Committee on Finance. - Agricultural Credit Bill, 1946—Committee.

Sections 1 and 2 agreed to.
SECTION 3.
Amendment No. 1 not moved.

I move amendment No. 2:—

In sub-section (1), paragraph (d), line 11, before the word "of" to insert the words "or marketing".

The word "marketing" is omitted, possibly inadvertently, because marketing is referred to afterwards in the Bill. I think it would be well to have it inserted here. It would be most desirable if we had producers taking an interest in the marketing of their produce and if a co-operative organisation is set up for the purpose of marketing, I am sure the Minister will approve of it.

I am advised that the word is unnecessary because marketing is already covered.

Does the Parliamentary Secretary mean that it is covered in the section?

The legal meaning of marketing is taking to a place for the purpose of sale.

And selling it as well as taking it.

Obviously.

It is a rather obsolete interpretation. You might not have to take it any place.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Sections 3 to 9, inclusive, agreed to.
SECTION 10.

I move amendment No. 3:—

In sub-section (1), line 52, to delete all words from the word "as" to the end of the sub-section.

I cannot understand why it is considered necessary to have more than one person for the particular purpose.

If we were to accept the Deputy's amendment, it would limit the Minister's power to the appointment of only one person at any time. It might happen that one or more of the persons appointed by the Minister would be ill or unavoidably absent or had been removed from office. It is necessary then to give the Minister power to appoint more than one.

If removed from office, there would be no one there.

The Minister would require power to appoint someone instead.

Yes. But if you had no one there, because of the death of an individual, you would still have power under the section to appoint a man to act.

Yes, but you would be limited to one only.

Why would you want two?

Under the articles of association, there must be five members present at a meeting and they must represent 5 per cent. of the share capital of the company, according to company law.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 4:—

In sub-section (4), line 16, to delete the words "a lunatic" and substitute the words "of unsound mind".

This is a drafting amendment.

Amendment agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 10, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

If one share qualifies for directorship, why do you refer to "new shares" throughout the section. For instance in sub-section (3):—

"every member (other than the Minister) of the; corporation or the personal representative of such member shall hold his new shares..."

I understood from the draft that a director would hold only one share and one share would be transferred to him. Sub-section (2) (a) provides for the transfer to any person of one new share for the time being held by the Minister and (b) requires any member of the corporation to transfer any new share held by him to the Minister. That is, if he is resigning office, under paragraph (b) of sub-section (2) he surrenders his share. Then you go on in sub-section (3) to talk about new "shares". I think the singular should be there.

I do not think it is a matter of very great importance. It may happen that the Minister, on occasion, may require to transfer more than one share.

You provide for one share to qualify a man to act as a director and then you go on to say that he must surrender it and you refer to it as "shares". We ought to be correct in our language. The Parliamentary Secretary suggests it does not really matter. I suggest it is important to have the draft grammatically correct.

I shall look into that matter.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 11 and 12 agreed to.
SECTION 13.

I move amendment No. 5:—

In sub-section (1) (a), line 42, to delete the word "uncontrolled".

I do not think that word is necessary; "The Minister in his discretion" should be sufficient.

I propose to accept that.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 6:—

In sub-section (1) (b), line 50, to delete the word "less" and substitute the word "more".

It is a question of the rate. I do not know whether the Parliamentary Secretary will accept it or not, but surely it ought not to be more than the rate charged in relation to local loans? I do not expect it to be less.

The intention is that it should be neither more nor less.

If you put it that way, I am satisfied. I will take the Parliamentary Secretary at his word, if he puts in "neither more nor less".

The present rate is about 2½.

If the Parliamentary Secretary tells us the intention is to have it neither more nor less, I am satisfied.

We have to specify it for all time and we want a little freedom.

If we have the good intention of providing money for a very important purpose, I do not think we ought to be afraid to put into the measure that the rate, for agricultural purposes is to be the same as that charged for money advanced out of the local loans fund. Why should the Parliamentary Secretary or anyone else be nervous about putting that into the measure and making it the law that there will be no difference between the rate to be charged to the agricultural community and that charged for other purposes? I suggest that the purpose towards which we will devote this money is as important as any other purpose for which we might provide money in this State.

The difference is that this will relate to short-term borrowing, whereas for local loans it may be for a long term.

The authorities who will have to collect for local loans purposes will be in a good position to do so, whereas the small farmer may find it exceedingly difficult to pay a high rate of interest. He ought to be assured by law that he will get money on the same terms as any local authorities. I am rather keen that the Parliamentary Secretary will accept that view. He has indicated what the intention is.

I have gone a long way to meet the Deputy and I think he might be reasonable.

I suggest you should legalise your intention.

I cannot accept the Deputy's suggestion.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 13, as amended, agreed to.
SECTION 14.

I move amendment No. 7:—

In sub-section (1), paragraph (a), sub-paragraph (x), line 52, to delete the words "or its."

This is a drafting amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 8:—

To delete sub-section (2).

I suggest that the purpose for which we intend to provide money ought to be set out in the measure and there should be no variation afterwards. We ought to be capable of covering every purpose for which money will be provided. The corporation have had years of experience and they found that the legislation originally enacted was too narrow. I understand the purpose of this Bill is to widen the powers with respect to security. We are asked to accept a measure empowering two Ministers by Order, which can by a motion here be annulled, to make an extension for a specific purpose provided it is for an agricultural purpose. I do not think that is quite desirable in what is intended to be permanent legislation. It may be all right to give that power to a Minister in time of emergency, but for permanent legislation it is undesirable.

This is a re-enactment of Section 12 (2) of the 1927 Act. The advantage is that the corporation will be in a position to vary its own lending powers, subject to the approval of the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Agriculture, without having to alter the memorandum and articles of association. If it were to be obligatory on the corporation to have to alter its memorandum and articles of association, there would be considerable difficulty and it would impose unnecessary trouble on them with respect to printing and other matters.

Two wrongs never made a right. I do not think it was proper to put that provision into the 1927 Act and merely to defend its insertion in this measure by saying it was in the 1927 Act does not convince me.

The purpose of this Bill is to provide the corporation with a more flexible instrument. To handicap them by hide-bound regulations is not very desirable. It has been found that additional flexibility is required.

Then why put in Section 3 at all?

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 9:—

In sub-section (3), paragraph (a), sub-paragraph (i), page 10, line 55, to insert after the word "which" the words "in the opinion of the directors".

This amendment is being inserted to ensure that there will be no doubt as to what part of its business is the principal activity of any body corporate which may apply for a loan from the corporation in accordance with the terms of this paragraph of Section 14 of the Bill. In several other paragraphs of Section 14 the opinion of the directors is to decide matters of doubt and, accordingly, it is considered desirable to make the same provision in relation to the question whether bodies corporate which are not farmers are qualified to receive loans or not.

I think this amendment is necessary. Power should rest with the corporation to make the decision.

Yes, there should be some authority.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 14, as amended, agreed to.
SECTION 15.

I move amendment No. 10:—

In sub-section (1), paragraph (4), line 24, to insert the words "or paragraph (c)" before the word "of".

This is a drafting amendment.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 15, as amended, agreed to.
Section 16 to 20, inclusive, agreed to.
SECTION 21.

I move amendment No. 11:—

In sub-section (1), page 15, to delete the word "birds" where it occurs in lines 27 and 28 and substitute the word "poultry".

I merely put down this amendment to ascertain whether, when we refer to farm birds, we mean poultry. Why should the word "birds" be used instead of "poultry"? I take it they mean "poultry".

There is very little difference between the words.

Are we going to put a chattel mortgage on wild birds?

Poultry are included in the word "birds". The word "birds" covers a wider range of feathered creatures than farmyard fowl—for instance, pheasants and other game birds.

If you mortgage pheasants, when the mortgage falls due, are you going out to shoot the birds? I think we should be realistic. If this chattel mortgage is going to operate at all—and I am rather doubtful if it is possible to operate it —the furthest we can go is to mortgage poultry. You are surely not going to mortgage pheasants. If you are going to mortgage pheasants and if the mortgage falls due, and is not discharged, I should like to know from the Parliamentary Secretary how they are going to execute that mortgage.

Would guinea hens be regarded as fowl?

They are poultry.

Are you sure?

I am not so sure.

If the Deputy travels down the country he will find that there are not many guinea hens in the country. The price has flopped and the people regret having any guinea hens.

They paid them very well for a time.

They did, but I think it is absurd to insert the word "birds" in its widest sense.

The legal people think that it is a better word than "poultry". The same thing would apply to "animals"

The amendment is not important, so I ask leave to withdraw it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Sections 21 to 23, inclusive, agreed to.
SECTION 24.

I move amendment No. 12:—

In sub-section (6) to delete paragraphs (a), (b), (c), (d) and (e) and substitute therefor the following:—

A joint application in writing is made by the corporation and an intending borrower or by a recognised bank and an intending borrower for a copy or copies of the particulars of any chattel mortgage or chattel mortgages registered against the personal property of the intending borrower when such copy or copies shall be furnished. Here is something that is of very great importance in my opinion. I think it is an extraordinary proposal to empower the corporation or a duly authorised person to inspect the register. Surely if you want to encourage people to raise loans on chattel mortgages you should not empower individual clerks of authorised banks to inspect the register and enable them to see the name of every person who has a mortgage and to disclose that information to other people. If there is an application for a loan and if the authorised bank or corporation wants to find out, as naturally they would want to find out, whether there are any mortgages, my amendment suggests that a joint application in writing should be made by the corporation and an intending borrower or by a recognised bank and an intending borrower for a copy or copies of the particulars of any chattel mortgage or chattel mortgages registered against the personal property of the intending borrower and that such copy or copies shall then be furnished. That is all they want to know. Why in the name of goodness should any clerk of a bank be authorised to inspect the register and see the position of every man who may have a mortgage marked against him? If the Parliamentary Secretary wants to encourage people to borrow money on this basis, he is not going to succeed in doing that as people will object to having their private affairs disclosed to any bank clerk who may go to inspect the register on behalf of any authorised bank. I feel that the matter could be much more easily approached in the way I suggest, that when a borrower goes in to seek a loan and the authorised bank or corporation wants to find out what is the position of that individual, they should make a joint application. That application will indicate that you have the consent of the intending borrower to disclose the information that is there on the register and the information could then be supplied by the registrar. I think it would be preposterous to proceed in the way suggested in the Bill. It would militate against the possibility of making this a useful means of securing money.

This is also a re-enactment of existing legislation. Section 25 of the 1927 Act was amended by Section 27 of the 1929 Act. The paragraphs of sub-section (6), which, the Deputy proposes to delete, are already law as paragraphs (a), (b), (c), (d) and (e) of sub-section (6) of Section 25 of the Agricultural Credit Act of 1927.

Do you not propose to repeal them?

We are re-enacting them. The county registrar must have full right of inspection at all times because when he gets an execution order from the court, he must make a search to find out whether there is a chattel mortgage in existence on any stock which may be involved in the order which he is to execute. Moreover, it is necessary that the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Agriculture should have power to inspect and make copies of any entry in the register because of loans, etc., made to farmers from voted moneys.

I have not any objection to the county registrar at all. My amendment merely covers recognised banks or the corporation. I have not gone so far as to include the whole lot, because I feel that it may be necessary for the county registrar to have access to the register. He may have to deal with a number of people. In the case of an applicant for a loan to an authorised bank or the corporation, why the application for information is not sufficient I cannot understand. The Parliamentary Secretary has not made a case against my amendment.

On the Second Reading of the Bill the Parliamentary Secretary admitted that farmers generally were reluctant to borrow from the corporation because of the amount of publicity attaching to such transactions. They preferred, in the main, to go to the ordinary joint stock banks, because they knew that when they did so their business would be kept secret. The Parliamentary Secretary also admitted that very few people availed of the advantages of chattel mortgages. Personally, I take it that the type of borrowing that should be developed in this country, if we are going to advance normally as people are advancing in other countries, is through loans obtained from the credit corporation, but we must see, if these loans are to be availed of generally, that the transactions in connection with them are of the most confidential character. It is provided in the section that an official of the credit corporation or an official of a bank, an official of the county registrar, an official of the Minister for Agriculture, an officer of the Circuit Court or of the Supreme Court can go to the registrar and demand the right to inspect the register of chattel mortgages. In other words, the Parliamentary Secretary is providing in the section opportunities for people to inspect the register and ascertain particulars relating to every mortgage entered thereon, as well as the names of the borrowers. Personally, I think that is entirely wrong. If loans are going to be advanced by the State to a borrower through the medium of the credit corporation, or any other organisation, then it is incumbent on the State to see that all such transactions are treated with a reasonable degree of secrecy. I submit that there is a moral obligation on the State in regard to that particular matter.

In my opinion, the sub-section as drawn will discourage people from having anything at all to do with the corporation. I seriously suggest to the Parliamentary Secretary that he should re-examine the sub-section with a view to seeing whether some machinery cannot be devised to ensure that wherever a chattel mortgage is issued the names of the persons on the register shall not be divulged except under very definite and specific circumstances. The amendment may not be perfect from the point of view of drafting, but, nevertheless, it embodies, I think, the viewpoint of every member of the Dáil who is familiar with the feelings of farmers throughout the country in regard to their financial transactions. We all know how anxious they are to surround these transactions with the utmost secrecy. I suggest to the Parliamentary Secretary that he should try to overhaul the sub-section with the object of securing that transactions relating to chattel mortgages shall be treated with the utmost degree of secrecy.

I suggest to the Parliamentary Secretary that he should give the amendment further consideration. He may not be able to accept it in its present form. Apart from what has been said about an actual borrower there is this point which has not been stressed but which was implied, namely, that a number of people would feel that if the register is made available for inspection to such bodies as are referred to in the amendment then their business transactions will come under inspection for some purpose entirely unrelated to this measure. As far as I understand the position, the section is designed to prevent a person having a mortgage with this institution and then borrowing from another body, giving at the same time the same chattels and goods for the second mortgage. The object of the section, I understand, is to prevent that being done.

There is, of course, the feeling that Deputy Hughes has referred to that when a person is borrowing he wants his business to be kept absolutely private. It is quite understandable, of course, that a State body, or an official of the court, should be able to get the information required from the register. It would, however, I think, arouse a certain amount of doubt if people got it into their minds that this register of loans was available for inspection not only to the credit corporation and recognised banks but to every banking institution. People would then have to consider whether it was advisable to have transactions with the credit corporation at all.

Apart altogether from the purpose for which the inspection is made by an individual on behalf of an authorised banks or the corporation, there is no attempt made in the section as it stands to bind the individual who makes the inspection to secrecy. What is to prevent him going out and talking about the transactions of people whose names appear on the register? I am glad to have Deputy Briscoe's support for the amendment. This provision is most undesirable in its present form. The amendment was put down to draw the attention of the Parliamentary Secretary to this matter, and may not be perfect from the point of view of draftsmanship. The sub-section, if not amended, will vitiate the whole business of chattel mortgages altogether.

With regard to the uneasiness which has been expressed by Deputies as to secrecy, that has already been covered in the Bill.

Not in this measure.

The section is Section 24, which Deputies will find at the bottom of page 17:—

"the general preservation of the secrecy of such registers and, in particular, the evidence of authority to be produced by persons claiming to inspect or take copies of such registers."

The Parliamentary Secretary will agree with me that that is merely a pious hope.

I can assure the Deputy that I am as anxious as he or any other Deputy is to preserve secrecy in this matter and I realise the importance of it. I shall have that section looked into with a view to seeing if additional safeguards can be provided.

Or have the sub-section recast.

Whatever is necessary.

I feel very strongly on this matter. The mere insertion of a provision for additional safeguards as regards secrecy will not meet my case. I want, instead of this provision for inspection, machinery by which, on a joint application made by an intending borrower and a bank or the corporation, as the case may be, full information relating to his particular property will be obtainable. Although I am rather slow to agree to it, the county registrar might be allowed to inspect, as one individual, and the granting of that right to a representative of the Minister for Finance might also be defended but, in other cases, application in writing to get full information regarding the property of an individual applying for a loan ought to meet the case.

Does not the Deputy realise that, if there be a joint application, there will be two parties to it, both having the right of inspection? That would offset the secrecy about which he was so much concerned a few minutes ago.

The Parliamentary Secretary is completely missing our point. We are not objecting to providing information about a particular borrower, but to the finding out of information about everybody on the register. Why should we facilitate the inspection of private matters relating to other people?

The Parliamentary Secretary said that he is prepared to give this suggested amendment further consideration.

That is not correct.

He said that. I agree with Deputy Hughes that, when the Parliamentary Secretary went on to explain to what extent he would do so, he appeared to miss the point of the amendment. What I have in mind, and what, I think, Deputy Hughes has in mind, is that it is not reasonable to have it in the Bill that the register is legally open to inspection by outside, non State bodies, particularly where one of these outside bodies referred to, a lending institution or a bank, fears that an intending borrower may have already a mortgage with the Agricultural Credit Corporation. In that case, the bank or lending institution should be satisfied to be able, with the consent of the intending borrower, to write to the registrar for the information. My sympathy with the amendment is due to the fact that, unless something of that kind is conceded, the agricultural community will, whether on good grounds or otherwise, believe that the transactions between borrowers from this institution and the institution itself are not absolutely secret, no matter what the Act may say. To that extent, there is agreement between Deputy Hughes and me and I should like the Parliamentary Secretary to say that he will give the matter consideration from that point of view, as distinguished from the point of view of secrecy in the case of officials or persons entitled to inspect the register.

I am not interested in putting in a further pious provision so far as secrecy is concerned because it is not worth very much. If the Parliamentary Secretary will approach the matter from the point of view of protecting the individuals whose names will appear in these registers, I shall withdraw the amendment. Otherwise I am afraid I shall have to divide the House on the matter.

I have already stated that I am as anxious as any Deputy to meet the point of view put forward by Deputy Hughes. Deputy Roddy and Deputy Briscoe. I shall have the section re-examined to see what we can do to meet the various points of view.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 13:—

In sub-section (8), paragraph (f), page 17, line 53, to delete the word "authorised" and substitute the word "recognised".

The word "authorised" was a misprint.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 24, as amended, agreed to.
SECTION 25.

I move amendment No. 14:—

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

(4) Where stock which is the subject of a chattel mortgage is purchased by a bona fide purchaser without the knowledge of the chattel mortgage such transaction so far as the purchaser is concerned shall be a legitimate transaction and the purchaser shall not in any way be liable to the mortgagee.

A man who purchases stock for values without the knowledge of a mortgage may be indirectly protected by the Bill but I want it to be specifically stated that he will not be liable in any way if such a transaction takes place. If a man bona fide purchases stock which is the subject of a chattel mortgage and pays for it, I think we should put in a specific provision to protect him. I do not think that a cattle dealer, for instance, who is deliberately invited to purchase stock so as to defraud an authorised bank or the corporation and prevent a charge from being collected, ought to be protected. A certain amount of protection is implied for the bona fide purchaser at present but it is not specific.

Sections 26 and 27 give the protection which the Deputy is seeking. Such a purchaser as he refers to is adequately protected.

Section 26 affords protection to the extent that the property will not be seized but it does not state that the purchaser will not be liable in any way. That is the reason I put in the amendment. I want to provide that the purchaser will not be liable in any way because of the transaction. I do not think that the Parliamentary Secretary should object to that. He suggests that he is amply protected already. There is a difference and I am making a distinction. The provision as it stands simply says that the stock will not be seized from his place because Section 26 provides for the stock to be seized at any place it may be, other than where they are purchased by a bona fide purchaser for value.

I wonder if Deputy Hughes has really considered the extent to which he wants to go? I do not agree with him this time. Obviously, a person who has a mortgage on chattel cattle and disposes of them notwithstanding the mortgage is committing a criminal offence, and the Agricultural Credit Corporation would have a claim on his land in respect of that disposal of the chattels. I think the bona fide position as it is covered at present in the main section is sufficient. Again, we are dealing with a case which is likely to arise only very occasionally. It is not going to be a wholesale method of business all over the country. As it is a criminal offence to dispose of things on which there is a mortgage, the corporation could have recourse to the land itself and I think the provisions are sufficient in that case.

I think the amendment is quite unnecessary. It is already covered.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 25 agreed to.
SECTION 26.

I move amendment No. 15:—

In sub-sections (1) and (2) to delete all words from the word "which" in line 31 to the end of sub-section (2) and substitute therefore the following words:—

"requiring the said county registrar to seize and remove from the custody of any person (other than a bona fide purchaser for value without notice of the chattel mortgage) and from any place (other than land or premises belonging to such purchaser) within the county or county borough of such county registrar all or any of the stock comprised in the chattel mortgage.

The county registrar shall hold such stock in his custody until the mortgage secures a decree in court or until he the county registrar gets a direction from the court."

Section 26 provides that where a mortgage which falls due is not met,

"the mortgagee may serve on the county registrar of the county or county borough in which any of the stock comprised in the chattel mortgage is situated an order..."

We are going to give authority to the corporation or an authorised bank to serve an order on the county registrar, an official of the court, to distrain and dispose of the stock. It does not even say how they should be sold. I feel that that is altogether wrong and is contrary to the idea that a man's property should not be interfered with except by an order of the court. I am not very keen on my own amendment. I was inclined to argue that they would have to wait to get a decree. I anticipated the Parliamentary Secretary putting up the case that the stock might have disappeared in the mean-time and it might not be possible for a mortgagee to realise. I have met that in my amendment by saying that the order will require the said county registrar to seize and then hold the stock in custody until he gets a direction from the court. If there is anything wrong and if the court decides that the animals should be discharged and returned to the owner, the county registrar would get that direction.

If there is a specific chattel mortgage on stock, it would be very difficult to show the specific stock. If it is registered against five or six cattle, I doubt whether it would be possible to identify that particular stock in eight or 12 months' time, unless they are marked in some way. It would not be desirable to mark them, as that would immediately indicate that they were mortgaged stock. The present proposal would interfere with private property without any appeal to the court and I feel it is almost unconstitutional. The Parliamentary Secretary may suggest that there are certain powers already in distraining for rates and annuities, but we are going further now and allowing private individuals—an authorised bank is a private individual under the law—to order an officer of the court to go out and distrain. That is most undesirable and I propose in this alternative that the stock be held by the county registrar until the court makes a decision.

I cannot accept the amendment, as obviously it would be impossible for the registrar on making a seizure to hold the stock pending the decision of the court. There would be all the additional expense involved, apart from the difficulties of accommodation of the stock. It might help the Deputy if I were to remind him that the word "stock" covers not merely animals, which most of us are inclined to regard as stock, but also machinery. In practice, the corporation has found that these chattel mortgages are seldom related to cattle. It may on rare occasions apply to pedigree stock, but in the main "stock" in this sense is meant to cover machinery and plant, which could be easily identified. I agree with Deputy Hughes that, if we were to brand cattle, that would be a general notification to the public that they were subject to the chattel mortgage. I am sure the Deputy will understand the difficulties which would be placed on the county registrar if we were to compel him, to retain stock pending a decision of the court.

I appreciate the difficulties, but difficulties are no excuse for infringing on an important principle. A private individual is being allowed to order an officer of the court to distrain on stock without the authority of the court. I take exception to that. There is no use in giving lip service to constitutions or ideals if we are going to infringe on them, or sail very closely to it. I do not know whether this is absolutely unconstitutional or not, but my idea of constitutions—unwritten constitutions, if you like—is that no individual's property can be interfered with except under the authority of the court, that the mortgage is not a law unto himself and cannot order an officer of the court to distrain. It was all right for the Parliamentary Secretary to make the excuse that it may be machinery. This Bill provides for "stock" and that is defined in the Bill. The Parliamentary Secretary knows it includes cattle and birds — even pheasants, we were told to-night. I do not know how he is going to collect the mortgage in that case when it falls due, but he told us it does include pheasants If that is so, a county registrar will have a job collecting, and in meeting my amendment by keeping them in his possession for a while.

The Parliamentary Secretary has suggested that there would be a difficulty. My answer is that we ought to make every effort to overcome the difficulty to meet a principle. We ought to be guided by principles, and it is the job of his Department and the Civil Service to overcome the difficulty in order to defend and preserve a principle. I do not think there would be any great difficulty, that the stock could be impounded and fed. It will not occur so very often, and where it does occur, where the county registrar has to distrain, there may be inconvenience as a result, but we all have to suffer inconvenience from time to time, and it should not be beyond the power of man to make provision for keeping stock for some days until the court makes a decision. The stock could be fed and whatever costs were involved would obviously have to be met by the mortgagor, but he would feel that he had got the protection of the court.

That is what we ought to stand for —that a man should get a fair hearing if he has a case to present to the court and if an injustice may possibly be done to him under this machinery. He may suffer very grave hardships in certain circumstances, and surely, if he has failed to meet an obligation, he is entitled to state in court why he has failed and why leniency should be shown in his case. These are aspects which the Parliamentary Secretary appears to overlook completely. I am concerned to ensure that the court gets an opportunity of doing justice, that we will not have law operating on a totalitarian idea that a certain individual or banking institution is to have power to order officials of the court to do certain things. That is wholly objectionable and the Parliamentary Secretary, in fact, has made no attempt to defend it.

With regard to the point made by Deputy Hughes that, in the circumstances, the borrower ought to be given the right to go into court, in that right will be involved the costs of going to court. In addition, the whole object of this provision of the Bill with regard to chattel mortgages will be defeated, because no person would take a chattel mortgage if it is to be left to the discretion of the borrower to have that chattel mortgage perhaps utilised in such a way that it would be useless by the time the court's decision had been given. Take the case of a chattel mortgage on agricultural machinery, say, a tractor.

The Parliamentary Secretary ought to read my amendment before he pursues that line of argument further. I think he is in sympathy with me, and he ought to have the courage to go the full distance.

I have already dealt with that aspect of it. I have already referred to the difficulty that we would be encumbering the county registrar in his dealing with this matter and we would also be making it more difficult for the mortgagee to lend money and restricting the operation of the Bill, if this amendment were accepted. With regard to giving the mortgagor the protection of the courts, you are going to involve him in additional costs and it will be very poor satisfaction to a man who is, perhaps, already in financial difficulties to have another burden, in the shape of court costs, imposed upon him.

Merely to ensure that this will work, we are to trample underfoot a fundamental principle. That argument does not appeal to me —that, because extra costs are involved, we should give private individuals the right to direct an official of the court to distrain. Surely the Parliamentary Secretary appreciates the implication there? Does he come in here and say that so far as he, individually, is concerned he stands over that sort of machinery? To meet his point, as I say, we are to trample underfoot the fundamental principle that no individual's property should be interfered with, except by an order of the court. I subscribe to that principle and if the Parliamentary Secretary is not prepared to meet me, I must divide the House on the amendment.

I might point out that that is already the law and the corporation has no information that it has operated in any way detrimental to the interests of the borrower up to the present.

Question: "That the words proposed to be deleted down to the word `sold' in line 47" stand.

The Committee divided: Tá, 55; Níl, 24.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Brennan, Thomas.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Burke, Patrick (County Dublin).
  • Butler, Bernard.
  • Carter, Thomas.
  • Childers, Erskine H.
  • Colbert, Michael.
  • Colley, Harry.
  • Corry, Martin J.
  • Crowley, Honour Mary.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Fogarty, Patrick J.
  • Furlong, Walter.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Humphreys, Francis.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Kilroy, James.
  • Kissane, Eamon.
  • Lemass, Séan F.
  • Little, Patrick J.
  • McCann, John.
  • McCarthy, Seán.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • McGrath, Patrick.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • Morrissey, Michael.
  • Moylan, Seán.
  • O'Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O'Connor, John S.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Loghlen, Peter J.
  • O'Rourke, Daniel.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Mary B.
  • Skinner, Leo B.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Travnor, Oscar.
  • Ua Donnchadha, Dómhnall.
  • Walsh, Laurence.
  • Walsh, Richard.

Níl

  • Blowick, Joseph.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Coogan, Eamonn.
  • Corish, Brendan.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Dockrell, Maurice E.
  • Donnellan, Michael.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Fagan, Charles.
  • Flanagan, Oliver J.
  • Hughes, James.
  • Keating, John.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick.
  • O'Sullivan, Martin.
  • Redmond, Bridget M.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Reynolds, Mary.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Rogers, Patrick J.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Kissane and Kennedy; Níl: Deputies Doyle and McMenamin.
Question declared carried.

I move amendment No. 16:—

In sub-section (1) (ii), line 47, before the word "and" to insert the words "by public auction".

Surely provision should be made as to how they are to be sold. I presume the Parliamentary Secretary will accept this amendment.

I am afraid I cannot accept the Deputy's amendment, because it would limit the power of the country registrar to sale by public auction. Should the auction-sale prove abortive, what would be his remedy? In any case, the county registrar is subject to well-known rules in the disposal of property. Under Section 8 of the Enforcement of Court Orders Act, 1926, he must hold a public auction in the first instance. If, however, the auction proves abortive, he is at liberty to sell by private treaty. That is already covered.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Sections 26 and 27 agreed to.
SECTION 28.

I move amendment No. 17:—

In sub-section (1) (d), line 14, before the word "to" to insert the following words "and does not replace with new stock".

I think the section overlooks the fact that in the ordinary course of business a mortgagor may be changing stock and replacing it by other stock. We are not dealing now with a specific chattel mortgage. We are dealing with a floating chattel mortgage. If, in the ordinary course of business, a mortgagor is legitimately changing stock, there would be very grave hardship imposed on him if the mortgagee were to insist that portion of the loan must be discharged before the period of the loan has expired.

I am afraid I cannot accept the Deputy's amendment in this instance. The insertion of the words "does not replace with new stock" would leave him open, say, to sell and to replace a smaller amount. Let us assume, for a moment, that the Deputy is thinking of stock in the way it is understood by farmers and the public generally, that is, cattle, and that he sells ten and replaces them by new stock only to the extent of two. If the Deputy knows of any specific cases of hardship of the kind, I will have the matter looked into.

I do not know of any specific cases. But, supposing stock is mortgaged and 12 months later they are much more valuable and in the ordinary course of farming must be sold and are replaced to the same number by new stock, I submit that what is set out in paragraph (d) would be a hardship:—

"Whenever the mortgagor sells any of the stock for the time being on the land to impose on him the obligation of paying such (if any) part of the proceeds of such sale as the mortgagee shall require to the mortgagee in reduction or discharge of the principal moneys secured by the chattel mortgage and any interest and costs due thereon and to confer on the mortgagor the right to pay the whole or any part of such proceeds of sale to the mortgagee in reduction or discharge of such principal moneys and interest and costs."

Supposing it is a machine, a binder, which is a rather costly machine, my amendment covers that it has to be replaced by a similar machine. It may be old and worn out and the farmer would be anxious to get an up-to-date machine. If it is cattle and if there is a specific charge on a number of stock, I submit that when they reach maturity they must be sold in the ordinary course of business and we are giving the right to the mortgagee to step in at that point, even though discharge is not due, and demand discharge simply because the farmer is bound to sell that stock when they are fit for sale. The mortgagee sets out in an arbitrary way what must be repaid at that point, although the loan has not fallen due. Surely that is not reasonable. I think the Parliamentary Secretary is anxious to have this right and if he considers it and the implications of it from a countryman's point of view, leaving the Civil Service out of it altogether, perhaps he may come much nearer to my point of view.

In actual practice the corporation have never come across a single instance of hardship as a result of that provision, and that is the existing law. Obviously, no mortgagee would act in the harsh manner that Deputy Hughes seems to fear, because by so doing he would perhaps destroy the means of livelihood of the farmer and thus prevent the possibility of his being able to pay off the debt. If the farmer is put out of business, what hope have they of recovering from him? It has never happened in the past and what reason have we to assume that a continuation of this power will impose hardship in future? In addition, those who lent the money also have rights and there is an obligation on the borrower to repay at least portion of the money which he borrowed. Their rights have to be protected also if the Bill is to be effective because, if you do not protect their rights to a certain extent, then it will be impossible for the type of person for whom we are trying to cater to borrow money at all.

The Parliamentary Secretary is overlooking the implication of the paragraph, that you are empowering the mortgagee to step in at a certain stage and make a new condition so far as the loan is concerned that payment must be made immediately simply because in the ordinary course of farming, stock have to be sold. That is what I am objecting to. Remember that in the conditions under which the loan is made no reference is made to an interim payment when stock is sold but the moment stock is sold in the ordinary course of farming the Parliamentary Secretary proposes to empower the mortgagee to step in and make his own conditions as to what amount of the loan and interest thereon should be discharged. I merely want protection there for the ordinary farming operation of disposing of stock on maturity. If everything is going all right and the mortgagor has every intention of meeting his obligations when they fall due, why should you empower the mortgagee to step in at that juncture? The Parliamentary Secretary said that the mortgagee would not have any intention of doing that because he would not want to put the mortgagor out of business, but he might do him an injury and might upset his calculations very seriously by intervening at that stage.

I am not very clear as to why this particular paragraph has been drafted in its present form. Quite obviously, it is intended to give the mortgagee, which would be the bank, powers which apparently it has not at present. It is also quite conceivable that a paragraph of this kind, if it were enforced, would do considerable harm to the unfortunate borrower. If a loan is to be of value to them, borrowers, farmers, must have freedom in the spending of it. There are farmers who change stock frequently. A farmer may get a corporation loan and he may invest it in the purchase of ten or 12 cattle. He may keep them for some months until prices appreciate and then he will sell them. The margin will probably be small. He buys other cattle. In order to leave himself with a decent profit he may have to change cattle three or four times.

The corporation can step in when he is disposing of the first lot of cattle, when his margin of profit is relatively small. By doing that, they are inflicting grave hardship on the farmer and are negativing any advantages he may derive from the loan. Indeed, as Deputy Hughes suggests, they may prevent him from restocking. There is that power implicit in this paragraph. It is all very well for the Parliamentary Secretary to say that the corporation does not intend to inflict this hardship, but they have the power to do so. If they do not intend to inflict it, why incorporate this paragraph in the Bill?

This paragraph, in my opinion, needs to be closely re-examined. As it is phrased, it would undoubtedly inflict a very grave hardship on farmers who borrow loans of this character. It would prevent them from making the very best use of them. The Parliamentary Secretary has made no effort to justify the paragraph and until he makes a better case I could not vote for it.

I think the Deputy's fears are groundless. This type of legislation has been in operation since 1927.

How many cases came under it?

There have been any amount of cases, but no case of hardship has yet arisen. If you deprive the mortgagee of certain rights you will defeat the object of the Bill. I appreciate the point of view put forward by Deputy Hughes and Deputy Roddy. I am just as anxious to safeguard the interests of the borrower as they are. The whole object of the Bill, and indeed all these Acts, is to help people, particularly in the farming community, who, perhaps, could not get financial accommodation otherwise.

Oftentimes too far east is west and if we go too far in one direction we may defeat the object we have in view.

However, in deference to the wishes of the Deputies, I will have this matter examined in order to see if it can be improved. I am a countryman too, and I can appreciate the situation.

I see the Parliamentary Secretary's difficulty. He is most anxious to meet us, but he is being pulled by the Agricultural Credit Corporation.

No, they have not had a word to say to it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 28 agreed to.
SECTION 29.

I move amendment No. 18:—

In sub-section (2) (b) to delete in lines 19 and 20 the words "to a person over the age of 16 years" and add at the end of the paragraph the following words "to a member of his family over the age of 16 years or any adult who accepts delivery on behalf of the mortgagor".

This relates to the question of service, and to a member of the family over 16 years of age. Anyone outside that age ought to be considered as an adult and ought to be prepared to accept delivery on behalf of the mortgagor.

It might save time if I were to say that while I do not accept the amendment, I shall have it examined with a view to providing a suitable amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 29 agreed to.
Section 30 to 33, inclusive, agreed to.
SECTION 34.
Question proposed:"That Section 34 stand part of the Bill."

On the section, I should like to refer to the registering of a mortgage after seven days' notice. I do not know how that time can be fixed if the postal service is slow. To relate a specific time like that to the fixing of a mortgage may have important effects afterwards on the validity of the deed. I anticipate a difficulty about fixing the time in relation to the postal service. I am referring to Section 34 (1) (d), paragraphs (i), (ii) and (iii).

That is the existing law.

The Parliamentary Secretary is inclined to assume that the existing law is always right. I never assume that.

Well, this has been the law since 1927 and it has not imposed hardship on anyone. Why not continue it?

Two wrongs never made a right.

We are not dealing with two wrongs here.

We are getting an opportunity of putting the matter right. I am merely calling the Parliamentary Secretary's attention to a difficulty and I ask him to look into the matter.

Does the Deputy make any suggestion with regard to the time?

It is short.

We must have some time limit.

Seven days appear to be short. If there is a mortgage there, or a charge of any sort, the person who is notified has to act. Supposing the post is delayed and the time runs out, he is excluded by law from taking any action. That is what I am afraid of. Through no fault of his own a letter is delayed in the post. I shall put it this way: is seven days sufficient time to cover delays of delivery and the necessary time you would give an individual to take action to protect his interests?

In normal times seven days seems to be a reasonable period. In normal times postal deliveries are so regular that one can hardly conceive of any considerable delay.

I am talking of abnormal times. An individual may suffer hardships because a letter is delayed in the post. I suggest the time might be extended.

I shall look into that.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 35 to 41, inclusive, agreed to.
SECTION 42.
Question proposed: "That Section 42 stand part of the Bill."

I should like to know what the caution referred to in sub-section (2) means. It is a caution under the Act of 1891.

The caution is defined in Section 43.

I am afraid it is not.

It is pretty adequately defined in sub-section (1).

It has reference to the Local Registration of Titles Act.

I think I know what it is.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 43 to 52, inclusive, agreed to.
SECTION 53.
Question proposed: "That Section 53 stand part of the Bill."

On this section, I think the corporation should not be exempted in any way from proving a deed. There should be no discrimination as between the corporation and any other individual in the State as to the proving of a deed before the court. This section sets out that a certificate signed or sealed by the corporation will be sufficient proof of the validity of the document. I know there are precedents for that but I think we should not continue that policy of allowing Departments of State, or even local authorities, to prove documents by a certificate. The onus of proof should be on the corporation and they should be compelled to prove their case by producing the necessary evidence like every other individual.

Deputy Hughes seems to be under the impression that this section has reference to deeds. It has reference to nothing of the kind. The corporation could sue Deputy Hughes to-morrow morning under this section for £50 and issue a certificate to the effect that Deputy Hughes owes them £50. Deputy Hughes would then have to go into court and satisfy the court that he did not owe them £50. If Deputy Hughes failed to satisfy the court by proof produced by him that he did not owe the corporation £50, the presumption that he did would remain and he would be decreed accordingly. The Agricultural Credit Corporation under Section 53 could walk into court and sue Captain Byrne of the Guard of this House for £1,000,000 and unless Captain Byrne could prove that he did not owe them £1,000,000, which might be a difficult thing to do, the lawyers representing the Agricultural Credit Corporation would not have to open their mouths. The presumption would be that he did and on that presumption a decree would issue. They would then get an instalment order against Captain Byrne, who would presumably spend the rest of his life sitting up in Mountjoy because he was not prepared to pay suitable instalments on the debt of £1,000,000 created under this section.

That Ministers in a nominally democratic country could produce such a proposal is so fantastic as to make ordinary people gasp. The queer thing is that it is so fantastic that nobody in this House will really believe that it means what it says. There is my friend, Deputy Breathnach, sitting on the back benches of Fianna Fáil and he does not really believe that if under this section the corporation issued a certificate that he owes them £100, he would have to dash off to get a certificated accountant to go into court and prove that he did not. Why should any corporation, any Minister or any person be entitled to haul his neighbour before a court of law and put his neighbour under the obligation of having to pay him a sum of money, without first producing some proof to the court that the money is due?

The section in this Bill is an outrage. It is a violation of all accepted law.

Heretofore, this kind of fantastic power has been claimed by the Land Commission as an emergency kind of power to deal with an alleged conspiracy to withhold land annuities. Now it is being brought into the ordinary law of the country. Why? To save the secretary of the Agricultural Credit Corporation the trouble of keeping proper records. That is all it does. Every shopkeeper in this country who gives credit must keep records and bring them into court if he wants to sue a customer for a debt due. He must satisfy the court that the records are properly kept and are reliable. If the judge believes the records, then the court may grant a verdict unless rebutting evidence is produced. This gentleman produces no book and no records. He produces nothing but a statement, under seal, that Deputy Cormac Breathnach owes him £150. Having heard the best case that the Deputy can put up, if he thinks the Deputy is in lively mood and impresses the court, he can tear up the certificate and negative the claim. If he thinks the Deputy slipped up in the process of proving the £150 he can then go for him and mulct him, not by proving that he has any debt, but by making Deputy Breathnach prove that he does not owe it.

Outside of Alice and the Looking-glass there has never been such a procedure of litigation devised as that. We have the Lord Mayor of Dublin here, we have Deputy Fogarty from Tipperary, we have Deputy O Briain, the champion of Gaelic law and justice in this country, and we have Deputy Cormac Breathnach. Will any one of these four pillars of the Fianna Fáil Party get up and defend on its merits the proposition that anyone in this country can issue a certificate that they owe him £100, and that they are obliged to go into court and prove that they do not? I challenge any one of them to get up and defend that proposition on its merits. If they do I will give them the opportunity of waltzing through the lobbies and of saying why, in Irish or in English, they defend such a proposition on its merits.

Rinne an Teachta Ó Diolúin tagairt don ghléas atá ag Coimisiún na Talún chun riaráiste do bhailiú. Níl an ceart ag an Teachta ina ndúirt sé. Tá a fhios agam go bhfuil an gléas atá ag an gCoimisún fá láthair níos saoire dos na tionóntaí ná an gléas a bhí acu roimhe seo, nuair a bhí ar na tionóntaí duí os comhair an Bhreithimh Dhúiche. Má tá an Teachta chomh ceart i dtaobh an ailt seo agus atá sé i dtaobh Coimisiún na Talún, ba choir dhúinn uilig a bheith i bhfábhair an ailt.

Nílimid ag caint ar Choimisiún na Talún. Is é an Bille atá os ár gcomhair ná An Bille Cairde Talmhaíochta.

Do luaigh an Teachta an Coimisiún.

An féidir leat an t-alt so do chosaint?

I agree with everything that Deputy Dillon has said on this section. The only apology that I have to make for representing the matter in such a mild manner is that I have not read the section for a fortnight. I knew that it was an objectionable section and that the onus of proof should be put on the corporation. It should be made prove its case in court. To my mind, the idea of a document is that they would have to prove the document in court, and prove that there was a loan advanced which was not repaid. Surely it would be a disgraceful procedure if this House were to agree to a section which provides that the corporation can go into court and certify that a sum of money is due by an individual, and that he must prove that he does not owe the money. That is contrary to the ideas that all of us hold in regard to well-established law. The onus of proof should surely rest on the corporation. They should prove their case in the ordinary way.

Deputy Dillon's contention is rather far-fetched——

Far-fetched my foot. It is the law.

I do not think the Parliamentary Secretary interrupted the Deputy.

——to assume for a moment that a body like the Credit Corporation would issue a certificate to the effect that some person owed it a certain sum of money, whether it be £1 or £1,000,000, which was not due to it. If it did so, the onus of proof would be on the corporation, because such a certificate is only prima facie evidence if a defence is entered. The corporation would have to prove the case in court. I do not think that Deputy Dillon has even read the section.

The Parliamentary Secretary is talking through his hat and does not know what he is talking about.

I have good company in that respect, very often.

That is true for you— 77 of them.

Deputy Hughes is aghast at the idea that this House might pass this section, but the Dáil passed a similar section in 1929, and the world has not fallen asunder since. The object of the section is to save the borrower unnecessary expense. The whole object of this section is not to impose a hardship on any unfortunate borrower but to save him expense. It was for that purpose that it was embodied in the 1929 Act. The section was rendered inoperative because under the Rules of Court, which were drafted subsequent to the passing of that Act, it was held by the county registrars that the Agricultural Credit Corporation was not mentioned in Order 15 of the Rules of Court, and they refused to accept these certificates. Hence the section has been inserted in this Bill to enable proof of amounts due to be obtained by certificate in the court. On the other hand, if the borrower has a case he can enter a defence and the courts are there to protect his rights.

Why should the corporation be placed in a different position from that of any other person who wishes to prove a debt? I do not suggest for a moment that the corporation, as the Parliamentary Secretary seemed to imagine, might issue a certificate that it was owed a debt when, in fact, it was not. In the ordinary procedure with regard to a debt of this kind, or a mortgage transaction, the matter comes before the court on the claim made by a person who is owed money. The ordinary proof goes through as a matter of form, but it does not involve any extra expense on the mortgagee. If the money is owing, proofs are produced in court and a defence is filed in the ordinary way. If this procedure is adopted, a defence must still be filed and the person indebted will still have to produce proof. I do not see why the Agricultural Credit Corporation should be exempted from the ordinary procedure. In this case, a certificate issued by the corporation is regarded as evidence—prima facie evidence, I suppose. That immediately places the burden on the alleged debtor to produce evidence. If the proper procedure were adopted, the court would examine the claim and, probably, make a primary decree. When that primary decree was made, the borrower would have to file a defence and the matter could then come up for plenary hearing. There is no case for making an exception in the present circumstances. In the numerous cases which come before the court, the lender and the borrower are more or less in the same relationship. The lender may not be a wealthy person. In the ordinary course of business, the creditor might be an ordinary shopkeeper and his capacity to bear losses might be no greater than that of the borrower. In this case we have a State-financed corporation, and a body such as that, with substantial financial backing, should not be exempted from the ordinary procedure.

I am afraid the Deputy misconceives the idea behind the section. It is not in the interest of the Agricultural Credit Corporation it is introduced but in the interest of the borrower—in order to save him expense. If the borrower has a defence to put up, the courts are open to him. This section is introduced to save expense to borrowers who have no defence to put up. If that is not the case, the borrower can resort to the courts in the usual way. The sole purpose of the section is to save expense to the borrower and, as I have repeatedly stated, the corporation has to cater for a class of the farming community who are not in the best financial position.

At what stage of the proceedings for recovery of the loan is the certificate by the corporation likely to issue?

In certain cases, when the principal or interest is outstanding for a period of 28 days and, in certain other cases, in 56 days.

On the question of saving money, would not the corporation have to produce their contract with the borrower? What cost would be involved in producing that? There is no use in talking about cost.

Whatever the cost would amount to——

On the question of cost, you have no defence.

Even small amounts are of material value to poor persons.

What cost would be involved in producing in court the contract between the lender and the borrower?

Any court proceedings are bound to involve cost and the idea of the section is to obviate, if possible, the necessity for poor borrowers having to resort to the courts. If borrowers are unable to repay the money borrowed, it does not help them in the least if they have to go into court and add to the amount already due.

Does not this procedure involve court proceedings? A writ issues, in the first place, against the person owing the money. When that person appears in court, the corporation can produce a certificate under its seal and, there and then, the onus of proof passes over to the defendant. That is the only effect of this section. It averts no legal proceedings and avoids no legal expense. It saves the officer of the Agricultural Credit Corporation from going down to court and proving his debt. It exempts him from the obligation of going into the witness box and being cross-examined. That is what they want. They want to be put in a kind of superior class. They want to be a quasi-Government Department when they are suing their debtors but they are not so anxious to be a quasi-Government Department when they are paying their employees. I want the Agricultural Credit Corporation, since it is not a Department of State, to be in the same position as any other corporation. If Córas Iompair Éireann alleges that some man owes them money, they have to go down to court and prove their claim. The Parliamentary Secretary seems to labour under the illusion that that is a desperately expensive procedure even when the debtor acknowledges the debt and does not intend to defend the proceedings. In fact, no recourse need be had to open court at all. The whole transaction can take place in the registrar's office. If the sum is small—and the Parliamentary Secretary speaks of small sums—you can issue a default civil bill. If a defence is not entered to that within the prescribed number of days, a decree is given and it is unnecessary to go into court at all. Is not that a perfectly cheap procedure? So far as I know, there is a default procedure in the High Court for larger sums but, if the case comes within the authority of the Circuit Court, and there is no answer to the claim, the default civil bill procedure can be resorted to without involving anybody in substantial expense.

The other story is all eye-wash. The real truth is that the lordlings of the Agricultural Credit Corporation, quasi-Government Departments and Government Departments consider it beneath their dignity to be brought down to the level of the common farmer or the common citizen. If they claim a debt against the common creature, he has to come in and prove that it is not due. But if the common creature claims that a debt is due to him, he has to go in, prove his claim and have it adjudicated by a court of law. There is nothing more evil than the tendency manifesting itself in this House to prevent the courts of law from standing between individual citizens and the Executive or the agents of the Executive. That is one of the primary functions of the courts of law—to protect the ordinary citizen against a Government or the agents of a Government. This kind of section is designed to ensure that the ordinary citizen's recourse to the courts will be effectively rendered nugatory. You could not lawfully pass an Act preventing the ordinary citizen from getting into the courts. If you did, it would be unconstitutional and he would get into the courts in spite of any legislation passed by this House. But you can go a long way by legislation to make the procedure of the courts and the normal protections afforded by the courts to citizens nugatory and ineffective vis-a-vis the Government and Departments of State. These matters are highly technical and the average person does not understand them at all, so it is extremely difficult to arouse popular interest in them. It is only when all these barriers have been torn down and destroyed that people begin to discover that their liberties have been gradually dissipated piecemeal without their knowing it.

There is no reason on God's earth why the Agricultural Credit Corporation could not go to court and prove its debt like anybody else, except that all Governments and the agents of all Governments resent the obligation of coming before the courts of the country on an equal footing with the citizens of the State. It should be our continual vigilant duty to insist that in the courts of law there should be equal law for everyone, whether it be the Government or the humblest creature in the community. Every departure from that is an evil thing and there are very few Deputies sitting on the far side of the House who do not know that; but they are afraid to stand by their convictions. They know how evil this is, but they also know that the people do not understand it and therefore they cannot resist the Party Whip, because the people would not understand why they resisted. Well, I suppose everyone has a price at which he is prepared to sell his soul.

People judge others by their own standards.

People who want to sell their souls piecemeal in this way are free to do so, but they will not do it under the shadow of anonymity; and as you proceed to do it you will at least have the satisfaction of stripping to your nakedness in the light of day, because so long as I am here I will provide the light, disgraceful as the spectacle is which that light reveals.

I think the Parliamentary Secretary is under a complete misapprehension in this business. In the ordinary procedure, if it is a specific debt—in other words, if it comes within the High Court range— there is a primary decree made and then the borrower has to come in and file a defence. After the primary decree is made, a claim may issue on a summons and a defence would be filed. On the other hand, if it comes in the Circuit Court, the county registrar examines it and subsequently it may go before the court, if there is evidence that satisfies the county registrar that there is a debt. It may go before the court, as Deputy Dillon says, either by default or on a civil bill where a claim is filed and subsequently a defence. But unless there is some evidence which satisfies the judge in the first instance in the High Court on a primary decree, or satisfies the county registrar in the second instance in the Circuit Court, then no expense can be put on the borrower.

In this case, once a certificate issues from the corporation, the borrower has to go in and the onus is on him to prove he does not owe the money. While it may be a simple procedure, I think it is a bad procedure and it is wrong that State corporations or any State body of this kind should be placed in a superior position to the ordinary traders or ordinary citizens who borrow or lend. For that reason, it is a bad form of legislation which in any way exempts a large corporation of this kind—and particularly one that has statutory protection and is financed from State funds—and places it in a superior position vis-a-vis the situation of one citizen to another. The Parliamentary Secretary should reconsider this section before allowing it to go through as it is. I am very doubtful if it means any saving at all to the borrower. In fact, he may find himself in more protracted proceedings under the section than if the corporation were obliged in the ordinary procedure to prove the debt.

Is this amendment being pressed?

We are opposing the section.

Is there any similarity between the procedure outlined in this section and that now adopted by the Land Commission for the collection of arrears of annuity from tenants? In former years, when I became a member of the Dáil first in 1933, the procedure was that the Land Commission sued these tenants in the District Court. An undefended proceeding of that nature by the Land Commission in the District Court at that time cost the tenant 32/-, in addition to the £5 or £6 he owed for a half-year. After the passing of the Land Act of 1933, the system of collection was changed and the new procedure gave power to the county registrar to collect. That was strenuously opposed here by the Opposition, and by Deputy Dillon, I think, but it has worked out very satisfactorily——

Indeed it has not.

——from the point of view of the costs that the poor tenants in arrear have to bear. The greatest cost that the county registrar can collect under the new system is 8/-, plus 1/- for postage and other expenses of that nature. In the case of smaller rents, it would be 4/- or 5/-. I know that from the experience I have had in approaching the county registrar on behalf of Land Commission annuitants who are in arrears. If this proposal is something on the same lines, it is a good system for the people concerned, the borrowers and the Agricultural Credit Corporation, and should be adopted. I do not mind about the highfalutin principles Deputy Dillon is talking about. If the thing is of value and of less expense to the people already sunk—and these are the people in question—it should be adopted.

There is one other objection to it. If the Land Commission or the Agricultural Credit Corporation make a mistake, the tenant has to take separate proceedings or defend the actual claim.

In reply to Deputy Cosgrave, I suggest that if the Land Commission or the corporation make any mistake they pay dearly for it.

First, for Deputy O'Brien's information, the procedure followed by the Land Commission bears little or no relation to the procedure under Section 53. It has nothing whatever to do with it.

It is much the same.

I think the Deputy is mistaken. Under the Land Commission procedure, the Land Commission issues a certificate and on depositing that with the registrar the registrar could levy on it, the same as if it were a sheriff's decree; and on occasion the Land Commission makes mistakes and certificates are issued in respect of the wrong party. I have had a case in which they knew they were levying on the wrong party, but yet the decree stood and there was no way out. Does Deputy O'Brien know that? Surely, when Deputy O'Brien speaks——

Anois, bhí tusa ag cainnt i mBéarla.

Ná tabhair leas-ainm orm.

When he speaks of highfalutin principles, what protection have free men at all except what he cares to describe as highfalutin principles? If you say that, for convenience purely or for the saving of 25/- in the small number of cases where it is necessary to recover land annuities by decree, you are going to take away from every small farmer in Ireland his right to go into the courts in defence of what he believes are his rights as against the Government, surely, far from doing something prudent and sensible, you are doing something reckless and wrong.

I quite agree and every experienced person must know that, of all the actions that are started in the courts by rational men, 85 per cent. will end in favour of the plaintiff, because the plaintiff would not go into court if he did not believe he was pretty sure of winning. But 15 per cent. do not succeed, because the plaintiff is wrong. It is perfectly true to say that if one could examine the police records of all the prosecutions started by the police, one would find that 80 per cent. result in conviction, and 20 per cent. do not. It would be very much more convenient and would save a lot of expense if a man could be given seven days in Mountjoy on the certificate of a Civic Guard, and in eight cases out of ten, justice would be done. But it is because in two cases, or in one case, out of ten that justice would miscarry, if that abbreviated procedure were adopted, that we go to all the expense of having judges, magistrates and Circuit Court judges, all the machinery of evidence and all the majesty of the law. In 80 per cent. of cases the certificate that the plaintiff's case was right would achieve substantial justice and yet, rightly, we try them, we insist on all the cases being tried out so as to ensure that justice will be done in all.

I have no doubt that in 98 per cent. of the actions in respect of which certificates would be issued under this section, the debt would be due and if it had been made the subject of litigation for a week, the result would be the same, but that is no argument for abolishing the courts of law, for abolishing the procedure which these courts have devised as the only procedure which will ensure that justice will be done. The Deputy shakes his head, but in the land code case to which he referred, that was done—the courts were abolished altogether.

With satisfactory results for the tenants.

What about the man against whom the certificate issued in error and who had to pay a debt which everybody knew was another man's debt?

He has his remedy.

Not that I know of. Can any Deputy advise us? So far as I know, that man had no remedy whatever. The money had to be paid, and there was no means of paying it back. That is my information. I do not believe he had any right against the person against whom the Land Commission had intended to issue the certificate, so that in that case we did actually sweep the courts aside altogether. In this case, under Section 53, we do not intend to do that, but we intend to go into the courts and sweep aside the procedure laid down by them out of the fullness of their experience, to short circuit it, and to go through the form of preserving all the dignity of the law, but, in fact, by statute, destroying it.

Will Deputies look at lines 21 and 22 of this section? These provisions have been put in deliberately to offset a decision of the courts because the courts laid down that if you produce a document sealed, you must produce proof that the seal was regularly and properly applied to the document. Is that not correct?

It depends in certain cases.

There were such cases. It has now become the fashion, when preparing sections of this character, to declare specifically that that proof heretofore required by the civil courts shall no longer be required. I agree again that, in 99 per cent. of cases, to ask men to come down and prove the sealing of a document appears to be a waste of time, but the courts never established that procedure without good reason, and you will always find that precautionary measures of that kind are only availed of in the very exceptional case; but is it not a reckless thing to do to sweep these precautions aside because only a few people will be hurt? That has the familiar sound of the Taoiseach's famous dictum that you cannot have omelettes without breaking eggs. I point out to Deputies now, as I pointed out to the Taoiseach on that occasion, that that is a very agreeable doctrine on the Taoiseach's lips until the Taoiseach happens to be the egg.

Stripped of all the talk, I think we can get down to the plain and simple fact that we want to provide for the eventuality in which a person, having borrowed a sum of money from the Credit Corporation, is unable to pay and the corporation, in the ordinary course of its business, wishes to recover that sum of money. What is the best procedure? Deputy Dillon is very solicitous for the welfare of the poor borrower, but he would go so far, if we were to listen to him, as to impose on the borrower all the costs of court proceedings in every single instance, even though he admits that, in 98 per cent. of the cases, the corporation would undoubtedly be able to prove the debt due.

Yet because of the 2 per cent. in which, according to Deputy Dillon, they might not succeed, we are to impose all these expenses and go so far as to bring down a witness to prove that the seal had been affixed to the certificate of the corporation. Who is to pay these expenses? Is it not the unfortunate borrower?

If he cannot pay the debt, he cannot pay the expenses. If you have stripped him to the buff, you can take no more. You cannot take the breeches off a Highlander.

I did not interrupt the Deputy, and I ask that I be given the same courtesy. I will not detain the House very long. In this section we want to prevent the unfortunate borrower from having to undergo unnecessary expense in a court of law. We do not want to deprive him of one tittle of his rights as a citizen. We do not want to take any advantage of the position in which he finds himself, but rather than impose upon him the obligation of having to go into court and incur all the expenses involved in a case where he has practically no defence, this section is introduced to save him that expense. On the other hand, if it is a case in which an error has been committed, which the Deputy referred to—in passing I might say that if any error of the kind was committed by the Land Commission I understand that compensation has been paid——

That is ex gratia.

Nevertheless, it has been done, and no injustice has thereby been caused. It is not the intention under this section to cause any injustice to any would-be borrower, far from it. The intention is to save the borrower from the expense in which court proceedings would involve him. Let us assume it is a case which he thinks he should fight in the court. There is nothing to prevent him from doing that. This section does not prevent him from going to court. He can engage a solicitor and file a defence and fight the case in the court, and the onus of proof is on the corporation, not on the individual. They have to prove that the debt is due.

He would have to rebut it.

Of course he would. They will have to prove that it is due. Therefore, we are not depriving him of one scintilla of his rights. We are only trying to save, perhaps a small section of the community, unnecessary legal expense. That is all that is in the section. We are not seeking to involve the debtor in any expense, but rather to save him from it. The whole purpose of the Bill, as I have stated, is to help these people, not to hinder them. You are going to do a bad day's work for the borrowers in opposing this section, because, as Deputy Ó Briain' pointed out, some years ago there were sheaves of decrees issued in favour of the Land Commission by the various courts. There is not a Deputy who was in the Dáil at that time who, from time to time, had not to go and look for time to pay for these unfortunate people. That is not the position today, because of the passing of Section 28 of the 1933 Act. Similarly, I hold that the passing of this section will be a boon for the unfortunate borrowers who find themselves in financial difficulties. There is no necessity to reiterate that their right and privileges are in no way interfered with. Their right to go into court is still there and they have adequate protection in the court.

Apparently the Parliamentary Secretary has not the faintest notion of what the section means.

The Deputy did not read it before coming into the House.

He says it is to spare the debtor the expense of going into court. That is pure—if I were to use the word I should like to use, I would be guilty of a breach of order. The document cannot be produced until they are both in court. The certificate referred to in the section has no existence until produced to a court. Is not that true?

Quite correct.

Who is going to be in the court? Is it the debtor's ghost? Is it his aunt or is it his grandmother? The section provides that civil proceedings will be started against the man who owes money to the corporation. That is the first procedure. When the case is joined between them in court, instead of counsel for the corporation saying: "My Lord, on the 1st March, 1948, this man borrowed £1,000 on foot of a mortgage in respect of his land. He has paid £150 and we now claim to recover £850 from him or get a suitable remedy under the mortgage deed." All he need say is: "I hand in a certificate to the effect that the £850 is due," and then sit down; whereupon counsel for defendant has to get up and prove that there is a flaw in the document. Unless and until counsel for the farmer proves that the contents of the sealed certificate are false, the sealed certificate is conclusive evidence that the debt is due.

If counsel for the farmer proves that the contents of the certificate are false, there is nothing to prevent the corporation proceeding to produce their books and prove the debt in the ordinary way, but in what the Parliamentary Secretary tried to represent to the House he is clearly doing it for the purpose of misleading Deputy Ó Briain, because that Deputy thinks that this procedure is similar to the Land Commission procedure. It has nothing to do with it. The Parliamentary Secretary says that Section 53 is designed to protect debtors from the necessity of having to go into court. That is nonsense. This document has no existence, has no purpose and no function unless and until the parties are in court. Does the Parliamentary Secretary know that?

If the Deputy quotes me, I ask him to do it correctly.

What did you say? Did you not say it was designed to save the debtor from the expense of court proceedings?

What the Deputy has just said now is totally different from what he said a moment ago. In the first instance, he quoted me as saying that it was designed to prevent the debtor from going into court, and now he has put a different construction upon it altogether.

I said, and I repeat, that the Parliamentary Secretary said here that this section was designed to spare the debtor the expense and the necessity of court proceedings.

Court expenses. There is a difference between the expense of going into court and court expenses.

Did not the Parliamentary Secretary hold that under this procedure legal proceedings would not be necessary?

Did he not tell the House that they would be abbreviated in a case where the debtor believed the debt was not due? I submit that they would not be abbreviated in any way. Suppose the debtor proceeded to satisfy the court that the certificate is in some material particular wrong and the court rejects the certificate. That in no way debars the corporation from saying: "If the court does not accept the certificate as conclusive evidence, we now produce the books and, on our records, we claim that the debt is due." All the section says is that, unless and until the contents of the certificate are rebutted, the certificate remains conclusive evidence. But, on its rebuttal —that there is a flaw in it—the corporation will be thrown back on its ordinary remedy and can then go on. Therefore, far from sparing the litigant expense, it does nothing of the kind. If we envisage a case where the litigant knows that the money is due and that he has no defence, the existing legal procedure is the most inexpensive procedure that can be devised, and that is the default procedure in which no defence is entered at all.

I do not believe the Parliamentary Secretary had anything to do with this section at all, because, as he said himself, it was carried forward from some other Bill. It is a rotten principle and ought to be challenged on every possible occasion. So far as I am concerned, if I ever have any say in it, every one of these sections will be followed up through the legislation of this kind and rooted out and the proper position restored. In this country every man and woman, from the President down to the crossing-sweeper and from the Government to the smallest huckster in the meanest back street of this city, when they go into court should be equal before the law. That is a sound doctrine and any departure from it is an evil out of which further and greater evils must inevitably grow.

Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 56; Níl, 25.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Brennan, Thomas.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Butler, Bernard.
  • Carter, Thomas.
  • Childers, Erskine H.
  • Colbert, Michael.
  • Colley, Harry.
  • Corry, Martin J.
  • Crowley, Honor Mary.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • De Valera, Vivion.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Fogarty, Patrick J.
  • Furlong, Walter
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Humphreys, Francis.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Kilroy, James.
  • Kissane, Eamon.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick J.
  • Lydon, Michael F.
  • McCann, John.
  • McCarthy, Seán.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • McGrath, Patrick.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • Morrissey, Michael.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O'Connor, John S.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Loghlen, Peter J.
  • O'Rourke, Daniel.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Mary B.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Skinner, Leo B.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Ua Donnchadha, Dómhnall.
  • Walsh, Laurence.
  • Walsh, Richard.

Níl

  • Byrne, Alfred.
  • Coogan, Eamonn.
  • Corish, Brendan.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Costello, John A.
  • Davin, William.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Maurice E.
  • Donnellan, Michael.
  • Flanagan, Oliver J.
  • Hughes, James.
  • Keating, John.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • McAuliffe, Patrick.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • O'Reilly, Thomas.
  • O'Sullivan, Martin.
  • Redmond, Bridget M.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Reynolds, Mary.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Rogers, Patrick J.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Kissane and Kennedy; Níl: Deputies McMenamin and M.E. Dockrell.
Question declared carried.
Section 54 agreed to.
NEW SECTION.

I move amendment No. 19:—

Before the Schedule to insert the following new section:—

55.—(1) No person shall be appointed to any situation in the clerical grades of the service of the corporation unless, in the opinion of the directors of the corporation, he possesses a competent knowledge of Irish.

(2) In making an appointment to any situation in the service of the corporation (other than a situation referred to in sub-section (1) of this section) regard shall be had to the knowledge of Irish possessed by candidates.

What has the Parliamentary Secretary to say about this new section?

This new section is introduced to implement Government policy with regard to Irish. A similar section was introduced into many Bills passed recently.

The chattel mortgages will be in Irish, I suppose?

Let us face this. Who are the directors of the Agricultural Credit Corporation? Mr. Barton is the chairman. Do the directors know Irish? This fraudulent, hypocritical amendment proposes that no person shall be appointed unless, in the opinion of the directors of the corporation, he possesses a competent knowledge of Irish. Does Mr. Barton know Irish? Can he examine the applicants? Does anybody here know who the other directors are? Senator Quirke used to be a director.

I do not think that is correct.

Faith, he was. I would like to put him through his paces in O'Growney. Will the Parliamentary Secretary tell us who are the other directors?

Are not the names published?

I suppose you will not be ashamed to read them out, so.

I have not the names with me, but they have been published.

Gaeilgeóirí! They would not have the first book of O'Growney between the crowd of them. But, catch any one of them to give up his job on the ground that he had not the language. Can you picture Senator Quirke solemnly retiring from that board on the ground that he was not a Gaeilgeóir? Every Deputy here knows the fraudulent, shameless purpose of this section.

The Deputy must not forget that the Minister is taking power to appoint five new men.

I do not believe there will be one Deputy who will dare to get up and second what I am about to propose, because the principle is so well established in this country that it is best to keep the bad dog with you, and the Gaelic League is universally recognised as the bad dog. That proposal is put in there for the shameless and fraudulent purpose of excluding certain persons and jobbing incompetent duds, who are prepared to lick the boot for Fianna Fáil, into the service of this corporation.

It is one of the ingenious devices that is being worked out by the Fianna Fáil Party for the purpose of circum-navigating the Civil Service Commissioners, the Local Appointments Commissioners or any other body established to sieve out some of the rubbish that is tied to the tail of the Fianna Fáil Party. When a fellow is so hopelessly incompetent that he could not hope to acquire employment in any public department according to any standard of competition that could be devised by the mind of man, they then lay down the doctrine that no person shall be appointed to any situation in the corporation's clerical grades unless, in the opinion of the directors, he possesses a competent knowledge of Irish. But, do you imagine that if some of the great Moguls of the Fianna Fáil Party, who have been waiting with their tongues out for the past six months for the jobs that are to be given by the board of this corporation, do not know Irish, that that will disqualify them from collecting their £800 a year? Not on your life.

I suggest an amendment of this amendment and we will test the Parliamentary Secretary's good faith. Will he provide that no director of the company will be elected unless he satisfies the Civil Service Commissioners that he has a competent knowledge of Irish? Will the Parliamentary Secretary put that provision into the Bill? Let us make it Gaelic from roof to cellar and not have a Gaelic basement and a Sasana roof. Will the Parliamentary Secretary place a statutory obligation on the five chimney-pots to be Gaels?

Look at sub-section (2):—

"In making an appointment to any situation in the service of the corporation (other than a situation referred to in sub-section (1) of this section) regard shall be had to the knowledge of Irish possessed by candidates."

Therefore, you can bring in a fellow that should be locked up in Ballinasloe Lunatic Asylum as an imbecile, who has just enough intelligence to come in out of the rain and you can say: "we prefer him to an average intelligent man". Why? "Because he has lovely Irish. He has been studying in the Craobh na Cúig gCúigí for the last 35 years. He has just got to the end of Book I of O'Growney and if he were not appointed now he would never persevere to the end of Book II." Are people not ashamed at the extent to which we have succeeded in degrading our people? Are there any Deputies in this House who remember the time when people learned Irish for the love of the language? Are there any people in this House who remember the time when every Gaeltacht was not crawling with parasites who went down there to qualify for some job, the duties of which they were manifestly unfitted to discharge? Surely there must be some sense of shame left somewhere.

Surely we have not all become so utterly debased and corrupted that we can pass that kind of filthy fraud with a smirk, glorying in the fact that we can get away with it. Is there no end to the hypocrisy that will enact subsections (1) and (2) of that amendment and forbear from saying that every director of this company shall be a native speaker or have that standard of Irish at his command? Deputy O'Leary says it is not necessary. In the name of goodness, what do clerks in the Agricultural Credit Corporation want with a competent knowledge of Irish?

What about the farmer looking for a loan?

If he is looking for a loan he will not look for it through Irish. The farmers who can speak Irish in this country will not get any grants or loans or much civility either from the Agricultural Credit Corporation. If they see one coming in the front door they will tell him to go down to the servants' entrance, that the front entrance is reserved for the big fellows who come there in motor cars. The fellows who will be looking for loans under this scheme will not have to have Irish. This is put in for the purpose I have described and no other purpose, and the only means we have of exposing the fraudulent purpose they have in mind is to challenge them to apply the same test to the job-hunters who are waiting in a row outside clamouring for appointment to this board. Will you put into that amendment that they are to be Irish speakers too? If you do, we shall be able to judge the measure of sincerity that lies behind this proposal.

Is amendment No. 19 agreed to?

No, Sir. If you include the directors, we shall let it pass.

Would the Parliamentary Secretary consider inserting a proviso that candidates must have the leaving certificate standard or the matriculation certificate standard of Irish?

It does not matter a hoot what the standard is.

The form in which it appears in the amendment suggests no standard. It would look more honest if the standard were specified.

The sepulchre would look a little whiter than its present mud colour.

Amendment put.
Division challenged.

Before announcing the tellers, I would like to know if there are five Deputies asking for a division.

Six Deputies rose in their places.

Deputy McMenamin and myself will act as tellers against.

The Committee divided: Tá, 60; Níl, 22.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Brennan, Thomas.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Butler, Bernard.
  • Carter, Thomas.
  • Childers, Erskine H.
  • Colbert, Michael.
  • Colley, Harry.
  • Corry, Martin J.
  • Crowley, Honor Mary.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • De Valera, Vivion.
  • Donnellan, Michael.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Fogarty, Patrick J.
  • Furlong, Walter.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Halliden, Patrick J.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Humphreys, Francis.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Kilroy, James.
  • Kissane, Eamon.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick J.
  • Lydon, Michael F.
  • McCann, John.
  • McCarthy, Seán.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • McGrath, Patrick.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • Morrissey, Michael.
  • Moylan, Seán.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O'Connor, John S.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Loghlen, Peter J.
  • O'Rourke, Daniel.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Mary B.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Skinner, Leo B.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Ua Donnchadha, Dómhnall.
  • Walsh, Laurence.
  • Walsh, Richard.

Níl

  • Coburn, James.
  • Cogan, Patrick.
  • Coogan, Eamonn.
  • Corish, Brendan.
  • Davin, William.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Maurice E.
  • Hughes, James.
  • Keating, John.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • McAuliffe, Patrick.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • O'Reilly, Thomas.
  • O'Sullivan, Martin.
  • Redmond, Bridget M.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Reynolds, Mary.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Rogers, Patrick J.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Kissane and Kennedy; Níl: Deputies Dillon and McMenamin.
Amendment declared carried.

I take it that, for the purpose of the Report Stage, this matter has been adequately raised, and that I may submit an amendment requiring the directors to have at least the B.A. standard. I take it that will be in order?

The amendment will be submitted.

I move amendment No. 20:—

SCHEDULE.

In Part I, to insert after the entry relating to the Agricultural Credit Act, 1929, the following—

No. 48 of 1936

The Courts of Justice Act, 1936

Section 86

This is a drafting amendment. Section 14 of the Agricultural Credit Act is being repealed by the present Bill. It is amended by Section 86 of the Courts of Justice Act, 1936. Accordingly, it is considered desirable to include Section 86 of that Act, which dealt with no other matter, in the schedule of repeals.

Amendment agreed to.
Schedule, as amended, agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.

When is it proposed to take the next stage?

I would like to take it on Friday. I understand that the House will not be sitting next week.

I do not mind. Friday would give me plenty of time to put in my amendment.

There will be other amendments, and, therefore, I think the time is too short. We would want at least a week or a fortnight to consider amendments for Report Stage.

I also think that more time would be required for the submission of amendments, and that Friday, therefore, would be too soon for the Report Stage.

The Report Stage can be fixed provisionally for this day week.

Although the House is not sitting next week?

The House may be sitting next week

Is it the intention of the Government that the House should sit next week?

I cannot say.

Report Stage provisionally fixed for Wednesday, 19th February, 1947.