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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 3 Jul 1923

Vol. 4 No. 1


(1). In order to provide for the payment of the sums which under this Act are to be paid in Bonds the Minister for Finance shall have power to create and issue, when and as required for the purpose, Bonds to be called 4½ per cent. Land Bonds, of such denominations (not in any case less than one pound) as the Minister may determine.
(2) The Bonds shall bear interest at the rate of four and one-half per cent. per annum on the nominal amount thereof payable in equal half-yearly instalments at such times in each year as may be fixed by the Regulations under which they are issued.
(3) For the purpose of the redemption of the Bonds, a sinking fund shall be established by setting aside at the close of each half-year within the Land Bond Fund established under this Act a sum equal to one-nineteenth of the purchase annuities for the time being payable under this Act.
(4) The Bonds shall be redeemable at par together with the payment of all arrears of interest, and the Minister for Finance shall make arrangements for the redemption thereof by means of periodical drawings, and may make regulations for the drawing of such Bonds. Such regulations shall provide for the immediate redemption of Bonds transferred by order of the Judicial Commissioner in satisfaction of Death Duties.
Provided that any Bonds may at any time after the expiration of thirty years from the issue thereof, if not previously redeemed, be redeemed at par at such time and either by drawings or otherwise as the Minister for Finance may direct.
(5) The interest on the Land Bonds and the Sinking Fund payments in respect thereof shall be paid out of the Land Bord Fund, and if the same shall be insufficient shall be charged upon and paid out of the Central Fund of Saorstát Eireann or the growing produce thereof as a first charge thereon after any charges created before the passing of this Act.

I move as an amendment to delete Sub-section (3):—"For the purpose of the redemption of the Bonds, a sinking fund shall," etc.

This sub-section provides for the establishment of a sinking fund, and for the payment into that fund of certain moneys. There are other moneys which should properly find their way into that fund. There will be cases in which tenants who purchase under this Bill instead of continuing to pay their Land Purchase annuities will come in and redeem them, and obviously that redemption price should find its way into this fund. There will also be cases of persons who purchased, and who paid part of their purchase money in cash, and that should also come into this fund. Lower down on the Order Paper Deputies will see another amendment which is to add a new sub-section in place of this sub-section which I am now proposing to delete.

Amendment put and agreed to.

took the chair at this stage.

I beg to move to add in Sub-section (4) the words "or in redemption of Land Purchase annuities charged on the lands acquired by the Land Commission under this Act."

There will be cases arising under this Bill where the Land Commission will acquire land in the hands of purchasing tenants, and subject to the payment of annuities to the Land Commission. In such cases it will be necessary for the Land Commission to provide for the redemption of the annuities, and the object of the amendment is to give them the necessary power to do so.

Question put and agreed to.

I beg to move an amendment to add to Sub-section (5) the following:—"Any sums so paid out of the Central Fund shall be treated as a temporary advance to the Land Bond Fund, and shall be made good out of the Guarantee Fund."

I think the amendment explains itself.

I think there will want to be some slight further amendment about this later on. We have just deleted Sub-section (3), which was the sub-section that created the fund called the Land Bond Fund. Now, in this new sub-section we refer to this Land Bond Fund as if it existed although we have really deleted the sub-section which created the Land Bond Fund.

Would it not do after the words "Land Bond Fund" in the amendment if we inserted the words "established under this Act?"

I think that might meet the case. We can make the necessary amendment between this and the Report Stage.

Yes, it would be a great deal better if it were made to fit in between now and the Report Stage.

Question put and agreed to.

I beg to move to add a new sub-section as follows:—

"For the purpose of redemption of the Bonds there shall be set aside in the Land Bond Fund at the close of each half year the amount of the interest and payments in respect of Sinking Fund payable by the Land Commission, in accordance with the provisions hereinafter contained, together with any sums paid by tenant purchasers in redemption of purchase annuities payable under this Act, and any sums paid in cash by a purchaser on the sale to him by the Land Commission of any land vested in them under this Act, subject to the following deductions:—

(a) the amount of the interest on the Bonds so issued, and for the time being outstanding;

(b) the amount, if any, required for the payment off of any bonds which under this Act have been transferred by order of the Judicial Commissioner, in satisfaction of Death Duties or in redemption of Land Purchase annuities.

This new sub-section is intended to take the place of Sub-section (3), which we have deleted. I have already explained the purpose of it.

Question put and agreed to.
Motion made and question put:—
"That Section 1, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
Section 2 put and agreed to.
The redemption price of all superior and intervening interests, incumbrances and other claims attaching to purchase money paid by means of 4½ per cent. Land Bonds together with all arrears of and interest on such interests, incumbrances and claims and the vendor's costs of sale and the cost of making title to such interests, incumbrances and claims, so far as the same are payable out of the purchase money, shall be paid and discharged by transferring to the person entitled thereto, out of the Land Bonds representing the purchase money, Land Bonds of equal nominal value, and such payment shall be deemed to be satisfaction to the extent of the nominal amount of the Land Bonds so transferred.
In fixing the redemption price of superior interests the Judicial Commissioner shall have regard to the price received by the vendor for the lands out of which such superior interests issue.

I beg to move as an amendment to insert after the word "Bond" the words "or payable out of such interest, incumbrances, and claims."

Amendment agreed to.
Motion made and question put: "That Section 3, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
(1) For the purpose of recouping vendors in whole or in part for the costs of sale including costs of owners of superior and intervening interests, incumbrancers and other claimants against the purchase money advanced under this Act there shall be established a Costs Fund amounting to 2 per cent. on the total purchase moneys advanced under this Act.
This Fund shall be raised by the Minister for Finance by the issue of 4½ per cent. Land Bonds as and when required, the interest on the Bonds to be from time to time invested in 4½ per cent. Land Bonds and added to the Costs Fund.
(2) There shall be payable to the vendor out of the Costs Fund such sum in 4½ per cent. Land Bonds as the Judicial Commissioner shall certify to be reasonable having regard to the amount of work done in connection with the sale and the manner in which it has been done.
Provided that no payment shall be made under this section until all the lands of a vendor to be acquired or vested on the appointed day under this Act shall have been vested, unless and to the extent that the Judicial Commissioner shall direct.

I beg to move to insert a new section before section 4 as follows:—

"From and after the first gale day in the year 1920, interest upon any mortgage charge or incumbrance charged upon or payable out of the purchase money of lands taken under this Act shall be and be deemed to have been payable and recoverable at the lowest rate only, if more than one, reserved by the instrument creating such mortgage charge or incumbrances."

It is a common practice, in drawing mortgages, to provide that the interest shall run at 5 or 6 per cent., or whatever the rate may be at the time, and then to provide that on prompt payment, or within a week or a month of the date on which the interest is due, that interest at a lower rate, say 4½ per cent., will be accepted in full discharge. During the last two years there has been a general cessation of the payment of rents, and the consequence is that those landlords whose estates were encumbered have been unable to pay interest to their encumbrancers, with the result that what is known as penal interest, that is to say interest at the higher rate, has been accumulating against them, not through any wilful default of their own, but because they were unable to obtain the means to discharge their own liabilities. That, of course, is a considerable hardship upon those landlords who are now compelled to sell and from whom, but for some such amendment such as I suggest here, that panel interest would be recoverable in full for the period during which they were unable to discharge it. Also, while sales are going through, during the investigation of titles there will be a cessation of payment to the landlord of the interest on his bonds until the title is clear, and of all payment on the mortgages until they will have cleared their title of the encumbrances. During that period also through default, interest at the penal rate will be accumulating against the fund which is ultimately to go to the landlord. I have discussed the matter with representatives both of the encumbrancers and of the landlords, and I think it is only a reasonable thing that these encumbrancers, who were entitled to charge the higher rate of interest by reason of default, should be compelled to forego that charge where the default was not the default of the landlords. It was not a case with the landlord of collecting his rents and putting the money in his own pocket and not paying the interest to the encumbrancers. It was a case that he had not got the money for the time being to meet the interest charges, and now, especially as the arrears of rent upon which that interest was charged, are going to be paid to him subject to a considerable reduction, it seems fair to me, and I suggest to the Dáil it is only fair that that reduction should fall also upon those encumbrancers who, in many cases, have been the cause of preventing the landlords from selling their lands earlier. I suggest that this amendment is fair, and should be accepted.

I agree with the object Deputy Fitzgibbon has in view—that is to say, that mortgagors should not be met by penal interest. That, I think, is what he aims at. He points out that there may be a normal rate of interest mortgaged in the deed with a penal rate becoming payable on account of delay, but I think his amendment goes somewhat further than he intends. The Deputy, I think, will agree that there may be a third rate of interest in the deed—that is to say, a normal rate, a penal rate, and a lower rate. If his amendment were accepted, payment would be in accordance with the lowest rate of interest, and I do not think he intends that. I have drafted an amendment which I think meets the case he puts forward. It read as follows:—

"Where the instrument creating any mortgage charge or incumbrance payable out of or charged upon the purchase money of lands taken under the Act provides that interest shall be accepted at a reduced rate upon prompt payment, no higher rate shall be due or recoverable in respect of arrears of interest or on account of any default or delay in payment of interest upon such mortgage charge or incumbrance pending the completion of the sale."

That, I think, makes it clear that only penal interest is barred, and that the normal rate of interest runs. If the Deputy moves that amendment, I am prepared to accept it.

That amendment seems to me to cover the cases I have in mind, and with the permission of the Dáil I desire to withdraw the amendment that I moved originally.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I now beg to move the amendment submitted to me by the Minister.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Question put: "That the new section stand part of the Bill."

The next amendment is No. 7.

It would be more satisfactory to take No. 8 first, because if it passes there will be no need to discuss No. 7.

I think we had better take No. 7 first.

I would suggest that we should take No. 8, because if it passes there will be no necessity for No. 7.

I beg to move the deletion of Section 4. The matter was discussed a little while ago on the Resolution, and I do not propose to repeat the arguments. It is simply a matter of principle, that there is no case in equity and in justice for this claim that there should be this 2 per cent. Costs Fund charged upon the State.

On a point of order, is not that exactly what was being discussed on the Financial Resolution, and has it not been decided by the Dáil?

We are in Committee on the Bill now.

I do not think I need repeat what I said on the Financial Resolution. I do not think the Deputy himself would, for instance, ask the Dáil to pass a law acquiring land for a public building or a railway, and compel the owner to make title without at least paying him his costs. As I said, the price we have calculated does not include costs. We are making the owner liable for the costs of making title, and, as the price does not include costs, I put it to the Dáil that in equity we should at least make a contribution towards the costs. It will be helpful also to relieve the owners of heavily encumbered estates.

Amendment put and declared lost.

I beg to move:—

"In Sub-section (2), before the proviso, line 39, to insert a new proviso: ‘Provided that no payment under this section shall exceed one-half of the costs actually incurred by the vendor; and'"

This is a provision that the payment under the section shall not exceed one-half of the costs actually incurred by the vendor. The Minister has told us that the 2 per cent. will not be enough, and that being so, it is clear that the proposition is not to bear the whole of the costs. Then the question is, what proportion of the costs is to be borne out of this Costs Fund? My amendment is that not more than one-half should be borne. We are not now dealing with the question of principle. Notwithstanding the argument of the Minister that it is customary in the purchase of other classes of property for the costs to be borne by the purchaser, in this case the costs are not to be borne by the purchaser, but only part of them. What part of them? What proportion? My proposal is that the proportion should be limited to one-half. There is no other limiting motion. It is to be left to the discretion of the Commissioners as to whether they will pay one person 50, another 75, another 90, and another 100 per cent. This amendment is that there shall be a definite limit of one-half of the actual costs incurred.

I suggest that in very many cases one half of the actual costs incurred will be considerably more than the Land Judge would be likely to allow. The late landlord ought not to be limited in this case as is proposed. But for the compulsory taking of what we must regard, at any rate, as his property by the State for the purpose of resale to the tenants, these costs would not be incurred at all, in most cases the encumbrancers have been perfectly ready to leave their encumbrances as they stand and draw their interest or annuity, whichever it might be. In many cases that has gone on for 50, 60, or 70 years. It is not making the title to the Land Commission that really costs so much as the clearing by the landlord of the people above him who have to be paid out of the purchase money before he can get the balance, whatever it may be, that is left to him out of what the State has paid him for his land. The landlord converts what is an annuity, in the shape of rent, into a capital sum, and all the other people who have capital charges upon that annuity that the landlord has hitherto received from his tenants have to be paid off in capital sums out of the capital sum into which his annuity has been converted. It is in the clearing up of the title to these and getting rid of them, in order that he may get the residue for himself, that the costs are really incurred. That is expense which has been directly forced upon him by the State by its act in taking the property from him which produced the annual sum, and giving him a capital sum instead. If there is anything in the Bill which ought to be borne by the State, which for public purposes has altered the character of his property, it seems to me that it is the costs put upon him to enable him to get the property in its new form. The 10 per cent. is another matter. The 10 per cent. bonus was justified by the Minister. I agree that it did require justification. He made a case, which the Dáil accepted, for the contribution by the State of 10 per cent.—part to the landlord and part to the tenant, one or the other as the case may be—but a contribution to bridge the difference between the price which the vendor was willing to take, or is being compelled to take, and the price which the purchaser was willing to give. This Costs Fund seems to me to be an entirely different matter, and to stand on the pure principle of justice. Where you put a man to expense by taking his property, which he would otherwise not have been put to, you ought to shoulder that responsibility just in the same way as a railway company or a comporation which takes land for public purposes have to pay the costs of showing title. This is not so much a question of showing title by the person from whom the State has taken the land as clearing up the title by him for the purpose of getting his own property.

I do not think the Deputy really realises what the effect of the amendment would be. We have now agreed to the Costs Fund, and his amendment suggests that nobody should receive more than one-half. Take a small estate which would be more likely to be heavily encumbered than a large estate. When you come to make title the probabilities are that it is more difficult to make title, as perhaps there are more mortgages, more superior interests, more complications of all kinds. It might be much harder and much more difficult to make title to an estate of £2,000 or £3,000, heavily encumbered, than it would be to make title to an estate of £5,000, £6,000, or £10,000 not encumbered at all. It is only right that the Judicial Commissioner should be able to exercise discretion and give more costs to such an owner, because he has been put to much more difficulty and to more expense to make title, and also because he is less able to bear the expense of making title. I do not see anything against that. In all equity it is the fair course.

Amendment put and lost.
Motion made and question put: "That Section 4 stand part of the Bill."
The provisions of Section 48 of the Irish Land Act, 1903, shall not apply in respect of any land, whether tenanted or untenanted, purchased by or becoming vested in the Land Commission under or by virtue of this Act.

What is the position where lands are taken over that have been purchased under the 1903 and other Acts?

I do not understand the Deputy's question.

The Land Commission are to take over land that was previously purchased under the Act of 1903. Does this clause permit the Land Commission to abolish the percentages that existed under the 1903 Act?

Does the Deputy mean by percentages the annuity?

Bonus percentages. I have not the Act before me, but I understand this clause of the 1903 Act deals with percentages, which I assume is the bonus.

This section states —"The provisions of Section 48 of the Irish Land Act, 1903, shall not apply in respect of any land, whether tenanted or untenanted, purchased by or become invested in the Land Commission under or by virtue of this Act."

Section 48 of the Act of 1903 provided for the bonus. We are abolishing it. This Bill, Deputies must remember, is an amendment to previous Acts. Previous Acts, so far as they are not amended, will hold good. This abolishes the bonus. If there is any doubt or difficulty, as the Deputy seems to have, about completed sales, because he refers to our taking power to take over land already purchased, of course the landlord has got his purchase money, and there is nothing on the holding except the annuity, and the Land Commission will redeem the annuity as provided by an amendment just put in.

Motion made and question put: "That Section 5 stand part of the Bill."


Sections 6 and 7 put and agreed to.
Subject to the provisions of this Act every advance made in pursuance of a subsequent purchase agreement shall be repaid, in the manner and at the times prescribed by the Minister for Finance, by means of a purchase annuity calculated at the rate of 4¾ per cent. on the amount thereof.
The purchase annuity shall be paid until the whole of the advance in respect of which it is payable is ascertained in manner prescribed by the Minister for Finance to have been repaid.

I move: To insert after the word "thereof," line 59, the following: "provided that if the option of redemption in Sub-section (4) of Section 1 be exercised by the Minister for Finance, any advantage gained by that transaction be used to reduce annuities to tenant purchasers."

The object of this amendment is, in case the Minister for Finance thirty years hence exercises the option he has to purchase these Land Bonds at par— and presumably he will not undertake that transaction if money is dearer, but only where a profit would be made, and we assume that he will make a profit— that that profit should be passed on to the tenant purchaser. As the Bill now stands the purchaser must pay 4¾ per cent. Supposing that the Minister for Finance thirty years hence could raise money at 3½ per cent., he would be able to save 1 per cent. to the State. That would be a profit. On twenty millions that one per cent. would amount to £200,000, which would go into the Central Fund from the pockets of the tenant purchasers. In order to be just I think that these people, who will be the last in Ireland paying rent, as nearly everyone on the land will then own it, should get the benefit of that £200,000 to enable them to get some decadal reductions. I have not made a calculation, but I am pressing the amendment as the Minister has provided for contingencies. We are legislating for thirty or sixty years in advance, and we should make some provision for contingencies. The contingency in this case would amount to the enormous sum of £200,000 or, spread over 30 years, to £6,000,000. That should be passed on to the tenants.

I do not know that the terminology of this particular amendment is acceptable. In essence the principle of it is practically in operation at the present moment, and has been for a considerable time. That is to say, any person reducing an annuity practically gets the sum owing in respect of a particular purchase transaction. It is practically extinguished in Stock, so that, instead of paying cash, you practically extinguish whatever is due by the purchaser by an equivalent amount of Stock. It might cost a little more, as there are certain expenses incidental to and inseparable from a transaction of that kind, which are added on. This particular amendment would perhaps involve the State in a loss or prevent the State from getting a small, or a relatively small, sum which they are entitled to at the present moment. I do not think the Deputy intends that in any transaction that takes place under this Bill that the person purchasing would get an advantage which is not enjoyed by persons who bought under the 1903 or under the 1909 Acts. I know something about this, as I was interested for the last couple of years in finding out what it would cost to redeem an annuity. I found it was possible to purchase Land Stock at a very considerably reduced price, and that some little advantage would accrue. You got practically an investment at something like five or six per cent., and I think that is all the Deputy intended when he put down the amendment. Subject to what I have said with regard to certain small costs that are consequential and inseperable from a transaction of the kind, at present any person has the right who has bought under the 1903 or 1909 Acts, and the same thing would apply as regards this Bill.

The Minister, I think, has missed my point. I am not asking that the State should lose any costs. My amendment is that, if there is a profit, it is to go to the tenants.

Well, that is what the tenant gets at the present time, and it is not proposed to take that from him.

There is no provision made for the tenants in the event of a profit. Nor is there a provision to buy these Land Bonds at par. That is a contingency that will arise, and the Minister for Finance, who may be here at the time will use the profit that will accrue to the State not for the benefit of the tenant purchaser, but for the benefit of numerous applicants. I want to earmark that particular profit for the benefit of the only people who will be paying rents, because everyone else will have all their annuities extinguished.

I wonder if the Deputy will accept the view that after the ten per cent. and two per cent. will be wiped out, any profits then accruing will go to the tenant purchasers? If he accepts that I think the general principle will be acceptable.

Deputy Wilson's argument has helped to disabuse Deputy Johnson's mind if he is under the impression that he is making a gift of this money to the seventy thousand tenants. In the 1903 Act the purchasers were not paid in stock; therefore the provisions could not apply. They were paid in cash. They got money. The State proposes, when the new Chancellor of the Exchequer will arrive in twenty or thirty years time, to make considerable profit out of this. Deputy Wilson proposes that the State should act as an honest clerk and begin to be honest.

Any honest Chancellor of the Exchequer or Minister for Finance would be glad to see people redeeming any loan. The Minister for Finance, or Chancellor of the Exchequer, will not be looking for a profit to get such loans reduced. You may take it it will be a business proposition for him. But there are certain variations to this business here that might certainly be repugnant to a future Minister for Finance, and we have not the right to bind him.

The Minister for Finance has forgotten one point. If money is cheap twenty or thirty years hence the Land Bonds of £100 will be worth from £120 to £130. If three per cent. were the value of money then, the Bonds would be worth £130 or, as I am told, £150. I want the Minister for Finance to exercise this particular option of buying £130 stock for £100, and passing the benefit to the people whom I have referred to. He is entitled to do this. These tenant purchasers will be the only people in Ireland who will then be paying rent——

Will the Deputy explain how that transaction will arise— that you buy £130 for £100——

It will be a profit.

A loss is sustained by someone. For example, the Deputy has bought his land and he owes, let us say, £600 annuities. That represents at its face value £720. That is in the possession, let us say for the sake of argument, of Deputy Gorey, and the Minister for Finance is to come along to Deputy Gorey and say: "You have £600 worth of stock. It is valued in the market at £720. Here is £600." And Deputy Gorey, being a meek, humble individual, hands over the £720 worth of stock for £600. Where is the profit? Deputy Wilson holds there is a profit of £120, which is to be handed to the tenant. I cannot understand his point. Is the figure £480 or £720? It appears to me to be a financial puzzle which can only be elucidated by Deputy Wilson or Deputy Gorey.

The matter is a little bit confused. If the Minister for Finance 30 years hence can get money at 3½ per cent.—that is quite probable—it is his business to pay those people off at par. It does not matter who holds the Bonds. It is the Minister's duty to reduce the amount of interest payable to those people. He will gain by that probably 1 or 1½ per cent. One per cent. will realise about £200,000, which is really too much to give to the State, and which is taken out of the pockets of 70,000 or 100,000 people, who will possibly be the last people in Ireland paying rent. I think that is a fair proposition, and I hope the Deputies will vote in accordance with pure justice.

Is there not a Section in the Bill under which the Government will be enabled to redeem anything at par? What is the Minister for Finance talking about?

The Minister for Finance is talking about Deputy Wilson and yourself.

I do not think you are answering the question. Your contention seems to be in direct contradiction to the terms of the Bill. Everybody knows what par means—even the Minister for Finance.

I am at a loss to know where is the profit. I have been trying to find out, and I cannot, and I have not been told. As far as I see, this amendment is not a sensible one: it does not lead us anywhere. There are three parties to this transaction—the people selling, the people buying, and the State. Whatever the people who are selling get, and whatever the people who are buying get, certainly the State is getting nothing for the liability. The representatives of one of the three sections come forward here and say that if there is to be any profit out of this transaction—and they have not indicated where the profit is to be—a certain party to that transaction is to get that profit. If the matter were to be dealt with equitably it ought to be dealt out between the three sections, granted that the three were beneficiaries. It appears to me that there is one section bady served by a burden which the other two sections have enjoyed putting upon it. Thirty years hence, supposing money is cheap, this section that has borne the brunt may possibly be repaid to some advantage. We are told if there is any profit it is a section other than this section that is to benefit. I could not recommend that from the point of view of the State.

If the State issues a certain sum at £100 that hereafter stands, let us say, at £120, and the State redeems at £100 what stands at £120, and which it originally issued at £100, the State is only getting back what it originally issued, and could only realise the extra £20 if it could reissue. Therefore, it seems to me that there is no profit.

Would I be permitted to speak again?

No. You have already spoken three or four times.

If I can buy a £1 note for 15s., and if I can go and borrow the fifteen shillings in the market, I am making a profit, and that, I think, is Deputy Wilson's case.

Quite so.

Amendment put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 19; Níl, 38.

  • Donchadh Ó Guaire.
  • Seán Ó Duinnín.
  • Domhnall Ó Mocháin.
  • Tomás de Nogla.
  • Liam de Roiste.
  • Tomás Mac Eoin.
  • Seán Ó Ruanaidh.
  • Tomás Ó Conaill.
  • Aodh Ó Cúlacháin.
  • Séamus Éabhróid.
  • Ristéard Mac Liam.
  • Liam Ó Daimhín.
  • Seán Ó Laidhin.
  • Cathal Ó Seanáin.
  • Domhnall Ó Broin.
  • Domhnall Ó Muirgheasa.
  • Ristéard Mac Fheorais.
  • Mícheál Ó Dubhghaill.
  • Domhnall Ó Ceallacháin.


  • Liam T. Mac Cosgair.
  • Gearóid Ó Suileabháin.
  • Uaitéar Mac Cumhaill.
  • Seán Ó Maolruaidh.
  • Séamus Breathnach.
  • Pádraig Mag Ualghairg.
  • Seosamh Mac Suibhne.
  • Peadar Mac A'Bháird.
  • Darghal Figes.
  • Mícheál de Duram.
  • Seán Mac Garaidh.
  • Pilib Mac Cosgair.
  • Mícheál de Staineas.
  • Domhnall Mac Cártaigh.
  • Éarnan Altún.
  • Sir Séumas Craig.
  • Gearóid Mac Giobúin.
  • Liam Thrift.
  • Eoin Mac Neill.
  • Liam Mag Aonghusa.
  • Pádraig Ó hÓgáin.
  • Seoirse Mac Niocaill.
  • Piaras Béaslaí.
  • Fionan Ó Loingsigh.
  • Séamus Ó Cruadhlaoich.
  • Proinsias Bulfin.
  • Séamus Ó Dóláin.
  • Aindriú Ó Láimhín.
  • Liam Ó hAodha.
  • Proinsias Mag Aonghusa.
  • Éamon Ó Dúgáin.
  • Peadar Ó hAodha.
  • Séamus Ó Murchadha.
  • Liam Mac Sioghaird.
  • Alasdair Mac Cába.
  • Tomás Ó Domhnaill.
  • Earnán de Blaghd.
  • Uinseann de Faoite.
Amendment declared lost.

I beg to move the following amendment:—

To add at the end of the section a new paragraph as follows:—"The provisions of the Provisional Government Transfer of Functions Order, 1922, shall not apply to purchase annuities payable in respect of advances made under this Act."

That amendment is necessary to ensure that the money should find its way to the Guarantee fund.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Motion made and question put: "That Section 8, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
(1) There shall be established a Land Bond Fund under the control of the Minister for Finance, out of which shall be paid the dividends and Sinking Fund payments in respect of all Bonds issued under this Act.
(2) Accounts of the receipts and expenditure of the Land Bond Fund both as regards capital and income shall be kept by the Minister for Finance, and those accounts shall be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor-General, and the accounts when audited shall be laid before the Oireachtas.
(3) For the purposes of this Act the Land Commission shall keep such accounts containing such particulars and entries as the Minister for Finance may direct, and shall furnish those accounts to the Minister for Finance as and when required by him, and the said accounts shall be audited in such manner as the Minister for Finance may prescribe.

I move Amendment 11:

To delete in Sub-section (1), line 3, the words, "and Sinking Fund payments," and in line 4 to add, after the word "Act," the words "together with the sums required for redemption of Bonds under this Act."

Amendment put and agreed to.

I move Amendment 12:

To add a new sub-section as follows: —"Any balance to the credit of the capital or income account of the Land Bond Fund may be temporarily invested by the Minister for Finance in such manner as he may think fit."

The object of this amendment is that there shall be no money lying idly on hands.

May I draw attention to a word which I suggest is misused? The point really arises under a later amendment. The word "dividend" in such a case is not the correct word. It is a question of the correct use of the English language. Strictly speaking, dividend is the result of that which is divided, and in the case of interest on bonds, dividend is not the correct word to use. Perhaps the point would be noted for next Reading.

If the Deputy prefers the word "interest," I am quite agreeable. We can arrange that on Report.

It is not a matter of preferring it. I think it is more accurate. If the grammarians at your disposal think differently, I am satisfied.

The word "dividend" is the word used in the same connection in all the other Land Acts. It is distinctly useful in the case of an Act which has carried out its intentions—to use the same words when you want to carry out the same intention.

I think they were not quite the same.

They were.

In this case it seems to be the intention that the money that will be temporarily lying to the credit of the Land Bond Fund will be applied to redeem Free State Loans. In that case you will be making a profit, and I think it is not doing justice to our side if you make a profit in that way and not put it to the credit of the Sinking Fund in connection with the Land Bill. I think the proceeds of the investment should go towards the Sinking Fund.

If the Deputy would read the provision in the Bill which states that the accounts shall be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor-General and laid before the Dáil it would allay his suspicions. The accounts will be audited each year and laid before the Dáil, and when the time comes for the Dáil to deal with them they will have a discretion as to what to do, and they will have all the facts before them.

I hope they will be more explanatory than some of the Estimates.

It is not a question of the Estimates not being explanatory, but of its being impossible to explain them to some people.

Amendment agreed to.
Motion made and question put: "That Section 9, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
(1) Interest at the rate of four and one-half per cent. per annum shall be paid by the Land Commission to the Land Bond Fund on the nominal amount of all Bonds issued under this Act by the Minister for Finance to the Land Commission and not certified by the Minister for Finance to have been repaid.
(2) Where advances are made by the Land Commission the Land Commission shall, until the advances are ascertained to have been repaid, pay to the Land Bond Fund in respect of those advances five shillings per cent. per annum in respect of Sinking Fund.
(3) Where the Land Commission purchase any land, no sums in respect of Sinking Fund shall be payable until the Land Commission have disposed of that land to purchasers.
(4) If at any time the said annual payments shall be in arrear for forty days, the amount in arrear shall be charged on, and forthwith made good out of, the Guarantee Fund.
(5) The powers conferred by the Land Purchase Acts for raising such sums as may be necessary to recoup the Guarantee Fund for payments made thereout shall henceforth be exercised by the Minister for Finance in manner prescribed by rules made by him under this Act.
(6) Payments by the Land Commission under the preceding sub-sections shall be made at such times in each year as may be prescribed by the Minister for Finance.
(7) A sum sufficient to pay the dividends on the Bonds issued under this Act for contribution to price and for the Costs Fund shall be paid in each year to the Land Commission out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas.

I move Amendment 13:—

"To delete Sub-sections (2) and (3), and to substitute in lieu thereof the following Sub-sections:—

(2) The Land Commission, where land is vested in them under this Act, shall, until the purchase annuities charged on the land cease to be payable, pay to the Land Bond Fund in respect of sinking fund five shillings per cent. per annum:—

(a) in the case of tenanted land on the standard price thereof from the appointed day;

(b) in the case of untenanted land on the amount of the advances made in respect of such land from the date on which such advances become repayable, and, in so far as such land has not been disposed of within a period of five years from the appointed day, on the amount of the price of such land from the expiration of said period until the lands have been resold.

(3) The Land Commission shall pay to the Land Bond Fund all sums received by them for the redemption of purchase annuities payable under this Act, and all sums paid in cash by purchasers on the sale by the Land Commission of any land vested in them under this Act.

The new sub-section (2) elaborates the wording of the old sub-sections (2) and (3), and differentiates between the case of tenanted and untenanted land. The new sub-section (3) is consequential on Amendment No. 4, already agreed to.

Amendment agreed to.

I move Amendment No. 14:—"In Sub-section (2), line 24, to delete the words ‘five shillings' and to substitute therefor the words ‘a quarter of one.'" This is another amendment that would have come better from Deputy Magennis. I bring it forward as providing a better expression than that in the Bill. Five shillings per cent. strictly means 5s. per 100 shillings, and that is not what is intended.

Deputy Johnson seems to be quite correct, but, strange to say, that is exactly the term used in the 1903 and the other Acts, only 10s. is the figure in the 1903 Act, instead of 5s., as in the Bill before the Dáil.

They are not always very accurate in those Acts.

When you want to achieve a certain purpose you are always perfectly safe in going according to an Act which has achieved that purpose. There is then no danger that a Judge will misinterpret the wording. I would rather give this matter a little more consideration and deal with it on Report.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move Amendment 15:—"To delete Sub-section (5)." The matter covered by Sub-section (5) will be included in the new Section 11, which will be proposed under a subsequent amendment.

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment No. 16:—"In Sub-section 7 line 40, to delete the word ‘dividends' and to substitute in lieu thereof the word ‘interest.'"

I have already raised this matter. It is quite a formal matter, and as the Minister has undertaken to consider it I ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Motion made and question put: "That Section 10, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
All sums collected in respect of arrears of purchase annuities in repayment of advances made in pursuance of purchase agreements lodged prior to the passing of this Act shall be paid into the Guarantee Fund.

I move Amendment No. 17:—

To delete the section, and to substitute therefor the following new section:—"(1) The powers declared in Section 6 of the Purchase of Land (Ireland) Act, 1891, to be exercisable by the Lord Lieutenant or by the Treasury, shall henceforth be exercised by the Minister for Finance, and the notice provided for by Sub-section (2) of the said Section shall cease to be required. (2) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in the Provisional Government Transfer of Functions Order, 1922, all sums collected after the 31st day of March, 1923, in respect of arrears of purchase annuities in repayment of advances made in pursuance of purchase agreements under the Purchase of Land (Ireland) Act, 1891, or any later Land Purchase Act, other than subsequent purchase agreements, shall be paid into the Guarantee Fund."

With the permission of the Dáil I would like to propose this amendment in slightly altered form, and exclude from the last two lines the words "other than subsequent purchase agreements." These words are unnecessary, and are slightly confusing.

Amendment, as altered, agreed to.

I move Amendment 18.

To add to the Section the following words:—"Provided, however, that where grants have been withheld from County Councils, in consequence of the non-payment of annuities, such arrears of grants shall be forthwith paid to the County Councils concerned before any of the sums so collected shall be paid into the Guarantee Fund."

This section has been deleted and a new section has been put in. At present the rates are held responsible for arrears of purchase annuities. The County Council has to make good the amount of the annuities in arrear, with the result that the funds of the County Council suffer. I want to provide that before the money is paid into the Guarantee Fund the loss to the County Council will be made good.

I do not understand the purpose of this amendment. As far as I can see, it means that whatever guarantee you have had by the setting up of the Guarantee Fund goes by the board. The State is putting up a considerable contribution towards the solution of this problem. We look for some guarantee in respect of annuities that should be paid. Where they are not paid we call upon this Guarantee Fund. The Guarantee Fund is made up of moneys which in the ordinary course would be paid to local authorities in relief of rates. In order to secure that the Guarantee Fund will have moneys, certain sums are paid into it. This amendment would take out those sums.

No, it would not.

"Such arrears of grants shall be forthwith paid to the County Councils concerned before any of the sums so collected shall be paid into the Guarantee Fund." If the dispute be regarding certain delay which took place by reason of the fact that annuities are not paid, I think it is unreasonable, because those Land Commission annuities are generally just a month or so in arrears. That month or so may be a period during which the charge will fall upon the Central Fund, unless there is some other method of finding the sums necessary to pay the dividends on the Sinking Fund. If there be a loss, that loss ought to be shouldered by those responsible for it. I do not understand the amendment, unless it be to discount the value of the Guarantee Fund, or to compensate people living in the neighbourhood, or to compensate County Councils in the neighbourhood of which Land Commission annuities are not regularly paid. If they are not paid, on whom should the responsibility lie?

On the Land Commission.

On those who do not pay.

If it should fall on the Land Commission, what is the strength of the Land Commission to bear it? The Land Commission must be fed from somewhere, and it is not even fed from here. This fund only feeds when the land annuities are not paid. The time arrives when the land annuities are paid. If the purpose of the amendment be that directly they are paid they should be sent back at once without delay, I say there is no unreasonable delay, having regard to the fact that normal Government machinery is thrown out of gear when people do not discharge their debts. The State is security for most of those things, and the State naturally looks to something on which it can draw in the event of those land annuities not being paid. If the dispute then be as regards delay in restoring moneys to the Guarantee Fund, I say there has been no unreasonable delay.

I take it that the formation of the Guarantee Fund under this Bill will be responsible for any laxity of payment, and not the County Councils. This amendment is dealing with the machinery that held good under the previous Acts, and we want the County Council to be relieved, and the first payments made into their funds for any of those annuities out of the Agricultural Grant. The operation was that a certain amount of money had to be withheld from the Agricultural Grant to make good the deficiencies on annuities. The common impression through the country is that the Land Commission was not stringent enough in exercising its rights in collecting its annuities. We do not refer to the people who were only a month or so in arrears. We refer only to bad debts, and we want to get the defaulters in that respect dealt with more energetically. If the Central Authority had all the responsibility instead of the County Council, they would be more energetic. This amendment is not dealing with the operations of this Bill, but with the operations of the previous Act.

I do not agree with this amendment. I do not agree with it, because it reduces to some extent the central administration. There is no use in telling me that only certain people do not pay. Within the past few days we had to draw very heavily on this Guarantee Fund to pay the interest due on the 1st July. Just imagine what our position would be if there was not a fund to draw on in order to make up the sum necessary to discharge the interest honourably due by us in connection with the previous Acts. The whole finance of this would break down, and our credit would be very seriously damaged. We had that Guarantee Fund to draw on, which made it different. The local authorities in the area under the jurisdiction of which those particular holdings are situate, will feel this change. There is no other way that we know of to bring it home to them equitably. A sum of over £1,000,000 is distributed from the funds raised in taxation to relieve local taxation. A certain amount of that is ear-marked as a sort of security for the payment of those Land Commission annuities. It is so used to make good whatever has been drawn out of the Guarantee Fund to make up the difference of the sums we have collected in respect of Land Commission annuities and the sums we have to pay to discharge the interest and sinking fund charges on land stock taken up by people in good faith, believing we would pay interest on the sinking fund to pay them their dividends, and make good the ultimate taking up of the land stock that has been issued.

If you in any way weaken that Guarantee Fund, you are weakening the credit of this transaction; you are weakening any confident anticipation that we had from the beginning that this Stock would remain at a fair price. It is most essential that it should remain at a fair price, because the basis of the Act was that it would be practically par. If you reduce the security a person has by taking away the security of the Guarantee Fund in any way, you are reducing the security that the person has who invests in Land Stock. “Arrears of Grants shall be forthwith paid to the County Councils concerned before any of the sums so collected shall be paid into the Guarantee Fund.” Arrears of Grants in that case means something that has been withheld. Very good. These arrears of Grants shall forthwith be paid to the County Councils from what?

From the Agricultural Grant.

The State, in the first instance, collects this from all the taxpayers. It divides it into certain compartments. One compartment is called the Guarantee Fund. When the Land Commission annuities collected are insufficient to discharge the interest and the Sinking Fund, we take it from a particular compartment and make good that amount, and we hand out the interest and the Sinking Fund. That is now what happens. "Arrears of Grants shall be forthwith paid to the County Councils concerned." You have got to pay them and you find an empty box. Where is the money to come from?

You collect it from the man who did not pay. He will probably pay two months later, and it will go into this box.

Is it usual for the Government to withhold a Grant in the case of a county in which the annuities are completely paid, because in County Wexford we went to the trouble of finding out what annuities were due, and we found there was a very small proportion due compared with the amount of money the Government owes the County Council?

I think it is a most degrading thing, and I think it does not become the dignity of the Dáil that in this Land Bill, in which the Nation's credit is pledged, we should be looking for loopholes for any Party to seek to evade just and lawful debts.

I take this as an insult from an ignorant Deputy.



I will not withdraw unless he withdraws the word "evade."

The Deputy really should withdraw that, because he should not make any personal reflection on any Deputy. I ask Deputy Gorey to withdraw that remark.

Very well, I withdraw it, but I ask you to ask the Deputy to withdraw the word "evade."

Has Deputy O'Donnell the right to insult any other Deputy here?

I did not take Deputy O'Donnell's remark as being insulting to any Deputy.

Perhaps you do not take his remark seriously, no more than any of us do. The President has established under this Bill a Guarantee Fund. Under previous Acts it came out of the Agricultural Grant. Very well, if it comes out of the Agricultural Grant, then it cannot come out of the Guarantee Fund.

I see that the Deputy does not quite understand. There is, first of all, the Agricultural Grant. There is a period of suspense during which it is not known whether or not this particular Fund will be called upon to discharge any sums to make up the unpaid Land Commission annuities. Before it is made available for County Councils at all the money passes through a Guarantee Fund into the compartment I have mentioned, the box or the fund, or any other means of keeping it for the time being. While the Land Commission annuities are in jeopardy that sum is locked up and the County Councils cannot get it.

Even if one county has completely paid its annuities?

I should say so When the time comes to release that in order to make up the difference the box is emptied. It must again be paid, and it will be paid when the Land Commission annuities are paid, but until that a consequential delay occurs, and there is no means of filling the box until the annuities are paid. When they are paid then we discharge at once. So far as I know there is no unreasonable delay in emptying that Fund once it is made good.

Surely if a County Council, or two or three County Councils interest themselves to the extent that they would try to get the annuities paid, they should get some encouragement?

So far as I know, they do, but there may be cases where, if three or four counties do not pay, practically the whole of the Fund may be in jeopardy. If there be a particular county in which no annuities have been paid at all, then that county will get nothing. I do not think the Deputy ought to press that amendment.

I withdraw the amendment, not to evade it, but to enforce payment, in order that the Government may be more energetic. We do not want to evade anything. We want to have it paid.

Deputy Gorey raised a very good discussion.

It has been going on for years.


To back up that argument I may say that we go so far in Wexford that we get a list of those who are not paying their annuities and publish them in the newspapers.

That is right. I admit that.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Motion made and question put: "That Section 11 as amended stand part of the Bill."
Sections 12, 13, 14 and 15 put and agreed to.
(1) In the case of every holding to which this Act applies, rent and arrears of rent accrued due up to and including the gale day next preceding the date of the passing of this Act shall not be payable by the tenant, and no proceedings against the tenant for recovery of arrears of rent shall be begun, continued or enforced after the passing of this Act. There shall be payable by the tenant to the Land Commission a sum hereinafter referred to as "compounded arrears of rent" ascertained as provided in the sub-section following.
(2) Compounded arrears of rent shall be a sum equivalent to the total rent and arrears of rent due on the gale day next preceding the passing of this Act in respect of rent accrued since the first gale day in the year 1920 less a deduction of 25 per cent. In any case where a hanging gale is customary any payment of rent shall be deemed to have been made in respect of the gale next after the gale in respect of which it was actually made.
(3) Compounded arrears of rent shall be payable as to so much thereof as does not exceed 75 per cent. of the annual rent, immediately after the date of the passing of this Act, and as to the balance, if any, on such date or dates before the appointed day as may be prescribed by the Land Commission.
(4) Compounded arrears of rent shall be collected and accounted for to the person or persons entitled thereto by the Land Commission in accordance with rules made by them: Provided that the Land Commission shall when paying over the amount collected first deduct therefrom income tax and such sum to go towards costs of collection as the Land Commission consider reasonable and proper.

I beg to move this amendment:—

In Sub-section (1) to add after the word "Act" the following:—"And any sum, including costs and expenses, which has been levied or recovered under or in consequence of any such proceedings begun, continued or enforced between the 28th day of May, 1923, and the date of the passing of this Act, in excess of the sum hereinafter referred to as ‘compounded arrears of rent,' shall be deemed to have been overpaid by the tenant and shall be set off against the moneys to become payable by the tenant to the Land Commission in lieu of rent, as hereinafter provided, and the equivalent payment of the Land Commission to the landlord shall be proportionately reduced."

This amendment is in order to give effect to the demand that I made on the Second Reading, and to the promise made by the Minister. Since the Second Reading things have not mended. On last Thursday I saw a judgment asked for and decree given on behalf of a landlord named McArthur against a tenant in County Dublin. On Tuesday last two bailiffs were sent into the house of a farmer named O'Neill, also in County Dublin, at the instance of a landlord named Caulfield. Two or three seizures of cattle have been made in County Tipperary against unpurchased tenants. I will not refer to the numerous cases that occurred previous to the Second Reading of the Bill, but they have been numerous and they have been all over the country, and I think it would be a national shame if this Legislature that proposes to deal honestly between man and man and section and section were to allow a few people of any particular section to get at the back of the Bill, to get in front of their neighbours, to get in front of the people of their class and do what I cannot regard as anything else but a crime against the State and a crime against the intentions of the Legislature. The Bill provides for nothing but to put these people on the same level as the rest of their kind, but they tried to evade the Bill. There is nothing unreasonable in this Amendment, and the promise of the Minister confirms us in this view. It is only just, equitable, and right.

I do not propose to accept the amendment in that form. What I said the other day, I think, in answer to a question by Deputy Gorey, was that if it became clear that there was a policy amongst the landlords to get in in front of the Bill, I would put in a provision in the Bill making it retrospective so far as rent was concerned as from the date of the introduction of the Bill. Retrospective legislation is absolutely unsound except in very special circumstances. I think the Dáil will agree with that, and it would be necessary to have very special circumstances, such as a general policy on the part of the landlords to negative the arrears provisions in the Bill, before we would be justified in legislating retrospectively at all. Now, there has been no such policy. First of all, the Dáil should remember that this section is only affected by decrees that have been enforced. It makes no dicerence to a tenant if a writ has been issued, or if legal expenses have been incurred before the passing of this Bill, provided that the decree has not been enforced. If a writ is issued, judgment marked, and everything ready for the enforcement, but no enforcement or execution takes place, and the Bill passes while that state of affairs is in existence, then the landlord only gets his compounded arrears of rent. There is no question of costs or expenses. Let us not confuse the issue by dealing with writs that have been issued, and judgments marked, and legal expenses incurred.

We are not dealing with that at all.

The Deputy mentioned that he saw three or four cases where judgments have been marked.

I said nothing of the sort.

The Deputy quotes cases.

I quoted one particular case where judgment was marked. I quoted another case where the bailiffs were sent into a man's house, and I quoted two other cases where cattle were seized. I quoted only one case where judgment was marked.

So I am right, the Deputy did quote a case where judgment was marked. I am entitled to disabuse the mind of anyone who has not had the advantage of Deputy Gorey's knowledge on this subject that these provisions are not affected in any way by proceedings that have not been executed, by the fact that writs have been issued and judgment marked, provided that they have not been enforced. Let us stick closely to the decrees that have been enforced. I have returns that in 75 per cent. of the counties not a single decree for rent has been executed. The Deputy knows that. He will not contradict that, and he is capable of a good deal of contradiction at times. I am sure if I looked into the figures I could say more than 75 per cent., but I will put it now at 75 per cent. There have been only one or two decrees executed on an average in other counties. I think Galway is the highest, and there were seven there. I suppose there are at least 1,000 cases where rent is due for the last two years. Let us be fair to landlords. I do not say what their reasons were, but as a class they have not executed decrees. That is a fact, and the talk about execution of decrees and putting the farmer out of his home, all this loud talk that would give the impression that evictions were taking place all over the country, has simply no relation to the facts.

Nobody said evictions were taking place.

They are not, and what is more, all this loud talk as well about what the farmers would do if we tried to execute decrees does not impress us a bit. Landlords have not tried to execute decrees, and there is no use blustering about it. We will not discuss the question of what we would do if we tried. It would lead nowhere. It is absolutely unsound to say that a man should not take advantage of his legal rights while these legal rights are in existence. A man is entitled to take advantage of his legal rights while they are in existence, and a man is not entitled to assume that every Bill that goes before the Dáil will be passed. As a general principle I think that is sound. I hope a good many Bills will be introduced into the Dáil between this and the disappearance of the Irish nation from the face of the earth that will not be passed, but the mere introduction of a Bill does not hold up a man's rights at all, and as a corollary from that it is unsound to legislate retrospectively. We cannot close our eyes to the fact, and I want to put this seriously to the Dáil in the interests of justice, that we are dealing at least with about 10 per cent. of landlords who are pulling the devil by the tail, who are in an extremely bad way, who perhaps are owed two or three years' rent, and who I know as a matter of fact, if the mortgagee came down on top of them—and the mortgagees have a great many inducements to do so —and forecloses he gets the whole estate, and he probably makes a bit out of the sale of the estate. Many of the mortgagees are fully alive to that, and everyone here knows as well as I do that at least ten per cent. of the landlords who have not a penny, and whose mortgagees are pressing them, are in a desperate position, whatever the reasons may be. That is the present position, and I think it is only fair to assume that the small percentage of decrees that have been executed have been executed by landlords of that sort. That is only a fair assumption.

It would be, if you did not know the facts.

Let the Deputy give us different facts. You may get a landlord who will execute a decree out of pure cussedness. I am talking about the general body of landlords who have not executed decrees as a body, and where they did execute decrees it is only fair to assume that they did it absolutely under compulsion of their own creditors, and that they had no alternative but to let in their mortgagees to foreclose and get the estate. Hence, all the equities are not on one side, if you take the facts and leave out the question, for the moment, whether the landlords have even an academic right to their rents—take the circumstances as you find them. Any fair-minded man—even Deputy Gorey himself in his cooler moments—will agree with me that there is a certain amount to be said on both sides in all the circumstances, in view of the fact that so few decrees were executed, and in view of the fact that there are so many landlords absolutely on the rocks. Now, on the other hand, though I am doubtful of the wisdom and justice of doing it, I will go this distance with the Deputy—I will agree that any rent paid since the introduction of the Bill should be adjusted and should be appropriated towards the payment of arrears under the Bill. I will not agree that the costs should be recovered. This is purely a bargain, and I put it forward as a bargain. The landlord who had to execute his decree did not get ready money, and it is not such a hardship upon him. Let us take a case, say, where the rent is £100, and that that has been recovered. The arrears would be £75, so that that sum of £100 can be appropriated towards a year-and-a-quarter instead of a year. It would not mean payment in money; but to recover the cost from the landlord now, in a great many cases, would really be looking for blood out of a turnip. So I go this far with the Deputy—and I think it is a fair proposition, in all the circumstances—I will agree to accept an amendment in this form:—

"Any judgment or decree obtained in any proceedings against the tenants of a holding to which this Act applies for the recovery of rent or for the recovery of the holding for non-payment of rent after the 20th day of May, 1923, shall be vacated, and if any rent, or arrears of rent, shall have been levied or recovered under or in consequence of any such judgment or decree in excess of the sum to which compounded arrears of rent would have otherwise amounted, the amount of such excess shall be set off against the moneys to become payable by the tenant to the Land Commission in lieu of rent as hereinafter provided, and the equivalent payment by the Land Commission shall be proportionately reduced."

That leaves out the costs, and deals with the rent only. It is a sporting offer, and I hope the Deputy will accept it.

This may be a sporting offer, put forward by the Minister on behalf of the landlords who have sent out these writs, but there is nothing sporting about it for the people against whom the writs have been issued. The Minister began by telling us that if it was the policy of the landlords to issue these writs he would accept the amendment.

To execute their decrees, I said.

If it was wrong as a policy, how can the Minister justify it in the case of the individual? If it was wrong for the landlords, as a body, to take this action, how can it be right for the individual to do so?

When does it become a policy?

If the policy is wrong, the act of the individual is wrong, and therefore cannot be justified even by the flippancy of the Minister. To my mind the Minister is merely clapping on the back the individual landlord who has enforced his writ. He has done more; he has actually issued an invitation to all the landlords who have a judgment marked to enforce that judgment between this and the time the Bill becomes law. He is really issuing an invitation to the landlords to go on and enforce their writs and that at least they would get their costs.

The solicitor would get the costs.

It does not matter who would get the costs, because the costs do not begin to mount up until the Sheriff goes out. I want to have the Minister's reasons as to why the individual is right, and the general body of the landlords wrong. The Minister made the statement that the issuing of writs did not operate in 75 per cent. of the cases. We have only 26 counties, and in the counties of Cork, Wexford, Carlow, Kilkenny, Meath, Tipperary, Galway, Dublin and Donegal writs have operated. It does not matter if the Sheriff had not to go out, but I can produce Sheriff's letters and threats, and the Minister can produce some that I handed to him. It is perfectly true that in these counties writs have been made good, even though the soldiers were not actually called out to assist in their execution; the writs were made good by terror and threats. It is true in the case of one landlord that he was driven by his creditors to take action, and it was about time that the creditors drove him. That was the case of Leader in Cork.

That is the man who keeps greyhounds.

No, he trains grey hounds. In Kilkenny, Wexford, Galway, Carlow and Tipperary the writs were made good by landlords who were not in want, but they did it through pure cussedness and malignity. I admit that the Cork case was a pressing case, but none of the others were. I have made myself acquaínted with the particulars in all these individual cases, and I can say that the Minister's contention about creditors pressing falls to the ground absolutely except in the Cork case.

The Minister has made an offer to adjust the rents, but what about the costs? The costs, once the soldiers are sent out, are practically in all cases much in excess of the reduction that the tenants would get. In almost all cases you would have a small rent with big costs. I repeat that, except in the Cork case, the making good of these writs was done through pure malignity and cussedness. This is the sort of thing that the Minister claps on the back, the class of individual landlord who has created chaos in the country for generations, and who, because of his actions in the past, has made it necessary for the Government to introduce a measure of compulsory land purchase. That is the class of individual who has been the curse of this country for generations. I am not satisfied, nor are my people satisfied, with the amendment which the Minister has suggested we should accept. I hope Deputies in the Dáil who represent agricultural districts in this country will not follow the Minister's lead, but will speak out on behalf of the people they represent. I propose pressing my amendment to a division, no matter what alternative amendment the Minister may bring in.

If Deputy Gorey presses his amendment to a division, it is my intention to vote for it. At the same time I would like to remind the Deputy and his Party that when the Bill giving the Sheriff power to bring out the military to execute decrees against tenants for the arrears of rent was going through this Dáil, they voted for it. It was only yesterday they gave their support to what is known as the Flogging Bill, and now they speak as if they regretted having done so. I think Deputy Gorey's amendment is an honest one, and for that reason I intend to support it. I stood up merely to remind the Deputy, in case he should forget it, that he voted for the Bill which gave the military power to go out and seize cattle. I am sure he regrets that now.


I regret extremely the attitude taken up to-day by the Minister for Agriculture. Listening to his speech to-day and to the speech he delivered on the Second Reading of the Bill, one would be almost inclined to think that it was not the same man was in it at all. In my opinion, his speech to-day is an invitation to the landlords to do their utmost against the tenants. The landlords actually have the machinery ready, and it seems to be an invitation to them to put it in motion against the unfortunate tenants. On the last day he more or less told us that he would bring in a clause somewhat on the lines of the amendment put forward to-day by Deputy Gorey, but, judging from the speech he has just delivered, he wants now to get the whole lot of the landlords throughout Ireland to enforce their decrees.

What I suggested was that I would accept an amendment by Deputy Gorey if it proved to be the policy of the landlords to execute decrees and get in before the Act. I said that in these circumstances I would make the terms of the Bill retrospective as from the date of its introduction, and that is exactly what the amendment I have read does. I have not been guilty of any deceit, as, I think, has been suggested.


I never mentioned the word "deceit." You say you would do that if it proved to be the policy of the landlords. From my experience, a considerable number of them have made it their policy to get writs executed.

How many of them?


I did not interrupt you. I say that many landlords are getting writs executed in several parts of Ireland. Deputy Gorey gave the Dáil several examples. In my opinion, the arguments of the Minister for Agriculture put forward in the Dáil to-day will be a great incentive to landlords to execute the decrees they have broadcasted all over the country. I do not care what the Minister himself may think, but his attitude to-day towards this amendment is altogether different to what it was on the Second Reading of the Bill. He has put up the case of the impoverished landlords from the North to the South, but he never mentioned the cases of the impoverished tenants—not a single one. I say, with all due respect to his impoverished landlords, that there are many tenants vastly more impoverished than the landlords, and they have got absolutely no way of making a living. The depressed condition of the agricultural industry for the last two years has left many a tenant in a very impoverished state indeed. I do not care how hard set a landlord may be, his position cannot be near as bad as that of an unfortunate tenant. I am certain you would find very few landlords lying hungry in nooks and corners around Dublin, but I can assure Deputies in this Dáil that there are many tenants in that position.

I think a very fair case has been made out in favour of this amendment by the Deputies on my right. I have listened carefully to the reasons given by the Minister for Agriculture for his refusal to accept the amendment, and I must say they do not convince me. He has stated that if he discovered it was the policy of the landlords as a body to get in before the Act he would take measures to prevent that. I confess that is all the more reason why he should take those measures. If there were only two or three, or even a dozen, who must be the very worst of the landlords, that is all the more reason why they should be restrained, and why they should not be allowed to get the benefits. There are some benefits to be got—benefits which the more decent of the crowd refuse to take advantage of. I think that is all the more reason why Deputy Gorey's amendment, as it stands, should be accepted.

I must confess that I read into the Minister's speech, and I generally read aright, that his statement here in the Dáil carried costs. I read that into it, and I saw a letter from a very high-class solicitor to tenants telling them to tender their rents, less 25 per cent. At the top of the letter the Minister's statement was quoted, to the effect that the amount claimed would include costs. I have here a case where one and a half year's rent was collected, and the costs amounted to £60. If the landlords through the country begin to collect these rents, and act as in the cases I have mentioned, the costs will really amount to as much as rent. Having regard to what was said on the Second Reading, and having regard to what the solicitor read into the Minister's statement in the Dáil, which was quoted in the letter I referred to, that costs were included, I think a very good case has been made for Deputy Gorey's amendment.

I think the case made by Deputy Gorey and his friends is a convincing one, and is also a very moderate one. After all, the object of this Bill has been before the Dáil for quite a long time—long before the 28th May—and where actions were taken and costs incurred on processes up to the 28th May, that must have been done with the intention of getting an advantage over the tenants before this Bill came into operation. They knew the Bill was coming, and knew it would be compulsory. They knew it would be compulsory provided they did not agree, ultimately. They knew there would be compulsory purchase in the absence of formal agreement, and that to me is pretty convincing that when a landlord adopted the policy of proceeding in the Courts he was trying to take advantage of the interregnum. Now, it may be that the Minister does not care to legislate retrospectively. That is what he has said, and he has a very good precedent, but there is no good reason why in this case the principle of the moratorium could not have been enforced. I think Deputy Gorey's amendment ought to be supported, and I propose to vote for it.

I have seldom listened to as much patent humbug as I have heard from the Farmers' Party this evening. I heard Deputy Doyle get up and work himself into a passion, and more or less suggest that I was running away from the terms I had promised some time ago. I think the whole tone of Deputy Gorey's speech was to that effect also, but the climax was reached when Deputy Wilson got up and said he read into my statement an intention on my part of including costs. Now, I will take the Dáil into my confidence. I discussed this matter with the Farmers' Party. I discussed it with Deputy Gorey, and I told him, not once, but twice or three times, that I would not include costs in any retrospective legislation if I accepted such an amendment. So that all these mock heroics, all this simulated anger, is mere bluff. It would suit me to get up and talk about half-starving tenantry, like Deputy Doyle— there is nothing so easy—the poor fellows that are lying in corners and I do not know what other places he mentioned, and who have not the price of next morning's breakfast. I could do that as well. Every member of our Party could get up and carry out the same performance and, I suppose, get the same advantages from it. I do object to patent humbug of that sort after I had discussed this amendment and made it perfectly clear that I was not going to accept an amendment including costs.

The Minister never said a word to me about that—absolutely never.

That is quite correct.

I had one of the most eminent solicitors in Ireland reading this statement, and he said that that would carry costs.

That is quite correct. I did not see Deputy Wilson, but I discussed it with Deputy Gorey.

On a point of explanation, I contend that what the Minister has said is an absolute falsehood.



I withdraw the word "falsehood," but it is not true.

I do not know whether that is in order.

When I stand up I will give it a flat denial, and I will give an explanation.

Is the Deputy entitled to state that what I said is untrue?

It would be better if the word was not used.

What word will I use to express a fact? If the Minister will supply me with a word to express a fact I am ready to use it.

Secret diplomacy.

A terminological inexactitude. I will leave it at that. I will not enter into the question any further. I will leave it to the Dáil. I am inviting the landlords to go ahead, notwithstanding my statement that "Any judgment or decree obtained in any proceedings against the tenants of a holding to which this Act applies for the recovery of rent or for the recovery of the holding for non-payment of rent after the 20th day of May, 1923, shall be vacated, and if any rent, or arrears of rent, shall have been levied or recovered under or in consequence of any such judgment or decree in excess of the sum to which compounded arrears of rent would have otherwise amounted, the amount of such arrears shall be set off against the moneys to become payable by the tenant to the Land Commission in lieu of rent." That is the invitation to the landlords to go ahead. If Deputies think that is an invitation to landlords to go ahead I am sure I could not convince them. But the plain meaning of it is, and the intention is, that any rent that is recovered now will be adjusted later on, and the tenant will get the credit for anything which he has paid over and above what he should have paid under the Bill. I made the point before, and I make it again, that only an extremely small proportion of the writs that have been issued have actually been executed. I had the lists from the Sheriffs, and I read them out to Deputy Gorey and other Deputies at a meeting which I had with them. Deputy Gorey is as good a judge as I am, having seen these returns, as to what the exact proportion is. I have not them with me at the moment. The returns I had at that time were dealing not with writs issued or writs that had been executed since the 28th May, but writs that had been executed this year. Only an extremely small percentage were executed, and in most of the counties no writs had been executed at all. So there is no question about it. There was no policy. As a matter of fact, in spite of all these mock heroics and of all these appeals for the poor impoverished tenants, for whom I have just as much sympathy as the people who talk so loud, there has been no such policy. That is the fact. That is the truth, and it is right that the truth should be stated even where it does not suit. It is a fact, and every man who thinks out the question for himself and looks at the question squarely and does not deceive himself about it, knows it is a fact that the likelihood is that in the few cases where writs have been executed they have been executed by landlords whose mortgagees have been pressing them. That is a fact, and any amount of mock heroics will not hide it, or any amount of talk about the impoverishment of the tenants will not hide it. I do not know what we ought to be afraid of. I do not see any reason for it. The time has passed when it was necessary to get up and do a certain amount of tub-thumping. If we want legislation passed we have our own Parliament now; we are not dealing with an English Parliament with a Tory majority. We can pass any Act we like. There is no occasion to make misstatements in order to get an Act passed—none whatever. The fact is, the truth is, the equity of the case, if anyone cares to look at it, is this, that it is only right to assume that in the few cases where writs have been executed it is by reason of the fact that their mortgagees have been pressing these particular men. These two facts, apart from any histrionics, bear examination, and I invite any Deputy who disagrees with me to examine them and to show that they are wrong. If they are wrong, then let us alter our policy, but if they are right let us base our policy on that. I say that these facts are facts, and are there. In order to meet the case—it is purely a bargain—I made an offer to Deputy Gorey to accept that amendment as a pure matter of expediency. Any Arrears Act is a matter of expediency. You cannot treat an Arrears Act in the same way that you would treat any other Act. The legislation connected with an Arrears Bill has always been based on a question of expediency. We all know that. We can chop and change and discuss that, and draw deductions from it, but that is the fact. We were trying to make a bargain, and when you are dealing with arrears you do it on the same principle that you make any other bargain. I want to make a bargain. The Government regard themselves here as the trustees of fair play in the matter, and to my mind the facts which I have stated represent fair play, and no amount of histrionics will alter the facts.

I am satisfied that the proposal that the Minister has made is one that, as far as possible, meets the equities of the case put forward on behalf of the tenants. I am sure that the Minister, like other Deputies here, is in sympathy with the claims put forward on behalf of the tenants. He has had that sympathy all through his career, as most of us here have had, and that sympathy would lead him to go as far as he possibly could, in the circumstances of the case, to meet the claims of the tenants. But, at the same time, he is confronted with the position of the landlord who is beset by incumbrancers and who is being pressed by them. In these circumstances he has got to consider the equities of the situation, seeing that the landlords are now being handed over to the State without anybody to look to for sympathy, and are supposed to be out of touch with things as they are at present in this country, and to have no means by which they can get their side of the case considered. Unfortunately in the past the landlords had all the weight and all the influence, and were able to order and direct in whatever way they liked the destinies of the tenants under their control. Now the position is reversed, and we are placed in the position which the landlords formerly occupied. The question for the Minister then is, is he to pursue the same policy that they pursued in the past? I think he cannot consistently or logically pursue that system, and I think he has gone as far as he possibly could. Undoubtedly some landlords who have not been beset by incumbrancers have pressed recently.

And you stand up and defend them.

I know of instances in the county I represent where landlords have pressed without being forced by stress of circumstances. Unfortunately they are landlords who reside in another area that at present is not acting in co-operation with us, and who thought they saw an opportunity of giving vent to the sympathy which they have for that area and the aversion which they have for our area by acting as they did.

And you backed them up.

I did not back them up. I believe that the proposal the Minister lays down, that from the 20th May any such action taken, decrees enforced, sought or obtained will be adjusted, and that whatever money is received on foot of these decrees will be on the condition that the tenants will get the full benefit as if they were not decreed at all, is a very fair interpretation of the situation, and that the Minister has gone as far as he could. We would all wish that landlords had not the power to execute decrees to recover money. There may be instances, however, where, unfortunately, it would be necessary. With a great number of tenants it has not been necessary, as they have done their best to meet their obligations, and it is only when force of circumstances prevented them that they held back. Some of the tenants unquestionably are deserving of our sympathy and consideration, but others amongst them are people who took advantage of the situation, and they are not in sympathy with us or with the nation. I think the Minister has steered a course so as to meet the situation all round. I think the farmers, if they persist in an extreme view, are not guided by the requirements of the situation or by the real merits of the case. That is not advisable in an Assembly like this, where every member should feel some sense of the responsibility that is placed upon him, apart from his predilections, and should take into account all the circumstances and not be guided by one side only. I think the Minister has met the case in a very fair and reasonable way.

I have only one regret in connection with this debate, and that is that the Minister and I have two distinct views or recollections of our interview on this matter. It is true that I met and talked to the Minister confidentially.

Not confidentially. I met a deputation, but there was nothing confidential about it. Otherwise I would not state it here.



I will not withdraw. I have heard the words "secret diplomacy" flung across by Deputy Davin, from whom we are in the habit of having remarks flung at us.

On a point of order, I did not fire anything at the Deputy.

We had a talk with the Minister about this matter of having the Bill made retrospective with regard to over-payment, and also with regard to costs. If no other member of the Farmers' Party or the Unpurchased Tenants' Association accepts responsibility, I will accept responsibility. I have spoken to the Minister about it.

On a point of order, it might be well to clear this matter up. Deputy Gorey used the word "confidential." I want to make it clear that I am not in the habit of revealing confidential conversations. I am quite sure he did not mean that. Deputy Gorey, and I am sure other Deputies, as well as members of the Farmers' Party know that I met a deputation from the Unpurchased Tenants' Convention, and discussed this question with them without any reserve of any kind and without any confidence.

Quite right. It was representatives of the Unpurchased Tenants, and not representatives of the Farmers' Party that met the Minister. The Minister never gave me a flat denial about the question of costs.

We want to make it quite clear that we had no interview with the Minister.

The most the Minister said was that he did not think it would be fair to preclude men from taking advantage of the law that they would be entitled to take. He thought the question of costs would be extreme. I thought I convinced the Minister that he should adopt a reasonable view of including the costs. I was convinced when proposing this amendment that he would have accepted it, not only for over-payments, but for costs also. When I put it down I was not inspired by extravagant statements or wild claims. I brought the amendment up to the most reasonable point, and that was the date of the introduction of the Bill. That should be sufficient warning to any landlord, whether he was encumbered or whether he was driven by creditors or by those who lent him money. I did not make any extravagant claim, but confined myself to the last possible date, May 28th, which this could date from. I have no regrets or recantations to make as to the attitude I took up with regard to the Public Safety Act. What I did then I would do again. Our Party would not question this matter at all, only to make their position clear. Deputy Lyons probably was not here at the time, or I do not think he would have referred to the subject. We hear too much about impoverished landlords. A good many Deputies talk for political reasons, and not on the merits of the case. I am surprised that men who know so much about the circumstances should go out, including Deputy McGoldrick, who has now gone to the Lobby. Probably other Deputies will come back and vote on the Division after listening to the speeches beyond in the bar.

I think that statement should be withdrawn. This thing is going too far.

I think you ought to withdraw that expression.

I will withdraw the remark about the bar.

A statement of that kind should not be made here. The Deputy should be ashamed of himself.

I say that Deputies who are going to vote should be here to listen to the arguments. There is 100 per cent. of our Party here.

It should be said in a decent way.

It does not really matter about the way. We have been listening to too much of this kind of machine talk, when Deputies who hear nothing of the debate come in and vote.

They know enough.

They do not know enough.

If the Deputy will conduct himself so will I.

I know how to conduct myself, and when I am finished with Deputy Gorey he will know how to conduct himself. I will not take lessons in manners from him.

I am not a bit impressed by the argument of the Minister about these landlords, because with the exception of one man I know that they are not impoverished. I have personal knowledge of the facts. A certain section of these landlords go and take advantage and enforce these decrees after the introduction of this Bill. Why should they be let off scot free, and why should the others be in a worse position? Why should one law apply to the men who have executed decrees and another law apply to the men who have not? The men who have executed these decrees are the cream of the bad ones. If this is a question of costs, it is a big thing for some tenants, because you have the most vindictive of the landlords—men like Dobbyn, of Waterford, men who have gone into the Bankruptcy Court and heaped costs upon the tenants, which is quite different from going into the Civil Courts. These are more serious matters perhaps than the Minister considers. But the facts are there; I do not think that we are unreasonable in this amendment. As a matter of fact, I think we brought it down to the last date to which we could bring it down. It is absolutely reasonable. It is not for political reasons we are pressing this amendment. It is for pure justice. A certain element in the State has endeavoured to evade the Legislature, and we ask the Dáil to penalise them for that meanness and for endeavouring to get at the back of the Bill and the back of the common law. I do not think we are unreasonable. These men did what they did with their eyes open. I do not think that it is just that they should be permitted to evade the law. It is not reasonable. It is not for the purpose of politics that this amendment has been put up; it is in the interests of justice between man and man that I press this amendment.

I do not think that there is anything unreasonable in this amendment or anything that ought prevent the Minister from accepting it. There is nobody knows better than he does the position with regard to the farmers and agriculture. You have it in the evidence that has been put before us in the Agricultural Commission. If you take up Stubb's Gazette you will find lists of farmers there, and you have lots of the tenants in a more impoverished state and unable to meet their liabilities than the landlords. There was another case made by the Minister that there were only a few cases of tenants in different districts in which seizures had been made. Of course, there were only a few seized, but these would be seized to intimidate the remainder of the tenants in the districts.

I was not here when Deputy Gorey was speaking, but I have been informed of the friendly references made by him. I must say that I do not measure my sympathy for the tenant farmers of Ireland, or my knowledge of the land question, by all that was said by the Deputy who has blatantly given forth on his right to pronounce upon the capability of any other Deputy here, or upon his right to do as he thinks proper in the interests of his constituents. With regard to Deputy Gorey's references to visits to certain places——

There is no necessity to revert to that.

Are we debating the Land Bill, or is it something else we are debating?

I am making a reply to Deputy Gorey on a reference, I have been informed, he made.

Not about you.

On a point of order, the Deputy who is speaking now is referring to a matter which happened when he was not here. Is it right that he should go into that?

I have been represented, I understand, as having known about the position of the impoverished landlords.

I think it better to let the matter drop, because any reference the Deputy made that was uncomplimentary has been withdrawn by him.

I wish to say that I do know about the impoverished condition of the landlords as well the tenants, and Deputy Gorey knows them too as well as I do. He knows the value of investments and how they have depreciated. His sympathies are like our own, with the tenant. My sympathies are with the tenants too, but that does not compel me to overlook all things else. I have to consider all the merits of the case. I consequently stated that I believed the Minister has met the situation in a way that seems to me to be just and equitable, and in that way I am prepared to accept the Minister's recommendation and to vote against this amendment of Deputy Gorey, seeing that it is not in any sense proportionate to the equities of the case at the moment, and that it cannot have any chance of being accepted.

Apparently there has been considerable misunderstanding about this matter, and, possibly, other people may be in the same case as we have been. I certainly never believed that I had given the impression to anybody—I am not talking now about the Dáil but outside—that we would not only recover from them any rent which they had recovered, but that we would recover the costs as well. However that impresson may have got abroad, it is a revelation to me that it did. To meet that case I will make a slight modification. I will make another offer. I will change the date from the 20th May to this date. Everybody will have sufficient notice after this debate.

I will alter it to read as follows: "Any judgment or decree obtained in any proceedings against the tenants of a holding to which this Act applies, for the recovery of rent or the recovery of the holding for the non-payment of rent, after the 3rd July, 1923, shall be vacated, and if any sums shall have been levied or recovered under or in consequence of any such judgement or decree, in excess of the sum to which compounded arrears of rent would have otherwise amounted, the amount of such excess shall be set off against the moneys becoming due."

That will be worse still.

It gets in any sum recovered, either for rent or costs, as from to-day's date.

If the Minister will change the date in regard to arrears from the date of the introduction, and the date of the costs incurred as from to-day, it would be better; as it is, he is taking away more than he is giving.

I am not.

We could not accept that alteration. It is between those days nearly all has been done.

The Deputy is perfectly free to refuse it, as I am free to refuse any amendment. My suggestion will have the effect of taking in any rent paid, or any costs, as from this date, and that will be set off against the rent becoming due as compounded arrears of rent.

In other words, what has been recovered in excess would still remain with the landlord before to-day?

Yes, he has from to-day. That is to meet the point that some of the Deputies made, that this was an invitation for landlords to go ahead and execute decrees.

If the Minister will allow the original wording of his amendment with regard to rents recovered in excess of what is mentioned to stand in the Bill, and the recovery of costs to date from to-day, them he will meet the situation fully.

I can do that.

Then I withdraw the amendment.

I think this motion ought to be pressed to a division.

I would press it if I was not in danger of losing the amendment.

Chance that on the next reading.

If I was not afraid I would lose the amendment, I would press it very quickly. I would ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

I wish to divide the Dáil on this motion.

An Ceann Comhairle, at this stage, resumed the chair.

Amendment 19 has not been put. Deputy Gorey, I understand, desires to withdraw it.

The position, if I may say so, was that Deputy Gorey agreed to withdraw the amendment on the promise of a counter proposition. He asked leave of the Dáil and the Dáil is not unanimous in granting such leave.

Then I am afraid I must put the amendment.

In that case, I propose the amendment.

The Deputy who proposed this amendment asked the leave of the Dáil to withdraw it, thereby breaking the new Coalition, I am sorry to say. Must it not now go to a division in order to obtain leave to withdraw?

I do not think we can have a division on the question of withdrawal.

If the Deputy asks the leave of the Dáil to withdraw, surely the feeling of the Dáil must be taken on whether he can or not?

Is there any provision in the Standing Orders which makes it necessary to have a majority vote for permission to withdraw an amendment?

No. What really is asked for is general agreement for withdrawal. That has been the practice all the time both in the Dáil and in Committee. If it is desired to withdraw a motion which has been discussed, there should be general consent, or else the matter should go to a vote.

Deputy Gorey put a certain amendment which was debated, and I made a suggestion which he saw his way to accept. I have proposed to put that as an amendment, and was prepared to put it in a few minutes. Now, the position is that Deputy Gorey proposes to go ahead with the amendment.

I cannot now withdraw. The explanation as to why I did withdraw was that I did not want the amendment defeated, and have the Section stand as it was.

The position, as it appears to me, is that the Deputy has convinced me, at any rate, of the necessity of this amendment as it stands. If the Deputy withdraws it, I propose to move it, with permission. Inasmuch as there is not general agreement for withdrawal, that is the position that is created. Therefore I desire there should be a vote taken.

The amendment in the name of Deputy Gorey has not been, and cannot be, with drawn under the circumstances.

Amendment put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 20; Níl, 36.

  • Donchadh Ó Guaire.
  • Seán Ó Duinnín.
  • Domhnall Ó Mocháin.
  • Tomás de Nógla.
  • Liam de Róiste.
  • Tomás Mac Eoin.
  • Seán Ó Ruanaidh.
  • Liam Ó Briain.
  • Tomás Ó Conaill.
  • Aodh Ó Cúlacháin.
  • Séamus Eabhróid.
  • Risteárd Mac Liam.
  • Liam Ó Daimhín.
  • Seán Ó Laidhin.
  • Cathal Ó Seanáin.
  • Domhnall Ó Muirgheasa.
  • Risteárd Mac Fheorais.
  • Mícheál Ó Dubhghaill.
  • Domhnall Ó Ceallacháin.
  • Domhnall Ó Broin.


  • Liam T. Mac Cosgair.
  • Gearóid Ó Súileabháin.
  • Uáitéar Mac Cumhaill.
  • Seán Ó Maolruaidh.
  • Séamus Breathnach.
  • Pádraig Mag Ualghairg.
  • Seán Mac Garaidh.
  • Risteárd Ó Maolchatha.
  • Pilib Mac Cosgair.
  • Domhnall Mac Cártaigh.
  • Éarnán Altún.
  • Sir Séumas Craig.
  • Gearóid Mac Giobuin.
  • Liam Thrift.
  • Eoin Mac Néill.
  • Liam Mag Aonghusa.
  • Pádraig Ó hÓgáin.
  • Pádraic Ó Máille.
  • Seoirse Mac Niocaill.
  • Piaras Béaslai.
  • Fionán Ó Loingsigh.
  • Séamus Ó Cruadhlaoich.
  • Christóir Ó Broin.
  • Caoimhghin Ó hUigín.
  • Proinsias Bulfin.
  • Séamus Ó Dóláin.
  • Aindriú Ó Láimhín.
  • Liam Ó hAodha.
  • Éamon Ó Dúgáin.
  • Peadar Ó hAodha.
  • Séamus Ó Murchadha.
  • Liam Mac Sioghaird.
  • Alasdair Mac Cába.
  • Tomás Ó Domhnaill.
  • Earnán de Blaghd.
  • Uinseann de Faoite
Amendment declared lost.

I beg to move that we report progress.