as having the qualifications of a labour representative. Other Deputies would criticise the board if it did not contain representatives of the hotels, transport or some other interest that might appear to be involved in tourist development. There is no alternative, in my view, to the proposal in the Bill of putting the responsibility of making the choice on somebody and of retaining the right to criticise the choice that he makes.
There is one final point, and I think it is no harm to emphasise it again because there still appears to be a misunderstanding about this board. An Bord Fáilte will have no function whatever in relation to employment conditions in hotels. I do not think they should have. I do not think they should have any power or duty to interfere with the normal negotiating machinery between hotel proprietors and their staff.
Mr. Hickey: Is there not something in the Bill about the setting up of training centres for hotel personnel?
Mr. Lemass: Certainly. They can facilitate and are, in fact, facilitating the making of arrangements by the vocational education authorities for that purpose. As regards the direction of these training schemes, undoubtedly the representatives of the trade unions concerned must be consulted, and, so far as I know, it is the practice of the vocational education authorities to do that and only to establish these schemes in full agreement with the parties concerned. The Tourist Board are undoubtedly able and do assist in  financing the development of such schemes, but their practice has been in the past and, I am sure, will be in the future, to operate through the vocational education authorities. If the board were to operate directly a centre of that sort, then for the management of that training centre they would undoubtedly require to have a representative of the trade unions concerned.
Mr. Hickey: People may think that it is a new idea to be advocating such a proposal as this. I suppose the reason is that people are not yet attuned to the new idea. The fact is that you have 2,000 or 3,000 workers in the tourist industry. Is there anything wrong in advocating this idea? Do we think it impossible to find amongst these workers intelligent persons having views in regard to this industry which, from their point of view as workers, would not be helpful on a board selected by the Minister or somebody else?
Mr. Lemass: There are people on various boards in this country who became known because of their work in the trade union movement. They have been appointed to these boards because of their personal qualifications. I am not challenging these appointments. In fact, I think that their number is likely to be increased in the future, but I am challenging the wisdom of putting on any board a person who is a representative of any outside interest.
Mr. D. Costello: I do not think the Minister has dealt fairly with my comments or with Deputy Hickey's amendment. I do not wish by any means to have the Minister or any Minister bound to appoint more delegates to this board. I agree with the Minister that it would be wrong in principle to have delegates in a sort of discussion group from various interested parties. I would support Deputy Hickey's amendment and naturally my own on the basis that the Minister should be under some obligation, and subsequent Ministers after him, to see that the persons who are going to be vitally affected by this legislation have a say in the development of the tourist  industry. I can see no objection to a sort of general direction, such as Deputy Hickey's amendment would be, to the Minister to appoint a representative of labour to the board; similarly, when it comes to the amendment that I propose to move, I can see no objection to the Minister being given a direction to see that two representatives of the hotel industry are also included on the board.
As I say, the Minister is not bound and should not regard these amendments as forcing him to set up a sort of delegate board. I would regard this amendment moved by Deputy Hickey as meaning that the Minister must have regard to the fact that he must choose, when setting up his board, a representative of Labour. I can see no objection to that and, as Deputy Hickey has already said, there is a lot to be said for having representatives of Labour on such a board. As at present constituted, the Minister may put on it a representative of Labour, but I would prefer to see that written in the Bill. That is why I support this amendment.
Mr. Lemass: It is not to be assumed that because of the passage of this Bill there will be any change in the personnel of the board. At the moment this board consists of people appointed by my predecessor for a five-year term, approximately 18 months ago. One of the persons he appointed resigned, and I filled the vacancy. These people are there, and they were chosen because the Minister regarded them as suitable for the work involved. Their position on that board will not be altered by the passage of this Bill. The Bill does provide for the possible expansion of the existing board by two additional members. It does not mean that it is certain that two additional members will be appointed. I think the statutory limitation in the 1939 Act was too restrictive, and that is the only change I am proposing here.
Mr. Hickey: I want to convey this to the Minister from years of experience of sitting in front of boards of directors who have been appointed mainly on their qualifications of holding big bank balances——
Mr. Lemass: No.
Mr. Hickey: I am not saying this board is like that, but the fact is that many of these people who were appointed as directors have no knowledge of the particular industry which they are governing. I am not suggesting that that applies to the Tourist Board, but appointees should not be selected casually for such important work. In the catering trade and in other sections of the tourist business I am sure you will find men at the moment dealing with tourists and tourism who might not know the business properly. I am at a loss to understand why we are not trusting the workers more than we are. It seems that we take them too much for granted, and they seem to be looked upon as not being trustworthy and capable of carrying out responsible jobs. They have to clock in and out, and they are paid by the hour. That is not a very healthy state of affairs, and the Minister is in a position to rectify it. By giving the workers a sense of responsibility, it will engender in them a sense of their importance in the community. I am surprised that the Minister does not see fit to change his views and give those workers a chance to prove their ability.
Mr. D. Costello: Would the Minister be prepared to accept the amendment and my suggested amendment if it was not made mandatory on the Minister, if there was some clause to the effect that, “where possible, a representative from Labour”, in order to write into the Bill some direction to the Minister?
Mr. Lemass: The Deputy can try his hand at drafting an amendment which would require the Minister to have regard to the desirability of ensuring representation for various interests, but it will mean nothing.
Mr. D. Costello: The Minister would have to come to the Dáil and answer questions.
Mr. Lemass: He would have to do that anyway.
Mr. D. Costello: He will not have any direction now——
Mr. Lemass: If I say there are five labour representatives on the Tourist Board, who is going to disprove the assertion?
Amendment put and declared lost.
Question proposed: “That Section 4 stand part of the Bill.”
Mr. Cosgrave: On the Second Stage of the Bill I asked the Minister how the name “An Bord Fáilte” was arrived at. There was quite a good deal of confusion between the two boards and, in fact, it went to the extent that in at least two bulletins from the Department of External Affairs reference was made to the following fact. The bulletin from which I now quote was dated 10th March, 1952:-
“The Irish Tourist Board, An Bord Fáilte, will spend £50,000 in setting up new tourist bureaux at Birmingham, Glasgow and Manchester, and in improving and developing the present London office in Regent Street, the board's chairman, Mr. J.P. O'Brien, has announced in London.”
That was in one issue. I have not got the other issue, but this question involved at least two issues. It is obvious that if a Government Department is confused about a matter of this sort—
Mr. Lemass: What is the confusion? I am not quite clear.
Mr. Cosgrave: They refer to the fact that Mr. O'Brien was chairman of An Bord Fáilte with the Tourist Board. Under the provision in the Bill for the establishment of Fógra Fáilte, it is inevitable that there will be confusion between them. I do not know whether the Minister has considered the advisability of a different name, but the fact that the two names are similar will lead to some confusion. I think consideration should be given to this question. It is not easy to see what name could be suggested that will not involve a longer description, but I think the Minister would be well advised to consider leaving the existing name.
The Irish Tourist Board has come to be accepted as a body responsible for directing tourist activities. Whether  or not everyone agrees with what was done before, or what is being done at present, is another matter, but it is accepted as the national body dealing with tourism, and now to make a change and to establish and rename an existing board with a new title, which in this case may lead to confusion such as I have mentioned, does not seem to make for much progress.
Mr. Lemass: I do not think there will be any more confusion between An Bord Fáilte and Fógra Fáilte than there is between the Irish Tourist Board and the Irish Tourist Association, except that the confusion will be in Irish instead of in English. I am responsible for the name “Irish Tourist Board”. It was a very unimaginative title for the organisation, and on the whole it is advantageous to have something more characteristic of the country, and not merely an Irish version of an organisation that might exist in Britain. I am not wedded to the title “An Bord Fáilte”. It was the best that was suggested to me. I think the title should be in Irish. There is an advantage, and I mean a commercial advantage, in having a distinctive title of that kind. It must, however, be of a character that will convey something to outsiders and be easily pronounced by them, otherwise it will not be used.
I do not think that the similarity in title between An Bord Fáilte and Fógra Fáilte is a disadvantage. They are both operators of the one scheme. In so far as the principal organisation responsible for the general direction of tourist strategy is An Bord Fáilte, and the other organisation is responsible for publicity and propaganda work, the linking up of the two names in the manner in which it has been done is not, in my view, a disadvantage. I do not want to suggest to this House that I am so wedded to this name that I would not consider altering it. I asked a number of people likely to be helpful in this matter to suggest suitable titles, and I laid down the conditions that the titles should be brief and of such a character as to have a meaning for outsiders and to be easily pronounced by them. The present title was the best suggested and that is  why I adopted it. However, if between now and the Report Stage somebody can produce a better one, I will be the first to accept it.
Mr. Cosgrave: I think it is desirable to have an Irish title. It may not be a disadvantage to have two bodies with somewhat similar names, but it was suggested to me that the description at present contained in the Bill does not describe accurately in Irish the title of the board. Whether or not consideration should be given to that matter, I cannot say. If it is possible to get a better title between now and the Report Stage it could be moved on the Report Stage.
Mr. Lemass: We do not need to have a completely descriptive title. As long as it refers sufficiently clearly to the functions of the board it will serve its purpose.
Mr. Sweetman: The Minister would get out of the difficulty of having one board mistaken for the other if he would agree to drop Fógra Fáilte.
Mr. Lemass: An Bord Fáilte will always require an organisation to do the Fógra work.
Question put and agreed to.
Mr. Cosgrave: I move amendment No. 2:-
In sub-section (1), line 40, to delete “the State” and substitute “Ireland”.
I think that, while the functions and the responsibilities of the board established under this Bill will be the development of tourist traffic in the Twenty-Six Counties, we should frame the legislation so that it will cover the country as a whole, especially when it may be anticipated that, at some time or another, the responsibility of the board will extend to the area at present not included within the jurisdiction of the Oireachtas. Accordingly, I suggest the deletion of the words, “the State” and the substitution of the word, “Ireland”. Any tourists who come to this country, either to  the Six Counties or to the Twenty-Six Counties, will react favourably on the tourist trade and, consequently, I think we should endeavour to extend the welcome of Ireland rather than the welcome of a particular portion of it.
Mr. Lemass: We all hope to see the day when the two terms will be syonymous, but, until that day comes, the utilisation of the word, “Ireland”, instead of the words, “the State”, would lead to the creation of legal difficulties. As the Deputy knows, there are at present the most cordial relations between the tourist organisations of the Six Counties and the tourist organisations here. Recently there was a meeting between them for the purpose of co-ordinating their work. That development is to be welcomed and encouraged, and it would be very doubtful if it would be encouraged by an amendment to this Bill which would suggest that there was going to be a conflict of jurisdiction between the organisations which have maintained very close contact at all times since they were founded. My main argument against the amendment is the fact that I am advised that legal difficulties might develop on questions as to the jurisdiction of the board, particularly with regard to the expenditure of its funds.
Mr. Cosgrave: I do not wish to press the amendment if it is going to create legal difficulties. It is difficult to accept the suggestion that legal difficulties can arise, considering that in a number of official publications, as well as in the Constitution, the Government is referred to as the Government of Ireland. A number of official documents giving statistics relating to Ireland carry a head note or a foot note indicating that a certain matter does not apply to the Six Counties. At the same time, we have no uniform public policy in connection with matters of that nature. In some official documents matters are described as referring to Ireland, while in others they are described as referring to the Twenty-Six Counties. In the case of some of these publications referring to Ireland, there is some sort of addendum indicating that they do not apply to areas outside the jurisdiction of the  Oireachtas. To that extent, it is very difficult to accept a suggestion that the amendment that I have suggested would create legal difficulties. I can see the point that it might react un-favourably on the cordial relations which exist between voluntary organisations here and in the Six Counties.
Mr. Sweetman: In my view, the Minister is wrong in thinking that this amendment would lead to legal difficulties. I think that the section as it is is going to lead to legal difficulties. For instance, if money is spent on a “See Ireland First” poster in America, the Minister enabling section in this Bill does not provide for that, but the amendment which Deputy Cosgrave has put forward would do so.
Mr. Lemass: I do not anticipate any legal difficulties in that section.
Mr. Sweetman: I seriously think that the Minister is wrong in assuming that there would be legal difficulties in the use of the word “Ireland”.
Mr. Lemass: There would be no objection to the board entering into arrangements with the various authorities in the Six Counties mutually to publicise each other's areas. It is in defining an area within which the board may do certain things that difficulties may arise. We are giving very considerable powers under this Bill.
Mr. Sweetman: It is only in respect of the development of traffic in and out.
Mr. Lemass: That is the first sub-section of a fairly long section.
Mr. Sweetman: I would press the Minister to reconsider it between now and the Report Stage.
Mr. Lemass: I have no firm views one way or the other. I was advised that complications would arise.
Mr. Sweetman: Will the Minister go back to his advisers?
Mr. Lemass: Yes, I will have it reconsidered.
Mr. McQuillan: This section says  that it shall be the duty of the board to encourage and promote the development of tourist traffic in and to the State. I think it is a disgraceful thing that a tourist Bill should be passed in this House where the words “the State” have been substituted for the word “Ireland”. I am not interested in the legal difficulties involved. As far as I am concerned, the word “State” means Ireland, and I am sure that goes for the general public. When people are invited to come here for a holiday, we hope to give them the impression that they are coming to a united country. I think it is quite wrong to bring a Bill into this House and to make out that, due to legal difficulties, we must use the words “the State” instead of the word “Ireland”.
Mr. Lemass: There is no use in closing our eyes to the fact that we can only give powers within a certain area of this country.
Mr. McQuillan: In the publicity that will take place in America, Britain and elsewhere outside this State, publicity should be given to Ireland as a whole.
Mr. Lemass: It is not merely a matter of publicity.
Mr. Sweetman: In this sub-section it is.
Mr. Lemass: The board is authorised to do a whole lot of specific things under this section.
Mr. Sweetman: I agree, but this has to do with the development of tourist traffic to Ireland.
Mr. Cosgrave: When the matter is being reconsidered, the Minister should direct the attention of his legal advisers to the apparent conflict between the advice now tendered to him and the constitutional description of the Government of Ireland, because whatever power is derived under these Acts, in turn derives from the Constitution, and it does seem to me that there is no clear and consistent policy in the matter of descriptions in specific cases and this proposed description.
Mr. Lemass: The Deputy will appreciate that what the Oireachtas is doing now is proposing to delegate powers to a body which it will not control directly after it has been set up, and we have to define in a fairly definite way how it is to exercise these powers.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Mr. McQuillan: I move amendment No. 3:-
In sub-section (2), page 4, line 8, before “at” to insert “including the removal of unsightly obstructions and weeds in rivers and the demolition of derelict buildings”.
I was prompted to put down this amendment because I had a bit of a “stink” with the Minister's Department and some other Departments with regard to the condition of the river Shannon. I tried to get the Board of Works, the Department of Agriculture or the Department of Industry and Commerce to take the responsibility for clearing the weeds out of the Shannon near Athlone. We all realise that the Shannon is an attraction, so far as tourists are concerned, and with the weeds in the river at present, there is a very unsightly view near Athlone. Nobody will take responsibility for their removal. They are an eyesore, and they hinder boating and fishing to a certain extent. In view of the fact that none of the bodies I have mentioned is willing to take responsibility, I thought there might be a possibility that the Minister might consider giving power to the Tourist Board to take action where no other authority was willing to do so.
The same applies with regard to derelict buildings. I know that local authorities have power to remove or demolish buildings of such a nature. The trouble is that, in many parts of rural Ireland, the local authorities are very slow to move in the matter, with the result that we have many unsightly buildings set right in the heart of some of our best scenery. I can see difficulties from the Minister's point of view in accepting that portion of the amendment, but I should like to see some authority given to the Tourist Board to urge on local authorities the  desirability of doing their duty in the matter of derelict buildings and these other eyesores in many tourist centres and in many small villages.
Mr. Lemass: I have very considerable sympathy with the object the Deputy is trying to achieve, and, in fact, I have spoken publicly on many occasions about the failure of local authorities to avail of the powers given to them under the Acquisition of Derelict Sites Act, 1940, and the offer which was made from time to time of willingness on the part of the State to appropriate various grants to that purpose. I think I can claim to have had some part in the enactment of the legislation to which I refer, and my interest arose out of my responsibility for the development of the tourist trade and the belief that these derelict and unsightly buildings and obstructions are a detriment to its development.
I have been told, however, that one of the reasons why the Acquisition of Derelict Sites Act, 1940, has not been more extensively used by local authorities is the safeguards which were put into it to prevent arbitrary interference with private property. Perhaps these safeguards were too extensive, and that is a matter which I am prepared to ask the Minister for Local Government to look into. Clearly, some safeguards must be there and, that being so, it is, I think, impracticable to give a body like An Bord Fáilte power to do these things, because it also would have to be ringed around with restrictions such as might be deemed necessary to prevent them declaring somebody's house to be an eyesore and proceeding to demolish it.
Under the Sanitary Services Act, 1948, I think that local authorities have power to remove unsightly obstructions in rivers. I have no objection whatever to An Board Fáilte taking the initiative in these matters and discussing with local authorities the things that should be done by them in order to improve the general appearance and amenities of any area. My idea is that that work should be done mainly by the local development companies for which provision is made in this Bill. I should think that they  would be the spearpoint of any agitation directed to the local authorities in order to become active in that field. I think I can say, although I should have to make some obvious reservations, that local authorities proposing to exercise their powers under these Acts could hope to get some contribution to the cost from the various funds which are voted for unemployment relief purposes and distributed by the Board of Works. Certainly the Government would be quite willing to see funds used in this useful way, provided the other conditions for the allocation of these funds to particular areas were fulfilled. I do not think it is practicable to give An Bord Fáilte powers in this matter. Their general responsibility, however, would undoubtedly give them the right to approach local authorities and endeavour to get public opinion working locally in order to get plans developed which local authorities could implement and for which they could hope to get financial assistance from the State.
Mr. McQuillan: I agree with most of what the Minister has said. I should like to see the board, even though it did not accept responsibility for the removal of these obstructions, taking an active interest in urging on somebody, the local authority or the development association, the desirability of moving in that direction.
As it is, I have given the Minister a concrete example in regard to Athlone, the case of the Shannon, where no body in the world will move. If the Minister is prepared to give a guarantee that when this Bill goes through one of the first functions of the board will be to goad whatever Department is responsible into doing that, I will let the amendment drop.
Mr. Lemass: It would be reckless to guarantee what the board will do but I will give the guarantee that I will prod the board in this matter.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 5 agreed to.
Mr. Cosgrave: I move amendment No. 4:-
 Before Section 6 to insert a new section as follows:—
The board may encourage the formation of companies under the Companies Acts, 1908 to 1924, having the object of providing amenities and facilities at tourist resorts and developing tourist traffic at or to such resorts and may make grants to any such companies towards the expenses of their formation and administration (not exceeding £200 in any one year, to any one company).
In effect this amendment only adds the words “and administration” to the section as drafted in the Bill. The reason for this proposal to put in the words “and administration” is that if the section is passed as it stands the payment of a grant of £200 will be confined to the formation of a company. It is reasonable to assume that for a short time after its formation certain administrative work will be essential and I think it desirable to add these words so that the payment of the £200 may be used by the company not merely in its formation but in the initial stages of its actual administration.
Mr. Lemass: I want to tell the Deputy the process of my thinking on this subject. I thought of this point. It seemed to me at first a reasonable provision to make, that if we are to secure the establishment of local companies it is desirable that in addition to covering the foundation expenses some aid should be given for continuing administrative costs. Finally, I decided against it, and I hope I will be able to convince the Deputy that that was wise. The feeling I have is that local development companies of the kind contemplated here will be very useful provided they are established and managed by active people. They will be a handicap on the development of tourist resorts if they are merely brought into existence by the promise of Government financial aid and kept in existence by continuing Government grants.
Mr. Sweetman: Continuing?
Mr. Lemass: We are proposing to help any such company in regard to  the initial non-productive expenditure —mainly legal, as Deputy Sweetman knows.
Mr. Sweetman: The legal people would not get as much as £200.
Mr. Lemass: There are also grants towards the payment of interest on loans for a period. If these local companies are to do any good they must be composed of people prepared to take the rest of the burden themselves; and I think we can reasonably expect that any active company, one worth having, will be able to raise by its activities enough to pay its administration expenses. I would regard that as a test of the capacity of the company to do useful work. I would hesitate to call into existence local companies of that kind so incapable of doing effective work that in order to continue in existence they would have to get continuing Government grants, and would only remain in existence in order to pay the Government grant to some official. Therefore, I think it better to leave the section as it stands, and make no provision for continuing assistance. I would be prepared to reconsider that if, after a period, it was obvious that quite a number of useful local companies were working, and that we were not giving them sufficient help; but I would like to see them established initially on the basis set out here.
Mr. Sweetman: The Minister used the words, “continuing administrative costs”. I do not think the amendment asks for continuing administrative costs. We agree with the Minister's point, where the company has started to make money. I am thinking, and so is Deputy Cosgrave, of the case of a company being formed. For the first three months, for example——
Mr. Lemass: The Bill covers that. It is not legal costs only; it is the expenses of formation, which is a wider term.
Mr. Sweetman: I think the Minister would be tied on that by the analogous interpretation of “expenses of formation” in the Companies Acts.
Mr. Lemass: I will look into that,  as, certainly, that is not what was in my mind.
Mr. Sweetman: What the Minister has in mind is probably the same exactly as we have; but we are doubtful whether the section, as drafted, explains it.
Mr. Lemass: If a group came to me and said they were prepared to form a company, but would incur certain expenses before getting to the stage where they would have an income, I would be prepared to help them.
Mr. Sweetman: That is the idea of the £200, and not as a continuing administrative grant.
Mr. Lemass: I want to be sure that there will be no misinterpretation of the phrase used there.
Mr. McQuillan: Would that question arise in the case of the formation of a company that intended to put on, in different bays or lakes, steamers or boats for pleasure cruises?
Mr. Lemass: Yes, any activity of that kind. Necessarily some of them will have to be profitable.
Mr. McQuillan: They would have to be profitable.
Mr. Lemass: I was brought to consider the setting up of these companies by what I saw myself in some tourist resorts, where some local organisation or tourist association had developed certain amenities, which were not merely paying for themselves but were making contributions towards the expenses of the local body. I think it is the right type of development, when we have the right people behind it.
Mr. Sweetman: Enniscrone being one of the best.
Mr. Roddy: I would suggest that companies already in existence such as the Tourist Development Board——
Mr. Lemass: The reference is to local companies.
Mr. Roddy: They were local bodies. We had one in Sligo town. Is it the Minister's intention to stop those?
Mr. Lemass: No, on the contrary.
Mr. Roddy: Will the Minister issue them with a certificate the same as heretofore?
Mr. Sweetman: Not under this.
Mr. Lemass: I think I have made my peace with the Sligo body. At least, I hope so.
Mr. Roddy: I do not think so. They are not satisfied yet that the Minister is dealing with them fairly. They are a pretty representative body, their members being spread all over the whole county. They are doing very useful work. That local body is recognised and is helped by way of grants and contributions. I think they would do just as useful work as a local company set up under this.
Mr. Lemass: I have reason to believe that the company formed in Sligo is an active body and likely to do useful work. I gave them a certificate under the 1931 Act last year but they understood it was for last year only and to meet the special circumstances which then existed. They will be qualified to get loans and grants towards the interest on loans under this Bill.
Mr. Roddy: Is not the Minister bound by the 1931 Act all the time?
Mr. Lemass: Yes, in the sense that a local authority cannot make a contribution towards any tourist organisation unless I give that tourist organisation a certificate. My intention is to confine such certificates to the Irish Tourist Association.
Mr. Roddy: The local authority is prepared to continue giving that local body a contribution and they are satisfied that the money is being used to good advantage. I do not see why a certificate should be withheld.
Mr. Lemass: In fact, what we are proposing to do for these local companies in this Bill is far more extensive than anything the local authorities can do. We are proposing to do more than local authorities.
Mr. Roddy: The Minister is not prepared  to do more than finance certain expenditure.
Mr. Lemass: This is more than the local authority would do.
Mr. Roddy: The Minister mentioned in connection with derelict sites, that the local people should be active and able to deal with derelict sites and have funds raised to have those eyesores removed. That is what the Sligo Tourist Board envisages. They have a very extensive programme on hands. They have already a tourist guide, which is very much appreciated. It was compiled and published at great expense, and they are at some financial loss at the moment. I would urge on the Minister that he should issue the certificate again.
Mr. Lemass: What it is proposed to do under this Bill is far more important.
Mr. Roddy: That is not the mind of the Tourist Development Association in Sligo.
Mr. Lemass: Do not be so sure about that.
Mr. Roddy: I am positive about it.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 6 agreed to.
Sections 7 and 8 agreed to.
Mr. Lemass: I move amendment No. 5:-
Before Section 9 to insert a new section as follows:—
Sections 7 and 8 shall not apply to any building which is for the time being used for ecclesiastical purposes.
Following publication of the Bill, I had an approach from certain interests who urged that we should insert this safeguard, the effect of which is to ensure that the powers given to the board under Sections 7 and 8 will not apply to any buildings which are for the time being used for ecclesiastical purposes, even though some of them might be  historic monuments in every sense of the term. While it might be considered hardly necessary to provide the safeguard, I thought in the circumstances, as it was asked for, it was better to do it.
Amendment agreed to.
Mr. Lemass: I move amendment No. 6:-
In sub-section (1), lines 1 and 2, to delete “In the financial year ending on the 31st day of March, 1952, and in every subsequent financial year” and substitute “In each financial year”.
It is now obvious that the Bill will not become law by the 31st March, 1952. The effect of this amendment is to empower the Minister for Industry and Commerce to make a grant to An Bord Fáilte in the current financial year consequent on the fact that the Bill was not passed on the 31st March, as had been anticipated.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment No. 7 not moved.
Mr. Lemass: I move amendment No. 8:-
Before sub-section (2) to insert a new sub-section as follows:—
(2) In respect of the financial year ended on the 31st day of March, 1952, the Minister for Finance, on the recommendation of the Minister, may pay to the board out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas such sums, not exceeding in the aggregate £27,000, as the board shall require in addition to the sums provided under Section 15 of the Act of 1939.
As Deputies know, the Act of 1939 put a limit of £45,000 on the amount which could be paid to the Tourist Board in any one year. During the course of last year my predecessor authorised the board to incur expenditure beyond that limit with the intention of seeking legislative sanction before the end of the financial year. I confirmed that authorisation when I became Minister for Industry and Commerce and had intended myself to get the legal sanction for the higher expenditure  within the financial year. That did not prove to be practicable and it is now necessary to authorise the payment of the additional sum, £27,000, in the financial year ended 31st March last to the Tourist Board. That is the purpose of the amendment.
Mr. Sweetman: There would be some interesting surcharges by the Comptroller and Auditor-General if this Bill did not become law in time.
Mr. Lemass: He is getting very worried about the delay in passing this Bill.
Amendment agreed to.
Section 9, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 10 to 14, inclusive, agreed to.
Mr. D. Costello: I move amendment No. 9:-
To add a new paragraph as follows:—
(c) by the addition of the following new sub-section after sub-section (6):-
(1) The Minister shall ensure that at least two members of the board are representative of the hotel industry.
There is not much point in my going into this matter again in view of the fact that it has been discussed already on Deputy Hickey's amendment. As I am sure the Minister is well aware, the whole backbone of the tourist industry is the hotel industry, and if the hotel industry is properly run and if adequate and proper hotel accommodation is given to tourists the rest of the work of the Tourist Board will be comparatively easy. I regard the cooperation of the hotel industry in the development of the tourist industry as vital and I proposed to ensure by this amendment the maximum amount of co-operation between the hotel industry and the Tourist Board, by getting the confidence of the hotel industry in the Tourist Board. The great danger, which may very well be realised, is that the hotel industry may  become antagonised by the actions of the Tourist Board. Friction can easily develop between a board which has such great powers as the proposed board will have and an industry like the hotel industry, which is operated by private individuals, whose livelihood depends on the manner in which their industry is controlled by the board. In order to get over this friction, in order to enable confidence to be generated between the Tourist Board and the hotel industry, I was suggesting by this amendment that representatives from the hotel industry should be appointed on the board.
I realise that the Minister may very well say that members of the hotel industry are already on the board. I realise that it may be good policy, and in probable fact in the past has been found to be good policy, to put members of the hotel industry on the Tourist Board. I should like to see it written into the Act. It would help to generate the confidence which I regard as vital if the hotel industry as such is to co-operate with the Tourist Board in the development of the tourist industry. By putting in a clause like this into the Bill I do not think the Minister would be in any way tying his hand by having, as it were, mere delegates appointed from the industry to the board. I would regard the effect of such an amendment merely to be that the Minister when selecting the board would have to have at least two members of the hotel industry on it. The hotel industry is a very large industry. It is the most important branch of the tourist industry, and it surely would be possible to find in that industry two persons capable of being members of the Tourist Board. I should like it to be mandatory on the Minister for the time being to ensure that at least two members of that industry were represented on the board.
Mr. Lemass: If my recollection is correct, when the 1939 Tourist Bill was before the Dáil there was an amendment to prevent the appointment on the Tourist Board of persons who were the proprietors or managers of hotels in the belief, which was expressed,  that the individuals on the board would have an unfair advantage over other hotel proprietors when it came to deciding questions of grading and so forth. I think we have all changed in our outlook since then because of experience in the working of this board and in the operation of the hotels grading scheme. I think any Minister who appointed a board which did not include people who had got clear qualifications, arising from their own experience in hotel management, to speak about the problems of hotel proprietors, would be subject to criticism. There is no reason to apprehend that at any time any Minister selecting personnel for a board of this kind will fail to ensure that people who have got that experience are adequately represented on it. I do not think it needs a statutory condition in order to secure it. It is almost difficult to imagine anybody trying to pick seven men to direct the tourist industry not including on it people who had experience in the hotel business, and I am quite certain that if any Minister succeeded in picking seven men without including such persons he would not be able to defend his choice here.
Again, my difficulty is in the use of the word, “representative”. There is more than one hotel association, They might easily claim that nobody is representative of the industry except their nominee, whereas many of us could think of hotel proprietors who would be suitable members of this board who may not be members of any association or, if members of one, would not be of another.
There were appointed on the present Tourist Board two people who could claim to speak with considerable experience in hotel management, and I think it is inevitable that any board, ever functioning, would include persons who could make similar claims. I do not think, however, that they should be required to be representative of the industry. They should be appointed because of their personal suitability for the position.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 15 agreed to.
 SECTION 16.
Mr. D. Costello: I move amendment No. 10:—
To add a new sub-section as follows:—
(4) When, in consequence of the expenditure of a loan guaranteed in accordance with the provisions of this section, the valuation of any premises is increased, the valuation of such premises for the purpose of the assessment and levying of any rate raised by a local authority for the service of any local financial year commencing ten years after the passing of this Act shall be deemed to be reduced by two-thirds of such increase.
I raised this matter on Second Reading and I regard this amendment as very important. I would ask the Minister, if possible, to accept it or to suggest some alternative to it which would cover the idea behind it.
The Minister, I am sure, is well aware of the difficulty facing hotel proprietors in developing their premises when they do not know what the extent of the increased valuation will be after they have carried out the work. So far as hotel proprietors are concerned it is not merely a question of spending so many thousands of pounds in increasing the facilities and the accommodation of their hotels; there is also the question that in future the rates payable to the local authorities will be increased. They have no idea at the time they are making the alterations what the increase in their valuation is going to be. I am sure the Minister knows from experience that this is a real deterrent to the carrying out of improvements in hotels, and I am sure he is well aware that there are many hotels in this country which need improvement. One of the big purposes of this Bill is to endeavour to provide funds to make it easy for hotel proprietors to improve their premises. It is recognised by everybody that it is desirable and necessary if the tourist industry is to be developed on proper lines. With that in mind I would suggest that this further inducement should also be held out to hotel proprietors  to improve their premises. In fact, they are given great inducements under Part III of the Act but I still think, even though the interest on the loans will be guaranteed by the Government, they will nevertheless be faced with a difficulty if they carry out large-scale improvements and they do not know at the time of carrying one the improvements by how much the rates on their premises will be increased as a result of these improvements. The purpose of the amendment is to give a remission of rates for a period of ten years after the passing of the Act to people who carry out improvements under the Bill. I am not wedded to this particular form of amendment and if the Minister could suggest any other form which would be preferable to him I would be prepared to accept it. The idea, however, behind the amendment is to enable hotel proprietors to obtain a remission of rates for such portion of their premises as are improved as a result of loans under the Bill.
Mr. Lemass: I may as well confess at this stage that when I drafted the heads of the Bill I had a provision of this kind in it. I thought at the time that it would be a useful concession to hotel proprietors which would stimulate the improvement of the hotel industry and I held that view until I discussed the matter with the Minister for Local Government. The Minister for Local Government convinced me fully that this is a provision which should not appear in the Bill. His view was that the hotel industry should not be singled out for a concession of this kind, that if we argued that the development of the tourist industry was of sufficient national importance that it required aid, and if we proposed to give it in this form, then other industries would make a similar claim and ultimately the finances of local authorities would be seriously undermined. The Minister for Local Government said: “If the State wants to give financial help in the development of the hotel industry, by all means give it but do not give it at the expense of the local authorities.” I think that is a fair argument. I certainly accepted it as such  and I then withdrew the original proposal which I had in the draft heads.
The State, under this Bill, is proposing to give substantial help to hotels. It proposes to guarantee loans, to give grants towards the payment of interest on these loans which will help to offset any additional charges that may initially become due because of improvements. If there is a feeling that the help we are giving is not sufficient, then we can discuss whether it should be improved, but I think the Minister for Local Government is on sound grounds in arguing that whatever help we consider necessary we should give out of State funds and not compel local authorities to give it, because if we do that the concession cannot be confined to one industry. Arguments would certainly be made for a similar concession for other industries and finally the whole financial position of local authorities would be affected. As most Deputies are aware, local authorities are finding it very difficult to get out of their rates a sufficient sum to meet their expenditure and, in fact, rate increases are the order of the day. I think that the case is against the proposal in this amendment, however advantageous it might be to hotels to have this concession.
Mr. Sweetman: Deputy Costello is not a member of a local authority. I am, and perhaps from that aspect, I have more sympathy with the point of view put forward by the Minister. I want, however, to put forward another view to support the case made by Deputy Costello. In this Bill later on we provide a new method in regard to the granting of a licence to an hotel. You are told to bring forward your plans and specifications and that if you erect a building in accordance with them, you will get your licence. The same analogy could very well be followed with great advantage in respect to valuation. We could make a provision that if a person delivered to the valuation office his plans and specifications, he would get from the Valuation Commissioners a determination to this effect: “If you build according to these plans and specifications,  your valuation is going to be such-and-such.” If a person knew that, then I think he would with certainty be able to compute his overheads and decide with certainty whether it was worth his while proceeding with the proposed building.
I believe myself quite frankly that quite a considerable number of people refrain from entering on reconstruction, or work of that nature, because they believe that a higher valuation would be put upon the reconstructed building than would in fact be put upon it when it is finished. I think that if we could under this Bill, or if not under this Bill, under another Bill, provide for a certainty that if a person carried out work according to certain plans and specifications, his rates or his valuation would be £x, it would be much easier for everybody concerned and it would mean that a person who wanted to carry out improvements would be able to decide beforehand whether they were worth while and what his overheads would be.
Mr. Lemass: I had that idea examined and, in fact, discussed with the Commissioners of Valuation who convinced me that the administrative difficulties would be so great as to make it impracticable. They also said, if my recollection is correct, that the principles on which they make their valuations are fairly well known. There is no reason why they should not be better known and why any valuer, knowing these principles, should not be able to give an hotel proprietor a fair estimate of what his new valuation would be, as fair an estimate as the commissioners themselves could give.
Mr. Sweetman: With all respect, might I suggest to the Minister and to the commissioners that both of them should pay a visit to the next hearing in the valuation revision court by the Circuit Court judge in Dublin, and they will find that if genuine evidence is given on one side the evidence of the valuation office on the other side is entirely at variance with the statement the Minister has just made? I think it is due to the actual conservatism of the valuation office.
Mr. Lemass: That may be so.
Breanndán Mac Fheórais: I do not think that people, especially business people, would look too kindly on such a proposal. If I were reconstructing my house, I would feel very sore if I did not get a rates remission for a number of years like the big hotel owners get.
Mr. Cosgrave: I agree with the Minister's reply to Deputy Costello's amendment, but I think there is a good deal to be said for it. It may not be strictly relevant to this section, but provision is made in this Bill for the improvement of resorts, to try to do away with derelict buildings and generally to try to brighten the appearance of the country. One of the greatest deterrents to improvements is the fear of revaluation. Some very large businesses may be capable of absorbing it; it may be a loss in one way but it is a gain in another. But, in a number of the smaller towns where reconstruction work is obviously required and a number of buildings require to be repaired, not merely redecorated, the owners are deterred because of the revaluation which will follow any works which are carried out.
I think what Deputy Sweetman stated with regard to the evidence in the Circuit Court is correct. It is true in some respects that the basis on which revaluation is carried out is known. Some time ago, however, the valuation office decided on a basis for licensed premises. It was a very high basis and it generally became known, but in some cases it was exceeded. In some cases it was three times the former valuation. In instances which have come to my notice it was as much as five times the former valuation. Nobody is prepared to reconstruct premises on the basis that he does not know what the revaluation will be. In one particular instance it was three times what it was formerly and in another instance four or five times.
Mr. Lemass: I nearly fell at one time, with Henry George, for the idea of a single tax, that the only tax should be on the valuation of a building or rather on the valuation of a building as it should be built.
Mr. Cosgrave: There might be something to be said for that. It is a fact that the only bright buildings in a number of towns now are the new buildings.
Mr. Lemass: My opinion is that there is a need for a re-examination of the principles on which valuation is based. The main objection I have had from hotel proprietors is that when they add additional bedrooms or make some extension to their premises the valuation is not increased by some mathematical relation between the number of new bedrooms and the number of old bedrooms, but the whole premises are revalued and generally they have to meet a much bigger bill than they anticipated.
Captain Cowan: There have been cases to my knowledge where the owner of a public-house made it brighter and more attractive by constructing a lounge bar, but as far as the size of the premises was concerned he was restricted from the beginning. He could not add an inch to the premises. By the time he had finished, however, his valuation went up something like £40.
Mr. Cosgrave: I know one case where it was revalued at five times what the original valuation was. As the Deputy says, you cannot add any additional space to a public-house without getting a new licence.
Mr. Lemass: It is a question of the letting value of the premises.
Mr. Sweetman: Surely it should be possible to have some sort of definite anticipation.
Mr. Lemass: The Deputy will see, of course, that a predetermination of the valuation for hotel premises alone would be very difficult. At some time you would have completely to revise the whole basis of working generally. You could not hope to do it for one industry.
Mr. D. Costello: Have not plans to be sent for approval?
Mr. Lemass: They have.
Mr. D. Costello: Surely the machinery would be very simple.
Mr. Lemass: That is what I have been told by the Commissioners of Valuation. I personally was not in a position to judge. They seemed strong enough to convince me that the administrative problems were very grave and that the resulting advantage to the individual would not be considerable; that in some cases a person could, with expert advice, find out for himself what the valuation was likely to be.
Mr. D. Costello: I am thinking of the small hotel proprietors in the country who do not often get expert advice in these matters, and such a provision would be of very great assistance to them.
Mr. Sweetman: Does not the fact that the Commissioners of Valuation say that the administrative difficulties would be great automatically belie their suggestion that the principles underlying valuation are simple?
Mr. Lemass: The administrative difficulties are those associated with the making of a valuation on the basis of a plan.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section put and agreed to.
Sections 17 to 26, inclusive, put and agreed to.
Mr. Lemass: I move amendment No. 11:—
Before Section 27 to insert a new section as follows:—
Sub-section (4) of Section 30 of the Act of 1939 (which relates to renewal of registration) is hereby amended by the substitution, for paragraph (a), of the following paragraph:—
(a) the board shall serve notice upon the applicant that the board is of opinion that such premises have ceased on stated grounds to be eligible for registration in such register and that the applicant may, within fourteen days after  service of such notice, make written representations to the board with a view to showing that such premises have not ceased to be eligible for registration in such register;
Amendments Nos. 11 and 12 are designed to meet points raised during the Second Reading debate concerning the circumstances under which the registration of an hotel in the register might be withdrawn. Amendment No. 11 deals with the service of a notice on the applicant, and amendment No. 12 deals with the question of failing to maintain the maximum charges. Amendment No. 14 also deals with the same point. I hope Deputies will find that these amendments meet the arguments advanced on Second Reading. I think they do; at any rate they are some safeguard for the hotel proprietor whose registration may be withdrawn for one reason or another.
Mr. Cosgrave: As I understand, the recent practice of the board is that all appeals against refusal to register are considered by the board and a decision is taken by the board and conveyed to the applicant. I think these amendments will meet the views of the House if the Minister will undertake to convey to the board the view of the House that any question of an applicant appealing against a refusal to be registered should be considered by the board as distinct from being left as an executive function.
Mr. Lemass: I think that would be a wise provision.
Mr. Cosgrave: I think it is important. In the past there was a good deal of dissatisfaction with the grading system. I suppose it is not possible for any system to please everybody. An appeal against refusal to register should be considered by the board as distinct from some single member or possibly an official of the board who, maybe, has investigated the premises and conveyed a report. If the report of an inspector is considered by the board, the application or appeal against refusal to register should be considered by the board.
Mr. Lemass: It will go three times. He will have ample opportunity.
Mr. Sweetman: In other words, the function cannot be delegated?
Mr. Lemass: That is so.
Amendment put and agreed to.
Mr. Lemass: I move amendment No. 12:—
Before Section 27 to insert a new section as follows:—
Sub-sections (5) and (6) of Section 30 of the Act of 1939 (which empower the board to refuse an application for renewal of registration where the applicant has failed to adhere to his specified scale of charges) shall be construed as if the word “wilfully” were inserted before “failed” wherever the latter word occurs in the sub-sections.
Amendment put and agreed to.
Section 27, as amended, put and agreed to.
Section 28 put and agreed to.
Amendment No. 13 not moved.
Mr. Lemass: I move amendment No. 14:—
In sub-section (1), page 9, line 30, and in sub-section (5), page 10, line 14, before “failed” to insert “wilfully”.
Amendment put and agreed to.
Mr. Lemass: I move amendment No. 15:—
In sub-section (3) (a), page 9, line 45, after “ceased” to insert “on stated grounds”.
Amendment put and agreed to.
Section 29, as amended, put and agreed to.
Mr. Cosgrave: I move amendment No. 16:—
Before Section 30 to insert a new section as follows:—
 (1) There shall be established an Advisory Committee to be known as Fógra Fáilte (in this part referred to as the Committee).
(2) The provisions of the Schedule shall apply to the Committee.
I should just like to refer to an amendment to Section 31. This, in effect, is the only controversial part of the Bill at present before the House. On the Second Stage of the Bill a number of Deputies expressed the view that it was not in the interests of the tourist industry that there should be two separate bodies. In effect, there are three, but under this particular Bill there is provision for two bodies.
If this Bill becomes law in its present form, three bodies will have responsibilities of different kinds in connection with the development of the tourist industry. I know a case can be made that the work of the oldest body, the Irish Tourist Association, and the work which was given under the 1939 Act to the Irish Tourist Board had to be merged in some way, and that a case can be made for joint representation on the tourist publicity body to be known in this Bill as Fógra Fáilte. There is no doubt that it has led, and is leading, to confusion in the public mind, and that the responsibilities of the different bodies have, to a considerable extent, become confused. It may be that the bodies themselves are working separately, but two separate bodies dealing with the same type of work lead to unnecessary administrative expenses and to duplication and overlapping.
I said earlier that the External Affairs bulletin had confused the two bodies or certainly confused the position of an individual who is a member of the two bodies. That may or may not be very important. I think it is obvious that any work which is carried out by either of these bodies could be carried out by a single body. There is no place for two separate bodies dealing, in the main, with the same work. Tourist publicity is an inherent part of any tourist policy. Consequently, the responsibility for guiding tourist publicity should be part and parcel of the body charged with the responsibility of developing the tourist industry.  As this Bill is at present framed, there is a separate body with a separate staff and there is provision for a separate sum of money to be voted to it which, in effect, is half of the provision which it was originally intended would be provided under statute for An Bord Fáilte or the Irish Tourist Board. It seems that, on the estimate of the work which will have to be carried out, it is a considerable sum of money to divide between two bodies both of which have similar work which, normally, could be carried out by a single body.
The Christenberry Report, which was the result of the mission under the E.C.A. investigation carried out here by Mr. Christenberry and his advisers, recommended the establishment of a single body and suggested that the Tourist Association and the Irish Tourist Board should be merged into a single body to be charged with full responsibility for development of the tourist industry. There were a number of difficulties in the way of the immediate accomplishment of that ideal and of that suggestion but however great those difficulties might be they cannot and will not be lessened by the establishment of a third body.
The suggestion contained in my amendment is the establishment of an advisory committee. I think the Christenberry Report had in view the establishment of committees under the direction of the Tourist Board and operating as part of the Tourist Board personnel which would advise on particular aspects of the tourist trade. The Bill as at present framed will have a separate body operating tourist publicity. There is some general guidance that the tourist publicity will be directed in accordance with the policy of An Bord Fáilte. My amendment seeks to establish a committee which will have on it representatives of the Tourist Association and representatives of the Tourist Board, but which will be subordinate to An Bord Fáilte and will operate tourist publicity in the knowledge that that publicity is directed by An Bord Fáilte and in accordance with its policy. It is conceivable  that there might be a conflict and that tourist publicity would be directed towards the attraction of tourists at a time when the accommodation here was already taxed to the full. That is only one of the difficulties. The main objections to the proposals in the Bill are that it is unnecessary overlapping and duplication and that it creates large adminstrative staffs at a time when we should endeavour to keep to a minimum administrative expenses rather than start with a top-heavy administrative machine to deal with the problem on which already a considerable amount of time has been lost and which can be effectively dealt with by a single body.
If the Minister accepts this amendment I suggest it will be possible to achieve the same objectives as he has in mind and that the establishment of a committee will avoid unnecessary administrative staff and the unnecessary overlapping and expenditure that will inevitably flow from the establishment of two separate organisations to deal with the same problem.
Mr. Lemass: I do not think it matters very much whether we call Fógra Fáilte a committee of An Bord Fáilte or not. On the whole, I would be against it, because it would seem to me to be a misuse of the term and, therefore, even more misleading than anything in the present Bill.
In so far as it is intended to secure that responsibility for the main strategy of tourist development should rest with An Bord Fáilte, I am in complete agreement with Deputy Cosgrave. The Bill, as he will have noted, provides that in the discharge of its functions Fógra Fáilte is obliged to ensure that tourist publicity is directed in accord with the policy of An Bord Fáilte. That sub-section of Section 31 was put in deliberately to make it obvious that the direction of publicity activities was to be designed to carry out the programme and policy of An Bord Fáilte.
I would not dispute the contention that, if we were starting with a clear field to set up organisations to develop the tourist trade, we would not think at this stage of creating more than one organisation even though we recognised  that that organisation would have to divide its activities into two main parts and would need to set up two instruments to discharge its obligations.
We are not, however, starting with a clear field. In 1939, when the Tourist Development Act of that year was passed and when the State for the first time decided to come into this business of tourist development and make State funds available for it, there was in existence the voluntary body which had been established many years previously, the Tourist Association which had received some official recognition by the Tourist Act of 1931.
As I reminded the House during the Second Reading debate, the intention then was to leave the conduct of tourist publicity to the Tourist Association and to give the Tourist Board all the other functions which were set out in the 1939 Act. That situation would have continued until now if the funds available to the Tourist Association were sufficient to do a proper job in the publicity field. Some time after the war, however, when the full potentialities of the tourist trade became more clearly recognised, it was realised that the funds of the Tourist Association would be completely insufficient to do adequate work in the publicity field. Therefore, the need to make State funds available for publicity work became clear, but with the recognition of that need problems also arose. If State funds—very substantial State funds—are to be provided for publicity work can we hand them over to a voluntary organisation such as the Tourist Association?
Must we not ensure that the aim of the Oireachtas in providing these funds is achieved by entrusting them to an organisation whose functions will be defined by statute, the directors of which will be responsible to the Government and through the Government to the Dáil?
That problem faced my two immediate predecessors and, as I reminded the House, not for the purpose of arousing any controversy, but as an indication of the complexity of the situation, they took divergent views about them. Deputy Morrissey, I think, was in favour of wiping out the Tourist Association and handing over  the whole job of tourist publicity work to the Tourist Board. Deputy O'Higgins, who succeeded him, did not share that view. At any rate, he was hesitant about accepting it, and came to an understanding with the Tourist Association, which involved leaving their position unchanged during one year and not indicating very clearly what he intended to do at the end of that year. There was considerable discussion and agitation, and, recognising that this was one task which had to be given priority, this task of securing the enactment of new and more extended tourist development legislation. I had discussions with the representatives of the Tourist Association and the Tourist Board.
Arising out of these discussions, I got the idea—I am not trying to put the fault on anyone else—of entrusting the direction of tourist publicity to a joint organisation, three directors of which would be representatives of the Tourist Association and three of the Tourist Board. Deputies will have noticed my hesitation, because my original idea was three directors on the Tourist Board and two directors on the Tourist Association. I put that suggestion to the Tourist Association, and they intimated to me their willingness to accept it, provided I agreed to their suggestion that there should be three directors on each body, which I did.
The Tourist Board nominated the three members and the Tourist Association arranged the nomination of their three, and that was the origin of Fógra Fáilte. I do not agree that it is going to prove a cumbersome or expensive arrangement. I think there is a misunderstanding in the minds of some Deputies as to the danger of duplication of organisation.
Fógra Fáilte took over the existing publicity organisations. There was some duplication existing. They took over the organisation of the Tourist Association and the organisation of the Tourist Board. At any rate it was my intention that it should take over these organisations and combine them into one effective instrument of tourist publicity which would not be changed in respect of a single person, whether the direction of that organisation was  left with Fógra Fáilte or transferred to the Tourist Board or An Bord Fáilte.
I do not see that there is any duplication of staff at all. Even if we wipe out Fógra Fáilte and give the whole of these functions and all the responsibility to An Bord Fáilte they will have a publicity organisation of that kind under their control working up to some manager. It does not seem to me that that organisation will cost a penny more if it is working up to Fógra Fáilte instead of An Bord Fáilte. If we wipe out Fógra Fáilte then we will have a problem on our hands—the problem of the Tourist Association, about which it is possible, I admit, to take different views. We could say that the Tourist Association, whatever useful work they have done in the past, is no longer required and could just as well disappear. I do not share that view. I think that the main problem we have in securing the development of the tourist trade here is to awaken our own people to its importance. I cannot conceive any organisation better constituted to discharge that task than the Tourist Association, an organisation which, as the House knows, is composed in part of voluntary members who are interested in tourist development, and in part of the representatives of local authorities who contribute from their rates to tourist development expenditure.
I do not think that it would be practicable to apply the idea of a joint board to An Fógra Fáilte itself. It would give the representatives of the local authorities in the Tourist Association functions in tourist development that they had not got previously. In any event, it seems to me that it would lessen the power of the Minister to carry out the results he desires by taking out of his hands, in part at least, the selection of the directors of the tourist development body. The present arrangement may not strike Deputies as perfect but it is not open to all the objections that have been suggested here. I do not think it necessarily involves any increased expenditure whatever. It does provide a basis for the continued existence and activity of the Tourist Association. It  gives that body a very definite voice in the tourist development work that they have been doing up to the present and for the time being it is as good an arrangement as we can devise. It avoids immediate controversy and conflict and still gets the job done. It may be that in the course of time the circumstances which give the Tourist Association a right to a voice in the direction of tourist publicity will cease to be as strong. In that case the position can be reviewed, but if we decide now to wipe out Fógra Fáilte and hand over the whole job to An Bord Fáilte there would be immediate problems of conflict with the Tourist Association, of a surplus number of directors available for reappointment and a general reorganisation would be necessitated. I think it is unnecessary to face that task of general reorganisation when we can get smooth working upon the basis which is established in the Bill, a basis which, as I understand it, has been accepted by, and is still acceptable to, the Tourist Association.
I do not think there is any risk of overlapping. I cannot see how that danger of operlapping occurs. Deputies have not, I think, adverted to the fact that the Tourist Board has three members on the board of An Fógra Fáilte, one of them being the chairman. That gives the Tourist Board ample power to ensure that the work of the two bodies is properly co-ordinated and that the publicity activities for Fógra Fáilte are carried out in accordance with the general plans and ideas of An Bord Fáilte.
In that connection the House will appreciate that a great deal of work will be put upon these tourist organisations in the immediate future. Not merely will they become under this Bill responsible for new activities but they will be given greater funds than ever they had available to them in the past. New projects like An Tostál are emerging. All these will impose a considerable amount of work upon the members of the board and the task of spending effectively upon publicity £250,000 a year is big enough in my view to justify entrusting it to a specialised separate organisation which  can exercise the necessary supervision over it.
An Bord Fáilte will have enough to do in spending on its particular activities a corresponding sum as well as carrying out the exceptional job of organisation involved in projects like An Tostál. That is why I think Deputies have a misconception of the amount of work involved in this when they talk about entrusting the two jobs to one board. I do not think one board entrusted with the two jobs could exercise reasonable supervision over the doing of them. That board would be obliged to appoint managers and sub-managers and leave the job to them. By the arrangement proposed here there will be more effective and regular supervision of the work done by the persons responsible for policy than there would be if we adopted the other arrangement.
I have some hesitation in arguing this case strongly because I am conscious of the fact that before coming to the decision that the best arrangement is that set out in the Bill I explored a multitude of other possible arrangements. I know that in seeking the agreement of the Tourist Association I was motivated by the idea of avoiding trouble. I think it is worth while avoiding trouble when one can, and certainly it is worth while doing it when the result is that efficient operation is not made more difficult. By the arrangement made with the Tourist Association we did avoid trouble. We got a system of working which is practicable, which is worthy of experiment, which gets over all the immediate controversies and which has permitted tourist development activity to get going with some effect even in advance of the enactment of this legislation.
I think it is worth while doing that. I have a feeling that, if one were to try to reverse that now, we would find ourselves bogged down for another year in rather futile controversies as to the functions of the Tourist Association and the Tourist Board, and in the end we would produce no better system of administration.
Mr. Sweetman: I want it to be quite  clear that I am discussing this measure on principles as apart from personalities. The Minister will not misunderstand me when I say that I could equally well discuss it the other way, but I deliberately want to avoid doing so. I want it also to be perfectly clear that, due to circumstances over which nobody had any control—least of all the Minister—we are discussing this project much later than we intended to in the first instance. We are all glad to see the Minister back, but we find some difficulty in retracing our steps now and more difficulty than we would have had if this Bill had been discussed at an earlier date. The Minister, most of all, disliked being the cause of the delay.
Mr. Lemass: Quite so. I can assure the Deputy of that.
Mr. Sweetman: However, we are glad to see him back again. I think this is a rotten arrangement. I think the Minister succeeded in selling the idea to the Irish Tourist Association that, under this arrangement, that association would be kept alive. I think it would have been better to kill the association in an open way rather than kill it in what I regard as a hidden way. I cannot see any prospect of life for the Irish Tourist Association for any period when this arrangement comes into operation. I think the Minister persuaded the directors of the Irish Tourist Association.
Mr. Lemass: It is the other way round. They persuaded me.
Mr. Sweetman: Somebody persuaded somebody. I will not argue who did the persuading but, knowing the Minister's persuasive powers, I suspect he did it. I do not think this will have the effect he contemplates. I think that as a result of this arrangement the Irish Tourist Association will atrophy and eventually fade out. I do not want to see that position come about. At the same time I can equally see the difficulty that the Minister has in having a voluntary body dealing with the very substantial sums of State moneys involved in this, but it should have been possible to arrive at a solution of the difficulty somewhat  on the lines of sub-section (2) of Section 31 as between An Bord Fáilte and the Tourist Association. The present position is that in the discharge of its functions under the Act, Fógra Fáilte is to act in accordance with the policy of An Bord Fáilte. I think it should have been possible to have found a solution along the lines that, having regard to the very substantial funds made available, the Tourist Association must act in accordance with directions——
Mr. Lemass: The Tourist Association is a very large body, is it not? The Deputy will appreciate that there would have to be some arrangement.
Mr. Sweetman: If I may take this analogy, I would rather have the directors of the Tourist Association considered on the lines of a general meeting of the Irish Public Bodies Insurance Company electing a committee.
Mr. Lemass: The question to consider is whether, instead of having An Fógra Fáilte constituted as proposed here, it would not be better to have An Fógra Fáilte constituted of persons chosen from members of the Tourist Association under a chairman appointed by the Minister. But that would seem to exclude the Tourist Board altogether from the direction of publicity, and I doubt if that would be right.
Mr. Sweetman: I think there would be the possibility of marrying the Tourist Board quite satisfactorily into such an organisation. I think that such a method would keep the Tourist Association a living thing. I agree that, so far as making people conscious of the benefits of tourism, of the benefits of the tourist industry and of what requires to be done, quite apart from anything else, the Tourist Association fulfils a very useful function. For that reason I think that a scheme by which it would be kept in existence as a living organism, rather than allow it to atrophy—as I believe it is going to be allowed under this proposal— would be far more satisfactory.
I agree with the Minister that we are not starting anew and afresh, and that we have to tackle the situation as  we find it. If we were starting afresh, without any 1939 Act, it is probable that we could tackle the problem in a different way. We have the Tourist Association and the Tourist Board there. I think that we would be doing a much better job if we married one into the other rather than try to tie them together with an entirely new and strange body.
I do not agree with the Minister that this was done as, so to speak, a piece of goodwill to the Tourist Assosiation, and that it would be kept alive. I do not think that the Tourist Association was in any way wedded to An Fógra Fáilte. The Tourist Association wanted some method of being kept alive. Some of the members believe that An Fógra Fáilte will do that. I, frankly, do not. Time will tell whether the views of the members who believe that, or whether my views, are correct. We can only see the results after a period.
I am afraid the Minister is not quite correct in his line about the duplication of staff. Before the institution of An Fógra Fáilte you had the staff of the Tourist Board and the staff of the Tourist Association. In any tourist organisation, whether it is the board or the Tourist Association, you are inevitably going to have, and should have, an integration of work and of function. That, perhaps to some extent, does not apply to the very limited function in regard to the grading of hotels. But in regard to the grading, you must consider what the customer wants and consider it also from the point of view of making things as easy as possible for the people in the industry. You can only get an idea of what a customer wants by appreciating the type of inquiry you are getting through the bureau. It seems to me that in any tourist organisation, whether you call it the Tourist Board, the Tourist Association or the publicity board, that the functions of the whole lot are inevitably linked together, and that the staff of each one of these, though possibly doing some type of specialised work at the moment, must have a general background, or else they will not be able to do that specialised work.
 You have the staff of the Tourist Association, the staff of the Tourist Board and now, under this Bill, the staff of the new publicity board. You are, for example, providing different methods of superannuation for the staffs of An Bord Fáilte and the staffs of An Fógra Fáilte. In doing that, you automatically show that it is envisaged that they will be kept in watertight compartments. Even if you are going to keep An Fógra Fáilte it would be far more satisfactory to provide that the staff doing the work of An Fógra Fáilte would be the staff of the Irish Tourist Board seconded to An Fógra Fáilte for such time as was decided on by the two boards. I cannot see what the idea is of having the provision there in Sections 13 and 14 for An Bord Fáilte in respect of superannuation of staff, and the provision there is under Clauses 5 and 9 of the Schedule in respect of An Fógra Fáilte, unless you are going to have the personnel of the two boards in separate compartments.
I think the Minister will agree with me that the job that is to be done under this Bill, whether it is a job to be done by An Bord Fáilte, or a job to be done by An Fógra Fáilte, or a job to be done by the Tourist Association under the limited functions that are being left to it with, as I say, the local authority money that is given to it, is all part of the tourist job, and that the fact of having separate staff organisations, quite apart from the organisation at the top, is going to cause unnecessary administrative expense and to prevent efficient working. I think that anybody, no matter in what aspect of tourist work he is going to serve, must have a general tourist background. I do not think you could even have an inspector grading hotels without that inspector knowing what type of publicity work was being carried out, and what type of inquiry the publicity organisation was getting at the counter from the bureau, whether the bureau is here, in London or in America.
I am not suggesting that it is necessary for the inspector to serve an apprenticeship so to speak, in connection with these bureaux, but the whole thing must be linked up into one job.  If one is going to have two types of organisations in watertight compartments with different superannuation provisions, with a different allotment of funds and with a different allotment of functions, it necessarily means, as provided by this Bill, that one is not going to get the best results.
The only argument put up by the Minister, in which I can see any force, is the argument, unfortunately, that we obviously could not afford to lose this tourist season. I am entirely at one with the Minister in that but, at the same time, we should bear in mind that we are trying to plan, not merely for the 1952 tourist season but that we have a long-term tourist plan in this Bill. I feel that, no matter what temporary expedient we arrive at to get over the short-term difficulty of this tourist season, we should try to make sure that the first thing we provide by this Bill, when it leaves this House and the more rarefied atmosphere of another Chamber, is a body that is going to function properly in the long-term development of the tourist industry. The best method of doing that is to ensure that there will be as few bodies as possible to do the job. You could assure that you will get the best of both worlds by having the Tourist Board and An Bord Fáilte. You could tie those two associations together quite satisfactorily, but once you get into the realms of the third then you are adding an unnecessary development.
There is a lot of argument put forward for having only one, but I believe that the argument for keeping alive local enthusiasm overrides the argument for having only one. Mr. Christenberry's argument was for one body. I feel that the argument for keeping alive local enthusiasm overrides that, but I cannot see the force of a third organisation. I think the line the Minister has been taking in saying that this is not a separate organisation is a false analogy. The very fact that certain funds are set aside for it and it alone, the very fact that there is a provision in the schedule for separate superannuation for its members and for the members  of itself alone inevitably means that it is a separate organism. A separate organism is bound to mean additional administrative expenditure, and additional overhead expenditure. It also means there will be a tendency amongst officials, leaving out the members of Fógra Fáilte, to feel that they are doing a different job. They are not, but only the one aspect of the same job.
Mr. MacCarthy: In my view, the Irish Tourist Association, apart from its link-up with Fógra Fáilte, is really an advisory committee or body. More so, it is a number of advisory bodies or advisory committees, with local contacts in different parts of the country. It is a body which is linked up with the experience of 25 years and which has local contacts which no centralised body in this city would have, and, to my mind, therefore, it would have a better influence on public opinion. In my view, we are talking too much about the small, local bodies which are centralised here in Dublin. This is a wider aspect of the matter than what we are talking about, and it should have more impact on public opinion than any local Dublin organisation would have.
The Minister stated that the Irish Tourist Association got some kind of recognition from the 1931 Tourist Act. It was in this peculiar position that, though it was not a statutory body itself, statutory bodies were empowered to make advances from the rates, and so on, to it. Therefore it occupied a unique position in the country in that regard and it had some responsibility for the spending of the funds advanced to it.
At the present time we have the Irish Tourist Association, with its local committees and its advisory committees, and it is the custodian, more or less, of the local bureaux where these bureaux exist. Through their organisation and their representation, for the time being at any rate, and I hope permanently through Fógra Fáilte, they are in a position to give the benefit of their experience, contacts and advice on matters placed before them at the various monthly meetings  throughout the country. They have an impact that no centralised body would have.
To my mind there is no duplication whatever except, perhaps, here in Dublin in the central office. That will rectify itself. There were certain staffs in the central office of the Irish Tourist Association and certain staffs in An Bord Fáilte, and it was just a case of planting those together for particular purposes. I feel the situation is very fair. We should encourage in every possible way in this age the voluntary effort which the members of the Tourist Association have put, over the years, into their work—work which, to my mind, they have brought to the pinnacle of success, and through which they have shown to the Government that there was something worth while in their efforts over the years. It would be very poor recompense if, after all their activity, their co-operation and their work, they were just pushed aside and if it were said to them: “We will have one or two central bodies in Dublin and the rest of the country can have their ideas put forward through some other channel.”
Mr. Sweetman: That is what you are going to do under this.
Mr. Cosgrave: I would remind Deputy MacCarthy that the amendment which I propose does not mean the end of the Tourist Association, but it intends to utilise the contacts which the Tourist Association has in various parts of the country so as to make them available to An Bord Fáilte. I think that nobody should be under any illusion about the proposals in this Bill. When the discussions were proceeding prior to the introduction of the Tourist (Amendment) Bill last year, it was intimated to the Irish Tourist Association that it was proposed to establish a single body. Then the general election intervened and, as the Minister said, he had adopted this proposal mainly because it achieves a working arrangement and enables a difficult situation to be surmounted. However, the difference between the proposal as originally contemplated is that under the first one the Tourist Association would have a  painful death and under this one it is going to have a painless one.
Mr. Lemass: That is an advantage.
Mr. Cosgrave: The net result will be the same. The Tourist Association in this case will die from inanition. The funds which were formerly made available to it both from a Vote of this House and from the local authorities will now be made available solely from the local authorities. With mounting expenses, the existing rate of contributions from the local authorities will be entirely inadequate to meet the needs of the association. It is obvious, therefore, that the association has a very limited life, and nobody need be under any illusion about its prospects under this Bill. I feel that any proposal which would achieve a single body would be worth trying. If the proposal which I put forward here is not acceptable, I feel the Minister should consider an alternative: that is, to have a single board. Under this Bill the Tourist Board will now consist of seven members. Three of the seven members should be drawn from the Tourist Association, but confine representation to membership of the board or to individuals drawn from members of the association and leave the responsibility for tourist publicity to a single body. No matter how we may argue around it this will mean larger administrative staffs.
It would have been possible with a single body to absorb the staff that existed under the Tourist Association and whatever staff were assigned to publicity work in the existing Tourist Board for that particular type of work. But under this Bill, as Deputy Sweetman pointed out, and as is set out in the schedule, there is provision made for a separate superannuation scheme for the staff of An Fógra Fáilte as well as provision for An Bord Fáilte. If, as will happen, whether it is in the immediate or in the more remote future, the Tourist Association ceases to exist, then the particular provisions contained in the Bill will cease to have any validity, but I think there is no cause whatever for a separate organisation dealing with the tourist publicity. Whatever argument may be  made in favour of an easy working arrangement this Bill, in effect, means the end of the Irish Tourist Association. It is true, as has been said, that there may be something to be said for a painless death, but it would be better from the point of view of the tourist industry generally and a more efficient method, to establish a single board with representatives of the Irish Tourist Association on it—and under the increased membership of this board there is plenty of room for members drawn from that association—to deal with tourism, providing that body with the funds which it is at present proposed to devote to two bodies, An Bord Fáilte and An Fógra Fáilte.
I cannot see how it is possible to argue that there will not be duplication and overlapping. There must be some increase in administrative staff, an increase which, with existing financial resources strained to the limit, it is difficult to justify. It will achieve no advantage except the temporary advantage which the Minister suggests, an easy workable arrangement. Anyone associated with the industry at the moment, either members of the Tourist Association or persons at present on the Tourist Board will readily agree that the establishment of a single body is the most efficient and the most effective way of dealing with the tourist industry.
I do not suggest that the amendment proposed by me here has anything particular to commend it. It is an attempt to get over a complicated situation. The real solution of the difficulty is to establish a single board with representatives of the association and with whatever other directors are considered necessary and establish responsibility under that board for all aspects of the tourist industry.
Mr. Lemass: I never contemplated that the effect of the provisions of this Bill in relation to superannuation for staffs would be to restrict the transferability of staffs from one organisation to the other. I will examine the position to see if it could possibly have that effect. I think it is largely a financial requirement that necessitates duplicated provision under the Bill for superannuation arrangements. If it  were possible that one superannuation scheme would cover both staffs it would be desirable, but that would be subject, to my view, to service in the employment of the Tourist Association being reckonable for pension purposes. There would be some people in the Tourist Association who have been a long time engaged on work there, who may be transferred, and should be entitled to count their previous service. I do not want to give a final decision on it. I will examine the provision to see that there is anything which will prevent the possibility of free transferability of staff within the two sections of the organisation.
Apropos of what Deputy Cosgrave said, I would like to make it clear that if the Tourist Association fails to develop in the field that I think is open to it, or fails to command the support of the local authorities in the same degree as heretofore, then this situation will have to be reconsidered. If the association existed merely to provide a panel of persons from whom directors of Fógra Fáilte would be selected, then there would not be much value in this arrangement at all. It does not seem that his argument is very sound because if their absorption in the larger activities which are now contemplated in conjunction with the Tourist Board, either through the board itself or through Fógra Fáilte, is likely to atrophy their own work and cause a painless death, it seems to me that it would be still more certain if we decided to have the principal work done through the Tourist Board rather than through a specialised organisation dealing with the particular work that they have been engaged on. Fógra Fáilte has made an arrangement with the Tourist Association regarding the management of the bureau in this country, which the Tourist Association managed in the past.
Mr. Cosgrave: It is easy enough to speculate on what may happen if the Tourist Association gets only the same contribution which they got heretofore from the local authorities. With money at its present value that contribution is entirely inadequate and it will not have available the amount that was formerly available from the Exchequer.
Mr. Lemass: That is not quite correct.
Mr. Cosgrave: Is it not true to say that the Tourist Association will only have available the funds provided by the local authorities?
Mr. Lemass: That is all they had up to the present. The Tourist Board provided out of its £45,000 some funds to meet the cost of the Tourist Association work but in so far as there will be available to Fogra Fáilte a much larger sum it is open to Fogra Fáilte to enter into agreement with the Tourist Association, such as they have done. This agreement can provide for making available whatever funds are required to ensure that the work is properly discharged.
Mr. Cosgrave: In effect, there you have one body acting as a channel or a conduit for the transfer of public money to another body.
Mr. Lemass: That was the situation up to the present.
Mr. Cosgrave: I agree——
Mr. Sweetman: I thought that was the situation we were trying to avoid.
Mr. Lemass: So far as the utilisation of the Tourist Association as an agency to do some of the work entrusted to Fogra Fáilte is concerned, that is a matter for Fogra Fáilte. The Bill does not require them to enter into that arrangement. They did it because they thought it was the most efficient method of keeping the organisation going for the present, and it seems to me to have a great deal to commend it. Apart from expressing that view I would not, nor I think would any Minister, attempt to dictate the details of an arrangement of that kind.
Mr. Cosgrave: The only thing I can say is that the whole purpose of this Bill was to develop the tourist trade and particularly the publicity, at least, one aspect of it, that required development. Without reflecting in any way on the work which the Irish Tourist Association did, the whole machinery did not lend itself to the development of tourist publicity in the way in which  the provisions in the Bill or the Tourist Board itself contemplated. If something better than what was already done under the auspices of An Fógra Fáilte is not carried out, then it is obvious that any expenditure by Fógra Fáilte, through the agency of the Tourist Association, will not meet requirements which were anticipated when legislation was drafted.
Mr. Sweetman: The Minister, when replying, pinned himself to the superannuation provision, but throughout the whole of the Bill there are provisions which make it abundantly clear that it is intended that the employees of Fógra Fáilte will be entirely different from the employees of An Bord Fáilte.
Mr. Lemass: It is intended that they will work under the direction of Fógra Fáilte.
Mr. Sweetman: That they will be entirely different employees. I think there is a very strong case for having employees who would at one time be doing work on the publicity side and, at another time, a different type of work. There is very great pressure at certain times of the year and that pressure is not there at other times. The pressure operates now in regard to publicity and now in regard to another aspect of administration, and surely it is desirable to keep complete fluidity, so that, as long as people are competent, they can be switched from one type of work to another.
This schedule envisages that the employees of Fógra Fáilte cannot be employed by An Bord Fáilte and vice versa. It is the only possible way of understanding particularly the provisions of clause 8 of the Schedule, which even goes so far as to give the board an opportunity of getting the Local Appointments Commission to select nominees. I do not object to the Local Appointments Commission being brought in for an appointment as such —that is a good provision—but the whole tenor of clause 8 of the Schedule is that they are to be an entirely different, non-interchangeable set of employees. That is not going to produce the results.
Mr. Lemass: On the whole I think that is likely to be so, but do not forget that the effective control of Fógra Fáilte is still with An Bord Fáilte through its directors.
Mr. Cosgrave: There is a provision in paragraph 8 of the Schedule, as follows:—
“(3) The officers of the board may, with the consent of the Minister, include a general manager whose appointment, terms of office and removal from office shall be subject to the approval of the Minister.”
That is an extension of anything contained in the powers granted to the directors of An Bord Fáilte.
Mr. Lemass: There is a general manager of An Bord Fáilte.
Mr. Cosgrave: In the case of An Bord Fáilte he is appointed by the board. In this case he is appointed by the board with the consent of the Minister.
Mr. Sweetman: And not with the consent of An Bord Fáilte.
Mr. Lemass: I will look into it.
Amendment put and declared lost.
Section 30 agreed to.
Amendment 17 not moved.
Sections 31 and 32 agreed to.
Mr. Cosgrave: I move amendment No. 18:—
To delete sub-section (2) and substitute the following:-
(2) The board shall notify the Minister of every grant received under this section and shall utilise such grants for the purpose of its functions under this Act.
This amendment has not the validity it would have if the earlier amendments had been accepted. Section 33 (2) says:
“The board shall notify the Minister of every grant received under this section and shall utilise such  grants for the purpose of its function under this Part.”
I propose to substitute “Part” for “Act” at the end of the sub-section. Under the Bill, whatever grants are received will be subject to the discretion of the board and will be confined to tourist publicity. I do not know whether it is desirable to confine any grant received, if the board receives grants. I take it that the grants in this case are grants from local authorities under the 1931 Act.
Mr. Lemass: Fógra Fáilte will have no functions except under this Bill. It is a drafting point really. These functions are defined in Part V and, therefore, that would appear to be the more appropriate word to use.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 33 agreed to.
Section 34, 35 and 36 agreed to.
Mr. Lemass: I move amendment No. 19:-
Before Section 37 to insert a new section as follows:—
(1) For the purposes of this Chapter “hotel” means a house containing at least ten, or, if situate in a county borough, 20 apartments set apart and used exclusively for the sleeping accommodation of travellers and, unless licensed on the 31st day of July, 1902, or at any time between the 1st day of January, 1902 and that date, having no public bar for the sale of intoxicating liquor.
(2) The Dublin Metropolitan District shall be deemed to be a county borough for the purpose of this section.
The purpose of this amendment is to make it clear that an hotel which was not, under the 1902 Act, licensed on 31st July, 1902, would not under the Bill be able to obtain a licence which would permit it to open a public bar. The purpose of the second part of the amendment is to make the Dublin Metropolitan District a county borough  for the purpose of the section, which will bring the Bill in line with the existing licensing laws.
The Dublin Metropolitan District, for the purpose of the licensing laws, is not coterminous with the County Borough of Dublin, but it is considered desirable that it should be the metropolitan area and not the borough, and that should apply. It was urged during the course of the discussion on the Second Reading that this provision in relation to the opening of a public bar was required in the Bill, and I think this amendment makes the matter quite clear. The only facility which can be obtained under this Bill is that which could be obtained by an hotel licensed since 1902.
Mr. Sweetman: The Minister has not dealt with the wording of the amendment: “Unless licensed on the 31st day of July, 1902, or at any time between the 1st day of January, 1902, and that date.” I thought at first it said “this date”. I am afraid I cannot remember on what date the 1902 Licensing Act was passed—except that it was passed in the year 1902. Does the Minister know on what date it was signed?
Mr. Lemass: I assumed up to this that it was the 31st July, but I may be wrong.
Mr. Sweetman: I do not see the significance of the two dates, or what relevance it has. However, that was 50 years ago, and there is not much to be gained by chasing back into it now.
Amendment agreed to.
Section 37 agreed to.
Mr. MacCarthy: Deputy Cowan has asked me to move formally amendment No. 20:—
In sub-section (3), line 42, after “premises” to add “prepared by a fully qualified architect who must be either a graduate in architecture of an Irish university, or a fellow or member of the Institute of Architects of Ireland”.
Mr. Lemass: I take it that the purpose of the amendment is to ensure  that foreign achitects will be prevented from being employed to prepare plans for the purpose of Section 38. I would have a particular difficulty accepting it. As the House knows, there are no statutory qualifications at present limiting the practice of architects as a profession, and I think it would be wrong to impose a limitation for that purpose in this Bill. In any event, I would be doubtful of the wisdom of it in the present circumstances, because if we start imposing limitations of this kind here it might provoke retaliatory acts elsewhere.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Mr. Lemass: I move amendment No. 21:—
To add to the section two subsections as follows:—
(4) Any person who would be entitled to object to an application for a certificate entitling the applicant to a licence in respect of the premises shall be entitled to object in like manner to the application under this section.
(5) A declaration under this section shall remain in force for three years from the grant of the application or for such longer period as the court may in any particular case think proper to provide.
The purpose of the first paragraph is to make it clear that the person who is entitled under the existing licensing laws to object to the granting of a licence will be able to object to the granting of a declaration under Section 38. In view of the fact that the declaration under Section 38 deals only with the fitness and the convenience of the proposed premises, the only valid ground for objecting to the granting of a declaration would be in respect of unfitness or the inconvenience of the premises.
The purpose of the second paragraph is to limit the period of validity of a declaration granted under Section 38 to three years or such longer period as the court thinks fit in the circumstances of a particular case. If that limitation were not provided for, cases might arise where a declaration might be obtained and nothing done about  building, so that by the time the application for a licence would be made under Section 39 the neighbourhood might have changed, and the circumstances might no longer be “convenient” in the sense in which that term is used in the licensing Acts.
Mr. Sweetman: If I might bring in here the amendment to Section 39 I would like if the Minister could make it clear as to whether any objection that is to be made to the application for a declaration—once the declaration is made there cannot be any objection to the application at a later stage—is limited in grounds, so far as the number of licensed premises is concerned, to the number of licensed hotels in the vicinity or to the number of licensed premises of all sorts? In other words, does the Regent Hotel case cover this?
Mr. Lemass: There cannot be any objection in this case except on the sole ground of the fitness of the person or the convenience of the premises.
Mr. Cosgrave: Otherwise he is entitled to a licence?
Mr. Lemass: To a declaration of the court. There cannot be any objection on the ground of the number of other licensed premises in the vicinity. It can only be the unsuitability of the person or the inconvenience of the premises.
Mr. Sweetman: We are just adding in, amendment No. 21, that a person who would be entitled to object to an application for a certificate shall be entitled to object in like manner to the application under this section.
Mr. Lemass: But Section 38 deals only with the fitness of the person and the convenience of the premises. They are the only valid grounds for objection.
Mr. Sweetman: The amendment we are writing in does not revive the other reasons for objection contained in the Licensing Acts?
Mr. Lemass: No.
Mr. Sweetman: I had read it otherwise.
 Amendment agreed to.
Amendment 22 not moved.
Section 38, as amended, agreed to.
Amendment No. 23 not moved.
Mr. Lemass: I move amendment No. 23a, as on the Order Paper:—
In sub-section (2), paragraph (b), page 12, lines 15 and 16, to delete “which provides for the charging of a reduced duty where” and substitute “and that”; and in line 18, after “preceding year” to insert “for the purposes of that section”.
This is a drafting amendment, which does not change the principle underlying paragraph (b). When the Bill had been drafted and was in circulation, it was found on re-examining the position that the Finance Act of 1910 —the Act which provides for the charging of reduced duty where the receipts on the sale of intoxicating liquor are in the preceding year less than one-third of the total receipts— had been amended in 1920 and the effect was to increase the proportion of the total receipts from one-third to one-half. The purpose of the amendment is to maintain the one-third proportion for the purpose of the renewal of the licence under the sub-section. The effect will be that the licensee, besides satisfying the court that the excise duty payable was reduced under the Finance Act, will also have to show the court that the Revenue Commissioners were satisfied that the receipts from the sale of intoxicating liquor were less than one-third of the total receipts. The Bill is being left as we intended it to be, but we had to change the form because we discovered this amendment of the 1910 Act.
Mr. Sweetman: This is a six mark question. There are provisions in the Licensing Acts by virtue of which certain extensions can be given for certain functions. In the case of a dinner in an hotel, the licensee can go to the District Court and get permission for an extension to the time at which the dinner concludes. Will the same provisions,  in regard to ability to get extensions, apply to licences given under this Chapter?
Mr. Lemass: Yes. The person who gets a licence under this Bill will have all the rights of an existing licensee.
Mr. Cosgrave: No, only the rights of an hotel licensee.
Mr. Lemass: Yes, an hotel licensee.
Mr. Sweetman: Leaving out the bar.
Mr. Lemass: He will not have the right to a public bar.
Amendment agreed to.
Mr. Lemass: I move amendment No. 23b:—
To add to the section a new sub-section as follows:—
(3) A certificate purporting to be under the hand of an officer of the Revenue Commissioners authorised in that behalf by the commissioners that the commissioners are satisfied as aforesaid shall be evidence that they are so satisfied, without further proof.
This is consequential. Whereas before the mere fact that a lower licence duty was payable would have been evidence that the receipts were less than one-third, now we have to get a special separate certificate from the Revenue Commissioners as to the receipts and the Revenue Commissioners have agreed to facilitate us in the matter.
Mr. Sweetman: If the Minister is getting the Revenue Commissioners to agree, he is getting somewhere.
Amendment agreed to.
Section 39, as amended, agreed to.
Mr. Lemass: I move amendment No. 24:—
To insert before the definition of week-day, a new definition as follows:—
“rateable valuation” includes a provisional valuation issued by the Commissioner of Valuation;
 Section 41 provides that an applicant for a licence in respect of a holiday camp has to satisfy the court, amongst other things, that the rateable valuation of the holiday camp is not less than £400. The determination of a final valuation for new premises under the Valuation Acts often takes a considerable time and, as the Bill stands, a holiday camp owner would not be able to get a licence for the sale of drink until the final valuation of the premises had been determined.
The effect of the amendment will be that the court will be able to accept a provisional valuation issued by the Commissioner of Valuation, pending the determination of the final valuation.
Amendment agreed to.
Section 40, as amended, agreed to.
Mr. Lemass: I move amendment No. 25:—
In sub-section (2) (b), page 13, line 11, after “unfitness” to insert “or inconvenience”.
Section 4 of the Licensing Act of 1833 makes one of the valid grounds for the objection to the granting of a licence for the sale of drink in any premises the unfitness or inconvenience of the premises, and the purpose of this amendment is to bring the provisions of Section 41 into line with the provisions of the existing licensing laws. The effect of the amendment is that the inhabitants of a parish would be able to object to the granting of a licence in respect of a holiday camp on the ground of the disturbance which the licensing of the camp might cause to the amenities of the neighbourhood.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment No. 26 not moved.
Section 41, as amended, agreed to.
Section 42 agreed to.
Mr. Lemass: I move amendment No. 27:—
 To add to the section a new sub-section as follows:—
(2) Every person who shall sell or expose for sale any intoxicating liquor or open or keep open any premises for the sale of intoxicating liquor or permit any intoxicating liquor to be consumed on licensed premises in contravention of this section shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof, in the case of a first offence, to a fine not exceeding £20 or, in the case of a second or any subsequent offence, to a fine not exceeding £40.
I mentioned this during Second Reading. The Intoxicating Liquor Act, 1927, provides penalties for the sale of drink during prohibited hours. Section 50 of this Bill provides that certain sections of that Act of 1927, including Section 2, which provides these penalties, shall not apply to licensed holiday camps. It is therefore necessary to provide a special penalty clause for the sale of drink in a licensed holiday camp during prohibited hours. The penalties provided are the same as those provided under the existing law.
Mr. Sweetman: Is it visualised that the whole ambit of the camp will be licensed or that there will be, so to speak, a bar in the middle of the camp?
Mr. Lemass: It can be either.
Mr. Sweetman: I see grave difficulties from the point of view of supervision if it is the whole ambit of the camp.
Mr. Lemass: As we read it, it can be either.
Mr. Cosgrave: It is customary in these camps to confine it.
Mr. Lemass: To separate premises— that is right.
Amendment agreed to.
Section 43, as amended, agreed to.
Mr. Sweetman: On behalf of Deputy Rooney, I move amendment No. 28:—
 In line 5, before “between”, to insert “or who is employed therein”.
I understand that Deputy Rooney's anxiety is to provide that if a member of the staff working on the premises has a drink, it will be within the provisions of the licence. Obviously, the employer will see that the privilege is not abused. It does seem unfair that a man who has gone off duty and finished his work, if he wants to have a drink there, has to pack up his bag and go somewhere else to have it.
Mr. Lemass: The Deputy will understand that I am not anxious in this Bill to establish new principles of licensing legislation. What I set out to provide here is that employees in holiday camps will be in exactly the same position as employees in other licensed premises. I think it is better to leave it like that.
Mr. Sweetman: Will they be?
Mr. Lemass: I would not be able to assess the possible consequences of giving special facilities in these cases or to gauge whether that was likely to lead to agitation for amendments of the licensing laws relating to other licensed premises. The Deputy can look at it again. I can assure him that, as I read it, these employees are in exactly the same position as employees of other licensed premises.
Mr. Sweetman: I will withdraw the amendment. If on investigation I am not satisfied I can put it down again.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 44 agreed to.
Amendment No. 29 not moved.
Sections 45 and 46 agreed to.
Amendment No. 30 not moved.
Sections 47 to 50, inclusive, agreed to.
 SECTION 51.
Mr. Lemass: I move amendment No. 31:—
To delete sub-section (1) and substitute the following:-
(1) The Commissioner of Valuation may, at the request of the owner or occupier, apportion to the licensed premises such part as he thinks proper of the rateable valuation of the hereditament or tenement of which such premises form part, and the part so apportioned shall, for the purpose of the law relating to the charge of duty upon the licence, be taken to be the valuation of the licensed premises.
This is a drafting amendment. Its purpose is to clarify the section which was to ensure that the licence duty will be charged on the valuation of the part of the premises actually licensed and not on the valuation of the holiday camp as a whole.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment No. 32 not moved.
Section 51, as amended, agreed to.
Amendments Nos. 33 to 45, inclusive, not moved.
Schedule agreed to.
Amendment No. 46 not moved.
Mr. Lemass: I move amendment No. 47:—
That the title be amended by the insertion after “hotels” of “and holiday camps”.
This is a drafting amendment.
Amendment agreed to.
Title, as amended, agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Report Stage ordered for Tuesday, 3rd June.
The Dáil adjourned at 9.50 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 28th May, 1952.