COMMITTEE ON FINANCE. - LAND BILL, 1927—THIRD STAGE.

The Dáil went into Committee.
Section 1 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
SECTION 2.
(2) Any sum added to the purchase money of a holding in respect of compounded arrears of rent shall be paid out of the purchase money to the person who would have been entitled to receive such compounded arrears of rent for his own use provided that the income tax, if any, due in respect of the holding shall be deducted from such added sum on the distribution of the purchase money.

I move amendment 1 as follows:—

Before sub-section (2) to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

"When on the appointed day the tenant of a holding owes payment in lieu of rent—the unpaid amount thereof may at his request be added to the purchase money of the holding and be repaid by means of a purchase annuity in like manner as is provided for compounded arrears of rent in the foregoing sub-section."

In putting down this amendment I had in mind a particular estate in Wicklow. The tenants on this estate were undoubtedly the most rack-rented tenants in County Wicklow. They were afraid to go to the courts lest the landlord should proceed immediately for arrears of rent. They did go into court in May, 1923, and proceedings were immediately instituted. The new rent was not fixed until October, 1926, and I understand the landlord is now claiming, and is entitled to claim, all the arrears of the old rent from March, 1923. I know the Minister will have many difficulties in accepting this amendment. I know he will give reasons, and probably good reasons, for declining to accept it. But this is a case of great hardship, and I understand there are similar cases throughout the country. I hope the Minister will be able to do something for those tenants. If he could only add one year's arrears to the rent, it would be a great boon to the tenants. It was for the purpose of directing the Minister's attention to the matter and in the hope of obtaining some relief for the tenants, that I put down this amendment.

I support this amendment. The remarks of Deputy Byrne apply to many cases in my county. There is a good deal of interest in lieu of rent owing on many estates. If this amendment is not carried, at least in part, and if some of this interest in lieu of rent is not added to the purchase money, I do not see how the people are to meet it. Therefore, I would appeal to the Minister, with Deputy Byrne, to stretch a point, so as to give these people a fair start, even if he cannot accept the amendment.

I could not possibly accept this amendment. These tenants got a reduction of 25 per cent. immediately the Land Bill of 1923 was passed. This is not a question of arrears of rent. It is a question of rent accrued since 1923. The tenants got a reduction of 25 per cent., and the suggestion is now made that the arrears accrued since 1923 should be added to the purchase money. What about the people who have made these payments in lieu of rent? Are we going to go back upon their cases and give them a reduction? If not, why not? If we proceed with amendments of this class to any great extent, the result will be that nobody will pay anything. No debt will be safe and no payment sacred. Everybody will have the idea that some time or other a benevolent and beneficent Dáil will come along and wipe out the debts or, as is suggested in this case, add the arrears to the purchase money. I could not possibly accept this amendment. 1920 was a good year. 1914 was a good year, and 1918 was a good year. Between 1914 and 1920, there were very few tenants in Ireland in arrear. At all events there were very few tenants in Ireland who could not pay their arrears, and I am perfectly certain that during that time these tenants could have paid their arrears and could have gone into court and got a fair rent fixed. They did not do that. For all I know, they may be judicial tenants. At all events, they are present tenants. It is alleged that because of their arrears they could not go into court. Where is the tenant who could not pay his arrears between 1914 and 1920? I cannot accept the amendment.

Question put and declared lost.
Amendment 2.—In sub-section (2), lines 37 and 39, to insert the words "and all payments in lieu of rent" in each case after the words "compounded arrears of rent"—(Deputy O'Byrne)—not moved.
Amendment 3, by Minister for Lands and Agriculture—In sub-section (2), after the word "due," line 40, insert the words "by that person." Agreed.
Section 2, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
SECTION 3.
(3) The tenant of a holding to which the Land Act, 1923 applies shall not without the consent in writing of the Land Commission as well as of that of any other person entitled to or having an interest in the timber on the holding cut down or uproot or permit to be cut down or uprooted any tree upon the holding, and if any such tree is cut down or uprooted in violation of this condition the tenant shall be guilty of an offence under this Act and shall be liable on summary conviction to a penalty not exceeding five pounds for each tree so cut down or uprooted.

I move amendment 4, which stands in the names of Deputy C. Hogan and myself:—

"To delete sub-section (3)."

This amendment deals with restrictions in regard to the cutting of trees. As the Bill stands and as previous Land Acts provide, the tenant purchaser is not allowed to cut down even one tree without getting the consent of the Land Commission. This amendment would only apply to the 1923 Act and to this Bill, whereas if it were to be fully effective it should be so drafted as to apply to all the previous Acts which contain similar provisions. That is a fault which can be remedied at a later stage if we have the consent of the Minister. The principal argument in favour of the amendment is that we are passing a law which it is not intended shall be enforced. The Minister and the Land Commission know very well that it is quite impossible to enforce this law in regard to the cutting of trees. Nor do I consider that it is advisable it should be enforced. Why then pass a law with the clear intention that it shall not be enforced?

It is well known to the Minister that a farmer must have control, to some extent, of the cutting of his trees. There are trees which have, of necessity, to be cut. There is hedge timber which is very often a nuisance on the farm. Farms may be very considerably improved by cutting down a tree here and there. Are we to ask the occupier to go to the Land Commission for authority to cut down a tree or two? Doubtless, the argument will be used by the Minister that, in the interest of afforestation, we must permit the power of control in this matter to remain with the Land Commission. But my experience is—I think it is the experience of most Deputies—that farmers are not inclined to cut down shelter belts.

The farmers, in the majority of cases, want to retain their shelter belts. As a matter of fact, they are looking for opportunities to plant shelter belts rather than to cut them down. But the farmer must cut down individual trees, and it is ridiculous to suggest that he should go to the Land Commission for authority to do so. Under this Bill, not only must he do so, but he is subject to the penalty of £5 per tree if he does not —a ridiculous penalty in my opinion. There is hardly a tree in the country worth £5; very few trees are worth even £1. The trees that would be cut down by the farmers would be of little value. Hedge timber is practically valueless except for firing purposes. I think the Minister ought to accept this amendment. It has been discussed over and over again, and the opinion generally is that it is inadvisable to retain this power. If the Minister decides to accept the amendment, I hope he will accept a further amendment which will make its terms applicable to previous Land Acts.

I beg to support the amendment. On the Second Reading of this Bill, while agreeing with the Minister on the question of the preservation and extension of forest land, I could not agree to the general terms which his sub-section incorporated in the Bill. In my opinion, the provision is too wide. I hold that when land is vested in the Land Commission, if on the inspection which follows, there is found timber which the Land Commission desires to reserve, the Land Commission should have the reservation clearly made and covenanted for on the face of the vesting order, and the tenant expressly notified to that effect.

This section goes far beyond that. It proposes that no man can cut a tree on his holding without the prior consent of the Land Commission. Unless they have expressly reserved the timber, the Land Commission cannot say, without inspection, whether it is desirable or otherwise to cut trees. There the question of cost enters, and it is really prohibitive. You cannot have an inspector going on the holdings to determine whether a certain tree or trees shall be cut. The expense would be prohibitive. Even if trees were planted by the occupier, in my opinion this section will prevent him cutting down those trees without the consent of the Land Commission. In other words, a man who has invested money, whether for pleasure or profit, has not the free disposal of the crop which accrues to him. Even diseased trees could not be cut down. Trees have a certain life, and at a certain age a tree begins to encumber the land and is better removed. Let a new one be planted if needs be.

As the openly declared policy of every party here is for a nation of peasant proprietorship, I say you cannot have it both ways. You cannot have large timber plantations and small holdings—it will not work. The amount of arable land is limited, and I say, speaking as a practical farmer, that in a country which has very little sunshine, trees very often cut out the sunshine from crops, and they ought not to be on arable land. Where they are on arable land, every man should be allowed to determine for himself whether he should retain them or not. The best way of promoting afforestation is to have large plantations. State forests, perhaps, are the ideal, but these are not always possible. While I am for the preservation of shelter belts, I think the powers given here are too vague, too wide, and too generous.

There is a further objection to the section which says: "without the consent in writing of the Land Commission as well as that of any other person entitled to or having an interest in the timber on the holding cut down or uproot any tree on the holding." There is a dual penalty attempted to be inflicted here. The owner of the timber has the right of action against the occupier in respect of the timber that he cuts down, if the latter is not entitled to do so. But the Land Commission also steps in and imposes a penalty not exceeding £5. One liability ought to be sufficient to meet the case. If the man is summoned at the suit of the Land Commission, clearly no right of action ought to lie with the landlord. If the right of action lies with the landlord, the Land Commission ought not to interfere, as it has not physical possession of the land. While I am with Deputy Heffernan that this should apply retrospectively to the Acts of 1923, 1903 and 1909, as well as I remember there was no such provision in the Act of 1903. It was inserted in the Act of 1909 and made to apply retrospectively. The effect of this will be to prohibit persons planting timber because they will not have the free disposal of it. Afforestation will be best served in my opinion by deleting this and making the amendment apply retrospectively.

It is well known that since the first Land Act was introduced by Lord Ashbourne, in 1885, a great deal of timber has been cut down indiscriminately in a great many counties, especially under the earlier Land Acts, with the result that a great deal of damage has been done to the appearance of many districts, without much value to the owners or improvement to the land, in some cases anyway. There ought to be some supervision over the cutting of timber—not that a man should not do what he likes with his own. It must be remembered, however, that under the Land Acts, although a man may be in occupation of a holding, he has to pay an annuity for about 68 years. The State, therefore, has a right to have a say in the matter of the timber. I do not say that the State should be tyrannical in the matter, but I think there should be some restraint over indiscriminate felling of timber. There are some foolish people in the world.

Does the Deputy imply that farmers are not responsible men?

Is the Deputy a responsible man at the moment?

I try to be. I think the matter of the timber ought to be left to the Land Commission. There is also the case of demesnes being divided on which there is very old timber. The Land Commission ought to step in and order that timber to be cut down before it becomes useless. The tenant might not cut it down where it ought to be cut. The Land Commission should at least advise that the old timber be cut down and new trees planted if necessary. As long as the annuity is payable, the Land Commission has control and should go into a matter such as this. I hope the Minister will not accept the amendment. The Land Commission is the proper authority to have control over such a matter as the planting or cutting down of timber on any property sold under the various Land Acts.

I hope the Minister will accept this amendment. It is going too far to say that the owner of a holding bought under the Land Acts has not the right to remove a tree if it is in the way of his tillage operations. Such a man would not have the right to cut a tree or a hedge on his land without permission. The section does not specify what kind of trees are forbidden to be cut—whether large or small. If, for instance, the section specified ash trees or elm trees of one ton or two tons weight there might be some reason for it. But if a man cuts a larch tree of one cwt. he is liable to be fined up to £5 for a stick that is not worth 5/-.

When a holding is vested in a tenant the tenant should have it as a freehold. The tenant is paying an annuity for the land that the timber is on and the timber should therefore be the property of the tenant. I would like to see the waste land of the country planted with trees, but that is not being done. The Department are helping agricultural committees to purchase land for the purpose of planting which if it was divided among people is quite capable of being turned into arable land and utilised in the interests of the State. There is plenty of waste land that could be planted but is not being planted. If this section is allowed to stand, a man who wants to cut a tree must communicate with the Land Commission and it may be a month before an inspector is sent down. What is that inspection going to cost the State in travelling expenses? If this section is allowed to remain the estimate of the Land Commission will be immensely increased for travelling expenses and for the appointment of new inspectors to go round the country to every small holding where a farmer wants to cut a tree. All that is going to take time. If a man wants to till a piece of land in the month of March he will have to write to the Land Commission if he wishes to remove one or two trees that are in his way. At the end of April perhaps, an inspector will be sent down when it will be too late to till the land. There is a hardship there and the Minister should accept the amendment.

Previous to the passing of the 1923 Act a good many tenants, who purchased under that Act, held timber rights which they had registered. I should like to know from the Minister if these rights are to be taken away from them under this Bill.

I wish to support the amendment. It seems to me that Deputy Wolfe had in mind conditions which I do not think this section will cover. The section is undoubtedly going to inflict hardship on tenant farmers that we should not stand for. With regard to the question of afforestation and the cutting down of timber we have not heard Deputy Wolfe declare that the Land Commission should have taken action against those landlords all over the country who at the time of the passing of the 1923 Act sold off their timber and denuded the country of trees leaving hundreds of acres of waste land. If he pleaded that the Land Commission should have taken some steps to preserve that timber we could support him.

Of course some of the timber may have been past its time and should have been cut.

There is no landlord who sold his timber and cleared out of the country with what he got for it who would not make the same excuse. We agree that it was very unfortunate that the country should be denuded of timber, and if action was to be taken against the men who own considerable territory to prevent those people cutting timber I say we could stand for it. But this section would prevent any farmer on these Benches cutting a tree on his own farm? We cannot see the sense of that. If the Minister has to go to such extremes as this to preserve the timber throughout the country I think he will want to include something in the Bill that will regulate the elements so that the wind will not blow down the timber. I hold that Deputy Connor Hogan is right in his interpretation of the section that I will not have the right to cut timber that I plant without the permission of the Land Commission. I do not think that is justifiable on the part of the Land Commission. On the other hand, I do not think that this Dáil should take up the attitude that we have to be ringed around with laws that we may do what is right. The farmer is not that wastrel that he wants to destroy everything that grows. He is as anxious to see things grow and flourish as anyone else. Undoubtedly if we are going to put him into the position, as we will by passing this section, that he cannot cut down a tree on his own land it will be asking too much of the small farmer to ask him to assist in afforestation. It would be better to take up the attitude of encouraging the tenant farmer to plant; even from the point of view of planting so that he might have a tree to cut down. I think that is the policy the Land Commission should take up rather than say, as we blunty say in this section: Even though you plant a tree you cannot cut it down without the sanction of the Land Commission; the Land Commission has a greater interest in your farm and in its appearance than you have yourself. I do not think our farmers need such correction as that. I do not think that they should be put into the position of being prevented by law from doing what they think is right and fair with their own property.

I am with the Minister in so far as he seeks to procure powers that would enable his officials to prevent indiscriminate tree cutting through the country. I believe if the Dáil agrees with the section as it stands that it will place power in the hands of the Minister's officials to do things which he himself does not intend. I took up a certain case of indiscriminate tree-cutting in my own constituency with the Minister about the middle of December last, and I had a letter from him indicating that it was his intention to introduce a Bill at an early date seeking powers to acquire certain lands by compulsion for afforestation purposes. If it is still the intention of the Minister to introduce a Bill during the lifetime of the present Dáil I think this clause would fit into a compulsory Bill of that kind better than into the Bill before the House. My own view is that this section can be interpreted in a way that even the Minister himself does not intend.

In a matter of this kind I would compel the farmers or the owner of the land who cuts down a tree to plant two trees in its place. I think action of that kind would be far better and more in accordance with the views of the Ministry than imposing a penalty of £5. The wording of the section is too elastic. If officials are to be appointed to hear complaints with regard to indiscriminate tree-cutting all over the country it would involve an expense and place powers in the hands of these officials that the Minister may not have intended. I would ask the Minister to reconsider the wording of the section so as to make it more in accordance with his own intention.

I desire to express the same view as the last speaker, that this cannot really be the intention of the Minister. Is it suggested that no tenant farmer is to have the right, at any time, to cut down any tree upon his holding without first getting the permission of the Land Commission? I think the clause as it reads, and as it could be read, is far more drastic and sweeping than the Minister can possibly desire. I am in entire agreement with the suggestion that instead of there being a penalty of a maximum of £5 imposed there should be some provision made whereby other trees would be planted instead of those that are cut down. That practice, as far as I understand, obtains elsewhere, and being, personally, strongly in favour of reafforestation and certainly of preserving what little afforestation we have in the country, I would ask the Minister to consider seriously some proposal of the nature outlined by Deputy Davin, whereby trees that were wantonly and recklessly destroyed should be replaced by others.

The section, as it at present reads, certainly seems to take away a very elementary right from the owner of a farm. To suggest that he cannot cut any tree, no matter what class of tree it may be, without first getting the formal permission of the Land Commission, I think, is going to an extreme which does not and cannot meet the case which the Minister must have in view. I would suggest that he consider the alternative put forward by Deputy Davin, namely, whether he could not make some provision whereby if trees were cut down indiscriminately, or to a certain injurious number, that the people who cut them down should have to replace them by planting others. I think that is a very sound and sensible policy to adopt, and it is not going so far as to suggest that any tenant farmer shall have the right to cut any tree whatever upon his holding without obtaining the formal consent of the Land Commission. I certainly support the amendment.

If the Minister only applied this section to trees growing along the road I would be in agreement with him, but even in that case the county surveyor can come along and say that certain trees are overcrowding the road and doing damage and they would have to be cut. The Minister did say last week that it was not his intention that the Act should apply in the case of one or two trees cut here and there through the country. As the Bill now stands, complaints are liable to come up to the Land Commission and officials are likely to be sent down to investigate whether the cutting was correct or not.

It is very definite in the section.

He said last week that there would be no objection to a farmer cutting a tree here and there.

May I remind the Deputy that it does not matter very much what the Minister said. What matters is the Act of Parliament.

Like the other Farmer Deputies, I maintain that a farmer who grows timber should have the best right to say whether it is useful or not or whether it should be cut or not. Sometimes trees are very injurious to a field and sometimes they are useless timber. You must not forget the old fig tree that was of no value and therefore should be destroyed. Take the ash tree. We are told, and I believe it, that the length of the roots of the ash tree is equal to its height. The ground where these roots are could not be even dug with a spade let alone ploughed and the owner of the land has to destroy the tree in order to get out the roots. Deputy Wolfe lays great stress upon the value of these timbers. I wonder would Deputy Wolfe say that the Land Commission should have the same right to interfere in the case of every crop the farmer grows. I cannot see why a landlord or any other man cannot have the right to plant a crop of trees or any other crop he desires. I planted trees myself with the intention that somebody in the future would sell them. These trees are not of much value. There are trees that grow quickly and that come into the market early. I think it would be a lamentable state of affairs if we could not go on with this planting.

I desire to support the amendment. Amongst unpurchased tenants throughout the country this is regarded as the most obnoxious section in the Bill. The Land Commission, under it, can take all real power out of the hands of the farmer. He is left no power whatever. The county surveyors used to tell farmers that they must cut a row of trees on their land by the roadside. If they come along now and give an order like that to the farmer he must go to the Land Commission and acquaint them before he complies with the wishes of the county surveyor. I do not see why a farmer should not have the right to do as he pleases with his trees. I am sure there is no farmer who would cut down trees on his land if they were useful to him and formed shelter belts for his cattle. To give this power to the Land Commission which they can use against farmers is one of the worst forms of coercion that one could imagine. I hope the Minister will agree to wipe out this section altogether. I am quite sure that farmers would be prepared to plant trees in place of any they cut. If some obligation like that were imposed on farmers there would be some meaning in it instead of forbidding them to cut a single one without the authority of the Land Commission. That is a most objectionable proposal.

I desire to make a few remarks on this amendment. I see the view-point of the Minister, and I think it is absolutely necessary that, as far as possible, trees in the country should be preserved. I think, however, that it is very unfair to put a prohibitive section like this into a Bill of this character, taking away from the tenant the power that should be his of cutting the timber that grows on his land. I would put certain conditions on a tenant before he would be allowed to cut timber. One condition would be that recommended by Deputy Davin and Deputy Redmond, namely, that he should plant two trees for every one that he cut. I do not believe that the tenant-farmers of the country want to destroy the appearance of their farms or to deprive themselves of shelter belts on their land. I do not believe that any of them would wantonly destroy valuable timber, but there is timber on the land that is not valuable, and no farmer should be asked to retain that on his land. I think the farmer could be trusted not to destroy timber that would be of value. The vandalism to which, I think, Deputy Wolfe referred was not committed to a very large extent by farmers but by others.

I did not say that, but I said it was inadvisable to cut down timber.

In a good many cases what was done amounted to vandalism. Some of the beauty spots in the country were absolutely denuded of timber. That was bad for the country and for the preservation of our beauty spots. That was not done by farmers, but landlords did it on some of their properties. I know one estate, a portion of which was sold by the landlord under the 1903 Land Act. On the portion that he retained himself, he sold £400 worth of timber off it last year. I suggest that power should not be taken from the farmer to cut timber on his land, but that where he does it conditions might be imposed obliging him to replant trees for these cut down.

The tenant farmer is in the happy position that everyone is piling compliments on him this evening. He is told that he has always been very careful of his trees. When he is told that, I think he must just wonder whether the compliments are genuinely meant. I think we must all admit the fact that as regards the care of trees landlords were more careful than tenants. There is not a farmer that does not know that. I agree that this section is somewhat vague and wide, but the fact of the matter is that the section has been in operation for the past twenty years, and has produced none of the frightful consequences that some Deputies now seem to foresee. Deputy Connor Hogan made a weighty speech on this. He talked wise maxims about forestry, and said the peasant farmers of the country could not have large forests. This is not a question of afforestation, and therefore the Deputy's talk was all irrelevant. Everyone knows that you cannot have forests on a 25 acre farm, or on a holding with a poor law valuation of £10. I agree with Deputy Noonan that it is a hardship on a tenant who owns trees to prevent him from cutting them, and with Deputy Connor Hogan that a man who plants trees himself should not be prevented from cutting them. This section is inserted in the Bill from the same point of view that a similar section was inserted in the Act of 1909. Deputy Connor Hogan wants it made retrospective, not from the point of view of afforestation, but from the point of view of security of the holding. It is intended to cover shelter belts and ornamental timber. If you begin to think of the sort of timber that should be allowed to stand, the very first thing that occurs to one is that a shelter belt, for instance, is very hard to define.

It is obvious that a good row of beech trees and elms along a road should not be cut wholesale. Neither should people be allowed to cut trees if their doing so interfered with the amenities or security of a holding. Deputy Baxter spoke about the tyrannical and grandmotherly Land Commission Department attempting to prevent a farmer from doing this. I am glad that the Deputy is coming around to the conclusion that the farmer should get a certain amount of discretion and should be expected to do something for himself. The amendment which I propose to introduce would provide that the tenant would only have the right to cut trees which he owned or planted himself, and that, in addition, the section would apply to ornamental timber and shelter belts. I have been told that this section will mean a huge accession of staff to the Land Commission. I doubt if Deputies who make statements like that believe them seriously. Even if you did compel people to plant two trees for every tree that they cut you would still not be reaching the problem at all. What you really want is something to compel people to protect the trees that they do plant. There is no use in planting trees if people do not take care of them afterwards. I am willing to make this more specific than in the Act of 1909 by inserting a provision on the lines I have just indicated.

I am anxious to know if the Minister is accepting my amendment tentatively. I gather from him that it is his intention to bring forward a counter proposal on the Report Stage. My dilemma is that if I withdraw my amendment I may not be satisfied with the amendment which the Minister will bring in on the Report Stage. My own opinion is that the Minister ought to accept my amendment.

A good many Deputies seem to have rather funny ideas with regard to timber on farms. I should say that 97 per cent. of the timber on an agricultural holding is hedge timber. Very little timber is planted for shelter belts or for ornament. This hedge timber becomes objectionable at a certain time and age, and it is desirable to have it removed. Wherever there is old hedge timber, there is bound to be young timber coming on, and you cannot prevent a man from cutting it. The less interference there is with the farmer as regards this hedge timber the better. I am sure that on an average I break the law three or four times a week by removing this old hedge timber which is no good. I suppose that if the strict letter of the law were to be adhered to I would be liable for a penalty amounting to £15 or £20 a week. The Act has not been carried out and is merely there as a protection. The section, I think, is more or less there for ornamental purposes and serves very little use.

Mr. HOGAN

I want a definite understanding on this matter. If the amendment were accepted it would mean that a man would have a perfect right to cut down ornamental trees and shelter belts; he could do that with impunity. I am not going to accept that. On the other hand, I want to have my undertaking made definite also, or at least understood. I propose to put in a provision which will reserve the right to a tenant to cut trees which he owns or planted himself and I propose to bring in an amendment defining the trees he cannot cut without the consent of the Land Commission. That will be more defined and will be made more specific, but at the moment that is my undertaking.

Would the proposal the Minister has just made leave outside the purview of the Act hedgerow timber which is of little or no commercial value?

Mr. HOGAN

It would, of course.

It often occurs that a tree becomes dangerous either to buildings or stock. Would a farmer be precluded from cutting down or uprooting a tree such as that?

Mr. HOGAN

I doubt if you should insert such a word as dangerous in the Bill. That could be inserted, but the implication would be wrong. Surely we would assume that timber that is dangerous could be neither a shelter belt nor ornamental timber.

Hedgerow timber often affords shelter, but on the other hand it is often very obnoxious, especially from the point of view of tillage.

I wish the Minister would accept the amendment at this stage and at a later stage introduce his own suggestions.

Mr. HOGAN

No.

I will not press the amendment at this stage if the Minister will not accept it. I desire to say that in actual practice the matter will not be so easily managed; theoretically it is all right. You may define shelter belts and ornamental trees, but even though you do define them a man down the country may consider that one tree is ornamental and the Land Commission may be of opinion that the tree is not ornamental. As against that the Land Commission may be of opinion that a tree is ornamental and the man himself may consider otherwise. He has to apply to the Land Commission to decide whether or not the tree is ornamental. Is not that the case?

Mr. HOGAN

Not at all.

A man proceeds to cut down a tree which he considers is not ornamental. Somebody reports the matter to the Land Commission. The Land Commission express the opinion that it is an ornamental tree and they prosecute the man for cutting it. Therefore the man has to take a chance.

Mr. HOGAN

Exactly, just like us all.

Then the only course open to a law-abiding citizen is to apply to the Land Commission to know whether or not a tree is ornamental. In this matter I am of opinion that the Minister is opening the way to great difficulties.

Mr. HOGAN

The Deputy is entirely too law-abiding.

The Minister should take a chance and have some faith in the farmers. I think if he did place a little faith in the farming community the farmers on their part would be inclined, perhaps, to plant trees. A suggestion has been made in regard to tree-planting which in theory is all right, but in my opinion is not workable in practice.

I am prepared to accept the Minister's proposal on the understanding that there is more or less a codification of the law with regard to the 1903 and 1909 Acts.

Mr. HOGAN

No. This is not really a codifying statute.

With regard to the penalty, I think £5 is excessive.

There is another amendment dealing with the question of the fine.

I am prepared to withdraw this amendment.

Amendment 4 withdrawn.

I beg to move amendment 4 (a):—"In sub-section (3), line 13, to delete the word ‘five' and substitute the word ‘one.'" To save discussion perhaps the Minister will accept this amendment?

Mr. HOGAN

In view of the fact that we have limited the section very much, in that it now applies only to shelter belts, I do not think the fine should be touched. Shelter belts will be very valuable indeed. This is the maximum fine. After all, if a case goes to Court the Judge will take into account whether the offence is serious enough to enforce the maximum penalty. If it is not, the fine might be anything up to, perhaps, 10/-.

The Judge puts on the maximum fine every time.

Mr. HOGAN

I wish he did, but he does not.

For the protection of the ordinary farmer I would like to know who is to report on and supervise those irregularities if and when they occur?

Mr. HOGAN

I do not think I could accept this amendment.

Does the Minister know the value of timber at present? What tree in the country would be worth £5?

Mr. HOGAN

It is not a question of the value of timber; it is really a deterrent penalty.

Does the Minister realise that this measure will be dealing largely with law-abiding farmers in Tipperary and Clare?

In my opinion the offences and the fines should bear some proportion to each other. This fine is altogether out of proportion—£5 per tree. A man might cut down twenty trees and then he would be fined £100. I suggest that £1 is ample, if not too much.

Mr. HOGAN

This penalty has been in operation since 1903, and have there been any scandalous fines imposed yet? The Deputy never heard of a single case in which there were black headlines in the papers. I could not accept the amendment.

Perhaps the Minister will give the Gárda Síochána credit for more energy than the members of the R.I.C.?

How have the Gárda Síochána the right to question whether trees should be cut or not? People themselves are not able to prevent trees being cut occasionally. In many cases trees are found overhanging the road and then it is not a question of cutting but of lopping them.

We are now on the question of fines.

I never heard of Judges putting on the extreme penalty unless there was grave reason for doing so.

By jove they have.

There is one matter I would like to mention, seeing that the Minister for Justice, who is the chief of the Gárda Síochána, is here——

Has it to do with this amendment?

It has to this extent: except during the war years when timber was at a premium and the Government was very interested in the cutting of it, I never saw timber falling to the extent that it has fallen for the last twelve months on farms distributed by the Land Commission during that same period.

Mr. HOGAN

What has this to do with fines?

Farms have been distributed, some of them permanently and some temporarily, by the Land Commission and if I ever saw timber falling in my life it is since that time, with the consent, evidently, of everybody. If the Gárda Síochána had any powers we would have less of it.

With the knowledge of the Land Commission?

I am afraid a lot of us cannot see the wood for the trees. Although the proposal is that this should be a maximum penalty, it should be fairly obvious that the maximum penalty is not going to be imposed on all occasions; neither is it suggested that for every tree cut down a £5 penalty should be imposed. There is a good deal in the point that because this has not been administered previously there is no use in continuing it now unless with a view of administering the law strictly. If it is not going to be administered, I do not see why it should be passed.

resumed the Chair.

Will the Minister accept a compromise?

Mr. HOGAN

I think £5 is reasonable as a maximum fine. A Judge can decide on the merits of each case.

Amendment put.
The Committee divided. Tá, 16; Níl, 36.

  • Pádraig Baxter.
  • John J. Cole.
  • John Conlan.
  • David Hall.
  • Connor Hogan.
  • Séamus Mac Cosgair.
  • Patrick J. Mulvany.
  • Tadhg O Donnabháin.
  • Mícheál O Dubhghaill.
  • Donnchadh O Guaire.
  • Mícheál O hIfearnáin.
  • Domhnall O Mocháin.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (An Clár).
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (Luimneach).
  • William A. Redmond.
  • Nicholas Wall.

Níl

  • Earnán de Blaghd.
  • Séamus Breathnach.
  • Seoirse de Bhulbh.
  • Séamus de Burca.
  • Louis J. D'Alton.
  • Máighréad Ní Choileáin Bean Uí Dhrisceóil.
  • James Dwyer.
  • Michael Egan.
  • Patrick J. Egan.
  • Desmond Fitzgerald.
  • John Hennigan.
  • Liam Mac Cosgair.
  • Pádraig Mac Fadáin.
  • Patrick McGilligan.
  • Eoin Mac Néill.
  • Seoirse Mac Niocaill.
  • Liam Mac Sioghaird.
  • Pádraig Mag Ualghairg.
  • Martin M. Nally.
  • John T. Nolan.
  • Michael K. Noonan.
  • Peadar O hAodha.
  • Seán O Bruadair.
  • Séamus O Cruadhlaoich. Eoghan O Dochartaigh.
  • Séamus O Dóláin.
  • Peadar O Dubhghaill.
  • Eamon O Dúgáin.
  • Aindriú O Láimhín.
  • Fionán O Loingsigh.
  • Séamus O Murchadha.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (Gaillimh).
  • Máirtín O Rodaigh.
  • Mícheál O Tighearnaigh.
  • Caoimhghín O hUigín.
  • Liam Thrift.
Tellers.—Tá: Deputies Connor Hogan and Heffernan; Níl: Deputies Dolan and Sears.
Amendment declared lost.
Section 3 put and agreed to.
Sitting suspended at 7.15 and resumed at 7.45, An Leas-Cheann Comhairle in the Chair.
SECTION 4, SUB-SECTION (1).
(1) Where the Land Commission have at any time prior to the passing of the Land Act, 1923 made any advance under the Land Purchase Acts for the purchase of a holding or parcel, the proprietor thereof shall not, until the whole of the advance made for the purchase thereof has been repaid, sub-divide or let the holding or parcel without the consent of the Land Commission, and every attempted sub-division or letting in contravention of this provision shall be void as against all persons and on any such contravention the Land Commission may cause the holding or parcel to be sold.

Mr. HOGAN

I move:—

In sub-section (1), line 20, to delete the word "any" and substitute therefor the word "an."

This is a drafting amendment. It was a wise mistake.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Section 4, as amended, put and agreed to.
Section 5 put and agreed to.
SECTION 6, SUB-SECTIONS (2) AND (6).
(2) Where a holding or part of a holding which is excluded from the operation of the Land Act, 1923 solely by reason or on account of its potential or actual value or utility as building ground, was at the passing of the said Act held by the tenant under a lease (other than a building lease), the tenant shall at the expiration of such lease, if no bona fide occupation of the holding or the part thereof so excluded as aforesaid, be deemed to be a tenant of a present ordinary tenancy from year to year at the rent or apportioned rent as the case may be, and subject to the conditions of his lease, so far as such conditions are applicable to a tenancy from year to year although the lease may not have been existing at the passing of the Land Law (Ireland) Act, 1881.
(6) On the expiration of five years from the passing of this Act where any lands, which were at the passing of the Land Act, 1923 tenanted lands excepted from the provisions of sub-Section (1) of Section 24 of the said Act by reason or on account of their potential or actual value or utility as building, ground, have not been resumed and utilised for building purposes during the said period, the Judicial Commissioner may order that the Land Act, 1923 shall apply to the whole or any part of the said lands and the provisions of the said Act shall apply thereto as from such date and subject to such conditions as the Judicial Commissioner may direct. Provided that no such order as aforesaid shall be made in respect of any lands if the landlord proves to the satisfaction of the Judicial Commissioner that he intends forthwith to resume the same (if not then resumed) with the definite purpose of utilising them as building ground, and the Judicial Commissioner is satisfied that the lands will be utilised for building purposes within such further period of time as may be fixed by him.
Upon every application by a tenant for an order pursuant to this sub-section, the Judicial Commissioner shall have and may exercise the powers of sub-division and apportionment conferred on him by sub-section (1) of this section.

Mr. HOGAN

I move: In sub-section (2), page 5, line 11, to delete the word "no" and substitute therefor the word "in." This is purely a drafting amendment also.

Amendment put, and agreed to.
Amendment 7 not moved.

I move: In sub-section (6), line 45, to delete the word "may" and substitute therefor the word "shall" and to delete the proviso at the end of the sub-section.

The Minister has certainly advanced a very long distance in this section to meet the requirements of the case, but I feel that in its present form it will hardly give full satisfaction. It deals with residential holdings and makes certain provision in regard to the portions of these holdings which may be retained by the landlord. Sub-section (6) provides that where land is retained by the landlord for the purpose of a building he shall build within five years, or if he does not the Judicial Commissioner may order that the Land Act of 1923 shall apply to the whole or to any part of such lands. The effect of my amendment is to make it mandatory on the Judicial Commissioner to order. The effect of the amendment would be that after the expiration of five years from the date of the 1923 Land Act if the landlord who had retained portion of the land for building has not built, the land shall pass into the hands of the occupying tenant and the ordinary provisions of the Land Act shall apply. I think the section in its present form is a little too loose and gives a little too much power to the Judicial Commissioner, that it leaves the thing a little too indefinite. It leaves it to the Judicial Commissioner to say when the landlord may build. I think that on the whole the acceptance of my amendment would make the section more acceptable and more suitable in every way for those who are concerned.

I support the amendment and I think Deputy Heffernan's request is reasonable. Those who are familiar with the details of the case in regard to this whole question, that was thrashed out fully in Committee, will recognise that good progress has been made by the Minister towards meeting the position, or at least a great many people who are keenly interested in the question will have to agree that the Minister has gone a good distance to meet them. The arrangement that the land would have to be resumed within five years for the purpose of building, and if not resumed at that time it should be included within the provisions of the Act is, I think, quite reasonable, and in order that there should be no loophole in regard to that I think that the provision should be mandatory. I think Deputy Heffernan's arguments are reasonable, and while we are willing to admit that the Minister has gone a long way to meet the position, I think that in order to make the matter very definite the section should be amended in the way proposed.

Mr. HOGAN

The effect of this sub-section is to give a tenant security of tenure during the five years' period, except the landlord resumes for the purpose of building during the period. That is agreed by everyone to be fair. The only person to whom it is unfair is the owner of the land and, as I have already pointed out here, the owners of the land, in a great many cases, especially in these building ground cases, are very often poor people. This building ground will all be near a town, and very often it is the case of one shopkeeper setting to another, or one labourer, if you like, setting to another. The only party who has a grievance under this section is the owner, and there is a distinct grievance. Personally, I am not satisfied that the Bill will work out as we anticipate. I think that, undoubtedly, I will receive from Deputies of all parties letters and memoranda pointing out the grave injustice in certain cases where the proprietor, being a poor man, has let land two or three years ago and that now the land has been taken from him and has, perhaps, been given over to somebody who was much better off. There would be numerous cases where poor people let land under short leases any time from 1920 to 1923 to very much better-off people, people who are big shopkeepers and who want a bit of accommodation land, solicitors in a town, clergymen, and so on. These are the kind of people who usually take land of that sort under the kind of lease that this section applies to, and the people who had the land are in very many cases much poorer people.

The effect of the section as it stands is to take away all rights from the owner of the land and to give everything to the person in occupation. I am not satisfied that I have not gone too far, and I think that the Bill, in its operation, will show that I have gone very far indeed. It is a case of balancing advantages and disadvantages. Undoubtedly there were serious disadvantages in making provision for these buildings. I had to make provision for them or simply to omit it. I have made provision. I have left in only one proviso, and that is the proviso that the owner wishes to resume for the purpose of building. It is agreed by everybody that the owner should have the right during the five years' period, but the case is made that the moment the five years' period has expired the owner should have no such right. I do not think it is possible to justify that if you realise what exactly we mean by this proviso. It might be for a hundred and one reasons, the impossibility of getting money, or other circumstances, which might make it impossible for an owner to proceed to resume except just towards the end of the five years' period, and it might very well be, through the law's delay, or other delays, that he might go for the five years' period before actual resumption would take place or before proceedings had been initiated for resumption. It you admit the principle that the owner has the right to resume for the purpose of building why should you penalise the owner because he happens to initiate these proceedings the day after the five years' period has expired and, say, two months before the tenant takes proceedings before the Judicial Commissioner to acquire the ownership in the lands? I think that would be arbitrary, and the proviso is the only discretion that the Judicial Commissioner has. It is perfectly clear that the tenant may purchase, and the Judicial Commissioner must agree to that course except as set out in this proviso. There is just one thing you might say on that proviso. You might say that the Judicial Commissioner, or any judge, is only human, that he has to depend on the evidence given by the applicant, and may believe that evidence, and the applicant may get the land and then refrain from building on it. You may take it as certain that within the terms of that proviso, unless the building does take place, the land reverts.

You can take that as clear. There can be no such thing as a trick, no such thing as an applicant getting the land and then not building. "The Commissioner is satisfied that the land will be utilised for building purposes within such further period of time as may be fixed by him." That is the only case which I should be asked to cover. I have covered it. That is the case of an owner making application, the Commissioner acceding to the application, and then the owner, having got the land, refraining from building. What is the objection to giving the Commissioner discretion in that case? The owner might come before the Commissioner at the last moment and ask to be allowed to retain the land for certain reasons. I cannot see what objection there is to giving this discretion, once it is admitted in equity that the owner should have that right within five years. Deputies may ask, why use the word "may"? It is simply to have it read properly. I am advised that the only case in which the Judicial Commissioner could exercise his discretion is the case where he is absolutely satisfied that the owner of the land who is applying for resumption intends to, and will in fact build. I would ask the Deputy to withdraw the amendment. It is illogical, having regard to the fact that we are allowing the owner to resume for building purposes within a period of five years.

I see a great deal of sense in what the Minister says but the principal objection to the proviso is the final line where it says that the extension may be given for "such further period of time as may be fixed by him." That still remains indefinite. The Commissioner might, in fact, fix a further period of five years. The general feeling is that if the landlord does not show a clear intention of building within a reasonable time the land should revert to the occupying tenant. This sub-section leaves it somewhat indefinite, though I agree with the Minister that it makes it mandatory that the building shall take place some time.

Mr. HOGAN

"Forthwith."

It seems to me that there is something contradictory in that. He may intend to build but he may not actually build.

Mr. HOGAN

That is exactly why the Judicial Commissioner puts a time limit.

Would the Minister consider a further time limit to be decided beyond the period of five years, say, not to exceed two years more?

Mr. HOGAN

I do not see the reason for it and on general principles it seems to be unsound. In some cases even a year might be absurd. A case might come before the Judicial Commissioner in which the building operations were quite simple and in which having regard to all the circumstances the applicant should proceed to build. Where the Commissioner had grave doubts as to the bona fides of the applicant he might make it short and sharp. The applicant on the other hand, might require reasonable time and the Judge's discretion is limited by the whole sub-section. The proviso reads: "Provided that no such order as aforesaid shall be made in respect of any land if the landlord proves to the satisfaction of the Judicial Commissioner that he intends forthwith to resume the same (if not then resumed) with the definite purpose of utilising them as building ground." That makes it clear that the meaning of the sub-section is that building must begin as soon as possible. It is to meet such cases that you have in the words, "within such further period of time as may be fixed by him." I would leave it to the Judge who must take into account the Act of Parliament, and discretion should be left to him to take the attendant circumstances into account.

Does not the Minister think that it would speed up building if there was a real intention to build, and the owner who resumed possession for that period knew that there was a definite period in which he must start work? It would make him understand that he should build within a certain period or else he would lose possession.

Mr. HOGAN

Where is it going to end? You have a definite period—that is, five years. It is realised that you must give a little elasticity.

I am afraid that the Minister has a very vague idea of the time it takes to develop building land. I have an estate in mind in which a large sum was expended more than twenty-five years ago, but the land is still largely undeveloped. I know another estate upon which large sums were expended close on one hundred years ago and a considerable portion of the land is still undeveloped. What is to happen under this particular section? If that land is not taken for building purposes within five years all the money spent on it is gone. Could anything be more confiscatory than this proposal? It is all very well for the Minister to say that five years is a long period. When we come to the question of developing a building site, five years is a comparatively short period. If any Deputy has within his knowledge, as doubtless he has, certain sites let for building will he show me even one site in a most popular position that has been fully developed in anything approaching five years? The effect of the section will be that not alone will it mean that large sums in development will be lost, but it will absolutely prohibit anybody from spending money on building land for the purposes of development. The President has pointed out over and over again his anxiety to get houses and the need for houses, but here is a counter effort, by means of another Bill, to stop the development of that policy. I leave it to anybody who has any knowledge of this subject to tell me that it is possible to develop building land in five years.

I can bring Deputies to sites in county Dublin and county Wicklow where the exact opposite is true. This proposal would mean that the large sums, running into thousands of pounds, which have been spent years ago on the land, and which meantime have been producing very little because there was an expectation of a development which has not yet come— these will all go by the board. Instead, however, of that development coming, this Bill, if it becomes law, will do away with the whole thing. To put a clause like this into what you might call practical shape is a matter of very considerable difficulty. Let me cite a case: A head landlord may have in his mind a certain development and the land may come within the Act and be regarded as suitable for building purposes. There may be a sub-tenant who may have rights for five or ten years. The landlord in that case has no chance of developing the land until the tenancy expires. These are all difficulties that are inherent in building land and show the difficulty of trying to secure any measure that could deal fairly and effectively with them. I am sorry I was not here when my amendment was reached, but I would suggest to the Minister the reconsideration of this clause as, instead of doing good, it will do a serious amount of injury as it stands. I cannot suggest any amendment that would meet the particular objects which the Minister mentioned in regard to the necessity for urging the development of building. Deputies may point out that if a man knew that in five years his rights would expire it might be some incentive. It is not the owner himself who builds, but it is somebody else. It may be an incentive to somebody to build, but I cannot see it. Suppose it does not achieve its object, is all that money lost? These are matters which must be considered from both points of view.

My opinion is that the effect of my amendment would be to stimulate building because it fixes a definite period of five years within which the building is to take place. It will be up to the landlord to get to work and to start building. If he does not, he will lose the land on which the building might take place. My amendment would give a definite stimulus to building.

The landlord is not the man who does the building.

He may not be the actual builder, but he may let the land for building or he may get somebody to do the building for him.

If he cannot get people to undertake it, what is to happen?

He certainly will be able to get the building done. I think Deputy Good has in mind a type of holding which we have not in mind at all. A great many of the holdings Deputy Good has in mind are not tenanted holdings and are not worked as agricultural holdings. Under this amendment, the holding will have to be agricultural in character. I have in mind a type of holding which exists around a great many of our towns. Land beside those towns is being held up on the pretence that it is to be used for building, whereas it is not the intention of the owners to use it for building at all. I have in mind one or two towns where there are examples of that. Many of those owners have held up the land for many years on that plea. There has been very little development as regards building around the smaller towns and there seems to be no prospect of further development if the land continues in the hands of the present holders. If the land passes into the hands of tenants, they will have the right to build at any future time.

Suppose thousands of pounds have been spent in the development of the lands, what is the position?

There has been no such expenditure in these cases.

I can quote you half a dozen cases of agricultural land on which a large amount of money has been spent in development.

I presume that once building is started or once that owner proceeds to make drains and gives evidence that he intends to build, the land will be regarded as building ground. I think there was a good deal in my original amendment and I am not inclined to withdraw it unless the Minister meets me as regards a further limit of the time which may be given according to the proviso at the end of the sub-section.

In his reply in connection with this amendment, the Minister stressed, with very good effect, the cases of poor people who had let land of this kind to wealthy people. The reverse is very often the case, too. It is for that type of case that I plead now. Numbers of comparatively poor people spent all the money they had in acquiring land of this kind near cities. There are cases I know in which the tenants are in the unfortunate position that they are liable to be ejected on very short notice. In some cases they have already been put out. I think the period proposed of five years is long enough. Deputy Good suggested that people who have a right of this kind should have a generation in which to build. But he really objects to the principle altogether, and he seeks to provide an excuse for the people who are holding on to land of this description without any intention of utilising it for building ground at any time. As regards the time limit, you must have a time limit in every case. In compensation cases and indemnity you have provided a time limit, and claims which are not made within a certain time will not be dealt with at all. I think the period in the amendment is reasonable, and I support Deputy Heffernan in his attitude.

Deputy Good undoubtedly made a case for his amendment, although he has not yet moved it. There are two sides to this question. There is the side mentioned by Deputy Good, where large sums of money have been expended over a long period in the initial development of building ground. Such sums have been spent outside Dublin, Cork and such places on holdings which are now agricultural. There is no doubt about that. I know examples of it myself around Dublin. A certain amount of initial work has been done and big sums of money have been spent. These holdings are now occupied by agricultural tenants, and so are other holdings on which no money has yet been spent, but which are, in fact, building ground. They are also occupied by agricultural tenants and by agricultural tenants under fair rents —that is to say, with fixity of tenure. The difficulty is to deal with all those cases in one Bill by one provision. That is an example of the fact that there is no ideal solution of any of these dilemmas. There is the further hardship to which I referred already. In the Land Act of 1923, for the first time, future tenancies were included, a future tenancy being a tenancy held subject to the right of the owner to serve notice to quit and resume. Personally, I agreed to include them with some doubt. But I came to the conclusion that we could safely include them because of the building-ground exception which was in that Act. I realised that most of those future tenancies were near towns, and that a considerable number of them would be excluded by the building-clause section. It was because of that that I agreed to insert a provision in the Land Act of 1923 that such tenancies should come in.

These tenancies, to a very great extent, are owned by comparatively poor people and are near towns. Deputy Murphy pointed out that there are cases where these tenancies are owned by wealthy people. That is true. You have both classes, but to a very large extent they are owned by poor people. And to a very large extent they retain their ownership because, notwithstanding that future tenancies were included in the 1923 Act, these tenancies were excluded by the building clause section. What is done cannot be undone. We have got beyond that now, and building ground is brought in. I have no doubt whatever that that will cause great hardships. That is one side of the question. There is the side mentioned by Deputy Good—the case of estates on which moneys have been spent over a long period, but which are not yet developed and which will for a long time not be developed. There is another side to the case. There is the case of agricultural tenancies, properly so called, on which no money has been spent but on which fair rents have been fixed. Under the Act of 1923 they were excluded as building ground. So far as they were present tenancies without a fair rent, but present tenancies with fixity of tenure, their right to have a fair rent fixed was taken away by that Act and some of them were in a bad position. Here is an attempt to deal with that. This section will do grave hardship. There were hardships caused by the absence of it, but I certainly think we ought not to press the case further than this section puts it. Deputies will never be satisfied with any Land Purchase Act. Each one will be made more extreme than the other, and we will just begin to stop land purchase when it comes to affect ourselves and our own particular conditions. Personally, I stand over this section as it is, with all its disadvantages on both sides, but I will not go any further.

I recognise, since Deputy Good spoke, that there are two sides to this question, as to most questions. Looking at the question from our point of view, we see a holding, the possession of which the landlord has resumed, the tenant having been evicted.

Mr. HOGAN

That is only in the case of a future tenancy.

We, in this amendment, do not seek to impose a disability on the owner of land who has, as Deputy Good says, spent thousands of pounds in developing it for building purposes. It seems to me that the Minister in this section is trying to cover two very different cases. I believe that, as a result of the effort to do that, the section will work unfairly to both sides.

Mr. HOGAN

Why not propose an amendment excluding them?

In the case of a man who has invested large sums of money in making the land suitable for building purposes, there should be an extension of the period during which building operations might commence. That is a very different case from the case of the landlord who has already resumed possession from the future tenant on this plea of building ground or who is prepared to do that and who does not intend to build but to hold on in the hope that something may happen which will leave him in possession. I think the Minister should reconsider the section and see if it could not be redrafted to cover cases where the holding is really agricultural and where the tenant should be protected from the landlord who has no intention of building. At the same time, provision could be made whereby no injustice would be done to the man who has invested money in making land suitable for building which it would be unfair to take over within a limited time without giving the owner a fair chance to go ahead with his work.

Mr. HOGAN

I want to get the Deputy's meaning. Does he mean that where the owner of land has spent a certain amount in the development of it for building purposes he should be entitled to another period of five or ten years to continue that development?

Mr. HOGAN

That goes a certain distance. I will introduce an amendment to that effect on Report.

How does the Minister propose to deal with the holding on which no money has been spent, and on which the landlord does not intend to build?

Mr. HOGAN

Perhaps this would go some distance towards meeting the case mentioned by the Deputy: where money has been spent in the development of an estate for building purposes the period, instead of being five years, shall be, say, fifteen years, the period in the other case remaining five years. That is to say, where no money has been spent the period will remain five years. I am simply taking out of this section the sort of case that Deputy Good mentioned first, and that Deputy Baxter mentioned now—the case where a certain amount of money has been spent already towards initial development of the estate. In that class of case I propose to add a clause extending the period from five years, which is the period which will cover the ordinary case where no money has been spent, by fifteen years, to twenty years.

Would the Minister put in a proviso that the question be considered then? Twenty years, when you come to a question of building, is a very short time.

Mr. HOGAN

I realise that.

If an effort has been made to get building done on the particular estate, and if it had not been as successful as it was hoped it would be, that should be sufficient to enable the land to be held for building. If the Minister does not put in a proviso that such consideration will be taken into account, what will happen is that all this estate development for building will cease immediately. Take the Mount Merrion estate, which Deputies know. A considerable amount has been spent already on the development of that estate. I do not imagine that that estate will be fully developed for the next 30 years. It will be quite good work if it is developed in 30 years. If this section is put into operation, because that is agricultural land, it will shut it down immediately, and nobody wants that.

Mr. HOGAN

The Deputy is under a misapprehension in that regard. What will happen is that the man who intends to develop an estate for building will not put a tenant on it.

He will not spend anything on it.

Mr. HOGAN

He will. He has absolute security so long as there is not a tenant there—so long as he is owner-in-fee and occupier, or so long as there is nobody there except a person holding for temporary convenience. This section does not operate except there is a tenant on the land and it operates then in favour of the tenant. There will be absolute security where there is no tenant. There is no tenant as far as I know on the Mount Merrion Estate.

I would not be quite sure.

Mr. HOGAN

There may be, but there are plenty of others in the hands of the owners-in-fee and not affected. The only cases affected are where the lands are in the hands of tenants. I will go some distance to meet the case mentioned by introducing an amendment on the Report Stage, if I may, which will extend the period in the case where a certain amount of money has been already spent on development for building purposes to, say, twenty years instead of five years, or insert some other safeguard of that kind.

It seems to me that the Minister is creating new difficulties by this amendment which he proposes to make, because he will have to define the amount of money that will be needed to show that some development has taken place. It opens the way for the landlord, whom Deputy Baxter referred to, who can evade this section by simply doing some nominal development and getting an extension for twenty years— digging a few drains or something of that kind. The Minister should be careful that this does not give an opportunity to such a landlord to evade the real intention of the Bill.

I have the same idea as Deputy O'Connell with regard to this. I want to be quite clear as to the promise that the Minister is making. I take it he intends to accept my amendment.

Mr. HOGAN

Not at all.

We are not getting a bit further ahead.

Mr. HOGAN

I am merely meeting Deputy Baxter's suggestion.

That suggestion standing on its own legs is a disadvantage rather than an advantage to the tenant. We must have the two or we will not have any. We will not have the Minister's alone. We will have to have my amendment, but we are willing to accept the Minister's amendment provided that it is reasonable. I agree with Deputy O'Connell that we will have to be sure that this development is of a substantial character which indicates that the owner really intends to build.

Mr. HOGAN

Does the Deputy agree with Deputy Baxter's suggestion?

There is a misunderstanding—I do, provided it is combined with the acceptance of the original amendment—that you fix the period for ordinary building definitely at five years. If that is granted, we are willing to accept the Minister's suggestion that special arrangements be made in regard to cases where developments of a certain kind have already taken place.

I want to make it clear that there were two cases in question—there was the case of a tenant in possession where no money had been spent. In that case it is very difficult to see why there should be a longer period than five years.

Mr. HOGAN

I agree.

If there is any longer than five years——

Mr. HOGAN

There is no longer here than five years.

There is. The Judicial Commissioner can give such longer time as he considers reasonable "where the landlord proves that he intends forthwith to resume the same with the definite purpose of using them as building ground." If he gets five years first and comes to the Commissioner to prove that he intends forthwith to resume the lands with the definite purpose of utilising them for building the Commissioner can extend the time. We want that deleted where it has relation to the ordinary tenancy. If the Minister is prepared to do that, that is what we want. He can also meet the other case.

Mr. HOGAN

It was the Deputy himself who made the suggestion. The Deputy definitely made the suggestion, after Deputy Good spoke, that some method should be found of meeting the case of the man who had spent money already on developing an estate. I said I would meet him on that, and I will meet him by extending the period to 15 or 20 years. That is the point we are discussing.

There are two points.

Mr. HOGAN

That is one. Does the Deputy stand by his own suggestion?

That is one, but the two were made together.

Mr. HOGAN

I will come to the second later. Does the Deputy stand by the first suggestion or has he gone away from it?

I have not gone away from it.

Mr. HOGAN

What is the suggestion? The suggestion was made and I agreed to it. I do not know where I am now. In any event, I propose to bring in such an amendment on the Report Stage, and I do not propose to accept Deputy Heffernan's amendment.

Does that mean that the Minister has taken up the position that this sub-section is to pass as it stands—that along with the landlord getting five years he can appear before the Judicial Commissioner to prove that he is entitled to such other time as the Commissioner may decide?

Mr. HOGAN

That is the Deputy's own suggestion.

It is not.

It is clear now that I will have to stand by my amendment. If the Minister decides to bring in another amendment at a later stage we will argue that as an independent amendment on its merits.

Amendment put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 21; Níl, 45.

  • Pádraig Baxter.
  • John Conlan.
  • David Hall.
  • Connor Hogan.
  • Séamus Mac Cosgair.
  • Tomás de Nógla.
  • Ailfrid O Broin.
  • Tomás O Conaill.
  • Aodh O Cúlacháin.
  • Liam O Daimhín.
  • Tadhg O Donnabháin.
  • Eamon O Dubhghaill.
  • Mícheál O Dubhghaill.
  • Mícheál O hIfearnáin.
  • Seán O Laidhin.
  • Domhnall O Mocháin.
  • Tadhg Murchadha.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (An Clár).
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (Luimneach).
  • William A. Redmond.
  • Nicholas Wall.

Níl

  • Earnán Altún.
  • Earnán de Blaghd.
  • Thomas Bolger.
  • Seoirse de Bhulbh.
  • Séamus de Burca.
  • John J. Cole.
  • Sir James Craig.
  • Louis J. D'Alton.
  • James Dwyer.
  • Michael Egan.
  • Pádraig Mac Fadáin.
  • Patrick McGilligan.
  • Seoirse Mac Niocaill.
  • Liam Mac Sioghaird.
  • Pádraig Mag Ualghairg.
  • James Sproule Myles.
  • Martin M. Nally.
  • John T. Nolan.
  • Michael K. Noonan.
  • Peadar O hAodha.
  • Seán O Bruadair.
  • Máirtín O Conalláin.
  • Eoghan O Dochartaigh.
  • Patrick J. Egan.
  • Osmond Grattan Esmonde.
  • Desmond Fitzgerald.
  • John Good.
  • Thomas Hennessy.
  • John Hennigan.
  • William Hewat.
  • Patrick Leonard.
  • Donnchadh Mac Con Uladh.
  • Liam Mac Cosgair.
  • Séamus O Dóláin.
  • Peadar O Dubhghaill.
  • Pádraig O Dubhthaigh.
  • Aindriú O Láimhín.
  • Fionán O Loingsigh.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (Gaillimh).
  • Máirtín O Rodaigh.
  • Seán O Súilleabháin.
  • Mícheál O Tighearnaigh.
  • Caoimhghin O hUigín.
  • Patrick W. Shaw.
  • Liam Thrift.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Baxter and Heffernan. Níl: Deputies Dolan and Sears.
Amendment declared lost.

Before the section is put, I want to get some information from the Minister with regard to a matter that was raised on the Second Reading of the Bill by Deputy Wilson. It deals with the question of compensation for the tenants in places where they are dispossessed for the purpose of the utilisation of the ground for building. The Minister did not seem very clear, at that stage, as to what compensation standard was to be. My opinion is that the compensation ought to be the market value of the land at the time it was acquired. Past Acts do not definitely state on what basis the compensation is to be granted. I would like to have some kind of assurance from the Minister on that point, so as to guide us at future stages of the Bill.

Mr. HOGAN

If he is in ordinary tenancy he gets paid the resumption price. If it is a future tenancy, subject to notice to quit, he does not get anything.

Question—"That Section 6, as amended, stand part of the Bill"— put, and agreed to.

I move Amendment 9:

Before Section 7 to insert a new section as follows:—

Where the rateable valuation of lands comprised in a holding the main object of the letting of which was at the time of the letting for a residence, exceeds the rateable valuation of the principal dwellinghouse on the holding, and the tenant of the holding was at the passing of this Act a person whose principal or only business is farming in bona fide occupation of the said dwellinghouse and working and using said lands as an ordinary agricultural or pastoral farm such holding shall be deemed to have lost its residential character and notwithstanding decision by the Judicial Commissioner the provisions of the Land Act, 1923, shall apply thereto.

Mr. HOGAN

Is the amendment in order?

Has the Minister a point of order to make against the amendment?

Mr. HOGAN

Yes. It is an amendment in respect of residential holdings. Residential holdings are not referred to in the Bill and, more important still, they are not covered by the Money Resolution.

It would not rule out the amendment that residential holdings are not referred to in the Bill, but if the Minister can prove the point about the Money Resolution it would be quite valid. Does not Part II. (b) of the Money Resolution—"untenanted land and land purchased by the Land Commission under the terms of such Act"—bring this in.

Mr. HOGAN

"The payment out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas of

(a) sums to be expended by the Land Commission on the improvement of lands;

(b) interest and sinking fund upon any losses incurred by the Land Commission in the resale of (1) Untenanted Land and (2) Land purchased by the Land Commission under the terms of such Act."

The Land Act of 1923 applies only to agricultural tenancies by definition. There is provision made here for moneys to be expended on the purchase of agricultural tenancies in respect of losses on the resale, agricultural tenancies being specifically included in the land Act of 1923 and residential holdings being specifically excluded. There are no moneys provided in this resolution for the purpose of bringing in a new class of tenants, tenants who hold under residential lettings.

Does not a holding that may be termed residential come within the term "untenanted land"?

Mr. HOGAN

No.

The point made by the Minister is opposed to the spirit of the Bill altogether. The title of the Bill is "an Act to amend the law relating to the occupation and ownership of land."

The question at issue concerns the Money Resolution.

The point is this: that the Money Resolution deals with transactions where money is to be provided for the carrying out of the sale of land, the land in question in this case being residential holdings which are regarded as ordinary agricultural land, with the exception of the proviso with regard to residential holdings. The occupiers of such land have the power to appear before the Judicial Commissioner; as such they are treated under the previous Land Act. They have the right under the previous Land Act to appear before the Judicial Commissioner. We are simply inserting, in this Act, a further provision for the guidance of the Judicial Commissioner. If the Judicial Commissioner can deal with this particular class of holding under the 1923 Act I maintain we have the right to deal with it in this Bill.

There is no mention in Part II (a) and (b) of the Money Resolution of the Land Act of 1923. That does not seem to me to be relevant to the argument unless it can be proved to me that Part II of the Money Resolution paragraph (b), makes no provision for the matter dealt with in the amendment, the amendment is in order. If, as it seems to me, paragraph II (b) does make provision—it appears to make very wide provision—this amendment is in order.

Mr. HOGAN

You want to be shown that the Money Resolution can be held to make provision for the purchase and resale of residential holdings. It reads:

"That for the purpose of any Act of the present session to amend the law relating to the occupation and ownership of land and for other purposes relating thereto it is expedient to authorise":—

"II. The payment out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas of"

(b) interest and sinking fund upon any losses incurred by the Land Commission in the resale of (1) Untenanted Land and (2) Land purchased by the Land Commission under the terms of such Act.

Residential tenancies are tenancies excluded by all these Acts.

This particular part of the Money Resolution cannot be read with reference to the previous Act. This is a general Bill, and not an amending Bill of the 1923 Act, and the Resolution appears to be drafted in very wide terms and in particular this part of it.

Mr. HOGAN

Let me put it another way. It is sought to make the case that residential holdings are tenanted holdings. Supposing that is agreed to, and supposing this section is inserted, the Land Commission will have to expend money in purchasing the landlord's interests in these holdings and reselling them to the man who is now called the tenant. There is no provision there which would entitle the Land Commission to expend moneys in that way. They certainly cannot expend moneys for the purpose of buying tenanted land and reselling that tenanted land to the tenant. The Resolution is to provide "interest and sinking fund upon any losses incurred by the Land Commission in the resale of untenanted land and land purchased by the Land Commission under the terms of such Act," the terms of such Act not bringing in residential holdings.

What happens under the ordinary purchase provisions of the previous Act is that the Land Commission actually do purchase and resell. They purchase from the landlord and pay in bonds or cash, and resell to the tenants. If that is the case paragraph (b) of Section 2 of the Money Resolution covers my amendment.

Mr. HOGAN

I will put it in another way. I will read the Money Resolution from the beginning. Assume that this amendment is in order. The amendment contemplates that residential holdings shall be regarded as tenanted holdings. If carried that is what it means, and they must be purchased by the Land Commission as tenanted holdings and resold as tenanted holdings. Clearly, therefore, the Land Commission cannot spend money for that purchase under the first clause to provide "interest and sinking fund upon any losses incurred by the Land Commission in the resale of untenanted land and land purchased by the Land Commission under the terms of such Act." That is not an Act passed in this session. The Act, as it stands at present, excludes residential holdings; it makes no reference whatever to them, and residential holdings can only be brought in now by amendment which will, in effect, amount to a new section.

If residential holdings were brought in under this amendment, would not the terms of the Money Resolution cover the necessary expenditure?

Mr. HOGAN

Certainly.

If so, the amendment is in order.

I am at a loss to know whether the last two lines of the amendment are correct either in their drafting or in their intention—"shall be deemed to have lost its residential character and notwithstanding decision by the Judicial Commissioner the provisions of the Land Act, 1923, shall apply thereto."

They are correct. I think it is intended to make this retrospective. The Judicial Commissioner has already given decisions in regard to certain cases which would be governed by this section, where the valuation of the land exceeds the valuation of the house.

Is it intended by the amendment, to nullify judicial decisions already given?

It is intended.

That is a very important point to put into an Act. It should be made quite explicit.

I am sorry that the Minister tried to evade a discussion of this section, because it is a very important matter for the tenants concerned. The Minister may be tired of it. The tenants are not tired of it, and we are not tired of it. It has already been discussed very fully by the Select Committee, but we have not had an opportunity of letting the people know the Minister's views on it. There was no report of the proceedings of the Select Committee except the the ordinary Imeachta which gives no indication of the reasons given by the Minister for rejecting this amendment. As the Dáil knows, the question of residential holdings is a matter for decision by the Judicial Commissioner. If the landlord decides that he will object to the sale of land on the grounds that it is a residential holding the tenant has no option but to agree, or else appeal to the Judicial Commissioner. We do not, by this amendment, prevent that appeal, but we impose a certain restriction in regard to the appeal; that is, that this appeal cannot be made to the Judicial Commissioner if the valuation of the land comprised in the holding exceeds the valuation of the house thereon. Further, we have a proviso that the land must be worked as an ordinary agricultural or pastoral farm. I maintain that that is a very reasonable provision and that there are practically no cases in existence, despite the arguments of the Minister, where the value of the land exceeds the value of the house and where the tenant can be regarded as a tenant in the ordinary meaning of the word and I propose that this amendment be accepted by the Dáil.

Mr. HOGAN

What the Deputy seeks to do is this: there is a fine house outside of Dublin with ten rooms in it. It is worth £3,500 on the open market. The valuation is £35. There are, say 16 acres of a lawn attached to it, the valuation on which is £36. A tenant was let in about a year ago at a rent of £40 or £50 a year. What the Deputy is doing is asking the Dáil to make a present of that house to the tenant at a Land Commission price. The 16 acres of land would not be security under any circumstances for more than £400 or £500, and the house would not be security for anything more than about the same sum. There you have the sum of £1,000 and the proposal is to lend the taxpayers' money to that fortunate tenant for that purchase, the money to be repayable over 67 years at 4½ per cent. I could not agree to that.

This amendment affects a great many landholders throughout the country. In recent years a good many changes have taken place in the country and a great many bona fide farmers have acquired holdings on which there were what we may call a superior sort of house, different from the ordinary farm house and more commodious, and in which the surroundings were somewhat better. The fact that these men occupied houses of this kind did not mean that they were not bona fide farmers, farming land and living by farming. I know the case of a man who occupied a house of that sort. He farmed 60 Irish acres. His principal means of living, in fact nearly his entire means of living, was farming, but on the grounds that the house was of superior character he was excluded from the benefits of the Act by the Judicial Commissioner. I think that is a very hard case. In fact, I have some experience myself personally. I have been objected to as a tenant on the grounds that I occupy a residential holding. That shows that there are many grievances in that direction. I think that the Minister ought to have no difficulty in accepting the amendment. The case that he has put up is a very exceptional one where a man occupied a dwelling in a lawn. I do not think that we have any intention of pleading for a man of that class.

Mr. HOGAN

But is not that the effect of the amendment?

No, I do not think so. We have in mind bona fide farmers who farm the land they hold and live exclusively by farming. I think it is very unfair that men of this type should be put on a different footing to other landholders.

I desire to call the Minister's attention to the wording of the amendment, which says "whose principal or only business is farming." The Minister has given one extreme instance similar to that which he quoted before the Select Committee. I maintain that there are no such cases in existence as the extreme one just quoted by the Minister, of a man paying a rent of £50 for a house and 15 acres of land, and where the valuation of the land exceeds the valuation of the house. Cases of that kind are very rare indeed. It would be almost impossible to find, even around a city, a case such as that. My amendment is governed by the proviso that the principal or only occupation of the man must be that of farming, that he must be in bona fide occupation of the said dwellinghouse and working the land as an ordinary agricultural or pastoral farm. The amendment makes provision to cover the case only of a man who is a real farmer. Even if the amendment were accepted it would still be open in cases where the valuation of a house exceeded the rent to the tenant to appeal to the Judicial Commissioner, who would state whether such people were tenants in the ordinary sense and entitled to buy. My amendment deals with a less extreme case, where the valuation of the land is less than the valuation of the house.

I desire to support the amendment. I do not think the Minister has met the case at all. The case that the Minister put up was, in my opinion, a ridiculous one. It was certainly a very extreme one, even for a county like Dublin. Very few cases of the kind could, I think, occur even in the County Dublin. But what about the large number of cases for which the amendment is intended to provide? The Minister put up an extreme case, and said that under Deputy Heffernan's amendment it afforded an opportunity for an injustice being done. In answer to that, I ask the Minister what about the hundreds of injustices that are to be perpetrated all over the country under the Bill as it stands?

We have not had one example given yet.

The Minister has been given a dozen examples, and knows all about them. The Minister knows that the amendment is being put up, not to make a plea for the residential holder, the man who has a big income and can saunter around his green fields and not trouble as to whether the day is wet or fine. We are thinking of the unfortunate man living in a big house down in the country. He has it at a high rent, and it is much too big for his requirements. We are thinking of that man who has to make a living out of the land that he holds. That man is excluded from the benefits of the Land Act, and is going to be excluded in the future unless something is done for him by the passing of this amendment. The Minister is not making any attempt to meet a case like that. He has not met the case fairly, but it will have to be met by someone yet.

If the Minister wants an instance I can give it. There is the case of Mr. McKenna of Raheen.

The Deputy could cite a case without mentioning names.

Mr. McKenna has been in occupation of a holding for twenty years and probably longer. The landlord objects on the grounds that it is a residential holding. The valuation of the land exceeds the valuation of the house. Everybody who knows him can tell that he is a farmer and that his only occupation and means of making a living is that of farming.

To my mind that case is a condemnation of this amendment, and absolute condemnation of it. A gentleman's name has been put up here, and the case made for him is that he is 20 years in occupation. He got the house 20 years ago, and by reason of that we are asked to say that he is to have the character of the house changed within the 20 years. Suppose it was my house, that I was in possession of it and let it at a moderate rent. Let us say that I let it at £1 an acre. If the Deputy thinks that figure is excessive he can mention a sum. I could have got over £1,000 for that house, but I let it at £50 a year. Now having let it at £50 it is to be brought in under the amendment and there is to be a reduction in rent and so on on this 20 year holding. I think that by quoting that case the Deputy has condemned his own amendment. A gentleman's name has been mentioned here. The Deputy could have cited a case without mentioning names, but now I suppose he can go down the country and say that Mr. McKenna's case got no justice in the Dáil. I am surprised and disappointed at the Deputy.

The President asked me for an example and I gave him one.

I must say you gave me a very bad one.

The President in his remarks talks about letting but we are talking about valuations.

It was Deputy Heffernan spoke about letting.

Mr. DOYLE

There is no reference to letting in the amendment: it is the valuations that we are going on.

I asked Deputy Heffernan for an example. He gave an example of a case which he said was a 20 years' letting.

I said that the man had been in occupation of the farm for 20 years. The Minister for Agriculture knows about the case. I said nothing about a 20 years' letting. I said that the man was in occupation as an ordinary agricultural holder, an ordinary tenant farmer. I would like to point out that Section 24 of the Land Act of 1903 provides that even though land was let as a residential holding, if in the meantime it has lost its residential character it can be brought under the Act. This has lost its residential character within the last 20 years, and I mentioned that gentleman as one of a type that should not be excluded from the benefits of the Act.

The 1903 Land Act was introduced at a time when the land agitation was at its height. Twenty-four years have elapsed since that Act was passed and I do not think it was the intention of those who were anxious to get the 1903 Act passed to bring in those who were going to become either tenants in occupation or anything else after that period. Now the case is made that this letting made within the last twenty years is to be brought within this Act. I am astonished at the Deputy.

The President is always very clever, but I submit he has not met the case at all. There is no one attempting to bring in cases such as he mentioned.

It is the Deputy's star case.

There are hundreds of cases up and down the country. If there were not, why should we be troubling our heads about this? We are very much concerned about the large number of farmers who hold land and who unfortunately, as I said earlier, have very big houses which are of very little value to them, but on which they have to pay high rents. It is really a loss to farmers at the present day to have these big houses. They are a hindrance to them in their business. We have specifically stated in the amendment that the rateable valuation of the land must be greater than the valuation of the house, and it is stated too that the farmer must work the land as an ordinary agricultural holding.

From what date would cases come in under your amendment?

There is no date mentioned.

Then you would bring in a place that was let yesterday?

It would depend on the rateable valuation of the land, and whether the place was being worked as an agricultural holding.

Is it not plain that under the terms of the amendment a person who took over a letting last year and was working the place as a farm would come in under it?

If there is any point in that we are prepared to meet the President on it.

The statement made by the father of the amendment, supported by what the Deputy has now said, convinces me that not only is the amendment badly drawn but that the Deputy does not know what it means.

It is impossible to make the President understand if he does not want to. We are endeavouring to meet cases where injustice is undoubtedly being done in hundreds of cases up and down the country. We cannot help the President if he is going to act as stupidly as that.

If he is prepared to say that the Land Bill we are dealing with does not meet the situation, and that he or the Minister is prepared to consider the matter, it will be all right and we will be prepared to accept even the President's or the Minister's drafting if they put up something that will cover what we are after.

I asked the Deputy for a date and he will not give it.

We are not seeking to bring in any individual who walked in yesterday. We will meet the President in regard to a date.

I ask the President to look at Section 24 of the Land Act of 1923, sub-section (2) (b). The Minister has not read either that or my amendment. He is misrepresenting the case, and nothing else.

And he knows it, too.

Yes, he knows it.

Amendment put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 23; Níl, 44.

  • Pádraig Baxter.
  • John J. Cole.
  • John Conlan.
  • Louis J. D'Alton.
  • David Hall.
  • Connor Hogan.
  • Séamus Mac Cosgair.
  • Tomás de Nógla.
  • Criostóir O Broin.
  • Tomás O Conaill.
  • Aodh O Cúlacháin.
  • Liam O Daimhín.
  • Tadhg O Donnabháin.
  • Eamon O Dubhghaill.
  • Mícheál O Dubhghaill.
  • Mícheál O hIfearnáin.
  • Seán O Laidhin.
  • Domhnall O Mocháin.
  • Tadhg O Murchadha.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (An Clár).
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (Luimneach).
  • William A. Redmond.
  • Nicholas Wall.

Níl

  • Earnán Altún.
  • Earnán de Blaghd.
  • Thomas Bolger.
  • Seoirse de Bhulbh.
  • Séamus de Burca.
  • Máighréad Ní Choileain Bean
  • Uí Dhrisceóil.
  • James Dwyer.
  • Michael Egan.
  • Patrick J. Egan.
  • Osmond Grattan Esmonde.
  • Desmond Fitzgerald.
  • John Good.
  • Thomas Hennessy.
  • John Hennigan.
  • William Hewat.
  • Patrick Leonard.
  • Donnchadh Mac Con Uladh.
  • Liam Mac Cosgair.
  • Pádraig Mac Fadáin.
  • Patrick McGilligan.
  • Seoirse Mac Niocaill.
  • Liam Mac Sioghaird.
  • Pádraig Mag Ualghairg.
  • James Sproule Myles.
  • Martin M. Nally.
  • John T. Nolan.
  • Peadar O hAodha.
  • Máirtín O Conalláin.
  • Séamus O Cruadhlaoich.
  • Eoghan O Dochartaigh.
  • Séamus Dóláin.
  • Peadar O Dubhghaill.
  • Pádraig O Dubhthaigh.
  • Eamon O Dúgáin.
  • Aindriú O Láimhín.
  • Séamus O Murchadha.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (Gaillimh).
  • Máirtín O Rodaigh.
  • Seán O Súilleabháin.
  • Andrew O'Shaughnessy.
  • Mícheál O Tighearnaigh.
  • Caoimghín O hUigín.
  • Patrick W. Shaw.
  • Liam Thrift.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Heffernan and Baxter. Níl: Deputies Dolan and Sears
Amendment declared lost.
Question—"That Section 7 stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
SECTION 8.
(1) Notwithstanding the provisions of sub-sections (1) and (3) of Section 24 of the Land Act, 1923 there shall not be vested in the Land Commission by virtue of the said Act otherwise than in pursuance of a voluntary agreement any untenanted land so long as the Land Commission are satisfied that such land is being used in a bona fide manner as a farm for the purpose of breeding thoroughbred stock which in the opinion of the Minister for Lands and Agriculture is of a nature and character suitable to the requirements of the country.

I beg to move amendment 10:—

In sub-section (1), after the word "used," line 14, to insert the following words: "and has been used for a period of not less than one year prior to the passing of this Act."

This amendment was put down merely for the sake of getting information from the Minister. I do not quite understand whether this section makes any special provision for the bona fide breeder of pure-bred stock or whether it is possible for a man to evade the operation of the Act by jumping into the breeding of stock. I do not intend to press the amendment. It is merely for the purpose of getting an explanation.

Mr. HOGAN

The section provides that land used for the breeding of high-class stock shall be excluded. That applies not only to land used for that purpose now, but land which will be used in future for that purpose. When an application comes to the Commissioners to acquire certain lands they will have to take into account the circumstances on the date when they received the application. It is intended partly to encourage people to get into the breeding of stock. If we confine it to the very few people in the country who are breeding high-class stock at the moment it would be quite useless; it is deliberately intended to encourage others.

It is essential for the economy of the country. It is business that gives a tremendous amount of employment and brings money into the country, and, incidentally prevents a tremendous amount leaving the country. It will have a most beneficial reaction on live-stock generally. It would be quite useless to confine it to the people breeding high-class live-stock now. Most of them are now breeding racehorses. This is intended to include people who breed cattle, sheep and pigs principally, as well as people who breed thoroughbred horses.

I desire to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 10, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 8 agreed to.
Progress ordered to be reported.
The Dáil went out of Committee.
Progress reported.