Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Foreigners' Purchases of Pre-1947 Companies.

12.

Mr. Ryan

asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce the estimated cost of carrying out an examination in the Companies Office to ascertain in respect of the last four years the number of foreigners who have purchased pre-1947 companies with powers to purchase land.

I cannot give a reasonably reliable estimate because of the difficulty of assessing the number of man-hours that would be involved.

The cost would, obviously, be considerable as there are approximately 4,000 pre-1947 companies.

Any person who wishes to do so may, of course, inspect the files of registered companies in the Companies Registration Office, Dublin Castle, on payment of a fee of one shilling for each file.

Mr. Ryan

In view of the fact that 25 per cent. stamp duty on a sale of, say, £10,000 would yield £2,500, would the Minister not think he would be more than justified in expending at least that much to stop the racket which the Government seem to approve, the purchasing of Irish farm land by foreigners?

That matter was dealt with fully by the Taoiseach on a former occasion.

He has done nothing about it.

In view of the Taoiseach's undertaking that the Government are keeping this matter under constant review, does the Minister not think it a necessary, or even an essential part of that review to conduct the survey which he invites private citizens to undertake at a cost of 1/- per file?

The Minister said nothing of the sort.

The Minister concluded his answer by saying——

He was asked a question about the cost.

Yes, and he concluded by saying it was open to any private citizen to do it at a rate of 1/- per file. I suggest that instead of recommending private citizens to do it at a cost of 1/- per file, the Taoiseach and the Government might do it as part of the Taoiseach's undertaking to keep the matter under constant and careful review.