PRIVATE BUSINESS. - AGRICULTURAL CREDIT BILL, 1928—COMMITTEE STAGE.

The Dáil went into Committee.

I move:—

"That Section 1 stands part of the Bill."

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 2.
(1) Where—
(a) a person is registered in a register of free-holders maintained under the Act of 1891 as full owner of land, and
(b) such registration is subject to a note (in this Act referred to as a note as to equities) that such land is registered subject to the rights of equities (if any) arising from the interest vested in a purchaser thereof under the Land Purchase Acts being deemed to be a graft on such purchaser's previous interest or arising in any other matter from the existence of such previous interest, and
(c) such person charges such land in favour of the Corporation with payment of a principal sum not exceeding two hundred pounds, and
(d) such charge is duly registered in such register as a burden affecting such land, and
(e) such charge appears from such register (exclusive of the said note as to equities) to be the first mortgage within the meaning of the Principal Act on such land,
then, such charge shall as against such land be in priority to and shall override all estates and interests in and all incumbrances on and all claims against such land which are not entered in the register but are preserved by virtue of the said note as to equities.
(2) In this Act—
land registered in a register of free-holders maintained under the Act of 1891 is referred to as registered land; a charge on registered land to which priority is given by this section is referred to as a priority charge; a person by whom a priority charge is given is referred to as a mortgagor;
estates and interests in and incumbrances on and claims against registered land which are not entered in the said register but are preserved by virtue of a note as to equities are collectively referred to as equitable claims;
a person entitled to an equitable claim against registered land is referred to as an equitable claimant; and
the expression "permanent improvement charge" means a priority charge in respect of which it is shown by the mortgagor that the principal sum secured by such charge was advanced by the Corporation solely for the purpose of constructing buildings on the land the subject of such charge or for the purpose of making on such land improvements of a permanent character calculated to increase or facilitate or conduce to the increase of the productivity of such land and that the said principal sum was actually expended wholly for one or more of those purposes.

I think that Amendments 1 and 2 standing in the names of Deputy Ryan and Deputy Gorey respectively should be taken together.

Mr. HOGAN

Personally I would prefer if these amendments could be discussed at the end because they raise the whole principle of the Bill. We would be in a better position to discuss the question of equities, if we discussed the other amendments first, because the Dáil would then see the safeguards that were put into the Bill and would be in a better position to judge the implication of these two amendments after a discussion had taken place on the subsequent amendments. I do not know if it is possible to do that.

Perhaps Deputy Gorey and Deputy Ryan would be willing to postpone their amendments?

I have no objection.

Then we can take the other amendments, but, as we cannot go back in the Committee Stage, if the amendments were put down on Report, and if the Minister made no objection, we would go into Committee on them. We will, however, see what the position is when we have disposed of the other amendments. Does Deputy Gorey agree?

Mr. HOGAN

Perhaps they could be taken later to-day.

We will see.

Amendments 1 and 2 postponed.

Mr. HOGAN

I move:—

"In sub-section (1), page 2, line 42 to delete the word ‘and' and to delete paragraph (e)."

This is a rather important amendment and will require some explanation. The section as it stands provides that where a person is the registered owner of land, where it is subject to a note as to equities, where such person gives a mortgage to the Agricultural Credit Corporation and where such mortgage is registered and where it is the first mortgage it shall have priority. In other words, where a mortgage is given to the Corporation and where it is the first mortgage it shall have priority. Once land is registered, any dealings in respect of such land must be registered on the folio. No assignment, mortgage or charge can be put on the land after registration unless it is registered on the folio. That is the whole scheme of the Local Registration of Title Act. The idea behind that Act was to simplify titles in regard to land and to prevent any dealings in land unless they are registered on the folio. This section as it stands provides that where a mortgage is given by a registered owner to the Agricultural Credit Corporation and where it is the only mortgage that appears on the folio, it shall have all the advantages provided under the Bill. In other words, it shall have priority over equities. When we came to examine the question, the Registrar of Titles, who knows the administration of the Registration of Title Act inside out, made a certain point which we thought was quite sound. After vesting and after first registration it often happens that a father assigns his property to his eldest son on his marriage and that there is a clause in the deed of assignment that the mother shall have the right to a room in the house or that an uncle shall have £20 a year while he lives. That deed of assignment is registered and it contains that small charge, but, as the Bill stands, that charge would have to be regarded as a mortgage on the land, and, in such a case, the charge of the Agricultural Credit Corporation would not have priority over it. That, of course, would prevent the Corporation from lending.

In the ordinary case, where there is a genuine mortgage, a really important mortgage, a mortgage involving big sums of money, appearing on the folio, the Agricultural Credit Corporation would not lend in any circumstances but there is a very large percentage of the cases that come to the Agricultural Credit Corporation where there is no mortgage on the folio and where the land has been transferred from father to son, on marriage, after vesting, and where there is a very small charge on the folio set out in the deed of assignment in favour of a mother, sister, aunt or uncle—the right to a room in the house or something like that. As the Act stands, in view of the fact that that must be regarded as a charge on the folio of the lands, the Corporation could not lend and it could not get priority over such a mortgage. In fact, it could not lend at all, because the principal Act provides—it is a very fine point and Deputies would want to grasp it very thoroughly—that where land is registered, where the registration is subject to a note as to equities, where the registered owner gives a charge in favour of the Corporation, where such a charge is a first charge, then the charge by the Agricultural Credit Corporation shall have priority over any charges which are preserved as a result of the note as to equities. If that Section as it stands were allowed to go through, then the Agricultural Credit Corporation could not make a loan in any case where there was an assignment by a father to a son and where in that assignment there was a small charge in favour of an uncle, aunt sister or someone like that. Remember, when we delete this section, the mortgage of the Agricultural Credit Corporation will not take priority over the charge in favour of the aunt, uncle, sister or whoever it is, because the mortgage of the Agricultural Credit Corporation only takes priority over charges which are preserved by the note as to equities. Such a charge is not preserved by the note as to equities. It is preserved by the assignment which is registered on the folio and the mortgage of the Agricultural Credit Corporation will not in fact take priority over such a charge. The charge is there and is quite good and it beats the mortgage of the Agricultural Credit Corporation because, after taking out this particular section, the position will be that the Agricultural Credit Corporation can give a mortgage and that mortgage will have priority as to equities but it will be what is technically known as puisne. In other words, it will not have priority over any other mortgage registered on the folio; so in order to enable the Corporation to make a loan in cases where there is a small charge such as a room in the house or a charge of £10 or £5 in favour of an uncle, it is decided to take that out. That really does alter the fact that that charge has still priority over the mortgage of the Agricultural Credit Corporation but the Agricultural Credit Corporation charge has priority over the equities. I think I have made that point clear but perhaps I should explain it further. Supposing the section were left as it stands and that a case came up before the Agricultural Credit Corporation in which a man owned land value £400, and that that man held the land as the result of an assignment from his father on his marriage and that there was a charge in the deed of assignment in favour of the father to a right to a room in the house, that would be regarded as a charge on the land and if the Agricultural Credit Corporation lent £100, for which there was ample security, and registered it, as they could register it, as a mortgage on the land, what would the position be? The position would be such as was never intended. It was always intended that that charge in favour of the father would have priority over any other charges but, in addition to that, there would be the position, because of that particular section, that the charge would not take priority over the equities, because the mortgage did not conform to the conditions laid down in the section, one of the conditions being that it shall be a first mortgage.

I am glad to have that explanation. I had not got the principal Act, and I wanted to see the bearing of that section.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Amendment 4 not moved.

The following amendment stands in my name:—

In sub-section (1), to add at the end of paragraph (e) the word "and" and to insert after that paragraph a new paragraph as follows:—

"There is not pending in any Court in Saorstát Eireann a suit or other proceeding commenced by a person entitled or claiming to be entitled to an equitable claim against lands affected by such charge for the purpose of enforcing such equitable claim or in which the title of the mortgagor to the beneficial interest in the said lands is called in question and of which suit or other proceeding notice in writing shall have been given to the Corporation by or on behalf of such equitable claimant."

This is an amendment to call the attention of the Dáil to the necessity of embodying some provision in this Bill by which the equitable claimant would at least have the right of making an objection. We have considered the question in detail, and it seems to us that a way out of the difficulties which are, to some extent, in contradistinction to the principle of the Bill, is not easily possible. I do not wish to impose any additional burden on the Agricultural Credit Corporation, or to put them to any additional expense, but we are of opinion that allowing for the fact that the Agricultural Credit Corporation will be, of course, exercising their own discretion, and that, in actual fact, they will, when discussing these cases, do what the amendment proposes to do— that is to say, they will not, where legal proceedings are pending, grant loans—there will be no great harm, in view of the possibilities of the injustice already alluded to, to insert some such provision as we have here: that is, that if proceedings at law are taken for the purpose of enforcing such equitable claim or in which the title of the mortgagor to the beneficial interest in the said lands is called in question, and of which suit or other proceeding, notice in writing shall have been given to the Corporation by or on behalf of such equitable claimant, the loan will not be given. I do not think that there is any great necessity to dilate on that matter. I am of opinion that the form of application for the loan might be changed in some way in order to enable the Agricultural Credit Corporation to get further particulars regarding the persons who may be claiming they are equitable claimants on the land. This is a provision to enable them to make an objection. It does not put any additional work upon the Corporation. It puts upon the claimant himself the task of taking legal proceedings if he has a claim, and, in the second place, it puts upon him the necessity of advising the Agricultural Credit Corporation that he is taking proceedings in law. The Agricultural Credit Corporation probably will do that, but we want, if possible, to safeguard the equitable claimant in some small way.

Mr. HOGAN

I suggest an alternative to that. I discussed this matter with the draftsman. There are objections in detail to the amendment as it stands, but there is something in the idea behind it. My suggestion is to add another clause (f) to amendment 8, which I am proposing. Such clause to read:—"Where no lis pendens is entered in the register against such land.” That is not quite the same as Deputy Derrig's amendment. That means where there is no pending suit entered on the register against such land. Deputy Derrig's amendment does not go quite so far. It refers to the case where the Agricultural Credit Corporation gets notice in writing to the effect that a suit, in fact, is pending. I carry it a step further and say that is right, but it really ought to do this, to add these words, “Where no pending suit is registered on the folio.” There is a very simple procedure. The solicitor for the plaintiff registers for some slightly nominal fee what is known as a lis pendens. That is a warning to all concerned, including the Registrar of Titles, that there is an equity suit pending, and that he should not deal with the land until such time as the administration or such other suit as may be pending has been dealt with. I suggest that is a better way of doing it. Deputy Derrig speaks of a pending suit. That means a suit that has been begun. So that you are not dealing with an ordinary citizen who knows no law and does not know his legal rights. You are dealing with a citizen who has legal rights and has the advice of a solicitor. This is a case where the suit is actually begun. Every solicitor knows what to do in such a case. The solicitor will know the law—at least he ought to know the law. There will be absolutely no difficulty from his point of view in registering a lis pendens. There is no red tape; it must be registered by the registrar and the fees are nominal. There is not much difference between this amendment and the amendment in my name, amendment 8, which provides for the registration of a “caution.” That is a simple procedure also. If there is a caution on the folios, what happens? There is no priority, so that from that point of view there is really no difference between amendment 5 and amendment 8.

Does the Minister suggest that amendment 8 covers my point?

Mr. HOGAN

I do, but not quite. So far as it does not cover it, the additional amendment that I suggested a while ago covers the point that is in your amendment, but not in mine. So far as the pending suit is concerned, in connection with equities a solicitor might as well register a caution as a lis pendens. He might as well register a caution as give notice to the Agricultural Credit Corporation. There is this great advantage that so far as there are any dealings of any kind with registered land, the registrar should have notice. The whole point of this is that there is one man in the country who is in charge of all land titles. He has a simple way of finding out what is the title to land. Titles to land cost more money and ruined more people than any other form of litigation, and it was to obviate that that the Registration of Title Act was passed. The registrar has the folio in front of him and he knows that no one has any rights over the land, direct or indirect, except what are given in that folio— except in so far as they are preserved by that note of equities. He knows that there could be no rights registered unless it was there on the folio before him. Now, if Deputy Derrig's amendment is carried, it will mean that there will be rights against the land which the registrar has no knowledge of. They may turn out to be real or to be spurious later on, but of these the registrar has no knowledge. But we should preserve the point of view that in dealings direct or indirect any claims of rights or objections to other persons claiming rights against the land should go on the register; and I suggest that the Deputy would agree to an amendment to this effect, which is simply the same as his own, except that instead of giving notice to the Corporation they give notice to the registrar, where no lis pendens is entered in the register against that land. Then the sub-section would read as follows:—

"Where—(a) a person is registered in a registrar of free-holders maintained under the Act of 1891 as full owner of land, and... where no lis pendens is entered in the register against such land.”

I agree with the Minister that the method of registering a caution, if we could proceed along those lines, would be far superior, because we do not want to entangle the Agricultural Credit Corporation in the unravelling of those difficulties.

Mr. HOGAN

Or the registrar.

The Minister says that the people down the country are well acquainted with this question of land registration and that they know well how to proceed. I am rather sceptical about that, but I believe that the method is the best one. The only question then is the length of time and the costs. Although the method of lodging an objection with the Agricultural Credit Corporation may not be the best in the long run, it would be less costly. The whole trouble of registering is that I fear it would take too long.

Mr. HOGAN

The Deputy is mistaken. I do not say the layman knows the law in regard to registration of title, but the Deputy is trying to protect a claimant who has actual proceedings commenced. He has a solicitor and is actually defendant or plaintiff in some proceedings. The individual does not, perhaps, know what to do, but it is common form for his solicitor. Registering a lis pendens does not delay the matter one day. There is no difficulty about registration, because the process has been simplified. The solicitor has to apply to the registrar and sends him, perhaps, a fee of 5s. and the lis pendens is registered.

Do you think the solicitor would suggest a 5s. fee?

Mr. HOGAN

I may be wrong as regards the fee. Deputy Little may know about that. However, it costs something like that. This man is the plaintiff or defendant in an equity suit and the cost to register a lis pendens is a very small fraction of what the unfortunate man will have to pay before the proceedings are over.

The Minister has not adverted to the fact that amendments 5 and 10 practically hang together.

Mr. HOGAN

No, they do not. I do not think so.

Numbers 5 and 8 do. Amendment 8 deals with a man who is uneasy about these loans and he wants to enter a caution. No. 8 actually deals with a case under way.

Mr. HOGAN

Amendment 8 is meant to deal with people who have entered equitable claims. Deputy Derrig's amendment would mean more than that. It would deal with a man who has a claim because, let us say, there was a fraudulent deed registered on the land previously. It is wider, and it is only right that such a man should protect himself.

Amendment 10 would mean that a registered equitable claimant's interest in the land would rank next in security with the person who actually got the loan. In order to do that, you must provide machinery, because possibly they might be unwilling to accept existing machinery.

Mr. HOGAN

I think Deputy Derrig agrees that between amendment No. 8 and the proposed substitute for his own amendment there is such machinery provided.

If the Minister promises to bring in an amendment on the Report Stage, I would be quite satisfied.

Mr. HOGAN

Perhaps you might accept it now, because I have it drafted. The amendment would read something like this: "In sub-section (1) to add at the end this paragraph: "(f) where no lis pendens is entered in the register against such land.”

One of the things we are anxious to protect in this amendment is the case of a person who, as a matter of fact, has not a suit pending, but who was going to use that particular method of preventing an injustice being done to himself. That would be the way in which, as a matter of fact, he would protect his interests.

Mr. HOGAN

I do not think that was the idea of the amendment, because there is an obvious way to protect. This amendment was obviously drafted by a legal man, and he referred to a pending suit. I took it for granted that Deputies had considered that the way to protect a person who had not a suit pending was by registering a caution. That is provided for in amendment 8. But in the case where there was a pending suit, as in amendment 5, you had in view where a writ was issued or proceedings had been commenced.

There were really two things in mind. One was to protect those whom you wish to protect by the amendment proposed. There was also the idea that that particular way would be taken by anybody who wanted to protect his interests, and who knew a certain loan was about being obtained. That was, to our mind, the best way of doing it. A simple notice might not be fair because it might be purely from the point of view of obstruction.

Mr. HOGAN

A neighbour might send it?

Mr. HOGAN

Where a suit is not pending the caution is the best way. Amendment 8 reads as follows:—

In page 3, before sub-section (2) to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

"(2) Where, at the date of an instrument creating a charge on registered land which would on registration be entitled to priority under this section, a caution under section 69 of the Act of 1891 appears on the register in respect of such land and such caution was lodged by a person claiming to be entitled to an equitable claim as defined by this section in respect of such land and such equitable claim is at any time after the registration of such charge registered as an estate or interest in or burden on such land, the relative priorities of such charge and such equitable claim shall notwithstanding anything contained in this Act be determined as if this Act had not been passed."

That provides the simplest possible machinery, because all a claimant who has not a pending suit need do, is simply to register a caution. The expense is practically nil. He need do no more at any time afterwards—in one, two or three years. After that, he can prove his caution and translate his equitable claim into a charge on the land. Then the mortgage of the Agricultural Credit Corporation takes no priority.

What would be the effect on an intending borrower?

Mr. HOGAN

The Corporation would say: "We will not give you this loan until you discharge the caution."

How can the caution be discharged? Supposing anyone had any purpose to obstruct, then he could enter a caution. How are you going to prevent that? You must have a certain amount of protection.

Mr. HOGAN

It is for that reason that the caution is being adopted. I can imagine a family quarrel where there is some person living in the house and that person may be an old person of 70, with a right to £10 a year or a room in the house, or some very small equity. All that may lapse in five or six years, and, even if liquidated and capitalised, it amounts to nothing. The caution is registered and all the caution does is that it makes the Agricultural Credit Corporation privy to the fact that there is an equitable claimant there who says that he or she has rights and it will then be for the Corporation at their own risk either to give a loan and chance it or investigate the matter. Where they investigate it, possibly they will find that the old woman will die in a few years time and the caution is obviously vexatious. Then they will give the loan.

Might I ask whether any legal proceedings are necessary before the caution is entered?

Mr. HOGAN

No, none whatever.

I am very ignorant about this matter of having lands registered. Am I in order in asking under amendment 8 whether the ordinary trader in the country or many auctioneers who have land in exchange for money advanced, can protect themselves against this priority?

Mr. HOGAN

I think that question is in order in connection with the whole Bill. They cannot. At the present moment I or anybody could register a charge on the folio against land and it would defeat any debt of any kind. This Bill does not affect the problem that the Deputy has in mind. At all times there were two ways of protecting a debt. One was by securities of one kind or another and the second was by a mortgage.

If a debtor such as a shopkeeper gives credit on the security of the character or liquid assets of their customers which is what they always do, then that could always and at all times before the Local Registration of Title Act be defeated by the debtor going to somebody else, borrowing money from him and registering it against the land. It could be defeated so far as the land is concerned. That is the reason that people who wanted to make assurance doubly sure took mortgage as well as personal security but this Act does not affect that position. If this Bill were never passed and I, say a customer of a shopkeeper, ran a bill of £200 or £300, went to the local bank, borrowed £200 and gave them a mortgage on my land, the shopkeeper is defeated as against the land; that was always the case. It is in the nature of the case.

Sometimes shopkeepers take a deposit of a deed as against the land. Are they defeated by the Bill?

Mr. HOGAN

They would not be. There are no deeds in a case of registered land. When land is registered, the title is simply a folio and the deed of registration is kept in the office of the local Registrar of Title. Nothing but fee simple land can be registered. If a tenant's holding become fee simple, the first step is that the Land Commission acquaints the Registrar of Title. "We have now vested the fee simple of this land in so-and-so. We enclose a copy of the land certificate." That is the original deed of title. Thereupon the registrar keeps the land certificate in his own office and registers the title. That land certificate is not available for pledging and is not available as an equitable deposit. Moreover, if afterwards the man who has been registered as owner assigns his interest to his eldest son on his marriage the deed is kept in the Registry of Title and is not available as an equitable deposit. So that an equitable deposit of deeds would only affect deeds in connection with the land prior to the registration. For instance, if it was a tenancy prior to registration and the tenancy went from A. to B. by sale and the assignment was by deed. When B. became owner of the tenancy he had his title deeds and might afterwards hold them and pledge them with the nearest bank as an equitable deposit. They are not in equity. At the same time the bank has these title deeds. They belong to the land before the land was registered. They are of some value because if such a man went somewhere else for more money he would be asked for the deeds but could not produce them. In that way there is some protection but we meet the case by the caution. Next we provide by this system of cautions that where anyone claims equitable rights to lands registered arising before the vesting of the lands they may register a caution on the folio and where such caution is registered then the mortgages under this Act have no priority.

The auctioneer I speak of can register a caution.

Mr. HOGAN

He can if he has equitable rights.

Could he not also issue a writ?

Mr. HOGAN

That would be more expensive. There would be no reason to do that. He could do either.

To Deputy Derrig's amendment 5 there is an alternative amendment suggested:

In sub-section 1 of Section 2 to add at the end of paragraph (d) the word "and"; and to insert after that paragraph a new paragraph as follows:—

"No lis pendens is entered in the Register against such land.”

If Deputy Derrig is satisfied with that we can either put in that amendment now or take it on Report. Amendment 8 appears to be the one we want to get at.

I withdraw amendment 5 and the other amendment can be put in now.

I think the other amendment had better be left over for Report. The Minister has given notice of that amendment for Report.

Mr. HOGAN

Yes. Of course it is a simple amendment. If the Dáil agrees why not take it now and then we can see it on Report in its place in the Bill.

Agreed.

Mr. HOGAN

I move amendment 5:—

In sub-section (1), to add at the end of paragraph (e) the word "and" and to insert after that paragraph a new paragraph as follows:—

"There is not pending in any Court in Saorstát Eireann a suit or other proceeding commenced by a person entitled or claiming to be entitled to an equitable claim against lands affected by such charge for the purpose of enforcing such equitable claim or in which the title of the mortgagor to the beneficial interest in the said lands is called in question and of which suit or other proceeding notice in writing shall have been given to the Corporation by or on behalf of such equitable claimant."

Amendment put, and agreed to.

Mr. HOGAN

I move amendment 6:—

In sub-section (1), page 2, line 46, after the word "then" to insert in brackets the words "(subject to the provisions of this section)."

This is preparatory to 8. It is to give notice. That is to say, the amendment means at the end of the provisos to insert in brackets the words "subject to the provisions of this section." That is "subject to the provisions of this section such charge shall as against the land be in priority to." The idea of that is to give notice that there is a provision which governs the whole section afterwards, namely, the provision about the caution.

Amendment 6 put and agreed to.

Mr. HOGAN

I move amendment 7—

In sub-section (1), page 3, line 2, after the word "which" to insert the words "at the date of the registration of such charge."

That is a purely drafting amendment.

Amendment put and agreed to.

Mr. HOGAN

I move amendment 8—

In page 3, before sub-section (2) to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

"(2) Where, at the date of an instrument creating a charge on registered land which would on registration be entitled to priority under this section, a caution under section 69 of the Act of 1891 appears on the register in respect of such land and such caution was lodged by a person claiming to be entitled to an equitable claim as defined by this section in respect of such land and such equitable claim is at any time after the registration of such charge registered as an estate or interest in or burden on such land, the relative priorities of such charge and such equitable claim shall notwithstanding anything contained in this Act be determined as if this Act had not been passed."

That is the amendment I dealt with up to the present. It reads:

8. In page 3, before sub-section (2) to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

"(2) Where, at the date of an instrument creating a charge on registered land which would on registration be entitled to priority under this section, a caution under section 69 of the Act of 1891 appears on the register in respect of such land and such caution was lodged by a person claiming to be entitled to an equitable claim."

This section deals with the case Deputy Murphy mentioned. Not only is it a case of family charges, but it also is a case of a man who has deposited all the title deeds of a tenancy before the lands were vested.

The amendment continues:—

"as defined by this section in respect of such land and such equitable claim is at any time after the registration of such charge registered as an estate or interest in or burden on such land, the relative priorities of such charge and such equitable claim shall notwithstanding anything contained in this Act be determined as if this Act had not been passed."

That enables any brother, any sister, any aunt, uncle or so on, anybody by a very simple procedure to lodge a caution on the register and in that event if there is a mortgage registered afterwards, of course the Agricultural Credit Corporation would not register a mortgage unless they found the caution quite frivolous, but if there is a caution registered, then it has no priority over the equity, which is protected by this caution.

Would the Minister explain what happens to a man who has registered a mortgage in Henrietta Street?

Mr. HOGAN

That is in the Local Registration of Title Office.

Not a mortgage that was given before the land became registered.

Mr. HOGAN

That is in equity.

Is it necessary that the holder of that mortgage should register a caution when the land has become subsequently vested?

Mr. HOGAN

It is, certainly; it is an ordinary equity.

Where there is a mortgage registered against the land and the land has become subsequently vested and in the Local Registry of Title there is no record of any mortgage the holder of that mortgage now in order to protect himself must serve a cautionary notice.

Mr. HOGAN

Yes.

Does the same apply to legatees under a will whose claims had not been discharged?

Mr. HOGAN

It depends whether the sale was a sale made by an owner before vesting. The case Deputy Leonard and you put up is the same. While the land was a tenancy the tenancy might have been mortgaged before vesting; the owner may have made a will giving the land to A and certain rights to B. These rights might never be enforced, but may have been registered in the Registry of Deeds which is a different thing from the Registry of Title. Afterwards B, becoming the vested owner of this land, should register, but there is no note in the Registration of Title about these rights.

They are all equities and are postponed to the mortgage of the Agricultural Credit Corporation unless the mortgagee enters a caution. But I may say there are seldom or never such cases. If a man makes a will administration has been taken out, and if a man goes to the trouble of registering a mortgage in the Registry of Titles that mortgage is kept alive. He is dealing with the land the whole time; he is trying to get his money out of it. I could hardly imagine a case where a man would have long before the lands were vested a mortgage on a tenancy and where part of the money was not paid off. I could hardly imagine such a case arising, if the mortgagor, having a caution of some kind on the folio, thought there was any danger whatever from the registered owner. It is the same case. That is in equity the same as a family charge.

The Minister said the Credit Corporation would decide whether an objection was frivolous. We do not want to have frivolous objections. Would he be able to suggest to us how they would decide that?

Mr. HOGAN

I said that the Corporation would decide whether the caution was frivolous, in answer to a question by Deputy de Valera, when he asked was there not the danger that vexatious cautions would be registered. I will tell you how they would decide. A man applies for a loan. They get a copy of his folio and see a caution. They would write back: "We are not giving you the loan—there is a caution —unless you discharge it." His aunt is living with him. She is an old woman who has a small equitable claim—she has a right to a room. She knows the law. She has been learning it a long time to give him a bad time. She has registered a caution. He writes back and says: "This is my aunt. Under my grandfather's will she has a right to a room in the house until her death." She has an equity, such as it is. The question is what is it worth or is it worth anything? Of course the Agricultural Credit Corporation will verify that she is an aunt who is old and has only the right to a room. They will say: "Yes; that does not interfere with the security of the land one iota. £20 would buy her out. She is not likely to live to a hundred years of age." On the other hand, if the man writes back and says: "It is my brother who has registered that caution. He is the only brother. The father died intestate and the brother has a half share." They will say: "You will have to settle it with your brother before we can do anything for you."

Amendment put and agreed to.
Amendment 9—
In sub-section (2), page 5, line 13, after the word "which" to insert the words "at the date of the registration of a priority charge against such land"—Aire Tailte agus Talmhaíochta—put and agreed to.
Section 2, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
SECTION 3—RIGHTS OF PERSONS HAVING EQUITABLE INTERESTS.

I move Amendment 10:—

Before sub-section (2) to insert the following sub-section:—

"The amount by which the estate and interest of the mortgagor shall be insufficient to satisfy a priority charge which is not a permanent improvement charge shall as between any equitable claimant who is residing with the mortgagor at the date of the registration of such charge, other than a person having an equitable claim who has not attained the age of 21 years or is a person of unsound mind, and other equitable claimants be deemed to be charged on all and every (if any) estate and interest in such land to which such equitable claimant so residing with the mortgagor is at the date of the registration of such charge as a burden affecting the said lands or becomes at any time thereafter beneficially entitled in indemnification of all equitable claims against such lands by equitable claimants other than such equitable claimants so residing with the mortgagor."

This amendment, stripped of parenthesis, means that the interest of an equitable claimant who resides with the mortgagor should be liable for whatever part of the priority charge is not covered by the interest of the mortgagor. I quite understand that you legislate for the general as a rule, and try and fit in the particular under the law. But the Minister will appreciate that cases might arise which would require an amendment of this nature to be put in the Bill. You might get somebody of a spendthrift nature who got a loan and instead of applying it to the purposes for which it was obtained cleared out with the money or something like that. I submit that an amendment of that nature might be worth considering.

Mr. HOGAN

I have read that amendment carefully. The effect of the amendment is, as Deputy Fahy states, that it is an attempt to make the equitable claim of a person who resides with the owner liable for whatever part of the liability the owner is liable to a third party who is not living in the house—for whatever part of the liability the registered owner's share is unable to meet. Of course you will find a case undoubtedly where a brother or sister has left the house for some reason or another and has been out of the house for a great number of years. At the same time let me say they have an equitable—I use the term in the moral sense as opposed to the legal sense—claim. In all fair play they should have a certain claim. Of course it is a fact that they are not in as good a position to find out whether the land is being mortgaged or charged as a person who is living in the house, and hence they are not in as good a position to come to a conclusion as to whether they should not register a caution. That is all true. But such a case as that is the very big exception. The exact opposite is, in practice, the case that will always arise. There would be something to be said for them if we were dealing now with big estates, but remember as the Bill stands at present the only mortgage that can take priority is a £200 mortgage. That is brother or the sister of the registered the sort of loan that is being made to a man whose valuation lies between £10 and £30. If you were dealing with people whose valuation lies between £100 and £200 or between £70 and £150 there would be more in Deputy Fahy's point. Rightly or wrongly, you have to take the facts of life into account. So far as the small farmer is concerned generally two or three of his sons go into the Guards or go to the nearest town, at the age of 22 or 23 years, and do not expect very much out of the holding. A brother or two are left working on the land until they are 27 or 30 years of age. They have greater claims against the holding because they have put more into it than the brother who is doing well or badly in the local town.

So far as the bigger land owner is concerned, whether he is a tenant or owner in fee, a man with a valuation between £150 and £200, his mode of life is different. There is £10,000 or £6,000 worth of property, and the sisters and brothers, whether they are gone or not, whether they are doctors, solicitors, or have entered convents, have certain equities. There would be very much more reason for protecting the interests of such equitable claimants. Examine in practice how that would work out. Take the case of two brothers and a sister. Their father has died. One brother has left. He has joined the Guards or has started a shop or has gone to America. It does not matter whether he was a hardworking fellow or not. He left at the age of nineteen or twenty years and may be doing fairly well somewhere else. He left the sister and brother at home. The brother is the registered owner of the land and the sister has her one-third share. She has been working there from seventeen years of age until she is twenty-five or twenty-six years of age. They are in excellent circumstances, and with her consent the brother goes to borrow from the Agricultural Credit Corporation. She will not stop him by registering a caution. She is all in favour of this. He borrows and uses the money wisely. She works on until she is about thirty and there is some question of her getting married.

The boy who is in the Guards comes home and says, "You have got to pay me back and, if you are not able to pay me, my sister's share must pay me." The equities you have really to look after in this Bill are the equities of the women folk. The men are generally gone away and have not much equity. It is the equities of the sisters that have to be, as a general rule, looked after. The others are fairly well able to look after themselves. Take the case of two brothers, one of them married with four or five sons and a daughter, and one unmarried, 70 years of age, with a better holding in the next parish. The youngest son goes to live with the uncle and it is understood that he is to get the farm. The father dies. The son who has left the house for years and is to get a better holding makes a claim for his equities against the only sister. On balance this would undoubtedly work the gravest injustice. Generally speaking, the man who has gone away has not anything like the claim of the people who remain there and have been working the farm for years.

The Minister ought to try and protect the people who are in the farms in a different way from bringing it in in a Bill of this kind. He is taking a different problem altogether, showing how it might work out in practice, not because of anything in the Bill, but in other circumstances altogether.

Mr. HOGAN

You must apply the circumstances of any Bill. I am making the point because Deputy Fahy introduced an amendment to give protection to the brother who is away. He raised that principle himself. I agree that the question of finding work for the three brothers and four sisters is a totally different thing. This Bill does not raise that point and you cannot discuss that in connection with the Bill. He raised that particular principle. He said that there are certain equitable claimants who should get special protection. I put it to him that if anybody should get special protection it is not the brother or sister who has gone away but the owner living in the house. I have not raised this question at all. As the Bill stands, all equitable claimants have the same rights and the same way of protecting them, namely, the caution.

I think the Minister is going away from the point altogether. Those who are resident with the person who asked for the loan, it is assumed—the Minister indicated it quite clearly—will have the means of protecting themselves. But the absent people will not know about this charge being put on the land and will have no means of protecting themselves. It is assumed that the people residing with the person who is getting the loan know about the loan and approve of it—in other words, will not take any steps to prevent the loan being given. These people are able to protect themselves, and protection is afforded them, but the persons who are absent and whose interests are being interfered with owing to the fact that they do not know anything about this loan being raised are the persons to whom you want to give protection. If there are injustices of a different kind, if there are injustices due to the fact that one man goes away and leaves his farm, that has nothing to do with the Bill. We ought not to try in the Bill to remedy things which are of a different kind altogether.

Mr. HOGAN

Is it not all a question of expediency? There is no principle involved.

It is a question of equity.

Mr. HOGAN

All right. It is a question of equity. It is admitted that under this Bill—in fact, any Bill—you will have a certain amount of injustice. That is perhaps putting it too far. Let me take the Bill as it is. It is possible to do injustice under a Bill. It follows that you weigh up the advantages and disadvantages and strike a balance. That is the whole principle of the Bill. Of course, you can save your conscience formally by saying that you provide machinery under which anybody who has any claim can safeguard himself and can go on to say "Ignoratio legis neminem excusat,” which is the fundamental maxim that all countries must adopt in connection with legislation, so that formally we are in the right. We are discussing now, if you like, the question of equities. As a rule, the people who are away do know. The Deputy is thinking of a man living in Dublin not in touch with his brother, who is a farmer in Mayo, or a man living in New York not in touch with his brother, who is a farmer in Mayo. But that is not the general case that will arise under this Act—a man living in Dublin or New York will not go back to Mayo to look for his equity. The case that generally arises is amongst people who are living in the same barony and who visit each other on Sunday. One of them is living with an uncle, and so on. Another girl is married out of the house. That is the case that happens under this Act, and in that case the people out of the house have a very shrewd idea of what is going on. They are much freer in one sense to register the caution, because they have no interest in the future of the holding. If the holding does well, they will get something out of it; but if the man living on the holding goes bankrupt, they have their own places and their own houses. They are much freer to register the caution, if you look at it from that point of view. The person who is not free to register the caution is a sister living with a brother who helps to work the farm and does not want to prevent him from getting a loan. She has all the equities really. In odd cases, the principal equities will be the other way about; but I put it to Deputies who know the small farmer very well, and who know his condition of living, that this will work more injustice than otherwise.

What is the proportion of the value of the farm that the Agricultural Credit Corporation will advance in a case where the title has been registered subject to equities?

Mr. HOGAN

Fifty per cent. That is, of course, under the Articles of Association, which can be altered, and which, I should say, may be altered, because 50 per cent. appears to give rather extra good cover.

In view of the case put forward by the Minister, though I am not quite clear on the equity of it yet. I think that more injustice might be done by adopting the amendment, and I therefore withdraw it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

There is a misprint in line 13, page 4. I think the word "be" should be after "shall."

Mr. HOGAN

I will correct that on Report.

If there is any necessity. It may be a printer's error.

May I ask the Minister with regard to Section 3 if he is satisfied that it is not necessary to protect equitable claims in respect of permanent improvement charges. Of course, I know we cannot in any Bill attain absolutely what is desirable. I think we should not be satisfied that every loan for a permanent improvement is going to be a loan that will add to the value of the farm. I pointed out on Second Reading that it would be easily possible to show that a loan of £300 for the building of a house or the improvement of a house would not mean that the selling value of the farm would be increased by £300. The Minister may have since considered that. I do not know whether it would be worth while forcing an amendment or whether it would be practicable to amend the Bill at all in that respect. If the Minister is satisfied that such a case does not require any special legislation I am satisfied.

Mr. HOGAN

Of course it is undoubtedly a fact that apparently a loan could be made for drainage that might be a failure or for buildings such as stables. I am not sure that loans can be given to improve a dwelling house or if the Corporation Credit Society have power to do so, I forget for the moment, but the loan must be for some purpose in connection with the farm. There will be cases where loans are given for permanent drainage which might be a failure, and in that case the permanent value of the holding would not be improved very much. But that would be a very rare case. As a rule drainage of a farm does improve it. Equally there will be loans given to put up a cow byre which may not permanently improve the farm to the amount of the loan. Then again, the whole situation of course is full of difficulties, because it is very hard to say whether the price which is fetched by a farm put up for public auction, is an indication of how much the farm has been improved because, of course, the price varies with the times. But as a general rule a loan made by the Agricultural Credit Corporation such as a loan for drainage or the building of a house will improve a holding up to the full amount and for this reason: Remember the loan will only be 50 per cent. of the value of the holding and, at the maximum, of course, they never would give the full 50 per cent. for drainage or for building. That is the maximum. Remember the Agricultural Credit Corporation is in an unusually good position to see that the money is expended for the purposes for which it was borrowed. The Act contains a provision that makes it a criminal offence, that carries with it a punishment of imprisonment for a borrower to expend the money in any way except that stated in his application. Therefore, you have the position that the loan will be a small one, that it will be well "vetted," that it will be for permanent improvement, and that the money must be spent on permanent improvement. On the whole, I think there is good reason why a distinction should be made in regard to permanent improvements. There is good reason why the owner, the mortgagor's interest should not be entirely or specifically mortgaged for permanent improvement.

Take drainage. Where the money is wisely expended the holding is permanently increased in value. Any farmer knows that people buy farms of land in bad heart. They buy land that has been neglected or grazed or meadowed for years and years. They buy big acreage of land for cheap money. Any farmer knows that when he comes into a large portion of land which is in bad heart he has to spend fifty or sixty per cent. of the purchase money he paid for the land to get it into good heart. The difference between 200 acres of land that is properly worked, where the drains are being kept open, the buildings kept right, and where the land has been kept in good heart, and the same acreage of the same quality where the land has been allowed to deteriorate is enormous. When you get cheap land, no matter how good the quality, even if it be the best county in Ireland, in the County Meath, you cannot get any bargain if the land has been neglected. You do not spend a lump sum, but you have to spend, this year and next year, and it takes six or seven years to get it back again into heart. That, of course, is the reverse side of the story. On the other hand money well expended on land undoubtedly permanently improves it. It would be very harsh indeed in the case of a farmer if the money he borrowed and genuinely spent on permanent improvements which, in fact, increased the real value of the land for anyone who agrees to buy it, should be earmarked against his interests in it. You will get injustice on the other side, but, on the whole, I am satisfied you do less on this.

Is there an inspection of the work done by the Corporation? Do they inspect the value whether it is drainage or building that is to be the permanent improvement? How will the Corporation know that the money is spent on drainage or on buildings?

Mr. HOGAN

Only approximately, but there will be inspection.

The works then will be conducted much in the same way as those conducted under Board of Works loans?

Mr. HOGAN

Yes. The trouble about the Board of Works loans was that they were too expensive. They required too much security and there was too much inspection. They will still continue.

Section 3 agreed to and added to the Bill.

SECTION 4.

I would like the Minister to tell us in what way this is giving protection that is not already offered by the existing law.

Mr. HOGAN

It does not give much, but it gives a little by an alternative method. I shall read the section:

(1) Where registered land is subject to a priority charge which is not a permanent improvement charge and a person entitled at the date of the registration of such charge to an equitable claim against such land is at the date of such registration under the age of twenty-one years, or of unsound mind, such person shall be entitled at any time after such registration but, in the case of a person under the age of twenty-one years at the time of such registration, not after he attains the age of twenty-five years to obtain from the Circuit Court an order that the mortgagor do, by giving security, lodgment of money in court or such other means as shall be approved of by the Court, give to such person an indemnity which in the opinion of the Court adequately protects the equitable claim of such person against the said priority charge and that in default of the mortgagor giving such indemnity within three months after the date of such order the said registered land be sold by the Court and the proceeds of such sale be applied according to law and that in any event the costs of such person in relation to such order, the application therefor and all proceedings thereunder when taxed as between solicitor and client be paid by the mortgagor.

Sub-section (3) states:

"The rights and benefits conferred on any persons by this section shall in addition and without prejudice to any other rights or benefits to which such persons may be entitled under this Act."

The layman will say there is a certain amount of that section eye-wash. You may say it is idle to ask the borrower for such security; that if he was in a position to give such security to anybody he would not be in the necessity to borrow money; that was my view on first blush. But there is this to be said on that: A man with a sixty or seventy-acre farm worth £1,000 will want maybe £100 on a long term loan. He will not get the money on long term loan from the bank. He might want it for drainage.

The great value of the Corporation is that it can give long-term loans. That man wants a loan for drainage purposes for twenty-five years. He wants £100 in that way, and does not want to be under a compliment to the bank by signing a bill. Supposing he wants £200, he gets it, and his brother, who is a lunatic or whose affairs are being managed by a committee in Lunacy, or, in case his brother is dead, his son, being under twenty-one years of age, and having an equity in the case, registers a caution. Perhaps he only threatens to do so, or he is being advised by somebody to make trouble, perhaps rightly so, to make sure that his rights are safeguarded. He does not want to be put to the expense of an administration suit, which is very expensive, and, moreover, minors have not the same rights or remedies in administration and equity suits as those who are not minors. They have to take proceedings which are very expensive in order to get their shares. This provides a simple alternative. He can go to the man and put it up to him, or he can get the court to order him to lodge securities that will cover the claim for £200. Such a man can do so, and is in a position to go to the Corporation and say, "I borrowed £200 on land which, as you know, is worth, say, £1,000. My nephew, who has an equitable claim, insists on my giving him security. Have you any objection to my giving a mortgage for £200?" No one would object. The minor would be satisfied, as he has ample security. That is one important point. There is another important point which I am not prepared to go into at present. I have discussed this with an equity lawyer and it is a highly technical question, namely, protecting the equities which a minor may have. It is desirable to give a man a simpler way of safeguarding his claim than he has by way of an administration suit.

Question: "That Sections 4 and 5 stand part of the Bill," put and agreed to.

What about amendments 1 and 2, which were postponed?

Mr. HOGAN

I would like to take them now. Before they are moved, may I say that I suggested that they should be postponed to the end, as my idea was to have a discussion on the other amendments, so that Deputies could clear their minds about the rights and wrongs of equitable claims. It is clear that we must have some of this sort of legislation, but the less we have of it the better. We are to some extent interfering with the rights which are there between persons. If we have to interfere with them—of course, every Act of Parliament does interfere—I think the less we interfere the better. I think Deputies can see for themselves, because this Bill has been considered very carefully, that it is, as far as possible, advisable to limit this particular procedure. I pointed out previously in regard to a point which Deputy Fahy made that this Bill will do far more injustice if applied to a big holding than if applied to a small one, because very real equities are attached in the case of farms of fifty, eighty or a hundred acres. After all, the real injustice consists in taking away what a man always thinks he is entitled to get; a man who does not expect anything has no real grievance. The real grievance is making people alter their whole mode of living. You are taking away the rights which people thought they always would get, and in respect of which they lived in a certain way and on a certain scale. You might not do any great injustice in regard to small holdings in respect of this Bill, but when you go on up to a £500 loan you might do injustice. A man who wants a loan of £500 should discharge equities. A man who is security for a loan of £500 has a farm worth at least £1,000 and should discharge equities. I put that to Deputy Gorey in respect of a loan of £800, that a man who is security for a loan of £500 and has £1,000 worth of land ought to discharge equities and that we should not be asked to take risks by applying this Bill to a man in that position.

It is possible that a man looking for a loan of £500 would want it urgently. Would it not be possible to make arrangements whereby he would get the loan and be compelled to discharge equities within a certain period?

Mr. HOGAN

But if he did not you would have a law suit between him and the Corporation which would lead to endless litigation. It is almost impossible to force a man to discharge equitable claims. He could delay for years and it would land the Corporation into all sorts of litigation.

Discharging equities is very slow?

Mr. HOGAN

It is slow. If a man does not want to do it he can take advantage of a great many rights. If he wants to discharge equities and has a good solicitor he could do so comparatively quickly.

I propose amendment 1:

In sub-section (1) (c), page 2, line 40, to delete the word "two" and substitute the word "five."

We approach this subject, first of all, from the direction of fixing the figure at so many times the poor law valuation. We saw in that many objections which were raised by the Minister. If you make the figure ten times the poor law valuation and leave out the limit of £200 you would be creating a certain amount of injustice to possible equitants on larger holdings. It might also be mentioned, if you take the poor law valuation, that the holding generally has a higher market value compared with the poor law valuation as between smaller and larger holdings. In that way you would be unjust to claimants looking for loans who have small rather than large holdings. When you come to look at it from the point of view of enlarging the £200, I do not think there is much injustice done in raising the amount from £200 to £500. I think the Minister mentioned that the danger would be where there are real equities on farms with an acreage of from seventy-five to a hundred and fifty acres.

Even taking the value of that farm of 75 acres at a somewhat lower figure than Deputy Nolan would put it, it might be worth say £1,000. Anything over 75 acres might be worth more than £1,000. Therefore there would not seem to be a great danger to any claim within the £500. The point is that the limit of £200 enables the Agricultural Credit Corporation to deal with a person whose farm has a market value of £400, but then there is a gap in the case of farms value from £400 to £1,000, or £400 to £800. I know that on these farms, in the case of County Wexford at any rate, loans would be required just as urgently as on small farms and in some cases the equities cannot be discharged. Those who oppose this amendment I know will say: "If a man is able to give security for a loan of £500 why does he not discharge the equities?" How can he discharge the equities? In some cases it is absolutely impossible. As far as I understand it, the land is registered subject to equities and possibly the claimant cannot be found. Possibly the claimant may be a first cousin who is supposed to be in America, whether alive or dead the owner does not know. Yet that man may urgently require a loan of £400 or £500 in order to improve his holding. He may be able to give very good security apart from this possible equity. The Minister has tried to make the case that relatively there is not so much injustice in giving a loan of £200 on a £400 farm as there would be in giving a loan of £500 on a £1,000 farm, but I cannot see that. I do not think there is anything in it. I agree with the Minister that when we are legislating on a point like this we ought to legislate not perhaps as little as possible, but as certain as possible so that the Corporation may not have to come back again to have the limit increased to £500. We ought to do it now.

The following amendment stood in the name of Deputy Gorey:—In sub-section (1) (c), page 2, line 40, to delete the word "two" and substitute the word "four."

The reason I mentioned the sum of £400 in my amendment was that I recognise that at the present time £400 does not represent much money with regard to the purchase of land. It certainly represents considerably less than six or seven years ago, while probably it represents more than it did before the war. I inserted £400 in the amendment because I thought it would be more acceptable than the existing figure, and would be fair all round. Of course, I am more or less in the hands of the Minister. If the Minister is prepared to accept £400 or £500, or a compromise between the two, I am perfectly satisfied.

Mr. HOGAN

I want to remind Deputy Dr. Ryan that there is nothing to prevent the Corporation from lending a man who has a farm worth £1,000, a sum of £300. It does not fellow that because he has a farm worth £1,000, he wants half the value of the land. I put it to him that taking the ordinary farmer in County Wexford a loan of £350 is as much as would be good for him, without discharging equities. The reason I suggest £350 is that the difference between £200, the present limit, and £500 the amount which Deputy Dr. Ryan suggests is £300. I suggest that we should split that amount, that is £150, and add it to the present limit, making £350. That is as big a loan as such a man could reasonably ask for without discharging equities. I would prefer myself to say £300, but I suggest that £350 is at the outside sufficiently large to give to such a man.

I think the Minister might advance to Deputy Gorey's figure.

Mr. HOGAN

It is really too much. It is not for me, however, to decide. It is for the Dáil to decide, and if it goes to a free vote, I know what that would mean.

I do not suppose we ought to break Dr. Ryan's word.

Mr. HOGAN

I think that £300 is quite enough but it is a matter for the House. I suggest that £300 is enough to give without asking a man to discharge equities. Remember that those who have farms each worth six, seven, eight or nine hundred pounds can get a loan of £300 without discharging equities. I am quite willing to leave it to a vote but I put it to Deputies that in a case like this £300 should be the maximum. £300 is a big loan and a man with 70 or 80 acres of land can get £300 without discharging equities. I had intended putting it to the Dáil that £300 should be agreed upon but I want to divide the difference between the amounts in the amendments and that stated in the Act. Of course it is an arbitrary figure but it is very hard to know how much should be given. I think that £500 is too much and that £400 is too much.

I am afraid that the Minister is a bad hand at bartering. I was inclined to suggest that a maximum of £350 should be agreed upon but now as the Minister has already agreed to that I would suggest that he might go as far as the amount set out in Deputy Gorey's amendment.

Mr. HOGAN

Does Deputy Dr. Ryan not think that £400 is too high?

No, I do not think that it is too high at all nor would I think £500 too high.

Mr. HOGAN

You can make it £400 then, if that is agreed to, but I think it is too high.

The amendment then should read:—

In sub-section (1) (c) page 2, line 40 to delete the word "two" and substitute the word "four."

Amendment put and agreed to.
Amendment 1, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 2 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Title put and agreed to.
Bill ordered to be reported with amendments.
The Dáil went out of Committee.
Bill reported with amendments. Report and Final Stages ordered for Friday, 13th July.