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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 26 Nov 1931

Vol. 40 No. 17

In Committee on Finance. - Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, 1931—Committee.

Question proposed: "That Section 1 stand part of the Bill."

I just wish to call attention to the point that amongst the Acts amended are the Labourers (Ireland) Acts, 1883 to 1930. These Acts were continued by the Expiring Laws Bill passed last week. In the first place, is the definition right there? Secondly, has the Minister considered the point I raised that if it was intended that the Acts should remain in operation for a longer period than one year they should be made permanent by this Bill?

As far as that is concerned, for the purposes of this Bill there is no necessity to make it a permanent Act, and there may have been certain objections to doing it. I have not gone into the matter, but it creates no definite difficulty except that the Expiring Laws Bill has to include it every year. As I said, this Act is the precursor of a codifying Bill, and the only difficulty that will arise is that the Labourers Acts must be continued in the Expiring Laws Bill until such time as they are included in the Codified Housing Bill. As far as the definition of the Act is concerned——

Should you not put in 1931 instead of 1930?

There may be a point in that. We had a Labourers (Ireland) Act last year dealing with certain small things. Lower down, we include it in the general type of Labourers Acts, 1883 to 1931. On the 1930 Bill originally there was some small change made to enable rating difficulties to be got over last year.

Section put and agreed to.
(1) In this Act—
the expression "the Minister" means the Minister for Local Government and Public Health;
the word "prescribed" means prescribed by the Minister;
the expression "unhealthy area" means an area the dwelling houses in which are by reason of disrepair or sanitary defects unfit for human habitation or are for the like reason dangerous or injurious to the health of the inhabitants of the area, or are by reason of their bad arrangement or the narrowness or bad arrangement of the streets, dangerous or injurious to the health of such inhabitants, and in which the other buildings, if any, are for a like reason dangerous or injurious to the health of such inhabitants;
the expression "clearance area" means an unhealthy area declared by a local authority to be a clearance area for the purposes of this Act.

I move amendments No. 1 and No. 2 as follows:—

1. In page 5, lines 42 and 43, to delete the words "or are for the like reason dangerous or injurious to the health of the inhabitants of the area".

2. In page 5, lines 45 and 46, to delete the words "such inhabitants" and substitute therefor the words "the inhabitants of the area".

These are drafting amendments. The words which it is proposed to delete are really redundant, and they might give rise to obscurity.

I am not so sure that is so. When is a building unfit for human habitation? Has that phrase been defined?

It is the sanitary officer of the local authority who decides when a building is unfit for human habitation.

Amendments put and agreed to.
Section 2 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Sections 3 and 4 agreed to.
(1) Where a local authority are satisfied upon consideration of an official representation or other information in their possession that any area within their district is an unhealthy area and that the conditions in such area can be effectively remedied only by the demolition of all the buildings in such area to be defined on a map so as to exclude therefrom any building which is not unfit for human habitation or dangerous or injurious to health and shall by resolution declare such area to be a clearance area, and shall in accordance with the provisions of this Act proceed to secure the demolition of all buildings in that area in one or other of the following ways, or partly in one way and partly in the other according as the local authority shall determine, that is to say:—
(a) by purchasing land comprised in the area and demolishing or otherwise securing the demolition of all buildings thereon; or
(b) by ordering the demolition of buildings in the area.

I move amendment 3:

In sub-section (1), line 13, to add after the word "area" the words "which are unfit for human habitation or dangerous or injurious to health."

The purpose of this amendment is to make clear the difference between an area definitely defined as a clearance area and the original area that has been under consideration. If there are buildings in an area which is declared generally to be unhealthy, and that these buildings are not themselves in an unhealthy condition, it is not the purpose of the Bill either that these buildings would be destroyed or that they would be included in what is strictly defined as the clearance area.

Would not the word "all" in line 19 require to be deleted then?

The words "all the buildings in that area" refer here to the clearance area, mentioned in line 17. It is the intention that all the buildings in the clearance area will be destroyed, but the clearance area may have in it islands of good buildings. These would have been referred to in the words "any area" in line 10. All the buildings referred to would be in what has been definitely marked down as the clearance area.

Amendment put and agreed to.

I move amendment 4:

In sub-section (1), line 17, to add after the words "such area" the words "as so defined."

This is consequential on the other amendments.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 5 as amended stand part of the Bill."

I would like to know in regard to sub-section (3) whether it should not be the function of the council rather than of the city manager to declare an area an unhealthy area.

That is what it says. The declaration of any area is a reserved function. A reserved function is a function reserved for the council.

Question put and agreed to.
Section 6 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 7 stand part of the Bill."

Does Section 7 make it any easier for local authorities to acquire land a good distance away from the particular clearance area; if land is not available have they the same power?

It is sometimes very difficult to get land near the clearance area.

For what purpose?

For building houses.

That would be dealt with in a separate way. If an area is cleared the satisfactory redevelopment of the area that is being cleared may necessitate the local authorities purchasing land which is either in the middle of the clearance area but has not been declared unhealthy or is adjoining it and it is very strictly linked up with the re-development of a clearance area.

Section 7 agreed to.

I move amendment 5.

In page 8, at the end of the section to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

"(5) The amount of any expenses due to a local authority under this section shall be a charge on the premises in respect of which expenses were incurred and the local authority shall for the purpose of enforcing such charge have all the same powers and remedies as if they were mortgagees by deed having powers of sale and lease, accepting surrenders of leases and of appointing a receiver."

This is to set out more fully the position of the local authorities. It puts them in a position of power to recover expenses that have been incurred by them in carrying out the demolition under Section 8.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 8, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 9, 10 and 11 agreed to.
(1) Where a local authority are satisfied upon consideration of an official representation or other information in their possession that any area within their district is an unhealthy area and that the conditions in such area can be effectively remedied without the demolition of all the buildings in such area by—
(a) the demolition or repair, as circumstances may require, of those dwelling-houses within the area which are unfit for human habitation; and
(b) the purchase by the local authority of any land within the area which it is expedient for them to acquire for the purpose of opening out the area and the demolition of any buildings on such land so far as may be necessary to demolish them for that purpose;
the local authority may cause that area to be defined on a map and may pass a resolution declaring the area so defined to be an improvement area.

I move amendment 6:

In sub-section (1), line 32, to add after the words "such area" the words "which are unfit for human habitation or dangerous or injurious to health."

Amendment agreed to.
Section 12, as amended, agreed to.
Section 13 and 14 agreed to.

I move amendment 7:

Before Section 15 to insert a new section as follows:—

"For the purposes of providing accommodation for persons displaced by the demolition of buildings under a clearance order the local authority may purchase by a compulsory purchase order any habitable house which has been vacant for a period of not less than three months."

I do not think in many places in Ireland at the moment the state of affairs prevails that I have in mind, but in case it does and houses are closed down for some selfish reasons as far as the landlords are concerned, I think the Minister should give the local authorities power to take them over and to use them. If the Minister would agree, I think it might be acceptable in the case of barracks and buildings of that sort also.

The local authority has already this power under Section 8 of the Housing (Ireland) Act, 1919, and we amplify that in Section 49 (1) by the addition of the words "are suitable for." Section 8 states: "The powers of a local authority to acquire land for the purposes of Part III. of the Act of 1890 shall be deemed to include power—

(a) to acquire any houses or other buildings on the land proposed to be acquired as a site for the erection of houses for the working classes; and

(b) to acquire any estate or interest in any houses which might be made suitable as houses for the working classes, together with any lands occupied with such houses."

The amendment to Section 49, sub-section (1) will give power to local authorities under (b) (1) of Section 8 to acquire any estate or interest in any houses which are suitable. These words are added "or which might be made suitable as houses for the working classes," so what the Deputy seeks to include in his amendment is covered by that section and made more in accordance with what he wants.

Amendment 7, by leave, withdrawn.
Sections 15, 16, 17 and 18 agreed.
(1) Where a local authority, upon consideration of an official representation or a report from any of their officers, or other information in their possession, are satisfied that any dwelling-house which is occupied or is of a type suitable for occupation by persons of the working classes is in any respect unfit for human habitation they shall, unless they are satisfied that it is not capable at a reasonable expense of being rendered so fit, serve upon the person having control of the house a notice requiring him, within such reasonable time, not being less than twenty-one days, as may be specified in the notice, to execute the works specified in the notice and stating that, in the opinion of the local authority, those works will render the house fit for human habitation.
(2) In addition to serving a notice under this section on the person having control of the house, the local authority may serve a copy of the notice on any other person having an interest in the house, whether as owner in fee simple, mortgagee, lessee, or otherwise.
The following amendment stood in the name of Deputy Corish:
"In sub-section (2), line 18, after the word ‘may' to insert the words ‘at their discretion'."

I suggest that Deputy O'Connell's amendment should be taken first.

I move amendment 9, to delete sub-section (2).

Amendments 8 and 9 are really bound up together, and deal with the same thing. The trouble is that the word "may" in the second line of the section, it is feared, would have the effect of "shall". We were told here a few evenings ago by the Minister for Industry and Commerce that "may" when applied to a local body has the effect of "shall" and it is felt that if "may" there in fact meant "shall," it would make for delay, because the local authority might feel bound to serve that notice on persons other than the person in actual control, and that in that way it would lead to a great deal of delay to find out who those persons were. I propose to delete the sub-section altogether. Deputy Corish suggests that "may at their discretion" would meet the position. The difficulty we have in mind is if "may" is mandatory it would make for a good deal of delay in finding out those people who may have an interest or who may be entitled to serve a notice.

The purpose of the sub-section is that where there are a chain of owners it is desirable in so far as they may be conveniently found that they will all be advised as to the steps that are being taken with regard to an unhealthy house, because the person who is immediately in control of the house might not be prepared to suit the local authority's wishes, and the local authority might be driven into the position of taking action itself, whereas the person next or second next in the chain, if advised as to what was taking place with regard to the dwelling, might approach those people closer up in ownership, and might come to an accommodation by which the immediate owner might part with his interest to the other owner, and that local owner might meet the local authorities in their wishes, so that I think it would be undesirable to take that sub-section out.

With regard to Deputy Corish's amendment, whatever Deputy O'Connell read into anything said by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, I think it would be desperate, considering all the "mays" we have passed through, in one way or another, if we allowed ourselves to give approval to the idea that every place there was a "may" in anything passed through here it shall be construed to mean "shall."

That was so in the Vaccination Act.

Mr. O'Connell

Any lawyer will tell you that there are a great many places where it is read as "shall."

I am assured it does not mean "shall" here. Deputy Corish's words are no addition, as far as making the sense very clear.

It would keep it from being interpreted as "shall" anyhow.

It might mean that another dozen "mays" would be interpreted as "shalls" because we put in the modification here.

Why not put in "at their discretion" every place where the word "may" appears?

I would ask the Deputy to leave it to the draftsman. I will draw his attention to the things stated here.

Mr. O'Connell

It would be well that we had some kind of definition as to when "may" means "shall" and when it does not.

I would like "may" to mean may.

Will you accept that interpretation of it in the case of the Vaccination Act?

Mr. O'Connell

There are many cases in which it does mean shall.

Amendment 8 not moved.
Amendment 9, by leave, withdrawn.
Question proposed "That Section 19 stand part of the Bill."

This section provides that the local authority shall serve certain notices on owners requiring them to do certain repairs and in the following section power is given to them to do those repairs themselves if the owner does not himself take action. It has been suggested to me that a difficulty might arise which is not provided for here. We will assume that the owner is willing to do it but he finds it impossible to get rid of the people who are in occupation. Even one tenant in a block of dwellings may refuse to go out. It may be that there is no other accommodation provided for him. It is quite possible that that difficulty is provided for by previous Acts. I only put it to the Minister that there is such a possibility and I would be very glad if he would give an explanation.

I take it what Deputy Law means is where extensive repairs are being carried out and where the tenants ought to be removed.

It may be necessary.

I think there should be some stipulation that the same tenant ought to get back. I have a case in mind where notice was served by the sanitary authority upon a landlord to get certain repairs carried out. He immediately gave the person in the house notice to quit, and he brought back another person at a higher rent. There ought to be something to safeguard the tenants in that way.

I do not think there is in this Bill, and perhaps in any Act, power to make a tenant vacate a building in order that the owner might repair it. This work contemplates very close touch with the local authority. If you pass a law that will enable an owner to clear out a tenant while he is carrying out repairs and put on the owner the onus of bringing back that tenant at the same rent, I do not know whether that would be a satisfactory type of legislation. I would be inclined to leave it to the local authority, who understand the spirit of the Rent Restriction Act as applied to the house. I would leave it to co-operation between the local authorities and the owners of houses to make the necessary arrangements to facilitate the repairs in these unhealthy dwellings. I think it will be found that the local authority would leave nothing undone to help owners who are entering in a spirit of co-operation into the work of putting unhealthy houses into a satisfactory condition. I would sooner enter into a discussion with the local authorities as to what is involved in the suggestion of Deputy Law than to introduce a statute.

You may get an owner willing to do the repairs and the local authority anxious and willing to facilitate him, but the owner may be in this unfortunate position that it is impossible for him to do the repairs because of one obstructive person.

The repairs would need to be very extensive before it would be necessary to put a tenant out. It would not be unreasonable for a landlord if he did do extensive repairs to take advantage of the Rent Restrictions Act to get the amount that he is entitled to. What I want to guard against is this: If it is necessary, and a whole lot of landlords may consider it necessary, to put a tenant out, the owner should not be permitted to charge over and above what he is entitled to charge under the Rent Restrictions Act. In nineteen cases out of twenty, you will find people prepared to pay 100 and 150 per cent. more rent than a landlord is entitled to get. They are so anxious to get houses that they are not prepared to take advantage of their powers under the Rent Restrictions Act. I want to guard against that sort of thing.

There is nothing safeguarding it here, and I do not know that there is any safeguard in the Rent Restrictions Act, but if a case like that is likely to happen it will be where the structure of the house is radically changed.

It could only happen in very few cases.

I would rather leave it as a matter of co-operation between the local authority and the owners. If you make it a matter of law the owner may have a statutory right to put out a person, and there might be no place to which that person could go. If a local authority were so unreasonable as to pursue an owner in this particular way, without trying to accommodate him, I do not think any court would stand for the point of view of the local authority.

I am inclined to agree with the Minister that with a little bit of give and take on the part of the local authority, who know the position, the thing that Deputy Law suggests would not arise.

I was merely asked to put the point.

Has the landlord any power to add to the rent the expenses he has been put to in repairing a house?

He has, under the Rent Restriotions Act.

Question put and agreed to.

I move amendment 10.

10. Before sub-section (5) to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

"Any such expenses may be recovered in a summary manner as a civil debt by the local authority from the occupier or occupiers for the time being of the house in respect of which the expenses were incurred and the person having control of the house shall allow such occupier to deduct any money which he pays under this enactment out of the rent from time to time becoming due out of the house or the part of same occupied by him, as if the same had been actually paid to such person having control as part of such rent: Provided that no such occupier shall be required to pay any further sum than the amount of rent for the time being due from him, or which, after demand of such expenses from such occupier, and after notice not to pay the person in control of the house any rent without first deducting the amount of such expenses, becomes payable by such occupier, unless he refuses, on application to him by the local authority, truly to disclose the amount of his rent and the name and address of the person to whom such rent is payable; but the burden of proof that the sum demanded from any such occupier is greater than the rent due by him at the time of such notice, or which has since accrued shall lie on such occupier: Provided also that in case any house or part of same in respect of which any such expenses were incurred becomes vacant before the whole of such expenses shall have been discharged the local authority may make a letting or lettings of the same for a period or periods and at a rent or rents not less favourable to the tenant or tenants than those of the former letting or lettings.

The local authority shall during the whole time they are in receipt of the rents of the occupier or occupiers of any house under this enactment maintain the same in a sanitary condition in accordance with the requirements of any statute or by-laws in force in relation to same, and the expenses incurred by the local authority in that behalf shall be added to the expenses recoverable under this section, and shall be recovered as part of same."

This amendment has been suggested by the City Manager and the law agent. They are of opinion that while the provisions in Section 20 are valuable, in practice they may be proved, to some extent at any rate, unworkable. It will be necessary to have arrangements such as are suggested in this amendment whereby the recoupment can be obtained from the occupier of the premises. I do not know whether the Minister has seen the statement sent around by the City Manager and the law agent, dated 18th November. If he has not, perhaps I will be permitted to read it.

I have seen the statement. We have had discussions both with the City Manager and the law agent, and amendment 11 is intended to meet the purpose the City Manager has in mind. It gives the local authority power to require that rents will be paid over to it until such time as the amount is fully repaid; that is, having got a decision that certain moneys are due to them from the owner, the local authority can get the amounts paid over. The main objection to the section as it stood was that it was thought a separate application would have to be made for every week's rent. Amendment 11 avoids that; and amendment 12 gives the local authority power to keep tenants in a place if the owner, for any reason, does not do so. It enables the local authority to rent any section of a house that becomes vacant after suitable notice of twenty-one days has been given to the owner.

I suppose there is no danger of this becoming a general rule rather than an exception? Are we to take it that this will not be brought into operation unless the landlord, by whom the repairs are carried out——

He has an appeal to the Circuit Court if he feels aggrieved.

Amendment 10, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 20 agreed to.
Amendment 11 agreed to:—
Before Section 21 to insert the following new section:
(1) Where a demand for the recovery of expenses incurred by a local authority under the next foregoing section has become operative and such expenses or any part thereof remain unpaid the local authority may, after giving not less than ten days' notice to the person having control of the house in respect of which such expenses were incurred, serve a notice in the prescribed form upon the occupier or occupiers of such house, stating the amount of such expenses remaining unpaid and requiring such occupier or occupiers to pay to the local authority any rent then due or thereafter to become due by him or them until the amount of such expenses with any interest due thereon is fully repaid.
(2) The service of any such notice as is referred to in the foregoing sub-section upon an occupier shall operate to transfer to the local authority the exclusive right to recover, receive and give a discharge for the rent required by such notice to be paid to the local authority.— (Aire Rialtais Aitiúla agus Sláinte Puiblí.)
Amendment 12 agreed to:—
Before Section 21 to insert a new section as follows:
(1) A local authority, to whom any expenses are due in respect of the execution of works to a house under Section 20 of this Act which is or has become vacant, may, if satisfied that payment of such expenses cannot be recovered from the person having control of the house and after giving to such person twenty-one days' notice in writing of their intention so to do, make in the name of such person a letting of the house to a suitable person at such rent and for such period and on such terms and conditions as to the local authority shall seem proper having regard to the circumstances and to the nature of any previous tenancy in the house.
(2) Every such notice as is referred to in the foregoing sub-section shall state the rent period for which and the terms and conditions on which the local authority propose to make a letting of the house.
(3) For the purposes of this section and for those purposes only the local authority shall be deemed to be the agent of the person having control of the house with power to make a letting without his consent and the word "house" includes in the case of a house habitually let in separate apartments, a part of a house.
(4) Any person aggrieved by a proposal of a local authority to make a letting of a house under this section may, within twenty-one days after the date of the service of the notice referred to in sub-section (1) of this section, appeal to the Circuit Court, who may make such order in the matter as to the court shall seem just and reasonable but the decision of the court shall be final and conclusive and not subject to any appeal.—(Aire Rialtais Aitiúla agus Sláinte Puiblí).
Section 21 agreed to.
(1) A room habitually used as a sleeping place the surface of the floor of which is more than three feet below the surface of the part of the street adjoining or nearest to the room, or more than three feet below the surface of any ground within nine feet of the room, shall for the purposes of this Part of this Act be deemed to be a house unfit for human habitation, if the room either—
(a) is not on an average at least seven feet in height from floor to ceiling; or
(b) does not comply with such regulations as the local authority with the consent of the Minister may prescribe for securing the proper ventilation and lighting of such rooms, and the protection thereof against dampness, effluvia, or exhalation.
Amendment 13 agreed to:
In sub-section (1), line 22, to delete the word "seven" and substitute therefor the word "eight."—(Aire Rialtais Aitiúla agus Sláinte Puiblí, Deputy Corish, Deputy Seán T. O Ceallaigh.)
Section 22, as amended, agreed to.
Section 23 agreed to.
(1) When a demolition order under this Part of this Act has become operative, the owner or owners of the house to which it applies shall demolish that house and clear and level the site thereof within the time limited in that behalf by the order; and, if the house is not demolished and the site thereof cleared and levelled within that time, the local authority shall enter and demolish the house and clear and level the site thereof and sell the materials thereof, and the provisions of subsections (2), (3) and (4) of Section 8 of this Act shall apply in relation to any expenses incurred by the authority under this sub-section and to any surplus remaining in the hands of the local authority as they apply in relation to any expenses or surplus in a case where a building is demolished in pursuance of a clearance order.

I beg to move amendment 14.

In sub-section (1), line 60, to delete the word and figure "and (4)" and substitute therefor the figures and word "(4) and (5)".

We put in an additional sub-section to Section 8, and this is consequential on that.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 24, as amended, agreed to.
Section 25, 26 and 27 agreed to.

I beg to move amendment 15:

Before Section 28 to insert a new section as follows:—

"(1) It shall be the duty of every local authority to consider the housing conditions in their area and the needs of the area with respect to the provision of further housing accommodation for the working classes and for that purpose to review the information which has been brought to their notice by the medical officer of health or as a result of inspections and surveys previously carried out or otherwise and as often as occasion arises or within three months after notice has been given to them by the Minister, to prepare and submit to the Minister proposals for the provision of new houses for the working classes, distinguishing those houses which the local authority propose to provide for the purpose of rendering accommodation available for persons to be displaced by, or in consequence of, action taken by the authority under this Act.

(2) In the year 1932 and in each fifth succeeding year the council of every county borough or other urban district which for the time being contains according to the latest published census returns a population of more than five thousand shall furnish to the Minister, in addition to any proposals submitted by them under the last preceding sub-section, a general statement of the measures which they propose to take during the five next succeeding years for dealing with housing conditions in their area and the provision of further housing accommodation."

This is taken practically bodily from the British Housing Act of 1930. I was looking through that measure and comparing it with the Bill now before us, and I notice that practically all this Bill might be said — of course with amendments — to have been taken bodily from the British Housing Act of last year. I thought it rather surprising that the Minister did not include this section as well. I think there are very useful powers contained in it, and that it would be an advantage to the Department to have returns of that kind so as to be able to see the progress made over a period of years. It would enable the Department to take a census of the number of unhealthy houses and the number of houses requiring to be erected in cities and towns. I think the powers would be valuable, and they would help to make certain that the Minister and the Department would be fully aware of the exact circumstances in regard to the housing of the people in the towns and cities. It would also afford opportunities of bringing housing conditions directly under the notice of local authorities and officials.

Under the Housing Act of 1919, Sections 3 and 4, it is incumbent on local authorities to proceed somewhat on the lines suggested in the Deputy's amendment. In addition to that, Section 27 of the present Bill makes it the duty of every local authority to cause an inspection of their districts from time to time with a view to ascertaining whether any dwelling-house is unfit for human habitation, and they will have to comply with such regulations and keep such records as the Minister may prescribe. Under Section 42 we provide that if it appears to the Minister that owing to a density of population, or any other reason, it is expedient to inquire into the circumstances of any area, the Minister may require the local authority to make a report. It seems to me that we have all the necessary powers that we require under these provisions in order to meet what the Deputy has in mind.

I would rather hesitate to get into a position in which in 1932 and every fifth succeeding year we would have a big volume of statistics coming into the office all at one time. I think with the responsibility on the Department of seeing that the local authorities get systematically after their schemes, we can work in a more satisfactory way. I would be against getting into a routine that would bring a huge volume of statistics down on top of us every fifth year, building us, perhaps, to the more detailed problems which can be taken one by one and which will be taken one by one, not only by the local authorities but by ourselves. I submit to the Deputy that we have here all the powers that will enable us to do everything he wants. The Minister has power to make regulations requiring local authorities to keep necessary records up to date. We have power to see that they will envisage their problems as a whole and make the necessary plans to deal with them. We have power to make them do so explicitly wherever in our opinion there has been failure.

Where is the power to compel the local authority to carry out a housing scheme if they fail to do so on their own initiative?

If we get into the position that there is a serious housing problem that the local authority will not deal with, no statutory provisions that we might have would help us really effectively to get after that, and I would sooner in these circumstances operate the powers of dissolving the local authority that was not attending to its statutory duties and putting in a Commissioner or a Commission to deal with the matter. Anything else would only mean friction, want of economy in facing a problem, want of efficiency in envisaging it and carrying it out. While I do not at all see anything like that, I can see dangers. If a local authority, having an obligation under the Housing Act of 1919, fails to carry out that obligation, we can mandamus them to do it.

What is their obligation apart from the obligation of making inquiries into housing conditions?

At the present moment, under the Labourers' Cottages Acts, we can put in a commissioner without disturbing the local sanitary authority from its ordinary sphere of duties. I think we could put in, for the specific purpose of dealing with housing under the Labourers Acts, a commissioner to carry out the scheme and then charge that scheme to the local authority.

The Minister is missing the point. He has talked about superseding a local authority which fails in its duty. As far as housing is concerned, the local authority has certain powers for the purpose of dealing with it. I do not think it is under any direct statutory obligation to provide proper housing accommodation in its area. I agree that Deputy O'Kelly's amendment does not provide any such obligation. But it does say that the housing authority shall review the position in its area, and, when the Minister requires it, it should state what it proposes to do in the way of housing for the working classes. That would enable the force of public opinion to operate on the members of the council.

If the Deputy will look at Section 27 he will see that this is provided for.

Section 27 and Section 42 provide ample facilities for finding out the position as to housing in the area, but Deputy O'Kelly's amendment suggests that in addition to these sections it should be incumbent on the housing authorities to furnish the Minister with a statement as to the plans for dealing with the condition of housing in the district, so that the Minister will know if the local housing authority has met its obligation in that respect, and so, too, that the public in the district itself will have the required information.

There is nothing in Deputy O'Kelly's amendment that gives the Minister specific powers to make the local authority carry out a housing scheme.

I would prefer if that were possible that there should be power. What the amendment proposes is that the Minister will require the local authority to state definitely what it is going to do, so that the Minister will know and the public will know that it is dealing with its responsibility in that regard. Personally I would prefer that the Minister would have power to compel the local authority to carry out its obligation in this respect.

I think the Minister's own section is stronger than the amendment put forward by Deputy O'Kelly. The section in the Bill says that it shall be the duty of the local authority to cause an inspection of its district. I take it under Section 27 the Minister decides when the time is to be. That section makes it mandatory to supply that information. The section says "It shall be the duty of the local authority and every officer of the local authority to comply with such regulations, and to keep such records as the Minister may prescribe."

We are not proposing to delete that section. We propose to give him additional powers by this new sub-section. If the Minister does not want it we will not force it upon him. I do not think we could because we have not enough votes here to carry it.

I do not want to make it a matter of votes at all.

It would strengthen the Minister's hands and the hands of the Department, and it would help to keep the position before the public if this amendment were passed. The amendment makes it mandatory on the housing authority. The Minister is taking powers under Sections 27 and 42 to get certain information as and when the spirit moves him. The spirit might not move some Ministers very often. They might not be anxious for additional work. The Department might think they had enough work on hands, but this amendment would make it mandatory that, at least every five years, to supply returns and detailed reports on the housing proposals during the five next succeeding years, as to what was to be done in certain areas; and these proposals would be sent to the Minister's Department. In my humble opinion that would be an advantage.

I shudder as to the possibilities one can envisage here from the point of view of the Department. I do not know whether we are to carry out every fifth year something like the ten year census such as was carried out in 1926. We have a volume there dealing with housing. I can see a pile of statistics and figures coming in on top of the Department dealing with every sanitary area in the country, coming into a place where there are already a terrible lot of papers and not enough waste paper baskets.

It does not apply to every area in the country.

It applies to urban areas. I am also afraid that to ask the Department to sit down facing such a load of statistics and passing them in review would result in blinding them and interfering with the work in getting on with the housing question area by area. I am afraid that the figures and papers involved would really only blind us to the work that we should be getting through month after month and year after year. Deputies should remember that it is already in the Minister's power to ask for a scheme. Under the Housing Act of 1929, which I say is the foundation of the powers that we have here, it is the duty of the local authority of every urban district or town to consider the needs of that district or town with respect to the provision of houses for the working classes. It is their duty to prepare and submit schemes for the exercise of their powers. The schemes shall specify the approximate number of houses, the nature of such houses, the amount of land required and the time necessary to carry the scheme into effect. We are providing our own way for getting information. The local authority has already as its duty the submitting of a scheme when asked for a scheme, so that we there really cover the point that the Deputy is concerned about in this amendment. It is really that we want in a practical way to approach the problem, to deal, in a step by step way, with the general problem of each area, rather than have a five years' review.

I do not wish to press the matter. I should like, however, to say, in reply to the Minister's statement where he talks of showers of statistics being fired at the heads of the Department, that there is nothing in the amendment asking for such. It asks for a general statement of the measures which the housing authority is to take during the following five years. There is nothing about statistics in that at all. All that is asked is a general statement of the housing conditions in the area and a statement of what they propose to do. If that is not practical work I do not know what practical work is.

The Minister has made adequate provision in his own Bill to get himself blinded with statistics.

Amendment 15 withdrawn.
Section 28 agreed to.
(1) In any contract entered into after the passing of this Act for letting for habitation a dwelling-house at a rent not exceeding—
(a) in the case of a house situate in the County Borough of Dublin or the Borough of Dun Laoghaire, thirty pounds per annum;
(b) in the case of a house situate elsewhere, twenty-five pounds per annum;
there shall, notwithstanding any stipulation to the contrary, be implied a condition that the house is at the commencement of the tenancy, and an undertaking that the house will be kept by the landlord during the tenancy, in all respects reasonably fit for human habitation;
Provided that the condition and undertaking aforesaid shall not be implied when a house is let for a term of not less than three years upon the terms that it be put by the lessee into a condition reasonably fit for habitation, and the lease is not determinable at the option of either party before the expiration of three years.

I move amendment 16:

In sub-section (1), line 14, after the word "into" to insert the words "either before or" and to delete all after the word "implied" in line 23 to the word "and" in line 24.

This section provides that a landlord shall keep a house in all respects reasonably fit for human habitation. I cannot understand why that should only apply to houses in which the contract is entered into after the passing of the Act. Why should not that apply to houses where the contract is entered into before or after the passing of the Act? It seems to me only reasonable that the obligation should be on the landlord. To my mind there is a danger that by putting it in this way and applying it to contracts entered into after the passing of the Act, there will be an assumption that it does not apply to houses where the contract is entered into before that, although there is undoubtedly and ought to be an implication. I do not know whether it is already the law, but it is implied, in any case, that the obligation already rested on the landlord. The fact that a tenant rents a house to live in would mean that there was an obligation on the landlord to keep it in a habitable state for him. Objection might be made to making this retrospective, but we have many precedents in this House for doing that. In any case, it seems to me that that is a condition which ought to apply in the case of every rented house.

I am opposing the amendment, because we put in here a definite provision that will enable us to operate generally the provisions of this Bill. There may be many houses as to which definite contracts have been entered into already, and it would be dangerous perhaps to introduce a provision that would affect contracts already entered into.

Is the Minister aware that in most of the agreements there is a provision whereby the landlord keeps the house externally in repair, and the tenant internally? I do not know how Deputy O'Connell hopes to meet that difficulty in his amendment. It appears to me that he wants to throw the whole obligation, notwithstanding an agreement to the contrary, on the landlord.

Mr. O'Connell

Surely there is an implied obligation on the part of the landlord that the house will be in a habitable condition. What I fear is the danger that this section may be used to show that there is no obligation, implied or otherwise, on the landlord to keep a house in habitable condition unless a contract is entered into after the passing of the Act.

If the landlord entered into an arrangement with the tenant, and part of the contract with the tenant was that the tenant is to keep the house fit for human habitation, then it is the tenant's responsibility.

Mr. O'Connell

You are not allowing him to do that in future, notwithstanding any stipulation to the contrary.

"Provided that the condition and undertaking aforesaid shall not be implied when a house is let for a term of not less than three years upon the terms that it be put by the lessee into a condition reasonably fit for habitation...." You are enabling landlords to contract with future tenants to take this responsibility on themselves. We do not know what kind of a contract we might be infringing if we made the section retrospective.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 30 stand part of the Bill."

Mr. O'Connell

I am wondering is there a weakness in the last lines of the section and is there a danger that they might lower the standard of housing in a particular area. There may be an area where the by-laws have been disregarded or neglected and not put into operation and in that way the general standard of housing accommodation may have fallen rather low. That would have to be taken into account in deciding whether or not a house is fit for human habitation. You might have the position that in Ballinasloe a house would be deemed to be fit for human habitation which would be condemned in Mullingar. I think there is that possibility in setting out here that the general standard of housing accommodation for the working classes in such a district will be taken into account. There is a possibility that where all the houses are bad a house that in another district would be deemed to be unfit for human habitation would be accepted as being fit for human habitation just because the other houses were almost equally bad.

I take it the general purpose is to limit the discretion of the local authority in determining whether a house is fit for human habitation. If the section were deleted would it mean that it would be at the absolute discretion of the local authority to say whether a particular house or a number of houses was unfit for human habitation? If so, I think the section should be deleted.

I think that it is a reasonable indication to local authorities in the case, say, of a particular house that is proposed to be condemned that it puts a kind of limit on their requiring the owner to go above a particular standard, if they are content to allow a particular standard to exist as a fair standard in an area. I think it is reasonable that local authorities should proceed in a sensible way, and that it is not necessarily any restriction on them. The section perhaps does not definitely apply, but I feel that it suggests a restriction on them in requiring an owner to raise the standard of his house, say, above the general standard.

Would it be open to the owner of a house to contest a demolition order on the ground that the dwelling was in accord with the standard of housing accommodation for the working classes in that district?

That presupposes that the general standard is satisfactory, whereas it might be unsatisfactory.

In dealing with a district as a whole, where unsatisfactory conditions exist it is a question of a clearance order. Even where conditions are bad enough to require a clearance order, the local authorities under the Bill have to show the Minister that they are able to provide for the rehousing of the people whom they propose to displace, and that their resources are capable of doing it. So that we have to measure the improvements which we want to bring about by our resources to bring about these improvements. Unsatisfactory housing conditions will naturally exist in some places until we have the resources to deal with them.

That is why I am objecting to the section. I shall give an example. There was a sketch published in one of the papers of an area which the Dublin Corporation contemplated clearing under this Bill when passed. It included one side of Gloucester Street and did not include the other. Could the owner of a house or houses on that side of Gloucester Street which it was intended to include in the clearance order object on the grounds that the standard of housing conditions for the working classes in that district was the standard set by his houses, and point to the other side of Gloucester Street as an example?

No, because in the first place it is not to a court that they will have to prove that.

I take it that is the purpose of the section.

In so far as a clearance area would be concerned, it is not a court but the Minister who would have the power to confirm that order and there would be an appeal to a court as to whether the Minister had exceeded his powers under the Act.

This section limits the Minister's power also.

I shall have that considered.

I would prefer to have it left to the absolute discretion of the local authority subject to the Minister but I am afraid this section introduces another principle that would permit an appeal from the Minister.

Perhaps we might let this stand until the Report Stage and we will have the matter considered. The only objection to letting this section stand is that it might prejudice a local authority in declaring a clearance area, in ordering a person to destroy a house because it is unfit for human habitation or to repair it— principally destruction.

Section 30 agreed to.
Sections 31, 32 and 33 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 34 stand part of the Bill."

This section provides that where buildings included in a clearance area are used for trade or business reasonable compensation may be paid to the person carrying on that trade or business on the ground of disturbance. In the event of the business being a licensed business and the destruction of the premises involving the cancellation of the licence what would the position be? As far as I know the obligation imposed upon the local authority under the British Act was that if that should take place they should procure a licence for such licensee in another area. I am now on the ground of compensation and I want to know on what ground could compensation be assessed in the event of the licence being taken away under a demolition order under the Act.

There is no discrimination between licensed trade or grocery business or butchers business.

Would there be any prospect of the local authority being required to pay heavy compensation on the grounds that not merely was there disturbance but that there was the definite loss of licence, which would be very serious for the trader concerned?

I think it is meant to be in the discretion of the local authority, subject to the consent of the Minister, that any compensation would be paid.

That is the point. I agree with Deputy Lemass that this ought to be more clearly defined in the section than it is. What it would mean in practice would be that when a local authority cleared an area and provided people with alternative accommodation there would be immediate claims for compensation. People would claim that they were entitled to compensation for being removed from one house in one area to another house, apart from the licence.

The great difficulty arises in connection with the licensed trade. You take a person with a huckster's shop or a small grocery business and put him into another premises in another area, he loses nothing except the cost of removal, but a licensed trader is not in that position; his licence is extinguished.

According to the section as it reads now, everybody is entitled to compensation, which might involve a very large sum of money, and that is very dangerous.

Is there an appeal to the court in the case cited by Deputy Lemass, that is, the case of the licensed trader? It is a good while ago since any case of that kind came under my notice, but many years ago cases of the kind did come under my notice in connection with the clearances of areas in Dublin. If I am not mistaken, some very heavy compensation had to be paid for one or two licences in the clearing of the area now known as Foley Street. If that same procedure were carried out now it would be another means of blocking the clearance of areas, because it would make the business entirely too costly. Even as the law will be after the passing of this Act, clearances of certain areas in Dublin will be very costly, even though additional powers are given. But if added to that there will have to be heavy compensation paid in the case of licensed traders for the extinction of licences attached to certain premises, local authorities will have to consider for a very long time whether they will move in the matter of clearing such areas or not.

The section deals entirely with unfit buildings. When we take into consideration the additional amendment we have introduced with regard to compensation in respect of the clearance of areas, and brought it into line with what was contemplated in regard to derelict areas, the compensation payable is the value of the site less the clearance, and that is all that is to be paid. Any additional payment made under this section is payment at the discretion of the local authority. The buildings that are referred to are buildings that are unfit and condemned to demolition. It is really only precautionary. Probably there may be some business buildings in that condition, including licensed houses, but the number is very limited. So far as the money has to be paid outside what is awarded as compensation on the basis that I suggest, it is entirely at the local authority's discretion and with the Minister's consent.

I am not so sure. We had the matter of the exact significance of the meaning of the word "may" in a discussion on the Mines and Minerals Bill the other day, and the Minister for Industry and Commerce told us that he was assured by his draftsman it would in many cases have the effect of "shall." I certainly think in this case "may" will have the effect of "shall," and a person claiming compensation can sue the local authority for it.

And "may" would be read as "shall."

The question arises then whether this should be "may" or "shall."

Personally I think it should be "shall." I think the trader is entitled to compensation when the local authority takes action which results in his being removed out of the place in which he had his house of business, but I am particularly anxious that the amount of compensation the local authority would have to pay should be determined in accordance with definite rules, and that the amount should not be excessive, because whatever the cost involved is it would have to be recovered from rents or rates on the premises. Special provision was made to deal with the licensed trade under the English Act. Deputy O'Kelly mentioned the fact that under previous clearance schemes carried out in Dublin the compensation that had to be paid to licensed traders was very heavy. The same circumstances may arise again. If some scheme could be devised whereby persons carrying on the licensed trade in an area that had to be cleared could be provided with a licence for a building in another part of the city compensation, or at any rate compensation to the same extent, would not be involved.

I would hesitate very much to saddle a definite duty upon the local authorities of paying for the expenses of removing people from unfit and insanitary areas to other accommodation which the local authority had actually provided.

The expense of moving would be very little.

When it is a question of a person who is in business in an insanitary area, and in a house that is condemned as insanitary, I cannot imagine definite rules upon which the local authority would base the amount of compensation they are going to give for disturbance. I feel that it would be very questionable whether we ought to put a definite duty upon them. After all the local authority is there to look after the general interests of the people, so that it is really a matter of examining the circumstances of a particular person and, to a certain extent, giving a fair public-opinion estimate of what a person so disturbed should get. However you qualify "may" I think it might be safely left to the local authority because the whole circumstances are too problematical and perhaps hypothetical to warrant our being rigid. So that subject to any conclusion we might come to as to the doubts that might be drawn around "may" I would like to leave the section so that a local authority, at its discretion, could pay this particular class of expense and compensation. I do not think we could draw the matter any more tightly.

I agree with the Minister that the section as drawn should be allowed to remain, and I agree with him that the amount granted by the local authority under it cannot be very great, in view of the fact that it is laid down here that the removal of the people is to be from premises which are incapable of being rendered fit for human habitation, and that "such reasonable allowance as they think fit towards his expenses in removing" should be made. That seems reasonable but we had better keep in mind what may arise as a result of it. The individual occupier of, say, licensed premises will not get very much in the way of allowance when removing from premises that are condemned. He will have to remove somewhere, but the case is bound to be made that he is losing something that was necessary for his livelihood. It is not like the case of an ordinary tenant being moved from one house to another.

The licensed trader is being forced, against his will probably, to move out of business premises from which he has derived his livelihood, and he cannot be moved into other licensed premises. He may be able to get such premises, but it does not follow that he will. It may be possible that a court would determine, although there is no mention of it in the Bill, that such a person is entitled to have that fact taken into consideration, and to have an allowance made to him of the value of his licence, because it was his means of livelihood, and because there is no provision in this Bill—as there is in the English Bill—for giving such licence holder another licence elsewhere. I think it is reasonable to think that the court would take that into consideration, and might put a high valuation on the extinguished licence, because it was the means of livelihood of the individual from whom it was forcibly taken. I think the Minister should discuss that question with his Department, to see if it is necessary to bring cases of that kind specifically into the Bill. In one of the largest areas in Dublin, which might be called a clearance or an unhealthy area, I am strongly inclined to think that there would be licensed premises, the value of which would probably run into three figures. If the danger I see of heavy assessments of compensation for removal of these licensed premises being inflicted on the local authorities is realised, the cost of clearance in that area would be tremendous.

I am of opinion that under the common law, people who are disturbed in their business would be entitled, notwithstanding this Bill, to go to the court, and to get a certain amount of compensation. I do not think it is wise to bring into the Bill a provision that there should be an allowance paid to people removed from one house to another. I am sure that I am right in assuming that the house such a person would be sent to would be a better house. That should be compensation enough. In my opinion, if this is left in the Bill the powers given to local authorities might be abused, because the expenses of removal would have to be placed against the new scheme of housing that the people were going into, and in some way be a charge on the rents. It would be as broad as it is long. It is undesirable to suggest that an allowance should be given to people who are being transferred from a house in a slum area to a better house. In itself that is compensation enough. From what I know of local authorities I do not think it is wise to leave such power in the Bill, as hours might be spent discussing the amount of compensation that should be given. I think the power given is dangerous, and that the provision should be deleted.

Deputy Corish hit the nail on the head. Any disturbance that will be caused will be in the interests of the tenants themselves. There seems to be some case for the licensed trader, and perhaps the Minister will consider his position. I think Deputy Corish is right in saying that he will have a claim in common law.

I am not sure that there could be any claim in common law if a local authority, responsible for sanitary conditions in an area, comes along and says, "This house must be destroyed and the site cleared in order to make it sanitary." If there is common law to that effect, I do not know if it would be our desire to interfere with it. The implication of this section is that there is no such common law bearing on the situation. We may take it that for the purpose of this discussion there is no such common law doctrine. We are destroying an insanitary area. It is simply a contingency, more unlikely than likely, that there is a business place in it unfit to be left standing. The compensation that is going to be paid for premises according to this Bill is the value of the cleared site, less the cost of clearing it. That is the only money that is going to be paid for that site by the local authority, if it purchases it. If instead of clearing it itself, the local authority may say, "This is an insanitary area. I want you to clear that house." Having carried out that order, the owner of the site has the site, but he has less in cash by the amount of money which it cost to clear the site. This section gives the local authority discretion to pay such reasonable allowance as they think fit, with the consent of the Minister, towards the cost which, in their opinion, he will sustain by reason of disturbance of his trade or business.

Does the consent of the Minister apply to each case, or does it apply to the whole scheme?

It applies to allowances paid for disturbance in trade or business. The other matter is left to the local authority because it would be small in amount. What we have to decide is whether the local authority should have any power in such a case to make allowance.

If you interfere with their trade or business, it is all right, but the other question is different and I am afraid it will lead to abuse.

Do I understand then that Deputies think that we ought to take out removal expenses?

Yes. From what I know of local authorities, I think that provision will lead to abuse.

We are not imposing on the local authority any duty to do this but we leave it to their discretion in circumstances where they think it is reasonable to make payment.

The difficulty is that the local authority having power, it will be practically impossible to refuse to exercise it.

Once this is mentioned in any section of the Act, it will be incumbent on the local authority to enforce it in respect of everybody who leaves a house in a clearance area. I suggest that any decent-minded person will be desirous of getting out of a slum area and that he will be sufficiently compensated if he gets into a new house. I am afraid the provision will lead to abuse.

I would risk leaving the provision in and giving the discretion to the local authority. This will be always subject to the approval of the Minister.

His consent is only required in the case of business premises.

If the Minister found that the amounts paid in some cases were high, he would take steps to ensure that that would not happen again. The matter would come under the notice of the Department, and the local authority would be informed that the Department would not give its sanction to such a high scale of allowance in future. I am still worried by the question of licensed traders. I do not know that I should be regarded as a defender of the licensed trade, but I am satisfied that under this section demands will be made on the Dublin Corporation for what some people might regard as extravagant allowances, because of the forced removal of persons occupying licensed premises, this removal following upon a clearance order. I have in mind a very wide area in the constituency of the Minister and myself. It extends from Gardiner Street down to the North Strand and from the quays up to Summerhill. All that area is not an unhealthy area, but a very big portion of it is. There are very wide areas within these boundaries that will probably, at some future date, be cleared as unhealthy.

Within that area and the sub-areas included within its boundary, there are a very large number of licensed premises. The owners of these premises are to be paid, with the consent of the Minister, a reasonable allowance towards the loss which a trader will sustain by reason of the disturbance of his trade consequent on his having to quit the house or building. In estimating the loss, regard is to be had to the period for which the premises might reasonably have been expected to be available for the purpose of the trade or business. That may or may not be long but efforts will be made to make the amount the local authority might think reasonable such a sum as would cover the value of the licensed premises. In so far as the amount of compensation or allowance is increased, the cost of clearing the area will be increased. The cost in such an area as I have mentioned will be very considerable indeed. If this cost were added to the other costs of the clearance, the amount would be very high and the consequent loss on any housing scheme afterwards engaged in by the local authority would be very high. Some provision is necessary to deal with cases of that kind— either a provision making licences available elsewhere or a provision for the retention of a certain number of the licences in the area. If we are to prevent extravagant claims and heavy cost being placed on the local authority, which cost will fall upon the ratepayers later, some provision such as I have suggested is necessary.

The Deputy is going on the assumption that houses would come into a clearance scheme which, in fact, would not come in because they would not be in the condition that they would be marked down for destruction. As regards the acquiring of land for the purpose of development, where houses might be cleared that were not actually condemned, compensation payable in these cases would be fixed by an assessor. The trade or business premises that might be involved in one of these clearance schemes where houses would be marked down as unfit for habitation would be more of the little huckster type, with a couple of bottles of lemonade in the window, or the coal shop type, or something like that. Local authorities would not, I think, be confronted with the question of allowance for disturbance in the case of a licensed premises of any reasonable kind.

Sections 34, 35 and 36 agreed to.
SECTION 37 (2).
(2) A derelict site so acquired by a local authority may with the consent of the Minister, pending its ultimate appropriation for the purpose for which it was acquired, be used temporarily by the local authority as a playground or recreation ground for persons of the working classes and other persons.

I move amendment 17:

In sub-section (2), line 38, to delete the word "temporarily."

I have put down the amendment primarily for the purpose of eliciting some information from the Minister as to his policy in regard to open spaces, particularly in the cities. This section, as Deputies will see, deals with the acquisition of derelict sites. The first sub-section gives a local authority power to acquire, either by agreement with the consent of the Minister or compulsorily, a derelict site, notwithstanding that such site is required for such purpose. Sub-section (2) goes on to say that a derelict site so acquired by a local authority may, "with the consent of the Minister, pending its ultimate appropriation for the purpose for which it was acquired, be used temporarily by the local authority as a playground or recreation ground for persons of the working classes and other persons." I want to call attention to the wording of this. If Deputies look at Section 38 they will see that there power is given, among other things, to the local authority "to provide and maintain, with the consent of the Minister and, if desired, jointly with any other person in connection with any such housing accommodation, ...any playgrounds or recreation grounds, open spaces or other buildings or land which, in the opinion of the Minister, will serve a beneficial purpose in connection with the requirements of the persons for whom the housing accommodation is provided."

There are two distinctions between these two sections. One is that, in the first case the provision is temporary, and in the second it is permanent. In the first case, the provision is to be general for persons of the working classes and other persons, and in the other section permanent provision is made, but the provision there is restricted to the persons for whom the housing accommodation is provided. I think I follow the idea of the Minister, but I would like to get from him a statement as to what exactly he has in his mind here. It is not very clear to me why there is a distinction in the two clauses between the classes of persons for whom accommodation is provided. I do not attach any particular importance to the word "temporarily" one way or the other. It is clear that if that went out other things would have to go out. I just take it as a convenient peg to hang a discussion on for the purpose of eliciting information from the Minister as to what he has in his mind in this connection.

There is nothing vital in putting in the word "temporarily" there. It is put in as a precautionary measure. The idea is that derelict sites may be cleared for the purposes of Part III of the Act of 1890. They may be cleared, even though the local authority is not prepared to go on with a housing scheme right away. There may be a danger if this was used as a playground for the public, that the public might acquire a right of way that would interfere with the local authority if it wanted to use that playground afterwards for the purposes of a housing scheme. The word "temporarily" is supposed to introduce a precaution there.

But take it the other way, that the local authority wished, later on, to keep it as a playground would there be anything to prevent their doing so?

There will be nothing to prevent a playground being set aside as a playground in connection with a housing scheme decided on for a derelict site. It is not the intention that the local authority will set out and clear derelict sites for housing purposes, and then not go ahead with their housing schemes.

It might easily happen on reconsideration, when they came to plan out the whole area, that they might find that a particular site or sites could be more usefully employed for a playground than for building.

In that case they would actually be making use of the ground for the purposes set out in Part III.

Is it necessary to have that invidious condition in the section "working classes and other persons"?

It need not be restricted to working classes. In this case the whole housing code is a housing code for the working classes.

Amendment 17, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment 18:

To delete sub-section (3) and substitute therefore the following sub-section:—

"(3) Where a local authority acquire compulsorily a derelict site for any of the purposes of the Housing of the Working Classes Acts the compensation to be paid by the local authority in respect of the acquisition of such site shall be assessed in accordance with the provisions contained in Part I of the Third Schedule to this Act and, subject as aforesaid, shall be assessed in accordance with the Acquisition of Land (Assessment of Compensation) Act, 1919, as amended by the Acquisition of Land (Reference Committee) Act, 1925 (No. 22 of 1925)."

Elsewhere, in response to representations from the City Corporation, we change the compensation in respect to clearance areas. Originally the compensation to be paid was the value of the sites cleared. On representations made it is reasonable to consider that the compensation paid should be the value of the site cleared, less the cost of removing the buildings. The Third Schedule is, by amendment, altered so as to indicate that that will be the compensation. The result is that the lines upon which compensation will be determined will be the same for a derelict site as for a clearance area. Instead of putting in there the special way in which compensation would be determined in respect to derelict sites, we simply refer to the derelict site section in the same way as we refer to the clearance area section to the Third Schedule.

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment 19 not moved.

I move amendment 20:

To delete sub-section (4) and substitute the following sub-section:—

(4) For the purposes of this section the expression "derelict site" means any land situate in an area inhabited mainly by persons of the working classes or in close proximity to such an area which is

(a) the site of a building that has been demolished or which is in a ruinous and uninhabitable condition; or

(b) land which has not been and cannot be built upon without clearance and levelling and is or is likely to become in such a state as to be a nuisance or injurious to health by reason of the deposit thereon of filth, rubbish or other insanitary matters or otherwise; and

(c) which is land which has been lying undeveloped or not re-developed for a period of not less than three years from the time at which the local authority determine by resolution to acquire the land.

This amendment meets the intention of amendment 19. I ask leave of the House to amend this amendment by reason of the fact that the word "from" in the third line of paragraph (c) may give rise to a certain amount of ambiguity. I ask the leave of the House to delete the word "from," and to substitute the words "immediately preceding."

The paragraph will then read:

(c) which is land which has been lying undeveloped or not re-developed for a period of not less than three years immediately preceding the time at which the local authority determine by resolution to acquire the land.

Leave granted.
Amendment, as amended, put and agreed to.
Section 37, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 38 to 44, inclusive, agreed to.
(1) For the purposes of this or the Act of 1890 the expression "official representation" means, in the case of any local authority, a representation made to that authority by the medical officer thereof.

I move amendment 21:

In sub-section (1), line 26, to insert the word "Act" after the word "this".

This is just a drafting amendment.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Section 45, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 46 to 48, inclusive, agreed to.

I move amendment 22:

In page 24, to delete sub-section (6) and substitute therefor the following sub-section:—

"(6) Section 17 of the Housing (Ireland) Act, 1919, which confers powers on the Commissioners of Public Works in Ireland to make loans to private persons shall become a permanent enactment and any provision in any Act in force at the date of the passing of this Act which limits the period for which the said section is to remain in force shall cease to have effect."

This is an attempt to meet the House to some extent in eliminating the matter of the Expiring Laws Bill. This section is continued under the Expiring Laws Bill year after year and we are making it permanent here.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Section 49, as amended, put and agreed to.
Section 50 agreed to.

I move amendment 23:

In page 24 to insert before Section 51 a new section, as follows:—

"Where a local authority acquire compulsorily any house which is suitable or might be made suitable for persons of the working classes for the purposes of Part III. of the Act of 1890, as amended by any subsequent enactment including this Act, the compensation payable in respect thereof shall be assessed in accordance with the provisions contained in Part II. of the Third Schedule to this Act."

Part II. of the Third Schedule makes it clear that when a house is compulsorily acquired in an area, not being a clearance area, in making an award in respect of the compensation that will be paid for it and in taking into consideration the rents, etc., received out of it, the arbitrator will take into consideration whether the house has been used illegally or in an overcrowded way. It also provides that the arbitration will be based on a consideration of what the rent would be if the house were not used for illegal purposes or were not overcrowded.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Section 51, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 52 to 55, inclusive, agreed to.
(2) Paragraph (c) of sub-section (2) of Section 15 of the Small Dwellings Act, 1899, is hereby repealed.

I move amendment 24:

At the end of sub-section (1), to insert a new paragraph (e) as follows:—

(e) In lieu of an advance in cash an advance under these Acts as amended by this Act may be made to a public utility society on behalf of a person or persons qualified to receive an advance by means of a supply of materials suitable for the construction of houses and when the local authority decide that an advance shall be made in the form of material such advance may be made as soon as the local authority is satisfied that such material will be used for the purpose stated in the application for an advance.

This amendment seeks to empower local authorities to make advances of building materials to a public utility society. I might say that it has been put down in response to representations which we received from groups of workers. It has been pointed out that it might be possible to find a group of workers who would be anxious to erect one, two or three houses for themselves, men who would be engaged in their ordinary work in the building industry and who would do this in their spare time. If they were to take advantage of the Act they would require a certain amount of capital, in any case, to go on with, but, as the Bill stands at the moment, the advances are made only to them by instalments. It is to be assumed that a certain amount of the work would have to be done before they could get any payment. The point is that they would want capital right from the beginning, and it is thought that if the materials were made available to them it would facilitate them in their desire to get on with the erection of the houses. The argument might well be put forward, that if you were to advance cash right from the beginning, you would not be quite sure that the cash would be used for the purpose for which it was intended. That is the reason why the advance is only made when a certain amount of work is done. That is the difficulty we require to get over by this proposal, namely, that an authority will be in a position to advance building materials to a group of workers, who are prepared, and who satisfy the local authority in that way, to take on the building of a few houses for themselves.

I think it would be found, assuming that the case were made that the labour will cost half and the materials half, that the advance would only require to be 50 per cent. whereas the Act would allow a much bigger advance if the advance were to be made in cash. As I say, the amendment is put down at the request of groups of workers in the building trade, so that it might be possible for a group of men to organise the building of a few houses for themselves if they had this facility. It is thought too that this would be an economical way of dealing with the matter, because the local authority might be in a position, especially a local authority engaged in large building schemes, to supply materials much more cheaply than the people themselves could get them if the cash were advanced to them, and if they had to purchase them themselves. So far as the actual wording of the amendment is concerned we are not tied to it. It is quite possible that the amendment might require redrafting, but we would like the Minister to consider the principle of the amendment favourably, and have it or something like it inserted in the Bill.

As far as public utility societies are concerned they do not come under the Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Act at all They are enabled to get money under the Housing (Ireland) Act of 1919, so we are really dealing with private persons. A private person proposes to acquire a house, and he applies to a local authority for an advance under the Small Dwellings Acquisition Act. Let us say the advance is going to be £450. That advance is going to be repaid over a certain number of years. Deputy O'Connell's amendment is to the effect that the local authority will supply him with a certain amount of building material, and a certain amount of cash.

Mr. O'Connell

There is nothing about cash.

Surely under the Small Dwellings Acquisition Act we make provision for it here. Let us speak of private persons, because public utility societies are different. They are going to build a certain number of houses. If the advantage of the Small Dwellings Acquisition Act is going to be given—let us say 75 per cent. or 80 per cent., in fact, the local authority is able to give an advance of 90 per cent. of the houses as valued, the 90 per cent. of the houses as valued cannot be advanced to the private person in materials. The purpose is to help private persons by advancing up to, not necessarily 90 per cent., because the local authority can say as a matter of policy: "We will give 80 per cent. or 75 per cent.," but they are empowered to give 90 per cent. of what you call the capital value of the house. They take that money on an undertaking to repay. I do not see how the advance of that money can be made effective to a private person or to a public utility society under the 1929 Act, where they get 75 per cent. of the value of the house. I do not see how you can mix up materials in the matter of a loan. The materials cannot cover the whole lot.

Mr. O'Connell

Surely it is not essential that the whole lot must be covered.

That is what I understood, that they must have a certain amount of material and a certain amount of cash.

Mr. O'Connell

My amendment reads:

"(e) In lieu of an advance in cash an advance under these Acts as amended by this Act may be made to a public utility society on behalf of a person or persons qualified to receive an advance by means of a supply of material."

Let us take a group of people who want to build four houses for themselves. They are building trade workers who are prepared to work in the summer evenings in their spare time. If you give them cash, very well, but the point is that cash cannot be advanced at all. Cash will only be advanced to them when a certain amount of the work is completed. They are not in a position to raise any capital to begin the work without help, and what I suggest here is that they should be facilitated by having the materials at their disposal in lieu of cash. Give them cash if you wish, but of course objection will immediately be made with regard to the advance of cash. We have no assurance that they will use the cash to build the houses. That objection will be legitimately made. It is the general principle that a cash advance is made only when a certain amount of the building work is completed. If these men are able to work up the material themselves a group of them may co-operate to build five or six houses. They may not require any more than just the materials. That is the suggestion made in the amendment.

This amendment has been put down at the express desire of some bricklayers, carpenters and people of that kind, and I cannot personally see the objection on the part of the Minister to giving material instead of cash. Of course it must be distinctly remembered that in sub-section (c) it says "the total advance at any time is not to exceed 50 per cent. of the value of the work done." That means that these people would only be getting their money in dribs and drabs and would not be in a position to purchase materials economically. I think it ought to be the desire to secure that these people would be able to buy materials as cheaply as possible. The Minister ought seriously to consider going into the matter between now and the Report Stage. When you get people who are desirous of building houses for themselves and prepared to put their own labour into it, I believe they should get some encouragement further than the encouragement given in this Bill.

Might I point out that I cannot see the difference. I listened very attentively to what Deputy O'Connell has stated, but I cannot see the difference between advancing money and advancing materials. Materials are practically money. If there is no security for the advance of the money, where is the security for the advance of the materials? Deputy O'Connell says that if this money is advanced there is no security that the money will be applied to the building of a house. What is the security if building material is given? Building material is money at any time. Besides, if people steal building material there are always people who will buy it. It seems to me there are more difficulties here than there are in connection with cash. As far as I can see, the cash would be more useful to the man, because he can get materials when he needs them. It is what Deputy O'Connell is always arguing—bulk purchase. Many sites will not hold sufficient material for a house. You want it coming in at intervals. I cannot see the difference between money and materials, and I see much greater difficulties in connection with materials than money.

Mr. O'Connell

These people would not be in a position to get cash.

When they use up material to a certain point equivalent to half the value of the house, how are they going to get on?

The point is you must get some cash before you can provide materials. You cannot do work if you have no material. Surely some kind of an inspector would see that things would not be done as loosely as that.

The Deputy seems to forget that there must be security for the advance. Where the money is directly advanced there must be security for it. If it is advanced through the medium of materials will he show me where there is any security for the money the local authority has put into materials?

Under this a man has to get security and buy material at the same time.

The Deputy who put forward this amendment argues that a man must have some capital to put up a certain amount of building before he can get an advance. In other words there must be security before he can get the money. If the money is to be turned into materials, where is the security for the local authority?

It is not so liquid.

I would wish that generally or even in a few odd parts of the country Vocational Education Committees' work and other work of that kind had so far advanced that odd groups in our population were so trained that you could hand out building materials to them and that they would go and build their own houses.

Mr. O'Connell

There are hundreds.

The proposal here is that power should be given to local authorities to buy building materials and give them out as a matter of loans to persons who will undertake to put up their own houses. If I can get a proposal from a local authority to that effect I will get it very carefully considered.

Can you not leave it to the discretion of the local authority?

But I would not be prepared to take this amendment here without any leading up to it on the part of people in the position of a local authority or without any arguments except those we have heard here.

Could you not leave it to the local authority to do it if they so desire?

Mr. O'Connell

Is not this portion of the Bill permissive, and the amendment is, therefore, permissive? The Minister has expressed a wish that such groups could be found anywhere as a result of vocational education. This amendment has been put down at the instance of men engaged in the building industry here in Dublin.

Has it got the support of the trades unions?

Mr. O'Connell

It was put down at the instance of trade unions. If Deputy Good is so careful that the interests of the trade unions must be looked after here, I can assure him that it was put down at the instance of the building trades unions, who made representations to us that if they had these facilities they would be in a position to do what the Minister says would be a good thing to be done, not only here but elsewhere.

I am rather afraid to interfere in this dispute, but the idea in the amendment appeals to me very much. It would be a splendid thing if we could give some of our fellow citizens a chance of spending their off hours in very useful as well as interesting pursuits. Deputy Good would see whether they could build better for themselves or for him. I think an experiment might be tried. It is very attractive.

This opens up quite a vista. One sees hundreds of unemployed being trained through our vocational schools and made useful citizens. Any scheme of that kind will have my hearty support.

The idea is not so new as people think. In 1913, a group of unemployed tradesmen in Dublin formed a society on merely nominal shares. They bought material and actually constructed houses. I was a shareholder myself. I was on the committee, and knew the inner working of the scheme. They constructed houses somewhere near Fairview, but then there was an epidemic of wars. We had a few of our own and there was the big war, and these put an end to it.

It was not that put an end to it.

Mr. Hogan

They did not become bankrupt. I was at the winding-up of the scheme, and know what happened. I do not know whether Deputy Lemass was closely acquainted with it or not— I do not remember meeting him at either the general meetings or the committee meetings. Therefore, the idea is not so new. I know perfectly well that there was good and effective work done, and what we heard so much talk about—good construction.

While I have a great deal of sympathy with the amendment, I think it would be very hard to work such a scheme. After all, a body of men going in for the building of houses must have some little credit in the country, so that they would be in a position to obtain credit from local suppliers. The scheme would be all right if we were sure that the persons who got these materials would use them to the best advantage. Would the Minister agree to the local authority guaranteeing the builders providers that they would be responsible for the payment of the material delivered to such groups of men as Deputy O'Connell speaks of?

I am prepared to hear any local authority on the matter.

Of course men could form themselves into a utility society for the purpose of building houses themselves without first asking for the material. It has been done already. I can quite appreciate the point raised by Deputy O'Connell, that there are certain types of people— bricklayers and carpenters—who would get together and build a few houses if this amendment were passed.

Mr. O'Connell

The Minister said that he is prepared to hear any local authority on it. He may hear local authorities on it when this Bill is passed.

I quite realise that I am to hear no local authority on it if this proposal is enshrined in this measure.

Mr. O'Connell

There is nothing revolutionary in it.

It is a bit revolutionary. Following on our general housing policy it is now proposed that local authorities will buy building materials and distribute them as an advance to persons who will go out and build their own houses. The implication is that they have no credit of any kind. What we are providing here is that persons who are going to have their houses built or who are going to build them themselves can be secure that the local authority would advance them at the time the house is built a considerable portion of the cost of the house, and that the local authority may make arrangements to make instalments of the advance to them, but only up to 50 per cent. of the approximate cost of the work that is done. That is a very considerable provision. As I say, the other contemplates a very special class and a very special way of dealing with that class. I wish, particularly in rural parts of the country, that we had circumstances in which a scheme like that were possible of being worked. I would more favourably consider any statement of the circumstances from any local authority that would show that the circumstances were such as to warrant a scheme such as that proposed.

I would not limit it to the rural areas.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Mr. O'Connell

I move amendment 25:

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

Section 34 of the Housing (Ireland) Act, 1919, is hereby amended by the insertion of twelve hundred pounds in substitution for eight hundred pounds as the limit on the market value of houses in respect of which advances may be made.

I am accepting the Minister's £1,000 instead of £1,200, but I am proposing to put it into Part VI, whereas the Minister, and I think Deputy Morrissey, are proposing to put it into Part VII.

In Part VI, before Section 57.

Mr. O'Connell

I understood that putting it in there would apply it only to new houses, and that is what I intended to do. The grants would be made only to people intending to construct houses.

I feel it is better that if a capital advance is to be made available it should be made available for the building of new houses. There is not much gained by an advance of capital to transfer the ownership of the house from, say, Deputy Corish to me, whereas, if there is capital advanced to me to build a new house, something new is being created. It seems it would be of greater advantage if it were used only in that way.

There is a difference between the amendment in Deputy O'Connell's name and the amendment in my name. As the Deputy pointed out, under his amendment it would be confined to a new house. My amendment leaves it open to have the advance made either in respect of existing houses or in respect of new houses. I am rather surprised at Deputy O'Connell saying that there is not much to be gained by giving a man an opportunity of becoming the owner of his own house. That is contrary to what the Deputy has always preached.

The Deputy is a great loss to the Labour Party.

A man who occupies a house, pays rent to a landlord, and desires to become the owner of the house should get every opportunity of doing so, and for that reason I prefer my own amendment. At the same time I am prepared to accept the Minister's amendment because I think it is a fair compromise. The Minister's amendment, like my own, will enable an advance to be made to the person who builds a house or to the person occupying a house and paying rent for it.

Mr. O'Connell

I did not intend to say that it was not very much use. I did say that if it is a question of the use of capital by way of an advance being made by a local authority, I certainly would prefer the advance to be made for the construction of a new house. That would, as it were, add to the wealth of the local authority and it would be preferable to the mere purchase of a house—enabling a man to purchase his house.

The Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Act was originally intended to enable people to purchase the houses in which they were living.

This extension covers people building houses, and also bring in the idea of giving them an instalment on the house to the extent of 50 per cent. of the whole of the work done as they go along, in order to help the building of new houses. You would want to have powers to enable people to purchase their houses, because a builder might build a set of houses, and a person might want to buy a house actually built. Strictly speaking, he might not be buying a new house; he would be taking advantage of this Act to get an advance in respect of a house, and clear off his debt with the builder, and the builder would be enabled to go on building new houses. You would want the elasticity that the amendment in the form in which it appears over my name and also Deputy Morrissey's amendment suggests, even to help new buildings.

Can the local authority advance 90 per cent. of £1,000 with absolute security, or is it proposed to reduce that?

I never would like to interfere with the discretion of a local authority. It is their business.

We argued this before, and I tried to convince the President that the local authority should have the discretion.

The Deputy told me that he was learning something about housing on that occasion. Would the Deputy himself be prepared to advance 90 per cent. out of his own pocket?

It is in the discretion of the local authority and always was.

No, not until 1919.

Well, since this State came into existence. The history of Ireland did not start until two years afterwards.

Amendment 25, by leave, withdrawn.

I beg to move amendment 26 on behalf of Deputy Law:

In sub-section (2), line 36, to delete the words "hereby repealed" and substitute the words "amended by the substitution of the words ‘one guinea' for the words ‘ten shillings.'"

The amendment introduced here is really meant to meet circumstances that Deputy Law wishes to meet. Under the Registration of Title Act, dwellings acquired through the Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Act have to be registered. There is a fee prescribed. Land purchased under the Land Acts also requires to have the title registered under the Registration of Title Act. The cost of running the Registration of Title Office is borne by those who get their work done there. When you take into consideration the price people have to pay for registration of title, people who are forced to register their title because they acquired the land under the Land Acts, and when we compare that amount with what people have to pay when registering title, having acquired title with the assistance of the Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Act, we find that the people who have had their titles registered, having acquired houses under the Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Act, are not paying the actual cost that ought to be paid. The amendment relative to Section 56 (2) sets out the fee of ten shillings. There will, in fact, be substituted for that fee the actual fee that registration of title as a general rule costs as estimated by the office. The fee will be raised. It may not be raised to a guinea, but it will be raised to the amount necessary to pay for the average registration of title. I suggest that Deputy Law's amendment is not necessary.

There is no danger of the local authority fixing too high a fee?

The local authority have no power to fix the fee. I think it is fixed by the Minister for Finance in consultation with the authorities of the Registration Office.

Will there be any limit to the cost of registration? Would you be prepared to fix five or ten guineas?

There is no reason why people who have their titles registered in this particular way should get specially cheap rates as against people who have to register their title, because they get their property under the Land Acts. It is simply a fair and reasonable way of having the cost borne.

What will the cost of registration be in cases of that kind?

I have not an idea.

There is not a single lawyer in the House, strange to say, to whom I could appeal.

We are all lawyers.

We are law-makers, if you like, but not lawyers.

Amendment 26, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment 27 not moved.

On Section 56 I again want to raise the question that when it was decided to amend the Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Act, the recommendations of the Town Tenants Commission were not included. If the President does not place any reliance on the recommendations of the Town Tenants Commission, why were not the recommendations submitted on behalf of the Dublin Corporation given consideration?

The President does not think much of that body either.

At the time that this report was made it was the Commissioners who were in charge of the Dublin Corporation. In the report which they submitted, and which was printed as an appendix, they pointed out that: "Before advances can be made it is necessary to obtain from the city architect a certificate as to the soundness of a house, from the sanitary engineer as to its sanitation, and from the valuer as to the market value of a house. The law agent must then investigate the title, and if this is found satisfactory application is made to the Local Government Department for sanction to make the advance.... At any stage in the proceedings above detailed delays are likely to occur, if the premises on which a loan is sought do not comply with the various requirements of the Acts; and in this regard it has been found that the investigation of title and actual closing of the loan are causes of the longest delay... If certain amendments were made in the Small Dwellings Acts it is more than likely that the public would avail of them more fully. With a view to shortening proceedings local authorities might be vested with full powers and discretion in the making of advances to borrowers, independent of the supervision of the Local Government Department, the transactions under the Act being, of course, subject to audit. Furthermore, it may be possible to dispense with the investigation of title by the Land Registry and substitute therefor certificate of a solicitor for local authority. On such issue Land Registry to issue Land Registry certificate. Alternately dispense with examination of title by local authority and make the loan advanceable on the certificate of the Land Registry only. The title could be submitted by the vendor direct to the Registry without the intervention of the solicitor for the local purchaser or the solicitor for the local authority. This would save costs and the delay of two additional investigations of title."

There were some minor recommendations dealing with the procedure for the making of loans under these Acts, which have been proved to be very tedious in operation, and which the Commission state are mainly responsible for the fact that these Acts have not operated to anything like the extent anticipated when they were framed. We are amending and improving the Small Dwellings Acquisition Act. I am anxious to know why these other amendments suggested on behalf of the Town Tenants Commission and the Dublin Corporation were not accepted, that is, those recommendations about transfers. I have personal knowledge that the costs involved in three investigations of title, when the purchase is to be made in accordance with loans under these Acts and loans from an insurance company, were very heavy. I ask if it is not possible to remove these costs from the intending purchaser. If it is possible they should be removed.

This Section 56 is not meant to be an elaborate amendment of the Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Act. It is simply such an amendment as will enable us to leave moneys free to finance housing in connection with our present housing policy. I cannot say that I investigated all the detailed recommendations put up with a view to seeing to what extent matters may be improved in the procedure. I do not know to what extent these representations refer to any difficulty in getting new houses acquired by persons under the operations of the Act. This provision here is meant to deal with a definite part of our housing policy.

Is it ever intended to give consideration to these recommendations of the Town Tenants Commission?

In so far as they bear on the acquisition of houses, yes. But there is a very wide field in connection with housing that is yet to be reviewed, and I do not pretend to the Deputy that the field covered there has been systematically reviewed.

It seems to me that these Acts, if properly amended, afford an opportunity of dealing with the middle class housing problem without subsidy of any kind. If the Acts are made properly operative you can get houses built, and people installed in them as owners without any subsidy and without imposing any charge on the rates.

We cannot put, as we are likely to be putting, considerable sums of money into housing, particularly when the costs of house building stands as at present, without adequate examination by the local authorities or their proper officers as to the worth and the value of the building. I do not know to what extent examination of title may be shortened and the expenses cut down. The examination of title is a thing that cannot be dispensed with at all.

Surely three examinations are not necessary in connection with the one sale?

I would like to suggest that in the matter of the examination of title there is a good deal of unnecessary delay and unnecessary expense. More than what might be called reasonable amounts are paid, and something like profiteering in law does take place in connection with the transfer of houses from public authorities. I think that is a wide field and one into which the Minister might inquire and see whether the transactions cannot be shortened and cheapened.

I would like to know from the Minister whether the advance of fifty per cent. actually referred to the amount of work done exclusive of the quantity of materials on the ground? For instance, it may be that the valuer may see the walls of the house perhaps a few feet high. The cost of that amount of construction may be approximately £30 or £40, but there may be £60 worth of material on the ground. Would not the Minister take that into consideration when making an advance? Similarly the man building houses may have the doors and window frames prepared in his own shop and not on the site. I think that is a matter which the Minister should consider as to how much the valuer should certify for when he comes to inspect the house. The Minister may take that into consideration—whether it is fifty per cent. of the actual amount of work done or fifty per cent. of the actual amount of work done and the materials on the ground.

The actual amount of work done and how much is to be paid for it is entirely a matter for the local authorities. It is the valuer employed by the local authorities who will make the estimate, and, of course, he will have to be paid by the owner of the house. It is entirely a matter for the local authority to assure themselves as to the value of the work done.

They will have discretion in the matter?

They will have complete discretion, and I hope they will use it in a reasonable way, but I do not think it would be reasonable to take into account the cost of material that has been accumulated on the ground. It is only the amount of work done to the house that would count. It is a question that I am sure the local authorities will deal with in a commonsense way.

Section 56 agreed to.
Section 4 of the Housing Act, 1930, is hereby repealed and in lieu thereof it is hereby enacted that the aggregate amount of grants made are to be made under Section 3 of the Housing Act, 1925 (No. 12 of 1925), as amended by Section 3 of the Housing Act, 1928 (No. 31 of 1928), together with the aggregate amount of the grants made or to be made under Section 3 of the Housing Act, 1929 (No. 12 of 1929), shall not exceed the sum of £1,280,000.
Amendment 27 not moved.
Amendment 28 agreed to:
In page 25 to insert in Part VI before Section 57 the following new section:—
"Sub-section (1) of Section 1 of the Small Dwellings Acquisition Act, 1899, as amended by the Housing (Ireland) Act, 1919, shall be amended by the substitution therein of one thousand pounds for eight hundred pounds as the limit of the market value of houses in respect of which advances may be made."—(Aire Rialtais Aitiúla agus Sláinte Puiblí.)
Section 57, as amended, agreed to.
The First Schedule to the Housing Act, 1929 (No. 12 of 1929) as amended by Section 5 of the Housing Act, 1930 (No. 22 of 1930) shall in its application to houses erected by private persons have effect as if there were inserted therein the following rule, and the said schedule and also Section 2 of the first-mentioned Act shall be construed and have effect accordingly, that is to say:—
4. The erection of a house shall have been begun after 1st day of April, 1929, and shall have been completed on or before the 29th day of February, 1932.

Mr. O'Connell

I move the amendment in Deputy Murphy's name: In line 56 to delete the figures "1932" and to substitute the figures "1933."

I would like the Minister to give this favourable consideration. It proposes to extend the date to February, 1933. It proposes to extend the period by a year. The position, as the Minister knows, is that the Housing Act expired in April of this year. A memorandum was sent out from his Department following the statement he made in this House early in the year, to the effect that if new legislation were introduced and passed in the House during this Autumn Session houses begun since April last would get the subsidy.

Some people had sufficient trust in the Minister to avail of that and to erect a house. These, no doubt, come under the operation of the Act and will qualify for the subsidy. But there are many people who were in very great doubt as to what the position would be, and when they asked if there was a subsidy for a house started, say, in June, July or August, they had to be told that there was no subsidy available. The position is that the Act is extended to February; but there are many people who are anxious to avail of the subsidy and who had not begun their houses, and it would be impossible for them to have their houses completed by next February. If they had begun to build any time from 1st April last they had only the promise of the Minister that if the Government were in power and got a Bill through the houses they had started would get a subsidy. Many of them were not prepared to take that risk and begin the houses unless they were sure that they would get the subsidy. They did not like to speculate. I feel that it would be only fair to extend the period for the completion of a house beyond February in order to give a number of people who are anxious to avail of the subsidy an opportunity to get it.

Section 57 makes available an additional £30,000 which is the sum estimated to be required to make good the promise that we made to pay to private persons building houses between 1st April last and 29th February next a £45 grant. Putting in "1933" here would have no effect, because the £30,000 will be used up on the people building houses within the terms of the promise made.

Mr. O'Connell

Who are actually building houses?

As long as the houses are completed by the 29th February next.

Mr. O'Connell

Has the Minister any knowledge of the number of houses in course of construction on the strength of the promise made?

I have knowledge of the promise made, and the intention is simply to keep that promise.

Mr. O'Connell

How can the Minister estimate the amount which may be necessary unless he has some knowledge of the number under construction?

I take it we have a general idea.

Mr. O'Connell

Will the Minister consider extending the period in any case, even if not for a year? I suggest that the question of extending it to June should be considered.

We only intended to provide for those who were then building. If this Bill could have been introduced at the beginning of the year, the £45 grant would have come to an end perhaps earlier than it is coming now. The alternative arrangement of providing £20, plus £20 from the local authority, would come into operation, so that really the persons who are getting the £45 grant under the promise are getting it by way of a windfall, because this legislation was not ready at an earlier date. The amount of money at our disposal is definitely limited, and it was not possible to find more than £30,000 to deal with the promise given. The putting in of these figures here would mean nothing without the provision of additional money, and there is no intention to provide additional money for this superior class of houses.

If the amendment were carried, does it mean that people who built houses and completed them before the 28th February, 1933, that is, a year after the date in the Bill, would have the right to a subsidy?

It all depends on whether the Act in question was one in which the word "may" would have to be read as "shall".

The word was "may".

Has the Minister considered how the Housing Acts have worked towards rural districts? No Housing Act ever provided for a grant for repairs to rural houses, and they lend themselves particularly to repairing. Now you are cutting them out, when what has been omitted from other Acts might be extended to them here.

This is an amendment extending the date.

The Deputy is probably referring to the next amendment which, I imagine, is out of order.

Mr. O'Connell

The Minister has not given any assurance that he is providing £30,000, for certain, for the carrying out of his promise.

And no more?

If money can be saved inside the promise it will be saved.

Mr. O'Connell

The Minister states that he does not know how many houses are constructed or are likely to be constructed. He does not know but that the £30,000 will be too much to provide, even by extending the period.

I do not need to know exactly how many houses are being constructed. All I need to know is that a promise is made, and that £30,000 will cover that promise. It is only our intention to deal with the promise, and if money can be saved on that £30,000 it will be very badly wanted for other purposes.

Mr. Hogan

But if £30,000 does not cover the number of houses?

Then I shall have to provide more money, because I mean to keep the promise, but I am reasonably sure that £30,000 will cover it.

The amendment is in order then?

It all depends on the word "may."

I came to the conclusion that the Minister had a discretion, and I accepted the amendment for that reason. It appeared to me that the amendment merely extended the period during which the £30,000 could be spent, and that it would be at the discretion of the Minister and on that basis I accepted the amendment.

Amendment put and declared lost.
Section put and agreed to.
(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Housing Acts, 1925 to 1930, as amended by this Act, the Minister may under Section 3 of the Housing Act, 1929 (No. 12 of 1929), as modified by this section, continue to make grants to private persons erecting houses to which that Act as modified by this section applies.
(2) For the purposes of this section the aggregate amount of the grants made or to be made under the Housing Acts, 1925 to 1930, as amended by this Act, shall be increased by the sum of twenty-five thousand pounds.
(3) The Housing Act, 1929 (No. 12 of 1929) shall for the purposes of this section, have effect subject to the following modifications, that is to say:—
(a) Paragraph (a) of sub-section (1) of Section 3 of the said Act shall have effect as if there were substituted therein "£20" for "£45";
(b) Paragraphs (b), (c) and (d) of sub-section (1) and sub-section (3) of Section 5 and sub-sections (1) and (2) of Section 7 of the said Act shall not apply;
(c) No grant shall be made by the Minister under the said Act unless the local authority within whose functional area the house is erected make a grant in respect of the house of an amount equivalent to that made by the Minister;
(d) For rules 2 and 4 of the First Schedule to the said Act there shall be substituted the following rules:—
2. The floor area of a house shall not be less than 500 square feet and not more than
(a) 750 square feet if such house is erected in a county borough, borough, urban district or town; or
(b) 1,250 square feet if such house is erected elsewhere.
4. The erection of a house shall have been begun on or after the 1st day of March, 1932, and shall have been completed before the expiration of this section.
(4) A local authority having power to levy rates shall in every of the seven local financial years after the valuation for rating purposes of a house in respect of which a grant has been made to a person by the Minister under this section remit two-thirds of the rates leviable in respect of that house in that year by the local authority.
(5) Sub-section (4) of this section shall not apply to any house to which Section 13 of the Housing (Gaeltacht) Act, 1929 (No. 41 of 1929) applies.
(6) This section shall continue in force until the 31st day of December, 1933, and shall then expire.

I move amendment 29:

In sub-section (1), line 60, before the words "private persons," to insert the words "public utility societies or".

Section 14 of the Housing Act of 1919, to which the Minister has referred, is the foundation of our present housing legislation. You will find that in that Act—and, I think I am right in saying, ever since—provision has been made by way of loan and by way of grants to public utility societies for the erection of houses.

Does not sub-section (e) of Section 60 deal with that?

We are on a different point. We are now on the question of grants. Not only was that provision made both by way of grant and by way of loan, but distinct preference was given in the regulations under the Act of 1919 and, I think, ever since to public utility societies, and that, I venture to suggest, is not done without good reason.

I do not like to interrupt the Deputy, but, as Deputy Corish has pointed out, paragraph (e), sub-section (1), Section 60, provides that "in the case of houses erected by a public utility society, the erection of which is begun after the passing of this Act, 15 per cent. of the annual loan charges in respect of such houses covers a period not exceeding twenty years."

The present worth of the annual grant is £45; and if the Deputy will refer to sub-section (c) he will see it is proposed to give public utility societies which are public utility societies within the meaning of the 1919 Act, a grant payable as an annual contribution towards the loan charges equal to the annual grant we are giving a local authority building houses for the working classes, when they are building houses unrelated to clearance schemes. In that section we do provide financial assistance for public utility societies. They can get a loan up to 75 per cent. of the value of the house under the 1919 Act.

I dare say that meets it. I do not know whether the Minister contemplates a lump sum.

It will be an annual grant.

It is not a matter with which I am perfectly familiar, but it was suggested to me that there is considerable advantage in enabling public utility societies to get a substantial grant, because they were thus enabled by means of that to cover their expenses and in certain cases to sell their houses, not to make a profit, but to keep themselves clear and to continue building other houses practically on the same capital. If the Minister tells me that that case is met by the sub-section to which he calls attention I am quite satisfied.

There is this point. The Deputy mentioned the word "sell." If public utility societies, building houses and getting this grant, sell their houses and part with them by sale it is intended that the annual grant towards the house shall cease, because the intention is to develop and encourage public utility societies in drawing capital from the State and getting this grant under the Acquisition of Small Dwellings Act in order to build houses for rental rather than to sell.

Rather than for sale?

I think there is a good deal in what Deputy Law said, that this will interfere with the work of the public utility societies. They have been able to carry on their operations so far and pay their way by means of the initial subsidy for the most part. Even if there is a prospect of ultimately getting some amount in payment of debts that have occurred on account of that, that will only apply in certain cases, but in many other cases they will not be able to carry out their operations and set the houses at a satisfactory rent.

It appears to me that Deputy Thrift has struck the real defect here. Public utility societies, generally speaking, have no great credit. They have a certain limited amount of credit, and the subsidy was of very great advantage to them in carrying on their work, and when finished selling their houses, then going ahead with the aid of another subsidy, and building another house or series of houses. While the new scheme will eventually mean, so far as the Government is concerned, the same amount actual of capital outlay spread over a number of years, it would not be of the same practical value to the utility societies. I am informed by those who have practical knowledge of the working of those societies that it will mean that their work will be greatly hampered, and that so far as the smaller societies are concerned probably their work will have to cease. They would not be able at all to meet their liabilities with the same prospect of building and selling houses as they have been able to do owing to the grants previously made under the housing schemes. I think in regard to public utility societies, if the Minister could continue the grants made under the last Act, the good work done by those public utility societies so far in providing houses for the lower middle classes, and which has relieved the pressure, would be able to continue. Otherwise there would be a considerable falling off of the work.

Could the Minister say what advantage the State will derive by preventing utility societies disposing of their houses?

I am not preventing utility societies disposing of these houses, but we are anxious that, outside local authorities, there would be societies that would build houses for persons who require houses slightly better than those that local authorities build, and who would be able to take these houses at rents they can be let at. I think a very considerable portion of our population want such houses at present, and that it is very difficult for them to acquire their houses by buying them. If there are people who want to acquire their houses by buying them, then they ought to be able to do it through some other channel than by preventing the development of public utility societies. That would be what we want, that is, to provide houses somewhat above the local authority class of houses for renting. Private persons anxious to buy their houses should take advantage, as they can, of the facilities given here for getting grants and forgetting credit under the Small Dwellings Acquisition Act, they ought to be able to secure them in some other way. They might even be able to cooperate with the public utility societies in finding contractors who would build their houses, or as part even of a public utility scheme. We do not want that development to spoil the development we very urgently wish for from the development of public utility societies. If there are people who can buy houses from a public utility society there is nothing to prevent such a society selling these houses at a cost that to them is reasonable, but then they lose the annual grant.

I think the section makes the work of public utility societies very ineffective. I am one of those who visualises the time when the provision of houses for the working classes will be entrusted wholly to public utility societies, because the members of these societies have an opportunity of mixing with the working classes. The fact that these societies build houses and sell them is an incentive to people to become members of these societies. It has been stated over and over again, in this House and outside, that the mere fact of a man being a working man means that he has no money. Never was there a greater fallacy. From my experience of the working of Dundalk Public Utility Society, working men have put down sums ranging from £60 to £100. Some men have put down deposits of £300, who, before the creation of this public utility society would be classified as poor working men. If you exempt public utility societies on the plea that they build houses to sell, I think you will destroy the good work that has been accomplished by these societies. I hope the Minister will bear that in mind on the Report Stage. There are working men in this country anxious to become the owners of their houses. Ownership creates civic responsibility. There is no better way of making a good citizen than by making a man the owner of his own house. That class of person would not touch public utility societies were it not for the fact that he was going to become the owner of his house after a certain period. We were able to tap a source of wealth that very many people thought could not be tapped before the introduction of public utility societies. As the Minister is aware, we carried out a building scheme in Dundalk at a cost of £20,000. The houses are inhabited by men working on the railway. We paid the last penny to the builder a fortnight ago, there being a little profit left after clearing all expenses. In the near future it is the intention to build more houses in Dundalk. No matter what argument is put up about the State taking over the control of housing accommodation for the working classes, I maintain that, without co-operation and self-help, it will be impossible to solve the housing problem. You must have the co-operation and the help of the community, and the best means of securing such co-operation is through the instrumentality of public utility societies. If you exempt them from the benefits of the grant of £20, on the plea that they only build houses for sale, it will be difficult for the Dundalk Public Utility Society to carry on. Although the houses are actually sold, the period of redemption is very long, I believe, from twenty to twenty-five years. Another advantage in selling houses under the Small Dwellings Acquisition Act is that the expense on the societies is lowered, because the tenants who purchased simply paid their rents weekly, monthly, or half-yearly, to the clerk of the urban council, who takes over the administration of the scheme until the debt is cleared off. There are many disadvantages in excluding public utility societies from the benefits of the grant, and I hope that on the Report Stage the Minister will consider the point.

Deputy Coburn contemplates a public utility society as the kind of society that would help private individuals handling the getting of their own houses.

Quite so.

Is there any reason at all why a public utility society, limited in its profits, registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act, while dealing with its right hand with the erection of houses suitable for the better paid working classes, and facilitated in the doing of that to the extent of having 75 per cent. of the capital cost of the houses advanced from the State, and of having an annual grant towards paying off the loan charges, should not also, with the left hand, act as guide, philosopher and friend to persons in the area who wish to build their own houses? Is there any reason why they should not help them with whatever amount of control they wish to set up, as a kind of information bureau, and in getting them advances from the local authorities under the Small Dwellings Acquisition Act? I do not think that would in any way conflict with the other work of the public utility society itself. At any rate, our policy is to get the public utility society to turn its mind in the direction I speak of. I do not think it would be at all prejudiced by doing that, and by assisting in every way those who wish to provide their own houses to take advantage of the State loans and the State grants that we provide. Instead of having not very solid or responsible public utility societies we would have solidly organised societies acting as a guide to private persons.

If I correctly caught the drift of the Minister's words, it was this: that the policy of his Department is to confine public utility societies to building houses for letting purposes.

I do not think that is right in view of the extreme housing shortage. I think every agency which would enable the people to get houses, particularly houses of their own, should be encouraged, and that a public utility society which builds houses to sell should be encouraged, at any rate, to some extent. I might take the Minister's point of view, to the extent of saying that, possibly, a greater encouragement should be given to a large public utility society which would deal with a large area and build houses to meet the needs of the people who have to live in that area. They might possibly be encouraged to a greater extent. Nevertheless, the Minister should not set himself out to cut off suddenly such State assistance as has been given to a class of public utility societies, particularly those which, up to the present, were building houses to sell. There is a good deal to be said for the public utility society which builds houses to sell. If it is a small body its administrative costs must be comparatively small. The people with whom it deals must be thoroughly well-known to those managing the society. The risk of bad debt and everything else is decreased by the fact that it will only build houses which it thinks it can sell immediately. In that way I think its work is much more economical, under present circumstances, than that of a larger society. I do not think the sort of assistance which the Minister thinks the larger society would be able to give under this Bill would be of any value of people who wish to have their own houses built, and who are in a position to buy them, either by availing of the facilities granted in the Act or out of their own capital immediately.

The public utility society will have its own architect and will have a number of builders on its list. They will be able to cut down all the preliminary costs of building to a minimum. They will be able to do that much more efficiently and effectively if they are building houses, in the first instance for themselves, and afterwards transferring them to their clients. If it is the case that the public utility society can render any of the services, which the Minister outlined, to the people in a certain area, surely the best way to encourage it to do that is to provide it with that special assistance which, up to the present, it has enjoyed to enable it to build houses, because it will be able to build a large number of houses, reduce all the ancillary costs—architect's fees and other things that arise in these matters—and pass the full benefit of that reduction on to the people who are going to buy the houses. The Minister, up to the present, has not been able to justify his policy of restricting the public utility societies to the building of houses for letting only. I think a good case can be made, and has been made, for the public utility society which builds houses to sell them. The need exists for these houses and, if I had my way, instead of cutting the grant, I would be inclined to consider the increase of it by 25 or 50 per cent.

I think this matter requires a good deal more consideration than it has had. It seems to me that this scheme is ethically unsound. What we all aim at is to get the class of persons whom we are thinking of to be as saving and as economical as possible in order that these persons may be able to acquire their own dwellings as soon as possible. This scheme actually tends to discourage that. The more these people can set aside to get rid of their loan charges, the less they will be able to get towards paying the loan charges. I submit that that goes quite the wrong way. We ought to try to get the loan charges paid off by these people as quickly as possible instead of discouraging them.

I agree that the Minister's chief concern is to provide houses for the working classes, but I might remind the Minister that when a public utility society builds 40 or 50 houses this means that the same number of houses are made available for others. Many of the people who got houses erected with the assistance of the public utility societies in my locality left houses that they formerly occupied and made these houses available for the working classes in the same locality. I know myself about ten people who are occupying public utility society houses and who previously occupied houses built by the urban council. These houses belonging to the urban council will now be available for other persons. The public utility societies are fulfilling two functions—they are providing houses for people who want to become owners of their houses and they are making available houses for people by way of letting.

Does the Deputy see anything in the financing of public utility societies under Section 51 for the purpose of building houses to let to prevent these societies acting as agents for private persons desiring technical advice in getting their own houses built?

I quite agree, but the incentive to ownership after a certain period is not there.

If the incentive to ownership is at the back of this, cannot they go to the public utility society and get advice from them as to getting their own private houses built as part of the society's general work?

I take it that the primary object of this Bill is to house the working classes. For the past ten minutes we appear to have been talking of other people. I would have a distinct objection to the public utility society getting a grant in addition to the grant of 15 per cent.——

As an alternative, not as an addition.

Suppose we accept that, does anybody seriously suggest that houses built for sale by a public utility society will fall into the possession of the working classes? That may happen in two or three cases, but only in that number. The great majority of the houses will fall into the hands of people for whom they were never intended. I would be sorry to think that the Minister was bringing in a Bill to cater for people of that kind. If any grants are given, I hope they will be given to the local authorities to provide houses for the working classes.

What about the man with an industrious family who started humbly in life but, because of his thrift, accumulated a little money? Is he not to be considered?

He can get the grant.

I would remind the Minister that the fact that they get the type of tenant that I have referred to means that the utility societies are provided with a very large amount of their assets at the initiation of the building scheme. In the scheme to which I referred, deposits of £100 were put down. The lowest deposit was £50. These deposits were made by working class people who had been assisted by thrifty members of their families.

If we suppose for a moment that an alteration in the financial arrangement has been made, the strongest case that Deputy Coburn can put is that a person with £200 or £300 cannot get the facilities which he was formerly in a position to get from the public utility societies. So far as getting a house with a reduction of 15 per cent. in the annual loan charges for a period not exceeding 20 years is concerned he is in the same position as a person without money. In essence, what it comes to is this: That instead of entering into possession of a house without any charge on it at once, and getting the advantage of whatever sum would be made available in bulk form instead of in annual form as here, he is at no disadvantage. He simply postpones the purchase of the house for 20 years. He still has his £200 or £300, and he can place that money, I am sure, with the public utility society at a price probably not less than that at which they would get an advance from some public fund. Alternatively, if he were to put it into national savings certificates, he would get probably as high interest as would otherwise be available. The only disadvantage there to him is that he cannot lock it in his safe, or bank the title deeds of the premises for which he has a sufficient sum of money to put down. We are leaving him with that money now. He is still in possession of it, and he enters into possession of the same advantages as the person who has not got that money, or, alternatively, if the arrangement with the public utility society were that prior allocation of the houses would be to a person who could put down the money, then he would be in as strong a position as he was when he was put into a position to buy the house. I do not think there is a real material disadvantage to him except in the one case: that he does not get into immediate possession of the house with no charges in respect to the costs of the loans provided. He is simply liable for rates and income tax, if he is so liable. But the advantages that he can get in connection with the purchase for twenty years are exactly the equivalent to the position that he was in last year when he could get £45 of a Government grant towards the house.

The President has come back to the point that I made at the start. The advantage to the public utility society has occurred in this way. It has built houses and has used all its capital in doing so. It has let those houses at a rent. After a time the tenant has saved enough to get that liability off his hands. The capital has come back to the public utility society, and with it it has built another set of houses. That will not occur for twenty years under this. Therefore, your increase in the number of houses will be curtailed to that extent.

I am not really very much interested in what happens to the individual who is anxious to build his house, what really interests me is whether this change in the provisions that we have hitherto made for public utility societies is going to injure the work of public utility societies. That is the only real point. Having listened carefully and quietly to everything that has been said, I confess that I am not yet convinced that the work of the public utility societies as we have known it in the past—I am speaking now of public utility societies that I know have built houses for people of the working classes—will suffer. I do not want to prolong the argument if the Minister will say that he will give further consideration to the matter before the Report Stage is taken. I ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

I would like to say that I had the idea that these people were asking for a grant along with the payment.

They are asking for a grant which is not as valuable as what we are providing for here.

From the point of view of the local authorities I would prefer the grant.

In the case of public utility societies which build houses to sell them, will they get this grant and the 15 per cent. even——

Not if they sell.

I understood the President to argue that the public utility societies would get the 15 per cent., even though they have sold the houses.

I did not say that.

Then I misunderstood what the President said. That is where I say the whole scheme is wrong, that public utility societies building houses now and selling them will get no advantage.

They get the 15 per cent. all the time. The only point in dispute is that normally up to this a person could purchase one of these houses from the public utility society. Now that purchase is delayed for a period of twenty years. But it is purchased. The man has his money and he can lend it to the public utility society if he likes. They can borrow 75 per cent. of their money from the Board of Works. They will want more and this money will be available.

Why should a person be compelled to defer the purchase for twenty years? If a man, by saving and in other ways, is able to purchase why should he not be permitted to do so in five years. From what the President has said I take it that the purpose of the section is to ensure that a person would have to live in a house over twenty years before he can become the owner of it. I do not see that any advantage either to the State or to the community is to be gained from that.

What is the disadvantage?

I am not going to be cross-examined by the President. I did not interrupt him, and if he would endeavour to follow my good example in this debate we would get on better. I do not see that the two things mutually exclude each other. Apparently the Minister for Local Government thinks that they do, and that it would be inconsistent with the general purpose of the Bill to make an immediate grant to a public utility society for the purpose of enabling it to build houses to sell. I suggest that the Minister should leave an option to the public utility society to take either of these two things, whichever in its opinion will best enable it to meet the immediate needs with which it is familiar. If a public utility society wants to build houses to sell them, surely it ought to be facilitated to that extent.

There is another point. The President, I think, had in mind the individual who makes up his mind and says "I am going to buy a house, I am going to build a house," and he says "we will facilitate him." There is the other class of individual who, possibly, does not make up his mind either to buy or to build a house until he sees houses being built somewhere. He goes out along suburban roads and sees houses springing up in some particularly nice situation. These houses are being built by a public utility society. The surroundings please him and he makes up his mind to make his home there. If he can possible manage to acquire one of these houses on reasonable terms he will buy it. That is the sort of person for whom the public utility society quite legitimately caters. They would cater for that class of person provided there were some initial encouragement from the State in the form of this lump sum of a grant down. That kind of public utility society is completely ignored by the Bill in its present form. I think the House should consider the question of providing the alternative facility for the public utility society, and of giving it a grant which will enable it to build houses and sell them at the quickest possible rate. In that way we would be helping materially to reduce the housing shortage.

The alternative is there.

Yes, but only to a limited extent.

If the society acts as agent for a private person?

No. Let it act not merely as the agent, but as the original undertaker. Let the public utility society be the original projector of the scheme. Consider this position. The public utility society says: We have a plot of ground here and we will build houses on it. We have not the necessary capital, we go to the Local Government Department to get the grant. Armed with that and with some other funds we go and we build houses without having definite purchasers in view, but, knowing that there is a widespread shortage of houses, we feel that we are going to find purchasers inevitably for these houses. That is the class of enterprise that the Minister is deliberately discouraging in the Bill. I think it ought to be encouraged. A group of men having a certain amount of money will get together. They are in touch with builders and architects. They know that there are certain plots of ground available for building purposes. They say: We will form ourselves into a public utility society and limit ourselves as to profits. We are going to put up houses in this particular locality. We have not any particular persons in mind as purchasers, but we know that once the houses are built people will come along and buy them. That is the particular type of enterprise that ought to be encouraged and, in my view, it is the quickest way in which the housing problem is going to find its solution. For that reason I think the Minister ought to meet the House in regard to this grant.

All through this part of the Bill, what I am trying to do is to force the building of houses down from the £1,000 figure nearer to the figure at which the local authority is building. I am trying to force the provision of housing for the type of people for whom the local authority is providing houses. There are any amount of working class people looking for a better type of house than the local authority can give, a better type than that on which we intend the local authority to concentrate. We want to force the provision of houses of this particular kind for letting at a rent. We look to public utility societies to do something like that. If we do not get the public utility societies forced somewhat into a position like that, then we are leaving a section of the people who very badly need houses waiting on the people who are in a position to take the responsibility of owning their houses. We do nothing here to prevent public utility societies acting as agents for private persons and getting, as for these private persons, the grants which these private persons would ordinarily get. That is the policy there. I think no effort on our part should be left untried at the earliest possible moment to force the provision of houses of the type of which I speak and for the persons of whom I speak.

It seems to me that the Minister is wrong there. I agree with the Minister that we should try to secure the provision of the greatest possible number of houses for the working class who must live, because of economic circumstances, in small dwellings. I believe that we should use every incentive we can to do that at the earliest possible moment. At the same time there is the other problem which the Minister himself indicated, the problem of the worker who can afford a better house, who wants a better house because of his family and who wants to own that house. If the Minister wants to encourage the provision of houses for renting, he can do that by making the terms more favourable for the public utility society which will rent houses, but that is not a reason for cutting off altogether any State aid or encouragement from the public utility society which is going to build a group of houses to let them to certain unnamed individuals. The Minister will only think of a public utility society acting as agent for some particular individual who has approached it.

There is the other mass of people, the people who have not yet come forward to the public utility society, the people who have in mind the possibility of owning their houses, who have not yet taken a definite decision in that regard but would be stimulated into taking that decision if they saw some society providing houses for them. That is the class of public utility society for which I am speaking. I think the Minister's point could be met by giving that society somewhat less favourable terms than the public utility society which will build houses to let. My opinion is that anybody who will build houses for people in that social grade which we commonly describe as working class—it may be the unskilled labourer, the clerical worker or others, people like that of limited means—should be encouraged. After that, if the Minister wants to have his way, let him give greater encouragement to the people who build houses to let, but let him not cut off all State aid from the society which builds houses even for the purpose of selling them.

May I appeal to the Minister to look into the matter between now and next stage? He will freeze up the capital of the utility society. The utility societies are like a number of other bodies. They are out to build houses and make a little money at the same time. If they cannot sell houses——

At the public expense.

Anybody who is going to do work without getting payment for it is a fool.

Or a politician.

The public have to pay.

Leave out the politician for the moment. If the policy which the Minister is aiming at is adopted it is going to freeze up the capital of the utility societies and prevent them doing the work they were formed to do, because if the capital is frozen up in the houses it is not liquid and they cannot make use of it. I appeal to the Minister to look into the matter between now and the next Stage.

Are the operations of the public utility societies dependent on the charitable public? I think it is the experience of Deputies that the people who go into these houses as tenants are not working people at all. That is true of every town in Ireland. I do not know how true it is of Dublin. On the other hand there is something to be said for not locking up capital. Another point to be considered is, will the rental which these houses command at present be the rental which they will command in 20 years' time? I have no objection to the Minister considering this matter, but the fact is that working class people who have no means are not in a position to go into these houses at all.

There is another aspect of the position of public utility societies to which I would like to call the Minister's attention. That is the position of public utility societies who are operating in rural areas. The Minister, of course, is aware that the number of these societies is quite small. They are not very numerous and I think it will be admitted that where these societies exist they have been doing good work under the Housing Acts, 1925 to 1930. If grants are not made available for such societies they will for all practical purposes have to cease operations in rural areas. The biggest difficulty that exists in rural areas for small farmers, especially uneconomic holders, is that they cannot get credit for building materials. They have been organised into building societies and public utility societies and the society has been able to secure credit with traders and to get building materials advanced to these uneconomic holders to build their houses. If this amendment is not accepted by the Minister it means that these people will be thrown back entirely on their own means and, as well as that, that with the amount of money that will be at their disposal, it will be utterly impossible for small farmers to take advantage of the terms of the Bill.

I do not admit that the public utility societies formed in country districts do serve any more useful purpose than getting for persons who were building their houses, the additional grant that was available simply because they called themselves a group or a public utility society. The public utility society that is referred to here is the public utility society registered under the Friendly Societies Act, not the type of public utility society that was provided for in the 1924 Act. Persons in rural districts now will have the benefit of the Small Dwellings Acquisition Act as well as of the grants provided, so that the question of capital does not arise in the way that it might have arisen in other days, when some of the rural public utility societies might have helped to some extent. The particular type of which Deputy Ward speaks will not exist in the new circumstances.

Does not the Minister realise that the type of builder to whom I refer in this amendment cannot avail of any of the loans and that the loans are no earthly use to the small farmers, the uneconomic farmers, who are up to their ears in debt, whose credit is completely exhausted, and who could be organised into a public utility society? The society could pledge its credit to the trader to supply the building material. These people are in occupation of insanitary houses unfit for human habitation. I have experience of one of those societies and we have certainly done good work. We have built 70 houses in the last 1½ years in the rural parts of the Co. Monaghan.

As I say, I really think the question requires more consideration, and I ask the Minister to suspend the matter until we have an opportunity of giving it a further examination in the interval. I would like to make further inquiries to see if I am not justified in saying that if this goes through it will after a short period completely bring to an end the operations of most of the public utility societies. I am sure the Minister would not like that. He wants them to build the houses for renting purposes. I quite agree with him, but if they apply all the money that they get to building such houses it will go a short distance. Then their work will stop because their capital will end. He should give us a further opportunity to make further enquiries to make our case and let him make his. If he puts this to a division now and if it is lost we cannot bring it up again.

It will be necessary to take the final stages tomorrow. I think there is an understanding on that and that the Bill is to be sent to the Seanad by Wednesday next in order that it may be law for Christmas. There is nothing to prevent a public utility society, as an agent for private persons, making use of the particular type of grant persons get here. We are not solving the housing problem except we do something to get public utility societies and builders to move down in the scale of the type of houses they are building, and in so far as public money for capital and public assistance in the matter of either grants or the equivalent of grants are concerned, the problem is such that we are intent on forcing their application to the building industry down to that particular plane.

Amendment put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 51; Níl, 59.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Alton, Ernest Henry.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Buckley, Daniel.
  • Carney, Frank.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Cassidy, Archie J.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Colbert, James.
  • Cooney, Eamon.
  • Corkery, Dan.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Craig, Sir James.
  • Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Davin, William.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Doyle, Edward.
  • Everett, James.
  • Fahy, Frank.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Good, John.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Hayes, Sean.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Houlihan, Patrick.
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Kent, William R.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Murphy, Joseph Xavier.
  • Myles. James Sproule.
  • O'Connell, Thomas J.
  • O'Hanlon, John F.
  • O'Kelly, Seán T.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Sexton, Martin.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Thrift. William Edward.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C.


  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Blythe, Ernest.
  • Bourke, Séamus A.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Brodrick, Seán.
  • Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
  • Conlan, Martin.
  • Connolly, Michael P.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Crowley, James.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • Dolan, James N.
  • Doyle, Peadar Seán.
  • Dwyer, James.
  • Esmonde, Osmond Thos. Grattan.
  • Finlay, Thomas A.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • Mongan, Joseph W.
  • Morrissey, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, James E.
  • Nally, Martin Michael.
  • Nolan, John Thomas.
  • O'Connell, Richard.
  • O'Connor, Bartholomew.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, The.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Gorey, Denis J.
  • Hassett, John J.
  • Heffernan, Michael R.
  • Hennessy, Michael Joseph.
  • Hennessy, Thomas.
  • Hennigan, John.
  • Henry, Mark.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
  • Jordan, Michael.
  • Kelly, Patrick Michael.
  • Keogh, Myles.
  • Leonard, Patrick.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
  • McDonogh, Martin.
  • MacEoin, Seán.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • O'Reilly, John J.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Reynolds, Patrick.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).
  • Tierney, Michael.
  • White, John.
  • White, Vincent Joseph.
  • Wolfe, George.
  • Wolfe, Jasper Travers.
Tellers: Tá: Deputies Boland and Allen; Níl: Deputies P. S. Doyle and Dolan.
Amendment declared lost.
The following amendment stood in the name of Deputy S.T. O'Kelly:—
29a. Before sub-section (2) to insert three new sub-sections as follows:—
"(2) Where, in the opinion of the Minister, a dwelling-house is wholly unsuitable for the proper and healthy accommodation of the occupier thereof and his family the Minister may, subject to the provisions of this Act and regulations made by the Minister thereunder, make to the occupier of such dwelling-house, or to a public utility society, a grant (in this Act referred to as a building grant) towards the erection on the site of such dwelling-house or on another site a new dwelling-house in substitution for such first mentioned dwelling-house.
(3) Where, in the opinion of the Minister, a dwelling-house is on account of its small size or its lack of sanitary accommodation, ventilation, light or other amenity or for any other reason unsuitable in its existing condition for the proper and healthy accommodation of the occupier thereof and his family and the Minister is satisfied that the condition of the dwelling-house is such that the expense of improvement can be economically incurred the Minister may subject to the provisions of this Act and regulations made by the Minister thereunder make to the occupier of such dwelling-house, or to a public utility society, a grant (in this Act referred to as an improving grant) towards the improvement or extension of such dwelling-house.
(4) The amount of an individual grant made under this section shall not exceed—
(a) in the case of a building grant the sum of eighty pounds, or
(b) in the case of an improving grant the sum of forty pounds."

On a point of order, this section proposes to amend Section 3 of the Housing Act of 1929. The Housing Act of 1929 provided for the making of grants to private persons building new houses. The amendment that is before us now, I suggest, is entirely outside the scope of the 1929 Act, which, as I say, was entirely restricted to giving grants to private persons building new houses. In sub-section (2) it is proposed to secure that grants will be given for the building of houses to replace insanitary houses, where a dwelling is wholly unsuited for the proper and healthy accommodation of the occupier. Sub-section (3) proposes to make grants for the improvement of existing houses. I submit that it is a complete addition of new things to the Housing Act of 1929, and that it is not proper to insert it in a Bill which, while amending the Act of 1929, amends it in a specific thing, but does not extend the scope of the Act of 1929 beyond making grants to private persons for building new houses. I submit that to introduce the idea of insanitary houses means that you introduce a condition which means that a grant given would not provide an additional house, but would provide replacement, and to attempt to extend the 1929 Act to include the improvement of existing housing is a thing that should not be done by an amendment to an amending Act. I submit that both these things are entirely outside this amending Bill, in so far as Section 59 is really an amending Bill to the Housing Act of 1929 alone.

This Bill will amend the Housing Act of 1929. It amends other Acts as well. Among other things, it purports to deal with unhealthy dwelling houses, unhealthy areas, and it aims at improving those places. It also deals with individual houses, unhealthy houses, and therefore I believe this amendment, (29a), comes within the scope of the Bill. At any rate, it has not been ruled out of order and I move it.

The Deputy cannot move until the point raised has been decided.

The amendment to this Bill alters the construction very vitally of certain Acts. This particular amendment deals with what are called insanitary houses. The Acts which it seeks to amend are from 1925 to 1929, and they had no reference whatever to insanitary houses. They were concerned with the provision of new houses only. It alters the method of declaration of an insanitary house and places upon the Minister certain obligations. I presume the Minister is not intended to go around the country whenever there is a notice given of an unhealthy or insanitary house. It does not even set out, in respect of a house unsuitable for a dwelling, the characteristics which distinguish that particular phase.

The President is now rather on the merits of the amendment?

No, but I am pointing out what the amendment really means. That particular phase of it is the business of the local authority. The Minister has no sanitary or sub-sanitary officers to give him that information, and there is no money provided for that in the Bill.

The point now being made is that the amendment is outside the scope of the Bill?

If it were found that the amendment was in the wrong place, that would not be sufficient to rule it completely out of order. We would have to take some steps to see that it was put in the right place. As regards the question of the scope of the Bill, Section 59 says:—"Notwithstanding anything contained in the Housing Acts, 1925 to 1930"— those words could not be wider—"as amended by this Act, the Minister may, under Section 3 of the Housing Act of 1929 (No. 12 of 1929), as modified by this section ..." That is, as modified by this section when it will have passed through both Houses of the Oireachtas. For that reason the amendment seems to me to be relevant, particularly in view of the general nature of the Bill which, in another place, deals with the repair or the demolition of insanitary houses. Purely on the question of order, it seems to me that the amendment, without any regard for its merits or demerits, is relevant. As regards the question raised by the President, that no money is provided under this amendment to enable the Minister to carry out the duties that the amendment proposes to impose upon him, that is another matter and it is not being put to me, I take it.

Oh, yes; I am putting it with all the force I possibly can.

Any relation there is to unhealthy areas is simply providing an amendment to the Act of 1890, and is entirely confined to local authorities. The Housing Acts, in so far as private persons are concerned, have never concerned themselves with the question of substitution of insanitary dwellings, and it is on the insanitary question a complete and new extension of the application of the law with regard to houses in respect of private persons.

It seems to me that these are arguments that could well be used against the amendment. This Bill is extremely wide. It is called a Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill. It amends various Housing Acts in a great variety of ways, and any attempt to carry that amendment further, as long as it can be connected in some way with what is in the Bill, is in order. With regard to the question of the money, Deputy O'Kelly has not spoken on that particular matter. It could be argued that the Minister's present officers would look after that particular aspect, but the Chair is not in a position to say whether they could or could not do so.

I am glad the Chair has ruled that this amendment is in order. I am rather at a loss to understand why there was such great anxiety on the part of the President and the Minister to have the amendment ruled out. It is certainly interesting to observe their attitude. Perhaps before the discussion is finished the President will let us know why he was so keen on not allowing discussion on this amendment. The amendment simply asks that certain powers should be provided and given to individuals. This relates, particularly, to rural areas where, as everyone knows, there is at present a very big proportion of insanitary houses. In many of these houses there are very large families. We are anxious that there would be continued the power that has been given under different Acts here in recent years in order to permit a grant to be given to people in insanitary houses.

Sub-section (2) of the amendment says:—"Where, in the opinion of the Minister, a dwelling-house is wholly unsuitable for the proper and healthy accommodation of the occupier thereof and his family..." There are many such houses, and it would help materially to improve housing conditions if grants such as were heretofore made could be made now to people living in houses of that character, particularly in rural areas. There should be something done to provide these people with decent housing accommodation.

I do not think anybody here can contend that there is not a tremendous demand for improved housing conditions in rural areas, especially houses for small farmers whose valuations are very low. Local authorities, rated as heavily as they are under present conditions, find it very difficult to get money to enable them to give grants to such people for building purposes. We would like to give grants to these people to enable them to build new houses or, as is suggested in sub-section (3), to improve their present dwellings in so far as they are insanitary. If they are insanitary, everybody here would rather, if we could afford it, give them grants to help them to demolish such houses and erect proper dwellings.

As our finances will not allow us to do that in every case, it would be well that the grants that were made in some years gone by for improving houses could be continued. There is a very pressing demand. There is frequently brought up in discussion on housing matters by our own and by other Parties, this strong and insistent demand for grants for improving rural housing. There are farmers of small valuations in the country, with small houses and large families, and they want to improve their houses. They want to make their houses sanitary, a condition in which they are not at the present time. The passing of this sub-section would make possible the reconstruction or improvement of their houses.

Before the debate closes I want to say that Deputy O'Kelly and I have been thinking on similar lines in relation to similar amendments, but this is not one of them. There is one factor here to which Deputy O'Kelly has not referred. He is far too keen to overlook it and he is far too honest I am sure to mislead the House in the matter. If Deputies look at the Bill they will see that this amendment which has been put down proposes to insert before sub-section (2) of Section 59, three new sub-sections. It lays down that for the purposes of this section the aggregate amount of the grant made is £25,000.

Therefore £25,000 is the total amount available for grants under this Bill. Under the proposals in this Bill a grant of £20 is to be given by the State and £20 by the local authorities. Deputy O'Kelly, in this new sub-section, proposes that as far as the State is concerned the building grant should be £80 as against £20 in the Bill. I have often in this House before now stated that I am not a great mathematician, but even my powers of arithmetic are equal to dividing £25,000 by the figure 20 in one case and by 80 in the other. Having done that I arrive at the conclusion that whatever number of houses could be built under the scheme which is proposed in the Bill when you provide £25,000, it is fairly obvious that only one-fourth of that number can be built when the amount is divided by 80. Consequently the nett effect of Deputy O'Kelly's amendment, subject to the overriding condition that there is only £25,000 available, means that only one house can be built under his amendment where four could be built under the section as it stands.

Much as we would all like to see considerable grants given to people for building new houses, still if I had to choose between a relatively small grant given to a large number of people and four times that grant given to one-fourth the number of people, I would certainly prefer the smaller grant to the larger number of people. I presume Deputy O'Kelly will say that it was impossible for him or for any private Deputy here to propose to increase the £25,000. That is so. I think we have to take it that that sum of £25,000 represents the utmost amount which the Minister for Local Government and the President—I mention these two because they are present—can allocate for the purposes of housing.

As I pointed out, in endeavouring to persuade the Ceann Comhairle that this amendment was out of order, I want to say now again that it is entirely contrary to the whole spirit of the 1929 Act. In the earlier Housing Acts from 1924 to 1929, as far as reconstruction is concerned, the provision for reconstruction was made in urban areas. The intention was to provide grants for persons with large houses to divide these houses so as to provide housing accommodation for an additional number of families. There was a certain amount of direct reconstruction of ordinary houses proceeded with. The total number of such cases was only 600, and the reconstruction was entirely confined to urban districts. At a time when we are looking again at the amount of money which we have to spend, looking again at our urban housing problem, and, as a result of what is shown to us, then reducing the amount of assistance that we can give to people who are building houses other than houses for the working classes, as a matter of fact we are approaching the stage gradually at which no assistance from the public purse can be given directly except for the housing of the very poor and for the relief of insanitary areas—when we are approaching that stage Deputies ask us to embark on the provision of moneys for the reconstruction of houses in rural areas. At the same time Deputy O'Kelly would go further outside the scope of the 1929 Act which, as I pointed out, was for the provision of rural houses and would apply assistance to private persons with a scheme to get rid of insanitary houses in rural areas. Urban housing conditions have been pretty fully envisaged.

The problem is very big. We are able to approach that problem now with a definite policy of a new kind. I pointed out on the Second Reading that these grants and provisions here, in so far as they affected rural houses, got the same condemnation from the Deputy who represented Wexford as from the Deputy who represented Leitrim. I pointed out that, whereas 80 or 82 per cent. of the people in Wexford lived in houses of four rooms and upwards, for the area of Leitrim, Roscommon, Mayo, and Galway, comprising 100,000 inhabited houses, 70 per cent. of those, at least, lived in three-roomed houses and under. Gradually, as reports from the County Medical Officers of Health have been received—that is, in places where County Medical Officers of Health have been appointed—it is clear that there is a housing problem in rural areas that can be related to a condition of unfitness for human habitation, that can be regarded as a problem of being insanitary, that is the insanitary house problem in our urban districts. The problem is probably very big. A policy must be framed towards the solution of that problem analogous to the policy that is now being framed to deal with insanitary houses and the very poor in our urban districts. We have not yet had an opporunity in respect of insanitary rural housing and the housing of the poor in rural districts of looking at our financial possibilities and the extent of the problem. That the problem is a big one is quite clear when we realise that 70,000 people in four of these western counties are living in houses of three rooms and under. From the 1924 Act down assistance was given directly to private persons, not because it was thought the natural thing that private persons wishing to build houses should be assisted either by the ratepayers or the taxpayers, but because of the terrible shortage of houses and of very high building costs. That assistance for private persons was applied in rural areas as in urban areas, although it was in the urban areas that the pressure of the house shortage was greatest. The grants to private persons in rural areas have been gradually reduced in the same way in which grants to private persons have been reduced in urban areas.

Deputy Ward said that he knew that many of these grants were given to persons that could have and would have built their houses without these grants. We are now reducing gradually the assistance given to private persons and approaching the point at which the ordinary private person, whether in a rural or urban district, who may be expected to stand the cost of building his own house, will be asked to do it, with, if you like, the assistance of capital provided under the Small Dwellings Acquisition Act by the State. As far as direct assistance for the building of houses by persons other than the very poor is concerned, we are approaching the time when that assistance cannot be given. There is a type of person building in rural districts who has been getting this particular type of grant and who has expected it, and will be expecting it for a short period. We are not withdrawing the grant suddenly from these people, but taking it away gradually. We cannot, however, with due regard to all interests, the interests of the poor people in rural districts, the interests of people living in insanitary dwellings in rural districts, and the taxpayer and the ratepayer, embark in a haphazard way on a type of assistance to these until the extent of the problem that requires to be tackled in these rural districts has been very fully examined, and until there is a more general public appreciation of the extent of that problem and the amount of money likely to be involved. For that reason, I oppose the introduction of this amendment that, in a haphazard way, seeks to take out of the £25,000, provided for the type of persons expecting continued assistance in private building such as they have had up to the present, a sum for a purpose that our Housing Acts up to the present never provided for. In so far as it relates to insanitary houses, that is a responsibility of the local authorities, and has always been their responsibility, in respect of which they are given under this Bill additional powers under the Labourers Acts to deal with.

It is very hard to understand the Minister's opposition to this amendment. The title of the Bill is, "An Act to make better provision for the clearance of unhealthy areas and the repair and demolition of insanitary houses..." If the Minister only envisaged the problem in the towns and cities in the drafting of this Bill he should have set out in the title that it was not to have any application to the rural parts of the country. In so far as the Bill as it stands is concerned, unless this amendment is accepted by the Minister or carried by a majority of the House, it is not going to cause the disappearance or removal of any insanitary house in the rural districts. Insanitary houses in rural Ireland are not all occupied, indeed only a very small proportion of them are occupied, by the class of people who are described as belonging to the working classes. Where labourers' cottages do exist in rural areas for the housing of agricultural labourers, these houses are in a comparatively decent condition, and from the point of view of sanitation and habitability are reasonably good. There is, of course, a shortage of these houses, but they do not constitute the insanitary houses in rural Ireland. The insanitary houses in rural Ireland and the houses unfit for human habitation are occupied by small farmers. The Minister admits that the problem is a very large one. Having admitted so much, presumably he knew the problem was a very large one before he introduced the Bill, and it is difficult to understand why he made no provision to deal with this large problem. It is all very well to talk of the financial difficulties. Why should the rural section of the population be asked to contribute, and to continue to contribute, to finance the removal of insanitary dwellings in the urban districts and the cities while no provision is being made whereby the housing conditions under which they themselves live can be improved?

What about the Labourers Acts?

What use are the Labourers Acts to the small farmer? The only thing that can be done if that man's housing conditions are to be improved is to provide a grant large enough to buy the building materials for him and leave him a little margin over for the tradesmen. It is suggested that there is only £25,000 available under this section, and because of that fact this amendment, if passed, will for all practical purposes be inoperative. I do not think that is so. I think that if the Minister when the £25,000 has been expended comes to the House and asks for more money under this section, the House will not hesitate to give it. The President expresses dissent, but we find that the President has suddenly discovered £250,000, to the surprise of everybody for the relief of unemployment out of some mysterious fund that may materialise in the future. He has found that £250,000 on the eve of a general election, but he cannot find anything for the housing of the class of people this amendment is meant to serve. The Minister says that this amendment is contrary to the spirit of the 1929 and 1930 Acts. What difference does it make whether it is contrary to the spirit of these Acts or not? It certainly is not contrary to the spirit of the Bill before us. The problem about the 1929 and the 1930 and the other Acts that went before them as far as the small farmer or the occupier of an insanitary dwelling in a rural district is concerned is that he has not been able to avail of these grants to get rid of his insanitary house, because these grants have not been large enough to provide him with the building material.

I repeat what I said on the Second Reading, that to a very large extent the class of people who are able to avail of the provisions of the Housing Acts in rural districts were not the class of people who were living in houses unfit for human habitation. So far as the Minister's policy has gone, and in so far as the results of the 2½ million pounds paid in State subsidies for the building of houses are concerned, for all practical purposes we have as many houses in rural Ireland unfit for human habitation as we had before any of these Acts were passed.

The Minister said it is a very big problem, that he would like public appreciation of it, and that medical officers of health should report and all that sort of thing, until we got a full and adequate idea of the size of it. If the problem is as great as it is, even on the Minister's own admission, why not make a beginning towards its solution? If it is such a big problem, we are all agreed that it would take a very long time to solve it. I cannot see why this House, considering the majority of Deputies are from rural areas, should allow this Bill to pass in its present form without some such amendment as the amendment in Deputy O'Kelly's name. Such amendment would enable the small farmers in the country occupying one room and kitchen, with as many as ten people living in them—father, mother, and children of all sexes and all ages—to be rescued from such conditions. I repeat I cannot understand how this House could stand for that sort of thing when a Bill like this is before it. There are many houses in the rural parts of Ireland that could be reconstructed in such a way as to render them fit for human habitation, if they had decent roofs and floors, if the windows were of a decent size and constructed in a way that would enable them to open and let in fresh air to the houses. If these things were done by means of grants towards reconstruction, a very considerable improvement would be made in the conditions under which these people live. These things could be done if the Minister would accept this amendment. I urge him strongly to sympathetically consider this aspect of the question. He admits it is a big question, and I think if he is held up for finance in the carrying out of it he will have the sympathy of all Deputies in the House if he comes here to look for more money.

How much of that will he be able to cash? The Deputy says the Minister can come here and get the money. Of course he can. No House will ever refuse money, but let me remind the Deputy that he and his Party in the last month or six weeks voted against the imposition of taxation to enable us to discharge the ordinary commitments of the present year. The Deputy said if the Minister wanted more money he could come here and he would get it. The strange thing about the two Deputies opposite is that neither of them seems to have studied this problem. There is a general election coming; they have spoken with their eye to that. How will they make this thing difficult for the Government? I am prepared to meet any of them on this question of housing, and on this particular question, at any time and in any part of the country, either rural or urban, and to put before the people their record in the past month when money was wanted and when they would not vote it. No one will deny that money provided under a Housing Act to be spent by building houses must be got from somewhere. What is the problem we have to deal with in connection with housing? The main source from which to get such money is taxation. None of the Deputies opposite, though they concern themselves very largely with what are called statistics, ever bother their heads about that. When we are considering the question of housing as a problem, what is the first thing to be done? If they read back through the gospels of the year, they will find that going against any nation a general will first of all sit down, take up pencil and paper and make out whether or not he will be able to meet his opponents with so many or whether, if they are stronger, he will have to add more. They have that lesson, but they do not bother about that. They do not at all concern themselves about the number of houses that will have to be provided in this country. What figure in the next twenty years is that likely to amount to? They never bother their heads about an estimate——

We asked questions to get those figures and we have them.

If Deputies have them why not tell us what they are?

You gave them to us yourself and you have the number.

Very well. I shall give the figures. In the last nine years we put up approximately or helped towards the construction of 26,000 houses in the country. Dublin's quota of that was about 6,500, so that approximately whatever is required for Dublin is about one-fourth of the housing of the rest of the country. Dublin's necessity in connection with the housing problem is approximately 20,000 houses. We can take it that somebody will have to provide 80,000 houses. Who is going to provide them? Apparently the rest of the people of the country. Where do we find them? According to the last census there is something like 625,000 heads of families, but as 60,000 of these, approximately, consist of only one person, we can only come to the conclusion that approximately there are 560,000 heads of families in the country. I shall make that quite clear and plain so that even Fianna Fail Deputies will understand it. 560,000 heads of families for 80,000 is at the rate of seven to one. Well, go out in the street and assemble seven men and you say to these men: "You seven have to provide one house for one of the seven of you." That is the problem. Seven heads of families in this country have to tax themselves in order to provide one house. Deputy Ward says if we were to come to the House we would get whatever money is necessary. We came to the House a short time ago for half a million and the Deputy and his Party voted against it.

Was that money for the provision of housing in rural Ireland?

It was for dealing with the Estimates passed here, and housing was one of the services included.

In rural Ireland?

In rural Ireland and in urban Ireland as well.

The Electricity Supply Board got two millions of it.

The Electricity Supply Board did not get one sixpence of it, not even the penny mentioned in the gospel as the man's pay for a day. It shows what our troubles are here and how much we have to tell these people, and it shows how much they have to be instructed in order to make them understand even the elementary principles underlying any of our problems. That is the first problem that 560,000 heads of families have to provide houses for 80,000 over a period of twenty years if the problem is to be solved in that time. What is the Deputy's solution of the problem? That out of £25,000 approximately 400 people are to be helped. Have they bothered themselves about the finances of it or whether it is a fair figure? Have they gone into the question of the cost of houses? Deputy Ward says that we are to supply all the materials and something towards the building of the houses.

You will find the figures in the next amendment.

There are two figures —a building grant of £80 and an improvement grant of £40. Deputy Ward said we were to supply the materials and give something towards the cost of the houses.

Yes. We estimated that the £80 grant would do that.

I am not accepting the Deputy's figures.

The Deputy knows and the President does not.

Excuse me. Has the Deputy ever built a house?

Only 70.

With his own money? I know, because I paid. The Deputy built 70 for others. None of his own money was in them.

Whether it was my own money or not does not affect the price.

I know that type. The fact is the Deputy has put down £80 in the amendment, and he wants the cost of materials. Has he concerned himself with what the figure is likely to amount to in respect of the 80,000 houses I have mentioned?

What I have concerned myself about is that the rural population will get part of the money that is being put up by the State.

I will come to that. Outside the city of Dublin, three-quarters of the money that we have provided for housing, up to the present, has been spent. This particular method of distribution is the Deputy's solution. If we are to take 80,000 houses on that basis, it represents a sum of five million pounds approximately, or six million if it were the whole of the 80,000. It is not the whole; it will be approximately half way between the two. That is in respect only of the money outgoings. Now we have to examine the Bill to see how far this amendment fits into it. The Bill deals in the first place with insanitary areas and insanitary dwellings; in the second place with the provision of accommodation for persons who have to vacate an insanitary area, and, by reason of the density of population, have to be provided for outside the area; in the third place it deals with the provision of houses for private persons or virgin-soil sites or anything of that sort not embodied in the insanitary area or the extension scheme which is essential to the demolition of the insanitary area. The basis of the arrangement is that the local authority in each case will formulate a scheme and their officials will declare whether an area is an insanitary area or not. Why is that? For the very good reason that they have officials whose work it is to look after sanitation and who are paid for doing so. The proposal here is that the Minister is to examine and to be satisfied. "Where, in the opinion of the Minister, a dwelling-house is wholly unsuitable for the proper and healthy accommodation of the occupier."

The Minister is practically to become the agent of the local authorities in these cases. That is a complete and absolute change of the whole system of local government. What is he to do? How is he to do it? He cannot employ a local officer for that sort of work. He cannot be responsible for the decision of a local authority's servant. He must employ a staff. What staff will be required over the whole rural areas to examine all the insanitary houses? The Deputy could put down a half a dozen questions about houses in such places and ask the Minister if he had examined them. How many questions would be on the Order Paper in connection with the administration of this scheme? What is going to be the cost and how is it going to benefit housing to get that information? A new system is to superimpose on the existing system that is capable of dealing with it. If it were a local authority that had to decide that a house was insanitary, this might be said for it, that whoever framed an amendment concerned himself with a constructive policy for housing rather than with the platform effects of housing just before a general election.

Just before a general election?

Just before a general election. I expect we will have a general election within twelve months. I suppose the Deputy would be very disappointed if we had not. If Deputies think we are going to have it before Christmas I can assure them that I have no such intention and, what is more, I have not yet made up my mind when it will be. I am not a free agent.

The Unionists will settle it if they get enough cash.

There is one thing certain, that those who talk loudest about that sort of thing are those who, perhaps, are living in very dangerous premises.

Insanitary houses.

I never matriculated in Trinity College. I can assure the Deputy that I could not afford it.

We know where you graduated. Do not draw us out on that question.

Where did the President get his doctor's degree? The less he says about Trinity College the better. He got it with "God Save the King" being played.

If I recollect aright I got it from four Universities.

A "God Save the King" Doctor of Laws from Trinity College. The less you say about Trinity College the better.

I never matriculated there.

Let us now remember the dwellers in the insanitary houses.

I have an excellent memory. I do not abuse places and afterwards seek shelter in them.

We will come to the Housing Bill now.

I was dealing with the construction of the Bill and how the Minister proposes the machinery would operate with respect to inter sanitary areas through the sanitary authorities and the medical officers of health. In the amendment it is proposed that the Minister should be practically in that position. I need not point out to anyone interested in local government the ridiculousness of that position. If the amendment were passed Deputy Corish could perhaps ask the Minister about every insanitary house in Wexford County. Deputy O'Kelly could ask the Minister if he had inspected every insanitary house in Dublin. Apart from that, the definition of "insanitary dwelling" is to my mind not exactly in accord with what is usually laid down in other Acts. Reference is made to unhealthy dwelling houses in Sections 3, 5, 19 and 21, and there is reference to rooms in Section 22. There are further references in Section 27 and 30, and insanitary areas are mentioned in Section 42. In certain cases provision is made for appeal to the Circuit Court in respect of some of these declarations. There is no such provision in the amendment.

As I said before, this alters the whole method of dealing with local authorities. If this amendment were meant to be operative—which I do not believe it was—the cost in respect of the running of it by the Department of Local Government would be approximately £1,000 a county. Is it contended that we are going to solve the housing question by increasing the number of our officials? Take that section which deals with the reconstruction of houses. Two decisions have got to be made in that case. In the first place, it must be described as an insanitary dwelling. In the second place, some official must be in a position to give a certificate that the work has been satisfactorily done. More cost. The expenses in respect of the administration of this amendment would be colossal, and housing is not a service on which one can afford to expend money unless one sees houses going up. There has been a reduction in the cost of building over recent years. In 1922, the average price per square foot was approximately 14/6. In 1931, it is 10/6. The original sum made available for house-building was reduced during those years practically in accord with the drop in the percentage of cost. The cost of providing one house is going to fall approximately upon seven persons. Let us see what the financial situation is. There is a sum of £25,000 made available in this measure for private persons. That is a relatively small sum. It is fixed in the light of the difficult financial situation we have—a most unusual situation. A most unusual occurrence took place this year. It was found that the level of taxation did not produce the money required. Extra imposts had to be provided by law in order to produce the money which was estimated as being likely to be required in April last. This is a time when we have got to consider the economy of every single Act that passes through this House, and to limit as far as possible the cost to the taxpayer of every service that comes before us. If we were dealing with the financial situation that obtained twelve months ago this Bill could have been and would have been more generous than it is. But we have got to realise that a reduction in the yield of taxation is a serious indication of the condition of affairs as regards finance. Whether we should ignore that fact and go on with expense is a matter upon which the Oireachtas must make up its mind.

The Government in putting before the Oireachtas this method of dealing with the housing problem, had in mind what it was likely to be able to impose upon the taxpayers during the next five years. The basis upon which the costs of this Act are being laid upon the shoulders of the taxpayer and ratepayer is that each will contribute his quota in the ratio of fifty-fifty towards the solution of this problem. There is no such policy enshrined in this amendment. Before concluding, I want to say that in the year 1922 the yield of taxation was approximately £25,000,000. The sum of money made available for local authorities in that year was approximately £1,000,000. This year taxation is estimated to yield £21,700,000 and the sum made available for local authorities this year is £3,700,000. With these facts before the House, is this amendment designed in the interest of the taxpayer, the ratepayer and the person who requires a house? I do not believe it is. I do not believe it is a sensible or constructive suggestion as regards dealing with this matter. It disturbs the basis of the operations of the Bill which deal with insanitary areas and houses, by placing upon the Minister the responsibility of declaring them insanitary and adding costs to the State in respect of the administration of that portion of the Bill. Secondly, it imposes upon the taxpayer a contribution which, if it is intended to persevere, is beyond his capacity to bear at the present moment. Thirdly, if that be the contribution which the Deputies who have put down this amendment believe to be within the capacity of the country in respect of insanitary dwellings in the country, then I say in respect of slum areas in cities, towns and villages the Minister's figures—if this figure is correct— are entirely and utterly insufficient and should be increased. Then we are faced with the problem of assembling the seven heads of families and telling them that we are imposing upon them a burden for the building of a house for one of the seven which is greater than they ought normally be called upon to bear—a burden that no citizen, looking at the problem and having in mind the condition of affairs in the country, could honestly and with due regard to all the circumstances put upon them in connection with the problem of housing.

The best two arguments for the amendment in the name of Deputy Seán T. O'Kelly were made by the President and the Minister. If they had not spoken, one might have felt that a lot of things had been left unsaid by the supporters of the amendment. The President's remarks at the beginning of the speech were not very germane to the amendment. They were as far removed from the subject of insanitary housing accommodation in rural areas and as close to personalities as they could be. The President said that roughly 80,000 houses were required in the 26 counties. Nobody has suggested, as the President tried to make out, that these 80,000 houses should be built in one financial year and that the contribution by taxpayers towards the cost of those houses should be levied in one financial year. The President knows that very well. If we were to proceed to liquidate the liability to the people of this country in respect of housing accommodation and if, starting now, we were to do it over a period of 20 years—that is, in respect both of rural and urban housing—we would be doing something. The President visualised the Minister himself or his messenger going down under this amendment and examining a particular house and then going back later and saying that it had complied with the requirements. The President knows very well that he has imposed upon many counties, and has the right to impose on every county, a medical officer of health costing a thousand a year. Surely the medical officer of health is the Minister's official. He gets a salary of £1,000 a year and should be competent to describe to the Minister whether a particular house is insanitary or not, and where it has been repaired that it has complied with the requirements in his opinion. It is all nonsense for the President to say that extra officials would be required—an extra £1,000 per county to administer this. Even if the President's statement were correct that it would require that to liquidate the responsibility of the State towards solving the housing problem and meeting the requirements so far as the 80,000 houses spoken of are concerned, that would not be such a terrible thing. The Minister has his medical officers of health, and I hold they should be competent to do this with their other work.

Reference was made to the £250,000 suddenly conjured out of thin air for the immediate relief of distress. I recommend the President to write another letter. If he does possibly he will get £250,000 towards the solution of the housing problem. If he embodies in his letter the speech that he has just made here he may get some reply to it. The President's contribution in the debate on this amendment was a complete admission of failure to deal with the problem. Because the problem is too big for him or his Government he refuses to face up to it. He is prepared to allow continue the position that we have, particularly in the rural areas. The housing shortage there, keen as it is, must remain, according to him. There is no promise from the Minister for Local Government that he intends by another Bill to deal with that subject in a short space of time. When a Bill was introduced, and we asked to have a proper title put to it, that it was a Bill particularly for towns and cities, we were pooh-poohed and told that it was a Bill for the whole of the 26 counties.

The Minister admits—probably he has had reports from his medical officers of health—that there are insanitary dwellings in rural areas. He has probably got a real shock from the number of complaints he has received, and realises that it is going to be a big problem to tackle. There is a lot of talk about the £25,000. Does the Minister contend that on his estimate that sum of money is going to touch the fringe of the problem so far as it relates to insanitary dwellings in the urban areas—towns and cities? Deputy Law divided that sum of £25,000 by the Minister's contribution of £20 as set down in the Bill, so the result is that the amount available will only deal with 1,250 houses. This Bill proposes not only to give no attention to the rural areas, but to limit the Government's responsibility with regard to insanitary dwellings in urban areas— cities and towns—to the extent of 1,250 houses. If that is to be the Government's contribution towards the urban areas, then I say, bad and all as it is to do nothing for the rural areas, the Government are only making an apology in the matter of doing something in the other areas. The Minister's confession of failure is "I realise the sore is there, and I am not going to deal with it."

Deputy Ward points out that something must be done. He is familiar with the conditions in the rural areas and he has described them for the House. There are many other members of the House who also represent rural areas. If what the Deputy has described is correct, then it is a disgrace for the Minister to adopt the attitude that he has adopted. What are we taunted with? The President turns around and asks, "How many houses have you built?" I will put the some question to the Minister. Can he say that he has even built one house? How many houses has the President built? When we propose to deal with this problem we are taunted with these questions. Deputy Ward has been asked how many houses he has built. Out of his small resources and influence, from the point of view of building, the Deputy can say that he has built 70 houses. When one compares his resources with those of the Government, I think the Deputy has certainly made a bigger contribution to the problem than they have. That kind of discussion had, I think, better be left alone by the President. I wonder how many houses the members of the President's own Party have built. Deputy Ward has built 70 houses not out of his own pocket. The Minister takes credit for the number of houses that the State has built, but we can turn around and say that the money that went to the building of them was not his but the taxpayers.

I hope the President and the Minister will cease that kind of talk and get down to fundamentals. By means of Parliamentary questions we dragged from the Government the information that the number of families living in single room tenements in Dublin is 18,000. We feel sad about that as everybody does. The President says that 80,000 houses are required and because our requirements are so great let us drop the whole thing. Our answer is, tackle the problem now and make some contribution towards the alleviation of the distress that such a state of affairs must cause. We say to the Government, contribute something towards the upliftment and the health of the people whether in urban or in rural areas; do not pretend that by allowing £25,000 to be used for certain purposes and affecting only 1,250 houses in the cities and the towns that that is going to mean anything. If that sum of money were allocated to the city of Dublin alone it would not touch the fringe of the problem that is to be dealt with here.

The President talked of the damage that might be caused if questions were to be asked by Deputies week after week with regard to particular houses in a particular area. The Minister for Local Government took steps to prevent that kind of activity developing as regards old age pensions. When Deputies sought to take steps to see that justice was done as between old age pension claimants and the pension officers, the Minister put a stop to that. Now the President comes along and grumbles at the thought that questions might be asked in the House in regard to a particular dwelling in the country. Does the Minister deny my positive statement that his medical officers of health throughout the country are fully competent to deal with this matter, and that there would be no need to spend one single penny extra in the shape of official salaries if they were to be required to do what is asked here. They are competent to certify whether a particular dwelling in a rural area is insanitary or not. They are also competent to certify and to satisfy the Minister in cases where improvements have been carried out whether the work has been done in a proper manner. Does the Minister deny that, or does he stand by what the President said, that these men are incompetent to render that particular service? I hope Deputies will have the good sense to support the amendment.

After all, as Deputy Ward points out, every penny that the State spends as a contribution towards housing, whether by way of grant for a new house or a grant for altering an insanitary house, comes from all classes of taxpayers and not exclusively from taxpayers of urban areas. Unless the Minister can say definitely that he intends to bring in a Bill specifically designed to deal with houses in rural areas, he has no case for opposing the amendment. Certainly from his own contribution to the debate and from the President's contribution they have shown absolute justification for the amendment. If the Minister does not like the proposal that he shall be the final authority, he can very easily accept the amendment and leave it to the local authority to deal with it. That is an easy matter to get over. If he is going to take the attitude of saying "because I happen to be mentioned in the Bill, the thing shall not be done," I think he is not going to face up, as the President has admitted he is not going to face up, to the problem. The Minister himself must admit that he does not want to tackle the housing problem in the rural areas at all and he is only attempting to tackle it in the urban areas to a very small degree.

The principal fault which the Minister found with the amendment is that it is against the spirit of present housing legislation. I think that has a great deal to recommend it because the present housing legislation, as I see it in operation, has no spirit It is a soulless thing endeavouring to move and getting nowhere. The Minister has in this measure made building operations in the non-urbanised towns almost impossible. He has made it almost impossible for local authorities to undertake any extensive building operations in non-urbanised towns. When we come to deal with the truly rural places we find that he refuses to accept an amendment of legislation that is long overdue. For some time past, when we were discussing housing legislation here, appeals had been made and claims put forward from I think almost every side of the House that improvement grants should be given towards the reconstruction of houses in rural districts. Anybody who knows country districts thoroughly knows that houses in rural areas lend themselves very considerably towards improvement, and that a good many of the drawbacks and the drabness of country life are attributable to bad housing conditions. Roofs are low, windows are small, floors are bad and the ventilation necessarily bad and inadequate. The space is inadequate. The raising of roofs, the raising of walls, the improvement of roofs, the enlargement of windows and the improvement of floors would very considerably improve the great majority of houses in rural districts. A grant towards doing all that would probably do more towards relieving this shortage of eighty thousand houses about which we hear the President talk, than anything that might be done. That is very necessary.

Appeals have been made, not alone from these benches and the Fianna Fail benches, but statements have been made from the Minister's own benches that some such measure is needed, and that some such consideration should be given. We do know that in rural Ireland a state of affairs exists where there are probably two divisions in a house and where probably, for decency sake, two divisions are made in one room, with inadequate cubic space, wretched flooring conditions and ventilation. These things could be easily remedied by raising the wall or, possibly, as Deputy Bennett said a while ago, by providing a loft-room which would help to give accommodation in the house. That is a thing to which the Minister should give consideration. He told us that he knows of its existence, but that he cannot deal with it. He told us that he has only £25,000 to play with. Surely that shows the bankruptcy of the Minister's housing policy. It shows his failure to face up to the situation as it exists. He has £25,000, and he knows that that will not touch the fringe of it. The President, dealing with the matter a little while ago, purposely confused the issues, because if there is a question about which the President knows anything, we must admit without equivocation that it is housing. I admit that freely, but he certainly got up not to deal with the housing situation in Ireland, but to confuse the issue and to create an atmosphere in the House against the amendment. That is the way he dealt with it.

If he wants money there has been a suggestion put forward from these benches before that there is a method of dealing with the housing problem on a national scale by the raising of a national loan to meet the contingency, and to meet it in a way which would eradicate the sore that is eating like a canker into the social fabric. We heard a lot of talk about the impracticability of it. Possibly the amendment is badly drafted. Possibly it is not related sufficiently to the local authority. I am speaking without any information as to what Deputy O'Kelly had in his mind when he said "Where in the opinion of the Minister a dwelling-house is wholly unsuitable." I should rather say "Where in the opinion of the local sanitary authority a dwelling-house is unsuitable." You could very easily correlate that with the local housing authority. You can very easily make your assistant surveyors the people to examine the houses and make their certificate the certificate under which the improvement or the rebuilding grant would be given. Clearly the thing could be worked and clearly the attitude of the President and of the Minister should be to accept the principle of the amendment and to redraft it in such a way that it would be possible for the grant to be given to the local authorities who declare a house insanitary and for the local assistant surveyor's certificate to be the certificate upon which payment would be made. The building of houses in rural areas is a necessity. The improvement of houses in rural areas is a greater necessity. While I support heartily the amendment as far as it goes for the giving of grants for the construction of houses, I support more heartily the suggestion in the amendment for the improvement of houses because houses in the rural areas lend themselves much more readily to reconstruction than any other type of houses we have in the country at the moment.

This amendment, no matter what the President may pretend about it, would be the only thing in this Bill if it were accepted, which would give an opportunity to small farmers either to improve or build houses under the measure when it is passed into law. No matter what statements the President is pleased to make about this amendment in order to confuse the issue, that is the fact. When previous Housing Bills were introduced here, we on this side on one occasion had an amendment down which was somewhat similar to the present amendment, that a grant would be given to small farmers throughout the country for the improvement of their houses. Anybody who understands the position of housing in rural Ireland will have to admit that the greatest necessity of the moment is the improvement of dwelling-houses in the country and not the building of new houses. Take as an illustration of that the number of houses that have been built. Mind you, the Minister for Local Government and the President have tried to make all the Party capital they can out of the number of new houses built over a number of years. Even if we take that number in its largest way, and allow the President to exaggerate the value and the number of houses in the most elaborate way, we still have to admit that the building of that large number of new houses has not touched the fringe of the housing problem in insanitary areas, because of this fact, people in most instances, throughout the country, built houses and availed of this plan, who could afford to have built them without a grant, and would have built them anyhow. That is the position in the West of Ireland, and let nobody pretend that it is not. A very small percentage of the people in the West of Ireland who built houses under the old housing grants built them because of the grant. The big majority who built them probably might have delayed a year or two, but anyway they hurried on to avail of the grant. If the amendment we proposed a couple of years ago on another Housing Bill were accepted to give £40 or thereabouts to the people who would improve their dwelling-houses, you would have a far greater percentage of insanitary housing conditions removed than you had under the Bills as they were. That is the one big mistake in all the Housing Bills which have been passed here.

Deputy Hogan has emphasised that fact as to Clare. He knows the conditions there. We know them too, Unless you accept this amendment the insanitary conditions in the West of Ireland will not be touched at all by this measure. It is no use for the President to pretend that he is not aware of the insanitary conditions. The medical officers of health in every county have been reporting to the Minister for Local Government the insanitary conditions of housing and the number of insanitary houses. Can the Minister state here now that a large percentage of those houses that were insanitary have been made sanitary because of any Bill passed into law, since he came into office? Can he state that the number of houses reported as insanitary to his Department are not now in that insanitary condition, because of any Bill that has been passed? He cannot say that. A number of houses remain insanitary, but new houses have been built. That is because they refused in the past to regulate the measure that was being passed in such a way that people in insanitary houses could avail of a small grant to improve their houses. The Minister must surely know that the number of insanitary houses in County Mayo is very large despite the fact that he may boast of the number of houses that have been built in County Mayo.

If this amendment is not passed the same number of insanitary houses will remain. Is it not better for the State that the greater percentage of people living in insanitary houses should be facilitated so as to avail of the grant? Get a smaller amount of money, spread it over a larger number and relieve people to a greater extent than they would be relieved by the giving of a grant for one house only. That is the part of the Bill I am interested in. I have discussed it with people who in the past were in the Department of Local Government and were interested in housing. They told me that from their experience in the past of schemes under the Congested Districts Board a greater number of insanitary houses were made sanitary and improved with a lesser amount of money than has been spent by the present Government on housing, because there was that clause in the Act which enabled people to avail of a grant for the improvement of housing.

I think the Minister should at least say that this amendment would be considered by him. He should know its value and that it will touch the insanitary conditions if it is accepted. He should, in turning the amendment down, not force the members of his Party to vote against it. It is not put down as the President tries to suggest in his usual petty fashion for electioneering purposes. We leave that to the President. He has discovered £250,000 in the last few days in a place where no one knew it existed and that money is to be used for election purposes. He cannot say that this has been for electioneering purposes because it is over three years ago since a similar amendment was put down by this Party in this House. At that time they found some other argument against it. The only argument they can find against it now is that it is done for electioneering purposes, because the President thinks the financial appeal of the Unionists will give him sufficient funds for the election within a short period. Why cannot they find some reasonable argument against this amendment? We had the President's talk about the possibility or impossibility of finding of money. We had a statement from the President that this Bill would not be as bad as it is—even from the President we got an admission that it is a bad Bill—only for the financial crash. We had quite recently this unfortunate admission from the President of the State, who is so proud of this State and its stable conditions. We had it from him that the Bill would not be as bad as it is only for the trouble we are in financially. As well as being an unfortunate admission, it is also an eye-opener for us, because the Minister for Finance, in introducing his supplementary Budget, assured us that economy would be rigidly enforced by the Government.

Now we know in what way economy is to be rigidly enforced. It is to be rigidly enforced in attacking the estimates that are to come for social services and the estimates that are to deal with the poorest of the poor, in attacking the estimates for the money that is to be given for housing in the slums in the towns and in the country, the money that was to go to house the poor, to wipe out insanitary conditions, and thereby wipe out disease and slums. The money is now to be reduced. We are to economise there. We have got the assurance of the President that it is one of the big ways in which they are to economise. The President after making that statement began to criticise members on this side of the House because we voted a few weeks ago against extra taxation here. He found fault with it. The greatest justification for the vote which we gave a few weeks ago against half a million pounds of increased taxation was the statement of the President here that economy was to be practised in the social services.

That, anyhow, justified us in voting against increased taxation, because we voted against that increase in taxation for no other reason than that taxation was being increased before the President or the Minister for Finance made any definite statement as to how they were going to economise, even though they told us that they were going to economise to the tune of half a million pounds. Instead of the President having to reduce the amount that was to be given to the housing of the poor and the wiping out of insanitary conditions in the country, he could easily increase it if instead of coming down first and foremost on the services that have to deal with the poor he would economise in other directions. When he talks of their having to economise in this way, I think we should remind him that he should find other ways, and that instead of subsidising other countries to the tune of £5,000,000 per year he should deal with the conditions here. Even the President himself felt that his arguments were weak.

Another argument used was that if this amendment were passed officials would be increased because officials would have to be sent around to see what houses are insanitary, as according to the wording of the amendment the Minister must be satisfied that houses are insanitary before they are to be condemned and new houses erected. Is not the Minister all along being informed as to insanitary conditions of houses in the country? What are his medical officers of health for? You do not need to increase the number of medical officers of health in County Mayo to find out what insanitary houses are there. The reports of the medical officers of health should be a sufficient indication to the Minister that he could state definitely that a certain number of houses are insanitary and, therefore, give the concession that is asked for in this amendment. Surely it is reasonable to expect that. I do not think that the Minister can make any real argument against it, except the lack of funds. I admit that that is a real argument. But the intentions of the amendment are good. Surely these things cannot be denied in justice by the Minister. It all comes back, therefore, to the argument that we are short of money and that we can only give £25,000. Surely the resources of the State have not run out to that extent. We were on the verge of a financial crash a few weeks ago and yet the Government, on one minute's notice, found £2,000,000 for the Shannon Scheme that they have all messed up. How is it they found that? If the Shannon Scheme had gone right that £2,000,000 would be here. I suppose if something else would happen in another Department to show up the mismanagement of affairs by another Minister they would easily find another million pounds to put it right. But when an essential social service comes to be tackled they can find no money for it. They are prepared to put it aside. I think it is deplorable, and I think it should be faced up to by the Minister. We should at least have a definite statement from them that they do not want to tackle the question or we should get the confession of failure which their opposition to this amendment means.

It is because housing conditions in the rural areas are very closely under consideration by us that we oppose this amendment. Deputies on the other side have talked a lot about rural housing and what they require done for housing, and they put forward an amendment which would show very little consideration for rural housing if it were examined pretty closely. Earlier today we passed Part III of this Bill, which gives power to an urban authority to declare that a particular house is in an insanitary condition and that it requires to be repaired. We gave powers to the local authority to insist on the owner at his own expense putting that house in a sanitary condition. A terrible lot of tears have been spilt over rural housing and over an amendment which would give that person ordered by the local authority to put his house in proper repair, to turn to the Minister and get £40. The person who would be ordered by the local authority to put a house that is in an insanitary condition in proper repair would be handed £40 out of the £25,000. That would mean that there would be very little to give around for some of the rural schemes that Deputies talked about. It is because Deputies have not considered the rural problem that they have come forward with a proposal like this as a solution of it.

I think the Minister has been inaccurate in a couple of respects. First, he criticised the drafting of the amendment. He is probably aware that the amendment was drafted by the official draftsman.

I was not talking about the draftsman at all. I am talking about a person in an urban area who has an insanitary house being given £40 to put it right.

Not necessarily. The house must be suitable to be occupied by a person of the working class. That particular part of the Bill is designed mainly to deal with tenement dwellings in the city. The houses intended to be covered by this amendment are houses occupied by the owners. There are very few such houses in Dublin. They are mainly in rural areas and owned and occupied by farmers. Consequently, it is quite clear that there is quite an unmistakable distinction between houses intended to be dealt with by Part III of the Bill and houses intended to be dealt with by this amendment.

The slap-dash consideration of the problem generally is reflected in the slap-dash putting together of the amendment.

It is a matter of principle and not a matter of wording.

Amendment put; the Committee divided: Tá, 45; Níl, 66.

Aiken, Frank.Allen, Denis.Blaney, Neal.Boland, Gerald.Bourke, Daniel.Briscoe, Robert.Broderick, Henry.Buckley, Daniel.Carty, Frank.Cassidy, Archie J.Clery, Michael.Colbert, James.Cooney, Eamon.Corkery, Dan.Corish, Richard.Crowley, Fred. Hugh.Crowley, Tadhg.Davin, William.De Valera, Eamon.Doyle, Edward.Everett, James.Fahy, Frank.Fogarty, Andrew.

Gorry, Patrick J.Goulding, John.Hayes, Seán.Hogan, Patrick (Clare).Houlihan, Patrick.Jordan, Stephen.Kent, William R.Killilea, Mark.Kilroy, Michael.Lemass, Seán F.Little, Patrick John.MacEntee, Seán.Moore, Séamus.Morrissey, Daniel.O'Connell, Thomas J.O'Kelly, Seán T.O'Reilly, Matthew.Powell, Thomas P.Sexton, Martin.Smith, Patrick.Walsh, Richard.Ward, Francis C.


Alton, Ernest Henry.Beckett, James Walter.Bennett, George Cecil.Blythe, Ernest.Bourke, Séamus A.Brennan, Michael.Brodrick, Seán.Coburn, James.Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.Conlon, Martin.Connolly, Michael P.Cosgrave, William T.Craig, Sir James.Crowley, James.Davis, Michael.Dolan, James N.Doyle, Peadar Seán.Esmonde. Osmond Thos. Grattan.Finlay, Thomas A.Fitzgerald, Desmond.Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.Good, John.Gorey, Denis J.Hassett, John J.Heffernan, Michael R.Hennessy, Michael Joseph.Hennessy, Thomas.Hennigan, John.Henry, Mark.Hogan, Patrick (Galway).Holohan, Richard.Kelly, Patrick Michael.Keogh, Myles.

Law, Hugh Alexander.Leonard, Patrick.Lynch, Finian.Mathews, Arthur Patrick.McDonogh, Martin.MacEoin, Seán.McFadden, Michael Og.McGilligan, Patrick.Mongan, Joseph W.Mulcahy, Richard.Murphy, James E.Myles, James Sproule.Nally, Martin Michael.Nolan, John Thomas.O'Connell, Richard.O'Connor, Bartholomew.O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.O'Hanlon, John F.O'Leary, Daniel.O'Mahony. The.O'Reilly, John J.O'Sullivan, Gearóid.O'Sullivan, John Marcus.Reynolds, Patrick.Rice, Vincent.Roddy, Martin.Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).Thrift, William Edward.Tierney, Michael.White, John.White, Vincent Joseph.Wolfe, George.Wolfe, Jasper Travers.

Tellers:—Tá: Deputies G. Boland and Allen; Níl: Deputies P.S. Doyle and Dolan.

I move amendment 29b:—

To add at the end of sub-section (3) (a), line 10, the words "provided that a farmer whose sole or main source of living is derived from land the valuation of which does not exceed £15 be given a grant of £45."

The main purpose of this amendment is to give to small farmers under a £15 valuation a grant of £45. This class of person cannot get any grant from any other source such as the Agricultural Credit Corporation. The President cannot hold that these are people who could build houses themselves or who would be in a position to do so if there was no grant at all. I think this amendment could easily be accepted. It is confined to small holders under a £15 valuation who derive their living mainly from farming. They are the class who are very badly off in the way of housing.

Much the same case exists in this instance as existed in the last. These Housing Acts have been in operation now for something like seven years and a considerable inroad has been made upon the problem since 1924. If the revenue position were better than it is, this Bill might possibly have been more generous, but that is a consideration which we cannot remove from observation at the moment. It may be that if we see an improvement, this particular grant might be reconsidered but at the present moment I am not in a position to justify any change in the financial side of the Bill as it stands.

The case that was made on the last amendment, as the President said, is practically the same case that could be made for this, except that this amendment is not so wide and it confines the grants to a definite class of person. It provides for a farmer whose sole or main source of living is derived from land the valuation of which does not exceed £15. That is limiting the persons to whom it is proposed to apply this amendment to a certain definite section of the population. Undoubtedly there might be additional funds required. I do not know to what extent. I do not know if anybody could tell right off what the extent would be to which money would be required at present. But if the amendment were passed an estimate could be made between now and the Report Stage. Again I repeat what one of my colleagues said speaking on the last amendment, when it is so easy to find £250,000 for other purposes, desirable purposes no doubt, it is reasonable to believe that some additional money could be found for such eminently desirable purposes as this is.

This is not an amendment to provide additional money.

No. I am not proposing that we provide additional money, but the President said speaking to the last amendment that it would be necessary and in case it were necessary, it is possible he would know where to find it.

We must discuss the amendment on some other basis.

The case is a good one for this amendment. I know a considerable amount or at least an average amount about housing conditions in Dublin. I know much less about housing conditions in rural areas, but I know enough to know that the conditions of housing in rural areas amongst small farmers is not anything like what it ought to be. Housing in fact is in a deplorable condition in many counties. It is quite true that the present might not be the most auspicious moment in which to find money. It is quite true that it is more difficult to find money now than it was in 1924 or 1925 or 1926. But the money was not found in these earlier years, and no real attempt was made to tackle this problem of rural housing any more than there was a satisfactory attempt made to tackle the question of urban housing. The attempt must be made some time and the sooner the better. The case is a good one considering the class of people it is intended to benefit under this amendment and I think the House ought to support it.

The speech we have just listened to is on a par with every contribution to this debate made by the same Deputy. He tells us that nothing has been done. The fact of the matter is that 11,245 houses have been provided, and the Government contribution up to date is £712,000. As far as this particular amendment is concerned, it is practically the same as the last. The proposal is that, whether a house is insanitary or not the £45 is to be found. Well, it can be found out of the £25,000, but it simply means that only half the number will be provided. As I have said already, the financial basis of this Bill is on the assumption that the ratepayers will contribute a quota of an equal amount with the taxpayers. That basis runs through the whole of the measure. This has nothing whatever to do with the £250,000. There seems to be a great deal of dissatisfaction about the discovery of that particular money. The sum of money provided in respect of housing for the last ten years is £2,500,000. Whether that can go on at the same pace for the next ten years I am unable to say. The finances made available in this Bill are finances which, in the opinion of the Executive Council, represent the capacity of the taxpayers to bear. That is one of the main considerations in connection with the solution of any problem. It will be equally the main consideration for any Government other than this Government.

This amendment will have to be discussed on the understanding that the money must be found within the £25,000.

I will discuss it on that understanding. I am glad the President realises that the financial situation in the country has nothing to do with this amendment. The question at issue is whether within the limits of £25,000 we are going to adopt the principle of grading our housing grants in accordance with the financial position of the persons to be assisted. The President has indicated the number of houses built under various Housing Acts. Who are the people occupying these houses? Are they the people who are in most urgent need of houses? The fact is that about 50 per cent. of the houses erected are five-roomed houses costing £500 to £600 to build.

The figure is more likely to be £300 to £400.

I have the exact figures here.

Has the Deputy the figures for the rural areas?

The average cost in 1929 was £530.

That is the average cost for the cities, taken with the country.

It is the average for the whole country.

That is the point. There is a difference as between the cities and towns and the rural districts.

A greater volume of the assistance given by the State to housing has gone to the people who, although in need of houses, were much less urgently in need of houses than those whom it is intended to assist under this amendment.

Will the Deputy give us some information on that point?

We may take that as being so by reason of the fact that about 50 per cent. of the houses were five-roomed houses, about 30 per cent. were four-roomed, and there was a smaller percentage of three-roomed houses. All that would seem to suggest that the greater part of the money was given to better class persons who sought to avail of the Housing Acts. The purpose of the amendment is to endeavour to secure out of the £25,000 a maximum assistance to persons in rural areas who are in need of houses and who cannot afford to finance the erection of a house for themselves. As Deputy Clery said some time ago, a large number of people got assistance under the Housing Acts who themselves would have built houses in any case even if there had been no grants available. People who are earning a living out of agriculture upon farms with a valuation of £15 or less cannot build houses unless assisted with a substantial grant. We believe that the proposed grant of £20, even with a grant of £20 from the local authority, will not be adequate as far as these people are concerned, and in their cases this measure will be inoperative because they will be unable to provide the balance necessary even for a three-roomed house.

£25,000 is the limit which the President says the State can afford to give in grants under this part of the Bill. If that is so, I think it is desirable that we should try and ensure that that money will go to those who need houses most and go to them in a manner which will enable them to avail of it to improve their housing accommodation. That is the purpose of the amendment and that is why we are proposing it. It raises a different issue altogether from that raised on the last amendment and one which should be very seriously considered before being rejected.

In the absence of information from the Government as to what their commitments are in so far as this £25,000 is concerned, it is very hard to have any kind of an intelligent discussion on the matter. I take it that the £25,000 mentioned by the Minister and the President is in connection with houses started within the last five or six months and as to which a promise has been made by the Minister that a certain grant will be paid. Am I correct in that?

I should have said £30,000. That is the position.

I agree with Deputy Lemass and I think that special consideration ought to be given to the small farmers whose houses are practically falling down and who, in many cases, would require to build new houses. I also agree with Deputy Lemass that certain speculators have been provided with money to build houses, and I suggest to the Minister and the President that they themselves even never intended that these people should be helped through the medium of an Act specially introduced for the housing of the working classes. I know of cases where private speculators have built houses and got grants of £60 and in some cases £80. They also got a rebate of rates. They took full advantage of that when assessing the rents and as a result are drawing 15 per cent. profit on their money. I would be sorry to think that that was the intention of the President in introducing these Acts which were called Acts for the housing of the working classes. I suggest that it is small farmers and people of that type that we ought to consider in a Bill of this kind before we consider giving anything at all to people who are well able to build houses for themselves without receiving any grant. From that angle I ask the Minister to reconsider his decision in connection with the amendment of Deputy Allen.

This amendment proposes that a grant of £45 should be given to people with a valuation of £15 or under, and has been attacked by the President on entirely different grounds from those on which he attacked the other amendment. He attacked this amendment by saying that it was not specified that only people with insanitary houses could get a grant, while he attacked the other amendment because it was confined to people living in insanitary houses. He cannot have it both ways. The last amendment was defeated because the President said it was confined to people living in insanitary houses. He wants this amendment defeated because it is not confined to people living in insanitary houses. That is a ridiculous attitude to take up and he cannot be serious in it. If that is his argument against the amendment, we would be willing to confine the amendment to people living in insanitary houses. Would the President accept it then? Of course he would not. He would not even think it worth while to consider it even then. Surely he cannot be serious. Surely an amendment of this kind is not a frivolous one. He should realise that when we laid down the valuation of persons who should get this grant and confine it to people who derived their livelihood from the land, we had in mind people living in insanitary houses. The President, if he knew anything of the insanitary conditions under which farmers have to live, should know that it is people with valuations of £15 and under who are living in the insanitary houses. Surely the President should give us credit for these intentions, but I suppose he will not. When he cannot attack this amendment from one point of view he goes back on his previous argument on another amendment and attacks it from another point of view. That is not a lead that should be given by the President. The President should discuss this matter on a higher plane.

In justice to everybody who is concerned with the insanitary conditions under which the people live this should be dealt with in a fair way and there should be some decent way of tackling the question of insanitary dwellings. The President's argument was that if we give a grant of £45 to people whose valuation is under £15 we will limit the number of houses to be built. I would even approve of that. I would prefer that less houses should be built, provided it is ensured that they are built for people with insanitary houses. Under the President's scheme people with very good housing accommodation will be able to build houses and they will be the only people who can afford to avail of the Bill in rural areas. Would it not be better to make it possible for people living in insanitary houses to build than to allow them to continue to live in disease-ridden houses? It would be much better to do it by this method. As the other amendment was defeated, it would be a good gesture and something decent on the part of the President to accept this amendment. I do not think that any Government Deputy will say that this is unfair or unjust to any section of the community anxious to build houses. It is as a matter of fact a method of meeting them and giving them a chance to build. When the justice of the case has to be admitted, could not the President meet us and accept the amendment?

I am in sympathy with the principle of the amendment, but, on the whole, I think it would not be fair to give a grant of £45 to farmers whose valuation does not exceed £15 and only give £20 to farmers, say, with a valuation of £16. Deputies forget one very material fact in connection with the giving either of a grant of £45 or of £20, and that is that the grant is contingent on the local authority in whose area the house is to be erected, making a similar grant. As I have said over and over again in this House, there is a limit to what this country can afford by way of subsidies and in the near future I hope to see subsidies done away with altogether and the building industry standing on its own legs. If unemployment increases here, the building or repairing of houses will be of very little avail. It would be better to devote any money that we have at our disposal towards giving employment rather than building or repairing houses. My chief objection to the amendment is that it is class legislation. Deputy Clery may laugh, but I should like him to show where it is not.

You are trying to get a way out of it.

You are giving £45 to one class of farmer and £20 to another. As far as I can see, in the present financial position of the country we cannot afford very much more.

A fully-fledged Government Deputy.

I may be a Government Deputy or I may not, according to Deputy Clery, but I am always prepared to face facts. I have done as much as anybody else to have houses erected for the working classes and o help people who needed houses badly. If this amendment is accepted, it would mean a great deal of extra work on the Local Government Department. It will mean that officials will have to be sent round the country to see that the valuation of those who apply for the grant is under £15 and that will mean a great deal of extra expense. On the whole, I think the Government are doing very well in providing the money they have provided, with the limited means at their disposal, in an attempt to solve the housing problem. I think it is only by the co-operation of all classes that any definite advance can be made in regard to the provision of houses.

I would be the last to wish to make any distinction in the matter of housing between town dwellers and the rural population, but I would like the Minister to take note of the fact that there is much complaint particularly amongst small farmers regarding this housing grant. Houses are badly wanted for the workers in the towns, but the small farmers say that either directly or indirectly they have to pay a good deal of the money for these schemes and that they get very little advantage out of them. Deputy Coburn spoke of the necessity of giving employment. We know the condition under which the small farmer lives, and we know that the small farmer could hardly live on his farm unless he had a son or two to help him. They often remain with their fathers until 40 years of age. As we know, the farmers' sons cannot now emigrate, and surely it would be giving employment if the farmer got this grant of £45 to help to build or reconstruct his house. They could do a great deal more work upon their houses for £45 than a town dweller could do. We have had reference to the housing of the working classes. I consider that the hardest of all workers in the country is the small farmer. I call him nothing but a worker, and a very hard worker at that. There is very great need for an amendment, such as that we are now discussing. Among the small farmers of Galway, I know many cases myself. It surely would not necessitate sending officials through the country ascertaining valuations when we know it has been the duty of the Land Commission and the Land Registry to find out the valuation of every man's farm. Is Deputy Coburn so simple as to believe the Land Commission does not know the valuation of farms. I do not think that it is making any great distinction, considering the operations of previous Acts, that this grant should be made to anyone with a valuation of £15 and under.

The figures I have given do not include the Gaeltacht figures which would send the number up to close on 14,000 and the money up to close on £1,000,000.

Again, I submit that the President is only introducing these figures to side step the amendment which relates to the sum of £25,000 and raises the question whether or not we are to separate that in the form of £20 grants, some of which will go to people who do not need them or take some part of it for giving the £45 grant to the people who need it most. That is the issue.

There is a bigger issue. What is to happen to a man whose valuation is £15 1s., or £16 or even £18? The valuation is no true index at all.

Mr. O'Connell

Why fix the limits of the amount in Section 29 of £30? What about the man with, perhaps, £30 1s.?

What has the Deputy to say about it?

Why fix £30 and £25?

We will take that when it is raised. We are dealing now with the question that Deputy Lemass is particular about. I shall wait for whatever is to be said on that and deal with it when it arises. He wants £25,000 to supply only half the number. The Deputy says we should take a certain valuation. A man with a valuation of £15 1s. is out, but a valuation of £15 is in. If the Deputy takes that line obviously valuation must be perfect all over the country. We know it is not. We know that there are cases of men with £12 valuation who are much better off than people who have an £18 valuation.

I do not care how the President seeks to find people that need assistance most. He may count their cattle, sheep, or their pigs, but the valuation is the more practical test. It may not operate perfectly fairly as between the £15 and the £16, but it will operate to show that a man with a valuation under £15, whether that valuation be £14 or £13 or £11, will be able to get more assistance than the man above £15. If that is class legislation we stand for it.

Deputies do not like to be nailed to that, and Deputy Coburn has nailed them to it.

The President knows that this £25,000 is not going to be spent at all. He knows the local authorities will not put up the necessary £20, especially for speculative builders. No local authority will give the speculative builder £20 under this Act, if it is to go to the persons that Deputy Coburn wants it to go. This £25,000 will be here ten years hence.

Is the Deputy in serious doubt about that?

Why put down the amendment then?

To make use of the money.

You know well the £25,000 is not going to be spent.

I have taken the average county, and I know the number of houses put up, and I know what 1d. in the £ would produce. The Deputy says this is not going to go on. He comes on with this amendment, although he says now it is a joke.

Your proposal is a joke. The one hope in getting local authorities to put up this £20 is that most of this £25,000 should go to a certain class of people, namely, the small householders under £15 valuation. They will not put it up for the class of people that Deputy Coburn wants it to go to, namely, the speculative builders.

This amendment, taken by itself would command the sympathy, I think, of every Deputy in the House, but taken in connection with others on the Amendment Paper, and Deputy Allen's argument, it assumes a different aspect. I would favour the amendment if I thought it feasible. I agree with Deputy Allen that it is very unlikely that the local authorities will advance £20, but it is far more unlikely that they would advance £45. If I thought this amendment would help rural housing I would be in favour of it. Taking the Co. Cavan, the farmer with a valuation of £15 and under is the type of man who wants assistance to build a house. Most of these farmers are living in rural slums. I do not think that this amendment making £45 available in such cases, and asking the local authority to give another £45 is going to assist. If I thought it would I would vote for it, but I do not think it will.

Deputy O'Hanlon has given the most extraordinary reason for voting against this amendment. He says if it stood by itself it would command the sympathy of the House, but because he thinks it does not stand by itself he is going to vote against it. The money would not be given without the local authority. The amendment does not stand by itself, It stands with the amendment that follows, amendment 30, which proposes to delete paragraph (c) of the section, in which case the money will become available to these farmers, irrespective of whether the local authority put up any money or not. If Deputy O'Hanlon is really in sympathy with the amendment he is bound to vote for it and the next amendment. His whole problem would then be solved. He can make this money immediately available for these poor farmers. It was quite obvious that when the President rose to reply to Deputy Allen he had not read the amendment and did not know what it related to. He gave an exhibition of wriggling——

I discussed it for half an hour before I came in here to-day.

He gave an exhibition of wriggling which would do credit to the monkey house in the Zoo. "What," says he, "is to become of the poor man with a valuation of £15 1s.?" What is to become of the poor old person who is 69 years and eleven months? We do not hear any mention of knocking off a month and making the old age pension available for a person 69 years and 11 months.

That person would get it in another month.

It would be quite easy to knock the shilling off the valuation. As to the £15, if the President knows anything about legislation, or if he turns to the Gaeltacht Housing Act, he will see that the figure there is £15. A holding of £15 valuation has always been regarded as a congested holding in this country, and one to which special attention should be given. The President has not advanced a single convincing reason against the amendment.

Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá: 45; Níl: 64.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Broderick, Henry.
  • Buckley, Daniel.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Cassidy, Archie J.
  • Clery, Michael.
  • Colbert, James.
  • Cooney, Eamon.
  • Corkery, Dan.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Davin, William.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Doyle, Edward.
  • Everett, James.
  • Fahy, Frank.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Houlihan, Patrick.
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Kent, William R.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • O'Connell, Thomas J.
  • O'Kelly, Seán T.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • Powell, Thomas P.
  • Sexton, Martin.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Tubridy, John.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C.


  • Alton, Ernest Henry.
  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Blythe, Ernest.
  • Bourke, Séamus A.
  • Brodrick, Seán.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
  • Conlon, Martin.
  • Connolly, Michael P.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Crowley, James.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • Dolan, James N.
  • Doyle, Peadar Seán.
  • Esmonde, Osmond Thos. Grattan.
  • Finlay, Thomas A.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Good, John.
  • Gorey, Denis, J.
  • Hassett, John J.
  • Heffernan, Michael R.
  • Hennessy, Michael Joseph.
  • Hennessy, Thomas.
  • Hennigan, John.
  • Henry, Mark.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
  • Holohan. Richard.
  • Jordan, Michael.
  • Kelly, Patrick Michael.
  • Keogh, Myles.
  • Law, Hugh Alexander.
  • Leonard, Patrick.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
  • McDonogh, Martin.
  • MacEoin, Seán.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • Mongan, Joseph W.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, James E.
  • Myles, James Sproule.
  • Nally, Martin Michael.
  • Nolan, John Thomas.
  • O'Connell, Richard.
  • O'Connor, Bartholomew.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
  • O'Hanlon, John F.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, The.
  • O'Reilly, John J.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Reynolds, Patrick.
  • Rice, Vincent.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).
  • Thrift, William Edward.
  • Tierney, Michael.
  • White, Vincent Joseph.
  • Wolfe, George.
  • Wolfe, Jasper Travers.
Tellers: Tá:—Deputies G. Boland and Allen; Níl: Deputies Dolan and P.S. Doyle.
Amendment declared lost.

I move amendment 30:—

In sub-section (3) to delete paragraph (c).

The paragraph of the sub-section which I propose to omit is that which restricts the grant of £20 to cases in which the local authority shall be willing to supplement that with an equivalent sum. This is a comparatively minor question—a question of detail and of administration. I am not myself aware why the Minister has for, I think, the first time imported this condition into a provision dealing with grants. I am not voicing a particular or a local grievance. I think it is only fair to say that my own county has benefited quite considerably under previous Acts. We have had a very considerable number of houses built in County Donegal with the aid of the various grants obtainable in previous years. I do not know the exact number but I know from my own observation that the number is considerable. Under the Housing (Gaeltacht) Act, the poorer quarters of the county have benefited, I understand, to the extent of about 500 houses, at a cost of something like £36,000. I am not voicing, therefore, a particular grievance. Further, having regard to the character of the operation of recent housing Acts, I do feel that it may reasonably be said that it is now the turn of the cities. The main purpose of this Bill is the removal of the slum problem. For that reason, I am prepared loyally to acquiesce in the decision already come to by which the amount available for grants in the future will be cut down to a relatively small sum. At the same time, I do not wish to see that sort of housing outside the Gaeltacht area come entirely to an end. It is the opinion of people whom I consulted that this restriction will act adversely on housing in the rural districts.

I agree with the argument put forward by Deputy Law, but it is not our intention that by the deletion of this paragraph we shall prevent the local authority giving any assistance it thought fit—£20 or more —to encourage people to build houses. We should like to leave the local authority free to give such grants. Possibly some of them might be prepared to go further and give larger grants than are provided for in this paragraph. We do think that the effect of this sub-section will be to stop house-building in several counties. The rural elements are complaining that rates are so high that it would be very difficult to induce local authorities to expend further moneys in this way. But that would not apply all round. There are areas where housing conditions are bad and where rates are high. Still, local authorities might be induced to make grants and in such areas house-building would be continued. But if the law be enacted as suggested in this Bill, and if the grant is made absolutely contingent on the granting of a similar subsidy by the local authority, the local authority will not, in many cases, do its part and, therefore, the arrangement will fall through. We can still leave it open to the local authorities to give this grant of £20 or more—give it, as it was before, by remission of rates on a sliding scale or in any other way, subject to the Minister's approval. There is a widespread opinion amongst my colleagues that the insertion of this restriction will have a bad effect upon the continuance of house-building.

I cannot agree with Deputy Law that there is anything minor about this amendment. All through this Bill, the State undertakes to provide loans to private persons, local authorities and public utility societies for building houses.

The grants that have been given to private persons are coming down on a reduced scale. We are near the time when grants to private persons ought to stop. The State provides capital for private persons and local bodies to build houses. Where a subsidy is being given either towards the building of houses in order to take people from insanitary dwellings, to build houses for the poorer classes or for the better paid working classes, the principle runs through the Bill that so far as there is a direct financial subsidy approximately half of that is given by the local authority and half by the State. If we do that in the case of housing in order to replace insanitary dwellings for the very poor, we certainly can afford to do it in the case of private persons. During the last seven years 467 houses have been built in the County Roscommon by private persons under the Housing Acts. In the same period the number built in Galway was 973. Progress can be continued in both counties at the same progress as is indicated in those figures by the local authority giving a grant of £20 from the rates. In Roscommon that can be done by the striking a rate of a penny in the £, and in Galway by a rate of 1½d. in the £. If, after all that has been said about the boon and the benefit it is to the various counties to have housing activity of that kind going on, the local authorities in Roscommon and Galway do not consider it worth while to strike a rate of 1d. and of 1½d. in the £, respectively, to maintain that activity, then that will confirm me in the opinion that the time has come to stop grants to private persons. For these reasons the amendment moved by Deputy Law and Deputy O'Kelly hits at a very important matter and is not acceptable.

The Minister forgot to mention that not alone do the local authorities give a grant equivalent to the Government grant, but they give more than the Government inasmuch as they give rebate of a certain amount of the rate payable on houses over a period, I think, of seven years. In view of that I think the Minister ought to give consideration to the amendment.

There is a remission of two-thirds of the rates for seven years.

That means that the contribution made by the local authority is greater than the contribution given by the Government.

In view of the Minister's attitude I ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment 31:—In sub-section (3) (d), line 23, to delete the figures "750" and substitute the figures "950."

In connection with this amendment perhaps I might refer to the amendment proposing to delete sub-sections (4) and (5). As these sub-sections stand there is a remission of two-thirds of the rates for seven years in the case of houses built with the floor area mentioned in Section 3 (d) (2). We propose deleting sub-sections (4) and (5), and putting in amendment 35 instead. By that amendment we are securing that if a house is built, even though the local authority does not give the £20, and that, therefore, the State does not give the £20, it will still be entitled to the seven years' remission of rates if the floor area is that mentioned in Section 3 (d) (2). I am seeking by this amendment to increase the floor area from 750 square feet to 950 square feet. The general financial result of that on buildings in urban areas will be this: The 950 square feet is intended to force building down to the type of building that the better class worker wants, that is to say, to force builders away from the £1,000 figure. At the moment the tendency on the part of speculative builders is to build houses round about the figure of £900. We want to force building down towards the class, above that of the ordinary working classes, that wants houses. That is why we reduce, in respect to urban areas, the floor area down to 950 square feet which would be about the floor area of a five-roomed house. In urban areas the position with regard to houses will be that a house that comes under the 950 square feet category can get the £20, plus the £20 from the local authority, with the seven years' remission of rates. That type of house will also be entitled to get a loan under the Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Act if the floor area is above 950 square feet and under 1,250 square feet. There will be no grant, but there will be seven years' remission of rates. If the floor area is above 750 square feet, and if the value of the house is not more than £1,000, then in respect of that class of house a loan under the Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Act will also be available, but the remission of two-thirds of the rates will be only for five years as laid down in the Local Government Act. In the case of rural areas, houses with an area of 1,250 square feet can be given the grant, and in these cases also the remission of rates will be available.

If the grant is not given will there be a remission of rates all the same?

I would like to know from the Minister if he is prepared to increase the figure in respect to area from 950 to 1,000, and whether he has any definite plan in mind in relation to the particular figure that he mentions. In Dublin, at present, houses are being built for £750. The difference between the £750 house and the £1,000 house is very considerable. I am not personally interested in this, but from copies of plans which I have in my possession it would seem to me that a very serious disadvantage would result if the area of houses to be built was not at least 1,000 square feet. As between the Minister's proposal and what I suggest there is only a difference of 50 square feet. I would be glad if, before the Report Stage, the Minister would give me an opportunity of demonstrating these facts to him. I think it is very important that houses selling at £750, which are very useful to the type of people who can afford that amount, clerks and some civil servants, should not be cut off altogther.

This matter has been the subject of a very considerable amount of conversations between myself and some of the builders in the city. As I understand their figures, the thousand square feet house is going to be £750. Someone must build houses between the class costing £750 and the houses the local authority is providing. What is happening at the present moment is that builders are building high up. Between the type of person whom the local authority is serving and the person whom the speculative builder is serving or the person served by the public utility society, there is a very big class of persons willing and capable of paying either rent or even buying a £500, a £600 or a £650 house. What is happening is that that class of person is not able to get a house either to rent or to buy. Some of them are being forced into houses costing £750 to £850, houses for which they are not economically able to pay. It is in an attempt to induce, by a certain amount of force, the speculative builders to build houses of an area of 950 square feet, that we offer them a grant below that figure. If they build between that and 1,250 they cannot get a grant, but they get seven years' remission of rates. If they do not go beyond £1,000 they can get the benefit of the Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Act. I think in view of the gap that exists between the houses which the builders are providing and local authorities are providing, that it is only reasonable to restrict the grant in urban areas to houses of 950 square feet or below that.

I suggest that the speculative builders have already come down to the price of £750 without any of this special pressure. If you are going to incapacitate them in their work in this way, I suggest it will tend to put off still further that far off day when we all hope that a sufficient number of houses will be produced.

The £750 house will come down to £650 sooner if some inducement is offered to the builder to come down to that figure under some workable scheme.

I am trying to give a certain amount of inducement and I certainly suggest to the House that it is in the right direction.

Amendment put and agreed to.

I move Amendment 32:

In sub-section (3) (d), line 29, to delete the word "March" and substitute the word "January."

If this amendment were not inserted it might mean that the building of a house which might be started in January, might be held over until March. This will enable building to be begun earlier under the Act.

Amendment agreed to.

I move Amendment 33:

"To delete sub-sections (4) and (5)."

I have explained that the deletion of these two sub-sections and the substitution of amendment 35 is to make the seven years' remission or two-thirds of the rates, independent of whether the house gets a grant or not.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 59, as amended, stand."

There was a case mentioned to me to-day of an urban council which had built houses and had sold some of them and who have the money in hands for building. They intend to build further houses, but they are wondering now if they build without having to raise a loan whether they will be entitled to claim the grants that are available.

Although they have not to raise a loan because they have money?

We would be very glad if there was a lot more like them.

I was asked to raise the question so that they could get an assurance that although they have not to raise money, the grants would be available for them.

Question put and agreed to.

Amendments 33 (a) and 34 to this Section are out of order because they clearly seek to increase the charge.

Question proposed: "That Section 60 stand part of the Bill.

Arising out of this section I wonder if the Minister has got a copy of a printed circular sent to me. I got it this morning from one of my colleagues. It contains a resolution of the Tuam Town Commissioners which says:

"It has come to our knowledge that the dwelling houses recently built by the Town Commissioners are not entitled to a remission of rates under the Housing (Building Facilities) Act because the said dwelling houses were provided under the Housing of the Working Classes Acts."

By the local authority itself.

Cannot the local authority give a remission in that case?

I was under the impression they could and I was surprised to get this circular. Will the Minister explain that?

It is because the local authority provides a subsidised house under the Working Classes Acts, subsidised not only from the State, but subsidised from themselves. They fix a rent that is within the capacity of the occupier, taking into consideration that he has to pay rates as well. It would be only giving another concealed subsidy to the tenant to relieve the tenant of rates in the case of a house built by the local authorities.

These people say that the persons to whom they have let the houses are paying the full economic rent of the house and therefore that they should be entitled to a remission of rates on that ground. That is the main claim on which they base their statements.

I do not know what the full economic rent might be.

I do not know the details and I do not know the houses. I just got that resolution and it seems to me that they should get encouragement in that direction.

The local authority down there has seen fit to fix a rent for these persons in the knowledge that they will have to pay rates as well. That is entirely the local authority's own doing.

In that connection it is a question of adjustment. It is in the local authority's own hands.

They claim it is not in their own hands.

You can take it from me that the Minister does not unduly interfere in cases like that.


Section 60 to my mind is the most important section of the whole Bill. On this section depends whether local authorities can see their way to go any further with housing in their areas or not. The President to-day stated that if this Bill had been introduced this time last year better provisions might have been made. He said a serious situation has arisen. There is a reduction in the yield from taxation. That certainly is obvious to everybody. We all admit there is a reduction in the yield from taxation and we agree that steps have to be taken by the Government with a view to balancing the Budget of this year. If there is a reduction in the yield from taxation I think everyone will agree that that applies to every citizen and that the capacity of the people for whom local councils are supposed to provide houses will be lowered also. Notwithstanding that fact the provisions of this Bill have created a situation which will render it impossible for a local authority to provide a house for a worker in their particular area at a rent which he will be able to meet.

As I said on the Second Reading of this Bill, I would far prefer the financial provisions under which we have been working up to this. I know that the Minister will meet me with an argument by saying that even though the financial position is comparatively worse now than it has been under the grant system that inside of ten years the position will be better. But the position now, in my opinion, is something that we do not like. Take the position as it has prevailed up to the present. The Minister has already stated that the policy of local authorities must be directed towards the provision of houses for the lower grade workers. If that is the Minister's desire he should have certainly provided better financial provisions than those in this Bill. Under the old provision in operation now a house which costs £250 with a subsidy of £60 provided by the Government, and a similar subsidy provided by a local authority, could be let at 6/- a week. The same house at £250 under the provisions of this Bill, where 30 per cent. subsidy would be paid, would cost 8/- per week. I think the Minister will agree that that is not a very desirable state of affairs. The Minister has said that the State will provide 36 per cent. of the cost of loan charges and that the local authority would provide a similar amount. The Minister has not explained how the local authorities' assistance is to be applied and I would like to hear that. I also would like to hear what the Minister's conception is of what a rent ought to be in an area where wages range from 35/- to £2 per week. I think he will find that those are the wages that prevail in most of the provincial towns in this country.

I do not want to interrupt the Deputy, but these are matters, in so far as they are not the subject of amendment, that might be dealt with on the Fifth Stage, especially as we are so near the completion of the Committee Stage and as we have an arrangement to take the final Stages to-morrow.

I have no objection. I am not speaking for the sake of criticism. I want to help the Minister in this matter in any way I can.

It might be discussed at greater leisure on the Fifth Stage. I am satisfied that the Deputy's speech on this section is on lines that might more reasonably be dealt with on the Fifth Stage.

The difficulty that I am in is that I am looking for information on this section. I do not think anybody in the House is quite clear as to the implications of the financial provisions of this section. I would hope that the Minister would agree to have the Report Stage in Committee so that we might speak two or three times, if necessary.

What does the Minister propose exactly?

My understanding of the lines upon which the Deputy was going was that it was a kind of Final Stage comment on the finances of the Measure.

What is the Minister's own proposal about these amendments that have not yet been dealt with?

There is very little in these amendments that remains to be dealt with. If they cannot be dealt with before half-past ten, I would ask to have them transferred to the Report Stage and to have the Committee Stage completed to-night.

I suggest to the Minister that it is only right that the financial provisions should be discussed on this particular section. If this important matter is left over to the Report Stage and we have the Report Stage in the usual way, it would probably be lost in the general discussions on the Bill. I certainly would like to have an opportunity of going into the finances of the Bill, and I know that there are other Deputies in the House in the same position.

What are we to do with the amendments still on the Paper?

Deputy Corish's difficulty is that he wants particularly to discuss Section 60. In so far as he is not proposing to discuss Section 60 in the light of an amendment he need not do it at this stage.

I am in this difficulty: That the amendment that I would like to make would be out of order. I hope that I shall be able to persuade the Minister that these terms are not sufficiently good.

If there is not agreement we can do nothing at all. If there is agreement we can either postpone these amendments and order the Bill to be printed as now amended, or insert all the Ministerial amendments that remain and order the Bill to be printed, so that it will be available in the morning, and on the Report Stage we could take amendments 36, 37, and 40 in their appropriate places.

So long as you do not restrict discussion too much on Section 60.

Of course, in the light of this arrangement now, I could hardly.

Sections 60 and 61 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

First and Second Schedules agreed to.

Third Schedule, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.


The following amendments in the name of the Minister for Local Government and Public Health were agreed to:—

42. In the second column to delete amendment 1 and substitute the following:—

"1. In sub-section (7) of Section 8 for the words ‘they think fit' there shall be substituted the words ‘the Minister thinks fit' and for the words from ‘any person' to and including ‘compulsorily' the words ‘any owner of any lands included in a clearance order or compulsory purchase order made under this Part of this Act' and for the word ‘scheme' at the end of the said sub-section the word ‘order.'"

43. In the second column to insert after amendment 5 the following:—

"6. In sub-section (3) of Section 47 the words from ‘or the time' to the end of the sub-section shall be omitted."

44. In the second column, page 33, after amendment 8 and before line 8 to add the following:—

"9. In article 6 of the Second Schedule for the word ‘three' there shall be substituted the word ‘two.'"

Fourth Schedule, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

The Dáil went out of Committee.
Bill reported with amendments.
Report Stage ordered to be taken to-morrow, 27th November.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m.