Land (No. 2) Bill, 1952—Committee Stage (Resumed).

SECTION 2.

I move amendment No. 1:—

Before Section 2 to insert a new section as follows:—

(1) The power of making rules conferred by sub-sections (1) and (2) of Section 3 of the Land Act, 1933, shall extend to and be exercisable for making rules for carrying into effect the provisions (other than provisions relating to land purchase finance) of this Act.

(2) The Minister for Finance may make rules and regulations for carrying into effect the provisions of this Act relating to land purchase finance, and may by such rules or regulations adapt to the requirements of this Act any provisions relating to land purchase finance contained in any Act passed before this Act.

This amendment provides for rules and regulations on the lines of this new section which are to be found in most Land Acts.

I would like to ask the Minister whether this amendment is necessary because of the subsequent amendments he is going to introduce?

Is not this the standard section in connection with these Land Acts?

I entirely agree, but it is so standard that I cannot understand why it was left out of the original Bill. I am assuming it is necessary because of some subsequent amendment.

Yes. Amendment No. 19 is one reason, at any rate.

In previous sections of this kind was it not customary to have the amendment worded something like this—that the Minister for Lands may make rules and regulations after consultation with the Minister for Finance?

Well, it is exactly in the same form as in other legislation.

I do not agree with the Minister on this because in this amendment I think the Minister is giving the Minister for Finance complete authority without giving the Minister for Lands a chance to express his views in making the regulations. The Minister for Lands, in my opinion, is being crushed out of this on account of the way the amendment is worded.

Under the Act introduced by the Deputy and passed in this House—the Land Act, 1950—the Minister for Finance, as set out in Section 3, sub-section (2) of that Act, "may make rules and regulations for carrying into effect the provisions of this Act relating to land purchase finance, and may by such rules or regulations adapt to the requirements of this Act any provisions relating to land purchase finance contained in any Act passed before this Act".

Nevertheless, I am inclined to say to the Minister that two wrongs do not make a right.

Amendment put and agreed to.

I move amendment No. 2:—

Before Section 2 to insert a new section as follows:—

The payments made and expenses incurred by the Minister for Lands and by the Land Commission in giving effect to this Act and in the administration thereof shall, to such extent as may be sanctioned by the Minister for Finance, be paid out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas.

This is necessary to make provision for payments and expenses which will arise as, for example, under amendment No. 7.

Were there no provisions for payments and expenses under the original Bill?

Possibly not.

Could the Minister amplify the word "possibly"?

We want to make sure that the situation is covered in any case.

It is a normal section. I entirely agree with the Minister but I do not understand why this and the previous amendment were not incorporated in the original Bill.

One of the reasons is that when the Bill was originally in contemplation it dealt with two or three specific matters. The legal advisers to the Department have advised that the opportunity should be taken to improve the existing legislation where necessary. That is the reason why we have these additional amendments. I do not think there is any question of principle in them. I could have taken the attitude with my legal advisers that we really would not do this unless it was absolutely essential. It is their view that, in order to tighten up the existing legal provisions, we should have these amendments. They are really largely a matter of draftsmanship and as Deputy Sweetman knows, of a technical character.

I am glad that the Minister has given that explanation, and I agree with him. The underlying fact, however, is that I want to make the Bill a little different from the one that was introduced. I agree that this is a desirable difference.

With regard to the payment of expenses incurred by the Land Commission, have not these to be voted by the Dáil? Therefore, if this amendment becomes law, will the Minister for Finance be in a position to sidestep, or nullify, the intentions of the Dáil in voting moneys for the Minister for Lands?

I think the Deputy is conjuring up ideas out of his imagination. He knows, or ought to know, as much about the Land Commission as I do. During the whole course of events since 1923, where, I ask, has the Minister for Finance interfered arbitrarily? The Deputy knows very well that there is consultation, and that if we cannot agree we go to the Government. Is not that the position?

I would not like to see the Minister for Lands in the position of finding himself up against, shall wesay, an awkward Minister for Finance, and then having to go to the Government to get that Minister's decision overruled.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 3:—

In sub-section (3), page 2, line 26, to delete "1934" and substitute "1934 or that section as amended by this Act —"

Since 1934, land bonds have been created under Section 4 of the Land Bond Act of that year, but in future they will be created under the section as amended by this Act.

This amendment, I think, might fairly be described as an amendment to correct a drafting slip in the original Act.

Yes, but it would not be for me to put it in the way that Deputy Sweetman has put it.

Well, shall we say it is for me to put it in a somewhat cruder manner?

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 4:—

In sub-section (6), page 3, line 5, to delete "bear" and substitute "be land bonds bearing."

This is a verbal amendment.

What is the difference? It is beyond me to see that there is any difference.

It conforms, I think, to the wording in another amendment, possibly amendment No. 9.

That is a good explanation.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 2, as amended, agreed to.

Amendment No. 5 has been ruled out of order.

SECTION 3.

I move amendment No. 6:—

Before Section 3 to insert a new section as follows:—

Where the price of untenanted land, or the resumption price of a holding or part of a holding, agreed upon or fixed before the passing of this Act is payable in land bonds which have not been issued before the first series of land bonds is created after the passing of this Act, then, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any agreement or enactment or in any order of the Land Commission or the Appeal Tribunal, the price or the resumption price shall be paid by means of an issue of land bonds of that series.

This amendment meets points which have been raised by Deputy Sweetman in the amendments that he has tabled. This section is for the benefit of owners from whom untenanted land is purchased or acquired and tenants from whom holdings are resumed and whose 4 per cent., 3½ per cent. or 3 per cent. land bonds are not issued before the new bonds become available. New bonds are to be substituted for those which they would otherwise receive.

The difficulty is on the question of what exactly the word "issue" means. I understood that "issue" meant the date on which they were provisionally placed to credit which is, I think, the appointed day in respect of untenanted land. The appointed day is almost always fixed as the date on which possession is taken. I am not quite clear what the position is in respect to resumption cases. I want to say, first of all, that this and the next amendment have been introduced by the Minister to meet points that I raised on the Second Reading. As one who likes to be occasionally somewhat caustic at the expense of Ministers, I am glad to be able to take an entirely different line on this amendment and to thank and congratulate the Minister on having met the case that was put forward, a case that undoubtedly was going to mean injustice, and to say that I am satisfied that such injustice has been remedied by these two amendments. The whole kernel of this will depend upon the meaning of the word "issue". I should be glad if the Minister would clarify that. I appreciate that the matter is a bit technical.

That does not seem to be dealt with in the present measure. I think the cardinal date is the point of time of vesting in the Land Commission. In so far as we have changes in this measure, the intention, as I understand it, is to try and make that the starting point. I am informed that, as regards the actual issue of bonds, that takes place when the purchase money is paid into court by the Land Commission, which is perhaps some little time after the appointed date. That may not actually be on the appointed day.

In this amendment the words used are, "which have not been issued before the first series of land bonds is created after the passing of this Act". I want to be quite clear on this because it is absolutely vital to the point of view that I put forward on the Second Reading. There are cases at the present moment where the appointed day has been fixed. I have in mind one case where the appointed day was fixed on the 29th January of this year. Possession was taken by the Land Commission on some date in January of this year. Notice was published in theIris Oifigiúilsubsequently stating that the provisional price £x payable in land bonds had been put to the credit of that estate on that date.

There is another point in respect of this which is a side issue on which I propose to ask for clarification later on another section of the Bill. Perhaps I might refer to it now in passing. The Minister, when replying on the Second Reading, said that there were no new land bonds issued after the 31st December last, because on the 31st December they had all been used up.

If that was so, I do not understand quite how these other bonds in the two cases I have in mind were placed to credit in January of this year. In the case I am interested in, the provisional notice was issued last September. The owner in question, who did not object to the acquisition, indicated to the Land Commission that he was prepared to agree to their acquiring the lands and that the only question for decision was the question of price. The Land Commission took possession ofthe lands in January. Immediately, when they took possession of the lands in January, they published a notice inIris Oifigiúilsaying that the appointed day was fixed as of the date in January on which they had taken possession and thereupon transferring to the credit of that estate the amount of land bonds provisionally fixed as the provisional purchase price pending the appeal and determination of such purchase price by the Judicial Commissioner. My worry is whether that transfer to the credit of the estate from the general land bond fund is not an issue. I understood, from the discussion we had on the Second Reading, that is was an issue, that once the provisional price was fixed and the bonds placed to the credit of the estate then that was, in the wording of the Land Acts, considered as the issue of the bonds and that the subsequent action that takes place in respect of the bonds, when the bonds are paid out of the Land Commission to the owner of the land, is, in the parlance of the Land Acts, the allocation of those bonds.

If I am right in thinking that the issue is the appointed day, then it seems to me that what we are doing in this amendment is that we are covering cases, and only covering cases, where an appointed day has been fixed but no bonds have been provisionally issued to the credit of the particular estate. I must confess that I am a bit sorry for the Minister because this is a very technical matter.

It arises from the difficulty of dealing with cases where bonds have not already been issued. Amendment No. 6 deals with these and new bonds are to be substituted, as I have said, for those which the vendors would otherwise receive.

I think Deputy Sweetman's point is, perhaps, covered in amendment No. 7 which deals with cases where the land bonds have already been issued. In fact, no prices have been fixed or agreed upon since the end of last year.

No prices have been finally fixed or agreed on. They have been provisionally fixed.

What is the difference, then, in the amendment No. 6 and—if I may ask this question—the provisions of the amendment which I submitted but which was ruled out of order? In my amendment I suggested that the existing bonds already issued should be cancelled. Does, in fact, amendment No. 6 cancel the existing bonds already issued?

What happens to them, then?

New bonds are to be substituted for those which they would otherwise receive. It deals with pending cases.

I appreciate that.

And no land bonds have been issued in these cases.

What is considered the date of issue, in the parlance of the Land Acts?

The date on which the purchase money is paid into court.

Is that not always the date of the appointed day?

Not always. It is immediately afterwards.

The dates are coming back to me. I mentioned the 29th January a moment ago in the case I was interested in. The appointed day was the 15th January. On the 29th January—that is, 14 days afterwards, which is what I think the Minister says "immediately afterwards"—a notice was published inIris Oifigiúilstating that £8,500 worth of bonds had been transferred to the credit of that particular estate. Was that transfer not the issue?

What has happened to those bonds? Are those bonds still left there? I understood the Minister to take the line that those bonds were being substituted. As I appreciate the position, those bonds which have been transferred to the credit of that estateare left there and, in addition, under amendment No. 7, further bonds are added.

That is so.

Then that means that amendment No. 6 does not cover the types of cases that we were discussing during the Second Reading, that is, cases where the appointed day has already been fixed. Perhaps the Minister could then indicate what types of cases it does cover.

Where the prices have been fixed but the appointed day has not been declared.

Thanks very much. I got it clear in the end.

Amendment put and agreed to.

I move amendment No. 7:—

Before Section 3 to insert a new section as follows:—

(1) Where, before the first series of land bonds is created after the passing of this Act, land bonds have been issued in any matter in respect of the price of untenanted land or the resumption price of a holding or part of a holding and—

(a) possession of such land, holding or part has been taken by the Land Commission after the 11th day of December, 1952, or such land or the tenant's interest in such holding or part vested or is deemed to have vested in the Land Commission after that date, or

(b) such land vested in the Land Commission pursuant to Section 30 of the Land Act, 1933, or that section as extended by Section 30 of the Land Act, 1936, before the passing of this Act and the price thereof is agreed upon or fixed after such passing,

the Land Commission shall in such matter make an additional advance and issue additional land bonds equal in nominal amount (to the nearest pound) to such percentage of the price or the resumption price as theMinister for Finance directs and bearing the same rate of interest as the land bonds already issued.

(2) Where, before the first series of land bonds is created after the passing of this Act, land bonds have been issued in any matter in respect of the price of untenanted land (not being land in relation to which sub-section (1) of this section applies) and such price is, pursuant to an application for the redetermination thereof, increased after the passing of this Act, the Land Commission shall in such matter make an additional advance and issue additional land bonds equal in nominal amount (to the nearest pound) to such percentage of the amount by which the price is increased as the Minister for Finance directs and bearing the same rate of interest as the land bonds already issued.

(3) Where, pursuant to sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) of this section, additional land bonds are issued in any matter—

(a) there shall be payable by the Land Commission to the person entitled to the receipt of the rents and profits of the untenanted land immediately before possession thereof was taken by the Land Commission or to the person entitled to the resumption price of the holding or the part of a holding a sum equal to interest (less income-tax) on the additional land bonds from the date on which such land or the tenant's interest in such holding or part vested or is deemed to have vested in the Land Commission or the date on which possession of such land, holding or part was obtained by the Land Commission (whichever is the later) to the date of the issue of the additional land bonds and that sum shall be in lieu of such (if any) interest as may be appropriate under sub-section (1) of Section 2 of the Land Act, 1923, and

(b) on the allocation of the additional land bonds in such matter due regard shall be had to the respective interests of all persons entitled to claim (whetherbefore or after the passing of this Act) in such manner and such land bonds shall be distributed as the justice of the case may require by the Judicial Commissioner.

As Deputy Sweetman has said, the intention is to add what we call, for the sake of clarification, bonus additional bonds, where bonds have already been issued. There would be a difficulty in substituting new bonds—considerable difficulty—if they had already been issued and had, perhaps, passed to new owners.

We are trying to achieve the same financial result and trying to assure that it will have precisely the same financial advantages for the vendors if we issue additional bonds to them. The determination of the appropriate bonus percentage is left to the Minister for Finance, who will be responsible for fixing the rate of interest which newly created bonds will bear. These are the types of cases that Deputy Sweetman had in mind where the Land Commission have taken possession of the lands since the 11th December, 1952. I think the most appropriate date is the date of the introduction of the Bill. The concession, as I have said, extends to a small number of cases in which prices have yet to be fixed—for example, 7 (1) (b).

Where the Minister says "prices have yet to be fixed", does he not mean that they have been fixed provisionally but have yet to be finally determined?

This amendment, as the Minister has correctly stated, is another method of doing what some of us were urging on the Second Reading of the Bill. Let me say that I think the Minister's method of doing it is a better one than mine. However, if I had been ingenious enough to think of the Minister's method I should have urged a date other than that of the 11th December. The only reason I restricted myself to the date of 11th December last was because I did not think of dealing with it in this manner of bonus issue rather than by cancelling existing bonds and substitutingnew bonds. However, the Minister's ingenuity having produced this bonus issue method, I would urge him, then, that it is a method that is applicable not merely to the date of the introduction of this Bill but one under which he could reasonably be expected to go back further.

One date that immediately occurs to me is a date in October—I think it was the 6th October—when there was an indication given, in answer to a question in the House, by the Minister for Finance that the issue of a new series of land bonds was to receive consideration. As well as I remember, it was in the beginning of October that that was answered. Apart from that, there has been the question since of the loss that owners of land have suffered since the change in the value of interest rates here in Ireland with the result, of course, that the 4 per cent. bonds were reduced in price. When the Judicial Commissioner—or the Land Commission, if there had been agreement—had fixed a price, that price was fixed without reference to the depreciation in land bonds consequent on the drop in interest rates and owners who were forced to sell their bonds immediately upon allocation suffered loss in some cases up to 12 per cent. As well as I remember, the price of the bonds on the date of the introduction of the Bill in December last was about 88, which means that anyone who had compensation awarded to him and who was forced to sell the bonds representing the proceeds of such compensation got only £88 for every £100 awarded. That was a pity. Now that the Minister has produced this somewhat ingenious method of meeting the situation, I think he might seriously consider going back to the period previous to the introduction of this Bill.

I do not know how many cases there would be or what amount of money would be involved. I do not know whether there are cases where possession was taken, the appointed day fixed long before the 11th December and yet the funds have not been allocated out of the Land Commissioncourt. I can see some difficulty where funds have actually been allocated, but I think that difficulty could be overcome and I think it is overcome to some extent by the provisions of sub-section (3) of this amendment, paragraph (b). As I understand that clause, where it says "as the justice of the case may require", the effect of that clause is to pass on to the Judicial Commissioner the power and the right to distribute the bonus issue between the mortagages and other encumbrancers in the appropriate portions of their mortgages. I would frankly have preferred that that clause would be so stated in specific words. Perhaps it is reasonably clear as to what is intended, but it would have been better if it had been specifically stated.

When the Minister has dealt with this matter by way of the bonus issue rather than by way of the cancellation of the existing bonds and the issue of new bonds, he might consider favourably going back behind the 11th December and reaching those cases which suffered undue, and in many cases serious hardship by reason of the depreciation in the value of the bonds, a depreciation which occurred through no fault of the owners of the estates which were acquired and a depreciation over which the Minister himself as Minister for Lands had no jurisdiction. It was a depreciation which he could not rectify without legislation, because under the existing law he was limited to 4 per cent. level and therefore he could not bring in any new bonds that would be at or nearer to par. I would urge the Minister to consider that point. There is another point, but I would rather not confuse the issue by referring to it now. The Minister might favourably consider these people who have been knocked in that way.

I have considered this matter carefully and I have accepted the date mentioned by the Deputy in his amendment. I do not want to place him at any disadvantage in that regard. He took up the question here in the House of the land bonds and asked a parliamentary question on the 12th November. I think that fixing the date with reference to legislation ismore satisfactory than fixing it by reference to circumstances outside, such as the losses to the persons concerned. It could be argued that people receiving land bonds were losing for a considerable time, but I doubt whether you could prove that that was attributable to the announcement of the National Loan.

I did not suggest that. I wanted to have this discussion in an entirely non-political atmosphere. I was very careful not to make that suggestion. When the Minister and I meet in Wicklow at the cross-roads I may make it.

You would have to go back really very far and, as is generally the case with these retrospective provisions, some case or other is bound to occur which is just over the borderline and which you have not covered.

On the whole, having considered the matter, my disposition is to adhere to the date which is mentioned, the 11th December, 1952.

Has the Minister any information as to how many cases would be covered by putting the date back to the 1st January, 1952—or to the 1st April, 1952, if that is an easier date.

It is not an easier date. It will not be accepted. The very most you could do, I think, is to make a case that we should go back to the date of the National Loan.

How many cases would be involved in that?

We have all the statistics.

I suspected you might.

While the Minister is getting the statistics, would it be out of order to ask him to give a short explanation of sub-section (5) of Section 2?

It has been dealt with already.

I know it has, but I did not hear it as I was absent from the House.

The total number of cases since the 11th December, 1952 is 79. The total since the issue of the National Loan, or when the terms were declared, is 136. If you went back to the end of 1951 you would have 261 cases. The Deputy will see that it would be increasing the financial liability enormously and still you could not say that every case was covered, but there is no possibility whatever of going back to the beginning of the financial year.

If I could make the case, without making it in the way I would make it at the cross-roads——

We are not at the cross-roads now. We are doing the nation's business.

Could we not deal with it on the basis of the National Loan? At least we would be getting in these people whose land was acquired from the date of the positive act by the Government, if nothing else, and for the purposes of this discussion the issue of the National Loan was an acknowledgment by the Government of an existing position and the effect of the issue of that loan was surely to reduce still further the value of the Land Bonds. I did not think there would be anything like the number of cases covered as the Minister has indicated, but surely, after the positive act by the Government in the flotation of the loan on the terms on which it was floated, there is a very strong case from that date onwards that the bonus issue should be made. I agree at once that the Minister has me at a disadvantage inasmuch as I mentioned on Second Reading the date of the passing of the Act. I mentioned that then, because I understood the position was that pending the issue of new bonds no appointed days were being fixed.

Subsequent to the debate on the Second Reading, I found that the informationI had in that regard was wrong, that certain appointed days had been fixed and that cases were covered in which there was going to be substantial and serious hardship during November. I had thought at one stage of putting down an amendment setting out another date, but I knew that, no matter how I might argue, any such amendment would be ruled out of order and that it would be merely a theoretical exercise, but the Minister should accept the position that the date of the issue of the National Loan was the date of a fixed governmental action and should accept that date as the operative date for this amendment rather than 11th December.

In sub-section (2) of the section, we are providing for meeting Deputy Blowick's proposals in his Land Bill and applying the bonus concession to the amount of any increase granted on redetermination of a price after the passing of the Bill. That is also of considerable liability and I am afraid I cannot go further than I have gone to meet the Deputy.

The Minister referred to sub-section (2) of the section. I take it he meant sub-section (2) of the amendment?

The bonus addition will apply to those cases where there has to be a redetermination of the price under Section 7, which is the Government provision for dealing with the proposals Deputy Blowick made originally in his Bill, with regard to going back and fixing a price in certain cases.

Then is the position that an owner who came in under Section 5 of the 1950 Act, who was properly advised by his legal advisers and made his application at the appropriate time and had the market price fixed between 1950 and the present time does not get the benefit of this provision, but that the man who did not avail himself of his rights, who was not properly advised legally, if he sought legal advice, and did not do what the 1950 Act gives him an opportunityof doing, gets the benefit at the expense of the other man? If that is the position, surely the Minister will agree that it does seem rather to be weighting the scales against the man who gave the Land Commission no trouble? The Minister will agree that the people who did not make their applications under the 1950 Act are now causing a certain amount of additional trouble. Surely those who did things in the proper way should not be penalised by comparison with those who did not?

It is the fellows who did take advantage of Section 5 of the 1950 Act who caused the trouble.

I cannot quite follow Deputy Sweetman. Either they applied for redetermination or they did not. If they did, we cannot do any more for them and, if they did not, they have another chance.

They are getting another chance, but they are getting a bonus.

Their applications now will be dealt with as favourably, but only as favourably, as the applications of those who did take advantage of it.

That is so.

No, more favourably.

How much more favourably?

That is the next piece of information I want to get. How is the amount of the bonus going to be fixed?

I cannot say. It is a matter for the judge, who has to have regard to all the circumstances, including the giving of justice to all the persons concerned. The amount of the percentage of the rate of interest has not been fixed, and in the individual cases it will have to be done by the Minister for Finance.

I think the Minister is wrong when he says it is a matter for the judge. Surely it is the Minister for Finance who directs. Surely theMinister for Finance directs the amount of the bonds that are to go to each particular estate and the judge decides how they are to be split.

With regard to the redetermination of price, I probably made a mistake on that point, but that is what I had in mind. The intention is that the bonus will be a percentage of the price and that is a matter that will have to be determined.

Can the Minister not give any indication of the percentage? Is it intended that the bonus will be that percentage of the price by which, or approximately by which, the market value of the 4 per cent. bonds is less than the par value?

I presume that will be very seriously considered, but I could hardly give a categoric promise because the ruling price of land stock at the time the Minister for Finance makes his determination would be in question. So far as I am concerned, that would be the intention, that it should be on the basis the Deputy has mentioned.

I could not ask the Minister to fix the percentage in terms of 10 per cent., 12 per cent. or 5 per cent. now, but would it be by reference to the difference between the market price and the par value at whatever the appropriate time is?

Exactly.

Will it be by reference to the difference between market price and par value at whatever the appropriate time is?

Exactly. It will.

Will not the purchase price be one of the principal determining factors?

There will have to be a calculation taken into account for accrued interest, for example, and that sort of thing, as well. Am I right in my interpretation of sub-section (3) (b) that "as the justice of the case" means that the Judicial Commissionerhas the power to divide the bonus issue amongst the encumbrancers in the same proportion as the original purchase price will be divided?

Amendment put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 3 as amended, stand part of the Bill."

I want, as a matter of interest, to get a point cleared. On Second Reading, the Minister stated there were no bonds available after the 31st December. This was the section that made the bonds available. I understood him to say that the limit had been reached and there were no further bonds there. If that is so, could the Minister tell me how bonds were issued after the 1st January of this year, as I know there were in two cases?

Because the Order made by the Minister for Finance determines the rates and conditions of issue and, although the intention was to bring in this legislation, it could have happened, and did happen, that, under the last Order, bonds were actually issued after the 31st December. It could have happened.

I think it did happen.

Well, of course, in the proceedings of the Land Commission the guillotine could not fall on all operations. You could not just call a halt and two minutes' silence at a certain point. It was possible to issue. But, once it became clear and once a decision had been taken to introduce the new legislation, obviously you were not going to issue additional bonds then unless there was some advantage.

The Minister said earlier that I said something he would not like to put in the same words. May I describe the issue in these two cases as being due to the fact that the decision had not yet reached the issuing point; it had been taken at top level and had not yet come down, and that that is how these two bonds escaped out of the net, by some mistake?

You will be getting somebody into trouble.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 4.

I move amendment No. 8:—

In sub-section (2), page 3, lines 14 and 15, to delete "‘or declare'" and substitute "‘or deemed to be fixed'".

This is simply a verbal amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 9:—

To delete sub-section (3) and substitute the following sub-sections:—

(3) Sub-section (2) of Section 4 of the Land Bond Act, 1934, is hereby amended by the addition at the end of the sub-section of "except advances and purchase moneys required to be made or paid by means of an issue of land bonds bearing the same rate of interest as land bonds previously issued".

(4) Sub-sections (1) and (3) of this section shall be deemed to have come into operation on the passing of the Land Bond Act, 1934.

Amendment No. 9 is complementary to sub-section (6) of Section 2 and to Section 5, which require the issue of land bonds bearing the same rate of interest as bonds previously issued.

I am sorry. I do not quite follow the Minister's explanation. Is this necessary because of the bonus issue provision that we have just been discussing on amendment No. 7?

That is to except the bonus issues following the bonds in the original allocation.

If it is that, I can understand, but if it is anything else, could I have some little explanation, please?

According to sub-section (6) of Section 2:—

"Where after the passing of this Act additional land bonds are issued in consequence of an increase in any standard purchase annuity or land bonds are lodged pursuant to paragraph (a) of sub-section (2) of Section 15 of the Land Act, 1931, such land bonds shall bear the same rate of interest as the land bonds originally issued to the credit of the relevant estate."

In Section 5 we have "the same rate of interest as the land bonds issued in respect of the provisional price". This amendment is simply complementary to these two provisions and requires that where the new additional land bonds are issued they will bear the same rate of interest as those previously issued.

The bonus issue bonds are then going to bear the same rate of interest, are they?

The Minister realises, of course, that this is an amendment retrospective to the passing of the Land Bonds Act, 1934, and one does not like dealing with retrospective amendments in this way. Can the Minister give us an assurance that this section will not affect any allocation of land bonds already made, and that there are not any proceedings of which the Minister is at present aware in any court requesting a different interpretation of the 1934 Act?

I think I can give the Deputy that assurance.

I am perfectly happy then.

The intention is that nobody should suffer or be any worse off as a result of any of the provisions of this Bill.

That is what I want to be sure of.

If it should appear before it becomes law that something has been overlooked, of course I willgo into the matter, but that is my intention. The basis of this amendment is that we should not have two separate series of land bonds at different rates of interest dealing with the same transaction. We should bring them to a common level. Otherwise we might get into difficulties.

I agree entirely and I think that this has, in fact, been the practice of the Judicial Commissioner all through the years since 1934.

That is so, yes.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 4, as amended, put and agreed to.
SECTION 5.

I move amendment No. 10:—

Before sub-section (1) to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

(1) Where the Land Commission, pursuant to sub-section (1) of Section 30 of the Land Act, 1933, or that sub-section as extended by sub-section (1) of Section 30 of the Land Act, 1936, declare the appointed day for untenanted lands and the price at which it is proposed to purchase such lands, that price and any price subsequently agreed upon or fixed for such lands shall, for the purpose of determining the relevant series of land bonds, be deemed to be fixed on the date of the declaration.

The purpose of this amendment is that where a provisional price is declared, the date of the declaration, under Section 30 of the Land Act, 1933, will in future determine the relevant series of land bonds once and for all.

Has that not been the practice heretofore?

It has, yes.

It is merely to confirm the practice?

That is so.

There are no proceedings pending or anything like that, about it?

There seems to have been some variation between the date of the fixation and the date of the declaration. I do not think any proceedings are in question, anything substantial in any case. It is to be quite certain that the date of declaration will in future be final and definite that this amendment is being introduced.

The Minister sees my point of view? If certain people have done certain things in the belief that the law was running along a certain line, it would be very wrong of this House to change that law retrospectively without protecting the interests of those people. That is what I am interested in.

I will look into that matter further. I have gone into the matter. The amendment is not retrospective.

Sub-section (2) in the Bill itself is retrospective—"shall be deemed to have come into operation on the passing of the Land Act, 1933."

This is a new sub-section in amendment No. 10—sub-section (1).

It is only what will now be sub-section (2) of the section that will be retrospective?

Amendment agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 5, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

Is the position this in respect of what is now sub-section (2), that it is to clarify a practice which has always been followed and which has not been challenged so far as the Minister is aware?

Yes, the intention is to clarify the position. The section retrospectively confirms the practice that any additional bonds issued in such a case shall bear the same rate of interest as the original bonds.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 6.
Question proposed: "That Section 6 stand part of the Bill."

Is not Section 6 exactly the same as amendment No. 10? I do not understand what is the exact difference.

Section 6 deals with tenanted land. Section 5 deals with untenanted land and, running through this Bill, is the idea of putting them on the same basis.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 7.
Question proposed: "That Section 7 stand part of the Bill."

Is the Minister satisfied that all the outstanding cases will get a further chance under this section, all the outstanding cases that failed to take advantage of Section 5, I think it was, of the previous Act?

Yes. As I told the Deputy, the period of six months allowed for lodgment of applications for redetermination expired on 19th December, 1950. During that period 23 applications were received; two late applications were subsequently lodged, and the other eligible cases—I think there are about 92—will have a further opportunity of applying. So far as I know, that covers all the cases.

My only anxiety is whether the section is wide enough to include all those who feel that they had a grievance.

I think so. Applications should be made before 1st November, 1953, or, where the Land Commission take possession after the 1st May, 1953, before the date which is six months after the date on which possession is taken.

It appears wide enough, anyway.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 8.

I move amendment No. 11:—

Before Section 8 to insert a new section as follows:—

(1) Where the Land Commission have, before the passing of this Act, resumed a holding, the tenant's interest shall be deemed to have vested, discharged from the claims against such interest, in the Land Commission on the date on which they took possession of the holding, or the date on which they were authorised to resume the holding where that date was later than the date on which they took possession, and those claims shall be deemed to have on that date ceased as against the holding and become attached to the resumption price of the holding, that is to say, the compensation paid or to be paid therefor by the Land Commission, in like manner as they were attached to the holding immediately before that date.

(2) Where the Land Commission have, whether before or after the passing of this Act, been authorised to resume a holding, they shall be entitled to enter upon and take possession of the holding and—

(a) the provisions of Section 19 of the Land Act, 1927, as amended by this Act, shall apply to the holding in like manner as they apply to the lands vested in the Land Commission referred to in that section, and

(b) The tenant's interest shall vest, discharged from the claims against such interest, in the Land Commission on the date on which they take possession of the holding, or the date on which they have been authorised to resume the holding where that date is later than the date on which they take possession, and those claims shall on that date cease as against the holding and become attached to the resumption price of the holding, that is to say, the compensation to be paid therefor by the Land Commission, in like manner as they were attached to the holding immediately before that date.

(3) A certificate under the common seal of the Land Commission certifyingthat the tenant's interest in a specified holding vested or is deemed to have vested in the Land Commission on a specified date (being the date on which the Land Commission took possession of the holding or the date on which the Land Commission were authorised to resume the holding where that date was later than the date on which they took possession) shall beprima facieevidence of the fact so certified.

(4) All powers exercisable under the Land Purchase Acts in relation to a superior interest may be exercised in relation to a claim within the meaning of this section.

(5) In this section—

"holding" includes part of a holding and, when used in the expressions "against the holding" and "attached to the holding", includes the tenant's interest;

"tenant's interest" includes interests of joint tenants and tenants in common;

"claims" includes the claim of any person interested in respect of any incumbrance, annuity, rent, rent-charge or otherwise however, save that it does not include any public right, the interest of any sub-tenant or of any person having a claim upon that interest or a claim in respect of any easement, right or appurtenance mentioned in Section 34 of the Land Law (Ireland) Act, 1896;

"resumption price" means resumption price whether fixed or to be fixed and, in the latter case, includes interest payable by virtue of sub-section (4) of Section 39 of the Land Act, 1939.

(6) Nothing in this section shall affect—

(a) sporting rights as defined in sub-section (2) of Section 13 of the Irish Land Act, 1903, fisheries appurtenant to a holding within the meaning of sub-section (1) of Section 3 of the Land Act, 1929, or water rights, where such sporting rights, fisheries or water rights are not in the possession or enjoyment of the tenant at the date on which possession of the holding isobtained by the Land Commission, or

(b) any right to water power in actual use by the tenant at the date on which possession of the holding is obtained by the Land Commission, except where such use ceased on that date, or

(c) any mine or quarry being worked or developed by the tenant or his lessee at the date on which possession of the holding is obtained by the Land Commission, or

(d) any right of mining or taking minerals or digging or searching

for minerals on or under a holding, provided that this sub-section shall not apply to any stone, gravel, sand or clay.

This section relates to holdings resumed from tenants as distinct from untenanted land acquired by the Land Commission and makes provision for resumed holdings similar to those already existing for untenanted land and thus fills in what we might term to be a statutory background for practices which are already followed in these resumption cases. I am informed also that it removes a doubt as to whether a conveyance from the tenant is necessary in certain cases by providing for the automatic vesting of the tenant's interest in the Land Commission. One would imagine that there would be no doubt about it and it seems to be a very national doubt, but our legal advisers feel that, if there is any doubt whatever, it ought to be cleared up.

Consequential provision is made for the transfer of claims against that interest to the resumption price. Sub-section (2) (a) confirms the power of the Land Commission to proceed in the same manner as in the case of untenanted land where possession of a holding which they are authorised to resume is withheld. There are certain anomalies that may have arisen where possession has been withheld with regard to the question of interest and charges attributable to the Land Commission and the general idea is to straighten out those anomalies in future.

My impression of this section is that the Land Commission are seeking rather extraordinary powers in the case of resumed holdings. While I did not quite follow the Minister's explanation I cannot imagine any type of case where the power sought in this section would be necessary for the Land Commission. Perhaps the Minister could give us an example of a case where the powers under sub-section (3) would be necessary.

The practice up to this in regard to the transfer of a tenant's interest is that his interest is resumed. So far as I can recollect, there has never been any practice of having a conveyance. I do not remember having come across a conveyance. The Minister will have to forgive us questioning him on this because it is the worst amendment to construe that I have ever seen. I sat down one night to study it and threw it up in despair at the end. Surely it is possible to split the one section as it is into several sub-sections and arrive at the same result by a system of drafting that somebody could understand, because, unless there were a great number of ice packs around that one could put on his head, I do not think anybody could follow what this amendment, in fact, means.

I should perhaps first say that as regards sub-section (2) (a), the provisions of Section 19 of the Land Act of 1927 shall apply to the holdings in like manner as they applied to the land vested in the Land Commission referred to in that section. As I explained last night, it was the intention that the provisions dealing with taking possession of land applicable to lands taken over and governed by the 1927 Act, Section 19, should follow in the case of these resumed holdings and so on. That has been the practice which has been followed.

As regards the point made by Deputy Sweetman about conveyances, there has never been a conveyance as far as we know, but the lawyers feel that, in order to make the position watertight from the point of view of the securing of title, we should havethis provision which makes it clear that it will have exactly the same effect as if a conveyance were, in fact, made.

The purpose of the entire section is to clear up legal and technical points of detail which arise out of the work of resuming holdings. The resumption procedure operates where the landlord's interest has vested in the Land Commission but the holding has not yet been revested in the tenant. The size of the property is not in question.

Outside the congested districts it is.

No. You can have a resumed holding of any size.

Outside the congested districts every holding exceeding £3,000 in value is deemed to be a retained holding, or £5,000 under the 1927 Act, if it is a stud farm.

That is correct. I was making the point—I probably had not expressed it correctly—that we have had large and valuable resumed holdings and, of course, small ones. The law relating to resumption goes back to 1881. From that year until 1923 holdings were occasionally resumed by private landlords under Section 5 of the 1881 Act and also by the former Congested Districts Board. It was only after 1923 that the Land Commission came to operate the resumption procedure. Section 29 of the 1923 Act, Section 43 of the Land Act, 1931. Section 31 of the Land Act, 1933, and Section 39 of the Land Act, 1939, deal with resumption. Those sections cover the procedure up to the stage of the judicial authorisation entitling the Land Commission to resume the holding. They included a very important point regarding the basis of compensation, namely, market value together with compensation for disturbance.

Those sections, however, did not deal sufficiently clearly with three consequential stages of resumption procedure, namely, (1) possession, (2) vesting in the Land Commission, and (3) allocation of resumption price; hence the need for Section 8. Sub-section (1), which is intended to clear up the position as regards holdings alreadyresumed, provides for two points: firstly, it fixes the date of vesting in the Land Commission, which is a very essential detail; and secondly, it confirms the automatic transfer of incumbrances, mortgages and other charges from the land to the resumption price, in accordance with a long established principle going back to Section 31 of the 1896 Act. This transfer of charges was regarded as implicit under previous Acts and resumption prices have been allocated on that basis since 1923. It is the only practical course as the land must be cleared of such charges before it can be given to allottees. To put the point beyond question it is considered desirable to confirm the practice that has prevailed since 1923 by the explicit provisions in sub-section (1).

Sub-section (2) deals similarly with current and future cases. It covers three points: paragraph (a) will enable the Land Commission to get a possession order from the Judicial Commissioner when they are obstructed in taking possession of a resumed holding. Section 19 of the 1927 Act gave that facility to the Land Commission in respect of acquired land and that Act was intended to apply to resumed holdings also. However, the 1927 Act is not quite watertight as regards the resumed holdings and it is now proposed in paragraph (a) of sub-section (2) to put that point right. It is an essential facility; fortunately, it has to be used only on rare occasions, but the very fact that the provision exists and can be invoked if necessary makes its use generally unnecessary. Paragraph (b) of sub-section (2) repeats for current and future resumption cases the same two provisions as regards vesting in the Land Commission and transfer of charges which have been included in sub-section (1) for holdings already resumed and have been explained in relation to that sub-section.

Sub-section (3) is intended to provide a convenient method of proving in court, whenever the need arises, that the tenancy in a resumed holding vested in the Land Commission on the appropriate date. There is no form of conveyance, vesting order or final list specifying the date of vesting in respectof a resumed holding and it is, therefore, considered desirable to provide suitable documentary evidence. The proposed certificate will beprima facieevidence only and there are already many precedents for this kind of certificate; for example, Section 12 (7) of the 1950 Act, Section 4 of the Land Act, 1946, and so on.

Section 4 of the 1946 Act is not a good precedent to mention. That is a section to which many people take grave objection, that is, the unsatisfactory user section.

Particularly the fellow who is being thrown out.

Sub-section (4) was not included in the Bill as already printed and I have since been advised that it is desirable to add this sub-section by way of supplement to the provisions in sub-section (1) and sub-section (2) (b) regarding the procedure for charges transferred from the land to the resumption price. In the allocation of purchase moneys for acquired land an allocation schedule is drawn up to set out the various superior interests and charges affecting the purchase moneys. A superior interest may affect other land as well as the acquired land.

In that case it is necessary for the Judicial Commissioner to exercise his powers under Section 31 of the 1896 Act to apportion the superior interest. Similarly, the Judicial Commissioner also has power to fix the redemption price of every superior interest. Similar powers in relation to claims against resumption price have been regarded as implicit under the 1923 and subsequent Acts, but again it is considered best to state the position definitely once and for all.

Sub-section (5) contains definations of the terms used in the other sub-sections. It will be seen from the defination of the word "claims" that the position of sub-tenants and persons having claims against sub-tenants is not to be affected by Section 8. Similarly, the easements, rights and appurtenances which affect a resumed holding, for example, rights of way, turbary, and so on, are not disturbed.I think the other definitions are reasonably self-explanatory.

Sub-section (6) was also not included in the original print of the Bill. Apart from stone, gravel, sand and clay which generally go as part and parcel of each holding, this sub-section is a saver, saving from the operations of Section 8 such items as sporting rights, fisheries and water rights not in the enjoyment of the tenant from whom the holding is resumed. Special rights to water power, as well as quarries and mineral rights, which are being worked or developed, are also protected. These particular items have no great practical significance in relation to resumed holdings generally, but they may arise occasionally, and it is therefore necessary to cover the point.

I can visualise one type of case, arising out of the Minister's explanation. It occurs not too often but, nevertheless, occasionally— that is, where the Land Commission resumes a holding which has become unoccupied or non-residential. Very often we find that the owner has no intention whatever of leaving the holding derelict or non-residential and in between the date of taking possession and the date that the Land Commission made the decision to resume, or even obtained the judicial order to resume, we find the original owner coming back again and taking up residence. I should like to facilitate the Land Commission. I know that in many cases their problem is a difficult one. Nevertheless, in this case we are taking power just the same as was given under Section 4 of the 1946 Act that a certificate of the Land Commission can be regarded asprima facieevidence of taking up possession and out the person goes on the road. Apparently he has no right of appeal and no court to go to. It does happen, particularly in the West of Ireland where there is a good deal of migratory labour, that frequently tenants of such land migrate but the fact that there is nobody residing on the land is no proof that it is their intention to leave the holding derelict. It might be that the tenant has not a penny in his pocket to stock the holding or to carryout any improvements on it. These people leave the holdings for no other reason than to accumulate a certain amount of capital with which they intend to come back at some future time and perhaps buy an adjoining piece of land to relieve congestion on their holdings. Under this section for the first time, the Land Commission is asking this House to give them the same extraordinary power that the House gave them under Section 4 of the Land Act of 1946 to deal with a totally different type of case, a case, might I say to Deputy Sweetman, with which I was fully in agreement. At the same time I do not like the same method to be applied to the type of person about whom I am speaking. Section 4 of the Act of 1946 was intended to deal with a totally different type of person.

Is it not the position, so far as this amendment is concerned, that sub-section (2) (a) is solely for the purpose of enabling the Land Commission to get an order to put the sheriff in possession and to resume the holding for the Land Commission? There is no other purpose whatever that I can find in sub-section (2) (a). There is another point about which I am not quite clear. In sub-section (5) the word "claims" is defined and it includes the claim of any person—"person", of course, I understand, includes the Land Commission as a corporation sole, the Minister and the Minister for Finance—interested in respect of any incumbrance or annuity. As I understand the position in respect of a resumed holding under Section 5 of the Land Act of 1936, the redemption value of the funding annuity, that is part of the annuity on a resumed holding, is paid out of the purchase money but the ordinary annuity is not so paid. Does that not have the effect of transferring the ordinary annuity to the purchaser, which is not the position under the previous Act? It seems to me that there should be something in sub-section (5) to differentiate between the funding annuity, on the one hand, which is declared to be payable out of the price by the Land Act of 1936, Section 5, and the ordinary annuity asrevised by the 1933 Act which is not so payable. There should be some form of words in this amendment to protect that difference.

I am informed that this is not an ordinary annuity on a resumed holding but only an annual sum which ceases to be paid, on the date of resumption, under Section 27 of the Land Act of 1931.

I will admit at once that it is not intended to be an ordinary purchase annuity but I am not pretty sure that that is clear from the wording of the amendment itself. If the Minister would undertake to look into the matter between now and the Report Stage I would be quite satisfied. There is another point which I want to make. As the position stands, in the congested districts where there is a retained holding, that retained holding in certain circumstances vests in the Land Commission as if it were untenanted land. I came across a case the other day where the Land Commission gave notice that they were going to resume such retained holding in County Galway as if it were untenanted land. The tenant objected to the Land Commission doing so and the Land Commission, when they saw the facts, agreed to his objection. The tenant in question wanted to object only in respect of a portion of the holding. He agreed that the Land Commission should resume the remaining portion. As soon as the Land Commission examined the facts of the case, without even having to go to a hearing before the commissioners, the Land Commission agreed at once that the case the tenant had made was reasonable and an order was made in Chambers by consent accepting the tenant's offer. Notwithstanding all that there is no provision anywhere whereby the costs that were incurred by the tenant should be paid by the Land Commission. In fact, in that particular case the tenant will be obliged to pay a sum to his legal advisers for bringing about a situation that the Land Commission agreed at once as soon as they saw it was a reasonable situation. It may be a rather technical matter but I wouldask the Minister to consider the point between now and the next stage. I shall give him the name of the case to which I am referring so that he can consider the exact implications of it.

If the Deputy will give me the name of the case I shall be very glad to look into it. I do not know that it comes under the provisions we are now discussing. My feeling, which I shall try to confirm before the next stage, is that the Land Commissioners grant costs in such cases. It does not necessarily arise on this Bill.

All I can tell the Minister is that I was informed by the Land Commission that they had no such power and that they never did grant costs in such cases. I do not know but I have not been able to find any clause under which they could grant them.

I raised a point on which the Minister has not so far commented.

I am not quite clear what the point was.

The point was that the Land Commission are asking for powers in connection with resumed holdings, powers which may be necessary in certain types of holdings. I have in mind, however, the type of holding I mentioned a few moments ago which the tenant has no intention of leaving derelict. It very often happens that a person is forced by economic circumstances to leave a holding, go to either England or America and there put together a little capital for the purpose of coming back to the holding, improving it and perhaps buying another piece of land. Notice of non-residence is brought to the attention of the Land Commission and the Land Commission proceeds in the ordinary way to resume. I am quite sure the commissioners would not like to be in the position wherein they could be charged with having deliberately forced a person out of a holding that may have been in the possession of the particular family forgenerations back. Equally, I am sure they would not like to be charged with having deliberately compelled a person to go into exile because they walked in and took over his property, irrespective of how badly the holding may be needed for the relief of congestion in the particular locality. If I remember correctly, these powers were first introduced under the 1946 Act.

Cases of resumption are generally heard locally and the interested parties have an opportunity of stating their case. Where the decision is taken to take over the lands and where it may be absolutely essential to secure the resumed holding in connection with a scheme of rearrangement, I think the Deputy will agree the Land Commission ought not to be held up in this very serious and important work of rearrangement by cussedness on the part of people who will not accept the decisions given in court under all the safeguards we have under the law.

We will always, of course, have hard cases. We will have people who do not perhaps understand their rights or who do not avail themselves of them but we have given ample safeguards in the Land Acts. Deputy Blowick in his Land Act of 1950 has in sub-section (7) of Section 12 that " a certificate, sealed with the seal of the Minister, certifying that a power or duty for the time being vested by law (including this Act) in the Land Commission or the Lay Commissioners was exercised or performed by the Minister or by an officer authorised pursuant to this section ... shall beprima facieevidence ...” and so on. When these cases are brought into court there has to be some definition of the fact that the Land Commission has, in fact, acted and the certificate is not an attempt to interfere with the rights of the other parties. It is simply a method of certifying to the court that the Land Commission has done what it says it has done and that that should be accepted as legal evidence of its having done so.

I do not quite agreewith the Minister in that. The certificate mentioned in Section 12 of the 1950 Act does not apply and would not hold water in the type of case to which I have referred. If it did, why is it necessary now to repeat it and copper-fasten the position in this Act? The certificate mentioned in the 1950 Act deals with other powers and functions. It does not deal with resumed holdings. The Minister says that the commissioners ought not to be thwarted when they go in to rearrange a particular townland or area by a person who, through sheer cussedness, will not give way. That is all right. I am not thinking of that particular type of case at all. I am thinking of the other type of case where a person is forced through economic circumstances to leave a small holding.

It may appear that the Land Commission will not reach the particular area to rearrange or improve it for many years to come and it would not be proper to expect a healthy man or woman to waste time on a small scrap of land like that. It is only right that such a person would have an opportunity of getting together some capital to improve that holding. In such a case the Land Commission, even though a hearing may have taken place in court, can decide to resume the holding if this particular amendment becomes law. By a sealed certificate they can within one month heave the tenant out and compel him or her to perpetual exile. I do not believe the commissioners would do that. I do not think they would like to be charged with having done such a thing and for that reason I think this amendment should be softened down or eased in some way.

The Minister has argued that they must get a particular holding in a particular town land for purposes of rearrangement. This is a completely new departure. The commissioners have been charged in many cases with being harsh, with being slow, with neglecting the relief of congestion but I do not think they would seek the powers we propose to give them here. There is always a safety valve. Another tenant can be migrated to some other area. I do not approve of this amendment. Such a certificate was necessaryin the cases envisaged in the 1946 Act. The certificate under Section 12 of the 1950 Act does not apply. This is tantamount to introducing a sledgehammer provision for the use of the commissioners. If wrongly used injustice will be caused. I can see no necessity for it. The general complaint against the commissioners is that they are too slow in resuming or acquiring land for the relief of congestion and in getting on with the work. It is a big jump from that situation to give them powers now to take up or resume a holding belonging to a person who has no intention whatsoever of leaving the holding permanently and has merely left it temporarily to get a little capital together in order to return and improve the holding. I would be very slow to give the commissioners the power sought in this particular provision. If the Minister promises to reconsider the matter between this and the Report Stage I will be satisfied. I can conceive instances in which the commissioners would need such a power but I would be very slow to give them the full power contained in this new section without adequate safeguards.

This sub-section (3) does not give the Land Commission any additional powers in relation to resumption. The position that it envisages only arises when resumption proceedings have been completed. The Land Commission has to go into court and produce evidence that the resumed holding vested in the Land Commission on the appropriate date. This certificate, which is referred to here, will merely beprima facieevidence of the fact that the tenant's interest in the land is vested in the Land Commission. It will not be conclusive evidence. I think that, in the first place, the Deputy has not given consideration to that fact that the matter only arises when the resumption proceedings are completely ended. In the second place, the certificate is onlyprima facieevidence that the Land Commission have this interest vasted. Even at that stage a person who Deputy Blowick feels may be wrongfully treated can still go to the court. The certificate is no more or no less than what it is statedto be, that is, merelyprima facieevidence.

I do not think that I should go into-the merits of a particular case. It is not intended that this should deal with rearrangement particularly. I think that cases may arise where rearrangement may depend on the speedy settlement of these cases. I am not saying that these people have not their rights and that they should not be given full weight to but I think I should say, however, although I do not think it is really relevant, that we can have a case of a person who has not seen the holding for 40 years and still sets up a claim. The Land Commission have to clear up the situation with regard to the title of the person before they can get that land, small though it may be.

We are not interfering with this person's rights in any way. I am quoting that as an example of the other type of case where we can be held up. I presume we will be held up no matter what we may do.

The Minister is quoting an extreme case where the owner has been absent for a period of 40 years. I am entirely in agreement with the Minister there or even if he mentioned a much shorter period than that. It has occurred occasionally that the Land Commission moved in in regard to a holding from which the owner had gone only one year or two years. It is quite a common thing— let me say that I do not like this trend —to have people approaching T.D.s, Land Commission officials, priests and others, saying: "If I go to England in the spring, summer or for the harvest will the Land Commission take the holding when I am gone?" That is the type of case I have mind. The Minister says that this certificate is onlyprima facieevidence that the Land Commission have proceeded so far, but I think it goes a little bit further than that. If the Minister assures me that the certificate which the commissioners can issue under this section, if it becomes law, is merely a certificate of evidence that they have made a decision to resume the holding, I would be prepared to let the amendment pass. If, however, it is acertificate giving the Land Commission the same powers as they have under a section of the 1946 Act, I cannot see my way to agree to it. It is replacing the type of tenant who welched on his agreement with the Land Commission to work a holding prior to 1946.

We are not comparing the two types of case at all. We are only saying that the certificate is the same type of certificate and is only to be taken asprima facieevidence. I have given the Deputy that assurance.

Let us clear up this point. Under the 1946 Act, does not the issue of a certificate give automatic possession of the holding to the Land Commission? Is not that a fact?

Does it not give automatic possession of the holding to the Land Commission?

Does not a certificate in this case follow on the very same lines?

Section 2 was upset in the courts.

Section 2 of which Act?

Of the 1946 Act.

Thereby rendering useless the powers of the Land Commission under Section 4?

No. Section 4 deals with evidence as to the breach of conditions in regard to working a holding. Section 2 deals with residing on the parcel. On the question of residence, the Land Commission was beaten. The certificate in that case was to have been regarded as conclusive.

Without further court proceedings.

In Section 4 it is onlyprima facieevidence and it is definitely stated to be so.

At that rate, can I take it from the Minister that they are two different types of certificates?

Yes—two different types.

Very good. If that is the case, I will let it pass.

Amendment No. 11 agreed to.
Section 8 accordingly deleted.
SECTION 9.

I move amendment No. 12:—

To delete sub-section (2) and substitute the following sub-section:—

(2) Any reference to purchase money in Section 13 of the Land Act, 1939, or that section as amended by this section, shall be construed as including a reference to purchase money lodged in respect of—

(a) the provisional price referred to in Section 30 of the Land Act, 1933, other than any part thereof referable to land bonds redeemed by the Land Commission, and

(b) the additional advance (if any) made pursuant to the said Section 30 or that section as amended by this Act.

This amendment secures that the expression "purchase money" in Section 13 of the Land Act, 1939, which is being amended, includes not only a provisional price declared under Section 30 of the Land Act, 1933, but also any increase granted when such a price is finally fixed; interest is payable by the Land Commission on the amount of the increase from the date on which the Land vests in them.

This does not apply to bonus bonds to which we referred under amendment No. 7?

It only arises where delay occurs in getting possession.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 9, as amended, agreed to.
Section 10 agreed to.
SECTION 11.
Question proposed: "That Section 11 stand part of the Bill."

With regard to sub-section (2), is that another way of saying that, where the Land Commission has resumed a holding that is valued for the purposes of the Rating Acts with another holding, the rates will be apportioned thereafter? That is what I think it means, but it certainly says it in a very cumbersome way.

Yes. It already applies to untenanted land and extends the application of the provision to holdings resumed which are not separate.

Does that cover Schedules A and B in regard to income-tax?

The Deputy had better ask the Minister for Finance.

Section 11 agreed to.
SECTION 12.
Question proposed: "That Section 12 stand part of the Bill."

I am not too clear as to what the purpose of Section 12 is. Does it only deal with a particular type of case?

It simply renders it unnecessary to actually publish lists of congested districts holdings not vested in the tenants. There are corresponding provisions already for parcels of untenanted land similarly situated in the Land Act of 1936, Section 33.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 13.

I move amendment No. 13:—

In sub-section (1) to delete "shall be entitled" in page 5, line 55, and substitute "may" and to delete "to" in page 6, line 2, and in page 6, line 5.

This is a verbal amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 14:—

In sub-section (2), page 6, line 12, to delete "shall be entitled to" and substitute "may".

This also is a verbal amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 15:—

To add to the section a new sub-section as follows:—

(6) Nothing in this section shall prejudice the rights and powers of the Land Commission in relation to the resumption, acquisition or purchase of any land or interest therein.

This amendment is designated to secure that the power that is being given to the Land Commission to publish vesting orders in respect of certain types of land will not derogate from their powers to resume or acquire land.

Would the Minister explain the purpose of sub-section (2)?

It is to facilitate the vesting of rearranged holdings.

I did not know that there was any difficulty in vesting a rearranged holding.

I am not in a position to say that what the Land Commission have been doing would ever have been challenged, but experience has shown that if there is any way of challenging them they will be challenged and, as the Deputy knows, the work of rearrangement, from the legal side, has not been brought up to date. I am informed that this amendment is necessary. There is an example given here which is really amusing. Suppose that a rearrangement involves the exchange of part of A's registered holding for part of B's registered holding, then strictly, the Land Commission cannot obtain a transfer and become registered owners of the part of A's holding which they require unless they first become registered owners of the part of B's holding, and at the same time they cannot obtain a transfer and become registered owners of the part of B's holding unless they first become registered owners of the part of A's holding. The rearrangement of 30 registered holdings in the County Roscommon, carried out on the ground nearly 20 years ago, has yet to be legally completed.

That is all very clear to us, including the Minister.

I do not want to go into a mass of technical detail on this question. I should like to know from the Minister if this will facilitate the Land Commission inspectors in the rearrangement of holdings that have been registered?

It will not facilitate the inspectors, I am informed, but it should facilitate the completion of the vesting work. For example, a case has occurred in the County Mayo where two allottees have refused to complete transfers, despite a visit from the inspector on two occasions.

That is where they had been vested.

On a registered holding, where a deed of transfer is necessary from the Land Commission to the allottee, the latter, as the Deputy knows, has to sign the deed. If the allottee persistently refuses to sign the deed of transfer from the Land Commission to him, there is no procedure for the completion of the transfer, and so, in order to carry out these rearrangement schemes and to make them legally watertight, it is considered that we should validate this principle of what they call multiple transfers so that they can all be effected simultaneously under the vesting order procedure.

There you have a particular type of case in which I would be prepared to give the Land Commission extraordinary powers, if the Land Commission sought them, so that they might speed up that type of work. I have nothing to say except that perhaps the Minister is not asking for enough power to deal with that particular type of case. That kind of thing is the real snag in holding up rearrangement schemes, and in bringing to final completion the work of the Land Commission.

I take it that these powers cannot come into operation unless the allottee who has, in the initial instance, indicated in writing his acceptance of the rearrangementscheme, goes back on his written word? Is not that the position?

Amendment agreed to.
Section 13, as amended, agreed to.
SECTION 14.

I move amendment No. 16:—

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

(1) In addition to the persons referred to in sub-section (4) of Section 54 of the Land Act, 1939, that section shall also apply to every person who is—

(a) The tenant of a holding comprised in a list of vested holdings published under Section 9 of the Land Act, 1931, or deemed to have been comprised in a list of congested districts holdings by virtue of Section 12 of this Act, or the tenant of a retained holding, or

(b) the owner or occupier of a parcel of untenanted land the subject matter of an application under Section 44 of the Land Act, 1931, or Section 37 of the Land Act, 1936, or under either of those sections as amended or extended by any enactment.

(2) The Land Commission shall be entitled to revoke or cancel the appointment of an administrator or the nomination of any person to represent a person dead, absent or under a disability made (whether before or after the passing of this Act) by the Land Commission and, from time to time as occasion may require, to appoint or nominate under Section 54 of the Land Act, 1939, some other person in lieu of any person appointed or nominated by the Land Commission who has died or whose appointment or nomination is revoked or cancelled by the Land Commission.

(3) No nomination shall be made after the passing of this Act under Section 67 of the Land Act, 1923, and no appointment shall be made after such passing under sub-section(11) of Section 42 of the Land Act, 1933.

(4) It is hereby declared that any person appointed as administrator or nominated to represent a person dead, absent or under a disability by the Land Commission (whether so appointed or nominated before or after the passing of this Act) has and always had full power to transfer or otherwise deal with, for the purposes of proceedings under the Land Purchase Acts (including this Act), land registered under the Registration of Title Acts, 1891 and 1942, notwithstanding anything contained in those Acts.

This section codifies and clarifies the law in relation to administrators appointed and representatives nominated by the Land Commission for the purposes of proceedings under the Land Purchase Acts. The effect of sub-sections (1) and (3) is that all future appointments and nominations will be made under one section, Section 54 of the Land Act of 1939. They are being made at present under two other sections, and it is considered that it would be an improvement in every respect to have them dealt with under one section.

Sub-section (2) provides for revocation and cancellation of appointments and nominations, and sub-section (4) declares that such administrators and representatives have full power to transfer and otherwise deal with registered land, but only for the purposes of proceedings under the Land Purchase Acts.

Can the Minister say at this stage whether he can accept amendment No. 20, in my name, which comes on later?

I do not think I can.

In that case there is just one point that I want to make. As I understand it, this procedure of appointing limited administrators has always been the practice for the purpose of proceedings under the Land Purchase Acts. It is clearly a very desirable procedure and one which might be slightly extended evenunder the Registration of Title Acts to cover smaller cases. I am not, however, a bit happy about the wording of sub-section (4) as it is here. It will enable the Minister to carry into effect what he has been doing and what, I understand, has been the practice.

Is the Deputy now moving his amendment to the sub-section?

No, I am dealing with sub-section (4) of the Minister's amendment.

The Deputy has an amendment down to delete lines 39 and 40.

I think we might discuss the two things together.

It brings in the same point. The position under the Land Purchase Acts, as I can find it in the land purchase code, is that once the Land Commission have made an order byfiator otherwise revesting in the tenant land which is tenanted land or is an allotment under the 1923 and subsequent Acts, then I think that the proceedings under the Land Purchase Acts have finished and are spent.

One may take as an example a case of this kind. "A" is appointed a limited administrator of a deceased allottee. The holding is vested in her or in him as such limited administrator. The vesting order then travels along to the Land Registry and he becomes registered in the Land Registry as such limited administrator.

Sub-section (4) purports to give the Registrar of the Land Registry power to accept a transfer by her on sale of the holding thereafter, the holding having in the interval become the subject of a Land Registry folio, and so on. I understand that it has been the practice in the Land Registry— recently only—to accept that a limited administrator has such a power. According to my experience, up to recently the Land Registry and the Land Commissioners were at loggerheads and did not agree as to thepowers of limited administrators. Recently that difficulty has been resolved and I imagine it has been resolved because of the knowledge that they had of the introduction of this Bill.

I understand that the Minister wishes—and I am with him in this— that where a person has been appointed a limited administrator and the vesting has been completed and that person is vested as the owner on the folio, such person will thereafter still have the right to deal with the holding in his possession as limited administrator. One of the tragedies that many of us come into contact with so often is that there are small holdings throughout the country registered under the 1891 Act in respect of which no effort has been made to put the title right for years. If somebody wants to build a house on such a holding or to get a housing grant or a loan under the Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Acts, the cost is so prohibitive as to make it not worth while. We should all like to see some method of dealing with such cases by means of a limited administrator, such as is provided here. That, of course, would be outside the ambit of this Bill but I should like to say that I would be in favour of the administratorship procedure.

I cannot see how you can say that the Land Purchase Acts are still in operation once you have completed the business of the Land Purchase Act by the final revesting in the tenant. I know of a case at the moment. It has been accepted by the Land Registry. They have dealt with the holding by a limited administrator simply and solely because they felt that the Land Commission had undertaken that this section was going to be brought in. I do not think it is right, as drafted, and I do not think it provides what the Minister requires. I think that if it is left as it is the only thing that will happen is that sooner or later somebody will go along to the Supreme Court and get the transfer by a limited administrator set aside. It will involve the unfortunate persons in a great deal of unnecessary costs which we could eliminate quite easilyby redrafting the section in a simple manner.

We are simply carrying on the procedure and the law in this matter, as laid down in previous Acts. As I have said, we are simply seeking uniformity of procedure for administrative purposes. We are establishing beyond doubt that the Land Registry may accept dealings by limited administrators and nominated representatives with registered land for the purpose of land purchase proceedings. We cannot, of course, agree that in this measure we should eliminate the words "for the purposes of proceedings under the Land Purchase Acts." I do not know what that would involve. Probably Deputy Sweetman's view is worthy of consideration and examination but, as he himself has more or less admitted, it is not quite the place to deal with that general situation here.

Is the Minister aware that, up to the last six months, the view taken by the Land Registry has been exactly the opposite of the view he has just expressed?

I do not know. I am told that they are satisfied. We have been in touch with them.

They are satisfied, perhaps, by this sub-section but, up to this, they have not been satisfied with the Land Commission view.

That is so.

Sooner or later, when it is worth somebody's while, somebody will go to the Supreme Court and upset the section. It is quite easy to upset it. Would the Minister look into the technical aspect of the matter again between now and the Report Stage?

Is it not a matter for the courts? I do not propose to change the law fundamentally.

I think you have.

I will look into it.

I support the Land Registry view. The Minister, naturally, supports the Land Commission view.

Amendment No. 16 agreed to.

Acceptance of amendment No. 16 involves the deletion of Section 14 of the Bill.

Amendment No. 17 not moved.
SECTION 15.

I move amendment No. 18:—

In sub-section (3), page 6, line 52, to delete "and Section 37" and substitute ", Section 37 and Section 54."

Perhaps I should begin by saying that this section does not relate to the collection of moneys due to the Land Commission which is governed by Section 28 of the Land Act, 1933. Sub-sections (1) and (2) relate solely to cases such as those in which landlords bring tenants or tenants bring landlords before the Land Commission. In these cases—which are not now very frequent—the commissioners are empowered by Section 17 of the Land Act, 1939, to award the costs of one party against the other party, so that a party to whom costs are awarded may have full power to recover them. The section goes on to provide that the commissioners may, on the application of that party, issue an order for the levying of the amount of the costs for execution by the under-sheriff. Such orders have been very rare. The section has, however, been found deficient in so far as it does not specify—

"that the under-sheriff may levy his fees and expenses of execution, or that an order may be made for the levying of an unpaid balance of costs as distinct from the entire costs, or that the word ‘under-sheriff' includes ‘county registrar' where appropriate."

The opportunity is taken to refer in sub-section (3) to other sections which do not define the word "under-sheriff" as including "county registrar". I understand that there are no longer any under-sheriffs and that their functions are exercised by sheriffs in four counties and county boroughs andby county registrars in the remainder of the State.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Section, as amended, agreed to.
Section 16 agreed to.
SECTION 17.

What is the point of Section 17, please?

The section is not retrospective.

I cannot understand what the section means, as amended.

The non-revision of annuities to repurchasing owners. It was never intended that they should have the advantage of revision of the annuity.

Persons who have their lands under the fee farm grant or long lease.

Oh, no. They had.

I am wrong in that. It seems to deal with cases of owners of, say, demesnes or other lands who make an arrangement with the Land Commission to sell portion and to repurchase another portion of their lands. It is not intended that the revised annuity should apply to them when they become tenants of the Land Commission.

In cases where they sell the whole of the demesne or lands and repurchase portion, the revision under the 1933 Act would not apply?

That is so. It does not apply.

Hear, hear! We would agree with that.

This is a case where the owner of a place is fairly heavily mortgaged, perhaps up to the neck. He sells the whole estate to the Land Commission and, having thus sold his 300 acres, a mortgage claim attaches to the purchase money. Then he makes a deal with the Land Commission to sell him, say, 100 acres and that 100acres come back to him freed from the mortgage debt and he does not get the 50 per cent. reduction.

Section 17 agreed to.
SECTION 18.
Question proposed: "That Section 18 stand part of the Bill."

This is the funding annuity I mentioned earlier?

I think the word "claims" should be made clear in the definition, that it does not affect the funding annuity as specified under Section 18. In sub-section (5) of amendment No. 11, it should be made clear. It is only a technical drafting point. The word "annuity" was mentioned in the other one, and it is clear that it was not intended to mean a funding annuity.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 19.

I move amendment No. 19:—

Before Section 19 to insert a new section as follows:—

(1) In addition to their present application, sub-sections (2), (3) and (4) of Section 24 of the Land Act, 1939, shall also apply in relation to land, being land in respect of which two or more persons are entitled to a right or rights (howsoever held or enjoyed) of grazing or turbary or grazing and turbary, for the purpose of the partition of the said right or rights and accordingly—

(a) in those sub-sections any reference to owners in common shall include a reference to the said two or more persons and any reference to a holding to which the said Section 24 applies shall include a reference to the said right or rights, and

(b) unless the person who appears to the Land Commission to be the owner of the said land is a consenting party to a scheme in respect of the said right or rights, the Land Commission shall serveon him, if it is reasonably practicable to ascertain that person, a notice stating the particulars of such scheme and the manner in which and the time within which he may object thereto and paragraphs (b), (c), (d) and (e) of sub-section (4) of the said Section 24 shall apply in respect of his objection (if any), and

(c) an Order made under the said Section 24 confirming a scheme in respect of the said right or rights shall operate to entitle each of the said two or more persons to such right or rights only in relation to the part or parts of the said land specified in respect of him in such scheme (subject to the terms and conditions stated in such scheme).

(2) Section 25 of the Land Act, 1950, is hereby amended by the insertion in paragraph (b) of "such land or any part thereof is" before "purchased".

(3) Sub-section (2) of this section shall be deemed to have come into operation on the passing of the Land Act, 1950.

(4) A copy of an Order made under Section 24 of the Land Act, 1939, shall, where any registered land is affected by the Order, be transmitted to the registering authority under the Registration of Title Acts, 1891 and 1942, and, on receipt thereof, the said registering authority shall cause the appropriate particulars to be registered under those Acts.

(5) No fee shall be payable in respect of any proceedings in the Land Registry under sub-section (4) of this section.

Section 24 of the Land Act, 1939, as amended by Section 25 of the Land Act, 1950, lays down procedure for the partition of commonages among the persons who own them in undivided shares; it does not apply to another type of commonage which, although similar from a practical point of view, is quite different in law, that is, where the users are entitled to rights—usually rights of grazing—and the land isowned by a single individual subject to those rights.

The object of sub-section (1) of this new section is to enable procedure on the lines of that for the partition of undivided shares to be applied in the case of rights. The owner of the land would be entitled to object to a scheme for the partition of rights. On confirmation of such a scheme each person's right would be exercisable over a defined area.

Sub-sections (2) and (3) make a minor verbal amendment in Section 25 of the Land Act, 1950, with retrospective effect.

Sub-sections (4) and (5) provide for the registration of appropriate particulars where registered land is affected by an Order confirming a partition scheme.

This has been found necessary also in order to enable us to speed up acquisition of those rights of commonage for forestry acquisition cases.

The retrospective portion in sub-section (2) only makes the section apply, I think, to a part of a holding where it already applied to the whole holding under the 1950 Act. Is that the position?

It is a point we can look into. I am told that the provision is enlarging or improving the verbiage in the previous section, that it is only retrospective in that sense. There is no case actually coming under it.

Much as we like to improve verbiage, I think there is no point in improving verbiage retrospectively. Surely there is some other point in it?

We will consider it.

Would the Minister say that the loophole that occurred in the 1950 Act regarding the partition of commonages will be plugged up by this?

We hope so.

Amendment agreed to.

The adoption of that amendment involves the deletion of Section 19 of the Bill.

SCHEDULE.

Question proposed: "That the Schedule be the Schedule to the Bill."

Under one of the earlier sections in the Bill as amended by the amendments, we are now getting new land bond interest rates for the bonds. As I understand it, it is in the Schedule that the rates for the annuity follow the rates of interest on the bonds. This is the point which I think Deputy Blowick was anxious to introduce after Section 2 had passed. It is clear that while the Minister for Finance has the right to determine what the rate of annuity will be, he must determine the rate of the annuity by reference to the rate of the land bonds in operation at the time at which the land was acquired; or is he entitled discretionally to vary the rate of annuity, notwithstanding the provisions that there are in the Schedule to the Bill?

The annuity rate is fixed by the Land Bond Order creating each series of land bonds and is the sum of the rates of interest and sinking fund payable into the Land Bond Fund in respect of bonds of the series. Thus the rate of 4¾ per cent. related to the latest issue of land bonds is made up of 4 per cent. interest and ¾ per cent. sinking fund. Any higher annuity rate that may be fixed by a future Land Bond Order will, of course, apply only to lands purchased by means of bonds created by that Order. The existing law limiting the liability of tenant-purchasers to 50 per cent. of ordinary annuity payments will continue to apply to future cases as well as to cases already dealt with.

The Minister for Finance fixes it in relation to all land acquired by means of the particular bonds he is then issuing, but does not fix it by reference to particular estates or anything like that?

Question put and agreed to.
Amendment No. 20 not moved.
Question proposed: "That the Title be the title to the Bill."

As I was out of the House when Section 2 was being discussed, perhaps the Minister would be good enough to let me have his explanation of sub-section (5) of that section.

I have just got it for you on the Schedule—in an entirely disorderly way, I may say.

Perhaps I should make my fears clear in this regard. Is the fixation of the annuity not a reserved matter for the commissioners under Section 6 of the 1933 Act, which later became Section 12 of the 1950 Act?

This to me appears to give the Minister for Finance that power, without taking it away from the commissioners.

It is not the annuity the Minister for Finance fixes but merely the rate of the annuity.

In what way can these two be separated?

Because the rate of the annuity must not be confused with the amount of the annuity payable by the individual allottee.

Would I be right in saying that the commissioners cannot fix the amount of the annuity without taking into account the rate of the annuity?

I do not know that they can. The determination of the price at which land is to be sold remains an excepted matter reserved to the commissioners, but the rate of the annuity is fixed by the Minister for Finance and has nothing to do with the amount which the Land Commission fix on the allottee.

I will admit that I am not too clear on what the rate of the annuity means.

The rate means such amount as he fixes in respect of interest and sinking fund payable on the land bonds.

After the Minister'sexplanation I still maintain that this sub-section gives the right to the Minister for Finance to encroach on the judicial powers of the commissioners under Section 12 of the 1950 Act.

Does the section not merely substitute something for sub-section (1) of Section 25 of the Land Act of 1923?

The Deputy is correct. Deputy Blowick knows very well that certain functions under the Land Bond Act are matters for the Minister for Finance.

Agreed, but I hold that this gives the Minister for Finance a power that up to this was solely one for the commissioners, or at least allows the Minister to edge in on the commissioners' powers.

He is getting no more power than he ever had.

Indeed, he is. Can the Minister assure the House that the Minister for Finance will have nothing to do with fixing the amount of the annuity?

I am not going to answer that question. The Deputy is a former Minister and it would be just as sensible for me to ask him if he had stopped beating his wife.

You could not ask him that, as he is not married.

I would not answer the question because the wife has not yet appeared on the scene.

There is still a hope.

I want to assure the Minister that I am not taking up the attitude of asking him to answer a question to which a straight yes or no cannot be given. Under the sub-section, I honestly believe that the Minister for Finance has power to have a certain say in fixing the amount of the annuity. If the Minister will give me a plain assurance that he has not it will set my mind at rest. Does the Minister want any more than that?

That is quite all right. I am charmed that the Deputy will take my assurance in that matter, if he feels so strongly about it.

The Minister is giving that assurance?

Certainly.

Question put and agreed to.
Report Stage ordered for Tuesday, 9th June.