Committee on Finance. - Housing (Gaeltacht) (Amendment) Bill, 1948—Committee and Final Stages.

Section 1 agreed to.
SECTION 2.
Question proposed: "That Section 2 stand part of the Bill."

Would the Minister say that, in view of the increased grants and loans, the sum of £900,000 would be adequate to meet the programme he has in view, or does he think it will be necessary in the near future to apply to the Dáil for more money?

I am fairly satisfied that the amount we are asking for in this section will meet the number of applications that ought to come in. We have not an exact figure, but we have a fair idea of the number of applications likely to come in until housing is completed in the Gaeltacht areas. The sum asked for plus an unexpended carry-over from previous Acts will be more than ample.

Did I understand the Minister, on the Financial Resolution, to say that the passage of this Bill does not make £900,000 available, but makes only £150,000 available?

The section raises the limit of expenditure which may be incurred on grants and loans from £750,000 to £900,000.

It provides, therefore, £900,000 where £750,000 was originally provided and that sum, in the Minister's view, will be sufficient to complete the Gaeltacht housing programme?

Yes; the only thing that would upset that would be a steep increase in the cost of building materials, which is not anticipated.

Does the Minister take into account that three-fifths of the total amount was earmarked formerly for houses on lands having a valuation not greater than 21/-, and that that is now being removed under the present Bill and there is a wider scope for applications?

That is right, and it is desirable. Would the Deputy not agree?

That freedom now will mean that there will be more money necessary, on account of more applications.

It will, but by the time that we have £50,000 plus £190,000, which is £240,000, spent on houses, the matter will be fairly cleared up.

About what price per house is envisaged?

I cannot give the figure offhand. If it is any indication, I might say that Land Commission houses are costing, I understand, in the neighbourhood of £450.

That is about 500 houses. The amount provided covers about 500 houses.

Oh, no; it will be more than 500.

For £240,000, it is 500 at £500 a house. That is a simple calculation.

That figure I gave for the Land Commission houses would not be a fair one, because in the case of these houses under this Bill, the applicants themselves, in nearly all cases, furnish the greater amount of the labour and the raw materials in the way of sand, gravel, stones and rock, which amounts to something nowadays.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 3.

Tairgim leasú 1:—

Fo-alt (3), mír (a), línte 33 go 35 a scrios.

The purpose of this amendment is to bring in people who quite honestly did not expect in the immediate future any Gaeltacht Housing Bill and who had done a fairly good job of reconstruction on their own houses and who, for the reason I have stated, did not make an application. There may have been other but wiser ones who took the chance on it and made application and they now will qualify for a grant of £60. I want the Minister to ensure that the others also can be considered, though they did not apply. I think that his officers who deal with these questions in the Gaeltacht will be fairly good judges as to how they should use this power, if the Minister decides to take it. I would ask the Minister to consider it very favourably.

I am sure the Deputy will realise the difficulty. How can the Housing Section of Gaeltacht Services know when a reconstruction work has been carried out, unless an application has been made? I do not believe there was a single case where reconstruction or improvement was done on existing dwellings without application having been made, since all the time they knew there was £40 there to be got. Is not that so? I could not accept the amendment, as it would upset the whole balance of Section 3. The best way to regard this amendment is to let Deputy Bartley imagine himself as a housing inspector under the Gaeltacht Services. Johnny So-and-So notifies the Department that he did reconstruction work a year or two years ago and is now applying for a grant for it. The inspector comes on the scene. How is he to judge the age of the work or the quality of the work? This is very important, as at the very least we would like to keep a fairly strict supervision to see that the quality of the work is right. If we accept this amendment, it means that applications for reconstruction works may come in for works that were not done or were done a very long time ago. Secondly, we have no means whatever of checking up on the quality of the work done and may be asked to pay out the taxpayers' money for a very inferior or patched up job.

The Minister has one test as to the age: he could ask the man who did the work the name of the firm who supplied the materials. That should be a check. As to the quality of the work, the Minister's officers are, in any event, fairly well acquainted with all the jobs done in their area in the Gaeltacht, including the reconstruction jobs done without sanction. As the Minister says, they are not many and I agree with him there, and for that reason perhaps he might consider it.

The Deputy said our officers in a particular area would know of a particular work. How could they? They might know through local gossip, hearing things from people they meet in the discharge of their duties, but surely we could not entertain that? I am sure the Deputy realises that we must have an application. I would like to meet him on this, and I might add that the Minister can always use his discretion. He is not tied down by a hard and fast rule here in most of these cases, and whether it is I or some other Minister who is in power and in charge of Gaeltacht Services, he can be assured no Minister will be inclined to trim and save on the people of the Gaeltacht areas above other people in the country. He can set his mind at rest on that. I can assure the Deputy, from a close examination as to the effect of the amendment, that it would really do more harm than good. I could not recommend it to the House.

There is one other point which I desire to make. Take the case of people who have already made application for an ordinary housing grant. How will they be situated?

That is under the Local Government Housing Acts?

I am afraid they are in hard luck. They will get the local government grant.

There are cases where they have applied for the grant and where a decision is pending. Could they not transfer the application to the Gaeltacht Housing Section?

That is where the Department of Local Government had not yet sanctioned the payment of the grant?

I am informed that the application can be transferred in that case to the Gaeltacht Housing Section and the applicant will be all right.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment No. 2 not moved.
Sections 3 and 4 agreed to.
SECTION 5.
Question proposed: "That Section 5 stand part of the Bill."

I desire to oppose this section. I think that it is the most serious blot of all in the Bill—the withdrawal of assistance formerly given for the erection of piggeries and hen-houses. The Minister indicated in his speech the other day that he was satisfied that, as a result of the farm buildings scheme, people erecting houses in the Gaeltacht would not suffer in any way by the removal of this provision from the Housing (Gaeltacht) Act. The ex-Minister for Education pointed out to him that it was undesirable to have two Departments dealing with the one question of Gaeltacht housing. I think that that is a point the Minister ought to consider.

There is another aspect of the question, namely, that people who get loans and grants under the Gaeltacht housing schemes are entitled to privileges in respect of rates and, in the operation of the Gaeltacht Housing Act, it was not necessary that a family should be Irish-speaking in order to qualify for grants for the erection of hen-houses or piggeries, while it was absolutely essential that the family should be Irish-speaking if they were to qualify for a grant for a dwelling house. That meant that a number of families who were not Irish-speaking got grants and loans for the erection of piggeries and hen-houses. These people were also entitled to the concession that their valuation should remain static for a period of 20 years. If you remove the provision in regard to hen-houses and piggeries entirely, that privilege will go in respect of that class, even though it may be a limited class. In any event, it is undesirable that applicants should have to deal with two Departments and two sets of inspectors where one set has done the work very efficiently up to the present. From the point of view of public funds, it amounts to the same thing, because it will take the same amount to erect piggeries and hen-houses in either case, and it would be better, in my view, to provide the amount of money necessary for the administration of the scheme under this Bill. I commend that to the Minister's consideration.

I wonder if the Minister has considered this point between the Second Reading and the Committee Stage of the Bill? I do not know whether he gave any undertaking on the occasion of the Second Reading that he would reconsider the question of out-offices and of the withdrawal of the provision in the old Acts from the present measure under which people were entitled to get grants for piggeries and hen-houses. I consider that the removal of this provision would inflict great hardship on the people in the Gaeltacht. After all, at the commencement there must have been some great motive in the minds of our legislators when they made this provision. I think the motive was to establish an industrial tradition in the Gaeltacht.

An agricultural one.

An industrial and agricultural one. I think the Minister would be well advised to reconsider this. It appears to me that a certain amount of responsibility in this connection is being transferred to the Department of Agriculture. I do not know whether that is wise, because, after all, the Gaeltacht Services Branch would be best fitted to deal with the problems of the Gaeltacht. It was always the practice of the Gaeltacht Branch to try to co-ordinate the activities of other Departments in connection with these measures for the Gaeltacht. I should like, before this debate closes, if the Minister could give us some indication as to whether he has made up his mind that this provision by which people in the Gaeltacht could get grants for piggeries and hen-houses is to be suspended.

Unless the Minister has very good reason for not accepting the amendment, I join with Deputies Bartley and Kissane in urging him to accept it. I should like to hear his reasons and be in a position to judge of the wisdom of his action before dealing with the matter further.

I should like to point out that the reason it was decided not to provide grants for poultry houses and piggeries under this Bill was firstly, that a very liberal scheme of grants is in existence through the Department of Agriculture for both these things.

Not for piggeries.

Wait now. The present grant for a piggery is £20 while the former grant was only £5.

It was only last week that I was told that it was not available.

My information is that it is available.

It might be after the 1st April next.

If that is the case, there cannot be very much ground for complaint. Furthermore, seeing that we were withdrawing the grants for poultry houses and piggeries from this Bill, for a definite reason, we have asked the Department of Agriculture to give a preference to applicants for a grant under the Gaeltacht Housing Acts either for a new or reconstructed house. I think that should meet the case.

Again, the element of compulsion to erect a poultry house and a piggery under the 1929 Act often caused delays and these delays were referred to by several Deputies on the Second Stage of this Bill.

Was that not removed under the 1934 Act?

No. We have cut the red tape as much as possible. If an applicant applies for a grant for a new dwelling-house or for the reconstruction or improvement of an old one there will be the very minimum of delay. He can get to work on the spot. There will be no certificate, no building licence from the Department of Industry and Commerce, and the Combined Purchasing Section which existed under the old Acts will be brought into operation again firstly, to speed up the building or the improvement of the house, once application has been made, and secondly, to produce the stuff as cheaply as possible and to dump it on the site so that the applicant can get to work with the least possible delay. Deputies need not worry about the withdrawal of the grant for poultry houses and piggeries under this Bill. It only meant delay previously, and it was really for the purpose of speeding up the erection or the reconstruction or the improvement of dwelling-houses that it was withdrawn. It was withdrawn in the certain knowledge that the Department of Agriculture was better equipped and that their officials were more suitable for dealing with the erection of any out-office than our Housing Section. I would suggest to Deputy Bartley that there is no necessity to press the amendment. The people of the Gaeltacht will not be any worse off. I think they are getting very liberal terms. The building or improvement grant and the erection of any out-office will be much speedier than the old method which proved cumbersome.

I think that the Minister has made a case for the amendment. He refers to the combined purchasing of materials. It seems to me that it is far better to have one set of officials operating this combined purchasing—buying the materials for the dwelling-house, for the poultry house, and for the piggery—than to have a set of officials from the Department of Agriculture coming in to set up poultry houses and piggeries in districts in which grants for dwelling-houses were given. It will, in my opinion, militate against the smooth working of the combined purchasing if these two sections of the work are divided, one section working under one Department and another section working under another Department.

I should like the Minister to check his statement that there has been compulsion under the old Acts in regard to the erection of poultry houses and piggeries. I think that that compulsion was replaced by a discretion which was given to his officers in that respect. If the officer, in consultation with the local agricultural overseer, could report that the out-offices were sufficiently good the applicant was not compelled to build new ones. I think the Minister will find that that has been the position.

But, even in the case where the compulsory erection of poultry houses and piggeries existed under the old Acts, it was the officials of the Department of Agriculture who supervised the work on the one hand while officials of my Department supervised the erection of the dwelling-house on the other hand. You had the very same thing. We are now separating the two, and if a man wants a dwelling-house only he can have it from us without any trappings and so forth. On the other hand, if his dwelling-house is completed he will have absolutely no trouble in getting whatever grant he may require not alone for poultry houses and piggeries but for any other out-office he may require. The Deputy points out that some people in the Gaeltacht area may have out-offices sufficiently good as it is. So they have. The position is that though some of their dwelling-houses may be thatched they have in some cases wonderfully good out-offices. I am sure the Deputy will agree with me when I say that these people would prefer it to be left to their own discretion. If John or Tom wants a new dwelling-house or to improve or reconstruct his dwelling-house, let him do so. If he wants a grant for any out-office do not tie him down and force him to build poultry houses and piggeries. Perhaps he may require a piggery but not a poultry house and, on the other hand, perhaps he may require a poultry house but not a piggery. Very well. Let him build what he requires.

I am sure that the Deputy and, in fact, all the Deputies from the Gaeltacht areas, know quite well that since the passage of the 1929 Act the whole face of the countryside in the Gaeltacht areas has been changed and improved out of all bounds. This Bill is designed to put the finishing touches to a job which was well begun under the 1929 Act and which was carried out without a hitch until the years of the emergency upset it and made new housing grants both in the Department of Local Government and in the Gaeltacht housing section necessary. The Deputy may rest assured that I have asked the Minister for Agriculture about this matter and that he has assured me that the applicants from the Gaeltacht areas will get preference in the matter of grants for out-offices—particularly if application is made by a person who is at the same time either erecting a new house or reconstructing or improving an old house under this scheme. I hold that the scale of grants, taking everything into account, is fair. The State has not money to burn all the time and I think that this scheme of grants given by the Department of Agriculture under the farm buildings scheme is fair. I do not say that they are wonderful or that they are anything like what either the Deputy or myself would like to see in operation but they are as good as the finances of the State can permit at the present time. Again, let me say, the Deputy need not worry about that point. I want to see the people in the Gaeltacht being facilitated in regard to out-offices equally with the people in the plains, let us say. I feel sure that, before 12 months, the Deputy will find that there will be complaints from the people in the plains that the people in the Gaeltacht are getting preference in the matter of grants for out-offices.

It strikes me that the Minister's objective will not be achieved by the method he is adopting now. He says that he is going to cut red tape as much as possible. If a man applies for a grant for the erection of a new house under this legislation he will have to apply to Gaeltacht Services for the grant and, if he wants to erect a poultry house or a piggery, he will have to apply to another Department about that matter and fill in another set of forms. That system will be only adding to red tape and it will make confusion worse confounded. It would be far better to have the whole scheme administered by the Gaeltacht Services section which was specially set up for that purpose. If there is any co-ordination to be done between the Department of Agriculture and Gaeltacht Services it should be done by the officials who should simplify things as much as possible for the applicants for grants for new houses or for poultry houses or for piggeries. This proposal by the Minister will add to the confusion of the situation by dividing the control instead of having more co-ordination and unification as far as services of this character in these areas are concerned. If the Minister accepts the amendment of an Teachta Mac Parthaláin he will be doing away with a lot of red tape that will arise under the proposal in this Bill. A lot of extra red tape will arise under the Minister's proposal in the Bill. I think Gaeltacht Services should control and administer the whole thing for the Gaeltacht areas and, if there is to be co-ordination, let that co-ordination be carried out between the two Departments here and let the scheme be simplified for the people who will benefit by making applications for grants under either scheme.

First, I am opposed to the element of compulsion.

There is no question of compulsion.

There was in the 1929 Act.

That has gone.

Not so much. There is a certain amount of it there yet.

You can drop it.

Deputy Ó Briain says there are two sets of forms and that will cause delay. Such will be the case still because, supposing we take over that particular section dealing with the building of out-offices from the Department of Agriculture and that we administer it, an applicant will have to fill up two sets of forms and supply two copies of specifications to show the type of house and out-office that he wants. At the present time the agricultural instructors, as they are called, are constantly on the move all over the country, particularly in the Gaeltacht areas, and any man who wants a grant will know where to find the instructor. I must pay the instructors this compliment, that they are most helpful and very courteous and most willing to facilitate the people in every way. They will put through the necessary forms, which are really very simple.

I know the Deputies are just as sincere in this matter as I am but I can assure them that the experience of the Department is that the fact that the provision of out-offices was tied up with the housing grant had the effect in a good many cases—not all—of delaying the erection or improvement of the dwelling-house. For that reason I have every confidence in recommending the section to the House. Any person in the Gaeltacht who wants a grant for an out-office will get his preference and the grants are fair and liberal.

How is it to be brought about that a man who gets a Gaeltacht dwelling will have a suitable pig-house and suitable hen-house? Heretofore you could refuse sanction for his housing application if he did not also apply for the out-offices and you made them put them up first. Now you remove that provision in this Bill and turn over to the farm building scheme.

Are you going to make it compulsory?

Provided he wants the out-offices.

That was all right where you were operating a scheme under the former Acts whereby your housing inspector got the certificate or the word of the local agricultural overseer that this man's piggery or hen-house was satisfactory or was not satisfactory. You gave a decision accordingly. If the local agricultural man said it was satisfactory you did not compel the applicant to erect a piggery or hen-house and, if he said it was not good enough, you insisted that he should first build his piggery and his hen-house. How are you going to ensure that a good house will also have a suitable piggery and hen-house? How are you going to give the people the benefit of the combined purchasing? Are you going to retain the rating privilege to which the Minister referred and which is given under these Gaeltacht Acts? I would ask the Minister to look up that matter. Under the Gaeltacht Act, if a man gets sanction, his valuation remains static for 20 years. The 1934 Act made it compulsory that the family should be Irish-speaking in order to get a dwelling-house. But, if a person had a good dwelling-house but had not a suitable piggery or hen-house he could apply, even though his family was not Irish-speaking, and when he got sanction he also got the advantage of having his valuation remain static for 20 years. In that type of case that privilege is being lost. That is not as important as the other matters referred to by the three Deputies who have spoken. They want the benefit of the combined purchasing retained for the building and out-offices, and they want to cut out the red tape of having to go through two Departments and two sets of officials.

Two different inspectors.

That obtained before. Do not forget that it was supervised by inspectors from the Department of Agriculture. The experience of the Department is that, while it was admirable in its way, there were two outstanding objections, one was that you were forcing a man to build something whether he wanted it or not.

We have excluded that from our consideration altogether.

I could understand the amendment if we were trying to cut down or to minimise the good effects of the Bill but we are not. I maintain that the Bill as it stands is a definite improvement and that the amendment will only mar an otherwise good measure. The purpose of the Bill is to give the greatest amount of facility to the people in the Gaeltacht to improve their dwelling-house first and then to allow them absolute freedom to erect whatever type of out-office they want because, as I have said, some may want a piggery and may not want a hen-house. I leave them to make their choice instead of dictating to them.

There has been no compulsion since 1934.

You would like that we would administer the out-office scheme——

And that the applicant would have the benefit of the combined purchasing section. I will look into it and see if we could also extend the combined purchasing where a grant would be made available for the erection of an out-office. I would like to see them getting the benefit of the cheaper material. I am sure it would result in a saving. We anticipate that it will result in a considerable saving in the case of a dwelling-house and the same should apply in regard to the material for out-offices.

And cut out the necessity for a second application.

Instructors and inspectors of the Department of Agriculture are fairly plentiful and this matter about filling a second form does not carry any weight.

Does not the Minister agree that the section as it stands is taking away from people in the Gaeltacht something which they have already?

No, not at all; it is not, really.

Is it not taking away something from them which they have got now?

No, it is not.

Have not they certain rights now which they will not have if Section 5 passes?

We erected a hen-house and piggery in almost all cases heretofore with a grant of £5 and a loan of £2 10/-. That had to be passed by an official of the Department of Agriculture. What we propose to do now is that we should have nothing to do with the erection of any out-office that the applicant for the dwelling-house wants to erect, to leave it to himself, to let him erect whatever buildings, of whatever size or shape or for whatever purpose he desires.

There is a liberal scheme of grants available for him under the Department of Agriculture. As a matter of fact, our aim under this Bill is to make the erection of a dwelling-house as free from red tape as possible and give as good a dwelling-house as is possible at the cheapest figure and with the most liberal grant. At the same time, an applicant is free to avail himself of the fairly liberal scheme of grants under the Department of Agriculture to erect whatever type of out-office he wants and for whatever purpose he wants it. We do not propose to interfere and say: "You must keep pigs or hens whether you like it or not; you must put up the out-house whether it will be empty or full." We are denying him nothing. As a matter of fact, I would not stand over any section or sub-section if it were denying these people anything. As I said, if we want to save, we do not propose to save on people who live in the Gaeltacht areas. We want to facilitate them in every way and to make their lives, which otherwise would be drab, as bright and gay as we possibly can.

With all due respect, I think the Minister is misleading us. I do not accept the Minister's statement that we were compelling them to build hen-houses and piggeries. There was no compulsion. There was consultation between the Department's office and the local agricultural inspector as to whether the existing buildings were suitable. If they were, the person was not compelled to build out-offices. If they were not considered suitable, he was compelled to make them suitable. That was the only extent to which compulsion existed. I think there was compulsion under the 1929 Act, but as a result of experience——

That compulsion was never eased off.

It was. If the Minister looks at the 1934 Act I think he will find it was. In any event, whether it was done by Act of Parliament or by regulation, the fact is that in the course of time this practice grew up: that if the officers decided that the existing buildings were all right the person was not compelled to build new ones. I should like to put this to the Minister. He has removed the limit on the valuation. There was no limit to the valuation in the other Acts except to this extent: that three-fifths of the total money voted heretofore was earmarked for houses on holdings whose valuation did not exceed 21/- and the other two-fifths was without limit of valuation. Now there is no limitation at all and a man with £100 valuation can qualify for a Gaeltacht grant.

He can if the Minister lets it pass. The Minister has a discretion in the matter, or at least the officials of his Department. Surely they would not be so blind as to give a grant to a man like that.

The higher you go with the valuation the more likely it is that the applicant will not require out-offices. For that reason I think the Minister ought to preserve this facility. Otherwise an impression will be created that there will be a bias in favour of the people with the higher valuations who do not require them. I think the reasons adduced by Deputy Ó Briain and Deputy Kissane are the best ones put forward—that the Minister is introducing extra red tape by having two Departments dealing with the matter, two applications, and two sets of officials, and that people are being denied the benefit of the combined purchasing scheme.

It is quite possible that people who will apply under the farm buildings scheme cannot as readily get building materials from a supplier as they can under this scheme, because they will now be building under the farm buildings scheme on their own initiative and will have to do their own ordering of materials. Under this scheme the officers in the combined purchasing section get the stuff delivered on the site. I submit that this is a retrograde step, is introducing extra red tape and making the matter far more difficult for applicants who dislike intensely having to handle official forms.

As to the advantage of purchasing materials under the combined purchasing scheme, the Deputy says that applicants will lose that. They will not, because it is quite possible for an applicant for a farm buildings grant under the Department of Agriculture to come to us and the combined purchasing section will buy the material for him in the same way as for a dwelling-house.

Where is that provided for?

It is not necessary to provide for that in the Act. We will give him the benefit of it, because the merchant who will provide the material for the dwelling-house for us will also provide the other material.

Therefore there is coordination between the farm buildings scheme and the Gaeltacht housing scheme?

No, but if it is brought to my notice I will give the person the advantage of the combined purchasing scheme. The Deputy referred to people with high valuations applying for a grant. There are very few people with high valuations in the Gaeltacht area. Every single grant will have to be sanctioned by the Minister or the director of the Gaeltacht Services or some official like that. We know what the spirit of the Act is—to come to the rescue of persons with small valuations in the Gaeltacht area. If a person who is wealthy enough to build a house without a grant was so shameless as to apply for a grant and take advantage of the scheme, I think he would not pass through the mesh.

The Minister knows that this Act covers the whole of Galway.

Deputy Bartley mentioned the question of Irish. That stands, except that it may not be applied absolutely rigidly. I think it would defeat the spirit of the Act if it were applied absolutely rigidly.

Then it is not a Gaeltacht housing scheme.

Did the Deputy ever come across a case where the husband was an Irish speaker and the wife was not? What would the Deputy propose in that case? He would be up against it there.

If the family is an Irish-speaking family, I think the inspector will have no difficulty in deciding.

Supposing there is a young couple having no family at the moment, the husband is an Irish speaker and the wife comes from a district where she had not the advantage of getting to know Irish, what would the Deputy do then if he were the inspector? Deputies need not worry about that matter, because in every Act there must be a certain amount of elasticity. An Act that is like an unbreakable steel bar is bound to do damage sooner or later.

I would rather the Minister would not introduce that matter, because we will have quite a lot of things to tell him about the administration of the 1929 Act.

Compulsion is dealt with in Section 7 (3) of the 1929 Act, which reads as follows:—

"No building grant or improving grant shall be made under this Act unless either—

(a) there is in existence or will be provided with the aid of a grant under this Act or otherwise accommodation for pigs ancillary to and suitable and sufficient in the opinion of the Minister for such dwelling-house or

(b) the Minister is of opinion that, having regard to all the circumstances the occupier of such dwelling-house could not be expected to keep pigs."

That is pretty stiff when you come to work it. That compulsion was not set off or remedied in any later Act.

The second paragraph removes it again. I am not satisfied.

The Deputy can be perfectly satisfied.

Would the Minister undertake, if any cases of hardship arise as a result of Section 5 of the Bill and are brought to his notice subsequently, that he will introduce further legislation to correct such hardships?

Definitely. I have not the slightest hesitation in giving the Deputy that assurance. In reply to Deputy Timoney's question, I can say that if any hardships arose under it it would defeat the whole spirit and intention of the Act and I, for one, would not have the slightest hesitation in coming in here with new legislation to set the matter right if a flaw arose.

Why is the clause being removed? It is there already and why not leave it?

I have told the Deputy two or three times that it is to facilitate persons applying for a grant for a dwelling-house and to remove all the trappings, because it was the experience of the Department that this business of having out-offices tacked on to dwelling-houses was delaying by three months, four months, six months or a year the building of dwelling-houses.

Will not the same thing apply and in fact be worse when you bring in another Department?

No, it will not, because the intention is that if a person in the Gaeltacht wants a new dwelling-house or to improve an old one he can apply to us without any trimmings and without the labour of other buildings. Such a man will not have to say to himself: "I do not want them but people are forcing me to be good, in spite of myself." I can assure the Deputy that many of the houses need to be demolished and new houses are a crying need in many cases in the Gaeltacht, particularly in the Deputy's area. We are anxious to go ahead as soon as possible and with the least possible red tape.

The Minister is now saying that he will give a man a new house without out-offices. I think that is a retrograde step.

Does the Deputy not know that each particular case will be examined on its merits?

There is not a thing that can be said on this matter that has not been said.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 6 and 7 agreed to.
First and Second Schedules and Title agreed to.

I should like to have the remaining stages to-day if there is no objection. It is a Bill, as has been said on the Second Reading, that is a bit late in coming into the House and I do not see any reason for delaying it further.

Bill reported without amendment, received for final consideration and passed.

This Bill has been certified by the Ceann Comhairle as a Money Bill for the purposes of the Constitution.