I move:—

In page 4, Section 3 (3), after the word "holding" line 10, to insert the words "which he had not the right to cut down or uproot before the date of the passing of the said Act (other than a fruit tree or osier or any tree planted by himself) and which is necessary for the ornament or shelter of the holding."

Deputies will remember the discussion that took place on this question regarding the rights of tenant purchasers to cut trees on holdings. I gave certain undertakings in connection with that and I think they are met in the amendment.

Would the Minister explain what is the position of a landlord who sells his estate to the Land Commission on part of which there is timber? He has, I take it, the right to sell the timber. Under this section as amended, will the position be altered, or is there any intention on the part of the Minister to alter the section? Is there any intention on the part of the Land Commission to take any action to prevent the further cutting of timber on the wholesale scale which has taken place over a number of years and which is taking place at present? I understand they are not doing it on estates where there is timber standing. The landlord is clearing out and he cuts and sells the timber, and that has a serious result from the point of view of the appearance of the landscape. If that is allowed to continue the section will be of little value. If the State is to act at all, there is more to be saved in that way than will be saved by attempting to deal with the tenant farmers.


The Land Commission have no control over land not vested in them and it was never suggested that they should. The Land Commission exists for the acquisition and division of lands and there their functions begin and end. They have not, and should not have, control over land, except so far as it is necessary to control it for the purposes of acquisition and division. If a question of security arises there would be a reason for controlling the land vested in them. The Deputy says that the serious question is not so much the cutting down of trees by the tenants and tenant purchasers but by the landowners. It is a question of land held in fee simple, free of rent, and without any tenants on the land. The Land Commission have, and should have, no control over that land until it is vested. If they were to have control there would be no such thing as landed property in the country. The Dáil might conceivably desire to take up the rest of the land in the country for certain purposes but, if they did, they would have to enshrine that idea in an Act of Parliament.

They would give the Land Commission, or whatever body was dealing with it, rights over the land required. It is an elementary principle of law that until an Act of Parliamnet is passed, and until the land is vested, the existing rights remain. The Land Commission could not possibly control the owner of untenanted land in fee simple and prevent him from cutting trees and from doing what he likes with it. The Deputy asks whether there is any intention to deal with it. There is a problem there, but that is for a Forestry Bill and not for a Land Bill. A Forestry Bill could not be introduced this Session. With regard to the point that the real problem is in connection with land that has not been, and will not be, vested in the Land Commission. I do not think the Deputy is accurate. 75 to 80 per cent. of the land is held subject to Land Commission annuities, subject to advances. On 25 per cent. of the land that is left there is a large proportion of the timber of the country, but that, as I say, is a problem for a Forestry Bill and not for a Bill of this sort.

I would like to ask the Minister——

We are not in Committee, and we are not discussing the section, but I will allow the Deputy to ask a question.

The Minister is dealing with the question of timber on land taken over for sub-division. Is it the policy of the Land Commission to take over part of an estate for division and allow the other part, on which timber stands, to remain with the landlord? There are many estates parts of which are being taken over and the other parts, on which timber stands, remain with the landlord, who clears off the timber.

He has a right to do so.

I am not questioning his, right, but I am questioning the policy of the Land Commission in not considering steps that might be taken to save that timber when taking over all the estate.


It often happens that that portion of an estate which the Land Commission does not purchase is the portion most densely timbered, for this reason. Take a case of a house with a demesne of, say, 1,000 acres. The landlord says that 500 acres are good enough for him, and he will sell the remainder. The Land Commission will take that portion of the land if it is suitable for sub-division and will suggest to the landlord to keep the land on which the timber is, the land near the house, and a certain amount of grazing land, leaving the Land Commission the land which is suitable for division. Another course would be to leave the grazing land and take the timber land. The other course would be to take it all. If they were to acquire land under this Land Bill it would be necessary to prove that it was required for the relief of congestion. If they were able to prove that, the next step would be to cut the timber and divide the land. If you once admit the idea that the landowner is to be allowed any land, it is impossible to attempt to acquire from him his timbered land. What the Deputy would require would be a section saying that the land shall be compulsorily acquired, not for the relief of congestion but because there is timber on it which the State wants to safeguard.

Would it not be possible for the Land Commission to administer isolated patches of timber throughout the country?


That is a big question and I would rather not go into it at this stage.

Amendment put and agreed to.


I move:—

In page 4 to delete lines 40-46, section 5, and substitute therefor the following section:

"Where either before or after the passing of this Act a holding or part of a holding, or part of demesne or other land the subject of an advance made to the owner for the purchase thereof, and another holding or part of a holding have been, or shall be, deemed to be one holding (in this section called the consolidated holding) the following provisions shall apply:—

(a) if an advance has been or shall be made for the purchase of any part of the consolidated holding after the passing of the Land Act, 1923, the consolidated holding shall be subject to the provisions of Section 65 of that Act prohibiting sub-division and letting as if an advance had been made for its purchase after the passing of the said Act of 1923;

(b) if a part of the consolidated holding is part of demesne or other land subject to an advance made to the owner for the purchase thereof the consolidated holding shall be subject to the provisions of the Land Purchase Acts prohibiting sub-division and letting to which the other part or parts of the holding were subject prior to its consolidation, or became subject to on its consolidation pursuant to the foregoing provision of this section, as the case may be."

This looks a formidable amendment, but it is really technical, and the idea is simple. Assume that you have a small holding subject to an annuity adjoining a demesne, assume there is an annuity on that portion by reason of the fact that the demesne has been re-sold to the landlord under a previous Act, assume that the Land Commission under the 1923 Act acquired some part of the demesne which is subject to an annuity, and divide that portion and give four or five acres to the holding adjoining which has been previously purchased under another Act, you have the position that there are two holdings with two annuities consolidated, but by a peculiar combination of circumstances under the existing law the Land Commission have no power to prevent a sub-division of that portion of the holding which was formerly demesne land, and you had the anomaly that though a man had a piece of land, he could divide it regardless of the Land Commission. That is an anomaly, and the Registrar of Title has simply put the point of view that all prohibition which applies to a holding subject to Land Commission annuities should equally apply to a holding even in the case where that holding has been formerly subject to an annuity. The next section deals with the annuity, and gives power to consolidate the two annuities.

Amendment put and agreed to.


I move:—

In page 4 to insert before Section 6 the following new section:—

"Where either before or after the passing of this Act two or more holdings subject to purchase annuities, or a holding subject to a purchase annuity and part of a holding, or part of demesne or other land for which an advance has been made to the owner for the purchase thereof, charged with a portion of another purchase annuity, have been, or shall be, deemed to be one holding (in this section called the consolidated holding) the consolidated annuity payable thereout in lieu of the several annuities or portions of annuities formerly payable, shall be deemed to have been and shall be charged on and recoverable out of the consolidated holding in the same manner and in the same priority as the several annuities or portions of annuities were charged on and recoverable out of the several parts of the consolidated holding on which they were originally charged."

Amendment put and agreed to


I move:—

In page 5, Section 6 (6), after the word "him," line 56, to add the following words—"and provided also that when the landlord proves to the satisfaction of the Judicial Commissioner that he has expended money in developing the lands for building the said period of five years may be extended to such further period not exceeding 20 years as the Judicial Commissioner may consider reasonable having regard to the amount of money so proved to have been expended."

This is to meet the point raised by Deputy Good in Committee. In order to make it clear it will have to be realised that this section applies to building grounds near a city or a town. A considerable proportion of building ground is near Dublin, Cork, Waterford and other big towns. We are providing that in the ordinary way building ground shall be purchased after six years unless building operations commence within that period. Deputy Good raised the point that that was hardly fair, especially in a case where the owner of the building ground had expended moneys, and perhaps big sums, for developing sites for building purposes, and that in a case of that sort it is not very easy for owners living near, say, the City of Dublin with considerable commitments on hands to bring the site up to the particular stage where building could commence. To meet that case the Deputy suggested that something should be done so as to give the owner a longer period than five years in order to comply with the provisions of the section. The developing of a site, clearing, levelling, fencing, etc., may run into thousands of pounds, and that sort of work takes considerable time. If you once admit that, then I do not think there is any case for refusing this amendment. It does not apply to land which is potential building ground—land which could be used as building ground. It only applies to land near cities in respect of which considerable sums have been expended in developing the ground for the purpose of building. Deputies may argue that there is no such land. If there is not, no harm is done, and the original provision stands. The land must be acquired inside six years unless building operations have actually started. If there is such land the section applies, and it is right that the owner should get a longer period than six years before he is compelled to hand over the fee simple at a small price to the occupier. I do not know whether this will meet Deputy Good's point, but it is the only method I could devise to meet it.

The proposed amendment would improve the section, but, as I pointed out on the last day, when you get into the question of building twenty years is a comparatively short period. I have two estates in mind. On one of them a large sum of money was expended twenty-seven years ago, and there is more than 25 per cent. of that land to-day not built on.

That was an estate where the building land was exceedingly popular and where it was taken up rapidly. I have another estate in mind that was not equally fortunate. In that case, not half of it has been built on. With all respect to the Minister, I think the policy of the State at the present time should be to give every encouragement to people building because of the shortage of houses. If this section is passed in its amended form it will, I believe, prevent the development of the larger estates. The Minister may say that it will not, but he has not had the long experience of some of us in these matters. I should like, for instance, to hear the views of the President on this, because he could speak from a longer experience than that of the Minister. After all, 20 years is a comparatively short period in building matters. I believe the effect of this amendment would be to limit development on the larger estates. It would be impossible to expect that development on them could be completed within a period of 20 years. In the case of the smaller estates, one naturally expects that the building would occupy the site within 20 years. This amendment, to my mind, will be a deterrent on building, and that ought not to be the policy of the State. I suggest that the Minister should take a larger view of this question. Let him put his limit to 20 years: that is, that the land cannot be acquired provided it can be shown that money is being expended on it for the purposes of building. I think, in a case like that, provision should be made that the land could not be taken from a man within a period of 20 years.


That is what I have done.

That is your maximum, but it is my minimum. If, for any reason, such as a monetary crisis or other matters that affect building operations, the building development is kept back, then I think it might be left in the power of the Judicial Commissioner to extend the 20 years' period for any further term that he might think desirable. After all, that is not a very material change to ask for. The Minister, of course, will say: "I have given you 20 years to develop this site, and if it is not done within that period, then we will take the land from you."

I am only a layman, and as I read it, it is only 20 years. But, taking it that it is 25 years, I would like to have the decision in regard to the further period beyond 20 years left in the hands of the Judicial Commissioner. It will then be for the owner of the building site to satisfy the Judicial Commissioner that he has made every effort to develop the site and get buildings erected on it, but that for reasons beyond his control he has been unable to do that. In order to encourage building in the State I think the Minister should give further consideration to that aspect of the question.

I would like to know whether the type of estate that Deputy Good has in mind can possibly come in under the Land Purchase Act at all?


It clearly comes in under this. Once you bring in building ground and future tenancies you bring-all these things in.

The estates to which the Deputy made reference were really estates part of which will come under the Land Act now but which had been excluded. They are estates that might be miles away from a city. When the Deputy raised this point on the Committee Stage, I recognised that there were two problems to be met, and urged that it should get consideration. I urged at the same time that the aspect of the question which we were advancing with regard to the five-year period and an extended period should be favourably considered. I want to make the comment now that the Minister, in this amendment, has met Deputy Good, but not the Deputies on these Benches.


Deputies should realise that the amendment brings, in future tenancies, tenancies which are not judicial, the occupiers of which have no real tenure in their holdings. There are many such tenancies all over the country, near towns, and especially cities. I agree that the Land Act of 1923 caused a considerable amount of hardship. I admit, too, that this will also cause a considerable amount of hardship. The point, however, is that you have got to draw the line somewhere, and that you are bound to have cases of hardship on one side of the line or on the other, no matter where you draw it. As I said, the Land Act of 1923 did cause a certain amount of hardship near cities because holdings which, in every sense of the word were to some extent agricultural, were cut out by the provisions of that Act. I have altered that in the only way it could be altered—by saying that future tenancies shall come in and be purchased, and by setting out that in the case where land is potential building ground, unless building begins within six years, the tenant shall purchase it. Deputy Baxter asked me why I did not go back three or four or five years. I do not think it matters twopence. If I brought it back, say, three years or two years, then I would be doing a very grave injustice indeed. As it is, there will be cases of extreme hardship under this Bill, at least in connection with land near certain towns in the country. The very least that could be done was to give the owners of lands, that have been excluded under the Land Act of 1923 as building ground, six years to prove their bona fides. If we made the period any shorter we would be only making the hardship worse. Coming to Deputy Good's point, I want to remind Deputies that this proviso only applies to land on which moneys have already been expended for development purposes. If there is no such land the section is going to do no harm and no good. It is going to be inoperative.

Is there any money?


There again the Deputy expects too much. Life is not so simple as that. You have one set of conditions in Clonmel and another in Rathmines, one set of conditions in the town of Loughrea and another in the City of Limerick. Money is expended by a small owner near a small town of a thousand inhabitants. It would be a very big sum to him but would be absolutely negligible if spent by the Earl of Pembroke on the Pembroke Estate. All these circumstances must be left to the Judicial Commissioner who will have to take into account all the circumstances of the case. I could not draw a line and say £5, £20, or £20,000. I must leave it to the Judicial Commissioner because circumstances vary. Surely, if I am bound to adopt the Deputy's point of view the activities of everyone in the country will have to be rigidly defined by an Act of Parliament passed specially for every circumstance and individual in the country. That must be left to the judge. If you draw your line too rigidly you do more hardship than good.

Now, to come to Deputy Good's point, this proviso only applies to land on which money has been expended for the development of a building site. He objects to twenty years, says that is not long enough and quotes an instance where money was expended twenty-seven years ago and where nothing has been done since. I do not profess to know as much about the circumstances of such a case as the Deputy but I think it would he quite fair to expect them to expend sufficient money to bring the site to the point where they could commence building in twenty-five years and that is what I have done. I do not see why the Deputy should ask me to go any further unless he wants me to make the Act a dead letter. If he wishes and the Dáil agrees—I would not advise him to accept it—I will let the amendment read:—

"Provided also that when the landlord proves to the satisfaction of the Judicial Commissioner that he has expended money in developing the land for building the said period of five years may be extended to such further period as the Judicial Commissioner may consider reasonable having regard to the amount of money so proved to have been expended."

That would be fairer but in some cases the Judicial Commissioners would say five, in some ten and in others twenty. On the merits it would be fairer but the Deputy can have his choice.

On the whole I think the alternative suggested by the Minister is a fairer one. Let each case be settled on its merits.


This only applies to land on which monies have been already expended.

Leave is asked to amend the proposed amendment by deleting the words on page 2 "Not exceeding twenty years."


The last paragraph, "Having regard to the amount of money so proved to have been expended," meets Deputy Baxter's point.

Amendment, as amended, put and agreed to.

I move:—

In page 6, to delete lines 9 to 26 inclusive, Section 8.

In putting before the Dáil this amendment, it is necessary for me to review land legislation for very many years. The British Government found it was necessary, owing to legislation passed by that Government, to bring in certain Bills to try and make good the harm that had been done and, in their own interests, to end, if possible. the feelings of hatred of those who were driven from their homes in Ireland. We find the policy of Lord John Russell was to clear the people out of this country. In 1848, according to the statistics supplied by British authorities, in one year you had 70,000 occupiers and their families, numbering 300,000 in all, rooted out of the land. Those farms extended from twenty-five acres at a maximum to five acres minimum. Those holdings were consolidated and turned into existing ranches. Those people were, in most of those ranches, evicted not for non-payment of rent, but evicted with their rack-rent paid up to date. The developments and improvements in that land were seized. The British Government saw the necessity for making good the harm caused to Irish farmers by following a policy that was injurious to their trade in this country, one of their best customers. Millions of the Irish race had to fly owing to the policy which they found later on to be a false one.

In Section 27 of the Act of 81 the British Parliament first introduced legislation to deal with the question of the division of the lands of the country amongst the people of the country. You had the establishment of the Congested Districts Board in 1891. Sections 34 and 35 deal with the same matter. They deal with the question of the ranch land of the country, with the increased powers of the Congested Districts Board to deal with those matters, and also with the question of evicted tenants. In the Land Act of 1896, Part 4 deals further with the Congested Districts Board, and Section 46 deals also with the question of evicted tenants and the division of land. The Irish Land Act of 1903, known as the Wyndham Act, brought forward by Wyndham in the British House of Commons during the Balfour régime, forced on the British House of Commons almost entirely through the action of the Irish Party, has a special section dealing with the taking over of the ranch lands of the country and their division amongst the working farmers of Ireland. The Irish Land Act of 1909, known as the Birrell Act, has the same compulsory power dealing with the division of the ranches of the country among the people.

You have the Irish Land Bill of 1920 —a British Bill based on the recommendations of the Irish Convention of 1917-18. That is supposed to be the basis of the 1923 Act, known as the Hogan Act. That Act, which was introduced by the present Minister for Agriculture, has a section dealing specially with this question of the breaking up of the untenanted lands. It is now clearly the policy of the Minister to undo that which was made the law of the country dealing with this most important question. I maintain that Section 8 is in direct contradiction of the section in that Act dealing with this matter. The Minister makes it easy for the rancher to retain his land. I will deal afterwards with the conditions that the Minister advances and the reasons which he proposes to us as sufficient reasons why this land should not be divided. If the British Parliament in various Land Acts saw the necessity for division of land amongst the working farmers for various reasons, and if our native Parliament also saw that necessity, it seems an extraordinary attitude for the Minister now to stultify himself and ask the Dáil to stultify itself by undoing what it did in 1923.

In reply to a question by Deputy Roddy on the 23rd April last year, as to the land vested in the Land Commission, the number of acres given by the Minister was 917,173, and of this only 48,197 were divided. The Minister went on to state further that under the 1903 and 1909 Acts there had been an additional 80,000 acres divided, but that did not come under the land inspected by the Land Commission for this particular purpose. We have heard it stated here, and we have seen in the Press reports of speeches made by the Minister for Agriculture, that with all the claims made for land by landless men, uneconomic holders and evicted tenants, there was not enough of land to go round, and it would be impossible to meet all those claims. Still we find this large proportion of land is not divided, and we find, further, that loop-holes are to be given to the rancher to evade the law even where estates have been inspected during the past four years, and where the Inspector saw the necessity for the division of this land amongst the uneconomic holders and pointed it out to the Land Commission. Still those estates are not to be divided, not because they have been carrying thoroughbred stock, but because, as the Minister has pointed out in reply to a query here, it is essential to the economy of the country and it is intended to encourage people to get into the breeding of stock. If we confined it to the few people breeding high-class stock it would be useless. It was deliberately intended to encourage others. He further states that it applies not only to the land used for that purpose now, but land which will be used in future for that purpose. There are people in possession of ranches from which other people were unjustly evicted.

The people evicted, or their descendants, are trying to live on five or ten acres of land. They were evicted not for non-payment of rent, but because the land was required to be turned into ranches. The owners of these ranches never ran anything on the lands but scrub cattle. Ninety per cent. of their cattle are sent to Great Britain to be fattened. The lands were never used to finish cattle. Those people, who never bred thoroughbred stock of any kind, have only to say that they intend in future to breed thoroughbred cattle or pure-bred sheep or pigs in order to evade the Act, because the Minister says this not only applies to lands that are being used for the purpose of breeding thoroughbred stock, but lands which will be used in future for that purpose. The fact that this rancher who has land that he never paid for, land that those who went before him got from the British Government, sometimes even at the price of their honour—if they had any—those who voted for the betrayal of their own Parliament——

I was allowing the Deputy ten minutes by way of introduction. He has taken a quarter of an hour. It may be my own fault, but I have not yet seen the point about Section 8.

Section 8, I think, is fairly clear. I am sorry if I have found it necessary to elaborate. The Minister makes it clear in Section 8 that the clause-dealing with this question of the distribution of land is simply to be wiped out and the legislation that went through this Dáil is to be a thing of the past, on the condition that those who occupied those ranches are going to say that in future they are going to use the ranches for the breeding of thoroughbred stock of some sort.


The words of the Act are "being used," not "going to be used."

The Act says "being used," but I have quoted the words used by the Minister in the Dáil, in reply to Deputy Heffernan. Of course, if the Minister says that what he said on that occasion is wrong, I am quite prepared to accept it.

I will say that the Minister is quite capable of being wrong.

He is quite capable of acknowledging it.

The Deputy will please sit down for a moment. I say that the Minister is quite capable of being wrong; Deputy D'Alton is quite capable of being wrong—so are we all. But Section 8 must be taken for what it says, not for what the Minister said it may be, if he did say it. The limits of the debate will be very much extended if, in fact, there is something contained in Section 8 to the effect that the Deputy desires to make out. If the Deputy will show that to me in the section I will allow him to debate it, but if he does not, we cannot have an unlimited debate. Is there anything in the section to that effect?

The Minister, in his reply on the 9th March, made it very clear to my mind what his intention was in introducing this Section 8.


On a point of explanation. The Deputy unfortunately misquoted what I said. I explained this was to apply not only to existing stud-farms, but to prospective stud-farms that would be founded in two, three or four years time. But the point in the section is that the farm must be used as a stud-farm at the time the Land Commission proceeds to acquire it. It is clear, in the section, that the owner of the land will not be in a position to make a case that he is going to use the farm as a stud-farm. He must be in the position to show whether the stud-farm is founded this year or next year or the year after. He must be in a position to show the Land Commission at the time they take proceedings that the farm is at that hour being used as a stud-farm in a bona fide manner. Now, I hope that is clear.

Does that mean that if the Land Commission had taken action with a view to taking ever a certain estate and if the owner of the estate had not notified the Land Commission that he was going to use it as a stud-farm, and if he still uses it simply for the grazing of half-bred stock but now notifies the Land Commission that he intends, at a future date, to use it as a stud-farm, even although the Land Commission had taken steps——


On a point of order, is that in the section?

I do not like construing sections, but if the Deputy's contention is in the section the debate would have to be of an extraordinarily wide character. The Deputy has taken us through a full review of land legislation. On the face of the section, as a layman reads it, it does not appear to mean what the Deputy says at all.

My interpretation of the section is that it is possible for any one of these people who hold untenanted land to avail of this section, even although the necessity for the division amongst the uneconomic holders is made quite clear. To my mind, under the section it is quite possible for a man to evade the 1923 Act even when the necessity has been found by the Land Commission, and after their inspectors have agreed that it should be divided, on the condition put forward by the owner that he is going to use it for the purpose of rearing thoroughbred stock. If you, sir, wish to explain to me that I am not right——

I do not intend to explain it at all. I am very far from having that intention.

I do not think the Minister has made it clear that that is not possible under the section. That is my point; that where the Land Commission has inspected and taken the matter to court to have it decided as regards the price, even still there is a further opportunity given to the owner to say that he is going to use the land, at a future date, for the breeding of thoroughbred stock, so that this section of the Act of 1923 can be avoided and broken away from.

The Minister referred to one of his reasons for this particular section. Where you have a ranch of 1,000 acres and five men employed, if you have one aged thoroughbred which is no use whatever as regards results, and some half-breds, that is, I presume, the nucleus of a new thoroughbred stock farm which the owner says he intends to work. It is going to be a question whether this farm of 1,000 acres, with five men on it, surrounded with farms of under £20 valuation, owned by people who are paying their annuities and rates, do not owe anything to anyone, is to continue in the possession of one man while the surrounding farmers are unable to get an acre additional. You may have a ranch of 1,200 acres with four herds and two other workers, and these people with their families may number in all 25, whereas you may have 1,000 acres of land with 100 occupiers, each with five in family, which means 500 individuals, yet the hundred families of 500 people have to be content with 1,000 acres of land between them, all while the six families of 25 people are living on 1,200 acres of land. These 100 occupiers are producing eggs, bread, and butter from their farms. They are getting first prizes at bull shows for their animals. They are getting first prize for dairy cattle at the shows, and even on their small holdings of 10 acres they are breeding the best type of cow to be found, yet, they are not to get an acre of additional land, even though it is land from which their fathers were evicted. Why? Because it is supposed to be used in the future for the breeding of cattle by men who never, up to this, bred thoroughbred cattle on their ranches. The small farmers I have mentioned are bringing in revenue and increasing the wealth of the country. I do not know what wealth is coming into the country from a man running a 1,200-acre ranch with five or six workers on it. I do not know what value he is to the tradesmen of the country, and I do not know what value such a man is to town or country.

You had 690,000 people put out of this country in one year. We find in Belgium, Holland and Denmark populations such as you do not find in this country, with the result that Denmark, for example, is turning out four-and-a half times as much butter as we are in Ireland. If you are to have production you must have the people. The people I referred to a while ago have to travel three or four miles for a garden; they pay more in wages, especially if we calculate what is to be paid to their own families, than is paid by the rancher to the six hands that he employs. If this is the style of thing that is to build up this nation I am afraid it is going to be very slow work. The Minister lacks method in dealing with this great question, and I hope it is not the intention of the Dáil to pass a section in this Bill which is in direct opposition to the section that was passed by this House in 1923. We have heard certain complaints about those who claim to be evicted tenants and are not bona fide evicted tenants. No man who was evicted because the landlord got tired of him, and who, when he found himself thrown over by the landlord, went and joined the Land League, should be regarded as an evicted tenant. Bona fide evicted scoundrels I call a number of these people.

This is not the time or the place to call them names.

There is no suggestion that these people can be brought in amongst uneconomic holders. You have numbers of bona fide evicted tenants who have paid their rents in full, but who were evicted for no reason except that the land was required for ranches. There is no getting over that fact. The British Government found it necessary in all their Acts of Parliament to try to undo the wrongs done to these people. It should not be for an Irish Parliament to go back from the position it has already taken up and from the position that the British Parliament found it necessary to take up. I do not think that there is much use in my dealing further with this matter. I have made my points fairly clearly. I believe it is those who carry a clean bill of health, who owe no money, either to the ratepayers or to the Land Commission, who are not in debt and who have been industrious, should be put on land that is not giving a proper return to the country. No ranch, with its four or five men, is giving a sufficient return to the country to help to meet the adverse trade balance.

The Deputy has gone to the limit when he has got to the adverse trade balance. The Deputy has been speaking since twenty-five minutes past four and he has not explained to me, so far, anything about stud-farms and Section 8. I am not advising him to begin to do it now, but so far he has not done it.

Of course if you make a ruling I have to bow to it, but I maintain I have been speaking very much to the point because I have been dealing with a section in the Act of 1923 and the section now brought forward by the Minister to defeat that section. I have gone very closely into it because I have been dealing with everything that surrounds it, and the necessity for the division of these ranches. There are a number of farms available at present to be taken up for the breeding of high-class stock and they could be taken for this purpose instead of preventing the division of the ranches because of this excuse. Under the Acts of 1903 and 1923 there were advances of £3,000. Now under this section the Minister will make it possible for them to have advances of £5,000, or even £10,000, for the purpose of buying out ranches, which may be up to 700 acres in extent. He can buy them at a loss to the State, with the State's security, and still they get the full benefit of the agricultural grant. It is being made easy for those who now hold the land to continue in possession of this land if they use it as stud-farms.

The matter is one of very serious importance. It must have been important when legislation was necessary. If it was important when legislation was introduced here and in the British House of Commons, I believe that it is equally important and necessary to-day that these lands should be divided. I want to make one point clear. Twelve months ago, when this matter came before the Dáil I stated that I did not in any way support the division of any land, no matter how much it was, when employment was given on that land. I have objected on a public platform to the division of an estate where forty or fifty men were employed in charge of brood mares, a herd of dairy cattle and in doing tillage, Where employment is given and the land is used I do not advocate the division of that land, but where you have bona fide uneconomic holders getting no employment, bringing little revenue to the State, I say that legislation which was passed to deal with the distribution of this land should not be upset, no matter what excuse has been formulated by the Minister and no matter what influence has been brought to bear on him by Deputies to prevent the division of the land.

I think Deputy D'Alton has raised one or two points that would require some attention from the Minister. I do think that there is a certain amount of looseness about the section that may offer temptation to those who may want to avoid having their land taken for division purposes and who may take advantage of this section and start stud-farms. The point is made that at the time the Land Commission comes to take over the land it must actually be in use as a stud-farm. But we know the delays that have taken place, and that are bound to take place, in the acquisition of land, and there will be many of these untenanted ranches the owners of which might see in the section an opportunity for holding on to the land. There is a certain amount of indefiniteness about the section. The whole thing seems to be left to the Land Commission to see whether or not it is being used in a bona fide manner.


The Department of Lands and Agriculture.


"As long as the Land Commission are satisfied that such land is being used in a bona fide manner." The Department of Lands and Agriculture does not come into it at all.


"For the purpose of breeding thoroughbred stock."


That refers only to the kind of stock that is bred there, but the Land Commission decides whether it is being used in a bona fide manner as a stud-farm, and nothing is said of untenanted land which may be used for that purpose. Nothing is said as to the proportion of the land used for that particular purpose, or whether or not the whole of it is to be so used. For instance, if the owner of such land were to engage to a certain extent in the breeding of thoroughbred stock and to a certain extent in the rearing of ordinary stock, it is not quite clear whether or not that would fulfil the conditions. It would seem to be ridiculous if it could happen, as suggested by Deputy D'Alton, that if a few thoroughbred animals were kept on a farm the land could be regarded as a stud-farm for the purpose of defeating the intentions of the Bill. I doubt the wisdom, in any case, of applying this section to untenanted land; I think that there is really no necessity for that. I quite see the point the Minister made the last day in directing attention to the necessity for encouraging the production of thoroughbred stock, but I do certainly doubt whether the provisions of the Bill should apply in the case of untenanted land. I believe the section requires to be tightened up considerably if we are to prevent it being used by those who will, naturally, be tempted to make use of it in order to defeat the purposes of the Land Act. There are people—it is only natural to expect it, of course— who will take advantage of any loophole of this kind. I know cases of lands that have been untenanted for generations. The owners are now fixing up temporary residences on them and declaring that the land is no longer untenanted land. In some cases that has been successful to a certain extent. But as I say, there are people who will always be anxious to take advantage of any loophole that an Act will offer to them. I think there are loopholes in this, and I suggest that the Minister should have the section more carefully examined with a view to having the loopholes stopped.

I think it would be most unfortunate if there should be any interference with genuine stud-farms, especially ones where thoroughbred horses are kept. These farms are a great asset to the country. They are not only remunerative to the owners, but they give a good deal of employment. There, are several of these farms in my constituency, and it would be a great blow, not only to the surrounding farmers who get a good market at these farms, but also to the workers who are employed there in considerable numbers if anything interfered with them. There are other estates differently managed which would be available for division. Very near where I live there is an extensive stud-farm at which a large number of men are employed. That establishment turns out some of the very best horses that are bred in the Three Kingdoms or elsewhere. A few miles further on there is an estate of 1,800 Irish acres, on which two men are employed. That is the sort of land that I say should be divided, and not estates where a paying industry is carried on. I do not want to make a case for non-genuine stud-farms, or where a man keeps a few horses or a few head of pedigree cattle. I do not think they would be genuine stud-farms. An extension of the breeding of pure-bred cattle would be most important. No one knows better than the Minister that large sums of money are sent across to Scotland and other places every year for pedigree bulls that might be bred in this country. I hope the Minister will not agree to the abolition of what I regard as one of the most important provisions in the Bill.

I am not in favour of interference with the stud farms at present existing. As my colleague Deputy Conlan stated, we have a number of them in our constituency. I do not think there is any desire on the part of anyone to interfere with these farms, but I will support Deputy D'Alton in his amendment, as I look upon this clause as the ranchers' protection clause. That is what it is when the camouflage is taken away. The meaning is that anyone who wants to evade the intentions of the Bill can frustrate them by turning a large untenanted farm into a sort of stud-farm and by putting a few thoroughbred animals on it. I think that is objectionable from every point of view. You will have sham stud farms set up all over the country in all the large ranches, if the clause is passed as it stands. As a result, you will be setting up a new landlord class that will be infinitely worse than the class we are trying to get rid of.


Deputy D'Alton tried to make us weep by drawing a picture of 500 acres of land with a bad pedigree Hereford bull in the middle and the Land Commission deciding that it was a stud-farm. If the Deputy was going on that line he should have gone the whole way, and drawn a picture of 10,000 acres of land with a pedigree goat on it, and the Land Commission deciding it was a farm used for breeding high-class stock. If the Land Commission would decide that the 10,000 acres of land with a pedigree goat is a stud-farm Deputy D'Alton and the other Deputies who took that line would be right. Let us see what the section says:—

Notwithstanding the provisions of sub-sections (1) and (3) of Section 24 of the Land Act of 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 think every possible danger is covered there. First of all, you must leave it to the Land Commission to decide whether a farm is being used for that purpose. I will not waste the time of the House pointing out that Deputy D'Alton is wrong in his contention, that the mere intention to use it would be a sufficient cause. The Act is quite clear about that: "The Land Commission are satisfied that such land is being used in a bona fide manner." Therefore the land must be actually used when the Land Commission proceeds to acquire it. Does not that dispose of the term "sham stud-farms"? If it does not the draughtsman is not able to do it better.

It does not make any provision for a case where a man gets, say, a £5,000 farm and then stops using it as a stud-farm. What happens then?


Of course, the Land Commission goes and acquires it. There is nothing to stop them. The Land Commission must see that the farm is being used as a stud-farm, and they must see that it is being used in a bona fide way; in other words, that the land is required for the purpose of raising high class stock. Deputies may say that the Land Commission will not do its duty. The same might be said of every section of the Land Act. It is for the Land Commission to say whether the estate would be required at all for the relief of congestion. It is for the Land Commission to decide every case and every point that comes up under any Land Act. It is for the Land Commission to decide, most important of all, if this land, whether it is a stud-farm or not, is required for the relief of congestion. The decision must be left to the Land Commission. Once you constitute a body to whom you must submit such very big issues as the issue I have mentioned, whether the land is to be taken at all or not, there is no other way of meeting the case. The least that may be done is to let them decide that very much minor question, where the owner of the land may put up the defence that it is being used in a bona fide way as a farm for breeding high class stock animals. I hope Deputies have got that point. I think the whole debate is based on the idea that the Land Commission should not be trusted to decide this point. If the Land Commission is not to be trusted to decide this point, abolish them and establish another Land Commission.

On that point generally, will the Minister say if many cases of the kind referred to by him have come before the Land Commission? Will he say how many are awaiting a final decision in the hope that the Minister will secure these powers?


So far as I know not a single one. The Deputy has one case badly on the brain.


That case was decided long ago. In that case, which shall be nameless, the farm was a stud-farm, and I am absolutely satisfied it would be a gross injustice to acquire it in the circumstances. So far as I know, there are no cases pending in the Land Commission awaiting the passing of this Bill.

Why, then, does the Minister seek those powers?


The question of the acquisition of those lands for the relief of congestion came up and the point arose as to whether there was other land in the district more suitable. The Land Commission decided that in view of the fact that this land was fully equipped with all the requisites for a stud-farm and as there was more land in the district suitable for the relief of congestion, they would not touch this particular property. You must leave all these big questions that I have indicated to the Land Commission. Deputies are quite prepared to leave to the Land Commission the decision as to whether or not a man should get £10,000 or £20,000 for a farm; they are quite prepared to leave it to the Land Commission to decide whether a farm should or should not be taken; but they immediately object if we leave it to the Land Commission to decide whether a farm is a, stud-farm bona fide used for that purpose. I think that attitude is illogical and is based on a false idea. It is based on the fallacy that the Land Commission may take responsibility for these extremely important decisions but are not to be trusted when it comes to a small matter like that. That is unsound. You must leave the decision to somebody, and obviously the proper body is the Land Commission.

In order to make assurance doubly sure there is inserted a provision that not only is the farm being bona fide used as a stud-farm for the purpose of breeding high-class animals, and not only must the whole farm be required for that purpose—that is the effect of the bona fide use—but it must be used for the purpose of breeding animals suitable to the country, and it is the Department of Agriculture that will have the say in that matter. Consequently, the owner cannot begin to breed special types such as the Duroc-Jersey breed. I do not want to go into the various breeds of cattle, because if I do the partisans are sure to intervene and people will be writing to the papers saying that this breed is better than that breed, and so on. Owners cannot begin to develop some breed obviously unsuitable to the country. There are some breeds of cattle, pigs and sheep that are quite unsuitable and we provide against that. We provide against the case of a wealthy man who simply wants to differ from his neighbours, who starts a special breed and who destroys all the animals in the neighbourhood as a consequence. The Land Commission must be satisfied that the farm is being used for the breeding of high-class animals, and the Department must be satisfied that the animals are suitable for the requirements of the country. That gives you, so far as you can get it in a section of an Act of Parliament, ample security.

Some Deputies refer to the existing stud-farms. They would be in favour of retaining them as they give a lot of employment. That is just another illustration of the saying that everybody's goose is a swan. I am not so nearly concerned with farmers breeding horses as the farmers breeding high-class cattle and sheep.

I cannot understand Deputies who contend that a stud farm where horses are bred and reared should remain absolutely untouched, whereas the farm of a man who undertakes an equally difficult task, but a much more important task so far as the country is concerned—breeding high-class cattle and sheep—should have no consideration. That is wrong. This section was introduced with the object of meeting, as far as possible, the case of the small farmer. Deputies should not be trying to magnify the difference between a small farmer and a big farmer. A small farmer cannot afford to breed high-class stock.

On a point of order, the Minister made a remark regarding Deputies, and he looked at me. He said Deputies were trying to distinguish between the small and the large farmers. I have made no such distinction. The statement I made with regard to small farmers was that they have bred cattle that have won prizes owing to merit, whereas the ranches contain little better than scrub cattle.


I am speaking of farms for the breeding of high-class animals. Deputies may as well talk of sausages and kings, or whatever the tag is in "Alice in Wonderland"—I think it is cabbages and kings. Deputies might as well talk about these matters as about ranches. We are talking at the moment of farms used for the breeding of high-class stud animals. Let us keep to that and not talk about ranches. There is nothing so important to the small farmer as the opportunity of being able to get at a reasonable price high-class pedigree stock. Every farmer who is not an ignoramus knows that. There is nothing so important to the country as that we should put ourselves in the position of breeding most of our stud animals here. There is another matter that Deputies seem to be completely ignorant of, especially Deputy D'Alton. He does not know apparently what a stud-farm is.

I did not catch the Minister's observation.

It is just as well you did not.


I did not look in the Deputy's direction that time. Anybody who does not need the knowledge —let me put it that way—is aware that a farmer does not wait for some fine morning to decide whether he will start a stud-farm. There is nothing so expensive or that requires such outlay or such a complete change of farming. One thinks not once or twice, but three or four times, before suggesting a stud-farm. It requires big changes in the farm, and one must take considerable pains to get stock before one can build up a bona fide stud-farm. That is what we are dealing with. It would be all right if, in the middle of a thousand acres, there was a pedigree goat, and that farm was considered by the Land Commission to be a stud-farm. We are now talking about bona fide stud-farms.

A bona fide stud-farm requires a considerable amount of care, worry, attention and skill. No farm gives so much employment as a well-run stud-farm; no farm is such a market for the produce of the small farmer, and no other farm can produce at such a cheap rate the sort of stock the small farmer needs. The small farmer can always get in the neighbourhood of a stud-farm first-class stock at a reasonable price. All this analogy between the stud-farm and the ranch is quite wrong. The intention of the section is to facilitate bona fide farms for stock animals. It does not necessarily mean horses. I do not consider horses anything like the most important stock to be bred. What is meant is any farm used for the breeding of high-class stock animals.

It is to apply only to so much land as is required for that purpose, and it is to apply only if the Department of Agriculture certifies that the stock bred on the farm is suitable for the country. Finally, it can only apply in cases where the farm is actually being used for that purpose in a bona fide way when the Land Commission inspects it. I am told by lawyers that all that is in this section. I am satisfied myself that it is. No man is fool enough to incur the expense of erecting stabling, fencing and providing a stock of breeding animals, employing labour and all the rest of it in organising a stud-farm to throw up all that in five years, and then have the Land Commission coming in and robbing him by taking it from him with all the buildings and equipment. He will not have much money left by that time.

Amendment put and negatived.

On behalf of Deputy Heffernan I move amendment 6, which reads:—

In page 7, Section 10 (2) (c), line 12, to delete all words from the word "repurchase" to the end of the paragraph.

The object of this amendment is to make it certain that in the case of an owner of an untenanted farm applying to the Land Commission to have his land redeemed and a fair rent fixed, the Land Commission will not then hold the land, but that it will automatically go back to the man who makes the application.


I could not agree with that amendment, because when the Bill is passed all fee farm grants are in a very different position. Suppose I accept it, what would be the position of the Land Commission? Suppose there were 5,000 acres of land on a fee farm grant. The owner would, in order to save himself losing one acre, apply to the Land Commission to acquire the land and re-sell it to him. The Land Commission would have to do that, and then after that the land could not be acquired by the Land Commission.

On the other hand, does not the Minister recognise the very perturbed state of mind that many applicants will be in because of the wording of this section. I refer to quite legitimate cases. I have some in mind myself in my own constituency, though my constituents would not be very much concerned with this particular type of holding. But there are a few scattered here and there. The attitude of mind on the part of the owner will be that he will be wondering if he is going to make an application, and whether or not, when the Land Commission takes the land, they may not retain the holding. Undoubtedly, if there is the case that the Minister states, there is also the other case, and there should be some indication given in the Bill that the case of the legitimate owner, from the point of view of the type of individual that we want to have brought within the Bill, should be treated in such a manner as would satisfy him that the application to redeem will not, in fact, mean to him an application from the Land Commission to take over his lands. We want some clearer indication than there is given in this section.


There is the whole thing over again. For the sake of argument, let us take it that a very big proportion of the land which the Land Commission acquires for the relief of congestion is held under fee farm grants. Once that is admitted the problem arises. Deputies want to treat one class of person who owns such lands in one way, and another class of person in another way. Then, the question arises how to do it? Here take a specific case. The intention of everybody, including the person who moved the amendment, is that any owner, if a fee farm grantee, might apply to the Land Commission under this section and avail himself of his rights. That was the intention of everybody. It was never suggested, for a moment, that there was any owner who should not apply. In connection with the other sections it was suggested that the rights that are being claimed for fee farm grantees should only be available to fee farm grantees whose lands were within, say, 10/- and 30/- rent per acre. But that case was never made for this particular section. But suppose it was, and if at this stage Deputies said: "Well, let this section only apply to tenants whose land comes within the 10/- and 30/-, being agricultural rents"; then that takes you back again, because these fee farm grantees whose lands are within the limits of the 15/- and 30/- per acre holding hold land which, in a considerable number of cases, we will be acquiring for the relief of congestion. Even if you limit the number of fee farm grantees to a rent which you define as agricultural, nevertheless you will still be dealing with lands which, in the normal way, the Land Commission will acquire in a great many cases for the relief of congestion. You cannot, in an Act of the Oireachtas, discriminate between those cases where, in fact, you will acquire land and where, in fact, you will not acquire land. How can we? We do not know the cases yet. The only possible way I can see to make such a discrimination would be by reference to the poor law valuation or the acreage, and if we started on that line what is the difference? Is it to be fifty or one hundred, or two hundred or three hundred pounds? We would never get anywhere on that. We would not get agreement, and even if we did get agreement we would be doing an injustice. The Land Commission, in some cases, would want to acquire land because of its situation, even if it was under the valuation; and in many other cases they would not acquire land at all even if it was over the valuation. You cannot discriminate between persons. You must discriminate between tenures. So long as it is a fact that a considerable proportion of these lands will be required for the relief of congestion, and so long as it is quite impossible to define them accurately at this stage otherwise than by their tenures, then we can do no more than we are doing there, no more than the Deputy is suggesting in his amendment, to take it out entirely, and if we did this we would stop land purchase. That is all. I found myself in this dilemma one time here when we were dealing with fee farm grants and people used the same kind of language that used to be used in the past in another Parliament, about the insecurity, and about the dangers and the fears that people will have that their property is to be taken, They are using that about the same tenures and there is only this difference: that in the past the people who used that language had only one class in their minds. At present the people using that language have in mind another and a different class. We cannot discriminate between classes. We must give the same treatment to all tenures. We cannot do otherwise. If it is really a realisation of the fact that there are limits to land purchase then it is all to the good.

Deputies must realise that we simply cannot make a distinction between classes or between persons. We can only make a distinction between tenures. That does not mean, for instance, that you could not pick out certain sorts of fee farm rents and deal with them separately within particular limitations. But you cannot discriminate between persons. You can only discriminate by reference to other factors that go to the merits of the case. In this case, if we accepted the amendment, land purchase would, to a very considerable extent, have to stop. On the other hand, there is no way I know, or that, I think, could be devised by anybody—without a commission of inquiry and a schedule of twenty or thirty pages to an Act of Parliament, as a result of the commission of inquiry—by which you could, discriminate between the cases the Deputy has in mind and the cases which he has not in mind but which are important to the Land Commission by reason of the fact that the lands in those cases are being acquired compulsorily.

I ask the leave of the House to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment 7.—In page 7, line 20, to add at the end of Section 10 a new sub-section as follows:—
In fixing the "standard price" of any holding within this section, in addition to the circumstances mentioned in Section 25, sub-section (2) of the Land Act, 1923, regard shall be had by the Land Commission to any fines or capital sums paid to the grantor or lessor on the grant or renewal of any fee farm grant, lease for lives or years renewable for ever, or lease for a term of years of which sixty or more were expired at the date of the passing of the Land Act, 1923, by the owner of any such holding as aforesaid or by his predecessor in title since the 15th day of August, 1911.—(Deputy Bolger.)

On behalf of Deputy Bolger, I beg to move this amendment.

Has the Deputy been authorised by Deputy Bolger to move the amendment.


We had a conversation about the matter, and he said he would put down an amendment in connection with this question.


Has Deputy Bolger authorised the Deputy to move this amendment?


He has not authorised me officially to move it.

I am afraid the amendment cannot be moved in those circumstances.

Amendment not moved.

On behalf of Deputy Heffernan, I move amendment 8:—

In page 7, line 20, to add at the end of Section 10 a new sub-section as follows:—

"When the owner of a parcel of untenanted land situate in a non-congested districts county applies in accordance with the foregoing subsections of this section to the Land Commission and the Land Commission have declared by order that the land shall vest in the Land Commission, and where owing to the subletting of portion of the holding the owner has been penalised by the applications of the purchase provisions of the Land Act, 1923, enabling such sub-tenants to purchase their holdings the Land Commission shall when fixing the price at which re-sale is to be made to the owner take into account in fixing such price the loss which he has suffered owing to the sale of portion of the land to the subtenants, and shall deduct the amount of any such loss from the head or superior interest."

The amendment is self-explanatory, and I presume the Minister is agreeable to accept it.


I could not agree to this amendment.

Amendment put and negatived.

The next amendment is in the name of Deputy Heffernan. I understand that this amendment is covered by an amendment which the Minister proposes to move later.


It is. My amendment would substitute amendments 9 and 10.

We will leave over amendments 9 and 10 and deal with the Minister's amendment now.


I move:—

Section 10. To add the following new sub-section:—

"(3) Where a parcel of untenanted land, so held as aforesaid, whether situated in a congested districts county or not, is vested in the Land Commission on the appointed day, the Judicial Commissioner, in fixing the redemption price of the superior interests payable out of the purchase money of the parcel, shall have regard to the price received by the vendor for the parcel and to the amount of the arrears of rent, if any, due by him up to the date of the passing of this Act. In every such case, arrears of rent which shall have accrued due up to and including the first gale day in the year 1924 shall not be payable by the vendor."

The proposition put up first in connection with fee farm grantees was that they should be treated same as tenants. That was a proposition I could not agree to, for reasons which I have often given. Fee farm grantees vary in particular circumstances very much. Their rents vary. They vary from five shillings to two pounds.

And three pounds.


These variations very often reflect certain peculiar circumstances connected with the original letting. For instance, you have often a case where a man would like to buy untenanted land and has not got the money or has only got a very small proportion of it. He takes up, instead, a fee farm rent, paying considerable rent in lieu of part of the fine. Further and more difficult is the fact that fee farm rents are established and changed and altered as a result of family circumstances, of mortgages and so on.

Not on £3 an acre.


Yes. Further, it has to be remembered that fee farm rents never came under the Land Acts. They were never touched by previous Land Acts and they were always regarded in much the same way as the tenure of houses in towns. It was never felt that there was any danger that they would be interfered with. Hence, they came to be looked upon as a security and as an easy and safe way of giving annuities under marriage settlements, family settlements, and so on. In that way, a number of mortgages and claims and charges grew up and were woven round fee farm rents all over the country where these rents exist. All that was based on the firm belief that fee farm rents, which had never come within the Land Acts, would never come within these Acts. That makes it extremely difficult to treat fee farm grantees at present as if they were tenants. The question was raised before, and I dealt with the considerations put forward by Deputy Baxter.

I realise that there are some cases where, at least on view, it does appear a hardship that a fee farm grantee should be treated in one way and a judicial tenant in another. Everybody is immensely impressed by the circumstances which surround him. People see fee-farm grantees farming their land in the ordinary way still at the old rent, having got no relief. On the other side of the ditch, they see judicial tenants with rents reduced 35 per cent., arrears added to the purchase money, and so on. You have, in those circumstances, an agitation for some sort of redress. There is the dilemma. Firstly, you have land tenures, always sacred, never touched by any Land Act, around which all sorts of family charges, mortgages, bank charges, grow up, and, secondly, you have tenures of rents which are very difficult to interfere with. On the other hand, you have cases where five or six small men, popularly called tenants of an estate, who held under fee farm grants and, consequently, were unable to get the advantages of the Land Acts.

Again, it is the old case where it is impossible, or almost impossible, to discriminate between persons. You can only discriminate between the merits of the cases—the tenures and circumstances. To meet that I proposed what was also proposed in Senator Butler's Bill—to give the same terms to fee-farm grantees outside the congested districts as inside the congested districts. Within the congested districts, untenanted land and land held under fee-farm grant as untenanted land, vested automatically in the Land Commission and then could be resold to the fee farm grantee. The fee farm grantee was the vendor—he was the owner of the fee farm grant. In the case of ten— anted land, the vendor is the owner of the fee—the landlord. The tenant is not the vendor. Within the congested districts, the fee farm grantee's land was, in effect, sold to the Land Commission and the Land Commission resold. Outside the congested districts, if the fee farm rent was to be redeemed or if a fee farm grantee was to get any relief, he had to apply to the Land Judge to have the rent redeemed. He was not in as strong a position as the fee farm grantee within the congested districts for two reasons. In practice the procedure in the congested districts enabled the fee farm grantee to have arrears, if any, added to the purchase money. Let us say that there is a fee farm rent of £100 on 100 acres and that there are three years' arrears due. The Land Commission buy it at £1,500 from the vendor, who, remember, is the fee farm grantee. They pay his charges—the charges that are on that purchase money—first. One charge is the fee farm rent and that fee farm rent is redeemed, say, at £800.

That £800 is transferred to the grantor, the owner of the rent as well as three years' rent, £300—a total of £1,100, and the fee farm grantee is then really paying interest and sinking fund at 4½ per cent. on £1,100. In other words, his arrears have been added to the purchase money. That did not happen outside the congested districts. In that way the fee farm grantee outside the congested districts was at a disadvantage compared with the fee farm grantee within the congested districts. He was at a disadvantage, as he did not get a loan at 4½ per cent. repayable in 67 years to pay off his arrears.

The second point is not so obvious, but it is equally important. Within the congested districts the land was bought as untenanted land at a certain price. Say, without going into the acreage, that land is bought at £2,000 by the Land Commission in the ordinary way as untenanted land. They can only buy it in one way. They have to buy it as if they were going to resell it. They have to buy it at a price which would leave it an economic proposition to resell and which would make the annuity economic to the tenant purchaser. They have to buy it at such a price that, repayable at 4¾ per cent., it is an economic proposition for the tenants and the landless men in the event of their dividing it. They have to buy at a smaller price than land can be bought in the open market. They have to buy it at certainly an economic price. It is bought, say, at £2,000 within the congested districts. There is a rent on it. There is one charge to be paid out of the £2,000 before the owner gets what is coming to him, the owner being the fee-farm grantee, and that is the redemption of the head rent. The Land Judge must redeem the head rent in such a way as to give a fair proportion of the money to the grantee for his occupation interest and a reasonable proportion to the grantor for his interest as being a rent holder. He must, if the price is small, have some fair relation between the interests of the grantor and of the grantee who is in occupation, who had all the profits of the land, who had a fixed tenure in the land, and whose interest must be regarded in the average case as at least as important and as valuable as the interest of the grantor.

He must redeem the rent in such a way as to leave a sufficient allowance for the interest of the grantee. In other words, he must assume that he is not going to resell the land to the grantee; he must assume that he will require it for the relief of congestion. There is £2,000 there and it has to be divided between two persons, one who owned the rent, and the other who had the occupation interest. That mere fact lowers the redemption value of the rent. By putting the grantee outside the congested districts, in the same position as the grantee in the congested districts you certainly confer two big advantages. If there is a very high rent on the land and if at the same time the land is being bought on Land Commission principles—at such a price as it might be resold to tenants and yet leave an economic annuity to be paid by these tenants—it is obvious that the Land Judge must take into consideration, not only the rent but the occupation interest and it is obvious he cannot redeem the rent at a very high price so you do ensure that the rent is redeemed at some sort of reasonable price when you provide that the arrears be added to the purchase money.

What is happening in practice is this: that a man who held land under one of these tenures subject to a rent payable for ever gets that rent redeemed at a very reduced price. He has the other choice which I need not go into now, paying a bigger rent and taking the money in hand to pay off other debts or refusing to take any money and putting it against the annuity, leaving himself with a very small rent as compared with the rent he paid previously. Anyway he is in the position that this rent which he had to pay for ever as a fixed rent is redeemed now at a reasonable figure. The land judge has to take all the circumstances into account in each case that comes before him. A certain number of years' arrears are added to the purchase money. He gets a loan at 4½ per cent on that and he gets 67 years to repay that. I think that meets all the equities of the case. Again we have the same case that we debated five minutes ago. You cannot do the ideal thing for every tenant. You must simply try and do approximate justice to everybody in an Act of Parliament. An Act of Parliament must be based on general principles which must apply evenly all round. This is the very best we could do and to make the position quite clear I am proposing to add this sub-section at the end of the section. It is an amendment which I have given a considerable amount of thought and consideration to, because the last thing we want to do is to interfere with property that has been regarded as a security up to this. We realise the grave danger of cutting too near the quick. All I really desired to do was to make it certain that, first of all the purchase should take place in such a way as, in the nature of the case, to ensure that the rent would be redeemed at a fair price, and then to insert certain definite provisions in a section as a safeguard, so that the Judicial Commissioner would, at least, take certain things into account in fixing the redemption price. I am suggesting, therefore, that the following sub-section should be added to Section 10. (Amendment quoted.)

Remember, the vendor is a fee-farm grantee, and this is based on sections in other Acts which deal with the redemption, out of the purchase money, of interests which have been diminished by a particular Act. For instance, take the case of tenanted land, where the rent is lower and where there are specified provisions in an Act of Parliament which insure that the price of the tenancy shall be small and less than it would be if the rent had not been lowered—less than it would be if the sale had taken place in the open market. There follows in some of these cases a provision that when redeeming the charges which might have been deemed against the tenancy, and which now exist against the purchase money, the Land Judge shall take into account the price given for the tenancy. I am adopting the words in the previous Acts of Parliament for this purpose. The meaning of these words is well settled. There are decided cases on it, so that there is no danger of their being misinterpreted. Three years' arrears shall be added, to the purchase money, but not more. I suggest that that meets the case.

I quite agree that there are difficulties in the way, State difficulties. The first part of this amendment goes a long way to meet the case we have been making. As a layman I must confess that I have not been able to follow the intricacies of the Minister's argument. His argument is off the beaten track of land purchase and enters on a very intricate and technical aspect of matters with which we have been accustomed to deal in percentages, percentages on the reduction of the original rental. This is a new departure which a layman cannot be expected to follow very far, still I accept it as a move in the right direction. It goes a long way, so far as redemption price is concerned, to meet the case we make. In regard however to the payment of arrears and the payment in lieu of rent, payments will have to be made up to the appointed day, and not alone will three years' arrears have to be paid up to the appointed day but the old rental will remain.

Take, for instance, the case of a farm of 100 acres at £3 an acre. That means £300 a year or, for three years, £900, which has to be added to the purchase money. That is an extraordinary case and it is one which exists in fact. It is a tenancy in the Hill of Down, County Meath, where £3 per Irish acre is paid. That is only one of many cases that can be found all over the country. I made several speeches previously in connection with these particular cases since 1923 and I do not want to repeat them. I want to give you cases. There is an estate of a near neighbour of mine at the steeple of Kilree of 30 acres with a rental of £84 odd on the De Vesci estate. Some time ago the grantor saw the impossibility of recovering such a rent and reduced it to £62, and subsequently to £50. If he stood on his rights he could continue to recover £84. There is another case in South Kilkenny where property fell to two brothers. They made lettings to tenants.

One was an ordinary tenancy that has come under the Land Courts and the 1923 Act. The other was made by his brother, a solicitor—I am not casting any reflection on the Minister—and he put at the head of his letting "fee farm grant £2 an acre." It remains there, with the result that one tenant has come under all the Purchase Acts at 17/6 an acre, while the other has to pay £2 an acre, and will have to continue to pay arrears and payments in lieu of rent up to the appointed day at the rate of £2. There are other cases, and I think if I read out the names in those cases many citizens of Dublin would be conversant with the people mentioned. There is a case on the Woodsgift estate, the late owner being Mrs. Marshall. She owned the place outright and sold it to a speculator in Dublin named Thomas Joseph O'Neill for £4,500. Thomas Joseph O'Neill broke up the farm into small lots and sold it, thereby realising a sum of £5,000, and bearing, at the same time, a rental of from £1 to £1 10s. an acre, putting at the head of the letting "fee farm grant." Thomas was cute, and he knew something.

The Deputy should cite cases without giving the names of individuals.

The present owner is a man named Horan, of Grand Canal Street. Such transactions amount almost to a crime, considering that the State is nearly bankrupt. You cannot get behind acts of that sort. The Minister has mentioned State reasons and said that credit should not be interfered with, and also that this would involve a lot of mortgage readjustments and other charges. He said that it would be impossible for the State to do justice to everybody concerned and maintain the credit of the State except by the methods which he has adopted. If there are State reasons—and I am prepared to admit that there are—I think it is the duty of the State, when it is done for State reasons, to come forward and do justice to that class of tenant who is paying two or three pounds rental all his life and who never got redress from any Acts, while all around him are people who have got the benefits of every Act passed since 1881. For land of the same quality as his, people are paying as low as 10/- an acre, while those outside the fence have to pay from 30/- to £2 and even £3 an acre. I am not referring to the landlords. When the Minister says that it was for family reasons that people saddled themselves with these high rents, he has got the wrong end of the stick. The reason is that landlords were able to make lettings to tenants who did not know the difference and who did not care. They wanted land at any price.

To my mind a point is readied at which a distinction should be made between these classes of leases, and the point at which they should be divided into two classes is at the judicial value. I cannot see what crime this class of tenant has committed. You may call him the grantee, the owner, or what you like, but to me he is the tenant and nothing else. Neither he nor his father or grandfather did anything wrong, and he is always wondering what he has done that he should be treated practically as a criminal. This reminds me of a homely parallel. Two individuals were held up by a force they were unable to resist. One was put hanging from a beech tree and another from an oak. The man hanging from the oak was cut down and relieved, and nothing was done for the man hanging from the beech, because he had not the sense to hang himself from the oak. Similarly, all the Land Acts were passed for the benefit of one class of tenants and nothing was done for the other. The Minister has gone a good way in regard to the purchase price towards remedying the grievance that exists, provided that the Land Judge will have some knowledge of land value. The prices fixed two years ago were foolish and exorbitant. Prices should not be fixed on the value of land at the moment. Regard should be had for what land is likely to be worth in the future, or what it is worth in normal times and not in boom years. I do not think our judges have acted on that principle. As I am fairly satisfied that in future the judge will not put a fictitious price on the land, but will give only its actual value, I am more or less satisfied, but I am not satisfied that the tenant should pay three years' arrears on an exorbitant charge of £3 per acre and continue to pay that rent until the appointed day. That is my case. I have made it before and I hope I will not have to make it again.

I think it is more than doubtful that the provision made by the Minister for dealing with fee farm grantees will bring their rents to anything like level with the figure at which annuities are paid in respect of lands adjoining where these fee farm grantees live. The cases in which land is held under this form of tenure are fairly numerous in my constituency. I can bear out what Deputy Gorey has said as to the extremely high rents these men pay, and I know of a case in which a rent of £3 per acre is paid. Everybody who knows anything about land and the prices at which agricultural produce is selling knows that that is an impossible rent. Several cases have been mentioned to me where the rent is £2 per acre. I know a man who is paying £240 a year rent under a fee farm grant, and he has let the land for eleven months at £241. Of course that state of affairs could not continue, because that man's capital will be soon exhausted and he will be forced to relinquish his holding. We must recognise that the Minister has gone a certain length in trying to meet these cases, but I think he should have gone much further and given these men proper relief by bringing down their rents to a figure at which they can live upon their holdings.

The Minister has decided to deal with these cases in the matter of purchase, and he has recognised that an injustice was done to these tenants. But if it is right to purchase the holdings and to recognise that the present rent is not fair or economic, and because of that the Judicial Commissioner will be asked to fix a fair rent, should not the Minister also recognise that where perhaps two or three years arrears were due no matter how these arrears are to be collected the holdings are being rendered uneconomic because of these very heavy arrears. With the reduced rent and no arrears under ordinary circumstances it might be possible to live on these holdings, but with the huge arrears that have to be paid they are rendered uneconomic. It has been the policy of the State to make holdings economic. The Minister has gone a certain distance, but by leaving this burden of arrears to be paid under depressed agricultural conditions it would be undoubtedly true that no reduction given by the Judicial Commissioner in rental will make it possible for the people so affected to carry on. The reduction should not be from the time of the Judicial Commissioner's decision, but it should operate over the years during which the arrears accrued. If he does not do that he will be causing hardship to a number of tenants who are purely agricultural.


The point made by Deputy Baxter exemplifies the fact that it is unsafe to go any distance to meet the problem. If you agree to go a certain distance, then you are asked to go still further. That is the great objection I have to going a certain distance.

In the direction of doing justice?


There is no need to have a discussion on abstract justice or injustice, because it leads nowhere. All legislation is a compromise, but the tendency to seize on every advance for the purpose of getting another advance in the same direction is a bad one. If that is continued a time will be reached when we shall have enough of land purchase. One of the main functions of the Land Commission is to buy untenanted land, and to resell it to landless men; to herds, workers on an estate, and others. The most important function of the Land Commission, of course, is to buy tenanted land and re-sell it to the tenants, but one of its important functions is to buy untenanted land and to re-sell it to landless men. They are doing that every day. They are able to sell land at a very small rent indeed to landless men. In fact, where it is not necessary to build a house, they can always re-sell the land to landless men at a very small price. In cases where there is a high annuity to be paid—there are exceptions, of course—as a rule that is due to the fact that some considerable advance has been made for the building of a house, the making of fences, or some other purpose. If I were to consider all the land that has been bought since 1923, and were to calculate what the interest at 41 per cent. would lead to in the way of an annuity, I would, I think, find, in practically all cases, the annuity to be a very reasonable one —round about £1 an Irish acre. That is the case, notwithstanding the fact that the Land Commission are buying the land as untenanted land—buying it at the ordinary Land Commission price as untenanted land—and re-selling it to landless men.

I hope the Land Commission will take a lesson from your words.


If I were to admit to the Deputy that there are some cases where the land was bought pretty dear, I think it would be found that was due to the high annuity payable on the land because of some advances made for the building of a house and so on.

I can tell the Minister, from my own personal experience, that in the case of two estates in the County Kilkenny, the land being rather indifferent, there is a rent of 30/- an acre charged on portion of the land, while on a portion that is a bog a rent of 26/- an acre is charged. The Land Commission is now trying to redeem the price that they paid for this land. on which there is no house.


I repeat that in nine cases out of ten the Land Commission can buy untenanted land at a price which enables them to re-sell it to landless men at an economic rent. There are exceptional cases, of course, where the annuity has to be increased by the fact that an advance had been made for the building of a house. We are talking of averages, and I say that has been done in nine cases out of ten. Now, let me take two cases. In the first case the Land Commission buys 25 acres of untenanted land and re-sells to a landless man at an economic rent. That is to say, they buy 25 acres of fee simple with no charge on it. In the second case they buy 25 acres of land which are subject to a fee farm rent, but they buy it on exactly the same principle as in the first case.

Whom are they selling to in thislatter case? They are selling to the occupier who has to pay not 4¾ per cent on the total purchase money, but only 4¾ per cent on a portion of the purchase money, a portion which is approximately half and half. Is not that what is happening under the section?

I agree. The arrears are the only thing that I quarrel with.


I have not an awful lot of sympathy with these people. In the ordinary way they managed to pay this rent before 1914. I have not a terrible lot of sympathy with people who rushed in in 1920 and took land at a fee farm rent from speculators. There was speculation on both sides. There was a lot of speculation in land and other things at that particular time, but surely the Government is not to be asked to come to the assistance of the speculators? These people entered into this with their eyes open. Surely they can pay the rent that they were paying before 1914. Now we come along and we give them relief for all the arrears up to 1924. That is going a long way to meet them. We are lending them the balance at 41 per cent repayable over 67 years.

I am not relying on that man, but I am going back fifty and sixty years and more.


These men have been paying that rent all along. They got relief within the last two or three years, and that was given on equitable terms. If they happen to have had arrears before 1924, well they are not asked to pay them, but if the arrears accrued from 1924 on to the present well then they can pay them if they wish, and if they do not wish to do that they can have a loan at 41 per cent to enable them to do so, and have that added to the purchase money. I think that in dealing with these cases we are going very far. Personally I would not wish to go any further.

I accept the Minister's amendment, but I do not think it goes far enough.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Amendments 9 and 10 not moved.

I move amendment 11.

In page 7 to delete lines 44 to 53 (Section 13) and substitute therefor the following:—

"Where in the case of a holding to which the provisions of the Land Act, 1923, would have been applicable were it not for the fact that the tenant or sub-tenant of such holding has been ejected therefrom at any time within three years before the passing of the said Act or since the gale day next preceding the 16th June, 1926, such tenant or sub-tenant shall on payment to the landlord of two years' rent or such less sum as may be due in respect of arrears. together with the landlord's costs of the ejectment proceedings be entitled to be reinstated in his holding as if a writ of restitution had been applied fdr and obtained by him under Section 71 of the Landlord and Tenant (Ireland) Act, 1860, and this section shall also apply to a holding by this Act made applicable."


The amendment is the same as the section except that tenants ejected any time for three years previous to the passing of the Act, etc. shall be reinstated. I could not accept that.

Deputies of the House can remember that when the big slump came in prices of cattle and all other agricultural produce in 1920 there was an Unpurchased Tenants' Association formed, the members of which were paying much higher rents than their neighbours who had the benefit of purchase for years. Part of the programme of their combination was to demand reductions in those high rents, which they could not afford to pay with the falling prices, from their landlords, and not to pay unless they got fair play. The result was, some were granted satisfactory percentages off their rents; others, who did not get fair treatment, who held out, instead of getting their grievances remedied were victimised and served with the usual notice under the Land Law (Ireland) Act, 1887, or, as it was known then, the "eviction made easy clause," which created them caretakers.

In some cases those hated proceedings, which finally constituted the occupiers evicted tenants, were ignored. It is to remedy this unsatisfactory state of affairs that I have brought in. my amendment, to which I hope the Minister will give sympathetic consideration by accepting it, and not deprive those of the benefits of this Bill who were manfully, on principle, standing by their fellow members.


I will draw the Deputy's attention to his amendment. It applies three years before the Act of 1923. What an extraordinary thing to do! This section only applies to future tenancies. It is only in the case of future tenancies that there have been ejectments. There may be a few cases of present tenancies where there have been ejectments, but in the main it is future tenancies. In future tenancies the owner could eject his tenant at six or twelve months' notice, and it was common to exercise that right. They were different tenancies. In future tenancies the landlord was different from. the landlord of present tenancies; these were availed of by all sorts of people to make temporary letting's, and they exercised their rights to resume the holding, and we are going very far indeed when we are purchasing future tenancies. Now we are asked to go back three years previous to 1923 and re-open all the cases where holdings held under future tenancies were resumed by the owners, as they had a perfect, right to resume them, notwithstanding the fact that other tenants may have been in. This would be the worst kind of retrospective legislation. We debated the question whether we should go back beyond the three years before the introduction of the present Land Act, namely, June, 1926, in Committee, and the House decided we should only go back to the gale day preceding the introduction of this Act. Deputy Dineen suggested we should go back three years before 1923. I would be against this retrospective legislation. They were tenancies which the tenants entered into with their eyes open, knowing that no real fixity of tenure existed, that the landowner could eject the tenant when he wished, and knowing that the landowner was only making a temporary arrangement. Further, yon would eject people who have been put in since.

There are some very hard cases.


"Hard cases make bad law"; that is the trouble.

Amendment put and declared lost.


I move amendment 12:—

In page 7, Section IS, line 45, after the word "applicable" to insert the words "or would have been applicable were it not for the fact that."

This is a purely drafting amendment.

Amendment put and agreed to.


I move amendment 13:—

In page 8, Section 14 (2), lines 1 and 6, to delete the word "five" and substitute therefor in each case the word "ten," and in line 6 to delete the word "ten" and substitute the word "twenty."

That is to meet Deputy Alton's point that the average should be for a period of twenty years rather than five or ten.

Amendment put and agreed to.

I move amendment 14:—

In page 9, Section 16 (3), line 6, to delete the words "An error" and substitute therefor the words "A clerical mistake or error arising from any accidental omission."

The Minister promised to consider this on Report.


I find that the Land Judge has always power to rectify not only clerical but real errors in the vesting order, and that there are regulations providing how it should be done. There are long-standing regulations which have to be availed of occasionally in the Land Commission to rectify a real error, apart from a clerical error, in the vesting order. It may be an error in area or in the right-of-way, and occasionally an error creeps into the vesting order. This order is a very important document, and such an error should not be changed at all except by a very definite process which has been specified in public. That process is there and those regulations are there in which a real error in the vesting order may be taken, with due notice to everyone, before the Judicial Commissioner, and the insertion of the amendment would rule out the right of the Judicial Commissioner.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

The following amendment stands in my name:—

In page 9, Section 16 (4), line 21, after the word "Registry" to add the words "Provided that nothing in this sub-section contained shall prejudice or affect any assignment mortgage or charge or of any dealing with such holding which has been made or completed before the time at which the memorial of the registration of the holding shall have been registered in the Registry of Deeds pursuant to the provisions of Section 19, sub-section (4) of the Local Registration of Title (Ireland) Act, 1891."

The Minister has explained to me whatever date you fix is bound to create certain inconveniencc and hard ship, and so I shall not move it.

Amendment 15 not moved.
The following amendment was agreed to:—
In page 9, Section 17 (1), line 44, after the words "all poor rates" to insert the words "and other rates," and in line 46, after the words "that day" to insert the words "such rates to be considered as accruing from day to day for the purpose of this provision," and line 48, after the word "liable" to insert the word "only," and in line 50, after the words "shall not be liable for" to delete the words "any other rates or."—(Aire Tailte agus Talmhaíochta.)


I move:—

In page 10, Section 17 (6), line 16, after the word "section" to insert the words "in discharge of rates."

Amendment put and agreed to.

I move:—

In page 12, Section 22, line 16, after the word "determine" to insert the words "and such untenanted lands or holding shall not thereafter be acquired or resumed by the Land Commission without the consent of the owner or tenant thereof."


If the Deputy likes I will say for a period of five years.

The object of the amendment is to, prevent any landlord being harassed by demands for his land which are subsequently abandoned. I realise, however, the desire of the Minister to meet the case, and perhaps he would make it ten years instead of five.


Make it seven.

I am thankful for small mercies, and will accept that.


The amendment would then read: "and such untenanted lands or holding shall not for a period of seven years thereafter be acquired or resumed by the Land Commission with out the consent of the owner or tenant thereof."

Amendment, as amended, agreed to.
Sitting suspended at 6.35 and resumed at 7.15,
The following amendments were agreed to:—
In page 13, Section 27, line 9, after the word "where" to insert the words "after the passing of this Act."—Aire Tailte agus Talmhaíochta.
In page 13, Section 29, to delete sub-section (3).—Aire Tailte agus Talmhaíochta.

I move amendment 21:—

In page 14 to insert before Section 32 a new section as follows:—

Every parcel of land taken on lease under the Labourers (Ireland) Acts, 1883 to 1919 (which at the time the same was taken was agricultural or pastoral or partly agricultural and partly pastoral) shall, if held by a local authority under such lease, vest in the Land Commission on the appointed day in like manner and with the like consequences as if the parcel were tenanted land in the occupation of the local authority as tenant from year to year to the person entitled to the reversion expectant on the determination of such lease, the rent payable by the local authority to be deemed to be a judicial rent fixed after the 15th August, 1911.

This is a matter I put before the Minister and he promised to consider it.


I am accepting the amendment. It enables the local authorities to purchase the same as if they were tenants, where they have the tenancy.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment 22:—

In page 16, before Section 38, to insert a new section as follows:—

Where there is limestone on a holding purchased under the Land Purchase Acts the Land Commission shall haye power to make regulations providing limestone rights for tenant purchasers in the neighbourhood fur use on their holdings having duet-e-gard to the rights of the purchasing tenant on such holding.

The aim of the amendment is to safeguard the position with regard to limestone. Lime is essential to tillage farming. The stone is only available in certain places, usually in one or two holdings in an agricultural area. In the past it has been quarried at these places by the individual tenants and conveyed by them to their holdings, where it was crushed and burned in kilns that are on the majority of these small tillage holdings and which were erected many years ago. The lime was then available for the holdings. Its value to agriculture can scarcely be estimated in the improvement of the quality and quantity of the produce, and still more so in the improvement and enhanced value it gives to the grass in the intervals of rotation grazing on poorer lands. These things are indisputable. Too little of it is being used, and a good deal more will be required if agriculture is to prosper in the way that we hope it will. In the past, under the system of dual ownership, this particular commodity was regulated by the estates offices and it was made available at a purely nominal rate to the agricultural owners in the area. Now that dual ownership has been abolished, and the ownership of such holdings is vested in the tenants, all stone, gravel, sand and clay on such holdings become the property of the tenants. Under that new position the tenant who owns these things promises to be a greater autocrat than any landlord in the past and there will be no hope in the future of getting the lime necessary for tillage under any kind of reasonable conditions unless some regulating authority is put in charge of it. This amendment comes in between Section 36, which regulates in a reasonable way the position with regard to turbary, and Section 37, that regulates the position with regard to fishing rights. I am convinced that this is a question of equal, if not more, importance than either of these, and should be dealt with. I am sure there are difficulties, but whatever they may be it is our duty in a Bill that proposes to put agriculture on a reasonable basis, not to overlook any of the really important questions that affect tillage farming.

We have surely the right to prevent a monopoly, and this amendment is intended to give this power to the Land Commission. The Land Commission can easily regulate the price at which the particular tenant who has got this limestone shall make it available to other agricultural tenants at reasonable terms. These prices should be fixed the same as in the case of turbary. The Land Commission has the right to fix the price that a man who has turbary on his land is to charge to the people who want the fuel. They should have the same right to arrange the prices at which limestone should be made available. This grievance exists and is quite common in many instances, and it will continue and become more aggravated unless some such provision as I have set down is inserted in this Bill. The Minister, no doubt, may say there are other difficulties in connection with this matter, such as the right of access to these places and individual questions of right of way. I admit these questions will involve trouble, but whether they involve trouble or not it is our duty to try and get over the difficulties in some shape or other. In the past, questions of right of way did not present much difficulty. These places are approachable, and I have never heard of any dispute upon that particular point. I know the contentions which exist amongst agriculturists engaged in tillage with regard to this matter are very serious indeed, and something should be done in the shape of an amendment like this, or whatever other form it may be possible to devise.

I urge the necessity of doing this work in regard to this particular product, which is going to be of such real importance in the agriculture of this country. In the past it was recognised that the tenants and the landlord had some sort of dual or combined interest in limestone on the property, because the Estate Office took authority to regulate it. They would not have taken . that authority if they had not some control in the way of ownership apart from the tenant's interest. I think it is the duty of the State, now when the landlord is abolished, and this particular product is in the hands of owners under the Purchase Acts, that some provision should be made in order that limestone should be made available for the tenants and protected in this particular Bill.

There is, no doubt, some substance in the amendment moved by the Deputy. The fact is, tenants are becoming the owners of their land and in all these cases limekilns, or granite quarries or other quarries, on the land, become the property of the tenant, and only in very few cases are they dealt with under the Land Acts. It is a fact that before my time limekilns were dotted all over the country, and that scarcely one exists to-day. Limekilns are not structures that remain long in disuse and retain their efficiency. Very few limekilns exist in my county, which is, perhaps, one of the finest limestone counties in Ireland. In days gone by nearly every farm had one of those limekilns. Now they are nearly all in ruins. The result is that people have to go 10, 15, 20 and 30 miles in some direction before they can get a barrel of lime, so that nobody thinks now of using lime as manure. I do not know how it is proposed to bring about the necessary change, but where the Land Commission has acquired land for distribution, and where limestone is to be found, it would be easy. Where the tenants are in possession and where limestone is one of the assets of the farm I do not see how the Land Commission is going to come in. It is a problem that ought to be faced by the county councils with the authority of the Government, or by the Government themselves. One must recognise clearly that limestone has practically ceased to be burned all over the country, and that it is almost impossible to got lime. If lime were available it would be much more extensively used than it is. There is another thing, people have got into the habit of not facing hard work, and I think that is one of the reasons that we are not burning lime. I remember lime being sold at something like a chilling a barrel; now we have to pay a half a crown or three shillings a barrel for it.


What weight is in a barrel?

About 2 cwt., but I think it varies. I am talking about Kilkenny now. I do not know how you are going to do this in this Bill, but certainly it is a problem that needs attention, and I think Deputy McGoldrick has done a very good service in bringing it forward.

I entirely agree with Deputy Gorey that the burning of lime at the moment in the richer parts of the country is a thing of the past. But I speak for the poorer parts of the country, where lime is burned and where it is used for manure and for whitewashing of houses. There is no doubt that it will be a great grievance to the people if they are prevented from quarrying limestone as they used to quarry it in the past. It is said that there are some queer chaps amongst the Irish farmers, and that when they get a privilege they want to push it too far. I think if any one farmer was given a monopoly of limestone, he certainly would try to make all he could out of it. That is, the reason why I want the poorer people, or those with small farms, who might depend on one farmer for their limestone, not to be dependent on the one farmer, and I say that there should be something in the law to compel him not to overcharge them. I think the Minister should provide some way, as in the case of turf, and I would ask him to consider the amendment.


There is no question of a monopoly. The use of the word "monopoly" in this context is wrong, because, as I understand at, a monopoly is where one individual or one organisation controls the total, or almost the total, supply of any one commodity. In this case you have limestone on hundreds of holdings in every county, and if it were an economic proposition to quarry limestone and burn lime you would have a hundred people in any one county competing against one another, so that there is no question of a monopoly in this case. The real difficulty at the root of this problem is that in a great many areas it does not pay to burn lime. Lime is about £2 a ton. That was the figure in my mind when I inquired what weight was in a barrel. Assuming there would be about two cwt. in a barrel, that would work out at about 4/- a barrel.

One pound a ton.


I do not believe you will get lime at a pound a ton at the moment. I think it would cost between 30/- and £2. The real reason why there are not supplies on the market now is that it is not a very marketable commodity, in view of the price of basic slag and other fertilisers, which are down to pre-war level.

You would make ibad whitewash out of basic slag.


Lime is burnt solely for building purposes and for whitewashing houses. As a fertiliser it is competing with other fertilisers, which are, taking their respective analyses. into account, cheaper at the money, and that is the real reason why much lime is not burnt. That, of course. raises a very big problem. You are trying to find some way of making the burning of lime an economical proposition again, but surely a Land Act is not an Act to deal with that? It may be that it is essential, especially for-poorer districts where there is very sour, heathery laud to be reclaimed— and there are very large areas of that in the country—that it is a national problem to find some method of making lime available at an economic price to these areas. But that is a very big problem. It is, possibly a question of investigating the cheapest way of producing lime, investigating the cost of burning lime, investigating the relative merits of ground lime versus burnt lime, and investigating some possibility of getting alternatives to both of them. In other words, it is a question of £.s.d., and you will not solve that problem by inserting in a Land Act a provision that limekilns be not vested in the tenant.

We are only concerned with limestone.


That limestone be not vested in the tenant, but be vested, presumably, in trustees, or some other body, for the purpose of enabling them to quarry limestone and burn it in limekilns. If lime were a paying proposition, if there was a demand for lime at a price which would enable it to compete, say, with basic slag for certain purposes, lime would be burnt and sold. There is no question of a monopoly. There is limestone on a hundred farms in most counties, and there are old limekilns. If it were a paying proposition to quarry the stone, burn it and sell it, it would be done, but it is not done, because in nine cases out of ten it does not pay. It would pay a man who has a good quarry.

It was always a paying proposition for the farmers.


My argument is that if it were it would be done. If you have a certain quarry with a certain mineral in it, quarry it and sell it to anybody, farmer or anybody else, if it pays. If there was a monopoly all the arguments would be sound, but there is no monopoly; no county in Ireland is confined to one limestone quarry. There are five, six, ten, or one hundred in four or five parishes, and if it were a paying proposition it would be done as it was done in the past. It is not something that the ordinary farmer knows nothing about. It would not be an entirely new venture. The tradition is there, the skill is there——

The skill is not there.


Well, more or less. It would not be like starting something entirely new. It is an industry, if you like, that was there and that died down. Why? For commercial reasons.

Not for commercial reasons.


I ask the Deputy to tell me why, if it pays to grow potatoes and sell them, the farmer will grow them and sell them; if it pays to grow oats and sell it the farmer will do so?

The farmers are still burning lime.


For sale?

No, for their holdings.


Possibly, but that is no good. You want to make lime available for people who have no limestone on their holdings. That is the problem. I am on the question of whether it pays to quarry limestone, burn it and make it available for that purpose. I say that the real difficulty is that in a great many cases it does not pay. It used to pay. There were kilns all over the country, very few of which are working now. Why? Because of the competition of other fertilisers which are on the market at reasonable prices and which are just as useful for the purpose as lime would be, especially at the price. You will not solve the problem merely by putting a ring fence around a limekiln and leaving it there in 'the hope that somebody will come along and exploit it. Neither will you solve the problem, even if it were practicable, by saying that the Land Commission, or some other body, shall regulate the price for lime.

Or limestone.


Or limestone. It is the same thing. That is simply begging the question. If you regulate the price by law no one will quarry limestone. If you regulate it at too high a price no one will buy the lime. The problem is there, and you are begging the question by simply saying: "Make the limestone available." You have to do a good deal more than make it available; you have to make it a commercial proposition to quarry and sell lime.

You have to convince the Minister. That is the big job.


You will not solve that problem merely by enabling the Land Commission to take charge of limekilns and give anybody who wishes to quarry limestone for the purpose of making lime a chance to do so. If that would solve the problem you would have practically every farmer in Ireland who had got a limestone quarry quarrying limestone and, making lime at present, but it is not done, simply because in a great many cases it would not pay, for the reasons I have given. There is real need for lime, especially in certain districts and for certain purposes. There is a good deal of loose talk on this question of the necessity for making lime available. Except in very rare cases lime is not suitably for pastures. The real need for lime is in very bad land, growing heather, that the farmer wishes to reclaim. Lime is useful in the rotation, but no one that I know, except in very rare cases and for special purposes—it has been done in the case of some stud farms, to go back to the question we were discussing—puts lime on pasture land.

People may do it on very peaty soils, but my own view is that there is no problem there, as fertilisers can be got more cheaply and of better value. Lime is useful and is economic in certain areas where there is light heathery land reclaimed by tilling. Limestone causes certain physical consequences in the soil, and is useful not so much for its chemical reactions as for the physical properties it brings to the soil. There may be a need for limestone for that purpose in Donegal, but I suggest that the question should not be dealt with in a Land Bill. It could not be dealt with in a Land Bill. If it is to be dealt with it should be dealt with in a Bill that would be the result of close examination of the problem of where lime is to be found in such quantities that quarrying, transport and handling can be most economically done. The section deals with land already purchased and vested. The amendment suggests that the Land Commission should now reopen the vesting orders, examine and indicate certain limestone quarries in certain holdings, and give rights to other tenants to go in and quarry limestone there. That would be a very serious thing to do. Turbary is in an entirely different position. Turbary is useful for one purpose only. Until turbary is cut away, the land is quite useless for grazing or for any other purpose. When the turbary is cut away the cut away bog is quite useful and can be reclaimed. It can be made into good land. Up to that the land, if you wish to call it land, is no use except for one purpose. A hill may consist of limestone to the extent of one or one and a half acres. Are the neighbours to go in and quarry there where they like, do a certain amount of destruction and interfere with the holding, both by carting and quarrying on what may be a most valuable piece of land? That hill may be real good land with limestone below the sub-soil. That would be an impossible position. The Deputy suggests that the Land Commission are to make regulations so that no undue damage is done. That, would mean having a tremendous number of inspectors who would make constant inspections, and would lead to constant litigation and complaints by the owners that the land was being ruined. It would mean new rights of way and constant litigation. What would it lead to? What happens when an honest farmer goes and quarries limestone and brings it out? What is he going to do with it?


Burn it.


That is the question. Does it pay to burn it? There are limekilns and lime quarries all over the country and they are not being used, except to a small extent. If you make it economic to quarry limestone and burn it you have solved the whole problem.

It is economic to the farmer.


I could not agree. It may be that the need for lime is so great that special legislation should be introduced afterwards to deal with it. If so, let that be done. Let the question be fully considered and every aspect examined before it is done. No one could agree that in 1927, after three-fourths of the land has been vested in the tenants, annuities fixed and large advances made on the security of the holdings, that these holdings should be inspected again, that the advances should be apportioned between one part of the holding, and the portion that contains limestone and that the latter portion be withdrawn, so to speak, from the tenant purchasers. That would lead to a tremendous amount of insecurity and add another function to the Land Commission, entailing a very big staff as well as leading to a tremendous amount of trouble. I could not accept the amendment. I appreciate the fact that there is need for lime in some districts. The real trouble is not to find the limestone but to make it economic to quarry, burn and sell lime.

I quite agree with the Minister that it would not be possible to bring into a Land Bill regulations dealing with this matter. What Deputy McGoldrick wants is to secure the right for a farmer to get lime from a quarry subject to the payment of a small royalty per ton to the owner of the land, similar to the right of a local authority to go in and get material for the roads. At the present time if there is a quarry in the neighbourhood of a road the local authority can go in and take material required for the roads at threepence or fourpence a ton. The Deputy is anxious that those who require lime for their own farms should be able to get it by their own labour and make lime in that way. That is a problem that I agree will not be solved in this Bill. In places like Donegal lime is badly needed for the land and it is a problem.


It is one thing to give one body like the county council the right to go in on a holding but it is another thing to give every farmer the right to go in.

Amendment put and declared lost.


I move:—

To delete Section 44.

Section 81 of the Shannon Act takes the place of this section.

Amendment agreed to.
The following amendments were agreed to:—
In page 19, Section 50 (1) to delete line 55.
In page 20, Section 51, line 39, after the word "sold" to insert the words "by public auction due notice being given by them of the time, place terms and conditions of such sale.
Question proposed: "That the Bill, with amendments, be received for final-consideration."

I want to raise a couple of points on this Bill before it goes through the Report Stage. One point refers to Section 7. I want to be clear whether or not the holdings on which disused mills are situated are subject to the provisions of the 1923 Act. Will they be subject to the terms of reduction just as in the case of holdings bought out under the 1923 Act? I have in mind a couple of cases where there are disused mills on farms. The tenants have been withholding rents until the position is made clear. The tenants were even prepared to go into court in order that the position might be clarified. Now this section indicates that such a holding is to come within the provisions of the 1923 Act for the purpose of purchase. Where the mill standing on a farm is a disused mill, that farm is held to be agricultural. The tenants of such holdings are anxious to know if their rents are to be subject to the same reduction as applied in the ease of their neighbours under the 1923 Act. To me it seems it should be so.


The position is that under the Land Act, 1923, that type of holding is in exactly the same position as any other holding. Even if a holding is not returned as an ordinary agricultural holding until this date. it gets all the benefits of the 1923 Act. In the same way, if a holding is brought in under this section it gets all the benefits of the 1923 Act.

I would like to know the rights of the purchasing tenant under Section 36. It is indicated in the section that the tenant is to have certain turbary rights and he shall not transfer any turbary rights he did not enjoy prior to the vesting. There are many tenants in my constituency who have drawn my attention to the fact that their rentals were previously fixed by themselves and the landlord on the understanding that they were to have turbary. In a people of cases landlords with very extensive estates put tenants in the position that they had to accept suggested rentals or their turbary rights would betaken away. These tenants saved their turf yearly for a nominal fee of 1/-. Since the passing of the 1923 Act the landlord's agent set tenants their old plots and made them pay as high as 20/-, 25/- and 30/- for what they previously had at 1/- a year.

The tenants contend that their rental was fixed at such a figure as compelled them to pay for bog as well as ordinary holding. They agreed to pay a higher rent, because of the turbary rights, than otherwise they would have paid if the bog had not been included. They bought out on the existing rents. Since the passing of the Act their rent has been increased, and the reduction of 5/- in the £ on the rental did not cover the extra charge made by the landlord for bog. Are we to understand that with the completion of the sale of the estate the tenant has a right to the turbary, that his payment of rent to the landlord for a number of years has given him a right, as the rent was fixed in such a manner as took into account the fact that turbary was included in the rental, which also covered the agricultural holding?


There is no difficulty in a case where the turbary exists on the tenant's holding. That is sold to him. There is no misconception where the turbary is within the ambit of the tenant's holding. You are left with the case where a tenant has a holding with turbary outside, but on another part of the estate. Take the case of judicial tenants. Their fair rent order sets out the whole position, and you cannot go behind it; it sets out that the land covers turbary or, alternatively, that the rent is confined to the holding. Where it covers turbary it sets out the area. Where there is a fair rent order there is no dispute. If on the face of the fair rent order it is indicated that the rent covers another division where there is turbary, there is no dispute. The tenant owns that turbary. He gets his reduction in his rent, which covers the holding with turbary. The rent includes not only the land where he lives but the turbary he has elsewhere.

Take the case of the non-judicial and present tenant who has a holding of turbary elsewhere, and who pays' a rent of £20 a year simpliciter for his holding and turbary rights. He goes on doing that for 20 years. That is prima facie evidence that he has a tenancy in the turbary, that the rent covers it. I could not imagine any agreement that disproves it. The rent covers the turbary just as the fair rent order sets out that the rent covers such and such a piece of bog. Take the case of a man who had a holding for £20 a year and turbary at 1/- a year up to 1916. In that case be has no tenancy in regard to the turbary. It is a, different take; it is not an agricultural holding.

In 1916 the landlord raised the rent from l/- to 5/- a year for the turbary. If there was no further evidence than that, that is sufficient evidence, because the landlord raising the rent shows that it was not a tenancy. In that state of affairs it would be quite clear that the rent of £20 a year that he was paying only covered the rent of the holding and not of the turbary. He would get a reduction on that rent. The standard annuity would be fixed by agreement. When he purchased his holding as a matter of course he would not purchase the turbary. What would the position be then? It would be the duty of the Land Commission to provide turbary for him. They would have to charge him something small on his annuity for. that turbary. But the fact that the rent was raised from 1/- a year to 5/- a year on the turbary would not make any difference. The very moment the Land Commission took over the bog it became untenanted land and these terminable rights vanished. There is no point whatever in the fact that the turbary rent, was raised from 1/- to 5/- a year. The mere fact that there is turbary rent, separate from the holding shows that the turbary is not in with that holding but that it is a separate take. It does not matter to the tenant that in 1915 or so his rent was raised from 1/- to 5/-. It does matter very much that from 1915 to 1924 the tenant paid 4/- a year more for his turbary. The Land Commission takes over the bog as untenanted land, divides it, gives this tenant a portion of the tunbary, puts a small price on it, and adds it to the annuity; but they did not increase or decrease the price by reason of the fact that the rent was first 1/- and afterwards 5/-. They did not take into account good, bad or indifferent what rent he was paying the landlord. They took into account that he bought this bog through the Land Commission, and they must consequently apportion some small portion of the purchase money for each division of the bog that they sell to the tenants. It is really a question of fact, a question whether the turbary goes with the holding or not. There is no difficulty in the case where the turbary is on the holding. There is no difficulty in the case where the turbary is not in the holding, but where it is set out as turbary connected with the holding. There is no difficulty in the case of a non-judicial holding, but where there are two rents on a non-judicial holding, and where one of them is paid in respect of the bog, it is ample evidence that this is a different take and the right of turbary would not form a tenancy. The tenant will get turbary now for the first time with his holding, and I should say that the amount by which an acre, say, of bog will increase the annuity on his holding will be almost absolutely negligible.

There is one aspect which the Minister has not made clear. He takes a man who has had turbary up to 1916. I want him to take a man who, say, in 1909 or 1910, made an agreement with his landlord that the rent should be £10 a year, and that with that rent he was to have the use of an acre of bog to make his season's fuel. He went there, and he paid 1/- a year, and that was continued from 1909 to 1924. Now, the tenant's contention is that he would not agree to a rental of £10 a year but for the fact that there was an agreement between himself and his landlord that he was also to have the right to make turf. No one will contend that 1/- a year is the value or the rent for the right to make turf on an acre of bog. In fact 1/- a year would not be the rent and there is no acceptance whatever on the part of the tenant that the £10 rental which he paid does not also include the rent for the bog as well as the rent of his holding. In 1924 the landlord or his agent came in on the bog. The passing of the 1923 Land Act reduced the tenant's rent by 5/- in the £, which would bring the annuity down to £7 10s. Then you have the fact that but foy this bog the tenant's rent would be less than £10. or perhaps it would be £9 or £8 10s. You would then have the position that he might have been paying at that time a rent of only £8 10s. or so but for the fact that he was to get the bog, and he would not have agreed to pay the £10 rent but on that understanding. The Act of 1923 reduced his rent to £7 10s. The landlord comes in then, and instead of taking his customary 1/- he puts on a rent of £1 or £1 10s., and this is paid by the tenant. This happened in probably a couple of hundred cases in my county. The tenant's contention is that he had a right in that bog, that he paid for that right in his rental for a number of years, and my own belief about it is also that he has a right. I want to know whether in this case the Minister recognises this right or not. If not the real rental on which the tenant should purchase should have been less than £10, and that is the position that the tenant takes up, and I believe legitimately.


It amounts to this—the tenant came to the landlord and said: "I pay £10 a year for this holding provided you give me turbary at 1/- a year; in other words, I am willing to pay more for the holding than it is worth, provided you give me for this £10 a year that I am paying for the holding, turbary as well." The Deputy's point is now that the tenant purchased when the rent was £10, and it is not so much a question of whether he is getting turbary at a fair value. The answer to it is this. that it is a non-judicial holding.

in this particular case I think the agreement was lodged with the Land Commission.


I cannot imagine that. It is more than likely that it is a non-judicial holding. A fair rent has to be fixed. It is not like a judicial holding where he first gets a reduction of 25 per cent. and afterwards a reduction of 20 per cent. This is a non-judicial tenancy; there is no fair rent fixed. The standard annuity is fixed not with regard to the present rental all but is fixed as a fair annuity on the holding. If the rent of the holding has been too high in the past, then the annuity would be lowered, and that is the only way.

It is very hard to see 5/- a year in a £10 rented holding. In theory, unless the landlord and the tenant agree, the Land Commission come along, inspect the holding, not the turbary, and say: "What is a fair standard annuity for that?" Then they place a figure on it. That meets the net point. So far as the turbary is concerned, he will get turbary. The first duty of the Land Commission is to give him turbary, and the amount that he will pay for the turbary is not affected at all by reason of the fact that the landlord in 1924 charged him £1 instead of 1/- a year. The real grievance is—this is a fictitious rent on the holding because of the turbary. If it is a non-judicial holding the Land Commission can deal with that.

Suppose the agreement were filed?


I am afraid he is "in the soup," if I may say so, in that event. You would have to accept the Fair Rent Order as being evidence of what appears on the face of it. On the face of it, this would be set out as the rent for the holding, and it has to be accepted as such. After all, in most cases, there would not be a difference of ten shillings a year on a holding of £10. If it is judicial, you could not possibly re-open it. If you re-opened one judicial rent you would have to re-open all of them.

Question—"That the Bill be received for final consideration"—put and agreed to.
Fifth Stage ordered to be taken tomorrow (Thursday).