Housing (Amendment) Bill, 1941—Second Stage.

I move that the Bill be now read a Second Time. This Bill continues for another year the provisions of the Housing Acts as regards grants to persons in rural areas, grants to public utility societies in rural areas and to philanthropic societies and municipal authorities in certain circumstances. It also applies to reconstruction grants. So far as these matters are concerned, it is exactly similar to the Bill which was introduced last year extending for a year the duration of these Acts.

Opportunity has been taken on the occasion of the introduction of the Bill to include two other matters, viz., the amendment of the definition of the expression "agricultural labourer" and the guaranteeing of sums borrowed by building societies. As regards the former, the term "agricultural labourer" was first defined in the Labourers (Ireland) Act, 1883, in a somewhat narrow sense but in the sense in which the occupation is usually understood. It was widened in the Labourers Act, 1885, the Irish Land Act, 1903, and the Labourers Acts of 1919 and 1936, but in certain circumstances it is still found to be unduly restrictive. The amendment is proposed to enable boards of health to let cottages, provided under the Labourers Acts, just outside the boundaries of urban areas to persons who may work for hire at non-agricultural work within the urban area. Such cases will not, it is expected, be very numerous, but under the existing law some hardship is created especially in regard to the county boroughs. Under existing law, it is possible that a person may be quite eligible on his appointment as tenant and during the course of his tenancy he finds himself employed wholly within the urban area. Strictly speaking, he should no longer be allowed to remain in the cottage. The amendment will get over this difficulty.

As regards Section 3 — the guaranteeing by certain local authorities of sums borrowed by building societies — there has been a movement for the past few years by those interested in the building industry to secure the provision of funds to enable people to purchase their houses. Various suggestions have been put forward and examined. These suggestions took various forms — the formation of a new building society or mortgage corporation with guarantees by the State, an extension of the activities of existing building societies and the provision of funds for the making of advances by local authorities under the Small Dwellings Acquisition Acts. So far as the area outside Dublin is concerned, facilities exist under the Small Dwellings Acquisition Acts, but in Dublin the operation of these Acts has had to be suspended for the past few years owing to what are regarded as the more pressing needs — the erection of houses for the working classes, to the extent to which moneys can be made available. Accordingly, the scope of the proposal is limited to Dublin City and County.

Conferences took place with representatives of banks and building societies, and it was felt that existing building societies could deal with the situation if moneys could be made available to them, and the law in regard to building societies amended as respects the proportion of the amount secured by mortgage which may be accepted by the societies in the form of deposits on loans. The amendment of the Building Societies Acts is being dealt with by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. The proposal for guaranteeing loans, as set out in Section 3 of the Bill, is not altogether the establishment of a new principle. A somewhat similar provision in regard to public utility societies is to be found in Section 14 of the Housing (Ireland) Act, 1919. It is not intended to make formal regulations concerning the guarantees, but rather to deal with the proposals which may come forward, in the light of the circumstances of each case. The representatives of the banks have indicated the willingness of the banks to co-operate, but it will be open to a building society to approach insurance companies or other institutions granting loans. It is expected that the proposal will do much to encourage the development of house purchase through building societies.

I am glad that the Minister has gone some little way to help to define, by Section 2, the term "agricultural labourer". The only regret I have is that he did not go far enough, because even with this amendment there will be many cases of definite hardship. The real trouble, whatever may be in his mind or in the minds of the officials of the Department, is that local authorities do not seem to have the faintest idea of what is the correct definition of "agricultural labourer". In order to show how hardship may arise, I might relate a personal experience. On one occasion before the North Cork Board of Health there were two applicants for a cottage and the whole position turned on the definition of "agricultural labourer". One of the applicants was a man who had two hackney cars and a threshing machine. The other was a married woman whose husband, a farm labourer, was confined in a mental hospital. A very strong case was made for that woman before the board and the case was made that the other man was not an agricultural labourer within the meaning of the Act. I was there on that occasion and the board were in favour of giving the cottage to the man with the two cars and the threshing machine. I asked the chairman of the board would he define what was meant by the term "agricultural labourer". He said: "A person who does work for farmers." If that is the definition it runs right through the principle of all these Acts. I then put the question to the chairman: "If I apply for the next cottage that is vacant in the Millstreet area, will you give it to me?" He laughed, but I said to him: "I have been all my life working for farmers, therefore I come within the definition of an agricultural labourer." The position is, whatever the Minister may intend, that a very loose definition of the term "agricultural labourer" has been adopted by these boards. Whatever relief may be afforded by Section 2 of this Bill, it will not be half as much as would be afforded if boards were not allowed to adopt such a loose definition of the term "agricultural labourer" as they have been adopting up to the present.

On Section 3 there is just one point that I should like to bring to the notice of the Minister. I see that the Minister is extending the benefit of the Small Dwellings Acquisition Acts to the Dublin area. I wonder would the Minister look into the question of title as it affects applicants for loans under these Acts? We were advised in County Cork that one could not get a loan, even in the case of fee simple property, unless the title was registered under the Local Registration of Title (Ireland) Act. I pointed out that if a person had a fee simple property and wanted to get a loan under the Acts, he was offering the best possible title, that it was putting such persons to needless expense to compel them to apply for first registration, and that it did not improve their title. If they went into the bank they would get the very same advance on their property as if they were registered under the Local Registration of Title (Ireland) Act. It costs about £8 to get first registration under the Local Registration of Title (Ireland) Act. I mentioned the matter to the Minister last year, and I think the Minister was satisfied that if a person had a fee simple title, it should be quite enough to secure him an advance under the Act, and that he should not be put to the expense of registering under the Local Registration of Title (Ireland) Act. I should be glad to hear it the Minister has since come to any decision in the matter, because I think a great number of people would take advantage of these Acts if they had not to go to the expense of applying for a first registration.

My remarks on this Bill apply more to Dublin and Dublin County than to other areas. As far as the Small Dwellings Acquisition Act is concerned, I am afraid the supply of houses has given out, but I should like to point out to the Minister that in the past the complaint always was that there were no funds available for the acquisition of small dwellings, and that when certain amounts were made available they were simply gobbled up. There were so many applications lodged with the Dublin Corporation that the supplies lasted only a few weeks. As far as speculative building is concerned, it does not seem to have reached a comprehensive basis to supply the needs of such applicants. The Minister's predecessor, I think, asked some of the people connected with the business whether they would prefer the subsidy or some comprehensive scheme to assist house purchase.

Some people connected with the industry then said that they really felt that the most serious problem was not the question of price; it was more a question of the purchaser being able to purchase a house on a deferred basis. The Minister's predecessor, on the strength of that, I think, did away with the subsidy but he never provided the funds to enable people to purchase houses on a deferred basis.

The Minister seems to suggest that there is some kind of a conflict as between houses for the working classes and providing houses for people who really only want to be assisted in the purchase of their houses. I should like to submit that there is not any conflict between these two classes. As far as housing of the working classes is concerned, I think the Government never caught up with the need in Dublin. I think it would be correct to say that Dublin is falling more quickly than it is being rebuilt.

That is not so.

That is the question. Remember that I am not bringing into that question the extraneous assistance that was given to some of the houses that were demolished here lately.

The Deputy's statement is that Dublin is falling more quickly than it is being built up. I do not think that is so.

The Deputy would like to contradict me on that?

I am only just making the statement.

Can this statement be contradicted? At the present time there are houses in Dublin which are unfit for habitation, but which cannot be pulled down because there is no alternative accommodation for the people. Is that correct?

Quite right.

And not alone in Dublin, but in other cities.

That is my broad test of it. I do not want to throw any stones at the Government because this is a frightful problem, but we may as well face the facts, and the naked truth is that there are houses in Dublin which ought to be condemned, but which cannot be condemned.

Would that not be more relevant to the Estimate which has been dealt with rather than to this Bill, which is of limited scope and, so far as housing is concerned, simply extends the Small Dwellings Act and does not deal with the great problem of the housing of the poor of Dublin or elsewhere?

The Housing Bill introduced by the Minister is really only a joke and what I am concerned to show is that this Bill does not meet the problem. I do not know whether even the Minister suggests that it does, but I am mentioning some of the things which have happened in the past, while not trying to go back on the Minister's Vote. On a Housing Bill, however, surely it is proper to point out that it does not meet the problem, either of the housing of the working classes or of the housing of those other people catered for by the Small Dwellings Act? As I have previously said, when we had supplies, no grants were available, and now, presumably, when grants are available, we have no supplies. With regard to building societies, under an alteration of the law governing these societies, they are enabled to make further advances. That is a help, but it affects only a very small part of the problem and will go only a very short distance towards solving it.

I should like to advert for a moment to the question of the classes of persons who are deemed eligible for labourers' cottages in rural Ireland. Labourers' cottages are heavily subsidised from the rates and the subsidy in the part of the country from which I come is borne by very small farmers in the rates levied on their land. I know a row of 24 labourers' cottages in which there are two labourers who live and work on the land. The remaining 22 occupants are industrial workers, workers in commercial avocations, railway workers and men who ought to be drawing a fair rate of wages, and by that I mean a rate out of which a man could keep a wife and family, and pay an economic rent. All these men are living in houses for which they pay about 3/- a week because these houses have been subsidised out of the pockets of the small farmers who live in the neighbourhood, no single one of whom enjoys a weekly income approximating to that of the tenants of these cottages.

Is not that also a matter of administration which would be relevant to the Estimate?

Section 2 proposes not only to sanction the existing arrangements, but still further to widen the scope of the definition of "agricultural labourer". I have no desire to prevent these people from getting houses. On the contrary, I think it is excellent that decent, clean houses should be provided for this class of person. All I suggest is that where a man is an industrial worker and is entitled to demand from his industrial employer a living wage, that man should be required to pay an economic rent for a house built under the Housing Acts, because if he is not so required, what we are doing is relieving his employer of the obligation to pay him an adequate wage, and subsidising that employer's wage bill out of the pockets of the small farmers of the district in which he operates. I do not think that fair, and never did think it fair.

I am familiar with the genesis of the Labourers' Cottages Act, because it was always regarded by the old Irish Party as one of the great benefits they secured from the British Government for rural Ireland, but their purpose was to provide cottages at rents which could be paid out of the wages which agriculture was in a, position to afford. They deliberately intended to subsidise the farmers by relieving the farmer of that part of the wages which he ought to pay a labourer, if the labourer was to be enabled to live in a decent house. With our eyes wide open, we were concerned indirectly to subsidise the employers of agricultural labour in order to make it possible for them to hire labour at all. What we are now doing, instead of subsidising farmers who employ labour, is subsidising industries which we have protected, and subsidising them not at the expense of the Exchequer to which they contribute, but at the expense of the ratepayers of the particular districts in which their factories happen to be located, which I do not think is fair. It is made doubly inequitable by the fact that, in the large majority of these cottages, there are one or two lodgers, each of whom is paying for one room more than the entire rent of the cottage.

It is bad enough to get the small farmers of the west of Ireland to subsidise the housing of industrial workers, in that area, but it seems to me tone even more grossly unjust to ask the small farmers of the country to pay half the rent of a cottage for an industrial worker who entertains a lodger who pays him more than the entire rent of the cottage in rent for one room. I know of one cottage where there are two lodgers, both of whom are paying the tenant more than the entire rent of the cottage. He has on the cottage per week a surplus income of 9/-, less what it costs to give his lodgers a cup of tea when they come in at night. I know that for anyone in public life to mention a matter of this kind is to leave himself open to the charge of being concerned to stop all housing in Ireland, of being the enemy of the poor and seeking to drive the people back into the tenements and basements. That is all "codology", and anyone who wants to indulge in it is very welcome to do so. I am concerned with the fact, as I have frequently reiterated here, that we are the trustees of the people, and it is our job to see that "quick ones" are not put over on sections of our people who cannot see the deception that is being practised upon them. I do not think the small farmers of this country realise the way in which the housing code has been strained in order to compel poor men living on the land to subsidise, weekly, the housing of comparatively prosperous industrial workers. Instead of subsidising the rent of these industrial workers in this way, I think that if we are not satisfied that the industrial workers are already, through their wages, in a position to pay an economic rent, it is their employers that we should call on and require them to pay their industrial employees a living wage. We should not require neighbours of these people, who are worse off than they are, to subsidise their housing.

Now, there is no use in finding fault with an existing abuse unless you are prepared to make a constructive proposal for its solution, and I do now make such a proposal. I say that a man who is employed in agriculture— an agricultural worker in the narrow definition of that word, that is, a person working for a farmer — is entitled to get his house on the subsidised terms envisaged in this code, but that an agricultural labourer, as defined under the Act, who is not working on the land, might still be regarded as eligible for a house, the only condition being that he was prepared to pay an economic rent. Now, that would mean that where a man was truly an agricultural labourer — in fact, such a man as is not required to pay unemployment insurance — he would be entitled to get a house at the subsidised rent, but that any man stamping an unemployment insurance card would be required to pay an economic rent, which would be about 5/- for the cottage for which he is now paying 3/-. Surely, that is a fair proposal?

Deputy Dockrell has touched on the situation with regard to housing in Dublin, and we are warned that we are not to open the whole question of housing policy. Very well, but I think it is legitimate to say this. I have been watching the attempts that were made to grapple with that problem for the last 15 years, and I cannot too often remind this House that one of my first excursions in publicity in this city was to read a paper on the slums at the King's Inns Debating Society 14 or 15 years ago. On that occasion, I asked a question which I respectfully propose to ask again. If you ever approach housing authorities they will tell you that one of the reasons why they cannot eliminate the slums is that the people are living in the slums and, if they pull down these slums, they cannot provide accommodation for the displaced tenants.

The Deputy surely realises that an inquiry into slum conditions or housing in Dublin is not in order in this debate. This is not a debate on Dublin housing.

I thought it was, Sir.

It would be outside this Bill.

Very well, Sir. Then I shall ask this question and depart from the matter at once. If this Bill and those Acts which this Bill is designed to continue are to function effectively, surely it ought to be practicable to build in this city — never mind Cork or Limerick — one block analogous to the Anchor Brewery Block, designed for the accommodation of displaced tenants of condemned tenement houses?

The Deputy must rest satisfied with what he has already said on this subject.

Very well, Sir. That is all I have to say, but I should be glad if the Minister would look into these questions when he has time to examine them.

I am glad the Minister introduced this amending Bill because, undoubtedly, we had extreme difficulty recently in Cork in this connection, and I am sorry that the Bill was not introduced some two or three years earlier. As for the definition of a farm labourer given by Deputy Dillon, the 1919 Act was brought in by the British House of Commons, and I understand that the Irish Party were there in 1919. That was the Act which broadened the definition of an agricultural labourer— it was not broadened here — and that Act defined an agricultural labourer as any man working for hire in a rural area. That is putting it bluntly. I am glad, however, that the Department of Local Government and Public Health have extended their views very much in this matter during the past few years. I remember the case of an unfortunate man who was endeavouring to get a grant some time ago to repair his house. He was a rural blacksmith, and he wrote up to the Department asking for a grant. He got back a very curt letter to the effect that he was not eligible for a grant under the Act, since he was not a man earning his livelihood in the pursuit of agriculture. He wrote back saying that if any Minister or any official of the Department had spent as much time as he had spent, down on one knee putting shoes on farmers' horses, and trying to get the money from the farmers afterwards, they would realise that he surely had spent his life in the pursuit of agriculture.

The particular point I wish to deal with, however, is that 174 houses were built recently in the suburbs of Cork— outside Cork City — for, more or less, artisan labourers, and the Department's ruling in regard to those houses was that any man working in Cork City was not entitled to a house. Now, that placed us in the position that, whilst the houses were built to replace condemned houses in the area, the occupants of these condemned houses could not get a house because a large number of them were working inside the borough boundaries of Cork. So, despite the ruling of the county medical officer of health and others, those people were absolutely cut out before the county medical officer of health could consider the cases. The county medical officer of health has to consider the cases of those who are the worst off, but these cases had to be cut out first.

I do not know what Deputy Dillon is coming at in connection with railway workers and industrial workers living in cottages. Does he mean that the cottages were built in the original case for agricultural labourers? Does he mean that if a cottage was built for an agricultural labourer and if that agricultural labourer got married and reared a family that that family should always continue to be agricultural labourers and that none of them should ever rise above the state of agricultural labourer — that if one of them, who occupied a cottage, became a railway worker he was to lose the cottage? I may say 90 per cent. of the cases where labourers' cottages are held today by non-agricultural labourers are cases where the cottage was built for the father, when the father died it was transferred to the son and the son succeeded in getting something higher than an agricultural labourer's job.

Succeeded in becoming a school-teacher, for instance.

The definition of agricultural labourer is anyone working for agriculture and it does not matter what way he is working. I regret the farmers in North Cork are so foolish that Deputy Linehan succeeds in getting nearly all his money out of them. He gets some out of the townsmen, too. He is not working all the time for the farmer. I honestly believe this amending Bill is required if it was only to remedy the injustice which I have pointed out now where, although those cottages were built to replace condemned houses, the people who were in the condemned houses could not get them because they happened to be working outside the borough boundaries. In regard to the lodgers that Deputy Dillon referred to, I do not know whether Deputy Dillon is aware that a cottier cannot sub-let, according to law.

May not, but he does.

He cannot sub-let his cottage, according to law, or any portion of his cottage and therefore he cannot take in a lodger. I suggest to Deputy Dillon that he should get his local authority in that area to see about any grievance he may have in that respect.

Is not the Deputy very innocent?

I am dealing with the Act as it stands. These are the rules and they must be obeyed. I do not think Deputy Dillon would go so far as to ask a board of health to evict a labourer out of a cottage just because he happened to be a railway worker who had got the cottage from his father who was an agricultural worker. Surely the labourer ought to have some rights and if a labourer has paid for his cottage for the past 25 or 30 years he surely ought to have the right of handing that cottage over to his son, in the same way that a farmer hands over his farm to his son.

Mr. Byrne

I wish to ask the Minister if his Department has given any consideration to the following suggestion: If an outside body is prepared to advance large sums of money for housing in the city or in the country, will the Department or the Government as a whole guarantee the repayments or give approval that will amount to a guarantee? If an outside body says: "We will lend a certain body £500,000 for housing if the Government will secure it in the event of the borrowers not paying at the proper time," will the Government give a guarantee? Has he given any consideration to that, because I think there is something like that in Belfast? I saw a case, about ten years ago, where a Belfast housing authority asked for moneys guaranteed by their Government. If it applies there why not here?

It is very encouraging to see the Minister for Local Government and Public Health bringing in a Bill of this particular kind, because things in the building world seem to be at a standstill in various parts of the country. One wonders if the Bill will be fruitful in having more houses built. I know very well it is limited in its scope. I am wondering if the Minister or his Department, through the medium of the Housing Board, have made efforts to try to secure timber for the building of houses. I know very well it is not easy at the moment to have timber imported into this country.

Is not the question of building material outside this Bill?

Just one second will do what I want to say.

A second for Deputy Corish might be expanded to half an hour for somebody else, as the Deputy must realise.

I quite agree. At the moment, I think Deputy Dockrell will agree with me, there is hardly a timber merchant in the country who has any red deal or red pine. Most of it has been commandeered by the military in this country. I do think white deal would have done the Department of Defence just as well, because they are building temporary structures which, perhaps, will be pulled down again in four or five years' time, and white deal would do just as well to make sashes and door frames, whereas in the building of houses you require red deal and red pine. Undoubtedly, some representations ought to be made through the Housing Board with a view to asking the military to lessen their grip on this particularly good kind of timber which is required for the building of houses. I do not believe this Bill is going to do any good in so far as the building of houses is concerned, because there is at the moment no timber in the country suitable for building houses. You will be told, of course, in so far as sashes are concerned, to get steel sashes. These are all manufactured in Dublin, and surely the country carpenter wants some work to do. There is a good number of carpenters idle all over the country at the present time, and they would be very glad to be making sashes for houses in various parts of the country. We have a scheme in Wexford Corporation at the moment for a number of houses, and, as a result of there being no red pine in Wexford, we had to get steel sashes made in Dublin. I submit that when the Department of Local Government set out on a house building campaign they had in mind both the giving of employment and the procuring of houses. I would ask the Minister to do something in this connection, because I know that the military have a good deal of this red pine and red deal stored up, and, perhaps, rotting in some of their places, while people are waiting to build houses.

Unlike Deputy Corry, I do not agree with Section 2 of this Bill, amending Section 3 of the Labourers Act, 1936, widening the definition of "agricultural labourer". I think it is very serious for the farm workers of the country. In my area, in North Cork, we are completing a scheme of 500 houses. We have let 487 of them up to date and, as a member of that board, I can say that 100 per cent. of those houses have been let to purely agricultural workers. It was for those people they were built and the farmers and people of North Cork are paying to the tune of, I think, 5d. in the £ per annum, subsidising the rents and the initial cost of that scheme. Now that the definition of agricultural labourer is being widened under this Bill, if we are to have a further Scheme — as I hope we will — a man working for his hire at other work besides agriculture will be entitled to apply and to become a tenant of one of those houses. There is also the danger in regard to the existing houses that have been built that when they become vacant they could be let to a school teacher, in fact, or to a man working in a lather comfortable job other than an agricultural worker.

Or a man with two taxicabs, such as Deputy Lenihan said you gave one to.

And a teacher.

And it was done, in spite of what Deputy Daly says.

But the Deputy must remember and the House must remember that the Minister made an order when this scheme was going through, to be carried out in the letting of these cottages by the local authorities, that there was no one entitled to become a tenant of these houses except a person living in a condemned house. There were certain other clauses in that order. The local authority had very little to say in the letting of those new houses. That order was carried out in regard to the 487 houses. They were let under the Minister's instructions so that the board had very little to do with the letting of them. But I am glad to say, as a member of that board, that we have agricultural labourers living in them and the men who came before the inquiry were all agricultural labourers and nobody but an agricultural labourer, as far as I know, was ever appointed a tenant of a cottage by the North Cork Board of Health. That is why I am opposed to the widening of the definition of "agricultural labourer".

If the Minister and the Government want to provide houses for people other than agricultural labourers — and when I say an agricultural labourer I say the definition should be strictly a man working on land for a farmer— then let them have a separate housing scheme, but do not ask the ratepayers of the country to provide houses for people who should be able to pay an economic rent.

A fellow with two taxicabs and a job?

Those differences on local affairs may he settled by the Cork Deputies in another arena.

That is right, Sir. The ratepayers of the country should not be asked to provide houses for people who are able to pay an economic rent. I know we have let those 500 houses at an uneconomic rent. We have let a house with a quarter of ground for 1/3 a week. The ratepayers of North Cork are paying something like 2/6 or 2/9 per week to subsidise the building of that house. We have let a house with half an acre of ground for 1/5 per week, and a house with an acre of ground at 1/7 per week. That is about the rent which the agricultural labourer is able to pay. I am opposed to the widening of the definition of "agricultural labourer", and I say that, if the Minister and Government want to provide houses for people other than those, then they should bring in a separate scheme, and not ask the people of the country to build houses and subsidise them for people who should be able to pay an economic rent.

Mr. T. Crowley rose.

I understood that there was some arrangement or agreement that those two items should be concluded by 7 o'clock.

We are standing by it. The Minister's supporters are getting a bit obstreperous.

If the Deputy wants to ask any question afterwards I can arrange to give him a reply to it. Deputy Daly, I am afraid, wants to go back to 1883. That is a long call back. There have been various amendments in the Acts from that time, but for the strict interpretation which Deputy Daly wants we would have to go back to 1883. I do not know what particular case he is referring to——

The cases I referred to were not new cottages; they were old cottages given by vote of the board.

I am only referring to the point raised by Deputy Daly. The only interference by the Department that I am aware of was this: The county medical officer of health makes recommendations, having regard to the conditions under which people are living, and if those are not followed by the local authorities we do insist that the views of the medical officer of health, who puts forward grounds on which those people ought to get the cottages, should get consideration. That is the only interference that I know of with the boards of public health.

On a point of order——

What is the point of order?

It is on those recommendations that the houses are let. The members of the board do not interfere with the selection of tenants. They have got to say "yes."

They have in some cases interfered.

Indeed they have—often.

The Minister could refuse to pay the grant if they did.

It has been held up sometimes as a result of that.

The Minister has accepted the explanation in various cases.

This matter of the extension arises at the moment in this way. The first case of hardship that came to my notice—although there were individual cases—was when a scheme was put forward out in Finglas. In the case of the people who were mainly instrumental in getting those houses built, and getting that scheme put into operation, people whose families had been living for generations in the little village of Finglas, it was found, when the houses were to be allocated, that under the laws as they existed they could not get houses because they happened to be grave diggers in Glasnevin. I found from the county medical officer of health that a similar situation arose in Dundrum. It is mainly in the county boroughs that the difficulties arose; we have not had any difficulty in the urban areas.

The difficulty those unfortunate people would be in is this: that they could not get a cottage in the rural area where they reside, and they could not get a cottage in the borough area because they would have to be resident, there for two years. Those unfortunate people would find themselves between two stools. That was really the reason for putting in this amendment. I have nothing in mind about industrial workers at all. I think industrial workers should be made pay for their houses. I think that people who can afford to pay should be made pay for them. I did consider that in cases like Finglas, cases in Cork, and this case in Dundrum, where that position obtained.

Again, it is a matter for the board of health, who have the allocation of those cottages, on the advice of tee county medical officer of health. I do not think they would be very agreeable —certainly not if they had much regard for their respftnsibility—to letting houses to people who are in a position to pay for them, while other people who are not so well able to pay are deprived of them. Certainly, that is not my intention. It is to meet that difficulty that I brought in this amendment. Deputy Linehan raised a question about the title. That is a difficult matter. We have been in communication with the registrar of title on other matters apart from the matter raised by Deputy Linehan. I should be very grateful if Deputy Linehan would give me some idea of the difficulties with which he has been confronted, because we have not had representation to any extent—a few cases have arisen —in that matter. I should be glad it he would give us some particulars which we might take up with the registrar of title, and do something perhaps to simplify the thing or make it more easily workable.

As regards this third section, I do hope that a great deal can be done by the building societies, such as the Civil Service Permanent Building Society and a number of others in this city, I believe a good deal could be done with the guarantee of the local authorities. The Minister for Industry and Commerce is amending the Building Societies Act so that that two-thirds can be increased to three-fourths, that is that they will be enabled to take deposits to the extent of three-fourths of the mortgages they have out. When they get that money in, they can arrange further mortgages. Any one building society could increase the money available for this purpose to the extent of £100,000. There are four or five of them in Dublin, and the banks are agreeable that there should be some arrangement come to, provided there is a guarantee by the local authorities. The local authority would be agreeable to do that, because they would be safeguarded by the rules and conditions that are laid down.

Mr. Byrne

Will the Government guarantee the local authority? I have mentioned a case where a Belfast local authority——

What is the Supplementary Estimate for? Perhaps we could give it to you.

Yes; I want the Supplementary Estimate.

We have to give him the Bill first.

I forgot to reply to the Deputy. The matter which the Deputy raised has not been submitted for consideration to the Department, but I should be very glad to have it considered if it is submitted.

Mr. Byrne

I know a case where a sum of £200,000 would be advanced to any society in Dublin, on condition that the Government would guarantee it.

Are there not many cases where a subsidy has been withheld because local authorities have refused to appoint the tenant recommended by the medical officer?

Question put and agreed to.
Committee Stage ordered for Thursday, July 3rd, 1941.