I second. The amendment is an alternative to the amendment which the Dáil asks this House not to insist upon. This amendment appeared on the Order Paper in my name about three weeks ago, when an amendment in the name of Senator Sir John Keane was carried, which referred the question to the court to decide in case objection was made to the acquisition of land on the ground of serious interference with the amenity of a residence. When that amendment was carried my amendment was withdrawn. When the matter came back to this House a week ago an objection was made, I think, by Senator O'Sullivan, and I am sure it was also in the minds of other members of the House, that perhaps reference to the court might cause considerable delay. I am not of that opinion. Nobody wants to hold up this Bill, or to delay it in any unreasonable way. This is a Bill which is badly wanted in districts where they are badly off for new hospitals and that sort of thing, and, therefore, we are of opinion that it is a Bill that ought to go through. At the same time, some of us feel that this question of an objection to the taking of land on the ground of serious interference with the amenity of a residence is one that, if possible, ought to be pressed by us to the greatest extent that we can do so, in reason. I do not think there was any serious ground for objection to the court as the tribunal for this question. In regard to delay, I do not think there was. But that has gone, and the present amendment is the one I would have moved when the Bill was here on the Report Stage.
The effect of the amendment is this, that where objections are raised to the taking of land, a public inquiry will be held under this section, and where the question of serious interference with the amenity of a residence is raised, it will be referred to the inspector, who holds a local inquiry. The inspector will report on the local evidence he will have before him. All the witnesses will be there, and he will have the advantage of seeing whether there is any ground for the objection to the taking of land because of interference with the amenity of a residence. What the amendment does is this: it says that if the report of the inspector at the local inquiry shows that there is serious interference with the amenity of a residence, by reason of the taking of land, then the Minister shall—there is no option about it—uphold that objection, and refuse to let the scheme go on. If the inspector holds, after the local inquiry, that there is no serious interference, then the matter comes back to the Minister, as it did before, and he deals with all the objections which may be made and makes up his mind what to do. This amendment has none of the objections that the other amendment had. The holding of the local inquiry is a matter of a few days, and the whole thing will be over in four or five weeks. There will not be that delay which I feel many members of the House considered would be more serious.