ORDUITHE AN LAE. - ORDERS OF THE DAY. LAND BILL, 1927—THIRD STAGE (RESUMED).

SECTION 28—AMENDMENT 36.

It is regrettable it has been thought necessary to insert a sub-section like this. When this particular matter was first brought into legislation in this country the Farmers' Party, as it was temporary legislation, agreed to it, but subsequently, when it was being made permanent, the Farmers' Party objected to it.

They changed their minds.

That is to rebut the statement made by Deputy O'Connell. It is regrettable that it has been found necessary to include it in the Bill. I believe it is necessary if we are to collect the rents. There may be hardship because an innocent third party may be put to loss. While we believe the grazier's cattle ought to be seized if the rent is not paid, we find it very difficult to agree that an innocent third party's cattle or property should be taken by the sheriff. I do not know whether the draughtsman would be capable of drafting a section to cover that particular aspect. It is the Minister's duty to formulate laws that will ensure the collection of the rent. We believe that the rent must be paid, and as this sub-section is already in force in connection with rates I cannot see any very serious objection to it here, although I believe that it is regrettable it should be in the Bill.

There is a good deal to be said for giving the Land Commission extraordinary powers to deal with this question of the non-payment of annuities. There is no doubt that there are large numbers of farmers who are deliberately evading their responsibilities in that respect. So far as my constituency is concerned. I suppose ninety per cent. of the defaulting annuitants are farmers who could be classed as large farmers; some of them could be classed as very large farmers. It is true, as the Minister very often stated, that nearly all of the smaller farmers, the ordinary tillage farmers, pay their annuities. It is unfair that they should be called upon to pay for large farmers who, for one reason or another, will not pay their annuities.

While I am prepared to agree it should not be sufficient for a man to say he is not able to pay his annuities and be let off with that, there may be a certain number—but I believe the number is not at all as large as it is represented to be—who are not in a position to pay. At the same time, anybody who knows anything of the existing conditions must be aware that by far the greater number of those who are not paying could pay if they had the desire to do so. I do not think that in order to make them pay we have any right to put into this Bill a sub-section which possibly will bring hardship upon certain innocent people.

Yesterday evening the Minister for Justice gave us the other side of the case, touching on the uncle, the brother, the brother-in-law, and so on. I admit there is a great deal in what he said, and to a large extent it is true. But there is also another side. There are men who take grazing, who put their cattle on land and who do not go to the trouble, because they do not think it necessary and because it has never been done in the country, to ask the man from whom they take the grazing, before they conclude their arrangements with him, whether or not he has paid his annuity. It would be very unfair to take the stock belonging to such persons, particularly when we take into consideration that many of those who take grazing from farmers are poor, thrifty men who may not be farmers themselves and are very often working men who by their thrift are enabled to buy a few head of cattle. They have no land of their own and they are obliged to take grazing.

The Minister for Justice made one statement yesterday which led me to believe he had not read the Bill very carefully. He said all the man had to do was to set his land and he need never pay his annuities. If the Minister read the Bill carefully he would know the Land Commission have ample powers to deal with a man of that sort. They can sell his farm if they so desire. I am objecting to the principle that you should give unlimited powers to the sheriff, and no matter what damage he may do or what hardship he may cause on an innocent third party, he should be let go scot-free. It is putting him in the position that he need not take any trouble whatever to find out whether the property he is taking belongs to the person who owns the land. I believe that people who have been placed on the land should be made pay their annuities, and other people should not be called upon to pay for them by way of rates.

I am not going to be carried away by the statement that there are very large numbers of farmers who are so badly off that they cannot make any effort to pay their annuities. A good deal has been said about the Land Commission to the effect that they are not giving any opportunities to people to pay their annuities. In the few cases with which I had to deal—real cases of hardship, and they were few in number—I must say, in fairness to the Land Commission, that they gave these people time in which to pay. I am sorry to say that in some cases small or large farmers who gave certain undertakings to the Land Commission if they got time, did not live up to those undertakings. We ought to make up our minds that one of the first charges on land should be the payment of annuities to the Land Commission. Small hard-working farmers who make it a point of honouring their debts should not be called upon to pay in rates the annuities due by large farmers.

I agree with this amendment moved by Deputy Connor Hogan. I agree that very large numbers of farmers who can afford to pay are at present avoiding the payment of their land annuities, but I would like to point out that there is a certain class of farmer who is not in a position to meet his land annuities primarily because of the bad seasons we have gone through since 1924. It is all very well for Deputies to say that large numbers of farmers can afford to pay if they desire to do so, and particularly large farmers. I have no sympathy with the large farmer who has a valuation of £80 or £90 and who will not pay his annuities. I have sympathy with the small farmer who may have ten or twelve acres of land. According to the Minister's statement, those small farmers are not neglecting their duty so far as paying land annuities is concerned.

In Westmeath and Longford large numbers of small farmers are not in a position to meet the demands of the Land Commission. By giving those powers to the sheriff you will be causing real hardship because you will be allowing the sheriff to seize all property belonging to those small farmers; for that matter, it might be the property of their sons, daughters, uncles or aunts. I would like the Minister to take particular stock of the three estates in Westmeath dealt with by the Land Bank in 1921.

Mr. HOGAN

There are special arrangements for them.

All those tenants are at present in the black books so far as paying their annuities is concerned. It is not the fault of the tenants. When it was a case of borrowing there was £10,000 paid. These lands are at present a complete plain. The land has not been distributed amongst the tenants. Each tenant has not been registered as the owner of his own portion. The result is that the land is useless to them. Assuming the Land Commission will register each of these men as owner of his own portion, the men are prepared to pay the amount of annuities they owe to the Land Commission. I could understand this measure if it was brought forward by an enemy Government of the people.

Sure it is.

If an enemy Government, or the Government that evacuated the country, brought forward this measure I would say it was in the real interests of the ranchers, the big landowners. When one realises that a Government of the people's own comes forward with a measure like this giving such powers to a sheriff, one must certainly confess that that Government is more drastic than ever the foreign Government was when it was governing this country. Such measures as this were introduced by the landlords in 1847 when all the tenant farmers were evicted and their homes battered down. But when you come to 1927 you find the people have changed completely. From the Irish-Ireland point of view in 1922 the people of Ireland elected their own Government. Now, we find that Government is adopting the very same attitude as landlords adopted in 1847. If this measure is allowed to go through the majority of the small farmers who are not in a position to meet demands owing to the high prices that the Land Commission have placed on the land, and also owing to the high taxation primarily due to the extravagance of the Government, will have to leave their homes and probably seek shelter in some foreign land.

This is giving the sheriffs the same power as rate collectors. I know that a very large number of county councils, including that of which I am a member, namely, the Westmeath County Council, have published a list of names of people who are defaulters, and since then a certain amount of money has been got in. In Westmeath, in 1924, the amount of land annuities outstanding was £13,000, whereas to-day it is between £5,000 and £6,000. In cases where the county councils adopted such action it would not be necessary for the Government to apply a measure of this kind. I think the Minister is asking for something which he certainly will get from the small farmers. He will certainly get his answer from these people. When the lands are valued, with a view to reducing annuities, and when he succeeds in reducing his portion of the estimate for the purpose of reducing taxation generally, it would be time enough to introduce such a measure as this.

I will vote in favour of the amendment simply in the interests of the Land Bank tenants and tenants on trustee lands, and also in the interests of the small farmer, who is not in a position to meet his debts. The least we could expect of a Government, which was selected primarily by the small farmers and their sons and daughters, would be that such a Government would say: "As you were advised during the Anglo-Irish war not to pay rent because the landlords were part and parcel of England, we are now prepared, as your own Government, to give you a privilege by which we will wipe out all arrears." I would not take it as a great compliment if the arrears of small farmers, say, under £20 valuation, were wiped out. Although some Deputies advised the people from 1916 to 1921 not to pay their annuities to landlords who did not reside in the country, they are coming forward now and saying that the sheriff should be given sufficient power to put people who do not pay into the workhouse.

That is not consistent. The least we could expect from the Minister, who knows so much about the needs of the agricultural population, would be that he would introduce some decent measure which would enable these people to earn their livelihood instead of introducing a Bill such as this which will crush them out of existence. In my opinion this measure is not necessary at present. When the amount of outstanding land annuities was treble what it is now no such measure as this was introduced, but now, when the young people of the country, to the extent of 72,000, have emigrated from the land to foreign countries, a measure like this is introduced. The Minister knows very well that if these people were at home on the land they would be able to provide for the old people who remained. These old people have no protection, and, therefore, the sheriff is being sent in on them to take any property they may have. Those 72,000 young people have gone.

They have gone very far from this amendment, very far.

I want to point out that the Minister would not have introduced this particular section only he knew that the sons and daughters of small farmers have left the country and consequently, the old people who are left are being victimised. The Minister knows that if these 72,000 young people were in the country now they would vote against the Government. In my opinion a measure like this will put a greater burden on the ratepayers than they have to bear at present. When the Government succeed, as the landlords did in the old days, in putting small farmers and their families on the roadside the next step will he to put them in prison at the cost of the rates. I ask the Minister to agree to the amendment and withdraw Section 28. He could then draft a new section which would meet his desires. I feel sure that it is not his personal intention to penalise the small man who cannot earn even a livelihood, to say nothing of paying four or five years' arrears. If the Minister fixed a certain valuation——

Mr. HOGAN

What valuation would you suggest?

In some cases a man with a £50 valuation is worse off than a man with a valuation of £14. It all depends on the land. I think that the Minister with his knowledge of lands should be able to fix a valuation at which a man would be able to meet his demands. The man with a valuation of £50 who has a large family is in a worse position to meet his demands than an unmarried man with a £14 valuation. The Minister probably has no love for married men, but he should take into account the farmer who is going to be hit by this section if it is allowed to stand. Do not let it be written down in history that the present Minister for Lands and Agriculture was responsible for more evictions and crucifixions in this country than the landlords of old.

The discussion so far has centred entirely around the man who is unable, or alleged to be unable, to pay his land annuities, and no consideration has been given to the honest ratepayer, a man who has to shoulder not only his own burden but that of his defaulting neighbour. For the past two or three years the county councils have been confronted with the very abnormal problem of how to make up the money deferred out of the Central Fund on account of the non-payment of land annuities. That has been a very serious problem for some county councils. In some cases the county councils decided to put portion of the money on to the rate estimate for that particular year. In other cases they decided to raise an overdraft on the bank sufficient to cover the deficiency. In any event, however, it meant a burden on the honest ratepayer and a huge increase in the rates. I remember reading a report of a meeting of a county council at which the secretary stated that on account of the non-payment of land annuities the rates had to be increased between 1/- and 1/6. Deputies on the Farmers' Benches and those on the Labour Benches when speaking throughout the country have complained of the very high rates and have blamed the Government for them. I have never yet read a statement in which any one of these Deputies put his finger on the real reason, which is that there is such a big proportion of land annuities outstanding.

The county councils themselves and all decent ratepayers have asked the Government to take strong action to recover land annuities. Every Deputy knows that some twelve months or two years ago there was an agitation against the payment of land annuities. That agitation was gradually gaining ground until finally some of the people who were responsible for starting the campaign realised the seriousness of the problem, and that if the agitation were to be effective there would be serious consequences for the country. Fortunately, the people are now coming to a more normal state of mind and recognise that they must bear their responsibilities, and that it is the duty of the State to see that they must pay their just debts. There is nothing new in this section. Under the Poor Law Relief Act of 1843 the rate collectors were given the power which it is now proposed in this section to give to the sheriffs. The rate collectors are a more numerous body than the sheriffs, and I have never heard a Farmer Deputy, or a Labour Deputy, or any leader of public opinion, complain that the rate collectors have abused the power given them under the Poor Law Relief Act. Sheriffs are hedged around with more legislative restrictions than the rate collectors. I think it is very unlikely that they would abuse the power given to them by this section.

There is no doubt since it was first mooted that the Minister for Lands and Agriculture proposed to introduce a section of this kind in the Land Bill the county councils have benefited considerably, and land annuities have been paid at a much greater rate than hitherto. A short time ago I had occasion to go into one of the departments of Government responsible to a certain extent for the collection of land annuities, and I was informed by one of the officials there—I do not know is it right to state this to the Dáil—who is in a position to know, that the county councils during the past nine months, have benefited to the extent of between £70,000 and £100,000 owing to the fact that the Minister proposed to introduce a section of this kind. I consider that the moral tone of the people in respect of the payment of debts is not quite right in this country. Desperate diseases require desperate remedies, and for that reason I am prepared to support the Minister in including this section in the Bill.

I think the Minister ought to give serious consideration to the possibility of accepting this amendment, or, possibly, substituting another amendment at a later stage. There is, I believe, a general feeling in the House that the Bill in its present form is not acceptable, and that this particular sub-section is objectionable. I do not suggest that the Minister should draft an amendment on the lines proposed by Deputy Lyons, making a distinction between married men and single men, having regard to the number of children a man may have, and as to whether his valuation was £10 or £100. The difficulties of drafting an amendment ought not to be insuperable, as the Minister for Justice suggested last night. There has been a good deal of talk about the encouragement given to people not to pay their land annuities. I am not, for a moment, suggesting people should not pay their land annuities, and I have never suggested anything of the kind. I have constantly emphasised the fact that I regard the payment of the land annuities as a charge on the land which the people must honour. I have no hesitation in expressing that view, but we must be very careful about the powers which we are giving to officials. Undoubtedly, there has been a tendency in recent years, particularly in the Dáil, to give what I consider excessive powers to officials.

I remember when the sheriffs, bailiffs and bumbailiffs were regarded as a very despicable class of people, but now, apparently, we are to regard them as people who should be received with great honour. Taking into account recent statements made, if this Government at any time decide to grant honours to citizens who have done useful work for the State, I should not be surprised if we see sheriffs heading that list. I am trying to protect innocent citizens. We have no right to pass a law which may have the effect of inflicting grave injustice on an innocent citizen. As the section stands it leaves it quite open to the sheriff to seize cattle he may find on land without taking any precautions to find out whether the cattle belonged to the owner of the land or whether it was a case of letting or grazing. I am not in favour of the idea that the sheriff should not seize cattle which are on land which has been let on the eleven months' system, but there are possibilities that live stock may be accidentally on the land and that the sheriff will not be obliged to take reasonable precautions to ensure himself that the stock do not belong to the owner of the land before he seizes them.

We are told that the threat of the passing of this Bill has led to a considerably increased percentage in the matter of the payment of annuities. In my opinion, if the section is passed in its present form, it is quite possible that in the course of time it may have the effect of causing a decrease in the amount collected, because in the case of people in arrears it will be impossible for them to let their land at all. A good deal of emphasis has been laid by certain Deputies on the fact that the failure of people to pay land purchase annuities has had a bad effect on the county rates. I think that matter has been greatly exaggerated in so far as it applies to the rates. Deputy Roddy said that the high rates were due, in large part, to the non-payment of the annuities. In my opinion that is not in accordance with the facts. The Deputy knows well that from time to time annuities come in corresponding approximately to the amount of the outstanding annuities. The permanent arrears from one year to another remain very much the same with the exception, perhaps, of the few years during the troubled times. Therefore, I hold that the non-payment of the annuities does not tend to make the rates higher than they would be if the annuities were paid up to date. I realise that if all the annuities outstanding were paid up at once that that would have the effect of decreasing the rates for a year or two, but it would not have a permanent effect.

I, and the Party to which I belong, stand for the payment of these annuities. I submit, however, that the statement made that the majority of the defaulters are people who can pay and will not, is not true. It might have been true in the past. What I believe is, that we have reached an economic position in this country whereby a great many defaulters are not able to pay. I do not agree with the statement that the moral tone of the people is so low that they will not pay their debts. We hear sermons here and from platforms, from Ministers and others, telling the people that they ought to pay their debts. On the other side I think there should be a recognition of the fact that the Government has a duty to the people. If it does not fulfil its duty and try to make the economic position of the country such that the people will be in a position to meet their obligations, then Ministers have no right to tell the people what they ought to do or what they ought not to do. I maintain that the Government has a duty to perform as well as the people. If the people are to be asked to perform their duty and to pay their debts—I stand for the payment of debts—then the bargain must not be a one-sided one, and the Government ought to face up to its obligations and make some attempt to relieve the people of the burdens which are making it extremely difficult for them to carry on at all. I say that this section ought to receive further consideration. There is a big body of feeling in the Dáil against it in its present form. I believe that if the Parliamentary draftsman were to look into the matter he could devise an amendment which would give the Government the power to collect annuities from the owners of the land or genuine grazers of the land, and at the same time safeguard the innocent citizen who will be mulcted if the section is allowed to stand in its present form.

Deputy Roddy entertained us with a song of sorrow.

I suggest that we might enter into an agreement not to speak any more on this section, and then we might get business done.

That is what I am trying to do. Deputy Roddy entertained us with a song of sorrow about the position of the honest ratepayer. In that he only followed the leadership of his Minister. The Minister's position seems to be that two wrongs constitute a right. I never took the point of view that it was a fit and proper thing that the ratepayers should be assessed for any deficiency arising out of the guarantee fund, owing to the fact that the guarantee fund had been retained in the Department of Finance to meet a shortage in the payment of land purchase annuities. Because such an unfortunate situation exists, we are supposed in order to counter it to commit another wrong. Deputy Roddy will not impress any intelligent person with that argument. He might, it is true, influence the herd. As Deputy Heffernan has pointed out, the non-payment of the annuities does not increase the rates so much. It is the shortage in the guarantee fund that is responsible for that increase. The amounts collected from the annuitants are afterwards restored to the county councils.

How is the interest on the overdraft paid?

I will come to that later. It provides an increase of interest for accommodation.

What would the interest be on £60,000 or £70,000 for one year? Would it not equal the amount of the outstanding annuities in some counties?

It depends on the state of credit in the first case, and on the length of time that you require the overdraft in the next.

It would not amount to 1/6 in the pound anyway.

At five per cent. it would be £3,000, and I ask Deputy Roddy whether he is capable of mathematically figuring that out for himself. I submit that there is no need for the proposal in the Bill, and that the case can be met in another way. What I suggest is, that at certain periods a list of defaulters should be published in each county. It should be made compulsory on the county councils to publish the list of defaulters in their counties. Before any legal proceedings are entered into, this list ought to be published and a warning given to the public that the defaulters are on the list and that proceedings are pending against them. I believe that the mere threat of publication in that way would have an excellent effect in the collection of the annuities. No man of any credit or standing would desire to have his name appearing on a list like that. The publication of his name in such a connection would have a disastrous effect on his credit. He could not let his land, and would not be able to get credit any place. I think that the case could be met by the publication of such a list. I see no reason why, say, on 1st March and on 1st August in each year, when the ledgers of the Land Commission are closed down and when the names of the defaulters become known, that their names should not be publicly advertised.

The Minister for Justice, last night, did not argue like his usual self; he was not as clear as usual, and wanted to make out that when the sheriff would come on land the debtor would tell him —"Such a beast belongs to my uncle, and another belongs to my grandmother." After all, the sheriff is not obliged to take that point of view. An affidavit by the person interested, made before a magistrate, is required. He is not obliged to take the debtor's statement that such an animal or such property belongs to a third party. The Minister for Justice, when in London, went aloft in an aeroplane, doubtless to correct his perspective. I know he has had an opinion of the moral shortcomings of the people in this country for a number of years, but is it correct? There may be instances, but we must legislate on the general principle. Will a third party perjure himself even for the sake of another person? I question it. What has Christianity been doing in the country for the last fourteen or fifteen hundred years?

I saw a statement in yesterday's paper where a person, whom I thought had withdrawn into religion, emerged again to tell another lie. I believe if the Minister were to adopt my suggestion as to publicly advertising defaulting annuitants it would go a long way to meet my hostility; otherwise I will press it to a division. The third party is adversely affected by this.

The object with which this section was inserted in the Bill meets with the approval of Deputies from different Parties. Two good points were made that ought to be met in connection with the section. One is the case of a man who enters into an agreement and takes grazing from the purchaser who is in arrears with his annuity. His stock may be seized. That is deliberately intended, and that is the position with regard to rates. I suggest that can be easily met. That will, in fact, be met as the same difficulty with regard to rates is met. Before a prospective grazier takes the grazing lands now from a farmer who holds his lands subject to a land purchase annuity he will make sure that he is not in arrears with his land purchase annuity. And if he is, and is unable to pay, he will make arrangements that he himself will pay the arrears out of the grazing lands; that meets that case.

It would not meet the case of a three or four years' annuity,

Mr. HOGAN

In that case—I think Deputy Morrissey referred to a similar one—the Land Commission never actually pinned a man to a day. As a rule when a man makes a reasonable proposition the Land Commission agrees, and all the effect the section will have in the case of a man who is in arrears for three or four years is that the purchaser will make a proposal to the Land Commission which the Land Commission will accept. To my knowledge that is being done. In the county I come from land is being sold almost exclusively on the lines I have mentioned.

Grazing land is generally taken about this time of the year for eleven months. The grazier coming in asks for production of the receipt up to December. Supposing that he stocks the land, will not his stock be liable to be seized for default in the June payment?

Mr. HOGAN

Certainly.

How is he to meet that?

Mr. HOGAN

He takes it from spring to November. There are fourteen days for paying up two months before the list of defaulters is returned to the county council, generally nearly two months before it reaches the State Solicitor. He cannot be prosecuted for the June gale until the October or November session; he is absolutely safe. In practice there is no difficulty. I do not think it would be possible in the circumstances that you could take proceedings against the defaulter in respect to the June gale, get your decree, lodge it with the sheriff and have your execution before the September gale. It is a most unlikely contingency, and if there is any danger of it the man who takes the land is in the position that he is covered before he pays the second half-year. As a rule he does not pay the full rent until the end of the year. That always covers the case of one gale. That man is absolutely guaranteed, and in nine out of ten cases it is impossible to get a decree executed within six months after the annuity falls due. He is further guaranteed. In the rare cases where that happens there is the custom that the whole of the rent is not paid until the end of the term, and he can easily arrange to recoup himself out of the rent he holds in respect of the gale for which he has paid the sheriff.

There is no doubt that the case of a man who takes land is well covered, and we deliberately aim at making it necessary for the man who takes land to see that the annuity is paid in the same way that he sees the rates are paid. It will give rise to certain minor difficulties in cases in the same way as it gives rise to certain difficulties where rates are concerned, but they can be easily solved in practice. I know that there are lettings of land made and a condition is inserted in which the annuity is cleared off to the previous gale day, and in the event of the annuity falling into arrear the person who takes the land shall pay the annuity and stop it out of the grazing rent. That will cover that.

The position is that the Land Commission are going to force a third party to do what they are not able to do themselves, in effect to do the work that should be done by the sheriff.

Mr. HOGAN

Is not that a debating point?

Is not that a fact?

Mr. HOGAN

Well, put it that way. It is not a question of the State doing it; it is a question of method. After all this Parliament is passing the Bill; the Land Commission will administer it. We are merely changing the method. That is common form and not confined to this legislation. In any normal country things are so ordered that everyone has a vested interest in collecting and paying his debts. The State sees to that; that is the state of affairs we are trying to get back to here.

We will not have normality, in my opinion, until people see that the debts due to them are collected, and realise as well that they must pay their own. I said that case is absolutely covered. I admit that we inserted this section deliberately in order to obviate abuses arising from people setting their land by arrangement and not paying their annuities. As you can at present set your land quite readily, surely it is realised that if a defaulter has such an easy way out of the difficulty as merely to set his land, he will take it. There are plenty of people who will oblige that man by taking the land, perhaps at just a little less rent. That has happened in various counties. I know examples of it in my own county, and I know of examples in other counties. It is to obviate this and to put the case of land purchase annuities in the same position as rates, that we have introduced this section.

The other difficulty is that raised by Deputy Redmond yesterday and which was raised again to-day. That is the case of stock trespassing on land from a neighbour's field innocently. That is a very rare case, indeed. It is a very rare combination of circumstances that the stock should come in casually and that that should coincide with the actual day and hour of the sheriff's arrival. It is not going to happen often—it might happen once in a blue moon—and there is no use speaking of it as being common. All it means is that the fences are not made up. Again, people know the state of the law.

Does the Minister know anything about sheep?

Mr. HOGAN

Just as much as the Deputy.

Does he know about fences, too?

Mr. HOGAN

I do. Half the sheep in the Saorstát are in the County Galway where I come from.

Can the Minister always keep them from trespassing?

Mr. HOGAN

Yes, always.

He must have exceptionally high fences or walls.

Mr. HOGAN

The Deputy is trying to impress the House with his knowledge of agriculture, because he is speaking to some people who perhaps are not sheep farmers. There is no difficulty in keeping in sheep on a farm. There are certain breeds of sheep which it is rather difficult to keep in. Take Tipperary with Border Leicesters and Galway ewes—there is no difficulty in keeping them in. In County Galway farmers have gone in for horny ewes and Cheviots and there is no difficulty ever in keeping them in, if you take reasonable precautions. There is no use in the Deputy trying to impress other Deputies, who are not farmers, with that particular difficulty, which does not exist.

The Minister knows that it does exist. There are times of the year when nobody can keep sheep from trespassing—one little gap will let a flock of 40 or 50 go through in a few minutes. The Minister knows it well. You cannot keep cattle in at certain times of the year. I have seen them climb an eight-feet high fence.

Would the Minister insert a section that would meet the case of the innocent Tipperary sheep and big red bullocks?

Mr. HOGAN

That is what Deputy Heffernan is asking. There is no difficulty whatever, with reasonable precautions, in keeping your stock on your land. A gap may fall at any time and sheep go out, but if they are looked after every day and put back and the gap raised that will prevent trespass. A gate may be left open and sheep may trespass, but it is most unlikely that that will coincide with the actual minute that the sheriff arrives. If sheep and cattle are reasonably looked after and the fences kept properly, there is no difficulty whatever. That applies not only to the sort of sheep they have in Tipperary and in the South, but to those in Wicklow and Connemara where mountainy ewes or Cheviots, which are very difficult to keep in, are kept. There is nothing in that point.

What I am asked to do is to provide for the case where the gate is left open between one man's field and his neighbour's, where the sheep ramble in, and the sheriff arrives soon after to execute a decree for arrears of annuities. The case hardly ever arises—very seldom. If we were to deal with it we would have to insert a provision that stock which are on the land casually, innocently, trespassing without any deliberation on the part of their owners, cannot be seized. What would the effect of that be? It would mean that any two neighbours could drive a coach-and-four through the section. They could always make an arrangement. You can always arrange to set your land to a neighbour, and if the sheriff turns up it would make it almost impossible for him to seize in a case where the land has been set to a neighbour. People are very quick to find out the state of the law, and very quick to adapt their actions to the new state of affairs.

If the section is passed as it stands it will mean (1) that an arrangement will be made when letting land to see that the annuities are paid up, or that an arrangement is come to to pay up that will meet that; (2) if there are farmers who keep their fences so badly that their stock are constantly trespassing on their neighbour's, they will realise that it is not a safe thing, and they will keep the fences properly. The net result will be good from every point of view, and the section will do no harm. It is the logical consequence of the present rates position. It would be absurd to have one law for the collection of rates, and another for the collection of arrears of annuities, which, in fact, become rates.

Amendment put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 14; Níl, 30.

  • John Conlan.
  • Connor Hogan.
  • Séamus Mac Cosgair.
  • Tomás O Conaill.
  • Aodh O Cúlacháin.
  • Eamon O Dubhghaill.
  • Mícheál O Dubhghaill.
  • Seán O Duinnín.
  • Mícheál O hIfearnáin.
  • Seán O Laidhin.
  • Pádraic O Máille.
  • Domhnall O Muirgheasa.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (An Clár).
  • Nicholas Wall.

Níl

  • Earnán Altún.
  • Earnán de Blaghd.
  • Séamus Breathnach.
  • Seoirse de Bhulbh.
  • Próinsias Bulfin.
  • Bryan R. Cooper.
  • Desmond Fitzgerald.
  • John Good.
  • Thomas Hennessy.
  • John Hennigan.
  • Patrick Leonard.
  • Liam Mac Cosgair.
  • Patrick McGilligan.
  • Risteárd Mac Liam.
  • Seoirse Mac Niocaill.
  • Liam Mac Sioghaird.
  • Martin M. Nally.
  • John T. Nolan.
  • Peadar O hAodha.
  • Mícheál O hAonghusa.
  • Peadar O Dubhghaill.
  • Pádraig O Dubhthaigh.
  • Eamon O Dúgáin.
  • Donnchadh O Guaire.
  • Fionán O Loingsigh.
  • Pádraig O hOgain (Gaillimh).
  • Máirtín O Rodaigh.
  • Seán O Súilleabháin.
  • Caoimhghín O hUigin.
  • Liam Thrift.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Heffernan and Lyons. Níl: Deputies Sears and P. Doyle.
Amendment declared lost.
Question: "That Section 28, as amended, stand part of the Bill," put.

I dissent.

Question declared carried. Mr. Connor Hogan dissenting.

SECTION 29.

("Provisions as to the sale of holdings by the Land Commission by private contract.")

I should like the Minister to give us a statement as to the anomalous position created under this section. The Land Commission is the creditor, and at the present time they have authority to sell up the debtor, not by public auction, but by private contract, and they can give a certificate stating that the price realised is to be taken as the fair value of the land. That is a revolutionary proposal, I submit. I would be at a loss to find a parallel anywhere for a proposal that the creditor shall sell up the debtor and be at liberty to receive the bids, and shall certify that these bids represent the fair price. Is there any justification for such a proposal? It is a revolutionary idea, I submit, in jurisprudence. It is certainly not known to the law at the present time. It is not the certificate of the judicial commissioner or of any court that shall be accepted, but that of the Land Commission themselves acting as officers of the State.

Mr. HOGAN

The Deputy is a great lawyer, and surely he is aware that the ordinary mortgagee has the right to sell by private contract.

Yes, but not to issue a certificate.

Mr. HOGAN

The Deputy should have confined himself to that, and not attempt to deceive the Dáil by saying that this is a revolutionary idea in jurisprudence.

In this country there is no such thing as foreclosure now. It has to be by auction.

Mr. HOGAN

It has not.

It is by an order of the Court, and not by the direction of the mortgagee. Let the Minister defend this case if it can be defended.

Mr. HOGAN

I am putting the Land Commission, here, in the same position as the ordinary mortgagee; this is not a revolutionary idea in jurisprudence. There is just this difference. The certificate of the Land Commission justifies the price here. It is really a question only of convenience. If the Land Commission gives a certificate that it is the best price to be had that justifies the price. In the case of an ordinary mortgagee there is another method adopted; he has to justify the price in a slightly different way.

Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 29; Níl, 14.

  • Earnán Altún.
  • Earnán de Blaghd.
  • Seoirse de Bhulbh.
  • Próinsias Bulfin.
  • Bryan R. Cooper.
  • Desmond Fitzgerald.
  • John Good.
  • Thomas Hennessy.
  • John Hennigan.
  • Patrick Leonard.
  • Liam Mac Cosgair.
  • Patrick McGilligan.
  • Risteárd Mac Liam.
  • Seoirse Mac Niocaill.
  • Liam Mac Sioghaird.
  • Martin M. Nally.
  • John T. Nolan.
  • Peadar O hAodha.
  • Mícheál O hAonghusa.
  • Peadar O Dubhghaill.
  • Pádraig O Dubhthaigh.
  • Eamon O Dúgáin.
  • Donnchadh O Guaire.
  • Fionán O Loingsigh.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (Gaillimh).
  • Máirtín O Rodaigh.
  • Seán O Súilleabháin.
  • Caoimhghín O hUigín.
  • Liam Thrift.

Níl

  • John Conlan.
  • Séamus Eabhróid.
  • Connor Hogan.
  • Séamus Mac Cosgair.
  • Tomás O Conaill.
  • Aodh O Cúlacháin.
  • Eamon O Dubhghaill.
  • Mícheál O Dubhghaill.
  • Seán O Duinnín.
  • Mícheál O hIfearnáin.
  • Seán O Laidhin.
  • Domhnall O Muirgheasa.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (An Clár).
  • Nicholas Wall.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies P. Doyle and Sears. Níl: Deputies C. Hogan and Heffernan.
Motion declared carried.
Section 29 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
SECTION 30.
Notice of every intended sale by the Land Commission, either by public auction or by private contract, of a holding which they are entitled to cause to be sold shall be published in the "Iris Oifigiúil" at least ten days before the sale, and the Land Commission shall transmit a copy of the said notice to the person who appears to them to be the owner or the tenant of the holding by registered post addressed to him at the holding.

I move:

"In line 53, after the word ‘sold,' to insert the words ‘in exercise of a power conferred by any Act.'"

This amendment deals with the giving of notice.

Mr. HOGAN

I am advised that the amendment is not necessary, but if the Deputy thinks it makes the section clearer I will accept it.

May I put it to the Minister that a little unnecessary printing is better than a good deal of unnecessary litigation?

Mr. HOGAN

on the other hand the Land Commission cannot exercise any powers other than those conferred on them by Act of Parliament.

Amendment agreed to.

I move:—

"In line 54, after the word ‘Oifigiúil,' to insert the words ‘a leading Dublin daily paper, and if there be a local paper, such local paper.'"

Amendment agreed to.

I move:—

"To insert after the word ‘shall,' line 55, the words ‘at least ten days before the sale.'"

Amendment agreed to.

I move:—

"To insert at the end of the section the words and also to every person appearing from the folio (if any) in the Land Registry relating to the holding to have any charge, claim or interest on or in the holding, at the addresses mentioned in the folio.' "

Amendment agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 30, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

At the Select Committee it was suggested to the Minister that before the sale by private treaty the land should be offered by public auction. It was suggested that only in the event of not being able to secure a satisfactory sale there should the land be sold by private treaty. At the time the Minister did not accept the suggestion, but said that he would consider it.

Mr. HOGAN

I think it would be undesirable to lead to that, as it would not as a rule mean getting a higher price.

It would be a safeguard against anything being said.

Mr. HOGAN

The object of the Land Commission always is to get the biggest possible price for the holding.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 31.
Where the Land Commission have put up for sale the interest of a tenant in a holding which they are entitled to cause to be sold the holding shall be sold subject to the statutory liabilities of the tenant in respect of the holding, and to any charge under any Public Works Acts, but discharged from all other claims or incumbrances of all persons whomsoever against such interest and all such claims shall as from the date of the sale cease as against the holding and attach to the purchase money in like manner as immediately before the date of the sale they attached to the holding.

Mr. HOGAN

I move:—

In line 59 to delete the words "interest of a tenant" and substitute therefor the word "tenancy."

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. HOGAN

I move:—

In line 61, after the word "holding" to insert the words "the interests of sub-tenants, if any."

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment 42.—In page 14, line 2, to add at the end of the section the words:—
"Provided that the Land Commission before putting the interest of the tenant up for sale has served notice of sale to all holders of claims against such interest or has offered the holding for sale to the subsequent mortgagees for the amount of the arrears of annuities having given notice to the tenant of their intention to do so" (Deputy Good).

I am not sure whether this amendment is covered by the amendment the Minister has agreed to accept to Section 30. I have some doubt on the point.

Mr. HOGAN

I should have informed the Deputy that that is covered by the previous amendment. It means that notice must be given to every mortgagee.

Does that mean that in addition mortgagees have the right to make an offer?

Mr. HOGAN

Of course.

Amendment not moved.
Question—"That Section 31, as amended, stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
Section 32 agreed to.
SECTION 33.
(1) Where the Land Commission have put up for sale by public auction any lands which they are entitled to cause to be sold for nonpayment of a purchase annuity charged thereon and the lands have not been sold, they may offer the lands to the council of the county in which they are situate, and in every such case it shall be lawful for the county council, with the concurrence of the Minister for Local Government and Public Health to purchase the lands from the Land Commission upon such terms as may be agreed upon notwithstanding that the lands are not required by them for the purpose of any of their statutory powers or duties.
(2) Any lands purchased by a county council under the section shall, so long as the council continues to hold the same, be administered in accordance with a scheme prepared by the county council and confirmed by the Minister for Local Government and Public Health who may confirm the same with or without modifications, and shall unless the said Minister otherwise directs be sold subject to the approval of the said Minister, within a period of five years from the purchase thereof by them or within such extended period as the said Minister may authorise.
(3) The proceeds of the sale of any lands under the foregoing sub-section shall be applied in repayment of any moneys borrowed and outstanding in respect of the said lands and if no such moneys are outstanding shall be carried to the credit of the rate or fund out of which the expenses of the county council in respect of the lands are defrayed.
(4) Any expenses incurred by a county council under this section shall be raised by means of the poor rate as a county-at-large charge, or as a separate charge off such area less than the county as the county council shall with the approval of the Minister for Local Government and Public Health determine.
(5) For the purposes of this section a county council may borrow money under Article 22 of the schedule to the Local Government (Application of Enactments) Order, 1898 in like manner as if these purposes were mentioned in the said article.

On behalf of Deputy Cooper, I move:—

In sub-section (1) line 34, after the word "sold" to insert the words "and have become vested in the Land Commission under the provisions of Section 32 of this Act."

Mr. HOGAN

I am not quite clear as to the purpose of the amendment. The Deputy wishes to have the words "and have become vested in the Land Commission under the provisions of Section 32 of this Act" inserted. That is to say, the land must vest in the Land Commission before they transfer it to a county council which wants to take it. That would not affect the legal position. It will merely delay matters. There is no purpose that I can see to be served by that. The amendment does not seem necessary.

The purpose of the amendment is to make it clear that this procedure will only apply in the case of an abortive sale. I am inclined to agree that a judge reading the two sections together would probably hold that this section was intended only to apply in those two cases—this section and the previous one. Some apprehension is felt that it might be considered to apply in cases where the land had not become vested and where an abortive sale had not taken place. I am not pressing the amendment.

Mr. HOGAN

I would draw the Deputy's attention to Section 33 and the words "and the lands have not been sold"—I think that makes the position abundantly clear. I agree that it is necessary to make it clear that this procedure only takes place after an abortive sale.

With Deputy Thrift's permission, I withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Question proposed: "That Section 33 stand part of the Bill."

I desire to oppose the incorporation of this section in the Bill. There is the possibility that this section will impose very considerable burdens——

Mr. HOGAN

Will the Deputy point them out?

I will. You are giving the powers which may be exercised and which, I presume, are incorporated in the Bill with the intention that they shall be exercised. The expenses and management of those farms are to be borne as a county-at-large charge. That is bound to have the effect of making the burden greater in proportion as the county is poorer. We may expect that a considerable number of farms will be put up for sale and inasmuch as every man has enough to do at present to hold the land he possesses, it is very questionable if there will be a ready sale for such lands. Economic conditions in agriculture are not very bright. They have not been bright for a number of years, and there is no prospect of brighter conditions for a considerable time. All these things are bound to have the effect of placing a considerable amount of land in the hands of the Land Commission. Is it a fair thing to throw the burden on the county councils——

Mr. HOGAN

Who is throwing the burden on them?

If you fail, you may do it.

Mr. HOGAN

They may take it, and they may not.

Please do not interrupt.

I am glad that we have another principle established.

The county councils can do this with the consent of the Minister for Local Government if they so desire. If the Minister wants it done he can have it done. If some of his own Sinn Fein councils had possessed such extraordinary powers as are given here, some years ago, I wonder what the conditions would be to-day. I believe we would have been brought by now a considerable distance nearer to the realisation of the Communist State. They could put up the rates as high as they desired, and, as men gradually broke down, the Land Commission could take over their lands under these powers. They could continue to tax and tax in an ever-increasing degree the remaining people who occupied land, and they could create a welter of ruin. There are dangerous potentialities in this section which we ought not, for a moment, to let go unchallenged. I am going to ask the House to divide on it, because I can see that there is an extremely vicious principle enshrined in it.

I agree with Deputy Connor Hogan. I think it is a ridiculous thing to suggest that land should be handed over to the county councils. I have not heard one member of a county council say that the councils wanted land. I do not think any such land will be taken over by the county councils. It is a hopeless amendment. Its object is to place the Minister and the Land Commission in a position to say to the county councils when they cannot collect the annuities: "Here is land; you collect the annuities or sell the land." It is simply a means of throwing the onus of collecting on the county councils. It is a gesture for that purpose. The Minister knows quite well that no land will, in fact, be taken over and worked by a county council. I do not know anybody less capable of handling and working land than a county council. Why incorporate in a Bill a section which we know will not be carried out? I submit that this is a section which ought not to be put to the House.

Mr. HOGAN

There has been more nonsense talked on this section than on the whole Land Bill and the 1923 Act. It is not only nonsense that has been talked, but the worst kind of nonsense —deliberate nonsense. Deputies know that I am not forcing the county councils to take any land. We are merely putting ourselves in the position that we can offer them land in the rare cases where land will be useful to them. We are not trying to shelter behind the county councils. With the help of the sections included in this Bill, we will collect the annuities. But the county councils have forestry schemes, tillage schemes, and grazing schemes, and two days after the Deputy had made a foolish speech on this question on last stage I was put questions by Deputy Johnson, and the answers showed that the county councils had certain lands subject to land purchase annuities——

I did not speak on this section on the last stage.

Mr. HOGAN

You did on Second Reading.

Deputies must address the Chair.

Is the Minister referring to the Select Committee?

Mr. HOGAN

I am not speaking of the Select Committee. Here in this House I heard all this nonsense and, immediately after Second Reading, I had three or four questions put me here. The answers to those questions showed, clearly, that county councils had certain lands subject to land purchase annuities for forestry schemes, for tillage schemes and for grazing schemes. We deliberately inserted in the Land Act, 1923, a section giving county councils power to act as trustees in certain cases in respect to land which might be used for tillage, grazing, forestry and so on. County councils occasionally want land for these purposes or for building if it is near a town. All that is contemplated in this section is that in the rare cases where-there is land suitable for the purposes of a county council and we desire to offer it to a county council, they shall be in a position to take it. The county councils are perfectly free to refuse the offer. They have an option. They may take it or they may refuse it. There is no suggestion that county councils should be asked to farm land. Nobody outside a lunatic asylum would ask county councils to farm land. But they do want land for certain purposes. We provide that if we have land suitable for their purposes and if there are arrears of Land Commission annuity on it, we may offer it to the county council and the county council will be in a position—which unfortunately, they are not now—of accepting it if they so desire. Of course, I do not mind Deputy Connor Hogan. He has a standing grievance against all county councils.

Will the county councils have to pay arrears due?

Mr. HOGAN

They will, and they will have to pay for the land.

And pay all the arrears due on the land?

Mr. HOGAN

And pay every copper. Deputy Connor Hogan does not think that the county councils are to be trusted to exercise any discretion. He was anxious to get into the Clare County Council, but he was rejected, and hence his opinion about all county councils is decidedly low, and hence all this nonsense about this simple and desirable section. The rolling phrases about the immense principles that are involved and the enunciation of these platitudes about the impossibility of a county council farming land are absolutely beside the point, and really Deputy Connor Hogan should not allow his grievance against the Clare County Council to influence what on some occasions is a fairly reliable judgment.

After the Minister's explanation this section does not appear to be so peculiar. But supposing a county council were abolished and a commissioner put in, would it be open to that commissioner to acquire land in the same manner as the county councils could?

Mr. HOGAN

Yes.

I think that is a dangerous thing, and all that the Minister has said might not be carried out by a commissioner. Even though there would be the protection of the Minister for Local Government, if a commissioner had this discretion he might plunge a county into a very critical state by taking up a number of derelict farms. I think that is a question that the Minister should look into. In any case I do not see any reason at all for this section.

Mr. HOGAN

What the Deputy fails to see is that even at present a commissioner has big responsibilities, and if he is not a competent man he can ruin a county. These are difficulties that we cannot get over in any other way than by endeavouring to appoint a competent commissioner, and if you appoint a commissioner who is capable of handling £100,000 of rates and of running roads and asylums and administering poor relief, you ought to assume that he has sufficient discretion to know when to accept this offer and when to refuse it. If he has not, you ought to give the Land Commission credit for sufficient judgment as not to offer derelict farms to such a commissioner. It is out of the question.

I want to make a personal explanation with regard to the Minister's statement that my grievance against county councils was because I failed to secure election.

I wonder is this in order?

On the Land Bill everything is in order, particularly from the Farmers' Benches.

It is true that in 1925 I was a candidate for the Clare County Council, but I understand the President went to Clare a few weeks before the election, paid me a compliment and damned my chances.

Question put and agreed to.

I want to be recorded as opposing the passing of that section.

The only way to do that is for Deputies to challenge a division. If five Deputies want a division a division must be taken. If less than five Deputies rise they will be recorded on the journals as against the motion.

Mr. HOGAN

Deputies are recorded already in the Dáil reports as against it. They made their hostility quite clear.

Is Deputy Heffernan satisfied?

I would like to ask the Minister if any provision has been made for cases where a county council has acquired lands on lease, not by purchase, under the Labourers Acts. If no provision has been made, would the Minister consider it advisable or not to have such lands vested in the Land Commission, and that the purchase clauses of the Land Act of 1923 should apply, the county council being regarded as the occupiers?

Mr. HOGAN

The question is if the county council is a tenant or holds lands under a long lease, do they come under the provisions of the Land Act?

Mr. HOGAN

I believe they do, but I will make certain.

Question proposed—"That Section 34 stand part of the Bill."

This section deals with labourers' cottages, and gives power to the county board of health to dispose of cottages which may not at present be used for the purpose for which they were erected.

Mr. HOGAN

The real intention of the section is to provide that when the Land Commission gives land to a labourer it may leave him in the labourer's cottage as well.

I understand that, but I want to know if it would be possible, where land is divided and cottages are built on the land divided, to give an additional acre or two to the cottage holder.

Mr. HOGAN

It would be possible. The Land Commission may make an advance to any deserving person, and this is to provide for a case where they do in fact give land to a labourer.

I hold that a labourer in a cottage that has been erected on an estate taken over by the Land Commission should be entitled, when the estate is divided, to portion of that land, and should be able to get at least two or three acres.

That is a different question, a question about the division of land.

Yes, but this section allows the labourer to remain in the cottage when the land is taken over by the Land Commission, and I think it would only be right that some little additional land should be given.

Question put and agreed to.

took the Chair.

SECTION 35 (2).

Where any such turbary rights so reserved to the Land Commission are subsequently let or sold by them, the Land Commission, if they think fit, may make such payment in Land Bonds or otherwise, as in their discretion may appear to them reasonable and just, to the person who would have been entitled to such turbary rights if the holding had not become vested in the Land Commission.

In sub-section (2) of Section 35, the price to be given to the owner is at the discretion of the Land Commission—"such payment as in their discretion may appear to them reasonable and just." That seems to be a little one-sided. Would the Minister agree that if objection was made by the person who owned the turbary rights that the price was not reasonable or just, it could be fixed by the Land Judge, who could take into account the probable income that the owners of the rights would derive from them.

Mr. HOGAN

I will consider whether we will agree to that or not.

Section 35 put, and agreed to.
SECTION 36.
Regulations made by the Minister for Lands and Agriculture may provide for the sale by the Land Commission to tenant purchasers of fishing rights in any rivers or waters adjoining or intersecting the holdings purchased by them at such price repayable by means of purchase annuities as the Land Commission may consider reasonable, such annuities to be consolidated with the standard purchase annuities of the holdings.

I think this is rather obscure—"such annuities to be consolidated with the standard purchase annuities of the holdings." Does that make it clear that the vendor gets these annuities?

Mr. HOGAN

Yes. The rights are purchased and they must be specifically paid for.

Sections 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, and 45—put and agreed to.
SECTION 46.
Any sum which might be paid to an agent under sub-section (8) of Section 40 of the Land Act, 1923, may in the event of his death before the allocation of the purchase money, be paid to his personal representative, and the consent of the owner to the payment to such agent shall be sufficient to entitle the personal representative to receive such sum as may be sanctioned by the Land Commission.

Mr. HOGAN

I move:

In line 3, after the word "money" to insert the words "and whether the death occurred before or after the appointed day."

It is an obviously necessary amendment.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Question—"That Section 46, as amended, stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
SECTION 47.
Registration under the Local Registration of Title (Ireland) Act. 1891, of the ownership of freehold land shall be compulsory in the following cases, that is to say:—
(a) Where the land has been at any time sold and conveyed to or vested in a purchaser under any of the provisions of the purchase of Land (Ireland) Acts and the purchase annuity has been redeemed before first registration;
(b) Where the land has been vested by the Land Commission in a purchaser for cash; and
(c) Where any rent formerly issuing out of the land has been redeemed under Section 38 of the Land Act, 1923;
and the provisions of the Local Registration of Title (Ireland) Act, 1891, relating to freehold lands, the registration of the ownership of which is by that Act declared to be compulsory shall apply to such cases.

Mr. HOGAN

I move:

In lines 16 and 19, after the word "been," to insert in each case the words "or is."

It is a verbal amendment.

Amendment put and agreed to.

Mr. HOGAN

I move:

In line 23 to add the words "when registered" at the end of the section.

That is also a verbal amendment.

Amendment agreed to.
Question—"That Section 47, as amended, stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
Section 48 put and agreed to.
SECTION 49.
(1) If the tenant of any holding on an estate purchased by the Congested Districts Board refuses to enter into an agreement for the purchase of the holding, or of a new holding consisting of part of the original holding, or of a new holding consisting of the whole or part of the original holding and other land, upon the terms offered by the Land Commission and at the price which they are prepared to advance, then, notwithstanding that the tenants on the estate to the extent of three-fourths in number and rateable value may not have agreed to purchase their respective holding, the Land Commission (other than the Judicial Commissioner) may, after serving notice upon the tenant and considering any objections made by him, make an Order declaring him to be the purchaser of the original or new holding, as the case may be, for such price and upon such terms and conditions as may be specified in the Order, and the tenant shall thereupon be deemed to have entered into a Purchase Agreement on the date named in the Order for the purchase of the original or new holding, as the case may be, for the price, and upon the terms and conditions so specified, and the purchase shall be completed accordingly.

Mr. HOGAN

I move:—

In Sub-section (1), line 38, to delete the word "holding" and substitute therefor the word "holdings."

Amendment put and agreed to.

Mr. HOGAN

I move:—

In sub-section (1), line 32, to delete all words from the word "consisting" to the word "land," line 34, both inclusive, and substitute therefor the words "offered to him in exchange for the holding," and in line 41 to delete the words "original or" and substitute therefor the words "holding or of the," and in line 45 to delete the words "original or new"; and in line 46 after the word "holding" to insert the words "or for the surrender of the holding and for the purchase of the new holding offered to him in exchange," and in line 48 to add after the word "accordingly" the words "and the provisions of sub-sections (2), (3) and (5) of section 23 of the Irish Land Act, 1909, shall apply to an exchange of holdings effected by an order under this section."

Amendment put and agreed to.
Section 49, as amended, put and agreed to.
SECTION 50.
Sub-section (2) of Section 65 of the Land Act, 1923, shall be amended to read as follows:—
(2) (a) In the case of any holding which is subject to any charges in respect of an annuity in favour of the Board of Works created in pursuance of the Landlord and Tenant (Ireland) Act, 1870, so much of the 44th and 45th sections of the Act as prohibits, without the consent of the Board, the alienation, assignment, sub-division or sub-letting of a holding charged as in the said sections mentioned and declares that, in the event of such prohibition being contravened, the holding shall be forfeited to the Board, and also so much of Section 2 of the Landlord and Tenant (Ireland) Act, 1872, as relates to the sale of holdings in lieu of forfeiture, shall be repealed. During such time as any part of the annuity charged on such holding remains unpaid the proprietor shall not sub-divide or let the holding without the consent of the Commissioners of Public Works, 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 Commissioners may, at their option, declare that the holding do vest in themselves, or they may cause it to be sold and the Land Commission shall on the application of the Commissioners issue an order to the under-sheriff to put the purchaser into possession of the holding or any part thereof so sold, and such order shall when delivered to the undersheriff be executed by him in like manner as a writ for delivery of possession. An order for possession issued under this section shall be deemed to be an execution order within the meaning of the Enforcement of Court Orders Act, 1920.
(b) The proceeds derived from every such sale shall in the first instance be applied by the Commissioners in payment of any moneys due on foot of the annuity, and in redemption of so much of the said annuity as shall at the time of such sale remain charged on the holding and of all costs and expenses incurred by them in relation to such sale or otherwise in respect of the said holding and the balance shall be paid to the person entitled by law to receive the same.

Mr. HOGAN

I move:—

In page 20, line 17, to delete the figures "1920" and substitute therefor the figures "1926."

That was a misprint.

I move:—

In page 20, line 25, to add at the end a new sub-section as follows:—

"(c) The provisions of Section 30 of this Act shall apply to every intended sale by the Commissioners of Public Works under the provisions of this section."

Mr. HOGAN

I will accept that in principle and alter the drafting.

Perhaps it is due to the Dáil to give an explanation, which will be very brief. This section empowers the Board of Works to sell up a holding on which they have an annuity when that annuity has not been paid. My amendment provides that the same notice shall be given by the Board of Works as is nominally given by the Land Commission.

Mr. HOGAN

I propose to insert at the end of line 10 the words "by public auction, due notice being given by them of the time, place, terms and conditions of such sale."

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 50 put and agreed to.
SECTION 51.
(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (4) of Section 9 of the Purchase of Land (Ireland) Act, 1891, advances may be made to the persons or bodies mentioned in sub-section (1) of Section 31 of the Land Act, 1923, for the purchase by them from the Land Commission of holdings or portions of holdings subject to Land Purchase Annuities acquired by the Land Commission in exchange for other lands.
(2) Advances made in pursuance of this section shall be repaid in like manner as advances made in pursuance of subsequent purchase agreements by means of purchase annuities calculated at the rate of 4¾ per cent. on the amount thereof and consolidated so far as circumstances admit, in accordance with Rules made by the Minister for Finance, with the existing purchase annuities to which the holdings or portions of holdings are subject.

Mr. HOGAN

I move:

To delete sub-section (2) and substitute therefor the following sub-section:—

"(2) Advances made in pursuance of this section shall be repaid by means of purchase annuities calculated at such rates as shall be prescribed, and consolidated so far as circumstances admit with the existing purchase annuities to which the holdings or portions of holdings are subject, in accordance with rules made by the Minister for Finance."

Amendment put and agreed to.
Section 51, as amended, put and agreed to.
Section 52 put and agreed to.
SECTION 53.
(1) The Land Commission shall have power to make any rules required for carrying the provisions of this Act into effect.
(2) The Minister for Finance shall have power to make rules or regulations for carrying the financial provisions of this Act into effect and for adapting to the requirements of this Act such provisions of any enactment passed prior to this Act as relate to land purchase finance.

Mr. HOGAN

I move:

In sub-section (1) after the word "Commission," line 56, to insert the words "after consultation with the President of the Incorporated Law Society of Ireland."

This is a rule-making section and that is desirable.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Question—"That Section 53, as amended, stand part of the Bill"— put and agreed to.
Section 54 and The Title put and agreed to.
Bill ordered to be reported with amendments.
The Dáil went out of Committee.
Bill reported.
Report Stage ordered for Tuesday, 5th April, 1927.
The Dáil adjourned at 2.10 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Tuesday, 29th March.