I beg to move the Second Reading of this Bill. It is only a short Bill which proposes to make some slight modifications in a similar Bill introduced last year. The principal change is in Section 7 (1) of the Principal Act. That section gave the Minister for Local Government power, after the duration of two years from the passing of the Principal Act on the 10th July last year, on the application of the Dublin Corporation, in the case of the owners of buildings that had been destroyed in previous disturbance not having started to rebuild on these sites, or if the site happened to have been one of those where the owner was obliged to remove the building under another section of the Act, and if he did not begin either to start building or remove the obstruction, or if, having started the building it was for any reason discontinued, to issue an order enabling the Corporation to put the property up for public auction. That Act, as I say, has been in operation for practically a year, but I am sorry to say that as a result of it there has been very little work done. Reconstruction in Dublin has not advanced very far, and accordingly it has been considered desirable that we should take somewhat stronger measures to oblige the owners of destroyed property in the city to start reconstruction. Accordingly, this Bill provides that the Minister shall have legal authority to exercise these powers within three months from the passing of this Bill. That is the main object of the Bill.
It is necessary in the Bill to exempt the sites of buildings that were destroyed in 1916, because in the case of these particular sites the Corporation and the Minister for Local Government have the powers given in the Principal Act. These powers actually date from the passing of the 1916 Act, so that I am in a position to exercise them with regard to buildings at the present moment, but if these buildings were brought in under the present Bill I would not be able to exercise these powers for three months. In that particular case it is not necessary to have these powers, because I think there is only one building in the City of Dublin which was destroyed at that time that has not been reconstructed, and that particular building is in Abbey Street. There is another provision in the Bill which is an amendment to the Act of 1924. That provision enables awards that were granted by the Minister for Finance to be put up for public auction. It is clear that if the purchaser of one of these sites put up for public auction is required to pay the full amount of the grant accorded, it would be very difficult to get purchasers, and accordingly we are deciding that the grant is also to be put up for public auction. There is another minor matter which it is proposed to remedy in the Bill. In the previous Acts there was a remission of rates granted in the case of buildings destroyed up to March, 1926. In one case, at all events, the tenant of a destroyed building pays an inclusive rate, and the landlord in this particular case, although he is not required to pay any rates on the property, charges the same rent to the tenant as if he actually was paying the same rate as previously. There is a section in this Bill intended to rectify that anomaly.