asked the Minister for Lands if he will take the necessary steps to have the same rent per acre charged to all allottees on a divided estate.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Estate Rents.
The determination of resale prices is a function exclusively reserved to the Commissioners. In fixing these prices the Commissioners have to have regard to a variety of factors including the price paid for the lands, the quality of the lands and the cost of improvements, etc. Since allotments made by the Land Commission embrace widely-varying qualities of land—ranging from poor class grazing to prime arable—it would be quite impracticable to fix the same price per acre on all allotments.
Does the Minister agree that that is, in fact, an answer to my question?
What I was drawing to the Minister's attention was that where an estate is divided, say, in County Dublin, a number of migrants and some local uneconomic holders will get allotments. However, the local man will be charged £18 or £20 per statute acre and the migrant half that amount. Can the Minister see the justice or the equity in that?
First of all, let me say I answered the Deputy's question. If the Deputy wanted an answer to the supplementary question he has now put, he should ask that question in the first place and I would answer it.
I shall ask the question again, because it is quite clear from my question. I want to know the reason for this difference. I asked the Minister if he would take the necessary steps to have the same rent per acre charged to all allottees, irrespective of whether or not they are locals or migrants.
And I told the Deputy that we could not have the same rent per acre because of the variation in the types of land. That is the answer to the question. If the Deputy wants a reply to some other question, then he should put that question down.
The Minister knows that that is a ridiculous answer. This is too slick an answer altogether. The Minister knows I would not ask a question dealing with the variation that might take place as between a good part of a farm and a bad part of a farm, but twice the rent is being charged to local people that is being charged to migrants.
I will, of course, answer the Deputy's supplementary question now. If he had put the question down clearly——
The question is quite plain.
The Deputy is, of course, fully aware that priority has always been given to the congests from congested areas in the West——
That is fair enough.
——by every Government, not alone by this Government but by every Government and, not only that, but the migrants give up holdings with low outgoings and the very least they could possibly expect would be to get similar types of holdings with the same outgoings, but that would obviously be no inducement to them to migrate from the West and therefore they must get better than what they gave up. That is the first point. The second point is—the Deputy is also aware of this—that because of the excellent expansion in off-the-land employment on this side of the country there are far more opportunities for people to get employment off the land than there are in the scheduled congested areas.
The Minister is still talking nonsense.
Has the Deputy a question to put to the Minister?
I have a question to ask. Is it not a fact that if a migrant gives up a holding in the West and transfers to an area like Dublin, Meath, Kildare, or anywhere else, he gets extra land and he is compensated, in the first instance, in that way? Secondly, he gets the land at half the price per statute acre per annum. The Minister knows the local people are being charged up to £20 per acre per annum and nobody could possibly get £20 per acre per annum out of land at the present time no matter how well he farmed that land.
A migrant from any part of the country gets the land at half the annuity.
The Minister was not Minister at the time, but surely this section was put into the 1965 Land Act to discourage local people from looking for land in their own areas and does not the Minister know that, in fact, on the same estate two farmers may be set up side by side, one paying £9 to £10 an acre and the other paying £18 to £20 an acre? This is designed to discourage the local people.
That is nonsense.
It is not nonsense.
The Deputy is perfectly well aware that we must have priorities. That is all that is entailed in this.
The first priority should be the local landholders.