Committee on Finance. - Land (No. 2) Bill, 1952—Committee.

Question proposed: "That Section 1 stand part of the Bill."

A number of amendments have been tabled by the Minister since the Second Reading of the Bill, including seven or eight new sections and sub-sections.

The new sections and the amendments would constitute a new Bill in themselves. I suggest to the Minister that he should withdraw the present Bill and incorporate the proposed amendments and the new sections of the old Bill in one document and then present it to the House. I can quite understand that since the drafting of the original Bill, new considerationshave come to light that might necessitate certain amendments and the moving of new sections in the Bill. So many things have come to light that the sheaf of amendments proposed by the Minister practically constitute a new Land Bill in themselves. I suggest that the Minister should withdraw the present Bill and incorporate the amendments and the Bill in a new one and put it to the House again. I say that not for the purpose of making things awkward for the Minister but certainly he has made things very awkward for us.

It is quite true that these amendments look rather formidable by reason of the number of clauses but, in fact, they are largely of a drafting nature. Apart from the question of the issue of new bonds in cases where bonds have not already been issued to provide for the additional payments necessary, or the provision of bonus bonds in cases where the bonds have already been issued, it is not considered desirable to have two separate series of bonds dealing with a particular transaction; we have to have the bonds all of one series, if possible. That is the design of the amendments dealing with the land bonds.

Another portion of the Bill deals with technical matters which undoubtedly have been amplified in my amendments. The substance of them is simply to make the clauses in the existing Land Acts, which are applicable in the case of untenanted or acquired land in regard to the different stages of acquisition—the vesting in the Land Commission and the charging of rights against the price — also applicable to resumption cases. The law adviser of the Department believes it is necessary; it is not that the problem has arisen in court or that a certain procedure has not been followed based on what we believe to have been the intention generally in the Land Acts, but we think that it should be made clear specifically that the same procedure which has been followed over a period of years and which it was clearly the intention of the Legislatureshould be followed with regard to taxation cases, should hold also in regard to resumption. When we come to the particular amendments, I shall try to explain as well as I can, if there are any difficulties the Deputy has in following the amendments which I have put down.

It would be quite impossible for me to introduce a Bill which would avoid these cross references. Besides, the whole position of land purchase is in question at the moment until we get this Bill through. The issue of bonds for land purchase transactions is held up. So it is really an urgent matter. Therefore, I would ask the Deputy to be kind enough, in view of what I have said, to facilitate the speedy passage of the Bill.

I want to say from previous experience that the Minister has my sympathy in trying to put amendments through in this House or even trying to understand Land Bills, because land legislation is most intricate and highly technical. However, I believe the Minister would, by acceding to my request, be actually making for speed. What is happening is that we have a Bill on one side and a sheaf of amendments and sections on the other side. It is as if two pieces of legislation dovetailing into one another had been pulled apart. I can assure the Minister that I do not want to delay the passage of the Bill, but I do say that it would lead to a better understanding and it would be better for the Minister and all concerned if my suggestion were adopted.

I would like also if the Minister would accept the suggestion of Deputy Blowick with regard to bringing in a more suitable Bill that might not be the subject of so many amendments. I am aware, and the Minister is aware, too, that large acreages of land were taken from people many years ago and on that land roads and houses have been built, but those people have not received one farthing yet. They are still waiting to be paid. There is one case in North County Dublin where a man is owed £9,000. He has not got one farthing of that yet. That land was taken fromhim although he wanted to work it himself. His position was facilitated by the Land Commission and the land was re-let to him for a while. He has probably paid £1,000 or £2,000 back in conacre to the Land Commission for renting that land. Since then, these roads and houses have been built on the farm and he still did not get a farthing. This measure should be put through as quickly and as comprehensively as possible to ensure that the many people throughout the country who are still waiting for their money because legislation of this nature has not yet gone through the House, will be paid without delay.

As far as our Party is concerned—and I am sure the other Parties would be agreeable—if the Minister agrees to my suggestion, we would be prepared to give him the Second Reading without any discussion. I believe that would facilitate the Committee Stage of the Bill and that could be done practically by to-morrow.

Might I make a suggestion following on the line that Deputy Blowick has taken in a slightly different way? The Minister will agree that the amendments introduced, even though the Minister may say they are drafting amendments, are pretty complicated drafting amendments.

And hefty.

They do need rather different consideration of the Bill than before. Perhaps the point could be met if the Minister would agree to this suggestion. If we are taking the Committee Stage now, it will not be till the end of the Committee Stage that we will have one dovetailed measure. If there is still difficulty perhaps the Minister would agree to recommit on the Report Stage. The Minister knows we do not want to hold up the Bill. We have been asking the Parliamentary Secretary continually when this Bill would be taken. It was not through any fault of ours or of the Minister's that it was not taken before. However, there would be a desire to consider the matter in a slightly more detailed way than the Report Stage would permit when the Bill is as oneintegrated whole. If that did arise, it could be met if the Minister would be agreeable to recommittal then.

I am quite willing to accept Deputy Sweetman's suggestion. In respect of the amendments, which look rather formidable, I think it will be found when they are examined that there is no question of principle really at stake.

It would need the use of a great number of cold water towels to understand them.

Question put and agreed to.
Progress reported.
The Committee to sit again.