Local Government Provisional Order Confirmation Bill, 1965 [Seanad]: Committee Stage.

Thursday, 10 June 1965

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 216 No. 5

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Sections 1 and 2 agreed to.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I move amendment No. 1:

In page 2 to delete article 2 and to substitute the following:

[660]“2. This Order shall not come into effect until such time as the full amount of the yearly burden which will be thrown on the ratepayers of the County of Cork by this Order is duly ascertained either by agreement between the County Council and the Corporation or on appeal to the High Court by either or both of them.”

My reasons for moving this amendment are fairly strong. I have to take the House back to an agreed extension of the borough boundary made in 1953. Full consent to that extension was given by the county council in January 1954 and compensation was applied for. It took from then until 1961, when the present proposals were before the Department of Local Government, for a decision to be come to on the amount of compensation. The amount applied for was £26,000. At the end of the period they gave us, in the goodness of their hearts, £11,000 as the final settlement.

That is my first reason for moving this amendment. I do not think anybody could say I am a lover of members of the legal fraternity. I am not in favour of appeals to court. On the occasion I mention the arbitrator was sent down to make a final decision. If it took him six and a half years to decide on £26,000, how long will it take him to decide on £5,250,000, which is the amount involved in this Bill? The Minister is anxious to fix 1st July as the date. I do not know what is behind this. Seeing that the rate for the area has now been struck, there should be no hurry until 31st March, unless an endeavour is made by some disappointed gentleman to further bedevil the position in regard to the compensation. There is no justification for any rush in this matter before the 31st March next.

Mr. Burton: Information on Philip Burton  Zoom on Philip Burton  This is a very reasonable amendment in all the circumstances. The Minister cannot blame us for being very suspicious about what can happen in the future in view of our experience in the past, not alone in Cork where the pattern was something like a four years purchase [661] or 40 per cent of the added burden, but also in Limerick and Waterford. The county council are highly suspicious that on this occasion the same pattern may be followed. There is no undue haste, or there should not be, in making this Order until such time as the matter has been financially settled between the council and the corporation.

I know it has been said, and will be said again, by the corporation, that they are prepared to meet all our demands but once the Order has been made, it will be very easy to have further discussions when it can be said that they were not committed to meet our demand. I suggest, in all fairness, that the Minister should consider this amendment and give the council and the corporation an opportunity of arriving at a final settlement before the Order is made. The council should not be put in the position of lumping it or liking it, that we have no other choice. It is the Minister's responsibility to see that there is fair play in this matter. This is a matter that in all probability will come up, I suppose, in the future in relation to other places. It would be well to set a proper pattern now for determining the compensation. I appeal to the Minister to accept the amendment.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  When the Second Reading of this Bill was being debated, I expressed the viewpoint that I was in favour of Cork being administered as a unit and that the boundary should be extended. I am well aware of the large sums of money put into the development of that part of Cork city which is at present in County Cork.

I feel that the compensation offered was entirely inadequate and, consequently, I agree with the terms of Deputy Corry's amendment. I believe there was no justification for the hasty manner in which this Bill was introduced. Before the Bill was brought in for public discussion in the House a committee should have been established by the council and the corporation to determine fair compensation for the extension of the [662] city boundary. That has not been done. It should be done before the Bill is given effect to.

Any person who owns property, whether it be public or private, will not sell that property or part with it until he knows what the price for it will be. I do not see why the local authority should allow their property to be taken away from them without knowing what the exact price for it will be. It is quite unfair and unjust to ask Cork County Council to hand over this highly developed part of their county. As I stated here on the last occasion the Bill was being discussed, this is the plum part of the county so far as the county council are concerned. It is quite unfair to ask them to hand this over to the corporation without first being told what compensation they will obtain for it. That matter should have been settled beforehand by discussion. The question of compensation should be determined before this measure is given effect to.

As I stated during the discussion the county council had with the Minister, this Bill should be deferred until 1st April, 1966. In the meantime, every effort should be made to hammer out an amicable arrangement between Cork County Council and Cork Corporation as to a fair assessment of compensation. The closest possible co-operation should exist between Cork city and county because one is dependent on the other. I like to see Cork city develop in the way it has been developing. I hope it will grow further and that within a number of years they will look for a further extension.

I feel the Minister's advisers were not fair to us in Cork in pushing through this Bill without first giving the people of Cork an opportunity of settling their differences amicably. If Cork Corporation and Cork County Council had been given that opportunity they would have settled this matter in an amicable manner. Agreement would have been reached in regard to compensation without Party members having to vote against each other on the Bill. That position has been brought about by the hasty manner in which the Bill is being rushed [663] through the House. The Minister would be well advised to defer discussion of the remaining Stages so that an amicable arrangement, so far as compensation is concerned, may be arrived at.

Deputy Corry mentioned that we were terribly disappointed on the last occasion that Cork Corporation got land from the county council because there was a delay of some years in the payment of compensation. When the compensation was paid, it was eleven twenty-sixths of what we thought it should be. We expected to get £26,000 but when we received the compensation, after waiting a number of years, it was £11,000. We got no details whatsoever as to how that figure was arrived at. We just got a bald statement that the compensation in respect of the extension was £11,000. There were no details whatsoever given as to how that sum was determined. If a cattle exporter sends a hundred cattle to England and receives a statement that the price is £20,000, without any further details, he will not be satisfied. I consider that we in Cork could not be expected to be satisfied with the figure in the absence of any further statement.

I appeal to the Minister to defer further discussion of this Bill. He has an opportunity of doing that now. The Report and other Stages will be coming on later. I am reasonably satisfied that if the Minister gives the people of Cork an opportunity of settling their differences so far as compensation is concerned, which is the main issue at present in the Bill, the House will be saved a great deal of trouble because there will be no delay in regard to the remaining Stages.

Mr. Barry: Information on Richard Barry  Zoom on Richard Barry  I want briefly to add my voice to those of Deputies Corry, Burton and M.P. Murphy in appealing to the Minister to defer the implementation of the Bill and to agree to what Deputy Corry asked for in the amendment. The Minister will recall that prior to the general election, he met a joint deputation of Cork Corporation and Cork County [664] Council. What I said in the privacy of the room I will say in public now. It was my view then and still is my view that Cork Corporation were and are entitled to an extension. On that day, the Minister agreed with us, the same Minister for Local Government then as we now have in this 18th Dáil. He agreed that we had that problem. We agreed with them and we agreed with our fellow-members on Cork Corporation that the only problem to be resolved was this problem of compensation, the amount and how it was to be paid.

As Deputy Murphy has said, it is quite true to say that we who are members of Cork County Council have no anxiety or desire to come into this House, face members of Cork Corporation and start arguing with them about a problem which, in my opinion, could easily be solved in a businesslike and commonsense way. I am now appealing to the Minister to allow us to resolve that problem ourselves.

We who are members of Cork County Council represent the ratepayers in the council and speak for them here this morning. They are sensible people. They see the problem as we see it and they want fair play and justice. I think the matter can best be resolved by leaving this problem over, and if we cannot resolve our difficulties, the Minister has another way out. I am appealing to him to let the fixing of compensation be decided upon first.

Mrs. Desmond: Information on Eileen Desmond  Zoom on Eileen Desmond  Most of the points have been covered by other speakers. Very briefly, I want to add my voice to what has been said. Unlike some of my colleagues, I do not agree that the extension of the borough boundary is something which Cork Corporation were entitled to have. I feel there is no case for this extension but, now that it is about to be perpetrated upon us, the least we can expect is immediate and fair compensation. I have in mind in particular that the southern area of Cork County Council will certainly be an impoverished area as a result of this boundary extension. In fairness to that area, I appeal to the [665] Minister to ensure, before this Bill becomes law, that compensation will be made to Cork County Council and that no increased burden of rates will be placed on the shoulders of people in the Cork County Council area affected by it.

I would earnestly appeal to the Minister to accept Deputy Corry's amendment on this occasion.

Minister for Local Government (Mr. Blaney): Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  The suggestion here of putting back the proceedings in order that Cork Corporation and Cork County Council can get together to decide the price, as it were, of the boundary extension was pretty aptly paralleled by Deputy Murphy when he instanced the situation of the cattle going to England. I wonder if the expectation is that the money will be sent across here before a man sends over his cattle? This really is the parallel I would draw with the situation proposed here, namely to decide on the amount of the money and then to settle the boundary.

The boundary stands on its merits as an extension required and desired by people on both sides of the borough boundary of the present day. That having been decided, I think it quite obvious that the follow-on should be an arrival at the amount to be paid. To do otherwise would, I feel, be very unsatisfactory. Undoubtedly it would encourage protraction of the time of arrival at any agreement. If agreement can be arrived at by postponing and reversing the order of things, there is no reason whatsoever, to my mind, why agreement cannot be got on the present Order, as proposed. There is no reason why the two groups should not get together and arrive at their figures of compensation and I would merely have to give my approval to what would have been agreed to between the two bodies. I cannot see that there is any reason why that is not possible. It is my hope that that is the way in which the matter will work out and that neither I nor any arbitrator will have to intervene at any stage to determine a dispute between the two Cork councils. I feel that they will [666] come together and arrive at a fair and just solution which is satisfactory to both parties. That is my belief and I hold that it can follow in the order proposed, that is, the borough boundary extension decided and known and the calculation of the compensation to be paid then to be something on which I hope the two councils will agree. This I think is the obvious way to deal with the matter and it is the way in which it is proposed in this Bill it shall be done.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I want to make a last appeal to the Minister on this. I am not one to oppose this Bill lightly. Neither am I one who considers that the result of the previous extension was satisfactory. I have a responsibility as Chairman of Cork County Council to look after the interests of the ratepayers of that county in this House. I now appeal to the Minister to let this amendment through or, if not, to postpone the matter. We are prepared to get three members of Cork County Council to meet three members of Cork Corporation, with the managers of both councils—either the Minister or his Parliamentary Secretary acting as Chairman—to hammer out a friendly agreement.

As one who has been practically in co-operation with Cork city all my lifetime, I can say that it is no pleasure for me to raise a matter such as this in this House. I raise it in the bitter knowledge of what happened the last time when, after eight years, a sum of £11,000 was awarded when the £ was worth 12/6. Again, I appeal to the Minister. Being a reasonable man, I am sure he will agree with the amendment. Let the whole thing stand over and let us see if we cannot hammer out an agreement between the two councils with the Minister or his Parliamentary Secretary presiding over the proceedings. Harder and tougher matters than this were hammered out before. Surely this iron-mailed fist with which this is being shoved through here is not the way to meet anything in this country today? I make that last appeal now to the Minister.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  If I may repeat myself on this matter, the issue [667] is very simple. What Cork County Council want to know is what compensation they are to get before parting with their territory. That is the simple issue. I cannot see any justifiable reason why the Department should not agree to that. Every person selling property knows the price before he parts with it. Cork County Council are, according to the tenets of this measure, parting with this territory without knowing what price they are to get for it, or without knowing what compensation they are to get for the extension. I think that as the present boundary has existed for several years, to defer this extension until 1st April, 1966 will not impose any hardship. In the meantime, the compensation to be paid could be determined fairly and squarely.

The Minister referred to cattle being exported to England and how prices are determined. If the Minister as a farmer were to go to a fair in Donegal, would he part with a cow and say: “Take the cow and we will talk about the price afterwards”? He would not, but that is what he wants Cork County Council to do, to hand over their property, very valuable property so far as income is concerned and a highly developed part of the county where large income from rates is collected to the Corporation and say: “Look, we will talk about the price afterwards.” Surely that is nonsensical.

Whatever way the voting will go on this matter, I as a Deputy from Cork, although I have agreed to the extension of the city boundary, am opposed to the methods adopted for the assessment of compensation. Compensation should be assessed before the boundary is extended.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Has the Minister anything to say on the suggestion I have made?

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  There is no use in putting this to a vote.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  I suggest that between now and the next Stage the very sensible suggestion made by Deputy Corry might be put into operation. The [668] six Cork people, without the assistance of the Minister, might get together, as suggested by Deputy Corry.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  That will be when the Committee Stage has been passed and when the manacles are on the hands of the county council. The Minister says they can come in now and agree, but that is not the attitude the Minister should adopt.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  We shall not talk about attitudes.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  £300,000 of the ratepayers' money was given in grants to build the property there. In addition to that, £4 million is guaranteed by the county council. We hear a lot today about people looking for housing grants, but we have no trouble about that. As far as we in Cork County Council are concerned we have given these people in the area now being taken into the city loans to the extent of £4 million to build houses. This money is being repaid each year without fail. That is why I want agreement now, friendly agreement, if possible, on this matter of compensation. Otherwise, I should like to see a man from that area coming in tomorrow, or even from what we call the scorched-out area outside a three mile radius of the city, to the county council looking for a loan to build a house. There is nowhere else they can get the money because these fellows have not five bob.

As far as the corporation are concerned, they are withdrawing their loans because the Minister refuses to pay the interest on the money. Let us be clear on what is happening now. I am making a last appeal to the Minister on this and let us get this thing over with. Do not have us coming in here with manacles on our hands and feet, tied up ready for delivery to the slaughterhouse. That is what I am trying to prevent here. I am asking the Minister, therefore, in this last appeal to agree to the amendment, or else let the Bill stand over and take up the proposal I have put before him, namely, that three members of the county council and three members of the corporation under the chairmanship [669] of himself or his Parliamentary Secretary hammer out an agreement on it.

Mr. Barry: Information on Richard Barry  Zoom on Richard Barry  What Deputy Corry is inclined to do with regard to this problem will not resolve it.

Deputies:  Hear, hear.

Mr. Barry: Information on Richard Barry  Zoom on Richard Barry  What I want to do now is make this final appeal in a most sincere and sensible way to the Minister, who I believe to be a sensible man. I cannot for the life of me see what harm will be done by the delay in the confirming of this Order for some months. If the Minister adopts the attitude now that we as Corkmen will in our own time make every effort to resolve this problem in an amicable way, he will be doing a good day's work in not pressing for a division. Deputy Corry will be doing a good day's work by not talking about manacles. I am making a final appeal to the Minister to let the Corkmen resolve this problem, and give them a few months in which to do it.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  I should like to comment on the question of the council being manacled if this amendment is not accepted. The fact is there are no manacles whatever. Even when this Bill is put through the House, I will not have then made the Order. Until I do make the Order, there is no final commitment.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  The Bill will be passed. There is no point in talking further.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  Until the Bill is passed, nothing comes into effect.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  That is a personal matter on the Minister's part.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  These are not personal matters. As far as I am concerned, I am merely doing this as part of my job. I believe it is the proper way to do it. Last March I asked the Corkmen to get together and really pursue this matter. From what I have heard here today, very little headway has been made and I do not see what [670] purpose would be served by continuing to draw out the time within which these proceedings should be dealt with. I do not see how much nearer it will get us to a conclusion on the extension of the boundary which was sought by the Cork Corporation in 1960.

Again, as I say, nobody's hands will be tied merely by the passing of this Bill. Nothing is tied until the Minister for Local Government, consequent on the passing of the Bill, makes the actual Order confirming the whole proceedings.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  The Minister announced his intention here on the Second Reading of the Bill of fixing the date 1st July. Has he changed his mind now in that connection?

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  It is open to the Minister to change his mind.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I know it is open to the Minister to change his mind. I am asking the Minister is he now prepared to give three months?

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  I am not prepared to answer that.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  By way of coming to a conclusion, will the Minister call the Cork people together? I plead strongly with him to defer consideration of this matter for some months, until such time as we can meet and try to arrange an amicable settlement of the dispute. I feel strongly about keeping this from the House until that has been done. Had the Minister agreed, we might have reached a satisfactory settlement. To say the least of it, the Minister's attitude is dictatorial and we do not like dictation in this matter. We do not like bulldozing methods. We want things done democratically. The system adopted by the Minister and his Department, if I may use the term, of pushing this Bill through is not a democratic system. We do not like that. We do not like bulldozing or dictatorship, and as a result we will divide on this issue and make our protest as vehement as we possibly can.

[671]Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  The Minister says this is in his own hands. I have a recollection of another Minister who said something was in his own hands and I remember the Minister's advisers catching his arm and telling him: “You cannot do that, Mr. Minister.”

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  The Minister is responsible for his own actions.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I remember these things. I am certain that I am putting forward a solution to this matter which will at least leave friendly relations between the corporation and the county council. We are all in the one county, and whether we like it or not, we have to live together. I do not want to be put in the position of having to build outside that area a shopping centre in [672] which the county ratepayers can deal, but if I am forced to it, I will do it. I can foresee the result of what is happening here today on the ratepayers in the county and city. Would the Minister agree even to act as chairman of the joint committee I suggested, or would he have his Parliamentary Secretary act as chairman? Can we get an answer on that point from the Minister? I want to make it clear that I do not want an official.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  I am afraid the Deputy is not going to get it either way.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Will the Minister agree even to that? No help.

Question put: “That the words proposed to be deleted stand.”

Aiken, Frank.
Andrews, David.
Barrett, Stephen D.
Blaney, Neil T.
Boland, Kevin.
Boylan, Terence.
Brady, Philip.
Brennan, Joseph.
Breslin, Cormac.
Briscoe, Ben.
Burke, Patrick J.
Calleary, Phelim A.
Carter, Frank.
Carty, Michael.
Casey, Seán.
Childers, Erskine.
Clohessy, Patrick.
Collins, James J.
Cotter, Edward.
Crinion, Brendan.
Cronin, Jerry.
Crowley, Flor.
Crowley, Honor M.
Cunningham, Liam.
de Valera, Vivion.
Dowling, Joe.
Egan, Nicholas.
Fahey, John.
Fanning, John.
Flanagan, Seán.
Foley, Desmond.
Gallagher, James.
Geoghegan, John.
Gibbons, Hugh.
Gibbons, James M.
Gilbride, Eugene.
Healy, Augustine A.
Hillery, Patrick J.
Hilliard, Michael.
Kenneally, William.
Kennedy, James J.
Kitt, Michael F.
Lemass, Noel T.
Lemass, Seán.
Lenihan, Brian.
Lynch, Jack.
McEllistrim, Thomas.
Meaney, Tom.
Millar, Anthony G.
Moore, Seán.
Nolan, Thomas.
Ó Briain, Donnchadh.
Ó Ceallaigh, Seán.
O'Malley, Donogh.
Wyse, Pearse.

Barry, Richard.
Burton, Philip.
Clinton, Mark A.
Corry, Martin J.
Creed, Donal.
Desmond, Eileen.
L'Estrange, Gerald.
Murphy, Michael P.
Norton, Patrick.
O'Hara, Thomas.

Question declared carried.

[673]Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  A nice team of rural Deputies. I move amendment No. 2:

In page 4 to delete sub-article (4) of article 6 and to substitute the following:—

“(4) (a) A sum shall be paid by the Corporation to the County Council for a period of fifteen years of the annual increase (if any) of the burden which will fall on the ratepayers of the County as a consequence of the extension of the boundary of the City by this Order.

(b) The following matters shall be determined by agreement between the Corporation and the County Council:—

(i) the amount of such sum and the period or periods by reference to which the annual increase of burden shall be calculated;

(ii) the method and times of payment of such sum.

(c) If the Corporation and the County Council fail to agree upon the matters specified in the preceding sub-article, the High Court shall, upon the request of either the Corporation or the County Council, fix the amount of such sum and the method and times of payment of such sum.”

In doing so, I should like to point out that in the matter of the previous period considered, when we agreed to ten years with the corporation, it was purely a question of corporation property being brought into the city and nothing else. No further area was involved. In this case there is involved an area that has been built up out of county council grants, loans and facilities—water, sewerage and so forth. It is an entirely different position.

The Minister, by some famous financial juggling, told us the other day that a ten-year period was better than a 15-year period. I suggest to him that he points that out to representatives of ground rent landlords and see the answer he will get from them. When Dublin was being extended, the manager in the case was manager for both county and city and in such a position he had to hold the scales [674] evenly between both sides. He decided on a 15-year purchase period. Therefore, I can see no justification for opposition to this.

A joint deputation of Deputies and Senators for the county and city of Cork met the Minister on that point. I pointed out that the 15-year period had been agreed on for Dublin and he said: “Oh, yes; but there was agreement. If you can get the city to agree with you, I am prepared to allow 15 years”. At the same time, he did not say he was fixing a 15-year period. In plain language, there is in all Departments of State a city bias, an attitude that rural communities do not count. That is the attitude adopted by every Department of State I have dealt with particularly the Department of Local Government.

I am moving that the full 15-year purchase be given in this case and that the burden which will fall on the ratepayers of the county on account of this shall be assessed each year and not in the ten-year period. For example, as between the application for the extension of this boundary and the sworn inquiry the rate demand in Cork county increased by some 20/- in the £ and as between the date of the sworn inquiry and the present date valuations outside the city have gone up by £18,700, while the valuations inside the city have remained static for a long number of years. The Minister stated the other day that he had no information about that. There is none so blind as he who will not see and I suggest that it is a case of will not see with the Minister in these matters. I can give him examples of at least 25 small shops in the Cork suburbs, outside the present city boundary, which are carrying a higher valuation than large drapery shops in Patrick Street, the principal street in Cork.

We are endeavouring to get fair compensation for the property being taken from us. I have already pointed out, in regard to the £300,000 grants for housing given by the Minister's Department in that area, that the Cork County Council have equalled these grants pound for pound. If we got a £300 grant for a new house, we immediately met that with a £300 [675] grant from the ratepayers and a sum of £300,000 has been given by the ratepayers in that fashion. Instead of looking, as the Minister is looking today, to this little body and that little body for loans for housing, we in Cork County Council prepared our own loan scheme. Under that scheme we have given to people wishing to build new houses in Cork county £5 million and of that sum £4 million is on loan to the area now being taken over by Cork city. What further advances are to be made there? Remember, Sir, we advanced that at a period when our rates returns were at a very low ebb. Now there is practically a full return of rates; the seven-year period is up and they will be getting the full return from those people. This is the time Cork Corporation have stepped in to grab this area. If the spirit of co-operation which we offered this morning had been accepted by the Minister, we might have been prepared to continue loans to them. Where is the man who wants to build a new house to-morrow to obtain a loan now? The corporation have ceased lending.

Again, I say that the amount of such sum and the period shall be ascertained and the times of payment shall be calculated and I also state that if the county council and the corporation “fail to agree upon the matters specified in the preceding sub-article, then the High Court shall, upon the request of either the corporation or the county council, fix the amount of such sum and the method and times of payment of such sum.” I am putting that in instead of what the Minister has, an appeal to the Minister. I am doing that in view of past performances, in view of the six and a half year period during which the previous application for compensation was lying on the dusty shelves of the Department of Local Government.

Let us have an end to this. The compensation claim has been practically agreed upon by both the corporation and the county council for the 1965-66 period and the amount of compensation due for those 12 months would be £350,000. Therefore, at its worst [676] the difference between the ten- and 15-years purchase is the difference between £3½ million and £5¼ million. I claim that having borne the brunt of it, having paid one year's compensation out in grants to the people now being taken from us and of having had the trouble of finding £4 million in loans for people desiring to build private houses, we are entitled to get at least 15-years purchase.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  It is regrettable that the Minister has not got a more open mind on this matter, because if he had, this discussion could be much more fruitful. It is obvious that he has his mind made up. Possibly he feels bored with this discussion and hopes it will be over as soon as possible. Nevertheless there is an obligation on us to address ourselves to this question. I do not entirely agree with Deputy Corry's second amendment because he is much too modest in his demand for a payment period of 15 years. My view is that this should be at least 20 years. That is the least period that would be in any way adequate, having regard to all the factors in this question. However, I accept the 15-year period proposed by Deputy Corry.

It is our bounden duty here as representatives of County Cork to ensure that the rates assessment that will be placed on them as a result of the extension of the boundary will be fair and just and that adequate compensation will be forthcoming from the corporation. I am sure the Minister is not so blind as not to see the agitation that is arising all over the country regarding rates. In Cork county the average rate in the towns is over £3. At present people are finding it difficult to meet their obligations. We have been advised by the county manager and other senior officials of the council that the repayment which the corporation propose to make would place an unfair burden on us and it is our duty to seek in this House justice and fair play for the county and also for the city, and we stress the desirability of making amicable arrangements, but the Minister instead of being impartial, has shown by his contribution [677] here that he has gone over entirely to the city. The points of view expressed by the corporation are the points he has in mind and it seems he is not open to change them.

Rates are a big question. I hope the present trend is temporary but we find that many people, including public bodies, cannot now get money from sources from which it was quite easy to get it heretofore. We read of the difficulties of Dublin people in getting money to build houses and as a result there is a slump in the building trade in the Dublin area. We hear of Carlow County Committee of Agriculture, in what I think is the most fertile county in the country, not being able to get £16,000 to build central offices even though the buildings have been approved by the Department. If the Government had changed as a result of the last election, we would have had big headlines in the papers now in view of the trend of events. The Government paper would have had scare headlines across its main page. We know what happened in 1956 and 1957. We would be told that the Government had changed and house-building was slowing up, that public bodies could not get money to meet their requirements and to provide for desirable buildings, and that people could not meet their rates commitments.

The Minister and the Government should appreciate that they have a most tolerant Opposition that is neither unfair nor unjust but very constructive and one that is not criticising the present trend which we hope is a temporary one; but there is no doubt that many people in County Cork, and I am sure the same applies in Cork city and elsewhere in Ireland, find it difficult to meet their commitments to local authorities in respect of rates.

We have been told in Cork County Council that the rates burden spread over the different divisions of the county varies from 5/3d. to 7/3d. as a result of the extension of the boundary and that urban authorities will average about 3/6d. Those of us from the county say that we must have adequate [678] compensation. That is what we have been trying to impress on the Minister and the Department since this question arose. We stressed the desirability of meeting and discussing the matter; we pleaded with the Minister but he had his mind made up. We know the views expressed in the county council and whether the members were Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Farmers or Independents, they were unanimous on the question of compensation. It must be conceded to Deputy Corry that he is the only member of his Party to have come into the House and upheld the views of Cork County Council on this question.

We were unanimous in feeling that there was an obligation on us to get fair compensation, even though differences of opinion existed as to whether this Bill should go through or not. I believe the 15-year period is the least possible period and I think Deputy Corry is very modest in that demand. It will serve no great purpose to labour this point much further because it is obvious that the Minister has made up his mind. That is undesirable particularly in the case of a Bill such as this. We feel an obligation to ensure that county ratepayers will not bear an unfair burden so far as we can prevent it. That is why we are taking up the time of the House this morning.

The part of the county to be taken into Cork is miles from me but I have taken part in discussions at county council level, at private meetings and in this House, and I have pleaded that the people concerned should be safeguarded. Many of them objected to this extension originally and some may still object, but I say, as one miles away from them, that their position deserves close examination and whatever arrangement is made in regard to the rates burden placed on them requires close and diligent consideration so that they will not be unfairly treated. We were trying to get justice and fair play for those going into the city and for those remaining in the county, but due to the dictatorial attitude adopted by the Department in this matter, we were unable to arrive at [679] the friendly and close relationship and the friendly agreement we had hoped for.

It is a sad thing that Cork Deputies should be trotting out in the Dáil differences between themselves and differences between themselves and the Department. I believe there was enough common sense on the part of the Cork people to realise that if they discussed this matter in a peaceful and amicable way, an amicable decision could be reached which would be to the general advancement of county and city.

In that part of the county which is contiguous to the present city boundary it may be found there will be reluctance on the part of the county council to make available loans for building in the area, bearing in mind that it may be taken into the city in a few years time. There may be obstacles to giving public sanitary services, water supplies, sewerage schemes and so on to which, of course, the people would be entitled. It is regrettable that this kind of disagreement arose in determining the compensation. If we had a different approach by the Minister and the Department, I believe the difficulty could be overcome to the benefit of all concerned.

Mr. Burton: Information on Philip Burton  Zoom on Philip Burton  I support this amendment, while I do not agree for a moment that 15 years is adequate. I expressed the opinion before that at least 20 or possibly 25 years would be a fair and equitable period to fix in relation to compensation. Like Deputy Murphy, I regret that it is necessary for the Cork members to be arguing here, taking up the time of the House, but they have responsibilities and it is to be regretted that all the county councillors who are members of the House do not seem to accept their responsibilities in the same way as others. I do not think it was necessary that the Government should have a Whip on this matter at all. Surely county councillors from Cork county who have the honour to be members of the Dáil should be entitled to express their views and act according to [680] their conscience? Seemingly, they are not getting the opportunity.

I think the Minister is treating this matter too lightly, taking away 12 per cent of the county valuation and 22½ per cent of the South Cork area and taking in a highly developed area of increasing revenue every year. It should be taken into account that there is a great portion of Cork county as yet undeveloped, not fully developed as to amenities, if I may put it that way, and, unfortunately, the people in that portion had to pay their share to develop the area that is now being grabbed by the city for no other purpose than finance.

As I said before, and say again, it was not necessary for any local government purpose. One half-acre of it was not required for any local government purpose. Still, they seem to have got the ear of the Minister and the Department now, so that no matter what they do it will be sanctioned. That is a very unfair outlook and attitude on the part of any Department. As has been said already, there is an indecent haste and urgency about trying to put through this measure. As one who attended a conference with the Minister prior to the introduction of the measure, I understood that we were to be given an opportunity of arriving at an understanding and agreement before the measure would be introduced to either the upper or lower House. To our amazement, during a busy period, we were informed that the measure was introduced. That was very unfair. I cannot see the necessity for the urgency.

While I know we are wasting our time here, it is our responsibility as conscientious members of the county council, representing rural areas, to focus attention on the injustice that is being done to the remainder of the county—it cannot be described as anything else.

Reverting to Deputy Corry's amendment, while I again express the view that 15 years is not at all adequate, I would support the amendment in preference to the ten years mentioned in the Bill. While it is mentioned there, [681] we know what we may get in the finish. While I appreciate what Deputy Corry is doing here as chairman of Cork County Council, I have come to the conclusion that we are wasting our time.

Mr. Barry: Information on Richard Barry  Zoom on Richard Barry  I rise to add my voice to the voices of other speakers in support of the amendment proposed by Deputy Corry. It does appear obvious now, as has been mentioned by Deputy Burton, that we will get little satisfaction as a result of any debate on this matter but we feel in conscience bound to raise our voices here on behalf of that big section of the people in Cork county whom we represent as councillors and are privileged to represent also in this House. I should like to ask the Minister at this stage does he agree with it or does he accept the statement of the Cork County Manager that extension of the borough boundary in the ways proposed will have the effect of increasing the rates on the ratepayers in Cork County by anything from 5/- to 6/- in the £? I wonder if at this stage the Minister would like to answer that question.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  I am afraid it is a question of which I would require notice.

Mr. Barry: Information on Richard Barry  Zoom on Richard Barry  Then the only thing we can do is to tell the Minister, as the Chairman of Cork County Council will tell him, that we have examined these figures in conjunction with the manager and senior officials in Cork and reluctantly had to accept them as being true. If that is so and if we accept them, it is placing an intolerable burden on the ratepayers of Cork county and any Minister for Local Government cannot accept that position lightly. It is for that reason that we are asking here that at least a 15-year period be allowed for the payment of the annual increase.

I am rather surprised at the absence of Cork Corporation members this morning.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  The Minister is acting for the Corporation. There is no need for their presence. In fairness to Deputy Wyse, he has been present [682] during all this discussion. That should be recorded, because he has been most attentive.

Mr. Barry: Information on Richard Barry  Zoom on Richard Barry  In any case, I remember distinctly occasions when members of Cork Corporation went to great rounds to explain that as far as they were concerned they were quite prepared to give adequate and full compensation. I think the members of Cork Corporation and the Cork City Manager will agree with us if they want to put that into effect, they must agree that a 15-year period is the least term of years that could be accepted in justice and in honesty.

I am appealing to the Minister at this stage to agree to change the word “ten” in the Bill to “fifteen” and at least give the rate-paying people of Cork county some indication that he sees the seriousness of their plight as a result of this borough boundary extension.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  There is quite a song and dance being made about this 15 years versus ten years. When it has been discussed for a little while, those who are not for the ten are not even for the 15 but would accept the 15 rather than the ten. The precedent quoted for this is Dublin and the skit about the manager agreeing with himself has been retold. I have heard that until it has worn rather thin. It does not impress me in the slightest. I should like to tell Deputy Murphy and others that I am not here on behalf of Cork Corporation. I am endeavouring not to be prejudiced by the manner in which the case for one side only is being put against all the arguments and all the odds that have been there, reasonable and known, in the past. They are still being twisted around, up-ended and used merely for the sake of argument, and I am still, as I say, endeavouring to keep an even balance about this and not to allow myself to be prejudiced by the case being over-exaggerated from one side, and one only.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  We are not preventing the other side from expressing their views here. There is no use in saying that.

[683]Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  I am merely expressing what I feel about what I have heard and I am free to do that also. The provisions of this Order follow, not just one isolated incident such as the Cork agreement on the 15 years of some years ago, but rather does it follow the well-established principle laid down in the Dublin Act of 1930 and followed since then in Limerick and Waterford and, indeed, in the much discussed extension of Cork in 1955. These were ten-year periods and I would say again that the ten-year period with interest has got the edge slightly on the 15-year period as arranged and agreed in the Dublin case.

As I say, the precedent is there, well established, in the many cases dealt with in this way. The one exception scarcely proves the case that the change should be made and, as I have already observed, the change to 15 years on the basis of the Dublin settlement would not be to the advantage of Cork County Council.

Many other matters have been raised here that have no relevance whatsoever to what is under discussion and I do not intend to comment on them. I shall not go further than refer to the question asked by Deputy Barry, if I agreed with something a manager said in some circumstances in Cork some time ago. Without intending to give him a short answer, I certainly would need notice of all the circumstances and of the context in which it was said before I could even hazard a guess as to whether the 5/- or 6/- increase in the rates has any substance in relation to this matter. I shall not comment on it in any way, lest it might be ministerpreted at a later stage.

Mr. Burton: Information on Philip Burton  Zoom on Philip Burton  Was the ten-year purchase honoured even in Limerick?

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  Of course it was, but we are not discussing the Limerick payment at the moment. Is the Deputy suggesting that if an agreement is made someone will welch on it?

[684]Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  With the utmost amusement, I shall listen to the terms of purchase under the Ground Rents Bill when it is introduced and whether a ten-year purchase or a 15-year purchase will be offered to the grabbers who are drawing millions of pounds in ground rents from this country. The Minister has only one instance where the one person was both city and county manager, where the one man had to decide on justice as between the ratepayers in the county and the ratepayers in the city, and he decided that the 15-year purchase was just as between ratepayers of the city and the ratepayers of the county in Dublin. That was the only case. I do not mind what was done in Limerick where, as Deputy Burton said, they broke every agreement they made. I suppose they do the same thing in Dublin.

I would warn rural Deputies that what is our case today may be their case tomorrow, and I am amazed by the lack of support for these amendments. I noticed what happened this morning. Deputy Barrett came in here with a watching brief under his arm. There was a whisper between the boys and it was decided that the Minister would very well take charge of the city bias in this matter and uphold the city standards. Deputies who represent rural constituencies are not blind and this extension agreed upon today and the amount given for it will be reflected in every urban town within the next two years. Then we shall see rural Deputies fighting their corner here and they can be thinking of the period when they left rural Cork to fight a lone battle here. It is amusing that Deputy Barrett is absent and that the Lord Mayor is absent from the other side.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  That has nothing to do with the amendment.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Not a bit.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Deputy might keep to his own amendment.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  They need not worry about the case. It is in good hands. I [685] suggest that the proposals in this Bill, including the ten-year period, all reflect the same bias as was reflected by the arbitrators of the ceiling in the preceding extension and in the present case. I know that, no matter where one goes, an appeal to the Minister's Department in this regard will be like going to law with the devil in the court of hell.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  I cannot help commenting on the Minister's statement about the manager in Dublin agreeing with himself about the compensation to be paid by Dublin Corporation to Dublin county. That is a ridiculous position but it is the position that obtains as a result of this eastern European system of local government administration we have in this country. I do not know whether we copied the system from eastern European countries or they copied it from us.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  How does that arise on the amendment?

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  It is incidental to it.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  It has nothing whatever to do with the amendment.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  Democracy is denied here. The local government system in western European countries is democratic but our system is that of the eastern European countries.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Will the Deputy address himself to the amendment?

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  It must be accepted in discussing the Bill that local authority powers are vested in managers and not in councillors.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Will the Deputy listen to me, please? Deputy Corry's amendment is before the House and the Deputy should relate his remarks to that amendment, which is very specific.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  I have related my remarks to this question. If we were to come in here armed with as [686] many figures and facts as we could get and as we had at the county council meetings, we could keep this House in session for a week. However, I have never made a habit of introducing quotations here or making long drawnout statements and imposing upon your patience or the patience of the House in putting our case forward. We thought the justice of our case was obvious to all. I never like to comment on the freedom of voting here. I recognise that a Government must put on Whips. Otherwise it might be difficult to get business done or to pass Bills. Irrespective of what Government are in power, Bills will not always find favour with all but, in relation to a particular Bill like this, there should be freedom of choice. Fianna Fáil do not believe in that freedom.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  I cannot see how the Deputy can discuss that on this amendment and, if the Deputy does not address his remarks to the amendment, I shall ask him to resume his seat. We cannot have this general discussion.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  It seems to me, judging by the previous vote on an earlier amendment, that this amendment will also be defeated and I think it is quite fair for me to suggest that this is a suitable Bill on which to give freedom of choice to members of the House. The Labour Party have given that freedom.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Deputy must not proceed along those lines. The question of voting does not arise on the amendment.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  The amendment will be determined by vote. The Chair will force me now to repeat a previous assertion of mine here which is, I hope, quite relevant. When this measure was discussed at county council level, the members of the county council — Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour and everybody else— were unanimous.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  That does not arise on this amendment.

[687]Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  You will, Sir, agree that this is relevant: the Minister has seemingly made up his mind in the matter. Earlier I deplored the fact that he did not come into the House from the opposite end of the country, from Cork instead of from Donegal, with an open mind. He said this morning that Deputies contributing to the discussion are putting up one side of the case without listening to the corporation side. We have not precluded the corporation members or other interested parties from expressing their views. They have the same rights and entitlements as we have here, but they are not interested apparently.

Mr. Barrett:  They do not need to make a case.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  That is their own business. The least that can be approved is the 15-year settlement. As I said, I think Deputy Corry is too modest in his demand and Deputy Barrett need not sneer and jeer at that.

(Interruptions.)

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Order.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  The calculations we have got lead us to believe that 15 years is not enough from the point of view of fair compensation. I have expressed the view that the period should be 20 years at least but we [688] have agreed to support Deputy Corry's amendment even though we think it is too modest. Again, for the benefit of Deputy Barrett and others like him, Deputy Corry asks that, if a dispute arises, the matter should go to the High Court. A big sum of money is involved and, whilst I dislike dragging in the courts, because the sum involved is so big it might be no harm to let their learned lordships determine the issue. We would expect them to be impartial and to view the matter from a different angle from that taken by the Minister. Hundreds of thousands are involved and it might be no harm to let the courts decide. I am not now in favour of sending cases to the courts but, since the issue is so big, it might be no harm to let the courts decide. A tribunal constituted preferably of High Court judges should determine in private session what would be fair and reasonable compensation. That would be far better than a repetition of what has happened here. The Minister made his own regulations behind closed doors. Justice must not only be done but it must be seen to be done and referring this matter to the High Court to determine in private session would not be a bad way out of the difficulty in which we find ourselves.

Question put: “That the words proposed to be deleted stand”.

Aiken, Frank.
Andrews, David.
Barrett, Stephen D.
Blaney, Neil T.
Boland, Kevin.
Boylan, Terence.
Brady, Philip.
Brennan, Joseph.
Breslin, Cormac.
Briscoe, Ben.
Burke, Patrick J.
Calleary, Phelim A.
Carter, Frank.
Carty, Michael.
Casey, Seán.
Childers, Erskine.
Clohessy, Patrick.
Collins, James J.
Cotter, Edward.
Crinion, Brendan.
Cronin, Jerry.
Crowley, Flor. [689]Lemass, Noel T.
Lemass, Seán.
Lenihan, Brian.
Lynch, Jack.
McEllistrim, Thomas.
Meaney, Tom.
Millar, Anthony G.
Crowley, Honor M
Cunningham, Liam.
Davern, Don.
de Valera, Vivion.
Dowling, Joe.
Egan, Nicholas.
Fahey, John.
Fanning, John.
Flanagan, Seán.
Foley, Desmond.
Gallagher, James.
Geoghegan, John.
Gibbons, Hugh.
Gibbons, James M.
Gilbride, Eugene.
Gogan, Richard P.
Haughey, Charles.
Healy, Augustine A.
Hilliard, Michael.
Kenneally, William.
Kennedy, James J.
Kitt, Michael F. [690]Molloy, Robert.
Moore, Seán.
Nolan, Thomas.
Ó Briain, Donnchadh.
Ó Ceallaigh, Seán.
O'Malley, Donogh.
Wyse, Pearse.

Barry, Richard.
Burton, Philip.
Corry, Martin J.
Desmond, Eileen.
L'Estrange, Gerald.
Murphy, Michael P.
Norton, Patrick.
O'Donnell, Tom.
O'Hara, Thomas.
Treacy, Seán.
Tully, James.

Question declared carried.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I move amendment No. 3:

In page 5, article 6, to add a new sub-article as follows:

“The tenants of county council cottages and housing estates in the area proposed to be taken into the city by the Provisional Order shall not be subject to rent increases and shall be entitled to all the privileges of tenant purchase etc. for five years after this Order comes into force as if they were still tenants of the Cork County Council.”

In moving the amendment I am only looking for protection for the ordinary tenants of county council and non-municipal houses who entered into those houses under agreements with Cork County Council on definite terms of both rental and purchase. The county council have a rather proud history in this regard because when Cork city failed in their duty of building houses for the workers, the county stepped in. Under the late Deputy Pa McGrath, the late Deputy Desmond, Lord rest his soul, and I succeeded in getting some 1,000 houses built outside the borough of Cork, by the county and the county ratepayers. Those houses, under the peculiar geniuses that exist in the Local Government Department—the financial experts we have there—are in a rather peculiar position. If you build a house in an urban area or in a city and ever dare to tell the resident or tenant that he has a God-given right to own his own house by purchase, the benevolent Government step in and take back the subsidy.

The issue is different in relation to houses built in the rural areas. I have already indicated several times in this House the manner in which this matter was brought very definitely to my notice. I am a member of the urban council of Cobh as well as being a member of the county council. We brought in very favourable purchase arrangements as far as the county was concerned. There were two schemes of houses built in the one year. They were built by the same contractor and were the same houses in every respect. One scheme was built by the county council on one side of the road and the other by the urban authorities on the other side. Both types of houses were occupied by the same class of tenant. The people of Cobh were lucky in this respect because the big industry in Cobh, Irish Steel, is situated in Haulbowline Island which is in the county.

The workers in Irish Steel were entitled to county houses and to be housed by the county ratepayers. The same class of individual in every respect occupied both sets of houses. When the houses were built and the rents fixed by the urban authorities on the one hand and the county council on the other, a rent of 11/- per week for each house, plus rates, was fixed. We brought in a purchase scheme and under that scheme those tenants [691] were entitled to purchase their houses at 9/- a week instead of 11/- a week. I said that would be a very good thing for all the other houses but I found, to my amazement, that when we bring in a purchase scheme for those houses, the Government immediately collars the subsidy. Those tenants, instead of having their rents reduced from 11/- to 9/-, find they are raised to 32/- a week. That is the best scheme the Local Government Department will sanction on account of the loss of subsidy.

That is present legislation. It would be much better if the Department of Local Government got rid of that anomaly instead of doing what they are endeavouring to enforce here today. As I stated, some 1,000 houses built here by the county council and looked after by the county council are being taken into the city of Cork. Those tenants are entitled to protection. I am endeavouring, in this amendment, to protect them in the best way, by giving them a five-year period in which their rents will not be doubled or trebled by the city fathers. They will thus get an opportunity of being owners of their own homes.

I raised this matter here on the Second Reading and the Minister said something about 12 months. There is nothing about this in the Bill and no protection for those tenants in the Bill. I know the attitude that will be adopted by both the Government and the corporation in this matter. I know the Government will be looking for their pound of flesh, namely, the subsidy, and the corporation will be looking for the money out of those unfortunate tenants' pockets. The cost to the city ratepayers would be 6/- in the £ to give those tenants, once they became absorbed into the city, the same privileges of purchase as they are at present enjoying.

The Minister said he will give them 12 months but there is nothing about that in the Bill. I suggest to him that the present manner in which the legal profession have increased their costs will put a very great burden on those people. I have seen labourers' cottages [692] which were purchased and when the father died and the son looked for tenancy he had to take out administration. The cost of getting across the house from father to son cost as high as £60 when the gentleman with the wig got after it. That is the reason why I want an extension period here. I want it so that in cases where the old people are there the son will get an opportunity to purchase, without being looted by the legal profession. I, therefore, move this amendment. I recommend it to the House. I would ask the Minister to accept it in justice to the unfortunate people concerned. These are the class of people who are unable to build their own houses despite the grants and loans available and who have to throw themselves on the mercy of the local authorities to build houses for them. They represent the poorest section of our community and are at least entitled to all the protection we can give them.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  I believe there is no need to delay the House by adding to what Deputy Corry has stated. Apart from a few remarks with which I do not agree, I think some safeguard should be given to the tenants mentioned in this amendment and I support the inclusion in the Bill of some safeguard for such people. In the past, when we were told that certain things would be done and that it was unnecessary to include them in a Bill as the Minister would make regulations or give advice to have them put into operation, we found that such assurances were not honoured.

Take, as an example, the Transport and Power measure of 1958. Assurances given to the House by the then Minister were ignored and treated with contempt. I trust the Minister will not expect the House to accept assurances now in view of our experience on other occasions after accepting assurances that safeguards would be provided. We have found that assurances are valueless. We must get it in black and white. When the city manager comes to deal with this matter, he will say, in effect: “What is in the Bill is all I am interested in. I do not mind what assertions or assurances were made or [693] given by the Minister. All I am interested in is what is in the Bill.” Therefore, I support Deputy Corry's amendment.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  I do not propose to give any undertakings or promises in this case. Tenants will have the right for twelve months after to purchase, at reduced annuity, their own cottages. That is in section 52 of the 1950 Act. That is in the law and that is the right under that law.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  What period? Is that for tenant purchase?

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  Twelve months.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Would the Minister consider that a sufficient period in view of the case I put up, in view of the cost of transfer?

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  Another obligation that rests on the local authority is that they are obliged to inform the tenants of their right to opt to purchase within the 12 months in question. Furthermore, in opting to purchase, it is merely a matter of informing their council within that period that they intend to purchase. A more protracted time may or may not be justified. I do not see the particular necessity for it in this case any more than in any other case to which the law of 1950 is intended to apply. If such change were to be made, it would be appropriate to the Act of 1950 rather than to what we are discussing at the moment.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  I understand that the number of council houses involved is around 1,000.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  590, I understand.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  The position is that they will apply for repairs before availing of this purchase. Is that not so? Surely they will apply for repairs to their council houses? We know that protracted discussions and delays can arise on such applications. Consequently, it seems to me that 12 months is entirely inadequate. Could this position arise? A tenant states his house [694] is now unsatisfactory for purchase but that at the same time he will purchase it when satisfactory repairs are carried out by the council and then the council says that the house is all right and does not need repair. Obviously, there can be delays. The 12 month period might pass and the time would then lapse when application for purchase could be made. Could such a situation arise?

To safeguard all this, I think that the five years mentioned by Deputy Corry is not unreasonable. Possibly, if we could compromise and say three years it might be the better way out. I think we would want at least three years in view of possible differences of opinion about repairs which are bound to arise from time to time between the authority and the tenant.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I am at present endeavouring to go through a number of replies I received from the Minister's Department in connection with one purchase in which it is alleged on one side that the inspector from the Department of Local Government went down and sanctioned the repairs while the Department of Local Government say they did not go down at all. In that case, the application to purchase was made 5½ years ago. It has taken 5½ years, up to now, and apparently the inspector from the Department of Local Government did not go down and state whether or not the house is properly repaired. Will it be accepted that tenants may make application to purchase and that when they apply for purchase it will be accepted as a purchase agreement?

What is the position as regards tenants of labourers' cottages in the area who are entitled on purchase to a 50 per cent reduction? What is their position, on purchase? Is it all going to bog down beneath this hard crust of local government here? Will or will not the ordinary application for purchase from all of those tenants act as a protection? Let the Minister tell us that.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  Yes, in so far as the 12-month period is concerned. Once [695] the tenants opt to purchase within the 12 months specified, and subsequent to being notified by the local authority, as it is obliged to notify them, that they come within the new boundary, that option stands regardless of what time it may take, regardless of repairs, delays, and so on. Once the tenant has opted within the 12 months specified, then the right to purchase continues until the house or cottage is vested in him. This equally applies so far as labourers' cottages and the 50 per cent are concerned. In fact, it is the same Act and the same section. It covers all of this and this right continues for the 12 months at the terms that would be available, as of now, to those tenants of labourers' cottages.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  And county council tenants in both cases?

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  In both cases. It continues the right for the 12 months.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  The Minister has clarified the matter.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  I quoted the law and I do not care whether the Deputy believes me or not.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  The Minister should not be so huffy.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  If the Deputy does not like it, he can leave it alone. I gave the Deputy a statement; I quoted the Act to him and he does not believe it.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  That cheeky attitude will not get the Minister anywhere.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I move amendment No. 4:

In page 5, article 6, to add a new sub-article as follows:

“The principal and interest of the sum borrowed by the Cork Corporation to relieve the city ratepayers of portion of the rates burden for 1965-1966 shall be repaid in full by the ratepayers of the present City [696] Borough and no portion thereof shall fall to be levied or paid by the area brought into the Borough by the Provisional Order.”

I was informed yesterday in reply to a question that the Minister was not aware of these things at all. I presume the Minister reads the public press and that he communicates with his local authority sometimes. I have the Cork Examiner dated Friday, March 19th, 1965, which states: “Cork Rates Up 7/- In The £ If The Boundary Not Passed.”

The manager in his statement says:

If the Cork borough boundary extension comes into effect in time, the municipal rate for the coming financial year will be 65/10d. in the £ as compared with the current figure of 65/- in the £. If the boundary extension is not effected in time the city rates will soar to 72/- in the £.

It also states:

The effective rate which would be required to meet the city estimates for the coming year would be 72/-in the £.

I am quoting from the Cork Examiner of Friday, March 19th, 1965. That is three months ago and the Minister had not heard it yesterday. Cork Corporation then struck the rate at 65/10d and borrowed £100,000 odd, to fill the gap between the yield from a rate of 72/- and the yield from the rate of 65/10d. That money, principal and interest, was to be repaid over the next ten years by, I presume, the citizens of Cork city as it then was. The valuation of Cork city at present is £335,000. The valuation of the area being brought in has gone up, as I said previously today, by £18,000, and is now £152,700.

The people have to pay on the basis I have stated. They are getting no benefits this year from that rate. I am sure the Minister will admit that. The 7/- in the £ is for the city plutocrat. [697] He will be relieved and the unfortunate people who have been brought in have to pay £1 in principal and interest on the £100,000 odd being borrowed. It is the biggest piece of gangsterism that I have ever seen put through and it is evidently being put through with the collusion and assistance of a Government Department.

I can see no justification whatever for this. The only thing I can do here, Sir, is endeavour to protect those people by coming in and putting down this amendment. Fancy, Sir, asking the tenants of one or two labourers' cottages to come in and pay the rates for Henry Ford and Dunlops. The plutocrats of Cork are to be relieved to the extent of 7/- in the £ this year with the collusion of the Minister for Local Government, who denied any knowledge of it in the House yesterday. They are to be relieved of that and the unfortunate people who are to be brought in under this Provisional Order will have to pay next year, and for the next 20 years, their share of principal and interest on the £100,000 that will this year relieve the city ratepayers.

It is the most brazen piece of banditry I have ever seen. I cannot describe it in any other way. Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves are only trotting after these people.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  I did not know the position was as stated in the amendment here until I read it. I understood the ratepayers in that portion of the area which covers the new extension would not have to pay any contribution to the corporation for the year 1965-66, or for some years in order to compensate the county council. Though neither Deputy Corry nor I represent the area concerned, I have always advocated, as I mentioned earlier, that the new area must be treated fairly and justly. I hope that will be done and I think we should have a detailed statement from the Minister on the position of the people there. We owe that to them.

I do not know what the position is at present. Possibly there is not much change, but in the early stages the vast majority of the people were anxious to remain in the county. [698] Indeed, at that time, the county council was looking after them fairly well by way of development services, roads, houses, and so on. We should have a detailed statement from the Minister on this question, as we owe it to the people who are leaving the county. If this measure becomes law, we must see that the people get justice. All we are looking for is justice, and I think the Minister should give us a statement on the position.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  The only thing I should like to say is that if this goes through, the people who are brought in will not be affected at all, and for the next five years they will get the remissions as set out in the Order.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  Those remissions are very slight.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  I am not making any statement as to whether they are slight or otherwise.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  This is a straight question: Will those people who are being brought into the city have to pay any portion of the £100,000 now being borrowed to relieve the city ratepayers? Can we get an answer to that?

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  It has not been borrowed yet, and it will not be borrowed until this matter has been dealt with. Furthermore, I should like to say that the occasion of its being borrowed rather than provided for in the rates arises from the fact that this measure was delayed and put back to this date, and the corporation were unable to make the provision they would have made if this measure had been adopted last March.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  The Minister has made the rather extraordinary statement that the money has not been borrowed. Does he mean that the city manager has struck a rate of 65/10d after stating the effective rate would be 72/- without having anything to fill the gap? Let us know where we are, because my ratepayers in Cork county [699] would be very grateful if I could do the same thing for them. The manager has said that he has borrowed over £100,000. Does the Minister say the manager is a liar?

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  The necessity for the money which it is proposed to borrow does not arise unless and until this measure has been passed by the House and has become operative by the making of the Order.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  Let us go on the assumption that it will become operative. This is evading the issue.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  It is not evading the issue. It is the true position.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I want to get this clear with the Minister. The manager has stated publicly—and it was published in the public press—that he has borrowed over £100,000 to relieve the city ratepayers of 7/- in the £ this year, and that he proposes to repay the principal and interest over the next ten years. That money is to be repaid by the ratepayers of Cork city, not Cork city as it now is, but Cork city as it will be under this Provisional Order. I can see no justification whatever for compelling the unfortunate rural ratepayers who are paying their full rates in the county this year, to repay over the next ten years this money which is in relief of the city ratepayers this year. That is the protection I am seeking in this amendment. This is supposed to be a democratic body.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  This is not democracy.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  We will have a decision of the House on it because I think I would be justified in going out openly and ordering these people to pay no rates if that is the situation which the Minister is bringing about. If a legal rate is to be struck on those people for the next ten years to repay money that has been borrowed to relieve the plutocrats in Cork city this year, the Minister is going beyond the law and he will be met beyond the law.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  The wildly exaggerated [700] claims and allegations made here are difficult to understand. Possibly the Cork people who are making them understand them, but I do not. I certainly do not understand or appreciate the heat and exaggeration Deputy Corry has brought into the discussion of this amendment. Nor do I understand his condemnation of the Minister because he does not officially know what is published in the Cork Examiner. What is published in the Cork Examiner or any other paper I may read and I may understand, or I may not. I may believe it or I may not. In so far as my functions as Minister are concerned, if that is the only notification I have of happenings in Cork or anywhere else, I do not know what is happening just by reading about them in a paper. I do not take that as official information. I am not officially aware of the information sought by the Deputy by way of Parliamentary Question and otherwise. I have no official intimation in regard to the question of sanction for the borrowing of this £101,000; so any suggestion that we are officially aware of them is completely wrong. We may see them in the papers but we are not officially aware of them. What I read in the papers is one thing, and what I am officially aware of by way of an official communication from Cork Corporation or Cork County Council is another matter.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  A Cheann Comhairle——

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Just a moment. Surely——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  The Chair is entitled to call on a Deputy. Deputy Murphy.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  The Minister's statement is somewhat peculiar when we take into account what happened in this House quite recently. The Minister says he is not supposed to take notice of a statement published in such a reputable paper as the Cork Examiner, a statement which is a factual account of what happened at a corporation meeting. The Minister says he does not take account of that, [701] but the Minister for Social Welfare came into this House last week or the week before, and said he must take notice of an anonymous communication sent to his Department for malicious motives.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  I cannot allow another Minister to be dragged into this. The Minister for Local Government is the Minister responsible.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  The Government must be functioning under a very peculiar system, judging by their varying statements.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  That does not arise.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  One Minister says that he does not take notice of something unless he gets official notice of it, and another Minister says that he must take notice of a communication which was written with malice.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  There is only one matter before the House, that is, the amendment to the Provisional Order.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  I thought it only reasonable and just for a member of the House to quote from any newspaper in support of an argument.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  The Deputy was not prevented from quoting from a newspaper.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  In any case we should get a more definite assurance on this amendement from the Minister [702] than we have got. I think Deputy Corry is justified in demanding a vote of the House. If complaints arise in the future, what some of us thought on this amendment will be on the record.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  The statement I read from the Cork Examiner of 19th March is a statement made by the Cork City Manager at a corporation meeting in which he said that the effective rate required for the city of Cork for 1965-66, if the boundary were not extended, was 72/- in the £——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  The Deputy has said that several times.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  ——that he was striking a rate of 65/10d. and was borrowing, apparently without the knowledge of the Minister or the Department, £100,000 odd to fill the gap.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  This is out of order. The Deputy is repeating himself.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I do not want to repeat myself. It is now proposed, and will be carried out by legislation of this House, that the people who are brought in will have to pay during the next ten years the relief in rates the city has got this year. I wish to make that clear to everybody concerned and to say this is being done with the collusion of the Department of Local Government. That Department should be abolished.

Question put: “That the words be added.”

Barry, Richard.
Burton, Philip.
Clinton, Mark A.
Cluskey, Frank.
Connor, Patrick.
Corry, Martin J.
Creed, Donal.
Desmond, Eileen.
Dockrell, Henry P.
L'Estrange, Gerald.
Murphy, Michael P.
Tully, James.

Aiken, Frank.
Barrett, Stephen D.
Blaney, Neil T.
Boland, Kevin.
Boylan, Terence.
Brady, Philip.
Brennan, Joseph.
Breslin, Cormac. [703]Collins, James J.
Cotter, Edward.
Crinion, Brendan.
Cronin, Jerry.
Crowley, Flor.
Crowley, Honor M.
Davern, Don.
de Valera, Vivion.
Dowling, Joe.
Egan, Nicholas.
Fahey, John.
Fanning, John.
Flanagan, Seán.
Foley, Desmond.
Gallagher, James.
Geoghegan, John.
Gibbons, Hugh.
Gibbons, James M.
Gilbride, Eugene.
Gogan, Richard P.
Haughey, Charles.
Briscoe, Ben.
Burke, Patrick J.
Calleary, Phelim A.
Carter, Frank.
Carty, Michael.
Casey, Seán.
Childers, Erskine.
Clohessy, Patrick. [704]Healy, Augustine A.
Hillery, Patrick J.
Hilliard, Michael.
Kenneally, William.
Kennedy, James J.
Kitt, Michael F.
Lemass, Noel T.
Lemass, Seán.
Lenihan, Brian.
Lynch, Jack.
McEllistrim, Thomas.
Meaney, Tom.
Millar, Anthony G.
Molloy, Robert.
Moore, Seán.
Nolan, Thomas.
Ó Briain, Donnchadh.
Ó Ceallaigh, Seán.
O'Malley, Donogh.
Wyse, Pearse

Question declared lost.

Question put: “That the Schedule be the Schedule to the Bill.”

Aiken, Frank.
Barrett, Stephen D.
Blaney, Neil T.
Boland, Kevin.
Booth, Lionel.
Boylan, Terence.
Brady, Philip.
Brennan, Joseph.
Breslin, Cormac.
Briscoe, Ben.
Burke, Patrick J.
Calleary, Phelim A.
Carter, Frank.
Carty, Michael.
Casey, Seán.
Childers, Erskine.
Clohessy, Patrick.
Collins, James J.
Cotter, Edward.
Crinion, Brendan.
Cronin, Jerry.
Crowley, Flor.
Crowley, Honor M.
Davern, Don.
de Valera, Vivion.
Dowling, Joe.
Egan, Nicholas.
Fahey, John.
Fanning, John.
Flanagan, Seán.
Foley, Desmond.
Gallagher, James.
Geoghegan, John.
Gibbons, Hugh.
Gibbons, James M.
Gilbride, Eugene.
Gogan, Richard P.
Haughey, Charles.
Healy, Augustine A.
Hillery, Patrick J.
Hilliard, Michael.
Kenneally, William.
Kennedy, James J.
Kitt, Michael F.
Lemass, Noel T.
Lemass, Seán.
Lenihan, Brian.
Lynch, Jack.
McEllistrim, Thomas.
Meaney, Tom.
Millar, Anthony G.
Molloy, Robert.
Moore, Seán.
Nolan, Thomas.
Ó Briain, Donnchadh.
Ó Ceallaigh, Seán.
O'Malley, Donogh.
Wyse, Pearse.

Barry, Richard.
Burton, Philip.
Clinton, Mark A.
Corry, Martin J.
Creed, Donal.
Desmond, Eileen.
L'Estrange, Gerald.
Murphy, Michael P.
O'Donnell, Tom.
Tully, James.

Question declared carried.

[705] Preamble agreed to.

Title agreed to.

Bill reported without amendment.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  I move: “That the Fourth Stage be taken today.”

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  If the Report Stage could be left over to next week suggestions which we have made could be examined in the meantime. We have had a number of divisions today, the outcome of which was obvious beforehand. I think these were brought about by the Minister's attitude to the House in discussing this Bill.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  Does the Deputy object to taking the Report Stage?

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  I am objecting on that basis.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  According to Standing Orders, the order for the Report Stage will be taken next Tuesday.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Are you fixing the Report Stage now?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  The order for the Report Stage will be taken next Tuesday.


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