Housing (Financial and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, 1932—Committee Stage.

Section 1 agreed to.
SECTION 2.
In this Act—the expression "the Minister" means the Minister for Local Government and Public Health;
the expression "public utility society" when used without qualification means a society registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Acts, 1893 to 1913, or a friendly society registered under the Friendly Societies Acts, 1896 and 1908, or a trade union registered under the Trade Union Acts, 1871 to 1913, whose objects include the erection of houses for the working classes and the said expression includes also a company which satisfies the Minister that its objects are wholly philanthropic and include the provision of houses for the working classes;
the expression "public utility society" when used with the qualification "within the meaning of the Housing (Ireland) Act, 1919" has the meaning given to it by Section 33 of that Act as amended by the Housing Act, 1921;
the word "person" includes the Irish Sailors' and Soldiers' Land Trust but does not include either a local authority or a public utility society.

I move amendment 1:

Section 2. To delete lines 39-42 inclusive.

This amendment, as also amendments Nos. 10 and 20 on the Paper, are intended to meet the point raised by Senator Staines in his amendment No. 11, in connection with the definition of a public utility society. In the definition in the Bill at present there are two clauses in which a public utility society is described. One of these definitions we will leave in the Bill, and the other definition of public utility society, when used with the qualification "within the meaning of the Housing (Ireland) Act, 1919" we eliminate. With the elimination of that definition, and a slight consequential amendment, I think the object Senator Staines sets out to achieve will be accomplished. Because, in fact, once this definition is removed, and the first definition in the first portion of the Bill stands for all purposes, the definition there of a public utility society will cover public utility societies wherever the words occur in the Bill and I think, therefore, Senator Staines's idea will be met.

Unfortunately I have not the Housing (Ireland) Act, 1919, by me. What I want to cover is what an ordinary lay person would regard as a company. There is a special definition of a person here, though I do not like it. What I want to bring in is companies like the Dublin Artisans' Dwellings Company, which did great work for housing in Dublin.

I think, if the Senator looks at the definition on page 3 of the Bill he will see that this class of society, is included in "A company which has satisfied the Minister that its objects are wholly philanthropic and includes the provision of houses for the working classes."

"The word ‘person' includes the Irish Soldiers' and Sailors' Land Trust, but does not include either a local authority or a public utility society."

The second paragraph in Section 2, line 30 meets the case of the Senator.

That includes some of the people, but not the Dublin Artisans' Dwellings Company, I think. If I could be sure that it includes that type of company I would be satisfied.

I think it includes the company in question.

What is the definition of a philanthropic company? Can you have a philanthropic company at 5 per cent.? Must its object be a moral one working for good purposes or the love of God only, or does it include a company with a worthy object while at the same time paying a dividend?

Cathaoirleach

That would include a friendly society.

The Artisans' Dwelling Company was mentioned. They pay a substantial dividend.

The payment of a dividend does not, in itself, exclude them, because in the regulations governing public utility societies the Minister for Finance has it in his power to fix the rate of dividend, which is at present 6 per cent.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 2:—

After the word "person" in line 43, to insert the words "wherever it occurs in Part II of this Act."

This is merely to remove the ambiguity in Section 16, sub-section (2), where the word "person" in the section does not cover public utility societies. It is in relation to the powers of the Minister in regard to the housing and building materials. And the powers we seek in regard to private persons we seek also in regard to public utility societies. It is a definition that we expect will cover public utility societies in this portion of the Bill.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 2, as amended, agreed to and added to the Bill.
Sections 3 and 4 agreed to.
SECTION 5.
(1) The Minister may, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, and subject to the prescribed regulations, make out of moneys to be provided by the Oireachtas—
(a) to any person or public utility society erecting one or more houses to which this sub-section applies in any urban area or in any rural area a grant not exceeding forty-five pounds, if the erection of such house shall have been commenced after the 1st day of April, 1929, but before the 12th day of May, 1932, and shall have been completed on or before the 31st day of December, 1932;
(b) to any person or public utility society erecting one or more houses to which this sub-section applies in any urban area a grant not exceeding—
(i) seventy pounds, if the erection of such house shall have been commenced on or after the 12th day of May, 1932, and shall have been completed before the 1st day of June, 1933;
(ii) sixty pounds, if the erection of such house shall have been commenced on or after the 12th day of May, 1932, and shall have been completed on or after the 1st day of June, 1933, but before the 1st day of April, 1934;
(iii) fifty pounds, if the erection of such house shall have been commenced on or after the 12th day of May, 1932, and shall have been completed on or after the 1st day of April, 1934, but before the 1st day of April, 1935;
(c) to any person (other than an agricultural labourer) who derives his livelihood solely or mainly from the pursuit of agriculture, erecting in any rural area for his own occupation a house to which this sub-section applies, the erection of which shall have been commenced on or after the 12th day of May, 1932, and shall have been completed before the 1st day of April, 1935—
(i) a grant not exceeding seventy pounds if such person is in occupation of agricultural land and buildings the rateable value as stated in the valuation lists under the Valuation Acts or aggregate of the rateable values as so stated of which does not exceed fifteen pounds;
(ii) a grant not exceeding sixty pounds, if such person is in occupation of agricultural land and buildings the rateable value as so stated as aforesaid or aggregate of the rateable values as so stated of which exceeds fifteen pounds, but does not exceed twenty-five pounds;
(d) to any person, being an agricultural labourer, erecting in any rural area for his own occupation a house to which this sub-section applies, the erection of which shall have commenced on or after the 12th day of May, 1932, and shall have been completed before the 1st day of April, 1935, a grant not exceeding seventy pounds;
(e) to any person (other than a person to whom a grant could be made under paragraph (c) or paragraph (d) of this sub-section) erecting in any rural area a house to which this sub-section applies, the erection of which shall have been commenced on or after the 12th day of May, 1932, and shall have been completed before the 1st day of April, 1935, a grant not exceeding forty-five pounds;
(f) to any public utility society erecting in any rural area a house to which this sub-section applies, the erection of which shall have been commenced on or after the 12th day of May, 1932, and shall have been completed before the 1st day of April, 1935, and which shall have been erected for occupation by a person (other than an agricultural labourer) who derives his livelihood solely or mainly from the pursuit of agriculture—
(i) a grant not exceeding eighty pounds, if such person is in occupation of agricultural land and buildings the rateable value as stated in the valuation lists under the Valuation Acts or aggregate of the rateable values as so stated of which does not exceed fifteen pounds;
(ii) a grant not exceeding seventy pounds, if such person is in occupation of agricultural land and buildings the rateable value as so stated as aforesaid or aggregate of the rateable values as so stated of which exceeds fifteen pounds, but does not exceed twenty-five pounds.
(g) to any public utility society erecting in any rural area a house to which this sub-section applies, the erection of which shall have been commenced on or after the 12th day of May, 1932, and shall have been completed before the 1st day of April, 1935, a grant not exceeding eighty pounds, if such house shall have been erected for occupation by an agricultural labourer;
(h) to any person reconstructing a house in his own occupation in a rural area, a grant not exceeding forty pounds, if such person derives his livelihood solely or mainly from the pursuit of agriculture and is in occupation of agricultural land and buildings the rateable value as stated in the valuation lists under the Valuation Acts or aggregate of the rateable values as so stated of which does not exceed twenty-five pounds, or if such person is an agricultural labourer, and, in either case, the reconstruction of such house shall have been commenced on or after the 12th day of May, 1932, and shall have been completed before the 1st day of April, 1935, and such house when so reconstructed complies with Rules 2 and 3 of the First Schedule to this Act;
(i) to any public utility society within the meaning of the Housing (Ireland) Act, 1919, erecting a house to which this sub-section applies in any urban area, a grant not exceeding two-ninths of the cost of the provision thereof or one hundred pounds, whichever shall be the lesser, if—
(i) the erection of the house shall have been commenced on or after the 12th day of May, 1932, and shall have been completed before the 1st day of April, 1935; and
(ii) the floor area of the house as measured in the prescribed manner shall be not less than 500 square feet nor more than 750 square feet; and
(iii) such public utility society undertakes with the Minister that such society will not sell such house and will let such house only on a monthly or lesser tenancy; and
(iv) the urban authority of the urban area in which the house is situate undertakes to make to such public utility society a grant in respect of such house either by way of a grant of land as a site for such house or by way of a grant of money in respect of such house or partly in one such way and partly in the other such way, but in any case not exceeding in (as the case may be) the value of such land or the amount of such money or the total of such value and such amount one-ninth of the cost of the provision of the house or fifty pounds, whichever shall be the lesser.
(j) to any local authority in respect of any house acquired by such local authority under Section 8 of the Housing (Ireland) Act, 1919, as amended by the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1931, No. 50 of 1931), for the purpose of being sold or leased to a philanthropic society or body of persons approved of by the Minister, a grant not exceeding sixty per centum of the expenses incurred by such local authority in respect of the acquisition of such house, and to either such local authority or such society or body of persons a grant not exceeding sixty per centum of the expenses incurred by such local authority, society, or body respectively in altering, enlarging, improving or repairing such house, but subject to the limitations that the total of such grants in respect of any one house shall not exceed a sum equivalent to seventy-five pounds for each separate tenement provided in such house.
(2) In sub-section (1) of this section, the expression "house to which this sub-section applies" means a house which complies with the rules set forth in the first Schedule to this Act.
(3 The Minister shall not make a grant under this section in respect of—
(a) a house in respect of which a grant was made by the Minister under the Housing (Building Facilities) Act, 1924 (No. 14 of 1924), or the Housing Acts, 1925, to 1930, as amended by the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1931 (No. 50 of 1931); or
(b) a house erected in accordance with a reinstatement condition within the meaning of Section 10 of the Damage to Property (Compensation) Act, 1923 (No. 15 of 1923); or
(c) a house which is erected on or on any part of the site of a building in respect of the destruction of which compensation has been awarded under the Damage to Property (Compensation) Act, 1923, or in respect of the destruction of which a report has been made under Section 15 of the said Act;
(d) a reconstructed house where compensation has been awarded under the provisions of the Damage to Property (Compensation) Act, 1923, in respect of damage to the building before reconstruction or where a report has been made under Section 15 of the said Act in respect of such damage; or
(e) the reconstruction of a house by any person unless before such reconstruction such house was certified by an officer appointed by the Minister for the purpose or (in the case of an appeal to the Minister from a refusal by such officer so to certify) by the Minister to be suitable for reconstruction;
(f) a house in respect of which a grant was made by the Minister for Lands and Fisheries under the Housing (Gaeltacht) Act, 1929 (No. 41 of 1929).
(4) Any person aggrieved by the refusal of an officer appointed by the Minister to certify under this section that a particular house is suitable for reconstruction may appeal against such refusal to the Minister, and on such appeal the Minister may, as he shall think proper, either confirm such refusal or himself give the certificate so refused, and the decision of the Minister on such appeal shall be final and conclusive.
(5) The aggregate amount of grants to be made by the Minister under this section shall not exceed the sum of seven hundred thousand pounds.
(6) Provided that where it is permissible to make a grant under this section from public funds the grant shall not be made unless the Minister is satisfied that, if the erection of the house is being carried out by a speculative builder, by contract or by a local authority or by a public utility society by direct labour, trade union wages and conditions of employment are being or shall have been paid to the operatives engaged in the erection of the house.

I move Amendment No. 3:—

Section 5, sub-section (1). After the word "society" in line 28, page 4, to insert the words "or local authority."

I spoke last week about the terrible conditions of housing in Dublin and through the country. Since that I have seen further conditions in Dublin that I might say I could not even mention here, so appalling were they. It is absolutely essential that the terrible housing conditions which exist should be tackled and that everybody must put his shoulder to the wheel. The private individual first of all, the companies established for the purpose of building houses, utility societies and the local authorities must all do their part. Of course the idea of this Bill is to leave to the local authorities the clearance of slum areas. I should like to ask the Minister to tell us if he is going to give authority to the Dublin Corporation to house those poor people who occupy the slum areas somewhere, while they are running their municipal plough through these streets; otherwise what is to become of these people? I want to give the local authorities the same rights as the utility society or anybody else should have in this matter.

I think the Senator is speaking on amendment 4 rather than amendment 3 but I should like first of all to deal with amendment 3. The particular section with which the amendment deals is designed to cover the transition period so as to fill up the gap between the existing Housing Acts and the present Act. My impression is that this amendment is based on the misapprehension that we did not take steps to cover existing houses which have been commenced and not yet completed. In Section 11 of the Bill we provide the money for these existing buildings which is going to amount to about £33,000 and in Section 6, sub-section (2) we make the Bill retrospective in so far as we allow the usual grants which have been allowed £45 per house in this Act. So I think that amendment 3 is unnecessary in this Bill.

I wish to oppose this amendment on the ground that I am quite sure that, if it were carried as it stands, it would entirely do away with utility societies as we know them. Utility societies as described in the Bill, include "a company which satisfies the Minister that its objects are wholly philanthropic and includes a provision of houses for the working classes." If you give to local authorities the loans or the cash designed in the Bill for utility societies, I think there would be no utility societies working in the areas, because the elected bodies, which are, of course, very much stronger than a group of people who come together for a philanthropic purpose, will hold the long-term loans and the cash allowances that are prescribed in the Bill for utility societies. Utility societies, even for the civic spirit they engender, should be encouraged. We know what voluntary assistance is. It is the salt of every movement and of the voluntary societies, of which we have very good examples in Dublin. The scheme carried out by the Rev. Mr. Hall, when he was officiating on the North side of the City, can be seen by anybody who passes along the Great Northern Railway outside Amiens Street. He set himself out to do this for the working classes with a few helpers. He had no Government help of any kind. We came into contact with him when he came to the Corporation for special consideration, which we gave him, and, from that, I think, most of us there at the time became interested in utility societies. Even before the Rev. Mr. Hall's work, the Alexander College had done very special work in reconstructing tenement houses; seeing that the tenants put into them were proper tenants and that the rents were paid regularly and in respect of which I understand there was no difficulty. I refer to these things to show that these-utility societies or philanthropic societies composed of individuals should not be interfered with in any way, but, rather, that their work should be helped as it is helped in this Bill.

There was no help for these societies from a Government Department until the last Housing Bill was introduced by General Mulcahy, in which a section was inserted giving a certain amount to these societies. It passed through this House and I was very glad to say then what I am saying now. Nobody objected to utility societies getting this money or suggested that it should be handed over to the Urban Councils. The amendment, if carried, I think, will certainly not help utility societies and, for that alone, I think that those of us who work with voluntary workers know that it would be a very great shame if they were in any way interfered with. Rather should they be encouraged and I do think that the mover of the amendment does not really understand fully how it will interfere with them. I must repeat it—the elected bodies are much stronger and much more powerful than a little utility society and I hope the mover will see his way to withdraw this amendment, which is not original. It is copied from the other House and I hope the House will stand firm, as I think it will always stand, in helping utility societies and other philanthropic bodies. If you pass this, I think you will be doing the reverse.

I did not suggest that the money should be taken from the utility societies. I want the utility societies and everybody to help housing. They have, I understand, a scheme in hands at Clonmel at present which is costing £200 a house and surely Senator Mrs. Wyse Power does not expect that the State shall give £100—this is a local authority scheme—and that the local authority should give £50 to build a £200 house? This scheme is quite suitable for Clonmel and the rents are 3s. 11d. per week inclusive of rates. I am positive that if people want to build houses, you must help them to do it and, naturally, like Senator Mrs. Wyse Power, I would much prefer it to be done by private individuals or utility societies, but we must get houses. The conditions, as I said before, are appalling.

Apparently there is some misunderstanding as to this amendment. So far as I can understand it, this Bill is designed on special lines so that a local authority will work in a certain direction. It is designed with the object of getting local authorities to build and to look after the poorest people in the community and to look after the clearance of slum areas and the provision of houses for people who can least afford to pay for them. There is also the provision in respect of public utility societies and the private speculative builder to build houses for other people who can better afford to pay. So far as I can understand the framework of the Bill—I am subject to correction by the Minister—it is designed on these lines: There is a certain financial provision to induce a corporation or local authority, as the case may be, to work on a certain line, and there is also a provision for public utility societies which is to act as an inducement to them to continue and to spread out in their building operations, and there is a provision to encourage the speculative builder to develop his building operations for the better off people who can afford to pay the higher price for a house. The whole scheme of the Bill is, I think, designed on these lines, and, if Senator Staines understood that, there would be no necessity for him to move these amendments.

I would like to reinforce what Senator Farren has pointed out. With regard to amendment 4, which seems to be the amendment we are discussing——

Cathaoirleach

We are discussing amendment 3.

I spoke on amendment 4, really, because it is practically the same amendment.

Under Section 6, as Senator Farren has pointed out, a new principle of assisting local authorities is introduced, and it is done by relieving the loan charges to the extent of two-thirds, in the case of slum clearance schemes, and one-third for renovation of existing dwellings, congested dwellings and so on, so that, under the provision for loan charges, the State is giving better financial facilities than it would be giving under Senator Staines's amendment, if we accepted it. In the first place, he would do away entirely with the principle of concentrating on the slum clearance problem, on which, as I explained on Second Reading, it is our intention to get local authorities to concentrate. It is our intention to get them to concentrate on the larger scheme and to try to get public utility societies, as Senator Farren and Senator Mrs. Wyse Power have pointed out, and the speculative builder as well, to concentrate on their side. We are giving far more than we would under Senator Staines's amendment. We are giving them a definite line to work on. We are trying to get them to concentrate their energies on that side of the work and I fear that, if the Senator's amendment were accepted, that side of the Bill, in Section 6, would collapse altogether. I think it is quite contrary to the principle of the Bill and I could not accept it.

The local authorities, in our view, will have plenty to do. All they need do is get a public utility society formed in the area and substantially the same work—in fact, greater work—can be done than under the public authority itself, because we are giving a special financial inducement to enable these public utility societies to be formed. The Senator knows that because he has referred to it in the course of his remarks. The only difference between us is that the Senator does not seem to recognise that the thing can be done. What he wants done in regard to individual dwellings can be done through public utility societies in co-operation with the local authority. That is the only necessity for a public utility society in an area.

I would like to mention that for the last ten years in Cork City I do not think a single house has been built that is now rented under 10/- a week. In my opinion that is a prohibitive rent. Under this scheme does the Minister see any chance of a house being let at the more moderate figure of 4/- or 5/- a week?

It has been estimated that under the provision which enables the State to grant two-thirds of the loan charges, the rent of 10/- ought to be reduced to something in the vicinity of 3/-. That is the idea underlying this whole proposal. This is an effort to fill the gap that heretofore has existed. Labourers or workmen were not able to pay the rents necessitated by building costs. We are trying to fill that gap. All these houses will be let as tenancies and there will be a definite advantage over the old system of subsidies. We are trying to concentrate attention on getting tenancies for people at reasonable rents. That is the whole object of the proposed financial aid in respect of loan charges.

I happen to be interested in a certain society in Cork which has over 400 houses. We had money and we thought it would be a good idea to extend our housing scheme. We approached the Government and were offered a grant of £165 for each house we built and a free site. We went into the matter very carefully and the report we got was to the effect that if we still continued to charge 10/- a week for them we would, without making any allowance whatever for depreciation, insurance or rates, barely get 5 per cent. on the money we would expend in the construction of the houses.

The position will be quite different under this Bill.

I am glad to hear it.

Amendment 3 put and negatived.

Amendment 4:—Section 5, sub-section (1). After the word "society" in line 36, page 4, to insert the words "or local authority."—(Senator Staines).

Cathaoirleach

This amendment has already been argued.

Amendment 4 put and negatived.

I beg to move amendment 5:—

Section 5, sub-section (1). After the word "area" in line 38, page 4, to insert the words "or town which according to the census of 1896 had a population exceeding 1,000 persons."

With the amendment inserted the section would read:—

(b) to any person or public utility society erecting one or more houses to which this sub-section applies in any urban area or town which according to the census of 1896 had a population exceeding 1,000 persons....

This amendment was brought forward in the Dáil and was rejected. I put it down in the hope that the Minister might be induced to accept it. I make a plea on behalf of the larger of the small towns. I would like to include them all—that is, towns as distinct from villages—but I realise the line must be drawn somewhere. The Minister says there are bound to be anomalies, but I believe there would be a good many less if this amendment were accepted.

My contention is that many of these towns, even with a population up to 3,000, have no local authority, such as commissioners. Notwithstanding that, they live under urban conditions and would therefore be subject to the higher prices for building, etc. I do not know whether that now applies in view of the amendment subsequently passed by the Dáil on the proposal of Deputy Norton. I think that would add to it. Therefore, in these towns they should be able to attain the higher grant.

In so far as I understood the Minister's statement, persons interested in building would be able to obtain the higher grant under the Labourers Acts. The question arises: What is an agricultural labourer, or rather: What is not an agricultural labourer? I was for many years a member of a district council and the question was constantly arising, especially in connection with labourers' cottages. I must say I was never able to arrive at a correct solution; in fact, I do not now know what an agricultural labourer is. If we could be quite sure that what the Minister said in the Dáil was correct there would not be so much need of this amendment. I notice, however, that he used the words "in my opinion,""I believe," or "I feel it is possible." He did not make any definite statement. I feel I would like to say with Browning:—

I believe in you, but that is not enough.

Give my conviction a clinch.

I would like to know how the women are going to fare in these small towns. There are numbers of them with persons dependent on them. They would like to build houses but, as the law stands, they would get only £45 instead of the larger amounts that are given in other circumstances. Would women be considered as agricultural labourers?

Some of them are.

That is a point I am in doubt about and I would like some information on it. What is the position of a married chauffeur who is dependent on some professional man— is he a domestic servant or an agricultural labourer? I would like the Minister to reconsider this amendment. In my own district the towns are small; some of them have a population of just over 1,000. In the South there are larger towns with populations up to 3,000 and they have no local authorities.

With regard to the point Senator Mrs. Costello raised as to getting a definition of "agricultural labourer," the Labourers Act of 1919, Section 1, says:—

For the purposes of the Labourers (Ireland) Acts, 1883 to 1918, and this Act, the definition of the expression "agricultural labourer" in section 93 of the Irish Lands Acts 1903, shall be extended so as to include:—

(a) any person (other than a domestic or menial servant) working for hire in a rural district whose average wage exceeds 2/6 a day;

(b) any person not working for hire but working in a rural district at some trade or handicraft without employing any persons except members of his own family.

So that I think with the Housing legislation these cases are covered up to the present under the Housing of the Working Classes Act in the towns. These cases are covered by the definition of "agricultural labourer" in the rural areas. The man who can show that he worked for no matter how short a period in the year, so long as he worked for hire in a rural area or so long as he worked for himself will come under the definition. I am not in a position to say whether a nurse could be described as an "agricultural labourer." Anyhow I do not think that the problem of providing houses for nurses is a big one; it has been attended to already. The definition of "agricultural labourer" covers substantially the working classes in the rural areas. But if this amendment were to be extended I do not think it would improve the condition of the people whose interests Senator Mrs. Costello looks after, because in the rural areas an agricultural labourer or a person who has a holding of land less than, I think, a Poor Law valuation of £15, well get from the time the Bill passes until the 1st April, 1935, up to £70 as a grant for building a house. If the house is built through the medium of a public utility society he will get £80. If that person is put on the same basis as the people in urban areas he will only get £70 the first year, £60 the year after and £50 the year after that.

I do not think there is any advantage whatever to the people looking for grants if this amendment were accepted. It would be quite the contrary; because we are already, in fact, giving generous financial help, though some people do not seem to realise that. I suppose they have an idea that when you are giving generous financial help you should give more— why should there be any limit? We have done things in this Bill which have never been done before. I think it ought to satisfy the Senators. We have made very special provision for all cases in the rural areas. We have made provision for reconstruction in these areas. That is a matter in which rural people are greatly interested. They would like to build their own houses but where they do not build their own houses they would like to put on new roofs on the existing houses. We are giving special grants for all these purposes, so that all these classes are covered.

There is no doubt that as the Bill now stands a certain number of towns will be excluded. Houses with a population of 1,500 can be brought under the Bill if there are town commissioners there. It is not very difficult to form town commissioners. Senators should realise that all these towns come in under the Bill. I realise that a case can be made for towns of a thousand, but why make a differentiation between rural and urban areas? If we admit that one thousand people constitute an urban area why not admit five hundred as an urban area? The Senator will realise that people in rural areas are not going to be any worse treated than people in urban areas. They are in fact better off than people in urban areas. If in the administration of the Act we find that there is differentiation against rural people we will try to amend it later. At present I cannot go any further in the matter.

I will leave it to the Minister.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment 6:—

Section 5, sub-section (1). To delete the figure (i) in line 60 and to delete all after the word "buildings" in line 62, page 4, down to and including the word "pounds" in line 8, page 5.

The object of this amendment is to ask for more money. The provision made to differentiate between various holders of land seems to me unfair. A small man gets a £70 grant; a man a little above him gets £60 while a man with a bigger valuation gets only £45. I think that in view of the incidence of local rating in connection with land there is a case to be made for the holder of agricultural land as against anybody else; because in comparison with his income he pays excessively in rates as compared with any other man in the community.

Now wait until I am finished. For example, a man in the community with £500 a year would be paying a small sum comparatively for rates on his house. There is no farmer in the community with an income of £500 a year and still that man might be paying rates up to £100 a year. I am asking in view of the incidence of rating under the law at present—and the law is wrong but we cannot get it changed—that we who live on the land just now should be given preferential treatment and that there should be no difference between the small man and the man of second size and the man of third size because we are all now suffering from depression. I do not say depression in spirit but depression in income. It is therefore our anxiety where grants are given to farmers that there should be no differentiation; all should be getting the same. Now that £70 would go a long way towards building a house for a farmer. Then why not give it and make no difference? That is our case.

I regret that I cannot accept Senator Wilson's amendment because this principle of differentiation is fundamental. I am afraid the Senator has glossed over the difference between a man with one hundred acres and a man with a valuation of 30/- or £2. That sort of valuation is quite common in certain parts of the country and that is the type of man we are specially interested in trying to provide for. He provides his own materials and he is willing to build his house himself. We are giving him a large inducement to do so.

I would remind the Senator that the Land Commission has already looked after the people in whom he is interested. These people have got large farms of land and large houses. I do not think that the Seanad can quite follow the Senator when he contends that there is quite a heavy burden on these farmers, when we consider that we have recently given them a further sum of a quarter of a million pounds in remission of rates. Even after that I would remind the Senator that the rates will be somewhat difficult of collection. I do not think that large farmers are doing badly. I would remind the Senator that we are giving the same amount for grants as the farmer has got hitherto. We are giving more to the smaller farmers in grants. Since we cannot have everything, we realise that some people are better entitled to these grants than others. After all, the reason for a Bill of this kind is the endeavour to have houses built for those who require them most. I do not think that the Senator can make out that the class of farmers he speaks for are people whose dwellings are in danger of being condemned as unit for human habitation. We know that many of them are living in very substantial structures with magnificent out-offices attached to them. In fact, many of the people that we are looking after would be glad to have a dwelling as good as some of these out-offices, but that is another question. I regret I cannot accept the amendment.

From what the Minister has said, he does not seem to have very much practical experience of conditions as they prevail in the country.

The Minister takes exception to the man with a hundred acres. There is a differentiation in the Bill to this extent: that over a £25 valuation a farmer is regarded as an ordinary person. I have put the case to the Minister that the farmer with a £26 valuation has a very small income. I have put it to him that on that valuation he is paying more in rates than the man in the city with an income of £300 a year, and that notwithstanding the Relief of Rates Bill. The man with a £26 valuation will pay more in rates than, say, the school teacher who has an income of £200 or £300 a year. The school teacher will have his income year in and year out, but it is not so in the case of the farmer with a valuation of £26 a year. I might say that I am not interested in the big man, but rather in the man who, so far as this Bill is concerned, comes just above the border line. In view of the present condition of agriculture, I think the case I have made merits consideration. It is only a sum of £25 that is in question, and under my proposal there might not be 100 houses built. I am not asking very much and I put it to the Minister seriously to consider the case that I have made. Undoubtedly relief of rates is going to the small man this year, but the sum of £260,000 that has been spoken of does not, I suggest, touch the £25 valuation man at all.

The man for whom Senator Wilson speaks is in a very much worse position than the other man that has been referred to, because he has to employ labour. The other has not. He has more responsibilities, too, than the other man, and because of his higher expenses is a poorer man.

The State has already provided for people in certain areas of the country: the poorer classes of labourers and small farmers. We are trying to help them. We have gone into the matter very carefully. All the different points of view have been before us and we have definitely decided that the man over £25 valuation cannot be described as a small farmer. Senator Wilson may quarrel with that or with the idea of bringing in the question of small farmers at all. A definite limit has been fixed and we cannot go beyond that. I cannot offer the Senator any hope that we will go beyond it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment 7 not moved.

I move amendment 8:

Section 5, sub-section (1). To delete in line 52, page 5, the words "in a rural area."

The object of the amendment is to make the grant, not exceeding £40 for reconstruction, available in an urban area as well as in a rural area. I think the Minister will agree that it is very unfair to give a grant of this kind say to a man living at Barna, a rural area in the County Galway, and to refuse it to a man living at Knocknacara in the same county simply because he happens to be living in the urban area. The object of the amendment is to make the grant available in the urban as well as in the rural area. I do not think there should be any objection to the amendment.

I think the Senator's idea is to make the grant available according to where a person works instead of where he resides. In the case of two persons living in an area, one of whom works in an adjoining rural area and the other in an urban area—both of them residing in the urban area—the Senator wishes, as I understand him, to differentiate between the two.

Not at all.

Well, I think that would be the effect of the amendment.

My idea is that in the case of this class of persons the grant for reconstruction should be available for people living in the urban areas as well as those in the rural areas.

The necessity for grants for reconstruction in urban areas does not arise because, as the Senator knows, landlords are compelled under the Housing of the Working Classes Acts to recondition their houses if they are not in a proper state of repair. Therefore, I do not see any reason for coming in to do what is statutorily provided for already. That is one reason why there is no necessity for this amendment; that there is already the obligation on the landlords in urban areas to recondition their houses. There is a second objection, and it is that if we are to follow people to the places where they work, whether these places were rural areas or not, irrespective of where they lived, then I fear we are going to be faced with very great difficulties. I do not think that provision for reconstruction is really necessary for these people in the urban areas. I cannot accept this amendment.

I would like to refer again to the examples I have already given, and I do so because I am aware that the Minister is familiar with that district. Take the case of a man living in a house at Knocknacara, which is in Galway urban district. He is living under the very same conditions as a man residing at Barna, some miles away. He has no landlord except the ordinary ground landlord. His house belongs to himself. If he wants to reconstruct his house he will not get any grant under this Bill, whereas the man living at Barna, a few miles away, simply because he happens to be residing in a rural area, will get the grant if he requires it. I think that is unfair. I do not care where a man works. It is where he lives that I am concerned with. Take the case of a man living at Newbridge in an area under the control of the Newbridge Town Commissioners. Why should not that person be as well entitled to get a grant not exceeding £40 as the man living across the border in a rural part of the County Kildare? I submit that my proposal is a very fair one and that it should be accepted. As a matter of fact, I think it would have been accepted in the other House but for the fact that there was some mistake about it.

I again repeat that I cannot accept the amendment. A man residing in the urban area of Galway has undoubtedly an advantage over the man residing in a remote rural area. For one thing he is nearer the market. If he has land within the urban area I claim that he has advantages over the man residing in a rural area. There may be cases of people who own their own houses and want to reconstruct them, but I think, so far as urban areas are concerned, these are rather the exception. Most of those for whom this housing legislation purports to deal are of the agricultural labourer class, and I think they are pretty well provided for. The other class is the small farmer class. If the labourer whom Senator Staines has in mind, who can neither be described as an agricultural labourer nor as a small farmer and who lives in his own house, exists. I do not know how he could be properly described. I feel that such cases are very exceptional. If there is any question of letting houses, then the principle of reconstruction cannot enter in at all. It was on the principle that reconstruction is really for the special purpose of helping the small farmer who, we all know, has done this work under the Land Commission that this clause was inserted. I do not think that I can accept the Senator's amendment.

There are small farmers and agricultural labourers in urban areas as well as in rural areas. The sub-section reads: "To any person reconstructing a house in his own occupation in a rural area"—that is the portion I want taken out so that it will include urban and rural—"a grant not exceeding forty pounds, if such person derives his livelihood solely or mainly from the pursuit of agriculture and is in occupation of agricultural land and buildings the rateable value as stated in the valuation lists under the Valuation Acts or aggregate of the rateable values as so stated," and so on. I do not want it to apply to people who set houses. I want it to apply to the agricultural labourer and the small farmer.

As I have already pointed out, no matter how generous the financial provisions may be you will always get people to say that they are not generous enough. As I have already explained we have gone further in dealing with rural housing than anybody has ever gone. We have given special grants in order to induce people to form public utility societies in rural areas and we are giving them larger grants for the building of new houses than in urban areas. In spite of all that Senator Staines is not satisfied. He is pleading for a particular class that is not covered, but he cannot have it both ways.

We have provided for a certain number of grants, starting with £70 during the coming year, £60 during the following year, and £50 for the succeeding year for people in urban areas. We have made special provision with regard to slum clearance and renovation of dwellings and I fear we cannot go any further. We cannot cater for people who want to have the benefits applicable both to the urban and rural areas. The Senator has not answered my statement that this would create an anomaly between two persons, one of whom—because he works in the rural area adjoining an urban area— he claims, should be entitled to an additional grant as compared with the man who works in the urban area. We may, unfortunately, have anomalies under the Bill, but we will try and smooth them out in the course of administration. If they press unduly, we can look for further powers later on. This Bill is intended to cover a three years' period. I ask the Senator to withdraw his amendment, therefore, in the hope that the anomaly, if it exists, will be remedied in the course of administration. I simply could not accept the amendment at present.

Surely the amendment refers to the place a man lives and not to where he works?

If he works in a town, he is not an agricultural labourer.

Under a previous Bill, brought in by another Government, we could not get grants for reconstruction of houses situate more than a quarter of a mile out of a town. This Bill marks a great advance as regards the rural areas. At the same time, I cannot see why the old state of affairs should not continue and why we should not have both advantages. The previous Ministry were in favour all the time of the townsman. Their case was that they could not possibly pay inspectors to go out into the rural areas and look after reconstructed houses. Now that we have got the grants applied to rural areas, urban houses are excluded. That seems to be a peculiar way of making law. What was wrong at one time is right now and what is right now was wrong at one time.

Nobody said that what was right before is wrong now. I did not introduce that.

What was law before is not to be law now.

Senator Wilson wants to have it both ways. If he can, he is right but I am not in that position. I cannot have it both ways. That is the unfortunate position in which a Minister finds himself. We have got more applications for grants for reconstructed houses than we have got for the building of houses. As Senator Wilson said, there is going to be a very big demand and, no doubt, new officers will have to be appointed. Perhaps a whole new staff of inspectors will have to be appointed if we extend this principle of reconstruction. The reconstruction of houses will cause exactly the same amount of trouble and expense to the State as regards inspection as the building of new houses. It may, in fact, cause more, because reconstructed houses may be in isolated areas, whereas new houses will probaly be built together in large numbers. I am not against giving every possible facility for reconstruction as well as for the building of houses but we cannot have everything and, in the circumstances, I cannot accept this amendment.

I think the amendment is only fair and should be accepted.

Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá 20; Níl 15.

Tá.

  • Bellingham, Sir Edward.
  • Bigger, Sir Edward Coey.
  • Browne, Miss Kathleen.
  • Costello, Mrs.
  • Counihan, John C.
  • Crosbie, George.
  • Desart, The Countess of.
  • Dillon, James.
  • Douglas, James G.
  • Fanning, Michael.
  • Guinness, Henry S.
  • Jameson, Right Hon. Andrew.
  • Keane, Sir John.
  • Kennedy, Cornelius.
  • Moran, James.
  • O'Connor, Joseph.
  • O'Hanlon, M.F.
  • O'Rourke, Brian.
  • Staines, Michael.
  • Wilson, Richard.

Níl.

  • Chléirigh, Caitlín Bean Uí.
  • Comyn, K.C., Michael.
  • Connolly, Joseph.
  • Cummins, William.
  • Farren, Thomas.
  • Garahan, Hugh.
  • Linehan, Thomas.
  • MacKean, James.
  • O'Doherty, Joseph.
  • O'Neill, L.
  • Phaoraigh, Siobhán Bean an.
  • Quirke, William.
  • Robinson, David L.
  • Robinson, Séumas.
  • Ryan, Séumas.
Tellers:—Tá: Senators Staines and Wilson; Níl: Senators S. Robinson and O'Doherty.
Amendment declared carried.

I move amendment 9:

Section 5, sub-section (1). To delete in line 58, page 5, the words "twenty-five" and substitute therefor the word "fifty."

The object of the amendment is to ensure that occupants of farms with a valuation of £50 will be able to receive a grant of £40 towards the reconstruction of a house. I consider the amendment a reasonable one because £50 valuation might represent a farm with 100 acres. A grant of £40 would go a long way towards the reconstruction of a house on such a holding.

I suggest to Senator Wilson that he should withdraw this amendment, and keep it hidden away until we have provided housing accommodation for people who cannot afford to build houses. If the valuation of a farm is £50 it is absurd to suggest that it should be brought under the provisions of this Bill. In urban areas it was distinctly laid down under previous Housing Acts that the grant depended upon the size of the house. It is not mansions are wanted. I wonder where would a mansion with £50 valuation come into such a Bill if floor space measurements were to be taken into account, as they are when grants are given to public utility societies? I think it is absurd to be wasting the time of the House on such an amendment, and to try to hold up a Bill for which there is such urgent necessity.

I think the Senator's remarks are uncalled for. There is no intention of holding up the Bill. A mansion that £40 would construct must be one that exists in the realms of imagination.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment 10:

Section 5, sub-section (1). To delete in lines 66 and 67, page 5, the words and figures "within the meaning of the Housing (Ireland) Act, 1919."

This is a drafting amendment to which I would like, with the permission of the House, to move by way of addition another amendment which does not appear in the printed list of amendments. There have been two definitions of a public utility society. After the passing of the amendment, when the additional words "when used without qualification" are omitted there will be only one definition.

Cathaoirleach

Would not that addition be more in order on the Report Stage?

Very well.

As the Minister says this is a drafting amendment perhaps he would explain it.

There was a special definition of "public utility society" and that is now to be eliminated, as the draftsman says the words "when used without qualification" are not necessary. Under the Housing (Ireland) Act, 1919, there are certain restrictions placed upon public utility societies. The draftsman tells me that this amendment is necessary in order to meet the intention in Senator Staines's amendment, No. 20, and to bring it into line with the giving of fuller scope to the definition of a public utility society.

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment No. 11, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 12:—

Section 5, sub-section (1). After the word "tenancy" in line 14, page 6, to insert the words "to a person of the working classes at a rent not exceeding such rent as may be approved of by the Minister."

This will help to throw light on the matter of which Senator Douglas has spoken. Under the 1919 Act definition of public utility societies, there was a limitation of profits which now, in view of our acceptance of the larger definition, we are doing away with. In order to make up for that we are putting in an amendment to limit the rents which may be chargeable. They will have to be subject to the control of the Minister in that respect. We want to put some limit on the working of public utility societies. As we are taking away the profits limitation, I think it is only right that the Minister should have some power in regard to the rents which the public utility societies may fix.

Amendment put and agreed to.

I move amendment 13:

Section 5, sub-section (4). To insert before the sub-section a new sub-section as follows:—

(4) For the purposes of this section "local authority" means the council of a county, county borough or urban district, the commissioners of a town, a board of health or a board of health and public assistance.

I think there is an error in this amendment, as I do not think that county councils have anything to do with housing.

No. The three amendments on which this amendment hung have been defeated, so that even if the amendment were carried, seeing that it is consequential, it would have no effect.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 14:

Section 5, sub-section (4). To insert before the sub-section a new sub-section as follows:—

(4) The Minister shall make regulations governing the organisation and working of public utility societies for the purposes of this section and the increased grants contemplated in sub-paragraphs (f) and (g) of sub-section (1) of this section shall not be paid to any society which does not satisfy the Minister that it complies with the regulations so made.

The position, I understand, at the present time is that a number of farmers in the country can club together and call themselves a public utility society. In some cases a public utility society gets a larger grant than an individual. In my opinion proper regulations should be made governing the formation or the carrying on of these societies. I know of one case where a trader in building goods suggested to a customer, who came in to buy stuff, to join his public utility society and that he would get £15 more of a grant than he could get for himself. It is to stop that sort of thing that I put down the amendment.

I think, speaking from my experience, there is a certain amount of supervision already of public utility societies. It must not be forgotten that the public utility society is very advantageous to people who are not well versed in the matter of making preliminary arrangements for the building of houses. The public utility society has become efficient in the matter of dealing with the acquisition of land and making approaches to the local authority and the Government. It is in order to help the poor type of person who is unable to do this special work on his own and in order that he will get good value for his money that public utility societies have been brought into being. Further than that, public utility societies in most cases which I know have endeavoured to secure loans from some source to help the person who is unable to build a house even with the Government grant. One public utility society which I know, which was started from a trades union, the Commercial Public Utility Society, has built some 600 or 700 houses. It caters for classes such as shop assistants and has done really good work. These people of their own volition could not do the work. The societies have trained men to do the work for them. The idea behind it is to get people into public utility societies where their affairs will be better handled than if they had to handle them themselves. From what I know of the Housing Department, they are more than anxious to see that people who form public utility societies shall do so for the purpose of bringing themselves within the Act and for the purpose of taking advantage of the conditions of the Act. I do not think there is any necessity for special legislation to deal with them.

I do not think this could be done by regulation. If these public utility societies are to be regulated, it should be done by special legislation.

The definition of public utility societies is set out in Part I of the Act. I do not know whether Senator Staines is dissatisfied with that or whether he thinks that the public utility societies to which he refers would not come under any of these definitions. The only exceptions are where a company shall satisfy the Minister that its objects are wholly philanthropic and include the provision of houses for the working classes. Surely the very class of utility societies which the Senator has referred to would come under the definitions and they must come under the Minister's observation? I should like Senator Staines's reason for thinking that lines 30 to 42 in Part I of the Bill do not cover what he is trying to deal with.

My objection is this. Suppose there are a number of grants, seven or eight grants given in an area to farmers. A local trader forms himself into a public utility society for the building of these houses. In reality that is not a public utility society.

An individual cannot form a public utility society.

I have been informed it is done.

He is a promoter of the society in that case and he would be quite justified.

I think there is no necessity for the amendment. Senator Keane and Senator Jameson have pointed out that this is already covered in the definitions. If there is anything further required other than fresh legislation perhaps the Senator would bring in an amendment himself to cover it. I think the matter would be covered in any event under Section 16, under which the Minister has power to make regulations. Under these regulations he will have to satisfy himself that the societies are properly carried on and are such as are contemplated here. If it is a case that there are too many public utility societies operating in any areas or that the personnel is not acceptable, the Minister will be able to refuse recognition to them.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment 15:

Section 5, sub-section (6). To delete the sub-section.

We are withdrawing this sub-section in preparation for a corresponding section which will be seen, under amendment 19, to bring about substantially the same result, that is, trade union conditions in regard to urban areas, but not in regard to rural areas. Under the new amendment, the trade union conditions will not apply to rural areas.

Question put and declared carried.
Section 5, as amended, put and agreed to.
Section 6 put and agreed to.

I move amendment No. 16:

New section. Before Section 7 to insert a new section as follows:—

7.—In the case of any grants made to a local authority under sub-section (1) of Section 5 or sub-section (1) of Section 6 of this Act, regulations to be prescribed by the Minister under Section 13 of this Act shall provide that not less than twenty per cent. of the dwellings for which such grants are made shall be allocated for the provision of housing accommodation for families living in one-roomed dwellings at the date of the making of such grants where either

(a) one or more members of any such family is or are suffering from tuberculosis; or

(b) one or more members of any such family, exclusive of the parents, has or have attained the age of sixteen years; or

(c) such dwelling has been condemned as being unfit for human habitation.

The amendment standing in my name should appeal to every right-minded person. Words utterly fail me in trying to describe the appalling conditions in some of the one-roomed dwellings. No person who has not visited these dwellings can have any conception of the hardships, suffering and misery the human beings living there have to submit to. The minimum requirement for the new houses to be provided under this Bill is five hundred square feet of floor space, that is three times as large as most of the one-roomed dwellings I visited in which there were 7 to 11 human beings living.

I do not wish to hurt the feelings of members of this House, but I must give some particulars of a few families living in these one-roomed dwellings. In one of these dwellings there were a father, mother, and seven children living in one room which was 12 feet by 14 feet, that is, 168 square feet of floor space. The mother was suffering from tuberculosis and had been in Crooksling Sanatorium and was then attending the Tuberculosis Dispensary. One of the children was in the Sanatorium. Can anyone imagine any surer way of spreading the disease, and what benefit is to be gained by sanatorium treatment under these conditions? The State pays half the cost of the sanatorium treatment; therefore it is in the interest of the State to prevent the spread of tuberculosis.

The second case was that of another one-roomed dwelling, in which there were the father, mother and nine children. One child was in Crooksling Sanatorium and another was there last year. There were there also another girl, nineteen years of age, and a boy seventeen years of age. This is too appalling from a moral point of view, as well as being a hotbed for producing disease.

In another one-roomed dwelling— this was a cellar kitchen—there were a father, mother and nine children, the eldest sixteen years of age. A daughter died in this room. The size of the room was 16 by 13 feet and 8 feet high. This is a little more than one-third the size of the smallest new house to be provided under the Bill, and much less than half the cubic space required under the law for lodgers in common lodging-houses, much less than what is required under the Factories Act.

The fourth case was that of another one-roomed dwelling, also a cellar kitchen. In this there were the father, mother, and five children, the eldest sixteen years. Three children have died in this room. The father had been in Crooksling Sanatorium six times. The size of the room was 12 × 14 × 8 feet.

The fifth case was another one-roomed dwelling. This was an attic, which contained the father, mother and eight children. The father had been four times in Crooksling Sanatorium. The eldest daughter was twenty years of age. The size of the room was 15 × 15 × 7 feet.

All the facts I have given were taken down at the time of my visits. I have notes of a number of other families living under similar conditions, but perhaps I have given enough to show that it is in the best interests of the community from every point of view that those living under the conditions I have mentioned should receive preference, as regards the houses that are to be provided by the State funds, to the extent of 66? per cent. of their cost.

There are several ways I could elaborate what I have said. I might point out the huge cost to the State of the sanatorium treatment, the loss of wages to the sufferers, the nullifying of the benefits of medical inspection of school children and child welfare schemes, the misery of the homes where one of the family is suffering from tuberculosis, the moral effect on adult children of both sexes living in one room with their parents, and so on. Former housing schemes have done a great deal to improve the housing conditions, and most of the local authorities have spent to the limit of their resources on housing, still the worst features of the slum problem remain practically untouched.

Ever since I entered this House six years ago, it was thought that with each of the Housing Bills introduced something would be done to relieve this appalling condition. Certain things have been done, but they have not improved the worst features of the slum problem. I willingly give every credit to the Government for trying to solve the slum problem, and I feel sure that that was their intention in providing such liberal financial assistance, and for bringing in the help of voluntary associations, but I can assure them their intentions will not be realised unless they make it a necessary condition that the classes I have indicated are provided for. I know how difficult it is for a local authority to select tenants for any new or vacant houses under their control, and the influence that is brought to bear upon the members is such that they cannot select the most urgent cases. It is, therefore, for the Government to see that the largest Government grant ever made towards housing in this or any other country in the world should be used to remove the appalling conditions indicated in the amendment which I now propose. I do hope, and sincerely hope, that the Government will agree to adopt it.

I propose to accept that amendment with certain changes if the Seanad would give me leave to add it as a new sub-section (5) to Section 6 in this form:—

(5) The regulations made by the Minister for the purposes of this section shall provide that in the allocation of any houses in respect of the provision of which a contribution is made under this section preference may be given, wherever practicable, to the families living in one-roomed dwellings where either

(a) one or more members of the family is or are suffering from tuberculosis; or

(b) one or more members of the family exclusive of the parents has or have attained the age of sixteen years; or

(c) the dwelling has been condemned as unfit for human habitation.

That appears to be satisfactory, but there seems to be one snag in it and that is the use of the word "may" instead of the word "shall." What is the reason of that?

The reasons are administrative reasons. They compel the Minister to seek for some elasticity. I am informed that the intentions underlying Senator Sir Edward Bigger's amendment are fully covered in the housing policy of the State, under the present as well as the preceding Governments. In the 1931 Act it was specially designed to deal with the problem of slum clearances as laid down in Section 5. Wherever the local authority takes power either to clear or demolish the whole slum area it is statutorily necessary for them to find accommodation for all persons who have been cleared, so to speak. That is the position under the 1931 Act. There are there full powers to get that done. The Senator seems to think that the particular cases he has in mind are not covered. The question is, for example, with regard to the 20 per cent. He says he only wants to point, say, to 20 per cent., but it may be found that 20 per cent, should not be the particular figure. I have no doubt 100 per cent. could be brought in to a particular clause if the Senator desires. Nobody would be more delighted than I would to have to keep in touch with the local authorities in Dublin and see what their view is. I think the Seanad will realise that when it comes to slum dwellers the difficulty is as to where you are to draw a line between those suffering from tuberculosis and those who have or may have suffered from it. It is rather hard to differentiate. If it can be shown that in administration that discrimination can be made, it is fully our intention to make it, and I can assure the House that we will take every step possible to see that primary consideration is given to this clause. But, I would remind the Senator and the House that I am not absolutely clear for example about the 20 per cent. There may be some difficulty in administration; I would like if the House is willing that the word "may" which can be turned into the word "shall" if the Minister so desires—it has been done—would be accepted in this particular clause.

The reason I asked the question is that I am very interested in the amendment. I believe there is a principle of very considerable importance underlying it. If I understand what Senator Sir Edward Bigger desires it is this. He has no doubt whatever, and I have no doubt whatever of the desire of any right-minded Minister, to whatever party he may belong, to see that as far as it reasonably can be done, people living in one-roomed dwellings shall be got out of them and into proper houses as soon as possible. But if I understand correctly what he wants I think it is to make it an obligatory provision on the part of the local authorities that they will see that one-fifth of the houses are used for these people within these years. I would not object—I cannot speak for Senator Sir Edward Bigger—to make the 20 per cent. "may." I would not at all object to run the risk if the Senator made it less. I understand it provides that the Minister may make regulations. If, later on, on the Report Stage he would alter the wording from "may make regulations" to "shall make regulations" which would give him some discretion as to the amount of the percentage, I would be glad. I feel there is a great deal in what has been said with regard to tuberculosis. If you speak to those who have had experience in what is known as "after-care work," they will tell you that people sent to Crooksling and Peamount and other places come back certified by the doctor that they are cured and that they may go back to work, but they have not the ghost of a chance of remaining in good condition in the surroundings in which they live in the slums. It sounds rather brutal but I doubt that it is doing any good to send people to sanatoria preserving their life for a short time and then sending them back to certain disease and death. What some of us would like to see introduced would be an obligation percentage in respect of provision for that kind of people, leaving the percentage to be fixed by the Minister.

I think it is only fair to say that as far as the local authorities here are concerned they have done their best. The last batch of houses allotted by the local authority here were given to cellar dwellers, people living in cellars and people living in houses that were condemned or about to fall and no others were considered. I think that in itself is sufficient to show that the local authorities here tackled the problem and dealt with people who deserved to be dealt with. I think the Bill itself specially provides that that is the type of person that the local authority will devote their attention to in the future. I think that is the type of person that will be catered for by the local authority. I have no objection to this amendment, but I think the provisions of the Bill show that it is not necessary to have it in. However, I have no objection to it. I am in full sympathy with it, but in order to be fair to the local authorities I say, that so far as I know, the houses that have been allotted were allotted to the right type of people.

I am prepared to accept Senator Douglas's suggestion that instead of "may" we insert "shall." It will then read: "In the allocation of any houses in respect of the provision of which a contribution is made under this section preference shall be given wherever practicable."

The proposal of the Minister would be acceptable, so far as I can see, but I should like, if I may, to see it in draft before the Report Stage.

Very well.

As regards the difference as between 20 per cent. and 100 per cent. it would be difficult to fix a limit as between these two percentages. I see the Minister's point and it may be that there would be difficulty in having a fixed amount. As regard cellar dwellers I may mention that cellar dwelling is illegal; it is against the law.

The poor know little about legalities.

Living in cellars is absolutely against the law for the last fifty years. No cellar could be lawfully used as a dwelling since the Public Health Act of 1878.

Cathaoirleach

The amendment stands over for Report Stage.

I move amendment 17:

Section 7, sub-section (3). To delete the word "certified" in line 16 and to substitute therefor the word "specified."

It is purely a drafting amendment.

Question put, and agreed to.

I move amendment 18:

Section 7, sub-section (4). After the word "person" in line 24 to insert the words "or public utility society."

This is also a drafting amendment.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 7, as amended, agreed to.

I move amendment 19:

New section. Before Section 8 to insert a new section as follows:—

8.—(1) In this section references to the commencement of a house shall be construed as referring, in the case of a house erected under a contract, to the date on which such contract was made, and, in the case of any other house, to the date on which the erection of such house was begun.

(2) This section applies to every house which is commenced after the passing of this Act and is erected either

(a) by a local authority; or

(b) in an urban area by a public utility society; or

(c) in an urban area by a person who is by trade a builder under a contract or for the purpose of being let or sold.

(3) The Minister shall not make under this Act a grant or a contribution to annual loan charges in respect to the erection of a house to which in his opinion this section applies where it is shown to his satisfaction that throughout such erection rates of wages have not been paid or conditions of labour observed at least as advantageous to the persons employed in such erection as the appropriate rates of wages or conditions of labour generally recognised by trade unions at the commencement of such house.

This is the section which is substituted for the deletion of sub-section (6) of Section 5, in connection with trade unions.

Would a house erected by a local authority in a rural area be covered by that section?

Cathaoirleach

Rural areas are excluded.

New sub-section agreed to.

SECTION 8.

(1) An urban authority may, subject to the prescribed regulations, make to any public utility society within the meaning of the Housing (Ireland) Act, 1919, erecting a house in respect of which a grant is made by the Minister under paragraph (i) of sub-section (1) of Section 5 of this Act, a grant not exceeding one-ninth of the cost of the provision of such house or fifty pounds, whichever shall be the lesser.

(2) For the purposes of this section, an urban authority shall have the like powers of raising expenses and of borrowing money as are conferred on them by Part III of the Housing of the Working Classes Act, 1890, as amended by any subsequent enactment.

I move amendment 20:—

Section 8, sub-section (1). To delete in lines 33-34 the words and figures "within the meaning of the Housing (Ireland) Act, 1919."

This is a consequential amendment.

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment 21, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 8 as amended, Sections 9 to 22 inclusive, First, Second, Third and Fourth Schedules and Title agreed to.
The Seanad went out of Committee.
Bill Reported with amendments.