I move that the Bill be now read a Second Time. Last year when asking the House to approve of extending the Rent Restrictions Acts up to the end of this year, I indicated that a fresh examination of the rent control problem had been initiated departmentally in order to take account of the economic and other changes that have taken place since 1951-52, when the Conroy Report on rent control was prepared. During the present year the Government have examined the major aspects of the problem and have authorised the drafting of a comprehensive Bill which will repeal the existing Acts and re-enact them with modifications. The drafting of the Bill is at present proceeding but, owing to its length and the technical and complex character of the subject, it will take some time to prepare. I expect, however, to be in a position to introduce it in the New Year, when Deputies will have an opportunity of discussing the Government's proposals. Pending the enactment of the comprehensive Bill, it is desirable that the Acts should not be allowed to expire and, accordingly, this Bill proposes to preserve the status quo for landlords and tenants in the meantime. I ask the House to give it a Second Reading.
Committee On Finance. - Rent Restrictions (Continuance and Amendment) Bill, 1958—Second and Subsequent Stages.
From its very nature, this is merely a continuation Bill to preserve the status quo and the amount of control we have, in pursuance of the rent restrictions codes at the moment. We on this side of the House agree to give this Bill a Second Reading. It is also extremely heartening to find that the Government are preoccupied with problems arising out of landlord and tenant law and rent restrictions generally. All I can say is that this speed on behalf of the Government must be due to the inclusion in the Cabinet of my successor, the Minister for the Gaeltacht, who, in 1950, had some hard things to say about commissions and the great lack of necessity for them.
It is to be hoped that there will not be any undue delay in the presentation of this comprehensive Bill to the House and its subsequent implementation. If there is to be any delay, I would commend to the Minister the advice of the Minister for the Gaeltacht, then Deputy Moran, contained in column 1129 of Volume 123 of the Official Report in which he stated:—
"We know that, but there is no necessity to wait until the 31st December, 1952, to face up to the problem. I am telling the Minister here and now that that problem can be met by him and by the Government, if they are prepared to face their responsibilities inside 24 hours; and there is no reason why the tenants in this country should be exploited because the Minister or the Government are not capable of making up their minds on this vital problem until 31st December, 1952."
Those were the words spoken on the occasion of the introduction by Deputy MacEoin, when he was Minister for Justice, of a continuation Bill similar to this.
I just use that quotation as an example of the difference between attitudes at various times and in various regimes here. As I said, I welcome this initiative on the part of the Government. I think the measure will be welcomed by everybody, by those who practise in the courts in the various aspects of rent restrictions and by the landlords and tenants. I hope everything will be brought up to date, due regard being had to the hardships of each party and the economic values obtaining at the time.
I have nothing to add to what I already said. It is hoped to bring in the comprehensive measure some time in the New Year when every Deputy will be provided with an opportunity of discussing the Bill and putting forward his own views on the question. I do not think there is anything I could add to that.