Public Business. - Land Bill, 1933—Report.

I move amendment 1:—

Section 2. Between lines 32 and 33 to insert the following:—"the expression ‘market value' means the price which a willing purchaser would pay to a willing vendor in a real market in which there is free competition."

In deference to the wishes of Senators Brown and Comyn I have altered this amendment and accepted their definition of market value. I am not quite convinced of the wisdom of these Senators. I would still prefer to have the words "normal value" inserted but I am not going to argue that point now. This amendment has been fully debated and I do not think that anything further has to be said.

I think that if the Senator were wise he would leave the section alone because it would be well to do so, even from his own point of view. It often occurs that there is no purchaser for lands and that for various reasons, which I need not go into because I am sure the Senator knows all about them, there is no person willing under the circumstances to take the land at all. Therefore, there would be no price for it. If the price is to be determined in the way the Senator wants, there might be no value at all put on the land. It is quite impossible to make any definite statement on the subject. No definite price can be fixed in this way and it is wiser to leave the matter to the Land Commission instead of seeking to cover by a form of words something that no form of words can cover.

I rise to try to find out by what procedure the Land Commission are to assess the market value of a holding. It is well known that when dealing with the value of a farm, some Departments of State, particularly the Revenue Commissioners, charge the transfer duty, not on the cost to the buyer of the farm, not on the money which he pays to the occupier, but on the money he pays to the occupier plus the amount which is due to the Land Commission. That is considered by the Revenue Commissioners to be the value of the farm. What I am anxious to find out is whether the Land Commission will assess the value of a farm on the same conditions. In assessing the value, do they add to the amount which is paid in the open market, the amount which is due on that particular holding to the State in the shape of the annuity to the Land Commission? If that were the case, it would mean that a farm value £2,000 would be a very small farm indeed.

We are not interested in the class of land referred to by Senator Colonel Moore, that is land which is of no value at all. My experience is that land, if in any way valuable, will always find a purchaser. Our object is to get a fair value for the land which has been purchased, paid for, and fought for for generations before the tenant was established in ownership. Of course I know that the market value of land now is very low indeed. If one inquires from auctioneers or from any one who wants to sell land, one finds that there is very little demand for land. We all understand how that has come about but we are very much interested in seeing that a fair price is paid to people who put their lives' savings into buying land to make a livelihood for themselves and their families and that that land should not be confiscated from them, because I hold that it is next to confiscation if you take land at the present market value. What we are interested in is to get a fair value for our land that is going to be taken from us to which I think in justice we are entitled.

With reference to what Senator Wilson has said, any willing purchaser in a real market, where there is competition, will take into account, in making up his mind how far he would go with his bids, what is due to the Land Commission. That is one of the conditions of the property for which he is going to bid. Therefore, there would be no difficulty of that kind so far as this definition is concerned. If we are to have any definition of market value, I respectfully submit that this is the best one. It gives the three elements which the term "market value" necessarily implies and it was accepted in Committee by the Minister. I think now that, perhaps, it is well to have a definition of market value. The meaning of market value in the Bill, or when it becomes an Act, in the Act, will be a question of law that will have to be decided by the appeal tribunal. Two members of the appeal tribunal would not be experts in the matter of law and I think it is well that there should be a guide of this kind to that tribunal as to what is the meaning of market value in this Bill.

I think the expression "market value" is a clear and comprehensive expression and certainly Senator Counihan, by means of this amendment, has added nothing to the ordinary accepted meaning of the term. He has rather clouded the effect of it. A market is a market, and market value is the price that land will fetch in a market where there is free competition, where there is a willing purchaser and a person willing to sell. The amendment adds nothing and I do not believe it would have the slightest effect.

I contend that this will give some sort of security and, as Senator Brown said, the question of law will be decided by the appeal tribunal or the High Court. At the present time there is no market value for land. In this amendment it is described as what a willing purchaser will pay to a willing vendor in a real market. The words "real market" are important, because there is no market at present, and any one deciding on what is the market value would not take the market value at present. The Minister states that the market value is the value at the present time or at the time the land will be acquired. Senator MacEllin agreed with him to a certain extent. He made a further statement which I should like to refute and not have it go on the records unrefuted. In discussing an amendment similar to this in the Committee Stage, he stated that 50 acres of land in the West of Ireland, for the last three or four years, and at the present time, was worth four times what a 200-acre farm in Meath would be worth. I know the West of Ireland fairly well and I certainly know Meath as well as Senator MacEllin, and I say that there is no foundation in fact for that statement; that possibly the reverse is the case. If we are to take the market value of land in Meath or other parts of the country according to the interpretation given by some Fianna Fáil Senators, I think that their only idea is to keep up the price in the West and lower the price for every other part of the country. For that reason, and because of what Senator Brown has explained, I am moving this amendment and would ask the Minister to accept it.

Amendment put.
The Seanad divided:—Tá, 19; Níl, 13.

  • Bigger, Sir Edward Coey.
  • Brown, K.C., Samuel L.
  • Browne, Miss Kathleen.
  • Dillon, James.
  • Fanning, Michael.
  • Garahan, Hugh.
  • Griffith, Sir John Purser.
  • Jameson, Right Hon. Andrew.
  • Keane, Sir John.
  • Kennedy, Cornelius.
  • Costello, Mrs.
  • Counihan, John C.
  • Crosbie, George.
  • McGillycuddy of the Reeks, The.
  • Milroy, Seán.
  • O'Hanlon, M. F.
  • Parkinson, James J.
  • Toal, Thomas.
  • Wilson, Richard.

Níl

  • Connolly, Joseph.
  • Farren, Thomas.
  • Foran, Thomas.
  • Johnson, Thomas.
  • Linehan, Thomas.
  • MacEllin, Seán E.
  • MacKean, James.
  • MacParland, D. H.
  • Moore, Colonel.
  • O'Neill, L.
  • Phaoraigh, Siobhán Bean an
  • Quirke, William.
  • Robinson, Séumas.
Tellers:—Tá: Senators Counihan and Wilson; Níl: Senators Séamus Robinson and Quirke.
Amendment declared carried.

I move amendment No. 2:—

Section 6, sub-section (1). To add at the end of the sub-section a new paragraph as follows:—

(g) the determination whether or not a holding has been used by the tenant thereof as an ordinary farm in accordance with proper methods of husbandry.

This amendment was accepted in principle by the Minister in Committee. I think it is a useful amendment and, since it was accepted in principle by the Minister in Committee, I now propose it.

I indicated on the Committee Stage that I was prepared to accept this amendment if insisted upon, and, accordingly, I accept the amendment now.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 3:—

Section 6, sub-section (3). To delete paragraph (a) and to substitute therefor a new paragraph as follows:—

(a) an appeal shall lie to the appeal tribunal from the determination of any excepted matter, other than the matters comprised in paragraphs (d) and (e) of sub-section (1) of this section, and.

When moving a similar amendment on the Committee Stage I found from the Minister's reply that it would be unreasonable to have an appeal from the Land Commission on every question which might be covered by my amendment as it stood. The Minister stated very clearly that it would not be very reasonable to have an appeal on every fiddle-faddle to the appeal tribunal. Accordingly, I have altered the amendment to read in accordance with what the Minister himself stated. The purpose of the amendment is to enable an appeal to be made to the appeal tribunal on all questions of law or fact such as was given under previous Acts. For that reason I ask the Minister to accept the amendment.

The former Land Acts and this present Bill cover appeals on all sorts of matters in relation to these excepted matters and appeals are already adequately provided for. Formerly there was an appeal to the judicial commissioner against certain activities of the Land Commission which now lies to the appeal tribunal. If a man's lands are being taken from him he can appeal to the appeal tribunal on a question of law or a question of price. He can appeal to the appeal tribunal if he thinks that the alternative holding offered to him is not suitable. I think that the section as it stands will cover all the appeals that were found necessary to be covered, and that the giving of a general appeal would only have the effect of slowing up the work of the Land Commission. Accordingly, I am not prepared to accept the amendment.

The Minister stated definitely on the Committee Stage that I was misleading the House and that there was an appeal to the appeal tribunal on all matters which heretofore were matters of appeal to the judicial commissioner. The Minister stated that in this Bill the Government were only setting up a new form of tribunal and that now the appeal lay to an appeal tribunal consisting of the judicial commissioner and two lay commissioners. That is what he stated during the Committee Stage and his statement was supported by Senator Comyn. For that reason I withdrew my amendment, but I contend that this amendment will give a right to a man whose land is being acquired under this Bill to appeal to the appeal tribunal instead of presenting a petition to the Land Commission which may be rejected. If the Land Commission reject that petition, I say that a man has a right to go to the appeal tribunal and argue as to whether his land should be taken or not. You should not dispossess a man of his land without giving him some right of appeal to some authority other than the Minister or the Land Commission, and if the Minister wished to be reasonable he would accept this amendment because if there is going to be any justice for the man whose land is to be taken where there is no right to take it he should have this right of appeal.

Amendment put.
The Seanad divided:—Tá: 21; Níl: 16.

  • Bigger, Sir Edward Coey.
  • Brown, Samuel L., K.C.
  • Browne, Miss Kathleen.
  • Counihan, John C.
  • Costello, Mrs.
  • Crosbie, George.
  • Dillon, James.
  • Duggan, E. J.
  • Fanning, Michael.
  • Garahan, Hugh.
  • Griffith, Sir John Purser.
  • Jameson, Right Hon. Andrew.
  • Keane, Sir John.
  • Kennedy, Cornelius.
  • McGillycuddy of the Reeks, The.
  • Milroy, Seán.
  • O'Connor, Joseph.
  • O'Hanlon, M. F.
  • Parkinson, James J.
  • Toal, Thomas.
  • Wilson, Richard.

Níl

  • Chléirigh, Caitlín Bean Uí.
  • Connolly, Joseph.
  • Duffy, Michael.
  • Farren, Thomas.
  • Foran, Thomas.
  • Johnson, Thomas.
  • Linehan, Thomas.
  • MacEllin, Seán E.
  • MacKean, James.
  • MacParland, D. H.
  • Moore, Colonel.
  • O'Neill, L.
  • Phaoraigh, Siobhán Bean an.
  • Quirke, William.
  • Robinson, David L.
  • Robinson, Séumas.
Tellers:—Tá: Senator Counihan and Senator Wilson; Níl: Senator S. Robinson and Senator D. Robinson.
Amendment declared carried.

I move amendment 4:—

Section 11. To delete all after the word "Tribunal" in line 59 down to the end of the section.

The idea of moving this amendment is that it will, in my opinion, give an appeal to the Supreme Court on a question of law. We had that right of appeal under the 1923 Act and subsequent Acts. It seems to me that this particular section takes away that right of appeal to the Supreme Court, and it is for that reason I am moving the amendment.

The Senator said that under the Bill we are trying to take away the right of appeal to the Supreme Court on matters on which an appeal could be taken heretofore. As a matter of fact, the decisions of the judicial commissioner under Section 5 of the Land Law Act of 1881 were final on certain matters. This amendment goes far and away beyond what is provided for in the existing Land Acts. It was always envisaged that, on certain matters connected with land, the decision should be taken by the court attached to the Land Commission, that is to say, by the Land Court. We have in this Bill provided that this particular court, instead of consisting of the judicial commissioner sitting alone, will consist of the judicial commissioner and two lay commissioners. If there are to be appeals from that court to other courts, then one can imagine how the other courts will be crowded with appeals. I think, as regards appeals, everything that is necessary in order to protect the taking of a man's land and the people as a whole is already provided for as the law stands. It would be most undesirable that appeals on the question of price and as to whether a man's land should be taken or not, should go beyond the Land Court.

It is only on a question of law that I want the right of appeal to the Supreme Court. I am not thinking of appeals on, say, the question of price. But if a question of law arises, why should a man be prevented from appealing to the Supreme Court?

I think that what the Senator is anxious about is already provided in section 10 of the Bill which deals with appeals from orders of the appeal tribunal.

If that is so, then I am prepared to withdraw the amendment if Senator Brown or some other legal member of the House will say that it is so.

I think it is so.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment 5:—

Section 17 (being the new section inserted in Committee). After the word "shall" in line 10 to insert the words "(unless such proprietor shall give notice in writing to the Land Commission of his desire to the contrary)."

Although this amendment is in my name it is in a sense a Government amendment. It is brought in to meet the suggestion that was made last week by Senator Comyn that purchasers who did not want to fund their annuities should be able to apply to the Land Commission, and not do so.

I think amendments 5 and 6 might be taken together. The object of both is to provide money for people who hitherto have not asked for it—to provide, at the expense of the general taxpayer, a sum of £7,825,000. That is the amount involved in the case of these two amendments. I would like the Senator who moved the amendment to tell us whether, if the Government have any funds to spend, that is the best way to do it.

I gathered from what the Minister said on this section last week that it only deals with £90,000 and the 40,000 people who have paid up to date.

That is true. The same principle underlies both amendments. One deals with people who have paid in full up to 1933. The second deals with those who have fallen into arrears by one year, two years or two and a half years. They are to be forgiven and are to get an opportunity of not paying if they so desire during the next six years. I think it is vital for the country that the farmers should pay when they can. If we are to have credit facilities given to farmers this is not the way to do it. We should face the matter squarely and definitely and go out for a reorganisation of agricultural credit to give farmers money at 4½ per cent. or whatever figure is agreed upon. As I have said, the sum of £7,825,000 is involved in these two amendments. The first one only covers about £90,000 of that. The total amount collectable in the three years to the first gale of 1933 is £12,500,000 and there is to be funded under this Bill the sum of £4,675,000, leaving a difference of £7,825,000. If we are going to give credit to farmers I say this is not the way to do it, and it certainly should not be done as a sort of a side wind by a Senator who has no responsibility for raising the money. If the Senator presses the amendment, I would like him to tell us exactly where that sum of money is going to come from? The country has a right to know that. In the Bill generally we have done what we considered to be fair for the farmer, taking the farmer as a portion of the community. The Government have not alone the farmers to look after but the rest of the community as well. I think the large number of farmers who are having their land annuities halved are being treated very fairly indeed. Undoubtedly, some farmers have suffered severely from the disastrous fall in prices, coupled with the economic war between England and Ireland. There are farmers, on the other hand, whom the world-fall in prices of agricultural produce has not affected at all.

What class of farmers would they be?

There are farmers who, for instance, have grown wheat this year. There are farmers who are producing milk for home consumption. There are dairy farmers producing milk for butter production and they are better off than they would have been under the proposals of the last Government. The farmers who have had the good sense to grow wheat this year are better off——

That remains to be seen.

——than they would have been under the last Government. These amendments aim at scattering broadcast almost £8,000,000 of the taxpayers' money, according to no well-thought or no well-calculated policy. That sum of £8,000,000 could be much better spent. No Party in this House and no section of farmers outside who had £8,000,000 to spend would spend it in this way.

Everything the Minister has said is relevant to the next amendment on the Order Paper. This particular amendment merely inserts words in the amendment carried on Committee Stage giving the honest men who have paid their annuities up to date a certain amount of relief. It was objected either by the Minister or Senator Comyn that a great many of these honest men might not take advantage of this relief. That will be all the better. It will reduce the £90,000, which is a mere flea bite compared with the enormous sum affected by the next amendment. This amendment merely inserts voluntary words in the amendment passed in Committee Stage.

The Senator must realise that the principle running through the amendments is the same.

Cathaoirleach

This amendment reduces the liability of the State.

Are we dealing with the two amendments now?

Cathaoirleach

No.

I should have thought that this amendment would be entirely in accord with the view of the Minister. It will save the Minister the raising of a loan.

This amendment provides quite a simple addition to the amendment passed on the last day and it reduces the charge on the Central Fund.

Amendment put and declared carried.

I move amendment 6:—

New section. Before section 17 to insert a new section as follows:—

17.—Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in sections 12, 13, 14 and 15 of this Act, in every case in which any instalment or instalments of a purchase annuity, an annual sum equivalent to a purchase annuity, an additional sum, payment in lieu of rent or interest on purchase money, payable by any proprietor during the three years ending on the first gale day of the year 1933 has or have been paid, an amount equivalent to the amount so paid shall (unless such proprietor shall give notice in writing to the Land Commission of his desire to the contrary) not be payable by or recoverable from such proprietor in respect of an instalment or instalments accruing due on foot of any of the above-mentioned liabilities after the first gale day in 1933 up to and including the first gale day in 1939, but shall be payable by means of a funding annuity.

The Minister made the point on the last amendment that it was proposed to give money to people who had not asked for it. One has only to look at the Press during the past six months to find that everybody is clamouring to be let off something. In this Bill there are most important questions of land finance involved. Owing to the wording of the Bill and the rules of the Dáil—I am not casting any reflection whatever on that House—no discussion on the financial aspects took place there. The financial aspects of a measure are very important in legislation of any kind but no discussion of the financial aspects of this Bill was permissible under the rules of the Dáil. The amendments which I have put down will, if passed, go back to the Dáil and will thus permit discussion on a question which is important not alone to the tenant purchaser but to the finances of the nation as a whole. The people should realise what is taking place. The Minister told us just now that the whole question involved about £12,000,000. The people who have not paid have been forgiven £4,000,000 and the Minister says that if the remaining £7,000,000 be forgiven it will be a heavy burden on the State and that the money could be spent in a better way. On the last occasion I dealt simply with what I called the "impeccables"—the people who had paid up to date. I was so impressed with the general sympathy accorded to the suggestion that I thought that to-day I should go a little bit further and take in the men who paid as best they could until things got into such a state that they could no longer pay. What I am not proposing is that the man who has paid one instalment or two instalments and defaulted in five or four should be put on the same basis as the man who has defaulted continuously for three years. I do not take into account the man who has defaulted seven or eight years but certainly, going back three years, we can put the different farmers on the same footing. What struck me about the debate last week was that no answer whatever was given from the Government benches as to what was right and what was wrong. The only suggestion came from Senator Comyn, who stated that a good many people were bursting to pay, were so anxious to do so that they would be angry if the amendment was passed. The only remark made by the Minister was that the State could not afford it. There was no argument as regards the rights or the wrongs of the matter. The State should consider whether it is doing justice to all citizens before legislation is introduced, and not afterwards. The amendment speaks for itself. It is on the lines of one proposed last week, and I commend it to the House.

The whole policy of this Bill tends to legislate for one class. The good citizen who tries to meet his demands on all occasions is to get no consideration under it, or in any measure introduced by the Government. The Minister asked why the Government should be asked to disburse so much of the taxpayers' money. As farmers we contend that it is their money is to be disbursed. The Government stopped the payment of £5,000,000 yearly, £3,000,000 of which would be paid to the British Government as annuities. As a result farmers are losing six times as much as the Minister claims this proposal would cost. The Minister also stated that the farmers best able to pay were being asked to pay. That is doing something which is not right. It is giving justification, for one cause or another—roguery or otherwise—for refusing to pay liabilities, and placing that class on a higher plane than those who paid. The Government can say what they like about it, but I contend that if the amendment is passed, and if it is accepted by the Government, it will be only giving back to farmers a small portion of what is their own. This proposal or something as good as it was offered by ex-President Cosgrave. Practically all parties in the State agreed to it. I cannot understand why the Minister should get into a fuss and flurry about such an amendment being introduced. I thought that he would have no objection to it. I will support the amendment.

I want to reply briefly to a statement made by the Minister. He said that the amendment would involve the taxpayers finding £7,000,000 and he contended that that money would be better spent in another way, if it was to be spent at all. I want to tell the Minister that the British Government has collected, since the imposition of the special duties, probably £5,000,000 from the farmers of this State. This year I believe they will get the full £5,000,000, of which £3,000,000 are for annuities. Last year the British Government collected something like £2,000,000 so that the £7,000,000 which the Minister says the taxpayers would be called upon to pay have already been collected by the British. In that way the farmers of this country have paid a considerable amount. I agree that if £7,000,000 had to be found now it would be a considerable task. When dealing with the last Budget I pointed out that the Government could raise a loan for what is called "deferred annuities." That was to be done in the interests of people who had not paid for three years, whose liabilities would be funded. The loan was to be floated on the strength of these people paying up. The proposal in the amendment is to the same end. The greater portion owing is really due for the year ending 31st December, 1932. This unfortunate dispute with Great Britain broke out some time in June of last year. Up to that time the land annuities were well paid. The annuities for the half years ending June and December, 1932, and for the first half of this year were not paid. The amount owing for these three half years would about equal the amount which the British Government has collected on cattle and on the exports of farm produce.

If granted this concession the farmers concerned would be only recouped for moneys that have been already collected from them by the British Government. In future money collected for land annuities is going into the Exchequer here and will not be paid out. It amounts to about £4,000,000 a year. There will be £2,000,000 yearly going into the Exchequer which hitherto was paid to the British Government. To that extent the Exchequer will gain.

This is not taxpayers' money. It is really land annuities collectable in future from farmers. They will not be paid out, but will go into the Exchequer as new receipts. I consider that the amendment should be passed as a simple act of justice. I am not very anxious about the amendment because the money is going to be funded. I only owe one annuity. Senator Brown stated that the honest men had paid up. Last year both of the political parties promised relief to the farmers. On the hustings it was stated that farmers would not be asked to pay annuities in the immediate future on account of the economic war. Many men who lost considerably, and who have been losing all along, have been paying their way on the strength of that promise. Probably they did not pay the last annuity when it was due. It should not be stated that they are dishonest because they did not pay. They only "banked" on the statements made at the last election by both political parties. At least £2,000,000 will be new receipts in future; money that never went into the Exchequer before. The amendment only asks what is an act of simple justice to honest people, who should get the same terms as those who were dishonest enough not to pay for three years, and of other people who, in the good times, defaulted to the extent of £250,000, and who are being relieved without any fine. This is a financial matter but it was not discussed in the Dáil. The question is brought up here with the object of letting the public know how it stands. I trust the House will realize the gravity of the position, and see to it that justice is done to people who were honest enough to pay up to the last few years.

As there has been a lot of talk about honesty, it should be remembered that the question of arrears is not being raised now for the first time. It was raised in years gone by, by the British, and in every Land Bill that they introduced it was found necessary to deal with those who had not paid up. Otherwise, the whole question would be complicated. The matter is again being dealt with now, only that a great deal more is being forgiven than was ever forgiven before. The more you give the more you are asked for. Every bank that tries to settle up its outstanding accounts, every mercantile house has from time to time to wipe out a certain amount of bad debts. And these are bad debts which have to be wiped out because they cannot possibly be paid. The fact is that we have wiped out certain things and because we have wiped out these things in certain cases we are asked also to let off a great many other people. Certain allowances have been made to the poor man but now we are asked to give the same allowances to the rich man and we are told that he ought to be put in the same position as the poor man who was unable to pay. The curious thing is that the people who are pressing this matter are the very people who objected all along to any allowance being made to any of the people who are paying annuities. That is a most unreasonable thing, apart altogether from the fact that it would involve the State in £7,000,000. Senator Counihan and other Senators amongst the Opposition were furious at the idea that the annuities should be kept in this country or that the annuities should be allowed to certain people. It is curious that they are the people who are kicking up the row now.

It is the method by which they were being kept to which we objected——

Cathaoirleach

That does not arise now, Senator.

There is the money that the British have kept. Are you prepared to pay that to the farmers?

We have paid it. A lot of fancy figures have been put forward as to what the British have collected from us. We have collected from the British as much as they collected from us. The British are also suffering hardship. If you look at to-day's papers you will see meetings being held all over England demanding that this matter should be settled up at once.

They will get support for that in this country.

Everybody should know that this country is not able to let the annuity payers away with £7,000,000 and keep afloat. Still more would it be impossible to let them off all this money if the annuities were not being kept in the country.

I want to explain, in reference to a remark made by Senator Wilson, that I never said that it was only the honest men who had paid their annuities in full. I know very well that great numbers of honest men did not pay their annuities in full. We all know that there are numbers who are thoroughly honest who are not able to pay these annuities in full in the last year and a half. I have the greatest sympathy with these people. If they only were the subject of this amendment it would be easier to support it. However, I do think it is a matter of justice.

I have said already practically all I have to say on this matter. Senator Wilson said this is not the taxpayers' money. It is the taxpayers' money. The Exchequer of the Free State has a right to the land annuities, and this money would be used now for whatever social or economic policy that the money collected from the taxpayer in the ordinary way would be used. The land annuities will be used in exactly the same way as the moneys collected in the ordinary way in taxes. If money is not forthcoming from the land annuities and the Government and the people want a certain social and economic policy carried out and if these schemes cost money, that money will have to be got somewhere. Certainly it is much better to make the farmers who can pay, pay up rather than be levying it by general application on the taxpayers. If the Government were to forgo this, almost £8,000,000, and if they wanted to get £8,000,000 with which to go ahead with the economic and social upbuilding of this country, then they would have to impose taxation. If that taxation were imposed on articles of general consumption, the result would be that people who have insufficient at the moment, people who are on the breadline, would be asked to pay their share of these taxes and do so in order to provide money to be given to farmers who do not want it and who are not entitled to get it in the present circumstances.

These two amendments, taken together, would cost almost £8,000,000 —that is the new Section 17 as now amended by Section 5, and this amendment 6, which is going to introduce another new section. The philosophy at the back of it, whether Senators see it or not, is to force the Government to take from those who have insufficient money and give it to those who have more than they want. The land in this country is worth something. Otherwise there would not be so many people holding on to it and so much talk about it. The men who get money from the taxpayers should pay it back. This Government is the legal successor of the Government which asked the taxpayers of this country to back the bill for the tenants who purchased their lands. If the land is not worth having, the farmer can leave it and let the people who have nothing go in and take it and work it. If I were a Communist I would like to see this amendment go through. But because I want to see the rights of property protected I am against this thing which simply inflames people who have an insufficiency under the present social conditions. I trust that the Seanad will have sense enough not to pass this amendment. If they do pass it we will certainly get it rejected in the Dáil.

I am astonished to hear the Minister say this is going to cost the State £8,000,000. We used always to argue that when the British Government raised all this money to buy off the landlords of the country and give the land over to the occupying tenants, it incurred no liability whatever. The people who got the land, paid off the interest on the money that was raised and they also paid off the principal by the Sinking Fund. Until these late peculiarly equitable arrangements were made, I do not think the British taxpayer lost a farthing. If the people who are going to be put on those lands and those who are already in possession of those lands and to whom those concessions are to be made, are going to pay their land annuities, then as far as the Free State taxpayer is concerned there will be no claim whatsoever on him. I presume that the Government do not deny that these people are going to pay their annuities.

The credit of the Free State will be called into question because the funding arrangements will make it necessary for the Free State to borrow money. If the Minister were to put forward the argument that the credit of the Free State is at present being stretched very considerably, and if it were found that the arrangement that we are now making is going to stretch the credit of the Free State further, and if he were to say that he had doubts of the ability of the Free state to raise the money, then we would come down to healthy financial arguments. In the absence of that contention it is absurd to say that if the Free State raises money to purchase these holdings that is going to cost the taxpayer money. That cannot happen and there can be no loss if the annuities are going to be paid. It is only when the annuities fail to be paid that the taxpayer can be involved in any loss. Of course if the annuitants follow recent examples and refuse to pay the Free State Government, then the taxpayer who has put his name down to the borrowing of £7,000,000 or £8,000,000 is going to pay. It is only then that his liability operates. If the Minister put either of these arguments—that it was stretching the credit of the Free State too much to borrow money to carry this thing through or that there was a doubt that these annuities, even reduced, would always be paid until the debt was clear—then he was on sound ground.

He has put no argument forward to-day to show why this act of justice should not be done to the people. Probably when it comes to be debated in the Dáil, the House that has the right to deal with these money matters, we will hear whether there is a doubt as to the payment of these annuities or whether it is the over-stretching of the credit of the Free State which is going to prevent this thing being done. These two arguments have not been urged here, and I cannot see why this House should not do this act of justice to those who have done their best to keep up their payments.

I am in full support of the amendment. I cannot understand the Minister's argument. He says they are entitled to collect these sums from the farmers and the farmers are bound to pay. He argues that the taxpayers are on the bread-line and it would be unjust to put the farmers' burden on to them. It is no harm to remind the House that the Government have made it not alone difficult but completely impossible for the farmers to pay annuities either now or in the future. I understand farming fairly intimately and I know the Government have made it completely uneconomic and unsound. I consider it an act of tyranny, pure Communism, for any Government to threaten to nationalise the land in such a way that they will compel people to produce food at any cost.

Cathaoirleach

The Senator is going away from the amendment.

At all events they are trying to compel them to pay annuities at a time when they are unable to do so. It is strange that the Government will not accept so reasonable an amendment as this. In the present circumstances such an amendment is required. The farmers and farm labourers are on the bread-line. The farmers cannot continue to pay anything like a subsistence wage. I cannot understand the attitude of the Labour Party. They should have a big interest in agriculture. I suggest farmers and farm labourers will be wiped out unless this amendment is agreed to. It is necessary that reasonable conditions such as are proposed should be introduced.

I desire to support the amendment. In my opinion every citizen of the State should be in the same position. The Minister has not shown that the people who have paid their annuities are only the large farmers. As a matter of fact, I am given to understand that the smaller farmers have been less in arrear than the very large farmers. Therefore, the statement that you are promoting Communism is a thing I cannot agree with, because I believe that as many small farmers will benefit through this amendment as very large farmers. There is no hesitation on the part of the Government in wiping out all the arrears that have accrued over three years. What prospect have these men of meeting their reduced annuities? They have gone through what was probably the most prosperous period that Ireland has enjoyed for many years. Yet these men have allowed their annuities to go into arrears. It must be borne in mind that the annuities to-day are a very small charge upon any farm. In a great many instances the local rates are greater than the annuity instalment. It seems to me that the Government are trying to maintain the idle as against the industrious. Taking all the circumstances into consideration, I think the amendment should be accepted as part of the Government programme. I cannot see that it will be necessary to raise the very large sum that the Minister talks of to discharge what would only be equity for all the annuitants under the various Land Acts.

Instead of costing £7,000,000, as the Minister indicates, I believe it will not cost the State anything at all. Senator Jameson told the House extremely clearly, and far more ably than I could have, what the effect of that was going to be. The Minister stated that in many cases relief was not required because there are farmers in this country who are better off than they ever were before. There may be a few people with big farms and good land who have done well, but taking the general run of men living on mixed farms, although they may gain a little if their wheat is millable, it will only go a small way towards making up what they are losing in other directions. I would like to see the Minister or any of his colleagues starting in the mountains in the west of Ireland, taking cattle to a fair and waiting for a sale from two o'clock in the morning. I think in such circumstances they would change their minds about the profit they might make.

Senators Jameson and The McGillycuddy spoke about the cost and have shown that this amendment, contrary to what the Minister pointed out, would not cost the taxpayer anything. I do not remember the details, but I have a fairly clear impression that in the discussion on the year's finances the Minister for Finance was criticised very severely from some quarters because he had the temerity to treat the deferred payments of these annuities as a security upon which he could build his year's Budget. I think the figure is round about £2,000,000. It may be true, as Senator Jameson says, that it would not be necessary to raise that sum in taxation, but I take it that both the Senators who have spoken are not only confirming or approving of the action of the Minister for Finance, but are urging him to extend it by another £8,000,000.

Amendment put.
The Seanad divided: Tá: 23; Níl: 16.

  • Bigger, Sir Edward Coey.
  • Brown, K.C., Samuel L.
  • Browne, Miss Kathleen.
  • Costello, Mrs.
  • Counihan, John C.
  • Crosbie, George.
  • Dillon, James.
  • Douglas, James G.
  • Duggan, E. J.
  • Fanning, Michael.
  • Garahan, Hugh.
  • Gogarty, Dr. O. St. John.
  • Griffith, Sir John Purser.
  • Jameson, Right Hon. Andrew.
  • Keane, Sir John.
  • Kennedy, Cornelius.
  • McGillycuddy of the Reeks, The
  • Milroy, Seán.
  • O'Connor, Joseph.
  • O'Hanlon, M.F.
  • Parkinson, James J.
  • Toal, Thomas.
  • Wilson, Richard.

Níl

  • Chléirigh, Caitlín Bean Uí.
  • Connolly, Joseph.
  • Duffy, Michael.
  • Farren, Thomas.
  • Foran, Thomas.
  • Johnson, Thomas.
  • Linehan, Thomas.
  • MacEllin, Séan E.
  • MacKean, James.
  • MacFarland, D. H.
  • Moore, Colonel.
  • O'Neill, L.
  • Phaoraigh, Siobhán Bean an
  • Quirke, William.
  • Robinson, David L.
  • Robinson, Séumas.
Tellers:—Tá: Senators The McGilly cuddy and Crosbie; Níl: Senators S. Robinson and D. Robinson.
Amendment declared carried.

I move amendment No. 7:—

Section 19, sub-section (2). To delete in lines 16-19 the words and brackets "(other than a purchase annuity in repayment of an advance made to an owner of land for the repurchase of such land otherwise than under Section 11 of the Land Act, 1927)."

This amendment and Section 11 are interwoven and consequential on amendment 17 on the Order Paper. I should like to have your ruling, a Chathaoirligh, as to whether we can discuss both amendments together.

Cathaoirleach

I think the better course would be to argue both amendments together and then no new arguments will arise when amendment No. 17 comes on.

This amendment is consequential on the new section which it is proposed to insert under amendment No. 17. Certain farmers in this country used their savings in purchasing the fee simple of their land during the last ten, 12 or 15 years. Instead of putting their savings into British War Loan or other foreign securities they put them into their land and redeemed the land of all incumbrances. As matters have developed, instead of that being a wise act, it now appears very foolish under the policy of the present Government which proposes to relieve any land vested under the Land Commission of half the annuities due on it. Two parties in the State have agreed to the process of remitting half the annuities to people who own vested land. It could be contended that any relief given to the farmers might be given in other ways. It could be contended that it might be given by way of derating or in some other way, but at all events the Government has decided, and it was the policy of the late Government too, that the relief should be given by the remission of half the annuities. In legislation Governments should take care not to make an exception of any particular class, particularly when they are dealing with farmers. In adopting this principle of remitting half the annuities, they are putting a very big burden on the farmers who hold their land in fee simple. They are putting on them the burden of increased rates together with the many other hardships which have flown from the economic war and the depression of the last few years. It is not just or fair that there should not be equal treatment for every farmer. In this case, one farmer may have a farm, say, of 50 acres, and his neighbour in the same locality who holds his land in fee simple, may have a farm of the same area. The first farmer who was paying, say, an annuity of £150 a year to the Land Commission, will now get a reduction in his annuity of £70 or £75, whereas the other farmer, although he has suffered similarly owing to the depression and the economic war, because he has already bought out his annuities, gets no consideration.

Since the economic war started, and even for a year or so before it, farmers everywhere fell into a bad financial state. That has happened some of the very best farmers in the country. The farmers who were able to save money and buy out their lands when times were good and who now hold these lands in fee simple, are certainly the most desirable class of farmers. They are the farmers who gave most employment and I think they are entitled to any relief that other farmers may get. Senator Jameson previously put the case as to the liability of the State very plainly and I shall not attempt to argue it further. In this particular instance, all I ask is that these owners in fee simple should be allowed to apply to the Land Commission to have their land purchased from them by the Land Commission and also that the Land Commission may resell the whole or portion of such land to these farmers. The only loss that will entail to the State will be the halving of the land annuities, and the halving of the land annuities for the particular class which this amendment covers, I am informed, will only involve a sum of £25,000 or £30,000, if one may call it a loss, because the halving of the land annuities in other cases is made a feature of this Bill.

It is very hard to understand the attitude of the Government on this matter. If I understand the position properly, a man who is paying his land annuities is entitled to an alternative holding if his holding does not exceed £2,000 in value whereas other classes of farmers are not entitled to an alternative holding. I think the Minister should direct his attention to that anomaly because there is no justification whatever for it. These two farmers, except in the nature of tenure of their land, are in identically similar circumstances. It was simply due to an accident, an unfortunate accident, that one man became a free holder and the other man paid an annuity. Why this difference should be made between them now it seems impossible to understand. I should like also to reinforce the points Senator Counihan has made. There appears to be a penalty on thrift. If a man borrows money there is always the chance that he need not pay, but the man who uses his own money, of course, is alone responsible for it and he has to bear any loss. I assure the Minister that it is not only in the case of land that that spirit is growing everywhere in the country. It is really an encouragement to new debt in the hope that under some political blanket or other, the debtor will be freed from his obligations. That is a very serious matter and I hope the Seanad will carry this amendment.

Senator Counihan says that there is going to be a loss to the State in this case. Does the owner of the fee-simple land pay anything to the Government except ordinary taxation?

That is all.

If he does not pay anything and if you substitute an annuity there cannot be any loss to the State. I do not quite understand how the State is going to lose anything under the amendment except what was mentioned before. If the owner of a fee-simple estate gets his land back on the terms of paying an annuity, if he does not pay that annuity then the State is interested. But if he is a good mark and pays his annuity the State is not interested, except in the way we were discussing by reason of the capital.

He will only pay back half the amount. They will advance the full amount.

The State will only borrow the amount of money required to deal with the matter.

They will have to pay him back in full according to the 1923 Act.

We want to know where the loss is going to occur.

Under the 1923 Act a landlord who sold his tenanted land to the Land Commission was then entitled to offer all his land, including demesne land, to the Land Commission and they were to buy at an amount which would produce the third-term annuity at 4¾ per cent. I am only asking for the tenant farmers now the same terms as were given to the landlords under the 1923 Act, in very different circumstances. The State will lose between £25,000 and £30,000, because they will be put on the same level as the vested owner, and will only be required to pay half the annuity.

I am surprised to know that the Land Commission have not got these powers. I thought they had power to purchase land especially at a price which, in their opinion, represents the selling price. I wonder that Senator Counihan has not preferred to put in his definition of market value here.

The market value of the 1923 Act.

We are not talking of the 1923 Act in this, but of the 1933 Bill. I should like to know definitely whether this gives the Land Commission powers they have not already got. Even if they had those powers, there is nothing in the section to oblige the Land Commission to use them.

At the present time the Land Commission have power to buy an estate and, if they are sub-dividing it, they may sell portion of it to the original owner. This amendment, however, involves millions of money. There is no means of estimating it. Senator Counihan says £25,000 yearly, which, capitalised, might mean £500,000. I think £25,000 is very much under the mark. The proposal is that the State is to raise some number of million pounds and give it to farmers, who have neither rent nor annuity to pay, as a loan, and only ask them to pay half of it back. If the State had money to throw away it can find a much better way than that to do it. The Land Purchase Acts were drafted with a view to enabling farmers to purchase their land and to substitute for an interminable rent to the landlord a terminable annuity to the Land Commission, and they all got reductions. If this amendment were carried the Land Commission would have to provide many millions of pounds and give that money as a loan to farmers who are the best-off farmers in the community, having no rent or annuity to pay, and they could only ask them for half of it back. There is no sense or reason in the amendment.

Might I ask the Minister to deal with the point I made?

Senator Sir John Keane spoke to amendment 11, as far as I remember.

The Minister stated that this would involve millions and I should like to know if he got the Land Commission to make an estimate of what it would cost.

That is their estimate.

Millions might mean anything. I am informed that it will only mean a loss to the State of between £25,000 and £30,000 per year.

Capitalise that.

£25,000 or £30,000 does not mean very much to the Government in some of their actions. The farmer who owns, say, £4,000 or £5,000 worth of land may offer that to the Land Commission. The Land Commission may buy that and they may resell to him. Under this Bill they would not give him a reduction of half the annuity. If the man with 60 acres, whom I am pleading for, offers land to the Land Commission, the Land Commission shall buy and may resell to him or they may not resell to him. There is no compulsion in it. They may not resell to him. I want to put all the farmers in the same position. That is not done with that class of farmer. He will get no reduction—none of the concessions which the farmer who has vested land and is paying an annuity to the Land Commission will get. I think it is only justice to accept the amendment.

Cathaoirleach

I think it would be better to put the first amendment and, if the Seanad agrees with that, then to put the other when we come to it. If the first one is not carried, the second one will, obviously, be of no advantage.

That is so.

Amendment 7 put.
The Seanad divided: Tá, 15; Níl, 16.

  • Browne, Miss Kathleen.
  • Costello, Mrs.
  • Counihan, John C.
  • Crosbie, George.
  • Dillon, James.
  • Duggan, E.J.
  • Fanning, Michael.
  • Keane, Sir John.
  • Kennedy, Cornelius.
  • Milroy, Seán.
  • O'Connor, Joseph.
  • O'Hanlon, M.F.
  • O'Rourke, Brian.
  • Toal, Thomas.
  • Wilson, Richard.

Níl

  • Chléirigh, Caitlín Bean Uí.
  • Connolly, Joseph.
  • Duffy, Michael.
  • Farren, Thomas.
  • Foran, Thomas.
  • Johnson, Thomas.
  • Linehan, Thomas.
  • MacEllin, Seán E.
  • Mackean, James.
  • MacParland, D.H.
  • Moore, Colonel.
  • O'Neill, L.
  • Phaoraigh, Siobhán Bean an
  • Quirke, William.
  • Robinson, David L.
  • Robinson, Séumas.
Tellers:—Tá: Senators Counihan and Milroy; Níl: Senators S. Robinson and D. Robinson.
Amendment declared lost.

I move amendment No. 8:—

Section 26, sub-section (3). To delete the sub-section and to substitute the following two sub-sections therefore:—

(3) No deficiency in the Purchase Annuities Fund or the Land Bond Fund arising from the non-payment of any instalment of a purchase annuity or a revised annuity or any other annual payment which accrues due after the passing of this Act shall be a charge upon the Guarantee Fund.

(4) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (4) of Section 1 of the Land Act, 1923, as amended by Section 3 of the Land Bond Act, 1925, no sum paid after the passing of this Act out of the Central Fund of Saorstát Eireann or the growing produce thereof under the provisions of the said sub-section shall be a charge upon or made good out of the Guaarntee Fund.

The House will remember that, on the Committee Stage, it accepted, on an amendment in the name of Senator Wilson, the principle that, in future, arrears of annuities will not be made good by the ratepayers but by the taxpayers. That, in brief, is the principle which the House accepted. I realised at the time that the amendment was not in proper legal shape. I have had it put in legal form in the meantime. There are two amendments, of which No. 8 is the first. The first sub-section of the amendment says that "No deficiency in the Purchase Annuities Fund or the Land Bond Fund arising from the non-payment of any instalment of a purchase annuity or a revised annuity," and so on, "shall be a charge upon the Guarantee Fund." The purpose of sub-section (4) is to deal with any deficiency arising out of the Land Bond Fund. I think this amendment is necessary in order to put the whole proposition into legal shape. I do not think I need argue it any further.

The Guarantee Fund was started in order that the British Government might have a double security for the payment of the bondholders. It has been retained now in order that the Government may have a double security for the portion of the land annuities accruing to the Exchequer. If this amendment were carried, the annual Budget estimate made by the Minister for Finance would be very liable to error. As the matter stands, the Minister for Finance can estimate with exactness the amount of money he is going to get into the Exchequer during the year out of land annuities because if the land annuities are not paid up he can recoup himself out of the Guarantee Fund. This matter was pretty well thrashed out on the last day. It was debated at length on the amendment which Senator Sir John Keane now proposes to delete, and I think that there is practically no more to be said on the matter. The Minister for Finance wants to be sure that when estimating in his Budget for certain sums of money on foot of land annuities his estimate is correct and it is for that reason we are refusing to accept the amendment to abolish the Guarantee Fund.

I agree with the Minister that there is not much more to be said, but I must ask the House to let me deal with the new point the Minister has raised. Of course, the Minister for Finance wants to be as sure as he can of his Budget proposals but why should he claim privilege over the local authorities? The local authorities have an equal right to be sure of their Budgetary proposals, and if they are liable at any moment to have their grant mulcted in unpaid arrears of annuities, they cannot budget any more than the Minister for Finance and, remember, they have not got the remedy in their hands. The Minister for Finance, as the central government, has the remedy, that is, to collect the annuities. The local authorities who are penalised have not got the remedy. I do not think there is a soul in the country who does not want this amendment and I think that if you took a plebiscite on this amendment there would not be 10 per cent. of the country against it. If the Government will not give way I hope the House will carry the amendment.

Might I say a word before you put the amendment?

Cathaoirleach

It is hardly in order, Senator.

Amendment put.
The Seanad divided:—Tá, 19; Níl, 16.

  • Bigger, Sir Edward Coey.
  • Brown, Samuel L., K.C.
  • Browne, Miss Kathleen.
  • Costello, Mrs.
  • Counihan, John C.
  • Crosbie, George.
  • Dillon, James.
  • Douglas, James G.
  • Duggan, E. J.
  • Fanning, Michael.
  • Griffith, Sir John Purser.
  • Jameson, Right Hon. Andrew.
  • Keane, Sir John.
  • Kennedy, Cornelius.
  • Milroy, Seán.
  • O'Hanlon, M.F.
  • O'Rourke, Brian.
  • Toal, Thomas.
  • Wilson, Richard.

Níl

  • Chléirigh, Caitlín Bean Uí.
  • Connolly, Joseph.
  • Duffy, Michael.
  • Farren, Thomas.
  • Foran, Thomas.
  • Johnson, Thomas.
  • Linehan, Thomas.
  • MacEllin, Seán E.
  • MacKean, James.
  • MacParland, D. H.
  • Moore, Colonel.
  • O'Neill, L.
  • Phaoraigh, Siobhán Bean an.
  • Quirke, William.
  • Robinson, David L.
  • Robinson, Séamus.
Tellers:—Tá: Senators Sir John Keane and Milroy; Níl: Senators D. Robinson and S. Robinson.
Amendment declared carried.

I move amendment No. 9:—

Section 27, sub-section (2). To delete the new sub-section inserted before the sub-section in Committee.

This amendment merely deletes the amendment which was carried on Committee Stage and which the amendment which has just been carried replaces.

Cathaoirleach

This is really necessary to make the Bill homogeneous.

Amendment put and declared carried.

I move amendment No. 10:—

Section 27. To add at the end of the section a new sub-section as follows:—

(4) All deficiencies in the Land Bond Fund arising from the non-payment of any instalment of a purchase annuity or a revised annuity or any other annual sum which accrues due after the passing of this Act shall, to such extent and at such time or times as the Minister for Finance shall direct, be made good to that Fund out of moneys to be provided by the Oireachtas.

This is also part of the amendment supplementary to amendment No. 8 just carried. It is considered necessary by counsel to insert this amendment. It simply sets out how any deficiencies arising in the Land Bond Fund—the Fund purely in the possession and under the management of the Free State—have to be dealt with and if the deficiency is not to fall on the rates it obviously has to fall on the taxes. That is all this amendment says.

This amendment is really part of amendment No. 8, and I take it that the vote on amendment No. 8 has settled it so far as the Seanad is concerned.

Amendment put and declared carried.

I move amendment 11:—

Section 29, sub-section (1). To delete in lines 43-44 the words and brackets "(in this section referred to as the declared land)" and after the figures "24" in line 45 to insert the words "or held in fee simple or fee farm or for lives renewable for ever (in this section referred to as the declared land)".

The purpose of the amendment is to ensure that, where the Land Commission acquire a farm held in fee simple or under the terms set out in the amendment, the owner can demand an alternative holding. The acceptance of the amendment will give him a right to demand an alternative holding if his land is acquired for the relief of unemployment or for any of the other purposes set out in the Bill.

Neither the Seanad nor the Dáil considered an amendment of this kind necessary from 1923 to 1933. There were three Land Bills passed by the Dáil and Seanad during that period, and in none of them was the owner of these particular classes of holdings given the right to get an alternative holding. In this Bill we are giving a certain amount of protection to lands which were hitherto unprotected, namely, judicial holdings and fee simple untenanted lands. Hitherto, such lands could be acquired, and acquired outright, for the relief of congestion, no matter what system an owner had adopted for the working of his land. Even if he had his land tilled and was giving employment to the greatest possible extent, the position was, as the law stood, that he was left unprotected.

He had the right of appeal to the judicial commissioner.

The judicial commissioner had not anything to say to it. If land was required for the relief of congestion, then the judicial commissioner and the Land Commission were required by law to take the land and divide it among congests. The relief of congestion meant that if there were one or two people in any locality, congests and uneconomic holders for whom land was required, the Land Commission could take in any part of the country estates such as those covered by this amendment, and give portion of them to congests or to migrants for the purpose of, say, relieving congestion in Mayo or Galway, and divide the rest amongst the landless men. We have given this protection in this Bill: that where the owner of untenanted land, fee simple land, or land which was purchased, is giving an adequate amount of employment and producing an adequate amount of food, he can only be disturbed, to any extent, for the relief of congestion in the immediate locality or for the provision of sports fields. As I have said, it was not considered necessary to insert an amendment of this kind in any of the Land Bills passed between 1923 and 1933. Further, the protection that we are giving in this Bill was not given to these particular classes of holdings up to the present time.

I think the Minister must be mixing up different classes of tenancies. I understand that under the 1923 Act and subsequent Acts there was the right of appeal to the judicial commissioner as to whether a farm should be acquired or not. All that I am asking in this amendment is that, where a man has less than £2,000 worth of land, he must get an alternative holding if his own holding is acquired. If the amendment is accepted he will be in the position that he can demand from the Land Commission an alternative holding of the value of the one acquired from him. If the amendment is not accepted, then the Land Commission can dispossess that man and give him only the market value of the holding, without the right of appeal.

These holdings were dealt with under previous Acts and the judicial commissioner was bound by the law, as everybody else was.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment 12:

Section 29, sub-section (1). To delete in lines 52-53 the words and figures "the sum of £2,000" and to substitute therefor the words and figures "where the land in question, or portion of such land, is situated within a radius of 15 miles from any of the cities of Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford the sum of £4,000, and where such land is situated elsewhere the sum of £3,000."

This amendment really represents an alteration in the value of the land which a man may hold in the neighbourhood of the four cities of the Free State—Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford. I propose to change the figure in respect of land adjacent to these cities from £2,000 to £4,000 and the value elsewhere from £2,000 to £3,000. The reason why a differentiation should be made is that land in the neighbourhood of cities is more valuable than land in other parts of the country. Such land has a locality value. The amount of land represented in the neighbourhood of cities by £4,000 would be smaller than the amount represented elsewhere by the same figure. If the Minister had investigated the amount of rent per acre in the neighbourhood of these cities he would find that it would be about three times as high as the rent elsewhere. The rent paid per acre represents the value of the land. The rent is simply an annuity to pay off the advance made on the land. This amendment represents an attempt to give a reasonable amount of land in the neighbourhood of cities—an amount equivalent to what would be represented by a smaller sum of money elsewhere.

There would be a great deal to be said for this amendment if it were not for the fact that it goes on, after mentioning of the £4,000, to declare that the figure of £2,000 for other parts of the country is to be converted into £3,000. If that were omitted, I should be inclined to support the amendment, because I think that land quite close to one of these cities has a proximity value, and is, therefore, more valuable than land elsewhere.

What is the objection to giving a tenant occupier more than £2,000 worth of land?

Because the whole Bill is based on £2,000.

I want to get into Senator Wilson's head, if I can, that he is wrong in stating that this Bill fixes a limit of £2,000 on the value of land which any farmer can own. He said that on the last day and I corrected him. He has repeated it to-day. The limit is only so far as a man can own land and misuse it. If a man uses his land, gives employment and produces an adequate amount of food, the Bill imposes no limit on the extent to which he can own land. There is a limit of £2,000 on the value of land which a man can own and misuse. We think that, in present circumstances, we can very well afford to ignore land up to a value of £2,000. There may come a time when we cannot do that. In Japan, a five-acre farm is a ranch, and they could not afford to allow £2,000 worth of land to be misused. We can, in present circumstances, limit State interference to this extent, because our experience has proved that, roughly, up to £2,000 in market value lands are well worked on the whole throughout the country. Very few holdings under £2,000 in value are not being properly worked.

We dealt at some length with the proximity value of land the last day. Senator Wilson is wrong, again, in thinking that because a rent or annuity is high near a city that increases the value of land. As a matter of fact, as the rent or annuity on land goes up, the value comes down and, as the value comes down, the area covered by £2,000 increases. I do not think that, in present circumstances, the amendment gives a true indication of the proximity value of land for agricultural purposes. Twenty years ago, before the coming of the motor lorry and modern means of transport, land near a city to which a horse-vehicle could conveniently travel and return in a day or half a day was very much more valuable than land further removed from towns and cities. That is not so at present. Fifteen miles is no journey for a motor vehicle. I do not think that the amendment meets the situation which Senator Wilson intends to meet. If rateable valuation was any indication of the real value of land, we might be able to do something along these lines. When we started on this Land Bill, I had in mind a limit based upon rateable valuation rather than upon market value—a £50 or a £100 valuation instead of a figure of £2,000 as market value. But the present rateable valuation is no indication of the real value of land. The valuation was made 80 years ago. Since then, through the work of the occupier, some holdings have increased in value, while other holdings, which were then good, arable land, have since, owing to the neglect of the occupier, gone back to wilderness conditions. What the Senator has in mind cannot, I think, be provided for in this Bill in the present conditions owing to the wide divergence of rateable valuation and the true value of land. If that could have been done, we would have provided for it in the Bill. All we can do is to rely upon the good judgment of the Land Commission to take into consideration what we have in mind in the ordinary administration of the law.

I would like if the Minister could explain how forestry land and timber is dealt with in this Bill. I dare say it is all right, but I want to get information.

The Minister stated that a high annuity makes for low value. I was not able to follow that argument.

The higher the annuity the lower the market value.

When the amount of the capitalised annuity is taken into account there will be nothing left.

The annuity is a liability.

When reckoning value it has always been the rule that market value will be the fee simple value after deducting the capitalised value of the annuity. I contend that the Minister is looking at the value from the wrong angle. The other point I wish to make is that land within 15 miles of these ports is both useful and valuable to owners for accommodation purposes. A man may have a farm in Westmeath, Donegal, or in any other part of the State, but Dublin may be his shipping port. He would get land within 14 or 15 miles of Dublin for the purpose of having his cattle walked into Dublin before being shipped to England, or to be sold in the Dublin market. The same would apply to Cork, Waterford and Limerick, which are shipping ports for live stock. For that reason the amount mentioned in the Bill is very limited. When everything is taken into account the amount should be £4,000. Senator Brown stated that he would support the amendment if the figures £3,000 at the end of the amendment, were excluded. If Senator Wilson agrees, I suggest that the figures £3,000 should be eliminated, and that the rest of the amendment should stand.

Cathaoirleach

Does the House agree to the proposed change?

Mr. Dillon rose.

Cathaoirleach

I am afraid I cannot allow you to speak now, Senator. You could only do so if closing the debate.

There must be a certain amount of proximity value, and if £4,000 would represent that value near Dublin and the other cities, £2,000 would represent it in other centres.

Cathaoirleach

I think the amendment must go as it stands.

Amendment put.
The Seanad divided:—Tá, 16; Níl, 15.

  • Barniville, Dr. Henry L.
  • Costello, Mrs.
  • Counihan, John C.
  • Crosbie, George.
  • Dillon, James.
  • Duggan, E.J.
  • Fanning, Michael.
  • Garahan, Hugh.
  • Griffith, Sir John Purser.
  • Keane, Sir John.
  • Kennedy, Cornelius.
  • Milroy, Seán.
  • O'Connor, Joseph.
  • O'Rourke, Brian.
  • Toal, Thomas.
  • Wilson, Richard.

Níl

  • Chléirigh, Caitlín Bean Uí.
  • Connolly, Joseph.
  • Duffy, Michael.
  • Farren, Thomas.
  • Foran, Thomas.
  • Johnson, Thomas.
  • Linehan, Thomas.
  • MacEllin, Seán E.
  • MacKean, James.
  • MacParland, D. H.
  • Moore, Colonel.
  • O'Neill, L.
  • Quirke, William.
  • Robinson, David L.
  • Robinson, Séamus.
Tellers:—Tá: Senators Counihan and Wilson; Níl: Senators Séamus Robinson and D.L. Robinson.
Amendment declared carried.

Cathaoirleach

Amendment 13 is consequential.

It is. I move amendment 13:

Section 29, sub-section (1). To delete in line 60 the figures "£2,000" and to substitute therefor the figures and words "£4,000 or £3,000 according to the situation of the land as defined in this sub-section."

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment 14:

Section 29, sub-section (2). To insert before the sub-section a new sub-section as follows:—

(2) Where a tenant or proprietor is the owner of two holdings in the same locality, the market value of each of which exceeds £2,000 and on one of which such tenant or proprietor or the wife or husband of such tenant or proprietor resides and one of which, or portion of one of which, holdings is declared land, the Land Commission shall at the request of such tenant or proprietor withdraw the declaration that the declared land is required for the relief of congestion, and may declare the other of such holdings, or such portion thereof as the Land Commission think proper, to be required for the relief of congestion.

On the Committee Stage of the Bill I moved an amendment which is, with the exception of two or three words— very important words I admit—exactly the same as this one. It applies to the case of a tenant or proprietor who is the owner of two holdings both of which have a market value of over £2,000. He resides in one of them and works the two of them. The object of the amendment is that if the proprietor has two holdings of this kind worth over £2,000 the Land Commission would take the one which will do him the least harm. The holding which the Land Commission proposes to take for the relief of congestion may be the one which, owing to the mode in which he works the two, is the one that is vital to him. When I moved this amendment on the Committee Stage it was objected, and very reasonably objected, that the tenant or proprietor might have two holdings miles apart. I saw the force of that at once. I have accordingly introduced into the amendment, as you will see, the words "in the same locality." That, I submit, gets rid of the objection, a quite fair objection, which was made that the amendment would not work properly. The other objection which was made was that the farm which the Land Commission did not ask to take over for the purpose of relieving congestion might not be as fit for the relief of congestion as the other. But where both farms are in the same locality, that objection can have very little force. The lands must be of the same quality, and as both would be over £2,000 market value the Land Commission will have as good a chance of relieving congestion by taking one farm as by taking the other. It does not make it compulsory on them. The amendment only gives the option to the tenant or proprietor as to which of the two farms the Land Commission should take over.

I think I can show Senator Brown that the only thing to do in this matter is to leave it to the discretion of the Land Commission in the sure hope that they will act fairly in the matter. As to the owner of the land there is no practical difference to him whether he holds two receivable orders from the Land Commission or whether he holds only one. Whether he has £4,000 worth of land or £5,000 worth of land, it is all the same to him from the point of view of working his land. When the Land Commission approaches him if the man owns £4,000 worth of land and if they proceed to take portion of his holding that is very vital to him it would be a small consolation to the man who holds his land under a single receivable order to know that the man who has two receivable orders can direct the Land Commission as to which portion of his holding they are to take. As this amendment reads, if a man had £4,500 worth of land each of the portions of it should be worth over £2,000. If, for instance, a man had £3,000 worth of a holding in one section and £1,000 worth in the other they would not come under the terms of the amendment.

I agree.

I think the only thing to do is to leave it to the discretion of the Land Commission, and I am perfectly sure that consistent with the urge for the relief of congestion they will treat the owners of land fairly in the matter. Whether a man has one or two holdings or whether one of them is worth £1,000 and the other £3,000, he will be treated fairly.

I do not think that the Minister's point as to whether a man has one or two receivable orders has really met the point that I made. The kind of farmer that I am thinking of is the man who originally had only one holding. I am thinking of the larger farmer who originally only had one holding. By his industry and the way he worked his farm he has acquired another fairly large holding. He works the two holdings from the original holding and yet the second holding may be so vital to his working of the two that, if he loses it, no amount of land bonds will be any consolation to him. I urge the House to support the amendment.

Exactly the same situation would arise where a man would have the two holdings consolidated in the one receivable order.

Cathaoirleach

Supposing a man had a residential holding worth about £2,100, out of which he might make nothing at all, would it not be very important that he should get an alternative holding out of which he could make a living and let his imaginary lucrative holding go by the board?

Amendment put.
The Seanad divided: Tá, 22; Níl, 16.

  • Barniville, Dr. Henry L.
  • Bigger, Sir Edward Coey.
  • Brown, Samuel L., K.C.
  • Browne, Miss Kathleen.
  • Costello, Mrs.
  • Counihan, John C.
  • Crosbie, George.
  • Dillon, James.
  • Douglas, James G.
  • Duggan, E.J.
  • Fanning, Michael.
  • Garahan, Hugh.
  • Griffith, Sir John Purser.
  • Jameson, Right Hon. Andrew.
  • Keane, Sir John.
  • Kennedy, Cornelius.
  • Milroy, Seán.
  • O'Connor, Joseph.
  • O'Hanlon, M.F.
  • O'Rourke, Brian.
  • Toal, Thomas.
  • Wilson, Richard.

Níl

  • Chléirigh, Caitlín Bean Uí.
  • Connolly, Joseph.
  • Duffy, Michael.
  • Farren, Thomas.
  • Foran, Thomas.
  • Johnson, Thomas.
  • Linehan, Thomas.
  • MacEllin, Seán E.
  • MacKean, James.
  • MacParland, D.H.
  • Moore, Colonel.
  • O'Neill, L.
  • Phaoraigh, Siobhán Bean an
  • Quirke, William.
  • Robinson, David L.
  • Robinson, Séamus.
Tellers:—Tá: Senators Brown and Douglas; Níl: Senators S. Robinson and D.L. Robinson.
Amendment declared carried.

I beg to move amendment 15:—

Section 29. To add at the end of the section a new sub-section as follows:—

(8) Nothing in this section shall empower the Land Commission to declare that any land which is held by and used for the purposes of a religious community, or which is used in connection with a school or college or with a sanatorium or private mental home is required for the purpose of relieving congestion.

We had this amendment in a very restricted form on the Committee Stage, and it was the desire of everybody that it should be changed. The amendment considered in Committee took in religious communities—only a few of the schools and colleges which own land that ought to be left outside the scope of the Bill. This amendment includes the land owned by these religious communities and by all other educational establishments, schools and colleges; and also land which is attached to sanatoria or private mental homes. These should be left out of the scope of the Bill. There is good necessity for such an amendment as this. I do not say the present Government would have any intention of meddling with the land attached to such institutions. But the present Government, or a Government which moved on the lines of the last Government, may not always be in power. We have seen changes in other countries coming about very rapidly. Take the case of Spain where, when a new form of Government came in it made an immediate attack upon such institutions. That is not impossible in this country. We have Communistic societies in being here. There was one very strong one in existence at the passing of the Public Safety Act. It was a very objectionable society known as Saor Eire. That society, when the present Government came into office, dropped its name, but only dropped its name. The object of that society is to bring about a Communistic form of Government. I do not accuse, and none of us accuse, the present Government of Communistic tendencies. What we do accuse them of is that they are setting the stage for a Communistic form of Government. They are impoverishing the country. Under their régime the demoralisation of the country is going on so rapidly that it gives encouragement to those who are interested in advancing the Communistic cause. We accuse the Government of preparing the way for them much better than they could do it themselves. If the Communists acted openly feeling would be aroused against them. There is very good reason why those religious institutions, and the lands belonging to schools and colleges, and such bodies, should be safeguarded by an amendment such as this. In the absence of such an amendment there are certain schools and colleges in the country which would be the objects of persecution at once by such people. These schools are taught by lay teachers and do not belong to religious at all.

There are certain schools and colleges taught by secular priests, not by religious communities. They own a certain amount of land which is very necessary for them, and from necessity these lands must always be in grass. I know, for a fact, from my own personal observation, that farms belonging to certain schools and institutions are objects of envy, and are pointed to by a certain class of persons as places that ought to be divided among the landless men. In order to safeguard these establishments I ask the House to pass this amendment. I cannot understand why the Government would not accept it. I did not understand the Minister's very curt reply without any explanation, in refusing Senator Garahan's amendment on the last occasion when it was moved. This amendment is much wider in scope, and necessarily so. The lands that belong to those mental homes are not assisted by any State money. They are in private hands and a certain amount of land is necessary for them. We know that in other countries lands belonging to schools, religious and otherwise, are exempted from taxation and even from rates; they are absolutely free. I would like if possible that the Minister should accept this amendment and I hope, if he refuses to accept it, that the House will insist on having it inserted in the Bill. I think it is a most necessary amendment.

I put my name to this amendment because I think it is a very useful one to introduce into the Bill. In my opinion it is essential that religious communities and also institutions dealing with education and institutions dealing with the treatment of the mentally weak should have land attached to them. It is essential for the economic existence of those institutions. They have large numbers of people to feed and look after, and I think it is well indeed that land should be left to them and secured to them. I should not at all wonder if the Government, finding that such an institution was without land, should help it to acquire such land as was necessary. I do not anticipate, for a moment, that the present Government would take land from those institutions. But the fact of having on the Statute Book power to do so might be an invitation to some other Government which might succeed the present Government and might not have the same ideas of what is proper in this respect, to take such land. But not only do these reasons actuate me in supporting this amendment, but there is the further reason that so far as my knowledge goes, and I have pretty good knowledge of how these institutions are managed, I find they are managed extremely well. I think they afford an excellent example of how land should be managed. In fact, a good farm attached to one of these institutions is in effect a model farm serving as an example to others, run on the lines of a State farm without the cost that such a State farm would be to the Department of Agriculture. It is a good example, and the knowledge gained by people who get in touch with farms managed by these institutions is very helpful and is an education in itself. It is hardly necessary for anyone to put forward reasons why the Government should leave this land to these institutions. I am putting forward reasons to try and induce the Minister to accept this amendment in order to prevent people who might desire to do so in future interfering with these lands.

I rise to support this amendment and in order to use whatever influence I may possess to secure, if possible, its acceptance. To take land from religious communities would be contrary to the ideas and the opinions that we have held for generations, and I think that the Government should have no hesitation in accepting this amendment. When it was proposed on the last day, I asked the proposer to enlarge the scope of the amendment so as to include religious communities of every denomination, sanatoria or any institution in possession of land which was used for the purpose of that institution. I can speak from my own experience of one institution in County Kildare, Clongowes, to which there is attached a very large area of land. They keep from 40 to 60 cows. The land attached to that institution is of great help to the community and enables them to carry on the education of the young people committed to their charge. They are able to produce food of all descriptions for their own consumption. I can also mention the case of Carlow Asylum of which I happened to be Governor. I assisted in getting some 50 acres for the institution. It is looked upon as one of the best managed institutions of its kind in the country. It has been stated on examination of the accounts of that institution that it is almost self-supporting. Of course it is admitted that they have cheap labour, but the medical superintendent there is a very intelligent gentleman and manages the institution very efficiently. The fact that this large area of land is attached to the institution enables them to employ these inmates profitably and to their own advantage. That institution I know to be one of the greatest successes of its particular class.

There is another educational institution in Roscrea where the boys are taught agriculture in all its branches. The boys are allotted patches of land which they manage under the supervision of an expert in agriculture. I feel very strongly that any proposition should be made to deprive such communities or such institutions of the land they possess. On the contrary they should be encouraged in the great work which they are carrying on. Such institutions are an ornament to the country. Under the circumstances I am sure the Minister will see that every protection is given to these institutions. If they are in any danger under the Bill they should be safeguarded. That is one of the most essential things and one of the most useful things that the Bill could accomplish.

I am quite satisfied that there is not a member of the House who would not agree with the remarks made by Senator O'Connor. This amendment is a clear indication that one of its sponsors, at any rate, has very little confidence in the justice of the Minister or of the Government. She has very little confidence in the fair play or discretion of the Land Commission. The proposer said that she is fearful that what has been done in Russia and Spain might happen in this country. Perhaps she is fearful that the Minister and the heads of the Land Commission would go into the different convents, priories and monasteries, schools and colleges, sanatoria and mental homes and take the land attached to these institutions. In my opinion anyone who harbours such a thought against this or any Government that would be set up by the Irish people must have a very queer outlook. This amendment is unnecessary in my opinion. It is an insult to the Minister and to the Government. It is an insult to the Land Commission. It is an insult to the intelligence of members of the Seanad to ask them to harbour it for one solitary moment. In my opinion it is a most obnoxious amendment.

The very amendment itself is the best evidence that there is nothing serious behind it.

There is.

The amendment says "Nothing in this section shall empower the Land Commission to declare that any land...." This section only relates to vested land. I pointed that out in the Dáil. I pointed out that there was nothing in this amendment when it was introduced in the Dáil to prevent the Government or the Land Commission, if they so desired, taking every acre of untenanted land or judicial land from religious communities. The particular section which it is proposed to amend in this way relates only to purchased vested land and to no other land. If the drafters of the amendment were really in earnest about it, they would have seen to it that they covered also other classes of land, a lot of which is held by religious communities. I would say that if a census were taken, it would be found that religious communities hold more untenanted land and fee simple land than vested land. In very few cases do they hold vested land. My experience has been, both from what I saw in my own lifetime and from what I have read of history in the past, that religion has more to fear from its defenders than from its attackers, from the time of Henry VIII downwards. What does the Government propose to do with land under this section? It says simply that no person shall hold more than £2,000 worth of land if he is going to misuse it. Is it proposed that a religious community must hold ten, 20, 50 or 100,000 acres of land and misuse it in order that they may carry out the functions of the particular religious order? That is what the amendment seeks. In my opinion religious and the different institutions mentioned in the section ought to subscribe to the general law in relation to land, and that is that if they have more than £2,000 worth of land they should use it properly, that they should give an adequate amount of employment and produce an adequate amount of foodstuffs. An altogether wrong case was put up for the amendment by Senator O'Connor. He mentioned Carlow Asylum. There is nothing in this amendment to cover Carlow Asylum. This only covers private mental homes, not public mental homes. He mentioned a scholastic institution with a couple of hundred acres of land providing an adequate amount of food for 300 or 400 boys and religious. Who would touch an institution like that? He also mentioned a religious institution for the training of boys in agriculture. I hope the Seanad will have good sense enough to reject the amendment on the ground that it is absolutely unnecessary and also on the general ground that it would be wrong to allow any institution in this country to have more than £2,000 worth of land and misuse it.

I think it is very necessary that religious and educational institutions should have sufficient land both for the upkeep of the institutions and for the education of their pupils. The Minister stated that no institution of this sort should have more than £2,000 worth of land.

I did not say any such thing.

I am sorry if I have misrepresented the Minister. I did not wish to do so. He said if they were not properly using it. I know an educational institution that had the greatest difficulty in securing any land for the accommodation of the institution until quite recently, when we got rid of the landlord's claim to occupy the land in the district. It was only in recent years they were able to get sufficient land for the accommodation of the institution which they were successfully running and which we take pride in as a credit to our county and to the country. In the last few years they have purchased property to the value of £4,000. People may have a jealous eye on part of this land and they may say that the people in occupation of it had no right to occupy so much land. I think it is very necessary from many points of view that there should be a provision in the Bill which would safeguard property of that sort. I do not wish to import any heat into this debate. I have no suspicion that the present Government will attempt to interfere with an educational institution such as I have mentioned. There are, however, many influences at work at present and we do not know what the future may bring. I do not think it will be any reflection in any way for the Government to add a clause which will prevent anyone putting a covetous eye on this land or saying that because these people are running an educational institution such as this that they should not occupy so much land. We have many people at the present time going through the country and saying that clergymen of different denominations and those in charge of educational institutions have a nice way of living and they should not have the land. What I want is that these institutions should be protected and have sufficient land to carry on the education of the youth of the country and that there should be a guarantee that they would not be interfered with. For a long period of time we could not hope to have that. Now that we have, so far as I know, a sympathetic Government and a Government that I do not want to cast the slightest reflection on, I think it is only fair and just that educational institutions such as the one I have mentioned and religious institutions should be secured for all time in the property that they had to fight for for long years and for which they paid a large amount of money. I hope the Minister will see his way to accept the amendment. I do not see how it can do any injury, and I think it is only right that it should be inserted in the Bill.

Nothing that the Minister said convinced me that this amendment is not necessary, and I ask the Seanad to pass it. I am sorry the Minister could not see his way to accept it. Other Senators have laid stress on the religious communities. I mentioned that there were schools and colleges in the country which are not run by religious, but by lay teachers. From their very nature they would be the first objects of attack by a Communistic Government or a Government inclined towards Communism. Nobody would have said five years ago that recent happenings in Spain were possible. They would have been regarded as impossible. These things happened very quickly and they happen very quickly in every country. I do not accuse the Government, or any member of it, of having the slightest intention or desire to interfere with these schools; but I do accuse them of preparing the way for people who may come in here and who have the idea of seizing the Government. On Sunday last a certain member of a very objectionable society defied the Government to take arms from him.

Cathaoirleach

The Senator is really going outside the scope of the amendment.

I give that as an example that we have people in this country who have every intention, if they get the chance, of seizing the government of the country. We do not want in any Bill we pass to hand them over ready-made the power to attack the schools, whether religious or otherwise, in the country and to seize their lands. I do not think that that should be done. They could say, "Another Government, with people of a different type, made this law and we have nothing to do but to put it in force." We are preparing for a future which is not at all an impossibility.

Amendment put.
The Seanad divided:—Tá: 20; Níl: 12.

  • Brown, Samuel L., K.C.
  • Browne, Miss Kathleen.
  • Costello, Mrs.
  • Counihan, John C.
  • Crosbie, George.
  • Dillon, James.
  • Fanning, Michael.
  • Garahan, Hugh.
  • Griffith, Sir John Purser.
  • Jameson, Right Hon. Andrew.
  • Keane, Sir John.
  • Kennedy, Cornelius.
  • Linehan, Thomas.
  • Milroy, Seán.
  • O'Connor, Joseph.
  • O'Hanlon, M.F.
  • O'Rourke, Brian.
  • Parkinson, James J.
  • Staines, Michael.
  • Toal, Thomas.

Níl

  • Chléirigh, Caitlín Bean Uí.
  • Connolly, Joseph.
  • Duffy, Michael.
  • Foran, Thomas.
  • Johnson, Thomas.
  • MacEllin, Seán E.
  • Moore, Colonel.
  • O'Neill, L.
  • Phaoraigh, Siobhán Bean an.
  • Quirke, William.
  • Robinson, David. L.
  • Robinson, Séamus.
Tellers:—Tá: Senators Miss Browne and Garahan; Níl: Senators Séamus Robinson and David Robinson.
Amendment declared carried.

I move amendment No. 16:—

Section 31, sub-section (2). To delete the words "on a question of law." This amendment is consequential on amendment No. 3.

This has reference to a question of law and, again, it would give a general right of appeal. We have provided for the different appeals that can go to the appeal tribunal at the moment, and I think those provisions are sufficient to safeguard the rights of the owners of land. There is no use in having the appeal tribunal blocked up with appeals on questions that should be settled by the Land Commissioners. I cannot see any reason for accepting this amendment any more than the other amendment.

The Minister says that he cannot see any reason why the appeal tribunal should be blocked up with appeals from the Land Commission. The Minister wants to make the Land Commission supreme.

Well, then, he wants to make the Minister supreme.

Well, at all events, it would appear that he must be afraid of the appeal tribunal.

Amendment put.
The Seanad divided: Tá, 20; Níl, 12.

  • Brown, Samuel L., K.C.
  • Browne, Miss Kathleen.
  • Costello, Mrs.
  • Counihan, John C.
  • Crosbie, George.
  • Dillon, James.
  • Garahan, Hugh.
  • Gogarty, Dr. O. St. J.
  • Griffith, Sir John Purser.
  • Jameson, Right Hon. Andrew.
  • Keane, Sir John.
  • Kennedy, Cornelius.
  • Milroy, Seán.
  • O'Connor, Joseph.
  • O'Hanlon, M.F.
  • O'Rourke, Brian.
  • Parkinson, James J.
  • Staines, Michael.
  • Toal, Thomas.
  • Wilson, Richard.

Níl

  • Chléirigh, Caitlín Bean Uí.
  • Connolly, Joseph.
  • Duffy, Michael.
  • Moore, Colonel.
  • O'Neill, L.
  • Phaoraigh, Siobhán Bean an.
  • Foran, Thomas.
  • MacEllin, Seán E.
  • MacKean, James.
  • Quirke, William.
  • Robinson, David L.
  • Robinson, Séamus.
Tellers:—Tá: Senators Counihan and Milroy; Níl: Senators S. Robinson and D. Robinson.
Amendment declared carried.

Cathaoirleach

The last amendment, No. 17, in the name of Senator Counihan is:—

New section. Before section 32 to insert a new section as follows:—

32. (1) Where, on the application of the owner of a parcel of land held in fee simple, the Land Commission is satisfied—

(a) that such parcel is held by such owner in fee simple, and

(b) that such owner is inbona fide occupation of such parcel and occupies and uses it at the date of the passing of this Act in the same manner as an ordinary farmer in accordance with proper methods of husbandry, and

(c) that such parcel does not constitute a holding mainly residential,

the Land Commission may purchase such land from such owner at a price which in their opinion represents the selling value thereof, and in such case may resell the whole or any portion of such land to him.

(2) If such land is so purchased by the Land Commission, it shall be deemed for all purposes to be vested land under the Land Purchase Acts, including this Act.

This amendment was argued previously in conjunction with No. 7 and the mover admitted that they were correlated and that if one was rejected the other could go. In that case, I do not think that this amendment ought to be moved.

I have examined it, and the Minister will agree with me when I say that it is quite different from the other. I will move it without any discussion.

Cathaoirleach

You argued the one in connection with the other.

I am not going to argue this amendment. I will merely move it.

Cathaoirleach

You said you would take a ruling on the one as a ruling on the other.

I said the two amendments could be argued together, and that we could have a vote on each.

Cathaoirleach

Very well. Do you desire to move amendment 17?

Yes. I move.

Supposing this amendment is carried, would the Senator say what the effect of it will be on the Bill?

Cathaoirleach

It would not be a very good effect, I think.

It would be nonsense, would it not?

Cathaoirleach

I think this is an amendment that should not be moved.

This amendment is independent altogether of the other one.

Cathaoirleach

Very well. You are moving the amendment. I think you are taking a rather unfair advantage of the House. I shall put the amendment.

Amendment put and declared lost.

May I say, a Chathaoirligh, that Senator Counihan misunderstood a remark of yours, and I think that is the reason he has challenged a division. He understood you to say that he had misled the House. I think, if that point was cleared up, we could avoid having a division on this amendment. I am sure it was not your intention to make a statement of that kind.

Cathaoirleach

A division has been called, but a division need not be challenged when I again put the question. My position was that I allowed Senator Counihan to argue this amendment with his previous one. He agreed that the two were so interwoven that if one was lost the decision on that would govern the other. That was my conception of the position.

On a point of explanation may I say that I accept it that you, a Chathaoirligh, understood me to say that, but what I meant to say was this: that the two amendments could be argued together, and that a separate vote could be taken on each, without any argument on the second amendment.

Cathaoirleach

And that is what I am allowing the Senator to do.

Amendment again put and declared lost.
Question—"That the Bill be received for final consideration"—put and agreed to.

Cathaoirleach

Is the House agreed that the Final Stage should be taken now?

Agreed.

Question proposed: "That the Bill do now pass."

Before the Bill passes its Final Stage I want to say one or two words. This Bill has been subjected to a very exhaustive and, I think everyone will admit, a very close analysis. In many respects it has been amended since it came to the Seanad, but in my opinion the Bill leaves this House fundamentally—I use the word advisedly—the same as when it came here from the Dáil. Even though every amendment tabled to the Bill were passed, the fundamental principle which the Bill proposes to give effect to still remains enshrined in it. That fundamental principle is the destruction of fixity of tenure.

A Senator

Nonsense.

That may be nonsense, but if it is, then the Acting-Minister for Lands and Fisheries was talking nonsense when he said that "it is generally agreed that a man's title to his land is the use that he makes of it." I said on the Second Reading that that statement of the Minister, and the principle it enunciates, simply meant this: that the payment by a man of his purchase annuity—the buying out of his holding—counts for nothing under this as a guarantee of security of his tenure of that holding. In my opinion this destruction of what we have hitherto conceived to be security of tenure is fundamental to this Bill and must have been embodied in it for a definite specific purpose. If I can read aright such indications of that underlying and specific purpose as the Minister has disclosed, it is the definite and deliberate purpose to create in this State a condition of insecurity and instability which will be a fertile ground for that species of activity which Ministers are so keen to disavow. It will certainly secure a considerable advance of their conception of the social State if the policy enunciated by the Minister is allowed free and unfettered expression. Now one thing that has been conspicuous in this debate, that has been emphasised and reiterated by the Minister, was the question of food production. Food production is, if not the basis, at least, as the Minister would have us believe, the guiding idea of this Bill. When one comes to consider the basic factor of land in national economics, when one weighs it in connection with the thesis of the Minister as regards food production, when one takes into account the strange things that have been said and done in recent times, one must ask what is really the objective of this production which the Minister has so much insisted upon? Is it to be confined to the purpose of home consumption or is it to take in the question of an export trade? If the latter is the case, one would like to have from the Minister in charge of this Bill some explanation of the statement made by the President of the Executive Council last Sunday at Limerick, when he said:

"What the farmers are losing,"

he was referring to the British market,

"is, in my opinion, something that they would have lost in any case, because the market our opponents are crying about losing and asking us to restore is a market which no human agency could restore."

This is very pertinent to the Bill in view of the insistence of the Minister upon the theory that the title to land is based upon the production of food. For whom is that food to be produced? I should like to see this pronouncement of the President of the Executive Council broadcast to the four quarters of the State, if possible—the statement that the British market had gone and that no human agency could restore it. I should like to recall a statement of the same speaker on 23rd January, 1932. He said:

"There was no fear of falling out with England because Ireland was a better customer of England than England was of Ireland. The ordinary trade relations would go on because trade does not take account of politics."

"The ordinary trade relations would go on." We can see how they have gone on, and we can see where they are likely to lead us in the near future. I shall quote one other statement—I am not introducing this for any extraneous purpose, but because I think these statements are more pertinent to this discussion. The statement I shall now quote was made by the Minister for Industry and Commerce on 13th December, 1931:—

"There could be no doubt that for a very long time to come trade with Great Britain would be of enormous importance to this country. At present, 80 per cent. of the goods we export go to the British market. No matter how we may seek to revise the economic system in operation here, the British trade will always play an important part in it, and it would be a very serious thing for the people of this country if whatever advantages can be secured from it were lost to us."

Cathaoirleach

I think you are going slightly outside the Bill.

That may be and, if you say so, I shall desist from that line of argument. My only reason for adopting this line is that the Minister has been insisting upon food production as constituting the title deeds of the holder of land in this country. I ask the Minister where is that food to go. Is it to be purely for home consumption? Is it to be for export? If it is to be for export, is it to be to that market which we were told last Sunday was lost and which we were told no human agency could restore? Have the Government some alternative market in mind for this food which is to be produced in such quantities? Would the Minister inform us where these markets are, so that the farmers who are to use the land for food production will have a clear idea of the markets to which they are to have access, and will be able to arrange their individual economy in accordance with that knowledge? On the closing stages of this Bill I thought right to refer to these things. The fundamental principle of the Bill, as I understand it, destroys security of tenure and creates uncertainty and instability throughout the length and breadth of the State so far as the holders of land are concerned. Senator Miss Browne, speaking to an amendment, said she did not accuse the present Ministry of Communistic tendencies. I am neither charging them with having, nor acquitting them of having, any such tendencies, but I do say that if they were the deliberate precursors of a Communistic movement, they could not have achieved anything more likely to secure the speeding up of those conditions which we are told the development of Communism requires—discontent, instability and unrest, which are destructive of any kind of social progress—than the fundamental principle enshrined in this Bill. I am fully conscious of the difficulty that Ministers have in rationing land so that everybody gets sufficient. That is a task which will be greater than even the genius of the present Ministry can possibly hope to accomplish. They will have to realise that the land will only accommodate a certain number of people, and that those who are on the land should have adequate grounds for their activities, and should have, at least, in a degree equal to any other consideration the security that once they comply with the conditions necessary to secure their land, no law and no Government can take it from them. In other words, they should have that security of tenure for which generations of our people stood. I believe this Bill destroys that position, and creates tremendous difficulties in what I think will be a necessary step in future social legislation, namely, the restoration of land tenure.

I agree with Senator Milroy that the fundamental principle of this Bill is wrong. We have tried to amend it. I am not very well satisfied with what has been done, and, like Senator Milroy, I object to the proposals in the Bill. The whole policy of the Government, as shown by the Bill, is to split up the land, to till more land, and to produce more food. I want to ask the Minister what description of food is wanted. Is it for animals or for human beings? What description of food can be produced that is not being produced to saturation point, except wheat and pigs? I would like the Minister to explain why an order was given—if an order was given—to the millers to export pollard and other milling products, a considerable quantity of which is required here. Up to three weeks ago we could buy pollard at £4 per ton, and bran at £3 or £3 2s 6d. per ton. It is impossible to get a quotation from any miller for pollard to-day. I understand it is all exported under contract. Any that is available is quoted at £5 15s. or £6 per ton. It is the same with bran. The whole policy now is to produce wheat, to till the land, so that there will be foodstuffs and to have the residue of the milling in the country. If the order I referred to was not given I think the Government was not doing its duty in not preventing the residue from being sent away and being available at a proper price at home.

The policy being carried out now is to split up the land. It is not going to be a sound policy. Senator Quirke says that I am afraid to say anything about the economic war. I think the Senator objected to a discussion on it on the Committee Stage. I am not afraid to discuss the economic war intelligently.

Let us discuss the Public Safety Act for a change.

If people have only one view of the economic war there is no use discussing it. Senator Quirke stated that cattle were worth as much in England as they are in the Free State. If Senator Quirke remembers that we are getting a bounty of £1 15s. to export them, he should know that that policy is wrong, and that cattle are not the same price here as they are in England. In England cattle of the same class are worth £5 10s. a head more than in the Free State. If we produce food all we can do is to export it to England. If it is kept here the only thing that can be done with it is to feed it to livestock. The policy of the Government is one that will create more unemployment. The only advice for this country was that given by the ex-Minister for Agriculture, whose policy was: "one more cow, one more sow, and one more acre under the plough." That is the policy which will lead to prosperity, which will relieve unemployment and get us back our markets. These are the essential things that the Government should concentrate on, instead of splitting up the land. I consider that splitting up land in present circumstances, except there is a market for the produce, will not serve any policy initiated by the Government.

Senator Counihan is optimistic. It is easy to say that the avowed intention of the Government is not to have trouble with England. The President told us some time ago that it would be a good thing if this country were trapped into losing the cattle trade. He also said that no human agency could restore the British market except the state of human peversity that deliberately ruined it. This Bill is merely a patch on a leaking tyre. It has been stated that the farmer will not produce extra cattle when there is not a market. Therefore, he will lose his tenure. In Russia, it was found that, when there was no sale, the moujiks would not raise extra stock and they lost their land. Russia is now coming into a condition of famine on account of losing sight of the ordinary impulse of human labour—human profit. This country is being deliberately, by the action of the Government, despoiled of its richest asset, its cattle trade. It is worth £17,000,000. It cannot be measured by the 4,000,000 cattle population. Even if you take that population at £10 a head it is worth £40,000,000. This country had that £17,000,000 of a yearly income, but it is now losing it. That is why I say that this Bill is only an extra patch on a leaking tyre. The farmer is to be despoiled of his tenure if he does not raise cattle, for which there is no sale. He is supposed to have a milch cow, but a milch cow has a calf, and the calf has to be exported towards the east. Yet the great economy of the country, we are told, is a milch cow. We have to get rid of that. The cattle population is necessary in order to support the human population even if it were not a source of wealth. I met a supporter of the Government close to Ballinasloe, where there is an establishment of the character that I should expect to meet with in an area of Government supporters. The man, while labouring under great excitement, said: "Is it not a terrible thing to have more cattle than people in the country?" I replied: "Would it not be a terrible thing to have more pounds in your pocket than babies in the nursery?" That is his mentality. It is not yet recognised what ruin the Government has brought to our greatest interest. Our cattle trade is being destroyed by the deliberate act, and at the whim of one man, who wants to revenge himself on the country which he has betrayed three times. Twice he betrayed the Republic and now he is betraying the whole country and driving it into misery.

The President and the Government. They declare military law on their opponents, except their opponents who broke up Bass's factory the other day. Their arms are not taken. This Bill is an endeavour to cover up the mistakes of the Government. They know that no country can succeed without an income and that no kind of economy is going to make up for the loss of the great income we had.

I should like to say one or two words on this Bill before it goes through. It seems to me that this Bill is a very great insult to the farming population of the country. I always understood that it took some skill to be a farmer. I thought that the only calling that required no previous experience was that of newspaper editing. I wonder if the promoters of this Bill are really under the impression that anybody who is presented with 30, 40 or 50 acres of land can proceed to cultivate it and make it a profitable proposition both for themselves and the country. To my mind, this is the biggest insult the farmers of Ireland were ever offered, because I always understood that it requires just as much education to make a competent farmer as it does to make a national school teacher. There are tens of thousands of acres of land to-day available for the Government. That can be handed out without any question to deserving and experienced men who can farm it. Apparently the Government rely on the coercive method of taking land from the farmer. That is wrong and it looks to me that it will happen when this Bill is forced to its conclusion. As some of the speakers here contemplated, this forcing of men to hand over some portion of their land is a new form of land-grabbing. Will this Bill add anything at all to the wealth of the country? It will very considerably disturb the peace of parts of the country.

I consider the new principle enshrined in this Bill as nothing but sheer economic heresy and if it is carried into effect it will only eventuate in reducing the standard of living of the people of this country.

I do not propose to make a speech at this hour but I do not think I should let go unchallenged the statement made by Senator Counihan. He obviously does not want to discuss the economic war. But if he insists in dragging in the economic war or little bits of it, he ought at least to get the facts. I say definitely that the statements he made here, without going over them one by one, were absolutely false. I can understand Senator Counihan or any other man in the Opposition Party making such statements for the purposes of propaganda. I think he had enough of that in to-day's debate. It is an extraordinary thing to hear a man standing up here and posing as a representative of agriculture and consistently overlooking every branch of agriculture except cattle. Surely the Senator is aware that the majority of the farmers in this country have several other things to which they have to look for a living besides cattle. The Senator knows that already many farmers in the country realise that the statements made by the members of the Opposition in this House were sheer bunkum. Most of the speeches we have heard within the last half hour were nothing but direct insults to the President and the members of the Fianna Fáil Government. Such stuff is not going to be lost on the people of this country. The people realise very well that the members of the Opposition who take part in such uncalled-for attacks on the President and members of the Executive Council are not here by the voice of the people. They cannot claim their majority in this House by any stretch of the imagination as representatives of the people. They know that they owe their presence here to the people who are now thrown on the political scrap-heap. If the members of the Opposition had more respect for the will of the people, as evidenced at the last two elections, they would not make these attacks. Senator Counihan ought to be aware that there is something else to be considered beside cattle in this country.

I will read for the House a short quotation from theClonmel Chronicle of the 12th August. That is the paper that strongly advocates the policy of Senator Counihan and of his people, the members of the “lower orders”——

That statement was attributed to me and has been explained and accepted by the Seanad. It has also been explained by me in letters to the Press. It is not fair debate to bring it up now.

Cathaoirleach

I do not think it should be introduced.

I did not refer in that statement to Senator Sir John Keane. In fact I was not thinking of him at the time. I did not happen to be in the House when Senator Counihan accepted the explanation, and if I did I would have more sympathy with him than I ever had before when I found that it is so easy to gull him as it is. The quotation from theClonmel Chronicle reads:—

"The Sale of Oats.—A prominent Clonmel firm of corn merchants has received the following letter from one of the largest importers in England:

‘Kindly overlook delay in replying to your letter. Oats are so very cheap here and in Scotland that under existing circumstances we do not think it is possible for us to trade with you in oats this season.'"

It would be a poor look-out for the farmers in this country if they were depending on that one great market that we heard so much about—the English market. I wonder what Senator Counihan would do or what the members of the agricultural com munity, whose cause he professes to represent in this House, would do "under existing circumstances." It would be a poor look-out for the farmers in this country if the Fianna Fáil Government had not looked ahead and taken measures to ensure that there would be a market in this country for the farmers who grew oats so that they would not have to depend on the British market for the sale of their oats.

A Bill was introduced in this House by which provision was made to ensure that the oats produced in the country would be consumed in the country. Under the administrative regulations under that Act the fact is that this year we will not have a sufficiency of oats to meet the demand. Regardless of what Senator Counihan or any of the propagandists may say, regardless of what the attitude of the millers may be, the farmers of this country will have to get a reasonable price for their oats this year, and I prophesy that the price in this country will be in excess of the price in England or Scotland.

Is Senator Quirke speaking on behalf of the Government? Would the Senator tell us what is the price of oats in the country at the present time and how much above the British price it is now? Would he tell us who is guaranteeing the price for oats at the present time? Is he speaking on behalf of the Government? I assure him that growers of oats in the Free State will be delighted to hear that oats is being sold at any reasonable price in the Free State at the present moment.

I think Senator Quirke knows very little about it. As a matter of fact, the price of white oats at the present moment is 8/6 per barrel. Does the Senator call that an economic price? There are still stocks of last year's oats in the country. What will be the price of oats this year? Anyone who is growing oats knows that 8/6 a barrel for white oats is not an economic price. When talking about oats, Senators talk of black oats, but I am talking of good white oats. Senator Quirke tells us that the Government will see that the farmers will get a good price——

I said that the Government had already done it. They brought in a Bill to guarantee a good price.

That Bill has been in operation for six or eight months and the result of that Bill is that good white oats are 8/6 a barrel to-day. We know that at that price the Bill to which the Senator refers is an absolute failure. The only way in which to secure a good price for oats or anything else is to get an export market. We can produce too much of everything here. The Government tell us that they want to see more land distributed amongst landless men. What is the use of producing goods when one cannot sell them. Senator Quirke told us that better prices are paid for cattle here than in England or across the Border. I live on the Border and I know that there are hundreds and hundreds of cattle smuggled across the Border from day to day. At the fair of Crossmaglen a few days ago a cow was sold for £7 10s. That cow was sold across the Border at £12 10s. on the following day. When one can see a cow in the Crossmaglen market sold at £7 10s. worth £12 10s. across the Border the following day we can understand what the tariff on the cattle means to the farmers of this country. The farmers are finding that the English market has been completely cut off. Senator Quirke has quoted for us something from theClonmel Chronicle about the price of oats in England—that firms in England cannot buy oats from Clonmel. Well, indeed, I do not see how they can when there is a heavy tax put on oats going into England from this country. The Senator forgets that the tax on oats going into England is in operation as well as the tax on our cattle. If the Government will give a bounty for oats the same as they gave for butter it would be quite feasible to ship all the oats we like. We ship butter, and get a bounty. Why not give a bounty to our oats? If the Government would give a bounty of 5/- or 6/- a barrel on oats well and good. The Cereals Bill is not going to improve the value of grain in any way. If the Government likes to bring in legislation to say that the farmer must get 15/- a barrel for his oats that is all right. They can do that, but who will pay the extra expenses of the small farmer who buys that produce? If our markets are closed down what use will these things be to the feeders?

Does the Senator want a repetition of 1847 by insisting upon the shipment of our wheat and oats? Everyone knows we have, in this country, sufficient wheat and oats to meet our own requirements.

I was at a conference of 150 corn merchants and every one of them had the same story—thousands and thousands of barrels of grain and no one to take them off their hands. What connection that has with 1847 I cannot see.

The course of this debate indicated that notwithstanding the main objection to the Bill expressed by Senators Milroy and Gogarty, if the economic war was settled the Bill is a good one. The criticism is not against anything in the Bill but against something else that seems to the critics to appertain to the Bill, but at a very great distance away. The whole position indicates, so far as it is expressed in this debate, that it is fundamental that the Bill upsets security of tenure. I am going to repeat, more or less, what I said on the Second Reading: that the Act of 1923 was passed because of the Minister's statement in connection with Section 31 of that Act. The object of the Bill then before the House was to meet the demand for land, first, from those in possession of uneconomic holdings. After that object had been supplied the object was to meet the case of the evicted tenants, or the descendants of the evicted tenants. After that it was to supply persons who, being labourers and by reason of the sale of any lands under the provisions of the Land Purchase Acts, had been deprived of employment on the said lands. These were the main difficulties that were to be met. That was the clear principle enunciated in the course of the debate on the 1923 Act. The purpose was to supply these various grades of people who were in need of land. That was the valuable principle in the 1923 Act, which the Dáil accepted and the Seanad accepted, and it was hailed as a most excellent piece of good legislation.

Except by Senator Counihan. He opposes this Bill because he opposed the 1923 Act. I maintain that everything in this Bill, dealing with fundamentals, is the inevitable outcome of the 1923 Act. Various propositions in Section 31 of the 1923 Act had not been accomplished because of certain shortcomings in that Act, and it is an inevitable consequence, if that policy is to be carried out, that this Bill should be passed. There may be no objection to details. The objection here is that the Bill is fundamentally wrong because it upsets security of tenure; that is, it proposes to take land from the larger holders for the purpose of transferring it to applicants named in the Act of 1923. On this ground I support the Bill. On this ground supporters and spokesmen for Cumann na nGaedheal oppose it, and in opposing it they are opposing the principle of the 1923 Act, which they hailed as the greatest work of the Dáil following the Treaty. They denounce this Bill, and in doing so they denounce everything that the Minister for Agriculture of that day prided himself upon. I, for one, am not able to understand that attitude, as I see that what is in this Bill was implicit in the 1923 Act.

I do not propose to follow the arguments of the various Senators who have spoken. I think it was rather a revolting sight to see Senators Milroy and Gogarty lashing their lazy bodies in front of the Seanad. Neither of them took any interest in the various debates we have had on this Bill. When I heard them speak this evening I examined the hundreds of amendments that had been put down, but could not find one of them in either of their names. If this Bill, in the form which it is now in, with the amendments put into it by the Seanad contains, as Senator Milroy and Senator Gogarty says it does, the destruction of security of tenure, then I think they will have to give an explanation to the country as to why they were too lazy to come here and discuss it and put down some amendments that would have the effect of making secure the tenure that should be secured.

There was a lot of talk about markets and what more food the country requires and about our supplies of oats. This Bill has in it principles which I hope will last for some time. I think there are some of them so fundamental that they will last no matter how the economic position of the country may change. One is that a man's secured title in his land is the use he makes of it for himself and the community. Both the Seanad and the Dáil have definitely agreed to the principle that if a man is misusing his land the land left to him to use undisturbed shall be strictly limited. As I said in this debate many times, we are limiting and stopping at £2,000 value, simply because farms of £2,000 and under are reasonably used from the point of view of the requirements of the community. If we thought that the nation could not afford to ignore holdings of £2,000 and under, we would have come forward with proposals to deal with the use of holdings under £2,000.

Senator Milroy read an extract from the speech of the President in Limerick to the effect that "no human agency could restore the British markets." He went on to quote from a speech of the President in 1932 to the effect that "trade does not take account of politics." It is because trade does not take account of politics that no human agency can restore the British market. The British having lost their market for industrial products, have had perforce to set themselves to produce a large amount of agricultural produce that has heretofore been imported from this and other countries. They are compelled to produce for themselves a lot of the agricultural produce that they hitherto imported, and any person who is trying to deceive the people of this country into the belief that, by some political manipulation here, the British market can be restored to the extent that it operated in the past, is either stupid or is deliberately endeavouring to make people believe something that is altogether untrue.

One Senator talked about the price of oats. We believe that if farmers do not get a good price for oats this year it will not be because oats should not carry a price that would remunerate farmers. If any of the oat merchants, the men who deal in oats, endeavour to purchase oats at a very small price from the farmers, and hold it pending the rise in the price of oats that will inevitably come, the Government must step in and see that these merchants do not rob the farmers. The Seanad has pulled off what I can only call a few "stunts" in connection with this Bill. They are nothing more than "stunts." One of them is robbing the taxpayers of this country of £8,000,000 in order to give it to farmers who do not require it. There are a couple more of them in the Bill.

I do not think that any Senator can say that the Bill involves the destruction of security of tenure. I have not seen any amendment put down by any Senator aimed at abolishing what was said to be destruction of the fixity of tenure. In that, the Seanad as well as everybody else in the country—any man who thinks over the present economic situation, what is likely to happen in the future, and what has happened in the past—must see quite well that, with a population here, a number of whom are unemployed and willing to work, who are willing to work and have a knowledge of work on the land, no Government could stand idly by and let large tracts of land be misused. The number of unemployed is being added to by the growth of population. This Government has to deal with an increase in population of 30,000 a year, people who heretofore were exported to America. I am glad that we have got to deal with them. I hope when this Bill is finally passed we shall be in a position to secure that, if owners of land in this country do not give the employment that is necessary and do not produce the food that is necessary for the country, they will be made to get out and give the land to the people who will till it or who will utilise it for the benefit of the community.

Question put and agreed to.

Cathaoirleach

As regards our next meeting, I really cannot say when I shall find it necessary to summon a meeting. The best course to adopt, I think, would be to adjourn nowsine die. If occasion should arise, I can summon a meeting, but I think that Senators should certainly not be wanted before September 27th and probably not for a fortnight afterwards.

Is it likely that we shall meet on the 27th September?

Cathaoirleach

I think there is no likelihood of that.

The Seanad adjournedsine die at 7.55 p.m.