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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 19 Feb 1941

Vol. 81 No. 13

Cork City Management (Amendment) Bill, 1940—Committee Stage.

Sections 1 to 10, inclusive, agreed to.

I move amendment No. 1:—

Before sub-section (3), page 5, to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

(3) Section 16 of the Principal Act is hereby amended by the deletion in sub-section (1) thereof of the words "the town clerk" and the substitution in lieu thereof of the words "such other officer of the Corporation as the Manager, with the consent of the Minister, from time to time appoints for that purpose."

When a vacancy arises in the office of town clerk that position will be merged in that of the city manager. In the Principal Act it is provided that the town clerk shall countersign. What is proposed in this amendment is that the city manager will nominate some officer who will countersign.

That is, when the present town clerk ceases to function?

When the office of town clerk becomes merged in the office of city manager, which will happen when the former office becomes vacant.

It really means getting two signatures?

A very advisable proposal.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 11, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 12 and 13 agreed to.
(3) On and after the 1st day of April, 1941, all sums received by the Corporation, whether from rates or from sources other than rates, shall be paid to the borough treasurer of the Corporation and, save as is hereinafter otherwise provided, the receipt alone of the borough treasurer shall be a good discharge to the person paying the same, and all such sums shall be paid by the treasurer into the municipal fund
(5) No payments, except such payments as are duly authorised in accordance with this Act, shall be made out of the municipal fund and every payment so authorised shall be made by the borough treasurer.

I move amendment No. 2:—

Before Section 14 to insert a new section as follows:—

(1) The Corporation shall appoint a banking company to act as treasurer of the Corporation for the purpose of receipts and payments of money and the keeping of accounts of such receipts and payments.

(2) Every power and duty conferred or imposed on the treasurer of a borough for any purpose other than the purposes referred to in sub-section (1) of this section shall, in the case of the borough, be exercised and performed—

(a) where the offices of Manager and Town Clerk are held by the same person — by the officer of the Corporation who countersigns orders under sub-section (1) of Section 16 of the Principal Act as amended by this Act, and

(b) where the offices of Manager and Town Clerk are not held by the same person — by such officer of the Corporation as the Manager, with the consent of the Minister, from time to time appoints for that purpose.

The County Borough of Cork has no personal borough treasurer and the duties of the borough treasurer are, in fact, carried out by a principal official who is a chartered accountant and partly by a banking company. This is for the purpose of regularising the position that already exists.

That means that the bank will deal with stocks, etc., that might be sold.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 3:—

In sub-section (3), page 6, lines 37 and 39, in sub-section (4), line 48, and in sub-section (5), line 51, to delete the word "borough".

This is consequential on No. 2.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 4:—

In sub-section (5), page 6, line 50, to insert before the word "this" the words "the Principal Act as amended by".

Payments are authorised by Section 16 of the Principal Act. This amendment is inserted in order to ensure that all payments, whether made under this Act or under the Principal Act, will be duly authorised.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 14, as amended, agreed to.
Section 15 to 19, inclusive, agreed to.
(2) Whenever the Minister receives an application by the corporation under this section, he may, after holding a local inquiry in respect of the extension to which such application relates and after considering any representations made to him by the council of the county of Cork, either make a provisional order giving effect to the extension to which such application relates without modification or with such modifications (whether by way of increase or diminution) as he shall think proper or refuse such application

I move amendment No. 5:—

Before Section 20, to insert a new section as follows:—

(1) The council, by resolution passed under this section and for the passing of which not less than two-thirds of the members of the council shall have voted, may authorise the expenditure by the corporation of moneys on the decoration of the city for occasions of public rejoicing or for other appropriate occasions.

(2) Every resolution passed under this section shall specify the occasion for which the decoration of the city wholly or partly at the expense of the corporation is to be authorised by such resolution and the amount which is to be expended by the corporation on such decoration.

(3) Subject to the provisions of the next following sub-section the corporation may expend moneys out of the Municipal Fund in accordance with and in so far as authorised by a resolution passed under this section but not otherwise.

(4) The aggregate amount of the expenditure of the corporation for the purposes of this section in any local financial year shall not exceed a sum equivalent to a rate of one penny in the pound of the rateable valuation of the city.

This is a case in which it is sought to bring this Act into much the same position as the corresponding Act is in, in the City of Dublin. There are no powers, as far as I can discover at present, to cover cases where the corporation in Cork spends money for the decoration of the city on special occasions. It is unlikely that this would happen very often — it may happen once in a generation. If and when it should happen, it would seem undesirable to have to pass an Act of Parliament in order to pay for it. As far as the ordinary power is concerned, it is limited in the rate that would be raised to 1d. in the £. It is a power that would be availed of but seldom, and I am sure that we could leave it to the discretion of the corporation as to whether they would exercise the power at all in any circumstances. It would be undesirable not to have it there, now that there seems to be an apprehension on the part of certain members of local authorities that their powers are being taken away from them. In this case I believe that this is a discretion that might wisely be left to them.

In the framing of this Bill the corporation has been consulted in all the stages and their approval has been obtained to, I think, practically all the provisions in the Bill. I have no objection whatever to the amendment but I would like to consult the city council before the Report Stage. There would need to be a slight amendment where the word "city" should be "borough" in the last line. Perhaps the Deputy would leave the matter over.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 6:—

Before Section 20, to insert a new section as follows:—

The corporation may agree to do all or any of the following things, that is to say, to provide, lay down, renew or maintain the branch pipes or any particular part of the branch pipes by means of which a supply of water is conveyed from the main pipe to any hereditament or tenement in the borough.

This is a power which is also in the other Act — the Act dealing with Dublin. I understand, from any examination that I have been able to make of it, that there considerable expense is put upon certain citizens of Cork who, if they were resident in Dublin and had to get the same accommodation from the Corporation in Dublin, would get it, while they have to bear the expense of getting it under this Bill, as it stands at present. Perhaps the Minister would consider this for the Report Stage also?

Yes; what I said in regard to the last amendment applies equally to this.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. Broderick

I move amendment No. 7:—

In sub-section (2), page 9, line 23, to insert after the words "county of Cork" the words "and the South Cork Board of Health."

The Bill makes provision that, if there is a demand for an inquiry by the Cork Corporation, the Minister may hold a local inquiry at which the only representation would be the Cork County Council. This amendment provides for the insertion of the words "and the South Cork Board of Health." I would point out that the disadvantage I am under here is that I have no idea to what degree the extension will take place. If the extension merely referred to corporate property or lands upon which corporate property is now built there would not be any reasonable objection to it. But if the extension of the Borough of Cork, on the demand of the Cork Corporation, is to include—what was formerly meant to be included—the extension of the suburban areas, then quite a different picture would present itself to us. The amendment here asks that the South Cork Board of Health be represented at that inquiry. There are two points in connection with this. In reading over this Bill, I rather feared that, if I put down an amendment asking that there should be a judicial inquiry, my motives would be interpreted as a lack of confidence in the inspector or in the Minister, but when the Minister views the enormous interests that are involved and that the area represents a rateable valuation of approximately half a million pounds — £498,000 — I think he will realise the necessity for such an inquiry.

The area concerned is certainly as large as many of your counties in this country. The board of health has put up public services there and has pledged its credit and the credit of the rest of the county to enormous expenditure. In view of the many reactions that there are in connection with this Bill, I would suggest seriously to the Minister that there should be a judicial inquiry. It must be remembered that in depriving the Cork County Council of that particular area you deprive them of a sum of 1/4 in the pound or £58,000 a year.

That affects all the public services. It affects the provision for your agricultural committees and the other interests as well, and it particularly affects your technical institution. I do not think an ordinary local inquiry, such as would be held by an inspector, would be sufficient in this connection, because such an inquiry would be one-sided. There is the question of the loss of revenue and its effects on the various services to which the Cork County Council contributes, and I think it is only fair and just that a full picture of the matter should be taken into consideration and that the full reactions on all the various bodies that depend on the Cork County Council and the Cork Board of Health should also be borne in mind. One can easily visualise what it would mean to all those interests and services if we were deprived of such an enormous amount of money.

I can speak of a precedent in this case. This is not the first time that this demand came from the Cork Corporation. About 30 years ago, or less, the same demand came, in a very acute degree, and supported very strongly, from the Cork Corporation, and a foreign Government then set up a Parliamentary Committee, which is tantamount to what I now ask for, that is, a judicial inquiry. The result of that inquiry was that the demand of the Cork Corporation was refused and Cork County, with its territory and its revenues, remained intact.

Of course. The reason is quite obvious.

Mr. Broderick

I do not know what is obvious about it. I do not wish to go into that matter, but to confine myself rigidly to the subject of the amendment. Possibly that matter will come on in a later debate, but it is quite clear that Cork Corporation would benefit enormously, and they certainly would get rateable property from us in the Cork County Council, which brings in a revenue of £58,000, but it would not be £58,000 under the Cork Corporation — it would be £126,000 on Cork's present rate of 25/6 in the £. Our urban rate is approximately 12/6, while the Cork Corporation rate is 25/6. However, as I say, I did not intend to deal with that matter in a big question of this kind, but it certainly will not be a nice thing for these people who have been paying about 12/- of a rate to have to pay 25/6. However, I shall confine myself to the rigid terms of the amendment. The first is that we ask you to incorporate the most vitally concerned portion of the Cork area, the South Cork Board of Assistance, in this inquiry, and we ask you, in view of the reactions concerned in this matter and all the interests that hang on the ultimate decision of the Ministry, to give us a judicial inquiry into this matter, as was done previously by another Government — a judicial inquiry where all affected interests would have the right to be heard.

There is another motion coming on afterwards, and a good deal of the detailed arguments will be covered in that. Accordingly, I merely move this amendment: first, for the incorporation of the South Cork Board of Health, and secondly — I have already explained my reasons for not putting down an amendment to this effect, as I did not want my attitude to be misinterpreted — I would ask, in view of the enormous reactions in this question, if such a thing is contemplated as an extension of the borough boundary, including the four divisions of the suburbs of Cork in our area, that a judicial inquiry on the matter should be held.

I wish, formally, to second the motion. I think that the South Cork Board of Health will be even more affected in this matter than the county council. We have had an enormous amount of property built there during the past few years, and we have had to take on numbers of people who have been thrown out of Cork City because they were not able to pay rent of rooms. As a result, if there is any incorporation of that area in the city we are going to suffer and lose very heavily by it. Then there is any amount of lighting facilities, sewerage, and so on, involved, and I think it would be only plain justice that the South Cork Board of Health should be allowed at least to be present and represented at such an inquiry. They are an interested body and surely they are entitled to representation. I would ask the Minister to accept the amendment.

I hope the Minister will not be influenced by the statements of Deputies Broderick and Corry, because this is a long-standing grievance, and the City of Cork has extended a much greater distance than Deputy Broderick or Deputy Corry have in mind.

Mr. Broderick

Why not take over the whole county?

It is interesting to note that the City of Cork to-day is in a smaller area than the urban area of Macroom, and I do not think people should have a grievance in this matter. If people are living in the city and enjoying all the amenities of city life, I do not see why they should not contribute towards the expenses of the carrying on of the city. Some 2,000 houses have already been built in the county area. I am not looking at it merely from the point of view of the Cork Corporation, and I think that the people there have a wider outlook on this matter than the parochial view that has been expressed here. I think it is a terrible thing that the boundary has not been extended long ago. There was an inquiry set up in that connection in 1887, and another in 1903. If it was necessary then, I do not see how Deputies Broderick and Corry should not realise how much more necessary it is now, with the development of modern transport — trams, and so on. Deputy Corry knows as well as Deputy Broderick that the residents of suburban areas are the very people who have been making a very good living out of the citizens of Cork, and for that reason we believe they should contribute towards the upkeep of the city. I hope the Minister will not make the burden on the citizens any greater but will bring in the suburbs by having the city extended.

Mr. Broderick

The incorporation of the area would vitally concern Cork County, and South Cork Board of Health, representing a valuation of £589,000. What is asked is to have a judicial inquiry set up where the position could be argued for and against. The county council desires nothing but equity and justice and is prepared to have the whole case heard before a judicial tribunal which would report to the Minister.

I do not see any objection to the amendment. I think the omission of representation of South Cork Board of Health at any inquiry is an oversight, and that that was due to the fact that the matter was conceived when other things were in the offing, for instance, the County Management Act, under which boards of health would be abolished. If the position is that this Bill could be implemented as an Act, before there is other legislation, it is only right and just that South Cork Board of Health should be represented. That body is more intimately connected with the administration of that area than the county council. I am sure it does not need any eloquence to convince the Minister that the board of health should be represented at the inquiry, and its views heard. I hope the Minister will not have any objection about accepting the amendment.

There is no request for the setting up of a judicial inquiry.

Mr. Broderick

I agree. I explained the reasons.

I do not think there is any point in the setting up of a judicial inquiry or in having any procedure other than that adopted in other cities and towns. I do not see any reason for having any different procedure. An inquiry will be held, and all interested parties will be able to attend. I understand that Deputy Broderick has in mind a judicial inquiry, and that whoever held it would report to the Minister. There is not very much difference in that proposal from an inquiry held by an inspector who reports. I am sure the inspector could elucidate the facts just as well as any judicial inquiry. As far as the amendments are concerned, the board of public health is composed of members of the Cork County Council, and is elected by the county council. It is quite obvious that an inquiry that affects the county council affects the subsidiary body, and that the county council will get all the assistance from the board of health, if it is in existence at the time. All the information will be available, and any representation that it wishes to make or any evidence will be heard. The board of health in conjunction with the county council will be able to submit a case and all the facts connected with it to whoever holds the inquiry. There is no point whatever in bringing in this amendment. A further objection, as Deputy Hurley pointed out, is that the County Management Act abolishes boards of health in the country. If the County Management Act is put into operation before any inquiry could be held, the board of health would not be in existence. Deputy Broderick need not have any worries about not bringing in the Cork Board of Public Health, because in the ordinary way it will be able, through the county council, to make any representations and to submit any facts in opposition.

Mr. Broderick

Am I to take it that by request to the inspector who holds the inquiry, every interest concerned has the right to be represented?

Of course.

Mr. Broderick

Then I ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. Broderick

I move amendment No. 8:—

At the end of the section to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

The new Borough of Cork City shall be made a separate area for board of assistance charges and Article 13 of the Cork County Scheme made under the Act of 1923 shall be hereby amended accordingly.

Nobody could make a better case for this amendment than that made by Deputy Hickey when speaking on behalf of Cork Corporation. Why should citizens who avail of the public services in the City of Cork, and who derive their livelihood and pleasures in the city, not pay for them? It is always incumbent on people who have advantages that they should share the disadvantages too. If Deputy Hickey's argument holds good in one case it should hold good in the other case, and if people have the advantages of the city why should they not have the liabilities? On that ground Deputy Hickey must agree with the amendment. He cannot have it both ways. The question affects South Cork area vitally. We have never been disposed to take a parochial view about the question but we want equity and justice. The position seems to be an extraordinary one at present. Prior to the amalgamation scheme every board of guardians was responsible for home assistance, and for health and hospital services in its area. These bodies had local knowledge and had control of the money they spent. When amalgamation came the City of Cork was enthusiastic for that scheme, particularly when it incorporated what is now known as South Cork Board of Assistance. Incidentally, the amalgamation scheme relieved the ratepayers of Cork City of £30,000, and that amount was planted on the backs of people living in rural areas, where home assistance was needed more than in the City of Cork. It has been argued that the City of Cork should be made an entity for home assistance. In the rural areas concerned with Cork I should point out that we are paying more than double the amount of rates of the entire area. Cork City pays about £47,000. In other words, they collect very nearly three times the revenue in the rural areas. But, when it comes to the distribution of that money, Cork City gets about £4,0000 more than all the rest of the county. That is a most inequitable and unjust proceeding.

In asking the Minister to make Cork City a separate entity we are only asking him to do what has been done in the City of Limerick. If Limerick is a separate entity, why should it be denied to Cork? Why should this liability on the rest of the area of £30,000 per year be perpetuated? At the present time it is more than that owing to the increased expenditure, because in the City of Cork it is necessary to give larger amounts in home assistance than in the rural areas. But the rural areas have to pay practically two-thirds of the entire amount. That is one argument for this amendment.

There can be very little administrative difficulty in adopting it, because the services can remain as they are. We can pay, as we are paying in other cases, on a capitation basis to the various boards and hospitals. All we are asking is that the City of Cork should be made a rateable area for the upkeep of its own hospitals and for home assistance, and that the rest of the area be included in one unit so that it will only be responsible for the liabilities in that area and not be carrying the City of Cork on its back, particularly as so strong a case has been made in favour of the City of Cork being one entity. It has been strongly argued that those people living outside the city boundary enjoy all the amenities of the city. Why should they not pay for the upkeep of these and for the maintenance of the poor? Under this scheme our valuation is being reduced by approximately £74,000, and our liability is being increased by the extension of the boundaries of the city. No argument can be put forward in justice or in equity for perpetuating what was done under the amalgamation scheme nearly 20 years ago, when the City of Cork was relieved of the payment of £30,000 for the upkeep of hospitals and home assistance—at the present time that liability would possibly amount to £45,000—and it was transferred to the unfortunate struggling ratepayers in the provincial towns and mountainy districts in Co. Cork.

I think that was most unjust, and that this amendment has everything to commend it. I say without fear of contradiction that this scheme in its conception in the first instance was most unjust to the rest of the area in County Cork, and I hope sincerely that it will be reconsidered. I have already made it clear that we do not want to have different boards and staffs set up for administration purposes; that the administration should be carried on as it is being carried on, but that there should be two distinct areas as regards liability for the services—the South Cork Board of Assistance area as one, and the City of Cork with its extended boundaries as the other. That is all we ask for, and I submit that it is a matter of clear justice.

In seconding the amendment I wish to ask what have the farmers of the South Cork area done to this House? What did they do to the gentlemen who got this brain wave? Why should Dublin be regarded as a separate entity, and why should Limerick, which is only one-third the size of Cork City, be regarded as a separate entity? Why should the rural population of Cork be scourged in this way? We are entitled to ask what was the reason for making Dublin and Limerick separate entities for home assistance purposes and then taking in a portion of Cork county, which was considered so far away from the city that it was put into Waterford County for Parliamentary election purposes? Why should the area represented by Deputy Broderick, which is now in the Parliamentary constituency of Waterford, pay for the poor of Cork city? Did anyone ever hear of anything so outrageous as that?

Those people knew well what they were doing. I will give some figures to show what it means. In 1921-22 Cork City paid to the board of guardians £54,190 for poor law purposes. In 1924-25, after the amalgamation, the demand on the city was £23,000 odd. That meant that £30,000 was clapped on to the ratepayers in the rural areas stretching as far as the constituency of Waterford. If there is anything more outrageous than that, I do not know what it is.

We are looking for justice now for an outrage committed 17 years ago. For 17 years the unfortunate people of that area have been groaning under this injustice, and we are only looking for fair play for them. I do not know what reason, political or otherwise, brought about that extraordinary condition of affairs. Limerick City, as I said, was made a separate entity for home assistance purposes, but Cork City was not. I will now give the figures for 1939-40. The demand of Cork City for poor law services for that year was £46,990. The amount paid in home assistance alone in Cork City was £24,440. The demand in the South Cork area was £113,927 and they got back only £22,000 of that. In other words, they paid over £50,000 last year for the upkeep of the poor in Cork City. It is time that was ended. As representing the unfortunate agricultural community in that area, the small farmers, the cottiers and the workers generally, we are only looking for the same justice that was meted out to similar classes of the community in County Dublin and in County Limerick. Surely we are entitled to that.

We should be told the reason, if there is a reason, for keeping that area in Cork. If there is a reason, there should be an equal reason for extending the area in Dublin and Limerick on the same lines. If it is right that this liability should be put on to the South Cork area, it is equally right that a similar liability should be put on the County Dublin and County Limerick people. On the other hand, if it is right and just that Limerick City should pay its own poor law demands, it is equally right and just that Cork City should pay its own poor law demands. You cannot have it both ways; you must have it one way or the other. If it is right and just that Limerick City and Dublin City should be separate areas for home assistance charges, it is equally right and just that Cork City should be made a separate area for home assistance charges. On the contrary, if it is right and just that the South Cork area should pay for the upkeep of the poor of Cork City, it is equally right and just that County Dublin and County Limerick should be made pay for the poor of Dublin City and Limerick City. You cannot blow hot and cold. It must be one thing or the other. I do not know why this iniquitous procedure was first put through by the Department of Local Government. What did the unfortunate farmers in the South Cork area do either to the Local Government Department or to the Government of that day?

If Limerick City is treated as a separate area for poor law purposes, why should not the same apply to Cork City? Why should the agricultural community down as far as Waterford—the constituency represented by Deputy Broderick—have to pay for the poor of Cork City? That area is so far away from Cork City that a piece of Cork had to be sliced off and transferred to another county, but the people there, under the present arrangement, have to pay for the poor of Cork City. If there is any justice at all, this amendment should be accepted by the Government. That is if there is any justice left in them, and I have my doubts. The position, at any rate, is that since 1923, under an Act passed by the last Government, the agricultural community surrounding Cork City, and extending, as I have said, into the County Waterford, have been saddled with a charge of £50,000 a year. That means that almost half a million money has been taken from them in the last 17 years. It is time, I think, that that injustice was removed. If it is held to be a good thing that Cork City should have other areas attached to it, then why not apply the same principle to the cities of Dublin and Limerick? If, on the other hand, it is right that Dublin and Limerick should be separate entities, surely there should be the same consideration for the agricultural community surrounding Cork City.

Deputy Broderick made the point that if the borough boundary of Cork were extended the loss in valuation would amount to something like £74,000. That would represent something like 1/8 in the £ on the area within the jurisdiction of the Cork City Management Act for unemployment assistance. It would mean raising another £38,000 in addition to what is already being done. There has been a lot said to the effect that the agricultural community have been asked to pay for the poor of Cork City. It is obvious that, where you have a population of over 80,000, a greater sum of money will be required for relief purposes than in more sparsely populated areas.

What about Dublin?

I am not going to discuss that, but if the Deputy's argument on this is to hold as regards the agricultural areas, then why should not those areas or parishes be called upon to provide the sum required for the allowances to their parliamentary representatives? I hope the Minister will not accept the point of view that has been stressed by Deputy Corry. What we are asking is that the borough boundary be extended. I am certain that the citizens of Cork are quite prepared to bear any burden that may be placed on them to meet home assistance demands.

Mr. Broderick

When portions of the County Dublin were incorporated in the city a certain sum was paid by way of compensation to the Dublin County Council in respect of the areas that were incorporated. In the event of an inquiry being set up, will the same thing be done as far as Cork is concerned? Will compensation be paid as was done in the case of the Dublin County Council?

I could not give the Deputy any undertaking on that. There will be an apportionment of the agricultural grant.

Mr. Broderick

I am not referring to that because it is fixed by statute. I am too well aware of the incidence of that taxation. But, under the Dublin Act, a certain sum was paid by way of compensation by the Dublin Corporation to the Dublin County Council. What I am anxious to know is if the same principle will be followed in the Cork case. Is it one of the things that the inquiry will report on to the Minister?

All relevant matters will come before the inquiry and will be reported on.

Mr. Broderick

I am quite satisfied with that.

All this matter was debated as recently as last year on the Public Assistance Bill. Deputy Broderick and other Deputies raised it. With regard to Cork, we have a public assistance area covering Cork City and a southern public assistance district composed of representatives of the county council and of the city council. Therefore, it cannot be said that the county council has not a say in the granting of home assistance. Deputy Corry and Deputy Broderick are now trying to avoid the position we have in Dublin City and Waterford City. Emphasis has been laid on the Limerick position. I believe it was a mistake and has been proved to be such. I do not know how the Limerick position was brought about, but I think if the representatives of the Limerick County Council and of the Limerick City Council could have foreseen what the setting up of separate institutions was going to cost them they would never have arrived at the present position.

Mr. Broderick

We have not suggested the setting up of separate institutions.

You have said that they are costing you so much, but it has to be remembered that Cork County is having the benefit of those institutions. In 1925 a commission was set up to inquire into the relief of the sick and destitute poor. That commission, in its report, referred to the position in Limerick—a position that had been then a few years in operation. This is what it has to say on the matter, at page 130, paragraph 35 of its Report:

"In Cork, as we have seen, the County Borough is for poor relief purposes part of South County District. Waterford County Borough is joined to Waterford County and both areas administered under one Board of Public Assistance, Limerick County and County Borough on the other hand elected to have separate schemes and in doing so we consider that from the point of view of the interests of the poor a mistake was made.

"Except in Limerick County Borough the areas of administration have everywhere been enlarged. Limerick County Borough formed only part of the old Limerick Union, and the County Borough Board of Health, therefore, has a smaller functional area than the Guardians of Limerick Union.

"The local authorities in Cork and Waterford acted wisely, in our opinion, in framing joint schemes, and an examination of the working of separate schemes in Limerick has strengthened this opinion. The Limerick County Board of Health have incurred heavy expenditure in creating central institutions at Croom and Newcastle West. Whilst not approving of the arrangements made for either the County or County Borough, we cannot see our way, having regard to this expenditure, to propose a radical revision of the schemes and our recommendations must, therefore, be considered as making the best of circumstances as they are."

Except for the enormous expenditure incurred by the county council in doing what I think was foolish, and what I think they recognised themselves as foolish, in setting up separate institutions through the county, instead of throwing in their lot with the city of Limerick, it would have been much better for both the city and the county. It is all very well to say: "Restrict public assistance to the smaller areas and let every little place pay for itself." That is going back to the times of the union area, and it is going back even further. If you pursue it to its logical conclusion, it means going back to the faroff days of the electoral division, and then into what position would you get yourself? The position would be that the poorest area would have the highest cost of assistance. How could it be done? If you want to pursue this matter of separating various areas and keeping them all in compact compartments, it means that the cost will be so high that the very poor areas would have no hope of meeting it. Whether some Deputies agree or not, the object of the amalgamation scheme was to spread out the area. I believe that was the most satisfactory and the best way of meeting the position, but to suggest now that we should go back and separate the City of Cork from the county for various purposes is to suggest a retrograde step and I cannot recommend the House to accept it.

Mr. Broderick

The Minister dealt with two points in his reply which we did not suggest. We believed it was a mistake for Limerick to set up two distinct services and our suggestion was that the existing services should remain, that the two areas should form two distinct rateable areas in respect of revenue and expenditure within them but that the public services and public institutions should remain as they are. There is no great difficulty at all about that. I entirely agree that the larger the area you have, consistent with conditions being approximate in the areas, as would be the case in rural areas, small urban towns and villages, the more equitable will be the position, but I do not agree that it is carrying out the spirit of the Act when you incorporate a huge industrial place like Cork City, with its great wealth on one hand and great poverty on the other, with its revenues derived from many sources, which are entirely denied to such little places as I refer to, with the county. There ought to be two distinct ratings.

I agree with the Minister that where you have areas approximately the same, small urban areas and rural areas, the larger they are, the more equitable will be the levy and the more equitably will they be looked after, but I think it is entirely against the interests of the ratepayers to incorporate a huge industrial city, with enormous wealth and expenditure, which in themselves, bring, I suppose, a good deal of poverty. In respect of these two points, I agree that it was a mistake for Limerick to set up two different forms of administration. I think it is a very simple matter to have two distinct rateable areas and to allow the public services to be availed of. I do not agree that it is in the best interests of everyone, except those of the financial interests of the City of Cork, to have a huge industrial area foisted on the rest of the area with which it has nothing in common. It has been proved, in relation to value and output of the last 17 years, that the first transference represented a relief for the City of Cork at the expense of the rest of the community of £30,000 a year, and now of £45,000 a year. These points, I think, have not been received by the Minister with the seriousness with which they were put forward.

After the Minister's statement I think he has not got a leg to stand on. He says that it was wrong for Limerick to set up two forms of administration. Why was it not changed in Limerick? Because he knows that the Government responsible for changing it would not send any representatives back to this House again. This is an injustice on the agricultural community around Cork City. The Minister talks of an entity. Why does he not take in the rest of Waterford? He has already taken in a portion, and Deputy Broderick, a representative of Waterford, is speaking here for the South Cork area.

Mr. Broderick

I suppose, on that argument, I would have no right to speak for Cork?

I said that the Deputy is a representative of the Cork area, and entitled to speak for it, but to-day, though he represents the constituency of Waterford, and though the particular portion of the constituency which he represents is still in Waterford, he has to pay for the poor of Cork City. I think it is absolutely unjust and unfair, and the fact that it is brought up here at every opportunity shows that it is an injustice which we feel, and feel keenly. I do not know by what political ramp it was engineered, but it was undoubtedly engineered by some political ramp. No man can say otherwise, or could say that any Local Government Department would solemnly say that Cork City shall have attached to it, for home assistance purposes, a portion of the constituency of Waterford, and that Limerick City, which is only one-third of its size, shall be a separate area for home assistance purposes. We have often heard of lunacy in Government Departments, but that was the worst yet. We are appealing only for justice, because that one stroke, that single act, threw £30,000 a year on to the rural areas concerned. In discharge of its poor law liabilities, Cork City paid the board of guardians £54,190 in 1921-22, but, in 1924-25, they paid only £23,934. The rest was thrown back on the country boys by the deliberate act of this Dáil, engineered by the Local Government Department. We are looking for justice now in asking the Dáil of to-day to remedy the injustice then done. We are asking for no more, and either the Minister agrees to it, or we shall have to press the amendment.

Deputy Corry, as usual, is very loose with his words. It is all right to talk very fast, but another matter to talk very loosely. He says that I have not a leg to stand on in this matter, because I did not remedy the position in Limerick, but it is very difficult to remedy a position when you find it as it exists in Limerick. Two institutions have been set up in Limerick consequent on allowing the separation of the city and county. There is a hospital in Croom and a home in Newcastle, and when you have these institutions, with their staff, it is very difficult for anybody to remedy the position. At the time this was done there may have been some measure of agreement on separation, but I think that they did feel, very shortly after, that it was a mistake. Perhaps I may quote one sentence from the report of that commission.

Who sat on it?

The Deputy seems to be doubtful about everybody.

I have good reason to be.

The commission inquired into the relief of the sick and destitute poor. It was set up in 1925, and the members of it were:—Charles H. O'Conor (chairman), Alderman R. Corish, T.D.; Right Rev. Monsignor Dunne, P.P., V.G.; Sir Joseph Glynn, Dr. Thomas Hennessy, T.D.; Senator Sir John Keane, Bart.; Rev. M.E. Murphy, Major J. Myles, T.D.; Senator Mrs. Wyse-Power, and Padraic O Siochfhradha.

I say nothing, but I think a lot. How many of them were from rural areas?

I want to quote a sentence from paragraph 298, referring to Limerick:—"This isolation of the city for poor law purposes has had disastrous results for the city ratepayers, without any appreciable gain to the rural areas." That was in 1925—two or three years after it had been set up.

And it holds good to-day.

Amendment put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 21; Níl, 64.

  • Bennett, George C.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Broderick, William J.
  • Browne, Patrick.
  • Burke, Patrick.
  • Cole, John J.
  • Cogan, Patrick.
  • Corry, Martin J.
  • Davin, William.
  • Dockrell, Henry M.
  • Fagan, Charles.
  • Giles, Patrick.
  • Hurley, Jeremiah.
  • Linehan, Timothy.
  • McGovern, Patrick.
  • Mongan, Joseph W.
  • Murphy, Timothy J.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • Redmond, Bridget M.
  • Reynolds, Mary.
  • Rogers, Patrick J.


  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Benson, Ernest E.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Bourke, Dan.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Childers, Erskine H.
  • Cooney, Eamonn.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Curran, Richard.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Everett, James.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Fogarty, Patrick J.
  • Friel, John.
  • Fuller, Stephen.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Hannigan, Joseph.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hickey, James.
  • Kelly, Thomas.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Kissane, Eamon.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Loughman, Francis.
  • Lynch, James B.
  • McCann, John.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Meaney, Cornelius.
  • Morrissey, Michael.
  • Mullen, Thomas.
  • Munnelly, John.
  • Norton, William.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Loghlen, Peter J.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • O'Sullivan, John M.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Rice, Brigid M.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Victory, James.
  • Walsh, Laurence J.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Conn.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Corry and Broderick; Níl: Deputies Smith and Brady.
Question declared lost.
Sections 20 and 21 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 9:—

Before Section 22 to insert a new section as follows:—

Every act done by the Corporation before and in anticipation of the passing of this Act in relation to the preparation of any estimate or the making of any rate in respect of the financial year beginning on the 1st day of April, 1941, shall have and be deemed always to have had all such (if any) validity and effect as it would have had if this Act had been in force when such act was done.

Before this Bill becomes law, certain steps will have to be taken in the preparation of estimates for the rates. Under this amendment anything that has been done in that preparatory way will be validated when the Bill becomes law.

Amendment agreed to.
Sections 22 and 23 agreed to.

Proportion of the Valuation on which Hereditament or Tenement is to be Assessed

Nature of the Hereditament or Tenement


Lands used as arable, meadow, or pasture ground only or as woodlands or market gardens or nursery grounds or allotments, and all lands covered with water and used as a canal or any towing path to the same.


Every half rent rateable to the poor rate under section 63 of the Poor Relief (Ireland) Act, 1838, and the enactments amending the same.

I move amendment No. 10:

In the first column to delete the fraction "3-5ths" and substitute the fraction "½", and in the second column, before the words "used as arable" to insert the words "which become added to the borough consequent upon a provisional order under this Act and are", and in the same column before the word "covered" to insert the words "which become added to the borough as aforesaid and are".

This matter was raised by Deputy Cosgrave on the Second Reading and we have tried to meet the position. What is proposed to be done under this amendment is that the valuation of land that is taken in will be reduced by half. There is practically no differential rating in Cork City. When this schedule was inserted in the Bill we understood there was such a thing as differential rating in Cork City. Apparently there is differential rating only with regard to half rents, that is charitable properties, and such like where the owner is rated on half the rent, which are very few and very small. The differential rating so far as it applies to them will still apply. That is a matter that we overlooked when the Bill was being drafted. It was discovered that in 1919 a provisional order was made which abolished differential rating except with regard to those half rents that I have referred to. In this Bill we propose to leave the position as it is except to secure that land that is taken in by any extension of the city boundaries shall be reduced by half the valuation. That is the same position as in Dublin.

The same as in Dublin?

The same as in Dublin.

It is unfortunat that this question having been raised, a concession which was about to be given is now about to be withdrawn, rather ungraciously, I think. However, there is only one question I would ask the Minister to look into. The area of arable land in Cork Borough is not very large. It seems to me to be unreasonable that a man living in the City of Dublin would get the benefit of differential rating but he would not get it in Cork. It is obvious from the provisional order and from other inquiries which I have made that no part of the agricultural grant goes to the Cork Borough, so that as far as they are concerned they have no means of providing for a reduction in the rates. It seems unreasonable that land in one part of the country should be subject to an imposition which it does not have to bear in any other part. Would the Minister look into this matter between this and the next stage and see how much it would cost to make that concession? I think the Minister has met me fairly with regard to the other part.

I understand it would cost £1,250 a year.

I doubt that, because my impression is that there is very much more land in the Dublin Borough, and I have the gravest doubts that the agricultural grant which was payable in the Dublin Borough would be anything like that. The agricultural grant in question is about £600,000. I seem to have a recollection that the sums which were since made available did not pour out into the county boroughs. In this particular case it is unreasonable that Cork should not get the benefit of that part of the agricultural grant, and I do not believe it could possibly cost £1,250.

I will quote from the city manager's letter: "The total valuation of the land within the city appears to be £2,500. The total acreage within the city is 2,432, of which 1,150 is waste under houses, leaving a balance of 1,280 acres in round figures. It would appear that the exemption would cost us £1,250." I will have the matter looked into further.

Amendment agreed to.
First Schedule, as amended, agreed.
Second Schedule and the Title agreed to.

May I ask the Minister if he will put in those amendments of mine if the Cork Corporation agrees?

Bill reported with amendments.

When will the Report Stage be taken?

We could provisionally put it down for this day week, but it may not be taken until this day fortnight.