DUBLIN RECONSTRUCTION (EMERGENCY PROVISIONS) BILL, 1924. REPORT—CONTINUED.

I have drafted a clause which I think may meet what the Minister wants. It is on the supposition that the new Section 2 goes out altogether, and that the owner is left to the Land Clauses Act for the measure and method of his compensation. For the purpose of at least giving a measure of what the Corporation ought to get back from the Ministry of Finance I propose a new Section 2 should be added as follows:—

"2. Where under the provisions of Section 15 of the Damage to Property (Compensation) Act, 1923, a report in writing in respect of the damage or destruction of any building has been made by a Judge to the Minister for Finance, and the site or any part of the site of such building is acquired or purchased compulsorily by the Corporation under this Act, the arbitrator by his award shall certify the amount of the compensation which is awarded in respect of the site itself, and the amount which is awarded in respect of the fact that such Report has been made under Section 15 of the Damage to Property (Compensation) Act, 1923, and the amount (if any) which is awarded in respect of any other claim to such compensation."

That will divide up the compensation in such a way that although it will be received in full by the owner of the taken site from the Corporation, the Corporation will have the measure of what they ought to get back when they come to the Minister for Finance with their moderate claim. It is really a moderate claim, because they ought to get that back.

Perhaps some other Senator would like to say something on this.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

It is an important matter, and as the Minister has asked for it, I think it is desirable that he should get the views of other Senators on this. It is a difficult matter. It seems to me that the question now narrows itself down to this, whether it is the Corporation or the owner that has to look to the State for the amount of the compensation which exceeds the actual value of the bare site.

It must be always borne in mind that the owner has this taken from him against his will, and he should not be the one to go with his hat in his hand.

Is not the difficulty in this that none of us know what the effect of that moral claim will be? If we had some knowledge that the Corporation would get something out of the moral claim it would be better. I imagine that is what is the trouble. In either voting or deciding about the matter, as far as my mind goes, I do not know where we are. I do not know whether the passing of this clause will make the Corporation better off. One thing I see about it is that the individual's right is protected, and he is the most defenceless of the lot. To that extent it is right. If we got some guidance, and if the Minister would tell us what way the Government would look on the Corporation's right, we would know a little more as to where we stood.

Can a body which is not supposed to have any morals have any moral claim?

If the Bill is not exceedingly urgent, would it not be better to refer it back to the Committee, so that the matter can be quietly discussed with the Minister, who will have the advantage of seeing the Minister for Finance in the meantime?

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

I think it has really boiled down to this: The question that is raised is, whether it is the owner who is to be left to get the additional value, if any, out of theex gratia grant by application to the Minister, or whether the owner is to get, in the first instance, the true value of his property, leaving the Corporation to get the rebate of the ex gratia grant from the State in respect of the fact that they are merely acquiring a bare site.

I beg to support Senator Guinness's suggestion.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

I think it would be more convenient for the Minister, because it is hardly fair to be firing these things at him now. If the Committee met again and had the advantage of the presence of the Minister, I think they would fix this thing up.

The Committee are perfectly willing to meet again and give every assistance possible to the Minister.

The matter is rather urgent, because the fact of not having the Bill passed is holding up building to some extent. It is unfortunate that we have not the Minister for Finance here, as I am not in a position to say what he will do in the matter. Perhaps the Seanad could make some suggestion to him.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

If this matter were referred back to the Committee, they might be able to sit tomorrow.

I suggest that the Bill is only urgent because I understand some people are making it a pretext for not proceeding with the work of rebuilding. That is not a genuine reason, because the clearance of sites will take many months, and the holding over of the Bill for a fortnight will not delay operations. I think it would be well to send back the Bill to the Committee.

Very well; I will agree to that.

Bill recommitted to Select Committee for the further consideration of new section.