Perhaps, I should point out again to Deputy Thrift, as I pointed out when the question was under discussion here in the Dáil, that before the Minister confirms a compulsory acquisition order, if objection is taken to the order, a public inquiry will be held. The owners of the property will have ample opportunity of putting forward every possible objection or every conceivable objection to the compulsory order. If the owner of the property feels that the amenities of his holding will be seriously interfered with, he will take steps, undoubtedly, to have such representations brought before the Minister's notice. The Minister, in determining whether the order should be confirmed or not, will take into consideration, undoubtedly, all the objections that have been raised by the interested parties. It is another matter altogether, however, to open up a channel of litigation by which the question of how far the amenities might be interfered with should be determined in a court. I do not think there is any reason for anxiety on the score of leaving such a matter to be determined by the Minister. I am quite sure that the owners of the property in question would be as safe in the hands of the Minister as they would be in the hands of a judge.
On the other point of the question of the suitability of an alternative site, who is to determine whether or not such a site is suitable as a hospital site? I suggest that the Minister is really a better judge of the suitability of a hospital site than the judge of a court, because the Minister has his technical advisers, has expert advice at his disposal, and is dealing, practically every day, in the course of the discharge of his ministerial duties, with matters of a similar nature. The very strong objection to the amendment is that, regardless of whether the amenities of a holding are seriously interfered with or not, if the owner of a site that is proposed to be acquired wants to give trouble and to prolong the agony, so to speak, he will go into court and it will have to be determined in the court whether or not an equally suitable site is available and whether the amenities are seriously interfered with by the acquisition of the site. The owner, as I say, can prolong the litigation, and, while the matter is being determined in the court, the people in the neighbourhood of the site are being deprived of their hospital and our whole hospitalisation scheme is being held up. If it were not for the urgency of some of these cases and the necessity of putting the hospitalisation scheme into effect, there would be no objection to it at all. The real difficulty is the difficulty of getting sites. The area of selection is limited. Our hospitals in the main, must be in urban districts, and the number of suitable sites in such districts is exceedingly small. If, following an inquiry, and having carefully examined all the evidence for and against the compulsory order, the Minister, in his judicial capacity, decides that the particular site is the most suitable site and that no serious hardship is being inflicted on anybody by acquiring that site, I do not think that our schemes of hospitalisation should be held up by a process of prolonged litigation.