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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 16 Apr 1969

Vol. 239 No. 10

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Land Bonds.


asked the Minister for Lands if he is aware of the fact that 6 per cent land bonds have now dropped in value to 73½; and what action it is proposed to take to compensate holders of these bonds who are paid by means of the bonds for land acquired by the Land Commission.


asked the Minister for Lands if in a case where there is a big drop in the value of land bonds between the time of decision to acquire and the final payment for the holding, the owner is entitled to be compensated for this drop.

With your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 46 and 47 together.

The terms under which land bonds are issued in payment of the purchase price of lands acquired by the Land Commission are laid down in the Land Bond Act, 1934, the Land Act, 1953, and the various Land Bond Orders thereunder.

Bonds are guaranteed by the State as to payment of interest and ultimate redemption at par but such guarantee does not extend to day-to-day prices on the stock exchange and the Land Commission have no power to compensate owners for losses through fluctuation in the stock market.

Land bonds created by the Land Bond Order, 1969, bear interest at the rate of 8 per cent per annum. Under section 26, Land Act, 1965, owners whose prices have been agreed in land bonds but whose lands have not yet vested in the Land Commission are eligible for payment in these bonds.

Does the Minister not see the injustice in buying land at a certain price when the finalising of the purchase does not take place for perhaps a number of years and it is a different price by the time it is paid for? This would not stand up in any other country. Could the Minister say what amount of money would be involved in abolishing the business of acquisition of land by land bonds and paying for it by borrowing the necessary money?

That is a separate question. I could not possibly give an answer to that straight off.

I could give the Minister an answer. It is less than £1 million per annum.

Is it not true that people offering land for sale to the Land Commission, today, yesterday or any day are not prepared to accept land bonds?

It is not.

It is very near it.

It is not.

Does the Minister say it is fair that land should be paid for at a price different from that for which it is purchased?

The Deputy knows perfectly well that in any instance where this happens it is because of problems in relation to title or something else which hold up the taking over of the land by the Land Commission.

That is not the fault of the owner.

Very often it can be the fault of the owner.

Could the Minister explain why, when the Land Commission enter into negotiations at a public auction, they are prepared to accept title within a month as any other purchaser would do, but in the case of a private agreement or acquisition it takes literally years to have the matter settled? Why is the Land Commission so particular when dealing privately and not so particular and prepared to accept what any other purchaser is prepared to accept, good title, and pay for it at the end of the month when dealing publicly? Could the Minister explain that?

I do not accept that——

Whether the Minister does or not it is a fact.

I do not accept that where there is a long delay it is always the fault of the Land Commission.

In the case where the Land Commission enter into private negotiations for the purchase of land, if land bonds are to be used for payment it takes months to satisfy them as regards title whereas if they enter into an agreement at a public auction and have to deal with it as advertised by an auctioneer, they are prepared to accept title as it would be accepted by any other purchaser. Why is this?

Where the title is in good order there is no problem. Where it is not in good order there is difficulty.

This is no excuse. That is not the reason. If that is the answer the Minister is giving he is not up to date with what the Land Commission are doing.