Committee on Finance. - Housing (Gaeltacht) (Amendment) Bill, 1959—Second Stage.

Thursday, 4 June 1959

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 175 No. 9

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Aire na Gaeltachta (Micheál Ó Móráin): Information on Michael Moran  Zoom on Michael Moran  Tairgim go léifear an Billean Dara hUair anois.

Táan Bille seo á thabhairt isteach chun Achtanna na dTithe (Gaeltacht), 1929-1953, a leasú agus a leathnú. Is é príomh-aidhm an Bhille an Ghaeltacht a thabhairt ar aon chéim tithíochta leisan tír i gcoitinne. Nuair a bunaíodh an Stást seo, bhí cúrsaí tithíochta sa Ghaeltacht ar gcúl go mór i gcomórtas leis an gcuid eile den tír. I dTuarascáil Choimisiúin na Gaeltachta, 1926, moladh córas speisialta Státchabhrach a bhunú leis an scéal a leigheas. Glacadh leis an moladh agus, dá thoradh sin, ritheadh Acht na dTithe (Gaeltacht), 1929. Is féidir a rá gurb é an tAcht sin cairt na Gaeltachta i gcúrsaí tithíochta. Faoin Acht sin, cuireadh buntáistí speisialta ar fáil do mhuintir na Gaeltachta chun tithe nua [979] a thógáil agus chun tithe d'fheabhsú. Leasaíodh an tAcht ó am go chéile agus, de thairbhe an cúnamh a cuireadh ar fáil, tógadh ós cionn 5,000 tithe agus feabhsaíodh beagnach 5,000 eile ar chostas milliún punt i ndeontais agus ceathrúmilliúin punt in iasachtaí, faoi 31 Márta, 1959. D'ainneoin a ndearnadh, áfach, tá go leor le déanamh fós. Meastar gur gá timpeall 3,000 teach nua eile a thógáil agus timpeall 5,000 teach d'fheabhsú, faoi na hAchtanna.

Tá aidhm an-tábhachtach eile ag an mBille seo. Is beag saibhreas aicionta atá sa Ghaeltacht ach tá saibhreas Gaeilge ann d'fhéadfái a shaothrú i bhfad níos tréine ar mhaithe le cúrsaí eacnamúla mhuintir na Gaeltachta. Tá a fhios ag na Teachtaí go bhfuil béim á leagadh, sna Meánscoileanna, ar labhairt na Gaeilge. Chítear domsa go mbeidh a thoradh sin le braith go mór sa Ghaeltacht agus go mbeidh níos mó cuairteoirí ná riamh cheana ag dul ann ag foghlaim nó ag cleachtadh na Gaeilge. Is ceart lán-leas a bhaint as sin ar mhaithe le muintir na Gaeltachta.

Faoi láthair, áfach, níl dóthain de chóiríocht feiliúnach sna límistéirí Gaeltachta le freastal ar aon mhéadú mór a thiocfadh ar líon na gcuairteoirí. Tá beartaithe sa Bhille seo, cúnamh a sholáthar do mhuintir na límistéirí sin le go gcuirfear ar fáil an chóiríocht a bheas riachtanach. Faoi na hachtanna cheana féin, is féidir cúnamh d'fháil chun seomra breise, le haghaidh cuairteoirí, a chur le teach cónaithe. Beartaítear cur leis an gcúnamh sin, sa Bhille seo. Ina theannta sin, beartaítear cúnamh de chineál nua ar fad a chur ar fáil. Tá go leor teaghlach ann arbh fhearr go mór leo teach a thógáil ar cíos sa Ghaeltacht ná dul ar lóistin ann. Tá tithe feiliúnacha den tsórt sin gann go maith agus, mar sin, tá beartaithe agam cúnamh a chur ar fáil chun go dtógfaidh muintir na límistéirí Gaeltachta iostáin saoire nó chalets lena ligean ar cíos do chuairteoirí. Bhéarfadh sé sin teacht isteach railta dóibh i míosanna an tsamhraidh. Tá beartaithe agam freisin cúnamh a chur ar fáil do chomhluchtaí aitheanta le brúnna a [980] thógáil sna límistéirí Gaeltachta chun buíonta cuairteoirí nó scoláirí a thabhairt chuig an nGaeltacht. Chuideodh na nithe sin uile le caighdeán maireachtála níos fearr a thabhairt do mhuintir na Gaeltachta.

Ní dhearnadh méadú ar bith ar na deontais, i leith teach nua a thógáil, a cuireadh ar fáil faoi Acht, 1949, d'ainneoin an méadú mór a tháing ar chostais i gcoitinne idir an dá linn. Thagair mé anois díreach don mhéid tithe nua a theastaíonn fós sa Ghaeltacht. Leis an scéal a leigheas, tá beartaithe faoi Alt 2 (1) den Bhille cúnamh breise a chur ar fáil—na deontais atá ann faoi láthair a mhéadú £25 i gcás tí chónaithe nach gcuirtear soláthar uisce agus saoráidí séarachais isteach ann agus freisin I gcás tí chónaithe a gcuirtear ann iad ach a bhfuil uisce-sholáthar nó seirbhísí séarachais poiblí ar fáil; na deontais a mhéadú £50 i gcás tí chónaithe ina gcuirtear soláthar uisce agus saoráidí séarachais agus nach bhfuil uisce-sholáthar ná seirbhísí séarachais poiblí ar fáil. Beartaítear freisin faoin Alt céanna suim bhreise nach mó ná £100 a chur ar fáil i leith seomra folctha feistithe a chur leis an teach. Ceapaim gur mhór an gar a leithéid agus gurbh fhearrde sláinte an líontí é.

Tá i gceist faoi Alt 2 (2) na deontais i leith teach cónaithe d'fheabhsú a mheadú £30 sa chaoi go mbeidh deontais nach mó ná £110, £130 agus £150, faoi seach, le fáil do réir mar a bhíos 3 sheomra, 4 sheomra nó 5 sheomra nó níos mó sa teach. Thagair mé cheana don mhéid tithe ar gá iad d'fheabhsú agus tuighfidh na Teachtaí go bhfuil sé an-tábhachtach i gceantair inar gá go leor tithe nua a thógail, go gcoinneofar na tithe atá ann cheana i ndea-dheis. Is chuige sin a beartaítear an cúnamh breise seo a chur ar fáil.

Faoi Alt 3 d'Acht 1929, arna leasú le hAlt 3 (1) d'Acht 1953, cuireadh deontas sláintíochta £50 ar fáil i leith soláthar uisce agus saoráidí séarachais a chur isteach i dteach cónaithe. Bhí an deontas céanna le fáil faoi Achtanna na dTithe (Ginearálta) suas go 1956. Méadaíodh [981] ansin é go £60 agus, ina theannta sin, cuireadh an cúnamh ar fáil ina dhá dheontas freisin—£40 i leith soláthaír uisce agus £20 i teith saoráidí séarachais. Faoi Acht na dTithe (Ginearálta) (Leasú), 1958, méadaíodh na deontais sin go £50 agus £25 faoi seach nó £75 mar chomhdheontas. Tá bearthaithe faoi Alt 3 (1) den Bhille seo dhá dheontas nó comhdheontas a chur ar fáil mar leanas: £55, £30 agus £85, faoi seach. Tá bearthaithe freisin deontas nach mó ná £140 a chur ar fáil i leith seomra folctha a chur isteach. Tuigfear gur mhór an buntáiste a leithéid, go háirithe i dteach a mbeadh cuairteoirí le fanacht ann.

Is iomaí teach a bhfuil soláthar uisce nó saoráidí séarachais ann atá i riocht mí-fholláin nó atá lochtach ar shilí eile. Beartaítear faoi Alt 3 (1) freisin deontas nach mó ná £40 a chur ar fáil lena leithéid d'fheabhsú.

Faoi Acht 1953, cuireadh deontas nach mó ná £80 ar fáil i leith seomra breise le haghaidh cuairteoirí a chur le teach cónaithe. Níor baineadh an leas a raibh súil leis as an deontas sin —toisc laghad an deontais, measaim. Tá bearthaithe agam anois é a mhéadú agus a leathnú mar a luaitear sa Táible a ghabhann le Alt 3 (1). Ós rud, áfach, gur cuairteoirí a mbeadh suim acu sa teanga atá i gceist, beartaítear nach mbainfidh an cúnamh seo ach leis na limistéirí atá sceidealta in Ordú na Límistéirí Gaeltachta, 1956.

Faoi láthair, is féidir iasacht nach mó ná £100 a thabhairt i dteannta deontais tógála agus iasacht nach mó ná £40 i dteannta deontais feabhsúcháin nó deontais leathnúcháin speisialta. Faoi Acht 1949 a cuireadh na hiasachtaí sin ar fáil agus ní leor anois iad ar chor ar bith. Tá cuid mhaith teaghlach sa Ghaeltacht atá ina gcónaí i dtithe mí-fholláine nár leor na hiasachtaí sin i dteannta an deontais chun teach folláin a chur ar fáil acu. Is le freastal ar chásanna den chiaeál sin a beartaítear nár hiasachtaí a thabhairt a luaitear in Alt 5 (1) agus (2) den Bhille .i. i gcás obair thógála, iasacht suas go comhmhéid an deontais agus, i gcás obair feabhsúcháin nó leathnúcháin speisialta, iasacht suas go dtí a leath de chostas measta na hoibre.

[982] Cúnamh de chineál nua ar fad atá i gceíst in Alt 4. Thagair mé cheana don bhéim atá á leagadh sna Meánscoileanna ar labhairt na Gaeilge agus don mhéadú is ró-dhóigh a thiocfaidh ar líon na gcuairteoirí chun na Gaeltachta. Mar adúirt mé cheana, is iomaí teaghlach ann arbh fhearr leo teach a thógáil ar cíos sa Ghaeltacht ná dul ar lóistín ann—toisc, b'fhéidir, gurbh fhearr leo teach a bheith futhu féin nó toisc a leithéid a bheith níos saoire. Tá ganntanas tithe feiliúnacha den chineál sin ann agus, leis an mbearna a líonadh agus le teacht isteach rialta a sholáthar do mhuintir na límistéirí Gaeltachta, beartaítear deontas suas go £200 a chur ar fáil chun iostán saoire amháin le haghaidh cuairteoirí a thógáil. Is é an cineál iostáin atá i gceist, teach simplí dea-thógtha ar chostas réasúnach. I dteannta an deontais sin beartaítear, faoi Alt 5 (3), iasacht suas go £200 a chur ar fáil freisin i gcásanna inar gá sin. Is féidir gur mhaíth le daoine níos mó ná iostán amháin a thógáil agus, mar sin, beartaítear faoi Alt 5 (4) iasacht suas go £300 a chur ar fáil leis an dara ceann a thógáíl agus iasacht eile suas go £300 leis an triú ceann a thógáil, más mian.

Is cúnamh nua ar fad an cúnamh eile atá i gceist in Alt 4 freisin. Beartaítear deontas suas go £5,000 a chur ar fáil do chomhluchtaí aitheanta chun brú a thógáil sna límistéirí Gaeltachta. Ceaptar go mbeidh gá le cóiríocht den tsaghas sin le haghaidh buíonta scoláirí—lucht aonscoile, etc., nach mbeadh an chóiríocht i dtithe na ndaoine féiliúnach nó dóthaineach dóibh. Is é an cineál brú atá i gceist, áras a mbeadh cóiríocht chócaireachta, ite agus chodlata ann do bhreis is 20 duine.

Tá faoiseamh fiche bliain ó ardú rátaí le fáil faoi láthair ag deontaithe faoi Achtanna na dTithe (Gaeltacht) i leith obair a dhéanaid faoi na hAchtanna sin. Dá bhrí sin, do thiocfadh d'fheidhmiú an togra in Alt 3 (1) den Bhille, maidir le daoine nach sealbhairí ar thithe cónaithe iad, nach mbeadh rátaí ar bith le n-íoc ag deontaithe dá leithéid. Ina theannta sin, measaim nach gá a thuilleadh [983] faoiseamh chomh mór a thabhairt. Mar sin, beartaítear in Alt 6 den Bhille sompla a ghlacadh Ó Acht na dTithe (Ginearálta), 1958, agus faoiseamh céimnitheach a thabhairt feasta i gcás obair thógála. Cé gur laghdú é ar an bhfaoiseamh atá le fáil faoi na hAchtanna faoi láthair, is mó é ná an faoiseamh faoi Achtanna na dTithe (Ginearálta). I gcás obair nach obair thógála, áfach, tá i gceist an faoiseamh d'fhágáil mar atá faoi láthair ach an tréimhse a laghdú Ó 20 bliain go 10 mbliain.

Faoi Alt 3 d'Acht 1929, ní féidir cúaamh a thabhairt faoina hAchtanna ach do dhaoine atá ina sealbhairí ar thithe cónaithe. Mar gheall ar an gcoinníoll sin, dob éigin cúnamh a dhiúltú do dhaoine mar lucht ceirde, iascairí agus mar sin de, a raibh ar intinn acu pósadh agus socrú síos sa Ghaeltacht. Is léir nach é leas na Gaeilge ná na Gaeltachta an coinníoll seo d'fhágáil ann. Níl aon choinníoll dá chineál ag baint le hAchtanna na dTithe (Ginearálta) agus tá beartaithe faoi Alt 3 (1) den Bhille seo nach mbainfidh an coíimíoll feasta le daoine sna límistéirí atá sceidealta in Ordú na Límistéirí (Gaeltacht), 1956.

Sa Sceideal d'Acht 1929, tá liostáilte na toghranna ceantair a chomhdhéanas an Ghaeltacht chun críocha Achtanna na dTithe (Gaeltacht). Níor leasaoídh an Sceideal Sin ó shoin agus tá sé as dáta go mór anois. I gcás go leor de na toghranna sin, ní bhfuarthas iarratas ar chúnamh tithíochta uathu le fada agus i gcás cuid eile acu níor ceadaíodh deontas le fada iontu toisc nár comhlíonadh an coinníoll sna hAchtanna i leith na Gaeilge. Tá a fhios ag na Teachtaí go bhfuil na límistéirí Gaeltachta arna gcinneadh anois le hOrdú faoi Alt 2 den Acht Airí agus Rúnaithe (Leasú), 1956. Bhí i gceíst ar cóir buntáistí na nAcht a choinneáil ar leithligh do na límistéirí sin. Tá roinnt teaghlach, áfach, i gceantair lasmuigh díobh arb í an Ghaeilge a ngnáththeanga teaghlaigh agus ba leasc líom, agus measaim nárbh é leas na teangan, na buntáistí faoi na hAchtanna atá ag na teaghlaigh sín a bhaint díobh. Mar sin, beartaím faoi Alt 7 den Bhille buntáistí [984] na nAcht a choinneáil ar leithligh feasta do na contaetha ina gceadaítear na deontais de ghnáth.

Sin iad príomh-aidhmeanna agus príomh-fhorálacha an Bhille. Cuirim faoi bhráid an Tí é lena bhreithniú agus tá súil agam go nglacfar leis.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay  Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay  The Minister has just delivered his Second Reading speech in Irish. The Bill has been circulated in English only so I propose to deal with it in the language in which it has been circulated. The reason for the inconsistency is probably known only to the Minister.

We welcome this Bill mainly because it supplies a much-felt need and is a recognition by the Government of that need, and of the high costs of materials, and the high costs generally obtaining, and the relative inadequacy of the amounts of the grants and loans hitherto available to people in Gaeltacht areas. There are, however, certain aspects of this Bill against which I do not make complaint but on which I make inquiry as to their meaning and their general application.

First of all, there will be some difficulty—if not difficulty, certainly dissatisfaction—in the application and scope generally of the provisions of this Bill when it becomes law. In the Bill, reference is made to one area, namely, the area defined as the Gaeltacht under the Ministers and Secretaries Act, 1956. I recall that at the time those areas were being defined, were it not for my intervention and certain support from the Government, they would have been very much smaller. If I had had my way, they would have been much bigger and they would have covered, to a very large extent, the congested areas as a whole. However, that is now a matter of history, but it is something which should not be lost sight of because there is no Act of Parliament which cannot be amended or extended as the need arises or if the national interest demands it.

There is one very welcome feature in this Bill, namely, that an applicant for a Gaeltacht housing grant may now get it, subject to the conditions laid down, [985] even though he has not previously had a dwelling house. Up to now—I think I am correct in this—with some exceptions, and applicant could not get a housing grant unless he already had a tumble-down shack. In my time, there was one such exception in one area known to me, and it is a good thing that that provision should be inserted in this Bill, namely, that a person can start afresh and say: “I want to live in a Gaeltacht area and build a house there in which to bring up my family.” The restriction of already having a house should not be placed on him.

I wonder why it is that such an applicant is restricted to the area laid down in the Ministers and Secretaries Act, 1956, because, to my mind, that creates an inconsistency in this Bill to which I shall have to refer later, or perhaps, it would be better to deal with it now. In the Housing (Gaeltacht) Act, 1929, the Schedule sets out areas where Gaeltacht housing grants could certainly be applied for but not necessarily granted. This Bill refers to the townlands in the counties of Clare, Cork, Donegal, Galway, Kerry, Mayo and Waterford, and applies, as I said, to the townlands scheduled in those counties in the Act of 1929. An applicant for a housing grant or for a holiday chalet must live in the restricted areas set out in the Ministers and Secretaries Act, 1956. That is an inconsistency which will probably give rise to difficulties and dissatisfaction.

Moreover, I know the Minister has explained at the end of his speech that he has not received any application for a long time for a grant nor has sanction been given in those areas for an equally long time. Nevertheless, from this Schedule in the 1929 Act go in one fell swoop these townlands scheduled there in the counties of Waterford, Cavan, Leitrim, Limerick, Louth, Roscommon, Sligo and Tipperary South Riding.

It will probably be conceded that Irish as a living language no longer operates there to any great extent, but, nevertheless, in taking away from any person in those areas who wants to take a deep interest in the Irish language, to make it his own language, [986] and the language of his family, the right to such a grant, if he feels like it, is taking away from him whatever pride he may have in the language and the culture of our country. It destroys any fresh incentive that might become apparent as the years go on. Why, I would ask the Minister, could he not allow those areas of Waterford, Cavan, Leitrim, Limerick, Louth, Roscommon, Sligo and Tipperary South Riding to remain there? There may not be any applications and there may not be any sanctions but to deprive them of the right of making an application would be to deprive an applicant who might be found to be adequately qualified and worthy of the amenities available under this Bill.

The building of holiday chalets in the Gaeltacht areas is a very good thing but the restriction of area in the Ministers and Secretaries Act applies generally to the townlands in the counties I have already enumerated. There is, to my mind, an inconsistency there which should be examined. Perhaps it might be found that it is not an inconsistency at all, and if the Minister can explain it to my satisfaction and the satisfaction of the House, I shall have no difficulty in accepting his point of view.

What is the object of the holiday chalets in this Bill? Is it to promote the Gaeltacht and all its kindred activities, or is it to provide a certain income for the owner of the chalet who must be an Irish speaker and satisfy the Department before he gets a grant? Is there to be no limitation on the person or persons who will become the lessee or the lessees of the chalets for the holiday period? I do not see that there is anything in this Bill at the moment to prevent anyone from London, Glasgow, New York or Melbourne from taking a chalet here in the Gaeltacht and speaking English all the time. Intrinsically, of course, I do not see anything wrong with it, but why should the person who wants to set up a chalet be asked to qualify as an Irish speaker when there is no limitation to be placed upon the person to whom he is to let the chalet? There [987] probably is a reason for that and, once it is given, I shall accept it.

Section 4, subsection 2, states:

Where a body of persons prosposes to erect, in an area which is one of the areas for the time being determined to be Gaeltacht areas by order under section 2 of the Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Act, 1956 (No. 21 of 1956), a hostel for the accommodation of visitors and to furnish the hostel, the Minister may, in his discretion...

give a grant not exceeding three-quarters of the estimated cost, or £5,000, whichever is the less.

What kind of group of persons has the Minister in mind, or have there been any representations made to his Department from interested groups, from Connradh na Gaeilge, or any of the various Irish organisations that operate in the Gaeltacht like Gael-Linn who are interested in Gaeltacht holidays? As it stands, I see nothing to prevent a hostel that is to be put up by persons who would qualify as Irish speakers from becoming another Blackpool in the middle of the Gaeltacht. I see no restriction placed on the kind of people they will let or bring in here, but I do see in it an opportunity for people to get £5,000 of State money as a mere profit-making channel, without any reference whatsoever to the Irish language, Irish culture, or any of the other things associated with the Gaeltacht. Probably the Minister will be able to give some account of the kind of persons he has in mind and whether any representations have been made to him by such a body of persons.

On the question of relief from rates, I want to express my dissatisfaction with the proposed method. Under the existing law, a person who built a Gaeltacht house, or an extension to a house and got any advantage under the Gaeltacht Housing Acts, up to date was free from rates on the extension, or on the new rates over the old rate, for 20 years. In this Bill, I see that the Minister proposes to substitute what I [988] might refer to as and what is, in fact, a sliding scale, whereunder, in the first year after the completion of the building, the rates would be reduced by nineteen-twentieths.

A twenty year period is taken as the basis for consideration in the relief of rates. In the first year, a person pays one-twentieth of the rates; in the second year, two-twentieths; in the third year three-twentieths and so on. There might be a good explanation for that. The argument might be advanced that such a sliding scale would be in ease of the successful applicant, namely, that it would not come upon him so suddenly, but, in my view, the Minister would do well to reconsider whether he should revert to the provisions governing the relief of rates in the Housing Act of 1929. In that Act, there was provision for a clear remission of all rates applicable to fresh building, or to extensions, for 20 years.

On the whole, as I say, this Bill is to be welcomed and, subject to an explanation of what I have termed inconsistencies, I think the Bill should have a speedy passage through this House, so that the amenities it purports to provide will be made available to the people with all possible speed.

Micheál Ó Móráin: Information on Michael Moran  Zoom on Michael Moran  Bá mhaith liom buiochas a ghabháil leis an Teachta Mac Loingsigh a labhair sa dhiospóireacht ar an mBille seo agus is cúts áthas dom féin go bhfuil seisan agus a Phartai sásta glacadh leis an Bille seo i gcoitinn.

I should tell Deputy Lindsay the Bill was circulated in English by virtue of the fact that it is an amending Bill, amending other previous Bills, and this was evidently the practice in this House with other Bills dealing with housing. It would be very difficult, from an interpretation point of view, when we were referring to amendments in different other Acts, if we did not bring it in in this way. As far as Limistéirí na Gaeltachta are concerned, the area included within these limits was fixed by Deputy Lindsay and his colleagues, though I do not know whether he was a member of the Government at that time. I have no doubt due consideration was given [989] to the advice of the officials concerned as to what should be within limistear na Gaeltachta and what should be outside it. I think the definition that has been made was made in an effort to get reality into this situation and not to have places scheduled as Gaeltacht areas that were not, in fact, Gaeltacht areas, and in which the language had not been spoken for years and years past. From all these counties that have been excluded under this Bill, no applications have been received for very many years and, knowing these counties, I am satisfied, and am advised that there is no likelihood of receiving any applications from them.

Possibly there might be one odd individual, such as a teacher living in one of these counties who, by virtue of his knowledge of the language, would formally qualify for a housing grant there. That, to my mind, would be particularly bad from the point of view of the language and from the point of view of the Department. I do not think anything does more harm to the Irish language generally, and to those promoting it, than to have the criticism that some people, by virtue of the fact that they have a knowledge of Irish, can qualify for particular treatment outside the Gaeltacht areas.

It is true that people who have Irish, living close to the borders of the existing Gaeltacht areas, will be entitled to the benefit of the Housing Acts but the new developments with which I shall deal in a moment, that is, the chalets and hostels, are limited solely to the Fíor-Ghaeltacht area as already defined. Deputy Lindsay asked what is the object of the chalets and, of course, quite plainly the object is to provide an income for the people living in the Gaeltacht. I think it would be unrealistic to attach, as the Deputy has suggested, any kind of conditions, of language or otherwise, on the people who may make use of these chalets during the summer months. The object of the chalets is to increase the standard of living of the people and to provide, if they take full advantage of this Bill, £150 or £200 a year that they should get by way of profit from these buildings. [990] That, coming in to these people with small holdings, with the poor incomes they have in the Gaeltacht, should have a tremendous economic impact on their lives.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay  Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay  I accept that explanation fully.

Mr. Moran: Information on Michael Moran  Zoom on Michael Moran  Since the First Reading of this Bill, tremendous interest has been displayed by different Irish organisations who were all, I am glad to say, ready and willing to co-operate in giving a larger slice of the national tourist cake to the Gaeltacht and particularly to promote these facilities in cities and towns throughout the country and to get as many people as possible to take advantage of them.

A new rule is coming into the Department of Education under which oral Irish examinations will be held. It is anticipated that there will be a very large influx of students with, possibly, parents and their families, when this rule comes into force so that the students will have an opportunity of practising the language. I am satisfied there is not the accommodation to deal with this expected influx at the moment. This Bill proposes to enable the people there to deal with this influx of students and many of the provisions are drafted with that end in view.

I should point out that special provision is being made so that the first chalet will be provided by way of grant as well as loan. Each will serve, and is designed to serve, three different purposes. In the first place, it will deal with a social problem that we have in congested areas and in the Gaeltacht. That is that the chalet can and may be used as a dower house. When this house is available and the young people get married, the old people can go to the chalet or vice versa. I believe it will stop the many rows we have seen in our courts and the many differences that arise when what is called in the West of Ireland the “young woman” comes into the house. Its second purpose is that where a man has a good dwelling house in the Gaeltacht, an attractive house that would bring in a good income if let in the summer months, he can move to the first chalet [991] and let his own house, if he so desires. The third purpose, combined with the other two, is that if none of these problems arises for him it will give him a start and encourage him to have at least one chalet for the purpose of letting in the summer months and getting whatever income he can from it.

With regard to the hostels, there has been a demand from certain organisations that some such facilities should be provided. In the case of a local committee with which we are satisfied, we would be enabled to provide these hostels particularly for the purpose of housing students during the summer months. The scheme will also enable schools in cities and elsewhere to have courses for their students in the Gaeltacht at certain times of the year, particularly during the summer. They would have a place to put their own students where they would be looked after and under supervision and where they would get the benefit of living in the Gaeltacht and perfecting their knowledge of the language. It may also well be, as we are now engaged in giving help for the provision of secondary education in the Gaeltacht which is extremely badly needed, that in these developments these hostels will be needed. I am satisfied on every aspect of this matter, and considering the number of students we are expecting to come to the Gaeltacht, that such hostels would serve a very useful purpose.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay  Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay  Will they be restricted to students?

Mr. Moran: Information on Michael Moran  Zoom on Michael Moran  They will be restricted in the first instance to the committee, about which we shall have to be satisfied. The main purpose we have in mind is the purpose I have just stated.

With regard to the rates provision in the Bill, I have given some thought to this matter. I felt, in the applicant's own interest, this change is desirable. The rates provision will go on, step by step. It is generally more conformable with the existing law in the Department of Local Government, although the period we are giving is longer. Taking one thing with another, I am satisfied [992] this is probably the better way, even from the applicant's point of view, of dealing with this question.

Generally, this Bill provides a national scheme for the whole of the country as far as the Gaeltacht areas are concerned. It is designed mainly to promote tourism in the Gaeltacht. It has been shown in other countries— in backward areas such as the Highlands of Scotland and backward parts of Austria and elsewhere—that the one type of industry with lasting economic effects that has been successful in these areas is tourism. We are lucky in the Gaeltacht to have some of the finest scenery this country provides. In parts of it, we have some of the finest fisheries available in this country. We propose fully to exploit these advantages of the Gaeltacht under the provisions of this Bill. When we get the accommodation, there are other local schemes for the purpose of promoting tourism in the Gaeltacht that can very well be fitted in with it. The first thing we badly want there is accommodation. This, I think, is the quickest and best way of providing in view

There is nothing further I need say in view of the way the Bill has been met here, except to suggest that because of the purpose of the Bill we should try to get it through this House, at least, as quickly as possible. I would ask Deputies to co-operate with that purpose in view.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  I should like to ask the Minister one question. I am not quite clear about the impact of rates on these chalets. There does arise in the case of persons availing of this grant two liabilities. One is the maintenance and repair of the chalet when it is completed and the second is the impact of rates. Is it intended that the valuation on buildings will ultimately be increased and a proprietor of a chalet will have his rates increased as a result thereof?

Mr. Moran: Information on Michael Moran  Zoom on Michael Moran  The sliding scale for the 20 years period provided under the Bill will apply to the chalets as well as to new houses.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay  Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay  Will that apply to the hostels also?

Mr. Moran: Information on Michael Moran  Zoom on Michael Moran  I assume it will.

[993]Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  They will be free of rates for 20 years?

Mr. Moran: Information on Michael Moran  Zoom on Michael Moran  They will have a sliding scale of one-twentieth for the first year and so on.

Question put and agreed to.

Agreed to take remaining stages today.


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