The Seanad will remember that, in 1929, while outdoor relief to the able-bodied could be given throughout the Free State as a whole, it could not be given in the City or County of Dublin. That was because neither the County Borough Council nor the County Council in Dublin had formulated a scheme under the 1923 Act. Following on an examination of the matter by the Seanad, a Bill was introduced and passed through the Seanad in 1929 which put the City and the County of Dublin in the same position as the rest of the country in the matter of granting outdoor relief to the able-bodied. That Bill was passed through as a temporary measure, for the reason, in the first place, that a lot of people insisted that it was going to be a very expensive business for the City, and, secondly, that we anticipated the City and County of Dublin might either jointly or individually put up a scheme under the 1923 Act. Such a scheme has not been put up. The Seanad may be interested to know that while it was estimated in the beginning of the present rating year that the cost of this relief in the City of Dublin— that is, the new City, including Rathmines and Pembroke—would be £120,000, the estimate is now £81,000.
No scheme has yet been prepared either in the city or county. The new bodies set up in the county following the passing of the Act dealing with local government in Dublin have not had, and perhaps will not have for a couple of years, an opportunity of making up their minds on this matter. We are, therefore, continuing the 1929 Act for a period of five years. In doing that the Department of Local Government hope, in the intervening period, to be able to codify the whole position with regard to outdoor relief in the country. Some progress has been made in an examination of that. The preliminaries, so far as framing instructions for the draughtsman, have gone through the Department. But, in view of the other work that the Department has in hands, and from the point of view of the lifetime of the present Dáil, I do not think it would be reasonable to ask the Dáil to discuss this whole question of outdoor relief in the last year or so of its life, or that a new Parliamentary Assembly, in the first year or two of its existence, should be forced to review it. For that reason I am asking for an extension of the Act for five years. The City and County of Dublin are now in the same position as the rest of the country. Passing this Bill for five years will mean that we can get the time necessary to have the whole question fully examined before introducing a complete comprehensive piece of legislation dealing with outdoor relief.