(Cavan-Monaghan): We had, I think, teased out this section. It is the section which gives the tenant for life the right to borrow money on the security of the farm which he is entitled to enjoy for life only. I can see the merit in providing finance to enable the tenant for life to engage in good husbandry by putting the land to the best possible use. It is in the national interest the land should be productive. But this section goes pretty far. It is good if the tenant for life who borrows on the security of his limited interest in the land uses the money he borrows to improve the land and hands on the land so improved to his successor.
As Deputy Dillon used to say, it is the duty of every man to hand on the land a little better than he gets it. That is a very laudable principle. However, if the tenant for life who borrows the money does not use it to improve the land but takes himself and the money off to Cheltenham or to some other race meeting where he gambles it—this is an age of gambling nationally and individually—and the bet does not come off, then the money is gone and the remainder man will have to pay. He has to take the land subject to the charge in favour of the ACC without any benefit whatever. That is the position and, so long as the House appreciates that that is the position, it is entering into a commitment with its eyes open.
I trust that when the ACC are making loans of this nature they will exercise great care and discretion and vet, so to speak, the applicants on past performance as well as future promise. I would go so far as to say that the money should be given for permanent improvements of the land and permanent improvements, as we now know, have got a new definition under the Bill as we are amending it. Permanent improvements are something other than what the average man would regard as permanent improvements. I say the money should be advanced only in respect of old-fashioned permanent improvements so that the land will be improved and handed on so improved. I would even go further and say that the ACC might consider making advances under this section—I am not speaking about other sections—in instalments and, if a man borrows £20,000 to drain land, erect fences, manure it and so on, he should get £5,000 when he has so much work done, another £5,000 when further work has been done and so on. In that way the ACC would ensure that the tenant for life, who has a very limited interest in the land and whose interest can be extinguished in a breath, would be compelled to use the money borrowed in a way which would be beneficial to the land and to the remainder man. The situation is different where the tenant owns the land absolutely. If he does not use the borrowed money wisely that is his own responsibility and it is his own money, so to speak, he is wasting. In that case the ACC can sell the land and get their money back.
I am concerned about the tenant for life who has a very limited interest. I am concerned that he should not be able to mortgage his very limited interest up to the hilt and not make good use of the money borrowed to make permanent improvements to the land, handing on the land to the remainder man ultimately mortgaged to the hilt and only worth a fraction of what it should be worth. I hope I can rely on the ACC to use this section very carefully and to take every step open to them to ensure that money advanced for permanent improvements is used for permanent improvements.