Committee on Finance. - Supplementary Estimate. Vote 52—Lands.

I move :—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £10 chun íoetha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1941, chun Tuarastail agus Costaisí Oifigí an Aire Tailte agus Choimisiún Talmhan na hEireann (44 agus 45 Vict. c. 49, a. 46, agus c. 71, a. 4; 48 agus 49 Vict., c. 73, ailt 17, 18 agus 20; 54 agus 55 Vict., c. 48; 3 Edw. 7, c. 37; 7 Edw. 7, c. 38; agus c. 56; 9 Edw. 7, c. 42; Uimh. 27 agus Uimh. 42 de 1923; Uimh. 25 de 1925; Uimh. 11 de 1926; Uimh. 19 de 1927; Uimh. 31 de 1929; Uimh. 11 de 1931; Uimh. 33 agus Uimh. 38 de 1933; Uimh. 11 de 1934; Uimh. 41 de 1936; agus Uimh. 26 de 1939).

That a sum not exceeding £10 be granted to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending 31st March, 1941, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Offices of the Minister for Lands and of the Irish Land Commission (44 and 45 Vict., c. 49, c. 46, and c. 71, s. 4; 48 and 49 Vict., c. 73, ss. 17, 18 and 20; 54 and 55 Vict., c. 48; 3 Edw. 7, c. 37; 7 Edw. 7, c. 38, and c. 56; 9 Edw. 7, c. 42; Nos. 27 and 42 of 1923; No. 25 of 1925; No. 11 of 1926; No. 19 of 1927; No. 31 of 1929; No. 11 of 1931; Nos. 33 and 38 of 1933; No. 11 of 1934; No. 41 of 1936; and No. 26 of 1939).

This Supplementary Estimate arises ia very exceptional circumstances. Unforeseen charges have been incurred by the Land Commission under three categories which are not included in the sub-heads of the Vote for Lands, and it becomes necessary, therefore, to ask Dáil Eireann to approve of the supplementary provision of the amount required, In fact, the full £305 needed to offset the charges could be made good out of savings on other sub-heads of the Vote for Lands, but in order to preserve the proprieties of law and accountancy it is necessary to introduce a token Estimate for the nominal sum of £10: that is to say, £295 of the £305 will be found out of savings on other sub-heads and the remaining £10 forms the subject of this Supplementary Estimate.

The three matters on which these charges, technically described as losses, have been incurred are as follows:—

(1) In the acquisition by the Land Commission of lands on the estate of Eastwood and others, County Louth, for the relief of congestion under the Land Acts 1923-39, the lands were taken over by the Land Commission at a provisional price (in 4 per cent. Land Bonds) which was subsequently increased by the Appeal Tribunal. The lands on the Estate comprise an area held in fee simple and an area held subject to an ordinary land purchase annuity together with an annuity in redemption of a superior rent. The Land Commission apportioned the price for each of these areas, and their price for the second area would have been sufficient to cover the redemption of both the annuities charged on it. However, the Appeal Tribunal, on hearing an appeal on price by the owners, increased the total price for the whole estate, but altered the apportionment of this price between the two component areas in such a way that the price put on lands subject to the two annuities was reduced to a sum insufficient to discharge the amount utilised to redeem the annuities. The question then arose of how the discrepancy between the redemption money and the purchase price was to be met, and the sanction of the Minister for Finance has been obtained to the recoupment of the Land Bond Fund to the amount of £120 cash, comprising capital and dividends.

This is the first time such a contingency has arisen and, a case of the kind is not likely to recur.

(2) The second matter concerns an accident which occurred in the making of improvement works in Offaly for which the Land Commission was held by the court liable to provide compensation. A foal fell into a drain pit and was killed, and the owner obtained a decree against the Land Commission for the sum of £21 4s. 6d. covering compensation and costs. The Minister for Finance has directed that this amount be charged against a Losses sub-head of the Vote.

(3) The third matter offers a good illustration of the difficulties of detail with which the Land Commission have to contend in the acquisition and division of lands. On the acquisition (by consent) of certain lands in County Wicklow from the owner, it was arranged that the tree-lined avenue leading to his residence should be excluded from the sale, but owing to the difficulty of delineating precise boundaries on a small-scale map, portion of the avenue which the Land Commission had not, in fact, acquired was incorrectly vested in the allottee of the adjoining land. Dispute consequently arose between the owner and the allottee, involving the added question of a right of way over the avenue, and it became necessary to bring the whole matter before the Judicial Commissioner of the Land Commission. Under his ruling the boundary was rectified by amending order, subject to the payment by the Land Commission of due compensation to the allottee and of the costs incurred. Such payment (which has been sanctioned by the Minister for Finance) amounts to approximately £163 for compensation, interest thereon, and costs.

Vote put, and agreed to.