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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 30 Apr 1980

Vol. 320 No. 2

Land Bond Bill, 1980: Committee Stage.

Question proposed: "That section 1 stand part of the Bill."

This is extending the amount of money that can be paid out in land bonds for the purchase of land. We object strenuously to the idea that land be bought by means of bonds. If people have some other kind of property taken compulsorily from them, for instance under the compulsory purchase provisions of local authorities, or by any other means, they are paid cash for the property taken. I see no reason in equity why people whose land is taken from them for agricultural purposes should be paid less than the cash value or less than would be paid to them if the land were taken for some other purpose.

Although land bonds are nominally worth the same as the figure settled in cash terms, invariably because they are not capable of being redeemed immediately at face value, because the redemption date is unsettled and because they bear an interest that is less than the market rate, the bonds are worth considerably less than their face value. In some cases they can be as low as 80 per cent of their face value when they are paid over. If a person is paid £10,000 in land bonds, all he might receive is £8,000 if he wishes to sell the bonds immediately.

The land bond system means taking land compulsorily from people and paying them less than what it is worth. I would argue that this is contrary to proper constitutional practice. There is a strong case for arguing that land bonds in themselves are unconstitutional in that they are discriminatory. I have said already that if land is taken compulsorily for a purpose such as local authority housing the person will be paid the cash value and certainly he will be paid in cash at an arbitrated price, whereas under the land bond system, not only is the price subject to arbitration and possibly fixed independently of what the land could be sold for, but they are paid in bonds which are less in value. I argue that that is discrimination between one class of people and another in respect of a transaction which is identical as to purpose—acquisition by a public authority of land.

The recent trend of Supreme Court decisions seems to indicate that that sort of discrimination has been found to be unconstitutional. As I understand it, this was the nub of the Supreme Court decision in the case for taxation of married women. It was considered that the taxation provisions did not give equivalence between amounts allowed to working wives and working husbands and that there was discrimination on sex grounds. It seems equally that where the Government are acquiring land compulsorily and paying some people in cash and others in bonds and discriminating as to which will get cash and which bonds this is purely an arbitrary administrative decision and is in fact discrimination and probably contrary to the Constitution. I believe this case could be tested.

Whether it is constitutional or not it seems to me to be morally wrong to adopt the approach that people asked to give up something compulsorily are not treated in the same way as other people who might be so asked. No. Government should identify itself with such a practice. We strongly urge that there is need for the Land Commission to buy land because at present the acquisition programme has been sadly reduced and the Land Commission are not able to intervene even when land at the moment is available at quite good value because land values have fallen and they could do a considerable amount of useful work in the interests of small farmers in dividing land coming on the market. Unfortunately, they have not money to do the job. We say the money should be made available to them but in cash, not bonds so that land can be bought for cash.

Would the Minister let us know what the redemption date will be for the new issue of bonds under the powers conferred in this section? Up to now I understand that not only were people given bonds instead of cash but were given bonds or security bearing a certain interest rate usually less than the market rate and therefore the bonds were worth less than their face value but also the date when these bonds would be redeemed by the State was unfixed. In the case of other loans which the State floats such as a National Loan, I understand the Government always fix redemption dates or a range of dates such as 1982-1984 and within that period they would say the Government would redeem the loan. In the case of land bonds I understand no redemption date is fixed and the Government can leave the security bearing this nominal—often derisory—rate of interest indefinitely and do not have to enter into any undertaking as to when they will redeen the bond. That seems highly inequitable. It is again an instance of discrimination. In paying people by land bonds not only is the State insisting that people who are having their land taken from them give the State a forced loan to enable the State to pay for the land but also, distinct from the practice in the case of other State loans, the State does not say when it redeems the loan in the case of land bonds. This is adding a further injustice to one that is already serious. We are totally opposed to the concept of land bonds and therefore we reject this section.

This section seeks to increase the amount of money that may be paid out in land bonds for land acquired by the Land Commission. There are two sides to the story. I am against land bonds for two separate and, one might say, opposing reasons. As the previous speaker said, it is unfair to the person selling the land that he cannot get cash. This, I believe, ensures that much land which would otherwise be available to the Land Commission is not readily available. There is little doubt that people are terrifed of having the Land Commission enter their lands in any circumstances because they know they will be paid by bonds. Perhaps the experience of bonds may not have been too bad in later years but the traditional belief is that bonds are worth about 80 per cent of their face value. That is one side of it.

The other side is that the smallholders to whom the land is given are agriculturalists anxious to be farmers and in the last few years they find that a rent of £300 or £400 is required if they are to get this land. It is not economic for them to accept land on those terms. The Land Commission and the Minister must be well aware that in several cases people who would be normally able to work this land have had to refuse it because of the high rates of interest. I contend interest-free money should be available for the most important thing in agriculture, land restructuring. Land prices have been dropping more because of shortage of cash made available by banks than anything else and the drop is, I think, slight because the number of sales taking place is very small. I believe money should be available interest-free because there is no use talking about bringing a small farmer with 20 acres up to 40, 45 or 50 acres if he is to be asked to pay £300 per acre over a period of 20 years. This is not practicable. If you put a farmer into that position and he has to build up a structure to work his farm there can be no profit in the land in those circumstances. We have looked aghast at prices paid for conacre but I do not think that even in the case of the best land in my area, and it is as good as any in Ireland, has the conacre price gone much over £200. This is in the case of big farmers with large acreages who can work the land at no extra cost. The normal small farmer who has to build up a method of working the land cannot possibly pay £300 or £400 per acre. Many people who could benefit from the redistribution of land by the Land Commission have been refusing to take the land because it would be uneconomic for them.

Land bonds have proved to be a failure on both sides of the fence, from the side of the person selling the land because he has been led to believe over the years that because of the value of the land bonds in the open market he is going to lose out and the man on the other side of the fence is not in a position to pay the kind of rents being demanded to service the land bonds. Any Government who mean to restructure lands will have to get other means to finance this at interest-free rates, otherwise we will not do the job that we set out to do and it cannot be done. Enough money is coming to the agricultural community from EEC funds and otherwise to ensure that it can. If we cannot ensure land restruturing which to most people is the most important factor in agriculture, by providing the money required at a very low interest rate or free of interest, we are not being serious about land restruturing. If we are not serious about this let us say so now because land bonds do not solve the problem or take it from either side of the fence. The Minister, his officials and the commissioners will agree that the kind of money they have to look for now to service the land bonds and to do whatever fencing and so forth is to be done on the farm is too much to pay for the small man who takes the land. They know full well that the people who would normally get this land are refusing it and in some cases the Land Commission are being forced to sell to people who should not get land at all under the Act.

Let us be serious and honest about this. It has been a failure. I understand well the case being made for the people who are trying to sell. Nobody wants to sell land that is tied up in bonds which may be saleable only at far below their par value. On the other hand, no ordinary farmer can afford to pay £300 to £400 per acre for land and make a living for himself and his family from it. This matter of restructuring the land and putting our people back on to it is most important. I went through all that on Second Stage and I do not wish to repeat what I said. However, agriculture is the most important industry in the country and the most important national wealth we have. If we are as serious about land restructure as we claim we are, money should be made available at a very low rate of interest so that land could be distributed to people who would be willing, able and expert enough to work it and to make the repayments.

I cannot understand the attitude of the Opposition towards this Bill. On the one hand, they accuse the Government of running down the activities of the Land Commission and not providing the money to keep the organisation moving to pay for the purchase of additional land, and here we find they are opposed totally to this measure which is providing an extra £25 million in land bonds to enable the Land Commission to pay for land that they are in the process of acquiring.

In many ways I would have sympathy for some of the points raised by the speakers, but we are all sensible enough to realise that if it were not for land bonds the activities of the Land Commission would have dried up long ago. Since land bonds were introduced in 1923 successive Governments have adopted this system and, as I said in my Second Reading speech, 1.35 million acres of land have been acquired by the Land Commission and distributed to deserving small farmers over those years, and that land has been paid for under the land bonds system. It has been paid for by land bonds. It is obvious that if it were not for the land bonds the Land Commission would not have carried out the restructuring they have carried out over those years. The only alternative to a land bond system would be a massive cash provision which would have to be funded by increased taxation and further borrowing, and that is not acceptable at this time.

Much criticism has been made of land bonds, much of it unjustifiable. The important thing to remember is that the interest rate on land bonds is guaranteed by the State and the ultimate redemption at per of the bonds is also guaranted by the State. Deputy Bruton asked when the redemption date would be. There is no fixed redemption date. The Minister for Finance has the option to redeem all outstanding bonds. He has not exercised this option for the earlier bonds but after 1984 he will have the option of redeeming all later bonds. Deputy Bruton also mentioned that there is an arbitrary decision as to whether a person may be paid in cash or bonds. Under the Land Act, 1923 there is a statutory provision that purchase prices in compulsory acquisition cases must be paid for in bonds, so there is no option in those cases only to pay for the land in bonds.

As far as I can see, unless this £25 million extra that we are seeking under this Bill is provided the Land Commission will be unable to function at this time. Last year lands acquired for land bonds amounted to about 10,000 acres out of the total of some 24,000 acres from all sources which came into the hands of the Land Commission in 1979. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that this money be provided at this time to enable the Land Commission to continue the purchasing and so on of lands.

(Cavan-Monaghan): I would like to join with other speakers in saying that we disapprove entirely of land bonds as a method of paying for land which is taken from owners by compulsory measures. As we know, land bonds do not maintain their value. They fall in value very considerably, particularly in an inflationary period. Land bonds introduced in the 1973-77 period bore interest of up to 16 per cent which stood very well until this Government returned to office. Not alone did they maintain their value but they went up to £109 and £110 in the hands of people who got them in exchange for lands. On this Government returning to office and on a rapid increase in inflation, the 16 per cent land bonds which were standing at about £109 and £110 have fallen below par. Land bonds that were introduced since this Government came to office at smaller rates of interest have fallen dramatically. I am concerned about land bonds as a method of paying for land being entirely unsatisfactory and I am also concerned about the land policy and the activities of the Land Commission since this Government returned to office.

We are dealing with section 1 and we cannot have a Second Reading speech.

(Cavan-Monaghan): I wish to know for what purpose the £25 million worth of land bonds will be used and I want to know whether the nominal value is enough to do the job. I wish to establish also that the Land Commission have come to a standstill and that there is a vacuum. So far as the acquisition of land is concerned, the Land Commission have come to a a standstill and this additional £25 million of land bonds is really wanted for a tidying up operation, a close down sale. Will the Minister confirm that the purpose of section 1 of the Bill is to extend the powers of the Minister for Finance to create an additional £25 million worth of land bonds? How much of that £25 million is already committed for the payment for lands already acquired by the Land Commission? The Minister of State told us that 10,000 acres of land were acquired by the Land Commission last year. Will the Minister tell us when the proceedings in respect of this 10,000 acres commenced? When were section 40 notices served in respect of the 10,000 acres and how many of these acres did the Land Commission decide to acquire last year?

Will the Minister also tell me the average price per acre being paid by the Land Commission for land at the moment and the average price per acre paid for land in 1979? If one were to look back at the performance of the Land Commission and listen to the Minister of State one would think that the Land Commission had invested gigantic amounts of money in land structures. That is not the case. The Minister told us in his Second Reading speech that since 1934 £80 million worth of land bonds were created. In almost 50 years that represents about £1½ million a year. That £80 million worth of land bonds were not given as presents to the farming community, they were issued on the basis that the people who got the land would repay them. How many people in 1979 have refused allotments of land because the rents were excessive? I am concerned about the plight of the small farmers who are suffering in the vacuum that exists in the Land Commission. On a couple of occasions we were promised some sort of protective Act by Deputy Gibbons, when he was in office as Minister, for the small uneconomic farmer who wanted more land so as to protect him from the speculator, the hobby farmer and the man who has already enough land. There is no sign of that Bill now. In the meantime the Minister has admitted that the Land Commission are virtually at a standstill as far as the acquisition of land is concerned. The £25 million the Minister is talking about, if land is being paid for at the rate of £3,000 an acre, will only acquire 8,000 acres of land, whereas the normal intake of land in the Land Commission in any year is 30,000, 34,000 or 35,000 acres. That means that this is a proposal to acquire about 8,000 acres, which represents about three months' normal work for the Land Commission. The Land Commission are grinding to a halt and so far as money can be got to buy land it is being bought over the head of the small uneconomic farmer who is crying out for land and who is certified by the local advisory authorities as requiring more land. The land is disappearing out of the reach of that man since this Government came back to power because this Government accept the theory of the Department of Finance that the Land Commission have been over the years engaging in some sort of social welfare operation.

I have pointed out that we cannot have a repetition of the Second Reading of the Bill.

(Cavan-Monaghan): The amount of money provided here for land bonds is totally inadequate. I would much prefer to see money being provided. The thinking of the Government is shown in the amount of land bonds being provided. I want the Minister to spell out how many acres this £25 million will buy at current average prices. I suggest about 8,000 acres but the Minister has the records and will be able to give accurate figures. I suggest that these bonds will be used in a tidying-up operation in paying for land which is on hand. The Minister has said from time to time in the Dáil that the Land Commission have 70,000 acres on hand. I suggest that this is about two year's work in division. I would ask the Minister of State to explain or break down that 70,000 acres and tell us how much of it is being held awaiting the acquisition of other land or awaiting rearrangement operations so that a better job can be made in rearranging holdings in an area. If he has the number of staff he should have, is he in a position to divide all that land now? Of course he is not. Some of the land will have to remain on hand anyway until other land is acquired or other arrangements are made.

The naked truth is that the Land Commission are doing nothing in regard to the acquisition of land and are not being let do anything. Certainly this £25 million will not enable them to do anything. This Government are showing complete disregard for the small farmer and throwing him to the wolves. It is bad social policy and the worst of economic policy. It is bad social policy because it is driving people from rural Ireland and bad economic policy because it is not getting the most out of the land.

I have posed quite a number of questions to the Minister which, to someone who does not know the workings of the Land Commission, might be thought difficult to answer, but the Minister has the information for which I have asked at the tips of his fingers in his brief. If the information is not in his brief he can certainly get it without any trouble and I should be glad to receive it.

The Land Commission already have on hand almost 64,000 acres and are in the process of acquiring a further 40,000 acres. As we know, the acquisition of land is not an end in itself. It is merely the intermediate stage in the transfer of land to needy small farmers. The accumulation of a large pool of land in the hands of the Land Commission and delay in its allotment have meant that a very extensive area is continually unavailable for planned agricultural development by the very people for whom it was acquired in the first place.

It was with this in mind that the Government decided that for the present the emphasis must be on the re-allocation of land. This does not mean that acquisition proceedings are not being instituted by the Land Commission. Despite the emphasis which is being placed on allotment, new proceedings are being instituted and will continue to be instituted where circumstances indicate that this course is called for.

Regarding this amount of land which £25 million will purchase, it is estimated that the amount will be adequate to pay for such land as the Land Commission with their present staff resources will be in a position to acquire in the next two years. That is a fair assessment of the situation.

(Cavan-Monaghan): Would the Minister give the number of acres?

It would be impossible for me to put a figure on the number of acres because prices fluctuate from time to time. The average price for land in 1979 was £890 and we estimate that the £25 million for which we are asking under this Bill will be adequate to allow the Land Commission to proceed with acquisition for the next two years at least.

We know, too, that the number of section 40 notices has been reduced considerably because the Government have directed their attention to the re-allocation of land. The issuing of section 40 notices does not in all cases mean the institution of proceedings because they are simply notices that the Land Commission intend to inspect the land to ascertain its suitability for the purposes of the Land Acts. To enable that inspection to be carried out a notice operates to prohibit the sale of the land for a period of three months, which may be extended for a further period of three months. This does not mean that in all cases acquisition proceedings are carried on. The number of section 40 notices have been reduced because the resources of the Land Commission are being applied to the re-allocation of land, which at this stage is very important. At the end of this two-year period, during which I believe the Land Commission will have sufficient finance to enable them to proceed with their activities, we will have the new land policy in operation.

I wish to express my disapproval of the continuation of the land bonds scheme and I would draw the attention of the House to the selling price of land bonds on the Dublin Stock Exchange. These figures may fluctuate marginally but, nevertheless, they are accurate figures at present.

Is the Minister aware that land bonds were issued in 1956 at 5¾ per cent and farmers selling those land bonds today get £50.25 for a £100 bond. That is a disgrace. The 1967 land bonds were issued at 7½ per cent and the price they are making on the Dublin Stock Exchange today is £53.75. That is also a disgrace. The 1975 bonds were issued at 16 per cent and they are now selling at £98.75. In 1976 there was an issue at 15 per cent and they are now being quoted at £93.50. I have demonstrated how land bonds can fall in price.

In 1942 a poor innocent farmer had his land taken from him by the Land Commission, or perhaps he decided to sell his farm to them. He was paid in 3½ per cent land bonds. He would now have great difficulty in disposing of them. Each year land bonds go into a Government draw, in other words, a lottery. That is ludicrous in the extreme. It is perpetuating a fraud on the people of Ireland who want to sell their land to the Land Commission. I oppose this Bill vehemently because it is totally wrong and it is absolutely unfair to people who decide to sell their land to the Land Commission.

I know honest people who fell in for farms and lived all their lives here. They decided to retire and sell their land to the Land Commission. In the majority of instances they were paid in land bonds. Their standard of living fell rapidly because they were paid in land bonds at 7½ per cent or 8½ per cent. They could not dispose of the bonds freely because of the price quoted on the stock exchange. The Minister is young and active. He has been Minister for a relatively short time. I wish him well. I would ask him if necessary to have a confrontation with his Government and call upon them to abandon the land bonds scheme because it is wrong and unjust.

On Second Stage of the Land Bond Bill as reported at column 1165 of the Official Report of 15 April 1980 the Minister said:

I am, of course, aware that some Deputies on both sides of the House are on record as advocating that the system of payment of purchase moneys in land bonds should be discontinued altogether. This is a view with which I have some sympathy, since land bonds—especially the earlier issues—have not always fared too well on the stock market. In times of inflation this is the fate of fixed interest securities in general.

That is the understatement of the week of 15 April. For stock worth £100 you get only £50 or £55 in certain instances. That is not faring too well. This causes me considerable worry. The Minister went on to say:

However, being realistic, we cannot lose sight of the fact that the alternative to bonds would be a massive cash provision which would have to be funded by way of increased taxation or by further borrowing.

The Minister, the Government and the Land Commission are charging farmers on the basis of working out the exact price in money terms and not in land bond terms. If the Land Commission buy a farm from Mr. X and decide to allot it in that locality, they pay Mr. X in land bonds, but the farmers to whom it is allotted are charged a rental worked out on the cash market value. They are discriminating against the farming community from whom the land is acquired and the farmers who receive the land in allotments.

I do not think this House has the right or the authority to say: "We will acquire your land compulsorily but we will not give you £ for £ the value of the farm." That is wrong and unjust. It is almost fraudulent. A farmer who sold his land to the Land Commission ten years ago and was paid in land bonds can find that their value is down to £60, £70 or £80. In other words, if he sells his bonds to a Government stockbroker he can lose around £30 per £100. We cannot and should not allow such a system to continue. Looking at the value of land bonds quoted on the Dublin Stock Exchange, I feel honestly that the Minister must remedy that situation. He said that instead of the land bonds there would have to be a massive cash provision. I do not think he has the right to take land from somebody and not pay the market value.

The Chair suggests that the Deputy is now making a Second Stage Speech. On Committee Stage we cannot have Second Stage speeches.

I appreciate that.

The Deputy appreciates it but he still continues.

I am dealing with the situation——

That was all dealt with on Second Stage. All we can deal with is what is in the section which provides £105 million for land bonds. The Deputy can say whether he wants more or less.

The additional £25 million for land bonds is perpetuating something which commenced in 1944.

Those points were made on Second Stage.

I have information on the up-to-date quotations and prices for land bonds on the stock exchange. It is important to draw the attention of the House to the situation as it exists this morning in regard to land bonds. The Minister should ask the Government to thoroughly examine this matter. I appreciate that we have been through a period of high inflation, running between 15 per cent and 20 per cent, but the Minister is paying people in bonds which are at a fixed interest rate during that time of high inflation. The day those bonds are issued and hit the stock exchange they are less than par. We cannot, and should not, perpetuate such a system.

I am in favour of the retention of the Land Commission—in fact, I believe it should be extended—but the system of payment by bonds should be replaced by a direct cash payment. The Land Commission have a golden opportunity to do good work because land prices have fallen. If people were approached to sell land for cash as distinct from land bonds I am confident many of them would be willing to deal with the Land Commission. However, if the system of payment by land bonds continues people will become more antagonistic towards the Land Commission. We should not allow that to happen. The Land Commission have done a lot of good work and I would be against abolishing it, but while the present system of payment by land bonds continues I have grave reservations about its future.

It is difficult to avoid repetition on this matter.

The Deputy will appreciate that the Chair must avoid Second Stage speeches on this Stage. The principle of the Bill has already been decided on Second Stage and we are only concerned with the section before us.

I accept that, but as a result of the information we received from the Minister this morning we must sort out certain details. I have always opposed the system of payment by land bonds and I will continue to do so in an attempt to bring to the notice of the Government the need to change that system. The continuation of that system is a sure way to winding down the entire operations of the Land Commission. People have serious objections to that system and yet we must try to get land to be divided among our small farmers. People are prepared to sell their land privately in order not to have anything to do with land bonds.

This morning the Minister of State informed the House that about 40,000 acres are being acquired at present. At present land prices I should like to know how it is proposed to acquire that land with only £25,000 of land bonds available for that purpose. It is not physically possible to do so. The Minister told us that he is buying land at an average price of £890 per acre. I am not saying that the Minister has given us incorrect information, but he must be referring to land he purchased two years ago. When did he acquire that land?

The average price for land was much lower two years ago than it is today.

It may have been. But the Minister, if he is acquiring it at £890 per acre, is not paying the market value, which is between £1,400 and £2,000 per acre.

In 1977 the average price was £540 per acre.

On numerous occasions in the last two years I brought to the notice of the Minister and the Land Commission certain lands that were available in my constituency but they refused point blank to have anything to do with it because they stated that their policy was to divide land they already had on hands.

I am sure the Deputy will agree that this does not arise on Committee Stage. The only matter dealt with in the section is the question of £105 million, or a figure like that.

I am anxious to point out that if the Government are anxious to carry out a proper land policy they cannot continue to buy land at this price. In fact, they will not get land for £1,000 per acre. The Land Commission are not instituting new proceedings as far as land acquisition is concerned. It is possible that the Minister is referring to land in the west of Ireland or in Kerry, but he certainly is not referring to land in my constituency. The Land Commission have refused to purchase land in Wexford. I should like to know the number of people who refused to pay the type of rent the Land Commission were asking last year. Deputy Bermingham told the House that the Land Commission were asking a rent of £300 per acre although I understand that they are asking £100 to £135 per acre. I should like to know the approximate price the Minister intends to pay per acre for the 40,000 acres he will be acquiring this year. How many people have refused to accept land offered to them by the Land Commission in the last 12 months? What is the approximate price the Minister expects to pay for land in the latter half of this year?

I have already told Deputy Fitzpatrick that I do not have that information readily available but I can get it for the Deputy if he wishes. The price for land during the coming year will be fixed by the Appeal Tribunal and it is not possible for me to say at this stage what the price will be. I can only give the Deputy the average price paid for land over the last couple of years. I was referring to possessions taken last year but the price for the land could have been fixed one year or two years in advance of that. I have given the average price aid by the Land Commission over the last three years. We are all aware that the Land Commission do not always purchase the best type of agricultural land and therefore they would not be paying the highest price for it. A lot of land would be in the west where it would not command as high a price as it does in Deputy D'Arcy's constituency, which is very fertile.

But the Appeals Tribunal have not the sole right to fix the price of land. They have so far as the Land Commission are concerned, but the person selling the land has the right to go to the courts if he is dissatisfied with the price.

We are talking here about lands acquired by compulsory acquisition and paid for in land bonds. In that case the Appeals Tribunal would fix the price.

If there is an objection on the part of the person selling the land he has the right to go to the courts. The Appeals Tribunal can set the price as far as the Land Commission are concerned but they have not the sole right to say "This is the price and no more." Might I have an answer to that?

The Appeals Tribunal are an independent body headed by a judge of the High Court.

I have received from the Minister in my post this morning six letters.

That shows I am doing my work.

I hope they are all favourable anyway.

We want to see if there is any relevance to this section.

There is. They deal with farmers who have been asked to pay a rent of approximately £168 per acre annually. I have written the Minister a detailed letter setting out the position in regard to most of these cases. Some of these people gave up land. I do not know the exact price paid by you for one farm in question. I am talking about an estate near my home. I do not know whether the owner was paid in land bonds or in cash.

The Deputy is getting into the habit of saying "you paid". When he says "you" he is talking to the Chair, and it is the Chair who will appear in the Official Report. The Chair cannot give much away. The Chair does not pay anything for land. Would the Deputy please address the Minister through the Chair?

I am not certain how that estate was paid for, whether in cash or land bonds. If it was paid for in land bonds the owner would not have received even par value. In other words, if he were to sell his land bonds to the Government now he would not receive £ for £. Had he been paid in cash he would have known what he was getting, but in land bonds he would not. These farmers have been asked to pay approximately £168 per acre.

The Minister said here this morning that in 1979 they paid £890 per statute acre and he went on to say that in 1977 they were paying even less than that, something in the region of £750 per acre. These farmers will not be able to pay the Minister in land bonds. They will have to pay in hard-earned cash, and they are finding it difficult to do so at present. Therefore the Minister is having the best of both worlds. It seems to me to be strange that the Minister is paying only £890 per acre while charging farmers a rent of £168 per acre annually.

I should like to draw the attention of the House to another matter concerning me regarding compulsory acquisition.

We are again reverting to Second Stage. We must adhere to the section.

Most lands acquired compulsorily are paid for in land bonds. What concerns me is that the Land Commission compulsorily acquire only when there is some agitation in an area. The Land Commission should be able to have areas surveyed and know whether or not there are suitable applicants in that area who can be provided with land. If the Land Commission see a farm for sale they should decide to go in and purchase it. They should do so for commonsense, logical reasons, because there are suitable applicants in the area, and not, as they do in so many instances, jump in at the last minute when they see walls being painted, fences being pulled down and so on. I believe the Land Commission should act more from a commonsense, practical viewpoint, rather than being coerced or pushed. On occasion I have met officials, when there has been a farm for sale which the Land Commission might be interested in purchasing, and have been told in so many words: there is no pressure there; a few meetings should be got going and a few letters flying.

We are certainly now reverting to Second Stage. The Chair would point out again that the principle of this Bill was decided on Second Stage. All we are dealing with here is £105 million.

That is an awful lot of money, paper money only in this instance. I am contending that the Land Commission should have surveys carried out and their policy prepared so that they would know in any given area who are suitable applicants for land rather than acting in consequence of agitation. At that stage it is the person selling the farm who suffers most, because he may have had a prospective buyer who would pay in cash. But he will be left in a situation in which he may not even receive its full market value; and, even if he does appear to receive the market value, it will be in land bonds only. This is totally wrong and I hope the Minister will have the situation remedied at the earliest possible opportunity.

How soon after this Bill is passed will these bonds be issued, and how will the rate of interest these bonds will bear be fixed?

The Minister for Finance will make the order and he will fix the rate of interest also.

Will all of the £25 million be issued at once?

No, it will not.

Therefore, different tranches of bonds will be issued?

Yes, there will be different series. I think that has been the practice all along.

Could the Minister say what proportion of the £25 million he anticipates being issued straight away on the passage of the Bill?

Last year we issued £10 million. This year £2 million have been issued so far. Possibly we will need another £8 million to £10 million.

Presumably the £2 million issued already has exhausted the existing statutory authority completely?

Therefore the Minister is waiting to issue the remaining £8 million. Could the Minister say what the rate of interest will be in relation to the remaining £8 million.

I think this will be fixed by the Minister for Finance.

But surely the Minister has said that these bonds are to be issued straight away, presumably because they are needed to meet commitments that have been entered into already. If we are being asked to give authority to the Government to issue these, the Minister should at least be able to tell us the rate of interest in relation to them. I could understand him not being able to tell us the rate in respect of prospective series, the date of issue of which cannot yet be envisaged but in respect of those that are earmarked one would have expected the Minister to know the rate of interest.

All I can say is that the rate will not be less than that in respect of bonds already in existence, that is. 16½ per cent, but the final decision would be a matter for the Minister for Finance.

I presume that this rate of interest will not vary during the currency of the bonds.

I expect that it will follow the same pattern as that of all previous issues.

Under existing legislation has the Minister the authority to issue a new form of bond which would be subject to a variable interest rate depending, for instance, on some index such as the minimum Central Bank re-discount rate. Part of the problem with these bonds—the reason that they have fallen below par—is that while other rates of interest have increased, interest on the bonds has remained static.

Equally, if other interest rates fell and the rate of the bonds remained static, those people who were lucky enough to have been paid in bonds at that time would have the advantage of receiving windfall profits to which they had no particular right. One would have thought that the appropriate and more fair way of dealing with the matter would be to link the rate of interest on any issue of bonds to the current Central Bank re-discount rate and to vary the rate on each issue on all outstanding bonds at adjusting intervals and in line with some settled rate of interest. Would the Minister be prepared to consider such a course of action and, if not, why not? Regardless of the answer to that question, has he power to do so under existing legislation or would such action require amending legislation?

I could not consider the suggestions being made by the Deputy. In the first place, I would not have power under existing legislation to do as he suggests and, secondly, the Minister for Finance is responsible for fixing the interest rates. If Deputy Bruton's suggestion were to be adopted, all kinds of problems would be created regarding the fixing of the annuities for the people to whom the land would be allotted because the annuities are based on the interest rate operating on the series of bonds at the time of issue.

Perhaps the Land Commission could solve that problem by saying that they will fix the annuities at a particular rate and that they will meet whatever difference there may be. They have the State behind them. Consequently, they have the resources to meet any divergencies that might occur. Of course, interest rates could fall, in which case the Land Commission would do relatively well out of any such transaction, but there is no reason for their not being prepared to take the risk. However, should they consider such a risk to be too great, it is hardly fair to ask individuals who have had their land taken away from them to take the risk on interest rate movements. If it is unacceptable to the Land Commission to meet the difference between the fixed annuity to the person who is allocated the land and the variable rate of interest on the market, it is even more unfair to ask somebody from whom the land has been taken to take that risk. The fact that this has been the case in the past is not much of an argument for continuing it. The question is simply one of political will, of deciding to make the change.

Would the Minister be more specific as to what change in the legislation would be necessary to empower him to make the change? I understand he has the power to fix rates and that all that is at issue is whether he has the power then to vary rates.

Would the Minister tell us, too, what is the likely redemption date for the £8 million worth of bonds to be issued immediately? Up to now there has not been any fixed redemption date in this regard but this situation is totally inequitable.

Regarding outstanding bond issues, how many have been redeemed? When were they redeemed and when were they issued? In other words, I am trying to find out what is the average life of a bond. We should set an absolute limit and say that no series of bonds should be redeemed later than ten years after the date of issue. The Minister should not be given the freedom to redeem bonds whenever it suits him to do so.

The Land Bond Act gives power to the Minister for Finance to fix the rate of interest for those bonds, so that the Minister for Agriculture has no power in that regard. Regarding the redemption date, there is no such date fixed but again the redemption date on this series would be about twenty-six-and-a-half years.

Why is there no fixed date?

It has never been the practice to have a fixed redemption date.

That is not a good enough reason.

May we take it that no issue has been redeemed by the Government?

The Land Bond Act did not provide for a redemption date.

The position is that the Government are asking land bond holders to lend them money while they are not prepared to say to these land bond holders when they will be repaid. This is a forced loan situation without a guarantee of repayment at any particular time.

(Cavan-Monaghan): They were introduced in the days of the land for the people and the road for the bullock.

Deputies must not all try to speak at the one time.

They were introduced even before then.

The Minister has said that there was a land bond issue of £12 million in 1979 but can he tell us what was the rate of interest on that issue?

It was 13¾ per cent.

What is this issue being quoted at today on the Stock Exchange?

I do not know.

They are being quoted at 84.

I know there are different rates.

Would the Minister agree that basically the predecessors of those land bonds were introduced in the nineteenth century for the purpose of buying out landlords who had not only thousands of acres but in some cases millions of acres? Therefore, a system that was introduced by the British administration for the purpose of buying out these people is being used now to buy out small farmers because they are old or because for some other reason they are not able to work their land. It is a totally archaic system. There is no point in saying that what was good enough for the landlords in the nineteenth century is good enough for the small farmer in the twentieth century. I would remind the Minister that most of the land being bought is being bought from constituents of his in the west who are small farmers. Many people have the idea that this practice is in defence of the large farmers in the eastern counties who are having to sell their land compulsorily but the amount of land being bought in this way in the eastern counties is very little.

Most of the people who are having land taken from them by means of land bonds at the moment are small farmers in the west. These people are the victims of a system which was designed originally for the purchase of lands from landlords, from Lord Lansdowne, from Lord Palmerstown and from the various earls and dukes who had land here. Exactly the same system that was used to buy land from them, who could well afford to be paid land bonds, is now being used to buy land from small farmers in Glenamaddy and small farmers in different parts of the west. Could anything be more ridiculous? The Minister comes in here to defend a system for appropriating land from landlords in the nineteenth century as a means of buying land from small farmers who are down on their luck in the twentieth century. It is absurd.

The Deputy is getting into a Second Stage speech.

Everything is relevant to the section.

The Chair has to decide what is relevant. The Chair has already ruled that we cannot have Second Stage speeches on this section. There is nothing before the House only section 1. The principle of the Bill has already been agreed by the House.

It has not been agreed by me.

On the Second Stage the principle of the Bill has already been agreed by the House. We are now dealing with section 1.

I will not tangle with the Chair over that. I would just like to ask the Minister a question now. He said that 26 years was the average redemption period. I asked why a fixed date had not been decided upon, why there was not a definite period within which these bonds could be redeemed. All he could say was that it had not been the practice. But the Government has the power to redeem them at any time. The Government can fix a date when issuing them if they wish to do so. The fact that the Government are not required by the Act to do so does not mean that they do not have the power to do so. I feel very strongly that there should be a limit of ten years set on these bonds because then people would know that if they were issued these bonds they could get paid at par within no more than ten years. But the Minister says that it has never been the practice. That is no excuse. This is a sovereign Government elected to change things and if they want to do so they can do it. The fact that it was not done previously by various governments of different political colours is irrelevant. I am quite sure that it is administratively possible to settle a redemption date at no more than ten years from the date of issue. Why would the Minister not be prepared to do that?

(Cavan-Monaghan): The Committee Stage debate on this Bill provides one of the rare opportunities for finding out exactly what the Land Commission are doing and how they are going to spend the money which this House is asked to vote. I am convinced beyond yea or nay that the Land Commission, in so far as the acquisition of land is concerned, are coming to a halt; they are not doing anything. The Minister explains now and again that the emphasis is now and allocation of land. We all know that over the years the Land Commission did not confine themselves to one operation, only. It was a two-pronged operation, acquiring land on the one hand and allocating land on the other. We know perfectly well that if they confined their activities to the allocation of land without acquiring any it would not be long before the Commission was wound up.

My colleagues are making the case, with which I agree in principle, that the system of land bonds is unfair and unjust. But the Land Commission must remain and must continue to work because, unless the Land Commission remain and operate, the small farmer will be beaten out of rural Ireland. I remember the time when people could not be beaten into land; they did not want to hear about it; they were moving out of land and moving out of rural Ireland. Now every smart alec in the country who can get his hands on money, wherever he gets it from, wants to buy land and he wants to buy it at the expense of the uneconomic farmer who is certified as requiring more land. I do not envy the Minister of State his job and I know that if I was talking to him as an individual I would be pushing an open door. I know that he could make a better case than I can make because he represents a constituency that is even more involved in this than mine. One does not like badgering a Minister who has to defend a policy which cannot be defended. But I want to find out from him how many acres of land the Land Commission acquired in 1979. I do not want to know how many acres a price was fixed on or how many appeals were disposed of. I want to know how many acres they acquired from the beginning, how many decisions were taken for the first time to acquire land and how many acres were involved.

Another thing which I am amazed to hear from the Minister is that the average price paid for land by the Land Commission in 1979—with land bonds presumably or maybe with cash—was £899. We all know that the Forestry Division of the Department of Fisheries and Forestry must be paying nearly that at present for land if they are getting any at all. Could the Minister give us a breakdown of that land? Could he give us an average—and averages can be very wrong because there could be a couple of thousand of acres of mountain or swamp and a lot of that could have been bought with the intention of passing it on to the Forestry Division of the Department of Fisheries and Forestry.

As long as I get an opportunity I am going to urge the Minister for Agriculture to ensure that the Land Commission continue to operate until we have another system to protect the small farmer, because that is what we are supposed to be voting on this Bill for today. It is supposed to enable the Land Commission to acquire land on behalf of the small farmer. Of course this is sham. It is silly because the Minister tells us that this is enough for two years. That must mean that he intends to buy land at £1,000 an acre. Even if he bought it at that price he would only get 25,000 acres for £25 million and for two years that would be 12,500 acres per year which is only a fraction of what the Land Commission were at. The farmers want more protection now instead of less because the Agricultural Credit Corporation will not give the small farmers money to buy land and neither will the banks. They simply see land passing out of their reach and that is not fair. It is not good business for the country and it is not good business socially or economically for the country.

I would like to know from the Minister—and he must have these figures—how many acres of land it was decided to acquire in 1979. How many notices were published in Iris Oifigiúil? When the Land Commission decide to acquire land they publish notices in Iris Oifigiúil saying that in default of an appeal for objection these lands will vest on such a date. There is no mystery about it. It should be easy to tell me how many acres of land were covered last year by notices in Iris Oifigiúil. If there is an objection it is heard by the lay commissioners and they may go to court. That is the figure I want.

I should like the Minister to tell me how many notices were served in 1979. We know that some of the notices are not followed up and that some section 40 notices are served to give the Land Commission authority to inspect, consider and decide. We know that only 22 were served between May and October 1979. How many were served during the entire year? I am making this kind of contribution to highlight the disgraceful action of the Government in abandoning small farmers to the wolves. The former Minister for Agriculture, Deputy Gibbons, promised us a Land Bill almost as soon as he came into the House. In months gone by we were told that such a Bill would be coming any day.

The Deputy is going back to a Second Stage speech.

(Cavan-Monaghan): I am not.

We have disposed of Second Stage.

(Cavan-Monaghan): I am making the case why I think the intentions of the Land Commission as expressed in section 1 of the Bill are totally inadequate to protect small farmers. It is very easy to get off——

The Deputy should accept the ruling of the Chair. The Chair has been very lenient.

(Cavan-Monaghan): The Chair is an expert at breaking up a line of thought.

The Chair is doing its best to keep the debate on the section before the House.

The Chair is not so bad.

It is so easy to put Deputy Fitzpatrick off.

(Cavan-Monaghan): I am sure that it is not intentional but it reminds me of a story I heard.

I hope it is relevant to the section.

(Cavan-Monaghan): It is relevant to discovering a lost train of thought. A man said to me that he had forgotten what he was going to say but he would keep on talking until he thought of it.

That is what the Chair is worried about.

(Cavan-Monaghan): I was talking about the Bill that would protect small farmers. If it was working and seen to be satisfactory, it might be all right. It was promised by Deputy Gibbons on a number of occasions. I was rather alarmed to hear the Minister of State saying that £25 million would last him for two years and that at the end of that time he would have the Bill that he and his predecessors have been talking about. That is disgraceful.

I did not say the Bill; I said the new land policy. I expect that the Bill will be disposed of long before that.

(Cavan-Monaghan): It will not be effective before then. In the meantime the land is to disappear under the eyes of small, uneconomic farmers. That is a retrograde step and is going back on everything that any party ever stood for. The present administration should be thoroughly ashamed until such time as the Bill is introduced and seen to work. The Land Commission should be given ammunition to protect the small farmer.

I should like to have some elaboration on the question of the redemption date.

I cannot understand why the Fine Gael Party have become so concerned all of a sudden with the issue of the new land bonds. They were a feature of their land policy during their term of office. In the last Coalition Government there were no less than 11 series of land bonds issued during that time but we heard none of the opposition that we hear today. If we go back to a further period of that Government, they issued land bonds as low as 4 per cent.

We have heard a lot of criticism of the activities and lack of activities of the Land Commission. When I try to provide £25 million to enable them to finance their acquisition programme. I am opposed by Fine Gael Deputies. I cannot understand this new attitude to the Bill. As I said previously, cash would possibly be a simpler operation; but if we were to pay in cash a massive injection would be needed to finance the activities of the Land Commission. There is no way any Government could do that on the same scale as they have been doing under the land bonds. If we do not have land bonds we have nothing unless we take away money made available for other social services, housing, roads and so on. No Government could contemplate this.

Land Bonds are not altogether what Opposition speakers are trying to make them out to be. The interest rates are guaranteed and redemption at par is guaranteed after a period of years. They are not the white elephant the Opposition paint them to be. As regards the redemption date, no redemption date has been fixed. The Act of 1934 did not specify the redemption date. The Government will have the option to redeem later series after 1984. Another point Deputy Bruton mentioned was that there should be a redemption——

The Minister has the option to redeem what after 1984?

Later series, series issued after 1934.

Those issued before when?

They were issued after 1934. It was set out in the Land Bond Act, 1934.

Is the Minister legally precluded from redeeming them less than 50 years after they are issued?

The Act of 1934 specifies that the Government had the option of redeeming those bonds after March 1984.

The Minister could not have redeemed any bonds issued under the 1934 Act prior to 1984?

The only ones redeemed are those drawn in the draw every year.

I should like to ask the Minister——

The Minister is speaking. Deputies may come in as long as they are relevant.

Deputy Bruton said there should be a redemption date of ten years. If there were, we would have to fix the annuities for land allotted for ten years and this would create enormous problems.

I would like to answer the point raised by the Minister. He adverted to the record of the previous Government on this matter. We heard this song from practically every Minister who has something indefensible in his brief. They refer to the previous Government and say they did the same. If that attitude was always adopted we would never change anything. That is no argument. The record of the Coalition is a good deal better——

The difference is that today the Deputy cannot do anything.

I was not in a position to do anything about it when we were in power.

Deputy Fitzpatrick was.

The Coalition Government provided more money for land purchases by cash than had ever been provided before. The bonds issued during that period were at a higher interest rate than ever before. As Deputy Fitzpatrick said earlier, for some time the rate of interest was so generous that they were above par. That cannot be said of any bonds ever issued by a Fianna Fáil administration. While the Coalition did not abolish land bonds, they issued bonds in such a way that they did not have any of the detrimental effects which bonds issued by Fianna Fáil had. In trying to rake up history as a justification for his inaction, the Minister is raking up something which is not to his party's credit.

He said that the Government are puzzled by the Fine Gael attitude, because we are opposing them in providing money to buy land under this legislation. Money is precisely what the Government are not providing under this Bill. This legislation is not providing a single penny. All it is doing is saying that the Government will be empowered to take a forced loan from other people to finance their activities. That is what land bonds are—a forced loan levied on people selling land. The Government are not providing largesse to anyone. We are not opposing them in providing largesse but we are opposing them in instituting a system of forced loans on people in an unfortunate position who are forced to sell their land.

I would like clarification on the provisions of the 1934 Act. The Minister seemed to claim that he was precluded by law from redeeming before 1984 any bonds issued in 1934. Would he confirm that this is so? Is it his intention to redeem all outstanding bonds in 1984, or only some? In 1984 how will he decide which bonds to redeem? It seems that the inevitable result will be some sort of capricious choosing of some bonds rather than others. This would be unfair. We are advocating a far fairer system—fixed term bonds—because from the date the bond is issued people will know when it will be redeemed.

A flexible redemption date means that the Government will redeem the bonds when their face value has depreciated to such an extent that they are no longer worth anything in cash terms because of inflation. In an era of inflation there is temptation for a Government to put off the redemption date in the hope that inflation will reduce, in real terms, the amount they will have to pay. The corollary of not having a fixed redemption date is that the redemption date will be very far in the future if inflation continues. But if prices suddenly started to fall, as they did between 1929 and 1933, the Government will suddenly start to redeem all their bonds. By giving the Government freedom to decide when to redeem the bonds, the Government have the advantage. That is unfair. In my view there should be a fixed date.

Many of the points the Deputy is making are not valid because redemption is guaranteed at par.

What is par worth? If prices have trebled since the bonds were issued the bond holder is only getting one-third——

We must proceed with this section. Repetition is not in order. Some of the questions being asked now were asked an hour ago. That is not good enough.

When asked about land bonds the Minister said the scheme had been perpetuated when we were in Government. It must be realised that when we were in Government land bonds, for the first time ever, were above par, they were selling at 102 and 103. There were at least three bond issues under the Coalition and the interest rates were 14¾ per cent, 15 per cent and 16 per cent.

They fell as low as 12½ per cent too.

At present we are faced with an inflation rate of 16 per cent, likely to increase to 20 per cent.

The Deputy has already made those statements. Repetition is not in order. The Chair must have some control over this debate. It is not good enough that the argument is repeated.

We just discovered that there will be another issue in the near future but the Minister is not able to tell the interest rates because, he says, it is not his responsibility. He says it is the responsibility of the Minister for Finance. I want to convey to the House and the country my views on this and hope that the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Lands will recognise the situation. I hope the bonds will be issued at the current rate of interest taking inflation into account. This is essential if we are to maintain any semblance of respect for land bonds—and they have very little.

Deputy Enright made that statement at least three times already. He should not continue along that line. I have been very lenient and it is not good enough to have repetition all the time. If the Deputy has something new to say on this section that is all right, but the Chair cannot allow him to continue along those lines.

I would nearly want to submit questions to you in writing nowadays——

You do not submit questions to the Chair. The Chair does not receive questions. If the Chair could answer the Deputy's questions he would answer them quickly enough.

I would need a full back——

If a full back could get as many scores and repeat them as often as Deputy Enright he would be doing well.

What did the Minister mean when he said that land bonds are redeemed after 26 years? Is it not true there are 1943 3½ per cent land bonds still extant unredeemed? Tenant farmers are not making anything. They pay the par value for the land and their annuities include the interest on the capital outlay over 25-year or 30-year periods. In other words, the Land Commission do not make donations to tenant farmers who pay in full the capital value of the land and the interest. Land prices have dropped considerably and in this situation I suggest that instead of paying for land in bonds the Minister should urge the Government to consider payment in cash.

It would be interesting to check back on the report to see how many times the Deputy has made that point.

Five times.

I would say 25 times. It is completely out of order.

It might sink in if it is repeated often enough.

That is not a reason for repeating it.

This is a serious matter as far as I and other rural Deputies are concerned. Small farmers who sell land to the Land Commission suffer considerably, and now that land prices have dropped the Minister should initiate a more dynamic approach and get the Land Commission to pay in cash. In that way he would be doing an enormous amount or work for agriculture in Ireland and for thousands of small farmers who at the moment are suffering from the bank credit squeeze and from the limits on advances being imposed by the ACC. If he took the initiative I have suggested, the Minister would be leaving his indelible mark on Irish agriculture. At the moment because of the method of payment for land, small farmers are terrified when they see a Land Commission inspector making an appearance. Farmers who got paid in 1979 land bonds will get only £84 per £100 on the stock exchange. Let the Minister grasp the nettle and pay for land in cash.

That is the fifth time in a minute the Deputy has said that.

The Minister said something about land bond redemption not before 1984.

It means the Government have the option after 1984.

Have they not got the option to do so now?

Yes, in regard to bonds issued before 1934.

Have any bonds been redeemed?

Only those drawn each year.

How is the draw carried out?

Only about 2 per cent of all bonds are redeemed each year.

There is one draw, and the number of bonds redeemed depends on the amount of money in the sinking fund, which includes the annuities based on the rate of interest paid on bonds plus ¼ per cent.

Can the Minister give us the percentage of bonds redeemed in this way?

Is it as low as 2 per cent?

I have not got the figures available. It is the Department of Finance who deal with it.

This is a ridiculous situation.

I have discussed this with stockbrokers and their view is that the figure is about 2 per cent of the particular stock issue.

At that rate it would take 40 years to redeem all the bonds.

How much land was acquired last year and how much of the £8 million immediately required will be spent on land acquisition in the west of Ireland?

In 1979, 24,000 acres were acquired and £10,000 was paid in land bonds. I could find out the acreage involved in the west but I have not got the figures here, only those for the entire country.

Is it true that there are some unredeemed bonds which go back as far as 1943?

There would be. It is hard to know how many of those bonds are still held by the original owners. They could have been transferred to individuals or institutions.

Does the sinking fund include each land bond issue, say for 1943, 1953, 1959, 1972 and so on?

No. There is a separate draw each year.

There is no purpose in the ones which are longer outstanding. Is there any preference given to those which are longer outstanding?

No, there is not.

Surely there should be?

I understand that there is very little left of the 1943 issue, so what I am saying about 2 per cent a year should be reasonably accurate.

I am not too defninite. It must be something around 2 per cent.

The bonds which will be issued under this Act will not be redeemed until well into the next century.

That is right.

Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 51; Níl, 29.

  • Ahern, Bertie.
  • Allen, Lorcan.
  • Andrews, David.
  • Andrews, Niall.
  • Aylward, Liam.
  • Barrett, Sylvester.
  • Brady, Vincent.
  • Briscoe, Ben.
  • Browne, Seán.
  • Burke, Raphael P.
  • Callanan, John.
  • Calleary, Seán.
  • Collins, Gerard.
  • Conaghan, Hugh.
  • Connolly, Gerard.
  • Cowen, Bernard.
  • Crinion, Brendan.
  • Daly, Brendan.
  • de Valera, Síle.
  • Doherty, Seán.
  • Farrell, Joe.
  • Faulkner, Pádraig.
  • Filgate, Eddie.
  • Fitzgerald, Gene.
  • Fitzpatrick, Tom (Dublin South-Central).
  • Fitzsimons, James N.
  • Flynn, Pádraig.
  • Fox, Christopher J.
  • French, Seán.
  • Herbert, Michael.
  • Hussey, Thomas.
  • Keegan, Seán.
  • Kenneally, William.
  • Killeen, Tim.
  • Lalor, Patrick J.
  • Lawlor, Liam.
  • Lemass, Eileen.
  • Leonard, Jimmy.
  • Leonard, Tom.
  • MacSharry, Ray.
  • Meaney, Tom.
  • Moore, Seán.
  • Morley, P.J.
  • Murphy, Ciarán P.
  • Nolan, Tom.
  • Noonan, Michael.
  • O'Donoghue, Martin.
  • O'Hanlon, Rory.
  • Smith, Michael.
  • Walsh, Seán.
  • Wyse, Pearse.


  • Barry, Richard.
  • Belton, Luke.
  • Bermingham, Joseph.
  • Boland, John.
  • Bruton, John.
  • Burke, Liam.
  • Conlan, John F.
  • Cosgrave, Michael J.
  • D'Arcy, Michael J.
  • Desmond, Barry.
  • Donnellan, John F.
  • Enright, Thomas W.
  • Fitzpatrick, Tom (Cavan-Monaghan).
  • Hegarty, Paddy.
  • Horgan, John.
  • Kavanagh, Liam.
  • L'Estrange, Gerry.
  • Lipper, Mick.
  • Mannion, John M.
  • O'Brien, Fergus.
  • O'Brien, William.
  • O'Donnell, Tom.
  • O'Toole, Paddy.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Taylor, Frank.
  • Timmins, Godfrey.
  • Treacy, Seán.
  • Tully, James.
  • White, James.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Moore and Briscoe; Níl, Deputies L'Estrange and B. Desmond.
Question declared carried.
Section 2 agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment.
Report Stage ordered for Thursday, 1 May 1980.